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View The Bristol Grammar School Newsletter Summer 2011 Issue 18

GREENPOWER is back on track


with David Beckham



for our Spanish exchange



View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

From the Headmaster


he summer term always seems busy and this one is no exception. As well as the excitement of Sports Day, we have enjoyed school plays, success in the Green Power Challenge, impressive sporting achievements, and we have put our ideas and energy into wildlife photography; the three-hundred entries are testament to the success of this now well-established event.

As a community we have also been galvanized into action and delivered our ‘biggest-ever second-hand book sale’; a remarkable achievement. I could write about much more – so many impressive endeavours undertaken by students at the School. Our Upper-sixth students with their enthusiasm, commitment and zest for life have been a vital part of our School’s achievements over the last year. They are excellent students, great ambassadors and a real asset to our School. Thank you to them all but in particular to James, Naomi and Libby

for their hard work and support. We wish every one of our leavers success in their future. We also say a fond farewell to Dr Alison Primrose. In the ten years that Alison has been with us, she has transformed the lives of children in our Junior and new Infants School. It is wonderful to see their confidence and their enthusiasm for learning. Alison, will be greatly missed by students, parents and colleagues. After a busy term, for many of us there is a busy holiday ahead. Good luck to our Kids’ Lit Quiz team

Roderick MacKinnon

News HM HUNTS DOWN BUSINESS SUCCESS Headmaster MR MacKinnon joined three other panelists to adjudicate the six finalists in the last round of the Bristol Evening Post’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition. Like their TV dragon counterparts, they grilled each contender on their economic viability and plans, leaving no stone unturned in uncovering the strengths and weaknesses of each business. Mr MacKinnon was hugely impressed by the quality of the contestants. He said, “It was a real honour to be involved. The energy, imagination and sheer hard work on display was both remarkable and humbling.”

Discover who the panel chose as Entrepreneur of the Year at

competing in New Zealand, to Tom competing in his first European Chess Championship, to all our young sports stars representing county and country, not forgetting our sports teams heading for South Africa. Wherever you go and whatever you do, I hope you have a happy and fruitful summer holiday. We look forward to welcoming new friends and new faces when we rejoin in September.

Plans in place The School’s accommodation review is continuing, underpinned by the generous support of the Pople Charitable Trust. The Trust’s gift of £1 million made to the 475 Capital Campaign has funded the Sports’ Pavilion and was going to support development of the Hub. The focus is now on improvements and enlargements to existing buildings. At the forefront is the comprehensive refit of the Science Wing in celebration of the achievements of Sir John Pople, a Noble Laureate in Quantum Chemistry. With phase one now complete, the remaining development of the Science Wing is scheduled over a period of three to four years. Design and investigation work continues into the proposed

redevelopment of the squash courts into a fully-equipped, 250-seat theatre. A decision from the Board on whether to proceed with a planning application is expected soon. The Pople Charitable Trust has also funded the creation of fifteen Pople Scholarships available to Year 7 entrants. Bursar, Jeff Berry is grateful to everyone who supports the School, especially those who give regular monthly gifts. He says, “All gifts are greatly appreciated and help to keep the funds growing month-on-month for the benefit of all those students who would otherwise struggle to attend BGS.”

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News Hair-raising good fun The sun shone on Gunawardana’s lunchtime charity fête, where students paid to eat cake and participate in all the fun of a fair. They were entertained by wellie-throwing, Beat the Goalie, a treasure hunt and lucky dip, the Human Fruit Machine and ‘Pin the hair on Mr G’. ‘Wax the legs of the Sixth-form boys’ proved to be the leading moneyspinner, raising £40 of the total raised on the day. In total more than £250 were raised in aid of Sparkle Malawi, a charity close to the hearts of Grace and Sam The two Upper Sixth students will visit Malawi next year to help extend the capacity of Grace Orphanage. Money from the House Play and Concert ticket sales will also support this worthwhile charity.

Authors support

giant book sale

Children’s author Eleanor Updale and graphic novelists the Etherington Brothers, teamed up to lend their support to our four Kids’ Lit Quiz world finalists in the ‘biggest-ever one-day second-hand goodquality book sale’ held at the School. This massive sale of second-hand books was organised by students Jack (Year 7), Tej , Rose and Elisabeth (Year 8) with more than a little help from Ms Shepherd. The proceeds will help them reach New Zealand this summer, where they will take their place as England Champions at the annual World Lit Quiz Final. Mountains of books donated by publishing houses, members of the public and the whole School community changed hands in an atmosphere of busy excitement. With everything from story tapes to Bristol Festival of Ideas book-prize nominees, there was something for everyone. Eleanor Updale supported sales on the day and the evening culminated in an exciting auction of original artwork,

signed and special editions, hosted by the Etherington Brothers. In all the event raised a fantastic £4,393.50. Good luck to our four literary luminaries who will be competing against teams from the UK, New Zealand, South Africa and China to win the twentieth anniversary world championship title.

Testing stuff Year 8 students spent a day experiencing why Chemistry is cool at the annual University of Bristol Salters Festival: Rose , Megan , Winston and Oscar competed on behalf of Bristol Grammar School. They had a busy and enjoyable day applying their knowledge and making the most of the facilities in the University Chemistry Laboratories.



View Spring ‘11 Issue 17

News A taste of Jamie’s kitchen students working on a project to design healthy school dinners were invited to the kitchens at Jamie’s Italian this term. The twenty Year 8 students had been working to design healthy school meals for primary schools. Like Jamie Oliver, with his campaign to improve school dinners, they looked at how to include fruit, vegetables and the right balance of nutrition, but still create something that young children will find tasty to eat. Stella was one member of a team who worked together to win a place on the trip. Their menu was both nutritious and delicious, fish and couscous with roast vegetables. Stella reports, “It was a great opportunity to see just what cooking well for a lot of people means in practice. We all really enjoyed getting our hands on the pasta machine and having a go at making Jamie’s pasta.” The students talked to Head Chef Sam Elliott, gaining an insight to what it’s like to cook with Jamie in the kitchen. Matthew Hilliard, Head of Students’ Personal Development said, “The students watched Jamie Oliver’s programmes on improving school dinners as part of their study. A visit to his restaurant was a great way to reward them for all their excellent work.”

Eyes down and cook in

Planting for butterflies In April, BGS students were joined by Ecologist and Natural History Presenter, Mike Dilger, in planting the first of what is hoped will be many thousands of new butterfly-friendly gardens across the UK. The dig was part of the Planting for Butterflies campaign, a butterflysaving initiative organised by the charity Butterfly Conservation. More than a dozen students, armed with spades and trowels, planted buddleia, lavender and other plants high in nectar that had been donated by Brackenwood Plant and Garden Centre in Abbots Leigh.

Five finalists in the Year 8 Masterchef contest had their cooking skills scrutinised by a top Bristol chef. They prepared two courses of a gourmet meal under the eagle eye of Sam Elliott, Head Chef of Jamie’s Italian. The competition was tough and the children had to pass more than just a taste test: they were assessed on their preparation skills, quizzed on their ingredients and marked on whether they kept on top of their washing-up. After a ninety-minute cook-off, Grace took the title. Tasting the dishes, judge Sam said, “The food was delicious and very adventurous. It was a difficult job choosing just one winner: they were all excellent candidates. I enjoyed tasting the fruits of their labours.”

Rising chess star

Firing on all guns Students in Year 8 relived the experiences of seventeenth-century militia this summer. Mixing cavalier attitude with hard-headed history, they quickly got to grips with life on the battlefield, re-enacting the roles of soldiers in the English Civil War. The English Civil War Experience Day was led by Kevin Hicks from the History Squad. Armed with dramatic tales, weapons and costumes, Kevin quickly engaged students in why History is so much fun. As roundheads and cavaliers, the students dressed as musketeers, cavalry and pikemen, bringing their classroom study to life. Each lesson was noisily driven home by a musket at the end of each session.

Tom (Year 10) is set to make his appearance on the international chess scene, selected to represent Wales in the European and World Youth Chess Championships. His first place in the U16 Welsh Chess Championship has earned him a place in the national team. Tom started playing chess seriously just three-and-a-half years ago at School Chess Club and credits Mr Iwi, his first Form Tutor and Mathematics Teacher, for giving him his introduction to competitive chess. Tom will be playing in the European Championships in Austria in August and at the World Youth Championships in November in Brazil.

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News Greenpower is

back on track

The Greenpower 2011 summer racing season got underway in May with a fantastic sixth-place finish for the BGS team and their electric car, Megazord, at Silverstone. After working hard to complete a reduction in battery capacity of fifty percent along with other necessary adaptations to comply with new standards, the team – Harry and Tom (Year 9), Harry and Billy (Year 10) and Oliver (Year 6) – finally got the ‘all-clear’ from Greenpower's engineers, the green light needed to enter their first race. Harry took the wheel at the start of the race, driving the first thirty minutes, followed by Billy and then Harry, racing toward the final flag. Oliver was in charge of time keeping, recording lap-times for later analysis: “The car ran smoothly with consistent times despite the strong head wind in the run up to Maggott’s Corner.” Efficient driver-changes kept the team in the race but just outside the top ten at the halfway stage. After sixty minutes of racing, many cars appeared to be slowing, but the boys' strategy worked

as planned. Over a distance of 29.5 miles, Megazord averaged 22.125 mph. As the chequered flag came down, the car had worked its way through the field of forty-five vehicles to an incredible sixth-place, with only 0.7 miles separating them from the race winners. Keep up-to-date with the season’s latest results at

Maths challenge Year 7 and 8 students taking part in the national Junior Mathematical Challenge performed extremely well, gaining 28 Gold, 41 Silver and 56 Bronze certificates. Well done to James and Elisabeth whose results put them in the top 1,200 of the 240,000 participants. They have been invited to take part in the Junior Mathematical Olympiad.

Lucky strike in World of Work Year 9 student Cameron had a dream start on his first day of work experience, finding himself chatting to David Beckham. Cameron accompanied his father, ITN Sports Editor Steve Scott, for his World of Work day, a school initiative which encourages younger students to experience life in the workplace. For Cameron it opened the door to a day in Canary Wharf, watching teams of cameramen and reporters take their turn to interview David Beckham. Cameron explained, “When I booked the day I had no idea what would happen. After the interviews, David Beckham spoke to everyone. We said ‘Hello’ and he said I looked like my dad. It was great to meet him.” Students visited companies across Bristol as part of the initiative. Alex enjoyed a day at Airbus visiting Concorde and watching the flightsafety engineers at work in NonDestructive Testing.

Bespoke tartan for uniform design The new BGS School uniform launches in September, introducing one bespoke BGS tartan to be worn by all students across our Infant, Junior and Senior Schools. All jackets and blazers will be made from polywool: enhanced quality, but still machine-washable. A fitted jacket for girls has also been introduced as part of the changes. Schoolblazer offers pre-labelling as standard on the uniform they provide and free delivery is offered on all orders placed before Monday 18 July. Try before you buy by visiting the School Shop.



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“I liked learning about South Africa and Bertie’s life on the farm.”

“I loved it when Bertie went to war and won the Victoria Cross.”




Letter from the Queen There was much excitement when a letter arrived direct from Buckingham Palace, in response to the children’s polite and inquisitive letters to the Queen.

Tales of summer

Days of sunshine at the beginning of term brought our Year 2 infants outside, enjoying story-time and circle-time in their lovely garden. Under blue skies, the children began discovering the power of reading by sharing The Butterfly Lion. This Michael Morpurgo classic tells the story of a small boy called Bertie, who rescues a white lion cub from the African veld: the book inspired a journey of learning and discovery for our own small children. Bertie’s experience led to a circle time about bullying and the children created their own posters. His encounter with a lady with ‘dark piercing eyes’ encouraged the children to use these adjectives to create large pictures. In the classroom they

used Microsoft Word to discover other descriptive words for eyes. They used Google Earth to look at South Africa and explored how to use Paint on their computers, the first steps to creating their own book covers. They experimented with creative vocabulary relating to lions and created super sentences using those words. The children finished the book and their project, working in teams to create their own huge Butterfly Lion in the Infants' garden.

Forest fun at Failand

Super News

Year 1 and 2 children have been braving the weather at Failand, learning to whittle sticks with the help of potato peelers. They added their own designs and, hey presto, created their own magic wands. Year 1 retreated to the shelter of the Forest during a particularly heavy downpour! They were very brave and seemed to love the wet weather!

Our infants have been putting pen to paper, coming up with their own ideas for stories and content for their newspaper Super News. In a project called ‘Read all about it’ they have worked to produce a Year 2 newspaper reflecting their time at the BGS infants. They even gathered their own material, interviewing Mr MacKinnon, Dr Primrose, Mr Huckle, Mrs Edwards, Miss Moon, Tom (Year 3) and Alessio (Year 2).

The letter, from the Queen’s Lady in Waiting, said, “The Queen thought it was kind of you to tell her about yourselves and your school, and her Majesty was very interested in the questions you have asked”. It included lots of interesting facts and figures about the monarch. We learnt that she was born on 21 April 1926, her day starts at 8am, she lives in Buckingham Palace and her first corgi was called ‘Susan’.

Building Building

Noah’s Ark Year 1 completed a major construction project this term, building an Ark from wood and recycled materials as part of their 'Noah’s Ark' project. They made two sets of every animal, modelling each one from clay.


on the field The Infant Sports Day held at Failand was a fantastic success and the children gave their all in every event. They raced round the track, competed in long jump, 200m and 400m events, sprint and relay. The weather was on our side and it was great to have so many parents present on the day.

I remember whenever I go to the playground, you always give me a lovely smile! Hannah (Year 4)

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Infants & Juniors

Enjoying the buzz in Berkeley

Farewell to Dr Primrose We say a fond farewell to Dr Alison Primrose, who is moving to Stafford after ten years at the helm of BGS Lower School (now Infants and Juniors). She has been an inspirational Headmistress, and will be greatly missed. We very much hope she will find time to come back and visit.

Dr Primrose, you are very kind. I will really miss you. I remember that I was really scared and now I am really happy. Emma (Year 3) You’re the best Headteacher I’ve ever had. Your assemblies are always interesting. Sam (Year 3)

On a packed day out in May, Year 4 covered cowpox, castles and chrysalises, a visit that took in Berkeley Castle, the Butterfly House and the museum dedicated to pioneering scientist, Edward Jenner. The Jenner Museum is at the former home of the scientist Edward Jenner, who studied his natural surroundings at Berkeley in Gloucestershire. Often referred to as 'the father of immunology', Jenner invented a vaccine for smallpox, treating local people in a hut near his home. The children learnt much about the man and his medicine, visiting his study and the garden where he cultivated herbs. The day moved from medicine to murder and mayhem as the party arrived at Berkeley Castle to learn

about the grisly death of Edward II. They visited the spot where a jester bounced to his death, accidentally thrown from the balcony. Delving through dungeons and careering through halls and kitchens, they saw many colourful tapestries and Berkeley family artefacts, including a kitchen table that amazed many for being six hundred years old. The day ended on a calmer note in the warmth of the tropical butterfly house, home to forty-two exotic species including the world’s largest moth, the Atlas moth.

Beach buddies Weston-super-Mare and its brand new pier was the destination for a very excited Reception class, determined to make the most of the sea and the sand. They paddled, made sand angels, took a train ride, played football, dug for treasure, ate ice-cream and spent quite a few old pennies on the machines on the pier. They returned slightly soggy and sandy, after a day packed with friendship and fun.



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Juniors Bug safari at Folly Farm

Folly Farm proved as popular as ever with our Year 4 explorers and scientists, who have been foraging for wildlife on the 250 acres of nature reserve at Folly Farm, Pensford. Lifting sticks and stones they hunted for bugs, exploring the habitat of local mini-beasts. They hid in a tree hide-out and caught fish which they identified before returning them safely to the pond. Phoebe enjoyed the busy and exciting day and was disappointed when the trip came to an end. “It was definitely the best school trip in my life,” said Phoebe.

Charity weeks Children throughout the Junior School have been raising funds for charity this term, with four individual House Charity Weeks across May and June. Boulton’s kicked off the fundraising focus in early May, raising £111 for A Life for a Cure, a local charity pioneering a cure for meningitis. Children organised a colouring competition and their cake sale brought the School to a standstill; queues stretched the length of the spiral stairs. During Pitts’s House Charity Week the children ran a bring-and-buy sale. Each

member of the House brought in goodquality objects to sell, ranging from sweets to books to roller skates! The yellow House raised a fantastic £97.14 for their chosen charity, Make a Wish. Students in Gough’s House revived the good old-fashioned ‘Bob-aJob’, although with inflation, each one was challenged to raise £5 over the half-term by completing small tasks around the house for family members. McGregor’s scrumptious cake sale cake sale raised £76.00 for the Wallace and Gromit Appeal for Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Down under in The Big Pit The Big Pit in Wales was just the place for Year 5 to undertake in-depth investigation for their study of the Victorians discovering what it was like for Victorian children working underground in a coalpit. Wearing helmets and belts equipped with lights and gas masks, they descended two hundred feet underground through tunnels and trapdoors, turning off their lights at the bottom to experience absolute pitch-black. Today the gas masks are no longer essential but they were lifesavers for the children working there all those years ago. Jonathan explains, “Our instructor showed us our masks and explained that in the olden days they were really important because there were many underground pockets of poisonous gas.” Out in the fresh air, the children visited the stable for the horses that would have pulled the heavily-loaded mine carts. “It was a great day out and we got back to School knowing lots of information about Big Pit,” said Cameron .

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Music / Performing Arts

Beauty and the Beast Year 6 created four enchanting evenings, entertaining audiences with their musical version of the ‘love-conquers-all’ classic tale of Beauty and the Beast.

This one had its own special ingredients including a pack of ferocious wolves, some talking teapots and love struck ‘Silly Girls’. Be Our Guest was sung with enthusiasm and gusto, and nobody in the audience remained untouched by the spell-breaking finale.

Mad for mythology in the Middle School Play

There were two goals for our Middle School students presenting their summer performance, The Greek Mythology Olympiaganza: to show how Greek myths may still have contemporary relevance, while at the same time revealing how far we have evolved from the Greek way of thinking. Director Eric Levy was determined to make this play one to remember. “With no offence to our own Classics Department, who are the exceptions that prove the rule, the students were out to seize what could have been a fairly uninteresting topic and present it in an entertaining and different way.” The cast of twenty-six did an excellent job, enjoying the joke of Zeus in a tracksuit and other anachronisms.

Songs with sirens Songs by rock band The Police filled the Great Hall as Year 5 and Year 7 students came together with the BGS Chorus in our annual Pop Medley. The choirs were accompanied by the Bristol University Symphonia. For many of our younger singers the concert was an introduction to the sound of Sting and many classic tracks from the 1970s and 1980s. For others, especially those in the audience, it was a fantastic evening marred only by the thought that when they first heard these songs topping the charts it was more than thirty years ago!



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Wildlife in focus

Naturalist and broadcaster Ed Drewitt was judge and guest of honour at the School’s seventh annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Faced with more than three hundred entries, Ed found selecting winners particularly challenging: “I was overwhelmed by the variety and quality. Judging such a wide range of techniques and different styles of photo has been very tricky. ” Some entrants like Alex (Year 10) submitted macro images, close-up pictures that reveal detail unseen by the unaided human eye. “Alex produced a wonderful dragonfly photograph that was highly commended,” said Ed. “There was also marvellous symmetry in the closeups of flower and seed heads.” Isaac (Year 2) took the prize for BGS Infants with his photo, Daisy. “Isaac got a great perspective on

a simple subject, getting right down into the grass to take his winning shot,” explained Ed. Ed also really liked the photo of an alpine chough from Tom (Year 3) who won the prize for the Junior Section. “Tom shows the chough in a broader backdrop, capturing the snow and the skiers, a whole bigger story in just one photo. It’s excellent.” There were entries from students in Reception through to seasoned Sixthformers and savvy staff and parents, many submitting more than one photo: their enthusiasm impressed the judge. “Getting young people to focus their attention on creating a wildlife photograph is not only fun but a great

way of helping them to appreciate the beauty and diversity of the natural world on our doorstep,” he said. Congratulations to the overall winner Joe (Upper Sixth) with his picture of Elephants. “This really stood out as a lovely photo,” said Ed. “What I most liked was the perspective, the view of the surrounding savannah stretching away to the horizons beyond.” Ed took a break from his busy schedule as a zoologist, a reporter for BBC Radio 4's Saving Species and a consultant for the BBC's Springwatch to judge the competition, awarding prizes at a special presentation evening held at the School.

1. Heron and crow by Gilly Macmillan, winner, Parents and Staff. | 2. Elephants by Joe (Upper Sixth), winner, Years 11 and Sixth Form and overall competition winner. | 3. Daisy by Isaac (Year 2), winner, BGS Infants. | 4. Sea urchins by Sarah Stevens, winner, Image Evolution. | 5. Chameleon by Theo (Year 9), winner, Years 7–10. | 6. Chough by Tom (Year 3), winner, BGS Juniors.

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Delving into data



Thirteen excited students from Year 10, Year 11 and the Lower Sixth embarked on the return leg of the Spanish exchange to the small city of Ronda in Andalusia at Easter. They were enthusiastic to see their exchange partners again, already close buddies thanks to Facebook and the success of the earlier visit by the Spanish students to Bristol. The students’ arrival at the School coincided perfectly with the end of the school day. They headed straight home with their Spanish families for a second lunch of the day and their first taste of Spanish family life. The visit coincided with a heatwave in the south of Spain, perfect weather for trips to the beach. The first full day was spent in the cool shade of Alhambra Palace in Granada, learning about life in the fifteenth century when the Moors ruled Spain. The weekend was spent catching up with exchange partners and exploring the locality - a picnic in the famous gorge for some, while others headed for the coast.

On Monday morning it was time for school and a chance for BGS students to experience everyday Spanish school life. Work was followed by play and everyone enjoyed an afternoon relaxing at the beach in Puerto Banús, close to the harbour and its luxury yachts. The next day was spent in Seville visiting the impressive Plaza de España, built for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929, and climbing the beautiful Islamic tower. After a final morning touring some of Ronda’s important buildings and enjoying views over the gorge, there were more classes and then a farewell meal in a local pizzeria. Goodbye scenes on the last morning were tearful after such a fantastic stay, but with such firm friendships made, many students have already planned a return visit this summer.

Gaining valuable experience of how to manage a controlled assessment in Geography, Year 10 geographers stayed overnight at the Field Studies Council Centre, Nettlecombe Court, in a valley at the eastern edge of Exmoor National Park. It is surrounded by marine, freshwater and heather moorland habitats and its neighbouring settlements range from hamlets and villages to the county town of Taunton. Having grabbed food to make their own sandwiches, the group headed to Taunton to collect data in the town centre and the districts of Haines Hill and Halcon. Back at the house, revitalised by dinner, the students worked on their data presentation before relaxing with a game of football on the lawn. The next morning was spent writing up the methodology and looking at new approaches to data presentation using the geographic information system (GIS). GCSE students Harriet and Becky were studying the environmental quality of nearby residential areas. Harriet explains, “We really got to grips with understanding our data and the general purpose of the controlled assessment. Everybody benefited hugely from the experience and had a great time.”



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A sense of perspective

While many of us were glued to our TV screens for the Royal Wedding, thirty-two Year 10 students set off for France and a fascinating tour of the First World War battlefields. Leaving at 6.00am, they headed straight to the enormous French National Cemetery at Notre Dame de Lorette and to the nearby trench system at Vimy Ridge. Other poignant memories from the four-day tour include walking across the well-preserved battlefield at Beaumont Hamel on the Somme, the scene of terrible casualties in 1916, and a visit to the Menin Gate in Ypres. Here, at 8.00pm, buglers sound the Last Post in tribute to the fallen on the Ypres Salient.

BALANCING ACT Our Year 7 Honours students and Sports Scholars enjoyed some lessons in team work skills on the low ropes course at Failand. In groups they were asked to traverse the length of the course, without spilling their cargo, a full cup of water. Dr Dimberline, who organised the challenge, was very impressed with their performances. “Individually it would have been an impossible task,” he said. “Working as a team, with a swing in their stride, they all stepped up to the challenge.”

Dr Massey, Head of History, says: ‘This is an annual tour that’s greatly enjoyed by all Year 10 students, not just those interested in history. It is moving and, in some cases, life-changing.” The tour had a big impact on Year 10 student Qays . Describing the visit, he said, “It was a trip that I’ll never forget. We got a real idea of the scale of the war. It has really made me think, seeing the cemeteries and the graves of so many people who died.”

Food for thought The Bristol Festival of Ideas has provided some fascinating lectures year-on-year, and 2011 was no exception. Eight Honours Students and Mrs Nesbit, Leader of the Honours Students, attended a lecture given by sustainable food systems planner Joy Carey. She spoke on the subject How can we feed Bristol in the future and raised issues such as the amount of food discarded as waste. For Honours Student James (Year 11) the post-lecture discussion was both stimulating and thoughtprovoking. James explains, “There were no shrinking violets among an audience keen to express their views, with audible groans whenever anyone mentioned a new supermarket.”

RSC’s Macbeth Students studying Macbeth seized the opportunity to see a performance of the play in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s first production since the opening of the refurbished theatre. Having read the text, watched the film by Roman Polanski, and heard many stories of other productions from their teacher Roland Clare, the students were keen to add to their extensive knowledge of the play, all excellent preparation for their examinations. Although a technical hitch removed some of the opening impact of the play (director Michael Boyd had planned to introduce his child witches by lowering them in on meat hooks), Jamie (Year 9) thought the production was excellent. With the help of explosives set off on stage, it definitely went off with a bang.

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More than we could have expected Trekking in Morocco topped even the high expectations of the sixty Year 9 students who made the journey at Easter. Phoebe Grange and Lottie Clough report. “As we walked up the breathtaking mountains of Morocco we knew the months of preparation had been worth it. It was better than anyone could ever have imagined; singing as we walked along the dusty paths, playing football with the Moroccan children, giving out presents, and above all knowing that we were all on this trek together. “When we stepped out of the plane and on to African soil we were surprised by the heat. At Hotel Ali our room had a great view of the Marrakech market square with its snake charmers, henna ladies and stalls selling fresh orange juice.

“The walks up the mountains were challenging but the views were spectacular when we reached the top. Our campsites were amazing and the guides prepared delicious food. We all enjoyed washing our hair in nearby rivers and playing card games in the tents. “Being in Morocco was one of the best times of our lives and we all came back with vivid memories: a ride on a mule, falling in a river or just hanging out in the campsite with people we now know very well. None of us will ever forget the time we spent there.”

Thrills and spills in Andalusia Spain was the destination for a group of Year 8 students, who experienced more than the usual high points in their five-day trip to Andalusia. Based in Malaga, the students enjoyed the sights and tastes of the city, visiting the castle with its beautiful views of the coastline, trying tapas and other local foods. Churros con chocolate was a firm favourite for many.

Coastal calculations A day of coastal and tourism-based fieldwork took Year 9 to Clevedon Bay, the new pier at Weston, and Clevedon Pier, the only fully-intact, Grade I listed pier in the country. They collected data for person profiles, land-use surveys and environmental quality surveys for ‘Coasts’, one of this term’s Geography topics. They enjoyed great weather, perfect for taking measurements along the sea front. Izzy says, “We had a fun day; it was a great way of developing our fieldwork skills. All who are carrying on at GCSE will find it extremely useful.”

BGS scouts join world jamboree

Sightseeing in Granada, the capital of the province, inevitably incorporated a visit to the beautiful palace and cathedral of the Alhambra. Maisie , like many in the group, was very excited about the visit to the theme park Tivoli World: “We could see the rides in the distance; they were so tall! We went on the Tivoli Dragon ride, which was fast and furious. We were soaked by the flumes which was fun as we were so hot anyway. We were so high up, it felt as if we were on top of the mountains. It was the best trip.”

BGS students will be teaming up with scouts around the world this summer, selected to join scouts making up part of the UK contingent to the World Scout Jamboree 2011 in Sweden. The students have been training and fundraising for the past twelve months. They will leave in July to spend two weeks under canvas with 38,000 scouts from around the world, a fantastic multicultural event organised every four years. Congratulations to Emily and Kate who succeeded in reaching the final eight in Avon’s Got Talent during the County Scout Jamboree at half-term. They sang an a cappella duet of The Long and Winding Road in front of 2,500 scouts.



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Sport S

Run away success BGS stars of track and field have been making their mark at county level, in two indoor athletics events held at the School against local schools, and in outdoor events hosted at Failand. In the Avon Schools’ Championships Mark (Year 9) won the 800m and the 400m with a personal best of 55.56 seconds. David (Year 9) took first place in the 1,500m, matched by a win from Olivia (Lower Sixth) in the 1500m senior girls' events. Ada’ora (Year 7) topped the field, bringing home first place in the high jump. Both Mark and Olivia have been selected to represent Avon in the English Schools’ Athletics Championships in July.

Battle of the giants After leading throughout the winter months, the BGS Orienteering squad was pipped at the post at the final event of the 2010–2011 League season, in which Gordano School took the Avon Schools' title for the first time. The competition will be fierce again next year as BGS goes all out to regain the trophy. Any newcomers who would like to experience the sport should contact Mrs Jo Foster, and are welcome any time.


CRICKET The U15 team has been on fine form this summer, coming through to reach the quarter-finals of the English Cricket Board U15 National Championship. In the end it was Portsmouth who put a stop to their winning run. It was a great team effort by all our players.

The ‘A’ team It’s been a busy year for the School’s first Sport Honours Students, Jodie and James in Year 7.

Junior Boys score football win The Junior Boys finished the season on a high, winning their football league at the end of ten tough games against five other schools. As many of the players are still only in Year 5, and Luke was recruited from Year 4, it augurs exceptionally well for our chances in 2012. Congratulations to the team: Jasper Matthew Tom , Tobi Alex Daniel , Daniel and George .

As well as competing in the ‘A’ team in Rugby, hockey and cricket, James has played for the Year 8 Rugby squad. Over the summer he has been working at the high jump, long jump and 400m in athletics. “Being an Honours Student has helped me feel more part of a team and it’s boosted my confidence,” says James. “Next year I just want to keep improving and go for a better result in

the Rugby Nationals.” Jodie plays on the hockey and netball ‘A’ teams. In the summer she enjoys rounders, tennis and, outside School, cricket. “One of the best things about this year has been the encouragement I’ve had from every one of my sport teachers,” said Jodie. “It really makes a difference. Next year my aim is to try as many new things as possible and make the ‘A’ team in every sport I try for.”

View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

Sport South Africa, here we come. The BGS Summer Ball was a fitting celebration and culmination to a year of fundraising activity focused on supporting this summer’s Sports Tour to South Africa. All forty boys and twenty-five girls embarking on the trip are immensely excited at the prospect, as are the eight staff who will accompany them. “The itinerary is challenging: each one of our two Rugby and netball teams and our girls’ hockey team is scheduled to play six matches,” confirms Rick Sellers. “We’ll be playing against strong teams in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.”

sporting snippets CONGRATULATIONS TO: i and Jodie who have been selected for Satellite Netball Academy. Jasmin , Samantha and ChloË who are all competing in their county netball trials in early July. Junior School students Ned (Year 6) and Ludo (Year 4), for their Rugby success. As members of the Old Bristolians' RFC, they have been named 'Player of the Year' in their respective age-groups. The Junior School swimmers for success at the Bristol Schools' Primary Gala finals. Sam (Year 5) came second in the 25m butterfly and third in the 50m breaststroke and individual medley. Harry came sixth in the 50m freestyle and third in the backstroke. Well done to the relay teams, especially the Boys' Medley team who came third. Fencer Oliver (Year 10) who came first in the England Youth Championships.

Anastasija is Local Hero

Lower Sixth synchronised swimmer Anastasija has been selected for support as a Lloyds TSB Local Hero; the programme is run in conjunction with SportsAid to provide funding and recognition to talented young athletes. Anastasija trains for more than twenty hours a week and has a full schedule. The funding will have a real impact on her ability to meet it. “It’s a great opportunity because

it has put me in touch with so many other athletes who have given me help and advice,” explains Anastasija. “The funding will also help with things like transport and accommodation for events and training sessions.” Anastasija has had a busy end of term, representing the Junior Great Britain synchronised swimming team in the European Championships in June. She’ll be trialling for a place in the Senior Squad later this year.


Catch of the Day Sophie (Year 4) took the Catch of the Day, playing for our Under 9 girls team in rounders at the Colston festival. She and her team mates played brilliantly; Jaimee led the charge as our best batter. The U8 team turned out in place of an U9 ‘B’ team and played well against their more experienced competition. They beat Red Maids' 3–1½ and Kingswood 6–2½. Their batting was particularly impressive and their fielding much improved. Issy Watts was our best batter. India won the Fielder of the Day award.

Earlier in the season the U10 team took part in a rounders festival and the U11s took part in a tournament. The U11s' team had a run of close matches, finishing third in their tournament. The U10s also played really well, coming second in the speedy fielding contest. Ellie , Sophie and Tash were winners in a batting contest. The girls also won awards for great catching during the festival.

AlexandRA tees off golfing success Talented young golfer Alexandra (Year 11) has been selected to represent Avon in the South West English Schools' Golf Championships in Hampshire in July, having been runner-up in the Avon Schools' Golf Association Championships held earlier this year. Now playing off 6, she has recently gained selection for the Gloucestershire Ladies’ County Golf first team.



View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

Sixth Form Going for Gold on Arran Twenty Sixth-form students took time out from their Easter break to go for gold in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. For many it was the culmination of five years of commitment to challenge and personal development. Camping on the Isle of Arran, they survived the sunshine and the occasional marauding stag, as Naomi and Rachel report:

“Our first challenge was the journey by car, plane, bus, train, boat and then on foot to the campsite. We were met by Dr Dimberline, Mrs Dixon and our Undercover Rock assessors who had driven from Bristol the day before. Even on the wilds of Arran, the sight of our BGS transit van brought forward a number of locals with BGS connections. A Scottish first, the weather was incredible. Wall-to-wall sunshine meant sunbathing and sea paddling. Instead of hypothermia and waterlogged equipment, we faced the challenges of sunburn and heatstroke. Wild camping highlighted the value of clean running water and a toilet. The upside was making a camp in unspoilt areas of natural beauty, close to the local wildlife. We were woken at dawn by a young stag, ripping the outside of the tent in his quest for apples. Unperturbed, we slept in a gaffa-taped tent for the remaining two nights. We had planned our routes across the island which has few proper paths putting our navigational skills to the

test as we made our way between camping spots. Arran offers the walker huge diversity; in between mountainous and hilly stretches, we had sections of coastal walking. We even managed to see sea otters and dolphins. Given the landscape, we chose to study evidence of glaciation. Despite having only one geographer among us, by photographing the relevant features and through further research, we all learnt a great deal. On our last evening, we headed to Brodick, Arran’s main town and the attraction of the local restaurant’s 2-for-1 pizza deal. We also made it to the local holiday spa, a visit spearheaded by Mrs Dixon, partly due to her own desire for a shower and, on our part, to save our fellow passengers on the journey home. The wonderful weather and trip to a part of the country that none of us knew well was a great way to end what, for many of us, was five years of DofE at BGS.”

Artistic fervour STUDENTS from Year 10 to Upper Sixth are developing their artistic talents towards a Silver Arts Awards as part of the BGS Activities Programme. Administered by Trinity College, the Award could be viewed as an arts-based alternative to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, a chance to explore creative interests and share them with others. The Silver Award is comparable to a short course GCSE qualification. Gold is valued as half an AS Level by UCAS. Students are involved in photography, fashion design, poetry and song writing, jewellery making, painting and acting. There is a developing sense of artistic community from sharing achievements and the review of each others' work. The group have attended readings, drama and music productions and met with writers, film-makers and designers in a behind-the-scenes tour of the BBC. A first Arts Award showcase evening is planned for September.

RES Recognition Christopher (Lower Sixth) has achieved a highly commended award for his 2011 Royal Economic Society essay. He was one of only 36 entrants singled out for high praise from over 500 competition entries.

Latin first A national prize for Latin translation was awarded to Rex this term, one of three BGS Sixthformers to enter the world-wide ‘Cicero’ competition. Rex won first prize for the quality of his translation, Matthew was commended in the Upper Sixth section and Duncan (Lower Sixth) also won a certificate.

View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

Sixth Form All for one

Zombie Zombie attack! attack!

Pale-faced, eyes swathed in dark circles, this year’s Upper Sixth leavers looked like death even before putting a pen to their first exam paper.

As they prepared to say farewell to the Upper Sixth, staff and students arrived at BGS to find signs warning of a zombie invasion and groups of resistance fighters patrolling the School. Fortunately the only menacing moves were on the ‘dance floor’ to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

A summer of Shakespeare English students preparing to tackle Shakespeare at A2 next year set their sights on Stratford-upon-Avon and headed off to see the current production of the RSC’s Merchant of Venice by director Rupert Goold. Set in modern day Las Vegas, the performance, with Patrick Stewart as Shylock, has been widely acclaimed and similarly praised

by our own student critics. The play was a first taste of live Shakespeare for student Jack . “It’s my first Shakespeare production and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. It proved really inspirational, a sixteenth century play brilliantly adapted to our times. It was a great way to build our enthusiasm for Hamlet and King Lear.”

Purposeful penguins A school trip brought back nostalgic memories for our 50 Sixthform psychologists who joined crowds of excited primary school visitors racing to see their favourite animals at Bristol Zoo. After studying observational techniques and research methods in the classroom, they headed out to put them into practice, monitoring the behaviour of different species. The activities of lazy Asiatic lions, (they only move when they hunt) and similarly immobile penguins, perfectly poised in their own space and own

company, were recorded in detail for several hours. Lion-watching Phoebe (Lower Sixth) explains, “I observed a lot of lying around, although the new cubs were cute and a little more energetic. It was a very enjoyable way to practice what we’ve learned, adding to the attraction and popularity of Psychology as an ‘A’ level subject.”

Stepping up to take responsibility for so much that contributes to the smooth running of the School, Hannah is the new BGS Head of School and Bea and Rex are our two Deputy Heads.

One of their first challenges will be to get to grips with the lists and rotas. Back in Year 7, Hannah assumed the role of Head of School was largely ceremonial. Now she knows different. “There is a lot to do,” admits Hannah, “It gives us all a real insight into how the School works, a glimpse of all the things that go on that nobody normally ever sees. It’s a great opportunity.” The three have had a few tips from their predecessors, one of which is to keep the Prefects motivated and happy. Hannah adds, “We all recognise the importance of having the support of an energised team.” One of the key characteristics of recent leadership teams that Rex hopes he can emulate is their positive vibe. “They always seem upbeat and happy. It’s very rare to catch a Head or Deputy Head of School without a smile on their face. I’d like to be able to keep that resolve.” Looking ahead at the impact they might have on the School, Bea suggests that perhaps their success should be measured on the least amount of difference. “If nobody notices, if we keep things running as smoothly as James, Naomi and Libby, then I think we’ll have done a pretty good job,” she said.



View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

Literary events Cricketer and musician Henry Olonga’s visit to BGS was a runaway success, as Daniel Watkins reports.

Olonga story short

“Long story short ...” begins most of Henry Olonga’s sentences. It is an apposite epithet for a man whose three-tined fame covers sport, music and political activism, but who had just ninety minutes to capture it all. We learnt that his first sporting love was running, inspired by the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and his first running success was against his brother, chasing an ice-cream van in pata-patas (the onomatopoeic Southern African name for flip-flops). Those first steps set him on a path to become one of Zimbabwe’s most respected Test fast- bowlers.

ng i t t u C edgening leahrris Bradford with C

Take one successful children’s author, one very sharp samurai sword and over twenty years of martial arts experience, then add a large group of excited Year 7s. The result? A brilliant afternoon of fun with Chris Bradford, the author of the popular Young Samurai series, as Librarian Rosie Child explains.

“Long story short, I was making my début against Pakistan …” We had a stark lesson in not giving up at your first attempt. Henry’s first Test ball was wide; his second was at least straight; and with his third, he took the wicket. This was at eighteen years and 212 days old, making him simultaneously the youngest player and the first black cricketer to represent Zimbabwe. It was fascinating to discover that one of his mentors was his U13 cricket coach, our very own Roy Jones. Henry cited a conversation he had with Mr Jones as a turning-point in his life: where Mr Jones set him on his path to

“Chris captured our attention right from the start, launching into a demonstration of his samurai sword skills. He then performed an impressive recitation of a fight scene from one of his books, acting out each move with his bokken training sword as he spoke. “Watched over by a slightly apprehensive group of teachers, he enlisted willing members of the audience to test their proficiency at ‘ninja-walking’ and to demonstrate his sword skills further, all the while teaching them about the history and customs of martial arts. By extolling the virtues of female samurai and emphasising the strong heroines in his novels, Chris engaged the girls equally with the boys. “Chris is a charismatic presenter, an informative teacher and a skilled martial artist. We would definitely welcome him back, with open arms – although we’d watch out for the sword.”

later success and laid before him his sporting potential. At the 2003 Zimbabwean Cricket World Cup he made his mark politically, exiled from his homeland for wearing a black armband, a mark of the ‘death of democracy’ under President Mugabe. All this left the audience ready for questions: did he miss Zimbabwe? (“Yes, but not the animals that can eat you!”) Who was the best batsman he had ever bowled to? (“Tendulkar, Lara, and Waugh”). Did he regret his actions? This he answered with the quotation often attributed to Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

Another great literary production A Senior Producer and Director for BBC Radio, Sara Davies has worked for Radio 4 on Book at Bedtime and a host of other literary adaptations for broadcast. Her talk to an intimate gathering at Literary Society made everyone, including teacher David Briggs, a little envious. “I shouldn’t wish to suggest that teaching English isn’t infinitely rewarding, but being the person who gets to choose which books to adapt for radio – and then choose the actors– seems an especially agreeable career path,” explained David. Sara’s anecdotes about truculent actors and legendary Foley artists made for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Students and staff had the opportunity to shape the future sound of the airwaves, suggesting books that might work well on radio. Jamie (Lower Sixth) couldn’t resist the opportunity to express his zeal for Russian novelists. If you find yourself amiably diverted by the Napoleonic delusions of Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov, as you potter about the kitchen in the future, you know whom to blame.

View Summer ‘11 Issue 18

Old Bristolians Competitive edge Leaving BGS ten years ago, Lauren Rafter (now a barrister) took the advice of Head of Careers, Mrs Guy and decided not to study law. “I did think I wanted to be a barrister, but I wasn’t completely sure,” admits Lauren, “Mrs Guy was right in advising I could return to it later. We decided on Finance and Accounting, which was a good call.” When she did make the decision to head for the Bar in her final year at Nottingham University, it wasn’t a choice popular with all. “Lots of people tried to put me off, from my parents to my bank,” laughs Lauren. “It’s very competitive, a high-risk strategy, compared to becoming a solicitor. Funding options for Bar School are quite limited.” For Lauren, a pupilage with 7 Bedford Row provided some support, aided by a scholarship from the Inner Temple. She was accepted into Chambers in 2008. As a student in the Sixth Form Lauren was Vice-captain of the netball and hockey ‘A’ teams. She remembers the excitement of the Australia and South Pacific Sports Tour. “One of the most important legacies from my two years at BGS was that I developed a sense of my competitive spirit and the growth in my confidence,” she says. “It has helped me no end in a profession where the odds are often stacked against you, instilling a sense of determination.” “Mrs Guy, my Form Tutor Mr Roberts and Mr Sellers all contributed to that sense of self-belief. I recognised their confidence in me.” Today Lauren is working in Chambers where the work and the people are diverse. “We are hard-working, but still have other involvements. I’m lucky to work with colleagues who are stimulating company. It’s something I recognise from School.

“The many opportunities for extracurricular activity enjoyed by students at BGS make you more interested, interesting and well-rounded. At least there is never a problem filling in my CV.”

Peter Winteringham Science Prize A new prize will be presented this year, celebrating outstanding achievement in Science: it will be awarded to a member of the Lower Sixth in memory of an outstanding chemist, Old Bristolian Peter Winteringham (1933–35). 'Mad on Chemistry’, to use his own words, Peter was appointed Head of the Joint FAO/IAEA pollution programme at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. When disaster struck at Chernobyl Peter, although retired, was requested to join a small team to visit Russia at the invitation of President Gorbachev.

Ambition America 2003 leavers Tom Grice, Jonny Miles and Ryan Seville have been variously studying, working and travelling in America. They have filmed a three-month odyssey along the way, recording their success, or otherwise, in achieving a list of personal ambitions. Under the title Boxtick America (, they are making a series of videos documenting their experiences. The films are being released in weekly instalments on Koldcast, an online television channel ( The trio have won a Dockers grant to film a second series, which will begin in July.

Gap Year volunteer Kitty Hardman (OB 2011) has been volunteering at the Dar Ouirgane boarding house, accommodation provided by BGS-supported charity Education for All, for girls attending school from rural Moroccan communities. She was overwhelmed by her reception: “I was greeted by a rush of girls landing kisses on either cheek,” explained Kitty. “It was such a loving and enthusiastic welcome, my overriding impression of Dar Ouirgane.” Kitty has been helping with yoga and kick-boxing sessions, football, lessons in French and English, baking and painting. “I am so impressed by what this charity achieves.” adds Kitty. “It’s been a wonderful opportunity.”

Reigning champions TWENTY years to the day after the 1991 U15 Rugby side lifted the prestigious Daily Mail Cup, the team went bravely back into action in a charity match, held at Failand, against BGS Old Boys. Flanker Mike Mills staged the reunion match which the 1991 team won 24–19, 'a touch generously'. They played a man short, in memory of winger Giles Smith, who scored a try in the 1991 final but was killed in an accident a few years later.


Bristol Grammar School University Road Bristol BS8 1SR

Diary dates

Senior School 0117 973 6006 Junior School 0117 973 6109



Friday 2 September: New Students' Induction Day (Senior School)

Thursday 1 December: Christmas Market, Great Hall 6.30pm

Monday 5 September: Term begins Wednesday 21 September 2011 Honours Students' Investiture, JCR 4.30pm Thursday 22 September: Solo Music Competition, Great Hall 7.30pm Friday 23 September: Gunawardana's House Concert, Mackay Theatre 7.30pm

October Wednesday 5 October: Literary Event: Afternoon tea with Sarah Raven: Talks with BBC Radio 4's Sara Davies JCR 4.30pm Friday 7 October: Whole School Open Evening, 4.00 – 8.00pm Tuesday 11 – Wednesday 12 October: Edwards's House Play, Mackay Theatre 7.30pm Thursday 13 October: Diamond's House Concert, Mackay Theatre 7.30pm

Tuesday 6 – Saturday 10 December: Senior School Musical Performance, Mackay Theatre Tuesday 13 December: Carol Service, Great Hall 7.30pm Wednesday 14 December: Term Ends 12.00 noon

Forthcoming literary events Gardener, cook and writer Sarah Raven will be in conversation with BBC Radio 4 Executive Producer Sara Davies on Wednesday 5 October. 4.30 for 5.00pm. Tickets £8.00 (no concessions) include afternoon tea. World-famous explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be talking about his new book My Heroes in the Great Hall at BGS on Monday 17 October 4.30 for 5.00pm. Tickets £10.00. SOLD OUT!

Monday 17 October: Literary Event: Sir Ranulph Fiennes introducing his book My Heroes, Great Hall 4.30pm for 5.00pm Thursday 20-Friday 21 October: Jakobek's House Play, Mackay Theatre 7.30pm Monday 24 October – Wednesday 2 November: Half Term

November Tuesday 8 November: External Sixth Form Open Evening, Great Hall 5.00pm Wednesday 9 November: Whole School Open Morning, John James Room 9.30am Thursday 10 November: House Singing Competition, Great Hall 6pm Monday 14 November: Literary Society: Professor Hopkins, JCR 4.15pm Tuesday 15 November: GCSE & 'A' Level Concert, John James Room 7.30pm Thursday 24 November: Instrumental Evening, Junior School Hall 7.30pm Tuesday 29 November: School Concert, Great Hall 7.30pm Editorial: Jo Foster, Wide Blue Yonder Design: Printed on 100% recycled stock using vegetable inks

Bristol Grammar School is a Registered Charity No. 1104425

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