We enjoyed welcoming many visitors to Ampleforth this week. Our Year 11 parents were here for their Parents’ weekend, a chance to learn more about their children’s progress in preparation for forthcoming GCSEs. Over thirty children were here for academic and Basil Hume scholarships too, for entry into Year 9 in September. They all had a wonderful time showing their talent and meeting some of the other children who will join them here in September, and we were delighted by the talent and commitment we saw! Finally, children from St Mary’s Melrose and St Hugh’s Lincoln spent the weekend learning the finer points of public speaking from our very own Mr Starkey before competing in the Performing Arts Centre.

 

Ampleforth College Theatre is proud to present The ACT Showcase, a night of cabaret, on Tuesday 19th March at 7pm. The first ACT production to feature a cast of years 6 – 13, the evening will consist of a mixture of sketches, monologues, songs and dance compered by Will Gibson. Seating for the evening will include round tables of 6 seats as well as the normal fixed seating. Please see the seating plans on the Box Office website for details. Tickets are free and can be booked NOW.

 

It was a great pleasure for the U6th to welcome Fergus Macdonald (T82), the first OA to conquer Everest. He delivered a beautiful presentation of his expedition and, in the context of his career in financial risk, used his mountaineering experiences to consider how we evaluate risk in short term and long term decision making.

 

We’re fortunate to live in an area known for a lack of light pollution, so during the recent Dark Skies Festival some of our students headed to nearby Sutton Bank Visitors' Centre, a certified Dark Sky Discovery Site, for an opportunity to view the night sky through a very powerful telescope and to learn more about astronomy.  Of course, after a week of beautiful clear skies, it was very cloudy on their Stargazing evening. However, they were still able to learn about the telescope, handle some 4 billion year-old meteorites, watch a film about the winter sky in the planetarium, and have all of their space-related questions answered.

 

Members of the Sixth Form had the incredible opportunity to hear a lecture given by Professor Richard Swinburne, whose work they study as part of their A Level CT course.  Professor Richard Swinburne is Emeritus Nolloth Professor of the Philosophy of the Christian Religion at the University of Oxford.  Over the last 50 years, he has been an influential proponent of philosophical arguments for the existence of God, and has authored almost 200 academic articles and over 15 books.  In his talk, delivered at York University, Professor Swinburne argued that the most general phenomena of the universe make it probable that there is a God (in the sense of an eternal omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly free, and perfectly good personal creator and sustainer of the universe).  It was an intellectually stimulating evening which the students, several of whom are interested in going on to study Philosophy or Theology at university, will remember for a long time to come.

 

A group of Year 12 students heard Professor Sir John Curtice speak on Britain's electoral future at York University.  The lecture, entitled 'Brexit: a new twist in the debate about electoral reform?' considered the possible reasons for UK governments having decreasing majorities, and hence whether it is time to reform (or completely change) our First Past the Post voting system.  It was a wonderful opportunity for some of our A Level Politics students (who have been studying this exact issue in lessons this week!) to hear from the country's foremost voting expert; Sir John is the man who not only predicted that May would lose her Commons majority in 2017, but was responsible for Lib Dem leader, Paddy Ashdown, eating his 'hat' on live TV after his 2015 exit poll proved correct.  He convinced some of our students to become stronger supporters of the case for reform of FPTP in the UK.

 

Finally, congratulations to our 1st XI football team who have achieved great things so far this term. With four victories over Stonyhurst, Sedbergh, St Peter's, and Barnard Castle, and only two defeats, against Ackworth and Hull Collegiate, the team is proving its mettle. The commitment and hard work shown in every training session, as well as the good atmosphere of companionship created by the boys, are definitely making a difference on the pitch.