Welcome to the First Year Blog

After a restful half term the First Years are back and raring to go with their assessments this week. It has been lovely catching up with you all and hearing about what you have got up to during your half term, most of us have obviously been enjoying the glorious weather!

During the week before the half term many of the First Years took part in the Inter-Form Activity Competition set by our PE department, the eagerly anticipated results are as follows:

1st Place – 1W (16 participants) 70pts mean score = 4.4 + 3 bonus = 7.4

2nd Place – 1L (11 participants) 55pts mean score = 5 + 1.5 bonus = 6.5

=3rd Place – 1J (14 participants) 59pts mean score = 4.2 + 1.5 bonus = 5.7

=3rd Place – 1H (13 participants) 55pts mean score = 4.2 + 1.5 bonus = 5.7

=3rd Place – 1P (10 participants) 42pts mean score = 4.2 + 1.5 bonus = 5.7

4th Place – 1B (14 participants) 52pts mean score = 3.7 + 1.5 bonus = 5.2

Congratulations 1W on some impressive results and for the highest number of participants as well


Today is World Environment Day and the theme this year is “Time for Nature”. The foods we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable all come from nature. Yet, these are exceptional times in which nature is sending us a message: To care for ourselves we must care for nature. Take a look at the link below at some of the activities going on around the world, some talks you can watch and things you can do to be part of the day:


The Biology department has some exciting tasks planned for the First Years next week, look out for some instructions set out on Firefly this afternoon!

IF by Rudyard kipling

If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs…

Take a look at the dramatic reading of the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling, collated by Mrs Plowman and performed by our First and Second Year pupils below!


Alex B has been hard at work over Half Term making his own Barometer, take a look at his work below to see what it is and how it worked, maybe even give it a go yourself! Well done Alex!


Having seen Raphael’s Stone Keep Castle at the end of last term we have some more photographs of some more wonderful castles produced by Rudy S, Alex R, Leo R and Leo L!


Following on from the Mental Health Awareness week two weeks ago, we set you the challenge to perform small acts of kindness over the half term hoilday, here is what you got up to:

Cooking a roast dinner!

Writing thank you letters.


This week’s challenge, set by our First Year Tutor Team was for our First Years to either follow the instructions (or not!) to make their own IKEA fort! Check out Charlie C’s and Leo L’s incredible Forts below:


Miss Willett has set up her own remote workstation.

Here are her top three tips for a successful working from home routine:

  1. Make the most of your breaks; get outside if possible!
  2. Keep your workspace tidy with everything you need for the day.
  3. Enjoy the extra time you are able to spend with the people you live with, so that you have great family memories of this exceptional period.


1P have sent in some questions to ask Miss Willett this week:

What do you like about working from home?

My fiancé is working from home too, and it’s great to be able to see more of him!  We make sure we take lunch together every day, which we can’t normally do during the week.

What languages do you know?

German is the language I know and love the most, and it’s the one in which I did my degree (alongside History). I also know some Spanish and a little bit of French. I’m currently learning Slovenian, as my fiancé comes from Slovenia – this is where knowledge of the German case system comes in very handy, a veš?

Have you ever lived in Germany?

During my year abroad, when I was studying at university, I worked as an English Language Assistant at an integrierte Gesamtschule (comprehensive school) in Erfurt, the capital of the state of Thüringen. It was a brilliant experience!  Not only did I get to use and practise German in every day experiences, but I was also in the city that was central to my interests on the History side of my course: Martin Luther, who inspired the Protestant Reformation, had been a monk at the Augustinian Monastery there; and as Thüringen had been part of the former German Democratic Republic (East Germany) until 1990, it was fascinating to talk to my colleagues at school about what it had been like to live and work in a Communist state. If you ever have the chance to study abroad when you’re older: take it!

Do you have any pets?

Sadly not! I used to have a cat called Magnificat (Maggie for short)…

What are your favourite things to do in lockdown?

I’ve been doing more of the things I enjoy, such as reading and cross-stitching.  I’ve also been going for jogs to explore the local area along the Thames: it’s been nice to spend more time by the river than I have done before.


On 9 May a Pygmy hippopotamus gave birth to a healthy calf.

This is fantastic news for the conservation of the species as the Pygmy hippo is currently listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Watch a video of the little calf here:


A few questions for you to have a go at yourself or challenge people at home if they know the answer. Merits are awarded for everyone who has a go! Just click on the link below and enter your answers.

  1. What is the only line Legolas says directly to Frodo in the film Trilogy of The Lord of the Rings?
  2. The following is the famous opening line to which book? “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
  3. In which country is fermented shark a delicacy?
  4. Which country is shown in the outline below?
  5. How can you tell an alligator from a crocodile?

Why don’t you have a go and enter your answers here

Well done to Yuchen Y, Oliver D, Ben R, Eashan A and Max for their answers last week, almost all correct! Remember to write your name in the form so you can be credited with merits! Merits will be added to our remote merit log and if you have space add a merit in your old diaries!


  1. Who is the author of the famous book 1984? – George Orwell
  2. Where in the world does Tzatziki originate? – Ottoman Empire
  3. Which famous Battle took place in 1066? – Battle of Hastings
  4. In which sport would you score points by performing an “Ollie”? – Skateboarding
  5. In what city can you find the Mona Lisa? – Paris

Have a great weekend!

Back to All Articles