Issue 5 | December 2019
THE MAGAZINE OF THE KINGSLEY SCHOOL, ROYAL LEAMINGTON SPA
Musings from the Head’s office In this, our 135th birthday year, I am proud to be the current custodian of the exceptional Kingsley community. We all know about Rose Kingsley being a pioneer of women’s education but less wellknown is that she was a bold adventuress, far ahead of her time - read Ms Dyson’s travel piece (pages 78-80) where we learn of Rose’s exploration of Colorado Springs in the late nineteenth century. I am sure she would have been thrilled to witness the commemorative events this year. You can read about the celebrations - the summer garden party (pages 4-7) and the whole school’s enjoyment of Happy’s Circus on the school’s actual birthday in September (pages 8-11) in this edition. Christmas is also a special time at Kingsley and 2019 is no exception. Kingsley kindness is evident in spades at this time of year, both within school and beyond. In addition to all the fun activities, our community remembered our relative privilege and put together shoe-boxes of gifts for those less fortunate and collected ‘reverse advent calendar products’ for the homeless. To paraphrase Charles Dickens, it is important to remember to honour Christmas in our hearts and keep it there all year. Our pupils raise thousands of pounds throughout the year for charity and you can read in particular about Maddie’s generous action for The Little Princess Trust (page 58). We have also been focussing on being kind to our planet. Our very timely Climate Day came on the day after heavy localised flooding which meant an early closure (see pages 40-41). Our mantra for the year 2019-20 is focussing on the power of positivity so it was appropriate that the Climate Day ended with pledging positive actions. Helping the pupils to develop an awareness of the world beyond Kingsley and being ready to take responsibility for the world around them is all part of our character education - there are details of some of the adventures and trips Kingsley provides, our careers provision, such as older girls being encouraged to be enterprising (read about Ishmeera’s work experience to M-TEC (pages 56-7) and our oversubscribed engineering club - Tinker Belles - (pages 38-39), as well as whole school events to increase political awareness (pages 62-63 & 65).
“If you want to change the way you feel, change the way you live.” - Gaur Gopal Das
I was privileged to accompany some of our amazing students to the Round Square International Conference in India and to hear some of the inspirational speakers. One speaker who left a lasting impression on me is Major Singh whose mantra, when seriously injured, became “I am the boss of my life!” and fortified him to forge a new life; another is Gaur Gopal Das, motivational speaker and life coach, who similarly emphasised the importance of a positive mental attitude in overcoming difficulties and obstacles in life (pages 46-49). This whole new edition of ‘1884’ is full of Kingsley pupils demonstrating just such positive attitudes and embracing all the many enriching opportunities they have access to - too many to list here. I am sure you will enjoy reading through and hearing about their many successes, for example in performance and in sport. One only has to read about Jessica entering the BBC Young Musician 2020 competition (pages 75-75) and Kingsley’s ski team being crowned British Schools Ski Champions (pages 6869) to be reminded of how holistic a Kingsley education truly is. All this and our community finds time for the Reading for Pleasure initiative (pages 14-15, 33, & 34-35) and to attain academic excellence too - do read Piper-Rose’s essay on slavery (page 31) and Emily’s A-Level English essay (pages 60-61) to realise that this is not just a proud headteacher’s biased opinion! Finally let us not forget the pastoral excellence for which - I would suggest - Kingsley has the best reputation in the area – read about Prep Yoga Club (page 21) and meet our new Deputy Head, our school counsellor and Scooby the therapy dog (pages 26-27 & 36-37). And last but not least, always remember to be Kingsley kind.
ON THE FRONT COVER: KEYS TO SUCCESS: THE STORY OF TALENTED YEAR 11 MUSICIAN, JESSICA
In this issue..
KINGSLEY 135 4-11 135TH BIRTHDAY GARDEN PARTY & ART EXHIBITION LET THE SHOW BEGIN: A VISIT FROM THE CIRCUS
PREP SCHOOL 12-24
ALL ABOUT ME (FOUNDATION) 12-13 GOOD READS 14-15 THE GREAT FIRE OF LONDON (YEAR 2) 16-17 CHILDREN IN NEED 18-19 YOGA CLUB 21 JOURNEY TO JO’BURG (YEAR 6) 22-23 NATIVITY 24
WHOLE SCHOOL 25-58 INTRODUCING OUR NEW PASTORAL DEPUTY HEAD 26-27 FIRST IMPRESSIONS 28-29 THE FIGHT FOR FREEDOM 31 DOWN TO THE WIRE 32 READING FOR PLEASURE 33 FAVOURITE READS 34-35 MEET OUR WELLBEING COUNSELLOR 36-37 TINKER BELLES 38-39 CLIMATE DAY 40-41 ICELAND 42-43 WORLD CHALLENGE: MALAYSIA 44-45 INDIA & ROUND SQUARE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE 46-49 DUKE OF EDINBURGH’S AWARD 50-51 ON THE BUSES 52-53 COULD AN APPRENTICESHIP BE RIGHT FOR YOU? 54-55 ENGINEER FOR A WEEK 56-57 THE BIG CHARITY CHOP 58
SIXTH FORM 59-65 CHILDHOOD: AN ESSAY FROM ENGLISH STUDENT, EMILY 60-61 WHY STUDY POLITICS? 62-63 BECOME AN EXAM SUPERHERO 64 WHY I’M AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT’S HS2 PLANS 65
SPORT 66-69 TOKYO CALLING 66 BRITISH SCHOOLS SKI CHAMPIONS 68-69
8 21 38 46 68
PERFORMING ARTS 70-77 PREP PUPILS CELEBRATE ‘THE CIRCLE OF LIFE’ 70-71 YEAR 7 PUPILS PERFORM ‘A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM’ 72-73 IN PERFECT HARMONY 74-75 KEYS TO SUCCESS 76-77
ALUMNAE 78-80 COLORADO SPRINGS: RETRACING ROSE KINGSLEY’S STEPS
When Rose Kingsley founded the school originally named the Leamington High School for Girls - in 1884, there were just 17 pupils occupying a classical Regency property at 19, The Parade. Fast forward 135 years and the school is almost unrecognisable (although the spirit and determination of its founder are still very much alive!). One can imagine the first birthday celebration - a walk and a picnic, perhaps, or maybe a small tea party. As Kingsley’s 135th birthday approached, staff were faced with organising a celebration of a very different scale! On Saturday 6th July, a summer garden party and art exhibition were held in the Senior School. The event was attended by over 500 people - including pupils, parents, staff, governors and alumnae of all ages - who enjoyed afternoon tea in the garden, tours of the school, and a special commemorative piano recital from current Year 11 student, Jessica (more on Jessica on page 76). One alumna travelled all the way from South Africa to attend the event, and another, who was a pupil from 1957 to 1968, commented, “The School is quite magnificent and how it has changed since my day.”
The art exhibition featured work from across the Kingsley community, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, photography and textiles. We were thrilled to receive some textiles items from alumna, Hilary Makepeace, which she made when she was a pupil in the late 50s/early 60s. We also launched our new ‘135’ book and commemorative mug. Written by staff alumna and historian, Rebecca Dyson, the book offers a fascinating insight into the history of the school, with photos from 1884 through to the present day. More than 150 copies have been sold to date, with all proceeds going to the 1884 Bursary Fund helping to give even more young people a Kingsley start in life. On the school’s official birthday (23rd September), current students, parents and staff enjoyed a special celebration of their own with a visit from the circus. Never before had the circus visited Kingsley in its 135 year history and it didn’t disappoint. Turn to page 9 for the full report.
KINGSLEY 135 5
During our summer garden party we said a fond farewell to two long-serving and much-loved members of staff, Mrs Bailey, Deputy Head and teacher of geography (pictured top), and Mrs Wright, who has been integral to the running of the school office for 26 years (pictured bottom with her daughter, Hannah, who was a pupil at Kingsley). They were also honoured in a wholeschool assembly at the end of term, with special performances and messages of thanks from pupils of all ages. At the end of the assembly Mrs Bailey said, “I can honestly say that was the best thing I have ever heard - ever!” Both members of staff will be sorely missed, but we are pleased to welcome them to The Kingsley School Alumnae and look forward to seeing them at future celebrations and events.
Our 135 commemorative mugs, made from fine bone china, are perfect for your morning cuppa! Available to purchase from the School Office, with all proceeds going to the 1884 Bursary Fund.
Read our new book...
To mark our birthday, we published a new book celebrating 135 years of The Kingsley School. Written by staff alumna and historian, Rebecca Dyson, and packed with images and other rarely-seen materials from the Kingsley archives, this is a great opportunity to gain a fascinating insight into the history of the school, starting with its founding in 1884. The book contains images right up to the summer of 2019, making it a wonderful keepsake for anyone with a Kingsley connection, past or present. Purchase your copy from the School Office now, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
About the author... Rebecca Dyson first came to Kingsley as Head of History, bringing with her a passion for her subject and for sharing it with others. Her imaginative and striking teaching and resources brought history alive for her students, and gave them a strong sense of its significance in their lives. In addition to her teaching (and, later, her role as Assistant Head), Rebecca used her knowledge of the history of The Kingsley School to create engaging exhibitions and displays for school anniversaries and KSOGA (Kingsley School Old Girls’ Association) events. For many years now, she has been the keeper of the school archive down in the cellar, making sense of the mass of paper and digital records, such as magazines, letters, invoices, and thousands of photographs. Her knowledge of the school’s history, right up to the present day, is unparalleled. This, and her flair for bringing history to life, come together in this 135th birthday book.
KINGSLEY 135 7
KINGSLEY 135 9
Let the show begin! WHAT BETTER WAY TO CELEBRATE 135 YEARS OF KINGSLEY THAN WITH A VISIT FROM THE CIRCUS? CUE: CLOWNS, ACROBATS, MAGICIANS, AERIALISTS... AND FLOSSING! On Monday 23rd September, the entire school including students, siblings, parents, grandparents, staff and governors - headed to the sports fields on Sandy Lane to enjoy one of the only true forms of variety entertainment still operating in Britain today: circus. The amazing all-human ‘Happy’s Circus’ (https://www. happyscircus.co.uk/) performed inside a big top tent, with incredible acts from international artists. During the warm-up, Mr Happy invited Senior School girls to light up their mobile phones and wave them in the air - something they took great delight in, since the use of mobile phones is strictly prohibited in school (if you can’t break the rules at a 135th birthday party then when can you?!). Younger pupils waved their arms and swayed in time to the music as the arena filled with smoke effects and coloured lights; the show was about to begin! The audience oohed and aahed as aerialists glided through the air, and Mr Happy and Sergey the Clown performed an amazing double-act, creating plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. Students of all ages, along with Kingsley parent, Mrs Crowley, joined them on stage to demonstrate their flossing skills (scan the QR code and watch our circus video to see them in action). Fortunately, audience participation was not required for the juggling, which was of a rather advanced nature, nor during the sword and dagger act (much to Mrs McCullough’s relief, as she was in charge of the risk assessment!).
In the interval, the Catering Team served hotdogs, and students were able to purchase popcorn and candy floss - a real birthday treat. The second half of the performance was equally entertaining and over far too quickly and, as everyone piled out of the big top, there was disappointment that it was all over. It really was a truly magical afternoon. With two fabulous events and so much to celebrate, Rose Kingsley would certainly be very proud. As Ms Owens said at the end of the circus, “Let’s do it all again in another 135 years.” Our youngest pupils were genuinely excited at the prospect! Many thanks to all of the local businesses who sponsored our circus and helped to make it possible, including our headline sponsors, Avon Services Heating & Plumbing Ltd. We would also like to thank the residents and staff who joined us from Priors House Care Home.
Turn the page for more circus photos...
Scan the QR code to watch a video
KINGSLEY 135 11
Learning about ourselves is a fundamental part of childhood development, especially as pupils start to ask questions about who they are and how they are similar to, or different from, their peers. The beginning of the academic year, when everyone is getting to know one another, is the ideal time to engage in an ‘all about me’ topic, as Foundation pupils discovered. The pupils painted self-portraits and added information about themselves, such as where they live, their favourite foods and activities, and what they would like to be when they grow up. These were shared with their teachers and classmates and put up around the classroom. Pupils enjoyed learning about the five senses. They played ‘Kim’s Game’ to learn about sight. Objects were placed on a tray, shown to the children and then covered up while one was taken away. They soon realised how carefully they had to look at each of the objects in order to identify which had been removed, and got better at this as the game went on. Mrs Hayward and Mrs Thompson took them on a visit to the cellar - the darkest place in the school - which resulted in much excitement. They used torches to help them see. Lots of fun was had blind-tasting different foods and guessing what they were (though be warned - certain foods taste rather peculiar when eaten in close succession!). The children enjoyed listening to the story of Oliver, in ‘Oliver’s Vegetables’ (by Vivan French), whose visit to his grandfather’s vegetable patch inspired him to try lots of new vegetables. The class also played ‘hearing lotto’ and explored their sense of touch with a ‘feely box’ containing items with weird and wonderful textures. Books such as ‘Aargh Spider’ (by Lydia Monks) and ‘My Big Shouting Day’ (by Rebecca Patterson) were shared to explore different emotions. The class discussed how the characters in the stories might be feeling, looking for clues in the pictures - in their body language and facial expressions. They also talked about the physical sensations that can accompany emotions, such as butterflies in tummies, and came up with some lovely ideas for overcoming negative feelings. Everyone agreed that singing happy songs can lift the spirits... “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands...” By the end of the topic, Foundation pupils had learned lots about themselves and each other, including the fact that they are all unique - which is, of course, what makes each and every one of them so special.
In the dark A visit to the Prep School cellar to find out what they could (or couldnâ€™t!) see in the dark resulted in much excitement. The children took torches with them to help them see again.
Taste test Did you know that the average person has around 10,000 taste buds? Foundation pupils enjoyed putting theirs to the test by blind tasting different foods and guessing what they were.
Self-portraits The children painted self-portraits to put up around the classroom. Here is Luca with his painting. We think he has captured a very good likeness!
Feelings can be funny things and being able to recognise and manage them (known as â€˜emotional intelligenceâ€™) is an important life skill. The class explored different emotions through story books, discussing how the characters in the books might be feeling and suggesting some lovely ideas for overcoming anger, sadness and fear.
READS Recommended by Mrs Parker, Prep Secretary
NOW WE ARE SIX BY A. A. MILNE
Recommended by Mrs Smith, Librarian
A. A. Milne - the noted English writer and author most famous for his stories about Winnie-the-Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger and Piglet - also wrote some quite wonderful books of children’s poetry and verse of which ‘Now We Are Six’ is my absolute favourite. It was read to me as a child and I think it is still perfect today for children to enjoy listening to (giving adults
MY DAD’S A BIRDMAN BY DAVID ALMOND
Join a father and daughter as they find their wings together and take to the skies in this funny, tender tale from the master of contemporary storytelling. A warm and wonderfully wacky tale told with heart and hope by the Carnegie Award winning author David Almond. Lizzie and Dad live in a rainy town in the north of England. It’s just the two of them, and Auntie Doreen, who pops round to check Lizzie’s spellings and tell Dad he’s daft - and make them nice hot dumplings. But today there’s something unusual going on: why is Dad building himself a pair of wings and studying the birds to see how they fly? The Great Human Bird Competition of course. My favourite part of the story is when Lizzie and her dad build a nest together on the kitchen floor. They stay up all night getting bits of old cloth, twigs, grass and feathers to construct the giant structure. Dad even manages to lay an egg. Like Lizzie, I was unsure what to make of Dad’s new diet. This book is beautifully illustrated by Polly Dunbar and had me laughing throughout. Perfect for children aged 6 to 8.
Recommended by Miss Clark, Year 1 Teacher
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH BY ROALD DAHL
the opportunity to embrace their theatrical side by trying out different voices to suit the many different characters!) as well as for reading and enjoying alone. Some of the poems have delightful illustrations of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends by the artist E. H. Shepard. The book contains 35 verses, some reflective and a little sad but most full of witty humour, written with incredible sharp observation and expressive detail. Poems such as ‘King John’s Christmas’ is wickedly amusing and, despite King John not being ‘a good man’, does have a happy ending. Perfect to read aloud to children over the festive period. Another firm favourite is the fabulous poem ‘The End’ (the last poem in the book) which beautifully describes the special ages and milestones that young children reach, embracing the spirit and perfect innocence of childhood. The verses, although written over ninety years ago, still bring joy and a smile to all who read them.
Recommended by Miss Fennell, Year 2 Teacher
BY AARON BECKER ‘Journey’ is a picture book, depicting a young girl who leads an ordinary, boring life. She lives in a drab town and doesn’t have any friends. One day she finds a magical red marker in her bedroom, draws a door on the wall and steps through it. She enters a magical, enchanted world and finally gets the adventure she’s been dreaming of... but with it comes danger. The book allows you to create your own adventure narrative based on the beautiful illustrations. It is a story of danger, adventure and friendship. My favourite part of the book is when the girl draws a magic carpet with her magic marker and flies over a beautiful city. It makes me happy to see that, for the first time in her life, she is happy and not alone.
James is sent to live with his two aunts who are cruel and unkind. Then one day he meets a man who gives him a bag of magical objects which will change his life forever. When the magic is unleashed, James’ adventures begin and he meets many interesting characters and makes friends along the way, including talking insects. There is also a trip across the ocean to faraway lands. The story has a mixture of adventure and humour, but also emphasises the importance of friendship, teamwork and positive thinking. James and his friends remind us to always persevere and that anything is possible if we believe in ourselves and each other. My favourite part of the book is the ending. I won’t give it away, but I finished the book with a warm feeling and I was happy for the characters. My favourite character is the Old-Green-Grasshopper. He is an excellent leader and always offers good advice and is supportive towards others. He is wise and we can learn a great deal from his teachings. He guides James through his journey, but is also a good friend. We can all strive to follow the Grasshopper’s lessons in our own lives.
Year 2 pupils have been studying the Great Fire of London. At the start of term they enjoyed reading the story of ‘Vlad and The Great Fire of London’, written by Kate Cunningham, which describes the adventures of a flea called Vlad and his friend, Boxton (a rat). The pupils were fascinated to learn about London in 1666 and follow Vlad and Boxton’s journey from the infamous Farriner’s Bakery on Pudding Lane to the River Thames. After summarising the story using images and words, the children created their own stories of the Great Fire with interesting new characters. The pupils researched Samuel Pepys and discovered that he had documented many of the important events that took place in London during the 1600s, including the Great Fire, the Plague and the Gunpowder Plot. They analysed the key features of Pepys’ diary before composing their own diary entries, posing as Thomas Farriner - the owner of the bakery where many believe the Great Fire began. The children then planned and wrote their own newspaper reports, detailing the key events of the four-day fire. They looked at examples of reports from real newspapers and created checklists of the key features such as columns, photographs, captions, quotes and headlines. The class also got creative and wrote their own poems about the Great Fire using rhyming couplets. The topic extended into other areas of the curriculum. In science, the class looked at how the fire started and why it spread so quickly. They researched the materials the houses on Pudding Lane were made from and, during DT lessons, they produced models which they compared to modern-day houses. They wrote letters to King Charles explaining their findings and giving advice on how to rebuild London in a way that would prevent such a disaster from ever occurring again. Learning about one of the greatest disasters in London’s history captured the interest of the whole class and inspired pupils to produce some excellent and varied pieces of work.
Photo: Year 2 pupil, Alexa, works on her model of a typical house from the time of the Great Fire.
A poem about the Great Fire by Timothy
tF a e r G e Th RA BY ELO
IRE ing S ON F E S U ay morn O d H n u S y wind ople don. Pe ying ry, very n e o v L a in n O arr ted es and c fire star a giant ing for their liv omas Farriner, nn Th mas were ru dren. I said to g?” Tho my il in h n c e p g p cryin s all t’s ha r, “Wha y guilty: “It wa e k a b my e th ked ver lean the oven in m o lo r e in to c Farr d. I a I forgot d my maid die d n a lt u n fa ta .” last nigh ppened bakery hat this has ha very dt ill stop w very sa e r fi s the is ne hope going to use h he o y r e v E is in g s t he Kin e house antime, h t p soon. T u to blow the me soldiers re will stop. In River he e fi hope th re running to t fire. People we m the people ape fro s and packing c s e o t Thames ing onto boat arrying c mb were cli s into carts and e pulling g er belongin s too. People w s. A bit later g ok belongin ses with fire ho the streets ou because couldn’t d down h e n n a ere b eople carts w w and p are banned o r r a n ry ts were ve o they said car longings. s be t r get pas ust carry you m and you
A great fire started in 1666, The houses were made of wood instead of bricks, There is a really big fire, But the Mayor is a liar, He didn’t think there was anything wrong, But the trip to the River Thames was long, The fire started on Pudding Lane, The oven was dirty so the fire came, The air was a great fire, And it grew higher.
Pupils enjoyed reading the story of ‘Vlad [the flea] and The Great Fire of London’, written by Kate Cunningham.
Children in Need 2019
Watercolour by Harriet A, Year 6
Y is for When Miss Slater (Year 6 Teacher) launched a new yoga club in the Prep School she was overwhelmed by its popularity, with many pupils enthusiastically giving up precious playground time to roll out their yoga mats. Demand for the club was so high, in fact, that it is now offered to Key Stage 1 and 2 children on a rotating basis, giving Prep pupils of all ages the opportunity to try yoga in school. Over the last decade, this ancient practice, which originated in India, has become a mainstream form of exercise for millions of people seeking a retreat from their chaotic and busy lives. Yoga is also becoming increasingly popular amongst children, with health professionals, neurologists, teachers and even the Government beginning to recognise how it can benefit children’s mental health and physical wellbeing. The movements, or poses (known as ‘asanas’), practised in yoga are thought to assist neuromuscular-development and promote healthy development of the vestibular system. Through controlled breathing exercises, yoga can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, providing calm, reassurance and countless other benefits.
“I first discovered yoga when I was studying for my A-levels,” says Miss Slater, “and found it was a great way to combat the stress of exams and coursework. When I became a teacher, I felt there was a real place for yoga in schools. In addition to the obvious health benefits, it’s a wonderfully inclusive form of exercise. It doesn’t focus on levels of ability, winning or even being better than the person next to you. Instead, it encourages you to be the best you can be, putting the focus on the self.” Miss Slater completed a certified training course with Kidding Around Yoga - an organisation that runs courses in teaching yoga, mindfulness and meditation to children. “The yoga is set to music and incorporates games, with a focus on having fun,” she explains, “so it’s different to adult yoga classes. We teach a range of asanas, spend time focusing on breathing (‘pranayama’), practise mindfulness and give the children strategies to calm themselves down when they are feeling anxious. For details of the latest extracurricular activities on offer, including yoga sessions with Miss Slater, please refer to the Prep Clubs & Activities list.
JOURNEY TO JO’BURG In English, Year 6 pupils have been reading ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ by Beverley Naidoo, which is set in South Africa during the apartheid years. Another baby has died in the village and Naledi knows that her little sister, Dineo, might die too. But what can she do? Their grandmother has no money and there are no doctors in their village. So Naledi makes up her mind - she will have to get Mma who works more than 300 kilometres away in Johannesburg. The only way to let her know is to get to the big road and walk. So Naledi and her brother, Tiro, do just that. After reading this powerful story of two children’s courage and determination to find their mother and bring her home, the pupils were asked to write a poem from the perspective of one of the characters. Working independently, they produced some outstanding pieces of creative writing (two of which are shared below), demonstrating an excellent grasp of the text and showing great empathy towards Naidoo, Tiro, Dineo and Mma. The class discussed what life might have been like for people who lived during the 46 years of apartheid in South Africa, exploring the social-historical context within which the short story is set. They drew parallels to other periods in history when groups of people have been oppressed, including the segregation of Jewish people during World War II. During class discussions, the pupils asked thoughtprovoking questions and expressed how important it is to learn from history in order to ensure a peaceful future for everyone.
Tiro’s Story, by Sophie We are off on an escapade only to find Mma, As our little Dineo is terribly nauseous, So we need to find Mma. Down the grimy, grubby track, With sand being blown in our faces, Like a whirlwind of sand, Whilst trudging along a path of hot stone, To save our little Dineo. Meet Mma, by Daisy The door swung open, Mma looked like the walking dead. Pale faced like the moon on a dull day and puppy eyes drooping; She looked very, very tired. Mma was so shocked her mouth dropped to the floor. Then her master bellowed, “Who’s at the door?” She replied with a hesitant answer, “My kids, my kids, dear master.” Mma brought them in and asked, “What? Why? When?” Everything was explained and it was already half-past-ten. When Mma went to bed her worries haunted the town, Like ghosts drifting around.
â€™ is is r C e if w id M 'A Nativity 24
WHOLE SCHOOL 25
Drawing by Isabel B, Year 7
Introducing “The more I learned about the school, the more I thought, ‘this is my kind of place’. It was only when I walked through the door for the first time, however, that I fully appreciated what a unique and special school Kingsley is. The warm and welcoming atmosphere was like nothing I had ever experienced before; the longer I was immersed in it, the more I wanted to be a part of it.”
Christina McCullough, Our New
Pastoral Deputy Head I grew up in a place called Cascais in Portugal and attended an international school in Carcavelos, where my mother was Pastoral Deputy Head. From a young age, I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and become a teacher. I had a wonderful childhood, spending lots of time on the beach. One of my favourite places in the world is Guincho beach, which lies at the foot of the Sintra hills in the SintraCascais Natural Park. Unfortunately, the sand dunes in the area - which protect against coastal erosion and are home to many important ecosystems are being threatened by anthropogenic factors. Biophysical structures have been installed to reduce the wind speed and promote sand deposition; the conservation scheme has also seen the planting of vegetation and a bridge constructed over the dunes. Growing up in this area of the world, I developed a keen interest in both geography and conservation work - so much so that I chose to specialise in geography, alongside PE, when I embarked on my teaching degree.
WHOLE SCHOOL 27 Mrs McCullough grew up in Portugal where she attended an international school. One of her favourite places is Guincho beach, which lies at the foot of the Sintra hills in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park. The bridge shown in the photo is part of a conservation project to protect the sand dunes.
I moved to the UK at the age of 18 to attend Warwick University and, upon graduating, secured a teaching post at Princethorpe College. I have lived in Warwickshire ever since. My husband, Kieran, is also a teacher and we have two fantastic sons - Daniel, who is 15, and Joe, 12. After teaching PE for several years, I was promoted to Head of Girls’ Games with responsibility for introducing the subject at GCSE and A-level. I then became Head of Senior School - Pastoral, Key Stage 4 Coordinator and, eventually, Head of House and Deputy DSL (Designated Safety Lead). As I gained experience of working with young people I felt increasingly passionate about supporting students with additional needs. I embarked on a year of studies to gain my SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) qualification, which has proven to be invaluable. I also found the pastoral side of my role very rewarding, supporting and challenging students to become the very best versions of themselves (to pinch Kingsley’s line!).
My determination to succeed was well and truly put to the test with a thorough selection process. I was up against some strong candidates, and we were put through stage after stage and panel after panel (involving students, teaching and support staff, the entire Senior Leadership Team, the Governing Body and even the Health and Safety Committee!). No stone was left unturned and, when I finally reached the end of the process, I felt as though I had been through a combination of Dragon’s Den and The X Factor! I was still standing, though, and I wanted the job more than ever - the students I had met were all so endearing, the staff spoke positively about the school, and the governors were clearly invested in, and proud of, all Kingsley has to offer. After a nervous wait, I finally received the call I had been hoping for - and I couldn’t have been more delighted!
“The girls are amazing to work with and I am blown away by their insightful questions and their willingness to learn.’’
I first learned of the job vacancy at Kingsley on the way home from a London conference for aspiring senior leaders; I was sitting on a busy train, reflecting on the many talks and workshops I had attended during the day, when a job alert came through on my phone. To be honest, it felt like it was meant to be. Before applying for the position, I did lots of research and the more I learned about the school, the more I thought, ‘this is my kind of place’. It was only when I walked through the door for the first time, however, that I fully appreciated what a unique and special school Kingsley is. The warm and welcoming atmosphere was like nothing I had ever experienced before; the longer I was immersed in it the more I wanted to be a part of it. I quickly decided that failure was not an option!
Since joining Kingsley in September I have been overwhelmed by how welcoming and supportive everyone has been. The pastoral team are 100% committed to caring for students and I feel confident that I can use my skills and experience to build on Kingsley’s already excellent reputation in this area. As part of my role I am teaching PSHE to all Senior School students and PE to Years 7 and 11. The girls are amazing to work with and I am blown away by their insightful questions and their willingness to learn. I have enjoyed spending time in the Prep School, getting to know some of our younger pupils - something I plan to do more of in the coming months. I have also had the pleasure of getting to know students involved in the school council, Student Voice; they have so many amazing ideas, and plenty of drive and enthusiasm to bring these to fruition. It is energising to be in such a vibrant and forward-thinking school. There really is no place I would rather be (not even Guincho beach!) and I can’t wait for everything the 2019/20 academic year has in store.
Year 7 pupils Celia, Larissa and Millie share their first impressions of the Senior School...
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I joined Kingsley in Foundation and came all the way through the Prep School, so I already knew some of the teachers and the building before I started in the Senior School. My passion is sport. I play netball with the school team on Mondays and Thursdays, and hockey on Tuesdays. Miss Windsor takes us for PE lessons - she’s so supportive and encourages everyone to get involved. I also enjoy English with Mrs Alton. We have been studying poetry and, during National Poetry Week, she took us to Priors House - a local care home - to share the poems we had written with some of the residents. We all had really a good time.
Like Celia, I enjoy drama lessons and performing. I’m also enjoying science at Kingsley. Our teacher, Mr Thompson, makes the lessons so interesting. It’s much easier to learn and remember things when you’re having fun! Being part of a House Family gives us the chance to spend time with students from other year groups. It’s strange going from being one of the oldest pupils in the school to one of the youngest, and the Sixth Formers are all so tall! They have been very welcoming, though, and have really helped us to settle in. There are so many different clubs and extra-curricular activities to choose from at Kingsley. So far I have joined netball club, choir and Tinker Belles. I can’t finish without commenting on the school dinners - they’re delicious and the chef makes the most amazing rocky road!
I previously attended another local independent school. Before deciding to come to Kingsley I took part in the Taster Mornings. I would recommend these to anyone considering the school as they are so much fun and give you a good idea of what to expect as a pupil. I can’t believe how quickly I have settled in. Everyone has been so kind and friendly and the building feels more like a house than a school. My favourite subject is drama and our lessons with Mrs Smith are really inspiring. She always plans a good warm-up exercise at the beginning to get us in the mood! I love the drama studio, which has just been refurbished, and I also like the fact that we have a drama uniform. I recently performed in the Year 7 production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, which was an amazing experience and really helped us to bond as a year group (more on page 72].
Textiles work by Charlie P, Year 11
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The fight for freedom Year 9 history students have been learning about Harriet Turbman - former slave, abolitionist and ‘conductor’ on the underground railroad. They were asked to write a persuasive piece on why she is an American hero and deserves to be the first black person to be featured on an American bank note. Piper-Rose’s essay follows... Born to enslaved parents in March 1822 in Dorchester County, Maryland, Araminta Ross would later go on to be known as the famous ‘Harriet Tubman’ who campaigned for women’s suffrage and served in the Union Army as a scout and spy during the American Civil War. However, Harriet is most famous for her acts against slavery. In 1849, at the age of 27, she escaped her plantation using the underground railroad - a series of houses across the North, which were considered safe to fugitive slaves. She travelled nearly 90 miles (a journey which would have taken up to 3 weeks), avoiding being caught by slavers on the hunt for fugitives, to get to Pennsylvania. Once in Pennsylvania Harriet began to think about her family back in Maryland, so she returned in 1850 to rescue her niece and her niece’s children. By 1861 she had helped around 70 slaves to freedom, and given 50 to 60 more slaves specific instructions on how to escape to the North. Harriet Tubman is an American hero. By rescuing slaves, she showed that they could escape and have better lives. She made people think twice about slavery and helped start the chain of events to bring about racial equality in the USA. Harriet was an inspiration to people like Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks who, in later years, would campaign for equal rights for black people - something they wouldn’t have been able to do without Harriet’s work. She acted selflessly, risking her own life to save the lives of others. By getting people to Pennsylvania she risked getting caught herself. This journey was dangerous and, by repeating it, Harriet risked her life more and more each time - especially since there was a $40,000 reward on offer for her capture.
Harriet also spoke out about women’s suffrage, especially black-American women’s rights, believing that everyone - white or black, man or woman - should be equal. She supported suffrage by touring and giving speeches about her experiences as a female slave and speaking in favour of women’s rights. Having already fought so hard to make the USA a more racially equal and better place, she then did even more by supporting the suffrage so that future generations could enjoy a more equal world, regardless of their skin colour or gender. My conclusion is that Harriet Tubman is an American hero and should be featured on the twenty-dollar bill so that more people recognise her contributions to the world. Without Harriet Tubman, the world, in my opinion, would be a very different and very unequal place. Her actions helped to change the way people saw themselves and each other. She once said, “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” This not only shows her bravery, courage and determination, but also how committed she was to raising awareness and consciousness among her fellow Americans, which are all qualities of an American hero. Interested in learning more about Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes? Watch the new biopic film, ‘Harriet’.
DOWN TO THE WIRE When Darcey (Year 11) began studying GCSE art, she was keen to explore different media. “I discovered an artist named Paul Joyner during Warwickshire Open Studios,” she says. “Paul’s passion for dance and movement has inspired him to create wire sculptures of everything from ballet dancers to horses. His technique, which he refers to as ‘drawing in the air’, is fascinating and made me want to have a go.” Over a period of several weeks, Darcey created some beautiful wire sculptures of her own. She began by making a basic frame out of thick wire. “This is fairly quick and easy to do,” she explains, “and the great thing about wire is that it’s flexible, so you can make adjustments as you go along.” She then used a thinner wire to build up layers, creating different shapes and textures - a more time-consuming process that requires both skill and patience. Darcey found lots of inspiration for her sculptures on Pinterest. “I came across a painting of a lady holding an umbrella,” she recalls, “and I fell in love with it, so I decided to recreate it out of wire. I have also taken inspiration from one of my main hobbies - gymnastics. The sculptures I have made so far are all fairly small. I love the idea of producing something larger, but it would take up lots of room and wouldn’t be very portable.” Let’s hope Mr Lax can free up some more space in the art room, as we don’t want Darcey to put down her wire any time soon! To find out more about the work of Paul Joyner you can visit his website at www.pjsculpturestudio.com. For further information about Warwickshire Open Studios visit www. warwickshireopenstudios.org.
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“My greatest relaxation is to sit with a book.” Emma Watson
Reading for pleasure At the start of the 2019/20 academic year the English department was excited to launch its whole-school policy advocating ‘Reading for Pleasure’ across the curriculum. Staff in all subjects have been encouraging students to read and all students are expected to have a book with them throughout the school day. Studies have shown that reading increases vocabulary and can ultimately impact a student’s success across a plethora of subjects; in fact, reading for just five minutes a day can increase your vocabulary by up to 282,000 words a year! The University of Sussex also agree and their research has additionally proven that reading for this short amount of time can significantly reduce stress levels. The school library is packed with up-to-date reading material and our brilliant librarian, Mrs Smith, is an expert at providing advice about what to read next. The school website has a useful link to reading recommendations: https://www.thekingsleyschool.co.uk/english/. You may also find this website useful when exploring ideas for your next big read: www.schoolreadinglist.co.uk. Finally, turn the page to discover some of the books recommended by staff at Kingsley. Happy reading!
. . . s d a e r e t i r u Six fa1 vo 2 A SHORT HISTORY OF EVERYTHING
A SUITABLE BOY
By Vikram Seth Chosen by Mrs Rogers, Assistant Head
By Bill Bryson Chosen by Mrs Partridge, Head of History
I read ‘A Suitable Boy’ by Vikram Seth a few years ago. It’s a HUGE book but absolutely magnificent in its scope, covering India’s history around the partition as well as being a love story and a commentary on Indian culture. It’s funny, sad, tragic and beautiful. I still remember sitting on the beach in Spain when I turned the last page and sobbed like a baby because I didn’t want it to end. In fact - I’m going to re-read it this summer and welcome back my old friend.
THINGS A BRIGHT GIRL CAN DO
I read this book when I was a student (at the end of Year 10) and it gripped me. I took it on holiday over the summer and I couldn’t put it down because of the fascinating way Bryson writes. He takes you on an eye-opening journey through space and time and introduces you to amazing scientists who have helped answer some of our most curious questions. This book truly brought geography, geology, history and science alive for me in a way I had never experienced before. It revealed the world to me in a way I never thought possible and kept me wanting to find out more and more.
By Sally Nicholls Chosen by Mrs Smith, Librarian
My favourite Young Adult book of the 2018/19 academic year. This historical fiction begins in 1914, when the Suffragettes reach the height of their campaigning for the right to vote and equality. We follow the story of May, Evelyn and Nell; three strong, independent young women who, although from different backgrounds, all fight for suffrage in unity. Their individual stories touch upon themes such as coming-of-age, sexuality, love, women’s education, social class divisions, feminism and equality. However, Britain is on the cusp of a Great War, which not only has a dramatic impact upon the whole nation, but changes these three girls’ lives in ways they never imagined. I loved this book from cover to cover and, whilst reading it in school, was inspired by the number of girls who approached me with excitement, commenting on how much they had loved reading it too. My book club raves about it and the book was deservedly shortlisted for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal.
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BENEATH A SCARLET SKY
THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
By Mark Sullivan Chosen by Mrs Rhodes, Teacher of English
By Kazuo Ishiguro Chosen by Mrs Davies, Teacher of PE & Head of Year 9
Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, ‘Beneath a Scarlet Sky’ is the triumphant, epic tale of a young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours. Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager - obsessed with music, food, and girls - but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps and this is only the beginning of an incredible tale. The book had me laughing aloud and close to tears by turn: I don’t think I’ll ever forget Pino.
In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past. A contemporary classic, ‘The Remains of the Day’ is Kazuo Ishiguro’s beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a great English house, of lost causes and lost love. This is my all-time favourite book. I love the writing style and how it captures the quintessential essence of England and the English. I also enjoy the complex mix of themes running through the book and, each time I read it, I feel heartbroken at Stevens’ inability to see, and act upon, what is right before his eyes. It has taught me to live life without regrets and to take those risks so that I don’t look back and think ‘I wish I’d done that’!
THE TWILIGHT SAGA
By Stephenie Meyer Chosen by Mrs Ahmed, Head of Geography I loved this set of novels. While on maternity leave with my first child, I used to abandon household duties to get my next Twilight ‘fix’ - I was truly obsessed! The books follow a romance between a teenage girl and a vampire. Bella has recently moved to a new town and is struggling with parental marriage breakdown, friendships and fitting in, but cannot resist the intriguing draw of the mysterious Edward Cullen. There are comical moments, deeply emotional moments and complications of unrequited love. She suffers typical teenage angst with her parents and at school, and issues are debated over making choices. Overall, the messages are uplifting but you are emotionally drawn into the characters feeling their every turbulent twist and turn along the way. With elements of some of the classic stories, such as ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’, there is something for everyone.
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After training in psychology in London, Phillipa returned to her home county of Warwickshire and spent 10 years working with adults with learning difficulties and mental health problems. In 2001 she trained as a therapist, completing a Postgraduate Diploma in counselling with a view to working with young people. She first began counselling at a local grammar school in 2008 and, in 2017, she and her specially trained (and rather adorable!) therapy dog, Scooby, joined the Kingsley team.
Q: Tell us about your role at Kingsley. A: Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical
wellbeing, yet statistics show that a staggering 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems do not receive appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age (source: www.mentalhealth.org.uk). Anxiety, low mood, depression, bereavement, eating disorders and family problems can all impact significantly on a person’s health, happiness and future life chances. Working closely with the pastoral team, my role as Wellbeing Counsellor is to provide one-to-one support to students who are experiencing a range of issues. By addressing these issues early on, they tend to be easier to manage and less problematic in the future.
Q: Do all schools employ wellbeing counsellors? A: Sadly, it isn’t compulsory for schools in England to offer
counselling services, and the schools that do often buy ‘face time’ with external counsellors who are detached from the school. My relationship with Kingsley is very different. I am employed by the school (on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) and, as such, enjoy close working relationships with both students and staff. Having been at Kingsley for over two years now, I have an excellent understanding of how the school operates, and I attend weekly staff meetings to keep abreast of any changes. As well as liaising closely with the School Nurse, Head of Learning Support and pastoral team, I support and advise teaching staff, raising awareness of wellbeing and mental health issues, and empowering them to help the students in their care. This whole school approach to student wellbeing is crucial, as everyone has a part to play.
Q: How do students make an appointment to see you? A: Students are often referred by their families, class
teachers (in Prep) or year heads (in Senior School), but they can and do self-refer. Appointments are up to an hour long and their frequency depends on individual needs. It is not uncommon for students to see me once a week to begin with and then less frequently as they improve. Unlike some counselling services, students are not limited to a certain number of appointments. They can also email me, or drop in during break times if they need to see me urgently.
Q: Are appointments available outside of school hours? A: Kingsley has taken the decision not to offer counselling
sessions outside of school hours and this is something I support. There are enough pressures on young people during evenings and weekends - homework, clubs and sporting fixtures, to name just a few. Furthermore, students tend to feel tired at the end of the school day and need some down time. To get the most out of their counselling sessions, they must be well rested and alert. I try, as far as possible, to avoid disrupting key lessons, and to vary appointment times so that the same lessons are not missed each week. This generally works very well.
Q: What happens during counselling sessions? A: When children and adolescents experience distressing
emotions or situations, it can be incredibly difficult for them to find a way forward. The sessions provide students with time away from their busy schedules to focus on themselves, and a safe space to explore difficult questions. We always focus on what the student (rather than the person who has referred the student) wants to focus on. For example, if someone has been referred because of a bereavement but wishes to spend time talking about a friendship issue then that’s absolutely fine. When a person is grieving, the normal stresses and strains of life can become too much and these may be what they need help with in order to cope. Students share their problems, hopes and fears with me and I help them to process these and make positive changes and choices. I also suggest coping strategies and help them to identify a wider support network, which may include people both in and out of school.
Q: Tell us about Scooby! A: Scooby is a specially trained Papillon dog - a breed
known for companionship. He spent many hours visiting care homes and schools in preparation for his role at Kingsley. It is well-known (and scientifically proven) that interaction with dogs can have significant benefits for our mental and physical wellbeing. Spending time with a gentle and loving furry friend can release endorphins (feel-good hormones), provide comfort and decrease blood pressure. Of course, some people are not dog lovers, in which case Scooby doesn’t attend the session. Most of the students at Kingsley are very fond of him, though, and find he helps them to relax and open up about how they are feeling.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job? A: The fact that it makes such a difference to people’s
lives. One should never underestimate how much people appreciate and benefit from being heard. It’s a huge privilege to get to know students so intimately and to see them making better life choices as a result of my time with them.
What advice would you give to students and staff to improve their general wellbeing?
I think we need to learn to look after ourselves, and to increase our self-care when we hit life’s hurdles. Even though we may not feel like it, eating and sleeping well, exercising and having down time can make a huge difference to our wellbeing. We also need to look after each other - something we’re already very good at at Kingsley. If we know a friend or colleague is having problems, it’s important not to judge or jump to conclusions, as we probably don’t fully understand what they’re going through. Instead, we should show kindness and signpost them to places where they can get help.
ytheth m - @scoob a r g ta ns I cooby on Follow S
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THE START OF THE 2019/20 ACADEMIC YEAR SAW THE LAUNCH OF THE ‘TINKER BELLES’ - A GROUP OF INTREPID ENGINEERS WHO, DURING WEDNESDAY LUNCHTIMES, FILL THE STEAM ROOM WITH MUCH DETERMINATION AND ENDEAVOUR. The girls have been dismantling old equipment with great enthusiasm, uncovering the many treasures inside including motors, fans, magnets, toroids, lenses and even REAL gold. Anything they have found that has sparked their interest has been theirs to keep and share with others. Their enthusiasm has spread like wildfire.
Roy, a member of Kingsley’s site team, has been assisting with the club and students have already benefitted greatly from his experience. “It’s hard to tell who enjoys the club more - the girls or Roy,” says Mr Thompson. “It’s certainly been wonderful to see the girls captivated by his enthusiasm.”
Tinker Belles is the brainchild of Mr Thompson (teacher of science), who hopes to increase Kingsley girls’ interest in the STEM subjects so that, one day, they might feel as passionately about them as he does. He has run STEM clubs for both boys and girls in other schools, but has been taken aback by the number of girls wanting to get involved at Kingsley. He says, “It really is unprecedented and shows that Kingsley’s ethos of building strong, confident women is having a very positive impact on how they perceive STEM subjects. Nothing, quite rightly, is out of bounds for them.”
As for the future, the sky really is the limit. The focus will now be on building many of the things we take for granted, highlighting that developing technology is not something that happens overnight. “The list of projects we have planned is endless,” says Mrs Thompson. “I could tell you what they are, but that would spoil the surprise!” One thing, of course, goes without saying... Mr Thompson will continue to sprinkle some fairy dust over proceedings, making it a magical experience for all.
Tinker Belles is open to all Senior School and Sixth Form students, providing a fertile ground for exploring how things work, developing new skills, and improving spatial awareness and fine motor skills. “Some of the girls arrived not knowing how to use a screwdriver,” recalls Mr Thompson. “Now you daren’t put anything down for fear of it being stripped clean!” Many old items have been harvested - including projectors, televisions, microwaves and iPads - teaching the girls that re-using things is much better for our world than constantly throwing them away. They are currently working on a project to build a wind-powered car using fans from old computers - requiring them to invent, create, innovate and think through problems, adapting their thought processes as they go.
r u o T n O e i t t o #L
Lottie Doll has been touring the world promoting women in engineering, and we were thrilled that she was able to make time in her busy schedule to pay us a visit. Hailing from the Women’s Engineering Society (https://www.wes.org.uk/), Lottie arrived just in time for Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, where she spent a few days getting involved in activities across the Prep and Senior Schools. While speaking to pupils about opportunities alongside Head of Careers, Mrs Bennett, Lottie joined the Tinker Belles for a ride in one of their computer fan powered cars, spent time in the DT room using the laser cutter, 3D printer and power tools, and had a fantastic time at the Foundation Class airport.
On Friday 15th November, Senior School and Sixth Form students came together for Climate Day. Although the day had been planned for some time, it couldn’t have come at a more fitting time - during a week of extreme weather conditions with near-record flooding in Venice, burgeoning wildfires in Australia and homes under water in the UK. The United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has labelled climate change ‘the most systemic threat to humankind’ and urged world leaders to curb their countries’ greenhouse gas emissions. Whilst climate change is a global crisis requiring a coordinated international and political response, we ALL have our part to play. This includes educating the next generation and empowering them to create a more sustainable future. The day started with a thought-provoking assembly from Mrs Rogers who highlighted some of the key points relating to the climate emergency. Year 13 student, Evelyn, spoke about biodiversity and the Sixth Form Leadership Team’s efforts to raise money to save the Amur leopard - a species native to southeastern Russia and northern China, which has become critically endangered as a result of global warming, deforestation and poaching. Following the assembly, students attended a session on the science behind climate change. They learned about the greenhouse effect - a natural process that has been amplified by anthropogenic factors. The girls also watched ‘Climate Change - The Facts’. In this BBC documentary, David Attenborough takes a stark look at the facts surrounding climate change, detailing the dangers we are already having to deal with and future threats, but also the possibilities for prevention and radical political, social and cultural change. During the course of the morning, eco-brick making workshops were held in the gym - a project which will continue over the coming months with the aim of building planters for growing fruit and vegetables.
Students also calculated their carbon footprints using the WWF’s ‘Footprint Calculator’. This involved completing a short online quiz about different aspects of their lives including their eating habits, how much they spend on clothing and electronics, and how they travel to and from school. Each girl received a percentage score based on her carbon emissions in relation to the UK Government’s 2020 emissions reduction targets. Some of the most shocking results came from those who take regular flights, or have flown long distances. The WWF website gave the girls personalised hints and tips on how to reduce their carbon footprints and, later in the day, they met with their House Families to write pledges, which will be used to make a giant model of a globe - coming soon! Students and staff took the opportunity to come to school dressed as endangered species and, during lunchtime, they enjoyed some exciting activities including ‘Guess the Name of the Leopard’, Kingsley’s very own ‘Climate Day Bake Off’ and Mrs Dempsey’s ‘Make Do and Mend’ workshop, which will continue to run on a half-termly basis. Mrs Dempsey is also planning a prom dress swap/borrow/sale event for the spring term - keep an eye out for details. At the end of the event, everyone returned to the hall to reflect on what they had learned. Mrs Rogers spoke about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Mr Thompson gave a final, uplifting talk, reminding us that humans are inventive and determined - we have cleaner air than ever before, the ozone layer is healing and, if we all unite and remain positive, we can win the fight against climate change.
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During October half-term, a group of students and staff spent four days in Iceland soaking up the breathtaking scenery and experiencing the unique culture. The trip was organised by Discover the World Education, a travel company that provides educational tours designed around the National Curriculum. Tour guide Cathy Harlow - a fellow Brit who has written books about Iceland and lived on the stunning island for three decades - was on hand to ensure the group enjoyed the full Icelandic experience. The action-packed itinerary included visits to volcanoes, glaciers, hot springs, geysers, waterfalls and iceberg lakes. Many of the students who went on the trip are studying GCSE and A-level geography. The trip was also open to non-geographers as an ‘awe and wonder’ trip. The girls were asked to keep diaries while they were away, extracts of which are shared below. The stunning photographs were taken by Abi, Year 11.
Geysir, Gullfoss, Thingvellir, Hellisheidi Power Station (By Amy, Year 10)
The geysers were breathtaking and watching them was surreal; they were like something out of a video or photograph. If you think about it, the concept of hot water shooting out of holes in the earth is so alien! The view down the gorge from the Gullfoss was incredible. Learning how Iceland’s beautiful and varied landscape was formed is really enhancing this experience for me. One of the most interesting facts I learned today is that the tectonic plates move an average of 2cm further apart each year. Our visit to the geothermal Hellisheidi Power Station was fascinating, especially learning about the CarbFix program. To reduce the amount of carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere, it is bound to the basalt rock below Iceland through a process which involves dissolving the carbon dioxide in water.
A ‘Bridge Between Continents’ - Gunnuhver, Reykjavik (By Morgan, Year 10)
After leaving school at 7.15am, we landed in Reykjavik and met our lovely tour guide, Cathy. Our first destination was the ‘Bridge Between Continents’, symbolic of the connection between Europe and North America and clear evidence of the presence of a diverging plate margin. Afterwards, we travelled to a lighthouse on a stoney coast which was very pretty as the sun began to set. Finally, we travelled to a hot spring - the steam was unbearably hot.
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Scan the QR code to watch Molly’s fabulous video
Buoir, Vatnshellir Cave, Arnastapi and Hellnar, Djupalonssandur and Dritvik (By Molly, Year 11)
Deildartunghver, Krauma Baths, Hraunfosser, Reykholt, Glanni Waterfall (By Hannah, Year 10)
Today felt magical. The geothermal baths in Krauma were so nice and relaxing. On the way to the Hraunfosser I learned that Iceland was once full of trees which spread from the sea edge to the mountains; in the 12th century they covered 20% of the island. Nowadays, companies are planting millions of tree saplings in a huge reforestation project. 10% of Iceland is covered in hard lava and, surprisingly, only 7% is covered in ice. The Hraunfosser was really beautiful - it felt as though we were in a fantasy land, like in ‘The Hobbit’ or ‘Lord of the Rings’. Reykholt moved me, and seeing the Deildartunguhver thermal spring, which provides natural hot water and central heating to the local towns, was amazing.
We started off today with a lovely trip to a church. The view was stunning, especially with the sea and the sun rising in the background. We went caving, and tried to look out for some trolls! (According to Icelandic folklore, trolls lived in the mountains and could only survive in the darkness of night. If they were caught in the sun they would turn to stone.) We visited the most incredible beach, although it was very windy and even snowed whilst we were there. Our final waterfall of the trip was quite possibly the best one.
MALAYSIA/BORNEO AT THE START OF THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS AND FOLLOWING TWO YEARS OF PREPARATION, EIGHTEEN STUDENTS SWAPPED LEAFY LEAMINGTON FOR THE LUSH AND VARIED TERRAIN OF MALAYSIA AND BORNEO, PUTTING THEIR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE TO THE TEST.
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They say ‘greatness doesn’t come from comfort zones’ and, at the start of the summer holidays, a group of Kingsley girls left theirs well behind as they departed for Malaysia on a World Challenge Expedition. Not only did the expedition demand of the girls’ grit, determination and bucket-loads of the Kingsley ‘can-do’ attitude, but the planning and preparation that went into ensuing it could go ahead was immense. In addition to team-building exercises, fitness training and a miniexpedition (during which the group learned about hygiene, safety, cooking and camp craft), each student had to raise the considerable sum of £3,800 to take part, which, to many young people, would seem like an impossible task. Our girls, however, rose to the challenge with incredible fundraising efforts, organising everything from cake and jewellery sales to sponsored walks in the Peak District to generate much needed cash. On 14th July 2019, eighteen excited girls, accompanied by Mrs Vallance, Mrs Macleod and their World Challenge Leader, flew long haul to Kuching. The team embarked on an acclimatisation phase in Sarawak, Borneo, consisting of two treks, the seeking out of orang-utans, a visit to the Niah Caves in Bintulu and kayaking along the Sarawak River, before heading to the bustle of Kuala Lumpur to stock up and meet their guides ahead a six-day trek. The sprawling tropical rainforest of Taman Negara, the world’s oldest rainforest, awaited. Humidity, carrying load, mud, river crossings, inclines, declines, fallen trees and leeches
became a (mostly!) accepted part of the jungle experience. Conditions were tough, requiring team members to pull together and put their pre-expedition training into practice, but they were rewarded with breath-taking views and dramatic changes in landscape. The community engagement phase of the expedition, which took place at The Lighthouse Academy, Pulau Pinang, offered the girls a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a rich new culture. The Academy’s vision is to give disadvantaged tribal children the skills to work in the diverse and rapidly changing Malaysian workforce. Hosts Koh and Juii put the team to work with tasks which included clearing land, laying pavements and building a retaining wall to prevent building. damage due to rainfall. They also helped to build a house for a young single mum in a neighbouring village belonging to one of the many Orang Asli tribes. The community were extremely grateful for the girls’ efforts and will benefit from their hard work for many years to come. After an action-packed few weeks, the group enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation on the Perhentian Islands, amongst turtles, coves and sandy beaches, before returning to Kuala Lumpur for two final nights. The team returned to the UK on 15th August, bursting with tales and cherished moments to share with their families. A truly ‘great’ experience, proving it’s well worth stepping outside of your comfort zone!
FROM A WALKING TOUR OF OLD DELHI AND THE DELIGHTS OF THE TAJ MAHAL, TO ROUND SQUAREâ€™S INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE IN INDORE
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Round Square is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to develop young people into well-rounded individuals through a sustained and ingrained approach to teaching and learning that is supported, enhanced and brought to life through projects, trips and adventures. It is an internationally diverse network of 200 like-minded schools in 50 countries on six continents that connect and collaborate to offer world-class programmes and experiences, developing global competence, character and confidence. Schools wishing to join the Round Square network must first apply to become a Candidate School. As part of this process they are required to demonstrate their commitment to each of the ‘Round Square IDEALS’ - Internationalism, Democracy, Environmentalism, Adventure, Leadership and Service - and how they plan to develop these further. Following a successful written application, a visit from the Round Square team (who spent time getting to know the school and interviewing staff, governors and students) and a thorough review by headteachers in the organisation’s Europe & Mediterranean Region, we were delighted to be accepted as a Round Square Candidate School in 2018. Candidacy lasts for two years, after which Kingsley will be eligible to apply to become a full member of the Round Square community. Students and staff are already reaping the benefits of being part this vibrant community. Collaborations with prep schools all over the world are being developed and the art department has been working on a joint project with a school in The Bahamas. There have also been some exciting opportunities for travel, with Senior students and staff participating in international conferences in Montreal, Belfast and, most recently, Indore in India. Nine students attended the conference in India, accompanied by Ms Owens and Mrs Rogers. Year 12 students, Emily and Laura, tell us more about their exciting trip…
Our Round Square trip to India was phenomenal. When we arrived in Delhi on 29th September we had no idea what to expect. The immediate cultural transition was mind-blowing. Our pre-conference tour included a fascinating walking tour of Old Delhi. The colours, the smells, the people and the manic roads were like nothing we’d ever witnessed before. Our tour guide was amazing, taking us to places tourists wouldn’t normally get to see. We visited spice, flower and wedding markets, and a local gurdwara where we had a cookery lesson and made chapatis. Despite the heat and humidity, we all wore trousers, as it is respectful to cover up in India. We also learned some local phrases, such as ‘ram ram’ which means ‘thank you’. On day three we set off early to visit the Taj Mahal, which was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife. When the ivory-white marble mausoleum first came into sight, we were all taken aback by the sheer scale and beauty of it and Ms Owens had tears in her eyes. Discovering the stories behind the Taj Mahal and
other monuments opened our eyes to the country’s rich culture and incredible history - and all of this was before the conference had even begun. When travelling to Indore to commence our Round Square experience, all nine of us were rather nervous. We were about to be thrown into a new environment with students we’d never met before from all around the world. We received such a warm welcome from the host school, however, that our nerves were shortlived. The students from Emerald Heights International School presented us with locally produced gifts. They placed bhindis on our foreheads and necklaces around our necks, immediately drawing us into their world and making it impossible not to live in the moment! We were shown to our lodgings for the week - the school’s boarding rooms. Staying in an authentic Indian boarding house was surreal and exciting and, at the end of the week, we were sad to be leaving our new home. Our days were packed full and included group discussions (referred to as ‘Barazzas’) and key-note speeches from many well-known and respected speakers, including Madame Gandhi, a famous music artist and feminist. We also met Sophia the Robot, a social humanoid. One of the most sobering parts of the week was completing a day of community service at a local deaf school. We engaged in activities with the children, planted trees and painted a wall. The day made us all reflect on the very real problems faced by people in India, including many children, but it was rewarding to know that we had made a small difference. Each day ended with some light relief in the form of performances from a selection of the 200 schools represented at the conference. Our compelling rendition of The Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ was a real crowdpleaser, with plenty of laughter and a big applause at the end! Evening meals were held outside in the form of a carnival, with bright lights, music and dancing, highlighting a different region of India each night. There was such a variety of things to see and do that we didn’t know where to start! Other highlights of the conference included a day trip to the ancient city of Mandu, seeing the local wildlife (including monkeys) and taking part in a mini (3km) marathon with a famous Indian blade runner, Major DP Singh, who got us all to chant, “I might be slow but I keep my flow,” and “I won’t stop till I reach the top.” The run ended at a cancer hospital where we planted trees. Our Round Square experience was life-changing, giving us all a better understanding of our place in the world as global citizens. We have become more compassionate, more understanding of others and less judgmental. We have also grown in confidence and made friends for life from all over the world, some of whom we are in contact with every day. Turn the page for photos...
Scan the QR code to watch a video by Molly, Year 11
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Since signing up to complete her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in June, Morgan (Year 10) has embraced the opportunity to take up astronomy, building on her love of science and her fascination with space. She has also discovered the joys of volunteering and enjoyed putting more time and energy into perfecting her Taekwondo patterns. A keen scientist, Morgan was featured in the April 2019 issue of ‘1884’ magazine for making it through to the finals of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) School Science Prize. She was one of just fifteen students to be shortlisted nationally for this prestigious prize and, during her presentation on the subject of ‘why I love science’, she spoke of her fascination with space and the universe. Keen to develop this interest further, she chose to study astronomy for the ‘skills’ section of her Bronze DofE Award. Supported by her science teacher, Mrs Hawthorn, Morgan has spent time researching the solar system, looking at how it was formed (a process which began 4.5 billion years ago), how it has evolved and the different properties of the planets. She has used this knowledge to try to answer some of the big questions, such as whether life might exist beyond Earth. “None of the other planets in our solar system are thought to be able to support life,” says Morgan, “but I was intrigued to learn about a moon called ‘Titan’, which shares some interesting similarities to Earth.” Saturn’s largest moon, Titan has lakes and seas like the Earth, and a nitrogenrich dense atmosphere. At -179°C, it is extremely cold and its surface lacks stable liquid water, factors which have led some scientists to consider life there unlikely. However, this remains an open question and a hot topic of scientific research. “Having the opportunity to study astronomy and learn more about universe has been amazing,” says Morgan. “The skills section of my Bronze Award is now complete, but I’m going to carry on exploring. My friend has lent me her telescope to use at home and I am hoping to chart the different phases of the moon.” Alongside her astronomy, Morgan has been volunteering at her local Parkrun during weekends. “I didn’t know anything about Parkrun until I started looking for volunteering opportunities for my Bronze Award,” Morgan admits, “but it’s really enjoyable.” Parkrun organise weekly 5km timed runs around the UK, which are open to everyone and completely free (https://www.parkrun.org.uk/). As a volunteer, Morgan has spent three months marshalling, helping to ensure participants stay safe and on course, and recording their
start and finish times. “An important part of the job is keeping people motivated,” explains Morgan. “We say encouraging things such as ‘well done’ and ‘keep going’ and clap as they pass. By the end of the morning, your hands hurt from all of the clapping, but you also feel good knowing you have helped so many people to stay fit and healthy!” When asked how volunteering has developed her as a person, Morgan replies: “Dealing with members of the public has definitely made me more confident. It’s also made me want to take up running.” For the ‘physical’ section of her award, Morgan has been continuing with one of her existing hobbies Taekwondo. “I started doing Taekwondo two years ago,” says Morgan. “It’s a great way to keep fit and learn self-defence, and complements my ballet and gymnastics; all three sports require good balance and flexibility.” Taekwondo is mentally challenging, as well as physically challenging. There are twenty-four patterns to learn and remember, each named after a significant figure or group in Korean history. A pattern is a set of fundamental movements, mainly defence and attack, set in a logical sequence to deal with one or more imaginary opponents. Patterns are also used to assess a student’s progress and evaluate their individual technique. Since committing to the DofE programme, Morgan has spent more time with her coach and has made excellent progress with her Blue Belt. She recently competed in the British Championships in Worcester and came fourth in the category for ‘pattern’ and fifth for ‘sparring’. “I signed up for the DofE programme because I knew it would probably be my only chance,” reflects Morgan. “Once you leave school, there are other priorities, so you have to take the opportunity while you can. Now that I’ve completed the skills, volunteering and physical sections, I’m looking forward to the expeditions and challenging myself in new ways.” For further information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, please visit https://www.dofe.org/ or speak to Mrs Laubscher.
s e s u b e h t On
A familiar sight on the roads, Kingsley’s distinct fleet of white minibuses have been busy ferrying students of all ages to the sports fields, on trips and visits, and providing a pick-up and drop-off service for many years. The personalised transport service reaches out to Banbury, Solihull, Stratfordupon-Avon and Warwick - and everywhere in between. Students talk affectionately about their journeys to and from school. They also speak fondly of the individuals who drive them, all of whom have different backgrounds and life experiences but share the common goal of getting students safely from A to B. More than this, they share a genuine passion for working with children and go above and beyond to ensure that - come rain, shine, snow, diversions or traffic jams - the students in their care are nurtured and happy. They truly are inspirational members of the Kingsley and we don’t know what we’d do without them.
Narinderpal I originally trained as an electronics engineer. I graduated from the University of Salford and worked at GEC Telecoms in Coventry, before opening computing and electronics shops in Leamington, Coventry and Leicester. I am a past Kingsley parent and an ex-governor of several primary and secondary schools. One of my daughters encouraged me to apply to become a minibus driver at Kingsley as she thought I would enjoy it - and she was right! Getting up early in the mornings and bringing students to school takes me back to when my two daughters were young and makes me feel happy!
Janice I have been a minibus driver at Kingsley for five years. I previously worked with adults with autism. Kingsley is such a friendly and supportive school. Once, we got stuck in a traffic jam on the A46 for three hours. In true Kingsley spirit, we kept each other amused by playing games and, when we finally arrived at school, there were drinks and sandwiches waiting for us, which was so thoughtful. In the run up to Christmas we decorate the bus with lights, baubles, tinsel and headrest hats. We play festive music and exchange cards, and there’s a lovely atmosphere.
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Cath I previously worked as a teaching assistant in a small village primary school where I set up and coordinated the day-today running of a ‘walking bus’. I joined Kingsley four-and-ahalf years ago as a wraparound team leader. I have always enjoyed driving minibuses and was pleased when the opportunity arose for me to take on one of the bus routes. There’s never a dull moment on the bus and we love a good sing-song. Last year we introduced ‘Tuneful Tuesdays’! The girls always request Radio One and I have grown to like listening to Greg James in the mornings. Taking the bus to and from school encourages students to become more independent and they enjoy chatting to their friends over a travel mug of hot chocolate.
Tony I was in the Army for 35 years and served at Windsor Castle. I was honoured to receive the Royal Victorian Order and Order of the Garter from HM The Queen. I have been a minibus driver at Kingsley for two years. Students can’t quite believe I’m a soldier. In May of last year, I came to school dressed in full uniform for Kingsley’s Royal Wedding celebrations. The following day I was transported to Windsor by helicopter for the Royal Wedding, where I took charge of the No. 7 Company Coldstream Guard Street Liners.
Mohinder (‘Shinder’) I recently retired, having worked an assembler and fitter of construction equipment for over 40 years. My job involved extensive travel to countries such the US, Sweden, Denmark and France. When I told my neighbour I had applied to become a school minibus driver, he asked why and said, “You have worked hard all of your life - it’s time to relax.” But I’m used to being helpful and enjoy spending time with other people. I also enjoy driving, so this is the perfect job for me!”
Tony surprised students during our Royal Wedding celebrations by dressing up in his soldier’s uniform. Prep pupils were particularly enamoured with his bearskin hat, which they were delighted to be able to try on!
COULD AN APPRENTICESHIP BE RIGHT FOR YOU? Head of Careers, Mrs Bennett, is keen to further increase awareness and understanding of 21st century apprenticeships, busting the myths and sign-posting students, parents, and teaching staff to helpful resources. She says, “It is our responsibility as educators to ensure our students have a full and informed view of all possible routes to a successful career.” As an Apprenticeship Champion, Mrs Bennett was recently invited to participate in an Apprenticeship Consultation event at the Houses of Parliament. Her advice follows…
Whilst the majority of Kingsley students head to university after Sixth Form, we ensure they are informed about all pathways, including the apprenticeship route. Degree Apprenticeships are relatively new and growing, and offer an excellent opportunity for young people to get a debt-free, industry-designed degree and leap straight into a career. Apprentices split their time working for an employer and studying part-time (20% must be spent doing off-the-job training), with the cost of their university tuition fees covered by the Government and their employer. Some talented young people don’t feel university is the right route for them. Sometimes they prefer to experience learning in the workplace, or maybe they know the job they want to do and are eager to start doing it. Previous Kingsley girls have secured apprenticeships at PSA Peugeot Citroen, KPMG, Harrods, Siemens and Boots. Aside from graduating without paying tuition fees or taking out student loans (The Institute of Fiscal Studies suggests students in the UK accumulate an average debt of £50,000), apprentices get the chance to progress their career from day one, earning and learning at the same time. Recent vacancies include opportunities in digital and
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technology solutions, civil engineering and project management, with top schemes at larger companies offering a starting salary of around £22k per annum (and it’s good to know apprenticeship schemes are approved by the Institute for Apprenticeships to ensure good quality training and assessment). Not surprisingly, many view Degree Apprenticeships (Level 6) as the smart way to get hands-on experience, meaning you are highly employable at the end of your apprenticeship - whilst staying debt-free. Advanced (Level 3) and Higher Apprenticeships (Level 4) also offer some amazing opportunities, such as the chance to train as a paralegal or junior journalist. Students - if you are undecided between going to university or applying for an apprenticeship, it’s worth knowing that you don’t have to decide right away. There’s nothing to stop you from applying to university through UCAS in the autumn of Year 13 and then, over the next few months, keeping your eyes open for apprenticeship vacancies that interest you. Apprenticeship schemes don’t follow the same application and deadline patterns as universities - the deadline for submitting your apprenticeship application will be down to the individual employer, and you’ll apply to them directly (you’re not restricted to one apprenticeship application either if you’ve seen more than one you’re interested in). To be clear, it is a not about applying for a course, but competing for a job; this requires excellent time management to balance searching for and applying for opportunities, at a time when your Year 13 studies are crucial. The application process can be challenging for some of the more competitive schemes but we can offer lots of support along the way, arranging workshops to practice interview skills, and even mock assessment centre workshops. So what are the downsides? Demand outstrips supply currently, but numbers of Degree Apprenticeships are increasing year on year (the number approved by the government has increased by over 40 per cent in the past year). And, of course, taking this route at 18 does not provide the typical ‘university experience’; apprentices start a job with a minimum of 30 hours a week at work and it can be hard balancing this with studying too. You are also committing to a job, so if you are unsure whether this is the profession you really want to work in and would like to keep your options open, heading to university or even taking a gap year could be the best move at this point.
At Kingsley, students have benefitted from hearing first hand from some young apprentice visitors who are forging successful careers with companies such as EY, IBM and JLR, to name just a few. Brilliant role models for the students, they have highlighted the benefits and dispelled worries around the ‘FOMO’ factor of not going to university, or any concerns about getting ‘pigeon-holed’ into a career too early. If anything, testimonials suggest early career progression for apprentices, being in a stronger position at 21 than when new graduates join the company to work alongside them (TES quoted research in 2018 from the Institute of Student Employers that suggests employers receive on average 19 applications per apprenticeship vacancy versus 68 for a graduate vacancy).
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT APPRENTICESHIPS? CHECK OUT THE FOLLOWING LINKS: https://www.ratemyapprenticeship.co.uk/degreeapprenticeships#work https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/ apprenticeship-standards https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education-and-careers/0/ degree-degreeapprenticeships-have-pros-cons-oneright/ https://www.notgoingtouni.co.uk/
ENGINEER FOR A WEEK
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According to the Women’s Engineering Society, only 11% of the UK’s professional engineers are female - the lowest rate in Europe. With growing pressure on engineering and technology employers to increase diversity, the future is looking bright for Kingsley girls aspiring to take up opportunities in the field. At the start of October half-term, Year 10 student, Ishmeera, embarked on a week-long placement as an Industrial Cadet with Coventry-based engineering firm, M-TEC Engineering Products Ltd. The ISO accredited company works closely with Automotive OEMs and tier one suppliers, offering a complete engineering and design service - from concept through to product realisation. “I first became interested in engineering after speaking to a Royal Navy weapons engineer at Kingsley’s Futures Fair,” says Ishmeera. “When Mrs Bennett [Head of Careers] told me there was an opportunity to gain some work experience with a local engineering firm, I felt it would be a great first step towards finding out more about careers in engineering.” For an SME, M-TEC’s commitment to training young people is quite exceptional. Since the company was established in 2010, it has trained over 60 individuals though its accredited programmes, including work experience students, apprentices and undergraduates. It also runs a successful Graduate Development Programme. When asked why M-TEC puts so much time and energy into training young people, Training Officer, Frank Lording (pictured left with Ishmeera), explains, “Firms have to do more to tackle the shortage of engineers in the UK, including attracting more women into engineering, design and project management roles. Becoming accredited to train 14 to 21-year-olds was the obvious thing to do and we haven’t looked back.” In March 2018, the company received an award in recognition of its efforts, presented by HRH the Prince of Wales, and was named ‘Industrial Cadets SME Employer of the Year’. The company repeated this achievement again in 2019, receiving the award at the Industrial Cadets’ Award Ceremony held at the IET in London on 21st November. As an Industrial Cadet, Ishmeera was set the task of researching and developing a product to present to senior managers at the end of her placement. “Stepping into M-TEC’s offices for the first time and being given such a challenging project brief was quite daunting,” admits Ishmeera, “but Frank and his colleagues were all very welcoming and the induction I received was excellent.” Ishmeera’s induction included an overview of the company and its current projects, and an introduction to CATIA - the 3D Computer Aided Design package she would use to design her product. “I spent the next day or so exploring the software,” recalls Ishmeera. “I was working in a large open-plan office, so there were plenty of people around to help. You’d also be surprised how much you can learn from YouTube tutorials!”
After getting to grips with some of the software’s basic tools, Ishmeera felt more confident about designing her product. “I set myself the challenge of designing a car that’s both aesthetically pleasing and practical,” says Ishmeera. “I carried out some research online, exploring the websites of popular car manufacturers such as Jaguar Land Rover [with whom M-TEC works closely]. I looked at the features of some of their latest vehicles and started to build up a picture of how I wanted my own car to look. I had to be realistic about what I could achieve in the time frame, so I decided to focus on the main external features of the car - the shape of the body and the windows, doors, wheels and lights.” Ishmeera used the software’s ‘sketch’ tool to create the outline of her car, before turning it into a 3D model. “It was a very basic 3D model at this point,” explains Ishmeera. “I used the ‘pad’ tool and began adding detail. Gradually, my design started to look more and more like a car.” Ishmeera sought the advice and opinions of colleagues along the way and, once her design was finished, she was able to create a physical prototype using one of the company’s 3D printers. At the end of her placement, Ishmeera delivered a presentation to senior managers and received some excellent feedback from her placement supervisor, Frank: “Ishmeera’s presentation was delivered with confidence after being reminded that you have to relax and enjoy what you are doing. She graduated as an Industrial Cadet and was presented with her certificate and badge from the Engineering Director, Stephen Hanson. Ishmeera’s willingness to learn meant that she picked things up quickly, including how to utilise the CAD software. Her car was completed to her satisfaction, but she was able to evaluate her work and identify areas for improvement (such as adding more detail and making it more refined). We wish Ishmeera well for the future and hope we have stimulated her continued interest in a career in engineering.” “I really enjoyed my time at M-TEC,” reflects Ishmeera. “Not only did I learn some valuable skills, but I also gained an insight into the world of automotive engineering and an appreciation of just how much work goes into designing a car. The placement has given me the drive to explore other areas of engineering and Mrs Bennett and I are already busy arranging another placement for the summer holidays. Following my GCSEs, I would like to do my A-levels and then study engineering at university.”
THE BIG CHARITY CHOP Year 8 pupil, Maddie, sacrificed the long hair she had had since she was a young child to support the Little Princess Trust (www.littleprincesses.org.uk) - a charity which provides real-hair wigs to children with hair loss. “Young people can lose their hair for a number of reasons,” explains Maddie. “Someone I follow on YouTube suffers from alopecia and I have learned so much about the condition, including the impact it can have on a person’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.” The charity also supports children who have lost their hair as a result of chemotherapy. “Nobody can fail to be aware of childhood cancers with all of the adverts on TV,” says Maddie. “Seeing these adverts made me even more determined to cut my hair.” Maddie’s hairdresser, a family friend, kindly donated her fee for cutting Maddie’s hair to the charity. Maddie also asked her family and friends to sponsor her, resulting in a whopping £1,000 (and counting!) in donations. “I was nervous about cutting my hair,” admits Maddie, “but, at the end of the day, it will grow back.” The money she has raised will help fund pioneering research into new and better treatments for paediatric cancers. What’s more, her lovely locks will help another child to smile again. Maddie isn’t the first Kingsley girl to have donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust. In 2017, Year 6 student, Sophie (now in Year 9), cut off and donated all (yes, all!) of her hair, raising an impressive £1,300 for two charities: Caring Hands in the Vale, which provides care and support to people in their own homes, and the Perry Barr Retired Greyhound Trust. Sophie’s mother, whose friend developed alopecia, also cut off her hair. “It was quite a shock having no hair,” she said, “but worth the looks and stares to raise awareness and some money.”
“Someone I follow on YouTube suffers from alopecia and I have learned so much about the condition, including the impact it can have on a person’s self-esteem and emotional wellbeing.”
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Oil painting by A-level artist Freya S H
‘From Innocence to Experience’ YEAR 12 ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE STUDENT, EMILY, HAS BEEN STUDYING THE POETRY OF CAROL ANN DUFFY. HER ESSAY BELOW, WHICH COMPARES AND CONTRASTS HOW DUFFY PRESENTS EXPERIENCES OF CHILDHOOD IN HER POEMS ‘BEFORE YOU WERE MINE’ AND ‘STAFFORD AFTERNOONS’, ACHIEVED FULL MARKS (40/40). ‘Both Before Your Were Mine’ (BYWM) and ‘Stafford Afternoons’ explore the themes of childhood and the experiences such memories can conjure. An evocative recollection of re-entering the liberating yet unsettling territory of childhood is presented through the homodiegetic first person voice in ‘Stafford Afternoons’; whereas BYWM adheres to some conventions of a dramatic monologue through the utilisation of direct address, in order to theoretically explore the mother’s childhood as well as Duffy’s. In both poems there is a suggestion of the leap from innocence to experience, the almost cyclical structure in BYWM is reflective of such a concept, whilst reinforcing the cyclical nature of existence and the inevitability of growing up. ‘Stafford Afternoons’’ grammatically ordered and neat graphology containing six equal quatrains, suggests the simplicity and innocence of childhood. In BYWM, Duffy relishes on her mother’s youthful experiences with a distinct sense of idolisation, as if she yearns for that persona to exist in her mother today – the unspecified second person pronoun address “you laugh on” in the first stanza of the poem, is suggestive of the care-free and vivacious attitude her mother demonstrated earlier in her life; and to further consolidate such memories, Duffy deliberately places the proper nouns and names “Maggie…and Jean” to give the reader factual evidence. Such examples of the mother’s happy existence occur near constantly throughout the poem; Duffy utilises sensory images to further pursue her idolisation and glamorises the end of her mother’s childhood as if it were a fairy-tale. The pre-modifying compound adjective “polka dot dress” supplements this theme and pursues vivid and animated imagery, whilst also highlighting the era in which Duffy’s mother grew up in – post second world war - the use of hyperbole, material verbs, semantic fields, and adjectives all aim to achieve a sense of post war austerity, freedom, and relief in the poem. On the other hand, ‘Stafford Afternoons’ is a reflection of a childhood adventure in the late 1960s summer time; thus making the poem partly autobiographical as Duffy herself moved from Glasgow to Stafford aged six. Therefore this retrospective dramatic monologue which
could be interpreted as being tainted with childhood alienation, may have derived from Duffy’s experiences of being uprooted into an unfamiliar atmosphere at such a young age; additionally, it is said to have been influenced by William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’. The poem divulges the immense fear that arises when a breadth of separation is felt from the gaze of guardians, beginning with the proximal spacial deixis “only there” this foregrounded adverbial roots the implied reader in a specific time and moment, to indicate the realness of the experience and emphasise the loneliness the child is going to feel. The anecdotal tone and lack of address in the poem also add to a sense of disharmony and absence; the child is struggling to cope as she faces the world alone. Isolation during this childhood experience is also conveyed through the proximal deixis of ‘long road’ which is suggestive of her fear among the silence, and the semantic field of absence including lexis such as “empty”, “away”, and “no one” highlight the child’s vulnerability. Alternatively, Duffy also utilises a semantic field in BYWM, but does so in a juxtaposing way this lexis field connotes the glamour and elegance orientated around her mother’s youth. Incorporated into this technique is the short isolated sentence “Marylin” which is truly suggestive of the extent of Duffy’s admiration by comparing her mother to such an iconic figure. In addition, the synecdoche and hyperbolic phrase “ballroom with a thousand eyes” further explores this sense of youth and glamour; continuing with the clichéd language, Duffy applies the pre-modifying adjective onto “fizzy movie tomorrows” which carries an effervescent and cinematic quality, relaying the hope and dreams of the future. The conclusive development of the mother’s late childhood and frequent building on the concept of joyful adolescence acts as a dramatic oxymoronic effect, for as readers, we are all too aware of the imminent shift in her life brought about by the omniscient speaker. Similarly, in the second stanza of ‘Stafford Afternoons’, Duffy culminates vivid imagery whilst highlighting the
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juvenility and innocence of childhood, through the line “and invented in colour, a vivid lie for both of us”. The subordinate clause and inclusive pronoun “us” aims to replay the memory brightly whilst astutely aligning the child’s desire for sensory attention and normality. By returning to the expected and mundane actions of an infant, the character in this poem is attempting to re-establish the power of her imagination to reorientate herself after the panic of isolation; choosing to “let a horse…sponge at [her] palm”, the conjunctive discourse marker pervades her sensitivity to senses, thus reiterating her youth. Furthermore, childhood is also presented through a dangerous vessel in ‘Stafford Afternoons’, which inaugurates the hostility and hesitancy of making the leap to maturity - this vessel being “the wood”. In an attempt to relinquish what little scraps of naivety the child can muster, Duffy uses the material verb “crawled” at the beginning of this animated description. Following on, the oxymoronic base adjectives “lonely” and “thrilled” create a metaphorical frontier between childhood and adulthood, preceding the moment the juvenile crosses through this metaphorical and physical barrier. A new quatrain and volta signals this leap, and the immediate utilisation of sibilance and cacophonic phonology in “green silence…swallowed” and “sticky…
the back of my neck” pursues the animosity of nature alongside a palpable sense of danger that is yet to deter the speaker. Equivalently, BYWM uses temporal deixis to shift the poem into present tense “and now”, this volta signifies both the interdependence of past and present, and brings with it the experience of the now adult (Duffy) who describes her mother through the onomatopoeia of “ghost clatters” and the synaesthesia of “clear as scent” which adds a vividness to her memory. Like her mother, Duffy recalls “[her] hands in those high-heeled red shoes, relics”; here religious imagery conveys these shoes as sacred items that are symbolic of her mother’s happiness, whilst demonstrating Duffy’s reverence towards her parent. In conclusion, both poems portray childhood in alternative ways - BYWM uses many temporal perspectives to recollect on the experiences of her mum, albeit through partially rose-tinted glasses., whereas ‘Stafford Afternoons’ is exploratory of a childhood with fear and isolation brought about by the progression of adolescence. However, the two poems do share the undeniable hesitancy and estrangement that comes with growing up, using similar techniques such as imagery, dietic centres and graphology.
y d u t S
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Kingsley’s Teacher of Politics (also Head of History), Mrs Partridge, explains why there has never been a better time to study politics... It has been widely reported that since the EU referendum of June 2016 there has been a 28% surge in applications to politics courses at UK universities. This can only mean one thing. People, particularly the youth of today, are becoming more engaged in politics and it’s easy to see why. The twenty-first century has ushered in an unprecedented phase of populism and polarisation. In more recent years we have seen the advent of a post-truth Trumpian era, a Thunberg led climate crusade and a UK seemingly under political siege caused by the battle of Brexit, which has made for a perfect storm of political issues. All this, of course, is played out through the warped lens of the media, and its overachieving little sister, social media.
Learning about politics offers a unique window into the psyche of the masses. It encourages us to be openminded, to think critically, to ask questions and debate. Studying politics helps to clarify our beliefs through analysing and evaluating different ideologies. These are all useful life skills that will serve students well in their futures regardless of career path. Another benefit of learning about politics is that students become more aware of their own rights as citizens. They are encouraged to familiarise themselves with laws that affect their lives and understand how those laws are created. They also have the opportunity to get to know the work of MPs and to find out how our decisions and their actions shape Britain.
Social media is now the prime political platform used by young people. Whereas old established forms of media have educated and informed, social media has brought a new dynamic to politics in that it is used for both gathering and sharing information, by anyone. Its accessibility and influence is seemingly unfiltered and unfettered. There is little wonder, therefore, that the traditionally more apathetic members of society, young people, have become increasingly interested in politics. What these divisive topics seem to have done is kick down the political fence on which many British youngsters sat, causing a more fervent outpouring of opinion, the likes of which we have not experienced in recent memory. Social media led discourse on the direction of Britain, its relationship with Europe and indeed its place in the world appears to be fuelling young people’s interest in politics.
A-level politics at Kingsley is an exciting course that offers a range of topics to study. The Government unit delves into the origins and formation of the constitution and reveals the quirks of our unwritten constitution. This unit also provides the broader context of British politics and explains the structure of our legislative and executive institutions. The Politics unit of the course looks at psephology - voting behaviour where students study recent election outcomes and analyse patterns arising from these results. Students also assess the impact of media on general elections and how public opinion can impact upon public policy. They are asked to consider the nature of our democracy and question to what extent our system is truly representative. In the final year of the A-level course students study US politics which highlights the difference between the American presidential system and the British parliamentary system. Girls study the relative power and influence of Congress, The President and The Supreme Court. This helps them to understand the interplay between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the American constitution to better understand current affairs.
However, interestingly, there has been recent debate about whether this increased interest in politics has translated into greater electoral engagement. On one hand, some political commentators have dubbed these recent changes as a ‘youthquake’, but the numbers still show that there is a lag in youth turnout at the polling stations compared to older members of society. If the younger generation commits to mobilising further, this will surely be the time where greater interest becomes greater involvement. Once the mass youth population realises that they hold the key to effecting real change, they will become the architects of their own political destiny. Why study politics? ‘All politicians are the same’ and ‘my vote makes no difference’ are platitudes that have plagued politics for many years. Studying politics is a chance to dispel these oft quoted myths and to learn about how politics actually affects our lives. It is a living subject with more and more to learn every day. Younger generations also seem to be placing emphasis on the importance of political awareness, or to use Barack Obama’s phrase, ‘staying woke’, meaning ignorance is no longer an excuse. Although this itself is complicated by the prevalence of ‘fake news’ which means that people, particularly young people, are keener than ever to find the truth.
With more Brexit milestones looming, an ongoing climate emergency and a Presidential election in 2020, there has never been a better or more important time to study politics. At the time of print, politics has gripped the Kingsley community with hustings, campaigns, visits from local candidates, a mock election and a Sixth Form election results sleepover all taking place alongside the UK General Election. Full details of the A-level Politics course, including the specification and sample assessment materials, can be found on the EDEXCEL website: https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/ qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/politics-2017.html.
o r e h r e p u s BECOME AN EXAM 64
WITH MRS MORGAN’S TOP TIPS...
Everybody can succeed at exams, no matter what their starting point or perceived level of ability. Some hate them more than others and there will always be those friends who seem to thrive in exam conditions but this has to be about you and maximising your results. One of the most powerful phrases I use is a simple one:
'You do you'’
In other words, as long as you are doing what you can then that is enough and definitely don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. So what can you do to prepare for exams?
1. Look at and complete past papers - this is the best way to familiarise yourself with the format of the papers so there are no surprises on the day. By becoming familiar with them you will be able to recognise typical questions, the structures of questions, marks available and how many questions you will be expected to answer. Most importantly, when you time yourself at home or school you will soon learn how much you can write for each question and then do the same in the exam so that you don’t run out of time. Do each past paper at least twice.
2. Look at the mark schemes for the past papers - mark
your own work against what the examiners are trained to look for. The more familiar you are with mark schemes the better you will understand how to earn marks.
3. Read the examiners’ reports - these are widely
available and will give you valuable insight into which types of answers were credited and which were not. These are written by the very people who will mark your papers and give a good indication of what is important to them when marking.
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4. Get organised - have a system that breaks
down your course into manageable chunks. Raid the stationery shops and have a lovely time making colourful lists, use post-it notes, draw mind maps and then revise section by section. Ticking off each section will give you an immense feeling of satisfaction and achievement. This allows you to feel in CONTROL and order your thoughts. Without a sense of order you will flounder.
5. Consolidate, consolidate, consolidate - without
doubt the most successful students I have seen are those who work consistently months before the exams and not just in the last few, stressful weeks. After each lesson/week/topic, make notes or revision cards that change your class notes into a different format - one that you can revise from. The act of doing this helps information move into your longterm memory and, trust me, once your mind turns to revision you will be delighted that you did this work along the way.
6. You are going to feel stressed at the thought of
your upcoming exams; staying fit and exercising will help you balance the tension in your mind. Take regular study breaks - exercise is proven to boost brain activity and improve your exam performance over the long-run.
7. There are lots of great revision sites and student
apps to help you; use these selectively but don’t be distracted by them and remember that there is no substitute for honest hard graft. Shut the door, open your books and get to work. Your friends, if they are real friends who care about you, will still be there when you emerge triumphant and well-prepared.
8. Finally, don’t assume that you should know all the
answers in an exam. You might find that you have to use your knowledge in a different way or that you have to think and work it out. This is a good thing as learning should be about thinking. Coming out of an exam with an aching brain and hand is a sign that you have worked hard. Accepting that you have hard work ahead and staying in control will help you to feel less stressed. Find small ways to reward yourself and good luck!
MY VIEWS ON THE GOVERNMENT’S HS2 PLANS BY HARKEIRAN, YEAR 12 HS2 is the high speed railway route planned by the Government and private investors. Its aim is time-space compression, shortening journey times and bringing development from the South to the North. The Government sold HS2 on the basis that it would soften the North-South divide experienced in the UK and open up job opportunities in the North. Over the past 10 years, more than £4 billion per year has been spent on HS2 and the project is still nowhere near completion. The budget for the entire project is £56 billion, but final costs are likely to be significantly higher, with some speculating they could even double. The full route from London to Birmingham to the North was due to be completed by 2033, with plans for the first phase (London to Birmingham) to be completed by 2026. However, meetings are currently being held to discuss whether HS2 should stop at Birmingham, which completely goes against the original aim of the project. Birmingham is already considered Britain’s second capital and has recently benefitted from major investment in the redevelopment of its New Street Station (now called ‘Grand Central Station’). Stopping HS2 here would only lead to further social inequalities. The existing lack of investment in transport links in the North has already had a major socioeconomic impact. Two of the most consistently overcrowded train routes both serve Manchester; long delays are common, affecting people’s ability to get to and from work on time, and, in some cases, their employment opportunities. By not following through on its original promises, the Government is simply asking for a backlash and anger from people who thought they would benefit from HS2. Furthermore, billions of pounds have been spent (and are still being spent!) on a project that will most likely not be finished, taking public funding away from arguably more important areas such as the NHS and education. There is also the huge environmental impact to consider, which is a whole separate discussion.
g n i l l a C o y k To Head Girl Rebecca has been competitively swimming for most of her life, beginning training three times a week at the age of 6. Rebecca won her first county medal at the age of 9, and since the age of 11 has won every year at the Swim England County Championships and Midlands Competitions. She has competed at national finals every year since the age of 12, receiving two bronze medals at the England Championships in 2016-17. Rebecca was selected for the Commonwealth Games trials in 2017, and swam for English Schools representing the West Midlands. Her personal best in 200m breast stroke is 2:36. Rebecca is currently in Year 13, juggling an intensive training schedule with school work and study. She trains seven to eight times a week, with four gym sessions, one physio and one personal trainer session a week in addition. She adjusts her training times to fit in with school work and other commitments, either before school, straight after or later in the evening. In recognition of her successes and dedication, Rebecca was nominated for Professional Young Sportswoman of the Year at the 2018 Coventry and Warwickshire Sports Awards at the Ricoh Arena.
Head Girl Rebecca has achieved a qualifying time to take part in the Tokyo Olympic Trials, as well as securing a place at Florida Gulf Coast University to swim and study. With a bright future, we take a look at her inspirational career to date.
An inspirational role model, dedicated to both training and studies, Rebecca achieved highly in her GCSEs and will be sitting her A-levels in the summer, alongside her school commitments in the Sixth Form Leadership Team. Beyond Kingsley, Rebecca has recently signed an agreement with the prestigious Florida Gulf Coast University to swim and study in the US; a fantastic opportunity to train and compete in the USA’s highest university division, NCAA Division 1. The system is geared so that athletes can train at a high level whilst still studying - the options in the UK for this type of programme are currently limited. With bright and exciting future ambitions of competitive swimming, Rebecca has also achieved a qualifying time in 200m breaststroke to take part in next year’s Tokyo Olympic Trials at the Aquatic Centre in London. Rebecca still keeps a level and humble head, often speaking about the danger zone of athlete aspirations and the importance of staying grounded in reality and focussing on what you can do now. She is a truly inspirational role model to all at The Kingsley School, and we can’t wait to hear of her future successes.
Across The Line County cricketers, Sasha (Year 10) and Imogen (Year 11), have been selected for their next county age group squad, following successful trials. In their respective teams, both girls have been awarded ‘Player of the Season’, demonstrating how much they contribute to their sport. Inspirational role models, they are truly flying the flag for girls’ cricket.
A Perfect 10 A huge congratulations to Bini (Year 11) who was crowned first place overall champion at the Meridian Stars Regional Gymnastics Competition held in Peterborough at the start of December. She was placed first on the bars and beam, and second for her floor and vault routines.
BRITISH SCHOOLS SKI CHAMPIONS THE KINGSLEY SCHOOL SENIOR SKI SQUAD WERE ECSTATIC TO BE CROWNED BRITISH SCHOOLS SKI CHAMPIONS AT THE ESSKIA BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS IN STOKE ON SUNDAY 17TH NOVEMBER. The team of four girls, Lorenza Chapman, Hannah Dennison, Emma Lawton and Lucy Sainsbury were competing against 50 race teams representing England, Scotland and Wales. The Kingsley squad qualified for the English Championships in October, where they finished in sixth place to receive their position in the British Finals. In the British Final, they finished faster than the five teams who had bettered them in the English Championships, and also defeated the best that Scotland and Wales had to offer. Individually, Hannah Dennison was crowned individual overall champion after completing the two fastest runs in both rounds, and was awarded the prestigious Boyd-Anderson Trophy as most outstanding female athlete. Alan Edwards, Ski Team Manager at The Kingsley School, said, “This was the culmination of six years of hard work and commitment by a very talented group of students. I have seen them succeed and grow over the years and to see them reach the highest accolade of British school skiing is overwhelming. I am so proud of every one of them. It will also inspire the other 26 girls in the school ski squad, who range from aged 8 to 18.” The girls will next be competing in Europe at the British Schoolgirls’ Challenge in Flaine, France in January and The Aiglon College Cup in Villars-surOllons in Switzerland in March.
Hannah Dennison, overall champion.
PREP PUPILS CELEBRATE
‘THE CIRCLE OF LIFE’
The Kingsley Preparatory School celebrated ‘the circle of life’ in an energetic, imaginative and exciting production of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’. Across two evenings to packed audiences the School told the tale of Simba, the young lion cub destined to become king of the pridelands. The main cast of Year 6 pupils, supported by a chorus and ensemble of Year 3 to 5 pupils, rose to the challenge of performing the much loved film and West End musical songs, including ‘The Circle of Life’ and the show-stopping ‘He Lives In You’. The young cast demonstrated true commitment to learning the complex score, which features a large proportion of choral work in the Swahili language. Director and teacher, Emma Smith, said, “It has been a real pleasure working with the pupils; they have demonstrated an infectious confidence and sensitivity to performance that is well beyond their age. They brought the house down on both nights and I am incredibly proud of them.”
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YEAR 7 PUPILS PERFORM
A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
Year 7 had a theatrical start to the academic year with their involvement in the Shakespeare Schools Festival (SSF). During drama lessons, the entire year group took part in a fastpaced rehearsal process to develop an abridged version of William Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. The girls fully embraced this challenge, tackling any difficult language with enthusiasm and displaying great focus and dedication. They took on a wide range of roles in the production, from acting/character roles to costume design, stage management and technical support. Year 11 student, Molly, took on the complex task of running the technical elements of the show. With a little help from one of The Belgrade’s resident technicians, she was able to run the lighting and sound from the tech box - a huge achievement. Prior to the performance, the girls attended an inspirational workshop with SSF professionals at The Belgrade Theatre, giving them the opportunity to explore the performance space and develop some of their ideas. By the end of the morning, they were positively buzzing with excitement. The arrival of the show day was met with a mixture of excitement and nerves. Following technical and dress rehearsals, the girls participated in a group warm-up with the two other schools performing that evening. Kingsley girls were given the nerve-wracking task of performing last, so they had to sit through the other two schools’ performances, which they did with total professionalism. The girls gave a truly outstanding performance and thrived in the ‘live’ setting with a full audience. Those who had taken on the role of backstage crew remained calm and collected and were right on cue with handing props out. Both SSF professionals and the audience described the performance as ‘truly magical’. It was extremely encouraging to see how each individual had stretched and challenged themselves throughout the process, resulting in a strong ensemble performance and an evening they should all be incredibly proud of.
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HARMONY WHEN YEAR 9 PUPIL, ISY, JOINED THE PRESTIGIOUS COLLEGIATE CHURCH OF ST MARY’S GIRLS’ CHOIR, IT OPENED UP A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES - FROM PERFORMING AT WEDDINGS AND IN BBC LIVE BROADCASTS, TO SINGING IN FRONT OF HRH THE DUCHESS OF GLOUCESTER AND THE ACCLAIMED COMPOSER, DR JOHN RUTTER CBE.
Choral singing is one of Britain’s richest traditions. Since the first choir was founded in 1123, music has filled the magnificent medieval church of St Mary’s in Warwick. The original charter establishing the Collegiate Church of St Mary provided for just six ‘Quaeresters’ and six ‘Vicars-Choral’ - a far cry from the impressive choirs that exist at St Mary’s today. Year 9 pupil, Isy, applied to join the girls’ choir in 2016. “The Director of Music visited my primary school,” recalls Isy. “I was already learning to play the violin and I enjoyed singing, so I decided to audition.” As you would expect from a choir that attracts widespread and international recognition, the audition was quite challenging. “In addition to singing, I was asked to give a reading so that they could assess my pronunciation of words,” says Isy. “They also assessed my pitch to determine where I might fit into the choir - as a soprano or an alto.”
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Isy and her parents were delighted to hear that her audition had been successful, earning her a place in the choir. The girls - aged eight to eighteen, who travel from all over Warwickshire - attend after-school rehearsals on Mondays and Wednesdays. They sing Evensong on Wednesdays and join the men’s choir every third Sunday. They also sing at special services, such as Harvest Festival, Remembrance Sunday, and those held during Christmas and Easter. This year’s Easter Sunday Eucharist Service was broadcast live by the BBC, and last Christmas, Isy was asked to sing the ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ solo at the Christmas Carol Service (with less than five minutes notice!) - a particularly proud moment for her family. “We sing at weddings, too,” adds Isy, who professes these to be her favourite occasions along with Christmas events. Singing at weddings is just one of the many benefits of being in a successful choir. Isy has had the opportunity to perform music by great composers, led by specialist professional musicians. The girls’, boys’ and men’s choirs combine to sing at major festivals and concerts, performing in some impressive venues. “We sang in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle,” recalls Isy. “I have also performed in cathedrals around the country including St Paul’s, Chester, Bristol, Liverpool [the UK’s largest cathedral] and, most recently, Coventry.” Isy was selected as the girl chorister representative from St Mary’s to sing in the Choristers of Britain concert, which took place at Liverpool Cathedral in June. The concert was attended by hundreds of people, including HRH The Duchess of Gloucester and the acclaimed composer, Dr John Rutter CBE. “Performing in front of so many people was an amazing experience,” says Isy, “and I made lots of new friends.” In August 2020, the choir will tour Poland, performing in a range of exciting venues. Being a chorister takes up a huge amount of time and energy. From September to December alone, Isy sings in around 35 services and concerts, excluding rehearsals. “It is a big commitment,” says Isy, “but I absolutely love it. I have made some good friends at St Mary’s, including Celia - a fellow Kingsley pupil [Year 7].” Isy and Celia also sing together in the Senior School choir. “I enjoy performing in the school choir,” says Isy, “and music is one of my favourite subjects at school. I have opted to study music at GCSE. I can’t imagine life without singing - it’s the perfect way to relax and unwind.”
SINGING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL It’s true! Singing is known to release endorphins, the feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel uplifted and happy. In addition, scientists have identified a tiny organ in the ear called the sacculus, which responds to the frequencies created by singing. The response creates an immediate sense of pleasure. Not only that, but singing can simply take your mind off the day’s troubles, thereby boosting your mood.
KEYS TO SUCCESS AT THE AGE OF JUST 11, YEAR 11 MUSICIAN, JESSICA, HAD TWO GRADE 8s UNDER HER BELT. SHE HAS BEEN A PUPIL AT THE PRESTIGIOUS CHETHAM’S SCHOOL OF MUSIC, PLAYED IN THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S ORCHESTRA AND IS CURRENTLY STUDYING AT THE JUNIOR ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC. Mr Langdown, who has been teaching piano at Kingsley for many years, still remembers the first time he heard Jessica play: “Mr Smith had asked me to accompany the ABRSM music examinations and one of the Prep candidates (Jessica) was a pianist, so I took my ease outside of the examination room. I could hear the piano through the door and couldn’t quite believe that the girl who had entered the room was the same person playing. It was unusually polished for someone so young.” Jessica was just eight years old at the time (she started piano lessons when she was five). Jessica was also becoming an accomplished oboe player. By the age of 11, she had achieved her Grade 8 on both instruments with Distinction. She left Kingsley in Year 5 to study at Chetham’s School of Music. Established in 1421 and located in the heart of Manchester, Chetham’s is the UK’s largest specialist music school, attended by some of the country’s most promising musicians; the school also receives around 10% of its applications from international students. When she was 13, Jessica was entered for her Dip. ABRSM on Oboe and Dip. ABRSM on Piano, each requiring her to give a 30 minute recital, write programme notes for the
examiner and answer questions about the programme, the composer and the instrument (a Viva Voce). The exam, which equates to the end of the first year of Music College, also has a sight reading element. Jessica passed both Diplomas - the piano with Distinction. Jessica had also joined the National Children’s Orchestra (NCO), which ran residential courses for its members during the holidays. These culminated in a concert, giving her the opportunity to play Principal Oboe in some impressive venues, including the Barbican in London and Symphony Hall in Birmingham. Her contribution to the NCO was recognised when she was awarded the Peter Clarke Memorial Trophy at the Barbican. She also played with Chetham’s Sinfonia and Symphony Orchestra for five years. When asked about her most memorable performances, Jessica recalls playing Vivaldi’s Oboe Concerto at Grappenhall, and the Mozart Oboe Concerto in the Stoller Hall with Chetham’s Sinfonia (when she won the Lower School Concerto Competition). Another notable performance was ‘Voices of Remembrance’ - a beautiful orchestral and choral work inspired by famous poems of World War One, which took place in Jersey alongside Vanessa Redgrave.
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Jessica’s favourite music includes classical piano by Beethoven, Chopin and Debussy, and Benjamin Britten’s Six Metamorphoses after Ovid on the oboe. “These miniatures have fascinating backgrounds,” says Jessica. “I’ve studied Pan, Niobe, Bacchus and Arethusa, which are wonderful to play. They are so expressive and you can really communicate the story to the audience. My family and I visit Aldeburgh and Snape Maltings whenever we can. To see the Mere where the Metamorphoses were first premiered is really inspiring.” Jessica returned to Kingsley in November 2018 and is currently working towards her GCSEs, including GCSE Music. Led by Head of Music, Mr Smith, the group follows the OCR course, which involves listening, performing and composing and covers all genres, from classical, rock and pop to film and world music. “It’s a great group with some really talented musicians,” remarks Jessica. “Everyone has been so supportive since I returned to Kingsley; it feels as though I never really left. By allowing me the time to practice and attend extra lessons and auditions, I’ve been able to balance my music and GCSE work really well. I’m also grateful to the Friends of Kingsley for the money they awarded me to attend a course with the National Schools Symphony Orchestra last summer.” Jessica performs in Kingsley’s termly concerts, as well as during assemblies, prize givings and other events. In the summer, she gave a very special piano recital at our 135th birthday garden party (covered on page 4) and, in November, she represented Kingsley at the Leamington Business Awards (with fellow pupil and musician, Lauren, who was featured in the April 2019 issue of 1884 magazine), giving a stunning performance to a packed audience at the Royal Pump Rooms. Alongside her many school commitments, Jessica studies oboe at the Junior Royal Academy of Music on Saturdays, receiving an hour-and-a-half of tuition and spending a further two hours rehearsing with the Symphony Orchestra. “I also have a 45 minute Chamber lesson,” says Jessica. “I’m currently playing the Cor Anglais in a Beethoven oboe trio. Plus there’s a 45 minute Grade 8 Theory lesson. It’s a very busy day!” Part of Jessica’s oboe lesson is dedicated to reeds, which are crucial to producing a warm sound, and Jessica spends many hours at home making her own reeds from high quality cane shipped from Canada. She ties on the reed and uses a profiling machine and tip cutter, before scraping the reed to make it the right thickness to produce a lovely sound. “Ready-made reeds are expensive and rarely work properly,” she explains, “so oboists put a huge amount of time and effort into trying to make the perfect reed!” Jessica recently applied for the prestigious BBC Young Musician competition, which runs biennially and receives applications from 450 of the country’s top young musicians. Following the regional auditions at St. Martin in the Fields in London, she was one of 125 musicians to make it through to the woodwind category auditions at the BBC’s Hoddinott Hall in Cardiff. She delivered a 12 minute performance to four judges who marked her on musicality, technique and performance. Prior to this, she was interviewed and filmed. Just five woodwind players will be selected for the Category Finals in March 2020, which will be televised on BBC4.
“It’s extremely hard to get through to the Category Finals,” says Jessica. “Your performance has to be flawless and your programming must appeal to the judges. Regardless of whether I make it through, it’s been a wonderful experience and the support and encouragement I have received from students and staff at Kingsley has been amazing. I’m particularly grateful to Mr Langdown, who accompanied me during both rounds and has put so much time and effort into helping me rehearse.” “Jessica is an incredibly gifted, yet equally modest, musician,” says Mr Langdown, who also teaches Jessica piano in school. “It has been a great pleasure for me to both teach and accompany her since she returned to Kingsley. Her recent oboe performance in the BBC Young Musician competition was quite something and it was a real honour to be there to witness it. It takes a huge amount of dedication, motivation, sacrifice and hard work to become such an accomplished musician; fortunately, Jessica has these attributes in spades. Her genuine love for music shines through in everything she does. I’m really looking forward to her end-of-term piano performance of Debussy’s Prelude ‘Les sons et les parfums tournent dans l’air du soir’. This beautifully evocative piece requires a great deal of musical colour and finesse - two notable hallmarks of Jessica’s playing.” Jessica has many exciting plans for the future. She will participate in the Bromsgrove Young Musician Platform in February and the Gregynog Young Musician Competition in April. Following her GCSEs, she plans to take her A-levels at Kingsley and focus on her LRSM Diploma. She also hopes to audition for the National Youth Orchestra next year. “I’d love to play at the Royal Albert Hall in a NYO Prom,” she says. “Following my A-levels I’d like to go to Conservatoire in either the UK or Berlin. My ultimate goal is to become a professional oboist with a major orchestra.”
COLORADO SPRINGS Staff alumna and historian, Rebecca Dyson, retraces the footsteps of the school’s founder, Rose Kingsley
“I was never in a place where one so enjoys the mere fact of living.” Rose Kingsley I was recounting with enthusiasm some of the stories I had just read in a book by Rose Kingsley when I heard myself saying out loud that I was going to go to Colorado to see what she experienced in the winter of 1871. Impulsive possibly, expensive certainly, exciting definitely! It is unusual to be inspired to travel five thousand miles by a journal published in 1874 but reading ‘South by West, or Winter in the Rocky Mountains and Spring in Mexico’ led to a flight booking to Denver and in late September I set off in the footsteps of Rose. Colorado did not become the 38th state until 1876, so was a territory when Rose visited. It first attracted significant numbers of white settlers with a gold rush around the Pikes Peak mountain range in 1859 and the rough and ready town of Colorado City was established. Rose arrived in Denver at the end of October 1871 by train after a tortuous two week journey from New York on a rail route that had only just become a complete link across the continent.
Denver was only a few years old but as Rose said ‘is growing at a prodigious rate.’ She had spent days crossing the prairies and now saw the mountains, ‘the white peaks of the snowy range, illuminates by golden glory, and down South, Pike’s Peak rose clear pink and white, seventy five miles away.’ Denver is now a modern city of 600,000 but is still blessed with the fabulous westward view of the Front Range. Rose was met by her brother Maurice who was working for the railway entrepreneur, General William Palmer, who had just completed a line south from Denver to a new town he was creating near Colorado City. This would become Colorado Springs, designed to be a fine spa town set on the edge of the flat plain at over 6,000 feet, to attract tourists seeking a vacation in the healthy air of the Rockies with the healing waters of the soda springs to drink. Palmer was going to build a large hotel in the centre of town just a few hundred yards from his new railway station. He did not mention that the town did not actually have a spring. The soda springs are a few miles away in another town he created, Manitou Springs. Today the city has spread well beyond the streets marked out by a ploughed furrow that Rose first saw to become the home of almost half a million people, with two huge military bases, high technology and manufacturing industries and the HQ of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, housed in deep tunnels in Cheyenne Mountain just behind
THIS PAGE: BOTTOM LEFT: View of Colorado Springs with the Episcopal church tower in the centre. Rose was very keen to promote the Episcopal church in America. TOP RIGHT: Rose’s sketch of her home in Colorado Springs. CENTRE RIGHT: General William Palmer, commemorated in stained glass in the State Capitol. OPPOSITE PAGE: TOP: Denver as Rose would have seen it. CENTRE: One of the soda springs.
the town. However, tourism is still one of the major activities and it is a great place from which to explore some of the wonders that Rose described in her book. In November 1871, Colorado Springs consisted of, ‘about twelve houses and shanties, most of them run up for temporary accommodation’ and then she saw her new home, ‘a wooden shanty, 16 feet by 12, with a door in front and a small window on each side, with glass. It is lined with brown paper, so it is perfectly wind-proof.’ Her brother fixed a tent to the front to be their living room by day and his bedroom at night and they had a stove. She did find that her water and one of her pet larks froze overnight but she stayed ‘tolerably warm’ with her blankets and buffalo skins and her brother’s revolver, ‘against imaginary foes’. Rose began her exploration of the area by joining General Palmer and his wife in a visit to the site of Glen Eyrie, the house they were building 5 miles outside the new town. On the night time buggy drive home their mules were spooked, first by a large owl and then by the howling of coyotes. A few days later they drove up to the soda springs. Today, in a car, this is a 20 minute journey along a busy modern road lined with houses and supermarkets and a couple of cannabis dispensaries. In November 1871 it involved crossing drainage ditches and creeks on bridges made from, ‘planks laid loose crosswise over supports without any fastening or railings at the side’, negotiating deep mud and fording a river, ‘which boiled and foamed over a rocky bed’. She explains the geology which produces the spring water and gives precise descriptions of the different springs in Manitou, ‘it would be difficult in any part of the world to find such a series of mineral springs in finer scenery’. Today each spring in the town has an attractive little alcove or sculpture dispensing the
water, each containing differing proportions of potash, iron and salts of soda. The Victorians were big believers in the health benefits of mineral waters, as we can see in the development of Leamington Spa. Just like Rose, I sampled the waters but like many things which are supposed to be good for you, they have quite an unpleasant taste! After a few weeks in the shanty, Rose and her brother were able to move to rooms above the dry goods and grocery store that had just been completed and from here she could watch the activities at the rail depot just below. She loved the excitement of the daily arrival and departure of the stage coach from the office downstairs. She imagined the misery of the journey for the passengers squashed inside and was amazed at the commanding presence of the stage-driver, ‘even the President, were he on board, must submit to his higher authority.’ I was surprised by how small the surviving coach was that I saw in Manitou Springs. Rose seemed to become a wellknown local sight as she walked considerable distances around the area. In 1887 the local newspaper published an anonymous memoir of the first days of the town which says that Rose, ‘delighted in exercise, especially walking and was constantly tramping over the plains in search of rare herbs and flowers of which she is passionately fond’. A charming sight it must have been on a sunny morning to come across this solitary Englishwoman as she strode over the dull sage, a revolver for company, bold, defiant, careless of where she went or whom she met - for cowardice was not one of the Kingsley failings. Today a copy of her book is included in a new display at the Pioneers Museum and her descriptions are used as a source for much of what happened in the new town.
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Behind the town is one of the 54 ‘fourteeners’ in Colorado, Pike’s Peak which would have been a two day climb which Rose says would be, ‘rather a rough trip, but quite practicable for ladies’, however she did climb an 11,500 foot peak in the range which is now named Mount Rosa after her. Sometimes she joined visitors and surveyors on their explorations along the canyons and over the mountains either on horseback, in a buggy or on foot but she was prepared to scramble up and down hills, went searching for beaver dams in deep snow or join her brother in a hunt for antelope.
It is hard not to be inspired by the intrepid explorations of Rose Kingsley and her vivid descriptions of the dramatic scenery. I feel sure she would be delighted to see how the town has grown and to find that at the centre it still has the streets laid out by Palmer but now delightfully tree lined and full of flower beds. The real splendour of the town is that Palmer and other rich benefactors gave thousands of acres of land around the canyons and mountains to become City Parks. This provides wonderful open access for runners, walkers, climbers and cyclists to continue to explore and enjoy the wonders of nature that so inspired Rose.
One of the greatest sights of the area is The Garden of the Gods, an area below the mountains where, ‘the great rocks were of a warm salmon colour, with green pines growing in the crevices bringing out the richness of their colouring…I wish everyone at home could see this view. No descriptions or photographs can do it justice. It surpasses everything I have yet seen.’ Although today this area is a major tourist attraction, it is still a place of wonder and delight and later in the day, when the crowds have gone, you can, like Rose, speculate about the weird shapes, ‘finding new absurdities every moment’. I was told to seek out the ‘Kissing Camels’ but in her day she was told, ‘two cherubs were fondly kissing, though to my eyes I confess they looked more like a pair of sheep’s heads.’
TOP: The red rocks at the Garden of the Gods. ABOVE: View of Mount Rose. LEFT: Pike’s Peak viewed from the Garden of the Gods.
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