On Sunday 26th June, 61 pupils began their silver and gold DofE expeditions in the Yorkshire Dales. They worked very hard over the coming days to carry out the tasks necessary to complete the awards. Well done to all involved!
Our Biology Department completed their annual fieldwork days in June, taking all pupils in Year 12 who study Biology (at A level or IB) and Environmental Systems and Societies (for IB) to local areas to carry out key practical work. These days involved sampling two areas at Warham camp to calculate and compare species diversity between two areas, as well as carry out statistical tests to see if specific species were more likely to be found growing together. Pupils also studied succession at Burnham-Overy-Staithe and rock pool ecology at West Runton, as well as carrying out a transect across the rocky shore to see if there is a correlation between distance from the shore and abundance of specific species of seaweed. The weather was good for both days and the pupils really benefitted from being able to practically learn ecological field techniques in the beautiful North Norfolk coastline that is right on our doorstep.
It has been a great year in Physics and has been finished with the news that Hal S and Alfie K have been awarded a Gold and Silver Physics Olympiad award. The Gold award is achieved by the top 8% of pupils taking the hour paper nationally and puts Hal in a select group. Closely followed up with Alfie who won a Silver award in the same competition putting him in the top 18% nationally. Congratulations to them both, after a year of consistent effort.
For One Night Only, a company of 12 Year 12 pupils presented a murder mystery with larger than life characters in a period piece evoking the romance and glamour of the 1930s and paying homage to the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. With 1 brutally murdered victim, 8 suspects and a Great Detective, the clues came thick and fast as the tension mounted. This was a visually engaging production with the audience close in on the action armed with drinks and a willingness to take the journey with company. Tickets were free with donations going to the charity Ukraine 24. The generous crowd donated just under £400 to help provide medical supplies to those innocents caught up in the conflict.
In February 2022, Stephen Hussey, Musical Director and Founder of the Urban Soul Orchestra (USO) came to Gresham’s to meet, and begin a composition project, with our six Year 12 A Level Music pupils. Over the course of the next few months he revisited the school and worked with them arranging well-known dance tracks as part of their academic requirement, which would ultimately make up the first half of the concert on 18th July 2022 during the Greshfest Weekend. Running alongside this, an orchestra collaboration brought together pupils from Norfolk Schools and Gresham’s, to learn the music and perform with USO in the concert. Stephen, along with members of the orchestra and Gina, one of the main singers, also spent time in school working with Gresham’s pupils at orchestra and vocal workshop days.
The results were quite remarkable and on the night of Saturday 18th July, Freddie S (trumpet), Noah W (cello), Johnny D (violin), William J (trombone), Jethro H (electric guitar) and Jake O (piano), not only took their place alongside the USO on stage but were able to enjoy the experience of having a well-known, professional orchestra play their arrangements. Callum R, Nureyn M, Ruby S, Tavi P, Tamsin S and Oliver B provided vocals. Pupils from our Prep and Senior schools, as well as pupils from schools around Norfolk, played in the orchestra.
Hussey and his orchestra were extremely impressed with all the pupils and they are keen to work with the school in the future. The value of this wonderful opportunity, from a both academic and co-curricular standing, cannot be underestimated and the A level musicians have been invited to play with USO once again, during their rehearsal at Blicking Hall at Classic Ibiza in August. What an honour!
Blake Fundraising concert
On Saturday 11th June, 11 pupils from the choir were invited to sing with the success classical vocal Trio Blake as part of a fundraising evening. Blake member and OG Humphrey Berney had organised the evening picnic event in aid of the Rose Berney Memorial Fund, supporting mental health and suicide prevention, Rose being the sister he had tragically lost due to mental health issues several years ago. Despite the subject matter, it was a wonderful evening in the grounds of the Berney home and our pupils accompanied Bake on several tracks as well as singing in the interval as the large audience picnicked. Special mention must go to Tavi P who sang Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu with Humphrey.
As the Country celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, Gresham’s too staged a memorable day of events in the Theatre in the Woods in recognition of this once in a life time event. A Chapel Service in the morning was followed by the CCF Parade which included our newly formed CCF Marching Band. All credit to them as, for the first time, the musicians looked the part with reduced copies of music held in ‘lyres’ on their instruments. Pupils enjoyed sausage and mash in a street-style lunch in the very patriotically decorated CFB. At 3.30pm musicians, singers and pupils from the Pre-Prep, Prep and Senior Schools came together for a concert to celebrate all things British. It was a spectacular event, mirroring a proms-style concert and one which allowed the whole Gresham’s family to come together to watch and perform. Concert Band, Orchestra, Choirs and solos provided a rousing programme including the theme from James Bond, a Beatles medley and music by Elgar and Warlock. The audience was treated to the world-premiere of Joe P’s Music A Level composition Trio im Sommer, while Year 13s Kate W, Oliver B and Oliver T performed solos as one of their final contributions to the Music Department. Mr Girling led the audience and choirs in singing The National Anthem, I Vow to Thee my Country and as a finale Rule Britannia, amid much flag waving.
Musicians at Gresham’s had the honour of singing for the Fishmongers’ Company Election Day Service last week. This is a prestigious event that occurs only every two years. 24 pupils embarked on the exciting day trip to London, rehearsing hard all day ahead of their performances during the evening service in St Magnus the Martyr Church. This was a fantastic experience and a good preparation for Choir Tour in October.
Music and Munch
The final Music and Munch of the academic year was a resounding success! A wonderfully supportive audience listened to eight vocal and instrumental performances, with music ranging from Mozart and Schumann to a rendition of a pupil’s original composition, Joel Philpott’s ‘Trio im Sommer’.
This brings us to the close of the informal concert series this year. Music and Munch will return on Friday 30th September.
The June Field Days saw our pupils enjoy a range of activities.
Year 9 CCF
All Year 9 pupils who are enrolled in the CCF were involved in basic expedition & skills training on the summer field days. It involved a skills assessment based at school plus a half day practical navigation assessment on a walk in North Norfolk. The aim was to develop the skills required in the CCF proficiency syllabus as well as complete some of the requirements of the DofE Bronze award for a practice expedition
80 pupils and staff volunteered in the local community, giving their time, energy and enthusiasm to make a difference during the Field days.
Here are some snapshots from the activities:
A great pile of clothes, about the size of a car, needed to be shifted out of storage and then sorted into piles according to age, size and gender. This will become the stock for a new clothes bank in Holt.
Yards of fencing, made up of pallets or panels, located at two different sites, required painting. It took 18 pairs of hands over two days.
Four Year 12 pupils paid some older people a visit and put a smile on their faces as they shared experiences and stories whilst playing Bingo.
An organic vegetable garden and orchard was worked on as shovels and wheel barrows were used to move a mound of woodchip, which was spread thickly as a mulch to suppress weeds. Picture a hay meadow, recently been mown, also undergoing a process of transformation from a daffodil field to a habitat for turtle doves to breed. The hay needed to be raked into piles and then cleared.
An outdoor community space was given a new lease of life by pressure washing jets and brooms. The outdoor furniture that is made of pallets was painted a sky blue. In a nearby churchyard, there was a roar of engines as mowers and strimmers cut back the invasive weeds and long grass. New paths were created and outdoor courtyards were spruced up.
A £20,000 cheque was presented by the school to the Holt Youth Project, our school charity. This represents 10 months of work. It is the fruit of ingenious fundraising ideas and a generous school community who have supported each event.
Every pupil contributed and made a difference. They were warmly praised by those they worked with at Thornage Hall, St Andrew’s church, the Holt Youth Project, the Felbeck Trust, the Treehouse community café and Age Concern in Sheringham.
The pupils conducted the final part to the Intelligent Self-Protection course. Following on from the soft skills lectures covering Personal Security Management, Avoidance, Behavioural Analysis and Confrontation Management, they covered the Law of Self-Defence and a comprehensive physical skills component including defensive actions against the most prevalent and current threats.
The BTEC Agriculture group teamed up with REME for a Field Day fence building experience; the new fence around the recently developed Cairns Sixth Form social area adds an outdoor space to this and at the same time provided pupils with a valuable chance to develop their Estate Skills. A great job all round!
Our Pre-Prep children brought their brave teddies, dragons, monkeys, unicorns, snakes, dolls and superheroes to a special Teddy Bear Zip Wire event at St Andrew’s Church in Holt. The soft toys all survived their exhilarating ride, and the children had a wonderful time. The event was arranged by our Senior School Charity Committee, raising funds for good causes in our local community.
“Jiaozi” (dumpling making)
To conclude the academic year, all Year 9 and 10 Mandarin pupils have participated in making Chinese dumplings. It is the first time for most pupils and they made some dumplings beautifully. Jiaozi are made of a thin sheet of wheat flour with a finely textured filling made of vegetables or meat that can be boiled, steamed, or fried. Jiaozi was bought to Japan in World War II when thus the ‘gyoza’ was born.
Design for the Mandarin theme T-shirt
As part of their end of academic year project, pupils from Years 9 to 12 have designed some fabulous clothing with Chinese themes. Chinese written knowledge alongside creativity and their artistic inspiration has enabled some outstanding outcomes.
Chinese characters are the oldest continuously used system of writing in the world. Chinese characters have been adapted and included amongst other East Asian languages, such as Japan and South Korean.
Pre-Prep Year 2 Mandarin teaching
Year 2 have been learning Mandarin with Miss Wang for one year and it is amazing that they are so confident at presenting all the Chinese songs they have learned so far. Thank you Miss Wang for all your hard work this year with the pupils.
The Year 9 Inter-House Debating Final took place in Big School on Thursday 23rd June.
This was a four-way final in which each team championed the importance of one ‘Great Elizabethan’ alive in 2022: David Attenborough (Oakeley) against Tanni Grey-Thompson (Queens’) and Malorie Blackman (Tallis) vs Banksy (Woodlands).
This debate involved 12 debaters going head-to-head and never knowing from where the next Point of Information was going to be fired. Each team set out the case for their Great Elizabethan but also suggested criteria by which their significance might be measured against the other contender. This was an excellent spectacle of debating and there was very little between the four teams.
Tallis were declared runners-up with this year’s winners deemed to be Oakeley who are this year’s holders of the Carolyn Thomas Debating Trophy.