On Wednesday 11th October, 36 textiles students and 3 teachers travelled to the Textiles exhibition at Alexandra Palace, London. We all arrived with our shopping list for future projects and we were not disappointed by the wide selection of fabrics, decorative textile components, wools, sewing machines and patterns. In fact there were 400 stalls for us to view and collect ideas.
Once we had purchased our fabrics, we visited the exhibitions from 20 professional textiles artists, which this year included a collection of unique designer handbags embellished by a leading embroidery company “Hand and Lock”. The work by graduate students and their sketch books allowed us to see the amount of work involved in textile degree courses. Some of the work was amazing.
We viewed the latest trends in knitwear on the fashion stage and were able to develop a wide range of skills via the expert tuition available on stalls. Some of us tried to learn to knit but need a bit more practice before we can start knitting a jumper! We had a great day and collected lots of ideas for future projects.
On Friday the 29th of September the Year 12 Government and Politics students visited the Houses of Parliament. The trip allowed students to bring our studies to life and fleetingly experience what we have been learning in one of our A Level units about the British constitution and the powers of Parliament.
After a short train journey we arrived at Westminster, greeted by the familiar buildings we’ve seen on the news (and in textbooks!). We were then given some time in small groups to explore, eat and compete in a challenge of which group could take the most (and to some extent funny) photos and tweet them to the politics department on twitter (@PresdalesPols). Through this light-hearted challenge, we got to visit a variety of sights, including Downing Street, Big Ben, the Supreme Court and multiple offices such as the Cabinet Office.
After posing with an assortment of notable individuals (unfortunately in statue form) we reconvened to be given a tour around the Houses of Parliament. We were able to view the two different chambers, along with the Queen’s robing room, the lobbies and more. In doing so, we were quizzed on our knowledge from class along with learning more about the history of Parliament and the different duties of the Houses. Following our tours, we attended a debating workshop and learnt about the essentials of debating in Parliament; to put this in to context, we split into two groups and debated the question of ‘Should school uniforms be banned?’ seeing some very passionate responses from each side.
The day was both fascinating and enjoyable, leaving some students with the hope of someday working in Westminster. Consequently, we’d like to thank Mr Spurgeon and Miss Powell for organising such a fantastic trip and hope to see next year’s cohort enjoy it too!
Katie Adamson and Maisie Mautterer, Year 12
Presdales School is very proud of the 2017 cohort. The last two years have seen this cohort study and be examined in the new English and maths GCSEs. Whilst there have been unknowns about the exams and grade boundaries throughout the course, the students have successfully completed these two new GCSEs to a very high standard.
90% of our students achieved a 4+ in English, compared to the national average of 70%, with 80% achieving a 5+, compared to 53% nationally. We are equally proud of our students’ achievements in maths, where 87% of students achieved a 4+ and 63% a 5+, compared to 71% and 50% nationally.
Overall, 85% of students achieved a 4+ in both English and maths and 34% of all grades were at A/7+.
Whilst we offer a wide and varied curriculum for our students, many will follow subjects that are in the EBacc. We are very pleased that 67% of students achieved a C/4+ in all of their EBacc subjects.
The students in this year group worked incredibly hard to achieve the grades they did and they now have the opportunity to continue their studies in the sixth form or at college. We would also like to thank the staff and parents who worked tirelessly to support, challenge and nurture our girls through their exams.
*All national and school % are provisional
Congratulations to all of our students for a wonderful set of A level results.
At A level 33% of all grades were at A*/A and 64% were at A* to B. These are both very impressive figures that demonstrate how hard the students worked and the quality of teaching that they received. An average A level points score per entry of 38.99 (old scoring system: 236.97) is one of the highest that the school has achieved.
Many of our students were accepted onto their first choice university courses to study a wide variety of courses. We wish our student well for the next stage of their lives, whether that be at university, an apprenticeship, employment or those few taking a gap year to travel.
(From left to right)
Ruby Nicholson: A* English Literature, A French, A History (Oxford to read English Language and Literature)
Anna Wilson: A* English Literature, A* French, A Spanish (Oxford to read English and French)
Madeline Bryan: A Maths, A Geography, A* Music (Cambridge to read Music)
Saffia Mahmoud: A Psychology, A* Russian, A History (Cambridge to read Asian and Middle Eastern Studies)
Christine Lush: A* Mathematics , A* Further Maths , A* Physics (will be studying Maths at Warwick)
Amy Lewis: A* Chemistry, A* Mathematics, A* Further Mathematics (will be studying Maths at Durham)
This summer two groups of students went on a World Challenge Expedition to Malaysian Borneo, accompanied by Mr Walker with Team One and Miss Chapman and Miss Gregson with Team Two. The expedition was a month long and everything from the itinerary to food to accommodation and accounting were all planned by us students. Throughout the month we did trekking in the Borneo jungle, a project in the local community, snorkelling and so much more.
Our journey started at 4.30 am at school, all packed and ready to set off. We then had three long flights into Borneo, flying into the capital city, Kota Kinabalu, and the other group flying into Miri, another major city in Borneo. The first couple of days were spent finding our feet in such a new environment and sorting out all of the money and accommodation for the next few days. At night we enjoyed exploring the famous night markets of Kota Kinabalu where they sold lots of interesting street food which some of us tried.
Soon after, we were travelling to the Crocker Range where we did our first trek. It was our first jungle experience and we found it hard carrying our massive rucksacks while walking for 5 hours in 35?C heat. However we were in the good hands of our three local guides Ed, Roni and Chris who helped us along the way. Soon our three day trek was over and we survived our first two nights in hammocks. We then arrived at the Adventure Centre where we stayed for the night and our guides told us stories about their experiences of the jungle, and about some of the local culture and traditions.
After a good night’s sleep in something slightly more stable than a hammock we waved goodbye to our guides and headed north to Sepilok Orang-utan and Sun Bear Sanctuary. We all found the orang-utans so beautiful, but the reason why the sanctuary had to be built got some of us thinking about the issues that the rainforest is facing. Logging, deforestation and the palm oil industry has meant that animal habitats are shrinking, evidently meaning that some of Borneo’s wildlife is decreasing in numbers and some species are even in danger of extinction. We all wanted to do our bit to try and combat these issues so after we travelled to an Eco Centre for a few days. Here we helped to plant trees after a forest fire destroyed lots of the rainforest a few years ago, and we cleared an invasive weed from their lake that had been driving away other species. Early each morning and every evening we had boat rides along the river. Here we saw loads of wildlife such as Proboscis monkeys, hornbills and crocodiles. Also we had guided night walks when we saw a very rare Western Tarsier.
We then made our way back to Kota Kinabalu where we spent a day snorkelling off the islands just off the coast of the capital. It was so nice to have a break from travelling to relax and explore some of the marine life that Borneo has to offer. But shortly after we started preparing for our main trek, and left in 4x4s to the start of our trek. Here we met the other group who had just finished their main trek. We hadn’t seen each other in a few weeks so we caught up about what both groups had been up to. That day we also met our guides Kenny, Petrus and Lian. It was a restless night sleep for most of us as we were so anxious and excited about what to expect. The next morning we said goodbye to the other group and started on our trek. There were far less hills than the first trek but a long day of trekking still took its toll, so when we arrived at camp we were ready for a hearty meal cooked on an open fire by the food team. After three more days at trekking we arrived at our guide’s house where we stayed for the night. They prepared us a wild boar and some people helped to kill and prepare a chicken. That night we had a celebration for my birthday and some of the team even sang me a birthday rap. It was nice to finally sleep in a building, even though there weren’t enough mattresses for everyone so it was quite cosy.
The next day we set off again for the final day of our trek to the village where we did our community project, Bario. Finally after 8 hours of walking we arrived at our homestay in Bario. The owner of the homestay cooked us a chicken curry, which some of us helped to cook. Our last week or so was spent at the primary school in Bario where we painted a mural and built a shelter for the children and parents to wait after school, because Bario is situated right in the middle of the rainforest so the weather is often terrible. After we had finished working we were able to play with the children. We were all so impressed as to how good their English was, and we taught them the hokey-cokey and ring around the roses. Unfortunately after five days in Bario it was time to say goodbye to the children and make our way to Miri. We boarded a tiny plane which took us over the rainforest and into the city. The next day we decided to visit the Niah Caves that were so beautiful and there were old paintings on some of the cave walls.
Our final few days in Borneo were spent exploring Miri, and buying gifts for family and friends, until we set off again for two long days of travelling back to London. It was very emotional coming through the doors into the airport lobby to see our families waiting for us after a month of little contact.
We all had such an amazing time in Borneo and made some great new friendships. People described the expedition as ‘life changing’, ‘Bewildering, slimy, tough, exhilarating, varied’ and ‘sweaty, muddy and eye-opening’.
Written by R Stewart, Year 11
106 Year 8 pupils and 12 members of staff recently took part in a very successful and extremely enjoyable four-day French Trip to the Opal Coast.
Two coaches of pupils and teachers left Presdales School early on Monday morning and, after taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone to Calais, arrived safely at their destination in Boulogne-sur-mer in time for lunch. In the afternoon, each coach group made a visit to ‘Nausicaa’, a sealife centre in Boulogne which specialises in educational and entertaining insights into the world of the oceans. Pupils enjoyed walking around and looking at the many tanks of freshwater and seawater life.
Once we arrived at our accommodation, we unpacked, settled in and had dinner. Later in the evening, girls grouped together to write their diary entries in French in their trip work booklets, and did some language work in preparation for the next day’s activities. The second day began with a visit to ‘Les Escargots du Bocage’, a snail farm, situated in the nearby countryside. They were firstly given a tour of the farm and then they were invited to sit in the shady courtyard of the farm to taste snail paté on toast, snails prepared in garlic butter and home-made jam, made from a variety of fruit grown on the farm. Despite reservations, almost everybody tasted the snails and many were pleasantly surprised, with some even going back for seconds.
After a picnic lunch on the beach at the beautiful, coastal town of le Touquet, the afternoon was spent completing a town trail. Many of the girls took time to do a bit of shopping, buy ice creams or order a drink in one of the many cafés, taking the opportunity to practise their spoken French.
The pupils were very excited about the planned activities for the third day which began with a trip to ‘Aqualud’, a big water park with waves and slides in le Touquet. The afternoon consisted of a visit to ‘Le Fond des Communes’, a goat’s cheese farm close to the village of ‘Montcavrel’, where they had the opportunity to ‘meet’ the goats and all the other farm animals. They then learnt how the goat’s cheese was made on the farm and even got to taste some in the farmhouse. The girls also made a visit to ‘Leclerc’, a huge hypermarket, where they were each given some Euros to complete a shopping task. This involved buying something typically French to take home and share with their families when they returned. When the girls made their final diary entries in their work booklets that evening, they also did a ‘show and tell’ about their shopping task purchases.
The teachers and the staff at the accommodation and visits were extremely impressed by the excellent attitude and behaviour of the Year 8 girls throughout the trip. The polite and friendly way in which they conducted themselves and their commendable efforts to practise their French during their four day stay in France meant they were a real credit to the school and a pleasure to take.
On Sunday 2nd April we left school to head to Barcelona. The coach journey was a little long but the girls were fantastic and we arrived at the hotel Monday midday ready to explore.
The tournaments were great fun with the 2 hockey teams playing 2 fixtures against Spanish opposition with some hard and exciting games. The 3 netball teams all entered and won their tournaments playing some fantastic netball in the process.
The girls were exceptional role models and were a pleasure to have on a trip. This was evident when they were all given free time in the Palamos market.
We enjoyed some fun activities in the evenings too, but I think the best night would have been the karaoke night where all the girls joined in with the singing and had a few giggles.
It was sad to leave our fantastic hotel and the lovely weather but we had an amazing time and will be able to talk about all the memories for years to come regarding sports tour.
Our trip started on a chilly Sunday afternoon in the Easter holidays and saw us arriving twenty hours later in the hot and very beautiful coastal resort of Platja D’Aro.
During the trip we had the opportunity to experience Spanish life with a trip to the local market where we enjoyed delicious churros. We also visited Barcelona and had a chance to sightsee and do some shopping. The best bit though was the hockey! We were nervous as our first match approached, not knowing anything about the team we were playing, but we quickly got into our stride and were thrilled to secure a 2-1 win against a strong Spanish side. Our celebrations were cut short, though, due to a huge thunder storm! We were more confident for our second match and played some great flowing hockey which saw us win 5-0. It was great to have the opportunity to play with the Year 9 team and all four of the Year 8 girls had a brilliant time and were really made to feel part of the team. All too soon, though, it was time for our awards and disco night and then time to board the coach for the long journey home. I had a brilliant time on tour and would love the opportunity to go again!
Issy Gardiner (Year 8)
In the first week of the Easter holidays, we went on a netball tour to Barcelona. It was such an amazing opportunity and it was even better to spend time with our team mates. Over the time we were in Barcelona, we had two netball training sessions where we played games and learned drills and ball skills. On our final day of netball, we played a tournament and won it!
Issy Henn, Year 8
In the (very) early hours of the morning of Tuesday the 28th March, we hopped on the coach and headed to Rome; our journey was just beginning…
After the fun that was baggage reclaim, excitement bubbling in our bellies, we stepped outside and were welcomed with sunny Rome rays! Our first stop was the Trevi Fountain and a cheeky gelato break! We were introduced to the wonder that is banana sorbet! All of the coins thrown into the Trevi Fountain are collected and donated to an orphanage, which is favoloso!
We had dinner at a train station, era delizioso! After we had finished our evening meal, the early start caught up with us and as soon as we arrived back at the Nord Nuova Hotel (which was lovely, by the way!), we fell fast asleep, anticipating tomorrow’s adventure.
The next day, we visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum (probably the oldest buildings we will ever see – dating back to 81AD!), Capitoline Hill, where we saw some stunning views, and last but not least, a triple-church (three churches built on top of each other). We had a stupendo din dins at a pizzeria.
On our last full day a Roma, we decided to take a journey on the metro to the Vatican City (which was amazing!); era molto bella! We then took a stroll through the beautiful cobbled streets to the Pantheon, where another gelato stop was made! We then got back on the metro and went to dinner – at a cute little ristorante!
Our last day had arrived (cue sad music) and shopping was on our minds! There were shops ranging from sciarpe to cioccolato! We were allowed to choose where we ate lunch, and we (Saf and Alice) found ourselves in a quaint little bar where we ate pizza and pasta; it was truly magical! After purchasing some souvenirs and other items, we ventured to the oldest ice cream factory in Rome; there were millions of delicious gelato flavours to choose from including frutti di bosco, rice pudding, and liquorice!
Our time in Rome was coming to an end, and we couldn’t believe we were leaving after having such a memorable time. We arrived at the airport and said arrivederci to Roma.
On behalf of the students who went, we’d like to thank Mrs Evenden, Miss Jennings and Miss Bray for organising and taking us on this amazing trip; we truly had a fantastico time! (Also we’d like to thank Rome for being so beautiful and historic!).
Grazie and thanks for reading,
Alice Webb and Safia Sipi
Civil Engineer Visit
On Friday the 17th of March, a selection of students in Years 9 and above had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Mark Wheeler, a civil engineer. Whilst here, he outlined what his career was about and how he has developed and learned after becoming an engineer. He explained that civil engineering is a field that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical, artificial and naturally built environment around us.
In addition, he gave as an insight into what his job is composed of including designing and building works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings. He informed us that civil engineering takes place working with a variety of people including governments, individual homeowners and even Transnational Corporations. We were educated on how it ties in with a number of fields including mathematics, physics, law, business and sociology, and as such, is a great career choice as part of STEM for anyone who has multiple interests and skill sets.
Our presenter showed us a set of clips that outlined the biggest civil engineering disasters including: The Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse and The Hyatt Regency Walkway Collapse. These demonstrated that, small but crucial mistakes (such as not factoring in wind speed and aerodynamics to the calculations) would have dangerous repercussions – proving that engineering is very much an exact science! As well as this, he touched upon some other branches of engineering: (bio)medical engineering, aerospace engineering, electronic/mechanical engineering and chemical engineering. We found out what a wide scope of careers that involved engineering and how they require a lot of skill and logic. Also, our presenter gave us a brief overview of the ways in which you could become an engineer, including an apprenticeship route, university course or work experience. He shared with us his own personal career experiences, explained the benefits and disadvantages to each choice and gave us advice and suggestions on current opportunities to take.
At the end, Mr Wheeler gave us examples of past Presdales students who have gone into engineering as a career and who have won many awards and achievements within the industry. Our presenter was happy to answer any questions we had about the field, his job, or becoming an engineer in general; and the students intuitively asked detailed questions.
On behalf of everyone who had the opportunity to attend this interactive and educational presentation, I would like to thank Mr Wheeler for giving up his time to come and speak to us and the science department for organising a very inspiring talk.
Ayesha Unadkat, Year 9
Interview with Mark Wheeler
Mark Wheeler is civil engineer working for WSP. He has been doing his job for 23 years and on Friday 17th of March he came to talk to Year 9+. However, eight Year 8s (myself included) were given the chance to interview him and here are a few of the questions and answers:
What did you study?
For A-level I studied Maths, Physics and Geography then I went on and got a degree in civil engineering.
Did you always want to be a civil engineer, if not what got you into it?
When I was doing my A-levels I didn’t know what I wanted to be. After school I didn’t go to university; instead I applied for a bunch of jobs. One of those jobs was at a civil engineering firm. After a year of working there I decided I enjoyed it. This is what I wanted to do. So then I went and got a degree in civil engineering.
Can you get your job any other way?
You can start off by doing an apprenticeship from GCSE. You could do an apprenticeship degree which is a lot harder but it makes you more valuable to the firm. Or you could join through the graduate route by going to university.
What’s the best part of your job?
I think there are many good parts but my favourite parts are the variation of work and environments, sometimes I am outside, other times I am at the office. The immense sense of achievement after a project, the rewarding feeling of pride and getting to say ‘I did that’ is really good. Also there is the fact that every project is unique.
What kind of projects have you been involved in?
I have been involved in thousands of projects. But civil engineers do all sorts of things depending on their field (purely technical, geo-technical or working mostly with customers). We build things from nuclear power stations to railroads, from bridges and tunnels to warehouses and depots and even skyscrapers and data centres. And environmental projects as well, like wind turbines or cleaning up contaminated land.
How long do projects tend to be?
It depends on the project – it can be 6 months to 15+ years.
Is there any part of your job that you dislike?
Well there is the general work like filling out forms and paper work, credit checks, Quality Assurance and all the different systems.
Do you work with architectural firms?
Yes we do, loads. They do the plans mostly though we actually build it along with others because we are just lots of groups of specialised people working together.
How many types of engineers are there?
There are 5 main fields, usually most engineers fall into one category. They are:
Are there any extra skills or degrees you might need?
English is always helpful and if you want to work overseas another language is good. Being organised and having good time management is useful too.
For me and the other Year 8s involved, it was really interesting and got us to consider a future career in science.
Anthe Beston, Year 8
Year 9 Science Trip to GSK
On Friday the 24th of March, a group of year nine students attended the launch of an interschool science competition called Go4SET held in the Ware GSK Headquarters. The competition is sponsored by EDT and it hopes to inspire young people to go into STEM careers and to gain experience that will make them stand out in the eyes of potential employers. Those completing the process would ‘graduate’ with a silver science CREST certificate and Industrial Cadet Award.
On arrival, we had a presentation led by the co-ordinators of the event, and they explained the ideas behind the project we would be studying, whilst we arranged our teams. Overall we had three teams: Presdales Brilliance, Excellence and Radiance. They were composed of around 6-7 girls per group with different strengths and ideas. We then had some time to choose our project categories from among: Our Healthy School, Eco-Classroom and Energy Sources for Our School. Next, we met our mentors (GSK employers) that will work alongside us in our project development and 10 week course, one of which was Steph, a recent GSK recruit. Next, we spent some time planning how we would manage our time in our weekly meetings and brainstormed ideas and thoughts with our mentors about potential themes, marketing, research and presentation ideas for our projects. We mainly considered conducting surveys and interviews with our peers, parents and teachers.
After this, we went on a tour around the drug manufacturing site, led by a GSK pharmaceutical managing director and explored the various prospects to their drug development process including the granulating, compression and coating stages. Our tour guide explained the importance of the protective clothing and goggles and gave us new information about the GSK production line and the long process to get drugs on the market. Our volunteers listened eagerly and inquisitively asked questions that our guide was happy to answer. After lunch, our presenter explained project management to us and to illustrate the point we were set a task where we had to plan, design and build the tallest tower that would support the weight of a golf ball made entirely from spaghetti and jelly babies! The project had to be completed within 30 minutes and within budget.
All of the teams set off to a roaring start and the Presdales models were certainly the most well thought out and geometric ones there! Soon enough, our time had run out and everyone was eager to find the winners of the challenge. The tallest tower was built by St. Edmond’s School (over 50cm in height), however the 2nd tallest and the most economic was built by Presdales Brillance and, therefore, they were the overall winner! In our final hour or so, we finalised our thoughts for our projects and came up with a main focus, as well as planning our time in the next few meetings using a Gant Chart. Finally, the session had come to an end and everyone was given a set of science-themed stickers and wristbands to commemorate the day. We then left the site and began to find our way back to school; we were all raring to commence our projects the following week, in preparation to the presentation we would make back in GSK, 10 weeks later.
On behalf of those attending I would like to say a big thank you to the science department who organised the visit, encouraged students to attend and signed us up to an event that will prove to be educational, beneficial and enjoyable to all those taking part.
Ayesha Unadkat, Year 9