Year 13 historians took part in an online War of the Roses Conference

On Wednesday March 15th, Wars of the Roses Year 13 A level historians were treated to an online conference on the Wars of the Roses hosted by the Richard III Society. Throughout the day, they listened in to live presentations from leading academics in the field such as Hannes Kleineke, Lauren Johnson, Matthew Lewis, Anne Curry, Sean Cunningham, James Ross and Jo Laynesmith. Topics included Henry VI’s troubled relationship with Richard Duke of York, the reputation of Queen Margaret of Anjou, the relationship of Edward IV with his nobility and the short and failed reign of Richard III. Throughout, the group were given practical experience of using contemporary sources to make sense of the complex events of the late fifteenth century.  

Year 3 enjoyed a visit from the Hobgoblin Theatre Comany

Year 3 were lucky enough to have a visit from Hobgoblin Theatre Company last week. The children watched a performance of Perseus and Medusa and took part in a drama workshop based on the play. The children were an attentive audience and eager participants in the activities. It was a very enjoyable morning and a fantastic way to bring alive their studies of the Greek myths. 

The Auden Society hosted a fantastic evening covering topics related to women in literature

Phoebe W, president of the Auden Society, reports on their latest meeting:

‘The Auden Society were in full force last Wednesday, with Beowulf, Miranda, Kitty, Libby, Summer and Phoebe (Auden President) presenting on a wide range of topics all linking back to women in literature to celebrate International Women’s Day! The evening also saw some Year 11 pupils in attendance too, those looking to get a taste of what further study might involve.  

Beowulf opened the evening with a talk on Anglo-Saxon History and why he’s applying for the ASNC course at Cambridge. Summer and Phoebe spoke about their coursework text – The Little Stranger – and how their chosen texts – Rebecca and Wuthering Heights – explore the female gothic genre. Miranda then presented on Caryl’s Churchill’s Top Girls and its message of individualism vs social responsibility. We also had a great display of performance poetry, with Libby sharing some of her own work. Kitty finished the evening with a talk on The Buddha of Suburbia and the themes of post-colonial literature.  

Thank you so much to Mrs. Sharrock and all our speakers for such a wonderful evening!’

Well done to Tilly and Miranda who took part in the Oxford Union Schools’ Debating Finals Day

Tillie and Miranda journeyed across to Oxford for the Oxford Union Schools’ Debating Finals Day, which saw them compete with 120 of the best debating teams from the UK and across the world.  

This is difficult and intense debating, with just fifteen minutes to prepare for each motion (without access to any research materials or ability to consult teacher-coaches) and to get to venue before each debate begins. This was the first time that Tillie and Miranda had broken for Finals Day, matching the achievement by Dally and Nikita in reaching the online Finals Day of 2021. 

Tillie and Miranda competed in four debates in the British Parliamentary Style in an event which lasted nine hours. 

In the first debate, This House opposes the narrative that women can have it all, they came second as Opening Opposition. The second debate saw Gresham’s taking on the role of Opening Government defending the motion In areas of socioeconomic deprivation, this House would prioritize training students in vocational skills as opposed to traditional academic subjects and being placed third. The third debate, This House believes that the development of AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) should be restricted exclusively to government-controlled or funded institutions, saw Tillie and Miranda in the role of Closing Opposition and here they took a risk which did not pay off which saw them ranked fourth. Their final debate was This House opposes career politicians and they finished strongly, placed third as Closing Government. 

Overall, this gave the team a very creditable four points and, whilst not sufficient to reach the top eight in the competition who qualified for the semi-finals, they acquitted themselves extremely well throughout.  

Our Chapel now holds a Silver Eco Church Award

The Eco Church Award Scheme is designed to celebrate the way in which churches and their communities care for our planet as part of the Christian faith. Well done to everyone involved in reaching this milestone!

Pupils did clay target shooting as an afternoon activity this half term

Pupils have once again been given the opportunity to do clay target shooting as an afternoon activity in the second half of this term. More than 20 pupils of from Years 9 – 13 visited a local field for introductory sessions, using a range of shotguns, equipment and resources kindly provided by the CCF and under the watchful eye of Mr Clarke. Some enjoyed their first experience of shotgun shooting while others honed their skills with a selection of different challenges. The aim is both to introduce clay shooting to novices and to prepare the school teams for competitions to ensure they retain their many trophies won last year.

Our anti-bullying ambassadors spoke to Senior pupils in Chapel

In Chapel last Saturday our team of anti-bullying ambassadors presented to the Senior School an engaging and interactive talk on bullying. Their aim was to explain the different types of bullying, how it can affect young people and where to turn for help. Many thanks to Spike for leading the team and Grace, Tanya, Phoebe, Milan and Pearl for their organisation and delivery.

Congratulations to Tallis who have won the O’Connell Debating Trophy for 2022-23

The Year 10 and 11 Inter-house Debating Competition has reached its conclusion. Both semi-finals explored motions from the English-Speaking Union. Oakeley successfully defended the motion This House would introduce a 100% inheritance tax against a strong challenge from Farfield, whereas Wild Card Tallis were victorious in opposing the motion This House Believes that the UK government should pay reparations to its former colonies against a much-improved Howson’s. 

The motion for the final was: This House would require 50% of MPs in the House of Commons to be women. Tallis proposed the motion (Seb W, Joe H-P and Jack K) and Oakeley opposed (Zinny B, Mojo A and Eva O’D). This was a very close tie between the best two teams in the competition and a rematch of their first round clash. The Proposition argued that only an enforced 50-50 equality in the Commons could deliver meaningful gender equality, whereas the Opposition countered that such a move would patronising and that other measures to make the Commons more diverse and inclusive were more pressing. 

Mr Hipperson adjudicated and awarded the fixture to Tallis on the basis of the relevance of their arguments and they are therefore the winners of the O’Connell Debating Trophy for 2022-23.  

The Year 9 competition begins in the Summer Term. 

Pupils have given fantastic performances in recent Music events

Choral Society Concert

Our annual Lent Term Choral Society culminated in a rousing performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah on Sunday 5 March, conducted by Mark Jones. Over 60 people made up of keen singers from the local area, parents and staff were joined by an impressive soloist count of 18 pupils, who tacked with great aplomb the many arias and recitatives that make up this great work. They joined the main choir in all the chorus and Freddie S, Naomi H-S and Ilana B juggled choral scores with orchestral scores and also played with the guest orchestra. All soloists deserve a mention as, as is the Gresham’s way, they are involved in so much, including for some finalising Year 13 course work, mock exams, rehearsing for Phantom of the Opera and Will J and Jake O even managed to slip in a half marathon in Cambridge that morning!  Congratulations therefore to Julius R, Jimmy T, Will J, Rory R, Milan H, Raphael C, Johnny D, Jake O,  Will B, Freddie S, Naomi H-S, Mia W, Sophie L, Bea G, Zinny B, Ilana B, Reva S, Ruby S and Tamsin S for their achievement, commitment and wonderful performances.

A Level Recital EveninG

As part of the A level Music course, pupils are required to record a recital in a discipline of their choice (voice or instrumental) to fulfil the requirements of the performance module which carries 35% of the final mark.

On Wednesday 1 March, the 6 boys of the Year 13 Music set performed their pieces in Fishmongers’ Recital Hall to an appreciative and, by the end of the evening, a very impressed audience as the standard of all was exceptional. Accompanied by Ed Raison on drums and Mr Myers on bass, Jake O, opened the evening with his jazz piano set, playing 3 pieces which showcased his strengths. Highlighting the diverse range of music in the department, Jethro H gave a very professional performance on electric guitar, including pieces by Simon Troup and Steely Dan. Freddie S followed on, showcasing the trumpet as a solo instrument, playing a piece by J. E Barat. Noah W included two difficult Bach studies on his cello as well as the very enjoyable and fun piece ‘The Train Whistle’ by Minsky in his recital. The only singer, Johnny D opened with ‘Something’s Coming’ from West Side Story before turning to more classical pieces by Debussy, Schumann and Mendelssohn and Will J closed the evening with the first movement Beethoven’s Sonata in E, nicely balanced with a contemporary piece by Sculthorpe, ‘Snow, Moon and Flowers’.

EPTA Piano CompetitioN

Gresham’s hosted a regional round of the European Piano Teachers’ Association (EPTA) in February this year which saw Music Scholar, Rose T in Year 11, along with two Prep School pupils make it through to the final round in Covent Garden, London on Sunday 5 March. Following the round in a venue she knew, Rose reported the day was more of a challenge, with so many categories and little time to play on an unfamiliar piano. However, not deterred, Rose played extremely well and came second in her advanced class. Playing two contrasting pieces, ‘Valse’ by Chopin and ‘Cascades’ by Scott Joplin, the competition was a valuable performance opportunity away from the familiar territory of school and Rose found it to be a confidence-building and enjoyable experience. Interesting too to be able to sit and listen to other competitors and note their different styles and techniques.

Well done to Daisy who represented Norfolk tennis U18s

Well done to Year 12 pupil Daisy who represented Norfolk Tennis U18s at the County Cup in Grantham. Norfolk played Lincolnshire, North of Scotland and Northamptonshire and came 3rd.