Academic News


Friday 22 September 2017

  • Darwin Society Lecture: ‘From Planck’s Constant to Quantum Mechanics’
    On Friday 15th September, we welcomed Dr Francesco Gonnella from the University of Birmingham to give the inaugural Darwin Society enrichment lecture for 2017/18. – Report by Cameron Anwyl (S UVI), Oliver Bureau (Ch UVI) and Dr Briggs

    Dr Gonnella is a particle physics firmware engineer in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Birmingham University and he has spent a substantial time working at CERN.

    He explained how Planck's Constant became an important part of modern physics and ignited a flurry of research in a new field of physics called quantum mechanics.

    He started by explaining the concept of Classical Mechanics involving Aristotle’s Principles and went on to explain why Classical Mechanics failed on the microscopic level. This lead to Max Planck coming up with the concept of Quantum Mechanics.

    Dr Gonnella also explained how light was “quantized” and that electrons can be either waves or particles at certain times. He did this by providing a brief history of the atom, from the “plum pudding” model to the modern-day model of the atom, devised by Bohr as a result of the Geiger and Marsden (also called Rutherford) gold-foil experiment in 1913.

    This was a very informative, inspiring and enthusiastic talk and gave a good insight into what sort of topics we study in the Physics Pre-U and A-Level Chemistry syllabuses.

  • Blueprint for a Bright Future: Reflections on Foundation Fortnight
    By Peter Middleton, Deputy Head (Co-Curricular)

    For most of us, Sunday 3rd September 2017 will have been just another day.  For 126 individuals, however, that date will have been etched in their minds for some time as one of particular significance.  Some of them through the summer holidays will have been anxious about the date and with each passing day will have dreaded its accelerating proximity.  Others will have experienced excitement in the anticipation of the date, eager for the day to finally arrive.  Many more will have experienced both polarities of these emotions, excited and anxious in equal measure.  For Sunday 3rd September 2017 marked the day that 126 new boys and girls joined Shrewsbury School’s Third Form.

    A new school; a new start.  New teachers, new classmates, new subjects, new activities.

    It will have been, no doubt, somewhat daunting, somewhat overwhelming, but as Sunday rolled into Monday, Week One into Week Two, this group of young men and women will have day by day felt a little more at home and a little more at ease. 

    Foundation Fortnight is an extraordinarily busy first two weeks for the new pupils, and deliberately so.  The architect of the programme is Head of Third Form Jeremy Lucas, who carefully drafts together a carousel of activities that not only keeps the new pupils fully occupied (and distracted from thoughts of home) but also serves to enthuse and inspire, to spark that crucial first flame of enthusiasm.

    Aside from finding their way around Shrewsbury’s large campus (my colleagues who wear Fitbits inform me that considerable mileage is covered each week from just walking around school site!), the new pupils are introduced to a veritable feast of activities to whet their appetite for what is available to them.  With such a strong co-curricular offering that provides an unrivalled breadth and depth of opportunities, there is, quite literally, something for everyone.  We want to enable all pupils to find their passion, whatever that may be, and to nurture and encourage them in developing their interests and talents to the best of their own particular abilities.   That process begins from day one of the Third Form. 

    For many of the pupils, they will have tried something new during Foundation Fortnight.  That might have been getting on the water in a rowing boat for the first time, it might have been playing Fives.  It might have been dance, or drama, or running with the Hunt.  Many will have stepped out of their comfort zone in doing so, but it’s not quite so daunting when everyone’s in the same boat (literally, of course, down on the Severn).  The message is clear: give it a go!

    Following through the rotations in their House cohort, day by day these groups begin to gel, the unfamiliar faces of that first Sunday soon transformed into the faces of friends and best buddies. 

    There’s a pride in their faces as they don the House top for the first time running in the Third Form Race.  Their partisan spirit is even more evident during the second weekend as they compete in the House hockey and football tournaments.  A goal is scored, they cheer as one, huddle as one, high-five as one.  They are no longer that isolated individual in the far-too-big-blazer that stood awkwardly on the first Sunday uncertain of what lay before them.  Now, they will proudly tell you, they wear the colours of their House, shoulder to shoulder with their mates.  This is my House and I’m proud!

    Housemasters, Housemistresses and Matrons play a crucial role in the process, not just in the first fortnight of term but in the many months and years that went before them as those initial visits were made.  Shrewsbury’s pastoral care lies at the heart of who we are as a School, and the devotion and dedication of the House teams to their boys and girls is of the very highest order.  For the boarders, their House very much becomes that ‘home from home’.  Mugs of hot cocoa on the Private Side each evening, a helping hand from matron, the kind word of a Sixth Former.  All help in the process of settling in.  

    There is, of course, plenty of academic work that goes on in the first fortnight of term for the new pupils. Whether in Hodgson Hall, Chatri Centre or the Main School Building, they will have been taught and already inspired by Shrewsbury’s talented Common Room of staff, a dazzling bunch of bright sparks and enthusiasts.  Each and every one is passionate about their subject, and passionate about nurturing the progress of all Salopians.  Collectively we want to ensure that each pupil is supported, encouraged and inspired. 

    Coach Weekend now awaits, and some very tired Third Formers will drive out of the Moss Gates feeling very ready for some much-needed rest.  The ground has been broken, the foundations laid.  An array of towers and skyscrapers are now waiting to be built: the Salopian skyline awaits. 


    To enjoy a flavour of what the Third Form have experienced during Foundation Fortnight, please have a look at the video that has been made by our new Film Fellow, David Clifford: Foundation Fortnight in Film

Wednesday 20 September 2017

  • Bastille Society lecture: 'Conquest and Colonisation'
    Following Dr Carl Watkins’ popular lecture last year, the Bastille Society were delighted to welcome him back on 15th September to share his expertise on the topic 'Conquest and Colonisation in Medieval Britain'. Report by Glory Chan (MSH UVI), President of the Bastille Society.

    To a large, diverse and enthusiastic audience, Dr Watkins again succeeded in captivating us through analysing the course of Norman conquest, dispelling the common perception of a rapid decisive conquest, seen through the Battle of Hastings, and showing that it was actually a complicated and drawn-out process.

    Norman 'hard' power in influencing political matters was achieved by carving up lands into administrative centres and shires, governing localities through a bureaucratic structure. On the other hand, soft power was achieved by the expression of Norman architecture in both style and substance. However, Dr Watkins proceeded to highlight the fragile aspects of their authority.

    Using England’s northern border with Scotland as an example, Dr Watkins illustrated the geographical complexities of establishing Norman power. The fact that there was no defined border meant Northerners were never fully integrated into the Norman administrative structure. As such, the strong sense of regional identity throughout the area exposed the brittle nature of the Norman empire.

    It was particularly interesting to re-evaluate the extent to which the Normans successfully conquered England, and reflect on the legacy it has had on modern British geopolitics.

    Once again, we would like to express our gratitude to Dr Watkins in giving us such an inspiring night, kick-starting a series of exciting Historical lectures for the year ahead.

Tuesday 19 September 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Mortality'
    This week's edition includes articles on Verdi's Requiem, 'A Grief Observed', England's Rose, 'Not Quite Dead Yet' and the Cassini probe.

    Please click on the image below to open Shrewsbury SparkPoint as a pdf:

Thursday 14 September 2017

  • Biology Department Expedition to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
    During the summer holidays, 23 Salopians and four members of staff travelled in the footsteps of Shrewsbury's most famous alumnus, Charles Darwin, to work alongside scientists and conservationists in one of the most biodiverse corners of the world.

    The first week was spent camping in rainforest deep in the Amazon Basin to the east of Ecuador – an area that holds world records for biodiversity. The objective was to contribute to conservation work and measure levels of biodiversity in a protected area of pristine rainforest, in order to help the local Sani community build ecotourism rather than sell out to oil exploration.

    The second week was spent on the island of Santa Cruz in the Galapagos, where the group took part in a series of lectures and exciting trips to gain an understanding of the ecology of the Galapagos Islands and their iconic wildlife.

    The team at the Charles Darwin Research Station with Shrewsbury School’s most famous alumnus

    Our first day in the country was spent traveling from Quito over the Andes and into the Amazon Basin, which entailed eight hours by bus, a further three hours up the mighty Napo River (a tributary of the Amazon, which was over 1km wide, despite being about 3,000 miles from its mouth) and an hour’s paddle in canoes to get to our campsite.

    Long boat down the Rio Napo
    Canoeing through the Sani Reserve to our campsite

    During our week in the rainforest, the students were split into four groups and contributed to surveys of birds, large mammals, herpetology, vegetation and fish.

    Jake Elliott releasing a wire-tailed manakin under the watchful eye of Ornithologist Jessie Reese
    Oscar Mattinson and Will Hope trying to make a tricky identification of a bird caught in a mist net
    Patric Spruyt and Brigitte Jennings on a night-time herpetofauna survey
    Andrew Zuo holding an Amazon tree boa

    There was also a series of excellent lectures from the inspiring scientific team. Much of the work involved travelling in boats to various trails and we saw some wonderful wildlife including giant otter, caiman, five species of monkey and several snake species.

    A Rainbow Boa and a Map Tree Frog
    Spectacled Caiman and Black-skinned Parrot Snake
    Brazilian Wandering Spider – one of the world’s most venemous spiders. Its bite is known to have some extraordinary effects. And a Squirrel Monkey

    The students also completed a superb wilderness first aid course, led by the expedition medic, Laura Jones. This involved rescuing Operation Manager, Freddy Herrera, from a swamp/river after he had “electrocuted” himself while electrofishing. Jenn Westermann and Amelia Marriott jumped into caiman/anaconda/piranha-infested waters with little hesitation.

     Amelia Marriott and Jenn Westermann saving the “unconscious” Freddy Herrera

    The environment was incredible. Our jungle camp was beautiful and the lack of light pollution meant that we saw some magical night skies. We also spent a wonderful day amongst the Sani Community after spending half a day trying to learn someting of their Kichwa language. We were able to try their food, learn about their crops and way of life and understand more about the insidious tactics of oil companies to insinuate themselves into communities, which they were bravely resisting.

    Yucca and beetle grubs from palm heart (which tasted remarkably like chorizo)
    Looking up from the middle of our camp at night

    We then travelled back to Quito and flew to the Galapagos Islands. Here, amongst other things, we visited the famous Tortuga Bay to see the marine iguanas, El Chato Reserve to see giant tortoises and lava tunnels, spent a day diving, snorkelled and sea kayaked in the mangroves between Santa Cruz and Baltra, and contributed to a forest regeneration programme by potting and planting seedlings of the very rare and endemic scalesia tree.

    Marine Iguanas
    Snorkelling/diving with sea lions and, between the whole group, five species of shark including hammerhead
    Brigitte Jennings and Amelia Marriott diving
    Ali Davies trying a giant tortoise shell out for size
    Jake Elliott, Will Bedson, Steffan Williams, Alexander Lyster-Binns, Jethro Wong and James Cox with a shy giant tortoise; a Short-eared Owl stretching its wing

    Working with knowledgeable and dynamic scientists in two beautiful and remote locations was hugely inspiring. Their leadership and example, together with the wildlife and beautiful environments we saw, will, I hope, live long in the memories of all those who took part in the expedition. And I hope that a new generation of Salopians will be inspired to travel off the beaten path and love travel and the wonders of nature in equal measure. I hope they have also learned a lot about themselves.

    Dr Case

    Images inspired by Sebastião Salgado

Wednesday 13 September 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Fatal Attraction'
    This week's edition of the micro magazine for the intellectually curious focuses on the theme of attraction. It includes a fascinating article on 'The Science of Cuteness', written by Sixth Former Ebrahim Jamshid.

    Please click on the image below to open SparkPoint as a pdf file:

Tuesday 12 September 2017

  • Classical Society Lecture - 'Children in the Ancient World'
    This week saw the first of the academic lectures of the year, when the Classical Society hosted a talk on ‘Children in the Ancient World’ given by Dr Emma Griffiths from Manchester University.

    Pupils studying Latin or Greek or Classical Civilisation – and in some cases a combination of these – learned about child mortality rates in Athens and Rome, and the stark differences in treatment based upon gender in those days.

    Dr Griffiths also brought in elements of marriage, education, and dispelled some of the myths concerning exposure at birth if a child was not wanted by its parents; it seems children surplus to requirements would literally be picked up off the streets and unofficially adopted by those couples without children.

Friday 8 September 2017

  • Foundation Fortnight Photo Gallery
    ‘Foundation Fortnight’ is an important bit of ring-fenced time for our new Third Formers to find their feet. At the end of a packed programme of inductions to sport, music and other activities, we hope that they are all left with a feeling of excitement that, as they settle in to life at Shrewsbury, huge possibilities and opportunities await them.

    Please click on the image below to view a gallery of photos that show a little of what the Third Form have been up to over the past few days. - More photos to follow next week.

    Clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right-hand corner of a photo will open it at a larger size.

  • Withington Model United Nations Conference
    On the day after Speech Day, a small group of MUN-ers travelled to Manchester to take part in the Withington Model United Nations Conference. Representing Russia and Italy, the Shrewsbury delegates were, as ever, in the thick of the debates - and made quite an impression.

    The following were 'Commended' in their respective committees: Oliver Bureau, Ferdinand Neuling and Will Manley.

    Steph Christensen and Angus Warburg got an 'Honourable Mention'.

    And Third Former Sam Evans won a 'Highly Commended Delegate' award.

    There are three MUN conferences coming up this term, in Manchester, London and Paris. Following the great success of our inaugural Shrewsbury School MUN Conference last March, we are looking forward to hosting the second one 'ShrewsMUN 2' in March 2017. Please click on the image below to view their 'Save the Date' video:

Thursday 7 September 2017

  • GCSE Honorary Awards and Prizes
    Following the GCSE exams, 37 pupils have been awarded Honorary Scholarships, Exhibitions and Examination Prizes for achieving outstanding scores.


    The Headmaster with the Honorary Scholars, Honorary Exhibitioners and Examination Prizewinners

    Honorary Scholarships (for straight A* grades) have been awarded to:
    Sophia Breese (EDH)
    Georgia Levin (MSH)*
    Oscar Mattinson (Rb)
    Mark Pangin (SH)
    Adam Pattenden (S)
    Abi Watkinson (G)
    Ella Windle (G)
    Jake Woods (I)*

    Honorary Exhibitions (for at least 9A* grades) have been awarded to:
    Olivia Bothamley-Dakin (G)
    Kiwi Chan (EDH)
    Libby Hedges (G)
    Tommy Tong (SH)

    GCSE Examination Prizes have also been awarded to the following pupils who achieved an outstanding number of A* grades:
    Lexi Bothamley-Dakin (G)
    Marcus Cope (Rt)
    Ludo de Falbe (SH)
    Reuben Denison (SH)
    Felicity Hayward (EDH)*
    William Hope (Ch)
    Ebrahim Jamshid (SH)
    Jacob Jefferis (SH)
    Oscar Kanan (Ch)
    Jack Lockett (Ch)
    Piers Merison (SH)
    Archie Mobbs (O)
    Frank Morris (O)
    Veronica Munday (EDH)*
    Niamh Nugent (M)*
    Grace O’Mara (M)*
    Charlie Ockleston (O)
    Tom Plaut (S)
    Matthew Poon (I)*
    Harry Remnant (Ch)
    Juliet Russell (G)
    Joe Shaw (R)*
    Lizzie Ware (MSH)
    Brandon Wan (SH)
    Molly Worthington (M)*

    *Sixth Form Entrants

Wednesday 6 September 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'New Beginnings'
    'SparkPoint' is an e-micro-magazine published each week by Mr Walters, Deputy Head (Academic). It offers an opportunity for readers to spend a few moments exploring areas of knowledge, culture and experience that are off the beaten track and which might not necessarily form part of the formal curriculum. This first edition of the new academic year picks up on the theme of the Headmaster's address at Monday's School Assembly.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

  • Success in Cambridge Chemistry Challenge 2017
    A group of Lower Sixth students took part in Cambridge Chemistry Challenge 2017 after their end of year examinations. This is the fifth time we have entered this competition and the students performed remarkably well.

    Students were awarded 1 Gold, 8 Silver and 16 Copper Medals (see list of names below) – an excellent achievement. It is worth noting that this continues a run of significant success for Isaac Dai, who has won a Gold in the Chemistry Olympiad, a Gold in the Physics Olympiad and a Gold in the Maths Olympiad and was also selected to represent the UK at the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    The Cambridge Chemistry Challenge aims to stretch students interested in chemistry, and provides an excellent experience for anyone considering taking their studies further. Set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists, it is designed to be accessible to Lower Sixth students but takes them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourages them to think about science in the way they would at university. It is endorsed and sponsored by St Catharine’s College at the University of Cambridge.

    The paper itself is based on the core of the chemistry A Level specifications, so that students taking any of the different exam board A Levels can compete fairly. The exam lasts 1.5 hours and is composed of a series of structured questions designed to stretch able students by making them apply the principles they have learnt to new and often more complex situations than they would meet in their A-level course. Thus, in order to score marks, it is essential to have a very sound base of knowledge and understanding, but also have the ability to think and reason – often "outside the box" – at a high level. 

    Further information is available on

    A Gold medal was awarded to:
    Isaac Dai

    Silver medals were awarded to:
    Marcus Cheung, Ben Ford, Boris Kwok, Lau Tin Lok, Mill Luangamornlert, Both Ruecheseth, Wing Shun Tang, Kelvin Tam

    Copper medals were awarded to:
    Dominic Ainslie, Cameron Anwyl, Oliver Bureau, Yong Qi Chau, Max Craik, Robert Ford, Llyr Heyward-Jones, Michelle Hung, Artyom Kutovoy, Emily Lo, Karist Ng, Naomi Potts

Thursday 24 August 2017

  • Shrewsbury School celebrates impressive GCSE results
    Hot on the heels of celebrations over excellent A Level results, pupils at Shrewsbury School have produced an impressive crop of GCSE grades with two thirds of all exams rewarded with an A* or A.

    This being our first fully co-educational cohort, it was particularly impressive to see so many boys and girls producing such exceptional performances. 

    Forty-two of the Fifth Form pupils achieved a clean sweep of A and A* grades. Of these, 12 pupils gained an A* in every subject they offered. They are pictured (left to right) below: Lizzie Ware, Juliet Russell, Adam Pattenden, Sophia Breese, Harry Remnant, Ella Windle, Oscar Mattinson, Will Hope, Abi Watkinson, Reuben Denison, Oscar Kanan and Mark Pangin.

    Out of a cohort of 147, 70 pupils achieved the top A* grade in English Literature and 214 A* grades were achieved across all three sciences.

    Headmaster, Mark Turner, commented: “The pupils can be justly proud of another sterling set of GCSE results – especially in the national context of grade deflation and increasing robustness of the qualification. That so many Salopians have achieved at the highest levels reflects the diligence, enthusiasm and determination of this cohort and, indeed, of their teachers.”

Thursday 17 August 2017

  • Shrewsbury School celebrates another excellent year for A Level results
    Pupils at Shrewsbury School have produced another excellent showing at A Level with over 77% of the examinations awarded an A*, A or B grade. Particular success was enjoyed by candidates studying for the Cambridge Pre-U qualifications with over 50% of all results banded at the distinction level.

    The very pleasing overall picture is further enhanced by stories of success on an individual scale. 42 pupils achieved a full set of A or A* grades and, of these, 11 achieved a clean sweep of A* performances – placing them perfectly for entry to some of the country’s most prestigious universities including Oxford and Cambridge.

    The quality of the grades achieved is impressive, but so is the variety of the subjects chosen by the pupils. Megan Redhead, for example, gained three A*s and a distinction grade in Economics, English, Geography and French respectively while her fellow student, Mathew Hedges collected the top grades in Economics, Chemistry, Maths and Physics as well as an A grade in Further Maths at AS level.

    AS examinations have also recorded some outstanding achievements with over 70% of all pupils studying Maths achieving an A grade and similarly brilliant results in the Extended Project Qualification where over 50% of pupils were awarded an A or an A*.

    The Headmaster, Mark Turner, expressed delight at the success of the pupils: “These excellent grades are a testament to the maturity and determination of our pupils and to the enthusiasm and professionalism of their teachers. We wish the pupils all the best as they move on to the next phase of their education and hope that they will continue to demonstrate their commitment to high-calibre achievement as they have done in their time at Shrewsbury School.”

    For results by subject, please see: 2017 A Level and Pre-U results in detail

Wednesday 5 July 2017

  • Third Former is first winner of Schützer-Weissmann Letter Prize
    A new prize in memory of the late Michael Schützer-Weissmann (MASW), who died in December 2015, has been won by Luke Russell (R III).

    The task was to hand write a letter and post it to the judge, recently retired Head of Biology Andrew Allott. Open to Third and Fourth Formers only, the entrants had to imagine they were a solitary lighthouse keeper and write a letter to a relative or friend about their life.

    Thirty-one pupils entered, and, to quote the judge, “It was great fun reading the letters. There was a lot of teenage gloom about loneliness and the pointlessness of existence, but also much imaginative thought and some very careful handwriting.”

    In second and third places were Mungo McLaggan (Ch IV) and Mollie Matthews  (EDH IV). The prize money of £100 was awarded by Titi Schützer-Weissmann, Mike’s widow, on 22nd June in a private ceremony in Churchill’s Hall.  

    The prize has been sponsored by Aidan Hartley, the father of Rider (Ch IV) and Eve (MSH V). Aidan was a pupil of MASW at Sherborne where he began his teaching career, before joining the English Faculty at Shrewsbury in 1988. The winning letter can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

Friday 30 June 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Not Nice, Not Good - Just Right'
    This issue celebrates those who have done the right thing, irrespective of personal cost. It also includes two article by pupils: 'The Greek and the Good' by Ebrahim Jamshid; and 'Don't Blame it on the Sunshine' by Nick Yale.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury SparkPoint - 'Not Nice, Not Good - Just Right' as a pdf:

Tuesday 27 June 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to open the latest bulletin as a pdf.

Friday 23 June 2017

  • Third Form Battlefield Tour
    "Fresh from our DofE expedition the day before and after a 4.15 start in the morning, we set sail for Calais on the way to the First World War battlefields of Belgium and Northern France." Tom Allen (Ch III) gives a thoughtful account of last week's Third Form Study Trip led by the History Faculty.

    Our first stop was the town of Ypres, unfortunate enough to be the site of four separate battles during the conflict, which left no building undamaged and the city in ruins. What we were all surprised to hear was that all the elaborate buildings around us were not in fact medieval but rebuilt in 1923 with German money. A new addition in this renovation was the Menin Gate, where at 8pm every day the Last Post is played and wreaths are laid. We all witnessed this and it was a thought-provoking start to our trip.

    The next day we crossed the border into the Somme district of France, poppies growing on the roadside, where we visited the many memorials and cemeteries that were seen all over the landscape: the Ulster Tower, the Newfoundland Park Memorial (remembering the many Commonwealth troops that took part) and most spectacularly the magnificent Thiepval Memorial, where we conducted a short service to remember the many Salopians and relatives that so many of us had found inscribed on the walls.

    After this we were treated with a visit to Arras, where the Allies had mounted their attack by emerging out of the medieval mines that lay below the town. Here we experienced something of the life of a soldier being ‘90% boredom and 10% sheer horror’ down in the mines where they were forced to live before the battle in which 285,000 died.

    On the final day of our trip we saw the war from the other side’s point of view, visiting one of the only four German cemeteries on the Western Front at Langemark. We were struck with the contrast between the bright and elaborate Allied cemeteries and the harrowing, macabre German ones, where the granite headstones were laid flat on the ground as the French government refused them the honour of standing up.

    The visit was not complete, however, without a visit to a chocolate shop in Ypres before heading home via the Channel Tunnel.

    It is fair to say that we came away understanding the ‘war to end all wars’ in a much deeper way, and the horrific experiences that men on all sides had to go through made us feel more than ever grateful for what they did a hundred years ago.

    Tom Allen (Ch III)

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'The Problem of Being'
    This week's edition considers some deep philosophical questions about the nature of 'being'. It also includes a fascinating article on Teleportation written by Ebrahim Jamshid (SH V).

Thursday 22 June 2017

  • Life on Mars?
    The launch of next year’s Academic Extension programme on the theme of ‘Watersheds’ took place on Monday evening with a lecture by astrophysicist Hannah Earnshaw. She has been selected as one of the final 100 possible candidates for a one-way mission to Mars.

    The 2017/18 Academic Extension programme will explore a range of key moments in human thinking and endeavour that have changed, or may change, the course of history.  Lectures and events are being organised by a team of Lower Sixth students alongside Stuart Cowper, the Director of Teaching and Learning. 

    Hannah Earnshaw, from Durham University, is about to leave the country to do a doctorate in California, so we were fortunate that she was prepared to visit Shrewsbury at relatively short notice to talk to our astronomers about 'Black Holes' and then give a lecture on the potential future watershed of humans establishing a colony on Mars.

    Sam Bayliss (Rt LVI) reports:

    ‘Life on Mars?’ is one of the questions many scientists are today considering. Hannah Earnshaw’s dream is to confirm this by embarking on a one-way mission to Mars in 2032. Having made the final 100 out of an initial 200,000 applicants, Earnshaw’s dream could well become a reality.

    The lecture, held in front of a full Science Lecture Theatre, saw Earnshaw discuss the reasons for this daring expedition, the eventualities on arriving on the Red Planet, and the means by which this goal will be achieved. Not once did she appear fearful; this is clearly a project that fills her with anticipation and excitement. She provided the intrigued audience with a rare insight into preparation for the mission. Training covers ten days’ isolation and the nurturing of endless skills, including politics, medicine and biology. Earnshaw got down to the ‘nitty gritty’ of what this life would involve – it is no surprise that the process is scheduled to take so long.

    Questions from pupils and staff lasted for over half an hour, which was testament to the curiosity that Earnshaw’s lecture created. Some were more personal and awkward, such as the issue of having babies and forming colonies, whilst others were more light-hearted, such as ‘How will you celebrate your birthday when years are more than twice as long on Mars?’. The issue of currency, of Earth abandoning the mission, and of further space exploration all arose. The discussed watershed was immense, and pupils were fully engaged in it.

    Hannah Earnshaw provided a perfect start to the many lectures set to take place in the coming academic year. Everybody at the School would like to wish her the best of luck in achieving her dream, and in confirming the question ‘Life on Mars?’.   

Wednesday 14 June 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to download this week's bulletin as a pdf file.

Friday 9 June 2017

  • Just published: Student Creative Writing Anthology
    The second volume of 'Fire Engine', Shrewsbury’s anthology of student creative writing, is out now! Themed ‘On the edge’, contributions reflect talent from across the whole School, from prize-winning work from the Third Form to writing by Old Salopians now plying their trade among the Oxford literati.

    Editors Charlie Johns (I) and Sam Bayliss (Rt) have compiled, and contributed to, a fascinating collection of writings that explore dystopias, disease, war and the idiosyncrasies of modern art. In a year-long search for creative inspiration and excellence, the increasingly prolific and talented members of the Creative Writing Society – who also included Glory Chan (MSH), Flora Moreau (G), Ollie Thorpe (Rb) –  were led by Mr Fraser-Andrews through a series of workshops, talks, trips and dedicated writing time, enthusiastically consumed amid the mad rush of all other school business, as their Thursday afternoon activity.

    Inside the pages of the new anthology, the editors are also proud to publish Luke Russell’s winning entry of the Schützer-Weissmann Letter-Writing Prize. The Rigg's Third Former is the winner of the £100 prize in its inaugural year after it was generously endowed by Salopian parent Aidan Hartley, who was taught at Sherborne by ‘Schütz’, aka Michael Schützer-Weissmann, the much-loved and admired former English teacher who cherished the art of letter-writing, among so many other things, before he died, too young, in 2015.

    Fire Engine: Volume 2 ‘On The Edge’ – the fruits of the Creative Writing Society’s hard work – can now be enjoyed in a 54-page bumper edition, available now in Houses, or by picking up copy, free, from the Moser Library.

    An online version is available in pdf form by clicking on the image below:

Thursday 8 June 2017

  • 'Digital Detox at Shrewsbury School' - by Mark Turner
    Following a two-day period of 'digital detox' at the School earlier this term, the Headmaster has written an article reflecting on some of the results. It has been published in the latest edition of 'Independent School Parent Magazine'. 

Monday 5 June 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint: Britain Decides
    There could only really be one theme for this week's edition of SparkPoint... As ever though, in putting it together Mr Walters (Deputy Head - Academic) has selected some interesting video clips and links to other websites to explore and understand more about the background issues and context.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint: Britain Decides' as a pdf:

Thursday 25 May 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Fighting Back'
    This week's edition is dedicated to "those who have stood up in the face of apparently insurmountable opposition". It includes a link to the poem written by Tony Walsh and recited this week at a vigil for the victims of the Manchester atrocity, that speaks of an enduring spirit of resilience and a persevering sense of community despite the odds.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury SparkPoint - Fighting Back' as a pdf:

Tuesday 23 May 2017

  • Headmaster's Commendations
    The aim of the Headmaster’s Commendations is to recognise and reward outstanding academic achievement and intellectual curiosity. Congratulations to the following Fourth Form and Lower Sixth Form pupils, who have been awarded Commendations this term.

Friday 19 May 2017

  • Covering the Crime: The magic of masks in ‘Medea’
    This week sees what is possibly a first for drama at Shrewsbury. Almost 2,500 years after it was first written, the Classics Faculty are producing the Euripidean tragedy ‘Medea’, to be performed in the Ashton Theatre this Friday and Saturday (19th & 20th May) – and the cast will be wearing Greek masks which have been made in-house, thanks to the talents of the Art Faculty.

    The play’s Director, Head of Classics Paul Fitzgerald, says: “Having taught Medea as an A level set text for a number of years, I have always been drawn to its power to deliver. Produced in 431 BC, it still raises issues that are incredibly pertinent today: feminism, racism, love and loyalty and, of course, revenge. I wanted to hark back to a more traditional look and thought that the use of masks by the characters would create a powerful visual element. I looked on-line for masks to buy, but there was nothing out there that really caught my eye, so I decided to have them made. Thankfully, Art Mistress Emily Stokes was keen on my proposal to make them in school, got on board and the results are nothing short of stunning.”

    Miss Stokes used mod rock for the base of each mask and clay for sculpting the features of the face. "It was slightly more difficult to produce the masks for the Chorus of Corinthian Women as they required individually made hair pieces," she explains. "In painting the masks, I decided on a muted colour palette similar to the one used by Peter Hall in his National Theatre production of The Oresteia.       

    Mr Fitzgerald adds: “When you see the actors and actresses wearing them onstage, under lights, the masks almost come to life; they have a disarmingly powerful effect. They contribute to the look, the feel and the drama of the whole piece; I hope to adapt and use them again in future productions.”

    Performances of Medea take place in the Ashton Theatre at 7.30pm on Friday 19th and Saturday 20th May and tickets are free.

    To see more photos from the production, please follow the link: Medea - photo gallery

  • 'Medea' - photo gallery
    Please click on the image below to have a look at some stunning photos of the Classics Faculty's production of 'Medea', directed by Head of Classics Paul Fitzgerald.

Thursday 18 May 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    The Careers Fellow, Mrs Dry, produces a weekly bulletin for Sixth Formers with links to information on work experience opportunities, university taster courses, gap year schemes, school leaver programmes - along with news articles and other items that may be of interest to students and to parents.

    Please click here to download the bulletin as a pdf file.

Tuesday 16 May 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'The Nature of Cyber Crime'
    Following one of the most signficant world-wide cyber attacks last Friday, this week's edition of SparkPoint focuses on the cyber landscape.

    Please click on the image below to open (safely) 'Shrewsbury SparkPoint - The Nature of Cyber Crime' as a pdf file:

Monday 15 May 2017

  • Prep School Chemistry: There’s no smoke without fire
    Last Thursday (11th May) was our penultimate Prep School Science Enrichment afternoon of the academic year for the Chemistry Department.

    A large year group of 24 Year 7 pupils from Terra Nova School were welcomed once again into the science facilities at Shrewsbury School, together with their Head of Science Mr Simon Pickering and accompanied by Madame Lee and assistant.

    As always, Dr Andy Briggs, our Head of Science, started the event with a number of ‘flash bang’ demonstrations that gave plenty for the pupils to see, hear and smell.  Terra Nova provided lots of eager volunteers, despite not knowing what they were letting themselves in for.  Sparks were flying, illuminating colours, flames and smoke were all experienced in fun – with even a test of our fire alarm for good measure!

    After a brief breath of fresh air, it was then into the laboratory for a variety circus of experiments involving chemical situations and reactions for the pupils to perform themselves. Although a very busy laboratory, all groups were able to try out equipment and chemical elements they do not often use in prep schools. The pupils were also allowed to safely experience some new processes and elements, including Mercury. All the senses were engaged, which is what chemistry is all about.

    A finale of Liquid Nitrogen flowers and elephant’s toothpaste ended a successful afternoon.  The Terra Nova pupils showed amazing enthusiasm for science, both in practical work and questions. It was a pleasure to host pupils with such sensible lab behaviour, and the staff and students agreed it was a very worthwhile and enjoyable afternoon.

    Rachel Schofield and Andrew Briggs

Thursday 11 May 2017

  • Announcing the winners of the Biology Photographic Competition 2017...
    The four judges of the inaugural Shrewsbury School Biology Photographic Competition had a difficult task to choose the winners from among the stunning images submitted in all three categories. The winning photos are displayed here.

    Junior Category (Third, Fourth & Fifth Forms)
    Winner: Nicholas Yale (S)
    Runner-up: Anna Cowan (MSH)
    Commended: Max Green (I), Danila Polyntsov (I)

    Senior Category (Sixth Form)
    Winner: Morgan Butler (EDH)
    Runner-up: James Crewdson (S)
    Commended: Miu Tran (EDH), Amelia Marriott (EDH)

    Staff Category
    Winner: Raymond Vardill
    Runner-up: Kate Bronner
    Commended: John Balcombe, Jackie Matthews

    Please click on the image below to scroll through the winning photographs. (Clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right-hand of a photo will open it up at full size.)

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    The Careers Fellow, Mrs Dry, produces a weekly bulletin for Sixth Formers with links to information on work experience opportunities, university taster courses, gap year schemes, school leaver programmes - along with news articles and other items that may be of interest to students and to parents.

    Please click here to download the bulletin as a pdf file.

  • General Election Hustings
    On Wednesday 10th May, we welcomed all five Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency to Shrewsbury School.

    Report by Richard Hudson.

    Barely a month from the election, a packed Ashton Theatre was treated – and it was indeed a treat – to five-minute presentations from the five candidates for Shrewsbury and Atcham, a Q & A session and two-minute closing speeches in a Hustings chaired with military precision by Ed Plaut (S UVI) and Megan Redhead (MSH UVI) sitting either side of Mr Matthew Clark, whose sphynx-like demeanour gave no indication of his own political sympathies.

    Presentations were variously slick, confident, smug, complacent, passionate, wooden, mechanical, well-informed, self-contradictory, delusional – but always fascinating. The candidates revealed few surprises and in all but one case displayed loyal, if not always believable, admiration – even devotion – to their party leaders.

    Unsurprisingly, Brexit, hard or soft-boiled, featured heavily in the Q&A section, with only the Conservative and UKIP candidates personally convinced by the wisdom of the popular mandate. Other questions dealt with VAT on school fees, the balance between local, national and international politics, the integrity of party leaders, university tuition fees, EU staff in the NHS, low-paid workers in highly profitable businesses and the tax system.

    All candidates dutifully stressed the importance of the youth vote, even though a larger turnout by young people might benefit some parties more than others, and the fully-engaged audience applauded each candidate with admirable even-handedness.

    A drinks reception followed and, to judge from the headlines in this morning’s newspapers, nothing off-message was revealed in this more informal gathering.

    Clearly this is an enormously busy time for the candidates and the audience expressed its warm appreciation to them for giving up so much time, showing by their presence that democracy is alive and well.


Tuesday 9 May 2017

  • Prep School Chemistry - the shows go on
    On Thursday 4th May, Shrewsbury School’s Senior Chemistry Technician Rachel Schofield and Head of Science Dr Andy Briggs ran another of their very popular Prep School Science Enrichment Afternoons, this time for pupils of Yarlet School.

    Fourteen Year 7 pupils, together with their Head of Science Mrs Patsy Barron and assistant, were once again given a trip around the Site, which included a tour of the science facilities at Shrewsbury School.

    Starting in the Science Lecture Theatre, Dr Briggs provided his ever-growing repertoire of spectacular explosions and illuminating flash-bang demonstrations. There were plenty of smiling faces and excited comments, even before the jelly babies for the volunteers came out! The pupils experienced sights, sounds and smells that are real chemistry at work.

    Once in the laboratory, and in small groups, the pupils were allowed to experience a variety of chemical situations and reactions themselves. To extend their learning, they were also able to use some equipment that is not often used in prep schools, including chemical elements and solutions. 

    The magic egg in a bottle trick is always competitive, the smelly plastic milk builds character and the flame tests are extremely popular. All the senses were engaged, which is what chemistry is all about.

    On request, the pupils were also allowed to safely experience some new processes and elements, including mercury. A finale of liquid nitrogen flowers and elephant’s toothpaste ended a successful afternoon. 

    The Yarlet pupils showed exceptional lab behaviour and their enthusiasm in both the demonstrations and experiments made it a pleasure to stage the event.

    In a thank you email sent to Dr Briggs and Mrs Schofield the following day, Yarlet's Head of Science said, "The demonstrations were great and the investigations really engaged the children. They all thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It is really kind of you to do this for us and very much appreciated."

    Rachel Schofield and Andrew Briggs

Monday 8 May 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Make Them Laugh'
    "Laughing is a hugely important process and one which has proven mental benefits." As the exam season gets properly underway, Deputy Head (Academic) Maurice Walters has produced an issue of SparkPoint that is designed to get readers smiling.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - Make Them Laugh' as a pdf:



Friday 5 May 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Toy Story'
    This week's edition considers the fundamental role toys play not only in entertaining and educating us, but in shaping our perceptions of the world.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - Toy Story' as a pdf:

Thursday 4 May 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    This week's bulletin includes a link to a the 2017 edition of 'Paths to Professional Careers', which contains information and guidance for parents to help their child explore career options.

    Please click here to download the bulletin as a pdf file.

Friday 28 April 2017

  • Galapagos expedition team gain insights into Darwin
    Last week the 23 students preparing for their Biology expedition to Ecuador and the Galapagos this summer met with the School Archivist, Dr Robin Brooke-Smith to tour the Taylor Library. They were shown many of the many treasures relating to Darwin that are owned by the School and learned about Darwin as a schoolboy, as well as the major influences that led him towards his famous insight.

    Dr Brooke-Smith shed light on Darwin’s life as a boy at Shrewsbury and we saw Dr Butler’s original “calling over list” with Darwin’s name on it as well. We also saw a school atlas published by Butler containing Darwin’s doodles, complete with a soldier, stick men fighting and many attempts at practising his signature. Dr Brooke-Smith also recounted the following lovely anecdote from Darwin’s autobiography.

    I must have been a very simple little fellow when I first went to the school. A boy of the name of Garnett took me into a cake shop one day, and bought some cakes for which he did not pay, as the shopman trusted him. When we came out I asked him why he did not pay for them, and he instantly answered, “Why, do you not know that my uncle left a great sum of money to the town on condition that every tradesman should give whatever was wanted without payment to anyone who wore his old hat and moved [it] in a particular manner?” and he then showed me how it was moved. He then went into another shop where he was trusted, and asked for some small article, moving his hat in the proper manner, and of course obtained it without payment. When we came out he said, ”Now if you like to go by yourself into that cake-shop (how well I remember its exact position) I will lend you my hat, and you can get whatever you like if you move the hat on your head properly.” I gladly accepted the generous offer, and went in and asked for some cakes, moved the old hat and was walking out of the shop, when the shopman made a rush at me, so I dropped the cakes and ran for dear life, and was astonished by being greeted with shouts of laughter by my false friend Garnett.

    We also saw the famous ‘beetle hunting letter’ which Darwin wrote to his school friend Charles Whitley. Whitley was an eminent Mathematician who was to become Senior Wrangler at Cambridge University and a Reader in Maths at Durham University, who upbraided Darwin when he was sent to a crammer in Barmouth to help him pass the Maths exam which formed part of the Cambridge entrance requirements. Darwin famously wrote back:

    I am as idle as idle can be: one of the causes you have hit on on, viz irresolution the other is being made fully aware that my noddle is not capacious enough to retain or fully comprehend Mathematics. Beetle hunting & such things grieve to say is my proper sphere.

    Despite not being a model schoolboy, we learned that the urge to collect and classify things was innate in Darwin. Even at the age of eight, he was already interested in the variability of plants. Therefore, whilst not the model schoolboy, he nevertheless possessed the traits that must have played a role in his later scientific observations. Indeed, he learned from Professor Henslow, the influential botanist, the importance of drawing conclusions from long-continued minute observations. Darwin’s insight can be seen developing in the following passage from his autobiography, which Dr Brooke-Smith recounted with great accuracy. 


    Whilst examining an old gravel-pit near Shrewsbury, a labourer told me that he had found in it a large worn tropical Volute shell, such as may be seen on the chimney-pieces of cottages; and as he would not sell the shell, I was convinced that he had really found it in the pit. I told Sedgwick of the fact, and he at once said (no doubt truly) that it must have been thrown away by someone into the pit; but then added, if really embedded there it would be the greatest misfortune to geology, as it would overthrow all that we know about the superficial deposits of the Midland Counties. These gravel-beds belong in fact to the glacial period, and in after years I found in them broken arctic shells. But I was then utterly astonished at Sedgwick not being delighted at so wonderful a fact as a tropical shell being found near the surface in the middle of England. Nothing before had ever made me thoroughly realise, though I had read various scientific books, that science consists in grouping facts so that general laws or conclusions may be drawn from them.

    Well before the voyage of the Beagle, Darwin was thinking like someone who might change the world.

    Dr Brooke-Smith’s erudite and most engaging talk covered several other fascinating facets of Darwin’s early history and at the end of it we were privileged to see the School’s two first editions of The Origin of Species, one of which was owned by the famous palaeontologist Richard Owen who was an outspoken critic of Darwin. Owen’s annotations can be seen at the back of the book.


  • Launching 'Digital Detox' at Shrewsbury School
    We were delighted to welcome Dr Aric Sigman to Shrewsbury School on Friday 28th April to help launch a ‘Digital Detox’ programme that we will be rolling out across the School next week.

    Dr Aric Sigman lectures on child health education and publishes papers on child health and development subjects, including excessive discretionary screen time and screen dependency. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and has written a new peer-reviewed medical paper entitled ‘Screen Dependency Disorders: a new challenge for child neurology’, which has been published this week in the Journal of the International Child Neurology Association:

    “There has been much discussion both in school and nationally on the impact of digital technology on the learning patterns and the behaviour of young people,” explains Mike Tonks, Second Master at Shrewsbury School. “We are very grateful to Dr Sigman for making the time to come to Shrewsbury to deliver a series of year group lectures to help launch a ‘Digital Detox’ programme that we will be trialling at school next week.

    “Our aim is to encourage staff and pupils to limit their use of technology during a 48-hour period next week and then to reflect afterwards on the impact of this. I am sure there will be benefits and costs and it will be an interesting exercise for all members of the school community.”

    We look forward to reporting back on the results!

    For more details about Dr Sigman and his work, please follow the link:

  • Biology Challenge success
    Congratulations to our Third and Fourth Form biologists, who between them have won four gold, 12 silver and 32 bronze medals in this year’s Biology Challenge, a national competition run by the Royal Society of Biology. A further ten pupils were Highly Commended and 14 Commended.

    The Biology Challenge is a Junior Olympiad for Year 9 and 10 pupils (Third and Fourth Forms). A total of 83 Shrewsbury School biologists entered, and an extremely impressive 58% of them won medals – nearly double the national figure of approximately 30% medallists.

    Special congratulations to Tom Allen (Ch) and Jeremy Au-Yeung (S), who are both Third Form silver medallists, and to gold medallists Lisa Alekseeva (EDH IV), Anna Cowan (MSH IV), Freddie Lawson (SH IV) and Anthony Siu (I IV).

    Dr Torin Morgan
    Head of Biology

Thursday 27 April 2017

  • Bastille Society Lecture: Why did the USA fail in Vietnam?
    On Friday 21st April, the Bastille Society was delighted to welcome Professor Kevin Ruane from Canterbury Christ Church University. Report by Ed Plaut (S UVI), President of the Bastille Society.

    Professor Ruane’s lecture was of particular interest to those studying Vietnam as part of their GCSE studies and those covering it at as part of the Pre-U American paper. He is a widely acclaimed expert on Western intervention in Vietnam and also writes extensively on British and American relations in the 20th century. His most recent book is entitled ‘Churchill and the Bomb in War and Cold War’, and covers Churchill and the development of the atomic bomb.

    Excited by the prospect of hearing from such an expert, the Hodgson Hall Lecture Theatre was at maximum capacity. Professor Ruane took the Bastille Society on a trip through the history of Western intervention in Vietnam, from French colonisation to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

    One particularly interesting facet that Professor Ruane discussed was the historiographical debate as to whether the Vietnam campaign was an active choice made by various Presidents, or whether it was a ‘quagmire’ that slowly dragged administration after administration in without them realising the true depth or complexity of the issue at hand. It was also extremely enlightening to hear of President Johnson’s dilemma between his War on Poverty and his War in Vietnam, and how this resolved itself throughout his Presidency.

    The lecture was greatly enjoyed by all present, and the Society would like again to extend its thanks to Professor Ruane for taking the time to come and deliver his insights to us.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

  • History study trip to Auschwitz and Krakow, Easter 2017
    A report by Alex Powell (I IV). 

    After an extremely tiring term, a 2 o'clock start on a cold Saturday morning didn’t bode well with the majority of our group. But as soon as we arrived in Krakow, we were ready to get stuck in.

    Our first day was spent walking around and enjoying the rich culture of Kazimerz, Krakow’s Jewish quarter. We visited Podgorze, the WW1 Jewish Ghetto (Square of Heroes), Schindler’s Factory and KZ Plaszow, Krakow’s concentration camp. After some free time in the Old Town (a quick trip to Macdonald’s for most) we had a traditional Eastern European dinner in CK Dezerter restaurant.

    A six o’clock wake-up was another early rise, but I must say the sense of excitement loomed in the air. As we arrived at Auschwitz Birkenau, it seemed that the mood became subdued and suddenly we were somewhere very life-changing; and so it was.

    We entered Auschwitz through the famous ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ gates and continued to blocks 4, 6, 11 and 27.

    Block 4 covered the history of Auschwitz. Block 6 showed the living conditions of the camp and evidence of the crimes; this certainly left a bitter taste in our mouths. Block 11 was the ‘death’ block. This was the prison and place of execution for any criminals of the camp. The original cells still stand, which was eye-opening to see.


    Finally, Block 27 is the most recent exhibition and it has the world’s biggest book. Sadly it is the book of the names of people who lost their lives in the camp.

    Our next visit would take us to Birkenau, the execution camp. Our tour guides took us to the main railway, where life or death was determined as over 100,000 people disembarked a train to meet their destiny: a life of suffering and grueling work; or no life at all. A question that is still asked today is, which was the best option?

    After a full orientation of the barracks and the main gas chambers 2 and 3, we stopped at the ‘pond of ashes’ to lay candles and say the Kaddish, which is the Jewish prayer, along with two other poems. This ceremony, along with the rest of the trip, was the most touching experience of my life and it truly opened my eyes to how lucky we are to live our lives freely, unlike the people who gave their freedom for us. As we were given a chance for reflection and silent prayer, I was able to realise how much we take for granted these days and how we need to reflect on why we are able to live our lives as well as we can more often. If there is one message that I took away from the trip, it was live life as freely and as well as you can. Never take a day for granted. That night we ate dinner in a traditional Jewish restaurant and enjoyed a night of celebration.

    Our third and final day took us to a museum of photographs telling us about Jewish life, which was followed by a meeting with a Holocaust survivor. It was truly riveting to learn about life in the Ghetto and the horrific circumstances in which people’s lives were destroyed within seconds. Our trip was finished off with a visit to Remuh Synagogue and some free time before we headed back to Krakow airport and journeyed home to enjoy our Easter.

    Special thanks go out to Mr Chipperton,  Mr Mackridge, Ms Milanova and Dr Oakley for organising this life-changing experience.

    Please click on the image below to scroll through a gallery of images taken during the trip. (Clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right-hand of a photo will open it up at full size.)

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    The Careers Fellow, Mrs Dry, produces a weekly bulletin for Sixth Formers with links to information on work experience opportunities, university taster courses, gap year schemes, school leaver programmes - along with news articles and other items that may be of interest to students and to parents.

    Please click here to download this week's edition.

Monday 24 April 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Hurrah for the Humdrum!'
    This week's micro-magazine for the intellectually curious celebrates the achievement, the complexity and the inspirational quality of everyday things that are right under our noses.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - Hurrah for the Humdrum!' as a pdf:

Friday 21 April 2017

  • Spanish Study Visit to La Coruña 2017
    A report on a very productive and enjoyable week, written by George Ludlam (R III).

    On Saturday 25th March, we set off for London Stansted with Mr Wright and Miss Higgins to catch a plane to Santiago de Compostela airport. We transferred to La Coruña, where we were met by our wonderfully welcoming host families.

    We spent most of the next day getting to know our host families, then met up with the group to watch a La Liga match in the Plaza María Pita, the attractive main square of La Coruña. We then returned to our host families ready for the next day of lessons and activities.

    During lessons we revised the Spanish covered over the year. We split into two groups: a Third Form group and a Fourth & Fifth Form group. We walked to the seafront, had a guided historical tour of the city, in Spanish and English, inluding the marina, Plaza María Pita, the old town and Sir John Moore’s garden. We then caught a bus to Marineda entertainment centre for a Spanish karting activity.

    On Tuesday after lessons we attended a tortilla cooking demonstration, in Spanish and English. We visited the park and after lunch walked along the beach to the aquarium. We then climbed to the top of the Torre de Hercules, the steps of the world’s oldest functioning lighthouse, to be greeted by panoramic views of the city and the Atlantic.

    During lessons the next day we covered surfing vocabulary before undertaking a surfing lesson in Spanish during the afternoon. The surfing was great, with the waves getting bigger each time. Afterwards we visited the city centre to have a bit of free time in the Spanish sunshine.

    The day-trip to Santiago de Compostela was a highlight of the trip. We travelled by train to visit the cathedral and the traditional centre of this beautiful city, steeped in history and a fascinating culture. We stopped off at a well-known cheese shop to sample some famous Galician cheese before lunch. The rooftop tour of the famous cathedral was a fascinating experience before returning to La Coruña in the evening.

    We all returned home having considerably boosted our knowledge of the Spanish culture and language. It was an enriching experience for all the group and I would like to thank the Spanish Faculty for organising such a memorable experience.

  • ISI Inspection Reports 2017
    We are delighted to publish the reports of two inspections carried out by the Independent Schools Inspectorate from 28th February – 2nd March 2017. The Inspectors’ findings and conclusions serve as a wonderful endorsement of all that Shrewsbury is trying to achieve and reflect extremely positively on the work of the staff, pupils and wider school community.

    The first inspection was a Focused Compliance Inspection, which concluded that the School is fully compliant in all respects with the highly rigorous regulations and boarding standards.

    The second was an Educational Quality Inspection, which reports on the quality of the School’s work. It focuses on two key outcomes: “the quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements” and “the quality of pupils’ personal development”.  In both cases, the School was assessed as “excellent”, the highest available category.

    The inspection process was part of a new ‘no notice’ format, which meant that the School was informed of the inspection 24 hours before it began.

    A team of five inspectors observed lessons, conducted formal interviews with pupils and examined samples of pupils’ work. They held discussions with members of staff and with the Deputy Chair of Governors, observed a sample of the extra-curricular activities that occurred during the inspection period and attended house meetings. Inspectors visited boarding houses together with the learning support and education resource areas. The responses of parents and pupils to pre-inspection questionnaires were analysed, and the inspectors examined curriculum and other documentation made available by the School.

    The full reports are published on the Inspection Reports page of this website but may also be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

  • International Olympiad selection
    After attending a training camp at Cambridge University over the Easter holidays, Isaac Dai (S LVI) has achieved the distinction of becoming the first ever Salopian to be selected to represent Team UK at the 11th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics.

    The Olympiad will take place in Phuket, Thailand in November 2017 and will include teams representing countries from all around the world. The competition itself consists of both a testing of the teams' theoretical knowledge and their skills in observation, data analysis and problem solving.

    Isaac has already won gold medals in three other UK Olympiads this year - Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. He finished in the top 50 of the Physics Olympiad (out of 1,680 candidates nationwide), which qualified him for the second round of the competition and takes him a step closer to gaining selection for the UK team in this year's International Physics Olympiad.

    Isaac's achievements are all the more remarkable because he is still only in the Lower Sixth Form.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

  • School Firsts
    Awarded to pupils during the final School Assembly of the Lent Term

    Each term a committee of Sixth Form pupils meets to award the School’s highest form of ‘colours’ – a ‘School First’. The committee members take their work seriously, for two main reasons: firstly, this is a good example of pupil power – while teachers may make nominations, it is only those ten or so Upper Sixth pupils sitting on the committee who have the power to vote; secondly, to retain the value of the ‘School First’, precious few are handed out.

    Nowadays School Firsts have been split into two types: sporting and non-sporting. Below is a list of those pupils who were given the coveted award for their exceptional contributions to School life in non-sporting activities.

    For his exceptional contributions as Governor of the Bastille Society and his dedication to the study of History:
    Ed Plaut

    For their commitment to and success in MUN:
    Max Morris, Max Yale and Rhys Trevor

    For their outstanding service and commitment to the CCF:
    Jack Lock, Rob Hartwell, Guy Morris and Will Hayward

    For the creation of the Humanist Society and chairing the Charities Committee:
    Alex Penman

    For their outstanding contributions to and success in Debating:
    Peter Stanley and Alec Barnes

    For his exceptional contributions to and highly successful leadership of the Quiz Society:
    Caspian Cowan Taylor

    For their unstinting and exceptional contributions to the musical life of the School:
    Joe Thevathasan, Fintan Simmons, Dan Orchard, Alys Howells, Nateewat Ruechuseth, Jemima Price, Ross Orchard and Will Bedson

Friday 24 March 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint
    At the end of a busy Lent Term and with holidays just around the corner, this week's slightly frivolous edition focuses on all things Easter.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury SparkPoint - Easter' as a pdf:

Thursday 23 March 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    The Careers Fellow, Mrs Dry, produces a weekly bulletin for Sixth Formers with links to information on work experience opportunities, university taster courses, gap year schemes, school leaver programmes - along with news articles and other items that may be of interest to students and to parents.

    Please click here to download this week's edition.

Monday 20 March 2017

  • Bastille Society Lecture: The Terror and the French Revolution
    On Friday 10th March, the Bastille Society was delighted to welcome Professor William Doyle of Bristol University to lecture upon the title "The Terror and the French Revolution". As one of the world's foremost French Revolution scholars, it was of huge benefit for historians across the School to hear Professor Doyle's insightful perspective on this controversial moment in history.

    As Professor Doyle pointed out, it is a moment that is a source of great debate, with a wide range of historiographical opinions on the subject.

    Interestingly, Professor Doyle reminded us of the renowned work done by two Old Salopian historians on the period of the French Revolution: George Rudé (O 1924-28) and Richard Cobb (R 1931-34). Indeed, their scholarship is one of the predominant reasons why the Bastille Society is named as it is.

    It was fascinating to hear Professor Doyle's lucid and compelling interactions with the predominant historical opinions of this period. He provided us with his own unique take on the seminal events of the Revolution and the Terror and dispelled many of the popular myths propagated about them.

    The Society would once again like to extend its thanks to Professor Doyle for coming to give such an enjoyable and informative lecture.

    Mr Mackridge, Head of History

Friday 17 March 2017

  • Success in the British Physics Challenge 2017
    A group of Fifth Form pupils took part in British Physics Challenge 2017 examinations recently and performed remarkably well, amassing between them three Gold, five Silver, six Bronze I and eight Bronze II medals.

    This competition aims to stretch and challenge students interested in physics and provides an excellent experience for anyone considering taking their studies further.

    The paper itself is based on the core of the Physics GCSE specifications, so that students taking any of the different exam board GCSEs can compete fairly. The exam lasts one hour and is composed of a series of multiple-choice and short answer sections that aim to test students’ knowledge and understanding of basic physical principles.

    It is designed to be accessible to all GCSE students but will take them significantly beyond the syllabus and encourage them to think about science in the way they would at A-level. Thus in order to score marks, it is essential to have a very sound base of knowledge and understanding, but also have the ability to think and reason - often "outside the box" - at a high level. 

    Further information is available on

    Gold Medals were awarded to:
    Mark Pangin (SH), Adam Pattenden (S), Abi Watkinson (G)

    Silver Medals were awarded to:
    Ben Cowley (R), Alexander Davies (O), Will Hope (Ch), Suky Ou Yang (MSH), Toby Pattinson (Ch).

    Bronze I Medals were awarded to:
    Lucas Artwright (O), Reuben Denison (SH), Boss Lertthundorn (R), Tom Plaut (S), Otto Rothwell-Hurley (Ch), Chad Usher (S)

    Bronze II Medals were awarded to:
    Ludo de Falbe (SH), Koby Ferdinard-Okpala (SH), Libby Hedges (G), Ebrahim Jamshid (SH), Jack Lockett (Ch), Archie Mobbs (O), Jetty Russell (G), Tommy Tong (SH).

    Dr Andrew Briggs, Head of Science

Tuesday 14 March 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Great Detectives'
    This week's fascinating edition looks at some of the ways that human beings' love of working out puzzles and finding solutions to problems has made itself manifest in literature, the arts and the sciences.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Great Detectives' as a pdf:

Monday 13 March 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to read this week's edition.

Friday 10 March 2017

  • ‘ShrewsMUN’ - Shrewsbury School’s inaugural Model United Nations Conference
    United Nations flags fluttered proudly above the Main School Building last weekend, to welcome more than 100 delegates representing countries from all over the world to the inaugural Shrewsbury School Model United Nations Conference.

    Devised and organised by a small and extremely hard-working Executive Committee made up of Sixth Form students led by Secretary General Ed Plaut (S), ShrewsMUN 2017 was hailed an outstanding success by delegates, organisers, Chairs of Committees and accompanying members of staff alike.

    Together with Ed, Deputy Secretary General Max Morris (S), Joint Heads of Press Michael Schützer-Weissmann (S) and James Whitaker (Rt) and Head of Media Sebastian Hervas-Jones (S) had collectively put in hours of work in the weeks and months leading up to the Conference. They were supported, too, by a team of fellow ‘MUN-ers’ who took on the roles of Chairs of Committees and Presidents of the Security Council, preparing resolutions, and researching and writing briefing notes for delegates. 

    The Committee were delighted that seven schools from across the UK signed up for the Conference and they were particularly thrilled that two teams from Frankfurt International School travelled over from Germany. They were also very honoured to welcome Justin Bedford, Head of the UN Strategy Team at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to give the Keynote Speech at the opening General Assembly – particularly given the fact that he had spent the previous week travelling in China and South Korea and had flown back to the UK only the day before. He gave a fascinating insight into the world of international diplomacy, and answered very skilfully some challenging and probing questions.

    The Keynote Speaker in the final General Assembly was former Head of School Esmé O’Keeffe (MSH 2013-2015), a talented and enthusiastic ‘MUN-er’ during her two years at Shrewsbury, who is now at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge studying French and Italian. She spoke about her experience last summer working for a humanitarian aid agency in the Ukraine and her research for a report she had written for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  As Ed Plaut said in his vote of thanks, she demonstrated to the ShrewsMUN delegates “that these issues are not as removed from us as we might think, and that we do not have to wait to make a difference to those things we debate at MUN”.

    During the course of the weekend, the ShrewsMUN delegates debated some of the major global issues currently being discussed in the ‘real’ United Nations, including the question of migration, the Syrian Civil War, sustainable energy in developing countries, cyber warfare, the use of drones in war and the treatment of terror subjects.

    Work in the each of the six Committees was intense and productive. In their closing remarks in the final General Assembly, all of the Chairs of Committees paid tribute to their respective teams of delegates for the high quality of debate – commenting that it made the awarding of Commended, Highly Commended and Outstanding Delegates difficult to decide.

    "It was great to see all of our hard work and hours of preparation pay off over the weekend, as everything worked extremely smoothly," Ed said at the end of the Conference. “Everyone really enjoyed their weekend and learned a great deal, either as a delegate, a chair, or on the organisation side of things."

    Michael Schützer-Weissmann  agreed: “Given Shrewsbury's prolific MUN record, it's extraordinary that we have had to wait until 2017 for our own ShrewsMUN conference. But no matter - it was well worth the wait.  For me, the key to this conference's success was its almost entire dependence on pupils' commitment and initiative."

    As joint Heads of Press, Michael and James were responsible for producing a newspaper during the weekend, which they published in time to hand to delegates in the final General Assembly. Meanwhile Sebastian, as Head of Media, roamed the Conference with his camera and put together two films that captured the lively spirit and positive atmosphere of the Conference. 

    Speaking at the end of the Conference, Ed Plaut was warm in his thanks not only to his fellow organisers but also to the members of staff who gave up their weekend to help with the Conference. In particular he paid tribute to Mr Peach, Master in Charge of MUN. “He is the man I must credit with not only introducing me to MUN, but supporting me and mentoring me every step of the way, including to the end of this conference. His leadership of MUN has irrevocably and positively shaped generations of Salopians, who, like me, are eternally grateful for all the hours that he has put into us as MUNners, but more importantly as people. ...He believed in our vision for the conference, and let us run with that vision with complete control, for which we are so thankful.”

    Mr Peach expressed his huge pride in their achievement. “Ed, Max and their team of committee chairs, administrative staff, delegates and journalists shouldered the vast majority of the planning and work for this conference and were a tremendous credit to themselves and Shrewsbury School. Because this conference was their brainchild, they ‘owned’ it, and were thus determined to make their conference a success. It's strange, but true, but some of the greatest moments that I have experienced in my teaching career (and this was definitely one of them!) have come from standing to one side, doing very little and just watching as talented stars of the future like Ed and his team take flight.”

    Ed concluded the Conference with his favourite quote, from Ronald Reagan:
    “I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and that there is purpose and worth to each and every life.”

    Ed, James and Sebastian gave a very engaging interview on Radio Shropshire shortly before the start of the Conference on Saturday morning. Please follow the link to listen to it and scroll forwards to 2:17:15 -

Thursday 9 March 2017

  • Chemistry Olympiad success
    Our Sixth Form Chemists have achieved outstanding results in the first round of the International Chemistry Olympiad, amassing a total of two gold, nine silver and five bronze medals.

    This competition is designed to challenge and stimulate the most talented young chemists in the country and is open to all post-16 students in the UK.  Seventeen students took part from Shrewsbury School, 13 from the Lower Sixth and four from the Upper Sixth.

    There are three rounds to the competition, at the end of which the UK team is selected to train for, and compete in, the International Chemistry Olympiad.  Further information is available on

    The paper itself is based on the core of the Chemistry A Level specifications, so that students taking any of the different exam board A Levels can compete fairly. The exam lasts two hours and is composed of a series of structured questions designed to stretch able students by making them apply the principles they have learnt to new and often more complex situations than they would meet in their A Level course. Thus, in order to score marks, it is essential to have a very sound base of knowledge and understanding, but also have the ability to think and reason - often "outside the box" - at a high level.

    The students concerned had worked at this with a weekly session throughout the year.

    Gold Medals were awarded to:
    Isaac Dai (S LVI), Andrew Kim (S UVI)

    Isaac's achievement is particularly noteworthy, as he has also won gold medals in both the Physics Olympiad and the Mathematical Olympiad.

    Silver Medals were awarded to:
    Josh Bray (Rb UVI), Betty Chau (G LVI), Ben Jones (S UVI),  Artyom Kutovoya (SH LVI),  Boris Kwok (Ch LVI), Zheng Liang (MSH LVI), Mill Luangamornlert (SH LVI), Lucy Price (EDH UVI), Stanley Wong (I LVI)

    Bronze Medals were awarded to:
    Marcus Cheung (SH LVI), Jake Elliott (Rb UVI), Emily Lo (MSH LVI). Selina Tang (MSH LVI), Andrew Wu (S LVI)

    Dr Andy Briggs, Head of Science

Tuesday 7 March 2017

  • Natural History Society Field Day trip to mid-Wales
    The Natural History Society spent Field Day last month exploring the Ynys-Hir RSPB Reserve and the ancient submerged woodland at Borth Beach, as Jenn Westermann (G LVI) recounts.

    Our day started early and we left at 8.30am to travel down to Ynys-Hir in mid-Wales. The Ynys-Hir reserve has been referred to as a mosaic of habitats. Across the site they have a salt-marsh, ancient peat bog, ponds and forestry. This impressive array of habitats meant that the variety of species it is possible to see at this reserve is vast.

    On our arrival we were met by Jenny Dingle, an Educational Officer for the RSPB, and Russell Jones, the Conservation Manager for the reserve, who kitted us out in warm hats and gloves.  Russell led a 2 km walk via the new hide overlooking a pool teaming with wildfowl.  He told us about the reserve’s history, showed us how he maps bird territories in the spring and talked about the wader conservation work, as well as pointing out birds along the way. 

    The first habitat we walked through was an oak forest that had been planted by the original owners of the estate. Russell is a bird expert and can identify a bird just from their call. Walking through the forest, Russell would pause to tell us what bird he had just heard. We found the carcass of a pigeon that had been eaten by a bird of prey and Russell told us that you can work out which bird of prey had killed it based on whether there was claw marks on the breast bones or not.

    As we moved on towards the peat bog we came across gorse. Gorse flowers throughout the year and it led to the saying, “I will love you if the gorse flowers”. The flowers also have a very sweet scent that smells of coconut.  Before we got to the peat bog we saw a treecreeper, a type of bird that can very quickly scale tree trunks as it searches for insects. On the peat bog we were told about the history of the site, that if you go down five feet you are moving down a couple of centuries. The vegetation five feet down would have been exposed centuries ago. We then moved on to look at the hides, where we saw many different types of waders.

    After lunch, Jenny took us pond-dipping. This entailed dragging a net through the shallow water, emptying it out into a small bowl of water and then looking through it to identify species. We found many mosquito larvae, water beetles, palmate newts, water boatmen and several sticklebacks. This was an interesting insight into the amount of life present in water even in the depths of winter.

    We then left the reserve to travel to Borth beach.  At Borth an ancient forest was discovered after a storm washed away the top layers of sand, revealing the ancient wood stumps below. Although this was very interesting to see, it was also freezing, so we did not stay long. 

    A delicious stop for fish and chips polished off a long yet interesting Field Day. It was fascinating to see the variety of species and habitats at the Ynys-Hir reserve and then see the ancient exposed woodland which many of us have never seen before.

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to read this week's edition.

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'A Little Bit of Magic'

    Please click on the image below to open Shrewsbury Sparkpoint: A Little Bit of Magic' as a pdf file.

Friday 3 March 2017

  • Salopian Economists are Bank of England ‘Target Two Point Zero’ national finalists
    Many congratulations to Upper Sixth Economists George Hargrave (Rb), Mathew Hedges (Rb), Harris Huntsman (R), and Max Yale (S), who won the Midlands and South-West area final of the prestigious Bank of England Target Two Point Zero Challenge on 28th February and have now reached the final six of approximately 300 schools who entered.

    'Target Two Point Zero' national finalists Max Yale, Harris Huntsman, Mathew Hedges, George Hargrave

    George Hargrave also won best individual contribution at the event; his prize is a month's paid work experience at the Bank of England.

    Target Two Point Zero is an annual competition run by the Bank of England that gives teams of students aged 16 to 18 the chance to take on the role of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee. 

    Each team assesses economic conditions and the outlook for inflation and then sets the interest rate to meet the Government's inflation target of 2.0%.  They therefore have to decide whether or not to change the interest rate from the rate set by the Monetary Policy Committee and if so whether to increase it or decrease it, and by how much. There is no right or wrong answer; it is a matter of their judgement. Having made their decision, teams prepare and give a short presentation to a panel of judges arguing the case for their decision and answering questions.

    “The key to success is how well students answer questions from the panel,” said Mr Merricks-Murgatroyd, Head of Economics. “The Shrewsbury team gave a 20-minute presentation showing real confidence and enthusiasm for the material. They then answered questions for another 20 mins and here they really excelled, demonstrating outstanding understanding of Economics, knowledge of the UK economy and careful considered judgement. The latter part very much reflected the time they have put in outside of our dedicated time to meet on a Thursday afternoon, demonstrating their independent learning and initiative.

    The final will take place at the Bank of England later in March.

Thursday 2 March 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Money, Money, Money'
    From John Maynard Keynes to Cleopatra and F Scott Fitzgerald to Jerry Lewis, this week's 'Sparkpoint' looks at the theme of 'Money' from an intriguing range of perspectives. 

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury Sparkpoint: Money, Money, Money' as a pdf file:

Wednesday 1 March 2017

  • Prep School Chemistry Spectacular
    On Thursday 23rd February, Shrewsbury School Chemistry Department welcomed pupils from Presfelde School for the first of a new series of prep school science enrichment afternoons.

    This was the first of our planned visits from prep schools for 2017 after the very successful Darwin Science Prep School Competition held during the week before half-term.

    This Chemistry event was designed by Senior Chemistry Technician Rachel Schofield and Head of Chemistry Dr Andy Briggs and was assisted by our Chemistry Technician Kathryn Davidson.

    Thirty Year 7 pupils, together with Prestfelde’s Head of Science, Mr James Peakman, and Science/Maths teacher Mr Anstey, were given a whistle-stop tour of the Chemistry Department and prep room. The extent of our facilities was a real eye-opener and an insight into the science opportunities at Shrewsbury School.

    This was followed with spectacular explosions and illuminating flash-bang demonstrations in the Science Lecture Theatre by Dr Briggs. The pupils experienced some of the sights, sounds and smells that are real chemistry at work. There were lots of excited comments and a huge number of willing volunteers as the demonstrations progressed!     

    Then it was on into one of the laboratories. In small groups, the pupils were allowed to experience a variety of chemical situations and reactions themselves, including the use of household items should they wish to continue their research at home.

    They were also able to use some equipment they do not often use in prep schools, including chemical elements and solutions, the magic egg in a bottle trick, smelly plastic milk and most enjoyable flame tests. All the senses were engaged – which is what chemistry is all about. Liquid nitrogen was a particular highlight! 

    At the end of the experiments we had a special treat for the pupils. Dr Briggs made some ‘liquid nitrogen’ chocolate chip ice-cream and a couple of lucky pupils managed to secure a second helping.

    The Prestfelde pupils were very well behaved and showed excellent lab skills and concentration.   

    With a few gifts to take back home, the staff and students agreed it was a very successful and enjoyable afternoon. It is now an annual event that both schools look forward to.

    Andrew Briggs and Rachel Schofield

  • The Darwin Society welcomes back our first Old Salopian girl
    On 24th February, we were delighted to welcome back Michelle Degli Esposti (MSH 2008-09) to give a Darwin Society lecture on "What we know about the human brain".

    Michelle joined Shrewsbury School in 2008 as the only girl in the Upper Sixth and the following year become the first ever Old Salopian girl. She spent a Gap year working to support a trip to a remote Island in Fiji, where she helped an isolated village build a community hall and taught English.  She then went on to read Experimental Psychology at Magdalen College, Oxford, where she graduated as top of the year with the Commendatory 1st Class Honours.

    Michelle is currently studying for a DPhil in Experimental Psychology investigating Childhood Adversity and Life-time Resilience. The project focuses on a better understanding of the long-term psycho-pathological outcomes of people who were maltreated in childhood, specifically looking at risk factors and potential pathways to life-time resilience.

    Michelle captivated an audience of current Shrewsbury School students, staff and visitors with her lecture on the different branches of psychology, which included audience participation and many pertinent examples of psychological experiments. She pitched her talk at a perfect level and left the audience asking for more. 

    She was accompanied by Ben Jenkins, who is a DPhil student in Materials Science at Oxford University.  They were both very helpful in answering questions from a number of students who are interested in applying to Oxford next year.
    ADB and CMS

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to read this week's edition.

Monday 27 February 2017

  • Headmaster's Commendations
    The aim of the Headmaster’s Commendations is to recognise and reward outstanding academic achievement and intellectual curiosity. Congratulations to the following pupils, who were awarded Commendations on 27th February.

    Third Form
    Charlotte Russell (G)
    Euan Parr (Rb)
    Imogen Morgan (G)
    Klim Sizov (I)
    Fred Jones (Rb)
    Tommy Jarvis (MSH)

    Fourth Form
    Runjie Liao (MSH)
    Olivia Moir (MSH)
    Anna Cowan (MSH)
    Thomas Jackson (R)
    Nicholas Yale (S)

    Fifth Form
    Reuben Denison (SH)
    William Hope (Ch)
    Piers Merison (SH)
    Mark Pangin (SH)
    Adam Pattenden (S)
    Oscar Mattinson (Rb)
    Thomas Plaut (S)
    Lizzie Ware (MSH)

    Lower Sixth
    Betty Chau (G)
    Oliver Bureau (Ch)
    Sophie Li (G)
    Charlie Johns (I)
    Linda Zhao (G)

    Upper Sixth
    Will Bedson (Rb)
    Harris Huntsman (R)
    Simran Randhawa (MSH)
    Megan Redhead (MSH)
    Sasha Lo (EDH)

Friday 24 February 2017

  • Ursule Taujanskaite wins the Sidney Gold Medal
    The Sidney Gold Medal is Shrewsbury School’s most prestigious academic prize, and is awarded to the outstanding academic leaver each year.  We are delighted to announce that this year's winner is Ursule Taujanskaite (MSH 2014-16). 

    Since the introduction of co-education in 2008, many highly talented and high-achieving girls have been at the School, but Ursule becomes the first female winner of the Sidney Gold Medal.

    Ursule left Shrewsbury in July 2016 and is now an undergraduate at Selwyn College, Cambridge, studying Psychological and Behavioural Sciences.  At Shrewsbury, she undertook the rare challenge of studying five full subjects in the Sixth Form, and gained 4A* grades and a D1 in her Upper Sixth exams, all with outstanding scores.  She achieved A* grades in Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Biology and Chemistry, whilst in French she gained the top D1 (Distinction 1) grade, which is loosely described as being equivalent to A**.

    Thane Warburg, Ursule’s tutor wrote as follows: 
    As her French teacher it was immediately apparent that she possessed a heady cocktail of incisive intelligence way beyond her years, an extraordinary work ethic and genuine linguistic flair.  In common with many of the brightest pupils I have taught over the years, she did not seem to realise how exceptional she was and it was quite common for her to doubt her abilities despite the fact that every shred of evidence placed her at the very top of any academic tree you care to mention.  She was invariably kind, thoughtful and full of humility and rarely without a broad smile on her face.

    The award is made simply on academic grounds.  However, in keeping with Shrewsbury’s broad co-curricular life, Ursule was also an outstanding musician and committed sportswoman.  She won a Choral Scholarship to Cambridge, having been Choregus of the Chapel Choir at Shrewsbury, and was an outstanding flautist, gaining her Diploma and reaching last year's final of the Royal Philharmonic Society Duet Prize for Young Instrumentalists.  She also represented the School in the girls’ tennis first pair and ran for the Hunt.

    The Sidney Gold Medal was first awarded in 1838, and the initial winner was H.A.J. Munro.  He proceeded to a stellar classical academic career, as Scholar and then Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. 

    In 1869, Munro was elected to a new Professorship of Latin, founded at Cambridge in honour of Dr Benjamin Hall Kennedy.  This underlines the pre-eminence of Shrewsbury School as perhaps the finest school in the country for the study of classics in the 19th century, to which a cursory glance at the honour boards in the Main School Building testifies. For this is the very same Dr Kennedy who was Headmaster of Shrewsbury School from 1836 to 1865, prior to being elected as Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge University.

    Martin Cropper

Thursday 23 February 2017

  • 'Persuasion and the Holocaust' - Philosophy and Theology Faculty lecture
    Angus Kincaid (Ch UVI) reflects on a powerful and thought-provoking lecture given by Freddie Naftel, the son and grandson of German refugees, who describes himself as 'a Holocaust Enrichment Educator'. It was the latest in this year's series of Academic Extension lectures on the theme of 'Persuasion'.

    Walking into the Science Lecture Theatre to see gruesome photographic images of piles of bodies, torture methods and Nazi testing on Jews, set to ‘emotional’ music, is not the way most people envision their Monday evenings are going to start. Mr Naftel's introduction to his talk seemed well rehearsed, making the point that there is nothing physically recognisable to differentiate a non-affiliated individual from a Jew, and that if he hadn’t told us he was Jewish, we would have been none the wiser.

    He then went on to talk about propaganda and the ‘Jewish image’ in society, starting out with pre-Hitler ideas and publications. With the audience nodding and agreeing with what he had to say, he subtly slipped in current images from the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The thought that anti-Semitism is occurring in 21st Century France in a way that has similarities to Nazi Germany before the Second World War was truly horrific.

    Naftel then made his lecture personal by telling his own family story, with his own personal experiences of not being told about the Holocaust (thus accidentally slipping racist jokes into conversations with his elders), and how his grandparents and great-grandparents were actually involved in the Labour Camps. His own family had attempted fleeing to Great Britain but were denied due to the quota of immigrant Jews already having been fulfilled. The fact that this denial of asylum was essentially a death sentence to his great-grandparents and grandfather did ‘hit home’ rather hard.

    Naftel also made the point that, in this day and age, we make a large point about saying “never forget” and “never again” with regards to tragedies and genocides such as the Holocaust. However, he argued, the election of Trump and the level of support for his travel restrictions on Muslims shows that to some extent we are in danger of repeating history.

    The effect on the audience was mixed, ranging from some thinking he was overly critical of non-Jews, to reducing others to tears over the reality of the Holocaust. But all realised that the freedom in which many of us now live should never be taken for granted and, if we were in his position, we would want people to care about what happened, rather than do 'the British thing' and ignore it because we’re too polite to bring up such a horrific event.

    Angus Kincaid (Ch UVI)

  • President of the Creative Writing Society is published in a 'Successful Writers in 2016 Anthology'
    Congratulations to Charlie Johns (I LVI), President of the School's Creative Writing Society, who has been published in an adult anthology of short stories.

    His story ‘Cobblestones’ was submitted for a competition run by Black Pear Press last summer and was selected for publication in their Short Story Anthology 2016 ‘The Day of the Dead’, described as containing “the finest short story writers in the UK right now”.

    It begins...

    Michelangelo was bringing the Sonata to a close. A resounding G, followed by a more tentative C (played with the appropriate feeling and emotion), this C giving way to a powerful and triumphant E that rang around the concert hall, adding a sense of impressiveness to the beautifully painted angels on the ceiling; mouths open, wings open, arms open. Michelangelo juddered and shuddered as he hammered down these keys multiple times, now looking up at the audience who stared back at him; women in expensive, embroidered ball gowns and pins in their hair, transfixed by the heightened rhetoric of his messianic playing. Some of Michelangelo’s charcoal hair came untucked from where it had previously been neatly positioned behind his ear, and dangled loosely. Other locks stuck to his damp forehead. He now began his signature flourish, moving his fingers expertly over the correct keys with a beautiful fluency, and the melody which flowed from the piano was pure. Michelangelo felt his heart soar as he imparted his unique gift to the crowd, just as it had on the night of his first concert. The delicate tones coming from his fingers had that magical quality such that it both relaxed and excited the seated members in front of him. He played his last note and remained motionless as the enraptured crowd brought their hands together in wonder at this piece de resistance, and the curtain was brought down.  Michelangelo disappeared from view, all that was left was the memory of his spiritual music. Although he knew the moment could never be repeated, he took comfort from the fact that he’d be creating more history the following night.

    The anthology can be ordered from Black Pear Press via the following link: and is also in the School Library.

    The Creative Writing Society have been spending this term exploring written responses to extreme settings (most notably the landscapes, both emotional and literal, of the First World War). Braving the elements and "the wind through woods in riot" on Wenlock Edge, they embarked on a Field Day that was devoted to ‘The Edge’. This is the theme of this year’s edition of ‘Fire Engine’, the anthology of new Salopian writing, which will be published in the summer.

    Led by Mr Fraser-Andrews, they communed with the spirit of the poet A.E. Housman on Wenlock Edge and recited into Major’s Leap his poem ‘On Wenlock Edge the wood's in trouble…’, amid flurries of snow that were “icy” but not, mercifully, “thick”.

    Over teas and coffees and sweets, they explored the interactions of personal memory, history and fiction during an informal workshop at Much Wenlock Books, proper bookshop and nerve-centre for the acclaimed Much Wenlock Poetry Festival.

  • Crowds flock to the Shrewsbury School University Fair
    We were delighted to welcome 34 universities from across England and Wales and hundreds of students and parents to our second annual University Fair, which took place during the afternoon of Friday 10th February.

    More than 300 students and parents crammed into the Alington Hall during the course of the afternoon to browse the university displays and talk to the representatives about university life, the application process and the courses on offer.

    They were also able to take advantage of presentations given in the Ashton Theatre by representatives from Bristol, Keele and Durham Universities covering ‘Writing a Personal Statement’, ‘Choosing a University/Course’ and ‘Student Finance’, as well a presentation by the LSE, UCL, Imperial and King's College London on 'World Class Study in London'.

    Both venues were busy all afternoon, the flexibility in timings allowing for attendance at the presentations and the exhibition stands.

    We would like to extend our thanks to the universities who attended and we hope to continue to build on the success of the event and make next year’s even larger!
    Mrs Nightingale

Tuesday 21 February 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers
    The weekly bulletin for Sixth Formers, produced by Careers Fellow Mrs Dry, includes information on gap year schemes, school leaver programmes, work experience opportunities, university taster courses and the weekly series of Careers Talks taking place in the School. Next week's Careers Talk is given by journalist and broadcaster Jay Rayner.

    Please click here to read this week's Careers Bulletin.

    Next week's Careers Lecture on Tuesday 28th February at 7.30pm is on 'Journalism and Broadcasting' and is given by Jay Rayner, Journalist, Restaurant Critic, Novelist, TV & Radio Presenter. It takes place in the Science Lecture Theatre and is open to parents as well as Shrewsbury School students - and to students at other schools.

    If you would like to bring a large group, please contact the Careers Secretary, Mrs Scimia, on 01743 280556 or email

Monday 20 February 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Love is in the Air'
    This week's issue is themed around 'love'.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - Love is in the Air' as a pdf file:

Friday 10 February 2017

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to read this week's edition.

  • Inaugural Darwin Science Competition for Prep Schools
    We were delighted to welcome teams of young and enthusiastic scientists to take part in our first ever Darwin Science Competition at Shrewsbury School on Thursday 9th February.

    It wasn’t hard to decide to name a flagship Prep School event after our most famous former pupil, Charles Darwin.

    The competition pitted teams of Year 7 pupils from five different prep schools against each other over a number of both written and practical rounds.

    In the quiz rounds during the morning, the teams of four demonstrated their general scientific knowledge, answering questions drawn from biology, chemistry and physics together with picture rounds, apparatus, specimens to identify and physics calculations.  Particular fun was had with rounds to identify sounds from the animal kingdom and some fiendishly tricky chemistry smells.

    After a quick refuel in KH, the pupils moved on to complete a series of fun practical investigations across the Biology, Chemistry and Physics faculties. From structures, to skeletons, to silver reactions, the teams battled to accumulate points through the sessions, as each investigation was judged.  Scientific analysis, laboratory skills and teamwork were demonstrated in abundance by all of the teams who took part.

    The pupils were able to experience working in our laboratories with equipment and chemicals that they do not have access to at their own schools.

    The standard was very high and the results were very tight. Only seven points separated the top four teams in the written quiz! The overall champions of the Darwin Science Competition 2017 were Bilton Grange (Team 1), with the Prestfelde teams coming a close second and third.  The winning team was presented with a bespoke designed glass trophy featuring Darwin’s ‘I Think’ Tree of Life doodle and a voucher worth £50 for science supplies for their school.  Team members also received individual copies of Darwin’s Notebook and a specially designed ‘Winners’ mug.

    Winners of the practical sessions were: Physics - Terra Nova (Team 2); Biology - Bilton Grange (Team 2) and Chemistry - Prestfelde (Team 1). Each was awarded a fun prize for their efforts.

    All students went home with a goody bag to congratulate them for their participation, hard work and excellent science etiquette during the day.  The competition will run annually and we hope to encourage as many pupils as possible to investigate their scientific passions as thoroughly as Charles Darwin.

    Mrs Rachel Schofield
    Senior Chemistry Technician

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Back to the Beginning'
    This week's issue celebrates the work of those who have theorised about what might have happened at the dawn of time.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - Back to the Beginning' as a pdf file:

  • National finalists in the Senior Team Maths Challenge
    On the 7th day of the 2nd Month of 2017, 5 Salopians (David Gao, Linda Zhao, Angela Liang, Isaac Dai and Dr Oakley) went to London for the National Final of the Senior Team Maths Challenge.  1291 teams had entered the competition but fewer than 89 remained to compete for the title.

    Report by Dr Oakley (who wins this week’s ‘Most Prime Numbers in a News Article’ prize).

    We took the 0733 train and were 73rd to register at Lindley Hall in Westminster.  This gave us a well-positioned table on the periphery of the packed arena.  The opening round was a poster round. This is a disjoint competition to the main event but gives the pupils time to settle their nerves and the remaining few teams who were stuck in traffic to arrive.  The topic was ‘cellular automata’.  Teams were allowed to research this topic before they came but had to answer three unseen questions to secure a good mark.  RGS Newcastle were deemed to have made the best attempt and they can look forward to seeing their poster duplicated on the walls of Maths departments around the country.

    Dr Oakley was then transferred to table 29 to umpire another team, leaving the Shrewsbury team to tackle the first round of the main event.  The group round comprises a decad of problems of varying difficulty and it is up to the team how they spend their time on each one.  One part flummoxed them but they only dropped a total of 3 points in the first round, putting them in joint 5th place.

    The next round was the crossnumber: like a crossword but with numbers only. One pair is given the across clues and the other the down clues, and the only form of communication is through their entries on a common answer sheet.  This is by far the easiest round and it should be a case of minimising the mistakes.  An elementary error in angles led to the confusion between 179 and 359, which slipped us down the rankings.

    The penultimate round was the ‘Shuttle’.  There were a quartet of mini relays with the answer of one feeding into the next question.  Speed is key, as there are bonuses if the relay is finished within 5 minutes.  The team did very well on this, missing out on the marks for only 3 constituent elements.  They were still in the hunt.

    The final round was new.  It was a relay that required a physical element; the definitive ‘Mathletics’ event.  Still in pairs but separated by the width of the hall, the first pair would start, answer their question, then ‘race-walk’ to their umpire for checking. If they were correct, then they would receive the next question to pass to the other pair; otherwise they were sent back to their table for another go.  There were more questions in this round than one could feasibly answer in the allotted time, so reaching question 13 was a fair effort. It was a bit of a tricky one but essentially required nothing more than Third Form maths.  The question is after the end of this write up.  One team managed to get 19 questions correct, which was very impressive.

    The results then came in. Shrewsbury finished in a very impressive 7th position, our best ever performance in this competition. 

    Congratulations to David, Linda, Angela and Isaac for their mental and physical stamina in what is a demanding challenge.  Given that 3 of them are in Lower Sixth, the prospects for next year look very good.


    How would you have done?
    In the triangle ABC, AB has length 20, BC has length 11 and CA has length 13.

    A line through A perpendicular to BC meets the line through B and C at D.

    What is the length of AD?

    (With acknowlegement to United Kingdom Mathematics Trust

Thursday 9 February 2017

  • Finding inspiration at TEDxOxford
    On Sunday 5th February a group of 20 Fifth and Sixth Formers travelled to Oxford for the 2017 TEDxOxford event, the largest independent TED Talks in the UK, given to 1,800 people interested in hearing different ideas from 12 different speakers. 

    Topics ranged from how visual electronic maps can help people see how things work on a much simpler level to patterns in data affecting wide social relationships to the future psilocybin, more commonly known as Magic Mushrooms, in the treatment of depression. 

    Following a lecture on Creativity in Maths teaching (who knew it was possible?!), Mr Cowper was mentioned by the host of the talks, Old Salopian Chris Williams, who had clearly been so inspired by the Maths in his Spanish lessons.

    It will take far too long to cover all the lectures, so Ebrahim Jamshid (SH V) covers two he found particularly interesting. 

    David Troy, the creator of Mailstrom, based his talk on the mapping of social relationships using social media statistics and the implications of the patterns that can be observed. Though at first they looked like a Mondrian collection of colour, he soon demonstrated how the connections between different social groups could tell an interpreter about the culture, demographics and even political stances in uncanny precision. Our attention soon turned to the recent US Election and Donald Trump’s victory from using all this data.   He ended his talk with a rather sincere comment on the fragile foundation on which Western democracy stands and how it is something that needs to be fought for in order to keep.

    The second talk came from Priscilla Nagashima Boyd, who based her talk on the effect that driverless cars would have on people’s lives. She started with the huge implications that it would have on traffic: an adult driver spends an average of 127 hours in traffic every year and driverless cars could in theory almost eliminate this time altogether. However, she went on to say that it would inevitably create another area in which hackers could infringe upon a person’s privacy.

    Universally (well, in the opinion of Ebrahim and Chad Usher (S V), the most interesting talk came from Abhishek Parajuli. He talked about how foreign aid can end up hurting a developing country’s economy rather than benefitting it. He stated the fact that as humans we consider losses much more seriously than gains, which can be seen in how the news seems to be filled with tragic stories of death and destruction. Therefore, if a political figure is caught unlawfully using money from foreign aid, it is treated much less seriously than when this money was taken from the native people’s taxes. He also pointed out that a lot of these countries do not have a reliable system of collecting tax and thus the inhabitants of the country do not seem to care very much about how the government’s budget is being used.

    In a time in which people are becoming more polarised, Ted talks seem nevertheless to prevail in spreading and discussing ideas.  We are very thankful to Mr Percival and Mr Cowper for organising and accompanying such an inspiring day.

    Ebrahim Jamshid and Chad Usher

  • Bastille Society Lectures

    On Friday 3rd February, the Bastille Society was delighted to introduce Professor Andy Wood, Fellow of University College, Durham, to lecture on the question of: “To what extent was there a Mid-Tudor Crisis?”

    Professor Wood is an eminent historian of the Early Modern Period and is a real expert on the topic of social conflict and rebellion in the Tudor period. He provided us with an insight into the minds of the rebels of the reasons behind various rebellions throughout these tumultuous years.

    The lecture ranged across the period from Henry VIII right through to Elizabeth’s reign. Professor Wood demonstrated that the Mid-Tudor Crisis was an amalgam of religious, social, political, economic and, interestingly, ‘environmental’ change. One particular aspect he focused on was the idea of ‘cultural hegemony’ and how the dominance of one social order had created a ‘crisis of authority’. He discussed how the Kett’s rebellion and others in the period were essentially asking for a freer and more open society; demanding a dialogue to be opened between the ruler and the ruled.

    He is currently researching the initial Grammar Schools such as Shrewsbury and the role they had in creating a more fluid social order, as well as the Calvinist teachings headed by Thomas Ashton. It was deeply fascinating to see how our school played a part in the ‘Protestanisation’ of England in the wider context of the period. Certainly, what captivated the audience was the continuing relevance of the Mid-Tudor Crisis shown by the striking parallels Professor Wood was able to draw to the present day.

    We would like again to thank Professor Wood for giving up his time and delivering such a measured and insightful lecture and we wish him the best as he continues his research.

    James Whitaker (Rt UVI)

    On 9th February, the Bastille Society welcomed Mr Dominic Howell to continue the School’s lecture programme on the topic of ‘Persuasion’.

    As an international election observer with years of experience observing the democratic process across the world, from elections in the Maasai Mara and Central Asia to Eastern Europe and Russia, Mr Howell’s lecture on “How Dictators Cheat” was as entertaining as it was insightful.

    Littered with interesting anecdotes about some of the most arcane methods used around the world, Mr Howell demonstrated how dictators can use tactics before election day, on election day and after election day to influence the results of elections and maintain power.

    It was also fascinating to hear his take on the electoral processes in the Western world, which are coming under ever closer scrutiny at the moment, and he also touched upon the very topical issue of democracy in the Middle East.

    It really was a great evening enjoyed by all – and the Society would like to once again extend its thanks to Mr Howell for coming to speak to us.
    Mr Mackridge (Head of History)

Friday 3 February 2017

  • 'Mr Darwin's Tree'
    An account by Charlie Johns (I LVI) of a riveting performance of the one-man show Mr Darwin's Tree'. Originally written to coincide with the bicentenary of Darwin's birth, it has since toured England and the United States to critical acclaim. On Sunday, it 'came home' to Shrewsbury, the town of Darwin's birth, and to his alma mater, Shrewsbury School. 

    On Sunday 29th January, 250 members of the Sixth Form piled into the Ashton Theatre to watch the production of ‘Mr Darwin’s Tree’, written and directed by Murray Watts, with the solitary actor being Andrew Harrison.

    A seemingly last-minute but well received change of plan had led them to be in the Ashton Theatre instead of the usual evening chapel. Shockingly, some Sixth Formers were skeptical; others were keen and unbiased, open to having their preconceptions about one-man theatre obliterated by the hammer of dramatic performance. I would put myself in this camp.

    Mr Middleton, Deputy Head (Co-Curricular), descended the stairs onto the stage and stood blinking in the spotlight like a TV host. He told us of the critical acclaim that the play had received. I surveyed the packed arena and wondered if these critics would be doing similar acclaiming, or would be baying for blood like in the Colosseum. Actually, everyone was being quiet and well-behaved, obviously tired after the exhausting exertions that come hand in hand with a Sunday at Shrewsbury School.

    There was a great deal of intrigue about the stage set-up, and rightly so. To stage left was a lone chair, and centre stage was a bizarre construction, which consisted of a step ladder, from which wooden branches made of what looked like metre rulers, protruded. It bemused me at the time, but upon further rumination and reflection I’ve decided that it might be some conceptual reference to the tree of life which Darwin devised during his interesting and enduring life. Below that were a round table and two chairs, where Harrison enacted Darwin’s frantic writing scenes and also the deeply poignant deathbed sequences. A nice minimalist and portable set, I thought.

    But what of the actual acting?

    It’s astonishing how one man can hold the attention of 250 tired young men and women for upwards of an hour. As Mr Middleton perceptively put it in his summarising evening email, “There were moments when you could hear a pin drop”. Too right there were.

    There was writing from Watts that would not have looked out of place in a high-ranking poetry book. Harrison’s intonation, had this been delivered in French, would have gained him a distinction grade in a Pre-U oral exam. He rolled his ‘r’s with precision, and glided gracefully over some of the more tranquil narrations. At times he spoke rapidly and heatedly, at others he faltered and feigned, his voice quivered with emotion. This guy was able to portray Darwin as a squeamish university student, a young, shy, seasick yet passionate expeditionary aboard HMS Beagle, his traditional and domineering, yet benevolent father, and even his dying ten-year old daughter Annie. Mesmerising. I now feel like I’ve got a tangible grasp of the personalities of all these characters, despite having had no prior knowledge of them.

    The play challenges many preconceptions about Darwin and his legacy and the supposed conflict between faith and science. Along with the dramatic story of Darwin’s own life, struggles and scientific quest, there are the powerful themes of his wife Emma’s Christian faith and their poignant conflict on issues of belief in an otherwise perfect marriage, and the personal tragedies and joys of their journey through life together. As a philosophy student, I found it very engaging, and the ideas were discussed in a way that was very accessible, even to those who were new to the ideas being raised.

    I attempted to gauge the reception in the immediate aftermath, in Ingram’s Hall, a building that fills me with joy to be able to call home. One friend of mine said, “Yeah that was a really good!” I’d never seen such an outburst of passion, derived from a dramatic stimulus, from him before. We even had a brief debate in the Link about exactly what it was about it which was so enjoyable. The air in Ingram’s was positively thick with erudite debate; unanticipated.

    This was a very powerful piece of theatre. I have to say, my prejudice that one-man shows are naff and a bit boring was dismantled, destroyed and shattered in one hour. I’m sure this was true for all others present.

  • Biology Olympiad success
    Seven of our Upper Sixth biologists joined more than 7,500 pupils who volunteered to take part in the first round of this year's Biology Olympiad, organised by the Royal Society of Biology. They achieved outstanding results, winning two gold medals (awarded only to the top 6%), three bronze medals and two highly commended.

    The competition is open to all post-16 students in the UK and is designed to challenge and stimulate the most talented young biologists in the country.

    Gold Medals
    Josh Bray (Rb)
    Ben Jones (Rb)

    Bronze Medals
    Lucy Price (EDH)
    Josh Himsworth (Ch)
    Will Bedson (Rb)

    Highly Commended
    Sasha Lo (EDH)
    Jake Elliot (Rb)

  • Treasures of the Ancient Library
    The School’s Ancient Library was founded in 1606 and contains a large and fascinating collection of rare manuscripts and other treasures. It was visited recently by Mr Tim Pye, Curator of Libraries at the National Trust and formerly of the British Library, who wished to visit “a library of national importance”.

    The School Archivist, Robin Brooke-Smith, hopes to work with him on joint projects in the future.

    This follows another recent visit by Susan Flavell and Lynn Gough, the Managers of Buildwas Abbey, which lies just south of Shrewsbury. They wished to see the School’s ‘Buildwas Manuscript’ (MS XII). It was originally kept at Buildwas Abbey from c 1150 until it was purchased by the School shortly after 1606.

    There are more than 30 surviving ‘Buildwas Books’, mainly at Trinity College, Cambridge. The Shrewsbury Buildwas Book is the only one surviving in the county, and it contains the Apocalypse and Catholic Epistles with accompanying commentary in a contemporary hand.

    Bound at the Abbey, it is possibly the oldest originally bound book in our collections.

    The book is among many others on display in the Taylor Library and can be viewed on request by contacting Mr Brooke-Smith (, or on Sundays after Chapel.

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'Words, words, words'
    This week's edition focuses on the power of language – and some of the people who have done extraordinary things with it.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint – Words, Words, Words as a pdf file.

Thursday 2 February 2017

  • Delegate awards at Manchester High School MUN Conference
    Shrewsbury's team of 21 Model United Nations delegates representing Russia, Israel and Kenya had a very enjoyable and successful weekend at Manchester High School for Girls' MUN Conference, with more than half of them managing to pick up awards and commendations.

    “As always our delegates (veterans and newbies, young and old) got stuck into the thick of the debate, learned loads and had fun in the process,” said Mr Peach, Teacher in Charge of MUN. "One great achievement of the weekend was Mill Luangamornlert drafting a resolution on a futuristic crisis situation involving GM crops, then lobbying effectively for this resolution and rallying supporters to speak for it. His resolution passed with a large majority, which is never easy in this sort of forum.

    "In addition Rhys Trevor (PH UVI) chaired the Environment Committee alongside two pupils from other schools, thereby building another useful set of skills for the future."

    Each committee had 1 Outstanding Delegate, 2 Highly Commended Delegates, 4-5 Commended Delegates, and a Best Junior Delegate.

    • Max Yale (S UVI) (Russia) was the Outstanding Delegate in the Science and Technology Committee.
    • Mill Luangamornlert (SH LVI) (the Russian Ambassador) was Highly Commended in the Security Council.
    • Oliver Bureau (Ch LVI) (the Israeli Ambassador) was Highly Commended in the Human Rights Council.
    • Peter Stanley (SH UVI) (Russia) was Highly Commended in the Media Committee.
    • Nina Churchill (MSH LVI) (Israel) was Highly Commended in the Environment Committee.
    • Alec Barnes (PH UVI) (Russia) was Commended in the Environment Committee.
    • Tamara Fox (MSH LVI) (Russia) was Commended in the Human Rights Committee.
    • Henry Mayhew (Ch LVI) (Russia) was Commended in the Economic and Social Committee.
    • Nick Yale (S IV) (Kenya) was the Best Junior delegate in the Economic and Social Committee.
    • Sam Evans (R III) (Israel) was the Best Junior delegate in the Disarmament Committee.
    • Ed Plaut (S UVI) (Russia) got a Special Mention in the Human Rights Council.

    Next month Shrewsbury will be hosting the inaugural Shrewsbury School MUN Conference, which Ed Plaut and a team of other seasoned MUN-ers are busy organising at the moment.

Wednesday 1 February 2017

  • 'Baptism of Fire' - Shrewsbury School commemorates Wilfred Owen
    An article by Sam Bayliss (Rt LVI), submitted for publication in the Shropshire Star, describing a joint Shrewsbury School and Friends of St Chad's commemoration of Wilfred Owen, which took place last weekend.

    The life and work of Wilfred Owen, Shropshire’s most famous poet, was celebrated with a day of activities on Saturday 28th January, one hundred years after his arrival on the Western Front in January 1917. Sam Bayliss writes.

    The day, organised by James Fraser-Andrews of Shrewsbury School’s English Faculty to raise funds for St Chad’s Church, remembered the household name who not only pioneered war poetry as we know it today, but changed people’s views of war.

    Helen McPhail, former chairman of the Wilfred Owen Association, led a tour that followed in Owen’s footsteps, as they were guided around the town. The church then played host to world authorities on the writer with three lectures in St Chad’s Church in the afternoon.

    Speakers included Dr Guy Cuthbertson, Owen’s most recent biographer, Dr Martin Deahl, ex-army consultant psychiatrist and Iraq veteran, and Dr Adrian Barlow, formerly of University of Cambridge. Insights into Owen’s life, explorations of ‘shell-shock’, and Owen’s cultural impact on later writers proved fascinating subjects to the 200-strong audience.

    The day concluded with an evening recital of words and music, devised by James Fraser-Andrews. Led by Director of Music John Moore and Head of Woodwind Maria McKenzie, musicians from Shrewsbury School performed music from the period and beyond – including a world-premiere of a new setting of Owen’s poem ‘The Letter’ by student Dan Powell (Ch UVI). Readings included Owen’s best-loved poems, letters home, and brand-new writing from the School’s Creative Writing Society.

    The day was a fitting tribute to the poet who revolutionised war poetry after his first experiences of the Western Front in 1917, and who would tragically lose his life only seven days before the signing of the Armistice, on 4th November 1918.

    “The pupils performed with great sensitivity for the kinds of art - by Owen and others - that civilises, dignifies or, at the very least, lays bare the contortions of the soul in times of such terrible violence,” said Mr Fraser-Andrews.

    The Friends of St Chad’s were pleased to raise £1700 throughout the day, which will help maintain the unique church in Owen’s home town.   The event was a precursor to the major centenary commemorations of Owen’s death that are due to take place next year.

    Editor's note: As Sam Bayliss was himself part of the group of Shrewsbury School pupils who took part in the concert, he is perhaps a little reticent in stating just how warmly received their contributions were. The Headmaster received the following email after the concert from parents who were part of the audience. It was entitled 'Shrewsbury School at its best':

    "The evening recital of poems and music at St Chad’s last Saturday evening to mark the 100th anniversary of Wilfred Owen’s move to the Western Front was quite brilliant; magnificent musicianship and singing accompanying readings that inspired and moved in equal measure. Owen’s baton moves on to a new and worthy generation.

    Congratulations to every last participant and to Mr Fraser-Andrews, Mr Moore and Mrs McKenzie for helping to make it all happen."

Friday 27 January 2017

  • Shrewsbury Success in RSC Chemistry Schools' Quiz
    The Shrewsbury team of two Fourth and two Fifth Form pupils hosted a team from Thomas Telford School in the 1st Round of the Royal Society of Chemistry Midlands Chemistry Quiz Competition. With a score-line of 66-45, Shrewsbury advance to the next stage of the competition.

    Our team consisted of James Martin (O), Edward Evans (PH), Abi Watkinson (EDH) and Adam Pattenden (S) (pictured above in action). Questions were put either to individuals or to whole teams, and topics jumped from famous chemists to ionic formulae, from dot and cross diagrams to facts about water and from mole calculations to spelling!

    With a good knowledge of buckminsterfullerene, anhydrous copper(II) sulfate and iron, our team now needs to brush up on phenolphthalein and carbon before the next round!


  • 'Floreat' Awards
    This term has seen a new award at Shrewsbury School: Floreat.  Shrewsbury is full of success stories and headline-grabbing highlights, but there are also many examples of Salopians quietly doing extraordinary things.  Floreat seeks to shine the spotlight for a brief moment on those whose efforts might otherwise go unnoticed. 

    Based on the principle that a word of encouragement can have a significant impact on an individual, the intention is to celebrate and commend both curricular and co-curricular success stories in order that pupils may be encouraged on their Salopian journey and further flourish.  The intention is to promote an ‘I Can’ approach amongst Salopians, to applaud effort rather than just attainment, and to encourage pupils to be confident in their abilities and ambitions. 

    Floreat is hosted by the Headmaster and members of the Senior Academic Staff every Friday following nominations from the Common Room and the pupil body. Those nominated this term include bee-keepers, Classicists, charity fundraisers, hockey goal-keepers, drummers, poets and Arabists.  All have impressed and inspired with their qualities of determination, resilience, fortitude and, in many cases, the courage to step out of their comfort zone.




Thursday 26 January 2017

  • Warwick University Ancient Festival for Schools 2017
    This week Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Percival took 17 pupils studying Classical Greek or Classical Civilisation from the Lower and Upper Sixth to Warwick University for a day of lectures on Greek Theatre, culminating in a performance of Sophocles' masterpiece ‘Antigone’.

    The play is a set text this year for both subjects; a prize winner at the City Dionysia Festival of 441BC in Athens, it confronts the ancient, yet timeless and current, issues of gender, political tyranny, and obedience to the state and her laws, as well as asking questions about religion and man’s freewill to do what he thinks is right. Love, hate, death and self-sacrifice - think of it as a Christmas Day episode of ‘Eastenders’, on steroids. A rib-tickler it ain’t - powerful and provocative it is; almost 2,500 years old, yet it delivers.

    The day was divided into four sections: an introductory talk by Dr Michael Scott, Associate Professor of Classics and Ancient History, on the play’s plot and message; a lecture from a ‘local’ - a PhD. student from Athens - on masculinity and the male characters in Antigone; after lunch on campus, the students were challenged to think about ideas on space and the female in Greek theatre, and to finish the day, we were treated to a truly memorable performance of the play by Warwick students.

    The day was useful not only in terms of ‘A’ level study, but also because it gave our boys and girls a taste of what to expect a formal lecture to be like in Higher Education.

    Thanks to Mr Fitzgerald and Mr Percival for organising.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - 'The Year of the Rooster'
    This week's special festive edition celebrates Chinese New Year and features the music of Tan Dun, the writings of Lao She and the dance choreography of Jin Xing.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - The Year of the Rooster' as a pdf file:

Friday 20 January 2017

  • Richard Hillary Essay Medal
    The Richard Hillary Essay Medal was inaugurated in 2013, and the fifth annual competition took place last Friday evening.  The competition provides an opportunity for Sixth Formers to spend two hours pitting their wits against a one-word unseen essay title. The event is modelled on the historic competition undertaken to select Fellows of All Souls College, Oxford.

    This year 48 students volunteered to take part, and each competitor opened an envelope on their exam desk to reveal this year’s one-word title:

    And so 'Voice' joins the select group of words set as essay titles, alongside 'Luck', 'Time', ' Power' and 'Memory'. 

    The essays will be judged by Dr Niall Livingstone, Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Birmingham, and the winner will be presented with the Richard Hillary Medal at Prizegiving next term.

    The prize is named in honour of Richard Hillary (Old Salopian) and was launched in association with the Salopian Club.   Hillary was born in 1919 and joined Churchill’s Hall in 1931 and he went on from Shrewsbury to study at Trinity College, Oxford.  He was called up to the Royal Air Force in October 1939 to train as a Spitfire fighter pilot.  He joined 603 Squadron and moved with them from Scotland to join the Battle of Britain on 27th August 1940.  Within a week Hillary had shot down five German fighters, but he himself was shot down on 3rd September 1940 and was very badly burned while escaping from his aircraft.

    Hillary was badly disfigured and never regained full use of his hands.  He wrote the story of his experiences, “The Last Enemy”, which is widely regarded as one of the best books to have emerged from World War Two.   He convinced the RAF that he was fit enough to return to flying in November 1942, even though the damage to his hands remained severe.  On 8th January 1943 his Bristol Blenheim crashed in Scottish woodland during a night training exercise, and he died aged 23.

    He is remembered today at Trinity College, Oxford by an annual literature prize, a portrait outside the college library, and an annual lecture in his honour.   At Shrewsbury, his name appears on the War Memorial and his name is also on the Battle of Britain memorial in Chapel.


  • A busy week in the Biology Department!
    The first full week of the Lent Term saw three landmark events for the residents of the Darwin Building.

    Within the Department we only half-jokingly called it ‘Biology Week’! On Tuesday 10th January, our 45 Lower Sixth Formers, accompanied by Mr Besterman, Mr Exham, Mr Simper, Mr Stanhope and Dr Morgan, travelled to Liverpool University’s Institute of Integrative Biology where we were kindly hosted by Professor Alan McCarthy, Head of Admissions for the School of Life Sciences (and Shrewsbury School Governor).

    After a few introductory lectures by university staff on some of Liverpool’s key research themes (all of direct relevance to our Pre-U Biology curriculum) we enjoyed a busy afternoon of guided tours.

    The research facilities at Liverpool are, without exception, world class. We saw their next generation DNA sequencers, capable of reading an entire genome in just a few days; their ‘GeneMill’ for making synthetic DNA; and a ‘laser capture microscope’ that can cut out a single cell from a thin section and capture it for genetic analysis.

    We visited a humming lab filled with mass spectrometers able to detect in real time the chemical fingerprints that differentiate healthy from diseased tissues. We saw the x-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging suites that are the workhorses in the ongoing effort to model the actual 3D structures of proteins, and in one case we were shown a novel drug being tested against an intricate virtual model of a mutant enzyme.

    Timed to coincide with the Upper Sixth topic on the nervous system, on Thursday 12th January we invited Dr Guy Sutton (Director of Medical Biology Interactive, and Assistant Professor at the University of Nottingham Medical School) to give us a whole afternoon’s seminar on The Brain.

    The 4½-hour programme flew by. Dr Sutton was a master of his subject and an enthralling, passionate communicator. His clear explanations of complex ideas and vivid, personal anecdotes from his work in hospitals and the court room (where brain damage is increasingly used in the case for the defence), coupled with interactive elements, and culminating in a sheep brain dissection, kept us riveted.

    Finally on Friday we welcomed Ron Pickering for a Darwin Society lecture entitled ‘Ecology in the Galapagos Islands’. This was of obvious interest to all but especially to those destined to join Dr Case in this summer’s Biology Expedition to the Galapagos. Mr Pickering’s images were striking and a reminder of the fragility and beauty of this pre-eminent site of scientific significance.

    He raised some fascinating points about the varying ecology of the different islands and raised some interesting questions such as why the Galapagos Hawk engages in polyandry (usually only found where resources are scarce). He also covered some fascinating elements of human history on the Galapagos as well as bringing together the work of Darwin and Wallace in describing natural selection.

    With so much going on, our recently relaunched Twitter feed has seen unprecedented activity. As well as the usual retweets of the latest news and developments in biological research, we have increasingly been tweeting from lessons to document the range of approaches we take in our teaching and in the hope of communicating some of the buzz around the Department.

    Follow us @ShrewsburyBiol

    Dr Torin Morgan, Head of Biology

Tuesday 17 January 2017

  • ‘The Secret of Influence and Persuasion’ - lecture by Joseph Marks
    “On Thursday 12th January I had the pleasure of attending what I would describe as one of the most captivating and enlightening lectures I have ever heard.” Nifemi Runsewe (MSH LVI) reports on the latest in the series of Academic Extension lectures given at the School on the theme of 'Persuasion'.

    Mr Marks began his lecture, which was entitled ‘The Secret of Influence and Persuasion’, by stating his belief that the power of social influence is frequently under-estimated and that small changes in context result in a big difference in influence. This led to the main body of his lecture: the six principles of social influence.

    The first principle was reciprocity, which highlighted the idea that as human beings we give back what is given to us first. The second principle he presented was scarcity, which explains the ideology that as human beings we place extra value on products that are rare or high in demand. The third principle was authority. This shows how as human beings we look to experts or people of higher authority to guide us in our decision-making.

    The fourth principle (and probably my favourite) was consistency. Mr Marks stated that humans are persuaded by consistency, and therefore they are socially influenced by compatibility and uniformity. The fifth principle and the most relatable was liking; this is the idea that we are more influenced by people we like and by people who like us, especially when there is a niche commonality between two or more people.

    The last principle was social proof, which can be seen in the day-to-day interaction of human beings. Social proof suggests that as humans we follow the crowd In order to determine what to do.

    In my opinion, what made the lecture ten times more captivating were the case studies Mr Marks used to support each principle. An example of one of the many case studies used during the lecture was ‘the waiter and the mints’. This case study illustrated the first principle, reciprocity. It focused on how everyday waiters are tipped in everyday restaurants and compared the psychological behaviour of a customer with the number of mints they were given by their waiter. This case study showed that the more the mints given to a customer at the end of the meal, the higher the tip he or she gave the waiter. Results also showed that tips increased even further when waiters complimented their customers as well as increasing the number of mints given to the table. The simplicity of this case study exemplifies Mr Marks’ opening statement: “Small changes in context will result in a big difference in influence.”

    As a business student and a prospective entrepreneur, this lecture helped me understand the true importance of good marketing.

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - The Making of Modernism
    This week's issue of the micro-magazine written by Deputy Head (Academic) Maurice Walters introduces some of the artists, writers and musicians who have shaped and explored the concept of Modernism.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - The Making of Modernism' as a pdf file:

Friday 13 January 2017

  • British Mathematics Olympiad success
    Huge congratulations to Isaac Dai (S LVI), who has 'done the double' by being placed in the top 50 nationally in the first rounds of both the British Mathematics Olympiad and the British Physics Olympiad. This is a seriously impressive achievement, particularly for someone who is still only in the Lower Sixth Form. Congratulations, too, to David Gao (I UVI), who also won a Certificate of Distinction in the Mathematics Olympiad.

    After scoring full marks in the UK Senior Mathematical Challenge in November, Isaac Dai (S LVI) was awarded a Distinction in the first round of the British Mathematics Olympiad with a tremendous score of 47/60.

    He was placed in the top 50 nationally from over 1,600 candidates in the gruelling 3½ hour paper, and has qualified for the second round later in January.

    He has also just been placed in the top 50 nationally in the British Physics Olympiad and has qualified for the second round of that competition too – see report.

    Among the other five pupils taking part in the Mathematics Olympiad, David Gao (SH UVI) also obtained a Certificate of Distinction. He has just received a conditional offer to read Mathematics at Girton College, Cambridge.

Monday 9 January 2017

  • Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - The Fire of Rebellion
    "From literature through to art and music, there is no more potent inspiration for remarkable creativity than the notion of rebellion".  The latest issue of the weekly micro-magazine written by Deputy Head (Academic) Maurice Walters explores the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the writings of Margaret Atwood and the work of American conceptual artist Adrian Piper, and introduces a new event entitled 'Little Bohemia' that will take place in school next week.

    Please click on the image below to open 'Shrewsbury School SparkPoint - The Fire of Rebellion' as a pdf file:

Friday 6 January 2017

  • British Physics Olympiad medals
    Congratulations to Lower Sixth Former Isaac Dai (S), who has won a gold medal in the British Physics Olympiad, and to Upper Sixth Formers Andrew Lee (O), Mathew Hedges (Rb) and Alfredo Stock (I) who have been awarded silver medals.

    Isaac’s achievement is particularly impressive, as he did well enough to finish in the top 50 out of 1,680 candidates nationwide.

    This qualifies him for the second round of the competition and takes him a step closer to gaining selection for the UK team in this year's International Physics Olympiad.

    Salopians have reached this level before – the last time four years ago – but as far as the collective memory of the Physics Faculty can recall, Isaac is the first Lower Sixth Former to achieve this.