Senior Prizegiving is a unique event in the Challoner’s calendar. It provides the opportunity to celebrate the various successes of the past year with the awarding of GCSE certificates to the previous Year 11 cohort and the distribution of the senior prizes, whilst simultaneously prompting us to look forward to the next chapter through the words of the guest speaker’s address.

After attendees were welcomed by the Chairman, Mr Kennedy, the evening progressed with the Headmaster’s review of the last academic year. Drawing from the very recent Ofsted inspection and the recognition of DCGS as outstanding in all framework categories, Mr Atkinson highlighted successes in education quality both within the curriculum and in the breadth of extracurricular enrichment at Challoner’s. Excellent student contributions were interspersed throughout the speech to provide a nuanced perspective on the opportunities available at DCGS; these included a speech from Harry Brandon on the German Debating Team’s national triumph in the Goethe-Institut competition, Elizabeth Kenny’s speech on personal development, volunteering and the Challoner’s Baccalaureate, and a superlative performance of the first movement from Clarke’s Impetuoso Viola Sonata by Julius Kiln (viola) and Brendan Emmanuel (piano).

Mrs Black introduced the next part of the programme with the key features of the DCGS learning experience and skilfully orchestrated the presentation of GCSE certificates and the Year 11, Year 12 and special prizes by Professor van Heyningen of UCL and the Royal Society. In her speech that followed the awards, Professor van Heyningen focused on the importance of diversity and the strength that comes from it, the societal value of STEM and non-STEM subjects and the importance of teamwork, encouraging others and achieving a healthy work-life balance.

To bring the event to a close, School Captain Matthew Bourne gave the vote of thanks and presented Professor van Heyningen with a floral gift. As the final rounds of applause concluded, prizewinners, parents, staff and guests were invited to reflect on their achievements with refreshments in the Studio.