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Building on firm foundations There are many stunning school buildings in our region – often combining the historic with the cutting edge. Martin Pilkington takes a whistle-stop tour

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e are surrounded by culture and heritage at Stonyhurst as we are based in a stunning Grade 1 listed building, with a school history that dates back over 400 years,’ says Headmaster John Browne. ‘That said, it is first and foremost a school and that means constantly evolving to ensure that our students have modern facilities and access to current technology so that they get the most out of their time here.’ So at Stonyhurst College the historic aspects that include such quirks as a secret tunnel and two priest holes are balanced with contemporary aspects like its tennis dome, completed last year to house two heated courts. And in the development of a museum display area for its collections, the historic and modern are combined. That story of maintaining tradition while adding new facilities is matched at many other establishments.

Overton’s Tower, dating back to the 15th Century, sitting near their new Science facility only unveiled in 2013. The evolution of some schools has taken place over a far shorter time-frame, but to the same effect. Westholme School in Blackburn began in 1923 with a classroom, three chairs and the same number of pupils, but its 800 students today enjoy fabulous facilities across their three campuses thanks to continuous investment in expansion and enhancement that in recent years has seen additions like the Music Centre, Design Technology Suite and Dance Studio. These schools develop a sense of history, and it’s something that communicates itself to the student body, as Anton Maree, Head of Ackworth School in Pontefract explains. ‘Pupils gain

reassurance from the buildings, they walk a sure path where so many have walked before.’ His counterpart at Stonyhurst, John Browne, makes a similar point. ‘There’s something quite moving about walking the same halls as so many others who have gone before us.’ Pupils at Mount School in York get an extra perspective on place and history thanks to the discovery there in 1912 of the tombstone of Lucius Baebius of Rome’s Sixth Legion. New developments within historic sites can be far from simple. Stonyhurst and Repton among others enjoy Grade I listed status, which can make changes and additions difficult to bring about, and the same applies to historic buildings, listed or not. ‘Preserving such monumental buildings requires a dedication normally 

‘We’re now hoping to create our own history within the walls of the school and will sympathetically add our own touch’


One of the stunning libraries at Stonyhurst

At Abbey Gate College in Chester, for example, whose estate includes the medieval gatehouse of Saighton Grange, the country residence of the Abbots of Chester, the school is about to open a new Foundation and Infant School Building. ‘While historic buildings provide a sense of place and local identity, building new facilities offers improved experiences and stimulating teaching and learning environments,’ says its marketing manager Elizabeth Parry. Likewise at Merchant Taylors’ School in Crosby, which boasts a Jacobean building where every stone bears a mason’s mark. It has been enhanced with significant developments of late, including a two-storey extension to their primary school, a new purpose-built Early Years’ Learning Unit, large adventure playground, new classrooms and specialist teaching rooms. Repton’s buildings include

Bolton has combined the old and the new

The striking theatre foyer at Repton

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Take 7 music teachers In our series featuring the unsung heroes of education, we meet the teachers who fill our schools with the wonderful sound of music OLIVER WALKER Repton School Why did you become a music teacher? I am a firm believer that music should play a part in the education and upbringing of children and young people; it draws people together, demands a creative outlook, makes us culturally, socially and historically aware, stimulates brain cells, teaches us languages and makes us better at maths (although not in my case). It’s good for our mental health in these pressured times, and makes us active. What else does all that?

LUCY MILLER Malvern St James What is the best part of your job? I consider myself hugely lucky to be able to work with inquisitive, enthusiastic and motivated students on a daily basis. Tell us a funny story? In my first staff pantomime it was decided that we should be rap artists, complete with sunglasses and gold paper chains. It was one of the most stressful experiences of my life. On stage I forgot the words of the rap, despite having them written down my forearms. What piece of music has moved you most and why? Elgar’s Cello Concerto; I can never listen to it without catching my breath. Why is learning to play a musical instrument important to a child’s development? Any instrument will help a child to develop fine motor skills and improve co-ordination. Scientists liken the performance of music

to a massive firework display inside the brain. The social aspect of music making is hugely important, whether it be a one-toone relationship with a teacher or playing as part of a group. Name three musicians you’d like to invite to a dinner party and why? John Williams - not only has he composed for some of the most iconic films ever made, but he must have some amazing stories to tell about the Hollywood great and good; Fanny Mendelssohn - in this 100th anniversary year of women receiving the vote, I’d like to hear her take on how women have been treated in music through time, especially when her own brother passed off her music as his own; and Lauren Zhang - the winner of the latest young Musician of the Year competition has incredible talent, poise and maturity in her piano playing.


Lucy Miller with pupils

What is the best part of your job? The variety! One minute, I am working with diploma level students and Music Scholars on intricate details of obscure repertoire; the next I am teaching Year 5 pupils how to sing about squashed bananas and happy frogs. Tell us a funny story? Did you know that Beethoven wrote his 5th Symphony in three flats? He moved twice. What piece of music has moved you most and why? The end of Britten’s ‘War Requiem’ always makes me


Oliver Walker

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Who is your favourite artist or composer? Impossible question. Why is learning to play a musical instrument important to a child’s development? All the reasons outlined in the first answer, but also because it teaches them the importance of expressing themselves positively and creatively. And it’s fun!

Anne Bevan

ANNE BEVAN Hulme Hall Grammar School Why did you become a music teacher? I came from a very musical family and was encouraged to play the piano from an early age. I always loved anything to do with music and felt that I wanted to pass on my passion to other children. Tell us a funny story? Our choir were performing at a summer fair where we were singing “Here Comes the Sun” and just as the choir sang the chorus, the sun disappeared and a huge gust of wind came and blew all the music off the stands! What piece of music has moved you most and why? Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto Number 2 - Second Movement. I heard the Hallé Orchestra play it when I was 17 and it made me cry because it was such an emotional piece. It cemented my determination to have a career in music.

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Who is your favourite artist or composer? Amy Winehouse, because of her unique voice and the way she revolutionised music with her fusion of jazz and soul.

Photo: Woodenhill images

shed a tear. The music, text and historical significance is overwhelming, but also because it reminds me of a special performance I was involved with in the Bergen International Festival in Britten’s Centenary year.

Why is learning to play a musical instrument important to a child’s development? Music is one of the few activities that uses both sides of the brain and is beneficial for mental and physical well-being. It can give children great pleasure and a sense of pride in their achievements. Name three musicians you’d like to invite to a dinner party and why? Amy Winehouse, Davy Jones from The Monkeys and Bruce Springsteen. Amy Winehouse because there are so many things I would like to ask her, Davy Jones because I wanted to marry him when I was a teenager and Bruce Springsteen because he is a rock legend!

MATTHEW ATHERTON Aysgarth School What is the best part of your job? Seeing a child evolve into a mature and sensitive musician. Also, working with my chapel (Senior) choir and the repertoire we get to explore and perform together weekly. Tell us a funny story? At Aysgarth school, in my first year, a boy came up to me and asked if he could help with the choir. I asked if he could sing and he confidently replied ‘no’, but he wished to be the choir’s manager. He took the role very seriously and became a bit of a legend in the history of Aysgarth as a force to be reckoned with, as he was a stickler for presentation and order! On one occasion, just before we left for an evening concert, the boy in question insisted that all the boys removed their shoes, so that he could polish them before they boarded the coach! What piece of music has moved you most and why? Handel’s Eternal Source of Light


Matthew Atherton

Divine. One of my colleagues is a professional counter tenor and he performed this for us during our choir tour of Paris in 2015. I just remember, whilst accompanying him, being truly moved by the music, his tone and the building around us. Every time I hear or accompany this piece I am transported back to Paris. Who is your favourite artist or composer? I am torn between J. S. Bach and Claude Debussy. Why is learning to play a musical instrument important to a child’s development? It becomes part of their personal expression and individuality and helps to maintain and support their general wellbeing. It can also be a welcome escape from the pressures and strains of life.

JEREMY BLEASDALE Bolton School Boys’ Division Why did you become a music teacher? I spent many years working as a freelance musician, which included teaching the guitar at Bolton School. As I became more involved in the music department I realised that I really wanted to become a full time music teacher. It was a real pleasure to eventually be offered the position of Director of Music.


been selected to play hockey and tennis for my county, so after school I often train, or I practise my instruments and complete my homework. What would be your top tip for other pupils hoping to follow in your path? Work hard and make your dreams come true. You have to commit to what you are doing, otherwise you won’t succeed!



Name: Dominic Sullivan School: Shrewsbury School Age: 16 Hometown: Greenwich, London

Summary of achievements: Competed for U18 Great Britain Rowing Team in Munich competing against the best European countries, and won two gold medals, in the Junior Men’s four and eight, as well as earning five national championship gold medals. I have been involved in numerous concerts for singing, and I am also in the Shrewsbury School musical production ‘The Drowned Bride’ which we were performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Tell us a bit about yourself: Music is a great passion of mine, and I have strong interest into studying it further at university. But rowing usually takes up all of my time up, with training for at least two hours every night leading up the World Championships. Fitting time to study and practise is extremely hard.

Name: Claudia Swain School: Repton School Age:14 Hometown: Tutbury

What is it that inspires you? I have watched my brother grow up, and he has always achieved great things, in rowing, music, and academically. My competitive spirit has meant that I never like to seem like the “bad” brother. So we have always competed to achieve the best things possible, and I have always been inspired by his organisation levels. Where do you see yourself in ten years? There are many ways that I feel I could pursue, so I must make a big decision soon to decide which path I would like to follow. In rowing, the ultimate aim is to compete at the Olympics. I would also love to perform in musicals, but it would be extremely difficult to be successful in this. How do you like to relax in your spare time? The great thing about boarding school is that you’re constantly with your friends, so I tend to play football with them, or we’ll entertain ourselves playing something in house. What would be your top tip for other pupils hoping to follow in your path? Commit yourself fully to everything you do, and you’ll feel a sense of achievement.


Claduia Swain BELOW:

Dominic Sullivan

Summary of achievements: I won three national hockey titles this year – including captaining Repton to the U14 National Schools Title. With Repton Hockey Club, we also won the National Mixed Championship and the T3 Championship playing for the Ladies 1st XI. In both these adult finals, I found the scoresheet. I also scored on my debut tour for England in a 1-0 victory over Holland – the first time the U16 team have beaten Holland in more than ten years. Tell us a bit about yourself I enjoy socialising and being in the school environment and being involved in a range of different sports. I love to play hockey in my free time. I am also a keen netballer and have enjoyed playing for the Derbyshire U17 netball academy and my time playing for the U15 Loughborough Lightening team. What is it that inspires you? The feeling I get when I am wearing my England shirt. Where do you see yourself in ten years? Being a professional hockey player. How do you like to relax in your spare time?

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I enjoy spending time with my friends and having fun What would be your top tip for other pupils hoping to follow in your path? Train hard and to not give up even if you have a set back.

THE TENNIS PLAYER Name: Eisha Chandi School: St Wystan’s Independent Preparatory School, Repton, Derbyshire Age: 9 Hometown: Derby

Tell us a bit about yourself: I am 7 years old. I live in Derby. I love reading and watching movies especially Harry Potter. My favourite subjects are English, maths and art. My favourite food is roast dinner.

I love playing tennis and train weekly in Derby. Tom and Jon are my tennis coaches and they are both amazing even though they make me work very hard. I train six days a week and play in lots of LTA tournaments. Last year I got to the quarter finals in the nationals and had the opportunity to play in London. I love watching football with my brother and support Arsenal and Derby County. What is it that inspires you? I love watching tennis, especially Andy Murray who is my favourite tennis player. I love watching all of the Grand Slams, as watching all the pros inspires me to do well in tennis. Last year, I went to Wimbledon with my mum and dad. Where do you see yourself in ten years? I wish to be a professional tennis player, have some sort of world ranking and win Wimbledon!


Charleigh Adams BELOW:

Eisha Chandi

THE ACTOR Name: Charleigh Adams School: Bolton School Girls’ Division Age: 16 Hometown: Bolton

Summary of achievements: I have been acting for the last six years. I played Emily, one of the four main characters, in three series of CBBC’s Class Dismissed, which in 2017 won the Children’s BAFTA for Comedy. I also appeared in Car Share and Peter Kay’s Comic Relief sketch playing Kayleigh’s niece Chloe and acted alongside Peter Kay and Sian Gibson. It was great fun. Recently I played one of Amy Barlow’s friends in Coronation Street. It was weird to be on the cobbles that are so famous! Tell us a bit about yourself The best things about acting are the people you meet and the experience of it all. It’s such a surreal but interesting career. The hardest thing is the long hours when you’re filming, especially in the summer holidays – but it’s worth it when you watch it! What is it that inspires you? The staff at Carol Godby’s taught me how varied and enjoyable drama can be, sometimes being able to help others. Where do you see yourself in ten years? I hope to make acting my career

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Go for gold A+ celebrates the sporting excellence of our young people


A NET WIN FOR STOCKPORT Stockport Grammar School’s U13 netball squad won the Independent Schools National Cup final, beating Redmaids’ High School 26-25 in an exhilarating and tense match at Redbridge Sports Centre in Essex. As well as their trophy and medals, the team have won a three day netball tour from event organisers Smile Group Travel. Head of netball, Laura Goddard, said: ‘The final was a fantastic

performance. All 11 players took the court, which shows how much depth and ability this squad has. They thoroughly deserve this title. They led the final for most of the match and in the last quarter when the game was close, they kept their composure, showing maturity and determination to take the win in a nail biting last two minutes. We are all very proud of the players. Their hard work in training all season has certainly paid off.’




A Sixth Form student at Bolton School joined two former pupils in the Great Britain U19 Men’s team for the qualifiers of the LEN European U19 Men’s Water Polo Tournament. Year 13 student Harrison Barker-Smith was in the squad alongside Bill Moores and Ben Ray, who both left Bolton School last summer.

Ten-year-old Tristan Griiths, a Year 5 pupil at Rydal Penrhos, has secured his Black and White karate belt. Deputy Head Alison Hind, said: ‘Tristan has put a tremendous amount of effort into his karate over the last few months, and it is fantastic to see this dedication paying off with another grading success.’

Repton’s 1st XI won a closely contested ESFA Cup Final, beating Millfield 2-1 to become National Schools Football champions. This season the team (pictured, right) were also crowned Hudl Independent School League champions and winners of the ISFA Barry Burns Northern Eights competition.

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Altrincham Preparatory School’s U11s team were crowned champions of a prestigious nationwide football competition at The FA’s state-of-the-art National Football Centre. The ISFA U11 Seven-a-Side National Finals at St George’s Park in Burton featured some of the country’s best school teams, and after coming third in consecutive years, the boys were determined to go one step further. Senior Master and PE/Games Master Nigel Birch said he was delighted not just by the final result, but the teamwork that the Altrincham Preparatory School side had displayed all day. ‘We have some good players here, but people told us that they were really impressed by how organised and tactical the boys were,’ he said. ‘They really worked together to take the lead in games and then defend it. We’re really thrilled that the boys brought the trophy back to Altrincham for the first time.’

Repton’s successful football team

Charlotte Li, age 18, Malvern St James - Memories

Myrah Khan, age 16, Bradford Grammar School

Liberty Sinclair, age 16, Queen Margaret’s School, York - Up Close

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Millie Wadsworth, age 15, Bradford Grammar School

Lua Bobona De Castro, age 17, Repton School - Stretchscape


Lola de Pass, year 13, Rossall School - Street Scene by Lamplight

Victoria Robinson, age 17, Repton School - Shotgun Development 3

Andy Zhao, Year 11, Rossall School Equine Transfigured

Millie Oliver, age 16, Withington Girls’ School. This textile and metal dress incoporates a bodice is made from 100 butterflies, each of which represent a different inspirational woman.

Molly Hamilton, age 18, Queen Margaret’s School, York - Rapsody

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A+ North Autumn 2018  

Repton School editorial

A+ North Autumn 2018  

Repton School editorial