The best thing about online learning has been the opportunity for the School’s Clubs and Societies to invite speakers who might not otherwise be able to travel, and to link with other schools to share notable speakers with larger audiences.
The Clare Society joined with a number of other schools to meet with well-known biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar, Professor Jonathan Bate. Both he and his wife Paula Byrne have been to Oundle on many occasions to give lively and informative talks. This year Professor Bate talked about John Keats, the subject of his most recent book.
The Economics Budd Society invited Sean Ringsted, Chief Risk officer for the Chubb group to talk about “black swans” in insurance markets. The department also ran a popular Amplify trading day where pupils played as traders and investment bankers in live market conditions.
Early in the Term, the German and Drama departments invited the City of London Girls School to join them for an online meeting with Professor David Barnett, Head of Theatre and Media at York University and author of several books on Brecht. The German department later hosted another online event with schools from around the UK featuring Dr James Hodkinson from the University of Warwick, who gave a lecture on generational multiculturalism in Germany.
Invited directly by pupils, the world-famous historian Count Adam Zamoyski talked to the History Society on “Napoleon: Good Guy or Monster? Should we judge historical figures”. Aaccording to Count Zamoyski, Napoleon’s greatness was in his tactical abilities, such as enveloping enemy forces in particular battles against the Austrians. However, because Napoleon lacked a real strategy, his rule was characterised by bluster and bullying and he was unable ever to consolidate his power or create the dynasty to which he aspired.
The Law Society hosted District Judge Ken Sheraton, who spoke on sentencing and jurisdiction. In an interesting demonstration, all attendees had to read a scenario before the talk, but only half of the group also read the government’s sentencing guidelines. When the pupils all gave their suggested sentences, the group which had read the guidelines were more lenient.
Cathy Tuke (OO) returned to School to talk to MedSoc pupils on her training and career in medicine, giving aspiring medics tips on applying to medical school, preparing for interviews, and relating her experiences as a junior doctor, including working during the pandemic.
Dr Ken Farquhar gave a magical chemistry and science show for the Junior Scott Society, inspired by the Ancient Greeks’ belief that everything was made of and explained by the four elements of earth, water, air, and fire. Dr Farquhar uncovered some strange science in the kitchen, revealed how weird water really can be, attempted some airmazing levitation, and discovered how to make fire appear and safely disappear.
The Stahl Theatre ran weekly Playgroups throughout the Term that gave pupils the opportunity to talk to and work with leading professionals from all areas of the theatre industry. A packed programme included: Tom Fox and Becky Owen-Fisher, director and producer from Lamphouse Theatre; Amy Fisher, creative producer of the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough; Jez Bond (OO), artistic director of Park Theatre, London; actors Russ Bain and Rachel Hurd-Wood; Alecky Blythe, playwright and artistic director of Recorded Delivery; Abigail Matthews, puppeteer; Olivier Award-winning sound designer, Carolyn Downing; career coach Natalie Macaluso; and Gary Beestone, production manager for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The Netball Club had a Q&A session with England Netball Rose Beth Cobden, who has 25 caps representing the UK, and Sienna Rushton (OO) who currently represents Turnford Netball Club in Premier League 1 and plays for VNSL Leeds Rhinos.
The Hockey Club ran a Q&A for pupils and staff with South African Olympian and international coach Tsoanelo Pholo Oly and Dutch manager Sven der Most, who has worked in developing hockey nations such as Namibia and Lithuania.