Skip to content ↓

Welcome to the Bryanston blog

“Men maketh the city, not the walls”

Living and working in a boarding school one inevitably slices up time according to terms and holidays.

I think teachers must be some of the worst offenders in the crime of wishing your life away to the next holiday. And yet when a holiday arrives, whilst the first days, for me at least, are a relief as I don’t need to wear a suit and can wear antique jeans and sweaters, I soon find I miss the busy-ness of the school full of pupils and I start measuring the time until they return. The place seems empty without all that youthful vim. 

A school needs to be full and active. There should be noise and energy and activity. This term we returned to find the new music school inhabited and ready to go in its teaching and learning functions. And what a joy it has been! Richard Baker, our remarkable percussion teacher, has had a smile as broad as the Mersey Tunnel (as they say where I was brought up). Duncan Emerson is patiently adding to his roles of maestro conductor and Director of Music that of tour guide around this new box of delights. Pupils are eager to get into the practice rooms, classical and pop. The place is, as I suppose befits a music school, humming. 

But this is not about the fact that we have a very expensive, very beautiful, very exciting, very well-equipped building. This is all about what can be done therein. And what it will allow our – and I very much hope other – pupils to achieve musically because of the facilities and the opportunities to learn which the building allows. 

Preetpal Bachra, Hsm of Connaught and old boy of Bradford Grammar School (a fine nurse of men), and I were talking of school mottos recently. He told me that his school motto was ‘hoc age’, which might be translated as “Get on with it!” A fine motto, not just for ambitious young Yorkshire men, but for us all; and not least with the opportunities we have afforded to us here at Bryanston. But it’s the Bradford Grammar School Speech Day creed which I think really hits the spot. It is, gratifyingly, a piece of Thucydides: “Men maketh the city, not the walls”. A memorable creed and not just because of the classical root. A school is indeed about its pupils and what they can achieve, and categorically not about bricks and mortar. At Bryanston we strive to give our pupils the ability to achieve remarkable things and it is this aim that is at the centre of all we plan. hoc age!