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From the desk of the Head Master 26 January 2018

Last weekend saw this term’s Combined Cadet Force overnight exercise. I decided to pop down to see them before supper on Friday evening at the range.

Imagine my consternation as a group of radical terrorists stormed the building and abducted me, whisking me away across the school to their secret lair, where they held me hostage and issued a set of demands.

It transpires that I was in fact playing a minor cameo role in the exercise and these brutal rebels were in fact the members of the Lower Sixth Form. Loyal to their school and Head Master (and, technically speaking, Commanding Officer), cadets from the Middle Fifth and Upper Fifth spent the night undertaking all sorts of challenges, aimed at thwarting the renegades and rescuing me. I should confess that I went home and slept overnight. After a daring dawn raid, I was finally extracted from the school buildings and escorted across the pitches, through several ambushes, to safety, freedom and breakfast. They even let me have a gun (we were using blank rounds).

Unaccustomed as I am to this sort of thing on a Friday night, it was all very exciting for me, as you can probably tell. Whilst the CCF may not be everyone’s cup of tea,  it was really good to experience this activity close hand and witness the boys being put in challenging and uncomfortable situations, where they had to make hard decisions or react quickly to events. They had to lead and to follow, cooperating and communicating effectively under pressure, and all whilst wet, cold and tired - it was a very grim night. It is hard to think of better examples of activities that require and develop those qualities, such as resilience, courage, perseverance and creativity, that we might collectively call character. And, whilst it was far from easy, from all I could see they had enormous fun too.

The following night we hosted our biennial Old Warwick Armed Forces Dinner for old boys who serve or have served – and, for the first time, two old girls from King’s High. It was, as always, a very enjoyable evening and after dinner our host, Colonel Jaish Mahan (OW), a former army doctor and the last commanding officer of the hospital in Camp Bastion, spoke of the values, standards and sense of character that underpin the UK’s armed forces, which he felt he learned here at Warwick. It was inspiring stuff.