The annual Sixth Form Conference
was held on Friday 20th March for 270 year twelve students and a
small selection of KS4 students.
The conference began with a warm
up session for the students, getting them to join in a range of activities
designed to encourage them to speak into radio microphones, and to get used to
the sound of their own voices in a large venue.
The event was opened by the
conference chair Lindsey Thompson, Assistant Headteacher and Director of KS4
who introduced the panel, a diverse group drawn from very different walks of
life; Nick Hopkinson (European Movement
UK), John Ashcroft (Quaker), Sara Mohanna (Islam), Jacob Berkson (Philosopher),
Julia Begbie and Rev. Andrew Fadoju (Christian Minister).
The event, organised by Mark
Warwick, has been designed to give students the opportunity to consider current
affairs, philosophical, ethical, political and religious issues.
The first session was very much
like the television programme ‘Question Time’
with the chair selecting the best questions from a range previously
provided by the students, with the aim of stimulating lively debate.
Student Alex Crane started the debate
with his question: Why is their so much
hatred in the world? This topic really
engaged the audience and panel in some thoughtful discussions.
Mark Warwick said:” I have been really pleased that
the students wanted to speak right from the start. Students are developing their own views as
they listen to each other and are supporting each others views which is
positive and gives great hope for how our students will contribute in the
future to the wider society.”
The second question was: Do you believe complete equality can be
reached? Another challenging question
which was answered by panel member Julia Begbie: “In my lifetime the change has
been extraordinary, but when I look at your generation I find it inspirational
and I wish young people were held in a higher regard. We are certainly not there; I think we should
have equality of opportunity and the ability to get there, although technology
is levelling the playing field.”
Student Anastasia Maciver at conference
The third question was:
If our government have tarnished the once great image of democracy (which the
last several have done), why do we keep voting for them? New panel member Nick
Hopkinson responded saying: “The political scene is changing and there is a
greater choice, all I can say is that you should be voting for a fairer
future.” Rev. Andrew Fadoju also said:
“Research the parties really well, but it is important that you use your
Two students joined the panel
this year and gave some interesting and thought provoking answers to the
questions they were asked.
Lindsey Thompson commented: “As
the Chair of the conference three things were necessary for its success: a good
panel, great questions and lively interactions from the students”
And as Nick Hopkinson said: “I
have been impressed by the contribution of students, it’s a good opportunity
for them to express themselves and broaden their horizons and it is impressive
to see them engaging in topical issues.”
In the second session, students were split into
discussion groups to consider questions put to them by the panel. Finally, the
students returned to the conference to feed back their views to the panel and
hear back from the panel on their own questions.
Nick Wergan, Headteacher said: “Our students again
showed that they not only have the confidence and curiosity to ask the big
questions, but that they also have a shared responsibility to help come up with
the answers. “
We think this conference gives students the
opportunity to have a discussion about things that really matter.
Students in discussion groups
About Steyning Grammar School:
A thriving comprehensive day and boarding school for students ages 11-19
set in the beautiful countryside of the South Downs, with close links to
Brighton and the South Coast. The school has an intake in Year 7 and 9 and a
successful Sixth Form College, offering both A Levels and the International
Baccalaureate. An OfSTED ‘good with outstanding features’, students are
extremely keen to learn and this is reflected in good examination results.
School has had the proud tradition of boarding provision since 1614. It boasts
some of the finest and most modern facilities of any state or private boarding
school. Following a three day inspection by Ofsted in October 2012, SGS Boarding
was once again judged as 'Outstanding'. Very few schools achieve such a judgement
and SGS Boarding is the first Outstanding State Boarding School in the country
to achieve this grade under the new inspection framework. The inspection report reinforces the
popularity of Steyning Grammar School as demand from the UK, as well as
overseas, continues to rise. The education is free to parents and families with
just the very modest boarding costs to cover.
Full details can be
found on the school’s website www.sgs.uk.net
School will be celebrating 400 years of excellence during the academic year
2014, visit our website http://www.sgs.uk.net/SGS-400
for more details or to register your interest in the events.