The Headmaster’s Letter to BPS’s leader of 2069 A.D.

This letter has been placed by the current Headmaster in the time capsule to be placed in the wall of the new science block, with a view to it being read in 2069, 50 years hence:

Dear Head Master or Head Mistress or Head Cyborg of Bickley Park

I am writing to you at the end of my working week, at 4.30pm on Saturday, March 16th, 2019. I wonder whether you will be finishing your working week at the same time? I am sure you will be far more efficient, or an algorithm will enable you to be so. Perhaps I will be beside you when you open this letter, having been on the cusp of the technological revolution that enabled humans to live for 1000 years.

I have been Head of Bickley Park for 5 years and have had the great privilege of leading the school into its centenary year. I thought it might interest you to know about our celebrations.

We launched the year by attempting to set a world record for the most 99 ice creams eaten at one time, ushering out the school’s 99th year and welcoming in its centenary. In case what a ‘99’ is has faded from memory, I have included an image below.

Can cyborgs enjoy ice cream? The event raised funds to support a visit by four Gujarati boys whose impoverished backgrounds is compensated for by their cricketing ability. I imagine India is now the world’s number 1 super power, with perhaps China, Brazil, Nigeria and the United States vying to knock them off the top spot. Maybe advances in technology has meant the number of impoverished children has reduced in all parts of the world?

The first term of the centenary year shone a spotlight on BPS’s first 100 years. The school has always been a 13+ boys’ Prep School. I wonder whether it still is? There are varying views about single sex education, but I believe certain boys can really thrive in an environment where their motivation to learn is recognised, celebrated and catered for.

The first event was a 1918 Day in which we recreated something like what school would have been like in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, complete with strict discipline and boring lessons which, surprisingly, the boys seemed to enjoy. They also did activities experienced by boys through BPS’s history, like balsa wood model making and boxing.

It’s amazing to think that, when Bickley Park was founded, airplanes had only been flying for a decade. I wonder what is flying in 2069? We all think and hope there are flying cars! Here is an image of what some people think they will look like:

We also had an alumni event attended by hundreds of old boys, four ex-Headmasters and the daughters of two others.

Four ex-Bickley Headmasters: Mr Bruce, Hunt, Childs and Bissell

 

I wonder what they would make of schools in 2069? I imagine technology plays a huge part in education, with a strong emphasis on self-learning inspired by artificial and real-life experts, while human teachers focus on developing social and life skills.

We celebrated the life of a famous author who taught at the school in 1919: Enid Blyton. Are her books still read? If so, the stories must seem very old-fashioned and strange.

We also enjoyed a rugby tournament involving schools which had previously been located in Bickley. It was held at Allianz Park, the rugby ground of one of Europe’s leading clubs: Saracens. Is rugby still played? The biggest players are currently up to 6 foot ten tall and weigh 20 stone. How large are they now? Do you know what a ‘foot’ and a ‘stone’ is?

Our second centenary term looked to the future. We held a careers fair based upon jobs the boys said they were considering pursuing when they are older. I have included the results of the survey with this letter, which will, I imagine, make for interesting reading as I guess the world of work has changed beyond all recognition. I imagine people have much more leisure time and spend much more time in education. The small number who are working are probably very clever and technologically savvy.

We set the boys a ‘Lend us a Tenner’ challenge in which they were given a £10 note to set up their own business. We are awaiting the results! I guess banknotes are things that disappeared a long time ago. I hope that individuals are still able to be entrepreneurs and come up with life-changing ideas and automatons aren’t dominating society and the workplace too much. We have a ‘Future Day’ happening on the day when this letter will be placed in the time capsule you will have just opened. The day has been planned by our mad professor of an Assistant Head, Robert Cobb. He predicts that pupils at schools in 2069 will have much more choice about the way they learn. I wonder whether this will be so?

Next term we will focus on ‘community’. In addition to laying on a fantastic fortnight for our Indian visitors, we will be celebrating our school community, as well as links with both local and international groups in a ‘Community Week’. Our special year will finish with a Centenary Ball for the adults and a massive street party, complete with a playground full of bouncy castles, for the boys.

If I have one wish for Bickley Park boys of 2069, it is that they still value community and the importance of good relationships. A great human quality is the ability to empathise, be tolerant towards and love others. I sincerely hope and pray that this is a hall mark of the world in which those who read this letter live. I wish you well: live your dreams and, just as we exhort BPS pupils of 2019 to do: aspire, endeavour and aim to achieve a better world for all.

Best wishes

Patrick Wenham