Is there anything more fascinating than fireworks, with all the different colours, heights, sounds and patterns? Matthew Tosh visited EBS to explain how they work. Matthew has a real passion for fireworks and all the science and technology that surrounds them, and he was able to pass that enthusiasm on to all who were watching. It was really great to have a lecture that was not only interesting to listen to but that was also visually stimulating. In addition to other work he does, Matthew Tosh has been heavily involved in education for quite some years now, being a regular presenter at the National Science Learning Centre since 2005. This means he is really great at delivering sessions in science clubs, curriculum enrichment and creative science demonstrations. Thanks a lot, Matthew, it was a real experience!
What the Dickens: Oliver Twisted! The greatest writer in English fiction after Shakespeare is unquestionably Charles Dickens, even if you haven’t read it, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the 1968 film adaptation of his second novel, Oliver Twist: “Oliver!” It’s often on the box during Christmas; it’s an uplifting tale of an orphaned boy’s deliverance from a life of poverty and evil using rousing memorable songs, spectacular set pieces and powerful acting to re-tell a classic tale. It won 5 Academy Awards, it’s a great film, but it’s clean and tidy and kind of misses Dickens’ point that was, an exposé of the many social ills of Victorian England, particularly the cruel treatment of children. On the 11th and 12th of December EBS Drama Dept took us back to the harsh reality, the dirt and grime of Victorian England and took us on a stripped back, two Act twisted journey to London’s social dereliction. Using Dickens’s prose for the play’s dialogue and narrative commentary, we were instantly absorbed by a bold mix of contrasting shades of grotesque comedy and 19th-century melodrama; you could almost smell the acrid smoke and soot of the streets. There was nothing sugary sweet here just vinegar; this was raw mistreatment and fear. Directed with speed, clarity and consummate skill this production immersed us in a gritty realization of Dickens’ social commentary that was both dramatically powerful and hard edged. The uplifting songs were still there (brilliantly played and sung, along with great choreography ) but they only served to counterpoint the menace of Sikes, the misery of Nancy, the desperation of Oliver and, behind the cheeky cockney grin of the Artful Dodger, the sheer emotional and material destitution of Fagin’s manipulated and terrified ragamuffin den of thieves. It would be wrong to pick out individual performances from this ensemble; everyone was strong and the morphing of key characters between actors was seamless. It was obvious from the pin sharp direction (all three directors blended their scenes beautifully), strong writing and superbly atmospheric music that there was real blood, sweat and tears in this production, but it was worth every drop. A massive big thank you to all the cast, the musicians and the technicians who came together to produce an epic performance as well as a special thank you to the directors: Mr Enright, Miss Carnegie, Miss Green and Mrs Young; to Miss Rigby and Miss Wilson for the music and Miss Buczman for the choreography. You should all take a bow. It really was a stunning page-to-stage portrayal, this was not just a school production this was real theatre. The audience had walked with the wretched and loved with the loveless and as I emerged into a foggy London night, I clutched my two children tightly. This will live long in the memory.
Happy new year! Before school broke up for the Christmas holidays, we started looking at the subject of location in writing fiction. Bringing a setting to life is crucial for any story, whether it is set on an estate in South London, or a fictional planet in a distant galaxy. I believe this must be vivid for your reader or they won’t be able to ‘believe’ in the actions of your character. I asked the students to think of a place they knew well. Then they closed their eyes and tried to remember as many details about that place as they could. Next we all picked a location from a suggested selection and wrote about it. I asked everyone to use all their senses and to think about what they might hear, see, smell, touch and taste there. Alex from Year 10 wrote a very atmospheric piece about a shopping centre at night, when everyone has gone home. Here is a taster: ‘Steps from my own two feet start to spook me out as I walk across the solid shiny floor. The window panels of each shop show how empty and deserted they are after closing time. Clothes cling onto a plastic model as tightly as they can, whilst the model seems to glare down at me with an emotionless face. It’s certainly weird walking down an empty but glamorous corridor, shining bright and squeaky clean before being trampled on by rushing members of the public in desperate need of the newest watch, video game, fashion trend…or whatever is growing like wildfire in the heated hype.’ I really like the way Alex contrasts the daytime hubbub (and greed) of a shopping centre with the spookiness of its night time state.
A Fair Do! Actually it was more than fair, it was amazing! Over the weekend the auditorium at the school saw an amazing transformation as it was prepared for the Christmas Fair on Sunday afternoon. There were a few gremlins which seemed to have got into the lighting system in the auditorium but the premises team and the students in the control room managed to overcome that little hitch brilliantly. There were gazebos decorated with twinkling fairy lights, tables festooned with all sorts of glittering goodies, a wonderful selection of fragrant treats and numerous bargains. There were lots of happy smiling faces and the sound of good humoured banter was evident wherever you went. The House stalls ran some fun games and activities and were selling some very interesting crafts to help raise money for their chosen charities and the school. Along with the Thursday after school group, the LTC, we were also very fortunate to have some of the East Barnet School students dancing and singing throughout the afternoon – what a talented bunch! The atmosphere was brilliant and there were some very positive comments about our school and the people in it. It was a pleasure to see the parents, students and staff all working and having fun together; the East Barnet School team at its best! At the time of writing our Treasurer Mike Gibbons tells me that we should see in the region of £6,000 profit from the Christmas Fair – thank you! The school has many exciting projects in the pipeline one or more of which we may be asked to help support. The funds you help us to raise also go towards faculties which submit proposals for funding to the PTA. So far this year, amongst other things, we have helped the school to buy 10 iPod Touches for the Art Department, some stylish outdoor seating and some much needed folding tables with seating for the students who have packed lunches making their lunchtimes a more sociable experience. Keep an eye out for forthcoming editions of the EBS News to see what the PTA are doing and if you’d like to be more actively involved or have any questions you can contact us at email@example.com, we look forward to hearing from you. Lise Miles, PTA Chair Raffle The PTA would like to thank all those parents, staff, students and members of the local community who helped make the fair such a success. We’d also like to thank everyone who donated something for the Gift & Voucher Tombola and the Raffle. The Raffle draw took place on Friday 14th December and the lucky prize winners are as follows: 1st Prize iPad Mini (Winner wishes to remain anonymous, Ticket Number 0101) 2nd Prize Recording Studio Experience (Amanda Chan, Ticket Number 2130) 3rd Prize River Banquet Meal for 2 at the Cock & Dragon (Amanda Udres, Ticket Number 6935) 4th Prize Meal for 2 plus a bottle of wine at the Black Horse (Barbara Prescott, Ticket Number 14081) 5th Prize Tea for 2 at West Lodge Park Hotel (Z Ansell, Ticker Number 9455) 6th Prize Christmas Hamper (Karen Wilkinson, Ticket Number 9402) 7th Prize Artist’s Paint Set from Barnet Gallery (Sereen, Ticket Number 12971) 8th Prize £35 voucher for Emchai Restaurant (Mr Gomez, Ticket Number 9170) 9th Prize Picnic Bag complete with cutlery & plater (Merkis, Ticket Number 5375) Poster Competiton and Photos from the Event
This week in the creative writing club I asked the students to choose from three characters and then write a short piece in their voice. The first was a girl who wants to be on the X Factor, despite having a singing voice that could crack ice; second was a boy who teases girls cruelly to hide his secret crushes on them, and third, a very good looking boy or girl who wishes they could be judged on more than their appearance alone. Some fantastic writing came out of the session. Christine in Year 12 chose the first option and wrote, ‘I’ve been thinking about going on the X Factor. I know I can do it. I’ve got the talent but whenever I ask people what they think, they get all shifty and never answer the question. I guess they’re just jealous or worried I might become all famous and their lives would be ruined by the paparazzi forever asking about me.’ Can’t you just picture that person? Alex, Trudie and Jenny also did some great work and really brought their characters’ voices to life. I only wish I had space to include everyone’s work here! The classes are very informal and anyone is welcome to come along to Room 324 at lunchtime or after school on Thursdays. The lunchtime sessions focus on non fiction writing and we are planning to put together a magazine in the new year. After school we’re looking at how to craft good stories. Both session are designed to stretch your creative muscles in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Why not come along and join us?
VEX Robotics Regionals 2012 at EBS VEX Robotics – Sack Attack London Regionals The 1st ever London Regional Sack Attack Competition was proudly hosted at East Barnet School (the winners of last year’s national VEX Robotics Competition) on Wednesday 21st November 2012, in the Auditorium. We were expecting an exciting and tense event, and it definitely lived up to our expectations! 5 Robotics teams entered from EBS, the most out of all the London schools competing. Their opponents included teams from the following schools: The John Warner School – Hoddesdon Cheshunt – Cheshunt Marriotts – Stevenage Gilberds – Colchester Stanborough – Welwyn Garden City This year the game is called ‘Sack Attack’ – the teams had to design and build a robot to pick up lots of bean bags and place them in a trough. All the students had spent many, many hours working on their robots. The competition was the first real opportunity to see how they performed. All the teams played a number of very exciting games in the qualifying rounds and were given a ranking according to how many games they won. In the final rounds Team Virus and Team Sack Grabbers did exceptionally well, but it was Team Virus who triumphed in an alliance with a team from John Warner School and won the competition. It was a very exciting final and a fantastic achievement. Well done to all who took part, with a special mention for our all-girl team who won the Vex Judges’ Award for their team spirit – Joanna Foley, Elizabeth Oakley, Gabriella Sauchella-Tice, Hannah Ansell, Pheobe Hancock & Hannah Nixon. We must, however, give a special congratulations to our winning team, Team Virus – Ellis Davis, Ian Caistor-Parker, George Caistor-Parker, Joel Merryweather, Luke Merryweather and Freddie Ridout. Mrs J. Christou, Head of ICT EBS Robotics Team – Blogs Each EBS Robotics team have been keeping an account of their progress through online blogs listed below. The students worked tirelessly in the build up to this event, giving up their lunchtimes and staying after school until 7pm on some occasions to perfect their work. Check out their design process, prototyping and step-by-step robot construction for this year’s competition – Sack Attack. 1. Team Polaris (Sixth Form Team) 2. Team Sack Grabbers (Sixth Form Team) 3. Team T-Vex 4. Team Virus 5. Team Vex Impact (an all girls team – a UK first!) More information can be found on Fronter in the EBS Robotics Forum. Photo Gallery
On the 21st June, Professor Dame Ann Dowling came to visit EBS. Dame Ann Dowling was 2011’s ‘Woman of Outstanding Achievement’ following her work on Concorde and now with NASA engaging in lowering sound pollution and emissions in combustion engines. It is such an inspiration to see a woman in this type of Scientific role and it is very inspiring for our female students to look up to this sort of role model. Professor Dame Ann Dowling’s lecture was entertaining as well as informative; we all look forward to seeing what she does next!
On the 8th March, we were fortunate enough to welcome Professor Sir Alex Jeffreys to lead a lecture in his field to the EBS community. Professor Sir Alex Jeffreys is a British geneticist who is responsible for developing techniques for DNA fingerprinting and profiling to assist police work and paternity and immigration disputes. It is a fascinating topic and it was interesting to hear about it first hand. It is so exciting for EBS to have visitors who are leaders in their field to visit the school and inspire our students.