Tag: history

Sport Relief Riotous Race

Before they spent time at an important UCAS presentation looking forward to their exciting futures, the Sixth Form organised a fun run with a twist on Wednesday to raise money for Sport Relief. They draughted in some teaching legends to take part in a ‘High Heel Race’. The winner by a square mile in speed and style was Ricky, our Head Chef, who got off to a cracking start, wearing a beautiful pink dress! It was a good effort from all the other competitors; Mrs Allen, Mr Butler, Mrs Horton, Mr Marrison and Mrs McGarry but the pack couldn’t catch up with the breakneck baker!

History Conference

Mrs Haddock reports ‘After a successful rendez-vous under the clock at Waterloo Station I and a select party of Sixth Form Historians headed off to be enlightened on the finer details of Russia’s rulers at a revision conference on Russia 1855-1964.

The speakers were all leaders in their field and provided some fascinating insights into Russian History as well as some top tips on question analysis. The talks covered key examination questions including the collapse of Tsarism and the success or otherwise of Stalin’s rule. Inevitably, comparisons between Stalin and Putin were made and we came away with the depressing thought that, perhaps the very nature of Russia and its people, leant itself to some form of strong leadership. The discussion that followed was testament to the intellectual ability of the girls and their capacity to absorb lots of information over a short time period.  A day well-spent!’

 

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Sixth Form Spectroscopy trip

Mr Smith reported that ‘On Wednesday 24 January I took the Upper Sixth Chemistry class to University of Reading for a lecture, lab tour and problem solving section on Spectroscopy. They learned how infra-red spectroscopy (IR), mass spectrometry (MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy are used by chemists to establish the structure of molecules. These techniques also have important uses in the modern world: detecting fake bank notes (IR), analysing blood/urine samples from athletes to detect banned substances (MS), and MRI scanning in hospitals (NMR).  Spectroscopy is assessed in two of the three A level Chemistry exam papers, so it was a very useful day for the girls. On the train journey home they applied the techniques they had learned about on the course to spectroscopy problems from past exam papers.’

History Lecture

Some of our Sixth Form History students have written a report on the Historical Association Lecture they attended this week.

‘Location: St Nicholas Church, GuildfordInternal – Karen Wilcock, Lower Sixth, On Tuesday 23 January Dr Goldsmith and three A Level History students visited St Nicholas church in Guildford to attend a lecture given by historian Nicola Tallis, on the life of Lady Jane Grey, the Queen who ruled for 9 days. Nicola gave us a fascinating insight into Lady Jane Grey and the trials she faced as a young woman in Tudor England. Through this lecture we saw a different side to Jane, not just a young girl who was beheaded at 17 years old, but the incredibly intelligent and quick witted woman who spoke 8 languages at the age of 13!! We thought this talk gave a new impression of women in the 16th century that we are not otherwise made aware of. Overall, this talk was one of the best we have seen at the Surrey Historical Society. Definitely a 5-star lecture!!’

Sixth Form Photography trip

The Sixth Form Photography students enjoyed a visit on Thursday to the Andreas Gursky exhibition in The Hayward Gallery, which has been described as ‘godlike visions from the great chronicler of our time’. The students continued their experience walking through London taking photographs and visiting The Photographers Gallery to attend ‘Instand Stories’ Wim Wenders Polariods which was a stark contrast in scale and context to Gursky. All of these experiences will feed into their work.

For further information please see the following link:  https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/jan/26/andreas-gurskys-amazon-exposing-the-mindlessly-cruel-forces-of-global-capitalism

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Head of Geography Ms Treanor reports on a Second Form expedition, ‘investigating the importance of tourism to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. This included a trip up the Spinnaker Tower, questionnaires, environmental surveys and an evaluation of heritage features. They are now well prepared for the presentation and analysis of their data back in the classroom.’ The students spent the second part of their day in Portsmouth with the History department, visiting the Mary Rose Museum as part of this term’s topic on the Tudors. They investigated the mystery behind the sinking of the Mary Rose and met Hatch – the skeleton of the ship’s dog – among other discoveries.

Sixth Form students shared their experiences of a half term Art, Photography and Textiles trip to Paris:

 

‘We visited many galleries, mostly by foot, which enabled us to see so much more about life in Paris. A particular favourite was the Musée d’Orsay, which proved to be much bigger than it looked from the outside. There were many floors of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and other renowned artists whom we have studied in class, but to experience the work first hand was completely different and truly incredible. We also visited the Musée de l’Orangerie where many of Monet’s larger water lily paintings from his garden in Giverny are exhibited. These covered all the walls and seemed abstract close up, but they had a completely different dimension when the whole painting was viewed from further away; they seemed to have transformed, each mark of colour now forming an element of the scene. One of my favourite places was the Rodin Museum where Anselm Kiefer had an exhibition. His paintings were of huge size and very textural in their approach; the layers of materials that covered his canvas were so thick that he had carved the markings into them rather than actually painting.

On one of the days, the group divided into two: Textiles students and History of Art students (the Photography students joined the group of their choice). The History of Art group went to the Louvre, whilst the Textiles group went to two fascinating fashion exhibitions: ‘Fortuny, un Espagnol à Venise’ and ‘La Maison Dior’. Fortuny was famous for using pleats in his designs, and we saw many wonderful garments inspired by classical Greek themes and motifs, but created using modern construction techniques. The beautiful gowns had simple, figure-hugging shapes, but the thousands of tiny pleats meant that they could be scrunched up into a tiny ball and still retain their flowing lines when unrolled, due to the craftsmanship!

‘La Maison Dior’ exhibition celebrated 70 years of Dior fashion. It was breath-taking; room upon room of astonishing garments, showing the progression from the origin of Dior to present day designs. Not only was every garment a masterpiece in itself, but the way they were presented was truly amazing, for example one whole room was decorated with tiny paper flowers hanging from the ceiling and covering the walls, creating an atmosphere similar to being in an enchanted forest.

In addition to immersing ourselves in art, we also found time to sample French culture, enjoying meals at local restaurants, crêpes in little cafés, and visiting the Eiffel Tower. It was a fantastic trip which has seeded our imaginations with ideas which are sure to appear in our future Art, Textile and Photography projects – look out for them in the next Inter House Art Competition!’

‘As a History of Art student, the abundance of galleries and museums that this trip offered provided me with a wealth of experience, being able to visually analyse paintings in the flesh. The Musée D’Orsay hosted many of the works of art included in the A Level course, making the trip here extremely worthwhile. To see them in the gallery setting was invaluable to deepening my understanding of the work and the plethora of works from the same period or artistic style helped to establish more complex art historical connections. Particularly interesting to me was Manet’s Olympia, with the richness of tone and model’s confronting gaze being all the more intensified through the ability to view the original painting.

Understandably, visiting the Louvre was another fantastic experience. Aside from the sheer size of the building, the thousands of artistic works housed there were overwhelming and solidified my understanding of art history. After fighting past the crowds to glimpse the beauty of Mona Lisa’s smile, the hall of monumental history paintings by the likes of Delacroix and David completed my experience of Paris.’

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Head of Geography Ms Treanor reports on a Second Form expedition, ‘investigating the importance of tourism to Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth. This included a trip up the Spinnaker Tower, questionnaires, environmental surveys and an evaluation of heritage features. They are now well prepared for the presentation and analysis of their data back in the classroom.’ The students spent the second part of their day in Portsmouth with the History department, visiting the Mary Rose Museum as part of this term’s topic on the Tudors. They investigated the mystery behind the sinking of the Mary Rose and met Hatch – the skeleton of the ship’s dog – among other discoveries.
Sixth Form students shared their experiences of a half term Art, Photography and Textiles trip to Paris:
 
‘We visited many galleries, mostly by foot, which enabled us to see so much more about life in Paris. A particular favourite was the Musée d’Orsay, which proved to be much bigger than it looked from the outside. There were many floors of paintings by Monet, Van Gogh and other renowned artists whom we have studied in class, but to experience the work first hand was completely different and truly incredible. We also visited the Musée de l’Orangerie where many of Monet’s larger water lily paintings from his garden in Giverny are exhibited. These covered all the walls and seemed abstract close up, but they had a completely different dimension when the whole painting was viewed from further away; they seemed to have transformed, each mark of colour now forming an element of the scene. One of my favourite places was the Rodin Museum where Anselm Kiefer had an exhibition. His paintings were of huge size and very textural in their approach; the layers of materials that covered his canvas were so thick that he had carved the markings into them rather than actually painting.

On one of the days, the group divided into two: Textiles students and History of Art students (the Photography students joined the group of their choice). The History of Art group went to the Louvre, whilst the Textiles group went to two fascinating fashion exhibitions: ‘Fortuny, un Espagnol à Venise’ and ‘La Maison Dior’. Fortuny was famous for using pleats in his designs, and we saw many wonderful garments inspired by classical Greek themes and motifs, but created using modern construction techniques. The beautiful gowns had simple, figure-hugging shapes, but the thousands of tiny pleats meant that they could be scrunched up into a tiny ball and still retain their flowing lines when unrolled, due to the craftsmanship!
‘La Maison Dior’ exhibition celebrated 70 years of Dior fashion. It was breath-taking; room upon room of astonishing garments, showing the progression from the origin of Dior to present day designs. Not only was every garment a masterpiece in itself, but the way they were presented was truly amazing, for example one whole room was decorated with tiny paper flowers hanging from the ceiling and covering the walls, creating an atmosphere similar to being in an enchanted forest.
In addition to immersing ourselves in art, we also found time to sample French culture, enjoying meals at local restaurants, crêpes in little cafés, and visiting the Eiffel Tower. It was a fantastic trip which has seeded our imaginations with ideas which are sure to appear in our future Art, Textile and Photography projects – look out for them in the next Inter House Art Competition!’
‘As a History of Art student, the abundance of galleries and museums that this trip offered provided me with a wealth of experience, being able to visually analyse paintings in the flesh. The Musée D’Orsay hosted many of the works of art included in the A Level course, making the trip here extremely worthwhile. To see them in the gallery setting was invaluable to deepening my understanding of the work and the plethora of works from the same period or artistic style helped to establish more complex art historical connections. Particularly interesting to me was Manet’s Olympia, with the richness of tone and model’s confronting gaze being all the more intensified through the ability to view the original painting.
Understandably, visiting the Louvre was another fantastic experience. Aside from the sheer size of the building, the thousands of artistic works housed there were overwhelming and solidified my understanding of art history. After fighting past the crowds to glimpse the beauty of Mona Lisa’s smile, the hall of monumental history paintings by the likes of Delacroix and David completed my experience of Paris.’

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During and following on from half term we have seen a succession of exciting and enriching trips

Upper Sixth Former Bethan relates the experiences of a recent History trip, visiting sites associated with Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and the Wars of the Roses: ‘During the second week of half term, Sixth Form historians set out on an epic Medieval History road trip with Dr Goldsmith and Miss Scott, covering Kent and Northern France. In two cars, we visited Canterbury Cathedral, Dover Castle, Chateau Gaillard, Rouen, Fontevraud Abbey, and Chinon Castle – each of which are relevant to our course – and saw the Bayeux Tapestry before having a picnic lunch at Caen Castle and heading home. The trip was a busy one, packed with information, wonderful places, and a selection of shockingly bad History jokes; and fuelled by the joy of seeing the places mentioned in our textbooks, and the type of excitement induced by castles that only historians know…and plenty of snacks, of course. The trip made our syllabus come alive, and was a brilliant way to round off the half term.’

Mrs Furey reports on a French trip to Montpellier over half term: ‘The French Department took 26 girls to Montpellier, where they stayed with very welcoming and kind host families and had to speak French 24/7! In the mornings, there were 3 hours of lessons followed by activities such as a guided tour of Montpellier, a visit to the beach and to Nîmes and finally photomania and shopping time. The girls learnt about French culture and history while developing their language skills. It was an extremely fun and unforgettable experience.’

Lower Sixth Formers attended a ‘Chemistry in Action’ Conference in London, participating in sessions from leading chemists in academia and industry, with a special session on exam success. Favourite lectures included: ‘From Breaking Bad to making good – the chemistry of drugs’ by Professor David Smith from the University of York, who explained how drugs work, how they can be obtained from natural sources or made in a lab, why gin and tonic became a popular evening drink and how nanomedicines can be used to treat cystic fibrosis; ‘Indestructible Energy!’ by Dr Jamie Gallagher, whose interactive talk included live experiments, including a Kahoot quiz about Energy in which Dr Smith came 3rd!

Ms Treanor reports on an A level Geographers expedition, ‘exploring Compton as part of their ‘Changing Places’ topic. We began with a visit to Watts Gallery and The Studio, where we met with local volunteers who explained the influence that Mary Watts had on the village until her death in the 1930s. Our investigation aims to link people’s lived experiences of Compton in the past and the present, with a focus on economic change and social inequalities. So the girls then set off through the village, to collect data and consider their own perceptions of Compton, in addition to interviewing people who live there. They also interviewed the Heritage Officer from Watts Gallery who provided them with some specific information about the links the Gallery aims to make both locally and internationally. Back in lessons they will now delve deeper and analyse census and other data to help draw conclusions.’

Upper Sixth Form Sociologists attended a ‘Sociology in Action’ conference, here described by Head of Department Mrs Haddock: ‘Students were both entertained and challenged by a series of speakers on a range of subjects from crime to disability and educational aspiration to racial prejudice. They were warned about bias in the media by the writer and columnist Matthew Parris, as well as encouraged by a charismatic poet and professor to see university as a place for social action against racial prejudice – including the tearing down of statues of Rhodes. Other topics questioned common assumptions about how disabled people are restricted, not by their physical impairment, but by the limitations imposed by public structures such as inaccessible transport and buildings. In a similar vein, students were presented with research evidence showing that a lack of opportunities in the education system, such as failing schools and restricted subject choices, rather than a lack of aspiration, prevents pupils from reaching university. We left exhausted, but feeling impassioned and informed, and headed to get some well-deserved refreshment from the local Starbucks!’