I SUPPOSE that we’re all used to it now – the experience of turning on the radio and hearing yet another diplomat refer to the ‘Salisbury incident’.

Our town has, albeit for the wrong reasons, become a focus for debate at the meetings of international bodies over the past few months.

With the latest revelations focusing on the activities of the GRU causing a resurgence of interest, Salisbury is unlikely to get less worldwide attention anytime soon. That has all been a bit of a shock to the system, but in many ways it shouldn’t be because we live in a tourism mecca which attracts travellers from across the globe.

Throughout the year coaches bring pilgrims from across Europe, the States and Asia to enter The Close through St Catherine’s Gate; every day the gates to school are periodically blocked by a throng of visitors learning about Golding, with selfies in front of the blue plaque to follow.

I often wonder where those images will end up, perhaps in digital frames in Tokyo, New York, Beijing or New Delhi. That’s something that I did not anticipate when I first proposed putting the memento to our own Nobel Prize winning novelist outside Number 11.

At this time of year there is an outflow too, as youngsters from Bishop’s and other schools start to migrate away from home for the first time after getting their A-level results. I have just seen the list of university destinations for the Year 13 boys from Bishop’s, and once again they are dispersing far and wide across the UK for the next chapter.

This year (unusually) there are no overseas entrants, but there is no doubt that the boys are making more eclectic choices than used to be the case. Southampton, Exeter, Cardiff and Bristol are still popular (as they should be), but there are increasing numbers going to London, Birmingham and the North. I am really pleased to see that. We are blessed in the UK with universities of exceptional quality in world terms; there are probably 20 world class institutions within just a couple of hours travel of Salisbury, and it’s really good to see our boys taking the next steps into that wider environment with their eyes wide open. That’s hugely important for them, their parents and the school, but it matters for the city too as it enables Salisbury to punch above its weight in national terms. Salisbury may be small – hubs usually are – but it lies at the very centre of a wheel of global dimensions…

By Dr S D Smallwood

Headmaster, Bishop Wordsworth's School