The Leys is primarily a boarding school, and our emphasis is on providing a caring, friendly and secure environment for all our pupils. Each child, whether a boarder or day pupil, is attached to one of 11 houses, where study areas and comfortable accommodation are provided, along with a high standard of pastoral care and supervision from housemasters or housemistresses.
The Leys School has a total of 566 pupils, with 211 pupils in the Sixth Form.
Amadeus, the Senior Play at The Leys Great Hall, was an ambitious tour de force combining powerful acting performances with live period music and beautiful sets and costumes.
Peter Shaffer’s Tony Award winning play about Mozart and his jealous rival composer, was perhaps the most ambitious production yet by Cory Pulman-Jones. Now in her fourth year as Director of Performance Drama at The Leys, the former professional stage and screen actress continues encourage her young performers to aim for ever-greater things.
Music is integral to the play, and this production featured recordings of pieces by Mozart, Salieri and other 18th century composers. Cory went further by incorporating a quartet of musicians on strings and harpsichord (Sienna H, Joseph B, Alexander H and music teacher Scott Morrison) whose playing was used to great dramatic effect.
Aidan M gave an intelligent and affecting performance as the tormented Salieri, while Tommy H’s maddeningly infantile and guileless Mozart was an equally tragic figure. Olivia S brought strength to the character of Mozart’s long-suffering wife, Constanze, and Matthew M’s good-natured but featherbrained Emperor Josef II showed the fickleness of fashion in musical patronage.
Leys School, Cambridge sixth form pupil Jack Jiang had the honour of attending the presentation of the £1 million Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering 2019 at Buckingham Palace– because he designed the trophy for it.
The prize, regarded as the world’s most prestigious engineering accolade, was awarded to Dr Bradford Parkinson, Professor James Spilker, Hugo Freuhauf and Richard Schwartz for their work creating the first truly global, satellite-based positioning system – GPS. Professor Spilker died in September, seven months after the award was announced. His widow, Anna Marie Spilker, was at the Palace to receive it on his behalf.
The presentation was made by the Prince of Wales on behalf of Her Majesty (Dec 3rd). The trophy was made to Jack’s design, which was selected from more than 50 international entries from young people aged 14-24. Jack created his elegant design using the QE Prize 3D Design Studio app. He will receive a 3-D replica of his trophy design and a high-end laptop computer as his own prize.
Jack said: “It is an incredible honour to be part of this ceremony, it is an opportunity of a lifetime being able to go to Buckingham Palace and seeing my trophy being presented to the engineers responsible for making the GPS. I also had some very inspirational chats with the creators of the GPS, which are definitely life-changing.”
James Grayson, who signed his first senior contract at Northampton Saints ahead of the 2019/20 season, visited The Leys Sport Academy to talk about his rugby career.
The 21-year-old is son of Paul Grayson, who was part of the 2003 Rugby World Cup winning England squad. He talked about his own career highlight to date: winning the Breakthrough Player award in the Premiership Rugby Cup 2018/19 when the Saints beat the Saracens.
He explained how he progressed through the ranks at Saints, where The Leys School, Cambridge, has strong links. He knows Old Leysian players Will Hooley, Freddie McKibben and Fin Creighton who have all been associated with the Saints.
James took questions from pupils on many aspects of his sporting life, including which players he particularly admired, what was his worst injury, what job he might do when he was no longer a professional player, the pressures of following in the footsteps of a famous father and how to balance study and sport.
“Doing a hobby as a job is awesome,” he said, adding that his father was a useful source of advice for handling pressures.
After his talk, James gave the pupils a coaching session.
The Leys “constituency” went to the polls on Friday (November 29th) for a mock General Election.
The Leys “constituency” went to the polls on Friday (November 29th) for a mock General Election.
Hustings were held in the Old Gym the day before. The five main parties were represented by Sixth Form pupil candidates, each backed by a small team of pupil researchers and campaigners. Each had one minute to put their case before the chairman, History teacher Rob Francis invited questions from the large audience of pupils.
The hustings, co-chaired by English teacher Stephen Hancock, were conducted in a respectful manner. The candidates had all mastered their cases well and were able to handle questions on major issues: national security, Brexit, public spending, the NHS, and public trust in political leaders.
There was a high turn-out of 325 voters, 56% of the roll – all pupils had a vote, regardless of age – and Balgarnie’s Café was the Polling Station.
The result was announced in Assembly (Monday, December 2nd). Mr Francis, Returning Officer, announced that the winner was Thomas N for the Conservatives with 113 votes. Immy C (Liberal Democrat) received 90 votes, Kristupas K (Green) 57, Isaac A (Brexit) 54 and William S (Labour) 18.
Dame Judi Dench, celebrated actress and patron of the Countryside Restoration Trust, came to plant trees at a new community orchard where pupils from The Leys have been working.
A group of Year 11 volunteers have been restoring land with the Trust at Lark Rise Farm at Barton near Cambridge as part of the Leys Personal Development, Service and Leadership Scheme. This three-year programme gives pupils from Year 10 to the Lower Sixth opportunities to develop skills, interests and good citizenship while providing services to the community.
Dame Judi has a deep love of trees and her partner David Mills is a Countryside Restoration trustee. Mr Mills and chairman Robin Page, who founded the Trust with the late artist and conservationist Gordon Beningfield, were also present. The planting took place in National Tree Week, which ended on December 1, and was widely reported on local television and in the Cambridge press.
The Countryside Restoration Trust was established in 1993 to purchase intensively farmed land and restore it to living countryside. Its aims have broadened to encompass purchasing farmland and woodland where traditional farming methods, wildlife habitat and biodiversity are under threat.
The Leys is named East Anglia Independent Secondary School of the Year
The Leys School, Cambridge, has been named The Sunday Times Parent Power East Anglia Independent Secondary School of the Year.
The annual Sunday Times schools guide, Parent Power, lists the 2,000 highest-achieving schools in the UK, based on exam results.
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Schools Guide, Parent Power: said: “A stellar year academically earns The Leys our East Anglia Independent Secondary School of the Year award. With more than 80% of all A-levels returning A*, A or B grades and students progressing on to an impressive array of universities, The Leys offers parents in Cambridge a strong alternative to excellent state provision in the city and surrounding area.”
This summer’s A level results at The Leys markedly exceeding those of the previous year. 53% of the results were graded A* or A compared to 42% last year. One in three achieved three A grades or better (compared with one in four in 2018) and 80% of entries were graded A* - B, an increase of 4%. At GCSE, 94% of results were graded at 9 – 5, 42% at 9 – 8, with an outstanding 21% of grades being the top grade 9. Nearly two-thirds of the results were awarded at Grade 7 and above, whilst 41% of Leys pupils achieved nine or more Grade 7s and above.
Martin Priestley, Headmaster, said: “I am delighted that The Leys has been recognised by the Sunday Times with this award. My thanks to the pupils for their engagement and enthusiasm, to the parents for the sacrifices they make to send their children to us and for their ongoing support, to the Governors for their wise counsel and of course to my colleagues, both teaching and support staff, without whose commitment and professionalism the School could not flourish in this way.”
Mistress of Girton is VIP at play marking college's 150th anniversary
The Leys was delighted to welcome Professor Susan Smith, Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge, to see its production of Blue Stockings, Jessica Swales’ play about the struggle for women to be awarded degrees by the University.
The play was timely as it is 150 years since women first came to study at degree level at Girton. In 1896, when the play is set, Elizabeth Welsh (Mistress from 1885-1903) persuaded the University Senate to vote on whether to allow the awarding of degrees to women. But the “Blue Stockings” were derided as unnatural and even mad for wishing to choose learning over their biological destiny to be wives and mothers. The campaign led to riots in the city and male graduates rallied to ensure the vote was lost. Women were finally allowed to receive degrees from Cambridge University in 1948.
Professor Smith, the Mistress of Girton since 2009, was the special guest at the final performance at The Leys. Wearing her college scarf with pride, she gave a brief address after the curtain call.
“I have seen quite a few productions of this play, especially this year as we celebrate our 150th anniversary. This was a fabulous production, one of the best if not the best. I wonder if you know what happened next? The vote was lost by a landslide, two to one. But what happened next? When there were 112 women in Girton they built a dining hall that is said to be the longest in Cambridge, sitting 270 people. Two days ago, that hall was full of just first-year students. The play’s message is that hope can triumph over experience and that we can change the course of events. Thank you for showing that so brilliantly.”
Drama teacher Dominic Bell, who directed the play, said access to Girton’s archives, in particular scrapbooks of photographs of the students of 1896, had inspired the Sixth Form actors.
“It is rather special to put this play on in Cambridge and for Prof. Smith to grace our stage. Looking at the photographs, the cast learned how to inhabit their roles and were really inspired by the play’s message.”
Earthly and Divine , the debut CD from The Leys Chamber Choir, has been released by Priory Records.
The selection of sacred and secular a cappella anthems and motets ranges in style from high Renaissance to modern. One highlight is I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, which Max Kenworthy, Director of Music, commissioned from top young TV and film composer Rebecca Dale . The piece was given its premiere by the Chamber Choir at Saffron Hall in May.
Max conducted the group of 10 pupils and two staff during the recording session at St George's Church, Chesterton, in July. He commented that the choir "were completely professional throughout the process and worked hard to achieve a wonderfully balanced and blended sound". After 12 hours of recording, and with expert guidance from producer Callum Ross, the choir had 21 challenging tracks on disc.
The CD is now available from the School Shop, price £10. The shop is open Mon-Fri 9:30 – 16:30 and Sat 9:30 – 12:45 (term-time only). It is also available online for postal delivery (P&P will be charged): https://store.theleys.net/collections/gifts-memorabilia
Forthcoming Open Days
Sorry. No Open Day dates have been provided by the school.