Year 11 pupil Milan reflects on a visit from pianist Nicholas McCarthy

“Nicholas McCarthy is a concert pianist specialising in left-hand repertoire, and Gresham’s School created a brilliant opportunity for him to visit our school and showcase his musical ability as well as share his backstory. Across the two-day visit, there is not a shadow of a doubt that Nicholas gained the greatest respect of all the pupils and staff of Gresham’s School.

On Friday 13th January, a selected group of musicians at Gresham’s were treated to a masterclass by Mr McCarthy and then he demonstrated left-hand repertoire with a performance. Some lucky pianists were given a one-to-one session with Nick to improve their piece of choice and how to enhance the performing aspect of playing the piano.

On Saturday 14th, Nick McCarthy gave an inspirational talk during the School Chapel Service and also demonstrated left-hand piano-playing. His talk was on the topic of his life story and how, even though he was born with one hand only, he decided, after seeing a friend play the piano at school, that he too would like to not only play the piano but become a concert pianist. Initially, he did not even have a piano, although he did get a keyboard for the following Christmas; he taught himself to play, and used Radio 3 as his inspiration and teacher. One day, his father told Nick to turn the radio down, and in fact it was Nick playing! This was when he knew he was good and he subsequently applied for multiple music colleges across the UK. He made history when he became the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the prestigious Royal College of Music in London. Ultimately the main takeaway from the talk was: no matter how many people put you down or discourage you, no matter what the obstacles standing in your way, nothing is impossible and no matter how crazy your dreams may be, you’ll be able to achieve them if you put the effort in.”

Three Sixth Form pupils have made it to the third round of the ESU Mace Debating Competition

Debating is already in full swing this term. Many congratulations to Sixth Formers Miranda H-S, Georgie C and Tillie C who progressed to the third round of the ESU Mace Debating competition by successfully defending the motion This House Would abolish trial by jury in the second regional heat held at Langley School. Only two teams progressed to the next stage of the competition, so this was an outstanding performance from three very talented debaters. 

The Year 10 and 11 Inter-House Debating Competition is also moving through the first round. Oakeley saw off the challenge of a strong Tallis team, successfully defeating the motion This House would make the study of mathematics compulsory until the age of 18. Howson’s also overcame Edinburgh in opposing the motion This House supports Scotland’s gender recognition reform bill

Our VEX robotics teams achieved a top 5 place in the regional competition

The VEX Robotics teams have been working hard since September to prepare for the regional competitions for the ‘Spin Up’ challenge this year. They travelled to Colchester and displayed excellent teamwork, problem solving skills and resilience to reach the top 5 position out of 20. They hope to improve further in other upcoming competitions to enable them to attend the National competition in March.

Year 8 enjoyed a chilly Winter Beowulf camp

The pupils braved some very low temperatures to camp out in the school woods during a January weekend. They enjoyed a take-away curry, flame-grilled popcorn and a breakfast fry-up, as well as sleeping in the outdoor cabin’s hammocks. This was a great opportunity to develop resilience in both staff and pupils; a great time was had by all!

Our Amnesty International Write for Rights group has re-launched

As part of our Services programme, our Amnesty International Write for Rights group re-launched this month. So far, the group have written to governments and victims in both Bangladesh and Cameroon, where human rights abuses have been highlighted through specific cases. Anyone can join the campaign and information is on the Noticeboard Team under the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion tab. 

Chinese department celebrated Chinese Luna New Year 2023

This year, the festival fell on 22nd January and marked the start of the Year of the Rabbit. Although generally calm, gentle and loving, Rabbit people can be very ambitious and intuitively know how to get ahead in the world.

To celebrate Chinese Luna New Year, Senior pupils studying Chinese paid a visit to a restaurant in Norwich for a New Year meal. They had the opportunity to bring their learning from the classroom into practice within a celebration of culture and enjoyment. An especially big thank you to Mr Nelson for joining the group for the celebration and for driving them safely. 

Howson’s have been working on their survival skills

Year 9 have been learning how to use tools such as a saw, axe and knives to effectively prepare firewood. This included making pegs, techniques for splitting logs and making kindling.

The following week, they put their new skills to the test, in order to build and light a fire. They discovered that isn’t quite as easy as it looks, but teamwork makes all the difference!

The boys then moved on to shelter building. They made the most of their teamwork skills to build a shelter that could fit the group, and concentrated on the roof.

They then had to contend with windier conditions in which to create a fire the following week, so they found objects to work as a wind break (some found themselves the best option!) Mr Majid then demonstrated how to fillet a mackerel and some of the group took the opportunity to try this themselves and then cook their efforts.

The CCF RAF Section have been working on their classification training

Whilst the Year 10 pupils have been preparing for their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, the Year 11 and Year 12 pupils have been completing their classification training to develop their understanding of the principles of flight, flying operations and airmanship knowledge. In an effort to give rather complex theory some practical application, Cadet Flight Sergeant Julius R had the Year 12 cadets display air power in the form of paper aeroplanes! 

After the home weekend, the cadets will be moving into the shooting range to start their small arms training – watch this space! 

Year 7 & 8 pupils visited Productivity East at UEA

At the beginning of term, a group of 15 Year 7 & 8 pupils visited the Productivity East building at the University of East Anglia. During their visit they learned about what it takes to become a fully qualified engineer. They toured the building and were able to see a range of sophisticated equipment, used to do anything from 3D printing to milling components out solid blocks of metal and testing the stresses and strains on materials.

Girls’ football is underway!

Recently in Lent term senior games, girls have had the option to choose football and have been very fortunate that the school has made new links with Norwich FC Community Sports Foundation. Our thanks go to Rosie Filby for coaching and inspiring the next generation of female footballers.