Having passed the half-way point of the current academic year, I think there is good reason for presenting this report on what we've so far attempted, what we've achieved, and briefly what lies ahead. It is primarily intended for the members of the Prefect Body, all of whom are referred to collectively as "Prefects" in the following pages.
We started last September with ten full Prefects, eight of whom had about nine weeks' experience as Sub-prefects, and two with no previous experience. We also had ten Sub-prefects with no experience of the job.
Although lack of experience has caused occasional difficulties, it has limited prejudice against new ideas
Between 104 and 132 formal duties are to be done each week, depending upon the weather. The provisions for cancelled Wednesday games have only once been necessary.
For the first two weeks of Autumn Term, we worked to a provisional rota which distributed duties as evenly as algebra allowed. Duties were exchanged within the same scheme to fit in with the Prefects' other activities, and the rota embodying these changes is still operative.
Modifications were necessary when four were away for the Hastings exams, and again during the December Schol exam. In this period, 13 were away, 11 temporary Sub-prefects were appointed , and affairs managed by Purdy.
During the first two weeks of this term, up to eight were away for exams, necessitating a temporary rota for the remaining eleven. Since then, there have always been at least two absentees, rising to as many as eight early last week, with a further four unavailable during the dinner hour owing to the Stephenson lectures. Considerable re-organisation was necessary, and thanks to excellent co-operation from the remaining few, only one duty out of the 84 scheduled this week could not be done.
Except in such circumstances as these, privately arranged substitution and spontaneous replacement of absentees has worked well.
Only three meetings of any length have been held, all of them concerned mainly with introducing what promise to be better ways of fulfilling our responsibilities.
Let me repeat, "There must be better methods if you think of any, let me know."
Details of offences and punishments appear in the monthly notices. Whilst I don't intend that these should influence our tactics, some interesting trends are apparent.
It is quite clear that the exclusive use of a room contributes much to the spirit and effectiveness of the Prefects. The extent to which Sub-prefects use the room resolved itself satisfactorily early on in the term by a process of natural selection.
Our intention to preserve the existing amenities and introduce new ones has worked well. Butchering the furniture affords only marginal and ephemeral pleasure. Table-tennis has been revived, a new radio installed, and tiddley-winks and darts introduced, the last causing less risk to life and property than I originally envisaged.
Notices posted on the door keep the School up to date with vital information, but the readers hinder our access. A notice board opposite would be useful.
The coffee making facilities are well used, but limited owing to lack of convenient water supply. Emergency lighting arrangements have proved useful during the regular blackouts.
Happily, there's hardly any academic discussion in the Prefects' Room, and the popular syllabus controversies are not mentioned.
79% of the Prefects have so far applied for university entrance. Whilst 32% have gained awards or places such that they are making no further application, 26% have secure place but are aiming higher.
At present it is too early to say definitely whether or not comparative freedom from dependence upon the School's recommendation adversely affects a Prefect's attitude towards his obligations, but tendencies are promising.
This event, which has come to be regarded as an institution, was held on Thursday, 13th January at the Greystones Palace Ballroom. 206 people entered.
It was described as "a social success but financial failure". Since however, the chances of social success of such a dance are greatly enhanced by not too large a crowd, whilst financial affluence requires the sale of about 300 tickets, the two are hardly compatible.
Tickets were sold at three shillings each, plus one free with each block of twelve. Two complimentary tickets, together with an offer of further tickets for sale, were sent to the Head Boys/Girls of eight of the local Grammar schools. All except three replied, two returned the tickets, but none sold any for us. We have since sold tickets for one of them.
It seems that mid January clashes with some schools' exams, and late Thursday evenings are reported to be a health risk to some girls, so it may be better to try a different date next year.
We are very grateful to Mr. Hemming for his advice before the event, and his excellent services as M.C.
Out of the proceeds, we have bought a year's subscription to "Which?" for the School Library. I hope this will be continued in the future
The suggestion that the Full Prefects should dine together informally at Christmas was seized upon, materialising in an excellent dinner at the Rutland Arms Hotel, Bakewell on 29th December, the night the snow came. The journey home, by road, was quite eventful on ice.
I hope to see the same people there on 28th December this year details later.
In October, the Prefects were beaten by a School soccer team by four goals to one. Since the Prefects are not selected solely for soccer prowess, whilst our opponents were the best eleven which could be mustered from the other 760 Edwardians, defeat in a serious game of football was not surprising.
The tiddley-winks -match versus Sheffield University on 17th February was far more serious then we had expected. Defeat by 19 points to 9 was quite respectable for our very first game at the advanced form of tiddley-winks played by the universities.
The Full Prefects have paid subscriptions towards the cost of the table-tennis balls and coffee we use.
A bank account has been opened, proving useful for the custody of Dance ticket money. I hope this will be carried on in the future.
Although proposed last September, the idea has been abandoned after further consideration of the scope and value of a census this year.
There was a factual census in 1960, and a census on the use of leisure in 1961. Since diplomacy prevents our asking many of the more interesting questions, I think it would be better not to hold any census this year, so that a general census may be more acceptable next year. Changes over the loner period should be more interesting.
Whilst we must follow a routine for efficiency's sake, alterations to this, new approaches and varied activities should avert boredom.
Future events already arranged include a soccer match versus the Staff (3rd March), and the Dinner (13th April). Also in view are a return tiddley-winks match (to our rules this time), an outing at Easter, possibly a hockey match, and a party at the end of Summer Term. Other ideas are welcome.
I hope that we shall soon be able to work to a rota without the frequent modifications that have been necessary so far this term. There will, however, be nine away for the March Scholarship exams.
This is necessarily a brief summary of the information relevant to our performance so far. If you want further detail I'll be pleased to supply - up to nearly 100 sheets in fact.