Click for the Cookham News Front Page

Speech Day and Sky


(19 July 2013)



Sky news presenter, Martin Stanford was one of the special guests at Speech Day at Herries Preparatory School in Cookham Dean last Friday and gave a motivational speech to pupils, staff and parents as well as awarding prizes to the pupils for their academic, sporting and artistic achievements.

The veteran broadcaster, who has 30 years’ experience anchoring the news coverage for high profile events such as 9/11 and the death of Princess Diana, told pupils he had the best job in the world and that it was like “extreme sports for the brain.” He said that being part of the first draft of history was “an onerous responsibility” at times.
During his speech, Mr Stanford illustrated to the pupils what it would be like to anchor for 45 seconds between news stories, inviting some Year 6 volunteers to help him. Alec Getley was invited to do non-stop sit-ups, Kate Hipkins had to sing and Sam Martin and another pupil had to hold hands. He told that pupils that there were essentially six words you needed to be a good journalist and cover breaking news, and he recited Rudyard Kipling’s “ I keep six honest serving men”.
Herries Head teacher, Sophie Green, also delivered her end of year speech to the audience which included, school governors, the former Mayor’s wife, Samantha Rayner and two ex- pupils, Tessa-Jane Webster and Sian Hughes, who attended the Preparatory School in the 1950s and 1960s respectively.
Ms Green, who has been at the helm of the school for the last two years, referred to the recent Independent Schools’ Inspectorate report which had found Herries to be  “excellent” in six areas and had highlighted the school’s approach to pastoral care and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of its pupils. The Head teacher, who brings her Labrador, Meg with her to school each day, said that the school had one simple ethos, “When children are happy, they learn best.”
The speeches made by the outgoing Head-boy, Sam Martin and Head-girl, Kate Hipkins illustrated the affection with which pupils hold the school. Sam said that he had been at Herries for 8 years and that it felt like “a big family” to him and Kate spoke of how she was leaving the school with “lots of good memories.” 
Parents and staff were then treated to one final performance of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “One Short Day” from the recent Wonderful Wizard of Oz production at the school and afternoon tea. Martin Stanford left the pupils with a couple pieces of advice. He said that in a world where we are all bombarded with information, the challenge in the future will be “deciding what information you actually need.” The news presenter also urged the pupils against complacency. He said: “When you come back to school in September, don’t just accept what the teachers have to say, can I invite you to nag them a little bit and remember Rudyard Kipling’s advice and ask them why, when, how, where who and how?”
Herries Preparatory School first opened its doors in 1947. Did you attend the school at some point? If so, the school would love to hear from you. Please email:

Click for the Cookham News Front Page

home    top of page You may need to click more than onceback    any suggestions