Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Lunch Private Dining rooms of the Guildhall invitation of Headmaster City of London Freemen's School Tuesday 21st May 2013

The City of London Freemen’s School is a co-educational day and boarding school for pupils aged 7 to 18. Alongside excellent academic results, a new and innovative enrichment programme is at the heart of our commitment to developing the whole person.       
Based in Ashtead Park it has the facilities, staff and grounds to ensure its students are happy, secure and fulfilled. It places particular emphasis on the individual and their needs and in providing the opportunities to identify and develop their skills to flourish throughout their time at Freemen’s, and beyond.  The School has a rich history and a bright future as it shapes the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.
I was invited as a guest of the Headmaster Mr Philip MacDonald and it was interesting to hear something of the history of this school which obviously has close historical ties with the City of London. In fact the school was founded by the Corporation of London and was originally located in London to educate orphans of the Freemen of the City. It is still possible for such orphan children to be educated as “Foundationers” at the school with the costs of their education borne by the Corporation of London.
City of London Freemen’s School is set in 57 acres of Ashtead Park in the heart of Surrey, having moved from London to Ashtead in 1926. The School celebrated its 150th Anniversary back in 2004 with a year long series of events including a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's. Once pupils leave school they become part of Old Freemen’s Association. There is also a Guild of Scholars of the City of London, which was formed to encourage former pupils from the three ‘City Schools’ to develop links with The City of London. In addition any pupil aged 14–17, who is still at school may apply to become an Apprentice to a Freeman of the City at little cost and minimal commitment. They will then be entitled, at the age of 21, to apply for the Freedom of the City and membership of the Guild of Scholars. This Apprenticeship is intended to be of particular interest to those who wish to pursue a career in the City.
At the lunch I sat next to the Master of the Fruiterers Company and the Deputy Head of the school.  One of the key issues is getting bursaries in place to support the education of those without the means to pay for independent education. I also gathered that being a strong school academically it wished to attract the brightest and the best - not always easy in inner London.  Certainly a school with strong City links that warrants support.

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