Queen Victoria School has its own long-standing ceremonial tradition, reflecting the traditions of the Armed Forces in which our families live and work.
The Ceremonial aspect of school life is led with pride and wholehearted commitment by the School Sergeant Major (SSM) who instils the ideas of responsibility, pride, commitment, teamwork, leadership, and desire to achieve and fulfil potential.
It is, without doubt, the one aspect of school life that promotes all the pupils, staff, and parents to feel a sense of belonging and a sense and understanding of why QVS exists.
The School has two Colours (flags) – the Queen’s Colour and the School Colour – both of which are paraded almost every Sunday during the School year, as well as on Grand Day, our big end-of-year parade, inspection and prize-giving.
The pupils’ ceremonial uniform has changed little over the past 100 years, and its red tunic, kilt and Glengarry are familiar to all who know of the School.
There are six Parade Sundays each year, involving the whole School. As well as the Parade there is music from the Pipe Band, a display of Highland dancing and a Chapel service which is at the heart of the morning’s activities. The School has its own Sergeant Major, Pipe Major, Drum Major and Highland Dancing Instructor.
It is the ceremonial aspect of the school that makes QVS unique. The link to the armed forces is seen no closer than when the pupils of QVS are marching out to the music provided by the school’s Pipes and drums band. This traditional aspect of school sets the school apart from all other schools, it is what makes us Queen Victoria school.
Unless selected for the Pipes, Drums or Highland Dancing, all pupils are expected to commit to the ceremonial aspect of the school.
School Parade Commander and Guard Commanders:
By default, the Senior Monitor holds the position of School Parade Commander for the year and leads the Victorians for all School Parades including Grand Day. The role of Guard Commanders is fulfilled by the school monitors and school prefects.
The Colour Party:
Based on commitment and ceremonial excellence, the SSM selects six senior pupils to form the colour party for the annual commitment. The Colour Party is made up of two Colour Ensigns, one of which carries the Queen’s Colour, with the other carrying the School’s Colour. The two Colours are escorted by three pupils whose function is to guard and protect the Colours. The final role is colour party i/c whose role it is to lead the colour party with distinct honour and precision. The colour party are involved in numerous ceremonial commitments throughout the year, including school Parades, chapel services, and high-profile external events.
Whilst the role is time-consuming, especially during such an important academic period of the pupil’s lives, the pupils often describe the role as, “a privilege, a privilege to continue the long-standing traditions of our school, especially because we are so closely linked to the armed forces through our parents.” The pupils often talk about the pride they feel marching out the Queen’s and school colour. Rookies Parade: following an intense two terms of drill practise, provided by the SSM, the P7s complete their first Parade known as Rookies Parade and earn the title of Victorians from that day forward. The Parade to led by a P7 who is selected as Parade Commander, with support from two Guard Commanders. The eleven-year-old pupils learn all the drill and commands to lead in excess of forty pupils. Following the Rookies Parade, the P7 pupils join the whole school for all parades that year.
Drill and Turnout Competition:
This annual event, during the Summer term, tests the marching skills of all P7-S3 pupils. The P7s pitch their skills against the S1 pupils and the S2 pupils against the S3 pupils. Awards are received for best Parade Commander, Best Guard Commander, and Best Guard for the P7/S1 and S2/S3 categories. The inspecting officers for the event, who are currently serving, are truly astonished by the high standard of drill and turnout, some often stating they wish their soldiers were as capable!