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This term’s enrichment day excursions, which took place on Thursday 5 March, once again involved pupils from all years across the School.
For the Sixth Form, the trips taking place were suitably academic in nature. A group of 12 Upper Sixth pupils studying for their A2 in fine art travelled to the South Bank in London. There, they went to the Hayward Gallery, where they saw the exhibition “History is Now”. This was followed by a visit to the nearby Tate Modern to look at the permanent collection and the Marlene Dumas exhibition.
Meanwhile, the whole of the Lower Sixth spent the day at the University of Reading to gain greater awareness of the world of higher education. After an introduction, pupils had a selection of 25 lectures to choose from covering cybernetics, sciences, business, history, environmental science and much more. At the final session of the day, all the pupils assembled in the Henley Business School main lecture theatre for an opportunity to ask undergraduates questions. The talks they were given will prompt many of them to start reflecting over important questions in preparation for the UCAS applications they will be making from September. A full report on the visit is available here.
The Lower and Upper Fifth day was organised by the Combined Cadet Force. While the Upper Fifth Army section went to Frimley Park for leadership and teamwork development, the Lower Fifth Army section went to the Pirbright ranges to conduct live firing. Dougie Simmonds (Lower Fifth, Churchill House) was the best shot of the day. The photograph shows one of the girls in the process of shooting an impressive first-class pass score for her shooting proficiency certificate. In total, five cadets gained a marksman pass, nine gained a first-class pass and there were a further 42 cadets who passed their shooting test.
The Royal Navy section visited the naval base at Portsmouth, while those in the RAF section had a particular treat when they had a chance to fly at RAF Benson. Their visit started with a safety briefing, where each cadet went through drills for getting into and out of the aircraft, for deploying a parachute in an emergency and for disengaging it safely once landed.
Then, the action started. The cadets, dressed in flight suits, were taken up in “tutor” aircrafts in turns. The first two planes went up at 0945 with Ben Cursley (Upper Fifth, Churchill House) in one and Olly Hart (Upper Fifth, Surrey House) in the other. Each cadet had approximately 30 minutes of flying time and most opted for doing some aerobatics including “loops” and “barrel rolls”. At some point the pilot in control of the dual controls gave each pupil the chance to take charge of the plane for a few moments. Charlie Winefield (Upper Fifth, Churchill House) even took control for a loop. All cadets can now say they have been in charge of flying a plane and have gained certificates.
For the Fourth Form, the trips organised reflected well-known destinations of cultural or scientific interest. Those on the Science Department trip to the Natural History Museum were impressed by the wildlife-photographer-of-the-year exhibit. Later in the day, at the Science Museum, the same pupils saw an Imax film entitled Mysteries of the Unseen World.
A different Fourth Form group visited Westminster Abbey to learn about its historical and national significance. They were given a guided tour, led by one of the Abbey’s minor canons. Of particular interest to pupils was Poets’ Corner, as they were able to connect mentally with the contemporary relevance of writers such as C. S. Lewis. Later the same day, they went on to visit the nearby London Transport Museum, where they saw different stages in transport around the capital from the 17th Century onwards. Pupils saw vintage steam trains and relished the opportunity to walk aboard old buses and tube trains.
Separate Fourth Form groups that day visited the British Museum and Salisbury Cathedral. What was particularly significant about the Salisbury trip is the fact that this year is the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta. After a tour of the Cathedral, the pupils took part in a workshop on the making of medieval manuscripts; what really engaged them was being able to make their own leather-bound book, which they stitched and put together themselves.
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