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 World Culture Evening, a highlight of the School year, had to be delivered in a different way because of the pandemic.
International pupils made a short film for other pupils and members of staff to watch in their tutor groups.
12th May 2021 — Normally the event would take place in Great Hall and involve live performance and demonstrations, plus a buffet of food from around the world. This year, tutor groups were supplied with international snacks to sample.
The World Culture video featured Chinese music played on the guzheng by Cindy H (U6), who is pictured playing at last year’s event; a demonstration of the traditional Chinese tea ceremony by Helen L and Cindy H (both U6); calligraphy with Wendy W (L6), and the telling of the story of how the animals got their places in the Chinese zodiac by Annika G and Bianca D (both Y9). Many other international pupils were involved behind the scenes.
A website was developed for this year only as an alternative to the usual displays that pupils make for the World Culture Evening. Pupils from several countries, including Russia, Belarus, Switzerland and Nigeria, created webpages about their homelands.
“It has been a pleasure to work alongside pupils and to witness the hard work and creativity they have devoted to delivering this alternative way of celebrating the event,” said Sarah Byrne, ESOL teacher. “We hope to return to our usual way of doing things next year.”
Old Leysians give insights into concussion in rugby
Old Leysians Will Hooley and Dylan Powell gave insights into how new technology and cultural shifts are changing how concussion and head injuries are dealt with in rugby.
Will, (Barker House, 2007-12), is a professional player for Saracens and represented the USA in the Rugby World Cup. He was in conversation with Dylan (East House, 2010-12), a physiotherapist working with Rangers and Northumbria University who works as an assistant lecturer while doing postgraduate research into concussion. The Zoom talk was introduced and led by Simon Thomas, Head of Rugby at The Leys.
10th May 2021 — Dylan began by defining head injury and concussion. He said playing rugby had driven his interest in researching though he pointed out other common causes of head injury were falls, car crashes and non-contact sports such as horse-riding. There was no single test, and no one “silver bullet”, for diagnosis and care of concussion.
Will said the old macho “get on with it” approach had changed to one of “looking after your buddy” and preventing serious injury, although players accepted that the game carried risks. Some people might think stringent issuing yellow and red cards for infringements spoiled the game, but the safety of the player mattered most. He spoke about his own experience of suffering concussion in his USA World Cup match against England which meant he missed his team’s next match.
Dylan said there were interesting developments in concussion care, many of them involving technology such as saliva testing, eye tracking, force estimation mouth guards and measuring heart rate variability. They were “emerging, but promising”, and were likely to be used in combination. There was still no “silver bullet”.
The talk was then opened for a Q&A session before Simon Thomas gave the vote of thanks.
Three outstanding young sportspeople to have come to prominence during their time at The Leys have been selected for development programmes designed to take them on to greater things.
26th April 2021 — Cricketer Issy R (U6), pictured, has been selected for the Sunrisers Cricket Performance Programme at Academy Level for the coming season. The London and East Sunrisers is one of eight regional hubs competing in the new Women’s Elite Domestic Structure. Prior to joining the Sunrisers Academy, she was on the Loughborough Lightning Regional Development Centre for two years and transferred to play county age group cricket for Essex from 2016 after starting at Cambridgeshire.
Opening batsman Issy was star of the School Sport Magazine National Schools U15 Girls T20 Cricket Cup in 2018, in which The Leys reached the final in their first competitive season. She made history by becoming the first girl to play in The Leys 1st XI team in the annual match against an MCC team last summer. She joined Cambridgeshire girls’ age groups at 12 and by her U13 season she had played for the U15s, U17s and Women’s teams.
Hockey players and OLs James Albery and Katie Curtis have been selected for the GB Elite Development Programme (EDP). The EDP was formed three years ago to nurture the international sporting ambitions of potential Olympic medallists from the Home Nations. Depending on the pandemic situation, it is hoped EDP players will be able to compete internationally, including at the Senior EuroHockey Championships in July and the Junior World Cups for England’s U21s later in the year. England teams will also be sent to the inaugural EuroHockey5s Championships this summer.
James, who was Head Prefect at The Leys, is a previous U21 England Hockey captain. He was the Hockey Writers’ Club Junior Hockey player of the year at just 15. Katie, currently at the University of Nottingham, played in the national U16 Girls squad and captained The Leys U16 Girls’ side that reached the national schools’ hockey finals in two successive years. Issy, James and Katie are previous winners of the Roy Burrell Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year award, for outstanding young players in Cambridgeshire.
Richard Fenning (OL), who gave insights into risk management in his Leys Lecture in October 2019, has just published a book about the business.
21st April 2021 — Richard, who was a boarder in East House in the 1970s and studied History at university, stepped down after 14 years as Global CEO of Control Risks. He is now a part-time advisor to the company which advises corporations and governments on political, integrity and security risks.
His book, What On Earth Can Go Wrong: Tales from the Risk Business (Eye Books, £12.99), reflects on his 30-year career advising multinational companies on volatile geopolitics and severe security crises. His experiences during the era of globalization, the rise of China, the Middle East wars, the impact of digital technology, and America's retreat from leadership dispelled any illusions that the world is ordered, predictable, or fair. But he found humanity and humour on his journeys from the battlefields of Iraq, to the back streets of Bogotà, from the steamy Niger delta to the chill of Putin's Moscow.
The book has been enthusiastically endorsed by Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles the UK former ambassador to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, and Lord Sedwill, who was the UK's Cabinet Secretary and National Security adviser until last year.
Thriller writer Boris Starling commented: “Take a spoonful of Evelyn Waugh, add a sprinkle of P.J. O’Rourke and garnish with a touch of Michael Palin. Fenning is not just wry, perceptive and informative: he is also laugh-out-loud funny way more often than any CEO has a right to be.”
Pictured after the 2019 Leys Lecture in Great Hall are (l-r) the Academic Prefect at the time, Jake O’K, Richard Fenning, Ali Annett, Head of Academic Enrichment and organiser of the Leys Lectures, and Darcy F-S (OL).
As the nation mourns the passing of Prince Philip, The Leys looks back with particular appreciation of his contribution to the advancement of young people through the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme.
20th April 2021 — The school has been involved with the scheme for more than half a century. The first Leysian to receive his Gold award was Anthony ‘Ben’ Bamford OL (North A, 1962-66) who went to Buckingham Palace to collect his Award from the Duke in 1966 - shortly before the Duke left for the official opening of the World Cup! Since then, hundreds of Leysians have completed the awards at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, gaining skills, enjoying physical recreation, going on expeditions and volunteering in the community.
The school has had the honour of welcoming Prince Philip on a number of occasions, including in 1963, when his visit included an inspection of the CCF cadets, in 1987 when he came to officially open the Rugg Centre and again in 2003 when he opened the Clapham Building.
Historical novelist’s insights into volcano’s impact
Historical novelist Guinevere Glasfurd, whose recent novel A Year Without Summer was one of just 11 long-list contenders for this year’s Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize, spoke to our A-level English pupils yesterday via Google Meets.
24th March 2021 — Guinevere (wife of Damian Glasfurd-Brown, our Director of IT) spoke about her career as a historical novelist. She has written two novels, both critically acclaimed. A Year Without Summer is about the 1815 explosion of Mount Tambora and the effect this had on the environment and society.
The novel examines the responses of a group of disparate characters: a farm labourer, painter John Constable, a soldier returning from the Napoleonic Wars, a preacher, and Mary Shelley. One of the narrative strands is about how the terrible weather in 1816, the “year without summer”, influenced the writing of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Our pupils study Frankenstein at A-level which gave the Google Meets workshop added interest and relevance.
Anna Garrett, Head of English, said: “This was a fascinating discussion of climate crisis and literature, eco-critical readings of Frankenstein and how artists respond to their contexts.”