September 22nd, 2006
After last term’s recording sessions in the Abbey, the Choir’s CD, entitled Magnificat, has been available from the beginning of this term. The disc contains 15 tracks, covering a range of choral music. There are Christmas favourites and other well-known choral pieces, such as Panis Angelicus, and some lesser known pieces, making a delightful collection. Hearing the CD, faithfully capturing the Choir’s sound and the resonant acoustic of the cathedral, gives a taster of what members of the School are privileged to hear each Friday at the Abbey assembly. Many copies of the disc have already been sold and they continue to be available from the Music Department for £10. The website’s latest podcast celebrates the CD’s launch, with interviews with Choral Director Grayson Jones and members of the choir, together with some excerpts from the recording session. Follow the Podcast link above right, or subscribe to the School’s podcasts on Apple’s iTunes.
September 20th, 2006
At the School’s annual Prizegiving ceremony in the Abbey, governors, staff, pupils and parents gathered to applaud the achievements of last year, both academic and non-academic. Both the Chairman of Governors, Mr Ian Jennings, and the Headmaster, Mr Andrew Grant, paid tribute to the exam successes of our pupils at GCSE and A level, recording 66% A* and A grades at GCSE and 85% A and B grades at A level. As the Headmaster pointed out, this was topped by the girls in the Sixth Form, who achieved 91% A and B grades, better than all but a handful of highly selective girls’ schools in the country. Tribute was also paid to the teaching and support staff who helped the pupils to reach such heights. The Headmaster also remarked that the School’s wider activities continue to flourish, with excellent sporting seasons, vibrant drama and music, and active CCF and Duke of Edinburgh sections. As well as contributing to these activities, and working hard for their exams, pupils last year also raised £23,000 for charities through their own initiatives.
Guest speaker Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, former Provost of King’s College Cambridge, who also presented the prizes, picked up this theme. She pointed out that the wide range of skills which pupils acquired at the School would be essential for their later life, as they would have to change and adapt frequently as jobs and job expectations changed. But, she said, it is important that pupils use those skills more widely, in “contributing to the humanity of society” by engaging in voluntary work. She urged pupils not only to think of what they could do in order to earn, but what they could do in order to give, echoing the School’s motto Non Nobis Nati – Born not for Ourselves. She talked warmly of the enormous personal gain in contributing, a gain in experience and skills. This is clearly something last year’s charity fundraisers have already discovered, and will have agreed wholeheartedly with Dame Judith’s words.
September 20th, 2006
Six Second Formers are now fully licensed to drive along the information superhighway. As First Formers, they completed the European Computer Driving Licence last year. The course, which covers a range of computer applications, is aimed at adults and is now the leading ICT qualification in Europe. It teaches and assesses proficiency in computer skills in a variety of real world situations and tasks. Everyone in the School can take up this qualification and it is intended that all boys will have completed most of the modules by the end of the Second Form. It is a magnificent achievement for Daniel Bragg, Daniel Carasco, James Harrison, Scott Sinclair, George Tasker and Brian Yuen to have completed all seven modules in one year at such a young age. They were awarded their certificates in assembly this morning.
September 12th, 2006
Mr Joe Cowan’s influence on School hockey has been marked; now those skills could be evident on the international stage. Mr Cowan had been part of the set up at the East of England hockey summer camps, developing boys and girls from U12 level to U17. He was soon appointed assistant coach to the U14 squad, and group coach of the U17s. David Faulkner, director of performance of England Hockey, was so impressed with Mr Cowan’s work that he was appointed Head Coach of the Eastern Region U17 Girls for the current season. The regional tournament at half term will decide England selection. “This is a great opportunity,” said Mr Cowan. “It was actually the Albanian interview when I arrived which persuaded me to go in this direction. I was pushed about my coaching ambitions, then thought, well, why not give it a try?” We wish Mr Cowan all the best, and the School is proud to have one of the country’s top youth hockey coaches on its staff.
September 11th, 2006
Some words intrigue, some words sound funny, some words have a taste, and when Collins Dictionaries asked school pupils to describe their favourite word in a national competition, William Lay, in the Second Form last year, won one of the prizes. His word was certainly unusual, and it was his fascination with the curiosity about the word’s very existence which attracted the judges. Here is his entry: When you say the word ‘thridacium’ you might think of a huge, lavishly decorated Roman room. It sounds very nice if you say: “And now we are entering the thridacium.” Perhaps you think it’s a medical word (“I have a touch of thridacium today”), but the dictionary definition of thridacium is: the juice of lettuce thickened by evaporation. It makes you wonder why on earth someone sat down and said, “I think we need a word to describe the thickening of lettuce juice by evaporation.” It sounds like a pompous word, which it is, for a very bizarre concept.
September 5th, 2006
Among this year’s GCSE exam results were some remarkable performances, the School has just learned from the examination boards. Paul Harris’s mark in Double Science was one of the top ten awarded by Edexcel, out of 12,602 entries. The same exam board gave Adam Wagenfield one of the top ten marks in Systems and Control Technology, out of 2,492 entries. These are remarkable achievements in themselves, but AQA noted that in GCSE Maths, where our pupils take the exam one year early, at the end of the Fourth Form, no fewer than four of our pupils scooped marks in the top five. Out of 103,773 candidates, these mathematical supremos were Mark Edwardes Jones, David McLeod, Nicholas Rawlins and Nathaniel Samson. Congratulations to all six pupils on their tremendous success.