Dear Old Cottonians,
I thought I would update you with news of life at school.
The best thing is that we have pupils back in school. Having ‘locked down’ last March, we were allowed to welcome back senior students from mid-February. There are now just over three hundred boys on the campus from Class VI to Class XII.
You can imagine this presents many challenges at the moment.
Indian Board exams have been put back by a couple of months so there has been an opportunity for the outgoing Class XII to enjoy some time together. The outgoing Class X arrive back this weekend. Necessity has meant that we are accommodating boys in Class ‘bubbles’. Boys of the same age eat, sleep, study and play together.
We are ensuring that there is regular testing of staff and a number of colleagues have already been vaccinated. I am getting my first jab on the 1st April.
The ‘’outgoing’ and ‘new’ Class XII are together in Curzon. The ‘new’ Class X are moving to Lefroy and the outgoing Class X will be in Rivaz. Classes VI to IX are in separate dormitories in the Junior School. It will be some time before the ‘House system’ can return to normal and different classes can share dorms.
The boys had to present a negative pcr test when they returned to school. They have to wear masks around the school site and avoid mixing with other classes. Their interaction with adults has to be strictly controlled. However, it is evident that they are mostly very happy to be back at school. The spring weather in Shimla has been beautiful and the boys have enjoyed lots of sport and activity. We have been trying to update photos regularly on our ‘Facebook’ page.
The current rise in Covid cases in India means that we will continue to face challenges. The Himachal Government whilst restricting the opening of many educational institutes, are currently allowing Boarding schools to keep their students at school. We are working with both them and the medical authorities to ensure we can keep things running smoothly. I think there is an overwhelming case for the benefits outweighing the disadvantages of residential students being back in school in the pandemic. It was noticeable how much weight many of our pupils had put on during their year away from school and it is pleasing how quickly they are embracing a healthier lifestyle.
We have welcomed many OCs back to the campus over the last year, but it is difficult at the moment to meet these requests as we must try our best to reduce unnecessary entry into the campus. Please bear with us in the next few months as we love to welcome alumni back to school.
Simon Weale – Director
We were very happy to welcome back Old Cottonian, Captain Vivek (Bonnie) Bhasin who visited BCS to pass on some of his style and Sharper Edge tips to the X & XII classes and staff. He put on a very entertaining show in the Irwin Hall which we’re sure will help Cottonians in the big wide world. Thanks Bonnie.
We are delighted to welcome ‘home’ our new Headmaster, Mr Mathew P John and his wife Anuradha (who will be teaching English to Years 6&7). A Cottonian himself (but from the ‘other place’ in Bangalore), Mr John taught at BCS, Shimla from 1994 to 2000 and was instrumental in setting up the Slater Debates. Since then he has enjoyed a successful career in school leadership raising standards in a number of prestigious schools across India. His main task at BCS will be to raise our academic profile to new heights and he has already reinstituted the tutorial system for this purpose. Mr John is very much looking forward to the return of the pupils and for the journey to continue.‘When I first stepped onto the First Flat at Bishop Cotton School, it was late spring or early summer of 1994. I remember feeling as if I had come home, though I had never been in Shimla before, let alone, BCS. In 1998, it was in June that I brought Anu back to BCS, and we were greeted by Upper Sixth boys outside our locked quarters. With a typical Cottonian welcome, they put whatever they were doing on hold, to get us our keys and to help with our considerable luggage! This time was different.Long before we arrived in School, old boys as well as old colleagues were calling and messaging to congratulate and welcome us back. However, it was on Sunday, the fifth of July that we were finally let out of our quarantine and walked onto the First Flat for the first time after twenty years, drinking in the clear air of the hills and the old familiar view of Tara’s Gap. We were Home again!”
17 August 2020
Independence Day celebrated virtually at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla
Bishop Cotton School, Shimla (BCS) celebrated the 74th Independence Day last Saturday (15 August 2020) but this year, for the first time in history, it was celebrated virtually with the school community contributing remotely online from home (see BCS video links below to the YouTube video celebrations).
After a few days of mist and rain, the sun came out for the ceremony as residential staff gathered at the Shimla site for the flag raising and National Anthem ceremony. The Indian flag could be seen for miles flying high on the BCS flagpole (of 106 feet high) in the blue sky across the Shimla area.
BCS is one of the oldest residential schools in Asia and has played a big part in shaping the development of public schools and education in India as well as producing a host of well-known and successful alumni.
The online ceremony (links below) included heartfelt messages from the BCS students about why they love their country and the meaning for them of Independence Day.
The students were very clear in expressing their ideas that we must mark the day and respect those freedom fighters who gave their lives for their country.
The Cottonian family wishes all Cottonians a very happy Independence Day. Here are the highlights of the celebrations at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, with video contributions from the boys expressing their love for India and the values it stands for.
Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, Independence Day 2020 – Video highlights duration: 5’27”
1) Independence Day 2020 celebrations from Bishop Cotton School, Shimla
2) BCS Facebook link – Independence Day 2020:
The school has operated a full academic curriculum with online classes since March. Parents have reported that the children have been missing playing sport and being with their friends and are yearning to get back on campus in Shimla.
Director Simon Weale together with the Headmaster Mathew John and BCS Staff gathered for the Flag raising ceremony.
Further information from BISHOP COTTON SCHOOL, Shimla – 171002 (H.P.) India.
Phone : 0177 – 2620880