Pupils have been practising the ancient Chinese art of calligraphy

For well over a century Western art has been influenced by the ancient Chinese art of calligraphy. This week, Year 9 Mandarin learners have been dipping their pens into this skill with amazing results. Pupils have practiced calligraphy with chosen poems written by Li Qingzhao (1084 – ca. 1155), one of the greatest poets in Chinese history. Pupils were engaged, competent and successful with this task.

Although this is many of the pupils’ first contact with Chinese calligraphy, they have quickly made an introduction to extremely advanced skills. This includes how to hold the brush correctly, applying their brush movement using the correct amount of ink and to beginning to express links between harmony of motion, semantic content and ‘artistic’ expression. When rendering strokes with one’s brush, one will experience the basic movements of Tai Chi and the delicate balance of Yin and Yang.

House Music 2023

House Music was a celebration of all things musical. Judge Ash Soan was amazed by the variety of instrumentalists, the quality of singers, and the energy emanating from Unison. Particularly impressive were Arkell, making a bold statement at the start of Instrumental, signifying their arrival to the competition with a bold Samba number. Jazz, funk, soul and pop music entertained the packed sports hall, with Woodlands being victorious in the Instrumental section. Part Song invited the vocalists to sing in close harmony, with little or no accompaniment. A wonderful display of vocal expression, with Oakeley winning this category. Unison promotes the true house spirit, with mashups, TikTok dance moves and a united house, Queens’ were the winners with a fantastic performance from ‘Fame’. Queens’ were the overall competition winners, with all house making exceptional contributions to the spectacle of the annual House Music competition.  

National Theatre Live trip to “Skylight”

The cultural appreciation trips offered by the English department are back, and when the NT Live comes to town it can mean only one thing: a trip to McDonald’s and the cinema! Our pupils were lucky enough to experience the David Hare play “Skylight” which was being screened locally this week as part of the National Theatre Live series. This play had it all: the stunning acting skills of Bill Nighy and Carey Mulligan, the direction of Stephen Daldry, a deep social commentary, and a lot of humour. It is fantastic to see our pupils taking such a keen interest in the world of theatre outside of the classroom. Our next trip is going to be the screening of “Dear England” in January and is open to all pupils in Year 11-13.

The U14 boys’ rugby team have made it through to round 4 of the U14 National Cup

The U14 boys’ rugby team travelled to Samuel Whitbread Academy for Round 3 of the U14 National Cup. The boys were keen to maintain their unbeaten run but knew this would be the toughest test of the season so far. Gresham’s started the match slowly and conceded a try within the first two minutes. This disappointing start shocked the boys into action, and they went ahead quite soon afterwards with a try and conversion from Henry K. At half time, the match was evenly poised, with both teams playing some excellent rugby. Gresham’s started the second half in dominant fashion and extended their lead with another try from Henry K. Gresham’s showed patience in defence and plenty of flair in attack and with ten minutes to go, Henry K completed his hattrick and converted for a 19-5 lead. This is how the game finished and at the final whistle, the boys celebrated a hard-fought win and look forward to hearing about who they will face in the Fourth Round. There were some excellent performances across the team, Sam T was a nuisance at the breakdown, Ollie J carried strongly, Henry P was solid at full back, but Player of the Match was Charlie C for his exceptional work rate, breaking the gain line on multiple occasions and for his steal at the breakdown and incredible off-load for Henry’s second try. An impressive team performance, bring on Round 4.

Well done to Victoria for undertaking her Extended Essay in her third language – French!

The Yr 13 IB Extended Essays are all well underway with some very interesting topics being analysed this year. The Modern Languages Department would like to give a special mention to Victoria, who is undertaking her Extended Essay in her 3rd language – French! There is no extra consideration given to this fact and this has meant that she is the first pupil in a long time to accept the challenge. We wish her every success as she writes about to what extent the linguistic variation in the film ‘Intouchables’ highlights the differences between the social classes in Paris.

Chapel was decorated with light in celebration of Diwali

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Rev Dr Martin Luther King

Diwali is primarily a Hindu festival celebrated by adherents of other faiths too as a Festival of Lights. It celebrates the story of Rama and his wife Sita returning to their kingdom after defeating the demon king Ravana, with the lights symbolising the candles the kingdom lit to lead the two home. In recognition of this and all festivals of light, there was a beautiful display of lights within the chapel: a light suspended from the beams, complemented by swirls of smoke created by a smoke machine for pupils and staff to lie beneath complementing the significance of light for them – victory of light over darkness, good over evil or perhaps knowledge over ignorance. Visitors enjoyed a selection of “Diwali doughnuts” to represent the community aspect of the holiday. Some chose to sit quietly in contemplation for a while and others used the occasion to discuss their spirituality with others. Thank you to all who attended!

The chapel was also lit by flickering candles each side of the aisle and visitors were invited to share the light by lighting tealights with tapers.

Pupils enjoyed a STEAM inter-house competition run by Lotus Cars

As part of our STEAM enrichment weeks, Lotus Cars ran a STEAM inter-house competition held in Big School. Pupils had to design a spaghetti bridge before buying resources using ‘Lotus dollars’ and then building a bridge that could hold objects at least 14cm off a table. Lotus had never seen such a closely matched draw in this competition in its history. Oakley, Edinburgh and Farfield were all joint winners and Lotus are preparing prizes for the winning houses. Thank you to all that took part.

Drama pupils enjoyed a visit to Monumental Pictures

The Careers & Drama departments collaborated to take sixth form Drama pupils at the kind invitation of British Film Producer, Debra Hayward to visit the production house, Monumental Pictures, at the Broadcast Centre, London. The pupils had received in advance a script of a series, The Marlow Murder Club, which Monumental Pictures had filmed in the summer and was now in final stages of editing.  

The pupils were treated to a short viewing of the final edit and then talks involving each stage of the production process from Debra Hayward – CEO, Lucy Rawlinson – Head of Development, Fran Everett – Development Exec, Jill Forbes – Head Of Production, Louisa Ezziane – Production Manager, Beth Brown – Asst. to Alison Owen, Ani Scordellis – Asst. to Alison Carpenter, Steve Barron – Director and Robert Thorogood – Writer.

It was a superb visit giving the pupils insight into the enormity and variety of roles and expertise involved in the tv and film production process. The Drama pupils loved it and were an absolute credit to themselves & Gresham’s – enthused, engaged, and full of questions. We would like to thank a very generous donation to the Gresham’s Foundation for enriching arts learning for sponsoring the trip.

Pupils have enjoyed many opportunities from the Music department including performances and a vocal masterclass


On Thursday 2nd November, we had our second Evensong of the year which celebrated All Souls Day. Despite the weather, this was well attended, with music from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. This was performed beautifully by Schola Cantorum, with solos performed by Rory, Jimmy and Tamsin. 


On the 5th of November Schola Cantorum gave their annual performance of Fauré’s requiem in Binham Abbey alongside a professional orchestra. A packed church was treated to a first half that included a composition by Jimmy and Tamsin’s stunning interpretation of Medelssohn’s ‘O for the wings of a dove’. The atmosphere of high-quality music making in the second half’s requiem was palpable, a special mention for soloists Ruby, Jimmy and Rory.  

Music & Munch 

Music & Munch, our community informal concert series, welcomed record numbers in the audience on Friday 10th November, with pupils performing to a packed Tig’s Café. Opening with Percussion Ensemble, followed by the newly formed Guitar Ensemble, this was a concert of firsts. David R sang for the first time, Ruby S and Tamsin S performed songs from their recent conservatoire auditions and a wonderful performance from Peter R on piano, and Heidi W on voice and piano.  

Vocal Masterclass 

As part of the Sir John Hurt vocal masterclass series kindly supported by Lady Hurt, on 14th November we welcomed Kitty Whately back to Gresham’s. She is currently taking the English song class at the Royal College of Music so this was a step up for many of the singers. The first half of the day was spent working in detail with the most advanced singers in the school on pieces from German Lieder, French Melodie, English song, Oratorio, musical theatre Pop and Opera. In the latter part of the day some of the newer singers in the school took part in a group session working together with Kitty on their various pieces, exploring the nuances that can be found within a high level of vocal performance. 

Vocal Recital 

17 of our most able singers took to the stage to sing in the Vocal Recital, showcasing the wide variety of music learnt by our musicians from Year 9 to Year 13, culminating in a rousing collective performance showcasing highlights from the upcoming school musical, ‘Amelie’.  

The Auden Society were treated to some inspiring talks

The Auden Society were treated to some inspiring talks this week as they gathered for their third meeting of the year. Alma shared a very personal reading journey, inspired by ‘Même le bruit de la nuit ont changés’ by Violette d’Urso which was beautifully delivered and highlighted how emotive reading can become when you find a book that relates to a personal circumstance. Eduvie’s passionate introduction to film had us all hooked – I know we will be seeing more of him on the big screen in the future! Following Eduvie, Beowulf explained the concept of the poetic muse to the group and gave some excellent examples from the world of literature. Lastly, Emily recommended a recent read by Maggie O’Farrell, ‘The Marriage Portrait’, that connected well for many of our pupils who have studied ‘To My Last Duchess’ at GCSE. What a wonderful evening of literary inspiration and discussion, and fantastic to see pupils attending who do not study English too! The next gathering is on the 6th December for the Auden Christmas Special.