The Perse School

Pupils celebrate the School’s 400th anniversary in style

2 Oct 2015

On 30 September, pupils from across the Pelican, Prep and Upper celebrated the launch of the School’s 400th anniversary year, with a host of exciting activities. Lessons and activities took on a distinctly 400th anniversary feel, with many lessons exploring the past 400 years of history or creating something related to the number 400.

Pupils arriving for school at the Pelican took a step back in time to 1615 (the year of the foundation of The Perse) for a day of special activities. In keeping with food from the Stuart era, the children enjoyed traditional gingerbread men at break-time. Playtime included traditional hoop and skipping games, and pupils also participated in an interactive workshop with company ‘School History Workshops’ where they learnt to chant Latin verbs and mental arithmetic. In addition they worked together to perform a dance from the period and heard about the many exciting developments in the field of astronomy at the time.

Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, the grounds of the Prep were transformed into a special fete, where pupils could enjoy a range of 400th anniversary related stalls (from face painting to model car racing, welly wanging to a ‘400 penalties’ football challenge), whilst sporting their own clothes – in the original school colours of red, white, black and purple of course! After the fete, the Prep’s new science garden was unveiled to pupils, parents and staff. More information about the science garden can be found here.

At the Upper, the Classics Department was a hive of activity, with Year 10 Latinists translating the School’s history into Latin, Year 10 and 11 ancient historians investigating the history of the School and Year 7 investigating classicist and former Perse headmaster WHD Rouse. The staff even donned their traditional gowns in keeping with lessons from 1615. In geography, students delimited 1615 Cambridge onto 2015 OS maps, whilst Sixth Form mathematicians took part in the fiendishly difficult 400th anniversary maths challenge, which required staff and students to make each of the integers 1-400, using only the numbers 1, 6, 1 and 5 (i.e. 1615).

In physics, students got to grips with Kepler’s Laws of planetary motion from 1609, and in technology, lessons focused on Old Persean Sir Arthur Marshall whose company designed and built the famous droop nose of the Concorde. Pupils created their very own ‘Perse Rose’ by performing a genetic experiment, and created furry 400s by growing micro-organismsape of a 400. Chemists were busy in the lab manufacturing soap for a 400 creation.

Senior Debating Society joined forces with F.R. Leavis Society to debate the motion ‘This House believes F.R. Leavis is the greatest Old Persean’. Leavis was also the focus of lessons throughout the day, exploring his concept of the Great Tradition. Even the Sports Department got in on the action, leaning to play fives and ‘hoop trundle’! They also looked at notable sporting successes over the past 400 years. In art, students enjoyed a workshop with The Bigger Picture on the art of 1615

Students created an archive of recordings of Perse languages during their language lessons, as well as studying famous faces from the past 400 years. In history, students investigated key historical events from the past 400 years, whilst politics students compared the parliaments of 1615 and 2015. RS and Philosophy students debated why Dr Perse left his money to set up a school, and our economists studied the history of economic thought. Pupils created beautiful pixel art for a special 400 creation and psychologists looked at historical studies in psychology. In PSHE pupils compared Perse values with British values and Perse musicians enjoyed a Spike Hughes immersion.

Rounding off a successful and fun day of activities, pupils from the Pelican, Prep and Upper came together for the premiere of the special 400th anniversary production of Around The Perse in 400 Years, after a fantastic preview in the morning’s assembly. Students from across the three schools helped devise scenes for the play, bringing to life the varied and fascinating past of the School.


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