Dear Parents,
Welcome back to news of the last five weeks of school for 2018. I hope that you had a wonderful Founder’s Break together and that your boys were able to recover from the work and energy that they had put into their studies, the September Trials and then into the exhibitions, music, plays, performances and the Pagal Gymkhana. There was such a lot going on, which gave everyone the opportunity to participate. Of course, opportunity is still something that has to be taken advantage of  and not everyone does that. Some of our students are still searching for their place here, but we are confident that they will find it; seeing the work and the fulfilment of others is a great motivator. If you haven’t seen the pictures of Founder’s on the school's Facebook and Instagram pages, please do visit and leave your comments and reactions.
The exhibition this year from the Humanities Department was fascinating. Along with the experience of being guided through the 1990s by the students… which was good, but not quite as good as having lived through the 1990s! One of the things that I enjoyed seeing and being involved in was the Psychology exhibition. The students explored some of the boundaries that exist and require careful navigation to avoid being, for example, creepy rather than friendly or consensual rather than coercive. These are very important boundaries to understand in a world where leadership is no longer about exercising power and the #MeToo movement is calling to account behaviour that people, particularly women, have silently endured for years. As a boys’ school preparing our alumni to serve a meritocratic India, it is very important that we and they understand that the behaviour we exhibit now will be with us for life, and we will be judged and held to account for it. Questions about Brett Kavanaugh’s suitability for the Supreme Court in the US came down to his choices and patterns of behaviour at college and high school… and that was at a time when a social media trail and digital footprint didn’t exist. Our boys are living in another world, and we will continue to explore that with them in Lifeskills, assemblies and workshops throughout the year. I have a sense that we will be reading more and more about the real world examples in the press for a long time to come.
Over the break we took part in the IPSC Swimming and Tennis tournaments with many other schools. In the swimming that was held in at Rajkumar College, Raipur we were runners up in both the U17 and U19 categories. Shiven brought home 3 gold medals and between the team they brought home more then ever. Congratulations to the team, their coach and the Master in Change. In the tennis I saw first hand how much work went into the tournament because we hosted the 17 teams and their coaches for the first 5 days of the break. Our U14 boys placed third in the team competition and the rest of the categories and individuals were shared across several schools with Daly College being declared the winner (one of the many good schools in the country being led by a former Doon master, Neeraj Bedhotia).
You will have received an email from the school about the results and Mid-Year Reports being posted on the school’s ERP. Looking through the results, particularly for the classes that will be taking their Cambridge IGCSE, ISC and IB examinations I can see some patterns particularly that are worth mentioning. The characteristic pre-university-application jump in performance from the SC form in both the ISC and IB programmes is there, as it has been for the last few years. What we all have to do is work hard to make sure that this is not followed in 2019 by a similarly characteristic drop in the final grades. This is not something peculiar to our boys at Doon, the Heads of the HMC schools in the UK put out an open letter to British universities during their conference earlier this month asking them not to make unconditional offers because of the effect that it has on students motivation. It used to be that an unconditional offer was seen as an invitation to read widely and explore subjects of interest beyond the syllabus. To attract students, in today’s competitive market, particularly those from overseas, who pay a great deal more it is seen as a way for universities to fill their places that students take as an opportunity to take their foot off the gas and free wheel. The trouble with this is living with the disappointment for the years to come, as no one wants to know what the offer from a university was, they want to know what the results of the final examinations were. Five or ten years down the line it is the thing that might make a difference between one candidate and the next for a scholarship, internship or fellowship. There is also an element of character that is seen in someone who takes this opportunity; rather than being prepared to do what it takes to fulfill their potential, they are happy to know their potential rather than meet it.
Having said that, all of our early action and early decision university applications are now in and the SC Form will be looking forward to their offers of interviews and places coming in over the next couple of months. For those who need to do more work to improve their chances (feedback on the Portal) and would like to take another opportunity, we will be opening the school up on January 7th for an ISC Winter Study Camp. We believe that Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Psychology, Economics, Accounts are the subjects needed and we will offer these once we have a minimum of 5 boys per subject. This is not something that anyone will have to pay for, it is something that we think we should to to help our boys who need it the most. You will here more about this soon from Debasish Chakrabarty, our Deputy Head Academics.
As for the A Form, the results are a good indication that the work that has gone into preparing the boys for their exams is going ahead well. The focus now is on crystalising their understanding ahead of the preboards in Jan. Following that the time will be planned to get the most out of boys and masters with revision classes and exams based workshops. We want the boys to be with us on campus in the time between preboards and board examinations, rather than going back home on leave. This will help us prepare them better and experience shows that this will improve their performance.
The other results that have come out recently are those from the first part of the admissions process. Almost 400 prospective students took the Maths, English and Social Intelligence Case Study papers on 7th October and we will be inviting about 190 of them for the group interviews that we have for the 92 places on offer. With a mission to find exceptional boys from all backgrounds and to serve a meritocratic India, we have to make sure that we don’t fall at the first hurdle… which means that admissions is by merit. In the interviews we are looking for the qualities that are going to build better learning teams and communities in school; empathy, patience, kindness, listening, curiosity and humility.
We are also looking for good analytical and critical reading, a sense of warmth and engagement with others and a good sense of humour… there is nothing worse than a dull group interview!
In the term ahead we have our Athletics season, Chess workshops and tournament, Chuckerbutty Debates, IPSC Art, IPSC Shooting, Deepawali celebrations (with an environmentally friendly fireworks display for the community), PTM weekend for the C and D Form on Sat 10th November, Boxing season, PTM weekend for A and B Form and Basketball season, which starts next week with the Win Mumby tournament at Woodstock School to look forward to... if that doesn’t sound like enough we will also be project managing the renovation of the top floor side wings of K and H House, the C and B Form dorms in K House and the reconstruction of the Chemistry labs in the top floor of what is currently the D&T, Biology and Modern Foreign Languages building.
The building work will run into some of the term time when we return in January and for K and H House this means that we will be running Toye in the main building (a preferred venue for some) as the Toye rooms in the houses are turned into bedrooms until the work is finished. The Chemistry lab work will also continue into some of the term but the displaced language rooms will be housed elsewhere to minimise the impact… eventually they will be relocated in the lower ground floor of the same building with an additional resource centre.
Proposed Conceptual View of the Model Lab
We have a few new colleagues in school since I last wrote. Ms. Harshita Ahuja is teaching Psychology and has joined from Patrician College for Women, St. Joseph's Academy Campus, Dehradun. Mr.Lenin Kumar Gandhi is teaching Mathematics and has joined from Vidya Sanskar International School, Delhi where he was teaching IB and IGCSE Mathematics.
Mr Lenin Kumar Gandhi and Ms Harshita Ahuja

Matthew Raggett
The Doon School
Mall Road
Dehradun-248 001
Uttarakhand (India)