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.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office visit was on 3rd March, and four AS Level students had the great opportunity to visit the offices and meet with diplomats and officials. This was a fantastic experience organised by Pinky Lilani, who has been a great ‘friend’ to Mulberry girls. Students took part in an essay writing competition, submitting their essays before the event, which announced the winner and runner-ups of the competition. Sadika Begum in year 12 was runner up with her essay on the importance of equal access to education. This is a great achievement, and Sadika, as a prize, will have the opportunity to shadow a Foreign Office official for half a day. The students who attended the visit also submitted essays on the topics of global studies, access to education and the importance of the Foreign Office. These were thought-provoking essays that displayed a great deal of independent research and creativity. Students also had the opportunity to meet senior members of the Foreign Office including the ambassadors to Nigeria and Hong Kong, and the Governor of British overseas territory.
Mulberry School for Girls is delighted to announce that we have been graded Outstanding by Ofsted following an inspection in July 2013. Achievement of pupils, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of pupils, and leadership and management were all given the highest possible rating of '1'.
The report praised the "exceptional leadership" of the head teacher, Dr. Vanessa Ogden, and the “constantly improving quality of education” which can be seen at Mulberry. Students make “rapid progress” in lessons and a high proportion are “exceeding” expectations. Teaching has improved from good to outstanding since the previous inspection in 2010.
The inspectors described Mulberry pupils as “highly ambitious, confident and principled” young women who are “well informed about employment and cultural opportunities” thanks to links with business leaders, artists and international organisations. The report also notes the “exceptional” social, moral, cultural and spiritual development of pupils and the “extensive” support on offer for parents.
A group of Year 9 and 10 students took the film Justice in Action to the People’s Film Festival (TPFF) in Harlem, New York during the May half term.
The film was made by six young women from Mulberry School in 2012, who walked the paths were war and genocide took place in Bosnia to find out what justice means to those who most want it. TPFF celebrates the power of documentary films when made by the people. Justice in Action was screened on Saturday 1st June at the Maysles Documentary Centre in Harlem and was well received by the audience.
The screening was followed by a question and answer session with the film-makers, during which there was discussion about how, at a time when the youth are perceived ton be un-interested in the world, this project successfully demonstrated how young people have a role in positive world change.
Justice in Action won ‘Best International Documentary’ at the festival. After the success of the film in New York, Justice in Action was selected to be part of the Cutting East Festival, a strand of the East End Film Festival celebrating films made by the youth of Tower Hamlets. The film was screened at the Genesis Cinema on Saturday 29th June 2013 and we also hosted a seven day screening at the Mulberry and Bigland Green Centre for members of the local community.
Page 4 of 4