Our students have enjoyed a wonderful Humanities Week, the first ever at HCS. So many activities have been experienced by so many, but here are a few highlights.

The week’s theme was Britain’s place in the World – and what a wonderful week in which to examine that question! Mr Chinnock and Mr Bowyer kicked off events with an assembly on Monday morning, about the week’s trips, lessons and activities, as well as the start of a debate around the theme. Straight afterwards, Year 7 and 8 students enjoyed a thought-provoking session by Terry Milton, who also appeared in a multi-faith activity later in the week. On Monday evening, the nationally renowned philosopher, Simon Blackburn, presented his argument around the role of Philosophy in Education, followed by a question and answer session, with most of the questions asked by Prep and Senior School children.

On Tuesday, children from Stroud and Walhampton joined Year 5 and 6 Prep School pupils for a stimulating set of workshops as part of our PPE Conference, while scholars and Religious Studies students discussed Meta-ethics with Simon Blackburn. Wednesday saw a highly entertaining trip for students in Years 10 to 13 to Parliament, a highlight was visiting both Houses and seeing the Archbishop of Canterbury speak in the Lords. Thursday’s Year 9 trip was also to London, to examine its position as a global centre, visiting Greenwich and the Shard, with some great photos of students enjoying the experience.

Friday was the finale, with a series of workshops delivered by Involver, a social enterprise group to engage young people with politics, for various year groups discussing Brexit, following the Cabinet resignations over the draft deal the day before – how cutting edge is it possible to be this week? Year 7 and 8 watched a fascinating and courteous discussion between Imam Saleem Hussain, Reverend Thomas Wharton and Terry Milton on whether we need to have faith to lead a good life.

Thank you to all the students for their enthusiasm and input and to the fantastic humanities staff who have done so much this week. We look forward to next year’s Humanities Week!

A discourse with Simon Blackburn by Jamie (Year 13)

“Simon was a wonderfully receptive speaker, who whilst dealing with an audience of mixed knowledge and understanding still amicably wanted to spread his message of a philosophical education. From Wittgenstein and language games to asking the fundamentals of ‘Are we really free?’, almost every topic was approached in a manner wholly easy to understand for even the greenest philosopher. Although his stay was short, Simon’s message will not be short in the memory. In such a vigorous and rapidly changing educational landscape, the acceptance of radical methods of teaching should not be shied away from.

“Ultimately, not dissimilar to the introduction of iPads across school, Simon’s underlying want was for students to not just learn in the same routine ways but to challenge, criticise and crucially take every opportunity to ask the important questions in every subject, every day.”

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