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MSJ News Summer 2015

Jul 24, 2016



Highlights and achievements from the whole school; celebrating the vibrant and dynamic community that is Malvern St James Girls' School.
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Page 1: MSJ News Summer 2015


Page 2: MSJ News Summer 2015


From the Headmistress

This year has been exceptional in so many ways, I am sure you will enjoy reading about the girls’ achievements in this magazine. Their drive,

energy and ambition in every aspect of what we offer at MSJ really is inspirational.

I am pleased to say that examinations are now done. This is a tough and tiring time for everyone, and I thank the girls and staff for their dedication to achieving the best possible outcomes. Looking ahead to September, our Year 13s have an impressive line-up of University places secured. The QS World University ranking for 2014/5 has Imperial College London placed 2nd and Oxford and UCL placed joint 5th. We have nine students who have accepted offers from these institutions – one for Oxford, two for Imperial and six for UCL. Overall twenty-six MSJ students are holding offers for the Top 10 Universities in the UK. This represents very nearly 50% of the cohort. We have one girl going on to Central St Martins for Art Foundation, three Medics going to Cardiff, KCL and Galway, and one girl expected to take a place at an American University. We also have some girls who are not going on to University immediately, but taking up other opportunities. Well done to Lauren who will be travelling around Australia, competing in Netball tournaments against top teams; and good luck to Harriet who will be focusing on her Equestrian endeavours for Team GB before applying to Oxford for September 2016. Congratulations to all of these girls; they have put in great effort and deserve the very best results.

As we go to press, we start to embark on some of the Summer traditions as Term draws to a close. Sports Day, Expressive Arts Week, The Summer Ball, The Leavers’ Cabaret and a whole host of weekend activities to the beach, to the theatre, kayaking, rock-climbing, orienteering, and more. Phew – our girls work hard and play hard! And of course, the grand finale of the School year comes with Commemoration and Prizegiving, two of

the most venerable of traditions. I’m sure a tear or two will be shed by our Leavers, and we are delighted to be joined by many Old Girls, particularly Deborah Thomas of the Welsh College of Music and Drama who is our Guest Speaker.

When we return in September, the first (and main) phase of the £1 million redevelopment of the dining facilities and kitchen area, as well as Food Technology and Leiths classrooms, will be completed. This is a very exciting prospect. In the meantime, our Catering department is doing a sterling job of producing and serving wonderful meals, despite the challenges brought about by such extensive reconfiguring.

Please read on to find out more of what is going on at MSJ. This is a School that is achieving great things, and I am proud to be its Headmistress as it flourishes. All that remains is for me to wish you a happy and relaxing holiday. I look forward to seeing you in September for a new round of fresh challenges and opportunities.

Mrs Patricia Woodhouse

Headmistress, June 2015

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In the Spotlight

Year 12 student, Cliona Maley, gets to know our new Director of Sixth Form, Mrs Kingshott.

Cliona: What motivated you to come to MSJ?

Mrs Kingshott: I was at my previous school, Wolverhampton Grammar School, for 11 years so I have been looking forward to a new challenge and I was particularly keen to take up a Sixth Form leadership role.

What job did you have before joining MSJ?

I was Head of Classics at Wolverhampton Grammar.

What really motivates you to work with our age group at such an important time in our school lives?

In a way, I want to be back in the same exciting position of having so many opportunities and the excitement of moving ahead to University. I love being able to support students as they are on the cusp of adulthood, where they are gaining more independence yet still need to be gently guided.

When you were our age, what did you aspire to be?

I drifted between many dream jobs. Being a vet or a doctor were two, but then I realised Chemistry wasn’t my strength! Luckily I discovered Classics at the same time. I did know that I wanted a job that involved people so I think if I hadn’t gone into teaching, I would have done Marketing or PR.

So how did you get into teaching?

It was actually by accident. I never wanted to be a teacher but for my Classics course at University everyone had to pass a Latin unit and I found myself being quite good at it. So I started to tutor other students who told me that I was really good at it and should do more.

Why do you love your subject?

At first I wasn’t very good, but further on into my school career, it clicked and I became really interested in the background of the characters. This interest then progressed to discovering how Latin and Greek underpin European culture, democracy and language. Where would we be without Classical civilisation?

What are your plans for improving the Sixth Form experience for current and future girls?

Girls are doing really well at MSJ, and getting some great University places and career opportunities, but I really want to raise aspiration even higher, and across the board, to ensure that every individual gets everything they want out of

Sixth Form. It has a resonance with me as Sixth Form is the point in my life where I really started to flourish, and value the independence that I was given. MSJ is already so good at sport, music and enrichment generally but I really want to bring academic work into the spotlight and really keep it at the front of everyone’s mind. I want to provide academic challenges that really stretch girls

harder and further, and ensure that none of us languish in our comfort zone.

What is your passion outside of education?

Horse riding and music. I have been riding since I was a child and have recently given myself a new challenge by starting some jumping. However, my main out-of-school activity is singing. I am part of many choirs and enjoy performing on my own as well.

So what is your favourite genre of music firstly to sing and secondly to listen to?

Well, as a singer I was classically trained. I was head chorister at my school so I tend to favour classical and sacred choral music. But I am much more liberal about my listening, I enjoy a wide variety of music, typically what is presented on Radio 2 but on especially musical days I love big romantic pieces, by Mahler for example.

What is your favourite aspect of working at this school (so far)?

Being busy. The buzz you get when entering the school is fantastic. Everyone is busy being passionate about what they are doing, and there always seems to be something happening.

Are you enjoying Malvern as well?

It is a lovely place to live; a good balance between town and countryside. I only moved here a couple of weeks ago so I can’t tell you where my favourite spot is yet, but I definitely enjoy my daily walk to work.


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Teaching & Learning

ClassicsIn the Spring Term, fifteen girls went to Cheltenham Ladies’ College for the Latin and Greek Reading Competition. Kay Baxter and Ashley Tong came in the top five in the Junior Latin section; Eve Garland Hellewell and Rosie Baird came third and fourth respectively in the Intermediate Latin; Lucinda Hobden came second in Senior Latin; and Rosie Baird came second in Intermediate Greek.

Lucinda Hobden went on to do exceptionally well in the Association for Latin Teaching’s Latin Reading Competition, coming third in the Intermediate section of this national competition.


MSJ students joined hundreds of Sixth Formers from the region at the RS Philosophy Conference held in Oxford. They heard lectures on life after death, evil and suffering and the ontological argument. Mrs Collett writes, “One of the highlights was meeting Dr Peter Vardy, a charismatic communicator and author of a number of text books. The day was packed with intellectually stimulating talks and discussion and I was delighted that some of our girls took the opportunity with the roving mic to ask questions and contribute their comments to the debate.”

Marvellous MathsWe have received the results for the very challenging UK Maths Olympiad for Girls that six of our Year 11 - 13 attempted in September and are delighted that Angel Xu and Angela Liu achieved a Distinction. This puts them in the top 350 girls out of the 1600 elite in the UK that took this challenge.

The Year 10 Maths Team proved themselves to be on excellent form at the Worcester University Maths Challenge. They battled 16 other teams, and as well as taking overall second prize, they gained first prize certificates in two of the six rounds. Well done to Amy Li, Charlotte Li, Chloe Parker and Sabrina Tsang.

The Junior Maths Challenge, involving Years 7 and 8, brought a haul of six Gold certificates (our best result ever, Gold being awarded to only the top 7% of entrants). There were also three Silvers and seven Bronzes. Well done to all of these girls, and a particular mention for Lorna Rolinson who has qualified for the Olympiad, and to Genevieve Manning and Evie Nutton who have been invited to take part in the Kangaroo follow-on round.

The girls at Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Gold medal winners in the Junior Maths Challenge

Malvern St James Year 10 Maths Team

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Teaching & Learning

History LectureMrs Komar arranged for her old tutor, Dr Chris Ward from Cambridge University, to visit MSJ and present ‘The Ideological Origins of the Russian Revolution’. MSJ girls and guests were joined by students from Malvern College and Hereford Sixth Form College for a drinks reception; afterwards they enjoyed more talk and debate with Dr Ward over a supper hosted by Mrs Woodhouse.

Two girls took part in the non-native speaker British Council/ HSBC Mandarin Speaking Competition. This is a national competition which encourages greater interest in Chinese language and culture, vital to the UK’s future prosperity. Baifern

Aupatcha (Year 8) competed against eighty other students. She gave a short presentation and answered three unprepared questions in Mandarin. Jennifer Robb (Year 13) competed against fifty other students from schools such as Wellington College and Brighton College. As well as her presentation, she was expected to answer questions and complete translations, and then give an impromptu speech, with just one minute’s preparation time, in front of a panel of four native judges, and a full audience. Although they did not go through to the Finals, both girls gave commendable performances.



As well as workshops run by staff – Raspberry Pi coding, Biology – Investigate Your Senses, Frozen Physics and Exciting Chemistry demonstrations – outside organisations

were invited in to School to do some totally different things with Years 7-13. This saw the Smallpeice Trust joining Year 9 to design and make an irrigation system involving solar cells and water pumps. Classroom Medics worked with all of the Seniors, starting with a Science Show in the morning, and then break-out workshops with year groups in the afternoon.

An Institute of Physics Lecture was given by Dr Beth Mortimer of the Oxford University Zoology Department. She spoke about ‘Spider Silk: Nature’s Multifunctional Material’: how spider silk’s strength and its ability to transmit vibrational information through the web has implications for ‘bio-inspired’ material or device design.

NSEW@MSJClassroom Medics

Jennifer Robb & Baifern Aupatcha

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Year 13 Historians went to London to hear Professor Simon Dixon (UCL) and Dr Daniel Beer (Royal Holloway) speak on aspects of Russian history, 1881-1917, including the 1905 and 1917 Revolutions. The conference was fascinating and of great use, not least because the historians diverged in opinion on a number of subjects. This provided an excellent example of the different historians’ views that are the focus of A2 work.

Year 13 History Conference in London

Biology OlympiadOver 6,000 UK students took part in this competition which challenged them to demonstrate their knowledge beyond the A Level syllabus. Tough competition then for Jennifer Robb, Harriet Hill and Saphie Soros-White who took Gold, Bronze and Highly Commended respectively.

Economics & Business StudiesBirmingham University’s Professor Andrew Lymer (father of Emily, Year 1) came in to talk to the Year 10s about taxes and wealth inequality. Professor Lymer helps run the Centre for Household Savings and Management (CHASM) which looks at how people use family income and wealth (across all spectrums of family wealth, or lack of) in the way that they live their lives. The Centre looks at how tax influences wealth growth and distribution across generations and has a large project commencing on public attitudes to the UK tax system. The presentation stimulated debate in the classroom and back at the Houses. Thanks to Prof. Lymer for his time and expertise.

American Uni SATS The number of girls we see interested in applying to American Universities is increasing, and this is predicted to continue. Four girls have applied for places for September 2015, with probably one girl choosing to accept a place at a Californian university. MSJ offers preparation and coaching to girls in Year 12 wishing to sit the SATs, and this year has invited an external specialist team in to talk to girls and their parents – and pupils from other local schools – who are interested in finding out more.

Blue FusionBlue Fusion is an event organised at the IBM offices which presents school teams from around the country with computer-based challenges. These ranged from programming robots to follow your foot around the room, to simulating a Mars rover’s mission sampling the surface of the planet, to a task involving coding Python. On some of the activities the girls scored higher than some of the demonstrators had seen! Overall, MSJ came second – better than ever before. Congratulations to Liza Bayankina, Izzy Lee, Ellie Manns, Miki Mizuki, Chloe Parker and Liberty Wilkinson.


Jennifer Robb took Gold

Teaching & Learning

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All the Year 11 students visited Birmingham’s ‘GCSE Science Live!’ Event. It brought the opportunity to see and hear five of Britain’s top scientists, all working at the cutting edge of their specialisms, including Professor Robert Winston, Professor Jim Al-Khalili and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock. This event was a catalyst to our students. One commented, “I absolutely loved this trip and I found it so inspiring. I was talking about the issues raised all evening to my bewildered parents!”


English Creative Writing DayAll our Year 7 girls had a great day out with the English Department at Witley Court – an evocative ruin full of possibilities to get the creative writing flowing. Girls enjoyed workshops on Drama, Poetry, and Descriptive and Narrative Writing, based around the social history of the house, the fire that destroyed it, and the romantic ruins that remain. There was also time to enjoy the gardens, the sunshine, and a picnic by the famous fountains.


BioSciences Summer SchoolEmily Lui and Angela Liu will attend The University of Nottingham BioSciences Summer School in July, an opportunity open to students expected to score highly in their GCSE science subjects. Angela will study Plants and Crops, while Emily will be on the Food Sciences course.

Chemistry OlympiadMr Harris writes, “This year’s competition was the toughest one that I have seen so far. In one question, students had to calculate the mass of the element indium on an iPad touchscreen. Our students did exceptionally well to be awarded Silver and Bronze certificates and everyone who participated achieved creditable results. Hazimah Mahmud, Year 13, received Silver; Cliona Maley, Year 12, Bronze; and Oriel Liu, Year 13, Bronze.

Life SciencesGirls discovered where their science qualifications could take them when Dr Kim Dale, Research Scientist at the University of Dundee came to MSJ to deliver a Lecture. Dundee was recently scored as the top University in the UK for research into Biological Sciences. Dr Dale also discussed her Lab’s work, which includes the study of molecular mechanisms and how the vertebrate body plan is established during the very early stages of embryogenesis.

Oriel, Cliona and Hazimah

Emily & Angela

Lord Professor Robert Winston

Teaching & Learning

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Getting Down to BusinessFourteen aspiring Law students went to visit the Solihull offices of Hill Hofstetter, a specialist commercial law firm advising leading national and international corporations. After a presentation by one of the firm’s partners, Ranjit Dhindsa, the girls had the chance to talk to recently qualified solicitors about their role and training.

The Old Girls’ Association Careers Programme

The Old Girls’ Association has initiated a new Careers Programme whereby Old Girls come back to School to talk about their Careers and University degree courses, as well as offer advice on personal presentation, interview technique and specialist mock interviews for Oxbridge entrance and Medicine. This academic year we are delighted, and honoured, to have hosted:Ottoline Scriven, Digital Business Consultant, PA ConsultingBecky Fisher, Medical undergraduate, Edinburgh universityDerek Walker, Director of Careers, Saïd Business School, Oxford UniversityEllie Kirby, recent graduate with First Class Honours in English and Theatre Studies, Lancaster University. Melanie Dawes, CB, Permanent Secretary for the Department for Communities and Local Government, who presented the OGA Lecture about her Career as an Economist and government adviser in Whitehall.

Ottoline Scriven

Becky Fisher gives Ana a mock interview grilling

Derek Walker and his Old Girl wife Jane Ashwell

Ellie Kirby (right) with Victoria Gawlik (left) and Jenny Avdoi

Melanie Dawes, CB


Careers FairThe 2015 Careers Fair will take place on Friday 9 October from 1.45 – 4.30pm in the York Hall, open to all students in Years 9 and above. The aim is to provide specialist advice from practitioners in specific careers sectors, and about specific University courses, to help the girls consider next steps after MSJ. If there are any parents who also feel that they have something to offer in the way of advice and a general overview of their career area, Miss Marfleet would like to hear from you! [email protected]

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Law at OxfordIsabel Rawlings and Louise Hayes went to an Oxford University Law Faculty Open Day to research studying for the Law LLB, and the possibility of studying Law with a language to open up international career opportunities. The girls toured St Hugh’s College, and listened to presentations and Q&As with the University’s careers advisers, dons, and undergraduate students.

Expert Parents’ DayAll this Careers talk should not exclude the Prep department, who like to start young when thinking about future careers. So far this year, the girls have visited People Who Help Us – including the Fire Department, paramedics and the Avenue Road Veterinary Surgery.

They have had various parents in to talk about their own careers and give some short hands-on demonstrations. Thanks to Emilie Gray, jewellery designer; Paul Harris, paramedic; and Kate Preston, horse riding Instructor.

Work ExperienceOur Years 11 and 12 have secured some excellent placements for work experience and volunteering with various well-respected organisations locally and nationally. Having work experience on a CV makes girls stand out when they apply to University and for their first job – it shows commitment, work ethic, and that they have had the tenacity to seek out opportunities to better equip themselves for the working world.After an impressive interview, next year’s Head Girl Elysia Garland will work at Worcester County Council in the Strategic Infrastructure and Economy department. Jenny Elsey, a budding politician, will work with West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin and Wuraola Oyedeji will work with her local Labour MP in London, Tulip Siddiq. Other placements include architects, jewellery designers, hospitals, theatre, and GP and veterinary surgeries.

Military MusicMajor Simon Haw, Director of Music for the British Army, visited MSJ to offer some personal careers advice to Kirsty Haines, one of our A Level musicians and Grade 8 flautist. Kirsty’s ambition is to serve as a musician in the Armed Forces. Major Haw is the father of Mount Housemistress Miss Keri Haw.

Miss Haw, Major Simon Haw, Kirsty and Mr Strange, Head of Academic Music

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Expressive Arts

Exposé MusicaleThe high point of the Music Department year was the Exposé Musicale. This special biennial showcase concert featured our combined school choirs performing with MSJ’s own associate professional orchestra, The Malvern Sinfonia, and our most talented senior soloists playing solo concerto movements.

Worcester Competitive Arts Festival SuccessWe were delighted that Genevieve Phillips (pictured above, right) won the under 16 String Class with honours at the Worcester Competitive Arts Festival. She is forging ahead with her performing and we are all very proud of her focus and achievements. At the same competition, Ashley Tong came an excellent second in the Open Class for String Solo, where she was competing against a strong class including adults.

Music DistinctionsA very successful year of music exams has seen a 100% pass rate and more than 25% of the girls achieving Distinctions. Congratulations to all our musicians.

Amelia Wrinch, Charlotte Hayman and Georgia Mucklow excel in Music Theatre Exams, gaining Distinctions

Music Tour to AmsterdamA party of thirty five girls and five staff are heading off after Commemoration to the Netherlands and Amsterdam on a Music Tour. They will be giving three musical concerts with a varied repertoire and will enjoy visiting some major tourist attrac-tions such as the Zaanse Schans heritage museum, a canal boat trip and a tour of the Royal Concertgebouw Concert Hall.

Girls Like That The AS Drama Group presented Evan Placey’s ‘Girls Like That’ which explores the pressures on today’s young people - the so-called Digital Generation - who live their lives so publicly on social media. The play shows how bad choices can lead to the breakdown of relationships and the loss of reputation. The AS group have gone on to perform their exam piece to other year groups as part of the PSHE programme.


Genevieve Phillips

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Expressive Arts

The Expressive Arts Graduates combined their skills to produce a brilliant Variety Performance in York Hall with over sixty girls taking part in singing, dancing, acting, music, and a mini talent show.

Speech and Drama

LAMDA examinations were taken at Christmas and Easter and the results were superb. At Easter a phenomenal nineteen girls achieved passes with Distinction. We also stormed the Worcestershire Competitive Arts Festival, with all our girls winning or placing in the top three of their categories. Three of our winners were invited to perform in a concert and MSJ was awarded the Achievement in Drama prize.

The Year 10 REP group performed ‘Penelope and Her Maids’ on March 11 in the Drama Centre. This was adapted from ‘The Penelopiad’ by the prize winning author, Margaret Atwood. Her first dramatic adaptation was once directed by a famous Old Girl, Phyllida Lloyd. Later a stage version was premiered by the RSC with an all-female cast. This was a sophisticated play for the girls and they performed with power and confidence.

Penelope and Her MaidsShakespeare Schools Festival at

the Courtyard Theatre, HerefordStudents from Year 10 went to The Courtyard Theatre in Hereford to perform a magical production of ‘The Tempest’ as part of the Shakespeare Schools Festival. Following intensive rehearsals, the girls created the world of the stage using voice, violin and a selection of ‘twangling’ instruments. The performance was deemed to be ‘wonderful’, with students, parents, teachers and other schools thoroughly enjoying the show.

The MSJ Variety Performance

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Expressive Arts

Fleur has been the MSJ Artist in Residence this year, working with the girls, mentoring and inspiring. She hosted her own exhibition, Ambiguity, at MSJ earlier this year, just as she heard the fantastic news that she had gained a place at The Slade this Autumn.

Fleur Yearsley Cornwall Art Trip

The Art Department lead a four day residential visit to St. Ives, Cornwall, for all Year 10 pupils who are taking GCSE Art or Art/Textiles.Pupils visited a range of galleries including the Barbara Hepworth Gallery and Tate St. Ives, as well as the Eden Project and the Minack Theatre, an open-air theatre built on the cliff tops near Penzance.The trip also provides valuable drawing time around which a component of GCSE coursework is based, and included visits to the studios of three professional artists, where girls had the opportunity to talk to the artist and discuss their work.

GCSE and A Level Art Exhibition 2015Our annual end of year Exhibition was once again a resounding success following a somewhat stressful few weeks of completing coursework, examination conclusions and mounting work. The event was heaving with appreciative parents and students, as well as Old Girls who were in School for their Reunion the next day. This year’s cohort exhibited both creativity and dedication in Fine Art and Textiles, with much of the A2 Textiles work worthy of a place on the Paris catwalks.


Oh! What a Lovely WarOne hundred years since the start of the First World War, the production of ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’ reminded us of its atrocities. This amazing production was an Expressive Arts collaboration involving all departments.

GCSE & A Level Art Exhibition

Cornwall calling...

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The Friends of MSJ

It has been another active year for The Friends of Malvern St James, their events raising thousands of pounds, all of which is used to benefit the girls.

The inaugural Barn Dance in February was a huge success, and the June Garden Party proved popular with the junior girls and their parents. The friends are grateful to all the local businesses who generously donated raffle prizes.The funds raised have been used to purchase £1400 worth of instruments for the musical development of the girls, equipment for a vegetable garden, garden toys of bats and balls, hoops and space hoppers for Batsford House, popcorn machines, Wiis, cameras and TVs for all the Houses, Quad games and storage boxes, Ships badges, and Christmas gift money for all year groups.The Second Hand Uniform Shop is as popular as ever. The Friends would like to thank all parents and girls for their continued support.Following the success of last year’s Golf Day, the Friends will be holding another on Friday 25 September. Everyone is welcome. See the website for details. Also planned is the Christmas Fair on 13 November.Thanks to Joy Flanagan as Chair and all the Friends’ committee and members.

Teeing up for 2014’s Golf Day

Yee-Ha! Time to Barn Dance

Fun in the Houses

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It’s impossible to cover all of the cultural trips and academic expeditions MSJ girls enjoy. There are frequent visits to classical music events and plays at Malvern Theatres, trips to see plays in London, Stratford and Birmingham, to lectures and workshops at leading UK universities and academic institutions, cultural and sporting trips to international destinations, and Outdoor Pursuits adventures including kayaking, rock climbing and orienteering. The purpose? To bring learning alive, and to expand the girls’ horizons, culturally and academically.

Bringing lessons to life


Geography Field Trip

AS Geographers set off to Snowdonia to complete their Rivers and Cold Environments fieldwork. Louise Hayes writes, “The four day trip gave us a true appreciation of Geography beyond the classroom. We learnt about key geographical concepts beyond our syllabus and truly broadened our understanding of Geography as a subject, rather than learning purely for an exam. It was a privilege to learn in such a beautiful environment with such hard working and genuinely passionate peers and staff.”

MSJ Ski Trip“Twenty seven girls from years 8-13 boarded a ‘plane bound for Utah for the annual MSJ Ski trip. “We skied and snowboarded, and one group covered a total of 20,000 vertical feet in one day. We had fun on and off the slopes – it was a fantastic trip, well worth the journey.” Elysia Garland, Year 12

HMS Dragon is the latest ship to join the MSJ Fleet, following the decommissioning of HMS Illustrious. To mark the new addition, three Sixth Formers, Nicole Cheng, Nicky Clift and Cliona Maley, were invited to an Affiliates’ Day on board HMS Dragon. MSJ Dragon Captain Nicole was delighted to meet real-life Captain Rex Cox.

Ship Ahoy!

DramaGCSE and A Level Drama students visited London’s Globe Theatre to see ‘A Comedy of Errors’. Afterwards there was a discussion with the cast about the magical quality of performing Shakespeare in this beautiful Elizabethan theatre.

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Biology Field Trip“Year 13 Biologists visited Nettlecombe Court in Somerset for the Ecology module of our fieldwork. We studied freshwater invertebrates and maggots to apply our knowledge of innate and learned behaviour, and observed woodland management in action on the Nettlecombe Estate. We enjoyed finishing off each day with a discussion in ‘The Biology Circle’ over a cup of hot chocolate.” Amal Nirwan

The Prep Department visited the Techniquest Science and Maths Museum in Cardiff to celebrate National Science and Engineering Week in the Spring. Girls worked together on experiments, and enjoyed an educational talk from Museum experts.

Science & Maths

Year 8 have visited Bletchley Park and returned with some fascinating insights. Did you know that 75% of the 9,000 people who ultimately worked there were women (who then had to go back to the kitchen sink when the war ended!)? That all over the country motorcycle dispatch riders, mainly women, brought the gobbledygook messages in, often riding on dangerous roads at speed through the night? That the code-breakers were housed in local homes with people who were forced to take them in and how local people thought BP was a ‘lunatic asylum’? That letters could be encoded in any of 159 quintillion ways and the keys to the Enigma machine settings were always changed at midnight? All this and more was learnt by the girls, as well as having a go at code-cracking against the clock and the chance to use the actual Enigma machine used by Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘The Imitation Game’.

Bletchley Park

InnovationYear 7s attended the Next Generation Innovators’ Day, a showcase for creative science, innovative technology and business entrepreneurship. The programme included hands-on STEM experiments, a cyber-security challenge and a film about establishing a permanent base on the Moon. Emily Cox commented, “My favourite things were 3D printing, Raspberry Pi and Robotics. I love Tech!”


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Duke of Edinburgh AwardsFour girls have gone to St James’s Palace this academic year to be presented with their Gold Certificates: Year 12 Caitlin Lavin and Old Girls Isobella Bradshaw, Lucianna Ghobrial and Lianna Beesley-Peck.

Gold completions have been achieved by Year 13s Jennifer Robb and Sabrina Lam, and Year 12 Victoria Shiu. They will be invited to go to St James’ Palace later in the year. Other completions this academic year include seventeen Silvers and fifteen Bronze, with some further Bronze completions expected after we go to press.

The current cohort of Gold participants are working hard towards completing their sections. In the first

week of the summer holidays twelve of them will be doing their final expedition in the Yorkshire Dales, walking for four days over the Three Peaks of Yorkshire and camping for three days. Eleven Silvers will also be doing their final expedition in the Yorkshire Dales. We wish them Bon Voyage.


Scouting Success

Five of our Year 8 girls are doing exceptionally well in their scouting endeavours. Karenza Pearson, Lorna Rolinson, Hattie Baxter, Sophie Flanagan and Kay Baxter shone at the special Operation Bald Eagle camp, with over 300 Scouts taking part. Each girl won an award, and Kay came Third overall in the competition. Special mention to Kay and Hattie who went on a couple of months later to collect their Chief Scouts Gold Award – the highest award possible in the Scout section.


Victory for MSJ DebatersThe English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition saw the two MSJ teams romp to victory, taking first and second place at the Royal Grammar School, Worcester. The first team consisted of Phoebe Nairn as Chair, Jenny Gallagher as Speaker and Fiyin Durojaiye as Questioner. The second team was Chaired by Imy Townsend, Alex Knapper as Speaker and Chloe Parker as Questioner. Two of the girls also scooped individual awards – Phoebe for Best Chair and Chloe for Best Questioner.

Wine TastingThirty Sixth Formers joined Mark Webb, local sommelier, for an entertaining evening of evaluating a variety of fine wines. After an extensive talk, the girls were divided into teams and were pitted against each other to identify five wines – a vintage champagne, two whites and two reds. The winners were the Y12 team, ‘Inexperienced’. They will have to think of a new name!

Isobella and Lucianna

Mrs Shepherd and Debaters

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Model United NationsHot on the heels of MSJ’s success at the MUN Conference held at Tudor Hall in November where Victoria Gawlik won the Best in Committee and the much-prized Gavel, MSJ girls have again given strong performances at the Conference at Magdalen College, Oxford, held at the end of the Spring Term. Lousie Hayes was Highly Commended in the Political Committee where topics included nuclear security, Kurdistan and cyber security. Saphia Soros-White was Commended in the Middle East Committee for discussing issues such as ISIS, Libya and terrorism.

STEM Club is a popular extra-curricular choice amongst MSJ girls. One project to capture the imagination this year has been Digital Electronics and Robotics. Girls started by designing and building simple digital control circuits, and then progressively made the build more sophisticated. Linking the theoretical understanding learned so far to the actual construction of a working model lets our girls encounter real-world problems and devise solutions. How do you make it go in a straight line if one wheel turns a bit faster than the other? How do you place the mass of your power supply so it doesn’t affect the stability of the buggy? Our budding engineers are putting their knowledge into action with impressive results.


The MSJ teams – Blazerz, Fortis and Infinity have had an impressive year. Against eleven other Companies, the Finance Directors from Fortis – Jenny Elsey, Carlie Lin and Becky Zhang – won Best Finance Director in the whole of South Worcestershire; Nadia Ahmad Rizland and Christy Kwok from Infinity were shortlisted for Best Managing Directors; and Infinity received the award for Best Trade Stand as judged at the Worces-ter Trade Fair earlier in the year.

Infinity was one of four Companies to move forward to the Hereford and Worcester Presentation evening in May. Although they were unsuccessful in getting to the next round, the girls did an excellent job showcasing their products and their achievements this year. All three companies should be very proud of their hard work this year!

Young EnterpriseThe Infinity Team

MUN in Oxford


Page 18: MSJ News Summer 2015


MSJ singers visited the Birmingham Symphony Hall to sing the Mozart Requiem from scratch with over 1300 other students, all led by choral expert Simon Halsey and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.


Year 9’s took a trip back in time to enjoy the Roman and Georgian splendour of Bath. Jess Burden writes, “We visited the Royal Crescent where the architecture was extravagant with hundreds of Ionic pillars for decoration. We also learned what a ha-ha is! Next we ambled along limestone-paved streets via the stunning Circus, where every building had Doric (plain), Corinthian (rather flowery) and Ionic (just right!) columns, towards the site of the baths. The signature hot springs (the only ones in the UK) enchanted both Celts and

Romans, leading them to believe the water was blessed by the goddess Sulis Minerva, a funny mix of the Celtic goddess Sulis and the Roman goddess of Wisdom. To take advantage of the hot waters and to establish them as a centre of worship, they built the Aquae Sulis complex of bath houses, exercise rooms and places of worship. I really enjoyed our trip to Bath because it was a very refreshing experience compared to sitting in a classroom, and I learned more than I could have imagined about the city.”

Historical Bath

Sixth Form Classicists visited Monmouth School for a Latin Study Morning to discuss topics on their A Level syllabus and Dean Close School for two lectures by Oxford Professors. Gregory Hutchinson from Exeter College gave the Cicero lecture ‘How to do things with words’ and Robert Parker from New College presented ‘The Gods of Homer’. Finally, to Birmingham for the AS Latin Lectures and Classical Civilisation Lectures.

This Summer, Roman Britain came to life for Years 7 and 8 when they visited Cirencester Museum and Chedworth Roman Villa. “We visited the museum at ‘Corinium’, or Cirencester, as most of us now

know it. The museum did a good job of showing us the differences between then and our society nowadays. After Cirencester we set off for Chedworth Roman villa. The location was stunning, the sun was shining and we all wished we lived there! We will never forget the size of the snails, which are still all around the villa. To think the Romans brought the ancestors of those snails to Chedworth 1800 years ago! Thank you, Mrs Baird and the other teachers for organising the day.”By Hannah Atkinson, Anna Pickerell and Jessica Morris




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National Libraries DayMSJ took part in the Book Swap Guinness World Record Challenge. Some seventy-one other schools joined the challenge in an attempt to break the record for the most people swapping books across multiple venues in eight hours.

World Book Day CompetitionHere are some of our Year 7 and 8 Book Club opening our consolation prize of an exciting range of books to be added to our library collection. Both MSJ Book Club groups compiled responses to a competition run by author James Patterson for World Book Day on the theme “Why we can’t live without books”.

Teen Book AwardsSix Year 9 students took up the challenge to read specific books from this year’s Worcestershire Teen Book Award shortlist and compete against other schools in a quiz based on their reading. At a special award ceremony the MSJ team came a very commendable 4th out of a field of 14.Another highlight of the ceremony was meeting author James Dawson, whose thriller “Say Her Name” (set in a girls’ boarding school) was declared Teen Book Award winner. James Dawson is pictured with our team.

Also at the ceremony Charlie Sambrook was announced winner of the Worcestershire Teen Book Award Logo design competition, and presented with a prize by Ruth Foster, Literacy and Reading Manager, Worcestershire County Council (pictured below).Charlie’s logo will be used next year for publicising the Book Award in all Worcestershire schools and public libraries.

From the library...


Page 20: MSJ News Summer 2015



The Charity Committee began its work in October to support MSJ’s chosen charities. Each girl on the Committee offers their time to assist and take responsibility to ensure our events are a success. This can be anything from designing and putting up the posters, baking cakes, helping on the day, promoting the event in assemblies, or designing marketing materials.

There are also various ad hoc charity events which take place through the School year. It’s great to see so many of our girls looking at the bigger local, national and global picture, and using their skills and creativity to help others less privileged.

Thank you to our whole school community – girls, staff, parents, families, governors, local businesses and everyone who has contributed to our fundraising.

Here is a montage of just some of the events the girls have initiated this year.

Giving and Fundraising


Over £300 was raised for The Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign with a pink non-uniform day.

Over £505.25 raised for a party for Malvern Special Families by way of a non-uniform day and Bonfire Night collection.

Pudsey biscuits and cakes for Children In Need…

Over £1000 in aid of the UN Ebola fund

was raised by Fiyin Durojaiye by selling

African goods (right).

A Krispy Kreme donut sale for Red Nose Day, also supported by the Prep Department (left).

MacMillan Coffee Morning (below).

Fundraising for the British Heart Foundation.

The Gambia Evening raised £4650 for a new Cookhouse for the school we support (below).

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Mrs Woodhouse’s Kenya Trip

The whole School was involved with Mock Election Week in the run-up to the national election. Prep girls shadowed their Senior counter parts for the Greens, Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, UKIP and Monster Raving Loonies, and the party messages were spread across the school with an official launch, hustings, local campaigning, surgeries, and any other inventive means of boosting votes that the candidates and their teams could think of. Harriett Baldwin, our local MP, came in to launch the campaign with a Question and Answer session and press photocall in the Quad. ITV Central News also came in to film some of our first-time voters about their political motivation and hopes for the future. Well done to Issy Rawlings and the Green Party who were Number One at the ballot box.

Mock Election Week

Mrs Woodhouse visited Kenya at the beginning of the year.

As well as visiting the top Prep schools in the Nairobi area to talk to prospective parents about MSJ, she visited the Mama Fatuma’s Orphanage (right).

Mrs Woodhouse also visited the Precious Sisters – the educational charity for girls which MSJ works with. She took part in the Precious Sisters’ mentoring weekend, a vital part of how they encourage girls to shape their future beyond school.

She reunited with Dafrose (far left), the Precious Sisters’ student who visited MSJ for a week last year to see life in a British boarding school.

The Monster Raving Loonies

Harriett Baldwin with Jenny Elsey (left) and Saphie Soros-White


Page 22: MSJ News Summer 2015


News from our amazing sportswomen and athletes…

AthleticsWe have had eight girls represent Malvern District at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire County Athletics Championships in June, in High Jump, Hurdles, 200m, Discus, Javelin, Long Jump and 100m. Well done to: Hannah Tapley, Yuki Chung, Maria Iborra, Emily Lewis, Lucy Nelson, Linnea Gannon, Ellie Manns and Lucy Blum.

Hannah Tapley competed in the High Jump in Hustopece, Czech Republic as part of the 10-strong England Athletics Women’s B Team. She competes at the English Schools in July and hopefully the Sainsbury’s Games in September. Hannah’s Personal Best this season is 1.75m, achieved at the Midlands Indoor Championships.

LacrosseNicky Clift and Penny Green are playing for the Wales A team and Sophie Green for the Wales B Team, and all competed in the U19 Lacrosse Home Internationals. Penny and Nicky went on to travel to the US, to compete with American squads and to train for the World Cup in July.

GymnasticsCara Chambers is a double gold winner for Gymnastics. At the George Finney Floor and Vault Championship she won Team Gold with City of Worcester Gymnastics Club. She also won Individual Gold for best all-round gymnast, scoring 5th highest out of 800 girls in an U16 age range.

TriathlonGrace Nolan won Gold at the ISA Triathlon Championships, and is a competitor in the British Modern Biathlon Championships where she has been making excellent progress. Football

Tegan Trowbridge will be playing for Worcestershire Schools U15s at the Football World Youth Cup in Sweden in July

NetballThe Year 11s won the ISA Midlands Netball Tournament, as did the U13s.Swimming

Betsy Richards (right) won Gold at the ISA National Swimming Finals at the Olympic Stadium in London


Hannah Tapley

Elysia in action

Year 11 ISA Champions

The U16s won the ISA National Hockey Tournament andElysia Garland and Lucy Walton are playing Hockey for England


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SkiingIbble Watson has won a haul of medals this Season and gains a place in the British U14 Ski team.

SailingHolly Harvey is practising for July’s World Championships in Germany.

GolfLucy Walton’s game goes from strength to strength. In the Easter holidays, she finished runner-up in the Faldo U16 Welsh Championships, 14th (out of 102 international girls) in the U16 Scottish Championships, and 29th at the Irish U18 Championships (competing against seventy two international contestants from an older age group). She won the Worcestershire Schools U18 Championships, qualifying for the Midlands Finals. Half Term saw her take to the green in competition again, this time winning the County Ladies’ Medal, and placing 4th in the Midlands U18 English Schools Finals. She qualified for the National Finals, which are about to take place as we go to press.


Katie Guthrie won Player of the Season award for the Worcestershire County U11 Girls’ team, and was presented with a medal by England player, Katherine Brunt (above).

TennisU16 ISA National Tennis… Anita Ganota won the Singles, Charlotte Renaud was runner up in the Plate and Anita and Georgie Jeynes-Cupper won the Doubles.

EquestrianThe Senior Dressage Team took 3rd place at Princethorpe College, and Ibble, Tiggy and Vivi took 1st, 2nd and 3rd places in the combined training.

Eve Hobbs, Jess Morris, Tiggy Manning and Vivi Manning also secured a team place at the Addington Championships, as well as an individual place for Eve.

Evelyn Haynes took first place at the British Showjumping event at West Wiltshire Equestrian Centre.

Pippa Wollen and Phoenix won the Pony Club NFU Mutual Novice Individual Eventing Championship at Kelsall Hill.

The MSJ team (Holly Coles, Eve Hobbs, Aerin Thomas and Millie Cooper) won the 90cm Class and took 2nd in the 100cm class at Bury Farm in February.

Jess Morris finshed 1st in the 90cm Mini 1 Day Event at Lincomb in Stourport.

Georgie met Judy Murray

Ibble in action

Pippa Wollen

Holly Coles

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Home from Home“What a busy and exciting year we have had in the boarding community ensuring that girls get the very most out of their life at MSJ”, reports Miss van Ravenstein, Head of Boarding.

“Our weekend trips have been a major highlight. At the Clothes Show Live we managed to fit in a bit of shopping despite the distraction of bumping into the cast of Made in Chelsea, all up for posing for a selfie or two. Seeing

the musical Wicked in Birmingham led to a lot of soulful singing in the Houses for days afterwards. Go Karting was an adrenalin fuelled day which cranked up the girls’

competitive nature. A roller disco was enjoyed by experienced and beginner skaters alike, while others just took the opportunity to dance. We learnt about space at the National Space Centre, conquered our fear of heights at the Blackwell Adventure Centre, enjoyed a turn around the gardens at Blenheim Palace, experienced wizardly delights with Harry Potter, and lapped up a safari experience at Longleat.

We have done plenty in the Houses too. We’ve painted plates, got crafty, been rejuvenated by pamper evenings, had discos, board game bonanzas, baked a mountain of cakes and biscuits, and always had time for a movie and popcorn. Thanks to the Friends for their kind donation of popcorn machines to all the Houses - a very well-used present already. Our Junior House, Batsford, has had a very eventful year with lots of playdates, cream teas and sleepovers. They have swum, ice skated, enjoyed walks and ice creams on the hills, worked and played hard, and - as ever - made the very most of their garden. They are the House you can always hear two blocks away on a sunny day. Batsford was also granted the tremendous responsibility of looking after the school chicks one weekend: I’m pleased to report that both poultry and children survived unscathed.

Hatfield have combated the stress of the modern world by taking part in relaxing yoga and uplifting Zumba sessions. On Sundays they savour the cuisines of different cultures with a new treat every weekend. The girls have taken up knitting with

a great array of colourful scarfs being produced. They also enjoy working on their current affairs board which all boarders from Year 9 to Year 11 participate in. This involves discussions on global issues and events; as a result girls enhance their knowledge and political awareness, and enjoy working with girls of different ages.

Mount have created a very popular weeknight

activities programme which has seen the girls do everything from workout DVDs, to creating grassheads, playing games and making mug cakes. They enjoy voicing their opinions on the new “Have Your Say” board where they discuss a variety of topical issues. Another exciting project has been the development of the Mount allotment where girls are working hard to grow their own veggies which we are looking forward to sampling.

Greenslade is a warm and friendly place to live. Hearing the doors banging as the girls move through the house is a welcome reminder that they enjoy the privilege of being able to come back to the house when they have a study period. The girls particularly enjoy their celebration evenings: the desserts are always a firm favourite.

Poulton remains one of the busiest houses with a constant flow of Boarders and Day Boarders. The girls are always ready for Miss MacDonald’s tea of the week, though no one yet has been brave enough to try peanut butter and jam. Mrs Poynton is also hard at work teaching the girls cooking skills for their life beyond MSJ. But no matter how tasty a dish she encourages them to produce, when all’s said and done, it’s hard to beat the humble scone – a definite House favourite.”

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The OGA interview

Old Girl Rosie Baker (2012) talks to Issy Rawlings about her experience at St John’s College, Cambridge studying Geography. Rosie graduates this Summer.

Issy: What was the hardest thing about going to university from an all-girls school? How did it prepare you?

Rosie: I think an all-girls education meant I was probably more confident to try things that are traditionally male-dominated than some of my friends, largely because I wasn’t familiar with a gender status quo. That confidence led me to the University Air Squadron, hands down one of my best university experiences, where I’ve learnt to fly, shoot and built some of my strongest friendships.

The hardest thing is definitely sharing a laundry room – what a mess! (Although I probably can’t blame it all on the boys…)

What did you find most surprising about going to university?

Cambridge has a reputation as one of the best universities in the world, but I naively expected this to mean that its students had nerdy personalities and no interest in things apart from work. I was so wrong about this – all of my friends do lots aside from work, and are outgoing people. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Cambridge stereotypes are totally wrong for the majority of people.

How did you cope with the change in gear from School to University?The step up to more independent study at A Levels happens again at University, so in that sense the MSJ Sixth Form Experience is good preparation. The learning style takes more adapting, and each course is different. The most challenging bit is having to structure my non-contact time to get a good work and play balance.

What opportunities have you taken advantage of during your time at Cambridge?

There’s so much on offer here so I tried to throw myself into it all! Within my college, I’ve rowed in a Women’s Boat and been President of our Geography Society. I’ve probably spent more time in University societies (that cross all colleges) – I’ve run the University’s Expedition Society, which supports students in organising their own expeditions, and joined the University Air Squadron as an Officer Cadet, where I’ve learned to fly planes, been Scuba Diving and paragliding and made some of my closest friends. I think things outside the lecture hall are just as important in building employable traits and confidence in what direction you want to take after University.

How do you think your university experience has prepared you for the future?

Undoubtedly, education at one of the world’s best universities has taught me a lot of specific Geographical knowledge, but also transferable skills useful in the work place. More relevant to everyday life, my course has taught me new ways to critically examine the world around me, and things outside of the lecture hall – society involvement and living independently, for instance – have built my confidence to leave Cambridge ready for new challenges.

What is your favourite memory of your time at university?

Probably my very first night in my college, St John’s, eating dinner in our formal hall and feeling as though I’d walked on set of a Harry Potter film, not really believing I was meant to be there… or, receiving my Scholar’s Prize at the beginning of Third Year, and finally realising my university acceptance wasn’t an accident!

Was your University experience all you expected it to be?

It was definitely far from what I expected – it was better in so many ways. I didn’t expect to fall in love with a place so quickly, but it happened. I feel like I’ve had so many experiences within such a short space of time. I don’t know where I’m going next, but I feel confident to find out or even forge my own way.

Rosie with her parents, collecting her Scholar’s Prize

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Prep & Pre-Prep

Prep and Pre-Prep have had an action-packed year in the classroom and outside it. One of the highlights was the French trip in the Spring. Ooh la la!

Years 3 and 4 visited Oaker Wood in Herefordshire where they got to grips with the great outdoors.

Mud, Mud Glorious MudPre-Prep get their hands dirty making mud pies...

Pre-Prep got stuck in when they visited Adam Henson’s Cotswold Farm Park. The girls learnt how to milk a cow and shear a sheep, and Adam and his daughter gave the girls a talk on ‘Whose Egg?’

Pre-Prep took a hike up to the top of the Hills

Pre-Prep was transformed into a mini Venice for the day (right). Gondoliers and Venetian masks featured, with a special lunch of antipasti.

In the Prep Department Ships’ Spelling Bee competition, Dragon won by a convincing margin, having completed an incredibly tough Grand Final in front of a large audience of parents and girls.

Page 27: MSJ News Summer 2015


Prep & Pre-Prep

This year’s panto was a mash-up, starring all of the Prep and Pre-Prep girls in ‘Panto Pandemonium’.

Some Year 5 and 6s hopped on the train to Birmingham on a Museum and Art Gallery trip.

Mrs Woodhouse checked out a fantastic Geography project on extreme weather.

Well-dressed: MSJ takes Gold in the Malvern Well Dressing competition.

World Book DayAn amazing array of book characters appeared in school, including Paddington Bear.

Science Lessons saw Prep incubating eggs, and then waiting for the results…

In Prep STEM Club, the girls are underway with their dolls’ house project, which will see them build their houses and then design an electrical circuit to light the whole thing up.

Oh, the joy of having your own pool on site!

From this... this


Page 28: MSJ News Summer 2015

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