PGS Drama pupils hit the States

The New York Spring Drama trip is an enduringly popular bi-annual expedition which, for many of the pupils who come, proves to be both illuminating and sometimes life-changing.

This year’s residential in the Big Apple was the busiest yet, with 27 pupils and three staff traversing Manhattan and experiencing a wide range of what this fantastic city has to offer, both culturally and educationally. A main focus of the trip was extending the theatrical knowledge of the pupils, and to this end they took part in some superb acting, dancing and musical theatre workshops led by current Broadway performers, designed to give them a taste of the dedication and discipline required to succeed at that level. On top of this, the group was able to see their workshop leaders perform in two Broadway shows, Come From Away and Mean Girls: The Musical, both completely contrasting and equally entertaining.

The pupils were given a thorough grounding in the geography and history of New York through a walking tour of Manhattan’s most iconic sights, together with whistle-stop visits (and shopping opportunities) to Chelsea Market, Soho, Macy’s and Times Square. Particularly memorable were the Staten Island ferry to view the Statue of Liberty, Central Park in the snow, and a walk of the High Line, a disused L train track transformed in to an urban garden, snaking through West Manhattan.

A final, emotional highlight was the group’s visit to the Ground Zero Memorial Site and Museum – despite being born after 9/11, the atmosphere and journey through the experiences and impact of the day made an indelible impression on the group, and they were able to relate this directly to a play they have studied in academic Drama, Not In My Name, which focuses on the social and emotional effects of both global and national terrorism.

Overall, the feedback from pupils and parents suggests this was an exceptional experience for everyone involved, and hopefully one they will carry forward for some time to come.

Year 2 visit Sea City Museum, Sou

To start off the learning on their spring term topic, Ice and Fire, Year Two spent a “WOW” day at Sea City Museum, Southampton to learn all about RMS Titanic.

Whilst there, they had many different experiences, from dressing up and learning about particular characters who were on board the liner, and whether they survived, to handling artefacts from that time in the 20th Century. They discovered what actually caused the Titanic to sink. Florence was surprised to learn that the Titanic did not just crash into an iceberg but just scraped the side and flooded.

“When I was at the Titanic museum I liked the experiment of making the model compartments sink,” said Richard in 2P. The pupils also had the unenviable task of trying to decide who should have had access to the lifeboats in order to survive and learnt about Morse Code including having the chance to send a message which made them all realise how difficult a job it must have been to send messages in an emergency.

Year 2 found it difficult to imagine how different everything was early in the last century; in today's money a 1st class ticket would cost £50,000! There was a big divide between the poor and rich and in poor families the men would sell their best shoes to shops, to give their family money for food, and on their return they would buy them back.

It was a very thought provoking visit, which lead to a fantastic term of enjoyable, engaging and enriching activities.


Year 9 visit Ypres

Although the official centenary events commemorating the Great War way now be behind us, that did not in the least deter nearly 100 Year 9 pupils from enjoying and learning during the recent History trip to Ypres and the Somme.

The trip coincides with the final stages of learning about the ‘war to end all wars’ which is a central part of the Year 9 History curriculum. A wide range of sites including trenches (real and reconstructed), cemeteries (Commonwealth and German) and museums were visited. A particularly poignant part of the visit was the official dedication by the School Chaplain, Reverend Hunt, of a plaque in St George’s Memorial Church Ypres that commemorates the 134 OPs who fell in the war. The plaque had been made possible through the kind generosity of the OP Club.

We were helped by some glorious sunshine which contrasted with the snow of last year, a reminder of how variable the climate can be in Flanders, a phenomenon most apt given the changes in the weather apparent during the campaigns of 1916 and 1917. For the pupils it was an opportunity to visit first hand some of the key historical places associated with the war such as Tyne Cot and Hill 60, and to ponder on its scale, impact and legacy. The chance to eat chicken and chips and support the Belgian chocolate industry also went down well. Many also took the opportunity to write some poems while visiting some of the sites.

As for 2020, planning is already in place for our trip next February!

Adapting to Learning

Year Six visit Marwell Zoo
by William Guyver, Year 6

Year Six pupils headed out to Marwell Zoo to learn more about animal adaptation – the Science focus of their spring term ‘Pullman Project’.

“On the 40-minute journey, I was sitting next to Sam W. On arrival, we separated into two groups; my group headed to the classroom for a workshop, and stopped to look at a few animals along the way. The zookeepers at the workshop brought out some animals for us to look at and touch, including rats and a very large stick insect. Adaptation is where a species evolves to improve survival in its environment.

A stick-insect is a good example of how a species has adapted. The ones that are better camouflaged, i.e. look more like sticks, are less likely to be eaten by predators and so more likely to pass their ‘stick-like’ genes onto offspring. After lunch we were split into groups of nine, and we explored the zoo. My favourite animals were the monkeys, because they were playful and seemed to be aware that we were there.”