We would like to acknowledge the commitment of the following staff as they move on from RGS Worcester this summer:
Gill joined The Alice Ottley School in 1999 as a Chemistry Teacher. One of her fondest memories is the staff tea and cake every day after school, although it was apparently no good for the waist line! Gill has also turned her talents to both Maths and Physics teaching during her time here.
She has been a tutor throughout the school, but has particularly enjoyed the last few years in the Sixth Form. Her tutees have really valued her caring nature, down to earth advice and sense of humour. Gill has been a key part of school life, being involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award for many years and always supporting pupils in school productions. She will be greatly missed by the Science Department.
Being Director of Music is perhaps one of the hardest and most diverse roles in any school. Balancing the rigour of academic music against the creativity needed to deliver performances of the highest level for many of the School’s major external events is a challenge in itself. Add in the ability to teach Year Seven pupils for whom, like the author, playing Happy Birthday on a Recorder would rank as their finest musical achievement, whilst at the same time developing students to such a level that they can conduct the Orchestra and Choirs in the Cathedral, and you start to get some idea of the role Mike Hamilton has undertaken with such aplomb over the past thirteen years at RGS.
Mike is, as one would expect, a consummate musician in his own right. However, I have been amazed (and privileged) to see at the first hand the diversity of his musical talents over the years, as he has supported and encouraged hundreds and hundreds of pupils on their musical journey. Never one to play it safe, Mike has challenged his bands, orchestras and choirs to deliver some truly mesmeric performances over the past decade or so, perhaps none more so than with the John Rutter requiem ‘Lux Aeterna’ in 2017. At the same time, Mike has always been willing to mix up musical styles as has been seen with the interweaving of Elbow, Pharrell Williams and even, much to the authors displeasure, Coldplay, into some of the school’s most formal musical settings.
Mike is RGS through and through. His three children have all been through the school and he engendered in them, a real love and passion for music, so much so that even today, Jack still returns to Worcester when he can, to support his Dad in a variety of performances. For your children to love what you love is a wonderful thing in its own right and speaks volumes for Mike’s passion and love of music.
However, what will stay with me perhaps more than any other thing as regards Mike, took place at the recent Commemoration Service. After a rousing rendition of Jerusalem and as the Dean gave his final blessing, Mike stood in front of his choir and as I looked on, the tears began to roll down the cheeks of many of the choir as they looked at Mike and acknowledged that this was his last and final school performance. Seeing the reaction of these ‘hardened’ teenagers (and some staff) to Mike at that point, spoke volumes, albeit quietly, to the esteem and respect Mike has been held in over the past thirteen years; we all wish him the very, very best of luck as he moves on to new musical pastures later this year.
Richard arrived at RGS from another school in Worcester and I will say that their loss (another one!) was our gain. What Richard has achieved in the Art department over the past nine years is something quite spectacular.
First and foremost, Richard put the pupils and students at the heart of everything he did. Totally dedicated and with an incredible work ethic, Richard and his staff have created a department that consistently achieves the highest outcomes for its charges. Art has been for some years, the most consistently high performing department when measured on external examination results. However, what Richard has done is more than just this. He has created an atmosphere and approach to art that allows all to flourish, and one cannot be anything more than hugely impressed and inspired when you walk into the department and you see the vast array of stunning and thought-provoking art work on display. Art beyond the classroom has been a big part of Richard’s work and the Big Draw and Worcester Giraffes are just two examples of how he has pushed RGS art beyond the limits of the classroom. Richard has also been a champion of the wider Arts and Creative subjects in his role as Head of the Performing Arts Faculty. I have genuinely welcomed his thoughtful and challenging contributions to the discussions on curriculum development and the role of the creative arts in this; for all those who have known Richard, you will know that his ideas were expressed with great thoughtfulness, passion and consideration.
Richard leaves RGS to peruse his own artistic ambitions. Few will know that Richard’s own artistic foundations were shaped by his Art teacher at Sevenoaks who was, and I chose this word slightly tongue in cheek, ‘immortalised’ by Charlie Higson in the 90s comedy series, the Fast Show! Whatever one’s taste in Art, one cannot fail to be impressed by what Richard has achieved, on so many levels at RGS over the past decade, and he leaves us with a huge debt of gratitude and our very best wishes indeed for all that the future has to offer him.
I have observed hundreds and hundreds of lessons over the years. However, Grace Rounds (nee Williamson) interview lesson is one of only perhaps three or four of these hundreds of lessons that I can recall with great clarity. What was obvious from that lesson was that not only was Grace an outstanding teacher, she was also willing to push the boundaries of what can be done in the classroom, perhaps most notably by her incredibly overt use of chocolate to get the pupils onside!
It is never easy taking over a department whose previous Head had been so long in post and so shaping in what it did. However, Grace rose to and beyond this challenge and she leaves us after a short three years having brought a new edge and direction to the teaching of Religious Studies, Ethics and Philosophy. Grace not only delivered some of the finest examination results seen in many years, she also created, very quickly, an atmosphere of trust and respect, one where pupils and students alike knew that they would be supported and guided to achieve the very best they could.
Grace leaves RGS in a very different position to that to which she arrived; now married to Tuki and with her daughter Ruci, they all leave Worcester for Croydon. Grace departs the calm and beautiful pastures of Worcestershire with our huge thanks for all that she has achieved and with our very best wishes to her and her family as they begin a new chapter of their lives in South London!
Tuki Rounds – Assistant Head (Co-curricular)
Tuki Rounds joined RGS as Assistant Head (Co-curricular) in September 2015 and immediately made an impact. He brought great energy and enthusiasm to this important role in the School and has introduced a number of successful changes to the operation of our co-curricular activities during the last four years. It is the nature of his post that, if successful, much of the work completed will not be seen since co-curricular events and activities will run seamlessly. Tuki’s hard work behind the scenes has certainly ensured our co-curricular provision has taken great leaps forward.
Tuki has organised a wide range of events each year from Prize Giving and the Remembrance Service to concerts and Commemoration. He is an extremely efficient and effective organiser who is quick to assemble the requirements for an event and ensures everything is in place. Tuki has also allocated school duties, run the Calendar and has been the Educational Visits Co-ordinator for all school trips. With RGS running over 175 trips each academic year, this last is a major task to ensure that paperwork and procedures are all in place. He is also in charge of staffing co-curricular activities to make sure that the very wide range of opportunities are available to all of the pupils.
Tuki chairs the Arts Committee and both Drama and Music have also seen improvements with productions and concerts that are highly polished. He has introduced the SOCS programme for monitoring all co-curricular activities. He has also overseen the House system and ensured that Clubs and Societies, including CCF and DofE, are well-staffed and effectively run. As such, his knowledge and commitment to the co-curricular side of the School has been first rate, aided by the fact that he has been quite prepared to lead from the front by taking sports teams himself in Rugby and Cricket on Saturdays.
As an extremely able RS Teacher and keen orator – his Assemblies always demonstrate a strong belief in school community, commitment and determination which has been inspiring for RGS pupils – Tuki has a bright career ahead of him. We wish Tuki, Grace and their young daughter, Ruci, every success for their move to Croydon as Tuki takes up the significant post of Senior Deputy Head at Trinity School. I am delighted that he has achieved such a promotion and would like to thank him and Grace for all that they have given to RGS in the last four years.