Bar Mock Trial

At Presdales, all Year 12 students are given the opportunity to take part in Bar Mock Trial, a competition in which schools compete head to head to enact a mock criminal case. There are several performance roles on offer, including barristers, witnesses, court clerks and ushers, which accurately portray the legal procedures of a Crown Court.

Beginning in September, those Year 12s who were interested in taking part in Bar Mock Trial, auditioned and our team was assembled. These consisted of 3 groups:

– Maja Pickering and Esmé Sabin (barristers), Emily Shaw and Olivia Whyley (witnesses), and Ava Leret (usher/court clerk) – Lilian Simmonds and Yasmin Lum (barristers), Poppy Friedner and Chloe Milson (witnesses) and Hannah Gaudio (usher) – Anna-Lilja Tholozan and Jess Grizenkova (barristers), Sophie Gibbons and Tara Ogunsola (witnesses) and Tinaye Dzapasi (court clerk)

After rehearsing weekly for several months, including two trips to the law court in the University of Hertfordshire at Hatfield, the day finally came and on the second of December we made our way to Snaresbrook Crown Court in London.

There were 18 participating schools in our regional heat, one of the biggest in the country. Despite the pressure, our hard work paid off. In each of the three rounds, our three groups competed against opposing schools, showcasing their legal proficiency and performance abilities. The results were even better than we could’ve hoped for – every group within our overall team emerged victorious against their respective rival school.

As the competition progressed, it became evident that our collective effort was making a significant impact. The tension reached its peak when the final scores were tallied, and we discovered that we had amassed the highest number of points our school has ever achieved in the regional heats. It was a testament to the dedication and resilience of each participant. Three members of our team even managed to attain full marks in elements of their respective roles: an achievement which, according to Mr Spurgeon, is, ‘unheard of’.

However, the journey had one more twist. Despite the remarkable tally, we secured a close runners-up spot, narrowly losing to London-based Brampton Manor Academy by a mere three points! While the disappointment of falling short of the top spot lingered, we were still incredibly proud of our achievement.

In the end, the Bar Mock Trial competition proved to be a day of triumph, showcasing our school’s commitment to excellence in extracurricular activities. The experience not only enhanced our understanding of courtroom procedures but also instilled a sense of camaraderie and achievement among our participants, with some students forming friendships with other competitors. As we reflect on this memorable journey, we celebrate the hard work, determination, and success that define our Bar Mock Trial teams. We would also like to take the time to thank the dedication of Mr Spurgeon, who runs Bar Mock Trial at Presdales, and who willingly gave up his free time in order to support us and ensure we were confident and secure in our roles.

Esme Sabin & Maja Pickering

News from German

German A Level Study Visit, 19th to 23rd October 2023

We are studying German A Level and have recently returned from an amazing trip to Düsseldorf in the Rhineland. Mrs Yates promised us an experience of daily life and a snapshot of Germany’s rich, diverse culture as well as the opportunity to interact with German people of all ages and to hear, see and speak the language we are learning in the classroom. That is exactly what we got and much, much more. We hope this write up and the photos will give you a flavour of some of what we experienced.

One of the most interesting and beneficial parts of the trip was definitely having the opportunity to visit our two German partner schools. On our first day, we had to negotiate the transport system and set off early to visit the Heinrich Heine Gesamtschule as first lessons in German schools begin at 8 o’clock! We were welcomed by the Deputy Head Teacher, Frau Tascan-Pelligrino, in the Conference room with ‘Butterbrote’ and felt like very important visitors. Then followed a tour by sixth form students, who were very friendly and enthusiastic. It was very interesting to speak to students of similar ages and hear their opinions on the differences in the school systems, and how they find life in Düsseldorf! The biggest difference we noticed was that the school in Germany seemed quite relaxed with more responsibility on the student to self-motivate and get on with work, students did not have to wear uniforms and teachers still use blackboards and chalk! Our second school visit was to our other partner school the Gymnasiam am Neandertal school in Erkrath (near Düsseldorf). Here we were able to take part in one of their English lessons. The German student’s level of English was very impressive and gave rise to a discussion about when they begin learning English in the German School system. They begin in Year 2 of Primary School and have 4 hours per week in Secondary School. The school visits were a great opportunity for us, and were very relevant to the content on our German course.

We were lucky enough to be invited to dinner in a German home. We took the tram to Frau Schorn’s lovely home and spent an amazing evening with her. She cooked us some delicious German food, including Kartoffelklöße (Potato dumplings), made with potato starch, and Rinnderrouladen (Beef Rouladen). Her house was decorated so nicely and we were delighted that she had invited us there. We ate all of the food and went home happily with full stomachs and full hearts! However, when we arrived back at the hostel, we were met with a shock. The whole hostel had been evacuated and there were fire trucks and ambulances! We were all a bit confused and worried, but luckily, it had been a small incident and quickly dealt with by staff at the hostel before the fire trucks had even arrived. We were able to go back to our hostel room very quickly, knowing that all the safety systems were working. Another experience of daily life!

We spent some time doing some German language work together in the lounge of the hostel, even on a Sunday morning but it didn’t seem like work ! We had many opportunities to choose and organise activities we were interested in. We chose to go to the K21 art gallery, where we were able to experience the exhibition “In Orbit” by Tomas Saraceno. This allows guests to walk on nets 25 metres off the ground over the art gallery. We had to wear uninspiring jumpsuits and special climbing shoes, but it was a fun experience. Mrs Yates was a keen participant and liked it the most out of all of us!

One of the highlights of our visit was to get the chance to meet Carl Philipp, the sixth form pen friend from our partner School who Amelie and Evie had been writing to during Year 12. He met us outside an ice cream shop in Carlspaltz. He introduced us to a German speciality, ‘Spagettieis’ which is an ice cream dish made to resemble a plate of spaghetti. Vanilla ice cream is squeezed into the shape of spaghetti is place over whipped cream. It is then covered in strawberry sauce, made to look like tomato sauce, and then topped with coconut flakes or white chocolate, to represent parmesan cheese! Really delicious!! Carl Phlilip showed us another part of the city Oberkassel, a modern new development with shops and restaurants, where we drank coffee and chatted about our life in England, and his experience when completing his GCSEs in Manchester for a year abroad. He said he liked the English school system better than the German one, which we were all a bit surprised about! Overall, it was so cool to finally meet him and to have the experience of meeting a young German person and to have him show us around his city. We were lucky enough to be invited to dinner in a German home. We took the tram to Frau Schorn’s lovely home and spent an amazing evening with her. She cooked us some delicious German food, including Kartoffelklöße (Potato dumplings), made with potato starch, and Rinnderrouladen (Beef Rouladen). Her house was decorated so nicely and we were delighted that she had invited us there. We ate all of the food and went home happily with full stomachs and full hearts! However, when we arrived back at the hostel, we were met with a shock. The whole hostel had been evacuated and there were fire trucks and ambulances! We were all a bit confused and worried, but luckily, it had been a small incident and quickly dealt with by staff at the hostel before the fire trucks had even arrived. We were able to go back to our hostel room very quickly, knowing that all the safety systems were working. Another experience of daily life!

We spent some time doing some German language work together in the lounge of the hostel, even on a Sunday morning but it didn’t seem like work ! We had many opportunities to choose and organise activities we were interested in. We chose to go to the K21 art gallery, where we were able to experience the exhibition “In Orbit” by Tomas Saraceno. This allows guests to walk on nets 25 metres off the ground over the art gallery. We had to wear uninspiring jumpsuits and special climbing shoes, but it was a fun experience. Mrs Yates was a keen participant and liked it the most out of all of us!

We were all very sad to have to come home, but we are very grateful that we had the amazing opportunity to take part in such a memorable, exciting and educational trip.

Our reflections:

“I think that the trip was great, because not only did it really help to improve my confidence in speaking and accuracy in listening, but it was also really fun! It was very interesting to be surrounded by German culture and I felt that it really helped to develop my understanding of the culture and language. In particular, I really enjoyed having dinner at Frau Schorn’s house. It was very cool to see what a German household looks like and to taste some traditional German food! I also feel that as a class, it was a great bonding experience and I always look forward to my German lessons with my classmates! I really loved making memories with everyone and I am really glad I was able to be a part of this trip.” – Jess

“Being constantly surrounded by the German language meant that I picked up on new vocab, as well as the rhythm of the language. The trip also allowed me to be more independent and motivated me to further develop my German skills. It was an amazing experience which I am grateful to have been offered. For me I found visiting not one, but two schools fascinating, as I saw how their education system worked, and the differences between the two countries.” – Maja

“The German A-Level trip was great, we all had such an amazing time and learnt so much about the culture and everyday life in Düsseldorf. We all became really good friends and made lots of memories. Despite having a lot of fun, the trip has also benefited me in a number of academic ways, including improving my German speaking and listening skills. I think hearing the language intensely for 5 days will really improve my understanding moving forward. Thank you to Mrs Yates and Mr Baldwin for making this trip possible and for making it such an exciting and memorable experience for us all!” – Evie

“I really enjoyed the A level trip to Düsseldorf and I think it was really beneficial to experience everyday life in Germany and I have gained a new appreciation for German culture. We have all learnt new skills we can take forward with us and we have especially improved our German skills! I would like to thank Mrs Yates and Mr Baldwin for making the trip possible, and I am very grateful for the amazing memories I have made.” – Amelie

“I found it really enjoyable to go on the German trip, it was great fun to go interrailing as it was something I’ve never done before. Additionally, it was really good to hear the language in an actual city environment rather than just a classroom – I’ve found that this has really helped my German. Overall, I believe it has been an incredible experience for my learning and I really enjoyed it.” – Luca

News from Politics

Year 12 Trip to Parliament

On the 6th October the Year 12 Politics students set off to London to visit some of the most important political buildings in the country. After catching a train, bright and early, we arrived at Westminster for our tour of Parliament. We were led by two tour guides, equally witty and insightful. We were stunned at the decorative design of the House of Lords – covered in gold leaf and the famous red leather – howether we made sure not to sit down! Our friendly tour guides talked to us about the job of the Lords and how they become appointed. Next we wandered into the House of Commons where we were informed about where different parties sit and the history of the rebuilding of this half of Parliament. We had time to look at the central lobby of Parliament and its incredible statues, before taking a group picture and saying goodbye to Emmet and Ben – our lovely guides.

After our tour we went to the education centre and took part in a group activity to help us understand the role of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. We were split into teams and debated on the topic of free university education. A big thank you to our group leader Celeste.

After a lunch break in the sun, we headed to the Supreme Court, where we experienced a fascinating exhibition about its history and importance in our government. We read about the compelling stories of minority and female judges paving the way of our country’s legal system before having a chance to look around the courts themselves – where we took a group picture. Overall we think everyone would agree this day was both informative and fun,

We would like to say a big thankyou to Miss Chandler and Mr Spurgeon for organizing this wonderful day and ensuring everybody got there and back safely.

Lexie Harrington

Tinaye Dzapasi

World Challenge – Iceland 2023

10 Night Expedition in Iceland

In July, six teams set off to experience the spectacular sights of Iceland. This adventure of a lifetime saw our students discover geysers and thundering waterfalls in the Golden Circle, trek past volcanic peaks in Kerlingarfjoll, get hands-on with a conservation initiative (beach clean-up) and visit the Westman Islands and the South Coast.  The students were driven along Europe’s biggest ice cap, Vatnajokull. This national park is an extraordinary sight, with 30 glaciers flowing out from the ice cap. The students even had the opportunity to strap on some crampons and walk on a glacier. We are very proud of our students who worked well in their teams, stepped out of their comfort zones and learnt a wealth of invaluable new skills while making some extraordinary memories.

Here are some wonderful photos from this amazing trip …

Year 8 French Trip to the Opal Coast