Dear Parents and Carers
Inspiration and Perspiration
“Inspire Me”. “Inspire and Guide”. “An Inspired Education”. There is clearly a thread that runs through the Stephen Perse Foundation, but what does this mean? What does it look like every day?
When I think of inspiration, the first thing that springs to mind is our students. I never fail to be amazed by the individual and team stories that I hear about on a day-to-day basis. Here are some recent stories from our Twitter feed that show some of these in action:
It is easy to attribute this to talent, but a great deal of perspiration went on behind the scenes to achieve these successes. This sort of effort is often unseen, often at unsociable hours, and often bookends a long day of demanding lessons at school. Hats off to them all.
I’ve written a great deal about the inspirational spaces that we are now occupying, and we are still in the honeymoon period where just walking around the new build is a special experience. True inspiration cannot come just from the space itself, but will result from the amalgamation of the space with the people. Fortunately we have not just brilliant students, but fantastic staff, and I have every confidence that they will exceed our expectations of how the space can be used. In some senses, the perspiration is over with the lion’s share of the building work now complete, but in many ways the effort of doing justice to the space is just beginning.
Although inspiration is often spontaneous, we do our best to plan for it as well, and this is most evident in the wonderful ‘Inspire and Guide’ programme, aimed mainly at our Year 10 and 11 students. This is a rolling weekly programme mainly made up of external speakers talking about their lives and careers, and how they got to be where they are. This term we have had a New York Times journalist, followed by a Times fashion writer (a personal contact that came from IB physics lessons!), a forensic linguist, two CEOs and a writer. Over coming weeks we have a museum registrar, a style coach, an inventor and the owner of a software start-up company. I am tremendously grateful to all the parents who have volunteered to speak, and to my colleagues who have helped to set up such an incredible programme. If you feel you could contribute to the Inspire and Guide programme, I am looking for people to speak to next year’s cohort, so please do get in touch. All who have done this to date have agreed it was an enjoyable experience and hopefully the preparation won’t involve too much perspiration!
Head of Senior School
The Bard in Italy - Y11-13 trip
“What news on the Rialto?“ asks Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.
In the extremely early hours of Thursday 19 October, 38 intrepid students set off for Italy accompanied by four members of staff from the Visual Arts, English, Drama, and Modern Foreign Language departments.
This trip was conceived after a lunchtime conversation which discussed the fact that over a third of Shakespeare’s plays were set in Italy. So our students set off to discover more. Read about their adventures and take a look at some snapshots on the school blog.
Evensong at Ely Cathedral
On Wednesday 1 November, The Singers visited Ely Cathedral to sing the service of Evensong for All Saints' Day. Inspired by the magnificent surroundings, the choir sang fantastically, and the Cathedral clergy were most appreciative that we were able to cover this important service during their own choir's half-term break.
The Autumn Concert took place on Tuesday 14 November. A packed hall enjoyed performances by the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Orchestra, Big Band, Year 7 Choir, Middle School Chamber Choir, Middle School Choir, Jazz Singers and Senior School, alongside a number of outstanding solo and small ensemble performances. It was fantastic to see so many students - well over a hundred - performing in the various ensembles. If your child has not yet joined a choir, orchestra or band, but would like to, now is the perfect time, as all groups will be starting on their new repertoire next week. They just need to speak to any music teacher and will be made very welcome.
The Cambridgeshire Holiday Orchestra Christmas Course takes place from 27 - 30 December at West Road Concert Hall. This very longstanding Cambridge organisation provides opportunities for singers and instrumentalists, and also includes exciting opportunities like Samba, Folk music and Gamelan. If you haven't yet come across Holiday Orchestra, it is something we are very happy to recommend: visit www.holidayorchestra.co.uk for further details.
If any parents who are new to the Foundation are musicians, please do let the music department know; there are occasions when we need to reinforce the Symphony Orchestra, in particular with brass instruments, double bass and viola. We also occasionally expand our choirs to perform a big choral work and will advertise such opportunities when they arise.
Michaelhouse Lunchtime Concerts
Our series of lunchtime concerts at Michaelhouse Chapel in town continues with great success.
Performances so far this term have included music for solo piano (Juliette Richards), music for recorder, flute and voice (Olivia Petryszak and Katie Diss), chamber music by Telemann and music for oboe and guitar (Annabel Jenkinson and Christina Lewis). There are two further concerts this term: Friday 17th November (Annabel Butler - piano and violin) and Friday 1st December (Kira Bhamra - piano).
The concerts start at 12.30pm and last for half an hour. Everyone is very welcome - there is a fabulous café adjoining the chapel and meeting for coffee or lunch before or after the concert is a popular part of the afternoon for our regular attendees!
Classics Reading Competition
Every year, schools from all over the city come to compete in the Cambridge Classical Association’s reading competition. This year, the competition was tough indeed with a record number of competitors taking part, but our Senior School and 6th Form students blew away the competition, resulting in:
- Intermediate Latin Prose - Christina Lewis 1st Place
- Intermediate Latin Verse - Priyanka Narayan 2nd Place
- Intermediate Greek Verse - Juliette Richards 2nd Place
- Senior Greek Verse - Imogen Stow 2nd place and Harry Roth Highly Commended
- Senior Latin Verse - Annabel Jenkinson 1st Place
- Senior Latin Prose - Ben Tomlinson 2nd Place
Read more about our success in the full news article.
County Netball Finals
Our U14 and U16 netball teams played in the County Finals over the weekend and both put on fine performances. The U16 tournament was a round-robin format so they played seven teams and lost only one game by one goal! This meant that they were runners up and gained a place in the Regional tournament.
The U14 competition was in two pools; we made it through to the semis and then on to a nail-biting final that saw us go ahead and then behind, but sheer determination and some excellent decision-making led us to victory and being crowned County champions, joining the U16s at regionals in January.
Please see the Senior School calendar for our upcoming events.
One highlight for next week is Mike Poulton's adaptation of The Canterbury Tales, being performed by students in Years 11-13. Tickets are available at reception.