In this month of Remembrance, the Scholae of Ampleforth Abbey sang Fauré’s Requiem in a Meditation for All Souls last night.
Over 80 students, ranging from our Year 6 students upwards, were involved. The whole school also gathered for Mass, celebrated by the Prior Administrator, Fr Gabriel Everitt OSB, on 1st November, the Feast of All Saints. If you are in the Abbey over the next few days, you may see the silhouettes of ten ‘ghost soldiers.’  These perspex figures commemorate some of the Old Amplefordians who gave their lives in the Great War. This is part of a national art installation, ‘There but not there,’ which will also raise money for today’s war veterans.  Ampleforth will gather in silence outside Main Hall, around the Field of Remembrance, after 10.00am Mass on Sunday for the annual Service of Remembrance. Visiting families are most welcome to join the school for this, particularly poignant this year as it marks 100 years since Armistice Day.

At Mass on Sunday, 60 of our students were enrolled on to their course of Catechises in preparation for Confirmation in May 2019. They each presented a declaration card expressing their intent to commit fully to the programme and in turn were presented with a small wooden cross by their House Catechists, students in Year 13, to mark the occasion. Please keep them all in your prayers.

You can still book tickets for our annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, on Sunday 9th December in the Abbey Church. Tickets and further details are available here.

Nobody can fail to be impressed by our wonderful library, and an article on it appeared recently in the national press. You can read more here.

Emma Astley Birtwistle in Year 12 returned to school with excellent news – she has been selected to play for the England Rounders Under 21 Squad. Emma has already played for both the Under 14s and Under 16s, and we congratulate her on her latest success.

Year 11 student Joe Mitchell has become the first Ampleforth student to complete an HPQ, the GCSE version of the Extended Project Qualification. The Higher Project Qualification, to give the HPQ its full name, is a standalone qualification, which students can take in addition to their GCSEs. It encourages students to work independently and expand their learning and enthusiasm for a new area of study.  Joe, who hails from north of the border, researched how Scottish identity has been created and decided that ‘a Scot wears a kilt, plays the bagpipes, and eats haggis, in order to gain a Scottish identity, not because he already has one.’ He will hear how he has done by the end of February.

The lunchtime concerts in Main Hall are a popular feature of Ampleforth life, and this week the audience had the opportunity to hear two of our staff, Clarinet and Sax teacher Krzysztof Urbanski and Jazz/Classical piano teacher Martin Longhawn. The programme featured jazz music arranged for duo format.

Booking is now open for this term’s Years 10 to 13 play, ‘The Gut Girls.’ You may well wonder about the plot! In the introduction to her play, Sarah Daniels says: ‘The women of Deptford Foreign Cattle Market are up to their elbows in the guts of animals, working 12 or 13 hours a day preparing meat. They are pilloried, and marginalised, even though they are well-paid. One local well-to-do woman decides that the Christian thing to do would be to teach these women how to act like young ladies, train them up for a life as maid-servants. 'Improve' them. Of course, it doesn't work out that way. Gut Girls contrasts the bloody mess of independence and solidarity with the apparently pristine face of upper-class life.’

The play will be performed on Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th December at 7.00pm in the Upstairs Theatre and you can book your tickets HERE.

On Wednesday the Year 13 students applying for degrees in medicine took part in an MMI workshop (Multi Mini Interview).  There are three broad categories of interview type in medicine: traditional panel (e.g. Imperial, BSMS and Cardiff); multiple mini interviews (e.g. Aberdeen, UEA, Birmingham and Newcastle), and Oxbridge.  Many medical schools are now moving to the MMI format in which candidates rotate around several “stations” for mini interviews of around seven minutes.  Wednesday’s workshop was led by a couple of students from Newcastle University who offered tips and advice on how to answer some of the questions candidates may be asked.  We hope to provide more interview practice in the future and are always keen to hear from parents working in medicine who would be willing to help.  Please do get in touch with the Head of Careers, Amanda Toone (Amanda.Toone@ampleforth.org.uk) if you are interested.