We were delighted to welcome the Principal of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Hilary Boulding, as guest of honour at our annual celebration of achievement. In addition to leading Wales’ National Conservatoire, Ms Boulding is well-known to Ffynone House School as head teacher Mr Michael Boulding’s sister.
The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) has been recognised as the leading UK drama school in the Guardian University guide 2018. It provides world class training for actors, musicians, theatre designers and stage managers. Graduates include a number of Ffynone House students, as well as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Rob Brydon, Ruth Jones and many familiar TV faces.
Like Ffynone House, as a relatively small institution RWCMD prides itself on knowing and treating every student as an individual. Ms Boulding’s inspiring speech highlighted that Ffynone House has many similar advantages and shared values, including encouraging every student to pursue interests both within the curriculum, and outside it.
Ms Boulding struck a chord with Ffynone House students, saying “if you limit your interest only to an examination curriculum, you’ll never truly discover your passion for a subject. That comes by discovering so much more than studying for an examination, following your interests, reading and exploring for yourself, meeting people in the field, coming together nationally with people who share your interest.”
She went on to explain the importance of extra curricular interests when applying to University, “I can also promise you, as someone who works in Higher Education, that as well as valuing your subject knowledge – which we do – we also value what you have achieved outside your subject area. We really are looking for good team players, people who have other interests, people who make things happen, creative people, people who are happy to help and support their peers. Because these are the people who can add value, and they tend to succeed.”
Students and parents were fascinated to learn about Ms Boulding’s professional background. Having trained as a musician she went on to a career with the BBC and established a new BBC Music and Arts department for Wales, before becoming Director of Music at the Arts Council of England.
She related her own experience to our students, adding “Whatever your interests, Ffynone House is giving you a chance to take your interest and skills further, so you can make your own individual mark. But it’s also preparing you with those other life skills.”
After the ceremony, Ms Boulding commented “I am impressed with how committed and happy everyone is at Ffynone House School. For a small school to have so many achievements, and in national events, is extraordinary. There is clearly a very happy atmosphere with both pupils and staff, which is unusual in today’s climate. The success in sport has been also been incredible, especially with regard to tennis and swimming.”
Our students will have more opportunities to keep in touch with Ms Boulding at their visits to Oxford University, where she is about to take up a new position as President of the prestigious Trinity College, after nearly ten years as Principal at RWCMD.
Headteacher Mr Boulding told the speech day audience: “We congratulate all our students for their hard work and particularly our Sixth Formers who went on to study at their first-choice Universities in a wide variety of courses including Maths, International Business, Veterinary Science, Chemical Engineering, Law, Bio-medical Science and Economics.
“Their achievements reflect on the dedication of the staff, who helped enable that success, not only in the teaching of lessons but through the encouragement and support given to pupils, often in their own time.
School of choice
“I am extremely fortunate to have such an enthusiastic and hard-working staff and their willingness to go well beyond what is normal in other schools, explains why Ffynone House has the enviable reputation for providing such a caring, supportive and happy environment.
“This is the education we will continue to provide at Ffynone House along with a rich curriculum including languages, humanities and the Arts. Extra-curricular activities broaden our students’ experiences and super-curricular enhancements will better prepare them when applying to universities and their first real job.
“With excellent teaching, high aspirations and high expectations, I believe that Ffynone House remains Swansea’s premier school of choice.”