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.
Young scientists had the opportunity to develop their own research topics and present their findings at the Peter Watson Awards.
20th November 2020 — Peter Watson (1930-2017), pictured, was educated at The Leys on an Exhibition Scholarship. He went on be a distinguished and pioneering ophthalmologist. He endowed annual school prizes “for unusual observations; innovative thinking; constructive development of ideas and problem solving in any of the fields of science.”
This year's presentation evening took place last Friday (November 13). First prize went to Marton H (Y9) for his report on “How to successfully harness wave energy”.
Ali Annett, Head of Academic Enrichment and Co-ordinator of STEM, said: "He delivered a clear and persuasive presentation, evaluating the reasons for success or failure of a range of Wave Energy Converters. Chemistry teacher Jean-Luc Hammersley and I asked him a series of questions of increasing difficulty. He was able to calmly work through each question with insight and detail."
Young scientists Martin P-S and Caleb S (Year 10) are one step closer to having an experiment they are designing run in space on board the International Space Station.
20th November 2020 — Their Magtrix experiment has been provisionally accepted in the first round of competition and may be one of four to be chosen to be carried out on the International Space Station using a Raspberry Pi computer.
Martin heard about the Astro Pi, Mission Space Lab Challenge competition in the summer. He asked Caleb, and Daniel (from The Perse) to join him in their Magtrix experiment. Ali Annett, Physics teacher and STEM co-ordinator at The Leys, agreed to supervise them. The boys have arranged meetings on Google Meet and have started their own online repository for their coding files.
Their experiment can make use of the capacities of the Raspberry Pi, which include magnometers and pressure sensors. Their project involves writing code which can run automatically in the Raspberry Pi on board the ISS. The grading team has shared feedback so they can refine their experiment and make sure it could work in space. Their deadline is February.
LIT Radio, a podcast developed by Sixth Form pupils to provide academic enrichment when Covid-19 regulations make it difficult to have visiting lecturers and discussion groups in school, has just been launched.
16th November 2020 — The first episode went out on Friday (November 13). The production team is: James C, Sophie C, Georgia D, Miranda F, Sienna H, Andrew K, Edie M, Anna M, Jack W, and Lucy S. It is being released on Apple Podcasts, making it possible for people to listen in from all over the world. https://www.theleys.net/.../teaching-and-learning/lit-radio
Episodes will be released weekly initially, and then fortnightly in the New Year when the pupils will have to manage their growing workload.
The ambitious project began when some Lower Sixth pupils were wondering how they could engage with the Academic Enrichment programme. In pre-Covid times, Sixth Form pupils organised LIT (Leys Innovation Talks) lectures with guest speakers and the Headmasters’ Society and Academic Society for younger pupils would be filled with dynamic debates. The pupils approached Ms Ali Annett, Head of Academic Enrichment, with the idea of setting up a podcast, made by and for pupils.
The production team is based in the Vision Studio, where they have new microphones and a sound desk. Music teacher Scott Morrison helped them to identify some key pieces of recording equipment. They are using their new platform to share ideas, talk with guest speakers via Zoom, and engage pupils in discussions of important issues that affect them.
Ali Annett commented: “I have been very impressed with their commitment to the radio and they already have the next few episodes in the pipeline.”
The first episode features guest speaker Captain Rod Boswell who gives insights into the Skirmish at Top Malo House in the Falklands War; health advice from Lead Nurse, Skyler Moulder; a prefect’s perspective on changes this year from Rory W; and some lively pupil debates. Anna Garrett, Head of English, gives a reading and analysis of Louise Gluck’s poem Snowdrops and singer-song writer, Amira A, shares a moving song which she wrote during lockdown.
Charlotte L (U6) whose “green” ideas won the District round of the Rotary Club of Cambridge’s inaugural Young Environmentalist award 2019, has been placed third in the national round of the competition.
16th November 2020 — She is pictured receiving her trophy from Martin Priestley, Headmaster.
Charlotte’s award-winning scheme was a plan to “re-wild” around the edges of spaces in the city, such as Midsummer Common and Parker’s Piece. This would provide habitats and food for birds and insects, increase biodiversity and help to address climate change through the absorption of carbon by vegetation. She was presented with her District round trophy by the Government’s former special representative for climate change, Sir David King, at the Gonville Hotel, Cambridge last year.
When Covid security measures made it impossible for a Sixth Form Economics conference to take place at The Leys, it was rescheduled and delivered remotely.
11th November 2020 — The Virtual IEA (Institute of Economic Affairs) Conference was held last Friday (November 6th) and organised by Peregrine Nunes-Carvalho, Head of Economics and Business, and Christiana Stewart-Lockhart, Director of Education and Outreach at the IEA. The four keynote speakers were: Dr Juan Castañeda, the Institute for banking at the University of Buckingham, Kristian Niemietz, Senior Research Fellow at the IEA, Julian Jessop, former Chief Economist with Capital Economics, and Dr Stephen Davies, Education Director of the IEA. They talked about topics related to the A-level syllabus: the economics of Brexit; the financial system, banking and the economy; market and government failure in healthcare and undergraduate study options.
Pupil feedback was positive. Jenny G commented: “I preferred the virtual conference because I gained the same information that would have been delivered in the physical conference but there was no need for travel or having a seat which does not have a good view of the slides shown. The Q&A was also effectively done, meaning those less confident in speaking in front of a group of people would have been able to ask their questions. The topics were very accessible and easy to follow with the slides clearly shown on the board. It is helpful that we will be able to access the resources used.”
Joey C found it useful to hear the thoughts of students from other Sixth Forms during the Q&A, while Alexander B said: “The Zoom interface was very good and after a few minutes from each speaker, they may as well have been in the room presenting face to face.”
The annual whole-school Act of Remembrance was carried out on the school field today (Wednesday, November 11th) in socially distanced conditions to ensure Covid security.
11th November 2020 — Pupils stood in widely spaced rows while staff stood around the field perimeter. The Chaplain, the Reverend Simon Coleman, conducted the brief service of prayer, during which he recited the celebrated First World War poet Rupert Brooke’s The Soldier. The two minutes’ silence was observed and the Last Post and Reveille played by bugler Peter A, (Upper Sixth, School House).
The CCF Honour Guard marched from the marquee on the field to the Chapel War Memorial where they laid wreaths. In normal circumstances these wreaths are then taken to be laid at Arras during the Year 9 battlefields tour. 149 Old Leysians died in the First World War.
A new series of weekly live organ music recitals began today, Armistice Day, in the School Chapel. Fittingly, the first Wednesday@1 was a short programme of “Music for Remembrance”. Max Kenworthy, Director of Music, played the Prelude and Fugue in C Minor by J S Bach, Elegy by George Thanben-Ball and Saraband (in modo elegiaco) by Herbert Howells.