Dr Peter Briggs OBE succeeded Professor Clark as Master in June 2011. Conscious that the Company would be able to petition for Livery status within the following two years, the Master and Wardens were anxious to ensure that appropriate contacts and links were being made on a timely basis.
The Installation Dinner included two guest speakers, the Rev the Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, and Paul Double, the City Remembrancer. Following an initiative proposed by the Clerk of the Company and subsequently taken up by the City Corporation, the first Educational Luncheon took place in London Guildhall. The address was given by the Secretary of State for Education and it was hoped that this event would become an annual event in the Corporation’s calendar for a ‘State of Education in the Nation’ address.
In September the Annual Service in September was held for the fist time at St James Garlickhythe with the Revd Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Treasurer of St Paul’s Cathedral, as Preacher. At the subsequent supper in Painters’ Hall, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, responded to the Master’s toast to the guests. Dr Fraser later developed his sermon into a presentation at the BBC3 Festival of Ideas.
“Education in the Melting Pot”, an initiative of the Master, was a series of eight lunchtime public conversations at Wesley’s Chapel. Its Minister, Leslie Griffiths, conversed with guests who had a variety of educational roles. They were Karen Willis, Head of St James Primary School, Jan Ainsworth, Director of Education for the Church of England; Lord (Andrew) Adonis, Director of the Institute for Government; Lord Jonathan Hill, a Government spokesperson on Education; Jamie Brownhill, Head of the Central Foundation School for Boys; Diana Vernon, Head of the City of London School for Girls; Dame Ruth Silver, Chair of the Learning and Skills Improvement Service and Sir Richard Trainor, Vice Chancellor of King’s College London.
In November, Freeman Elizabeth Wooton became Lady Mayoress of London. As Lord Mayor, her husband, David, very generously invited representatives of our Company to many events. These included grandstand seats for Wardens at Lord Mayor’s Show and an invitation for the Master and his wife to attend the Lord Mayor’s Banquet.
The Master’s seminar series focussed on some less prominent aspects of education. Lord Baker of Dorking, spoke about his initiative on University Technical Colleges in the Franklin Lecture; at the banquet afterwards Professor Janet Beer, Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, was the principal guest. Other speakers in the series were Professor Becky Francis of the Royal Society of Arts; Frazer Swift, Head of Learning at the Museum of London and Professor Alison Woolf of Kings College London, who had recently headed a review of vocational education.
In addition to seminars arranged by the Education Committee and the lively annual public speaking competition, the Master arranged an evening on which four members of the company outlined their own educational initiatives, an event that may well continue in future years. Penny Egan, Executive Director of the US/UK Fulbright Commission, was principal guest at the Election Dinner.
Visits to the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, the Supreme Court and Westminster Central Hall, RAF Cranwell, and the Mansion House were arranged by the Social Committee, which also planned the Master’s Weekend in Derbyshire. Based in Bakewell, it included visits to Haddon Hall and Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mills, part of a World Heritage Site. The weekend ended with an enjoyable and enlightening Monday morning visit to the Cutlers’ Hall in Sheffield, home of one of the few companies outside the City of London.
Links with No 22 (Training) Group were further developed through the Cranwell visit and visits to RAF High Wycombe by the Master and Past Master David Moore.
At the end of a busy and enjoyable year the Master hosted the first lunch for Past Masters at the City Livery Club.