A former pupil and now Lord was the guest speaker at the Claires Court Senior and Sixth Form Speech Day and Prize Giving on Thursday 21 September.
The school welcomed around 900 pupils, parents, invited guests and staff to the event held at the Magnet Leisure Centre. The afternoon’s celebrations honoured those in the school whose success and contribution over the previous academic year, showed commitment beyond normal expectations. The Head Girl, Camilla Slais and Head Boy, Todd Muil led the proceedings reflecting on the year that was, through an entertaining video montage of photos.
Lord James O’Shaughnessy was amused and surprised by the heartfelt introduction from Sixth Former Todd Lindley, who read excerpts from his Claires Court school reports and letters from his mother to the then head, James Wilding; before presenting over 160 certificates and trophies.
In his own speech Lord O’Shaughnessy spoke of the vital need to combine academic learning with character education and how the school’s own values very much reflect that. He suggested pupils be subversive in the cause of truth and fairness by being brave enough to stand up to injustice, curious enough to seek the truth, and kind enough to do good in the world.
After his visit, the former pupil said, “Claires Court is obviously going from strength to strength, and it was wonderful to meet so many impressive young people being educated at the school.”
James Wilding, Academic Principal said, “Inviting Lord James O’Shaughnessy to Speech Day this year and hearing him speak was a great pleasure. I taught him the sciences for four years and at the time he was one of those larger than life prep school boys. Like so many former pupils he has gone on to do remarkably well in adult life. Today he was incredibly engaging with our pupils and audience, sharing his thoughts on an effective education and how academic success is important and opens vital doors for Higher Education and employment alike; but that very quickly the grades are forgotten, and it’s about how you work with others, and how you make them feel that’s most important. Lord O’Shaughnessy
suggested to all of our pupils that they should live their lives by the words ‘be kind, do good’.”
Lord O’Shaughnessy, was a pupil at the school from 1982 until 1989, and is now a parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health.