SIR CHRISTOPHER WREN TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL
A word about the General Certificate of Education. Last year School excelled itself in the number of success, and this year 26 boys have sat for these examinations, and are awaiting their results, no doubt with hands on hearts. With the “bulge” now emerging from the schools there is increasing competition for jobs and success in the G.C.E. is all the more important. I am sure that those who stay on in the School in order to obtain this qualification will never regret it, and will also reap great benefit from the extra year before going out into the world of industry. Some of you who are keen to enter the College Diploma Courses may also find the extra year essential in order to reach the standard necessary for entry to these courses. Incidentally I am pleased to report that George A. Hall, an ex High School and diploma boy has been accepted for a fulltime course at the London Polytechnic leading to the very high qualification of Diploma of Technology in Civil Engineering, and David Porter and John Alistair Long have been accepted for courses in the Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering - an indication of the heights you boys can reach.
I would conclude with a brief reference to the gradually improving facilities of the School - I wage a never ceasing battle with the authorities over these matters, and whilst the members of our Board of Governors are very sympathetic their funds are limited. The concreting of the playground however represents a major improvement, and the use of the new tennis courts and cricket pitches is a step on the right direction. New machines have been provided in the metalwork and woodwork shops and a large stock of books will shortly be delivered for the school library. Other improvements are on the way, and I shall continue to press hard for whatever we need, thought I do not expect to receive sanction for a helicopter service between Queens Gardens and Osborne Street in the next financial year!
In the meantime, make the most of what you have, and remember that in the end it is the boy that counts, not the building.
Mathematics is the language of science. It is an art and science itself having its origins in the beginning of recorded time. Once useful for counting sheep, now it counts atoms and nebulae, and plots the courses of space rockets.
Mathematical thought stimulated the renaissance studies of astronomy and navigation and contrived to the discovery of the geographical New World as well as to the new world of scientific discovery. Isaac Newton, the greatest scientist of all time was pre-eminently a mathematician, and to him we owe a debt beyond measure, for without his mathematical methods the tremendous scientific, industrial and economic progress of the last 150 years would not have begun unless some other person had later made similar discoveries.
To most boys the value of maths should appeal, since it caters for the lazy and the crafty, in so far as by calculation one can often predict results which would otherwise have to be ascertained by lengthy and laborious processes of experimentation. But to the eager mind such labour saving is doubly welcome, since it releases additional time for work on those projects more spectacular and especially remunerative to mankind.
At this point we should turn to our entry into the school and recapitulate the stages of our own facility in this language of science. Our knowledge is, of course, elementary, yet we are enabled to calculate the answers to problems and situations beyond comprehension and situations beyond the comprehension of many men not given similar opportunities. This should give to each of us an appreciation of the power we wield in the mastery of numbers and things, and a realization of our own insignificance compared to the world at large. Perhaps we might then as ourselves the nature of the Creator, and reflect upon the truth that we discover those things which have always been. The more we learn, the more we realise there is still to learn - let us ponder this in all humility!
The appeal of Maths. Is not universal, but it attracts most of the boys in the school and becomes a popular G.C.E. subject. The GCE Course is intended to cover a period of study lasting five years, but such is the enthusiasm amongst the third year boys that most of them cover most of the work and are ultimately successful in the examination.
This year I am pleased to report our Third Year boys have been specially keen. They often looked puzzled when conniving to make their answers to coordinate Geometry problems coincide with the answers in the back of the book, and I am sure they then cogitated upon the doubtful value of such study. However, were they not in a similar plight during the First Year Geometry lessons, and did not all resolve itself? Unfortunately it is not always possible for a boy to see the end of the path he is treading - if it were, where would the excitement lie? There is pleasure in discovery, and with each fresh corner rounded in maths. There is a new and wider scene to survey. Thus maths. becomes a pleasant journey. I like to think of it that way and I feel a surge of pleasure when I realise how the Second Year boys are poised at this time - sure of themselves and eager to plunge into fresh experiences when they return in September.
Have a good holiday and take maths. with you in the bus, in the train or on your cycle - calculate your average speeds, tensions in chains, moments of forces applied to pedals, revolutions of wheels and even the number of heartbeats you make on a certain journey, maths. can be fascinating madness!
Mr. F. Mason