This year’s academic introduction feels like the third instalment in some sort of epic trilogy. If 2020 was ‘The Rising Storm’ (Covid; school closure) and 2021 was ‘Fighting The Undertow’ (more Covid; another school closure), then 2022 is ‘Breaking Surface’. Indeed, compared to the past two, this academic year has felt like a huge lungful of air; pupils and staff have been together in College for all three terms and the natural rhythm of teaching and learning through autumn, spring and summer has been unbroken. Furthermore, Cheltonians sat full GCSE, A Level and CTEC public exams for the first time since 2019, as Centre Assessed Grades and Teacher Assessed Grades (and the terrible prospect of TAGs 2.0) faded away gradually into memory like some sort of grisly spectre.
In short, it has been a delight to return to something close to ‘normality’; certainly, this sentiment transmits clearly in the departmental reflections, below. However, it is important to recognise here that for some overseas pupils, ‘normality’ is still a distant prospect in their home countries. Beholden to the strictures of ‘zero-Covid’ policy, a good number have had endure significant privation over the past year in the form of three-week stays in quarantine hotels, whilst others have not been home to see their families, at all. The resilience and equanimity of these girls and boys is extraordinary, as is their commitment to learning. We are privileged and proud to count them members of our community; they are examples to us all.
Mr Timothy Brewis
The Foundation and Extended Project Qualification
The Foundation and Extended Project Qualification at College is a chance for pupils in Third Form and Lower Sixth to flex their research skills and creativity around a topic entirely of their own choosing. When in Third Form last year William Donaldson set about making his own brand of Canadian maple syrup while Claudia Norbury explored the value of screening tools for depression. No less extraordinary has been the work of Frankie Geary who has been engaged this year in writing to over 40 world leaders to elicit their views on child poverty. When in the Lower Sixth last year, Louise James set the benchmark for artefact work with her costume design for a dress to be worn in the stage production of Hamilton; Arthur Barker taught himself piano to performance standard and Gabriella Bifulco considered the relative merits of cryotherapy to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy.
This year, we are excited to extend to the Board projects that comprise an original theatre production; critical examination of differentials in the diagnosis and treatment of women; a consideration of the case for Catalan independence and a rendering of the prison experience of a campaigner and student family member against Apartheid in South Africa. At every level of achievement, these projects strike at the root of independent management and work of the sort much desired by universities. The variety and originality of so many of our pupils’ work never ceases to impress and we are looking at ways to showcase these wonderful pieces of work to pupils and to parents in the future.
Mr Dominic Nelder
Lower College Society
Lower College Society (LCS) emerged from the virtual cocoon enforced by Covid to take up residence in TLG once again. The Society owes a debt of thanks to Mr Richard Preece for his stewardship of the Society in those darker times. Members demonstrated great loyalty then and now; their enthusiasm for the Society’s offerings this year was unabated! Ngonidzashe Mudange, Lucy Makin, Flora Scurr, Izzy Anton-Smith and Xanthe Harris all gave terrific renderings of their Foundation Projects to the current Third Form members to start the ball rolling in September. From there, we explored crisis management through a series of scenarios involving the UN and airlines before the welcome return of two old LCS favourites, the Christmas Quiz and the Open Mic night.
The highlight of the Spring Term, for me, was the Supreme Court Debate. Members, armed with perukes and gavels, showed real substance and tenacity when presenting their cases around freedom of speech, the right to anonymity and the validity of pre-nups! Special mention here should go to Emily Grant, Lily Ropner, Tor Allan, Sebastian Barry, Max Craven, Tristan Evans, Ben Eykyn, Melissa Watson and Catherine Whistler. A generation of future barristers could be seen to emerge! A Sherlock Holmes murder mystery evening elicited some great detective work and we then explored the perils and pitfalls of IQ as the sole measure of genius through the salutary story of Chris Langan and Lewis Terman’s notorious ‘Termites’. The year culminated in the rather appropriate Renaissance party where members came disguised as leading luminaries of that era, for us all to guess their true identity, from Cosimo de Medici to Raphael. Truly, there is no party like a Lower College Society Party!
Mr Dominic Nelder
Upper College Society
The Upper College Society (UCS) returned to face-to-face meetings after two years of virtual gatherings. This year began with Bryan Luo’s beautiful piano playing followed by Finlay Hurst presenting on patterns in water. Sophie Fowler explained the workings of the lung, drawing upon a model she had made! Molly Krauer ended the evening with a talk on ectogenesis, exploring the exciting development of out-of- womb babies, as well as tackling its ethical implications on abortions. Quizmaster William Hall enlivened the evening with brain-teasing quizzes.
We ended the Autumn Term by examining how law courts are organised, with students enacting a mock trial investigating the fictional shooting of a criminal by the owner of a corner shop. Legally trained Mr Adam Kydd acted as our judge. Catherine Gedney and Conor Calvert were lawyers for the defence and Sophia Vivian and Freddie O’Neill were lawyers for the prosecution. The defendant, shop owner Fin Wellstead, was found guilty following testimony from the victim’s girlfriend Duniya Banda.
In the Spring Term, UCS paired up with the Investment Society to hold a financial evening. John Gulland and Jasper Chiang gave society members virtual money and challenged them to invest it wisely when confronted with different scenarios such as war and the pandemic. The winning team received actual cash prizes!
The Society then turned its attention to questions of culture, examining author Jordan Peterson’s critique of wokeism. Putting aside his own views and acting as devil’s advocate, Rory Maddinson brilliantly summarised Peterson’s position. Minette Tombleson and Tessa Wright countered, questioning Peterson’s emphasis on the individual and the ‘reality’ of gender. At the end, the audience got the chance to interrogate our panellists, leading to a heated debate that came to focus on Bill C-16 – an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
To wrap up our informative and enjoyable year, we held the international evening. Harry Dawson began the evening by introducing the rise of nationalism. Elliot Donnellan-Pasos examined the challenges and opportunities of his home country Mexico. Katariina Visnap examined her home country Estonia’s struggle for national independence. Finally, Pan Vongsurakrai gave a fascinating summary of the culture and political situation in Thailand.
We are very grateful for the help of our Vice Presidents Bryan Luo, William Hall and Jasper Chiang and for all those who helped lead events. Dr Adrian Samuel is often sidelined, but all of these amazing experiences would not have been possible without his organisation and our weekly Saturday meetings!
Oleander Hall and Hoochang Yi, Presidents of Upper College Society
Ms Jo Millar, Head of Art
The standard of work, and the brave curiosity of our pupils and staff, continue to define the Art Department as a hub of individuality and independent thought self-evident in the work produced.
With the gradual lifting of social restrictions, we were able to take exam groups to galleries for inspiration and experience. This year we visited the Pitt Rivers Museum (Fifth Form), Cardiff Museum (Fourth Form) and Ashmolean and Anish Kapoor at the Oxford Modern Art Museum (Upper College). It is always our aim to offer a wide range of visual experiences to our pupils in order to stimulate and develop their individual progress, understanding of the world and their place within it. I am grateful to Avani Singhania, Upper Sixth, who facilitated an online seminar for Lower Sixth Sculpture students with Ela Mukherjee from India, on her practice and social activism. We have also had online workshops with UAL which have become an annual engagement.
As this year draws to a close, we congratulate the following A Level students who will continue their arts studies at further and higher levels: Laura Wang will study Fine Art foundation at the University of the Arts London; Georgia Turner is destined for Brighton School of Art for Sculpture; Avani Singhania has decided upon Fine Art at Parsons in New York; Grace Emery and Annie Carter will take Art foundation courses at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Leeds respectively; and Tessa Wright will study History of Art at the University of Manchester. We wish them luck and much enjoyment of their continued engagement in creativity.
Mrs Zoe La Valette-Cooper, Acting Head of Business
It has been a busy year. The Lower Sixth C-Tech students went to the David Lloyd Health Club in Brockworth, to see the business for themselves as they were writing their first piece of coursework based on the customer services there. This brought the work to life and enabled them to use their first-hand knowledge. Impressively, almost all the students earned a distinction for this piece of work. For Lower Sixth Enrichment Week, we took a group of students to Weston’s Cider for a tour and presentation about their business, with a chance for Q&As.
The Mini MBA has run again this year, with students from All Saints’ Academy, Cheltenham also participating. This culminated in a Dragon’s Den style competition, the finals of which took place at the Spirex Sarco offices in Cheltenham. The successful winners were Moses Skinner and Ismael Blanca Lahrech.
We are sad to be saying goodbye to Mr Jonathan Mace and Mr Todd Freedman, who have contributed an enormous amount of expertise and energy to the Business Department. They will both be greatly missed. For a more fullsome farewell, please see the Valete section. We do however, welcome back Mrs Holly Brooke as Head of Department following her maternity leave.
Mr Tom Lambert, Head of Classics
The Department is delighted to be sending Petra Azazoglu off to read Classics and French at the University of Oxford, Emma Donaldson to read Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the University of Edinburgh, and Hasan Ismail to read Ancient History at the University of Leeds.
In September, we welcomed Mr Harry Johnson to the Classics Department, bringing several years of experience teaching Classical Civilisation and other subjects. Mr Johnson is also a keen cricketer and rugby player, and the Assistant Housemaster of Boyne House. We also welcomed back former Head of Classics and Leconfield Housemaster Mr Charles Wright, who re-joined us for a fourth stint at the school – surely approaching some sort of record in the process! We also welcomed our second cohort of 16 pupils from four local state schools to prepare for GCSE Latin.
Trips beyond the school gates included a trip to Oxford for our Sixth Form, looking around three Oxford Colleges and spending considerable time in the Ashmolean Museum, including the chance to study artefacts included in their A Level courses. Students also enjoyed a memorable lecture on Olympia by Professor Judy Barringer (University of Edinburgh) at Dean Close School, in which an inadvertent locked gate necessitated a more than usual intrepid incursion onto our neighbour’s territory. As Helen did at Troy, so Mr Wright played his part at the Kenyon Pavilion.
In January, our two top sets in Third Form completed the Level 1 Certificate in Classical Greek, with 27 pupils gaining the qualification, including an impressive eight distinctions. Special congratulations to Emily Grant and Lily Ropner whose scores placed them in the top 1% of entrants nationally.
Mr Nick Nelson is leaving our Classical Civilisation teaching team this coming year after nine years of dynamic teaching. We wish him every continued success at College in his expanding role in the Development Office. We also bid farewell to Mrs Tammy Penny. Mrs Penny has taught Classics in College for nine years, inspiring huge numbers of pupils – Third Form, in particular – to pursue Classical Civilisation with her interactive approach and dedication to helping pupils improve. We wish her every future success as she takes over the Department at Pangbourne College.
Design and Technology
Resistant Materials Mr David Lait, Head of Design and Technology Resistant Materials
It has been another constructive year in DT RM, not least with the completion of A Level projects, including a BBQ table, portable wardrobe and a batter mixer for the Norwood Fish Bar. Moreover, completion of the GCSE ‘proof of concept’ projects has been cause for celebration, with themes ranging from ‘Helping people with Neurodiversity’ and ‘Improving the experience when visiting a town centre.’
Another highlight of this academic year was the successful DT exhibition hosted in our recently improved exhibition space. Another memorable event involved demonstrating our CAD/CAM equipment with 3D printed monsters and laser cut spirographs being produced as visitors watched. The DT RM Department also hosted the DT Rugby group meeting, with highlights including discussions on ‘The Future for DT in schools’ and demonstrations of 3D scanning equipment.
Mrs Kirstie Naish, Head of Textiles
This year has seen huge successes from our GCSE pupils, who have created some stunning garments and products that promote a visit to a theme park, encourage people to visit town centres or support people with neurodiversity. The outcomes were vast and included a wide range of materials, techniques and components, fully utilising our laser cutting machine, CAD/CAM digital embroidery machine and printing equipment.
A Level students have produced some superb work, which was highly commended by this year’s visiting moderator and chief examiner for the exam board. We have seen streetwear inspired garments, ball gowns with moulded 3D printed flowers that have been spray painted and covered in ornate beading, a needle felted corset that includes LED lights, a bodice formed by using mod rock and then casting in plastic and many more unique and extremely creative themes and outcomes.
At the end of the year we celebrated with an exhibition that showcased all the GCSE and A Level candidates’ work. This was attended by parents and pupils on Speech Day.
Hannah Gill Willa Cook
We have been fortunate to be able to return to visit the luxury leather brand Mulberry and their workshops in Somerset. Both our A Level Fashion and Textile groups were delighted to be offered to participate in workshops in leather mending and colour matching as well as personalising and stitching their own leather wristband. Pupils were inspired and in awe of the high quality craftsmanship.
Four pupils from GCSE and A Level, Sky Jamieson, Hanna Gill, Willa Cook and Fifi Russell, were fortunate to secure a place on the Thread Counts three-day workshop led by the Cheltenham Education Partnership. The focus was on sustainability in fashion and pupils discussed fast fashion and its impact on the planet. They went onto design and upcycle their school shirts in to innovative and skillful new garments. This event then led to the Lower Sixth following a similar project in College and their work was exhibited at the end of year exhibition.
Lower Sixth A Level students were taken to Graduate Fashion Week where they could experience catwalk shows, view the latest graduate fashion collections, speak to university representatives and most exciting of all they got to hear a talk from the fashion icon Jimmy Choo. These experiences have significantly supported their confidence in their future career choices and ideas for their current design project.
Miss Stephanie Burns, Head of Economics
This year the Economics Department introduced a new elective course; the CISI Fundamentals of Financial Services Qualification. This elective gave students an opportunity to gain an entry level qualification into the world of financial services. The CISI (Chartered Institute of Securities & Investments) is a global professional body who provide training and qualifications for the financial services industry. The qualification our students worked towards is an important first step in developing the essential basic knowledge required for working in financial services. They learned about commonly used financial products, such as shares, bonds, derivatives, and insurance. Additionally, learning maths skills enabled them to compare the equivalent annual rate of interest with any quoted rate when borrowing money, assess the impact of leverage on equity owners, and calculate both bond and dividend yields. This qualification should enhance their UCAS personal statements, contribute to UCAS points and assist with work experience applications.
Mr Andrew Straiton, Head of English
Dr Luke Davidson’s beloved Lit Soc has continued to enthrall and inspire. This year it has opened its reach to attendees from other schools in the education partnership. Staff and pupils have been treated to exploring ‘Experimental poetry in the early 20C: The impact of Dada and the Oulipo Group’ and ‘Dystopian dialects: how dystopian writers have confronted the challenge of creating a language of the future’. Guest speakers have included Miss Grainne Linehan on the poetry of Pádraig Piairais, Mr Jonathan Mace on Middlemarch and Mr Paul Hayes on Slam Poetry. Dr D has also offered soirees on what makes Jane Austen so good, the short story and practical criticism. What a feast!
In October, we were delighted to hear that Lori Bezuhanova gained first prize in the 11-16 category of the National Poetry of Science competition for her poem ‘The Life Cycle of a Star’ which she performed at the prizegiving at Oxford Town Hall as part of the Oxford Science and Ideas Festival. Many thanks to Miss Helen Davies for supporting Lori’s poetic endeavours!
In the Spring Term, Johnny Cheung was the deserving winner of the Third Form Poetry Recitation competition, with his excellent performance of ‘A Poem for the Swallows’ by Bai Juyi, (772-846AD) of the Tang Dynasty. Happily, this clinched him the Hanham Clark Reading Prize at Speech Day.
In May, College hosted a public speaking competition for GCSE pupils from All Saints’ Academy and College. A highly enjoyable event ensued, covering topics as wide ranging as Cooper’s Hill cheese rolling, the rising cost of living, veganism and maple syrup. The Westal team of Carys Bradford, Ademide Obagun and Ngonidzashe Mudange were declared winners with their talk on colourism. For giving an outstanding insight into racism and stepping into place at last minute, Carys was the star of the show.
In June, Mr Andrew Straiton and a clutch of students planning on pursuing English related degrees enjoyed a fabulous day out in Stratford-upon-Avon to watch Richard III and explore the Shakespeare Institute Library.
We are hugely grateful to the fabulous Mrs Kate Dodds for bringing the Department into the 21st Century by launching Cheltenham College English on Instagram. There we have celebrated features as diverse as Third Form’s war poems to Word Wednesday and a gratuitous leap via Dicken’s to National Pie Week. Can you guess it? If not, have a look on our Insta: cheltcolenglish.
Finally, we are very sorry to be saying goodbye to Miss Claire Rowland, who is leaving us after nine years to embark on her exciting floristry career. For a fuller thank you and farewell, please see the Valete section. We are hugely grateful to Mr Andrew Straiton for steering the good ship English with such a steady and good humoured hand for the past five years. We wish him all the very best as he moves on from Head of English to take up his exciting new position as Housemaster of Boyne House.
Mr Fraser Dobney, Head of Geography
Geography continues to be a hugely popular subject and the Department has enjoyed another very successful year. Our aim is always to engender pupils with a genuine interest in the world around them and in learning about the great variety of people, places, environments, and global issues that they are likely to encounter in the 21st Century, with the hope that they could, one day, be involved in trying to find a solution to them!
Numbers opting for the IGCSE course are strong and we have good numbers continuing their studies at A Level at a time when other schools are struggling to attract students to study the subject. We were also proud to see several of our Upper Sixth Geographers gain places at some top Russell Group universities, including Durham, Exeter, Bristol, and Leeds.
Having endured the disruption that was brought by the pandemic, it was great to get our young Geographers out of the classroom and into the field to conduct some fieldwork investigations. As everyone knows, it never rains on a Geography field trip…and this was true for this year! During the Spring Term we took our Third Form to Bristol for the day to investigate to what extent Bristol was a global city of the past and is a global city of the future, where we investigated its trade links as well as its sustainability credentials. This included a boat tour through the centre of the city, a tour around an eco-home, a visit to the M Shed museum and an investigation into the number of independent shops compared to chain stores.
Despite the trip almost being derailed by a ‘crayfish plague’ and collapsed roads we just about managed to take our Fourth Form to the Forest of Dean to undertake some river fieldwork and investigate to what extent the Blackpool Brook conforms to the Bradshaw model. Later, our Lower Sixth Geographers enjoyed trips to Sand Bay to investigate the factors that influence our coastal landscape systems and a trip to Birmingham to investigate the factors that influence place making processes.
Both trips equipped them with the skills they required to complete their independent investigation during our residential trip to Nettlecombe Court, run by the Field Studies Council, where students completed investigations on how land use influences the carbon content of our soils, how many trees are needed to offset Cheltenham College’s carbon footprint and to what extent humans have influenced the coastal system at Porlock. It has been an absolute pleasure in taking our pupils out to all these areas and hopefully they will talk about these trips for years to come.
It has been pleasing to see The Bingen Society became more student-led this year, with a group of passionate geographers taking control of the organisation of most of the events with the support of Miss Emily Hartley. This year, we have had student presentations on topics such as ‘Prisoners of Geography’ – a look at the geopolitics of the world and the future changes we may be able to experience, ‘Japan: A Country of the Future, ‘The Geopolitics of the Peloponnese – a lesson in history and how this can be applied to modern Geography, Elian Jorand giving a talk on his walk through the Al-Hajar Mountains of Oman and Sophie Iles giving a talk about her interest in regenerative agriculture.
We were also lucky to have Professor Danny Dorling talk to us and other local schools as part of the Cheltenham Education Partnership about his book Peak Inequality where he talked about the key inequality issues affecting us today including politics, housing, education and health and the attempts being made to defuse this ticking time bomb while simultaneously trying to negotiate Brexit and react to the wider international situation of a world of people demanding to become more equal.
After 11 years, we say goodbye to Mr Richard Penny who is taking up the role of Deputy Head Pastoral at Bradfield College. He leaves behind a great legacy and has set the standard to which so many of us aspire. We will miss him greatly and we wish him, Tammy, Jemima, and Jasper all the very best with their new adventure together. For a more fulsome farewell, please see the valete section.
Miss Jo Doidge-Harrison, Head of History
We were thrilled with incredibly high performance from the 2021 Upper Sixth in their eventual confirmed TAGs. These pupils were a very special group of focused, curious and competitive individuals, who also worked cohesively together in highly productive and not to mention humorous groups. Following the travels and travails of some of them this year as they have ‘gone to the source’ in the highlands of Vietnam has been a joy and an education in itself.
The Morley Society was as ever extremely active, led by the History and Politics dynamo that is Ned Scudamore, supported by his vice, Leo Jamous, with philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau an ever-present ‘transfer’ from TPE, thanks to Hoochang Yi. From the Meiji Restoration to Alexandra Kollontai ‘outsmarting Stalin’, historians have showed off their breadth, and the ever-greater presence and intermingling of politicians alongside them this year in the Society was a great boon.
The annual Dinner was not entirely free of Covid-collateral, but students were unbowed, and even though a frustrated Clinton found himself in isolation, the fancy dress from King John (Harry Huggett) to Johnny Torrio (Mr Jonny Bass) was as exuberant (and clever) as ever.
We celebrate Rory Maddinson taking up his History scholarship at the University of British Columbia, and Katariina Visnap, our HMC scholar, winning an extremely high A*: their Morley ties were richly deserved, and their company in many one-to-ones much enjoyed, not least in analysing ‘the sound and fury’ of debate that has consumed our textbooks on the Middle East.
History of Art
Mr Nick Nelson, Head of History of Art
This year we started the relatively newly conceived Pearson Edexcel History of Art A Level with the current Lower Sixth, exploring the twin themes of identities and war alongside the Renaissance and Baroque periods in the history of art.
In May we took a trip to the Tate Britain and Imperial War Museum in London. Our students delivered pre-prepared presentations in front of specific works from the syllabus including Deller’s controversial sculpture of a bombed car from the Iraq War. Other trips this academic year have included the Futures Week trip to Oxford’s Ashmolean and Museum of Modern Art, and an Art History and Art & Design Higher Education Conference and Fair in London. History of Art has been the basis for successful applications for cultural travel as part of successful Cheltonian Endowment Trust Travel Awards for Maximus Thompson and Joe Blanchfield to Barcelona and environs to discover Dali and experience Gaudi.
Opportunities have also been taken to collaborate with other schools, such as a joint Art History Society event with Cheltenham Ladies’ College (CLC) in which the Lower Sixth presented on their personal projects on self-selected artworks, adjudicated by Dr Lee Beard, Head of History of Art at CLC. The Department also hosted The Prep History Club from Years 5 to 8 for them to learn about the power of the portrait from Constantine to Kardashian.
Modern Foreign Languages
Mr Keri Price, Head of Modern Foreign Languages
It has been another full and busy year. In November, Mr James Coull organised a superb MFL debating event at College, hosting debating teams from Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Malvern College, Pate’s Grammar School and Bradfield College competing against each other and our own teams from College in French, German and Spanish. Overall winners of the Spanish competition were the Upper Sixth College team (Sofia Capelastegui and Tom Wackett). Mr Coull also took two French Debating teams to compete at the Joutes Oratoires event at Marlborough College.
In addition to competitions, the Department has put on fun and informative events for pupils. MFL Society has seen Crepe and Kahoot!, wine tasting and Try a New Language night. MFL Society was also the setting for a fascinating talk from the GCHQ language outreach team on careers in languages attended by pupils from all year groups. Sixteen pupils have also been awarded their MFL ties this year, which require significant engagement beyond the classroom in matters MFL.
Izzy Crewe-Read submitted a creative essay to a German essay competition organised by the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst for the theme ‘Zusammen – Together Across Cultures.’Her entry has been selected by the jury, made up of many university lecturers/professors and she has been invited to attend a special event at the German Embassy this coming year.
Remaining on the topic of pupil achievements, Ms Ana Lopez Reyes organised our entries to the UK Linguistics Olympiad National Competition which took place at College. It is a national competition similar to the Maths challenge, testing pupils from across the country on their linguistic ability. Kelly Ting and Ismael Blanca Lahrech both won a Bronze award. We are delighted that Petra Azazoglu has been offered a place to study Classics and French at the University of Oxford.
Dr Brendan Enright, Head of Mathematics
The Department continues to enjoy success in national Mathematical competitions. Every year we enter the UKMT challenges; these papers are designed to test not only mathematical skills and knowledge but also ingenuity. At the senior level, 47 pupils received certificates for creditable performance, this is our best ever haul. Ten pupils (another record) gained Gold certificates for being placed in the top 6% nationally. Top place in Lower Sixth was achieved by Emily Lin and top in Upper Sixth was John Gulland. At the very top, even though she is only in Fifth Form, was Alexa Xiao, a truly amazing result. At the intermediate level, a total of 78 pupils achieved recognition with the award of certificates. The number of Gold awards this year was excellent, at 20, our second best ever. Particular credit and congratulations must go to Ann Wang jointly with Isabel Churchfield, Tor Allan and Alexa Xiao, who were placed first in their year groups with scores which put them in the top one quarter of a percent nationally. Twenty-nine of these pupils were also invited to compete in the follow up rounds in which they did very well indeed. Subsequently, Alexa was invited to The Queen’s College, Oxford to take part in the prestigious UKMT summer school.
The College Mathematics Society, now in its fifteenth year, is going extremely well, with talks from pupils, members of staff and external speakers. The highlight of the pupil presentations were the many talks given by Bryan Luo. In particular, his talk on dimensions was superb. I would like to thank Jessica Pulford for her leadership of the Society over the last year and I would like to congratulate her on gaining a place to read Mathematics at the University of Oxford.
Mr Shaun Pirttijarvi, Head of Academic Music
It was wonderful to be able to get back to some trips which were very well-subscribed. Pupils enjoyed Heathers at New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, Waitress at the Bristol Hippodrome and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. Lower Sixth also got to see No Time to Die at the cinema while Upper Sixth focused on an A Level film music workshop at Dean Close School.
The newly upgraded iMac suite in the Music Department has allowed for much more ambitious music technology lessons. Third Form learned how to create eight-bit sound effects in Logic Pro that closely resemble those in a 1980s Nintendo Entertainment System. They had fun composing their own sound effects for the first level of Super Mario Bros.
The Department was proud to announce the establishment of our Academic Music society; the Collier Society. One of the first responsibilities of the president is to name the society for the year. This year’s inaugural president, Annie Finan granted this particular honour to contemporary English musician, Jacob Collier. With growing numbers from across year groups, pupils presented on a variety of topics including, of course, Jacob Collier!
Annie Finan won the Cheltenham Education Partnership inaugural Carducci Composition Competition with her string quartet. This was workshopped and performed by the renowned Carducci String Quartet.
Sadly, we must say farewell to our Upper Sixth: Annie Finan, Oscar Chan and Victoria Hung. Thanks must go to them for their energy and enthusiasm as musical leaders in College, and for founding the Collier Society.
Mrs Alexandra Eldred, Head of Politics
It was good to get the Morley Society up and running in person after a year or more of online and hybrid meetings. It returned as popular as ever with the Upper Sixth driving the enthusiasm. Each meeting had a ‘stonking’ audience (to borrow one of the Prime Minister’s favourite words). President Ned Scudamore and Minister of Strategy and Propaganda George Tomblin spoke at most meetings and their talks all had a distinctly political flavour: Ned spoke on Anthony Giddens’ book The Third Way as well as on past presidents of the USA, George hosted some amusing and excellent quizzes and even proposed why he would be a good candidate for the presidency of the United States. The focus on current political events and political ideology in this year’s talks marks a shift in tone for the Society.
It was nice to be able to hold March’s Morley Dinner live in person in TLG after having to hold it online during the pandemic. The last game of the Six Nations was happening at the same time, so we had a screen at the back of TLG to make sure no one missed out on the action. There were some excellent fancy dress of figures historical and political including some of Henry VIII’s wives, Cold War fighter pilots, Boris Johnson, Conservative backbenchers, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, the Pope, Marilyn Monroe, 1960s hippies, Al Capone, Miss D-H (Hoochang Yi) and Mr Chris Reid (Toby Emerson), Rosie the Riveter, Eleanor Roosevelt and many more.
Mr Reid is ‘leaving’ the Department, but not College. His are very big shoes to fill both in terms of his presence and his knowledge, and the Department is incredibly grateful for everything that he has done for the subject and the pupils. In particular, in recent years he has stepped in when Covid and other reasons have led to staff absence. I literally wouldn’t have been able to deliver the course without him. We welcomed Mr Dominic Nelder and we welcome Mrs Sarah Dawson this coming year.
Dr Tricia Norman, Head of Psychology
This was a year of growth for the Psychology Department as we moved from two to three sets in Lower Sixth and welcomed a new member of teaching staff, Miss Rachael McGirr, to College. Lower Sixth studied a range of introductory topics, including the history of psychology, how important their early attachment bonds are and how these affect later friendships and relationships; explanations and treatments of phobias, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder; and explanations of conformity, obedience, resistance and how minorities can lead to change within society.
In lieu of a photo of the students this year, I have included a copy of an amusing poster created by some of the Lower Sixth who were tasked with using features that allow a minority to influence change, to encourage students to come into College and revise on Christmas Day! This is reflective of the varied and practical learning and teaching within the Department.
Students have found themselves as participants in research and have also had a variety of opportunities to collect and analyse their own data. Students are also expected to contribute to small group class presentations as they are encouraged to develop lifelong independent learning skills. Upper Sixth have studied topics ranging from memory, biopsychology, explanations and treatments for schizophrenia, to causes of aggression and the formation and breakdown of relationships. They have been resilient in the face of adversity and approached the first public exams that they will have sat at college, with drive and determination.
Our thriving student-led Psychology Society met half-termly and we had some fantastic in-house talks from Sophia Tweedie and Honor Hardie on the CIA’s most unethical psychological experiments; Molly Wilkey and Georgina Raphael with the influence of television on children; and Edie Doherty on nature vs nurture: three identical strangers the true story of triplets separated at birth. These talks afford students the opportunity to share their passion for Psychology topics beyond the course and I am always impressed at the quality of the talks they produce.
We say goodbye to our Upper Sixth students, a number of whom are going onto University to study Psychology or related degrees and we are delighted to have shared our passion for the subject and enthused so many of them to continue their studies beyond A Level. We wish all our Psychology cohort the very best for the future.
Dr Jamie Copeland-Jordan, Head of Science
The Science Department is never a quiet place. There is always the hum of excitement, discovery and enjoyment throughout the building. The Science Society has been busier than ever, providing College with a rich series of events and pupil talks throughout the year. Oleander Hall and Renee Cheung have acted as co-presidents this year. Their passion for science has shone through at every event and indeed every day they are in the Department. Under their leadership the society has grown to the biggest society at College. Nicole Sze and Luke Richardson are to take over from Oleander and Renee as president and vice president respectively.
This year we saw the creation of the Astronomical Society, headed by Ronald Tse as the inaugural society president.
Our Third Form robotics workshop continued to go from strength to under the leadership of Miss Tegen Lochhead. Mrs Lucy O’Malley has led our Third Form cross curricular weeks this year.
In the second year of the initiative Third Form pupils studied life on Antarctica, life on a roller-coaster and life on Mars. Each theme explores how science is interdisciplinary and how the individual subjects work together.
We have had a fantastic year of educational talks from a great number of outside speakers: Dr Jim Ropner gave an informative talk covering medical ethics; Dr Mark Crowther took time out of his day to discuss orthopaedic surgery, bringing in all manner of materials and devices used in modern surgery; Dr Abigail Tomlins gave a warts and all overview of general surgery at Cheltenham General Hospital; our aspiring vets had the opportunity to listen to a talk by Dr Rebecca Maddinson about her work in the field of veterinary medicine; at the more theoretical end of things, Dr Tom Crawford spoke about the millennium problems in Mathematics, while Dr Vincent Smith spoke to both Lower and Upper College separately on the topics of ‘What time is it on Mars?’ and ‘Wave-particle duality’.
We congratulate Sophie Fowler, Molly Krauer and Elliot Donnellan-Pasos who are off to study medicine at the universities of Cardiff, Leicester and St. Andrews, respectively and to Bill Ko for his offer from Imperial College London to read Engineering.
Mr Jonathan Thomas, Head of Biology
After a superb inaugural edition last year, the new Lower Sixth editorial team (led by Lily Crowther), has published the 2022 edition of Discovery magazine, our in-house Biology annual. Named in commemoration of OC Edward Adrian Wilson’s (Day Boy, 1891), Discovery expedition with Scott and Shackleton, 1901-1904, this year’s edition contains some outstanding articles, exploring issues as wide ranging as bioluminescence, future pandemics, gene therapy and bioelectricity.
This year’s edition also boasts some magnificent student biological drawings, in honour of the 150-year commemoration of Wilson’s birth, who himself was an ornithologist, natural historian and artist.
One hundred and fifty or so Biologists across College took part in various Royal Society of Biology competitions this year.
A special congratulations goes to Sophie Fowler (Best in College), Oleander Hall and Geena Capps who scored Gold in the most demanding of these – the Biology Olympiad – placing them in the top 5% of 10,000 pupils from more than 700 schools worldwide who took part. Serena Zhang was awarded Best in College for her entry to the Nancy Rothwell Biological drawing competition, a beautiful hand drawn anatomy of a horse. Luke Richardson was awarded Best in College for his three entries, entitled ‘Packed lunch’, ‘Pathways of the past’ and ‘Summer heat,’ to the Biology photography competition.
The Third Form applied their theoretical knowledge of both plant biology and the nature of science with a plant growth competition taking place over the summer.
The Fourth Form finished the year with an exploration of the human brain in the newly instituted Brain Week to stretch them beyond the confines of the IGCSE syllabus.
The Lower Sixth enjoyed the ecology field day in the stunning ancient woodland of Bishops Wood, where they gained first-hand experience of sampling techniques and statistical analysis.
There is much excitement building about next summer’s Biology field trip to Costa Rica, led by Mrs O’Malley, to develop these skills in a richer, more biodiverse, ecosystem.
Dr Jamie Copeland-Jordan,Head of Science and Head of Chemistry
Chemistry at College is stronger than ever. With a full programme of events both internal and external, it has been a vibrant and exciting time to be part of the Department.
We had great success in the 2022 C3L6 (Cambridge Chemistry Challenge) competition. Emily Lin, Luke Richardson, Geena Capps, Hilbert Liu, Anson Wong, Cameron Harris, Sam Zhao and Ismael Blanca Lahrech all achieved Gold Awards. Adrian Ng, Bryan Luo, Henry Hiscock, Melody Lam, Joseph Coley, Serena Zhang, Peter N, Joseph Tagg, Aidan Portch and Mahony Knight were all awarded Silver awards. Eleven Copper Awards were also awarded.
We have celebrated one of our most successful years in the Chemistry Olympiad. Emily Lin achieved a Gold (for the second year running), Luke Richardson and Geena Capps both achieved Silver, and a handful of Bronze awards were also awarded. These students’ achievements are of particular note since they are all in the Lower Sixth participating in an Upper Sixth Competition.
The Chemistry Spectacular returned to Big C in its most ambitious format. New reactions were developed and new equipment was built to ensure highly dangerous experiments could be performed safely. The most impressive reactions were the reaction of NaK alloy with water, caesium with water and a curious reaction we stumbled upon accidentally, setting fire to water with molten iron generated by the thermite reaction. We have taken our Chemistry lecture ‘on the road’ to local prep schools and primaries, including, The Downs School, Rowanfield Junior School, Twyford Prep School and St Hughes School.
The Chemistry Department took advantage of the return of Futures Week. The budding chemists and chemical engineers travelled to Chemring Countermeasures in Salisbury to see how we protect ourselves from heat-seeking and radar-controlled missiles. Live demonstrations of countermeasures being released were performed.
We are saying goodbye to Mr Dhiren De Silva who joined the Department in December 2020. Dr De Silva is off to pastures new and a change in direction as he enters the world of software engineering. We wish him the very best for the future.
We are very grateful for the hard work of our technicians, too, and sadly we are saying goodbye to Mr Al Hannam who joined us in September 2021 as a Chemistry Technician. Al is taking up a PhD position at Queen Mary University of London.
We are also saying goodbye to Mrs Elaine Terera who has been with us throughout the pandemic in all its ups and downs and to Dr Alison Gregory who has been with us for four years; Alison has taken up a position as a technician at Bournside School. We are welcoming Mr Thomas Watson to College as our new Chemistry teacher, joining us from Harrow International School, Bangkok.
Watch this space as the coming academic year proves to be even more explosive than the last!
Mr Robin Eddie, Head of Physics
It has been another busy year in the Physics Department. We have been fortunate to have had visiting speakers address the pupils. Dr Vincent Smith came in from the University of Bristol to deliver two lectures: one was a Lower College lecture titled ‘What time is it on Mars?’ and the other was an Upper College lecture titled ‘Wave- particle duality.’ Away from the theoretical end of Physics, during Futures Week the Bloodhound Land Speed Record project came to deliver a workshop for those applying for Engineering.
Physics pupils have also had chances to shine beyond the classroom. All Lower Sixth pupils were entered for the physics Olympiad with Emily Lin and Sam Zhao attaining a Gold award, with Silver awards going to Geena Capps, Ismael Blanca Lahrech and Richard Teng.
Pupils have also taken the initiative to deepen their curiosity in all things Physics. Ronald Tse has launched and ran the College Astronomy Society, delivering talks on star gazing and the workings of telescopes. Ronald has also run several star gazing evenings which were particularly well attended.
Mrs Sian McBride, Director of Drama
Despite the restrictions Covid placed on theatre going, we continued to run a full programme of theatre trips. We have seen musicals; Heathers, Come From Away and Blood Brothers, a striking ensemble piece; The Ballad of Maria Marten and a creative adaptation at the Old Vic, A Monster Calls. The highlight was undoubtedly Dial M for Murder, when pupils were given a unique opportunity to meet and talk to the cast members Tom Chambers and Diana Vickers. We were also fortunate enough to welcome leading West End performer Sophie Isaacs who has starred in Six and Heathers, to name but a few. She led a group of pupils in a dance and acting workshop.
Both A Level and GCSE pupils have excelled themselves producing innovative and exciting practical pieces. The A Level group took on the challenge of adapting both Greek and contemporary texts using the practitioner and theatre director Katie Mitchell as inspiration.
Theology, Philosophy and Ethics
Dr Matthew Harris, Head of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics
It has been another busy year in the TPE Department in and out of the classroom. For TPE Society we have been fortunate to have pupils leading talks on everything from Schopenhauer, to ‘Discordianism’, and ‘Ethics and Artificial Intelligence’; it has been pleasing that pupils from across the year-groups have attended, taking a leading role, and participated. In addition, we had Dr Christopher Wojtulewicz visit from the Anscombe Centre for Bioethics in Oxford to address pupils on the topic of euthanasia.
In March pupils from Cheltenham Education Partnership schools participated in a conference on the subject of ‘Crime, Punishment, and Prisons’ with the Right Reverend Rachel Treweek, Bishop of Gloucester. College’s Fifth Form and Lower Sixth TPE pupils attended the event, with Miranda Tromans and Freddie Greenfield participating in a debate on capital punishment with two pupils from All Saints’ Academy.
The Department is pleased that students have chosen to read Philosophy at university, with congratulations going to Hoochang Yi who will attend the University of St Andrews.
As a follow-up to last year’s mention of Reverend Dr Adrian Samuel’s achievement publishing the textbook for the Pearson Edexcel IGCSE Paper 1, he has now published the textbook for Paper 2. Moreover, Dr Matthew Harris has published the Course Companion to the Ethics component of the OCR Religious Studies A Level.