The new year is often a chance for us all to reflect on our habits and health, and so I started this term by talking to the whole school about the importance of sleep in assembly. I’d encourage you all to think about how much of a priority sleep should be in your lives. My interest in sleep was kicked off by a book I read about a year and a half ago called “Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams” by Dr Matthew Walker. If you’ve not read it, I highly recommend having a look. It had such a profound impact on me that I gave up caffeine over a year ago and am still pretty much caffeine free all the time now, and the quality as well as the quantity of my sleep has improved significantly!
Unfortunately for many of the Year 11s the term didn’t start with restful sleep, but instead with the excitement and challenge of their mock exams. As I said to them the purpose of mocks is to learn from them. The mock exam period should leave them with a much clearer understanding of where they are at the moment, and what needs to be done between now and the summer to achieve their best.
The school is a slightly odd place during exams, as we try to balance the busy life of a vibrant school against the desire to keep the site as quiet as possible! It’s nice therefore that they have now come to an end, for a while at least, so that we can all let out our breath!
There’s something magical about the spring term I always feel, as the evenings gently day-by-day get longer and the hope of warmth and summer begins to feel in sight. This also makes it easier for the sportsmen and -women in the school as that added daylight means it’s possible to get in a bit more practice.
But there’s plenty of activity going on inside as well, with rehearsals for the Year 7 production of ‘Beauty & the Beast” (not the Disney version before you ask!) well under way; alongside rehearsals for the upcoming Chamber Music concert on the 12 February, and the Spring Concert at West Road Concert Hall taking place in mid-March.
It was really pleasing that so many of the parents took up the opportunity to join the ‘Understanding Young People's Mental Health’ course - the uptake surprised both us and the county with almost 130 of you taking up the opportunity. It’s a really good course, so we are pleased to be able to make it available to you; and it shows us there is an appetite for these types of activities, so we will continue to explore how we can support you as parents.
As we come towards the end of this half-term, there are still a few things I wanted to draw to your attention. Year 10 have their parents evening coming up on the 5 February; the Sixth Form drama production is on the 7 February (although I should add this probably isn’t entirely suitable for anyone under 14 - further details below); Year 8 parents’ evening is on the 10 February. And as it’s the first day back of next half-term, don’t miss the Year 10 and Year 11 Soloists’ Concert on the 24 February.
Have a wonderful half-term break when it comes, and I look forward to seeing you at one of the forthcoming events.
Dr Andy Kemp
Head of Senior School
Following on from a series of exciting talks at the end of last term the Year 10 Inspire and Guide Friday morning sessions have continued to focus on A level/IB choices whilst the Year 11 students sit mock examinations. This started with talks by The Head of IB, Ms Paris, the Head of A Level, Dr Rahman, and Head of Sixth form, Mr Pinkus, last week which provided a platform for students to ask questions. This was followed with a session introducing Unifrog, the university destinations career platform (unifrog.com). This system is used extensively by our sixth form students for university decisions and personal statement preparation; its use in helping with A Level/IB choices is now firmly established by the guidance team for our Year 10/11 cohort. Students enjoyed a preliminary use of the ‘careers’ and ‘subjects’ libraries to investigate how subject choices might affect potential degree and career plans whilst also investigating the range of options now open to them.
Meanwhile, the Year 9 students had a morning workshop using the Morrisby platform (morrisby.com) and a short profiling exercise to envisage how GCSE choices might affect different career options. Whilst hearing more about the GCSE options choices available to them within the Foundation they also considered how we make decisions generally, tactics to try, and those potentially to avoid!
Sixth Form Production
The Sixth Form play - a dark and twisted double bill
DNA, by Dennis Kelly
Blackout, by Davey Anderson
One cast take on two very different but equally disturbing plays that question the extremes that people will go to for self preservation.
NB - please note that this performance contains adult themes and strong language. Suitable for 14+.
Stephen Perse Podcast
Take some time out and listen to one of our Stephen Perse Podcasts. Each episode is a conversation between staff and students discussing everything from current events to education in the modern world.
Find out about the fascinating lives of our staff before they turned their hand to teaching, from professional football to starring in the West End.
Listen to all of our episodes on our website or search ‘Stephen Perse Podcast’ on Apple Podcast, Spotify, YouTube and Anchor.
We have had a very busy start to the Spring term with many matches being played. The students have been working really hard and there have been some fine performances.
The Under 14 Boys’ fantastic run to the last-16 of the ESFA National Cup came to an end against a very talented Langley School side. There were some good performances across the pitch, with a superb first goal for Sam R being the highlight. Next up for these students is the District Cup, with a trip to Swavesey in the First Round.
The Under 18 Boys’ played their first game of the season and were unfortunate to lose 1-0 against Mander Portman Woodward (Birmingham). Despite having numerous clear cut chances, we lacked the clinical edge which would have won the game. However, the team can be very proud of their performance and there are a lot of positives to take forward.
The start of a new term has seen the boys move into their hockey season. A number of teams across Year 7, 8 and 9 have already had the opportunity to represent the school in sporting fixtures against other schools. Enthusiasm is high and positive progress is being made during training sessions. The U14 hockey team have already participated in their county cup competition (England Hockey Tier 2). Despite a couple of close encounters with JFA Newport and SWCHS the team were unable to secure the wins which would have seen them progress through the tournament and into the regionals. In the coming weeks further matches are scheduled for our boys hockey teams, plus county cup competitions for the U12s and U13s.
We’ve had a very strong start to the new year and the netball season, with our first team beating Wellingborough in the first week. Our U14s A-C had straight wins against a strong Bishops Stortford, a draw from our U13s followed by four out of five wins against Wellingboroughs U14 & U15 teams completed the second week. Our U12 A-D had their first fixtures and played some great netball against Bedford Modern, coming away with two wins, a loss and a draw.
Our U19, U16s and U14s once again all qualified for the Regional Schools tournament last weekend which is a fantastic achievement. The U19s were left with just seven players after illness and injury yet worked hard against some very strong teams. Our U14s showed versatility, determination and only lost two matches in their pool to teams who eventually both qualified for the National Finals. Our U16s (made up of all U15 players) won all of their group games to get through to the semi finals. Playing a very strong Saffron Walden County High School, the players dug deep and were rewarded with an impressive win, taking them into the final. The final versus Broxborne School was tough and exciting and both teams stayed neck and neck throughout. At 12-12, Broxborne scored a goal in the dying seconds placing us in a very respectable second place. Our U16s have now qualified for National Schools on 14 March. We are extremely proud of this success. A first for our school and a great experience for our players.
The annual Bedfordia cross country competition at Lincroft School took place during storm Brendan on the 13 January so it proved to be a real challenge for all the athletes, over 30 schools took part with in excess of 100 athletes per age group.
The teams and positions were as follows, full results are on socs.
Year 7 boys team: 7th place - Ivan, Ben, George F, Zak, Conor, George N, Bertie
Year 7 girls team: 7th place - Eleanor, Mia, Abigail, Robyn, Jenny, Alannah, Lucy, Matilda
Year 8 boys team: 10th place - James B, Frederick, Aaron, Alex, Frank, Oliver, Samuel
Year 8 girls: The whole team finished in the top 30 places individually, an absolutely outstanding achievement - Daisy, Ilaria, Orla, Gabi, Millie
Particular congratulations must also go to Ivan H in Year 7 and Daisy H in Year 8 who both came 4th individually and Ilaria S who came 7th.
Well done to all athletes, you were a credit to the school and showed real determination and resilience.
SAA County Cross Country Championships
Eight students from Stephen Perse were selected to represent the Cambridge District at the Cambridgeshire Schools County Cross Country Championships at Netherhall School on 11 January. In extremely blustery and challenging conditions the students took to the familiar course again and they did not disappoint.
Isaac M 1st, won the Junior boys race with a dominant and impressive front running performance.
Ivan H - 4th place Minor boys
Fran T - 10th Senior girls
Cecily H - 13th Inter girls
Connie T - 17th Junior girls
Eleanor K - 21st Minor girls
Congratulations to Isaac, Ivan, Fran and Cecily who have all qualified to represent the Cambridgeshire County at the Anglian Cross Country Championships, we wish them every success.
Finally, a huge congratulations to Izzy and Zabeetah who have joined Monika in being selected into the Mavericks Futures Academy. A fantastic and thoroughly deserved achievement.
Congratulations to all teams and individuals on your performances. We look forward to seeing the season progress.
For all other news, results and information on fixtures, please follow us on twitter @SPFSport and remember to check the sports website www.stephenpersesport.com for fixtures, results and team selections.
Our Year 9 Creative Arts Evening was, once again, a resounding success.
This event offers students a unique opportunity to share the work produced across their Art, Design, Music and Drama lessons with parents, family and friends.
We were pleased to have Dr Alasdair Russell join us for our Inspire and Guide session today where he shared how he became Head of Pre-clinical Genome Editing at Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute and what his role involves.
Representation from each year group is essential in order for the event to be as meaningful and as successful as possible!
Valentine's bake sale @ Senior School Dining Hall, Friday, 14 February, 2pm-4pm, with second hand uniform sale @ Activity Space, 4pm-6pm
Calling all current and future bakers - the annual Valentine's bake sale is fast approaching on Friday, 14 February, at the Senior School Dining Hall from 2pm. Please send in your favourite baked goods - NB: STRICTLY NO NUTS!!! - and pocket money for the children (items are between 20p and £1 per item).
Rosedale House and Madingley parents please note that this coincides with the Year 1 and Year 2 school performance being held at the Senior School from 2.30-4.00pm.
All donations should be brought into school receptions on the morning of Friday 14 February up until 1:30pm. Please remember to label any trays and tins for easy return to you.
The bake sale will be followed by a second hand uniform sale at the Senior School. Uniform donations are always welcome if of good quality, clean and usable, via school receptions.
Movie Night - Maleficent 2 @ Senior School, Friday 28th February, 5.30pm-8.30pm
Calling all movie lovers - following last year's successful movie night, we're running a simpler version with one film - Maleficent 2: Mistress of Evil (2019), PG certificate - at the Senior School, screening from 6.30pm.
Tickets will go on sale shortly at £5 per head including a bag of popcorn and a drink. We are looking to arrange a hot food stand for those looking for supper on the night, as well as a cash bar for alcoholic drinks.
We'll also be running a competition for the best Maleficent dress-up - the winner will get the Maleficent 2 DVD!!! - so please do wear something spritely.
Quiz Night @ Sixth Form, Thursday, 25 June
Finally, we're planning a quiz night next term after the main exam season is over to test out all parent brains as well! Please save the date for now, noting we will have ample parking on site.
We're looking for a quiz author as well as volunteers for the night, so if you're interested please contact your Class rep or the PFA directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today we have @DomEllisPeckham, world renowned choral director spending the day with Y6 from both Rosedale House and Dame Bradbury's to help them with their vocal technique in preparation for a showcase in front of parents this afternoon