In January, all Year 9 students were given the opportunity to become
code breakers in an Enigma Code themed workshop.
An education officer from Bletchley Park brought along the Enigma
Machine that was featured in the 2014 film 'The Imitation Game', and
students learnt that the machine was invented by a German and used by
Britain's codebreakers as a way of deciphering German messages during
World War Two. Students were fascinated to hear that the war finished
two years earlier than it would have because of information gained
through this device.
Students were put into teams themed around Second World War code names;
Team Eagle's Nest, Team Operation Barbarossa and Team Lucky Y competed
against each other to crack codes in the shortest possible time.
Many thanks to Bletchley Park for your visit, and well done to all our
Year 9 code breakers!
Mulberry School For Girls and the Ursuline High School have enjoyed a long and productive partnership for many years. As well as professional collaboration, we are connected by friendship: our schools consistently support and celebrate one another, and this warm relationship is much valued by staff and students alike.
Recently, Mulberry and Ursuline students worked together on a collaborative film project with Postcode Films. Together, the girls directed, filmed and produced a short documentary entitled Shaping Our Futures, exploring the work of some of the UK’s most inspiring women and female-led organisations – including Liberty, Clean Break, Luminary Bakery, Magic Me and the work of Baroness Susan Greenfield. Students wrote and conducted interviews with inspirational women, including Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty and internationally acclaimed human rights activist; and DI Victoria Garnett, one of the youngest ever female Detective Inspectors with the Metropolitan Police. The women the students interviewed gave advice to a young female audience just starting out in life: the resulting film was frank, uplifting and brave.
In October, Ursuline students also attended Mulberry’s Women’s Education conference, ‘Educating Twenty-First Century Women: Passion, Possibilities and Power’, where the film was screened. In January, Mulberry sixth form students will be attending Ursuline’s European politics conference, ‘Europe: In or Out?’ This conference will focus on the issue of whether the UK should opt out of the EU, and will see speakers from major political parties engage in discussion and debate with students. Our sixth formers look forward to developing their thoughts on this pressing political issue, and are excited for what promises to be a day of stimulating discussion!
Most recently, the Ursuline school organised a tea party for a group of Mulberry students, in celebration of our school’s 50th anniversary. Students were treated to tea and home-made cake by Ursuline’s school council. We discussed the ethos of our respective schools, and found that we share many values: sisterhood, helping others, and above all, honouring the importance of education for young women. The Ursuline school presented us with a beautiful gift: a framed picture of their stained glass window, inscribed with the values that define both our schools.
We look forward to celebrating Ursuline’s 125th anniversary in similar style a few years from now, and we know that we will continue to support one another as colleagues and as friends.
On Friday 10th October, Mulberry School for Girls held our Women’s Education conference – ‘Educating Twenty First Century Women: Passion, Possibilities and Power’. The conference took place at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster and was attended by over 360 students from 30 schools.
The conference focused on the importance of an education tailored to the needs of twenty first century women. Spotlight was placed on young women’s passion to make positive social change and the possibilities that lie ahead for them. The students heard of the power and achievements of positive female role models from a range of backgrounds. The following were the conference objectives:
Discussing ‘passion’, our first panel was chaired by Emma Barnett, Women’s Editor of the Telegraph. We heard from Shobana Jeyasingh, Choreographer and Founder of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance; Deborah Bull, former Creative Director of the Royal Opera House and now Director of Cultural Partnerships at King’s College London; and Vicky Featherstone, Artistic Director of London’s Royal Court Theatre. Our keynote speaker was Phyllida Lloyd, who recently directed the ground breaking all-female production of Julius Caesar, and who will be directing the all-female production of Henry IV with the Donmar Warehouse, which will be performed at Mulberry throughout December. Our conference delegates were encouraged by Lloyd’s message that a significant number of London’s world-leading theatres are now managed and directed by women – women who are very interested in the work of women writers, directors, producers and technicians. Our first panel anticipated a future in which women lead in the arts, and called upon our delegates to be bold in their artistic contributions.
Our second panel, discussing ‘Possibilities’, was chaired by Kirsten Bodley, Executive Director of STEMNET. We also heard from Dr Victoria Herridge, Palaeontologist at the Natural History Museum; Ndidi Okezie, Executive Director of Teach First; Belinda Parmar, Founder and CEO of Lady Geek, the creative agency which aims to make technology more accessible and appealing to women; and Professor Paola Domizio, Professor of Pathology Education at Barts and the London. Some of the most successful women in the field of science and technology addressed our delegates with passion and enthusiasm. Dr Herridge urged students from state schools not to be deterred by competition from private schools when applying for competitive work experience; Ndidi Okezie encouraged students to ‘seize as many opportunities and get as much experience as possible’.
Our final panel, on ‘Power’, was chaired by Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista. She spoke alongside Eleanor Mills, Editorial Director of the Sunday Times; Emily Thornberry MP, Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury; Munira Mirza, Deputy Mayor for Education and Culture; and our keynote speaker, the Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Speaker’s Chaplain at the House of Commons. Opened by a powerful keynote speech from the Reverend Hudson-Wilkin, this panel sparked impassioned debate between speakers and between delegates. Delegates left feeling challenged and inspired.
Our delegates also watched the end result of a collaborative film project between Mulberry, Ursuline High School and Postcode Films – ‘Shaping our Futures’ was a series of short films exploring the work of some of the UK’s most inspiring women and female-led organisations, including Liberty, Clean Break, Luminary Bakery, Magic Me and the work of Baroness Susan Greenfield.
Following the conference, there was a reception in the Peers’ Dining Room at the House of Lords, courtesy of Lord Michael Bates. Speeches celebrated Mulberry’s 50th Anniversary, and paid homage to our ‘principled, articulate and inspiring’ students.
Mulberry would like to thank all those who contributed to and participated in such a successful and inspiring day.
Students in Year 9 have been encouraged to be ‘Outspoken’ at Magic Me; a creative project for women aged between fourteen and eighty years old. This was a fantastic opportunity to build our confidence. Students met with the ladies from the project at the Bishopsgate Institute where the group looked at posters, pamphlets and books from the Institute library to find out where and when women were outpsoken and where and when they were not. In these sessions, they also looked at the type of words and phrases speakers sometimes use to make an impact and put together a special spoken word performance on issues they felt passionate about. They also produced a photo exhibition that explored the impact of words when speaking out.
For the fiftieth celebration of the school’s birthday, Mulberry School has been getting ready for an exciting event; Mulberry’s first Community Opera. Students have been rehearsing together since January in preparation for the Opera. We have the privilege of being accompanied by professional singers, the school music teachers, parents and the composer of the Opera, Jana Roland. It is great to see the whole Mulberry community join together for this exciting project. The Opera will be performed on 5th, 6thand 7thNovember 2014.
In recognition of World Voice Day, we held Mulberry’s own ‘Voice Week’. The theme was about the importance of finding your voice. We enjoyed a spoken word performance from three famous poets: Zena Edwards, Jasmine Ann Cooray and Katie Bonna. Professor Gary Watt, from Warwick University, kindly created an ‘Introduction to Rhetoric’ film for our school which was played in assembly. To encourage students to use their voices expressively, there was a poetry café in the SEN department. For sixth formers, voice practitioners gave a workshop on communication skills. I really enjoyed voice week and trying to find my voice. I think people have become a lot more confident after using their own and hearing other people’s voices.
Mulberry School for Girls is currently piloting an internal Voice Department as part of our Arts Specialism; the department aims to develop students’ skills set, as well as encouraging them to become more aware of the importance of voice and communication skills to their personal, social, educational and career growth. In recognition of World Voice Day the school ran Mulberry Voice Week in April 2014. Voice practitioners, Barbara Houseman, Jessica Chambers and Nick Trumble kindly donated their time to work with groups of students as well as Craft of Communication who worked with sixth formers on their personal impact and communication skills. Professor Gary Watt, of Warwick University, generously created an ‘Introduction to Rhetoric’ film, especially for the school, which was played in assemblies during the week. Other activities included:
Recordings of teachers reading their favourite poem – giving students a chance to ‘guess the teacher’ in their registration sessions.
A ‘Decorate your Larynx’ competition in which students made model larynxes and then were encouraged to be as creative as they liked with glitter, sequins and feathers!
On 7th May, the creator of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly invited students at Mulberry School for Girls to the launch of the Web We Want - Southbank Centre’s major new festival celebrating the 25th anniversary of the invention of the World Wide Web.
Mulberry students were asked to think about what the festival could and should be about, what they would like to see represented. They met a range of people there from the arts, creative media, technology, philosophy, journalism, politics and education: both educators and students, and the input of schools, young people and teachers will be vital to the shaping of the festival.
Students also looked at the extraordinary impact the web has had on individuals, governments and societies at large and how the idea that the World Wide Web can empower people to bring about positive change both in their own life and in the lives of others. Students asked Sir Tim Berners –Lee some pressing questions about how we can guarantee a free and open Web and how we as individuals can be free on the Web.
The festival which will consist of talks and debates, visual art, installations and performances will investigate and celebrate a quarter century of Tim Berners-Lee’s radical, transformative invention will take place in from September 2014 to September 2015. Mulberry School for Girls will contribute to this festival as part of our residency at the Southbank Centre.
On the 24th April, Philip Parham a senior diplomat in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office came to visit students at Mulberry School. Philip Parham spent ten years in investment banking and then joined the Foreign Office in 1993. He has worked in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Riyadh and Tanzania on various missions. Ambassador Parham first met Mulberry students at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office earlier in the year, at which students who entered an essay writing competition met with senior diplomats in the country. After meeting with Mulberry students, Ambassador Parham decided to visit the school. Students had the opportunity to talk to him about his career at the Foreign Office and most importantly the countries he has worked in. The ambassador extended advice to young people interested in a career in international politics and policy, and encouraged students to apply for internships and the civil service fast-stream after they graduate. Students attending the talk were interested in international relations and some were taking A Level Politics and participating in Model United Nations conferences. The majority of the students who met with the ambassador said that this was an insightful and eye-opening discussion, and wish to have a future in international politics.
On 3rd March 2014, Mulberry students attended a screening of Miss Representation at Southbank Centre, a film which explores how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film was written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who visited Mulberry School prior to the screening for a Question and Answer session with students.
Sixth Form Media students attended the session and asked Ms Siebel Newsom how she made the film. They also discussed whether the lack of visibility of women in positions of leadership affects young women’s aspirations and how young women can influence positive change in the media.
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