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Music Trip to Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre “Eroica by Heart”

Written by Oliver 8H1

On Wednesday 8 May, the Music department travelled to London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre for a unique and remarkable performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 – the Eroica – performed from memory by the Aurora Orchestra.  

In the first half, we were treated to an illuminating and amusing breakdown of Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony by BBC Radio 3’s Tom Service and Principal Conductor Nicholas Collon. They explained the compositional motifs and devices with excerpts from cleverly choreographed and constantly shifting groups of musicians or individual players. The audience likewise became part of the musical act and were divided in two sections and encouraged to sing the simple melody underpinning the opening Allegro of the Eroica and clap its alternating rhythms. ‘Think hot cross buns with a snappy ending!’.  

Then came an enlightening analysis of the Symphony’s sombre second movement Marche funebre, matched with Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen (1945): a composition written almost at the end of his life as he returned to the bombed ruins of Munich and forced to confront the destruction of his city, homeland and 2000 years of German culture. The performance was enormously moving, particularly as the musicians were performing “by heart” and really brought their emotions to this heartfelt performance.  

After a short interval, the orchestra performed Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 Eroica entirely from memory (although we spotted a few clarinet players looking at mini scores midway through the symphony and the timpani player tuning his instrument!). Nonetheless, it was extremely impressive, inspiring and enjoyable! The audience were also treated to an encore, with the players coming into the crowd and playing the dramatic coda again, which was such an incredible experience - though we imagine less so for the people close to the loud trumpet players!  

The bold new ways to engage with orchestral music, enriching our love and interest in the music of the classical world made it a thoroughly successful and enjoyable evening for everyone there. 

Stuttgart exchange 2024 – The visiting leg

Written by Lucas 10C2

 

In the second week of the Easter holidays 18 students from Year 9 and 10 took part in the first leg of the long running German language exchange to Stuttgart with the Hegel Gymnasium.

During the week, we spent the days together as a group and had the opportunity to explore the city and learn about its history. After a very early flight on Monday morning, we arrived in Stuttgart and met our exchange partners at school, and then went bowling together to break the ice and get to know each other. We had a very busy Tuesday, which saw us visit the first of two car museums, learning about the history of Porsche. Everyone enjoyed seeing the cars and having a go on the racing simulators. That afternoon we also went up the TV tower, the first of its kind, built in 1956, and standing at 217m, the 10th tallest building in the world. Despite the freezing conditions that day, the view of the city and beyond was fabulous. On Wednesday, we learnt yet more about the local history, with a tour of the town hall and the central square and discovered that the cities name comes from a shortening of the German Stutengarten, meaning mare garden. 

 

Thursday saw a visit to a nearby university town, Tübingen, which was both incredibly scenic and historic, having been founded in 1477 by Duke Eberhard of Württemberg, making it one of the oldest universities in Europe. In the afternoon, we visited the nearby Ritter Sport chocolate factory, and created our own flavours in an enjoyable workshop. Finally, on Friday we had a tour of the Landtag, the parliament building for the German state Baden-Württemberg of which Stuttgart is the capital, which provided an interesting insight into the German political system. In addition to this we explored the second car museum, the Mercedes Museum, with cars ranging from motorised carriages to the latest generation of race cars, still being used in F1 today. To round off the day, we spent the afternoon under the baking sun in a hotly contested football tournament with our German counterparts, seeing several miraculous goals.

 

For me, the most enjoyable part of the trip was the time we were able to spend in the evenings and on the weekend with our exchange partners, fully immersing ourselves in German culture and practising our language skills. Everyone took part in different activities, ranging from visiting traditional German beer gardens to history museums, but the most popular options included Tripsdrill theme park and witnessing the beauty of the nearby Alps. In addition to this, we had time to relax with our partners, enjoy the generally very good weather and further get to know the city, including the main shopping street, Königstraße.

Overall, the trip was an incredibly enjoyable opportunity to widen our horizons, experience new cultures and food whilst also developing our German competence and deepening our understanding of German history. A huge thank you to Ms. Brock for accompanying and looking after us, and Frau von Truchsess for organising the trip from everyone who took part. We are now looking forward to our partners’ visit to London in two months.

 

 

Reflections on Ramadan at school

As our schools reflect on this year’s Ramadan provision, it is heartening to recognise how small actions on our part continue to positively impact the sense of belonging our students and families have at Habs.

Ramadan is one of the holiest months in the Islamic calendar and so many (if not most) Muslim families will welcome it with enthusiasm. The month is most known for the act of not eating or drinking during daytime hours and following the lunar calendar in Islam this means the fasting period changes every year. This year the month fell towards the end of the Spring term meaning shorter fasts for most people compared to recent summer Ramadans and allowing an opportunity for some students to participate in the requirements of the month for the first time.

It was first suggested by a lower sixth student a few years ago that we should look at how we support fasting students. He shared that there are elements to the fast (and by extension Ramadan) that would be helpful to highlight and could make fasting in school much easier for our students. With input from students, staff and parents, we set about drafting our first ever Ramadan policy. It included an explanation of the requirements of the month and some tips on how to support students.

In time, this policy has developed and grown to cover most aspects of school life and is annually shared with colleagues and parents in anticipation of the month of Ramadan. We know that parents appreciate this small but inclusive action.

An important starting point is asking parents to confirm that their child will be fasting during the month, allowing us to create a Ramadan fasting list that is shared with staff. In having this information, staff are mindful (and not alarmed) if students appear more tired than usual or lacking in energy.

Ramadan is highlighted in our school calendar every year which allows us to plan accordingly and whilst efforts are made to avoid hosting big school events, this is not always possible. If internal exams are scheduled for example, pastoral staff can meet with students and try to accommodate requests for alternative provision or adjustments to best support students. Our annual Model UN conference took place in Ramadan this year, we ensured all students were able to have dinner at the same time as the breaking of the fast would happen. A simple change that meant our students could continue to participate in school life.

Additionally, this year any Parents’ Evenings that fell during the month had prayer spaces and light refreshments available at the time of breaking the fast, making it somewhat easier for parents and carers to attend.

The co-curricular programme at Habs is popular and some fasting students feel able to continue as normal. Participation in Games and PE is encouraged if students are comfortable, with staff moderating physical activity accordingly with additional rest breaks provided. Those students who may not be comfortable in their usual participation play a more supportive role by providing coaching support or engaging in the more theoretical aspects of lessons.

If a student is unable to attend a fixture during Ramadan, we are very clear in our expectation of early communication of this. This is also the case for any after school activities or commitment with students asking permission to leave school in time to reach home for the ending of the fast.

There is a mutual understanding between School and students that students should continue to utilise their best efforts in and out of class during the school day when fasting, whilst staff will always be supportive, understanding and accommodating where possible. A big element of the month of Ramadan is an individual’s ability to balance the extra spiritual efforts with their usual commitments. In reminding students of this, we referred to it as “in the spirit of the month” which was a warm reminder of the balance they needed to employ in school during the month.

Some of our younger students in the Prep and Junior School also wanted to try and fast during the month and whilst this is not a requirement for them, the school wanted to make the experience as easy for them as possible by providing quiet spaces during the lunch break and keeping a watchful eye if the fast was becoming too difficult.

This year, the month of Ramadan allowed us to host our first ever Iftar for students both at Habs Boys and Habs Girls. It was a sold-out event with students and staff coming together for a traditional breaking of the fast. It was pleasing to see Muslim students invite their non-Muslim friends to join them in something that is so integral to their faith. Our parent body also hosted our first ever Eid party and again, this was well attended by the Habs community with an opportunity to celebrate a month full of traditions and culture.

As a school made up of students from a variety of communities and identities, we thrive on being able to support and nurture the families who choose Habs. As one parent shared with us at the end of the month “we felt so embraced and supported … the children were able to share their experiences with the wider community. These are special memories that will stay with them.”

Habs shortlisted for the Tim Brighouse Community Engagement Initiative of the Year

We are honoured and thrilled to be shortlisted so early on in our Partnerships journey for TES Schools Award 2024 for 'The Tim Brighouse Community Engagement Initiative of the Year'!

We are proud to play our part in uplifting educational opportunities for all.

Thank you to all the students, teachers and wider community who make Partnerships happen week-in, week-out. You are making a #ProfoundImpact in our local community, improving outcomes for young people.

For those keen to learn more about Tim Brighouse, "The core of his philosophy was that if we could motivate teachers to have confidence in themselves and their professional knowledge - and then to share that insight with as many other teachers as possible in semi-formal and formal professional dialogue - we would lift the whole system." (Ed Dorrell, TES)

See the full categories and shortlisted schools here 

About The Boys: Habs students dive into vital discussions on consent and healthy relationships with award-winning documentary maker Catherine Carr

Habs were delighted to welcome Catherine Carr - an award-winning documentary maker, presenter, podcast producer and reporter with over 20 years' experience– to School to support her latest show ‘About The Boys’. 

As part of our specially curated PSHE programme, two forms of students participated in discussions and workshops on relationships, sex and health education to compliment the students learning on consent and healthy versus unhealthy relationships. The opportunity was kindly offered to Habs by Brook, a national charity specialising in relationships, health and sex education (RSHE) curriculums whom Habs have a strong connection with. Brook have previously been impressed by our students in the sessions they have run so it was an honour to be selected to participate.  

Throughout the series, you can listen to teenage boys across the UK recounting potentially startling experiences, such as contemplating the appeal of joining a gang amongst other sensitive topics. Successes were shared across age groups, varying from older boys establishing businesses, while younger ones boasted of consuming 20 fish fingers in one sitting. Moreover, the voices of influential adults who provide critical support to students were interwoven throughout. Teachers, coaches, youth workers, and faith leaders spoke about how boys navigate the complexities of the world. Experts also shared their contributions, however, the spotlight in ‘About The Boys’ as titled, remained about the boys as they got the chance to explain what life in 2024 looks and feels like for teens trying to find healthy and happy ways to grow into men. 

One of the participating Year 11 Habs students shared their feelings towards the workshop “The BBC Radio 4 workshop offered us an opportunity to partake in an insightful discussion which allowed the students to express their opinions on critical topics that may not be spoken about enough in a comfortable, controlled environment. The workshop focused on consent/sexual relationships. It enabled all of us to think in a more mature manner, challenging us to give responses that highlighted our emotional maturity. We were all happy to be involved as we all believe conversations like these need to happen more often in the environment where everyone can speak freely, as it is crucial later in life to learn these lessons. Personally, I enjoyed hearing what everyone else had to say as I used other people's ideas to build on my own thoughts, further developing my understanding of the topic. It has opened another potential career path as well, journalism, which is something I could consider pursuing in the future. Many thanks for the opportunity to partake in this!” 

Catherine kindly reported on her time spent with the students “I so enjoyed coming to Habs... they were some of the most candid and thoughtful teens I have met on my way. The welcome at the school was so warm and your support was priceless. Thank you.” 

We are thrilled that Habs students featured in all episode’s bar one of About The Boys. We are extremely proud of the students for their thoughtful, open and honest contributions to the workshop. The series aired on 29 April and all episodes of About The Boys are available to listen to on catch-up via the BBC Radio 4 website, and even more coverage from both The Guardian and The Times.

 

Year 5 pupils embark on an adventure to Oakwood

The Prep School Year 5 pupils set foot on a great adventure to Oakwood, located in Wokingham. Oakwood is a fantastic outdoor activity centre which gave pupils an opportunity to obtain their Level 1 NIBAS (bouldering qualification) as well as challenge them on their personal development skills.  

Amongst the charm of the location, accommodation was split between the comfort of ensuite dormitories or the thrill of embracing nature in safari tents! Half-way through the week, the pupils swapped over so that each one of them experienced the wild side. We were not surprised that majority favoured the safari life. The experience instilled a sense of responsibility as pupils took charge of maintaining their rooms and spaces with a nightly room inspection. Furthermore, community spirit was embraced as everyone pitched in for the clean-up of mealtimes with wiping down tables and hoovering up the crumbs left behind.  

The centre was fantastically run by Julie, whose values and ethos reflected that of the school almost identically. The staff at the centre demonstrated a complete sense of community and personalised sessions depending on the needs of the groups. Getting to know the pupils and their interests allowed for a positive rapport to be built which in turn allowed for the staff team to guide groups through challenges. Whether it was finding courage to conquer climbing walls, abseiling and high ropes courses, or embracing teamwork on low ropes courses and team games, everyone found a way to support somebody else or challenge their own abilities.  

From mastering the art of mountain biking to refining core strength through mountain boarding, Oakwood offered challenges for each pupil’s interests and abilities. Our Year 5 pupils not only progressed towards their bouldering qualifications but also received invaluable life lessons in resilience, teamwork, and self-discovery. 

 

Sixth Form code their way through the Student Robotics competition

 

Recently, the Student Robotics team headed to Southampton for the competition final. Despite a few hurdles in the lead up to the competition, the team were thrilled to reach the semi-finals, and are pleased to report they have retained their position as champions of the viral competition round.

Oliver (L6M2) has written the below account to explain the team's journey

“Recently, the Habs team set off for Southampton for the Student Robotics competition, an annual fixture in the calendar of STEM competitions. This year, the programming team consisted of Oliver (L6M2) and Dawei (L6C1), and the engineering team was represented by Alex (L6C1), Jun (L6J1), Eddie (L6M2), Krish (L6S2) and Sanjhay (L6M2). Thomas (U6J2), Shivank (U6M2) and Aran (U6M2) provided an invaluable presence when it came to moral support, catering and espionage – Miss Harrison and Mr Lee also kindly supported us on the trip. 

The robotics journey had begun in October 2023 with the announcement of this year’s competition: collecting the maximum number of asteroids – cubes with computer-readable markers on them – and depositing them into "spaceships". After a series of team-building activities, the engineering team got to work on an innovative design, while the programmers turned their attention to the virtual competition, which took place a month before the real thing entirely in a simulated arena with simulated robots, allowing them to get coding before a physical robot was available. After more than 1000 lines of code, much deliberation and a set of friendly matches, the code was finally ready to be submitted, and, armed with some complex maths and custom robot architecture to allow many tasks to be carried out seemingly in parallel, we were able to pull off an almost perfect record of 1st, 1st, 1st and 3rd in the four  matches. Having come first place in the 2023 competition, we were once again at the top of the leaderboards going into the 2024 edition, and the pressure was on to keep up the performance in the far more important real-life matches. 

For reasons that are difficult to understand, the state of the robot that Friday night could most accurately be described as ‘shambolic’ – the innovative design of the robot, attempting to use a conveyor belt with flaps to catch onto the cubes, fell apart at the eleventh hour as friction, misprinted parts and inexplicably weak stepper motors all spelled disaster. As the engineers hatched the ingenious backup plan of folding a piece of cardboard in two and bolting it to the front of the robot, Oliver and Dawei wondered how many bugs were lying hidden in their code, which had not yet been tested on the physical robot. 

Seeing how many of the robots failed to even start up when it came to the competition infused us with a tinge of hope for what was to come. As the day progressed, our consistency improved, and by the end of the day, we had held onto second place. We felt mildly optimistic heading into Sunday. Even after some catastrophic engineering issues throughout Sunday's league matches, we managed to hold onto 6th place, thus qualifying directly to the quarterfinals. There was a certain degree of pride in getting to this point despite having a barely functioning robot, any progression would have been an amazing victory. 

In the knockout stages of the competition, the top 2 competitors from each match progress to the next round. We were matched against Royal Grammar School Guilford (RGS), a very strong team who we were certain would win and two other teams who had reached the quarter finals who we would have to beat to prolong our journey. We got off to a strong start, moving two asteroids into our home region – another robot accidentally gifted us some free points. As time went on, RGS cemented their lead as expected and the match ended in a tie for second place. The tiebreak metric of choice was position in the league, so by the skin of our teeth, we beat out the competition to reach the top 8 – the mood was incredulous. 

Sadly, the semi-finals would spell the end of the road for the team. A glitch from the untouchable RGS robot caused it to barrel into the centre pedestal, which in turn interfered with the turning of our robot and we were out of the competition. As we watched the wildly entertaining remaining semi-final and grand finale, with further upsets, twists of fate and the eventual winner proved to be Munich’s Gymnasium Markt Indersdorf. We were forced to concede that if we were able to get this far this year, imagine what we could achieve again in the future. Hopefully, that will be the story of Student Robotics 2025.” 

 

Habs students selected for England National Football ISFA U14 squad

Football at Habs is reporting success after success, as Max (8M2) and Zach (8S1) make the selection to represent the England National Football Independent Schools Football Association (ISFA) U14 squad. 

Max's journey to this outstanding selection kicked off over the Easter break when they showcased their skills while representing Herts and Essex Counties for ISFA. His performance caught the attention of selectors, earning him a spot in the England National Football ISFA under 14 squad for the upcoming year. This achievement is a testament to Max's dedication, talent and hard work on the pitch. 

 

 

 

Joining Max in this achievement is Zach, whose skill and motivation has also been recognised with a place in the reserves of the England U14 ISFA squad. Zach's selection emphasises his promising potential and is a credit to his ongoing development as a footballer. 

 

 

 

 

Looking ahead, the journey for Max and Zach promises exciting opportunities and challenges. The upcoming fixtures include a two-day Academy tournament at Haileybury School in August, followed by a series of fixtures and camps throughout the year. These include a fixture against Chelsea in December as part of a two-day camp and an Easter Camp with a fixture against Leicester City Football Club. The pinnacle of these engagements culminates in a final international fixture against Welsh Schools Football Association next Spring. 

Reflecting on the achievements of Max and Zach, it's important to acknowledge the dedication and support of their coaches, teammates and community. This year marks the first year where football can be a priority choice sport for students in Year 7 and beyond. This initiative enables budding footballers to perfect their skills through dedicated training sessions provided by Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. With a focus on technique and advancement, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in high-quality training as part of their timetabled lessons, opening opportunities for promising talent to flourish. 

Their selection to represent the England National Football ISFA U14 squad is not just a personal triumph but a source of pride for all those who have played a part in shaping their path to success. Here's to a bright and promising future for these two young talents as they continue to pursue their dreams on the football field. 

The Düsseldorf work experience exchange celebrates it’s 20th year of running

During the Easter break, 12 Lower Sixth students took part in the German leg of the Düsseldorf work experience exchange. Having specified their areas of interest beforehand, the students enjoyed a wide variety of work experience, including placements at Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), Deutsche Bank, leading Düsseldorf law firms, a publisher, a private equity firm, a dental clinic, a 5-star hotel, a car dealership and workshop and working with the Mayor at the local town hall.  

During the week Ms Hanlon and Miss Marsden visited each place of work to meet with the students and their employers and were delighted to hear what a fantastic impression the students were making with their colleagues, both in terms of engagement in the work and their German language skills.  

 

 

Without exception, every employer spoke highly of the student’s commitment and enthusiastic approach to work and felt that, as employers, had benefited as much from their week together as the students themselves. The German host families were equally delighted with the student's excellent language skills and how readily they integrated into German family life, adopting the culture whole-heartedly.  

This year marks an astounding celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Düsseldorf work experience exchange and we were delighted to be interviewed by a journalist at the end of our week and have our exchange feature in a prominent newspaper article in the Rheinische Post. The programme continues to provide a unique opportunity for students to get a meaningful insight into the world of work, whilst also playing an important role in nurturing the global outlook for which our Schools are renowned.

  

Year 10 Valencia language trip

Over the Easter break, a group of Year 10 students embarked on a trip to Valencia to spend time being fully immersed in Spanish language and culture. Throughout the trip, students were kindly hosted by generous families while participating in morning language sessions at Espanolé, a Spanish language school situated in the heart of the city. Not to forget, afternoons were jam-packed, with a varied and busy programme of activities were arranged.  

Across the week, students participated in a comprehensive city tour and a trip to the La Albufera Natural Park where the students enjoyed a scenic boat ride on the lake, received insight into the farming of paella rice, and strolled along El Saler Beach. Later in the week, students explored their way through the bustling atmosphere of the food market, followed by a leisurely stroll through Turia Park to reach the much-awaited destination of Valencia football, Mestalla Stadium. They ended the week with a trip to the City of Arts and Sciences, with educational excursions to the science museum and the Oceanographic, Europe's largest aquarium.  

 

Thank you to Mr Lawrence, Mrs Gómez and Mrs Shooter for their attendance and support on the trip. Ravjoth (10M1) shared the following account on his time in Valencia: 

“The first day, we had a quiz tour with Matías, our guide throughout the trip. Then had a quick merienda of chocolate con churros (Spanish snack) in the famous Valor cafeteria. 

On the second day, we had our usual lessons in the morning followed by a beautiful boat tour in the Albufera, touring rice fields and learning about the carefully structured water system in Valencia. After this, we went to the beach to relax as a group in the 29-degree heat. 

The third day was easily the most anticipated with a trip to the Valencia C.F. Football Stadium. The lessons this morning involved role-play scenarios speaking Spanish in the Central Valencian market, Mercado Central, I personally relished the prospect of being able to use the Spanish skills I had learnt in a practical and useful manner. After lunch, we walked through the Turia park to the Mestalla football stadium. The tour clearly showcased the intense meticulous care needed to preserve such a pristine stadium. Walking back to the school we now had a paella cooking show combined with a Latin dance class! 

Finally, we had a last block of lessons with a final test, we said a last thank you to our hardworking teachers at Espanolé for the helpful lessons and all boarded the coach to the City of Arts and Sciences. The aquarium buildings were phenomenal with sharks, stingrays and beluga whales. After this, we walked over to the massive science museum demonstrating the stunning architecture of Valencia.” 

 

Year 7 to Year 9 hit the slopes during the Easter break

Easter break marked an exciting time for 39 Year 7 to Year 9 students as they hit the slopes and kickstarted their trip to France. Staying at Les Menuires resort in the French Alps, students were challenged to push their skiing abilities to new heights, testing their endurance and courage on the slopes. 

Despite a rather sparse offering of snow on the mountainsides upon arrival, they were thankfully treated to a couple of days of snowfall that made for some great skiing and the snow just about held out until the end of the week. It was fantastic to see many students improve significantly from beginners mastering parallel turns, to seasoned pros finessing their technique on the harder routes. 

Off the piste, students occupied themselves with various games nights, visits into the town for hot chocolates and crepes, writing postcards home, a trip on the luge and an excellent quiz night organised by the Year 9 students.  

The trip would not have been possible without the support of Mr Ryan, Mr Gauntlett, Miss Hooker, Miss Noble, and Miss Barron. Thanks to the collective wealth of experience and expertise, helping things run so smoothly from start to finish.

 

Year 8 students said “buenos días” to Benalmádena

Throughout the Easter break, a group of Year 8 students surrounded themselves in the vibrant culture and rich history of Benalmádena, Spain. Aside from the beautiful scenery and the long—awaited feeling of a warmer breeze, the students were offered a wide selection of activities to spark their curiosity into the Spanish language and culture. 

One of the highlights of the trip was a surprise encounter with wild dolphins, captivating the students with the wonders of Spanish marine life. Additionally, they participated in a lively South American music workshop, immersing themselves in the rhythms of another culture. 

The learning didn't stop there as the students indulged in a chocolate making workshop, tingling their taste buds while also gaining insight into the culinary traditions of Spain. They also delved into history during a tour of the Alcázaba of Málaga palace, originally built in the 11th century, allowing students to uncover the secrets of this ancient fortress. 

Of course, no Spanish adventure is complete without authentic tapas to experience local cuisine and norms of the culture. From beach football to navigating bustling Spanish markets and practicing their language skills, every moment was a learning opportunity. 

This trip developed a deeper appreciation for the language and culture that they explored- proof to the power of experiential and immersive learning. Special thanks to Mr Lee, Mrs McEwan Cox, Ms Adams and Mrs Leaver for their support in accompanying the students on this enriching journey.  

 

Upper Sixth students represent UK at European Youth Parliament in Bulgaria

Upper Sixth students Avi (U6J2), Raahan (U6H1), Aparna (U6 TD) and Sienna (U6 IC) represented the UK at the Bulgarian European Youth Parliament (EYP) session in Plovdiv over Easter, following their win at the National Session in Liverpool last September. The EYP Bulgaria is an independent association that organises various debating events. It is part of a Europe-wide network, present in about 40 countries that organise more than 500 events, every year, for up to 35,000 students. It aims at raising awareness concerning European issues, whilst encouraging active European citizens and motivating students to become politically engaged. 

The students outstanding contributions earned praise from peers and encouraged cross-cultural exchange with students from Bulgaria, Norway, and Slovenia. Their discussions ranged from the protection of indigenous rights to tackling youth unemployment and examining the consequences of increasing entrepreneurship in the contemporary workplace. Throughout the sessions, Avi, Raahan, Sienna and Aparna showcased fantastic dedication and creativity, earning rave reviews for their contributions to committee work and resolution debates. 

Raahan and Aparna will continue their involvement at the ‘Harbour of Innovation’ in Greece at the next international session in July, promising further opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and spirited debate with students across Europe. 

The participation of Avi, Raahan, Sienna and Aparna in the Bulgarian EYP session not only reflects their academic success but also shows their commitment to global citizenship and adopting a solution driven approach. Their journey shows true values of leadership, collaboration and curiosity. Congratulations to the team! 

Students debate at Durham University

At the end of March, Mr Brennan and Miss Khurjekar accompanied seven Habs debating teams to Durham University for their prestigious annual Durham Schools Debating Competition.

As one of the pinnacles of the debating calendar, all speeches were of a high calibre, including those of our own students. 

The road to the quarter-finals

The teams faced a demanding first day, debating motions around the commercialisation of social movements and the ban on gambling. On the second day, they debated flipped learning and social housing schemes, with five qualification rounds in total.

Two of our seven teams made it through to the quarter finals. The first pair featured William (L6S2) and Sohan (L6M1), while the second was made up of Nazim (10S2) and Feeza (U5 A), the only student from Habs Girls. This placed both pairs in the best 16 out of 80 teams in all, proving an amazing achievement.

A narrow defeat

The quarter-finals were incredibly competitive, with the motion set as ‘THW abolish awards in creative fields’. Both teams delivered excellent speeches, only to narrowly miss out on a place in the semis.

Special mention must go to Rajarshi (L6J2) who placed 12th on the best speakers list, out of 160 speakers in total. William (L6S2) and Rohitash (U6J1) also fared well, placing joint 16th on the same list.

Our Year 10s and Year 12s put in a sterling display and we are keen to continue building on this success in the future.

Congratulations to all the students who took part, including Aarav (10H1), Samit (10R1), Richard (10R1), Lucas (10C2), Nazim (10S2), Feeza (U5 A), William (L6S2), Sohan (L6M1), Danny (10J2), Shakir (10J1), Zafer (L6M1), Zakariya (L6R1), Rohitash (U6J1) and Rajarshi (L6J2).

Two teachers and 30 students from Year 10 to Year 13 the Boys and Girls' schools welcomed Mr Stephen Pam to our joint campus. Mr Pam, a former teacher who now volunteers for Magistrates in the Community, shared his fascinating insights into the workings of the UK’s Magistrate’s Courts.

Guilty or not guilty?

Currently serving as a Magistrate with the Hertfordshire Bench, Mr Pam and his colleagues deal with all kinds of cases, including theft, drink-driving and even homicide. Talking our students and teachers through his daily work, Mr Pam explained the many different roles in a Magistrate’s Court, including prosecution, defence and probation. Students also got the chance to role-play a Magistrate’s Court hearing.

After hearing all the facts, students then debated whether the defendant was guilty or not guilty, before reflecting on what kind of sentence would be appropriate to the case.

With any mitigating factors duly considered, Mr Pam praised their excellent level of engagement with the role-play scenario, not least their curious-minded questioning at the Q&A session that followed. In fact, he placed Habs among the best schools he had visited.

Our visit from a local magistrate was an all round success. A big thank you to Alexander (L6M1), Robert (L6H2) and Evan (L6M2) for doing an excellent job of running our Law Society this academic year.