I do want to talk about it!

I do want to talk - and blog - about it (even if it did break my heart)... and why I've only just got round to it!

This is becoming a habit. Last week I confessed to a secret passion for Abba. This week it's a Rod Stewart song, although I much prefer the version by Everything But The Girl. Student days! Enjoy...


However, there was no absence of talk amongst our students last week. They were speaking absolutely brilliantly about all manner of issues!

On Wednesday we held our first ever 'Festival of Debate' with students in Years 10 and 11 challenging our County and Regional Sixth Form Champion Debaters around a series of motions that would feature in the Weekend's national final of the country's toughest public speaking competition, 'Debating Matters'.

As a rehearsal for the 'Big One' it was amazing! The younger students pushed the Berkshire and South East winners all the way in three feisty hour long arguments around surrogacy, internships and western humanitarian intervention strategies based exactly on the national competition format. I have never heard greater intellectual maturity from young people in my life!

Debating Matters Warm Up Event

Thus battle hardened our Sixth Formers travelled to the impressive setting of the British Library to contest a three day round robin style competition against the other regional champions: the best schools in the UK.

A win in the first debate set us on our way, and seemed to be followed by another after an equally assured performance in the second. But... The judges were split! No extra time; no penalty shoot out.

To say, like Rod, I was heartbroken would be an overstatement, but I was genuinely  disappointed for our team who, I objectively believe, won the argument. No matter. National finalists at our first attempt and a remarkable learning experience for our magnificent team, comprised of Heather Barr, Gareth Carless, Marcus Davies, Tom Davis, Sam Forrest and Will Matthews.

Our Debating Matters Team

So, much to talk and write about, but I've only just got round to putting pen to paper (or fingers to touchscreen, as I suppose the saying should now go!)

That contrived new technology reference provides a tenuous link to why it's taken me so long to get the blog up this week. There's simply just been so many thing happening, much of emanating from our status as the South's Centre of Excellence for Learning in Computer Science.

Earlier in the week we had hosted over 300 primary students, all of whom went completely 'CompuCrazy'! This link to Newbury Weekly News coverage gives a flavour...


However, it's the brilliant video coverage produced by Year 10's Lucas Voss that brings the event to life...

It really does give new meaning to Lucas Film. Apologies, George...

A nod to Lucas Films

And then there was TeenTech. Another national final, this time with two teams qualified from Year 8, both presenting to some very well known judges on their ideas for the application of leading edge technology...!

TeenTech with James May

What a week! I'm so pleased I've finally got round to talking about it almost week later and there's more to talk about this week too!