GMS Autumn Newsletter, September 2021

GMS Autumn Newsletter, September 2021 
Dear Guildmember, 
May I thank you for your continued support for the Guild at this most trying of times? I hope you are well and enjoying the easing of pandemic restrictions. 
May I also take the opportunity to introduce myself as Renter Warden and deputy to our Master Gerry Edwards? Thank you to Gerry for his outstanding leadership of the Guild through a challenging time. I am looking forward to working with you all over the coming months and, I sincerely hope, seeing as many of you as possible at least online if not for real at some point or another. 
My purpose in writing this letter to you is to bring you up to date with some important items of news. I think that a regular communication from the Master or a representative might be helpful in keeping everyone as well-informed as possible about developments currently and in the near future. In other words, expect more of these Newsletter updates as we move from the fully virtual world to a hybrid of some online and some face-to-face activity. A good, old-fashioned letter every now and again will help manage this process, I hope! 
1. Survey of Membership 
A good way to get familiar with what we have online is to check your personal profile. You will need a log-in to do this. (See item 4 below.) We are particularly interested to know your Occupation. This will hugely streamline the process of matching Apprentices with suitable Apprentice Masters. Please will you update this part of your profile page by 30th September at the latest to enable us to run off a report about our Guildmembers’ specialisms for our first Court Meeting of the new year on 7th October. Any problems, do contact the email addresses given elsewhere in this letter. 
We are also trying to grow our LinkedIn presence. Do please upload your LI profile to your GMS page and look out for us online. 

2. Installation Dinner and Events 
I am also delighted to confirm two forthcoming events which, we very much hope, will herald the renewal of face-to-face activity. Firstly, the Installation Dinner is confirmed for Thursday, 7th October at the Butchers’ Hall as follows:
Worshipful Company of Butchers, 87 Bartholomew Cl, London EC1A 7EB
I am very grateful to our Clerk for having arranged such a superb venue. Provisionally, start time will be 6.30 for 7.00pm and the cost will be £99.00 per head. Please do put this date in your diary as it will be the first formal face-to-face event held by GMS for eighteen months or more! Expressions of interest are requested ASAP by email to clerk@theguildofmercersscholars.com, with formal invitations circulating from 6th September. 
Secondly, please note the changed date and venue of our annual Carol Service at St. Margaret Lothbury church (EC2R 7HH) at 6.30pm on Friday 3rd December. (Our usual venue is not available because of ongoing repair work.) Please look out for other social events later this year at https://theguildofmercersscholars.com/events/ .

3. Modifications to the Apprenticeship Programme 
Members may be aware that an Extraordinary Court Meeting took place on 15th July at which two proposals were discussed, each of which having implications for the way the GMS and its Apprenticeship Programme work. Firstly, it has been proposed and accepted that all activity between GMS representatives and prospective Apprentices attending school or college will be conducted on a group basis. This will take the form of assemblies, presentations, small group mentoring about Apprenticeship, its history and purpose today. The aim will be to prepare motivated and committed young people from our family of schools for their apprenticeship beyond school/college, with one-to-one mentoring starting once the apprentice has completed their full time sixth form studies, or turned 19 years of age if they were not in full time education at school/college. The reason for this is to reduce the current very high level of safeguarding responsibility to all our Apprentices still in attendance at school/college. Court debated the matter at length and on balance viewed the change as a great opportunity to re-invigorate the Apprenticeship programme. For all membership enquiries please contact the Honorary Assistant Clerk (Membership) at membership@theguildofmercersscholars.com .

4. Website and Admin. Portal 

The second proposal debated at the ECM was to formalise our arrangements for maintaining our website, monitoring our email communications and streamlining these and enhancing further the capability of our online database. The motion was carried and the outcome will be an even more consistent approach to our web presence, online communications and admin. capability. One apparently minor, but actually quite significant point to emerge was the need to distinguish between the public face of the GMS online – i.e. the Website – and the “back office” online database/admin. area – i.e. the Portal. It does seem that sometimes the two functions area confused. Do please continue to help us by familiarising yourself with our website and above all ensuring you have a log-in for the Portal.

If in doubt, please email: webmaster@theguildofmercersscholars.com or clerk-gms@virginmedia.com . 


Finally, I would like to summarise the key postholders for the forthcoming year and contact details for key officers, as per appointments at the last meeting of Court:

              • John Weeds – Master (Elect)
              • Daniel Subramaniam – Renter Warden (Elect)
              • Brendan Musgrave – Junior Warden (Elect) 
              • Gerry Edwards – Chair, Nominations Cttee. and Immediate Past Master
              • Julia Tucker - Honorary Assistant Clerk (Membership)
              • Joe Shaffery – Webmaster ( webmaster@theguildofmercersscholars.com )  
              • Biagio Fraulo – Clerk ( clerk@theguildofmercersscholars.com )     

              For details of School Court Assistants and all other aspects of the Guild’s aims, values and processes, please see our Online Manual at: www.guildofmercersscholars.com/library 

              Thank you for your continued support especially over the last few difficult months, especially our trusty team of School Court Assistants and Apprentice Masters.   

              With best wishes for what remains of the summer and looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the Butchers’ Hall!
              John Weeds