Introduction of a new specification

Mrs Nicola Cooper, Teacher of Biology, looks at how the introduction of a new specification can provide an invaluable opportunity to reassess outcomes

I am a self-confessed Biology geek and my love for the subject knows no bounds. Its breadth, its relevance and the sheer beauty of the complexity that can arise from a few simple components is endlessly fascinating to me. Moreover, I love teaching Biology. Sharing my passion for the living world is energising and is a wonderful way of connecting in new ways with the key ideas and concepts that underpin the living world.

It has therefore been a source of frustration that over the years I have encountered many people whose experience of learning Biology at school is a negative one. A not-uncommon view seems to be that whilst many people have an innate interest in learning about the living world and our place within it, there is a perception that the study of Biology is characterised by mindless rote learning of a seemingly endless body of ‘facts’. If this perception is then reinforced by teaching that is built around imparting knowledge, then no wonder much of the joy, excitement and inspiration is lost.

This is something we are very aware of at Wimbledon High School and as a department we work hard to encourage our students away from rote learning towards a deep understanding of key concepts that they can then apply in a wide range of contexts.

So, what does this look like in practice? Well, this year we have been given the opportunity to think much more deliberately about this question, with the introduction of the new GCSE specification. In devising new schemes of work, we began by challenging ourselves to think expansively (during a wonderfully lively brainstorming session) with the question ‘What outcomes do we want for our year 9 students?’ What emerged from that discussion was not a long list of ‘facts’ that we want our students to be able to recall but rather three key themes;

  • A sense of wonder about the living world
  • A questioning approach
  • An ability to solve their own problems.

These have been our guiding principles when planning lessons for Year 9 (the first cohort following the new course). We have deliberately chosen not to cover topics in a linear way but have (quite literally) cut up the specification and rearranged topics so that central concepts can be explicitly linked with related contexts. The aim being, right from the start of the course, to model how knowing and understanding a few key ideas can allow students to pose and then answer their own questions.

Drawing onion cells from a photo taken down a microscope

In our opening topic of health and disease we start each lesson with a question such as ‘What happens when you get ill?’ and ‘Is being healthy the same as being ill?’. We have looked at medieval views on health and disease and linked our discussions to very recent experiences of the Covid 19 pandemic. We are also using the context of communicable diseases to explore the key concept of cell structure and function. Encouragingly, our students have responded very positively and there has been a definite buzz and the fizz of excitement in my Year 9 lessons.

Zoe in year 9 said, “I found today’s lesson really helpful. I think we all gained an important biological skill that we will use throughout Biology”, while Penelope (year 9) said “I found it very interesting and rewarding, especially because we got to set up the experiment ourselves”.

From a teaching perspective it has been stimulating and refreshing to be reminded of our purpose and as a department we are excited to see how the students continue to develop and flourish as they move through the rest of the year and on to their further studies In Biology.

Does time really fly when you’re having fun?

Taking a cue from Henri Bergson’s theory of time, Hafsa in Year 10 examines the science behind our sense that time speeds up when we are enjoying ourselves

Time is the most used noun in the English language and yet humans are still struggling to define it, with its complicated breadth and many interdimensional theories. We have all lived through the physical fractions of time like the incessant ticking of the second hand or the gradual change in season, however, do we experience it in this form? This is a question that requires the tools of both philosophy and science in order to reach a conclusion.

In scientific terms, time can be defined as ‘The progression of events from the past to the present into the future’. In other words, it can be seen as made up of the seconds, minutes, and hours that we observe in our day-to-day life. Think of time as a one directional arrow, it cannot be travelled across or reversed but only and forever moves forward.

One philosophical theory would challenge such a definition of time. In the earliest part of the 20th century, the renowned philosopher Henri Bergson published his doctoral thesis, ‘Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness’, in which he explored his theory that humans experience time differently from this outwardly measurable sense. He suggested that as humans we divide time into separate spatial constructs such as seconds and minutes but do not really experience it in this form. If Bergson’s theory is right, our sense of time is really much more fluid than the scientific definition above suggests.

Image from

If we work from the inside out, we can explore the different areas of our lives which influence our perception of time. The first area is the biological make-up of our bodies. We all have circadian rhythms which are physical, mental, and behavioural changes that follow a twenty-four-hour cycle. This rhythm is present in most living things and is most commonly responsible for determining when we sleep and when we are awake.

These internal body clocks vary from person to person, some running slightly longer than twenty-four hours and some slightly less. Consequently, everyone’s internal sense of time differs, from when people fall asleep or wake up to how people feel at different points during the day.

But knowing that humans have slight differences in their circadian rhythms doesn’t fully explain how our sense of time differs from the scientific definition. After all, these circadian rhythms still follow a twenty-four-hour cycle just like a clock. If we look at the wider picture, what is going on around us greatly affects our sense of time. In other words, our circadian rhythms are subject to external stimuli.

Imagine you are doing something you love, completely engrossed in the activity, whether it be an art, a science, or just a leisurely pastime. You look at the clock after what feels like two minutes and realise that twenty have actually passed. The activity acts as the external stimulus and greatly affects your perception of time.

When engrossed in an activity you enjoy, your mind is fully focussed on it, meaning there is no time for it to wander and look at the clock. Research suggests that the pleasurable event boosts dopamine release which causes your circadian rhythm to run faster. Let’s take an interval of five minutes as a basis for this. In this interval, due to your internal body clock running faster you feel as though only two minutes have gone by; time feels like it has been contracted.

By contrast, when you are bored, less dopamine is released, slowing your circadian rhythm, meaning your subjective sense of time runs slower. If we use the same example, in an interval of five minutes, you feel as though ten minutes have gone by and time feels elongated. This biological process has the power to shape and fluidify our perception of time.

So, the next time someone says ‘Wow, time really does fly by when you’re having fun,’ remember that there is much more science and philosophy behind the phrase than they might realise!


How connecting the stage, the page and current events enlivens the Classics

Classics teacher Callista McLaughlin examines the deeply enriching influence that a school production of a drama from Classical literature has had on learning in Years 10 and 12.

A major focus of my teaching of the Classics this year has been the Tragedy genre, in the Greek Theatre paper in A-Level Classical Civilisation, and the Verse Literature component of Greek GCSE. The Year 10 production of Euripides’ Women of Troy invigorated this task in more ways than one.

Women of Troy is set in the aftermath of the capture of Troy by the Greeks, which ended the conflict that is depicted most famously in Homer’s Iliad. As one Year 10 remarked when Hattie Franklin and I were team-teaching an A-Level taster on Homer’s epic, ‘Euripidesdramatises the fate the women fear in the Iliad’. Our eyes were widening at breadth of knowledge of Classical literature suggested by this observation, when we remembered that this pupil was in the play. This was the first of many gifts from this production to reach our Classics classrooms.

WHS Women of Troy

Beyond the classroom

While its dramatic content comes, like much of Tragedy, from myth, Euripides wrote and produced this play during the Peloponnesian War of the 5th Century, and it has been considered his response to its horrors.[1] His ever-empathetic, strikingly universal expressions have apparently enabled others to satisfy the same longing. Thus, millennia later, the play was notably produced with an astonishingly pacifistic slant, in Berlin in 1916.[2] In fact, the text has been re-translated and re-produced over time with constant urgency, in response to various world events, including the Boer war, European imperialism in Asia, the September 11 attacks and the US invasion of Iraq.[3] This term our school production of the tragedy was shot through with meaning and impact by the war in Ukraine.

The pain expressed by the chorus of women on the destruction of their homeland, and their questions for the future– where might they live? who might forcibly take them as a wife or lover? what might become of their children? – echoed the anxieties we see expressed by Ukrainian refugees on the news all too closely. Deb McDowell’s choice to set the production in a modern-day refugee camp meant it looked like what we see on television too: in class Year 12 remarked on the poignancy of each chorus member bearing baggage. The blue and yellow flag draped over the tiny casket of a slaughtered innocent towards the end of the play wove together the connections it was impossible to avoid throughout, as an audience member.

WHS Women of Troy

Inside the classroom

The unanimous observation of the Year 12 Classical Civilisation students who watched the production, and the Year 10 Greek students who were in it, was that these allusions increased their empathy with and understanding of Euripides’ characters. Moreover, just as powerfully as the modern setting brought the ancient tragedy to life, the tragic dialogues in turn brought the modern setting to life, with the potential to inform our understanding of the current state of war.

The play yielded high-level discussion from the Year 12 audience, from exploring their set author Euripides more deeply to making inspired proposals for setting their set plays in 2022. For the Year 10 actors, it was invaluable immersion. They have produced articulate, thoughtful responses to what they learned from the process, but also shown me what they learned, through the heightened emotion and energy with which they have tackled the – often tough and trying –[4] task of translating their set text.

The fantastic production set me up for an increased engagement with its content – though  their spontaneously wailing like a tragic chorus when a character disrespected a Greek god surpassed my expectations! Less anticipated, and truly exciting, is the effect it has had on their handling of what is challenging Greek, particularly for students who have been learning the language for less than a year. Seeing a play, rather than a mere puzzle of particles and irregular verbs, they have begun to use their instinct and intuition to make logical connections between the different lines of dialogue. I am also taking advantage of the now-revealed acting skills of the class. The activity of performing a dialogue, proven effective for studying plays in translation,[5] has in some ways even more exciting potential when tackling the original Greek.

Conclusions on co-curricular cultivation

With the theatre coming back into our lives, the Classics pupils will have seen two external productions this year (the Bacchae in January and an Oedipus / Antigone mash-up later this month). Such trips and exposure are inspiring, especially when trying to bring such ancient texts back to life, but co-curricular immersion, right here at school, magnifies this potential marvellously. And for the non-Classicists starring in the tragedy, it has been a brilliant intellectual and creative challenge, which will have allowed them to grow as students, whatever their field of interest.

[1] Croally, Neil (2007). Euripidean Polemic: The Trojan Women and the Function of TragedyCambridge University PressISBN 0-521-04112-0

[2] Sharp, IE (2018) “A Peace Play in Wartime Germany? Pacifism in Franz Werfel’s The Trojan Women, Berlin 1916.” Classical Receptions Journal, 10 (4). pp. 476-495. ISSN 1759-5134 (


[4] Hunt, S. (2016), Starting to Teach Latin. London: Bloomsbury p.126.

[5] Speers, C. (2020). “How can teachers effectively use student dialogue to drive engagement with ancient drama? An analysis of a Year 12 Classical Civilisation class studying Aristophanes’ Frogs.” Journal of Classics Teaching, 21(41), 19-32. doi:10.1017/S2058631020000112

How does collaboration give students vital life skills?

WHS Director of Drama, Deb McDowell, reflects on how Drama can help students understand the importance of recognising your limitations and engaging in productive conflict to achieve the best outcomes

At this point of the year, as another cohort of students prepare to stride out into the world beyond WHS, I always ask them for their reflections on the best and also the most challenging things about the Drama experience. Then comes the frown, a sigh or two and a blowing out of lips, followed by thoughtful raised eyebrows, a gentle shaking of the head and a wry smile: ‘Devising! For both!’

The students are referring to the exam requirement at both GCSE and A level to create a 20-minute piece of Drama for performance in a group.

Experiencing the highs and lows of collaboration, in a high-stakes situation, usefully prepares Drama students for the world beyond school, where the value of well-honed, independent study skills – key for fantastic exam results – so often depreciates rapidly, while the need to negotiate and work with others becomes more crucial to success.

Let’s take a moment to consider some of the wonderful things collaboration offers, as evidenced by the powerful devised work created by Drama students each year:  

  • It provides an inclusive and productive experience for everyone.
  • It teaches those who have confident voices to listen to those who are less extrovert, but also requires everyone to take responsibility for the work in progress, not just to sit back and let the ‘leaders’ take over.
  • It provides a positive platform for problem-solving, as a result of experiencing a range of perspectives; learning that that by pooling knowledge, skills and expertise, a group response can be nuanced and powerful.
Anastasia by Year 10-13 Wimbledon High students

However, actually learning how to collaborate is not easy. Negotiating the unavoidable personal and practical challenges of working with others must not be underestimated. Commentators cite the need to trust and respect each other as the most important part of a group dynamic, but in discussion, WHS Drama students perceptively commented that this trust and respect cannot truly exist at the outset of any collaborative project, neither can it be forced, but will only grow over time in the most effective groups.

Together we agreed on the following.

First, we must understand that collaboration is more than simply ‘working with others to produce something’. There must be a shared intention, which in Drama is to produce high quality work that has social, cultural, moral value.  There must also be specific agreed objectives, which for us means being precise about what we want the audience to think about or feel as a result of experiencing the performance.  

Collaboration also requires agreed acceptance of the need for organisation, and a methodical way of working, even if the actual responsibility for active time management and group discipline falls to the individuals within the group best suited for these roles.

Furthermore, outstanding outcomes are only achieved a result of ambitious thinking and a determination to achieve the highest standards of execution, where the process must allow for risk-taking and also tolerance of missteps along the way, both in terms of the work in progress, but also in relation to group interaction.  

Learning the personal qualities for collaboration

Many people have a deep-seated need to please, to be liked by others and to avoid conflict. Unfortunately – ironically perhaps – these traits undermine the very process of positive collaboration. Collaborations that aspire to be entirely harmonious soon find themselves mired in complacency, buoyed up by a cosy morale which ultimately leads to work that is clichéd, less sophisticated and ultimately unsatisfying.

What often lies behind the feelings of anger and frustration that can emerge is a perfectly reasonable anxiety about progress, or a sense of injustice borne from perceived unequal effort, or disappointment in the quality of input from others. We must accept that these feelings will bubble up when the stakes are high. It is really challenging to find a way to allow for them to be acknowledged properly as an integral part of the process, but when they are managed effectively, they can lead to collaboration of the highest order, which will make possible that fantastic sense of achievement and high morale experienced by so many of our students…in the end.

Positive collaboration forces us to understand our own limits; to recognise our own reluctance to be vulnerable; to be able to admit mistakes; and to see that challenges or failures along the way are not crises but a necessary part of the process.

And we have to truly respect others and evaluate their ideas openly and objectively. This is harder than it sounds, especially when we are often so used to measuring our progress relative to others, seeking out personal indications of approval to bolster our self-esteem, and becoming increasingly ‘set in our ways’ to feel more ‘in control’. Through collaboration we have an opportunity to learn from each other. The process should encourage us to see the value in asking for help, something far too many of us find very difficult (often perceiving this as an admission of weakness, when actually the opposite is true).

Working with others can allow us to become the kind of person we would want to work with ourselves – someone who can understand and respect others’ points of view, including across differences of background or expertise. And when faced with complex and demanding situations, we have to be able to admit when we need help. A confident, positive approach to collaboration makes all the difference. Listening to this year’s departing Drama cohort reflecting on why the experience of Devising embraced the worst of times but ultimately led to the best of times, I am happy that these students are striding out better equipped for life beyond WHS.

How can studying our surroundings enrich historical enquiry?

Emily Anderson, Head of History, reflects on how the pandemic has thrown the department’s thinking about place into relief, and how this is manifest in the History classroom and in inter-disciplinary thinking.

Let’s observe, Attenborough style, the historian at work. What comes to mind as you peer tentatively into your imagination, careful not to disturb? I would be certain that, to some extent, you would gravitate towards a library, or an archive, and rightly so. For this is where the historian finds their treasure, following lead upon lead to synthesise their research into new understanding, often of people and events far removed from our own experience. Whilst the primary location for our WHS historians is the classroom rather than the archive or library (with a healthy engagement with the latter, of course), the principle remains; understanding emerges through study of the sources.

And yet, how much poorer our understanding would be if we stayed in the archive. Venture outside, and our surroundings become another historical source, there to challenge and broaden our thinking. The potential of this has long inspired me: my Master’s dissertation in 2014 considered how far the political context of the debates over Home Rule in Ireland influenced the construction of Belfast City Hall, building on both an element of my undergraduate study but also my teaching at A Level at the time. Recently, I have felt the draw towards such lines of enquiry particularly keenly, as our world has shrunk due to the pandemic and the opportunities normally available to me and my department to explore the world for ourselves and, crucially, share this with our students on trips (always a wonderful experience) have not been available. Talking with family, friends and colleagues, I know that we are not alone in this.

Within the curriculum

We can, however, still incorporate the study of places into our curriculum. At A Level, we teach a study of the British Empire from c1857-1967. It is, of course, a very wide-ranging unit in terms of geographical reach and this is one of the things which drew us to it; the opportunity, not widely available at A Level, to study global history. The uniting focus of the course is Britain, but to only study the impact and debate from this perspective would be a severe dereliction of our duty as historians. The impact of the European empires on the physical landscape of periphery and metropole alike is striking – the more you look, the more you see and traditional narratives are disrupted. In our city, Notting Hill, now a by-word for the celebration of multi-culturalism, has become so because of migration from what was the Empire. To wander the streets and museums of South Kensington is to experience, to my mind, a showcase of the imperial project. Reading the testimonies of those involved in the Morant Bay uprising in Jamaica, and coupling these with the incredible sense of place evoked by David Olusoga in his documentary work, means that even sites of memory far away and currently inaccessible to us can be explored in the classroom.[1]

At GCSE, our course looks at Berlin during the Cold War. I find the city both wonderfully vibrant and hauntingly evocative, and love taking our students there to experience it for themselves. It is the unexpected, small-scale artefacts that intrigue the most – the oversize floodlight which lit up the approach to the Berlin Wall, still on the front of an apartment block though the Wall is long gone; the first memorial to the Holocaust, barely registered by those who pass it in the suburb of Schöneberg; the American-style cinema built for the occupying troops but more at home in the Midwest. The questions students ask both on such trips and back in the classroom show how such experiences enable them to see the history they study in new ways. Excitingly, our new GCSE, which the current Y9s will study from September, gives us the opportunity to conduct a study of Spitalfields, an area shaped and enriched by the diverse communities which have settled there. Classroom and in-situ enquiry will work together to bring our understanding to life.

At Key Stage Three, we are embarking on a total overhaul of our curriculum. This gives us the exciting opportunity to reconsider how we incorporate our surroundings into historical study, and how we can use trips to their best advantage to complement it. Inspiration has abounded – one of the upsides of the past year has been the extraordinary availability of online seminars and training. We have been trialling some new enquiries with Year 9, including ‘What secrets of the past are hidden within the walls of a house?’, which uses the BBC programme and book ‘A House Through Time’ as a starting point for a study of social change in Liverpool in the 19th and 20th centuries.[2] Again, we have found ourselves drawing on a place – here a home – to focus and enrich our historical thinking.[3]

Inter-disciplinary opportunities

An interest in place, in all its complexities, is something we share with our colleagues and friends in Geography. You will have seen Dr Stephanie Harel’s article in October on this blog and this sparked thinking about how we could collaborate to share expertise and experience and develop understanding.[4] The Y12 History and Geography students participated in an initial exploration of themes around place during the STEAM+ event in November, and led the first joint session of Geog On, History Girls and Politics Society, sharing what they’d discussed. We are continuing our joint meetings this term.

I hope that this has given you some insight into an aspect of our current thinking as a department. We would love the wider community to be part of the conversation about our curriculum. Please do get in touch if you would like to via email or Twitter.

Further reading/ideas – along with the material referenced in the post

There are some wonderful walking tours of London which I would thoroughly recommend – some are online at the moment. Try, and

Brian Ladd’s ‘The Ghosts of Berlin’ – a wonderful reflection on this most fascinating of cities.

‘The Companion Guide to…’ series – for in-depth itineraries around different cities and countries.

[1] P. Gopal, Insurgent Empire, London, Verso, 2019; Black and British: A Forgotten History, D. Olusoga, BBC, 2016

[2] A House Through Time, D. Olusoga, BBC, 2018; D. Olusoga and M. Backe-Hansen, A House Through Time, London, Picador, 2020

[3] With thanks to Holly Beckwith for masterminding and planning this enquiry


What has COVID taught us about our relationships with others?

Mr Keith Cawsey, Head of Religious Studies at Wimbledon High, looks at the impact that COVID has had on our local community and the impact that small acts of kindness have in helping those in need.

Last December, as I was sitting having a cup of tea with a colleague in the Humanities office, our conversation moved on to this ‘mysterious virus’ that was emerging from China. It was spreading through a city called Wuhan and no-one knew what it was or the impact it had on health. It seemed a million miles away, far, far away from SW19. We discussed what would happen if it travelled over to London, but we both agreed that this seemed highly unlikely. We all know what happened next. Case after case, COVID 19 crept closer and closer and took over our lives in a very short space of time and in a way that we would never have imagined.

I believe that COVID has taught us a great deal about ourselves and the community that we live in.

The first thing to happen was sheer panic. I remember visiting my local supermarket at 0700 when it opened. What I saw was nothing short of apocalyptic – people running through the supermarket (and over each other) to grab the last remaining packets of toilet roll. Quite a few had five / ten packets in their trolley and they then selfishly guarded their ‘booty’ as they waited at the checkouts. Others snatched bread, milk, eggs, teabags, meat, butter – whatever they could find and piled their trollies sky high with food so that their families would not be without. What followed in the news? Pictures of bins piled high with out of date food and meat. It seemed that the whole country had become increasingly selfish and the only people who mattered were the people in their families. What had happened to us?

Every religion is unique, but what is particularly interesting is the similarities between them. One thing that stands out as a ‘golden thread’ from all worldviews is charity and caring for others.

Indeed, every religion encourages its followers to care for others, particularly the poor and vulnerable.

  • Hinduism teaches about ‘atman’ – the aspect of God that is in each and every one of us. As equals on this planet, we need to protect every living thing, including animals.
  • The Buddha taught about compassion and how to alleviate suffering, ‘dukkha’.
  • Guru Nanak taught about the importance of providing for others, physically and spiritually.
  • Jesus Christ taught us to ‘love your neighbour’.
  • At the heart of the Jewish faith is ‘Tzedakah’ – a religious duty to provide for anyone in need.
  • One of the Five Pillars of Islam is ‘Zakah’ – 2.5% of all income is shared amongst those in society who need it most.

As we all know, you don’t have to be religious to feel a moral duty to help others. Humanists believe that by helping others, we make society fairer and it is an obligation of us all to provide for those in need.

So while some where piling their trollies sky high with food that would go to waste, what happened next was nothing short of a miracle. As most of us sat safe at home, we started to think about those in our community who carried on regardless: our refuse collectors, our post people, policemen and women, our firefighters, our nurses and doctors. I am sure that no-one will ever forget standing on our doorsteps clapping for our NHS workers who went to work each day putting themselves in the eye of the storm, quietly, diligently and without any fuss.

It became clear to me that in the middle of such a national catastrophe, there were two types of people – those that cared only about themselves and those who put themselves out to help others in whatever way they could – a phone call / a doorstep conversation / a text to people who lived alone. Streets became connected like never before. People were knocking on their neighbours’ doors. Shopping lists were exchanged and those who were shielding were cared for – food deliveries were made. We realised that even though we were scared about the pandemic, it was our moral duty to care for those who needed us.

In Merton, the following charities helped those in need:

  • The Faith in Action Merton Homeless Project
  • Merton Giving Coronavirus Fund
  • Merton Mutual Aid
  • MVSC Covid-19 Community Response Hub
  • Stem4 (Teenage Mental Health Charity)
  • The Dons Local Action Group
  • Wimbledon Food Bank
  • Wimbledon Guild

Some volunteered, others gave tinned food outside supermarkets and others were able to give a financial contribution.

We realised that even though we live our separate lives, the one thing that unites us is our community.

We will be talking about the pandemic for years to come but I hope that the one thing we will reflect on is the power of community. We will never ever again take for granted the tireless work of our NHS staff and our key workers and we should all aim to keep the conversations going with our neighbours.

We are stronger together and we should always aim to be kind. These are the connections and relationships that really matter. Happiness is sometimes a cup of tea, a meal cooked by someone else or a text from someone who you haven’t heard from for a while. These acts of kindness can often cost very little but are invaluable to the recipient and really matter.

Let’s hope that we are turning a corner with COVID and can get back to a ‘normal’ life soon. But when we do, we should always remember the connections we have made and the power that our community has when we truly work together and show kindness and love for one another.

‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.’

Matthew 25:35

If you would like to support Wimbledon High’s Christmas 2020 Project please do visit our Christmas Firefly Page where you can find out all about our Access to Learning Project, where we are raising funds to support the purchase of computers for pupils in two of our local primary partner schools, enabling their pupils to access learning when they are at home owing to self-isolation requirements. If every pupil in Wimbledon High raised just £10 each, we would have raised over £10000 in total, enabling the purchase of 40 iPads or laptops!

The positive geographies of Covid-19

Dr. Stephanie Harel, Acting Head of Geography, explores the positive geographies of our current global pandemic, including a stronger local sense of place and a greater environmental consciousness.

As an educator, I concern myself every day with demonstrating how and why “Geography matters”. Central to our discipline, and indeed my own academic interests, is the often-contested concept of ‘place’. At its heart, lies the notion of a meaningful segment of geographical space, although what is also important to understand, is that places are dynamic and multifaceted[1]. Recently, I introduced our Year 12 students to these ideas, as part of the Changing Spaces, Making Places unit in our OCR specification. Over the past three weeks, we have explored the difference between ‘place’ and ‘space’, the characteristics that constitute a place profile and how perception of place can vary depending on factors such as age, gender and personal experience. Lively class debates have discussed how people can see, experience and understand place in different ways and, perhaps most importantly, how our relationships with places can change over time.

I love teaching this unit, because it aligns with my own research interests and allows me to delve into what was the focus of my doctoral thesis. My PhD explored the complexities of people’s emotional response to disasters. Acknowledging that people negotiate their emotions in different ways, my thesis demonstrated the complex ways that emotions influence how the disaster displaced relate to ‘home’ in the aftermath of disaster. As a practitioner, I see much value in using this research to develop students’ understanding of how the concept of place works in practice. During Guided Home Learning, for example, I relished the opportunity to teach a two-week segment as part of the Geography elective for Years 11-13, which explored the ‘Emotional Geographies of Home’. In our sessions, I shared stories from real people who had lost their homes as a result of the 2011 flood event in Brisbane, Australia, and 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. As I explained to my students, the aim of my PhD research was to extend geographic knowledge on the emotional dynamics of natural disasters. However, I also aimed to contribute to debates within our discipline about how places can be disrupted and altered in a myriad of ways and as a consequence of both physical and human processes. Again, these sessions promoted incredibly rich discussions. The level of independent thought and active enquiry shown in students’ post-course reflections showed deep engagement with course content, on both an academic and a personal level; as a teacher, it was richly rewarding to read these reflections.

While my doctoral research was carried out within the context of natural disasters, I believe there is huge potential to explore these ideas further, within our current global climate. Media outlets across the country are presenting the endless disruption caused to places as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic. This is important, of course; the economic and social consequences of COVID-19 will undoubtedly be severe and long lasting. Still, I would like to intervene amidst what sometimes feels like a barrage of negativity. I want to suggest that there are many positive ways in which the pandemic has altered places around the world, at a variety of different scales. The following, therefore, is what I deem to be ‘The positive geographies of COVID-19’:

A stronger ‘sense of place’

When I was researching in Brisbane and Christchurch, and indeed for my Masters research in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina[2], one of the positive outcomes of the experience of a natural disaster was the way in which communities came together in the face of crisis. My research exemplified how emotions play a key role in the construction of place and many of my interview narratives demonstrated the value of social capital in the aftermath of catastrophe. Narratives of those who were displaced and subsequently returned to post-earthquake Christchurch, for example, discussed the importance of community support networks and the strengthening of their local neighbourhoods in the aftermath of the earthquake. From what I’ve seen in 2020, the same concepts ring true during a global pandemic.

Above: Hurricane Katrina Flooding, Pixabay

In Geography, a ‘sense of place’ refers to a feeling of belonging; a strong identity that is deeply felt by inhabitants and visitors. It is often a term used by humanistic geographers to describe our attachment to specific locations[3]. I would argue that with communities coming together to clap for NHS carers and networks of volunteers supporting vulnerable members of their communities, lockdown deeply enhanced our local sense of place. It also, I believe, caused us all to redefine our relationship with ‘home’, purely because we spent such an unusually large amount of time there. Socially distanced neighbourhood street parties and road WhatsApp groups where neighbours could check in on each other became the new norm. The 75th anniversary of VE day saw us all aptly enjoying the sound of ‘We will meet again’, celebrating with our local communities, from the comfort of our own driveways. In a personal capacity, lockdown resulted in a significant increase in the amount of time I was able to spend with my husband and young daughter; time I will cherish. I was able to witness my daughter’s first wobbly steps, knowing this was only possible because I was working from home. I then watched her grow confidence as she navigated the potholes along our road, cheered on (from a distance) by our kind neighbours.

Although I have long explored the concept of ‘place’ and acknowledged the way in which places are constructed by humans and human interactions, COVID-19 illuminated this reality in a way I never expected. Places truly are defined by the people within them; it is the experiences we have, and the relationships and memories we create that make geographical locations meaningful. The stronger sense of local place I feel towards my local community is evidence of this, but I am also struck by heightened sense of place created here at school as a result of the pandemic. Despite lockdown, our community remained united – Together Apart – and I think this unwavering sense of place experienced at Wimbledon High School during a time of national crisis is worthy of celebration.

Environmental consciousness

As well as teaching the core Human Geography Unit in Year 12, I also teach our Year 13 Geographers the core Physical systems unit, ‘Earth’s Life Support Systems’. Content within ELSS incorporates an understanding of our global water and carbon cycles, the consequences of human activity on these natural systems and the importance of management strategies which protect our vulnerable planet. Carbon emissions remain one of the world’s most significant environmental concerns. Emerging and developing countries, such as China and India have long been at the top of the contributor list for global greenhouse gas emissions. Interestingly, however, the pandemic has shut down industrial activity and temporarily slashed air pollution levels all around the world.

Above: Pollution levels in China in 2019, left, and 2020. Photograph: Guardian Visuals / ESA satellite data

I find myself wondering: Inadvertently, is this the largest scale pollution experiment the world has ever seen? Could this be the outcome of moving towards a low-carbon, green, economy in the future? And it is not just our dominant developing countries that have seen the positive effects of lower carbon emissions as a result of COVID-induced lockdowns. Italy’s usually heavily congested roads substantially reduced levels of traffic, resulting in drastically lower nitrogen oxide levels in the country[4]. The positive environmental consequences of this are unprecedented and offer an opportunity to think more critically about the implications of our everyday practices.

In addition to the global decline in factory pollution, it is also worthy to acknowledge the positive implications associated with a reduction in air travel as a result of national lockdowns around world. Today’s society is a society (normally) on the move. With the development of mass automobility and aeromobility, the scale of our travel has grown immense, and social life and social organisation are increasingly dependent on mobility[5]. COVID-19, however, has restricted our international mobility in a way that feels almost unnaturally authoritarian. While of course I acknowledge the challenges associated with being bound within our national territories, I’d also like to highlight the positives. The outcome of an inability to travel abroad is an increase in local and national ‘staycations’. I admit that I am someone who has lived in Australia and the USA, but never been to the Peak District. I’ve travelled to Singapore but haven’t explored many of the islands from my Scottish homeland. What COVID-19 has allowed for is an appreciation of the natural beauty that surrounds us not only in locally in London and the South-East, but all over the British Isles. As a nation, our inability to holiday overseas has increased an awareness of our local geographies, prompting an enjoyment of these local landscapes and the wonders that surround us, and sparking a renewed environmental awareness that aims to preserve them.

So then, it is pertinent to remember that 2020 is not a year to write off; perhaps it is, instead, a year full of opportunities. A time to connect and reconnect. A chance to acknowledge the beauty of our local surroundings and reconsider the impact our patterns of consumption so that we can rectify our environmental impact. As a geographer, I have long been fascinated by the relationship between people and places. I hope this post has demonstrated how geographers can offer some very useful ideas for making sense of our current situation; what has happened, what we might be feeling, and how we might go forward – stronger than before.


[1] Cresswell, T. (2004) Place: A short introduction. Blackwell Publishing

[2] Morrice, S. (2012) Heartache and Hurricane Katrina: Recognising the influence of emotion in post-disaster return decisions. Area 45(1), 1-7.

[3] Massey, D. (2005). For Space. London: Sage.

[4] Watts, J. & Kommenda, N. (2020) Coronavirus pandemic leading to huge drop in air pollution. Accessed at:

[5] Gustafan, P. (2014) Place attachment in an age of mobility. In Manzo and Devine-Wright Place (eds.) attachement: Advances in Theory, Methods and Application. Routledge, 2014.

Learning what to do when you don’t know what to do – tackling unseen texts in English

Miss Lucinda Gilchrist, Head of English, considers the virtues of being ‘stuck’, and how this can help pupils tackle challenging tasks with more confidence.

A growth mindset and being ‘stuck’

Carol Dweck’s influential work on growth mindset has become common parlance across schools now, and we know that helping pupils develop grit, perseverance and resilience is key to supporting them in their learning. A growth mindset is one in which ability is seen as ‘changeable’, and which ‘can be developed through learning’ (Dweck, 2006), rather than innate or fixed. As teachers, we want pupils to be able to reframe their thinking about things they struggle with to develop a growth mindset. We therefore provide scaffolds and supports to ease pupils into the ‘zone of proximal development’ and enable them to see smaller successes on the path to larger ones.

However, small and incremental scaffolds may actually serve to make them more reliant on the support from their teachers than on their own reasoning. An example of this: as part of some of my MA action research, I declared ‘war’ on the PEE/PEA structure, which I knew pupils had become too reliant on and which was making their writing too mechanical, and many of them simply relied on another acronym they had learnt in the past. By easing pupils into a task too gently, we run this risk: ‘if a task does not puzzle us at all, then it is not a problem; it is just an exercise’[1].

We therefore sometimes need to remove even more of the support structures, and defamiliarise pupils even further in order to make them less reliant on the scaffolds we put in place, and make them more aware of the ways in which they can get themselves unstuck, helping them to understand what to do when they don’t know what to do. We can expose them to challenges which they might consider beyond their ‘zone of proximal development’ – be this a new style of Mathematics problem, an unusual context for a theory in the Sciences, or a piece of music unlike anything they’ve heard before.

An example from English – analysing ‘unseen’ texts

Many students of English Literature at KS4 are anxious about the concept of ‘unseen’ – the part of the examination where pupils have to write an essay about a text they have never seen before. It’s particularly challenging with poetry: a poem is often by nature oblique and abstract, resisting an easy answer. While this is what we love about poetry, it can be frustrating for some pupils who want the ‘right’ answer! Pupils who find developing their own interpretations of texts hard sometimes rely on ‘getting’ the notes about texts, and thereby the ‘right’ answer, rather than developing the habits they need to be able to respond to any text, whether one they have encountered before or not. This is understandable: while English teachers will argue that all texts are ‘unseen’ before they are studied, pupils can become used to the scaffold of discussing with pairs or small groups, and the reassurance that, at the end, the teacher would eventually confirm the ‘right’ response by guiding the discussion and asking purposeful questions.

As Angela Duckworth says in Grit, ‘We prefer our excellence fully formed’ (2016). We would prefer to show the world the successful final outcome, rather than the training and experimenting, which means that committing pen to paper and articulating an interpretation of an unseen poem, or even just verbally expressing an idea in class discussion, could make unseen poetry a locus of fear and failure where pupils may feel intimidated by the myth that some people just ‘get it’ and others don’t, rather than seeing it as an enjoyable challenge. When I surveyed my Year 10 class about what they felt the biggest challenges in responding to unseen poetry were, several of their responses focused on the idea of a fixed, or correct interpretation – they were concerned about “analysing the text correctly” or finding “the right message/s of the poem”.  While many of them commented that they liked “reading new poems” and to have a “fresh start and use things we’ve learnt from other poems”, it is interesting that the pressure to ‘get it right’ still prevails.

So I decided to give my pupils a challenge which would deliberately make them feel stuck. As a starter activity just as we started our unseen poetry unit, I gave them a poem which was on a Cambridge University end of year examination in 2014, and which consists only of punctuation[2]:

They were definitely daunted by this – in a survey after the lesson I asked them how they felt when they saw it:

  • I felt a bit out of my depth, I struggled to analyse any of it
  • Quite stuck for words… I wasn’t really sure where to start seeing as we had no context and there were no words so how were you able to deduce anything from it?
  • Freaked out, how was I meant to be able to understand a poem with no words!These phrases echo exactly the sort of being ‘stuck’ feeling I’m sure we’ve all experienced when encountering something unfamiliar. The pupils spent some time on their own examining and annotating the poem, and then in a Teams video call we discussed the kinds of clues they could look for to help them understand the poem – although there weren’t words, they gradually began to use the information they did have, and came up with some insightful ideas, utilising the ideas about the structure and clues from the punctuation marks to try and gain some meaning from the poem. Here are some of the ideas from the Meeting Chat:

They were beginning to notice some really interesting ideas: the open-ended nature of the poem because of the unfinished last section, the implications of the punctuation marks which were there, and the fact that the lines were bracketed, suggesting some sort of devaluing of whatever words might have been inside them. I then revealed the title of the poem: ‘Tipp-Ex Sonata’, and explained that the poet, Koos Kombuis, was a South African performer and writer. With additional context, and using another pupil’s observation about apartheid, they then made some even more impressive deductions:

They had got very close to what Koos Kombuis had said about the poem himself: that it’s a protest against censorship of anti-apartheid voices in South Africa. So far, so good: the pupils had proved that they could reframe their thinking and use different clues to help them analyse the poem.

I then showed the pupils a poem in German:

This, naturally presented pupils with a different problem. However, they could identify rhyme and internal rhymes, alliteration and sound iconicity, and when they heard the poem aloud they could hear the regular, almost monotonous iambic pentameter. They identified that the first and last words of the poem were the same (although one is a pronoun and the other is a verb, they were using the right sort of reasoning!), and made an interesting point about the poem having a cyclical structure as a result. We spoke about how these gave the impression of something enclosed or making repeated movements – and of course, they were actually very close! This poem, ‘Der Panther’ by Rainer Maria Rilke[3], is about a panther, trapped in a cage and moving around in tiny circles as his mind calcifies. Without realising it, and without knowing any of the words, the pupils managed to understand this poem at a surprisingly deep level.

I then asked the pupils their feelings about unseen poetry, having attempted these two poems which would have been certainly at best uncomfortable, and at worst enough to make them feel ‘stuck’:

  • I like analysing unconventional poems, because you can interpret it on a much broader range, rather than analysing the meaning of words and literary devices.
  • less confused and a bit more confident in my capability to analysis texts
  • it made me more confident in understanding different ways to analyse and use other methods to deduce a message from a poem
  • Slightly reassured that annotations aren’t all there is to a poem and you can find other key elements elsewhere.
  • After these activities, I feel like I have a better approach to unseen poetry, and am able to discover the writer’s meaning without context or the internet.
  • now I understand that there is more than just the words on the page that can be understood.
  • it makes it a lot clearer because I now know there are other ways to look at a poem, for example after looking at “der panther” it made me realise I could’ve looked at the rhyming structure or words that rhyme in order to get a sense of the poem.These pupils’ responses suggest that putting them out of their comfort zone and possibly dangerously close to their ‘panic zone’[4], actually made them understand that there were more tools available to them than the most obvious ones. (It is particularly gratifying to see that at least one has learnt they don’t need to consult Google!) Not only is unseen poetry now less daunting, because they had successfully engaged with something even more unfamiliar, but they had also deepened their understanding of a greater range of devices which poets use to create meaning.This is a really useful strategy for helping pupils engage with something which they might feel daunted by, especially when it’s a new topic. Another example is from a Year 13 lesson when we started Chaucer: I was concerned that my class would be daunted by Middle English when they encountered it for the first time, so gave them versions of a text in Old English dating from the 10th and 11th century, and then the same text in Middle English from the 14th century, at which point the pupils began to recognise trends and similarities in the language and structure, eventually identifying it as the Lord’s Prayer, before I provided a more familiar 16th century translation. Making these connections helped pupils feel less alienated by Middle English and more confident to approach Chaucer.

    At WHS, we are fortunate enough to teach thoughtful, perceptive and independent students, and it’s encouraging to see the ways that they engage with really tricky material, and begin to see that, if they can tackle an undergraduate exam text in Year 10, they can tackle any poem! The same strategy could be used in many subjects – a piece of artwork which doesn’t look like what someone might assume to be ‘art’, a piece of music which challenges the expectations of a particular genre, data which might seem to buck a trend in science subjects.  These lessons are memorable as well: one of the girls in my Year 13 class signed up for my elective module on Sociolinguistics on the strength of the introduction to Middle English activity which she had enjoyed several months earlier! By challenging pupils’ expectations and perceptions of their own limitations, they are able to see their subjects in a broader light than the examination syllabi, make connections with wider experiences, and learn a valuable lesson about what to do when they don’t know what to do.


References and Further Reading

Duckworth, A. (2016) Grit: Why passion and resilience are the secrets to success, Vermillion.

Dweck, C. (2006) Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books.





The proof behind one of the most famous theorems in mathematics

Vishaali, Year 10, looks behind the proof of one of the most famous mathematical theorems – that of Pythagoras’ theorem.


What is the difference between a theorem and a theory?

A theorem is a mathematical statement that has been proven on the basis of previously established statements. For example, Pythagoras’ theorem uses previously established statements such as all the sides of a square are equal, or that all angles in a square are 90°. The proof of a theorem is often interpreted as justification of the statement that the theorem makes.

On the other hand, a theory is more of an abstract, generalised way of thinking and is not based on absolute facts. Examples of theories include the theory of relativity, theory of evolution and the quantum theory. Take the theory of evolution; this is about the process by which organisms change over time as a result of heritable behavioural or physical traits. This is based on undeniable true facts, but more from experience and from an abstract way of thinking.

It is also important not to confuse mathematical theorems with scientific laws as they are scientific statements based on repeated experiments or observations.

The proof behind Pythagoras’ theorem

You have probably all heard of Pythagoras’ theorem, one of the simplest theorems there is in mathematics, that is relatively easy to remember. Given that it’s so easy to remember and to learn, wouldn’t it be an added bonus to know exactly how this theorem came to be?

The theorem, a²+b²=c², relates the sides of any right-angled triangle enabling you to find the lengths of any side, given you have the lengths of the other two.

This whole theorem is based on a triangle like this:

These four right-angled triangles are exactly the same just rotated slightly differently to create this shape:

Two shapes have been made by putting these triangles in this order. A big square on the outside, and another slightly smaller square in the middle. As all these triangles are the exact same you can label them A, B and C.

You can tell from the labels the triangles have been given, that the bigger square would have the sides (a+b), and the smaller triangle in the middle will have sides of c. Therefore we know the area of the smaller square is c² :

Using the exact same four triangles, we can rotate and translate them to create a slightly different shape:

Now two more squares have been added to this shape. We can call them  a² and b².

Thinking back to the shape we made before, we can also see that the length of this shape is also (a+b). As we know we used the same four right-angled triangles for the shape before and now, we can infer that the two squares  a² and b² are exactly the same as the square from the first shape, c². Hence we get Pythagoras’ theorem, a²+b²=c²:


Forging new relationships; the value of school partnerships – 28/09/18

Mr Richard Bristow, Director of Music here at WHS, looks at school partnerships and how external groups can enhance the academic and co-curricular programme, discussing a new partnership between WHS and the Jigsaw Players.

Partnerships have become increasingly important to schools since the turn of the Millennium, with a significant number of schools in both the State and Independent sectors working together in various ways. Broadly speaking there are two different types of school partnership: formal and informal.

Formal partnerships

A formal partnership will often involve a strategic merger between two or more schools, who might operate under the same trust with a central CEO or Executive Headteacher. The GDST, of which Wimbledon High is proudly a part of, is in this type of partnership with 25 schools (including 2 Academies) across the UK working closely together to provide the very best education for girls. In the State sector, this might involve the merger of an Academy Trust with several different schools working under the same central leadership team; a local example would be the Harris Federation, where 47 different academies – Primary and Secondary – operate within the same charitable trust.

The GDST Network in numbers

Informal partnerships

The informal partnership, however, involves smaller links between schools that retain their autonomy and own decision-making at a strategic level. This could be between two similar schools – for example the OWLS project between Oxford High and Wimbledon High (OWLS standing for Oxford and Wimbledon Leading Scholarship). This is where two schools work closely together to craft a vision to enhance an aspect of their shared goals, sharing resources, good practice and enabling the pupils and staff to develop their skills.[1]

These informal partnerships also exist between Independent and State Schools, as detailed below.

Teach Together

In late 2014, the Department of Education granted a significant amount of money to various different partnerships across the UK, focusing specifically on the primary curriculum. Various different projects occurred throughout the country, from developing coding skills to organising MFL challenge days. Wimbledon High was involved in this project, forming a Teach Together partnership with St Boniface RC Primary School to engage pupils with the science curriculum through storytelling and narrative. This partnership continues to this day with weekly links between the schools with our Enrichment programme.

This partnership has significant benefit to both schools, and this is essential for the partnership to work effectively. Both schools need to put in and get something out of the partnership to avoid it from lacking equality. In this case, WHS girls from Year 11-13 consolidate their scientific knowledge and understanding by teaching scientific concepts in a new way to Key Stage 2 pupils. This not only helps the pupils they are teaching, but develops the older pupils’ ability to communicate with others, encouraging them to look outwards, to support others and be ready to shape the society in which they live. Thus partnership work also meets one of Wimbledon High’s key aims. By ensuring both sides of the arrangement are getting something they require out of the partnership, it is far more likely to succeed. If it was a one-sided agreement, where only one side was gaining from the arrangement, the chances of success would rapidly diminish.

When asked the question ‘Have you seen notable progress?’ the feedback is overwhelmingly positive from both sides, including

  • From WHS Staff: “Yes, in interest & excitement in science. Pupils have produced projects which reflect the time they have spent to continue on these themes & also class room displays linked to our visits.”
  • From WHS Pupils: “I get to see the delight of the pupils in learning new things… developing my confidence and resilience” and “[I have more] confidence in my abilities as I am able to fully teach new concepts to children in maths. [I have] an insight into how far I have come with maths as I reflect “
  • From St Boniface Pupils: “The lesson I enjoyed the most was when we went to Wimbledon High School and learned about Light. I have enjoyed going outside to try new experiments”


WHS also hosts the nationally-recognised SHINE programme. This is an education charity seeking to turn potential into success, and at WHS this is presented as ‘Serious Fun on Saturdays’, with 24 Year 4 and 5 primary pupils coming to WHS to learn a range of topics based around the idea of ‘Reaching for the Stars’. Some of the activities include making frisbees in DT, learning to bake, understanding more about astrology in Geography and learning how to perform as an ensemble in Music. Each pupil is given a WHS mentor from Year 12, allowing these pupils to develop their mentoring skills.

External agencies

These links between schools – where skills and resources are shared to develop both sides of the partnership – are of vital importance. However, schools are also increasingly offering new partnerships using external agencies and providers which are open to the whole local community.

A new partnership from September 2018 is the partnership between Wimbledon High School Music Department and the Jigsaw Players. The Jigsaw Players are a Not-for-Profit concert series based in Wimbledon, performing world-class chamber music and jazz. They run educational projects for local children, sponsor young up-and-coming jazz and classical ensembles, and heavily subsidise all their concert ticket prices, to help ensure music is accessible to all in Merton.[2]

WHS and the Jigsaw Players

This accessibility is increasing further with this new partnership with WHS. The Jigsaw Players will host four different events throughout the academic year 2018-19 focusing on composition skills and female composers via workshops and concerts. These are completely free to attend and are open to all.

The workshops will allow pupils from year 9-13 from WHS and local schools to understand more about how to write for chamber forces – specifically string quartet – enabling a higher quality of composition work required for GCSE and A Level Music courses. With numbers of pupils studying the subject across the country in sharp decline[3], schools are either struggling to offer Music as an academic subject or have small numbers doing so outside of the timetable. As the numbers are small, funding can be hard to secure as the impact lacks large-scale focus. Against this backdrop, these partnerships are of even more importance as they offer a chance for all schools – state and independent – to engage with curriculum enrichment at zero cost.

Composition is frequently the area of compulsory study at GCSE and A Level which is the most complex to teach and learn and is the area where examiner marks are frequently debated owing to the more ‘subjective’ nature of composition. This will not change as long as composition is a compulsory part of GCSE and A Level Music, but what we can do as a school is to create a time and space for teachers, pupils and professional musicians to come together to discuss the challenges and work together on finding potential solutions. This collaboration gives confidence and allows for networking – something vital for a subject like Music which are often staffed by only one teacher for the entire school.

Free tickets to the workshops can be booked below:

Workshop 1 3rd October 4:15-6:15pm M11

Workshop 2 14th February 4:15-6:15pm M11

The concerts are also open to all, focusing on the chamber music of female composers. This clearly links the chance to hear professional musicians with the overall ethos of girls’-first education, championing music which often struggles to find a voice in the canon of Western Classical Music. This type of cultural enrichment is universal and has significant benefits to overall academic progress[4].

Free tickets to the concert can be booked below:

Concert 1 3rd December 7pm Senior Hall

Concert 2 7th May 7pm Senior Hall


The most effective partnerships are ones characterised by a shared vision and passion between the schools and agencies agreeing to work together. Without this shared goal, partnerships become forced and subsequently lack effectiveness, reducing impact. Honesty, openness and clear communication are central to ensuring success for all stakeholders.

The new partnership with the Jigsaw Players is an exciting opportunity to work with local professional musicians and other GCSE and A Level pupils and staff, allowing new networking opportunities on a staff and pupil level and encouraging all-important discussions about Music as an academic subject. Whether you would like to attend as an active participant in the workshops or simply as a member of the audience listening to the music by composers past and present, you are warmly invited to become part of our shared passion for all things musical.

[1] See OWLS Quarterly here