Big Bang Fair 2022

The Big Bang Fair was extremely fun and interesting – we had the opportunity to learn about different scientific industries and to participate in different activities. We also were able to collect many freebies, and my favourite one was the cube puzzle that we were challenged to make in less than two minutes.

We listened to a talk about inspiring careers, with the most interesting career being in Formula E. As well as this trip being fun, it taught us things that we did not know before. For example, I learnt about why people saw different colours on a picture.

The people at the fair were friendly, and answered all of our questions. There were many scientists and engineers who created prototypes for their projects and explained it to us. I also enjoyed the challenges- for example we had to find a scientist or an engineer and ask them a question to earn a sticker. If you collected three of them, you would have a chance to win a prize.

Overall, I enjoyed this trip massively!

Reeyan Iqbal (7W)

 

The Bridge – Issue 25

Focus on Education July 2022

I now know what an umbraphile is (and it’s not as bad as it sounds.) It took me approximately 7 seconds to discover. The Universe kindly delivered a beautiful full moon last week so I took to Wikipedia for something intelligent to say about it. A reference to umbraphile’s piqued my curiosity. Two clicks later, I learned they are lovers of shadows, eclipse chasers, folk who travel the world in order to witness the moments when the Sun, Moon and Earth align.

Two clicks. Seven seconds. Question answered. Had my teen-self encountered the same word 40 years ago, what would I have done? Dragged out the Encyclopedia Britannica? Unlikely, as those weighty volumes mostly did service as ramps for the Scalextric slot car track in our house. Or asked a teacher or parent? Equally unlikely, as the asking of unsolicited questions was certain to get you branded a nerd. Plus, the word sounds a bit dodgy, so the embarrassment alarms would have been sounding. The truth is, however intrigued I may have been in the instant that I saw this strange new word, my teenage curiosity would almost certainly have flitted elsewhere before an easily accessible answer came to hand.

Curiosity is often a flash of gold in a fast-moving river. Miss the moment to mine it and you are unlikely to find it again later. We are all born hard-wired to be curious; it’s how the species survives. Often though, ‘natural curiosity’ is used as in the pejorative. We tend to associate the term with children poking screwdrivers into electric sockets or asking awkward questions. What is worse, schools have done a pretty fair job of institutionally hammering the curiosity out of young people in the past few centuries.

Back to umbraphiles then. Two clicks, seven seconds and the answer to an idle, fleeting curiosity is now mine. Admittedly I am not likely to drop the word into daily conversation, but the itch in my brain was scratched and I learned something new.

And if I, an immigrant to the virtual world, am using the ubiquitous wealth of the web that way, imagine what the digital natives are doing. Our young people are growing up knowing that answers to their questions are often just a free wi-fi connection away. Yes, yes, we must teach them to be discerning about what they discover, to not be distracted by facile trivia, to always avoid the dark places on the Net. We should know what our children are accessing on social media and help them to understand the importance of using social media and the internet responsibly and intelligently. But just think; every time they have a fleeting curiosity about anything, they have an instant option to at least try and resolve it. They have just as many questions as we did at their age, but are much more likely to pursue them because answers are closer to hand.

By all means, we must keep talking and educating about digital safety in all forms. Let’s agree that schools must not be replaced by headphones and hard drives. Let’s insist that our children lift their heads from their screens occasionally and look up. But when they automatically ask Uncle Google a question, let’s celebrate. Because for all its ills, surely the internet is bringing our curiosity out of the shadows? We just need to ensure it does so safely, responsibly and intelligently – at all times.

Stay safe and well.

Be kind to yourself and each other.

Best wishes,

Dr Bird

Wellbeing Advice

Big Bang Fair

The Big Bang Fair was extremely fun and interesting – we had the opportunity to learn about different scientific industries and to participate in different activities. We also were able to collect many freebies, and my favourite one was the cube puzzle that we were challenged to make in less than two minutes.

We listened to a talk about inspiring careers, with the most interesting career being in Formula E. As well as this trip being fun, it taught us things that we did not know before. For example, I learnt about why people saw different colours on a picture.

The people at the fair were friendly, and answered all of our questions. There were many scientists and engineers who created prototypes for their projects and explained it to us. I also enjoyed the challenges- for example we had to find a scientist or an engineer and ask them a question to earn a sticker. If you collected three of them, you would have a chance to win a prize.

Overall, I enjoyed this trip massively!

Reeyan Iqbal (7W)

 

 

Whitemoor Lakes

On the 25th May 116 students from year 7 set off on their way to Whitemoor Lakes. The residential trip lasted three days and two nights. Being the first residential trip for many of the students, it was extremely enjoyable. The trip consisted of many different activities that most of the students have never done before. During the trip we learnt a great deal of things. Many of the activities relied on teamwork and since we were in groups within our forms, we knew our teammates quite well.

Activities

The trip consisted of two water activities; raft building and canoeing. During these activities we had to use teamwork. When building the raft, we had ropes tied on to the edge of three barrels. We had some people sitting on the barrels and two people on the opposite sides of the barrels tightening the rope. We had to work together to make sure the barrels were properly attached. When we went into the water on our raft many of us fell off. It took two people to lift someone back on to the raft. Although the water was quite shallow, most of us emerged extremely wet.

My favourite activity was canoeing although most people preferred ziplining. Each canoeing group consisted of 8 people excluding the instructor. One group would be sat in two canoes, connected by a wooden plank. On one canoe I was at the front and my friend was at the front of the other canoe. The person at the front had to make sure everyone was rowing coordinated. This activity was based on the fundamentals of teamwork. Since we were rowing so effectively, we picked up pace easily. At the end 1 person from each boat jumped off, and to our surprise Mr Khan walked across each canoe and jumped off!

Another two activities which were favoured by many of the students were ziplining and climbing. Not everyone particularly liked ziplining as they were afraid of heights. I am not fond of heights, but I managed to partake in all the activities. We also did rock climbing but the wall was not as tall as the ziplining tower. There were 4 different climbing walls; red, blue, green, and yellow. On each wall there would be one of the 4 colours and black. If you used the black and the coloured rocks, it was called rainbow climbing. The hardest wall to rainbow climb was the red. The instructor said the fastest time on it was 3 seconds. My fastest was 16 seconds. My friend, Carl was 14 seconds. The fastest was from Kaiden who got 12 seconds!

Overall, that was one of the best trips I have been on.

Muhammad Fiaz (7A)

 

 

 

Quotes from Students


“Whitemoor Lakes was one of the best trips I have been on. I had fun with my friends and there were so many activities to do there. You should definitely go.”

Amrit Bains (7A)

“The trip to Whitemoor Lakes was extremely fun. Every activity was joyful and interesting. It was the best trip I have ever been on.”

Yusuf Rasul (7A)


“Our visit to Whitemoor Lakes was excellent as it helped us gain trust in each other and there was a lot of teamwork as well.

Whitemoor Lakes was very good as it helped us with confidence building and challenged us to be brave and have trust in ourselves.”

Vinnay Balu (7G)

“Whitemoor Lakes was one of the best things I have experienced so far in year 7! It was very enjoyable and I made lots of memories while there. The activities included everything from team building to problem solving, helping us to work on our HGS CARES. I don’t think anything can compete with Whitemoor Lakes.”

Sarujan Kasinthan (7G)


“The things I liked the most in Whitemoor Lakes were canoeing, rock climbing and ziplining because they were all exhilarating and people were always cheering me on. We always acted as a team and won most of the challenges.”

Arjun Bagha (7H)

“At Whitemoor Lakes I enjoyed ziplining and high ropes as it tested my fear of heights. I managed to get to the top of both.  I liked canoeing the best because we played competitive games and everyone got soaked.”

Fahmi Mohammed (7H)


“I found this trip very exciting. Not just because the activities were fun but the teachers took part too!”

Edwin Fossey (7N)

“he trip was amazing! I made new friends from other forms. I really enjoyed the zipwire, abseiling, raft building and the sports activities.”

Ahmed Datoo (7N)


“When I first saw the timetable for Whitemoor Lakes, I knew it would be fun, but it was better than I though it would be. I did a lot of things I had never done before. The food was pretty good too.”

Abel Shaine (7W)

“Whitemoor Lakes was extremely fun as we got to participate in many activities. The most memorable ones for me are canoeing, raft building and zip wire. The food was lovely and I would love to go again.”

Reeyan Iqbal (7W)


 

Summer Concert

Focus on Education June 2022

In a statement issued as the Platinum Jubilee celebrations drew to a close, the Queen, said how she had been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship she had seen over during the four-day celebration.

The statement said: “When it comes to how to mark 70 years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee.

While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.

I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.

I thank you most sincerely for your good wishes and for the part you have all played in these happy celebrations.”

I was saying to some students the other day that I had no idea what the world would look like today when I was their age. That doesn’t mean I’m ancient (even if I may appear so in their eyes!); it’s simply a reflection of the pace of change in my lifetime so far, with technology very much at the heart of that revolution. The same can be said of the Queen but she has adapted to change which has given her longevity and relevance. This was evidenced over the weekend in all shapes and sizes.

‘Back in the day’, it may have been enough to get good grades to be assured of a place at a good university which would in turn lead to a good job. Many of you will know from the demands of your own professions that this is no longer the case and that some of the skills previously required in the workplace will increasingly be replaced by AI.

Many of today’s children will live into the 22nd century, needing to adapt to a world which will continue to evolve in all sorts of ways.

“A typical human being now lives significantly longer than the time between major innovations.  Nowadays young people entering the workforce can expect to see several major changes during their lifetime that will very likely disrupt the continuity of their careers.”

(Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson: ‘Harnessing the Digital Revolution’)

The list of skills and attributes required for success is very different from a few years ago. In schools we must prepare our children for tomorrow’s world, ignoring at our peril the importance of cognitive, creative and people skills.

Top 10 skills in 2020 (Future of Jobs Report, World Economic Forum):

  1. Complex problem-solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision-making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

Consider too this diagram:

We shall, of course, continue at HGS to aspire to academic excellence; we want our students to achieve as well as they can, relative to their abilities, keeping all their options open. But, when we talk about a holistic, well-rounded education and all the stuff that goes with it (development of curiosity, independent thought, oracy, creativity, resilience, teamwork, leadership, character, empathy, responsibility), we do so not just because we think it makes our children better people. It’s not an optional extra: we believe with a passion that these are essential ingredients for future success and happiness. As the Queen said: “we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.” Confidence, enthusiasm, kindness and being a force for good are all important ingredients to success and they are attributes that all HGS students should aspire to. Whether one believes in a Monarchy or not or indeed whether one enjoys seeing Rod Stewart ruining a classic anthem live on BBC One, a fine example has been set for us all by the Queen over the past 70 years.

Stay well and safe.

Be kind to yourself and others.

Best wishes,

Dr Bird