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Peterhouse Boys

Newsletter FFW



Thursday 8 August 2019

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Trinity 2019 has been a long and highly successful term. There has been the odd blip but we can reflect with a great deal of satisfaction on all that has been achieved, under somewhat challenging circumstances.

I am delighted to report that interest in the school remains strong – our D Block entry for January 2020 (at both PHB and PHG) has now been confirmed and the number of pupils joining Tinokura next year is where we would like it to be (very encouraging and a great relief).

There has been much sport, music, cultural activities taking place this term but there was also the small matter of mock IGCSE, AS and A level exams! Overall the results were satisfactory but certainly no better than that; the fact is that the vast majority of our boys in A Block, 5th form or 6th form need to prioritise their academic work over the next few months if they are to do themselves justice in their public exams next term and that starts with a well-structured programme of revision during the holiday period. The mantra should be little and often on the basis that most boys are incapable of concentrating for more than about 30 to 40 minutes. I would like to suggest that revision should occupy about 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for the duration of the holiday and I would also like to point out that deadlines for any coursework are non-negotiable. All this may be a somewhat unpalatable pill to swallow for some of our examinees but thorough revision will pay dividends in due course.

I wish you and your family a very pleasant holiday break.

You might like to read the comments I made recently in School Assembly (at the bottom of the newsletter)

Yours faithfully,

Howard Blackett MA (Oxon)


Dear Parents and Guardians,

By now you will have received two fee statements, the:

First one in Z$s from May to July 2019.
Second one in PHUs from 1st August reflecting the opening balance having converted your Z$ statement balance to PHUs at 10:1, as well as the Michaelmas Term fee note.

Please note that all outstanding Cambridge Examination fees have been transferred to the Z$ fee account.

With regards to payments:

Z$ payments will be receipted at the RBZ Midrate on the date that the funds are received (the date that the payment reflects on the schools statement), and NOT on the date of the payment instruction.
If you would like to know the RBZ Midrate before you make your payment, please use the link

Parents are still able to make payment by telegraphic transfer to the schools USD Nostro accounts from external accounts, and these will be receipted at 1:1.
We will begin issuing Fee Clearance Letters on Tuesday 3rd September, to those who have cleared their fees in full.

Please remember to always send us a copy of your payment to ensure your Fee Clearance Letter is issued timeously.

Special Payment Plans in PHUs are still available to parents. Please email Mark Whitaker, if you require one, but please avoid leaving it to the first day of term.

The Accounts Department said farewell to Peggy Morgan at the end of July. Peggy has been with us since March 2010. We wish her well in her retirement and thank her for all of her hard work. We would like to welcome Stacey Bailey to the Accounts Team. 

It is vital that we always have up-to-date contact information for each pupil, so please check that the contact information at the bottom of your child’s statement is correct, and if any changes are to be made to them, please advise Sue Heathcote.

The Accounts Department will be closed from 1pm on Friday 9th August, until 8am on Monday 19th August.

I would like to wish you all a restful holiday with your children.

Kind regards

Mark Whitaker


1.1 Congratulations to the following boys who qualified for Commendations in the Term Mark Order:

E/VI Praise Jaravani,  F/VI Tinashe Timba,  G /VI Ian Fowlds 

E/A Travis Arnold,  E/A David Mortleman,  F/A Zvikomborero Charera,  F/A Charles Moscrop,  F/A Anesu Mutandwa,  G /A Percy Mombeyarara,  G /A Tweende Sinemani,  G /A Mufwa Zimba  

G /B Takudzwa Dzingai  

E/C Mtandazo Nyashanu,  F/C TJ Gwaziwa,  F/C Dyllan Koke,  F/C Takunda Mhete,  F/C Stephen Molife,  F/C Tanaka Mutandwa,  G/C Tyler van Rooyen,  P/C Mudiwa Doro,  P/C Liam Kirkman,  P/C Emmanuel Magutakuona,  S/C Joseph Hildebrand,  S/C Akanaka Sachikonye

E/D James Nyanhongo,  F/D Tavonga Mhuriro,  G/D Nicholas Anderson,  G/D Dhaneel Goven,  G/D Will Kunatsa,  P/D Munashe Gara,  P/D Tendai Mutwira


2.1 Calendar Dates – Michaelmas 2019
Boarders return Tuesday 10th September (by 17.00)
Lessons start Wednesday 11th September
1st Fixture Free Friday 27th - Monday 30th September
Half-Term Thursday 17th - Tuesday 22th October
3rd Fixture Free Friday 15th - Monday 18th November
Ends Thursday 5th December

1st Term 2020
Begins Tuesday 14th January 2020

2.2 A Block Outdoor Education (Post IGCSE Exams)
After the final IGCSE exams are over, the entire A Block will depart to Matopos National Park for their last memorable step in their Infinity Program at Peterhouse. The course will run from the 15th to the 20th November (returning to Harare around 1700hrs).

We have run similar programmes for A Block for several years now and they are invaluable in the networking, familiarisation and collaboration required when they meet again in 5th Form, 2020. This is a first and only co-educational step in our Outdoor Education Programme where the A Block boys and girls really get to know one another using an exciting, challenging and very engaging outdoor program. Matopos National Park is a unique and very beautiful part of our Zimbabwean cultural and natural heritage and one corner of our amazing country that we would really like to expose our A Block pupils to as they get to work together.

This programme is a compulsory part of our Peterhouse Curriculum – please can you plan your child’s holiday to commence after the 20th of November. Peterhouse will be running the programme utilising the services of Outward Bound, so we can expect to reduce the costs of this course quite substantially.

Please contact Andrew Shoesmith if you have any questions.

2.3 Expedition 2019: Multi day rafting trip on the Zambezi River
Dates: 22 – 28 November, 2019 (7 days total – 5 rafting)
Approximate Costs – the RTGS equivalent of about USD 1250 (includes Rafting, flights, accommodation most meals etc. Prices to be confirmed.

Once in a life time chance…
The Batoka Dam site will eventually flood most of this part of the Zambezi river come and experience this is a once-in-a-life time opportunity to adventure on the best white water in the world with your friends. This trip will be classified as a school trip and as such normal school rules relating to behaviour will apply.

This trip will qualify as Duke of Edinburgh International Award Gold or Silver Adventurous Journey.

Eligible age groups – School Pupils in Form IV and VI.
By application to CEO of Outward Bound Zimbabwe

Please let Andrew Shoesmith know if you would like to participate in this trip by application letter with a reference letter from your Headmaster/Headmistress.

2.4 Musical Report – ‘Once On This Island’
This year, the Peterhouse Music and Drama Departments produced an energetic one-act play – ‘Once on This Island’ directed by David Bvumbe. A captivating and enchanting musical fable (19 songs) tells the story of the forbidden romance between a peasant girl and a rich city boy whom she saves from death. The musical delivered melody, love and joy in tropical abundance and was well received by audiences during all 4 performances (24-27 July). The AFDIS/Reps adjudicator Sue Bolt praised the leads, orchestra, ensembles, director, costumes and producer/choreographer for a bewitching experience and delightful performance.

Many thanks to a notably large number of people and departments within the Peterhouse Group of Schools who helped bring this production alive, and of course to our Top Management Team for their support.

Next term, a very excited bunch of junior girls will put on ‘The Lion King’ on the 8th and 9th of October, and castings will be held for the junior boys’ play.

2.5 Dorados Is Back!
An invitation to join Dorados - both old and NEW members!
Dorados is a Mashonaland Country Districts based swimming club. We will provide your swimmer with extra training in the form of fitness, stroke technique and racing strategies – equipping your swimmer with the edge they need to perform to their full potential in galas. It also offers the opportunity for your swimmer to take their swimming to the next level in the form of competitive swimming.

If you would like your son to take part in club swimming, please could you contact Mrs Maria Marruchi our chapter rep ( for further information about training with Dorados Club.


3.1 Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

Bronze Award – David Rogers
David Rogers started his Bronze Award way back in May 2016, when he was in C Block. After completing his Silver Award in 2017, he quickly moved onto tackling his Gold. He has just completed the 52 weeks of Archery, Conservation and Rowing in order to achieve sections of his Gold Award. He chose to walk the very tough River to River Adventurous Journey in Nyanga last year and spent a week volunteering down at Rifa Conservation Camp in Chirundu doing back breaking work jobs like clearing and making firebreaks, setting up erosion control on roads etc. He has displayed amazing tenacity and determination to achieve all three levels of this internationally recognized youth development program and it is with great pride that we can now present David Rogers his Gold Award.

Adventurous Journey planned for early next term
During the first weekend of next term, all pupils wanting to complete their Bronze Adventurous Journey must come back to school with their kit and a clearly defined purpose for their Journey.

3.2 History Society
The Peterhouse History Society is a Society dedicated to historical research and exploration and is open to all boys from D to A Block. This term the Society covered the Roman Empire, looking at the tactics of the Roman Army and key players in its history such as Julius Caesar. The Society also travelled with Mr Walraven and Mr Hanly to the National Archives and they highly recommend it as a trip for anyone interested in Zimbabwe’s history. The History Society is planning further trips and activities next term, so please sign up if you are interested.

3.3 Infinity Program Activities

B Block Chimanimani Expedition (September 2019)
All Indemnity forms are nearly in and a letter will be sent to parents during the holidays informing them on the kit required and letter they must write to their sons – both of which need to be prepared and ready to come to school by the First Fixture Free next term. The trip will start on the Friday of the First FFW – please remember to plan your sons weekends accordingly.

A Block Post IGCSE Program (November 2019)
A new and exciting trip has been planned in Matopos this year for our A Block – they leave as soon as their IGCSEs have finished. Information has gone out to all A Block parents in the termly newsletter informing parents of the trip being organised. Please plan your holidays to start after this trip has finished - as this is part of our special Peterhouse Infinity Program curriculum and is specially designed to benefit your sons when they return in 5th Form, 2020.

3.4 Model United Nations Conference (Dhalika Goven)
Eleven pupils from the Peterhouse Model United Nations Club attended a conference held at Hellenic Academy. There were a total of six rooms, each addressing two topics. Each delegate was allocated a different country in which they were required to write reports and come to resolutions according to their room and topic.

We all enjoyed this conference as it allowed us to have a wider view on the world’s problems as well as issues specific to certain countries. Our ability to develop our problem solving and negotiation skills were greatly tested at this conference; however, all resolutions were reached.

3.5 Service Clubs

Leo Club Dance (Mudiwa Manikai)
On Saturday 29th June, the Leo Club hosted their annual Leo Dance. The theme of this year’s dance was ‘Dynasty’. The dance hosted 211 pupils and raised ZWL$9,043.72 profit.

This money will be used to purchase a printer and stationary for St Francis School, clothes and blankets for Kukura Neshungu and food hampers for Ida We kwako.

We would like to thank Mrs Mukucha and Mr Mhete, our Leo Patrons, for their support and help throughout this event, which would not have happened without them.

Thank you to all who attended the dance and the Leo members for all the hard work they had put in. "We serve!"

Interact Club Visit to Ida weKwako Old Age Home (Natalie Moores)
On Monday 15 July, the Interact Club visited Ida weKwakwo Old Age Home to deliver new appliances for their kitchen.

As a Club, we decided to direct the majority of our raised funds to renovating the Ida weKwakwo kitchen. Money from the Valentine’s Day roses’ sales in February this year bought the Old Age Home a new refrigerator and a new electrical stove.

We presented the new appliances to the residents who were completely overwhelmed and literally beaming with delight! Some stood up and began to lead in song which everyone joined in. It was a happy and fulfilling afternoon; we left the Home with a very cheerful group of people.

Interact Show (Natalie Moores)
On the nights of the 10th and 11th July the Interact Club produced its annual Variety Show, this year themed “Wild ‘n Out”. We managed to raise a total of Z$9,000 from the tickets sales.

The money we made will go towards continuing our project of renovating the kitchen at Ida weKwakwo Old Peoples’ Home and to any future plans the Club may have for next year.

We thank the school tailor and The African Patriot clothing line for their help with designing and making the clothes used for modelling. And many thanks to all those involved; particularly to Mr Nzanga and Mrs Mtakwa for their efforts in putting this show together with us.

3.6 Snake Club
The Snake Club has undergone big renovations this term with the help of Mr Steve Worsick. The members of the Snake Club have been highly dedicated and motivated and have been instrumental in sourcing the tanks and equipment to get the long defunct club back on its feet. This term the boys have captured a huge range of Southern African snake species including Southern African Rock Pythons, Brown House Snakes, Spotted Bush Snakes and Night Adders. The Club is looking forward to going into the rainy season and any boys interested in joining the Snake Club should see Mr Walraven.

3.7 World Scholars Cup in the Netherlands (Takudzwa Dzingai)
The World Scholars’ Cup Club, led by Mrs. P. Masaire, recently attended the Global Round held in The Hague in the Netherlands where 51 countries participated. Three teams took part in the senior division.

The trip enabled pupils from all over the world to interact and socialize. They took part in team debate, collaborative writing, the scholars’ challenge and the scholars’ bowl. The theme of the year is ‘A World on the Margins’ and the participants had to tackle motions such as ‘Every political leader should have a homeless person to be on their advisory panel’.

Peterhouse had a great tournament which resulted in all three teams qualifying for the final round, the Tournament of Champions held at Yale University in November this year.

Special mention should be made of Tadiwanashe Matara who won the Best Scholar of the Peterhouse delegation. Outstandingly a team of Asher Shumba, Takudzwa Dzingai and Anesu Hofisi finished as the sixth-best Senior Team in Africa and a team of Tadiwanashe Matara, Nigel Mushayavanhu and Malcolm Seva finished as the fourth-best Senior Team in Africa and were awarded a trophy.

3.8 Results

Chess vs Hillcrest
Juniors drew 3-3.
The victorious players were Timothy Bowker, Jesse Jaya and Takudzwa Maunganidze

Seniors also drew 3-3 against much improved opponents
The victorious players were Nigel Mushayavanhu, Munyaradzi Matowanyika and Kuziva Mawoyo

Debate Charles Moscrop, Shaune Uriri, Brian Mamelodi and Karl Makuvaro have earned Golden Cox Ties For having been articulate members of the Peterhouse Debate team since D Block; for helping the team to win many contests in the District, Provincial and ATS Debate Tournaments; for entertaining fellow pupils in many Inter house Debate and Public Speaking matches for many terms and for continuing to be key speakers in the current team's weekly Inter schools friendly contests.

Night Of Debaters at St George’s College (Dylan Matsika)
On Tuesday 25 July, a group of five boys and five girls, accompanied by Mr Nzanga and Miss Ntini from PHG, attended the St. George’s Annual Evening of Debaters.

The dinner commenced with an ice breaker, which was followed by the humorous St. George’s Head of Debate’s address. Thereafter, we received appetizing starters; this was followed by the main event which was a “crowd pleaser debate showcase”. The motion was: “This House believes that democracy is not possible in a country without absolute freedom of expression”. Both the affirmative and non-affirmative sides gave strong, provocative points that kept the crowd engaged.

After the main meal, it was time for the guest speaker, the world renowned comedian and actor, Sam Farai Monro, who is commonly known as Comrade Fatso. His topic was “Freedom of Speech”.

The night ended with a toast to freedom of expression and a brief social over dessert.

Drama Drama Awards
After the success of our Interact Variety Show, the School Musical, ‘Once on this Island’ and the Honours grades earned at this year’s National Institute of Allied Arts (NIAA), Mrs Mtawka would like to pay tribute to the following boys:

Credits are awarded to:
Rueben de Kock, Rian Fourie, Liam Fourie, Graeme Jackon and Jolyon Sage - For their backstage contribution towards the Interact Show and School Musical.

Distinctions are awarded to:
Dylan Matsika, Nigel Chiwara and Terence Sage – for being successfully involved in Drama in varying capacities since D Block.

Lionel Mhuriro and Munashe Rushwaya - for their contribution and involvement in Drama since D Block and their success in the NIAA this year.

Half Colours are awarded to:
Mudiwa Manikai for his contribution to drama for four years, performing as a principle role and his success in the NIAA.

Torrin Bissett for his reliable and meaningful contribution to the backstage crew for the last 5 years.

Rufaro Hoto for his contribution to drama for six years and success in the recent NIAA competition.

Full Colours are awarded to:
Tawanda Chauruka, Mukudzeishe Nyamarebvu, Praise Jaravani and Cullen Shoesmith.

IAA Report From the 1st to the 13th of July, the National Institute of Allied Arts Speech and Drama Festival took place in Harare. This year, PHG & PHB reaped the best set of results they have received in many years. PHB in particular entered 8 pieces, 4 of which were 1sts and 3 of which were Honours. Congratulations to the participants for their dedication, hard work and practice. May the following boys come up to receive their certificates:

1st Grades:
Mukudzeishe Nyamarebvu - Senior Prose
Tawanda Chauruka - Senior Prose
Mukudzeishe Nyamarebvu and Tawanda Chauruka – Senior Duo Prepared TV News Reading
Tawanda Chauruka – Senior Solo Prepared TV News Reading

Mukudzeishe Nyamarebu – Senior Solo Prepared TV News Reading
Rufaro Hoto – Senior Shakespearean Monologue
‘Those Guys’ (Mukudzeishe Nyamarebvu, Tawanda Chauruka, Rufaro Hoto, Mudiwa Manikai, Dylan Matsika, Nigel Chiwara, Lionel Mhuriro & Munashe Rushwaya) – Original Play / Sketch.

Public Speaking
Interhouse Public Speaking
Many thanks goes to Tinashe Timba and the rest of the Gavel Club 2019 for all that they did to get this competition off the ground. Plenty of time and effort went into preparing speeches and mentoring one another.

The results are as follows:

Junior Inter house Competition
3rd Tweende Sinemani (Grinham)
2nd Makomborero Sachikonye (Snell)
1st Hritik Kala (Paget)

Senior Interhouse Competition
3rd Tavonga Muchena (Paget)
2nd Kudakwashe Mapesa (Malvern)
3rd Praise Jaravani (Ellis)

Top three overall House positions:
3rd Malvern
2nd Grinham (Sinemani brothers)
1st Paget (Hritik Kala and Tavonga Muchena)


4.1 Results

Archery NASP Inter schools Archery Tournament hosted by Peterhouse Boys
There were 65 archers of all ages from over six different schools.

The Peterhouse A Team came second overall, just 3 points behind the winners, Archers Access.

Paulo Marruchi came first in the Senior Boys Competition with 291 out of a possible 300 points.

Xuan Zehong came second in the Senior Boys Competition with 289 out of a possible 300 points.

vs Falcon P9 W4 L4 D1 1st XI Lost 0 – 1
vs St George’s P8 W6 L1 D1 1st XI Lost 1 – 2
vs Watershed P5 W5 1st XI Won 6 – 0
Super 12 Hockey Tournament P5 W1 L3 D1 Overall came 4th

Mountain Bike
Inter schools Spur Mountain Bike Race – Calderwood Park
A beautiful 4,5km track was created through the Miombo woodland of Calderwood Park for this Inter schools event. Riders from Hellenic, Falcon and Peterhouse competed with riders from all age groups.

C Block 2nd Garikayi Madzamba
A Block 3rd Graeme Jackson
1st James Weller
6th Form 2nd Angus Fergusson

Many thanks go to the Elliott family, Mr Borlase and the Estates team and Mr Shoesmith for all that they did to get this event off the ground.

vs Falcon P10 W6 L4 1st XV Lost 24 – 38
vs St John’s P10 W8 L2 1st XV Won 43 – 23
vs St George’s P9 W4 L5 1st XV Lost 26 – 40

Rugby Officiating Level 1 Certificates
The following boys took part in a Level 1 Rugby refing course on Sunday 28th of July and passed. This is an eight hour course facilitated by the Zimbabwe Referee Society.

Liam Kirkman, Shawn Lawrence, Michael Mutasa, Emmanuel Nyamupingidza, and Harry Orphanides.

Half-Colours awarded to;
Tapiwanashe Makororo, Brooklyn Chikaka, Andrew Rinomhota, Kirk Barnes
Charl Kotze, Sean Mushohwe, Marvellous Benza, Gareth Ncube, Lionel Mhuriro, Zivai Sinemani and Adrian Burl.

Full-Colours Awarded to;
Tadiwanashe Ditima, Takunda Makiwa and Munashe Rushwaya.

vs Wise Owl P9 W6 L2 D1 1st XI Won 2 – 0
vs Bernard Mizeki P9 W8 L1 1st XI Won 3 – 0
vs Falcon P2 D2 1st XI Drew 3 – 3
vs St John’s P8 W3 L2 D3 1st XI Won 1 – 0
vs Westridge P6 W5 L1 1st XI Won 7 – 0
U17 St George’s AKG Tournament P4 W2 D2

Half Colours Awarded to:
Marlon Mpofu and Zvikomborero Vheriwa.

Colours Awarded to:
Tadiwanashe Kondo, Mufaro Mungoni and Prince Sithole.

Colours Re-award
Tafadzwa Fantiso

School Assembly Tuesday July 30 2019

When asked what he feared most Harold MacMillan, British Prime Minister in the late 1950s and early 1960s is reputed to have replied “Events, Dear Boy Events.”
You will probably not know that I report to four committees: the Board of Governors which meets twice each year; the Building and Estates committee (BESTCO); the Finance Committee (FINCO); and the Executive Committee (EXCO) all of which meet once each term. Last Saturday prior to the fixtures against St John’s EXCO met. In my written report to EXCO I made mention of all the great things you have been engaged with and all the things you have managed to achieve over the past few months touching on:

i. Sport (Archery, Golf, Hockey, Rugby, Soccer, Squash, Table Tennis, Triathlon, Mountain Biking, Ultimate Frizzbee)
ii. Activities (Bridge, Chess, The School Newspaper Conditur on Paper, Quiz, Drama including the School Musical Once on this Island, Robotics, Poetry Slam, Debating, Gavel Club, Pecha Kucha, Model United Nations, World Scholar’s Cup, Interact Club, Leo Club, Kukura Neshungu, Night School, Kidzcan
iii. Music (Junior and the Senior Musician of the Year competitions)
iv. Conservation Activities (Gosho Park and Calderwood Park)
v. Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (Michael Zartmann gold).
vi. Adventurous Journeys (Lake Kariba sailing trip)
vii. The Infinity Programme (C Block Basecamp and plans for B Block and A Block)
viii. And last but not least I made mention of matters academic and, in particular, the progress our senior pupils have been making towards their IGCSE, AS and A level exams and the various careers functions we have held recently.

And, by the way, Mrs Blignaut’s report to the same meeting was equally detailed in its content about PHG.

By any standards the breadth of education at Peterhouse and the things you all achieve is fantastic. You and I can be proud of all that we are achieving – of course, more could be done, but there is no need to be the least bit defensive about what is going on at Peterhouse.

Or so it seems.

I was basking in the reflected glory of it all at EXCO only to be tripped up as the meeting came to an end. Under AoB (Any Other Business) – an item on the agenda, which I never permit – the Chairman of the Petrean Association, Brynn Mullen, who is both very pleasant and very supportive of Peterhouse, said that his email inbox had been straining since the Falcon w/e with message after message from Petreans expressing their concern over the apparent lack of support from the touchline when our 1st XV was playing. It seems that for some, whether we like it or not, the success, the spirit, the school pride, or otherwise of Peterhouse is measured, not so much by all the good things you do, which I have just mentioned, and not even perhaps by the quality of your A level results or the amazing success we have when it comes to admission to universities, but by how keenly you support when you are in the stands on a Saturday afternoon. And you know that perfectly well.

You can imagine how frustrating the conversation at the EXCO meeting was for me. I had to admit, that the lack of chanting on the touchline versus Falcon was an almighty shot in the foot. Like it or not, our old boys, our own fan base, left Peterhouse on Saturday a week ago with a bitter taste in their mouth and that hurts.

Following events of the Falcon w/e the Head of School received a letter from the Petreans addressed to him and to the rest of the School Prefects and the Sixth form. Let me read some of the letter out to you:

(extracts read out)

It’s unfortunate that the letter was addressed to the Head of School, School Prefects and Sixth form because, in truth, all of you were to a greater or lesser extent responsible for what happened against Falcon. Perhaps the letter should have been sent to me as the Rector, but no matter; however we look at it the damage has been done and we cannot turn the clock back.

Let me put some perspective onto the matter. On the day in question you were well turned out, you arrived on time and your behaviour was good…but you didn’t cheer as many would have wanted. So what’s the problem you might say? Well the problem is that when 3,000 people were in attendance you chose, collectively or otherwise, to make a statement and what you did was very damaging to our reputation. I don’t know whether you intentionally chose the Falcon weekend or whether that was just bad luck but I do hope that on reflection you all understand the scale of the mishap.

There will be no investigation into the matter; we must move on and it was good to see that against St John’s this past weekend there was no repetition of the lack of chanting. This Saturday coming we must make sure that we put on a good show i.e. that your chanting is loud and strong and that what your chant is supportive and appropriate – it’s a simple agenda which you should be able to meet. You had a chanting practice yesterday and there will be more to come; no doubt our Head of School will publish the times of those practices in good time. You must make sure that, after next Saturday’s fixture against St George’s, some of the damage you have done has been repaired and that those in attendance, irrespective of the result of the game, go away with a sense of satisfaction that you have done your bit properly and taken on board the criticism that has been levelled at you. You are, remember, the self-proclaimed Kings of Peterhouse; against Falcon there was little evidence to suggest that you deserved that sobriquet.

Enough said I trust. Suffice it to say that we have enough detractors who are keen to take pot shots at us without turning the rifle on ourselves.

“Events, Dear Boy Events.” So said Harold Macmillan and I understand where he was coming from. Let’s end the term event free and all go home happy at the end of next week.

You may have noticed the great events that took place in the UK last week – a new Prime Minister was installed – his name, Boris Johnson.
Let me read a little of an article I read about him in the BBC on line yesterday afternoon under the title The unstoppable rise of Boris Johnson. The bit I would like to read refers to his early life:
The first thing to note is that he is not actually Boris at all, despite the rare distinction in politics of being known universally by that single name. He was born Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson on 19 June 1964. He chose to be called Boris and his family, friends and eventually everyone else have amiably obliged him.

After a spell at Ashdown House prep school, Johnson went to Eton on a King’s Scholarship (a prestigious academic award). He became a contemporary of, among others, David Cameron another future Prime Minister.
At Eton, AB Johnson became “Boris” – rather posh, very English, somewhat eccentric and the deeply distinctive, deliberately dishevelled character we know now. He was also very clever –“brilliant” according to one teacher – and endowed with what has arguably become a strong sense of entitlement to both make up and play by his own rules. He was a formidable debater, and became adept at deflecting awkward questions with non-committal answers as he has done in later life.

One report from his housemaster makes interesting reading. He wrote of Boris to his father: “I think he honestly believes it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception – one who should be free of the network of obligations which binds everyone else. Boris is pretty impressive when success can be achieved by pure intelligence, unaccompanied by hard work.”
His character – clever, capable of achieving impressive results though always very much on his own terms – was forming. His future political opponent Ken Livingstone wrote an attack on independent schools while Johnson was a pupil at Eton. Johnson wrote a reply in the school newspaper, dismissing the arguments against independent schools as “twaddle, utter bunkum, balderdash, tommyrot, piffle and fiddlesticks”. His distinctive vocabulary seemed to be forming too.

He left Eton having earned a scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford joining David Cameron, William Hague, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, the Miliband brothers, Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper all future high profile politicians and whilst there Johnson became President of the great debating club, the Oxford Union. “What a sharp-elbowed thrusting and basically repellent lot we were,” was his verdict of his time at Oxford. “Always bragging and undoing each other. And in a way we still are.”

What’s striking about that account of Boris’ early days is the lack of reference to the 1st XV or 1st XI; striking but not surprising. If you’ve ever seen Boris Johnson run or try to catch anything you will know that he is a physical illiterate – I would be surprised if he played for the U14 D team at Eton let alone the 1st XV. And you could probably say the same of all the other politicians mentioned in the article.
You see the ability to kick a ball through the posts or to thwack a ball to the boundary may be regarded of high value at school but, unless you’re destined to be a professional sportsman, the likelihood of you occupying a position of leadership will depend not so much upon your sporting prowess but more upon your ability to express yourself intelligently. Boris Johnson is Prime Minister because he can debate, because he can speak brilliantly in public, and because he can construct a convincing argument. That’s how he outmanoeuvres his opponents.

Gentlemen life is full of contradiction, of paradox, of irony, of frustration. The truth is, of course, that none of these things are mutually exclusive. You can be a great orator and a great sportsman, a great musician and a fine debater and here, at Peterhouse, you have the opportunity to do just that…..and together we can achieve greatness in all areas of school life if we are minded to do so.
Boris Johnson’s elevation to the position of Prime Minister is just a reminder that you might value here may not be what’s required to make it in life after school and you would all do well to remember that.

Howard Blackett,