The Year 12 examinations are underway at the College and I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the Year 12 Parents Evening on Monday 11 March 2019.
As I left the house on Wednesday morning there was a report on the BBC about language learning in schools and about the decline in the numbers of students studying languages at GCSE and in particular in the number of schools offering certain languages at A Level. I am delighted to report that the Stephen Perse Foundation is bucking that trend and languages are thriving! In Year 7, from September, we are about to expand our language choice rather than reduce it, with German and Mandarin being offered alongside French and Spanish. In the 6th Form we are also going to be offering Mandarin at Standard Level in the IB Diploma to accommodate those students coming through from the Senior School who have completed IGCSE Mandarin.
Continuing the theme of language study I am pleased to report that some of our 6th Form students spent their half term break immersing themselves in Japanese and French culture by taking part in the various school excursions on offer. Two of our students were very fortunate to take part in the Japanese Keio exchange to Tokyo. The students were able to experience the Japanese culture, practise their language skills and to see Japan from a different perspective than they would have done as a regular tourist and they certainly look fantastic in their Kimonos!
In addition to the Keio exchange, students from both Year 12 and 13 spent half term in Antibes in Southern France attending French lessons in the morning at a local language school and taking part in various cultural activities and visits in the afternoons. This included a visit to ‘Science Po’ in Menton where one of our previous 6th Form students is studying. They stayed with host families and I know that they very much enjoyed their experience and found it most rewarding.
Language learning and cultural exchanges provide an opportunity to explore other countries and their traditions, customs, beliefs, values and get a sense of what other societies are like. Such opportunities enable the students to view the world through a different lens, and enable them to have a much richer experience when visiting other countries. The study of languages and these types of educational visits is one of the ways in which we develop a global outlook in our students which we feel is so important at the Foundation. In addition the increased cultural understanding that comes through language study can provide an alternative perspective and broadens one’s horizons. More importantly, it increases the tendency of acceptance, something which is so important in a world that is showing signs of becoming less tolerant of differences.
This leads me nicely in to the Cambridge Model United Nations Conference that will take place at the Foundation between 8 - 10 March 2019. The theme for the conference this year is ‘Combating the Rise of Nationalism in an Increasingly Hostile World’. The Foundation will welcome Léonie de Jonge, a PhD student from the Department of Politics and International Relations at The University of Cambridge, to give the keynote address. Léonie is conducting research in to ‘Populism and Xenophobia in Small Western European States: Success and Failure of Right-Wing Populist Parties with an Anti-Immigration Agenda’. The students and staff are looking forward to welcoming delegates from all over Europe and the world to Cambridge and the Foundation, and to a fruitful weekend of debate. Of course there will also be some socialising and hopefully the opportunity to make new friends.
Head of 6th Form and Vice Principal, 11-18
Head of Senior School - Announcement
Following three years as Head of Senior School, Mr David Walker will be leaving the Foundation at the end of this academic year. Mr Walker, as Head of School and part of a wider leadership team, has successfully overseen the integration of boys into the Senior School. He will now continue his pastoral career as Deputy Head Pastoral and Wellbeing with responsibility for boarding at Wellington College where he and his young family will return to a boarding school life. We wish Mr Walker and his family every success and happiness in the future.
As Brexit saturates the media, Principal Tricia Kelleher celebrates the power of language learning and musical opportunity to do good, both within our schools and in the world beyond. Read it here.
Well done to the 1st team netball players, captained by Phoebe D, who looked calm and composed against The Perse just before half term. Although the first quarter was close, the girls found their rhythm and began to dominate play throughout the court. The final result was 37 - 21 to the Stephen Perse Foundation and was thoroughly deserved. The 2nd team also played well, but came up against some tough opposition. They narrowly lost 20-25 despite their incredibly strong finish.
Y12 English A level study day: The Great Gatsby
8:00am – 4:00pm
PSHE parent information evening
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Location: Senior School Hall
Satveer Nijjar, who gives talks to our Year 10 about mental health and self-harm in particular, will give a talk about self-harm, what it is, what reasons lead young people to self-harm, and how parents can support their children if they or someone they know is self-harming.
Relevant to parents of Y7 to Y13.
Alumni Reunion Saturday 15 June 2019 - 12.30 - 5.00pm.
Parents of students who are also alumni of the school, are warmly invited to attend our annual alumni reunion, for a full buffet lunch with wine, refreshments and afternoon tea. There will be tours led by our Year 10 Student Leadership team, and the GCSE and A Level Art Exhibition will also be open for a tour.
Tickets for parents can be purchased using your existing Wisepay login here. All alumni are welcome, but leavers celebrating their anniversary of leaving are especially welcome. This year our groups are leavers of 2009, 1999, 1989, 1979 etc (this would be the year you would have left Year 13, so if you left in Year 11, add two years to ensure you come with your peers!).
If you are an alumna, and are not in touch with our alumni office, you can update your details on our online form, or email our Alumni Officer, Melissa Santiago-Val, for more details.
Thursday 14 March 12-1pm - Laura Bates, author - for Year 9 - Year 13 students and parents.
"Everyday sexism, feminism and social media in schools."
With an interview panel led by our 6th form students, author Laura Bates, who set up The Everyday Sexism Project, will be discussing her new book 'The Burning' aimed at young adults Yr9 to U6.
Although fiction, it is based on real life experiences of women, and looks at negative consequences around photo sharing on social media.
Alongside the story of how a teenager copes with negative photo sharing, Laura uses a literary device of famous witch-hunts in Scotland during the 17th century. The book explores whether we have changed our attitudes to victim blaming and shaming in 400 years. There will be a Q&A, and this event is a ticketed event for parents and students.
Copies of the book will be available to purchase in advance and more details will follow. Venue will be confirmed nearer the time.