KWC Celebrates Founders’ Day

King William’s College Principal, Joss Buchanan, reflected on the successes of the departing Upper Sixth and his upcoming retirement at this year’s Founders’ Day celebrations and prize giving.

Speaking to the Upper Sixth, Mr Buchanan reflected on their resilience throughout the challenges of the last few years. He noted that:

“Their journey through the school hasn’t been the easiest. In March 2020 when Covid hit and we moved teaching online, they were in the Middle Fifth. In eight weeks of term, I saw only one student on College grounds, even though the school was open and we were teaching. It was an absolutely extraordinary time. When it then came to their GCSEs, their exams were cancelled and they were subjected instead to a battery of assessment tasks. Their IB exams this summer, which after a lot of hard work they have just finished, are actually the first public exams they have ever sat.”

“We have now returned to being that busy school once more, and the Upper Sixth have been at the forefront of our music performances and drama productions, and have been the mainstay of our sports teams. No less than a fifth of the school, including many in the Upper Sixth, are off to Australia this summer on a three-week rugby and hockey tour. A fabulous way to end their time at College.”

Chairman of Governors, Peter Clucas, also highlighted the outstanding achievements of the Upper Sixth throughout a difficult few years:

“It has been especially pleasing that, as we approach the end of another full academic year, we have not been interrupted by lockdowns or restricted teaching. I truly hope these are times that we can put behind us, but whatever the future holds, I add my tribute to the pupils and to our hard-working staff for their perseverance and positivity in getting the school through the recent years. I also congratulate those of you who have collected prizes this morning. These are an important recognition of your hard work and the development of character that I hope will bring you many more successes in the future.”

Speaking at his final Founders’ Day as Principal, Mr Buchanan reflected on his retirement at the end of the summer:

“We are a small community where everybody knows each other and looks out for each other. The memories and friends we make along the way are at the heart of everything we do. I hope that has been the experience for the Upper Sixth, it has certainly been the experience for me. As I come to the end of my time here, I would like to thank every member of the community for all their support and friendship over the years. It is a very special place to work and it has been an enormous privilege to have played a role, however small, in the lives of so many generations of students, including the children of some of those I taught when I first joined the school back in the 1990s.”

Commenting on the Principal’s upcoming retirement, Chairman of Governors, Mr Clucas, added:

“I joined the board of Governors shortly before Joss was appointed as Principal, and in some ways, we grew into our respective roles in parallel. That said, in Joss’ case, I did not witness any prolonged period of him finding his feet – the responsibilities of leadership seemed to sit lightly on his shoulders. For the last seven years as Principal, and for 26 long years of service to this school, I express the unconditional thanks of myself, the Governors, the staff and, most importantly, of generations of pupils who have had the privilege of having had you in their lives.”

This year, the College was also delighted to welcome Pierre Novellie as guest of honour. Pierre was a student at the College from 2002 to 2009 and is a Cambridge graduate, who has forged a successful international career as a comedian, with extensive appearances on television, radio and the stage. Peter addressed the students and congratulated them on maintaining their studies throughout Covid. He then offered some final words of advice to our departing students:

“The world is a very small place and you will run into the same people over and over again, so bear this in mind and consider how you carry yourself and how you treat others. My experience of people and places has repeatedly taught me that this Island, and this school, is a very special place indeed. You’re going to use everything you’ve experienced here at school at some point in your life. I got life changing support here at this school, particularly from my history teacher, a certain Joss Buchanan. I’ve used everything he taught me, over and over. Thank you, Joss, for everything you’ve done for me and the school.”

You can view the photos from Founders’ Day and the Summer Ball here.


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