Welcome to this summer's GMS Newsletter. I hope you're all keeping well, cool and strike-free. (I won't even mention C-19..!) There's been a lot happening and there's a lot more to come. So here goes:
75th Anniversary, Barnard's Inn, 30th June
It was a real pleasure to see so many of you at our recent 75th Anniversary event at Barnard's Inn. Thank you to all those who could make it and especially to our guests of Honour, Wendy Piatt, CEO of Gresham College, Caroline Haines, Master of the Worshipful Company of Educators and to Alderman Michael Mainelli. The words of all speakers were inspirational and most timely as we start to look to look to the future in a much-changed, post-pandemic world.
It was also an honour to hear from Past Masters Gerry Edwards and Michael St.John Parker about the background of the new History of the Guild and to distribute the new tome to all present. We should not forget either the incredible job done by the music students and staff from Hammersmith Academy in putting together a wonderful such a wonderful programme of classics old and new for the entertainment of guests. Thank you sincerely to their Director of Music her staff and the numerous students who took part. Some photos have been attached to this mailing or are available on our website and LinkedIn page. Do have a look! Many thanks to PM Bob Smith for the pictures. Last but not least, staff at Gresham College, Jess Goulson in particular, deserve our particular thanks for ensuring the evening went so smoothly. I would hope we can host a similar event again in the near future.
On the subject of social events, Jack Armitstead, our Social Secretary, is planning a September "walk" through a part of historic London. Details will be announced shortly. Please look out for further information in a separate mailing and on our website. This will be similar in style to the event we held on 7th May this year on the South Bank when we were treated to historic sights, sounds (and pubs) along the Jubilee Way including the Globe, Tate Modern and the Millennium Bridge. This was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by all who came along.
Installation Dinner, 6th October 2022
And finally, the big one: Master-Elect, Mr Daniel Subramaniam and the Court have the pleasure of inviting you to the Guild of Mercers' Scholars Installation Dinner on Thursday 6 October 2022 at the historic Ironmongers' Hall. The evening will commence at 7:00pm with a drinks reception in the beautiful wood-panelled drawing and luncheon rooms, with dinner being served at 7:30pm in the spectacular banqueting hall. Underneath stained glass windows, chandeliers and the ornately plastered ceiling, we will enjoy a paired-wine dinner with an interlude for musical entertainment from students of the feeder schools of the Guild. The night will conclude at 10:30pm. Tickets are priced at £110 for Guildmembers and guests (£55 for apprentices) and are currently on sale on our website at https://theguildofmercersscholars.com/events/ . If you have any issues booking do please contact our Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.The dress code is black tie. Don't miss this opportunity to come along to this highlight of our social calendar!
In other news, it was touching moment to chair the 2022 AGM on 30th June in Barnards Inn in the downstairs conference room on the site of the old Mercers' School. I was able to review progress over the last year on variety of matters, whilst at the same time look ahead to what are becoming increasingly urgent priorities for the GMS. I am pleased to report that safeguarding training for Apprentice Masters has started. Thank you to Julia Tucker, Honorary Membership Clerk, for her assistance with this. We intend to repeat the session and upload some online learning resources over the summer for official launch in September. Please note that any Apprentice Masters reading this who are intending to mentor next academic year must make sure their training is up to date and logged with safeguarding at the Guild so that they can be cleared to meet with Apprentices face-to-face. Please look out for a separate mailing about this vital matter. Related to the work we have done on this area, I am delighted to announce that we have a new Deputy Designated Safeguarding Person (DDSP) to work alongside me in the first instance (as DSP) to monitor our training and other systems and support us if there are specific issues. This appointment has gone to Andy Milchard, a member of the senior leadership at Peter Symonds College. I look forward to introducing him to colleagues and working with him over the coming weeks and months.
Vision for the next 75 years
The other matter which we looked at in some depth both at the AGM and before that at the Midsummer Court meeting on 23rd June was the nature of our relationship with the livery, i.e. other livery companies and Guilds. We must not lose sight of the fact that one of our key, professed aims is: "To encourage former pupils of schools in the Mercers’ Cluster of schools and others to become Freemen and Liverymen: and to select, if possible, a Livery Company appropriate to their own trade or profession." It is perfectly true and fair to say that we have done far less about this objective in recent years, other priorities such as the pandemic and the drive towards professionalisation of our systems having superseded it - at least temporarily. We are therefore going to be reviewing the current state of affairs regarding our interaction and association with the livery, along with a number of increasingly pressing priorities. Of these, we are most likely to be looking at: our mission, vision and values more widely; our financial standing; our partnerships with the family of Mercers' schools; our public face (branding, website and approach to Diversity and Inclusion). This will be a significant theme for the new Master and his team, but we will also want to hear from all our members too. So look out for a survey questionnaire in the not too distant future.
And finally, a sure sign that lockdowns are well and truly over appears to be the upsurge in grant applications. We have had five through from Apprentices in recent weeks, each of whom has received £400 for the pursuit of some exciting projects. Well done to them!
With my best wishes for the rest of the summer,
Dr. John Weeds
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