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Themed Seminars Bridge The Curriculum

Thursday, 29 October 2015

During the Autumn term, Girls’ Division pupils in Years 10 to 13 have been enjoying a series of exciting cross-curricular seminars for the third year running. Girls are invited to the lunchtime lectures, which are delivered by teachers from a number of departments on a specific theme.

This year, the theme is politics, and the seminar series began with Mrs Hone introducing Athenian Direct Democracy. Boys’ Division pupils were invited along for this session, and an Athenian style debate was held between Alex Hopkinson and Jarlath Skelly, and following their speeches a vote in jars with pebbles was taken. Mrs Hone also used this voting system to explain the term ‘psephology’.

Mr Owen gave a talk on more modern democracy, moving through British history from the ‘Witan’ meetings where the ruling class would agree to the Anglo-Saxon kings’ laws, through the signing of two version of the Magna Carta in 1215 and 1225, the rebalancing of power between the monarch and the parliament in the 17th Century, and in the 1800s the union of the Great Britain and Ireland, the expansion of the colonies, and the history of suffragists and suffragettes.

The seminar continued with a fascinating talk on political art from Miss Fazackerley, who discussed various types of propaganda through history and its effect and purpose.

At the end of the seminar series, the girls who attended will be taken on a cross-curricular trip.

In its first year, the cross-curricular seminars traced classical influence in art and literature. There were talks on Greek, Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite Art from Mr Challinor, Mrs Hone and Ms Fisher, while Mrs Worthington gave a talk on Classical influence in Shakespeare. The series was well attended and finished with a visit to the Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight.

Last year, in honour of the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, the theme of the seminars was war. Mrs Hone gave a whole school assembly on four young men from the local area who died in the conflict, including brothers Ernest and Edward Blackburn, both Old Boys, who were killed on the same day in the Battle of the Somme. This was followed by seminars on war in the ancient world led by Mr Challinor, developing technology in war by Mr Midwinter, First World War Art from Mrs Hone, and First World War poetry from Mrs Thornborough. The second series ended with a trip to the Manchester Art Gallery, where there was a special World War Art exhibition. The girls had the opportunity to read some literature before the appropriate paintings, for example Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace in front of ‘Marshal Ney Supporting the Rear Guard during the Retreat from Moscow’ by Adolphe Yvon.

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Mr Owen talking to girls about the Peterloo Massacre, which took place in Manchester in 1819

Mr Owen talking to girls about the Peterloo Massacre, which took place in Manchester in 1819