Berlin Trip (February Half Term)
During the 2023 February half-term holiday, I visited Berlin with a group of amazing teachers and students from different year groups. We had to depart from college to Luton airport at 1am in the morning, and even though we were advised to get some sleep before then, I was busy completing my first full draft of English NEA coursework. 6.2 is no joke! After a few hours of bus ride, we woke up in a muddle to see that we had arrived at Luton airport. We then went through the check-in procedure without much fuss.
This trip was physically exhausting as it involved a lot of walking, with the first day being fully packed with places to visit literally straight after landing. However, this trip, full of visits to historical sites and museums, was also an intellectually enriching history lesson. I also took this trip as an opportunity to revitalise my memory of the German language, and I was surprised at how much I remembered as I could understand conversations in German and some texts on menus. Amongst the many places we visited, my highlights include walking up to the glass dome of the Reichstag where I got to enjoy the cityscape of Berlin and appreciate the political symbolism of the architecture. We also visited the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where we were given a guided tour by an enthusiastic guide who informed us about the heart-wrenching history and description of the treatment of prisoners in the camp. Another highlight was the Blue Man Group concert, which gave us a serotonin boost with loud drums and music after a long day of visits to places with quite depressing history. On the last day of the trip, we ascended the Fernsehturm (Berlin TV Tower) in Alexanderplatz which overlooked the city of Berlin where we tried to spot the different places we visited over the past few days. For lunch, I had currywurst made by an amiable Afghan guy. The chili-sauce was the star of the dish, though I was confused by the ironic lack of curry.
– Irisa, 6.2.
It was a fantastic trip for my first visit to Berlin. Upon arrival, I was mesmerised by the history and culture of Berlin. I was particularly excited to go on the U-Bahn, and the experience did not disappoint me! We also visited many attractions such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and the TV tower at Alexanderplatz, which provided stunning views and a deeper insight into the city. Berlin was bursting with landmarks that constantly reminded people of the war that happened, and that certainly made an impact. The trip was packed with attractions and that left me exhausted, but I did not regret coming on this trip and am looking forward to my next visit to Berlin.
– Christoph, Form 4.
Trek Up Tryfan
On the 24 Feb, a small group of 4 students climbed Tryfan in Wales as a team building day and training for the Kenya trip in June with Mr Brown, Mr Canney and Ms Cunliffe. All of us started off tired in the morning, sleeping the whole hour and a half hour journey to North Wales. We stopped by an equipment shop to get fitted with the proper walking boots and also to grab some sandwiches for the mountain. After a short 15-minute drive, we reached the mountain. Mr Brown gave us all maps and a short run-down of the plan for the day.
The hike took a total of 6 hours. Even though some of us were exhausted before the first hour was over, the breathtaking views definitely made up for it. As we climbed the mountain carefully, Mr Brown who was very skilled since he’d been up the mountain more than a hundred times, made sure to check on us every step of the way and pointed out many cool routes and interesting facts about the mountain. Our excitement really peaked as we got to see a light snow shower fall on the mountain in front of us. Pockets of icy snow could be found as we were climbing so we obviously had to stop for the occasional snowball fight. We had a meal break where we ate sandwiches and had hot Ribena!
Our whole journey to the south summit via the Heather Terrace took around 3-4 hours. We were greeted by the most beautiful blue sky. The scene in front of us almost looked like it was a painting. The trek downhill was more challenging and filled with a lot of screams as we stepped into muddy pools that consumed whole boots. Nevertheless, we got to the base of the mountain just after the sky turned dark and celebrated with McDonalds on the way back!
This was definitely a new experience for most of us and we are so grateful to have experienced this 830m mountain climb with the help from all 3 teachers!
Here is what some of us gained from this experience:
“The walk was so surreal and meaningful; I enjoyed every bit of it! The best part was most definitely when we threw snowballs off the cliff together. Team bonding was a success!”
“Whoever said coming down was easier lied”
– Written by Tara, 6.1.
Liverpool Art Trip – The Walker and The Tate
Last Thursday, the Sixth-Form Art students visited two galleries in Liverpool: The Walker, a gallery that has been displaying its fine art collection for over 130 years, and the Tate Liverpool, situated in the old dock warehouses of Liverpool.
The Walker gallery gave a sense of permanence as we approached through its grand entrance, up the stairs and below the vast Corinthian columns, worn but sturdy, biting their firm jaw as if to hold its precious contents close. The Walker is a building firmly rooted in Liverpool, its place in the city clearly evident in its stature and atmosphere.
The featured exhibition there was that of Walter Sickert (1860-1942), featuring around 100 paintings and 200 drawings from a man who sought to reflect the rapidly changing modern world as it was, often changing his style throughout his life, bringing his art into new and unexpected directions. Sickert’s work often gave focus to detail in shadow, manipulating the viewers gaze, drawing them into the paintings themselves and attempting to reveal society from isolated events. Often capturing the subject in a raw manner, his work provides an interesting timeline for the moods of Britain (and indeed Europe) throughout his life, through eras of peace, and war.
The Permanent collection in the Walker, too, was stunning. The large collection of Victorian works highlighted some of the best art of the time from around Britain, and local to Liverpool too. The fine oil paintings (my favourites being those depicting figures in low candlelight, and grand depictions of classical structures) were accompanied by a sculpture and statue collection which was a fine example of using a permanent, cold, solid, seemingly unmoving material, to depict life, growth, and warmth.
Our next destination was the Tate Liverpool, via a short bus journey, which in itself provoked intrigue: we travelled through the centre of Liverpool, and saw a new city that was starting to emerge, the old brutalist overpass, torn down, its off-ramps a stump of a tree, lacking life, surrounded by new glass monoliths, kinetic structures interrupting the seemingly rigid skyline, the Liver Building a parent to the next surge in development, its bird seeming to govern and observe as the city bobs firmly, in a sea of change. The Tate itself was located in the old dock warehouses, balanced, jutting out into the river Mersey, giving the feeling of the new, the renovated, the not yet permanent, a stark contrast to the Walker.
The exhibitions that were a part of the Tate’s existing collection gave us titles investigating democracy, and what democracy meant to their artists, and also the exhibition “Whose Tradition?”, which saw works by Pablo Picasso and Constantin Brancusi who drew inspiration from artwork across Central and West Africa, as well as the Pacific Islands. There were also artworks that questioned western ideals of art and identity, for instance those by Pacita Abad, who rejected her American art education and looked to her Filipino heritage to develop her style.
The featured exhibitions were those of Lucian Freud and Lucy McKenzie. Lucian Freud was a British painter, widely celebrated for his portraits, and a man who often chose those who were closest to him to be the subjects; his portraits certainly gave a personal record of the time spent with these people and indeed his own life. He had an incredible talent for capturing the mood and emotion of his sitters.
Lucy McKenzie (born 1977), is an artist who uses a diverse set of techniques and themes in her art, her incredibly detailed paintings and large scale work demonstrate themes that have interested her throughout her career such as the iconography of international sport, the representation of women, gender politics, music subcultures, and post war muralism.
Overall, we all really enjoyed the trip, and the opportunity to see, study, and discuss amazing pieces of art, with the help of Miss Tonks and Mrs Rowe – thank you!
Returning to normal
As the first half term is coming to a close, we thought that a nice way to sum up our progress during this time would be to look at what people missed before arriving, compared with all the measures we have taken to keep everyone safe whilst trying to return our school life back to normal:
“I really missed seeing students back on campus and everybody having fun together offline. I love seeing people walking between buildings in breaks and between lessons”
“What have I missed most about Concord? Definitely not Saturday tests and UCAS applications! But other than that, seeing my friends again is definitely an upside, and I’m looking forward to actually meeting people from other year groups – it still seems illegal…”
“Joining Concord in Form 4, I have missed greatly the many trips that we had to Birmingham along with my friends. I look forward to being able to do that again this following term.”
“The things I miss the most are the big trees, the students and my colleagues… (That’s pretty much everything really!) I look forward to meeting all my new classes and helping young people learn more about our incredible world.”
– Mr Cale
A wonderful thing about these little interviews is that we can proudly say that all of these goals have been achieved.
We have finally been able to interact with one another without the worries of the virus. To keep everyone safe, we wear masks in public spaces, maintain good hand hygiene and we socially distance when necessary.
This group effort to help keep the community safe has always been appreciated at Concord but I think this is now more apparent than ever. And so, we were able to return back to blissful normality.
Ecaterina – 6.2
Concord Summer Law Course
DIVERSITY. INDIVIDUALITY. BRILLIANCE.
A Turkish beauty and a fashion-forward natural born leader from Hong Kong. A Belgium born French-American with a lively intellect and a crystal clear passion for American politics; good luck mentioning ‘Trump’ around him. A strikingly brilliant British boy who has a distinct voice made for CNN and a smart girl from Hong Kong whose silence made a refreshing difference in a room full of vocal young people. An incredibly thoughtful and assertive boy whose name immediately gives him away as a Scot and a fiery debater from Hong Kong whose gaze proves to you that she’s not only listening to you but she’s thinking about what you’re saying. A quarter Hispanic, quarter Japanese, quarter Indonesian and quarter Taiwanese special girl who added much needed humour to the academically rigorous programme. An inquisitive Nigerian girl with a calm tone that added a bit of colour to the already diverse group of individuals. Diversity. Individuality. Brilliance. These are some of the key words that come to mind when I think of the University Preparation Summer Course for Law; the first of its kind in Concord, which I was privileged to attend.
As a person who genuinely loves learning new things, I anticipated the course. I had heard that there would be a number of speakers from Russell group universities and I was excited to hear experts in the field of Law speak. Over the course of two weeks, I; alongside seven other teenagers; were brought in direct contact with twelve professors, two barristers and two lawyers. Each professional brought something different to the table. While one professor allowed us to use a bunny (yes a bunny!) as the symbol of our make-believe judicial system, another professor made us introduce one another rather than introduce ourselves. By the way, the image of ‘Justicia Bunny’ is still stuck in my head till date. While one barrister gave us a glimpse of what a day in his life is like, the other gave us tips and tricks on how to excel in mooting as we took turns practicing our mooting skills. Of the two talented lawyers, one was a sports lawyer who delivered an enlightening presentation on ‘Ambush Marketing’. One thing I learnt from this class was how I could use the Olympic Rings trademark without getting into trouble. Handy.
Aside from getting to spend ample time with experienced professors, we got other benefits. We had two mock Ox-bridge interviews, with one interview being conducted by an Oxford educated finance lawyer. After the interviews we were each given detailed and constructive feedback. In addition to this, we were given very helpful reading lists, resources for writing Russell-group-standard personal statements and LNAT and CLAT preparation tests. Something that I found very helpful was the university type lectures. Personally, my favourites were ‘The Unmaking of a Murderer’ which exposed me to the incredible cause that is The Innocence Project and ‘The Necessity Defence to Murder’ which allowed me to read very interesting cases including Lon Fuller’s enthralling hypothetical case, ‘The Case of the Spelucean Explorers’; a case essentially about cannibalism. These classes made us feel like University undergraduates and for me, it certainly confirmed that I would thoroughly enjoy my Criminal Law lectures.
I came on the course uncertain as to whether Law was the right subject choice for me or not. I left the course certain that it was. My decision to study Law was sealed thanks to three different people. The first professor taught the class Land Law (the most dreadful part of Law in my opinion). Although I really hated this class because of the topic being taught, the professor was one of the best educators I have come across in a while. One thing he said to the class before he left that struck a chord with my inquisitive mind was that ‘Law is about the why and not the what’. As one who feels that ‘why’ is the most important of the five Ws, I was very pleased to hear this. The second professor carried out a unique exercise. He distributed old newspapers to the class and asked us to circle words that had to do with Law. My partner and I had a word or two was circled on nearly every page. It made me realise how fundamental Law is to the functioning of society and how ubiquitous it is. This made me conclude that it was important for, not just me, but for everyone to have some knowledge of the law. It is indeed the basis of our society. The last person was not a professor but the University Coordinator for Law at Concord. I remember telling her that I was unhappy about some certain things that the Law could be fixing but just isn’t, for instance, injustice in our society. She told me if such things angered me I should make a move to change the system. She left me with a question ‘Would you change the system from outside it or from inside it ?’ I did not give her a reply but I gave myself a reply by deciding to apply for the study of Law at University.
What was the best thing about the programme? I would say it’s the people I met. I anticipated the course because I wanted to learn. Yes, my desires were fulfilled; I learnt a lot. However I would like to emphasise that I got more out of the course than I ever imagined I could. After an intense two weeks, we actually found it hard to say goodbye. A number of people on the course, independent of one another, said that they had not laughed as much as they laughed on the course, in a while. I got to meet unusually intelligent people my age and I know for a fact that everyone that I met on the course has the potential and the raw talent to go out to the world and do something amazing. The diversity of personalities taught me that there is something special about every individual; you just need to be patient enough to find what that thing is.
Diversity. Individuality. Brilliance; Concord’s first annual University preparation course for Law in three words.
Onyinye Enwereji 6.2
Welcome to the Concord Sixth Form Blog
International. Harmonious. Warm. Competitive. These are just a few of the many qualities of what I think best describes Concord. Concord on the surface is like your typical UK boarding school. You wake up, go to school, eat your meals, have a little free time and go for prep sessions (at least at Concord anyway). Obviously Concord is a very academic school and more often times than not I find myself baffled at way the mind of my intelligent peers work – it’s ridiculous. However, there are two things that make Concord distinctively different – activities and people.
There are countless numbers of activities and extracurricular classes here at Concord ranging from choir to lifeguard training to football and the list just goes on and on. Personally, I enjoy playing sports and I have learnt how to play squash, table tennis, and even improved as a footballer and a tennis player here at Concord. Music also plays a big role here at Concord with various music lessons and various band coaching lessons. All these are easily accessible and are very good fun, if you’re into music that is. I picked up the guitar a couple years ago and I have learnt much about it from the music teachers and also my fellow musician friends. Since then, I participated in a few concerts held by the college with the bands held by teachers and also with my friend, where we got to play around with songs that we were interested in. In addition, there are also individual International Societies due to the many nationalities that make up the Concord community and these societies are given the opportunities to express their local culture to the school and the local community through food, dance and music at various events, which I think is one of the best ways to learn about other people’s cultures.
Then, there are the people. I’m not sure whether it’s the atmosphere, the fact that the school is in the middle of nowhere or just the pure luck of getting the right people to come to the college, but the Concord community is just something else. I have made many close friends during my 3 years here at concord and I am extremely confident that we will remain close through university and as we grow older. The amazing thing is that some of these friends are my seniors and juniors and I find it really nice that regardless of age, we’ve managed to get along with each other so well. And it’s not only the students, teachers here are unique. Yes, they know their subject like the back of their hand and then some, but they’re really enjoyable people to be taught by in class and they’re also great people outside of class.
Zenon Foo Head Boy 2013/4
It feels like I have transcended time and space each time I step foot into Shropshire’s top boarding school. From the beautiful scenery of the grounds, to breadth of knowledge I acquire from my expert teachers. I guard my memories here in Concord well. They are so personal and so precious. The 12 hour journey to and fro from home to school gives me a generous window of time of reflection. Sometimes the emotional baggage doesn’t seem worth the frequent long journey; having to pick off where I left with my friends on either side of the world each time. But returning to Concord is always exciting, and worth looking forward to. I love drama and for someone who loves performing, Concord is the place to be. It is more than literally performing in a recital or seasonal concert. Concord demands students to showcase their best in class, practice their intellectual skills and confidence on a daily basis. Students bask in the attention of their teachers and applause is heard in the form of praise and encouragement given by staff and friends. Life couldn’t be more exhilarating.
Tan Qi Jun Head Girl 2013/4