Year 11 History pupils visited a once secret nuclear bunker in Essex

As part of Gresham’s November 2023 STEAM weeks, the History Department took most Year 11 GCSE History pupils on a day trip to visit the once secret nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex. 

During the visit, the Year 11 historians discovered the threats of nuclear confrontation in the Cold War and the steps that were taken to keep the government going following the outbreak of World War Three. 

The Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker was originally built in the 1950s as part of the RAF’s air defence network, but from the late 1960s until the early 1990s it became the proposed headquarters of Britain’s emergency regional government, should a nuclear conflict occur. It was intended to house 600 personnel for a period of three months.  

Pupils entered the fake bungalow that disguised the true purpose of the site and then ventured down the 91-metre tunnel before exploring the three floors of the hidden bunker system, 38 metres underground. They visited the government communications room, the medical treatment area, and even the radio room from which the British Prime Minister was to have broadcast to the nation following the outbreak of World War Three.  

Our U16 rugby team have been crowned county champions

The U16 rugby team were once again crowned county champions yesterday. After a draw with Wymondham in the first match they required 61 points in the second game to progress. The team miraculously achieved this meeting Norwich in the final. A scrappy game ensued with Gresham’s coming out victors 6-5. The team performed bravely with player of the tournament being awarded to William B and tackle of the day going to Thomas R-C.

The English Department Poetry Recital 2023 culminated in a wonderful final this term

Twenty pupils from Year 9-13 got through to the Junior or Senior finals, choosing to either recite their own poem or one by another author. Mr Hazlewood, Mrs O’Brien and Mr Stromberg, who assisted Mrs Sharrock with the judging, were all blown away by the quality of the entrants and the maturity with which they delivered their poem to the audiences in the Auden theatre. Many thanks to the senior school pupils, parents, staff and Year 7 Prep pupils who attended and supported this event. From the finalists shown below, prizes were awarded to:

Alissa M – Junior Champion

Sam H – Highly commended (Junior Competition)

Miriam G – Highly Commended (Junior Competition)

Zinnia-Claire B – Senior Champion

Beowulf O – Highly Commended (Senior Competition)

Heidi W – Highly Commended (Senior Competition)

All six pupils received a signed and personalised copy of Harry Baker’s poetry anthology ‘The Sunshine Kid’ as well as an Amazon voucher. The Champions will also be presented with the Poetry Recital Cup at Final Assembly this term.

Junior Finalists 

Adeola A (9) I am Mixed by Adeola A

Miriam G (9) If I Could Tell You by W H Auden 

Alex H (9) Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt 

Johnnie O (9) Inauthentic by Anonymous 

Scarlett H (10) The Writer’s World by Rachel Huckel 

Sam H (10) The Pheasant at My Window by Sam H

Joey M (9) Dinglebank by Edward Lear 

Daniel M (10) Adlestrop by Edward Thomas 

Alissa M (10) 21 by Patrick Roche 

Alex P (10) The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost 

Pullo W (10) High Flight by John Gillespie Magee Junior 

Senior Finalists

Zinnia-Claire B (11) Dear Brain by Zinnia-Claire B

Cerys D (11) My November Guest by Robert Frost 

Beowulf O (13) The Ruin by Anonymous 

Ruby P (11) In Flanders Field by John McRae 

Tomas R (11) The Tyger by William Blake  

Harry S (11) A Last Request by Anonymous 

Mia W (11) Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost 

Heidi W (11) The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll 

Andre W (11) Half-past Two by U A Fanthorpe 

One pupil has made a chess board out of fabric as part of the IB Diploma

As part of the IB Diploma, pupils have to undertake creative activities. One pupil has been designing and making chess boards, this one having squares made from different fabrics.

Well done to our Prep School scientists who are through to the semi-finals of the National Science Championship

Our teams of Year 5 and Year 6 Scientists did very well competing in the National Science Championship online. Congratulations to Santi, Bea, Rex and Jago who have made it through to the semi-finals.

The Rifle Club travelled to Bisley for the English Schools Long Range Championships

On Saturday 11th November, the Rifle Club travelled to Bisley for the annual English Schools Long Range Championships. Gresham’s took a large squad (16 pupils), of mixed abilities, to the match. For a good number of the team, this was their first small-bore match away from school, so it was a totally new experience for them. It was a massive learning curve for the newer shots in the team and they all performed fantastically well. There were 160 competitors, in total, from 16 different schools. Ilana B just missed out on winning her age group by a single point but Marcella B, George B and Oliver R all won their age groups, with George B being the top shot out of all competitors on the day and scoring 195 / 200. The top shots in the Gresham’s team were outstanding during the match. George B and Georgie B finished 3rd in the Senior Pairs and Marcella B and Grace S finished 3rd in the Junior Pairs. The Gresham’s Team of IV ‘A’ team shot fantastically well and finished in second place, just behind Charterhouse, the eventual winners.

Thank you to all those members of the team, and staff, that took the time to attend the match.

The CCF was fully involved with Remembrance events over the weekend

In the school service on Saturday 11th a banner party comprising senior NCOs from all three sections took a prominent role with CSgt Jemima T presenting the banner, CSM George P commanding the banner party and doing the reading, and FSgt Daisy W doing the prayers. They were accompanied by LH Fred B and FSgt Jonny W on the march into chapel at the beginning of the service and the march out at its conclusion. Jemima also carried the banner for the contingent on Sunday morning for the Holt town remembrance service when a tri-service body of over 100 cadets marched through the town and participated in a service at the war memorial. This is always a significant event in the life of the town and was well-attended by a large number of local residents.

We welcomed Stuart McCain, regional representative for The Arkwright Scholarship, to speak to pupils

We welcomed Stuart McCain, regional representative for The Arkwright Scholarship, to the Dyson Building to talk to current budding engineers from Years 9, 10 and 11.

Stuart gave an insightful and encouraging talk to pupils on the application process, scholarship award and opportunities for links to the engineering industry.

The dialogue with the scholarship will continue, to help and guide the next Gresham’s Arkwright Scholar.

Three pupils have won awards in a public speaking competition

Three of our pupils won awards in a public speaking competition recently. The Prayer Book Society holds its annual Cranmer Awards to help young people to learn the skill of public speaking, and also as a means to keep the beautiful language of the Book of Common Prayer alive and well. The Junior category was won by Pullo W, the Senior category by Cerys D and Aaron S was also highly commended in the Senior category. The judges included Anne Robinson, the journalist and presenter. The two winners now progress to the National Finals at Hampton Court Palace in February next year. They will have to speak (not read) passages from the BCP for between 3 and 5 minutes; these could be a selection from the Psalms or other readings from the annual church calendar. Well done to all 11 pupils who took part; and the best of luck to our two winners for the final. 

CCF cadets have been training on the new clay shooting simulator

Over half term the CCF invested in a new DryFire software and laser clay target shooting system. Using a real shotgun mounted with a trigger sensor and laser, the DryFire system is able to simulate life-like clay targets and, unlike many of its competitors, is able to calculate the amount of lead ahead of the clay required to break it. It provides the shooter directly after a shot with an image of their shot and spread, so they can learn from mistakes and make adjustments. Different simulations of all disciplines can be applied. The system can also include varying speed, wind, cartridges and bore of gun to name but a few of its options. 

This half of term and into next term, cadets from all three sections will be given the opportunity to use and train on the equipment. It will also be used for supportive training for the clay shooting team. It still requires some tweaking of the projection system to improve image and reduce shadow, but we have already had a very competitive start last week with the Year 12 Army cadets, with Hector L. achieving the high gun and this week with four Navy cadets achieving 10/10 – a big well done to Mia W, Will B, Luca H and Severin G! 

This is a fantastic opportunity for the cadets to be able to practise shooting clays throughout the year, come rain or shine. 

This will not completely replace live clay shooting, which will continue once the better weather and lighter afternoons commence as we head into Spring and Summer. 

For further information about the system, do look up DryFire on or contact Mr Detnon at [email protected].