As I look back on the last half-term, which has flown by, it is with a strange mixture of feeling like I’ve been here forever, whilst still finding myself occasionally walking down a corridor only to find a room I didn’t know was there. It’s been a joy to see the school full of life and energy this term as we have all found our feet with a sense of newness and excitement about what this new year will hold for us all.
As you may remember, I started the year talking in assembly about the importance of trying new things, and using that as a means to find out more about ourselves, and the things that we are passionate about. It’s been pleasing to see that in action with lots of interest in the clubs and societies fair in the first few weeks of term; and with the Year 10 and 11 students getting to pick their enrichment activities. It’s also been great to see the genuinely inspirational ‘Inspire & Guide’ programme up and running with lots of interesting conversations following the visits by our speakers this term. So far we’ve heard from Dr Emma Woodberry, Head of Neuropsychology at the CUH NHS Trust; Steve Carden from PA Consulting who specialise in offering consulting services related to management, technology and innovation; and Professor Richard Fentiman, a Professor of Private International Law, from the University of Cambridge. They have each had fascinating careers and have offered us all truly inspirational insights into the career possibilities ahead!
On the musical front the concert programme for the year is well underway with several of our students already having performed at one of the Michaelhouse lunchtime concerts, and last week we had our first major concert of the year around the theme of the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s births. It was wonderful to hear the school full of the music of Mendelssohn. Alongside this, rehearsals for the Autumn concert are well underway, as is the vibrant rock school.
Drama has started with gusto this term with casting and preparations already underway for the senior production of Electra which is coming up in November. The Year 11 Drama students had a fantastic trip to London to see two very different shows; A Very Expensive Poison at The Old Vic Theatre dramatised the true story of the poisoning of former Russian FSB and KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, whereas Everybody’s Talking about Jamie was a very different show altogether - also based on a true story. The students (and staff!) were also lucky enough to get some selfies and autographs from Jamie star Layton Williams at the stage door. Next term holds plenty more dramatic delights with the Year 11 IGCSE Drama showcase coming up, and the Year 10 theatre trip to see CS Lewis’ beloved The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe at The Bridge Theatre. There will be plenty going on for the younger students later in the year.
In our non-examined lessons this year we’ve added in a new activity, where students are encouraged to build on and develop their skills when speaking in public. In order to build up their confidence and improve speaking skills, this half term we have been looking at ways in which you can prepare yourself, how to use information on slides more efficiently and maintain audience attention, and develop a small group presentation: all key skills needed to express themselves clearly.
The new Year 7s have enjoyed the new wider range of language options available to them this year, with French, Spanish, Chinese and German all available as options. Très bien! ¡Muy bien! ??! Sehr gut! To complement the languages work in Year 7 we also celebrated the European Day of Languages with various activities in the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. A number of our classical languages students have just attended the Cambridge Greek Play, whereas others are jetting off to Greece itself over the half-term break to experience some of this amazing country’s culture for themselves.
On the trips front, despite only being a few weeks into the year, lots has already happened with several smaller trips making excellent use of the fantastic facilities Cambridge offers us on our doorstep including the Botanic Gardens, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Museum of Zoology. The Year 11s undertook their field study to Epping Forest, and on a rather grander scale the Year 9s had a fantastic day out at Milton Country Park, topped only by Year 7s camping (or should that be glamping) adventure out at Chalkney Water Meadows.
All in, it’s been an amazing first six weeks, and I don’t know about the students but I certainly need a rest! I hope very much that half-term brings them time to pause and relax, but my challenge from the start of the year also stands; I encourage them to try something new if the opportunity presents itself. You never know where it might lead.
Dr Andy Kemp
Head of Senior School
It has been an action packed and exhilarating start to the year as far as the sporting calendar is concerned. The Autumn fixtures, tournaments and tours have thrown up their usual mixture of successes, learning opportunities and champagne moments.
It is a notoriously busy period for the girls hockey programme. Since the beginning of September a high number of teams across Year 7 to 11 have represented the school in fixtures against other schools. The term kicked off with our U14 A and B teams heading down to the Olympic Park to complete a training session and fixture against New Hall School. A great experience for all involved.
For the second year in a row, our Year 8 hockey players went on a mini hockey tour in October. The tour involved three matches across two days, a competitive evening of tenpin bowling and an energetic session at a trampoline park. The highlight of the tour was watching a highly competitive national premier league fixture between Holcombe HC and Loughborough University, with a number of GB players playing to inspire our hockey players.
It has been great to see the commitment and progress made by a large number of hockey players so far this term. Four teams have represented the school in county competitions. The U12s, U14s, U16s and U18 team all competed well in their respective county tournaments, embracing the challenge and playing with determination. The U14 A and B teams played particularly well to both qualify for the tier 1 and tier 3 regional tournaments respectively. This is a fabulous achievement and we wish the girls well as they head to the Regionals in November.
The Stephen Perse teams have also had some superb football results this term. For the first time in history we have progressed in the National Cup with the U13 boys’ team beating Dulwich Prep in the First Round of the ISFA Tournament. The U14 boys’ side are also through to round two of the ESFA Cup, having defeated North Cambridge Academy in what was a tough away fixture.
The U13s then narrowly lost their second round game 2-1 against St John’s Enfield.
The U13 girls performed superbly in their ESFA National Cup first round, dominating the vast majority of the game and coming back from a 2-0 deficit against Etonbury Academy to force a penalty shootout. Unfortunately an inspired performance from the opposition goalkeeper prevented the girls from advancing to the next round.
The turn in the weather signals the start of the cross country season. This year, for the first time ever, we were able to take four teams to the Cross Country Cup competition at Robert Bloomfield School. As ever the level of competition was extremely high and with a team place at the Regional Finals up for grabs, there was a lot at stake.
Many of the team performed outstandingly and individual results can be viewed on the sports website. In particular the entire Inter boys team came home in the top 40 and comfortably qualified for the Regional Finals, an absolutely outstanding achievement considering they are all a year younger in this age group.
Although this is not the main netball term, there has been plenty of pre-season action taking place. All teams across the Senior School continue to work hard in preparation for the 'Sisters n Sport Netball Schools' National Cup' competition. The U14s are off to a winning start, beating Norwich School 19-17. The U16s cruised through the County Schools qualifying round and the U14s & U19s will play in their respective rounds before half term.
To stay up to date, please do follow us on twitter @SPFSport and remember to check the sports website www.stephenpersesport.com for fixtures, results and team selections.
For the first time we were able to take 4 teams to the Cross Country Cup competition at Robert Bloomfield School in Shefford, Bedfordshire on the 10 October. As ever the level of competition was extremely high and with a team place at Regional Finals, there was a lot at stake.
The Year 9 trip to Milton Country Park at the start of term was a fantastic day - full of team-building exercises that everyone enjoyed. After a short trip on the coach, we arrived at the scenic park, and we chose our mixed groups, which was something new. The year was split in half so that we would...
Don’t forget if you are a Stephen Perse parent and alumna of the school, to join our alumni community of 3,500 alumni across the world. You can sign up for free using our online form, as this isn’t done automatically just because you are a parent with us.
We have an event from the History Society at the Sixth Form today looking at research into Richard III remains under the car park, and how the discovery has led to one of our alumni, a voice artist, giving him a literal voice based on his remains.
Take a look at our other alumni news, alumna Dr Julia Chisholm led research into new cancer drugs for children just approved by the NHS, Victoria Ball TEDx talk link and alumna Maryam Rimi features in a list of the top 150 outstanding African and Caribbean university undergraduates in the country.
Our alumni community meet to celebrate anniversaries of leaving school annually, and we are also keen to invite parents who are alumni back for careers and Inspire and Guide events. Take a look at the Alumni Reunion 2019 photos here. You can email our Alumni Relations Officer, Melissa Santiago-Val.
Thanks to all those who joined us for the PFA AGM on Wednesday, 25 September 2019 at the Senior School. We covered a wide agenda on the evening, the minutes of which you can find here.
We are especially glad to report the election of one new officer and several new committee members to your PFA, all parents like you who are already helping us plan and deliver activities this year.
Our first PFA event this year will be the Christmas Fair, which will be held on the morning of Saturday, 7 December 2019 at Rosedale House - if you have any ideas for the fair, would like to volunteer for an hour or two, or run a particular stand, please contact the PFA via email to firstname.lastname@example.org in the first instance and we'll pass on your email to the organisers.
Final point for now is that we would like to finalise delivery arrangement for the loose play equipment Scavenger Hunt. Please check the list of items here and please contact Rosedale House School Office to arrange delivery for after half term.