News Archive

Autumn 2011

James Murray Lecture: Sir Andrew Motion, ‘The Cinder Path’

Sir Andrew Motion

On 1st December the school was privileged to welcome Sir Andrew Motion, the ex-Poet Laureate, to deliver the annual Sir James Murray Lecture. He read a selection of poems from his new collection ‘The Cinder Path’ and offered insights on what inspired him to write them. He reflected also on the power of verse itself, and professed his ‘love’ for the work of several writers, in particular Edward Thomas, Thomas Hardy and Philip Larkin.

Sir Andrew Motion

Earlier Sir Andrew met a group of sixth form pupils to discuss his close friendship with Philip Larkin in the 1970s whilst he was teaching at Hull’s English department and where Larkin was the university librarian. They had got on well despite Larkin’s much professed dislike of academics and in particular members of the English Department; after Larkin’s death in 1985 Sir Andrew became his literary executor and biographer. As well as sharing some invaluable analysis of Larkin’s poems, Sir Andrew described Larkin’s dry and ready wit (an aspect of his character not always appreciated) as well as his penchant for heavy drinking, including, on occasion, port at breakfast time.

This was a unique opportunity for the pupils, who are writing about Larkin’s poetry for their A2 coursework, to learn more about Larkin’s poetry but also to gain an understanding of the man who wrote some of the twentieth century’s finest, most poignant verse. It isn’t every day that a pupil can have a private seminar with one of the world’s leading poets and so we are extremely grateful to Sir Andrew for offering us such a rich fare of poetry and thought.

Sir Andrew Motion talking to pupils

R.W. Searby (Head of English)

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Community Action Programme

This term has seen the introduction of a remarkable new Community Action initiative. An enthusiastic group of local ‘elderly learners’ has come to the school site during Thursday lunchtimes to be taught IT skills by members of our Lower Sixth. Working in partnership with Barnet Age UK, about fifteen of our students have been giving this weekly one-to-one tuition, thereby opening up the world of the Internet to the older generation. Most of the learners had no previous knowledge of computers, but after only a term, many are now competent to communicate with their families via e-mail or to order shopping and do their banking online. In addition, friendships are being forged across the generations and we anticipate this wonderful project continuing for the foreseeable future.

Dr Richard Warden, Chaplain

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House Drama

School, Murray and McClure

The amazing House Drama Festival took place recently, involving 170 pupils in nine plays over three nights. Many of the houses wrote their own scripts, ranging from black comedy to pantomime style to social drama, based on the theme of ‘Revenge or Reconciliation’. The winning team, Priestley House, with their director and playwright, Ricki Horwitz-Crook, created a magnificent Greek Tragedy based on the story of Jason and Medea. Their use of the stage was superb and the intricate storyline held the audience spellbound. Many congratulations to all who took part.

Weymouth, Collinson and Burton Bank

House Drama winners, Priestley

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Anti-Bullying Week

Across the UK, it is National Anti-Bulling Week and this year the theme is ‘Stop and think, Words can hurt’. As they always do at Mill Hill, the Anti-Bullying and Mentoring Council (ABMC) led the School in making sure that pupils’ awareness was high with regard to bullying issues. A Non-Uniform Day on Friday 18th November with the now traditional blue theme raised significant amounts for anti-bullying charities and blue cakes were on sale in The Refectory that day.

A recent survey of pupil opinions undertaken by the ABMC had generated lots of useful information on pupil perceptions. As a result, the pupils on the ABMC decided to focus on cyber bullying during the week’s Chapel services because it is one of the most common and most hurtful ways of bullying amongst their generation.

The assemblies consisted of an opening piece of improvised drama involving Seb Daly, Georgia Green, Jess Loizou (all McClure), Francesca Livesey (Murray) and Callum Lee (School) and then some short presentations from Sophie Iliffe (Collinson, who had created the overall idea for the assembly), Seb Daly and Georgia Green. A YouTube clip brought to life for pupils just how upsetting being the victim of cyberbullying can be before Callum Lee and Jess Loizou gave some tips on how to deal with being in this situation.

  1. Don’t respond. Your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants so don’t give it to them.
  2. Don’t retaliate. Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces their behaviour - avoid creating a cycle of aggression.
  3. Save the evidence. Save it even if it seems minor at the time – just in case things escalate.
  4. Block the bully. Use privacy tools wisely. No reaction makes bullies bored and they will then stop.
  5. Reach out for help. No-one needs to suffer in silence any more. There are loads of different people you can turn to but you must report it as a first step.
  6. Use reporting tools. If necessary, report the abuse to the relevant social network.
  7. Don’t be a bully. Just think for a few seconds about how you will make that other person feel if you do what you are planning to do – prevent rather than cure.
  8. Be a friend, not a bystander. Forwarding mean messages or just standing by and doing nothing empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop or let them know that bullying is not OK – it’s cruel abuse of fellow human beings. If you can’t stop the bully, at least try to help the victim and report the behaviour.

The assembly was concluded by Francesca Livesey who read the following prayer for those who are bullied:

Let us remember that when we laugh at someone, they feel pain.
Let us remember that when we pick on someone they are angry but also afraid.
Let us remember that when we don’t stick up for someone who is being bullied, they are alone.
Let us remember that we bully because we want to feel strong, the boss.
But are we? What have we done?
We have forgotten our own fear by making others frightened.
We have forgotten our own loneliness by leaving one of us alone.
We have hidden our own nightmare in another’s terror.
It is no longer enough to be sorry.
It is no longer enough to boast and swagger.
These attitudes are hollow, skating on the thin ice of our own fears, our own hates.
May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘not me’, ‘don’t want to know’, ‘it’s their problem’, ‘I’m not involved’.
May we have the courage to confront ourselves in the ‘I’m right’, ‘She’s black’, ‘He’s stupid’, ‘I’m me and it’s my world, not theirs’.
For we are all hurt, all afraid, all alone, all different, all me, and the world is all ours.
We all have only one life.


Students in anti-bullying t-shirts

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India Whitty and Sophia Dunkley Selected for MCCC Programme

India Whitty and Sophia Dunkley

Fourth Form pupils India Whitty and Sophia Dunkley have recently been selected to take two of the five places available on a Middlesex County Cricket Club ‘Emerging Player Programme’.

Over the coming months, they will be attending cricket sessions alongside the best young boys in the county to develop their batting, bowling and, in India’s case, wicket-keeping skills. They will also be attending the Middlesex Girls training sessions at the Middlesex Academy. We wish them every success as they work through this programme with the hope of being selected for the Middlesex playing squad.

UDPATE: Both India and Sophia have now been selected for the playing squad and should be playing their first game in January 2012!

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Remembrance Day 2011

Remembrance Day Gate of Honour ceremony

This year’s marking of Remembrance Day started on 10th November with the presentation of the 2011 Richard Dimbleby Address by General Sir Mike Jackson. Entitled ‘General Reflections’, Sir Mike’s presentation took a broad look at the British foreign policy since the Cold War and looked forward to the challenges that face the world in the coming decades. Sir Mike ended the evening with a lively question and answer session. Speaking after the event our guest said that some of the audience questions were amongst the most difficult he has ever had to face, a tribute to the stimulating nature of his talk.

On the following day, the whole School community came together for the traditional Remembrance Day ceremony at the Gate of Honour. We were delighted, as ever, to welcome back many Old Millhillians. Following the Last Post ceremony, made special by the presence of a bugler from the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, the School split in three and attended services or presentations led by the Chaplain, Dr Warden, Mr McDonough and Mr Dickinson.

In Chapel, the Foundation Choir performed for the assembled crowd and a letter from Her Majesty the Queen was read out, congratulating the School on the 100th anniversary of Cadet service at Mill Hill. The Chief Clerk to the Queen had written to say that Her Majesty is aware that the Centenary of the Cadet Force is being celebrated at the School Remembrance Service on 11th November. The words used in chapel were as follows; ‘Her Majesty has asked me to convey her warm good wishes to both the cadets and staff on this most special anniversary’. A centenary plaque was presented by the Headmaster to the Senior Cadet and this is on display in the Octagon.

The Gate of Honour ceremony was, as always, led by The Headmaster although this year, Dr Luckett also appeared as the Commanding Officer of the Mill Hill School CCF.

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House Cross Country

Nearly half the School represented their House in the House Cross Country. There were some fantastic individual performances and three course records.

For the 4th Form, the girls champion was Phoebe Dart and the boys champion was Finlay Harbour. The Remove girls champion was Gabriela Grant, retaining her position in a new course record of 9mins 30secs (1.3mile course), with Alexander Conn taking the boys race.

Senior winners Naomi Kendal and Joe Sherry

The senior girls champion was Naomi Kendal for the second year running, in a new course record 16mins 2 secs (2mile course). The new senior boys champion is Joe Sherry also in a new course record of 20mins 6 secs (3.2mile course). Both of these talented runners represented Middlesex in the National Schools Cross Country last year and we hope they will do the same again this coming season. There were also some promising boys from the 5th Form who finished high up the rankings after this gruelling 3.2mile course it will be great seeing some of these achieve Barnet and/or County honours this year.

In terms of Houses, the 4th Form House champions were Atkinson, and the Remove House champions were Murray. The Senior girls champions were McClure and the Senior Boys Champions were Atkinson. And for the second consecutive year, showing remarkable consistency over all year groups, Murray were the overall winners of the House Cross Country Shield.

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Lecture “General Reflections” November 10th

General Sir Michael David “Mike” Jackson GCB CBE DSO DL will deliver the Richard Dimbleby Address as the next Lecture in our series on November 10th. A retired British Army officer and one of its most high-profile generals since the Second World War, Jackson was originally commissioned into the Intelligence Corps in 1963, and transferred to the Parachute Regiment, with whom he served two of his three tours of duty in Northern Ireland. In 1994, Jackson served his first tour in the Balkans, where he commanded a multi-national division of the Implementation Force. Following a staff job back in the UK, he was appointed commander of NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in 1997. He returned to the Balkans with the ARRC during the Kosovo War. Upon his return to the UK, Jackson was promoted to full general and appointed Commander-in-Chief, Land Command, the second-most senior position in the British Army. After three years as Commander-in-Chief, Jackson was appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the professional head of the British Army, in 2003. Jackson speaks on military matters and works as a consultant and guest lecturer. His autobiography is Soldier.

The lecture starts at 6:30pm (doors open 6:00pm), in the Patrick Troughton Theatre. All our lectures are free of charge – click here to view details of the upcoming series or to book tickets through our online booking system, click here.

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School Magazine Published Online

The latest Mill Hill School magazine, just published, gives an overview of the year’s events – we’ve also published it in turn-a-page format so it can be viewed instantly online from anywhere in the world. Click through to view Mill Hill School Magazine 2011.

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Lecture 11th October

After 40 years in Fleet Street, Chris Roycroft-Davis asks whether the media is really the noble profession it pretends to be. As Executive Editor of The Sun and Assistant Editor of the Daily Express, Chris Roycroft-Davis was described as one of Britain’s leading opinion formers. He wrote a daily column read by 10 million people, was on first name terms with five Prime Ministers and was one of David Cameron’s speech writers. He also helped start Sky Television and has broadcast widely on TV and radio. In an outspoken and provocative discussion he will give an honest insight into the mind of a journalist and ask: why does the media exist and could we do without it?

The lecture starts at 6:30pm (doors open 6:00pm), in the Patrick Troughton Theatre. All our lectures are free of charge click here to view details of the upcoming series or to book tickets through our online booking system, click here.

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Foundation on Show

Mill Hill School

The Mill Hill School Foundation will be at the Independent Schools Show at Lord’s Cricket Ground on Friday 23rd September. The exhibition is open from 10am-5pm, and free tickets can be obtained from the ISS website. A warm welcome also awaits prospective pupils and their families at the Mill Hill Foundation Open Morning at the Schools on Saturday October 1st. All three Foundation Schools will be on show from 9.30-12.00 (Grimsdell from 10.30am), and no pre-registration is needed. Come and meet the staff and tour the schools; there is also a programme of pupil activities for visitors to watch. Click here for more information.

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Best Ever GCSE Results

GCSE results

Following the excellent A level results, with the proportion of A* passes rising to 17%, our GCSE pupils have recorded the School’s best ever performance at this level, with an A*/A pass rate of more than 57%. Over a third of our pupils achieved 7 A*/A grades or better, with excellent performances from Aigul Artykbaeva, Katie Billingham, Charley Jacobs, Jess Loizou and Emily Warnakulasuriya who all secured at least 7A*s.

See a full summary of the results here.

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Sharp Rise in A* Grades at A Level

Happy girls getting A level results

2011 has seen another excellent set of A level results with over 44% of entries being graded A* or A, the second highest figure recorded. 72% of exams were graded A* to B and there was a 100% A* to E pass rate. The number of A* grades achieved this year rose to 17%, from 13% last year.

There were some excellent individual performances to celebrate, with 28 pupils achieving 3 A grades or better. Aidar Artykbaev will be taking up his place to read Economics at LSE having recorded 5 A*s and 1 A grade. Ewan Collinge, Florian Gerwe, Louis Jadwat, Aidan Kelly, Will Magee, Kunal Walia and Jack Weller all achieved 3 A*s or better. At this early stage, this year’s most popular university destinations for Millhillians are Leeds, followed by Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, Imperial, Manchester and Nottingham.

See a full summary of the results here.

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Sixth Former’s Run Raises Funds for Charity

Christos Charalambous

Mill Hill Sixth Former Christos Charalambous recently ran in the Lee Valley 10K Fun Run to raise money for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice. He successfully completed the run at the Lee Valley Country Park in a time of 46 minutes 53 seconds.

Having now raised nearly £1,600 for this charity, Christos said “I’ve always enjoyed running. I used to play for the Saracens Junion Rugby Club and still play for the team at School. I also enjoy helping people so that was another great reason for taking part in this run.” He added “Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is a great local charity which needs to raise money for a new building. It doesn’t get any money from the Government so they need all the donations they can get.”

Christos Charalambous crossing the finish line

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Lecture Series 2011-12

A packed and exciting programme starts with two September lectures on contrasting topics. On September 22nd Dr Elizabeth Webb will present “Epidemiology in the media”, followed on 29th September by Dr Mark Glancy’s lecture the accuracy of history in film, which was postponed from last season. Among eminent speakers we are looking forward to welcoming are the former Poet Laureate, Sir Andrew Motion, and General Sir Mike Jackson. Science and medicine are particularly strongly represented this year, with lectures from some of Britain’s most respected names in the fields of genetics, surgery and heart disease. Finally Old Millhillian Tony Fitzjohn will share his passion for Africa and his experiences of working with George and Joy Adamson and their lions.

Click here for more information about the upcoming Lecture Series.

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Ridgeway House Centenary

Couple at the celebrations

A hundred years, almost to the day, some 200 former and current pupils, families, staff and friends gathered to celebrate Ridgeway’s first century. The evening commenced with exquisite canapés and champagne whilst guests, some of whom had been members of the House as long ago as 1933, happily mingled, reminisced and reconnected, and new bonds were established between old and new generations. The Headmaster, Dr Dominic Luckett, introduced our outstanding hostess, Miss Lindsey Farrant, who then addressed the gathering with an insightful and poignant speech.

Miss Farrant outlined Ridgeway’s history, including the challenging period of World War II and its aftermath, together with the changes that have shaped Ridgeway as we know it today. Keith Macdonald (Ridgeway 1949-54) shared with us fond memories of his time in the House with vibrant anecdotes about colours tests and lively mischief, whilst Peter Huston (Ridgeway 1953-58) proposed a moving toast to absent friends.

Guests at the celebrations

Dinner was of impeccable standard and truly delicious, made even more special by the table settings of white linen and red roses and the stunning garden, which was transformed by flaming torches and fairy lights as dusk set in. Throughout the evening, the cool notes of a top jazz band added panache to the joyous celebrations and guests enjoyed an opportunity to tour the House and view the extensive exhibition of photographs, memorabilia and old Copy Books neatly laid out in the Games Room. A spectacular fireworks display brought the night to a close and, in a shower of purple and gold stars, encapsulated the atmosphere of heartfelt appreciation and love for Ridgeway House which permeated this most memorable of events.

Joanna Mapondera, Ridgeway 2009-2011

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