A Christmas Inauguration

Last term finished on an exciting festive climax with the bringing together of the entire school to celebrate the official inauguration of the Founder’s Building as well as our traditional Christmas carol concert.

It was an honour to host Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Mr Simon Manley CMG who made a rousing speech about the value of British education, and kindly unveiled the plaque which dedicates the Founder’s Building, and with it a promising new chapter for the school, to our founder Mr Arthur F Powell OBE.

Mr Manley was greeted at the office and shown the overall plans for the school campus. He was kind enough to sign the Runnymede College Visitor’s book:

Our Headmaster and Mr Manley then toured the school together:

The Powell family gathered to witness the momentous occasion:

For the first time in Runnymede College history, the Spanish anthem was played, followed by God Save the Queen:

Mr Manley highlighted how the Founder’s Building was yet another manifestation of Runnymede’s commitment to providing an outstanding education:

The Founder’s Building, designed by the Spanish studio Rojo Fernández-Shaw, will provide the perfect setting for our pupils to thrive in. It boasts of new custom-built laboratories, spacious hallways and large classrooms full of natural light.

The Founder’s Building also represents our renewed dedication to Music and Drama with the Austen room, in which our students will have the facilities necessary to articulate their creativity. Our Sixth Formers have been prioritised in the design, with plenty of inside and outside spaces for them to engage in group or individual study.

We look forward to seeing years of future Runnymedians flourishing within the walls of the Founder’s Building.

The musical talents of Runnymede’s students and teachers were showcased in the concert with a festive blend of traditional hymns and modern classics, and some thought-provoking readings:

It was also wonderful to see so many family members join us to celebrate and get in the festive mood by singing along with the choir.

Ms Bala’s form-group braved the cold and gave a brilliant showing of Christmas cheer:

A few members of staff (who still wish to remain anonymous...) surprised the children with a special appearance:

The concert was ended with a talented rendition of “Let it Snow” by our VIth Form band:

Many Old Runnymedians came to join the celebrations. Here are a group of the Class of '78:

The chocolate and churros that were served were particularly welcome on such a cold day and were a perfect ending to a very successful day.

We would like to share this poem written by our very own Mr Crumpton, which highlights the poignancy of the event:

On the Inauguration of the Founder’s Building, 21st December 2018

Inauguration. A word that evokes Roman omens.
Betoga-ed priests shielding their eyes at flights of birds
Whose propitious sky-patterns prompted the words
Of blessing for newly gleaming temples, primed for worship.
Mr Bennet’s remit, really.

Today we are not inaugurating a building of marble, clearly,
But one of steel and glass, of dreams and knowledge.
It is a temple of education, true, our Runnymede College,
And today we dedicate its new columns, its new foundations.

Its name honours the school’s founder, Mr Arthur Powell;
A man who, more than half a century ago,
Chose a name with historical connotations.
Runnymede: an island of liberty in a river of strife;
A thirteenth-century charter given new life
In a school which shone then, and shines now,
With delight, ornament, ability.

It looms above us, the Founder’s Building,
With its height, its confident, rectangular glory;
A sleek fortress of elegant angles,
Clean lines glinting silver-grey in the winter sunshine;
Ready to write the next chapters of Runnymede’s story.

Already a space of light and learning,
Of joyous laughter and serious yearning
For futures that are bright with promise.
Light slanting into classrooms which pay homage
To a man whose vision and values we celebrate today.

In their day, those Roman priests would look above,
Analyse the avian shapes, then pray
And pronounce their judgement.
We, however, can look instead, triumphant,
On the throngs of pupils, parents, teachers,
Brought here in a spirit of hope and love,
So that all around, in a collective fulfilling,
May honour a school, a founder, his building.

Special thanks to the choir, who sang beautifully, to Mr Crumpton for compering the event, Ms Bala for her form class’ special performance and to Mr Hill who was responsible for making it all happen.