With its marble churches, grand palaces and labyrinthine waterways, Venice has a unique magic. We were truly enchanted by this city that seems to float on water, as we walked along the canals, through the many alleys called Calle and on our gondola ride!
Venice is brimming with culture, from artistic masterpieces to Moorish and Byzantine architecture, such as the stunning Palazzo Ducale, where our guide told us intriguing stories of Venetians imprisoned by the Doge. Our day trip to the other beautiful islands of the lagoon, gave us an opportunity to see how the famous Murano glass is made, see the intricate laces in Burano and walk through green fields in Torcello. As well as exploring Venice and its islands, we enjoyed a cookery lesson: we made bruschetta and gnocchi, so much fun and delicious too! In addition, we spent three hours every day in a language school, where we practised our Italian language skills. We are almost fluent now!
We will never forget this charming city, our treks through the streets, and of course all the gelati and pizza we had! Looking forward to another fantastic trip to discover Italy and its heritage soon. Ciao Venezia!
On Thursday we held our first ever #STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Maths) enrichment day at Prep School. Built around a philosophy promoting collaboration across academic disciplines to achieve innovative results, the day presented an exciting House challenge for all Prep School pupils. The day began with an inspiring assembly led by Mr Porter with support from Mrs Duffy, Mrs Mac and Miss Cuthbert. Food for thought was provided by the video below which showcased amazing home inventions and demonstrated that incredible things could happen with a bit of ingenuity.
The challenge for the day was then revealed…transport one eco egg from the Pre-Prep balcony to the Outdoor Classroom without any human intervention; at approximately 49 metres this was no small ask!
Organised into House teams with girls from Y0 to Y6 working together the morning was spent exploring different ideas, theories and designs. With an exciting bank of resources available, the teams had everything at their disposal to work on ideas related to robotics, pulleys, water slides and propellers.
Once designs were finalised and prototypes created, the teams moved on to create their final models. Each model then competed to see which creation was most successful in meeting the brief and reaching the Outdoor Classroom from the Pre-Prep balcony. The competition was tough and the range of ideas incredibly impressive. In the end the winning team was Gurney 2 and the were proudly declared winners of the EGGS Prize 2019; check out the table below to see how each team performed against the strict criteria.
Alongside the EGGS Prize Challenge, all classes enjoyed taking part in workshops run by Learn by Design. From an introduction to forensic science to constructing and testing wind turbines using a voltmeter to looking at how robotics can be constructed to complete a challenge there was something for everyone and a fantastic insight into practical applications of the skills taught in STEAM subjects.
Huge thanks goes to Mr Porter, Mrs Mac, Mrs Duffy and Miss Cuthbert for organising this exciting day.
On Wednesday, year 3 spent the day at Horton Kirby. The day started with a lively introduction to the field study skills that the children went on to apply at the river. Equipped with their own discovery bags, the children completed a short walk to the river, looking at physical features on the way. After gauging the flow of the river with a quick game of pooh sticks, the children had the opportunity to study photos of the immediate environment in order to ascertain how the physical and human features have changed over time. The children then entered the river at two sites; each time measuring the flow and depth, and using their observations to explain why these measurements change throughout the year.
In the afternoon the children completed a series of hands-on activities related to the River Darent. In pairs, the children created their own land on which they developed a river. A second activity involved the children using microscopes to investigate the permeability of rocks, in order to help explain how this property of the rocks in Horton Kirby affects the flow and depth of the river.
Finally, the children experienced an engaging presentation which showed the entire journey of the River Darent; showing how human and physical features have changed over time. It was a great day and the girls returned to school buzzing with excitement about their day.
On Wednesday afternoon we were delighted to welcome Director of Music, Dr Ryan Hepburn, to the Senior School Recital Hall to judge the finals of the Prep School Musician of the Year Competition 2019.
Following the competition heats which took place in February, twelve pupils from across Years 4 to 6 performed to a small audience of parents, as well as Ms Boyd and Mrs Woodcock. The standard was exceptionally high and each performance reflected the hard work and musical talent of the competitors.
Once all performances were complete, Dr Hepburn took some time to deliberate before announcing the recipients of three Highly Commended Certificates, as well as one overall winner, who not only took home the coveted Prep Musician of the Year Trophy but was also invited to perform in front of the whole Prep School at Prize Giving on Monday 1 July. Dr Hepburn took the time to provide personalised feedback to each finalist on the strengths and areas for future development.
Congratulations to all performers and especially to Noa for her winning performance! Thank you to Ms Duval for organising this event.
Today pupils from year 1 spent a fabulous day at Greenwich’s National Maritime Museum. As well as spending time viewing some of the museum’s permanent collections and the Cutty Sark ship, pupils participated in an interactive workshop entitled We are Explorer’s.
The workshop focused upon the fact that Professor C. Breeze had gone missing leaving only a bog of artefacts behind. Pupils were invited to use their exploration skills and imagination to work out what has happened to the professor.
Opportunities were provided to handle Museum objects to piece together the clues, use imagination and enquiry skills and develop literacy skills to tell the rest of Professor C. Breeze’s story. Thank you to the parents who joined the trip for the day; we hope you enjoyed it as much as the pupils!
On Thursday 21 March, year 12 and 13 students attended a talk given by Angela Harrowing. Her current job is as a civil servant, working at the heart of Parliament. Angela began her talk detailing her journey to her current job, which was particularly interesting since she admitted that she has not sure of what career to go into. This was a part of the talk that all students, not just politics students, had complete interest in since many of us are about to apply to or attend university and the pressure of knowing what to do after this stage can be overwhelming.
Angela proceeded to tell us what the Cabinet Office does and why it is important. This was particularly interesting to me, despite learning it within my politics syllabus, as it brought the job of working in the Cabinet Office to life and gave me more detail. A particularly interesting fact that we learnt during the presentation was that as a civil servant working in a government office you are not allowed to discuss your political views but you are still given the right to vote. Another thing that struck me during the talk was how inspirational it was. Many of the politicians and leading figures of politics are male so it was both refreshing and encouraging to be able to hear a woman speak of her success in her career working in UK politics.
Angela ended the talk by answering some questions from pupils and students such as “What is your day to day life like working in the Cabinet Office”. This allowed all the students to hear of what a job in the civil service could potentially entail and perhaps inspired some of us to pursue a future in the civil service.
The Senior School Sports Hall was awash with bright leotards and dazzling smiles on Friday afternoon as Prep School pupils took the floor for the Gymnastics & Dance Display.
The display included a varied range of floor and apparatus work alongside contemporary dance and classical ballet performances. Representing gymnastics and dance from our Prep School curriculum as well as that from Charisma Gym, the afternoon did a fantastic job of showing the talent of our pupils.
A big thank you to Mrs White for organising this event.
Friday 22 March saw over 300 pupils gather to hear from Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Dr Broadbent, describe the function of the Bank of England, such as ensuring that banks are safe and inflation is stable, and talk about choosing a career path. Dr Broadbent began by explaining that a central bank is designed to preserve the value of and safety of money and how important it is as a central clearer to facilitate the smooth distribution of payments from consumers to banks. He explained that most money is held as deposits rather than the physical coins and notes that you might imagine represent most of the money in the country and introduced the fact that a new character will be appearing on the £50 note very soon!
Dr Broadbent then went on to discuss his thoughts on career paths and his belief that it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a plan, using several quotes as examples, including: “Everyone has a plan till he gets punched in the mouth.” (Mike Tyson). He advised everyone to follow things that they are interested in and see where it leads – he particularly endorsed studying economics!
The session concluded with a challenging Q&A section led by a panel of sixth formers who had prepared their own questions as well as reading questions sent in by pupils in the lower years. Topics included Brexit’s impact on the economy, how he would manage Venezuela’s economy, the gender pay gap at the Bank of England, China, the treatment of women and ethnic minorities in the banking industry and many more. After his grilling, Dr Broadbent spoke to a small group of scholars over afternoon tea, where they were able to ask further questions and find about more about his job.
Dr Broadbent launched our Lecture Series, which will see prominent speakers across a range of industries speak to our pupils each term. We hope that exposure to a range of experts will broaden the aspirations of our ever-ambitious pupils.