“Change is the end result of all true learning,” wrote US academic Leo Buscaglia.
And so it is that, after 26 years, we see a major change in Whitgift’s leadership as we say farewell to Dr Christopher Barnett and welcome Christopher Ramsey as his successor next term.
I missed being a “Barnett boy” by a few years (the great David Raeburn was my headmaster) but it is clear that Dr Barnett has left his mark on the school. However, while some Heads focus on a particular area, Dr Barnett will be remembered for driving the school forward across the board – academic excellence mirrored by achievements on the sports field, the arts and other co-curricular and cultural aspects of school life.
Stepping through North Entrance, you immediately sense Whitgift’s vibrancy and sense of purpose. It’s a school that combines more than 400 years of tradition with the important role of readying its pupils to face the manifold challenges of the 21st century. The school has changed, modernised, moved forward, but – crucially – stayed true to its ethos.
The WA said a formal goodbye to Dr Barnett at our Annual Dinner in the splendid surroundings of the Royal College of Surgeons. As well as honorary life membership, we presented the Headmaster with a memento of his time at Haling Park – a tankard modelled on those used by sailors on the Mary Rose, recognising one of the two great exhibitions organised by Dr Barnett during his tenure.
The WA now looks forward to welcoming our 27th Headmaster and to forging ever stronger and closer links between the association and the school. Our interests are mutually bound and I believe we will achieve the most by working together.
Jonathan Bunn OW (1980-88)
Chairman, Whitgiftian Association