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!!!



IMG_9882Lewis Hatchett, a former Sussex county cricketer, provided an inspiring Vive Lecture to our senior pupils about how to achieve your goals against the odds, through hard work and determination.

Lewis, 29, had a goal from a young age of becoming a professional cricketer, in spite of his disability. He was born with Poland Syndrome which, for him, meant that he was born without two ribs or any chest muscle on the right hand side of his body. His dad asked whether he would be able to play sport and the doctors told his father that he would struggle. This did not deter Lewis: from a young age he decided that he would achieve his dream and, at the age of 20, he did this by signing a contract with Sussex. However, his journey to this point was not a straightforward one. He was not going to let his body fail him and chose to get physically fit. He had a Kevlar chest protector custom-made to protect his right lung. He had to overcome injury, a broken back which put him out of the game for two years, as well as being told that he was not quite as talented as some of his peers.

On his return, he continued to strive for his dream by, in his words, ‘being a pest’ and contacting head coaches so that he could be in the changing rooms of the senior teams as a water carrier and general helper, whilst all the time learning from the best. He also asked constantly of the people he admired what he needed to do to achieve his goal. He worked harder than his peers at the list he was given to make sure that he was good enough until he had eventually ticked all of the boxes on the list. He developed an inner self-belief that he knew he was good enough, but that he had to find opportunities to show the coaches that he was. He eventually got the break he had been waiting for when one of the coaches said that he had a month to prove himself by standing in for an injured bowler. After this, he received a three-year contract to play professional cricket, which he did for six years until he was dealt a cruel blow. He broke his back again and at the age of 26 had to retire from his beloved game of cricket.

He felt lost and disappointed that he had had his dream taken away, but his message is “Don’t give up; there is always a different path that you can take in life to fulfil dreams that may be different to those you originally envisaged for yourself. You must focus on what ‘you have’ rather than on what ’you don’t have’. Visualise your future and you will achieve it!”

Lewis is now a yoga teacher and has set up a business, ‘Sport-Yogi’, to focus on the strength of body and mind. He believes in the message that you have the power to delete and remove negativity in your life, which includes any social media posts or people that you follow that make you have negative thoughts about yourself. The message that he would like to share is that social media should give you three things: inspiration, information and entertainment. If they do none of these, you should remove them from your life.

Remember ‘visualise the future’ that you want and you will achieve!