Stephen Perse Sixth Form Newsletter, 13 December 2019
Dear parents and guardians,
In this festive edition of the sixth form newsletter, I would like to start by thanking Julia P, Josh G, Esther T, Ash P, Alumdena V, Catherine H, Charlie H, Charlotte L, Lauren T and Lizzie R for delivering an excellent music performance in assembly this week. The programme consisted of a quartet (Julia P, Josh G, Esther T and Mr Rudd), a recorder solo (Ash P) and an ensemble performance of Sleigh Ride. Thank you to Mr Rudd for organising this event. The festivities continued this week with our Christmas lunch on Tuesday 10 December and the Senior School and Sixth Form Carol Service at Great St Mary’s on Wednesday 11 December.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Drama department and the fantastic cast and crew who collaborated to produce and perform a very dramatic and visually compelling production of Sophocles’ Electra. Using a contemporary text by Nick Payne, director Mrs Georgina Walker incorporated contemporary dance and stylised movement sequences to dramatise some elements of the story that would not traditionally be performed on stage, such as the death of Clytemnestra, which gave the production a very contemporary dynamic. She also split the chorus into a number of smaller groups: whilst some of these took the role of more traditional Greek choruses and commented on the action or spoke directly to the characters, other choruses had a more symbolic role as they represented the inner thoughts and feelings of Electra herself, expressed through stylised movement, inspired by the theatre company Frantic Assembly. One chorus group, wearing white bloodstained dresses, represented the ghosts of past and future trauma experienced by Electra and her family: they performed original dance sequences that foreshadowed the tragic ending of the play. Congratulations to all sixth form and senior school students who took part!
To watch the showreel of Electra please click here.
In addition to the school play, there have been many exciting events taking place during the course of November and December.
Sixth form French students paid a visit to the Corpus Playroom (ADC Theatre) on Friday 6 December to see Jean Anouilh’s re-imagining of Sophocles’ ancient tragedy, Antigone. Exploring universal themes such as the struggle between individuals and the state, the play gave students the opportunity to develop their literary knowledge and led to thought-provoking discussions in class.
On Wednesday 27 November, the RS & Philosophy department welcomed former student Dom McGann who gave a thought-provoking and well-attended lecture on the little-known Hiddenness Argument against the existence of God. In another visit, Dr Guy Sutton, a neuroscientist, spent a day with our sixth form psychologists and biologists in a ‘Brain Day’ which included a dissection of a sheep’s brain. Neurotransmission, brain defects and brain scanning were all covered as well as new topics such as technology that allows thoughts to be ‘read’! Lunchtime saw a lecture on genes for aspiring Medics from Year 10 upwards. In all, a great day!
It has been a very busy and successful term for our Year 12 and Year 13 Mathematicians. Students have taken part in a host of competitions and events (and winning accolades too!), including Maths Olympiad for Girls, Senior Maths Challenge, Bebras and Senior Team Maths Challenge. A number of our sixth form students have been invited to take the Oxford Computational Challenge in March, following the success of their BEBRAS results. Sixth form students have also been enthusiastically tackling and sharing their solutions to the regular problems in the 2019 Integral Maths "RITANGLE" challenge.
Special thanks to Mrs Stanley and the History department for running the Year 12 History Conference on 12 November. Students had the opportunity to develop their knowledge and understanding of a range of topics, including Mary Tudor, Henry VIII’s reformation, Elizabeth’s golden age and Henry VII. The day included a talk by acclaimed historian David Starkey, who spoke about Henry VII and his claim to the throne. For a fuller account of the event, please read the excellent write up by Florence G and the History Society.
One aside I wanted to mention is that, following a period of consultation with colleagues, we will be piloting some small changes to the timing of the school day next term. This will make no difference to the start or end times for the day, but will ensure that lessons start cleanly and promptly by building in a short period of travelling time between single periods which will enable us to maximise the effective use of our teaching time. The exact details of the changes have been shared with the pupils.
In true community spirit, the Linked Schools group, now in Year 12, ran a cake sale this term as part of their ongoing fundraising work for the J8 charity to support girls’ education in a secondary school in Malawi. The group have recently put funding in place to support twelve students through their secondary education and their focus now is on how best to spend the rest of the money raised to improve girls’ attendance in school. To facilitate these discussions the group were visited by the founder of the J8 charity who was able to provide up-to-date feedback from the students themselves in Malawi and important costings of a range of potential projects.
On that charitable note, I would like to wish you all a restful and enjoyable break.
On Tuesday 3 December sixth form students Sunny, Norrie, Charlotte H and Charlotte L competed in the regional final of the Senior Team Maths Challenge (STMC). The STMC tests mathematical, communication and teamwork skills and students compete against teams from other schools and colleges from t...
Basketball has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years and it is fantastic that we now have a sixth form team. Their debut fixture was a very enjoyable and friendly occasion against an impressive side from Anglia Ruskin University. There was a good level of support for both sides and this created a great atmosphere. Mr Pepper was pleased with the performance against a well drilled and older side and is confident that the students will have learned a great deal from the match. In the New Year we will be looking to play more fixtures and it is hoped that this is the start of an exciting journey for basketball here at the sixth form.
Please remember to stay up to date with fixtures, results and more by following us @SPFSport on twitter and regularly checking the sports website www.stephenpersesport.com.
Christmas Fair success!
The Christmas Fair last Saturday at Rosedale House was a jingle-tastic affair thanks to all who volunteered, attended or otherwise supported the event. Particular thanks go to the organisers, Sophie Hirst and Susie O'Connor, who made it look easy!
There were stalls, games, crafts, and a magical Santa’s grotto, and it really was jingle-all-the-way as the children used the special Christmas-Fair 'jingle' currency for their preferred stands. The children seemed to have a lot of fun and the event raised over £1,000, so great work!
If you have any feedback on the event, or thoughts for next year, please don't hesitate to let us know as it helps a lot - you can use the following form: https://forms.gle/TAHVAkb9toCJDBSM7
Future PFA events
Please do watch out for and engage in parent meet-ups arranged for your children's year(s) by your Class rep - they're great opportunities to network and to get more involved with the school community, and mostly arranged via Classlist.
Next term we will have the Valentine's Bake Sale on Friday, 14 February 2020, as well as the next Movie night coming up on Friday, 28 February 2020, both at the Senior School - volunteers and cake donations (remember, no nuts!) will be needed.
Beyond that on Thursday, 7 May 2020 we'll be holding a Quiz Night at the Sixth Form - if you reckon yourself to be quizzical or just have an encyclopaedic knowledge and esoteric education, we'd love you to step forward as Quiz organiser! Please contact us via Classlist or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
For now, have a great Christmas and New Year break, and we look forward to a fun-filled year ahead in 2020.