Annual report 2013-14

The Annual General Meeting was held in the School Library at 6:00pm. prior to the Founders’ Day Dinner, a total of 21 Officers and Members were present.

The President reported that the School numbers are the highest in the School’s history, there being 808 on roll. The first form entry totalled 119, with a waiting list of 56 boys. Over 25 Admission Appeals were held in May for the September entry. The “Sixth Form” has a total of 240 pupils. He reported that the annual examination results helped to maintain the school as one of the most successful schools in North Yorkshire, but stressed that any comparisons with previous years examination results are invalid, due the movement of Grade Boundaries and the raising of Standards. Such changes particularly affected high achieving schools where the proportion of higher grades is more marked. However, Ermysted’s boys again delivered a strong set of results. At ‘A’ level 72% of grades were either A*, A or B, whilst at G.C.S.E. 87.6% of results were A* – B.

Of the 112 Sixth Form boys who left in 2013,  7 went to Oxford or Cambridge Universities, 51% went to Russell group universities, 11% to the 1994 group universities, 2 gained Apprenticeships, 8 went on a Gap Year and 5 sought employment.

On the sporting side of school life, he reported that the Senior  boys soccer team won the North Yorkshire Cup, beating St. Adians 1 – 0., and the year 7 team were the winners of the English Schools Fell Running Championships.

The builders completed the School’s 10th. laboratory in March, ready for lessons in September.

A new development this year was “Activities Week”, in the penultimate week of the Summer term. All lessons were suspended and boys followed an enrichment programme, with a huge range of activities, there were between 30 and 40 activities per day which the boys could opt into.

School expeditions this year included:

- 3 weeks in the Himalayan foothills, helping to decorate a Hospital and a Children’s Home.

- Ski trips to the French Alps and the U.S.A.

- RS and Classics trip to Rome.

- Football and hockey trip to Holland.

- French language “immersion” experience in Normandy.

- The exchange visit to Simbach.

- Geography trip to Iceland.

- A visit to Appletreewick for the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

This year the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme has proved particularly popular, our first 4 Gold Awards were presented at Buckingham Palace on March 5th.

The President ended by thanking the Society members for their continuing support, to members of the senior leadership team, and the students and staff for their hard work and enthusiasm.

The Secretary reported that the majority of correspondence received during the year was relating to changes in addresses, which he had passed on to Ken Oxley to enable the database to be up-dated. He stressed to the assembled Members that it was important to keep the Society up-to date with their addresses, we get too many items of correspondence returned – “Not known at this address”. He also advised that “The Chronicles” has not been again sent out this year, the increasing cost of postage being the major reason, indeed the President announced that this year NO Chronicles were printed due to the cost. The Secretary announced “The Chronicles” will be made available as soon as possible on the Society web-site, which went active in early December, see www.ErmystedOldBoys.co.uk.

Society Sports results

Rugby -        v. -  was not played due to the weather.

Golf:-            v. – Giggleswick Old Boys – lost.

v. -  School – Lost.

The golf defeat by the School was particularly demoralising, as with one exception the school team was made up of Year 7 and 8 boys. The reason became clear later in the year, the “English Club Golfer” magazine reported that the Skipton Golf Club Junior section had made a clean sweep in the Bradford Union of Golf Clubs competitions, in both league and team competitions. This does not, of course, bode well for the future as far as we are concerned, that School team have many years yet at School.

The Hitchin Trophy was won by Graham Smith.

Cricket :-       v. – School –  not played due to the weather.

Confirmed Sports dates for 2014 are:-

Golf:-                 The Hitchin Trophy –May 12th. at Skipton Golf Club.

Members wishing to play in the Hitchin Trophy should have an official Club Handicap. For details contact David Smith ( 01756-794697) or  contact Len Price on leonard_price@sky.com

Society – v. – Giggleswick – June 25th. at Skipton Golf Club.

Society – v. -  School – July 14th. at Ghyll Golf Club.

Cricket :-     Society – v. – School  t.b.a. ( watch this space)

Financial update

The Treasurer reported that the 2012 Founders’ Day Dinner profit was £1308:48.  Once again all the beer and wine was donated  by Committee Members. This enabled us to offer good prices, giving us a boost to the Dinner profit. He reported that Member’s subscriptions were shown to be slightly down on 2012, but again the income this has been enhanced by “Gift Aiding” by members, meaning that the Tax saved can be reclaimed. The sale of Ties was over 80% up on the year. During the year a new Society Tie was introduced, Navy Blue with the School Crest and a thin stripe of individual House colour, this includes all houses, not just those in use at the present time (Contact Ken Oxley to purchase one).

The Income and Expenditure Account shows a balance of £18606:57, while the Investment Account stands at £18,145:14.  An item of note in the Accounts was the Societies donation of £4000 to the School towards the cost of the new, brightly coloured, Refectory furniture.

Elections to the committee

Committee members are elected for a 5 year period. This year only David Smith was due for re-election, his re-election was passed unanimously.

Election of Officers :-

Treasurer : –       Ken Oxley, proposed by the Ken Jackson, seconded by David Smith, was re-elected un-opposed.

Secretary :-         Len Price, proposed by David Smith, seconded by Kenneth Jackson, was re-elected un-opposed.

In Any Other Business, the following points were amongst those raised:

“How could the School’s status be lifted up in the wider world?”  Comments were offered that the examination results being published in the National press helped this. Ironically, in January 2014 “The Tatler” listed its “Top Ten” State grammar schools, with Ermysteds being in the list.

Ken Oxley reported that Doug Grant was up-dating A. M. Gibbon’s History of Ermysteds.

The Vice-President reported that the entries for the 3 Notice Boards for hanging in the library were complete, the boards will record the School’s Headmasters, Head Boys, and notable Old Boys. There was discussion regarding the method of recording the data on the boards, various means were suggested for consideration.

After the A.G.M. members relocated to the bar for liquid refreshment.

As you can see your committee is very active, there is, however, one area that we feel that could be improved. We have over 2000 names and addresses of Old Boys on our files, but only about 10% pay their annual subscription to the Society. We feel that an annual subscription of £10 is reasonable, especially when the Society is trying to help the School with projects in these times of Government cut-backs. So, Gentlemen, please contact Ken Oxley and request the relevant paperwork to enable you to pay your annual subscriptions, once completed you can forget about remembering to pay annually.

Len Price. (Hon. Sec.)

*****

Chairman’s speech

“This will be my last Dinner as Chairman of the Old Boys’ Society. It has been an honour and a privilege to have been your Chairman, particularly as the term of office included the Centenary Year of the Society.

“I have, however, got to admit a certain sense of disappointment when I look back over the two years or so which have elapsed since I took office. I had high hopes of the Society being able to mark the Centenary with the accomplishment of several projects or at least have started them if not completed. The main one was to raise the funding to be able to start building a new Sports/Sixth Form Study facility. Unfortunately, due to the idiosyncracies of the grant system under the control of North Yorkshire County Council, we have been unable to get the funding which would have enabled us to get the project underway. Any funding awarded is required to be spent within a 10 month period. Any monies not spent in that period are lost, despite the full grant having been allocated – and it would be an impossibility to go through the tendering exercise and complete the building work in that 10 month period. If we can find some method of guaranteeing funding beyond that allocated timescale, then we are ready to commence the project.

“The second disappointment has been the launching of the Old Boys’ website. Again this was a project which did not materialise on time, but I have been informed that the site is now online.

“I would also have liked to have produced a celebratory Chronicle but, whilst quite a large amount of material was accumulated, time couldn’t be found to put the whole lot together.

“Anyway, to move onto a brighter note: At next year’s Dinner your new Chairman will be of the younger variety and I hope that will give a much needed boost to the Society. New blood, new enthusiasm, new ideas.

“I can’t move on without saying a big thank you to David Smith, who has spent countless hours of his own free time creating a database recording all boys who have attended Ermysted’s since we moved to the Gargrave Road site in 1876. At this moment in time the list amounts to 9,900 names. The information stored on this database is incredible, including details of all teacher, Head Boys, Officials and Chief Guests of the Old Boys Society. An amazing historical record. Eventually, some of this will be available to view on the website. Thank you David.

“Finally, because of my close involvement with the school as Clerk to the Governors it would be remiss of me not to warn you that there are difficult times ahead for the school. The government’s actions, particularly in terms of providing funding, do not do Ermysted’s any favours whatsoever. Whether it is deliberate action against grammar schools, a ploy to force us into becoming an Academy, or sheer ignorance to the fact that we provide the sort of education Mr Gove is looking for, it is not clear. Another of our Old Boys who is a governor of Ermysted’s analyses the lack of financial support as being down to three factors: we are smal, we are rural, and we are selective.

“The funding for our Sixth Form is in the process of being cut by £700 per pupil, reducing our annual budget by approximately £175,000. To rub salt into the wounds, we recently learnt that Craven College just up the road is expanding even further with a £6m extension to be completed by September 2015 with the aid of a £2m grant from the government, the other £4m coming out of their own resources. The follows on from a £3m extension completed just 2 years ago. No lack of funding there then. And we can’t get half a million for our desparately needed Sixth Form facilities.

“You can rest assured however that the governing body, led by our Old Boy Tony Barrett, will steer the ship safely through these stormy waters and win the battles as previous governing bodies have done in the past.

“Having got all that off my chest, I’ll end by wishing all of you the very best for Christmas and the New Year and thank you for your continuing support of the Old Boys’ Society.”

Ken Oxley (Chairman) – December 2013

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