Views from the Headmistress’ study – 10th February 2017

Dear Parents,

It is hard to believe that it is half term already. There was no slowing down for us this week, with trips to museums, House competitions, performances at the O2 and packing bags for the half term language trips to France and Spain, as well as lessons of course!

This week has been Internet Safety Week and Mr Keeley spoke to the girls in assembly about the Power of Images, online conduct  and how to use images wisely!

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On Monday, all 75 girls in Years 7 and 8 journeyed from school to the mind-glowingly impressive O2 Arena, inside the Millennium Dome in Greenwich. We were joining other schools from around the country to participate in a concert as part of the Young Voices series. Now in its 20th year, Young Voices performs a series of concerts every January and February in cities around the country, culminating in London. The number of schools and students involved makes this the largest school choir concert series in the world.

Mr Anstice tried to prepare the girls for the enormity of the event by guessing that we would be part of a choir of around 1,000. Even he was awed when they arrived and were shown to their seats, and discovered that the choir actually numbered 7,752! The additional discovery that the audience would number over 12,000 only increased their anticipation to breaking point!

Of course, as with any musical venture of this nature, their first task was the three-hour rehearsal. Such things are always tedious and never easy, but the girls did us proud with their professionalism and enthusiasm, especially when the multi-award-winning street dance crew and the ‘Beatbox Collective’ trio showed them what they could do. These mightily impressive groups left the girls truly inspired.

After a short tea break they were back into their seats for the concert. When the lights finally went down the atmosphere completely changed, and the girls hardly sat down again for the whole 2 hours, such was the excitement. In between singing the songs they had prepared, they were treated to performances from the Beatbox Collective and the Dance Crew, as well as acclaimed jazz singer Sharlene Hector. All in all, a truly inspirational and rewarding evening.

In Drama the Year 9s did some fantastic extracts from Mike Leigh’s play ‘Abigail’s Party’ for their AP3 assessment. Mrs Taylor was bowled over by the hilarious performances and the 1970s inspired costume!

In the English department lots of girls have completed their research for the BBC Schools News Reports and many have also been busy putting final touches to their creative writing. The Year 8 short stories have been drafted and edited and over the half term girls will access the BBC 500 Word competition to up-load their efforts. Fingers crossed, not just for us to produce a winner but that our school gets invited to attend the results day at the BBC in the summer term, that really would be fun!

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It’s been another great week for the PE department! On Monday we took a group of Y9, 10 and 11 students to Kensington Aldridge Academy to compete in the RBKC Borough Indoor Rowing championships. The competition involved rowing on an ergometer for 4mins (Y9), 5mins (Y10) or 6mins (Y11). The participant who rowed the greatest distance was crowned winner of the event.

Hope, Emilie and Cecily competed in the Year 9 race. After a strong start by some of the girls from the other schools, our stamina and endurance came into its own, the girls had a strong finish overtaking many key contenders. Cecily finished 3rd in her heat but was unluckily 4th place overall.

Aoife took an early lead in the Year 10 race and dominated it from the start, her smooth, powerful technique was noticeably proficient, so much so that many of the Borough coaches commented on how professional she looked. Aoife won the event by over 100m.

In the Year 11 event Sky, Molly and Alex took to the machines and set off at a steady, consistent but powerful pace. Sky’s rowing squad practise has clearly come in handy as she dominated the event. Molly was second, Alex 4th.

Congratulations to Aoife, Molly and Sky who have all qualified for the London Youth Games at Crystal Palace in July. Let the training begin.

After half term we are in the lucky position of having a visit from Lucy Strange, a recently acclaimed writer, who will be coming into school to not only talk about her recent book but also work with girls on their creative writing skills. This will be familiar territory for Lucy as she is an ex teacher at More House. We are really looking forward to catching up with all her adventures since she left teaching and took up the pen! As it is a rather special event for any school to have a writer visit and work with the girls, several of girls involved in the BBC Schools News have decided to interview her and create a little arts feature for their entry; so please watch out for their film clips on the school website in due course.

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The Year 10 Geographers have been using Excel, GE Graph and Google Earth to create some GIS maps showing degrees of urbanisation in the UK. The girls created their maps and then annotated them to explain why some areas of the UK had experienced different levels of urbanisation.

Our Year 10 Peer Mentors had a private tour of Childline. Thank you Dani for your account of the trip:

‘On Wednesday 8th of February our mentoring group got the chance to visit the ChildLine offices. Maddy, Lily, Manaal, Stella, Nessie, Sasha and I were given a small tour of the office by George, our instructor for mentoring. We first went to the room where all of the volunteers answer calls, and then we went to a room where we were shown a presentation about what ChildLine does.

The presenter told us how the volunteers deal with questions, concerns or any other worries they get from children and teenagers that call. She also told us that people can contact them online, but the responses are slower. We were shown a list of things that they have to deal with everyday and the most common concerns were low self esteem, abuse, family issues, homelessness, friendship and relationship, bullying, self harm, suicidal thoughts and more. In the presentation, we were also shown reviews by people who got help from ChildLine, saying how it changed their lives.

After the presentation, two girls that work in the fundraising department of ChildLine told us about all of the different things they do to raise money for ChildLine. They also told us that you can volunteer for ChildLine once you’re 16.

I found this trip very helpful because seeing how the volunteers handle situations, gave me more confidence and knowledge of how to solve a problem. Our group would like to do our own fundraising to help raise more money for ChildLine as well.’

We had the Houses battling it out with the annual Countdown competition. All week the scores have been so close and it was thanks to George (Upper Sixth) who clinched the title for Walsingham as she solved the conundrum HYPERBOLA!

On Thursday, all of Year 7 and the sixth form Art Historians visited the Tate Modern. They looked at Paul Nash’s and David Hockney’s landscape exhibitions, and compared their styles and compositions. Both are renowned twentieth century artists, but some people may prefer one over the other.

Year 7 pupil, Leen, talks about Nash, Hockney and what she learned:

‘Although both Hockney and Nash are well-known artists, we spotted lots of differences between them, in subject matter and colour choices. David Hockney chose bolder and eye-catching colours, whilst Paul Nash chose colors that reflected on the mood at the time. David Hockney would draw relaxing art, where Paul Nash would draw fields that were bombed, and left people in distress.’

The girls engaged with the experience, understanding the contrast in the pre-war and contemporary styles and this enabled them to look at landscape work from different perspectives, linking to their classwork that they are moving onto after half term –  on Genres in art. A big thank you to Mrs Hunt, Mrs Revell and Ms Devine for organising and supporting the day!

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On Wednesday, Miss Seconi and Mrs Scott took some of our talented physicists to visit Edwards – a leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated vacuum products. Ella in 8S has written this report of their day:

‘When we arrived, we were shown a presentation about what Edwards do. They create machines that take all of the air out of a chamber, therefore creating a vacuum. In order to make equipment for iPhones and other electronic gadgets, the parts need to be created in a vacuum to ensure that dust particles do not get in the way of production. We learnt that Edwards have been around since 1919, almost 100 years, originally manufacturing lightbulbs.

Afterwards, some of us went on a tour of the building, and some of us discussed the positives and negatives of the engineering industry. Amongst some of the positives were the growing number of women represented in the industry, and the opportunity to help save the planet. Some of the negatives were the restricted nature of the field, and also the long working hours. Once we’d finished, we spoke to a couple of the employees and gained an insight into the engineering industry. On our tour of the building, we were able to see engineers developing the vacuum models, as well as early models of machines that were used almost 100 years ago. To end the day, we entered a lab where the engineer put a plate of 5 marshmallows under a glass dome, and turned on the vacuum machine. With such little air in the chamber, the marshmallows swelled to an enormous size trying to fill the chamber with air inside them. We then did an experiment with water, where water was placed in the dome at 18 degrees, but once the machine was turned on started to boil! Then, as the temperature dropped, the water reached zero and froze. As soon as it was removed from the dome it started to melt again. It truly was an incredible day of science!’

Tickets are now on sale for the our Multicultural Evening and for the MHPA Quiz and Wine Night next month. They’re both guaranteed to be great evenings. You can buy your tickets here.

If you are in London over the half term, Mrs Scott (Head of Science) recommends a STEM day out to the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.  http://www.rmg.co.uk/see-do/exhibitions-events/steamfest-cutty-sark

We will keep you updated with all the latest news from our MFL trips to France and Spain next week. Make sure you follow us on Twitter – @morehouseschool.

Have a wonderful half term break.

Amanda Leach

Dates for the diary:

Sunday 12th – Thursday 16th February MFL Trip to Montpellier
Monday 13th – Friday 17th February MFL Trip to Spain
Monday 13th – Friday 17th February Half Term
Monday 20th February Year 8 Music Trip

Prayers and Reflections of the week

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