Many of the best parts of an Epsom education are unmeasurable other than by meeting our pupils themselves. Their confidence, compassion, ability to lead and to serve, alongside their strength of character, creativity and imagination – these are the things that count in life, and that make Old Epsomians stand out, ready to make their mark on the world.
To this end, the Cultural Hour is timetabled for all pupils from 6.15-7.15pm each evening. This is a time dedicated to artistic, intellectual and cultural events that travel beyond the classroom and set curriculum.
The programme provides pupils with the chance to explore topics of particular interest and also to gain insight into cultural activities they may have never previously experienced.
Over the past year, students have had a variety of lectures and presentations from poets, critics, journalists, economists and many more. The Lord Rosebery Lectures are a series of presentations from inspirational people and leaders from across the cultural spectrum, giving pupils unrivalled opportunities to question and learn.
Recent guest speakers have included the editor of BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, the editor of the Observer, the political correspondent for the BBC, the chairman of Deutsche Bank, a polar explorer and the UK’s Ambassador to Estonia.
The biggest coup was when Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England and named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 100 most-influential people, delivered a lecture on the unpredictability of modern macroeconomics.
“This visit was secured and arranged by one of our Economics students, Emily Tan,” explains Mr Nick Russell, Head of Sixth Form. “That is one of the benefits of Cultural Hour: it gives students an opportunity to network with leading figures across the world.”
Worlds beyond Epsom.
“The Cultural Hour broadens students’ experience of the world,” says Mr Russell. “To meet and listen to experts from various fields is inspiring, and it gives students an insight into worlds and lives far beyond Epsom.”
All academic departments lead an event at some stage in the year. This guarantees a wide, varied and inclusive programme. Events are carefully planned to ensure there is something suitable for every year group, every week.
“Listening is a hugely important and much-underrated skill,” adds Mr Russell. “Those who listen, learn. The Cultural Hour hones this skill and is the catalyst for further student research and enquiry.”