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.

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!

Two pupils have completed work experience with Leathes Prior

Work Experience

During the Christmas holidays, current Year 13 pupils, Freddie and Nico, took the opportunity of a work experience day with law firm Leathes Prior, to go and see for themselves what it’s like working in a law firm. They were given a great insight into the variety of routes to qualification in the modern world; from a Solicitor Apprenticeship route, to the CILEX path, and to practising as a solicitor. The day celebrated the importance and positivity of learning about next steps through work experience.

Enrichment talk

Our Head of Agriculture, James Beales, gave an academic enrichment talk to Year 13 pupils which expanded on the depth and breadth of the agriculture sector and emphasised the importance of taking an interest in the World. It helped pupils to understand how a career that you think you have no interest can be an enriching experience.

The Music Department have had a busy start to 2023

Music and Munch

The first Music and Munch of 2023 featured a real mix of musical genres, from classical piano to musical theatre, and from film score to funky saxophone! The next Music and Munch is on Friday 3rd February. 

CHAPEL SERVICES

Recently Chapel has celebrating several different musical traditions with lots of wonderful music. A Gospel Service took place, featuring Michelle W, Jemima T, Summer H, Beatrice G, Levin R, Edward D M, Eduvie O, Jake O and Mr Myers. Their band brought plenty of energy and excitement to the proceedings! The whole school also had a chance to join in with the gospel hits ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Make Me A Channel’ and, of course, ‘Shine Jesus Shine’. 

Returning to the traditional format during the termly service of Choral Evensong, Chapel Choir sang to boarders, parents and staff. The candlelit Chapel created a special atmosphere whilst the choir performed music by Stanford, Balfour Gardiner, Wilby and Parry. 

During Monday morning Chapel, Schola Cantorum performed ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, arranged by Turner, bringing another genre of music to our versatile Chapel space. 

Thank you and well done to all the pupils who shared their music.

CHORAL SOCIETY

Calling all singers – Lent Term Choral Society

Our chosen work for the annual March Choral Society Concert is Mendelssohn’s Elijah. Rehearsals have already started but anyone wishing to join is more than welcome to come along at between 7 – 8.15pm on a Thursday evening. The concert will take place in the Auden Theatre on Sunday 5th March. Please email Fiona Ross, [email protected] for further details.

Upcoming events

CHORAL CONCERT 

3rd February, 7pm – Gresham’s Chapel 

Listen to the beautiful sound of Gresham’s choral ensembles from within the atmospheric setting of the school Chapel.

To reserve a free ticket, visit https://www.trybooking.co.uk/CCWL  

INSTRUMENTAL CONCERT 

8th February, 7.30pm – Fishmongers’ Recital Hall 

Gresham’s flagship ensembles – Concert Band, String Ensemble, Brass Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble – perform a varied programme of instrumental music.

To reserve a free ticket, visit https://www.trybooking.com/uk/CCWE 

ACADEMIC RECITAL 

1st March, 7pm – Fishmongers’ Recital Hall 

Sixth form pupils perform their final recitals for A level and IB courses. Recitals will be recorded for academic submission.

To reserve a free ticket, visit https://www.trybooking.co.uk/CCWH 

CHORAL SOCIETY: MENDELSSOHN’S ELIJAH 

5th March, 6.30pm – Auden Theatre   

Gresham’s Choral Society present Mendelssohn’s Elijah, featuring solo student performances and accompanied by a professional orchestra. 

£10 tickets available now from https://www.trybooking.co.uk/CCDH 

80 pupils enjoyed a performance of ‘The Mousetrap’

80 pupils made their way to Norwich Theatre Royale to see Agatha Christie’s play ‘The Mousetrap’. The pupils were enthralled by the murder mystery, which kept them guessing throughout. 

Some of the pupils will document this experience as part of their Bronze Arts Award qualification, whilst others will use this experience to inform classroom discussion in English and Drama lessons. A great day out!

Well done to all who have competed in Cross Country recently

East Anglian League

The yearly cross-country battle between Ipswich, Norwich, RHS and Gresham’s has got underway with a very positive start for Gresham’s Cross Country team. With two competitions completed, the girls team has secured two wins. With Maya P and Grace H leading the team of Lily C, Alice D and Tanya P, they have all contributed to the result with their top ten finishes. They are all training for the Cambridge half marathon and are making great progress.

Norfolk Schools Cross Country Championship.

The first of the qualifying rounds for the English school’s cross country was held at Wymondham College and our teams demonstrated a fine performance. Lottie H and Edie C were first away in the Junior girls race and Lottie had a cracking start leading for the first lap. However, she was caught on the second and finished in a close second place qualifying for the next round of the competition. Edie had a strong race and finished in the top half of the main pack.

Ted K and Connor M were up next and showed some promise in a strong field. They finished in 36th and 63rd respectively. The Year 10 boys’ races was a long 6.3km. Ben W and Ollie M competed in a strong field and finished 16th and 52nd respectively.

The Year 11 girls’ race was a fast and furious event with some falls at the first corner. Our four worked hard and finished with Charlotte G in 12th claiming the last qualification spot, closely followed by Evie H 13th, Poopy G 17th and Poppy G 32nd.

The senior girls’ race was dominated by Hattie R fresh from her GB debut in Belgium. She led from start to finish and eased back on the second lap to conserve energy for the South of England Cross Country Championship on the 28th January. Maya P also put in a great effort finishing 7th so both girls qualify for the next round of the competition.

Well done to all.