Senior and Prep pupils enjoyed Chapel’s ‘Soul Space’

Senior and Prep pupils got to experience Chapel in a very different way this week. The historic interior of the chapel was transformed with stunning immersive light and sound for ‘Soul Space’. Soul Space contained thirteen creative, tactile ‘stations’ which gave the students an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and spirituality in a fun, open, safe and inclusive way.

Cadet Flight Sergeant Georgia has been appointed to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer

Georgia C has been leading the CCF RAF Section since May 2022 and, in recognition of her exemplary service, her appointment to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer has been sanctioned by the Contingent Commander, Lt Col Gates.

Her role in the CCF involves liaising with CCF staff, organising weekly activities, leading cadets, teaching lessons and, most importantly, setting high standards and maintaining morale when Friday afternoons are cold and wet!

She joined the CCF RAF Section in Year 10, having already attended a week-long camp at RAF Henlow in the summer of Year 9. At the end of Year 10 she was promoted to NCO and, to quote the then Flight Lieutenant Lawes, “Never have I seen a Year 10 pupil come in and smash it quite like Georgia.” In Year 11 she successfully applied to the Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell. The course was sadly cancelled due to Covid but, not willing to sacrifice her cadet career to the pandemic, she completed the Leading Cadet syllabus online and returned (in person) in Year 12 to receive promotions to Corporal and then Sergeant. The highlight of Year 13 has been selecting, training and polishing a team of cadets to compete in the Royal Air Squadron Trophy competition, where the Gresham’s team were placed 4th overall (one place short of reaching the national competition).

By virtue of her involvement in the CCF RAF Section, Georgia has also been involved in the United Kingdom Cadet Rifle Team and has represented the British Cadets Rifle Team.

Georgia said of her achievement, “the CCF is a fabulous way to develop useful life skills and I can see now, as I think about life beyond Gresham’s, how valuable my many CCF experiences have been.

Introducing the Prep School’s Green Team!

A group of pupils from Years 5, 6 and 7 have joined with Dr Rose to create a Gresham’s Green Team. They are aiming to help make the school an eco-friendlier place and have pledged to encourage pupils to turn off lights and waste less food, plant new trees around the school, organise a litter pick and create birdhouses.

Year 2 have been learning to fly drones

As part of Year 2’s topic, ‘Up in the Clouds’ they learned how to be a successful drone pilot.

Army and RAF Cadets spent a day at Robertson Barracks

A group of Army and RAF section cadets spent a day live firing the cadet rifle on the 25m range at Robertson Barracks, with some excellent marksmanship skills on display.

Year 11 pupil Alma delivered a moving talk to mark Holocaust Memorial Day

The Senior School gathered together in Chapel for a special service to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. During the service, Year 11 pupil Alma delivered a deeply moving talk about her great-grandparents who had suffered persecution in occupied France during the Second World War and connected their story to her own sense of Jewish identity. The school ended the service with an impeccably kept period of silence to remember the six million people who were killed in ‘the shoah’.

The Big School and Reith refurbishment project

The genesis of this large refurbishment project lies with the completion of the superb Dyson Building and the School having the opportunity to upgrade the former Science and IT classrooms. In September 2021, work started to scope and design a scheme to upgrade the East Wing of Big School (Phase 1) and the remainder of the Reith Building (Phase 2). The project’s aims include – to restore the 120 year old East Wing to provide modern and up to date classroom facilities on a par with the Dyson experience; to upgrade the >50 year old Reith building to also provide modern classroom facilities; to enhance energy performance of the buildings; to provide new office space and most importantly a new second floor in Big School that links with the Reith second floor to provide a new exam and study space for pupils.

Visualisation of the Reith 2nd floor study/exam area

With the School’s Estates Department acting as the ‘client’ and working closely with our architect, Hudson Architects, as well as a team of professional consultants, the design has concentrated on the detail as well as the required functions for the revised spaces to ensure that not only the historic elements of the buildings are retained but also to ensure that pupils will enjoy working in the new spaces.

New Big School 2nd floor study/exam area built in the original 1902 lecture theatre

After a full and in-depth tender process, Cocksedge Construction Limited was chosen as the main contractor for this project. Progress has been swift and to date a full rip out in Big School has been completed, the new Big School second floor installed, the original parquet flooring prepared in readiness for sanding and polishing and first fix fully under way. In the near future work will start on the Big School sash windows to fully upgrade them (not replace) and to replace the existing glass with slimline double glazing.  Work will also commence soon to manufacture new doors to replace the existing doors on a like-for-like basis to conform with all new fire regulations. Work will soon be expanded to the roof to upgrade the current structure as required.

Work will continue through the year on Big School, culminating in June when Phase 2 in the Reith building is planned to commence.  Phase 1, Big School East Wing will be readied over the summer so that pupils will be able to use the new facilities from the Michaelmas term and it is hoped that the Reith building will be ready for use by the pupils in Summer Term ’24.

The Winter ski trips were a great experience for all involved

Year 10 & 11 Ski Trip

A party of 46 pupils and 6 staff departed school first thing on New Years Day, heading out to Folgarida in the Italian Dolomites. This is a relatively small resort, interlinked with several others giving access to 150Km of piste. Following quite a straight forward day of travel, they arrived at their hotel in time for dinner, and some rest, before an early start the next day.

Ski fit began at 7am and everyone was kitted out and ready to go by 9. The sun was shining and they were lucky with plenty of snow so the week ahead was looking good. After a brief ski test the pupils were split into 4 ability groups and off they went. The instructors made the occasional change during the week to ensure that everyone was in the appropriate group. The weather remained kind to them for the entire trip, albeit unseasonably warm, and good ski conditions were had by all. The evenings were made up of some time to rest, some great food, and an après ski programme including a disco, karaoke, quiz night, bingo, and a pizza restaurant.

A good time was had by all!

Sixth Form Ski Trip

The day after the end of Michaelmas term, 18 pupils and 3 members of staff left Gresham’s at 0400 and travelled down to Heathrow to start their journey over to Panorama, Canada. The trip comprised of five days of skiing, followed by a trip to Niagara Falls and day in downtown Toronto. Thankfully, the plane seats were comfortable and flight entertainment substantial for the 7-hour journey. With the change in time zones, the group landed only a couple of hours after they took off. The connection from Toronto onto Calgary went smoothly and they were on schedule until Mr Liberman’s ski bag didn’t turn up. Finally at 0100 they arrived at their destination, The Approach, Panorama. They quickly settled into their rooms, knowing that breakfast was only a few hour away at 0700. 

Following a filling breakfast, they were quickly fitted with their ski equipment and ready for the first day of lessons. The well pisted slopes and crisp Canadian mountain air were refreshing and invigorating allowing everyone a great day of skiing expect Mr Liberman as his skis had not arrived yet. After another filling and quality meal in the resort’s Great Hall, they decided that it was a good idea to get an early night. 

The next couple of days were much the same as the first, they were on the slopes and in ski lessons from 0900, skiing until lunch time when they had an hour break to visit one of the restaurants, the pizza and steak house was a favourite amongst the staff and pupils alike. As a mid-afternoon break some of the group would choose to have a little hot chocolate treat to keep them going . The skiing lessons ended at 1600 when they would ready themselves for some lovely food, which was always hot and in plenty of supply. On an evening, they made use of the hotel’s excellent amenities; gym, hot tub and sauna. One night, the group chose to go to the local hot pools, which was a naturally heated outdoor pool.  

Mr Liberman’s skis did not show up until towards the end of trip when he could be seen tearing up the slopes, there was literally nothing that could stop him. To say that the weather turned cooler towards the end of the week is a bit of an understatement. They found that the top of the mountain remained closed due to the –35 degree C temperature. The mid mountain sat around –25 and even walking about at the bottom of the ski lift could cause water moisture in the nostrils to freeze. This did not put off the pupils though, who wanted to get every last minute they could from the excellent ski instructors. All of the pupils made progress and it was great to see some of them show real grit when it came to the cool skiing days. 

The next phase of the trip was to make an early start to get over to Niagara Falls. This meant leaving Panorama before sunrise on a 3 hour coach journey followed by a 4 hour flight then an hour in the coach to get to our hotel next to Niagara falls. They quickly dropped off our bags and then headed out for a meal together. They found a relaxed dinner and refueled after a long day of travel. Another early night was needed to make sure they could get full use out of their day in Toronto. By 0930 they had visited the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls. Many of the pupils were surprised by the size and the noise it generated. Mr Majid then took to the mic and gave an impromptu site seeing commentary as they travelled through Niagara on the lake and then onto downtown Toronto. Options in Toronto included climbing the CN towner, watching an ice hockey match, or shopping in the largest mall in Canada. The group decided that a shopping trip was required so they spent the last few hours of the trip shopping for Christmas presents. Once they had all spent up, they met up again and boarded the private coach to the airport. On the way, they hit some pretty bad traffic and a journey that should have only taken 40 minutes was, according to the Sat Nav, going to take double this. Worrying about missing check-in, they started to check the news on what was causing the delays. It became clear that the huge snowstorm that had already caused the freezing temperatures in Vancouver and caused the –35 daytime temperatures in Panorama was catching them up. At this point they realised, if they didn’t get out of Toronto in the next 24 hours, they might not make it back for Christmas. This was not a great time to arrive at the airport, to find it full of people trying to escape and make it home for Christmas and then to be informed that the flight was delayed by at least five hours AND they didn’t know how long specifically, until it had taken off from Vancouver! All that could be done was to head over to the departure lounge and wait patiently. After franticly enquiring and failing to get some pupils on a flight directly to where they had planned to travel onward from London, the group had some good news. They would only delayed by six hours! After many laps of the airport, they were finally able to board the flight back to the UK and make it to their final destinations in time for Christmas.  

Many thanks to the pupils and staff for being patient and understanding throughout the delays. The team have already started thinking about the next trip.

Well done to pupils picked to represent Norfolk and London South East rugby teams

Henry F, Freddie P, Harry P, Josh H, Will M and Yannick R all represented Norfolk and Eastern Counties Rugby U18’s this season, which is a fantastic achievement. They competed in the Eastern Counties Rugby Union​ Tri-Counties cup and were victorious against Cambridge and drew with Suffolk. Henry F has progressed even further and has been included in the 48 man squad for London South East U18’s. The London South East squad is made up of players from Eastern Counties, Sussex, Surry Kent and Hampshire. Well done to all and good luck to Henry F who will hopefully make the final 23 man squad.

The Gresham’s Agriculture Conference was a great opportunity for pupils to hear from industry experts

Gresham’s pupils, along with pupils from surrounding Norfolk schools, attended the first Annual Gresham’s Agriculture Conference organised by our Careers and Agriculture Departments. During the morning’s formal lectures, they heard from industry experts on the direction of travel of the sector, all aimed at trying to find solutions that enable us to feed the world while being sympathetic to the environment. Thanks go to Phil Jarvis and Anthony Blanchfield from Albanwise Farming, John Purslow from Farmacy, Mark Nicholas from the RNAA, Ali Cargill from Pitt Farms Ltd and Andy Coecup from Wildfarmed for engaging with participants so expertly. The afternoon’s interactive workshop saw representatives from all corners of the industry interacting with pupils as they explored careers, education pathways and gap years in the sector. Our thanks go to all those who gave so freely of their time to support the pupils’ development. See you all next year!