The Perse School


Excellent education extends beyond the school gates


Included in our values is a commitment to seeking and sharing inspiration and expertise in the wider community.

Community service at The Perse begins in the classroom but extends far beyond it. Pupils, teachers and other staff at the School are constantly building mutually beneficial relationships in the local community and further afield, whether through our local outreach programme or our membership of the international Strategic Alliance of Global Educators.

Strategic Alliance of Global Educators (SAGE)

With globalisation and advancement in technology, schools need to reach out across the globe to create a 21st century learning environment – one that enables students to work together in teams, acquire knowledge and form global connections through networks and virtual communities.

SAGE was formed in 2012 by Nanyang Girls’ High School in Singapore to unite leading schools from around the world with the aim of bringing educators together to share pedagogical ideas, resources and best practices and to create opportunities for students to make links. Founding members include Menlo School, California; High School Affiliated to Peking University, Beijing; and The Perse School, Cambridge (for a full list of founding members please see the SAGE website).

Regular conferences allow for the sharing of ideas, including an iSummit in Beijing in 2014 where the role of education was explored from a variety of cultural, practical and pedagogical perspectives. The Alliance has hosted a number of pupil exchanges, and Perse pupils work remotely with their counterparts overseas on joint projects.

The Perse hosted the biennial SAGE strategic conference in 2016. Find out more about SAGE.

Christel House Schools

Since 2011, The Perse has supported Christel House Schools, a charity that transforms impoverished children’s lives through schools serving some of the most deprived communities of the world.

The charity was set up in 1998 by businesswoman, community leader and philanthropist Christel DeHaan with the support of Dr Ron Haylock (Old Persean 1944-2013), who became its vice chairman. Perse support for the Foundation takes a number of forms, from sending Perse teachers and students to a Christel House school to share expertise and experiences, and raising funds through charitable activities, to participating in joint educational projects. This collaboration is hugely rewarding and inspiring for staff and pupils of both organisations.

We are currently raising funds to fit projectors into every one of the approximately 30 classrooms in Christel House in Bangalore, India.  Seven projectors have been added so far and we hope to make further progress this year with the support of students and parents.  A committed club of Perse students work to raise funds and develop our relationship with Christel House Schools further.  Their latest chronicle update is here.

Read Director of Teacher Induction Deborah Vernon Purvis’ account of her time at Christel House in Bangalore.

Working with local primary schools

We believe that we have a responsibility to play a full part in the life of the local community, and that such active participation is of equal benefit to us and to our partners. Through these links our pupils learn the importance of selfless service, develop a sense of social responsibility and acquire interpersonal skills.

Each fortnight Perse staff and students can be found working with teachers and pupils in one of 17 local primary schools with which we have a partnership. Each primary school specifies the kind of support they would like – from one-to-one maths sessions to stretch their brightest young mathematicians and coding workshops, to helping children for whom English is a second language, teaching French or running a Latin club.

We run a mentoring programme with Colville and King’s Hedges primary schools, the Fitzwilliam Museum and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The aim of the eight-week course is to raise primary pupils’ aspirations, develop skills and enhance their confidence. Created with art history education organisation The Bigger Picture, the programme uses history and art history to spark pupils’ curiosity, with sessions also hosted by King’s College and Gonville and Caius College. Working closely with Education Officers at the museums, Perse students run fun workshops with the Year 5 and 6 pupils, using masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s Laocoon to encourage pupils to think and speak analytically. The year’s sessions culminated in the primary school pupils producing a presentation and delivering it to their peers in an assembly at their school, alongside their Perse student mentors.

A Science Mentoring programme with Fen Ditton Primary and Shirley Community Primary is run along similar lines, but with a focus on giving primary school pupils lab work across the science disciplines.

Stretching secondary school students

We support Isaac Physics, a Department for Education project at the University of Cambridge designed to offer support and activities in physics problem-solving to teachers and students, and have hosted workshops for Sixth Form students from across the East of England region, on topics including problem-solving in physics using exponentials.  We work with many local organisations, for example hosting the Cambridge and District Classical Association’s Latin play Festival ‘Ludi Scaenici’ and the Cambridge Competitive Music Festival.

Connecting with the older generation

Perse sixth formers run a six week course for older people wanting to learn how to use the latest technology, from Skype to online shopping. One group works with Dementia Compass to run an intergenerational choir including community members with dementia and their families.

Community lecture series

As part of our 400th anniversary celebrations, we held an incredibly popular community lecture series, which enabled us to open our doors to the local community and share with them our passion for intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning. Building on the legacy of our anniversary, we have continued to hold termly community lectures delivered by a variety of high-profile speakers, including Professor Alice Roberts, Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger DBE and Terry Waite CBE.

In March 2018 we announced a three year partnership with The Cambridge Building Society, which will allow us to grow this aspect of our outreach work and reach a wider audience. You can find more information about our upcoming lectures here.

Advising the teaching community

Many of our teachers work closely with awarding bodies and sector organisations to provide a practitioner’s perspective. We believe that the benefits go both ways: the organisation we support gains the expertise of those at the cutting edge of education, while we are able to influence the development of the qualifications, curricula and subject initiatives that we will be delivering in school.

Among the roles our teachers have taken are Syndic at Cambridge Assessment (Head Ed Elliott); administrator of the International Psychology Community Discussion Group (Head of Psychology David Clarke); consultant for the Shakespeare Association (Director of English and Drama Christopher Green); member of UEA’s Pre-University skill steering committee (Head of Biology Dr Cheryl Buchanan); Secretary of the British Mathematical Olympiad Subtrust (Second in Mathematics Department) Dr Vesna Kadelburg; Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of French at University of Cambridge (MFL teacher Dr Rebecca Mitchell) and representative on the Cambridgeshire player pathway board for cricket (PE teacher/Assistant Head of Hockey Ravi Mahendra).

Raising money for good causes

In 2016/2017 the Upper raised £43,601.07 for numerous charities. The biggest fundraising events are listed below but every year group takes part in a charity initiative each year and so all pupils at the Upper have participated in fundraising.

  • Year 11 raised a fantastic £11,218 for Cancer Research UK in the Relay for life which is an amazing 24 hour relay event which symbolises the fact that ‘cancer never sleeps’.
  • Year 9 raised over £8000 and met with Emmaus companions in their sponsored sleep at school out for the homeless charity Emmaus.
  • Year 10 completed the 5km Color run in June and raised over £3000 for the a hostel rebuild at Him Ganga Secondary school in Nepal.
  • The Sixth Form Charities Committee held events such as the cabaret, the bake off and the quiz night, raising over £2500 for Syria Relief and the Perse bursaries.
  • Stalls at the Christmas Fair, the Unicorns BBQ at the beginning of the year, the Lion’s sweet sale, the Yales paperclip challenge and the Dragons recent BBQ have managed to raise enough money to buy four projectors for classrooms in our charity partner school Christel House Bangalore.
  • We sent 276 Christmas shoeboxes to Romania, £1500 was raised for Power to Inspire at the Hockey dinner, the music department collections have raised over £2000 for ACT and PES’ auction of promises and fireworks raised £2000 for their Moroccan Build.




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