Academic News

2017

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 https://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/olympiad/PaperPhysicsChallenge.html

    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 - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04sx4st


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 www.rsc.org/Education/events-and-competitions/Olympiad/.

    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: https://blackpear.net/2016/12/15/successful-writers-in-2016-anthology/ 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 kascimia@shrewsbury.org.uk.

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

  • 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.

    CWO

    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 www.stmc.ukmt.org.uk)

  • Careers Bulletin for Sixth Formers

    Please click here to read this week's edition.

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

  • 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 (rbs@shrewsbury.org.uk), 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.


  • '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.

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!

    DMW

  • '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.

    PJM

     

     

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.
    JCA

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.

Sunday 1 January 2017

  • News will be published here shortly for 2017
    In the meantime, please follow the link (above right) to our 2016 news.