This year we are celebrating an anniversary of special significance, the founding of Runnymede College Senior School. Fifty years ago Mr and Mrs Arthur Powell launched an enterprise that has taken root, flourished and become a flagship of British education in Spain.

Whilst Runnymede has grown from its birth in 1967 the world has been evolving. Spain moved into the European mainstream with the transition to a democratic form of government. Europe, whilst expanding eastwards, is moving towards the ever closer union envisioned by Robert Schumann and his fellow architects of the EU. The Soviet Union imploded ending the Cold War and China, nominally still Communist, launched itself on a path of capitalist regeneration and engagement with the world. Perhaps even more significant than these seismic global political trends, the almost universal spread of technology in the form of the internet and the ability of many, young as well as old, wealthy as well as poor, to access it, is impacting on our lives. As we launch our pupils into this rapidly changing world they will face challenges and make decisions, both personal and political, that will impact on their future.

This anniversary provides us with an opportune moment to reflect upon on how well we are preparing future generations for the challenges that face them. The values of a liberal, British education: the ability to think independently, to debate with passion yet with respect for the views of others and, above all, to stand firm in defence of our rights and freedoms, remain key to the future well-being of society. It seems to me that our work at Runnymede is even more valuable.

This year has also been memorable for one key novelty within the Department. We have completed our first full cycle of the new A Level and so are now offering a two-year, linear VI Form History syllabus as of September, an exciting and invigorating change that will occupy the Department in the coming years.

Our highly successful trips to Atienza and Berlin continue to be enjoyed by Years 7 and 11, enriching the curriculum and providing a valuable alternative learning experience for our pupils. With over 60 children on each Berlin trip, we are now dependent on the help of other Departments to staff the visit and make it the on-going success that it is.

With ever increasing numbers taking History to A Level it would be impossible to mention them all. Suffice it to say that we have had a stimulating and rewarding VI Form this past year. Carolina Herrera and Lilly Magnus richly deserve the Year 13 prizes, as did Jaime Martínez-Bordiú and Antonio Mola for Year 12.

Mr Hornshaw joined the Department in September to cover for Miss McAteer’s maternity leave. He has been a thoroughly welcome addition to the History team. We are lucky to be able to retain him for the coming year, and hopefully for longer. Congratulations to Miss McAteer who now has a son, Antonio. We are very happy to welcome her back. In the coming year we will be four, with Mr Baskett and myself continuing within the team.