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Enlightened Education Conference

Melvyn Roffe speaks at the HMC Conference

Enlightened Education 2022, the joint conference of the independent school heads’ associations HMC and IAPS, was co-hosted last week in Edinburgh by our Principal, Mr Melvyn Roffe, in his role as this year’s Chair of HMC - The Head’s Conference.

A wide range of impressive speakers provided plenty of interest and inspiration for delegates and Mr Roffe had ensured that Watson’s had a high profile throughout the event. Even the opening ceremony was conducted by a Watsonian - the Rt Hon The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Councillor Robert Aldridge.

One of the highlights of the conference was the Conference Service, an interfaith celebration held at the Parish Church of St Cuthbert on Lothian Road. School Captain, Azhan and fellow S6 pupil, Ibrahim led the Islamic part of the service and the GWC Chamber Choir made two contributions. The service started with the introit God Be in My Head in the setting by Henry Walford Davies which was so well known to Women Watsonians who attended GWLC, but the musical climax of the service was the anthem Let There Be Light! This was a new work which was the result of a collaboration by S6 pupil, Alexander and Sir James MacMillan, Scotland’s most distinguished living composer. The powerful, shimmering setting of verses from Genesis received an awestruck response from the congregation. The whole service can be viewed on the St Cuthbert’s Church YouTube channel. You can find Alexander’s composition approximately 30 minutes into the recording and the choir singing at around 13 minutes.

Another recording of Alexander's Let There Be Light can be found at the bottom of this page.

Later that evening, conference delegates attended a dinner at the National Museum of Scotland where they were welcomed by the GWC Pipes and Drums, much to the delight of those attending the dinner and of passers-by on Chambers Street.

On the last day, the Enlightened Education Conference was opened up to many state school and other education leaders from across the country, with the Director of Education of the City of Edinburgh Council, Amanda Hatton joining the hosting team and keynote speakers including Professor Sir Geoff Palmer and Chair of the charity Theirworld, Sarah Brown.

Reflecting on the success of the Enlightened Education Conference, Mr Roffe said:

“It has been a huge privilege to co-host this conference in my home city of Edinburgh, one of the great cities of the Enlightenment. We set out to both celebrate and critique the ideas of the Enlightenment and explore how they apply to education in 2022. With the help of many colleagues and friends, I believe we did just that.”

If you would like to read Mr Roffe's full conference welcome speech, please visit:

For further information, HMC are active across all social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also watch videos from the conference on their YouTube channel.

The world premiere of Let There Be Light by S6 pupil, Alexander.