Year 5 have been enjoying their Outdoor Wild Learning

Year 5 pupils have been learning knife safety and basic cutting techniques in their Outdoor Wild Learning (OWLS) session. OWLS is named after a local legend that tells of an owl that disturbed the residents of Holt; whenever they tried to stop it, the owl escaped! OWLS is a part of the curriculum aimed at our pupils from Year 3 to Year 6 which gives them the opportunity to make the most of the Great Outdoors. Please click to learn more about OWLS.

The beginning of Lent was marked with Ash Wednesday events

The Senior School marked the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday events. The day began with a special Chapel service, in which the choir sang Allegri’s Miserere and Rev Jack reminded pupils that they are made of ‘star dust’. At break pupils were offered ‘Ashes to Go’, which was an opportunity to stop for a brief moment of reflection in the middle of the busy school day.

Well done to Henry, who was selected for the London and South East U18 Rugby team

Henry F was selected in the final 23 man squad for London and South East U18 rugby team who faced The North U18 team on the weekend. It was a highly competitive fixture which saw London and South East come out victorious with a 12-5 win. Henry will play for them again this weekend against London and South West. Well done Henry and best of luck.

Pupils on the Talented Athlete Development programme received expert workshops

In the week leading up to half term, the pupils on the Talented Athlete Development (TAD) programme welcomed Andy Duckham, who delivered a session with a focus on breathing technique. Andy predominantly works with boxers and MMA athletes to enhance their recovery in between rounds. Andy was able to guide the pupils through different breathing patterns and techniques which have been evidenced to improve recovery, reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep hygiene. 

The first week back from February half term, the TAD programme had Jason Fligg deliver a performance nutrition workshop. Jason is a registered Performance Nutritionist who works with a range of athletes to meet their nutritional requirements. The pupils made three recipes which consisted of a portion of overnight oats, a hypertonic sports drink and a muesli fruit and yogurt bowl. The feedback from the sessions has already been very positive.

The Prep School were introduced to Safer Internet Week by the IT Monitors

The Prep School IT Monitors, Aydan M, Alex T, Alex H, Matthew C, James M and Morgana M, launched this year’s Safer Internet week with an assembly last Monday to the Prep School, introducing everyone to the theme of ‘Want to talk about it? Making space for conversations about life online’. This was followed on the Tuesday, by an excellent talk to the Year 6 – 8 pupils, from the Senior School Digital Leaders, Sophie L, Reva S, John H and Amelia P. In ICT lessons last week pupils also had the opportunity to talk about what they do online, look at the potential worries they face and most importantly, discuss who they can ask for help, if required.

Year 3 and 4 pupils performed at the Auden Theatre for the first time

The Year 3 and 4 pupils hosted a Nature to Nurture showcase afternoon at the Auden Theatre to friends and families.

They performed poems, plays, dances and sang songs with Climate Change as the theme. This was their first opportunity at performing at the Auden Theatre and everyone did such an amazing job. 

The Drama design team have been working hard on the Phantom of the Opera set

Last week, a group of amazing pupils, (AKA the wonderful Drama department design team), spent an evening in the Auden Theatre painting the set ready for Phantom of the Opera. 

Staff vs Prefects hockey match

Last week, the staff took on the prefects in the annual fancy dress charity hockey match. There were some fantastic outfits on display as can be seen in the photos! The game was played in great spirits and the scores were tied at 2-2 at the final whistle. A penalty flick shoot out ensued and still the scores were tied at 3-3 in the shoot out after some heroics in goal by Mrs Alexander for the staff. The shoot out went into sudden death with the large crowd of pupils behind the goal cheering on the prefects to good effect, but it was the staff that scored the winning penalty and with it were crowned champions for 2023. A great evening was had by all with funds raised being donated to Holt Youth Project and Breast Cancer Awareness.

The English department participated in Auden celebrations

To celebrate Auden’s birthday the English department were pleased to host two events celebrating the life and works of OG W.H Auden. On the 7th February ‘Tell Me The Truth About Love” came to Fishmongers’ Hall. Charting the relationship between W.H Auden and Benjamin Britten, the performance wove together biographical details with extracts from letters and diaries. Beautifully scripted and read by John Smart, Paul Hands and Steve Benson, the story of their relationship was complimented by beautiful performances of Britten sung by soprano Jayne Jones, accompanied by Angela Dugdale and Wyatt Earp. The group perfectly conveyed the story of a relationship that seemed at first to bring out the best of each man’s genius, but finally ended in misunderstanding and regret. On the 8th February the Auden Society aptly gathered in the Auden Theatre, the focus this term was on Auden himself. Our Year 12 pupils led the charge and took a chronological approach to their presentations, creating variety and interest for those listening. Larkin gave an excellent introduction to the group on Auden’s younger years, focusing on his time at Gresham’s and using extracts from his Juvenilia collection. Phoebe, our Auden President, followed with a look at Auden’s time in Berlin and how he exemplified the rebellious streak of Germanophilia that took hold in England in the 1920’s. Miranda concisely developed on Phoebe and Larkin’s presentations by linking in much of the knowledge she had learnt from the performance in Fishmongers’ Hall on the previous night. The five poetic philosophies of belief, doubt, certainty, enchantment and truth that Auden mused over were carefully explained by Beowulf, with Tamsin ending the evening by giving a beautiful reading of ‘Funeral Blues’ and ‘Autumn Song’.

The History Book Club met to discuss ‘Making Sense of the Troubles’

In early February, the Year 13 pioneers of the History Book Club met to discuss the third book they have read so far, ‘Making Sense of the Troubles’ by David McKittrick and David McVea. Phoebe, Georgie and George met to discuss the book’s even-handed treatment of the Northern Ireland Conflict. They discussed the static nature of society in Northern Ireland after 1921, the influence of personalities like Terence O’Neill, Brian Faulkner and Ian Paisley, and the reasons for the descent into violence and the failure of the Stormont Assembly. They also shared some of the very moving personal testimonies of the Troubles and discussed what had led to the peace process and what the Northern Ireland Protocol might mean for the future of peace post-Brexit. The History Book Club is now expanding as Year 12 members join and our next book review is ‘Coffee with Hitler’ by Charles Spicer who will visit Gresham’s to talk about his book on Monday 27th February.