Year 8 - Talk the Talk

We participated in a communication skills workshop led by ‘Talk the Talk’, covering key areas such as writing skills, planning and delivering speeches, and the use of persuasive language. Working through booklets we listed our likes and dislikes to generate personal ideas for a speech - but our first speech had to be all about our partner’s instead, with the added challenge of having to start the speech with a rhetorical question and end it with three words to describe our partner.

We were also taught key points for improving our speech performance, with eye contact and speaking loud and clear being the main ones, before playing a variety of games to help practise these skills. In addition to all of this we had to keep in mind the 3 V’s, made up of Visual, Vocal and Verbal and also the 5 S’s: Stand, Stride, Smile, Speak and Stay. Regarding the actual writing of speeches, we used a PEEEP structure, with the middle E standing for Example - thus being encouraged to make frequent use of stories or anecdotes to help get across our message and engage with an audience.

At the end of the day we wrote and performed a final speech, making sure to use the PEEEP structure. First we had to plan our ideas and script what we were going to say, before memorising the speech so as not to need notes in performance. After all the speeches we received feedback and a certificate.

Year 9 - Wise Up

Yoga Stretch-Luke Amos

The whole of Year 9 were lucky enough to spend the daytaking part in a variety of activities, with the overall theme being ‘Wise Up’. All of the activities were designed to make us more mature and understand about growing up. The first activity was yoga which turned out to be much more difficult than anyone had expected! The relaxing music and the stretches proved to be a good stress reliever. Following this we had a talk about internet safety consisting of a warning about being careful online, some information on the consequences of bad actions, and videos about both cyber and physical bullying.

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There was also a drugs talk in which we were warned about the dangers of drugs like cannabis, tobacco and even caffeine. The sex and relationships talk provided information about the key to good relationships and also about the law regarding sex. In the final session everyone took part in a street dance workshop which involved plenty of exercise and also meant learning about the history of street dancing - and to finish the day with a bang, the whole year got the chance to show off their dance moves in a quick fire street dance in the main hall.

Year 10 - Natural History and Science Museums

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This Enrichment Day saw Year 10 heading over to the Natural History and Science Museums in London in order to learn more about the world in which we live. We started off in the Natural History Museum and as we toured the exhibits we all learned new things about the history of the earth and the biology of a variety of animals.

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We then headed to an IMAX cinema, where we watched A Beautiful Planet in 3D. An interesting and thought-provoking documentary, it helped put into perspective the sheer magnitude of the universe and how the Earth makes up just one tiny part of the Milky Way. I personally found it incredible to see the Earth from space with a view of all of the cities below it at night. Furthermore, it was intriguing to realise that we are the only currently known intelligent life form in the whole universe.[IMAGE:9cf8c55b]

In the afternoon, we went into the Science Museum and upon entering immediately rushed over to several of the more eye-catching displays. My personal favourite was that depicting the original Apple computer and next to this lay a screen showing one of the original adverts used at the time in promotions. It amazed us all just how far technology had developed in the past 40 years, as we considered the impact that future technological developments could have on society over the coming 40 years as well.

Year 11 - Moving On

We took part in a careers information day giving us all much needed advice about A Levels, university choice and the potential careers that follow. Much of the day was spent taking the Morrisby Test, an online assessment which analysed our personality and interests, in addition to our numerical and verbal aptitude. Following this, we were given a list of our top 10 recommended careers. Many of us were surprised by our results - in particular, investment banking, diplomacy and museum curating were among the more unexpected outcomes for many students!

For the remainder of the day we learnt about what A Level choices were necessary for our preferred career, as well as receiving advice about our work experience and revision techniques for our ever-nearing GCSEs. In all, it was an incredibly useful and informative day which cleared up many of the misconceptions we had and gave us a better idea about how the choices we make in the next few years will affect our career options in the future.

Year 13 - Car Safety

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Year 13 students took part in a car safety and management day. As many of us are either already driving or learning to drive it came at the perfect time. The day started out with various talks, as Ms Ashton gave us some background information about her own driving history and provided tips and tricks for a safe journey. Mr Shamshudin then gave us his view on dangerous driving; his son Hussein Shamshudin, an ex-Challoners student, died in a car crash in 2012. He talked us through his emotions on the day and this sobering talk provided a sharp dose of reality to many of us. Following this, a representative from IAM Road Smart joined us to talk to us about the value of doing an advanced driving course.

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After break the year split in two and one half listened to a talk from a Road Safety Officer in the Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue service. He talked us through safe driving from the standpoint of the emergency services, stressing the importance of seatbelts and knowing when to tell a driver you don’t think they are driving sensibly. He talked about the effect of peer pressure on a driver and the accidents this can cause.

To find out about the activities of other years you can go to their separate articles:

Year 7 - UKSA residentialYear 12 - The London Challenge