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The dog finally has its day! Live theatre returns to QE

Twice postponed because of Covid-19, the 2021 School Play, an adaptation of the best-selling book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, has finally been performed.

A cast drawn from Year 9 performed the play to their year group classmates in the morning and then again to parents, staff and visitors after school.

Crispin Bonham-Carter, Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement), said: “After all the disappointments surrounding the previous postponements, this was a good day, even though a couple of cast members still had to miss it because they were isolating: it was just fantastic to have live theatre taking place in the School once again, and for boys to have the opportunity to perform to an external audience.

“I pay credit to our resident Theatre Director, Gavin Malloy, for helping the boys construct such an impactful presentation of the story. Hopefully, the success of this production will inspire other pupils to get involved in drama opportunities, such as the free workshops that Mr Malloy runs.”

Based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel, the moving, darkly comic, and ultimately inspiring story centres on the challenges a boy with autism faces in navigating the world. It also explores themes of family breakdown and the mystery of who killed Wellington, the eponymous dog.

The performance captured the full dynamic range of the story, from the chaotic, disorientating noise and bustle of public spaces (with which the protagonist, Christopher Boon, struggles), and the outbursts of anger as the nature of the family breakdown is laid bare, to the intimate and emotional moments as Christopher’s parents try to explain what has been happening.

“All the acting performances were strong, but William Joanes, in the lead role, did a superb job, being on stage for the vast majority of the production. Appropriately for QE, his character gets an A* in A-level Maths before the play is out!” said Mr Bonham-Carter.

“The cast, technical crew and director were also brilliant, with the performance ‘in the round’ really drawing the audience into the heart of the action. The staging was particularly effective and was aided by the great work on the sound and lighting by Old Elizabethan Chris Newton, of School Stage.

“Well done all – it was worth the wait!” Mr Bonham-Carter added.

 

It doesn’t have to be like this: boys find out how they can play their part in fighting global threats to nature and wildlife

In a special lecture assembly, QE’s younger boys learned the shocking truth about the loss of biodiversity and then discovered what they could do to support the natural environment.

Lesley Malpas, Founder and Chief Executive of not-for-profit organisation, Operation Future Hope, not only outlined problems around the world, but also examined environmental depredation close to home, explaining that Britain suffers some of the world’s worst biodiversity loss.

More positively, in keeping with the name of her organisation, she highlighted case studies of successful examples of rewilding, while setting out some suggestions for measures the boys could take locally, again with a particular focus on rewilding.

After the lecture, members of QE’s new Green Council took her on a tour of the site to consider what further steps the School might itself take to build on its current success in supporting nature.

Crispin Bonham-Carter, Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement) said: “I am grateful to Lesley for sharing her expertise and delivering such a motivating assembly: I know the boys were inspired by the concept of rewilding, both at a local level, including here at the School, and more broadly across the UK and the world.

“With next month’s COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow currently in everyone’s mind, we are finding boys throughout the School are highly engaged as we explore environmental issues and look at potential solutions through our enrichment programme and through normal lessons as well.”

Lesley related some stark statistics and shocking stories to convey the gravity of the problem. She stated that:

  • 200 species are lost globally every day
  • Drinks company Pepsico annually uses 457,200t of palm oil, while it provides no evidence that the oil’s production has been achieved without deforestation
  • Britain occupies an unenviable position as the 29th worst-performing country globally (out of 218) in terms of depleted biodiversity
  • Since 1980, 420 million birds have disappeared from the British countryside, together with 75% of invertebrates.

Her positive stories of rewilding included the reintroduction of beavers in Britain, the transformation of what was previously an intensive dairy farm into a wildlife haven that now boasts owls, bats and nightingales in abundance, and the steps taken by a number of schools to improve their sites.

On the tour of QE’s grounds following the assembly, five Green Council members from Year 8 (Zane Shah; Benjamin Newton; Jeevan Karthick Thiyagarajan; Jalal Ud-Din Farooq and Shashank Devaguptapu) showed her around, accompanied by Extra-curricular tutor Stephanie Tomlinson, who runs the School’s Eco-Network, Mr Bonham-Carter and Matthew Rose, Executive Assistant to the Headmaster and Head of Project Support Services.

Lesley explained to the party that in many cases, supporting nature better would be about doing less – allowing hedges to grow out a little, for example – and allowing nature to take its course in locations such as the periphery of fields where space is not being used.

“There seemed to be lots of scope for small initiatives that could have a positive impact and would allow interested students to get actively involved in the School’s stewardship of its grounds,” said Mr Bonham-Carter. “Generally, the site is already supporting nature quite well, she explained, so we are starting this project from a good place. We look forward to receiving her report and understanding further what would be achievable on our campus.”

The School’s new four-year development plan includes a commitment to “exercise good environmental stewardship” and to “instil a sense of responsibility for the environment in the boys”.

As the world turns its eyes to the climate change summit, QE boys play their part in tackling the burning issue of our time

Two of QE’s Sixth Form climate change champions have been invited to take part in next month’s crucial COP26 global summit in Glasgow.

Their invitation to join the London Schools Eco Network (LSEN) delegation follows successful campaigning by the three QE Year 12 eco-ambassadors at an inter-schools conference.

And that event so inspired the trio that they are also helping to organise their own mock summit at QE next month to give the School’s pupils an opportunity to make their voices heard just as world leaders are gathering in Scotland.

The Eco Ambassadors – Toma Gelsinov, Rahul Doshi and Amogh Bhartia – were each tasked with representing another country at the mock COP26 summit hosted by St Paul’s Girls’ School in Hammersmith, which involved QE and 12 other schools.

Technology teacher and and Extra-curricular Enrichment Tutor Stephanie Tomlinson, who leads QE’s Green Council alongside the three sixth-formers, said: “Our Eco Ambassadors were fantastic; they spoke in front of around 50 young people across the LSEN representing their various country delegations on the intricacies of climate change by proposing an ambitious global action plan.

“I was stunned by their powerful and clear performance.”

Teams comprising pupils from different schools acted as country representatives. Rahul and his team represented Saudi Arabia, whilst Toma and Amogh spoke for India. Schools taking part included South Hampstead High School, City of London School for Boys, Harrow School, North London Collegiate School and London Academy for Excellence.

The agenda included opening statements from the country delegations, a debate to encourage more global ambition and, finally, agreement of collaborations for more action.

The evening placed a heavy emphasis on cooperation, collaboration and, most of all, negotiation – all underpinned by an understanding of the urgency of the issues involved.

“Even after meeting the targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement, the average rise in temperature will still be above the target. COP26 in Glasgow is, therefore, a vital world conference,” said Miss Tomlinson.

The inter-schools conference concluded with votes on two questions, as follows:

  1. Is sufficient progress being made on all country emission targets. Delegates voted no unanimously.
  2. Is your country willing to do more even beyond your current targets? This elicited a more mixed response.

QE’s own sustainability ambitions received a fillip last year with the establishment of the QE Eco Network, from which two student ambassadors, Christan Emmanuel and Aadarsh Khimasia, joined the LSEN. Their three successors this year, Toma, Rahul and Amogh, were selected from Year 12 through an application process.

The Green Council, newly formed in 2021, involves representatives from forms in Years 7-10 whose ambition it is to raise awareness and create an action plan for QE to become more sustainable and eco-friendly. Members from Years 7 & 8 are known as Eco Warriors, while those from Years 9 & 10 are Eco Representatives.

“Pupils were selected through an application process by their form tutor – we were thrilled with the sheer quantity of responses. This highlighted how much our pupils care,” added Miss Tomlinson.

“I am thrilled with the response to the Eco Network and establishment of the Green Council. As we look towards the rest of the 2020s, it is ever more important to take action. Our pupils are the driving force for that change.”

While Toma takes up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go to the Glasgow summit (with Rahul participating within the home-based team), the Green Council is preparing for QE’s mock summit, which will involve Years 7-10.

Preventing tragedy: learning the lessons of Romeo and Juliet

Year 11 boys had the chance to see one of their GCSE English Literature texts brought to life when they went to The Globe Theatre to watch an “exceptional production” of Romeo and Juliet.

During the visit – QE’s first live theatre visit since before the pandemic – all of Year 11 experienced a radical take on Shakespeare’s tragic tale of two young Italian ‘star-crossed lovers’ that eschewed romance in favour of an unsparing focus on mental health.

English teacher Micah King said: “I’m so glad our students got to enjoy live theatre after two years of disruption. They were able to experience an exceptional production of one of their GCSE texts, in a reproduction of the theatre it was originally performed in.

“Magic happened there: the students were simultaneously transported to Elizabethan era Verona, while the exceptional cast brought a 400-year-old play to life and made its themes modern and relevant to our 21st Century students.”

The performance, directed by the critically acclaimed young British theatre director, Ola Ince, explored the impact of emotional abuse and family feuds on the wellbeing of the eponymous lovers.

One notable addition to the Elizabethan-style architecture of the Globe Theatre was an electronic billboard at the back of the stage, displaying messages such as ‘20% of teenagers experience depression before they reach adulthood’ when Romeo is introduced ‘with [his] tears augmenting the fresh morning dew’, and “The rational part of the young person’s brain is not really developed until age 25”, displayed as Friar Lawrence marries Romeo and Juliet in secret.

Throughout the play, the boys stood in the theatre yard, or pit – the area which in Elizabethan times was the cheapest part of the theatre, with no seats provided. “This meant that sometimes the actors were moving between groups of students as they performed,” said Mr King.

The production, which stars Alfred Enoch as Romeo (best known for playing Dean Thomas in the Harry Potter film series and Wes Gibbins on the ABC legal drama television series How to Get Away with Murder) and National Youth Theatre-trained Rebekah Murrell, features modern sets and costume.

The Guardian’s reviewer, Arifa Akbar, who gave it four stars out of five, wrote: “…the love story is radically undercut and Ola Ince’s production is recalibrated to focus on Verona’s pervading social sickness and gang violence (there are not only knives but drugs and guns) as well as youth disillusionment and trauma.” She also praised the band as “the runaway highlight of this production”.

For his part, TimeOut’s Andrzej Lukowski’s said: “…I thought the billboard was an interesting idea in a mercurial show that often manages to be frustratingly dysfunctional and giddily fun at the exact same time….Essentially Ince’s desire to offer up two hours of hard-hitting social realism and two hours of wild escapist fantasy at the same time is not entirely reconcilable. Kitchen sink regietheatre* isn’t really a thing. But just because it doesn’t always ‘work’ doesn’t mean it’s not good: I loved the wild, irreverent roar of the ball [the scene in which Romeo first sees Juliet]; equally, I think Ince is on to something in choosing to earnestly highlight the number of references to suicide in the play – it seems quite reasonable to interpret the star-cross’d lovers as being depressed.”

* Definitions: Kitchen sink realism, which developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s, featured a type of social realism showing the harsh domestic lives of working-class British people. Regietheatre is the modern practice of allowing a director to determine how a play is put on, so that he or she need not adhere to the playwright’s specific intentions or stage directions.

Cashing in: essay on the future of money wins national journalism prize

Mukund Soni (starting Year 12) took first prize in the national Young Financial Journalist Competition with his impressive analysis of the decline of cash.

His carefully researched essay beat hundreds of other entries to take the top place in the 14-15 age group, drawing fulsome plaudits from the judges.

Mukund won £150 for himself as well as ten free places for QE pupils on the London Institute of Banking & Finance’s Lessons in Financial Education programme. The competition was run by the LIBF in collaboration with the Financial Times.

In his appraisal, FT columnist and TV mathematics expert Bobby Seagull wrote: “Excellent article! With a clear, nuanced view about how society might transition to cashless and a judicious use of data to back up key points! Sometimes, younger writers try to convince readers through an over reliance on stats, but this didn’t do that.”

His fellow judge, Claer Barrett, an award-winning journalist who has been the Editor of FT Money since 2015 and Consumer Editor at the FT, was equally impressed: “A fantastically well-researched piece on the decline of cash, which drew on international examples – and some from ancient history – to hammer the main points home.

“Highlighting the increased costs that small businesses face from using card payment and contactless machines instead of cash was particularly insightful. As well as what happens with digital payments if your phone runs out of battery!”

An abridged version of Mukund’s 830-word essay was published in the FT and he appeared in a LIBF podcast with his Economics teacher, Gus Ornelas.

Mukund, who this month was awarded a level 9 grade in his Economics GCSE, as well as eight other grade 9s and one grade 8, explained how he had benefited from taking part in the competition: “It was interesting to look at the topic in more detail, and I gained a much greater understanding of the benefits of a cashless society. I also think some of my other skills – like researching, finding good sources, referencing them and writing an extended piece – they increased quite a lot!”

Congratulating him, Dr Ornelas said: “This was a skilfully executed piece of writing in which Mukund not only investigated the reasons for the decreasing use of cash, but also highlighted the considerable problems that a cashless society presents.”

Meet the innovators: QE pupils excel in technology competitions

No fewer than nine teams took part in the robotics world finals as the Technology department recorded achievement after achievement in a Summer Term to remember.

Building on QE’s strong international reputation in robotics established over the past five years, four senior and five junior teams qualified for the global VEX finals, which are usually held in the US but this year were run online because of the pandemic. Teams also took the opportunity to compete in offline, in-person events locally, including one hosted by QE.

In addition to the VEX robotics triumphs, the term was punctuated by regular news of successes in national Technology-related competitions.

Head of Technology Michael Noonan said: “I commend all our boys on the way they have maintained their enthusiasm during some difficult few months and on their commitment to getting involved in competitions and activities outside of lessons. That commitment has been richly rewarded.”

The four senior robotics teams all went through to the divisional knockout stages in the VEX World Championships and one of them – Hyperdrive – won an Amaze award for their division. “All four teams – Hybrid, Hyperdrive, Override and Tempest – were very unlucky to lose out to eventual champions and division finalists,” said Mr Noonan.

The same four teams took part in an VEX EDR Showcase hosted by Merchant Taylors’ School, which attracted teams from as far afield as Coventry and Stevenage. Hybrid, Hyperdrive and Override took the event’s Division 1 Design, Innovate and Think awards respectively. Tempest and Hyperdrive reached the overall final, narrowly losing to the eventual champions. In the skills category, the four QE teams took second, third, fourth and fifth places.

For the younger boys, the five qualifying VEX IQ teams (Gearsquad, TechFusion, Superdrive, Overdrive and Cyberstorm) relished competing with teams from across the world at their international finals, said Mr Noonan.

At a VEX IQ Showcase held at QE, Gearsquad not only won the Teamwork award – jointly with GCA Gearers, a team from Greig City Academy in Haringey – but also took the Excellence award, as a result of which they have already qualified for next year’s world championships.

In addition to the Lord Mayor of London’s prize won recently by 2021 leaver Ukendar Vadivel for his 3D printing work to produce face shields for the NHS during last year’s lockdown, Nirmay Jadhav, of Year 13, also drew plaudits for his innovative effort to improve 3D printing itself. Nirmay was national runner-up in the Manufacturing Technologies Association’s Technology, Design and Innovation Challenge, with his design for a dehydration chamber to combat excess moisture in 3D printing, one of the common problems with this popular modern technology. The School is using the £750 he won to upgrade its CAD/CAM equipment.

Devia Karia, of then of Year 13, pictured above, was one of ten finalists in the prestigious Triumph Design Awards with his Airtime device. “He was very unfortunate not to win with his fantastic solution to air cleanliness in the pandemic,” said Mr Noonan.

The pairing of Dhruv Syam and Ashwin Sridhar (now Year 12) – Team Salutem Validus – reached the final of the Amazon Longitude Prize Explorer competition with DevSalutem, their AI-powered wellbeing assistant with a companion app.

The competition challenged young people aged 11–16 to design, develop and build ‘tech for good’ prototypes to solve the big challenges of our time. Dhruv and Ashwin’s entry, DevSalutem, aims to enhance users’ mental and physical health by detecting symptoms, monitoring movement, providing suggested workouts or other activities, and supplying specifically tailored feedback.

Eight boys are participating in the international COVID-19 Engineering Design Challenge and are due to feature in the autumn edition of the Design & Technology Association’s magazine.

Out of the ordinary

Boys from Years 7–10 relished the opportunities offered to them during Enrichment Week 2021, when all four year groups were given a day off from their normal lesson timetables.

From the cerebral and scientific challenge of cryptography to the literary, emotional and rhetorical attractions of Shakespeare, the week featured a very diverse range of activities designed to be both stimulating and fun.

For Year 10, the brief was to work in groups to design and construct ‘wearable architecture’, using 6mm paper tubes.

Assistant Head (Pupil Progress) Sarah Westcott said: “The boys were asked to give consideration to form and structure. Many of the groups demonstrated good team-working skills, with some of them even managing to include moving parts.”

Year 10 were also involved in drama workshops that included performances of a heavily abridged version of Romeo and Juliet.

Year 7 enjoyed the chance to apply a little lateral thinking in an RAF cyber security challenge.  This STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) activity involved tackling a series of cryptography and coding tasks and helping a company retrieve its stolen data from cyber criminals. Working in teams of six, the boys competed against each other and against the clock, battling to be the first to unlock the stolen data.

The task helped inform them about ‘phishing’ and other techniques used by criminals to compromise their targets’ data.

Originally the day was to be led in person by RAF personnel, but because of Covid restrictions, the School managed it virtually, starting the day with a live stream through YouTube in which the boys were given an outline of their tasks and an overview of the importance of cyber security. Funded by the RAF, the event was run in collaboration with the Smallpeice Trust, an educational charity promoting careers in science and engineering to young people.

“We wanted to raise awareness of digital careers, whilst developing students’ problem-solving and research skills,” said Dr Westcott. “Students found it challenging to work to time and benefitted from the need to think creatively to solve problems whilst coordinating their team’s efforts.

“The event was intended to give an insight into the types of skills required for careers in cyber-forensics. The boys discovered that it isn’t all about coding – you must be a collaborative member of a team and keep a cool head under time pressure, too.”

In addition, Year 7 flexed their vocal cords in a singing workshop, while Years 8 and 9 took to the countryside on their respective sponsored walks.

 

 

Young Enterprise team wins award for their eco product

QE’s Young Enterprise team won an Innovation Award after impressing judges at a trade fair with their eco-friendly phone cases.

Adjudicators at the Young Enterprise Trade Fair at Old Spitalfields Market praised the InDex Young Enterprise company for their creative approach and for the salesmanship they showed there.

The Year 10 team also won plaudits from an Old Elizabethan attending the fair. Ninety-two year-old Elliot Page spoke highly of the phone cases, commenting specifically on the quality of the fit.

QE’s YE Co-ordinator, Academic Enrichment Tutor Alex Czirok-Carman, said: “The boys have worked very hard on this project and, despite the interruptions inevitably caused by the pandemic over the year, they have produced an excellent product and, most impressively, have grown as a team. The judges’ comments show how successful they have been.”

The judges were from Mastercard UK, the London Stock Exchange Group and bandwidth infrastructure provider euNetworks.

At the fair, the team sold their phone cases to the general public as well as answering questions from the judges about their product. The cases are biodegradable and have sustainable packaging.

In addition to these initial products, the boys have also been researching and designing cases with attachments to make them more user-friendly for people with difficulties in gripping. These are not yet on sale, although work on the production process for them is under way. The team’s InDex name is derived from ‘Inclusive Dexterity’.

“Our team impressed the judges massively,” said Mr Czirok-Carman. “They were extremely active – and very successful – in finding sales, and the judges therefore commented both on the creativity of the product and on their excellent sales techniques.

“The fair gave the team the chance to see a different side of business, and they learnt a great deal about how to interact with customers,” said Mr Czirok-Carman. “It was a great chance to learn about how to effectively run a business. The boys spent time interacting with teams from other schools who were there and swapped some of their products.

“This was a great way to round off an interrupted, but productive year for the YE team, who plan to continue to sell their products.”

The boys who attended the fair were: Kyan Bakhda; Abhinay Kannan; Ugan Pretheshan; Anban Senthilprabu; Sai Sivakumar and Varun Srirambhatla.

Let the playing commence!

Scores of the School’s young musicians battle it out today in a competitive Pianoathon Challenge being held to raise money to buy pianos for the new Music School.

Each of the School’s Houses has been challenged to provide an hour of sound, with small teams of musicians and soloists playing for up to three minutes each: the result should be six hours of non-stop music in the Main School Hall.

The event has been arranged as one of the special events taking place to celebrate tomorrow’s Founder’s Day.

Director of Music Ruth Partington said: “This is part of our last big push to ensure that our brilliant new Music School is equipped to the highest standards when it opens in the autumn. Thanks to the generosity of the School’s Foundation Trustees, we have already secured the purchase of a superb grand piano for our new recital hall, but that still leaves seven new practice rooms all needing a high-quality piano – and that is what we are raising money for today.

“If you haven’t already donated, please give now, sponsoring your House, or your son’s House, via our dedicated eQE Pianoathon page. This is a real first for QE and promises to be a thrilling event: let the playing commence!”

Parents and friends can watch the musical action unfold live in a special YouTube broadcast (above), which can also be viewed on the eQE page and via the Music department’s YouTube page.

Each House has entered small teams comprising up to five musicians – including at least one pianist – to play music of their choice. There is a visiting guest adjudicator, Mr Huw Jones, Director of Music at The John Lyon School in Harrow, who will be helping to pick the winners in the various categories, which cover team and solo performances (both for each year group and overall), also including a prize for the Best House Overall. Houses that raise large amounts of money will also have the opportunity to have one of the new pianos named after them.

Today’s musical menu chosen by the boys includes a rich range of genres and styles, and features instruments ranging from violins to electric guitars, and from oboes to tablas. Here is a small selection of the repertoire to be heard, House by House:

  • Broughton: Canon in D, Pachelbel; Étude op 10 no. 12 ‘Revolutionary’, Chopin; Peppa Pig theme
  • Harrisons’: Es war einmal, Grieg; Downton Abbey theme, John Lunn; Samba Nights, Proudler
  • Leicester: Attack on Titan Opening Theme 1, Sawato; Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence, arr. Sakamoto; I See Fire, Ed Sheeran
  • Pearce: Sonatina in C major, Kuhlau; Opening Night Jazz, Martha Mier; Sonata No. 3, Prokofiev
  • Stapylton: Romanze Op. 28, Schumann; Sonatina Movement 1, Dušek; Toccata in G minor
  • Underne: Pink Lady, Pam Wedgwood; Prelude in C-sharp minor, Rachmaninoff; Your Song, Elton John.

The £3.5m-plus Music School, which is currently in the final stages of construction, received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid, which consisted of a £1.2m grant and £1m loan.

Like all major improvements at the School over the past two decades, the project is relying on the generous financial support of the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s and other benefactors. Pride of place in the building will go to the Yamaha CF6 grand piano in the recital hall, which was chosen by the Music Department after a week-long audition process. Valued at just under £75,000, it is being paid for by the School’s Foundation Trustees.

For those without an eQE account, donations can be made to each House’s total by clicking on the relevant name: Broughton; Harrisons’; Leicester; Pearce; Stapylton; and Underne.

 

Our rich heritage open to all: proudly presenting QE Collections

Eighty-nine people joined a special Zoom event held to present QE Collections – Queen Elizabeth’s School’s new fully digitised online set of archives relating to the School and the Barnet area.

Guests at the public evening ‘town hall’ event, including Old Elizabethans and others with an interest in local history, were given a virtual guided tour and shown how to get the best out of the extensive high-quality online assets spanning more than four centuries.

Headmaster Neil Enright and QE’s Curator of Collections Surya Bowyer (OE 2007–2014) explained that the School held a variety of historic material and was keen to make it accessible to everyone. QE Collections is therefore offered online free-of-charge for all to enjoy.

In his address to the guests, Mr Enright pointed out that QE has been part of the Barnet community ever since its foundation by royal charter in 1573. “QE Collections therefore includes three different sorts of histories, nevertheless intertwined. These are the history of the School itself; the history of the local area, as viewed through the lens of the School; and the shared social histories that connect us.

“I am very excited that we are now able to share QE Collections with a wider audience.”

He paid tribute to the key role played by the late Richard Newton (OE 1956–1964), who promoted digitising the School’s archives and making them freely available to all, and also provided generous funding.

“It is certain that without his support, we would not have been able to launch this project – one that will be part of his legacy to the Elizabethan community,” Mr Enright said.

Mr Bowyer, who has played a central role in developing the platform and curating the material uploaded so far, pointed the guests towards a number of current highlights of QE Collections:

“We are constantly putting new material online, so the highlights would be different if I did this event in a few months’ time, or even next month,” Mr Bowyer added.

The event included tips and tricks for getting the best out of QE Collections, together with an explanation of how the various collections are organised, with ‘access points’ provided for the digitised objects – for example: People & Organisations; Subjects; Places.

All printed text in digitised objects is almost invariably fully searchable. Anyone wishing to search for a full name or phrase should put it in double speech marks in the search box, Mr Bowyer said.

Work continues on making archival material online. “Among several exciting projects that are currently mid-digitisation are the QE Governors’ minute books going all the way back to the earliest we have in 1587. The first is available now, with more coming soon.

“There is also our 20th Century History Project, which recreates life at the School during the last century through photographs, written records and ephemera. Lots of material from the 1940s to 1980s is already available and, again, more is coming soon.”

QE Collections was given a ‘soft launch’ three months ago. Since then, there have been more than 1,300 users from over 35 countries, with the Group Photographs and Everyday Life (Photographs) collections proving the most popular so far.

QE Collections uses professional digitisers to ensure its digitised files are of very high quality and has employed an industry-standard digital preservation system to ensure long-term availability for these digitised files, Mr Bowyer said, adding that while digital files are excellent for improving access, they are harder to preserve than physical objects, as digital storage media can become obsolete and data can become corrupted.

“All this work takes a lot of time and costs a lot of money. If you like the work we are doing and are in a position where you can consider supporting this work, please consider contributing to our Digital Fund, which supports QE Collections.”