St Swithun’s impact on Winchester’s economy

St SwithunsSt Swithun’s school contributed £12.6m towards Winchester’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the last financial year, according to a report carried out by Oxford Economics for the Independent Schools Council (ISC). This represented 0.26% of the city’s total GDP. St Swithun’semploys 310 staff, supporting 550 jobs in the UK economy directly or via its UK-based supply chain. It supports 0.36% of all jobs in Winchester either directly or via its supply chain.

The total contribution of St Swithun’s to the national economy was £23.1m. In addition, the total savings generated for the UK taxpayer, as a result of attendance at St Swithun’sby the 615 pupils who would otherwise take up a free UK state school place was £3.8m.

Arguably of more importance, during the 2018/19 academic year, St Swithun’swill have delivered130 hours of enrichment activities to 560 local primary school children. In addition,it is on course to provide 35 hours of free swimming pool access including tuition and transport, saving each participating primary school an average of £3,000and ensuring their pupils can swim 25m. In addition, the school provides 20 hours of holiday activity sessions for more than 30 children.

Approximately 150 people from the local Winchester area regularly attend the St Swithun’sSpeakers’ Programme which features academics, politicians, philanthropists, adventurers, scientists and the media.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said: St Swithun’sis proud of its heritage as a Winchester institution, having been founded by local philanthropist Anna Bramston in 1884. It occupied buildings in the city centre until the 1930s and played a key role in Winchester’s war effort. Our links with the local community remain strong with pupils visiting local nursing homes and cooking for the Winchester Nightshelteron a regular basis. In June,our year 11 pupils will return to the Unit 12 local community centre, following our partnership with them during the launch phase last year. Our pupils will help to create an outdoor education space, tackle refurbishment and maintenance work and hold a Unit 12 Open Day event for the WinnallCommunity.


Memorial Service held at MGS to celebrate the life of Yousef Makki

Family and friends of Yousef Makkigathered at The Manchester Grammar School to pay tribute to a much-loved young man.

A Memorial Service was held on 27 April 2019, in honour of Yousef, who was tragically lost his life on 2 March.

A tree in Yousef’s memory was planted in the School’s grounds by family and friends, before a moving ceremony, during which Yousef’s mum Debbie, the Head of LadybarnPrimary School where Yousef previously attended, his closest friends, his young nephew, his boxing coach and two of the teachers at MGS who knew him best paid tribute to him, sharing stories and anecdotes about Yousef’s life and how much he meant to them.

The ceremony was interspersed with video clips and photograph from Yousef’s life, as well as his favourite pieces of music.

That was followed by a two-minute silence, before balloons were released into the air in Yousef’s memory.

High Master at MGS, Dr Martin Boulton, said: “Yousef was a dearly loved young man, and an incredibly bright pupil.

“The Memorial Service was about paying tribute to Yousef and remembering all that he had achieved in his life. It was so moving to hear from his family and his closest friends – the people knew him best – about what a caring young man he was, who would have done anything for his friends and family, and touched so many people’s lives.”

Abbey Gate College Chapel Choir Perform at St Paul’s Cathedral for 30th Year

Abbey Gate College Chapel Choir Practising at St Paul's CathedralAbbey Gate College Chapel Choir were honoured to perform Evensong under the world-famous dome at St Paul’s Cathedral on Easter Monday.

For the 30th consecutive year, the 45 members of the choir performed in one of the world’s most beautiful buildings to a congregation of over 800.

Conducted by Head of Music, Mr Andrews, the choir performed pieces including ‘Canticles in D Major’ by George Dyson and Balfour Gardiner’s ‘Evening Hymn’.

Mr Andrews said: “The choir were professional in both their singing and conduct, and the standard was incredibly high. The pupils were unfazed by the vast space and eight second echo within the centuries old building. It is testament to their ability that they were able to cope so admirably with the challenges.”

Intrepid King’s Ely students achieve Gold DofE Award status

Students, from left, Aeyesha Cundy, John-Paul Gilbey, Lucy Darby and Samuel WegeGold DofE April 2019

FOUR King’s Ely Sixth Form students are celebrating completing their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award.

Aeyesha Cundy, Lucy Darby, John-Paul Gilbey and Samuel Wege each undertook an extensive 12-month programme of volunteering, physical and skill activities, and completed a four-day expedition in the Brecon Beacons in South Wales in order to achieve their Gold DofE Award status.

All four students completed their Bronze and Silver DofE Awards before taking on their Gold. They received their badges during a special school assembly just before the end of the Lent term, and will be attending Buckingham Palace for another presentation later in the year.

The DofE Award was created in 1956 by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to help develop young people’s work ethic and life skills. King’s Ely offers students the chance to undertake their DofE Award at all three levels, and all of the school’s clubs are run in line with national schemes, giving pupils a strong position to go forward for their National Governing Bodies (NGB) Leadership Awards.

At King’s Ely, the DofE Award offering is part of the school’s Ely Scheme, which aims to build important life skills that cannot always be taught in the classroom. While most independent schools have an outdoor pursuits programme, the Ely Scheme is both unique and central to the whole King’s Ely experience, as young people are given tangible opportunities to push themselves to achieve beyond anything they ever thought possible.

The aim is to develop each individual student through outdoor education and adventurous activity, concentrating on eight major elements: personal skills; self-confidence; teamwork; leadership skills; social and environmental awareness; problem solving; ability to cope with difficult situations and healthy respect for nature and the outdoors.

Daisy the Donkey goes down a storm at King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery

CHILDREN at King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery had a very special visitor as part of their Easter preparations in the form of an adorable donkey called Daisy!

Liz Wright, a Welfare Adviser from the Donkey Sanctuary, popped into school with Daisy, one of her rescue donkeys, for a special outdoor worship themed around Easter. Pupils and staff joined in on a Palm Procession around the spacious school garden, led by Liz and Daisy of course.

The children sang ‘Hosanna’ to welcome Jesus and re-enacted what happened on the first Palm Sunday. Each pupil received a Palm Cross to take home with them to remind them of the Easter message of hope, and of course cooed over Daisy, who was quite happy grazing away, before they returned to their classrooms!

Head of King’s Ely Acremont, Faye Fenton-Stone, said: “It was a real joy to welcome Liz and Daisy to take part in our Palm Procession. Both teachers and pupils commented on how much everyone enjoyed the community feel to our worship, and that a strong memory had been created for us all. At King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery, learning comes in many shapes and sizes; often the best moments are spontaneous, collaborative and active. The values of experience and togetherness have certainly enriched our children’s learning adventure.”

Brentwood Cadets Show Their Mettle

26thMarch 2019: Congratulations to Royal Navy Cadets, CPO Cameron Lindsay and CPO Jack Warman, who took on the challenge of the Royal Marines Commando ‘Look at Life Course’…. and survived!

The week-long course, at Lympstone’s Commando Training Centre in Devon, is billed as ‘the hardest course a cadet can attempt and gave both boys a great insight into life as a Marine.

Despite the very rigorous physical challenges, including taking on the infamous endurance course, both boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So much so that Cameron is giving some very serious thought to a career in the Royal Marines.

Read his account here:

“Jack and I decided to do the course as we needed to do a residential for our Gold DofE and, after looking online, we found this course which was described as ‘the hardest course a cadet can attempt’. We decided to do it, especially because we would not be able to do it once we have left school, due to it not being open to the public.

“We travelled down to Lympstone Commando, in Exeter, the base at which they train all of the Royal Marines. We were issued our kit and shown to our rooms ‘grotts’. Of the 27 people on the course, 24 were all aspiring marines who had been entered on the course by their recruitment officer.

“We completed the four main parts of the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) and these included:

  • The endurance course, which is a 2-mile obstacle course involving black out tunnels, wading through lakes and the infamous sheep dip (a submerged underwater tunnel filled with freezing rainwater)

  • The PRMC fitness test: A bleep test where the pass mark is 10.5 (I scored 11.6; Jack scored 11.1); Press up test; Sit up test and Pull up test

  • The 3-mile run, the first 1.5 miles is done as a squad in 12 minutes and the last 1.5 miles is done as an individual best effort where the pass time is 10 minutes 30 seconds (I passed and took 10:21)

  • The famous ‘bottom field’ assault course, which is a mile-long assault course with obstacles including a 7ft wall, 5ft wall, monkey bars over water, tunnels, a 12ft wall and many more. (Pass time is 4 minutes, Jack scored 4:15; I scored 4:16)

  • We also attempted the regain tank, which is a tank of cold water, with ropes over it. We had to crawl out on the rope, and attempt to hang down with our arms extended and then proceed to get back on the rope

  • We also spent a day in the field, and learnt how to erect bivvys(tents) and ate rations before getting a lesson on Camo, concealment and stalking.

The course was a great experience for both of us and although it was one of the hardest things we have done, we both enjoyed it and made some great friends. It has also resulted in me wanting to sign up to the marines after I finish my university degree.”

Professor Lord Robert Winston hosts annual King’s Ely Osmond Lecture

Lord Winston Visit March 2019KING’S Ely was delighted to welcome British professor and television presenter, Professor Lord Robert Winston, into school to talk to excited students and staff.

Lord Winston hosted the school’s Osmond Lecture on March 15th, an annual event established and endowed by the Old Eleans’ Club to commemorate the career of Leonard Osmond, who was a Science teacher at King’s Ely from 1930 to 1972.

Lord Winston,who is a British professor, medical doctor, scientist, television presenter and Labour Peer, spoke to students, staff, families and friends of King’s Ely about ‘Why Bother with Science?’

The riveting lecture was the perfect way to conclude King’s Ely’s Science Week celebrations, which involved some of the school’s youngest pupils in King’s Ely Acremont right the way to students in the Sixth Form.

At King’s Ely Acremont, children learnt all about ‘reducing, recycling and reusing’, including upcycling old milk bottles into Elmer-inspired elephants and thinking about what issues dropping litter can cause. ‘Zoe Zinc’ from Mad Science Cambridge also visited the young scientists for a day filled with chemical reaction fun and hands on workshops.

At King’s Ely Junior, highlights included fascinating heart and lung dissections, and investigations into human-powered electricity and recycled art. Students also took part in an intriguing project called ‘Waste of a Week’, where they collected all of the non-edible dry classroom waste from King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior during the course of Science Week. The bagged rubbish was placed in a compound close to the Science Block at King’s Ely Senior and throughout the week, students investigated it from Biological, Chemical and Physical perspectives within their Science lessons.

MSJ Celebrates Women in Music

MSJ_Women_in_Music_concertTalented musicians at Malvern St James Girls’ School have recently been celebrating the work of women composers. A concert, called ‘Women in Music’, was held at the School with the aim of putting women composers in the spotlight and shining a light on the extraordinary and powerful music that they created.

We are all familiar with the names Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, but how many of us have heard of Dring, Chaminade and Beach? Talented, innovative and yet little known, they are among a group of women whose work still continues to be overshadowed by male composers, even today.

The concert programme included both vocal and instrumental music, with pieces by Hildegard von Bingen, Clara Schumann, Madeleine Dring, Cécile Chaminade, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Betty Roe, Elizabeth Maconchy, Kate Bush and Carole King.

The evening was rounded off with a powerful performance of Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women, which became the official song of the Women’s Social and Political Union as well asthe anthem for the women’s suffrage movement in the UK and abroad after it was written in1910.

Mrs Olivera Raraty, MSJ’s Headmistress said, “The concert was a great success and we’rethrilled to have been able to showcase the work of so many women composers to both ourgirls and those who came to the concert. It’s so important that the work of these women isn’t forgotten and that we celebrate and promote female talent and role models.”

‘Women in Music’ was such a success that the Music Department is now planning more concerts as part of a series focussing on women composers.

A group of musicians from MSJ will be heading to Budapest on a Music Tour in the Summer, where their repertoire will feature some of the works of these great women composers.

VICTORIAN DAY at Farlington

Farlington School’s Prep 6 travelled back in time to 1852 to experience a day in a typical Victorian schoolroom. The pupils, aged ten and eleven, spent the day in Victorian dress and a classroom transformed into the bland Victorian style, discovering what it was like to be a Victorian school child.

Miss Welsh and Mr Absalom ruled the class with rods of iron (or should we say bamboo!) The children were expected to sit through lessons in silence and only speak when spoken to. They covered subjects such as British History, by chanting dates; maths with pounds, shillings, pennies and farthings and how to write perfect copperplate handwriting. They read from a Victorian reading book, commenting on the morals gained from them and they learnt a poem to recite at the end of the day. Lunch consisted of pasties, sandwiches, fruit and biscuits and at break they were able to roll hoops, skip together and play a game of marbles or hopscotch.

This hands-on historical experience fits into the history curriculum which is currently focusing on the Victorian era. Pupils learn about Victorian domestic life, the contrasting lifestyles of the rich and poor, the growth of urbanisation and the achievements of the era. This will be explored further when Prep 6 goes on their residential trip to the Isle of Wight at the end of the summer term and visits Osborne House.

Going Green at Warwick School!


Left to right: Seb, Tom, Tom, Alfie, Dan, Kai, Charlie, Will (all Year 11)

Warwick School has very recently embarked on a massive ‘eco’ project to reduce landfill and encourage recycling best practice.

Headed up by the Green Team (a group of students and staff), ‘single use plastic boycott’ has been launched at an assembly.  A video clip of ‘Blue Planet’ showing the amount of litter, mainly plastic, found on beaches and how wildlife, especially birds, are killed due to this litter, was incredibly thought-provoking.

The new implementations are now in full swing with packed lunch packaging changed to paper bags and sandwiches wrapped in paper rather than film. The students are all being encouraged to remember to bring in their own reusable water bottles from home each day.  Single use pudding pots have gone and been replaced with reusable ones, as have single use soup cups which have been replaced with ceramic bowls/cups.  Polystyrene containers for salads and jacket potatoes have been replaced with compostable containers. This has been rolled out into the staff room too, where ceramic cups will now be used.

Warwick School has been recognised as a Recycling Collection Point by Walkers Crisps, who will collect directly when 400+ bags have been collected.  Boys have been asked to use the crisp recycling boxes in each department, where they can recycle not only Walkers crisp packets but any foil-lined crisp packet, any brand!

The pupils have also been challenged with influencing the ‘single use plastic boycott’ at home by taking their own bags to the supermarket, choosing loose fruit and vegetables (rather than pre-packed), buying cans not bottles, using reusable water bottles and bringing crisp packets in from home to be recycled.

Go Green!!!