Dear Parents,

Being a member of a group or organization and taking advantage of what that membership offers requires time, effort and commitment; something I learned when I took my first gym membership! As a school, we are an active member of several conferences and associations through which we believe our boys and teachers can develop and gain from what the larger, membership community has to offer. Three of these groups are the International Boys’ School Coalition, the Boarding Schools’ Association and the Round Square group of schools.
The International Boys’ School Coalition unites schools like ours around the world and is a provider of research-based training built on global best practice of single-sex schooling. They also facilitate the exchange of teachers and students and provide a network of support for policy development. This is something that the Boarding Schools’ Associations of the UK (BSA) and Australia (ABSA) also do and it is through these organisations that every one of our teachers has gained a certification in Duty of Care as a boarding house tutor. Our Housemasters and Assistant Housemasters are embarking on a more extensive professional certification through the ABSA. Our boarding and medical policies follow their guidelines and we are lucky that Dehradun is a city that offers us all of the support we could hope for in almost every situation.
The Round Square (RS) group of schools helps us support and lead service projects for our students in which they can be joined by others, as we were last week by the group of students and teachers from Oakham School in the UK. RS also allows us to run a healthy exchange programme with like-minded schools around the world and sees our boys travel to Peru, South  Africa,the UK, US, Canada, Denmark and Australia every year. This opportunity is also available for our teachers who, during the month of June, can visit other schools to learn from their practice and experience. This summer our RS Coordinator visited some of the schools in the UK, including Eton College, where our latest exchange visitors have come from, and I was able to visit Upper Canada College in Toronto.
The Friends of the Round Square, India, the AGM of which I attended last weekend in Delhi, is a group of principals from RS schools and supporters who have built a corpus that can be used to support the service projects that member schools participate in. The support from FRS India allows the work that our students and teachers have been doing in village schools around Dehradun to continue and help the initiatives to become self-sustaining.
The Round Square takes its name from a structure that sits next to the main building at Gordonstoun School in Scotland. This is a school founded by Kurt Hahn, the person behind the IAYP, DofE, Outward Bound and the United World Colleges. When Hahn needed someone to drive him around Scotland in the early days of the school, it was a young man called John Martyn, our 2nd Headmaster. One of the key values that unites all of the organisations that Hahn founded as well as the other groups that we belong to, is that of shared understanding and collaboration. This is a key 21stcentury skill that we are working to develop in each of our students.
When I visited the tGELF conference in Delhi two weeks ago I listened to many leaders from the business and social sectors talk about the importance of collaboration rather than competition to solve the most important problems that are facing the world at the moment; the problems that our youth will be left with. The repeated message was to share and give away your ideas, make them open source so that others can move them forward faster. It doesn’t sound immediately obvious, especially from a business perspective, but I know that some years ago when BMW, Porsche and Mercedes were all experiencing similar problems in their plants, they created opportunities for their teams to come together and share what they were doing. This led to a period of rapid fertilization and incubation of ideas that we can now see in their vehicles which have benefited everyone. The forum for exchange has, of course, continued.

In the spirit of exchanging best practice and collaboration our Doctor has recently been working with the Indian Academy of Pediatrics and our students have hosted DSMUN.
At the Indian Academy of Pediatrics Healthy School consultative meeting, Dr. Lanka was invited to participate and share the way that we work here. Many schools, even similar schools across the country, do not have the same level of medical facility or staff. Some of the better schools have a doctor on the campus who keeps office hours and many more have only a nurse. All of the schools I have worked in previously have a nurse on site and a doctor on call. With an average of over 60 walk-in consultations a day and the arrangement of between 6-10 specialist consultations for routine and emergency care a day, the Wellness Centre is a busy place. It is also involved in the public healthcare of every boy, teacher, family and support staff member working here. This includes the hidden work of monitoring the water from every filter and dispenser on campus, testing the food handlers in the CDH, organizing blood donations when they are called for by the local hospitals and being on first response duty for all of the sporting and adventure activities that take place in and around school.
No one feels at their best, or responds well, when they are ill or injured and we have a team in the Wellness Centre that is trained, skilled and experienced in giving anyone who walks through their doors, the care that they need. Being far from your son when you know he’s sick or hurt is also very difficult as a parent; I have experienced it myself. I hope it helps you to know that we have a network of care in our own staff and the specialists, with whom we have nurtured a relationship over the years, who are able to respond, treat and liaise in a way that means our students get the best available care and diagnosis in the state. This means that our boys are seen on arrival at the hospital and their results are shared as soon as possible. As I have reminded parents at the PTMs, we run a communications approach from the Wellness Centre which means we will only get in touch with parents when there is a need as a result of a non-routine case. The decision about what is and is not non-routine comes from Dr. Lanka and the consulting specialist. For those interested, we have just received Education World’s 2017 award for the best school in the country in terms of Pastoral Care. I will write about some of the other awards we have received in the next newsletter.

The DSMUN has become the country’s largest such event and is particularly special because it is planned, organized and led entirely by the students. I know that there are some schools in the country that outsource the running of these events to others; perhaps our DSMUN Executive should form a spin-off for their gap year and help others… I know that they would do an outstanding job. The standard of the committees and the General Assembly was very high this year and the work that the Executive had gone to in planning the situations that the committees and delegations had to respond to was well appreciated. This year the evaluation of the delegations was very thorough and included the quality of the written communication between the other delegates as well as the spoken. This allowed delegations with a complement of strengths to do well and made it less possible for a team to rely on one exceptional member; something that put previous winners of DSMUN into the same category as PSG this season.
Over the next two weeks, we have A and B Form PTMs on Saturday 26th Aug followed by S and SC Form PTMs on Saturday 2 Sept. This will also be an outing day for our families celebrating Id to be together. I look forward to seeing many of you at those events which will have a focus on the choices that the boys will be making as they look towards Classes 11and 12 and the work and effort that they will need to put in during the final semester, if they hope to meet their expectations of getting into a selective university or college. We have learnt a few things from working with the Batch of 2017 that we want to share with everyone.
At this very moment our visiting University Counsellor, Dr. Mallika Ramdas, who has led the UWCSEA and UNIS Career departments for the last 14 years, is working with our S and SC Form to share some of the things that she has learnt over the years that will help them find their fit. Yesterday morning she ran a workshop to help develop the teachers’ capacity for writing recommendations for UK and US colleges which is what almost 65% of the boys are aiming for.

Matthew Raggett
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Dehradun 248001