Every boy in the school attends assemblies and, depending on their block (year group), will have between one and three assemblies each week. Boys in F Block (Year 9) and E Block (Year 10) have one assembly each week; the other mornings are spent in Lower Chapel and/or faith classes. Boys in D, C and B Blocks (Years 11-13) have two to three assemblies each week, and this additional time allows for a broadening of the programme. Thursday mornings are reserved for additional interaction with tutors for boys of all blocks.
Eton prides itself on being an incredibly inclusive, supportive, welcoming community. And it very much is a community.Simon Henderson, Head Master
Boys are encouraged to play an increasingly active role in assemblies as they go through the school. All boys are offered the opportunity to address their peers on topics that matter to them, with older boys also invited to speak to younger blocks. A select group of boys in B Block also design and manage the specialist assembly schedule alongside the Head of C and B Blocks.
The success of the assembly system lies in the breadth of the programme each Head of Block is able to provide, with the principal aim always to stimulate thought and discussion among the boys.
Assemblies are used at key points of a boy’s academic journey through the school. Hints and strategies for coping with exam stress, introductions to GCSE and A Level subjects and Q&A sessions with older boys have all recently featured.
The School Hall was built as a memorial to Etonians killed in the Boer War. It is used today for school assemblies, a daily Masters’ meeting and other functions such as concerts.
Looking to the Future
As boys advance through the school, assemblies provide significant guidance in support of the work of Tutors and House Masters; in particular, on career education, university applications and life after Eton. A range of topics relevant to our PSHEE curriculum are also discussed. In recent years, for example Masters, boys and Old Etonians have spoken on a wide variety of themes including healthy eating, exercise, masculinity, the psychology of technology, racism and the experience of LGBTQ students.
Student Voice and Leadership
Assemblies also offer the opportunity for boys to have a say in the running of the school. Block Forums and the School Council report to their blocks on their work and members of the Leadership Team frequently take questions from the boys.
Life of the Mind
There are necessary messages that have to be delivered at specific moments in the year, but feedback from boys suggests that the most enjoyable assemblies are those in which boys and Masters introduce the audience to subjects of their own choice, uncover a hidden aspect of the Eton community, or challenge a common viewpoint. As well as individuals offering their perspectives on current affairs, enthusing about their field of study or a recent exhibition, and advertising upcoming society events, assemblies also offer a stage for teams of debaters, casts of plays and the full symphony orchestra. There are also lighter moments, such as the School Hall Dog Show and the ever-popular School Hall Challenge inter-House quiz for C and B Blocks (Years 12-13). A visit from the Beagle pack or a display of dazzling card tricks from the Magic Society can send boys on to their first lesson with a spring in their step.