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Lent term reflection

3 April 2020

Lent term 2020 was packed with good news, events and activities, alongside our usual lessons. While term may not have ended as we expected, with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, it drew together our already strong and supportive Westminster City School community.

In January 2020, we began by announcing our new Sixth Form leadership team, who support life within our Sixth Form and across our School. Our new Head Boy and Girl will be aided over the coming year by our Deputy Head Girls and Boy, and new group of prefects. Students applied, and were interviewed, for their roles, in a process designed to prepare them for future university and job applications and interviews.

In addition, it was a busy time for our Year 13, with over 90% applying to start university in the autumn. Offers have been received across a range of courses and institutions, both in and outside of London, and include prestigious Russell Group universities like Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial. We are exceptionally proud of our sixth formers and feature many, talking about their exciting journey towards higher education, on our website and social media channels.

Alongside lessons, our School continued to make the most of our central London location with trips and visits to places of interest that support learning. In our Lent term 2020, this included a Tudor tour of Westminster Abbey for our historians in Years 10 to 12, a field trip examining urban regeneration in Stratford for our GCSE Geography pupils, a workshop on salt at The Salter’s Institute for our KS3 scientists, and workshops exploring Larry Achiampong’s new art installation on the Underground for Year 10 artists.

Trips also took our young people beyond London, with sixth formers exploring topics related to their A Levels in the social sciences via a weekend in Vienna, Austria. In addition, almost 100 Year 7 pupils undertook a rewarding, yet muddy, residential trip in East Sussex. Spending three days at Hindleap Warren, a fantastic outdoor education centre in the Ashdown Forest, our intrepid pupils took part in a range of activities, from archery to pioneering, designed to build relationships across the year, increase resilience and confidence, and teach new skills.

Outside lessons, extra-curricular activities continued to grow. Our pupils researched and took on the roles of different countries for topical debates for our Model United Nations Society, while our KS3 Science Club members tested the impressive explosive powers of custard powder, with experiments on how the surface area of a fuel – in this case, custard powder - affected the way it burns.

Music remains central to our School, so we were thrilled that six pupils successfully auditioned to join the Chorus for the English National Opera’s recent production of Carmen. Performing nightly onstage at the London Coliseum was an amazing experience for our singers, while many of our pupils and staff enjoyed being members of a packed audience. 

Looking ahead, we are excited that acclaimed British composer and conductor, Dame Shirley Joy Thompson OBE, will be guest of honour at our annual Celebration of Achievement Evening in July. Dame Thompson’s work - symphonies, ballets, operas, concertos, and other pieces for ensembles, plus music for TV, film, and theatre - is performed worldwide. She is renowned for pushing the boundaries of classical music composition and taking it to mass audiences. 

Our Lent term ended as none of us would have predicted a few months ago, with the UK Government closing schools to combat the threat of COVID-19. This challenging situation saw our community draw together, with the vast majority of our pupils and students undertaking remote learning, put together by our dedicated and supportive staff, that was much praised by parents/carers. Alongside this, we continued as many elements of our usual School day as possible, with our assemblies and thoughts for the day available via our online learning platforms.

While our Lent term 2020 may have ended on an uncertain note, our School motto of ‘Unitate fortior’ has never been more apt. 

Photo: ENO Carmen 2020 by photographer Richard Hubert Smith.

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