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Ready to take on the world!

QE boys are now counting down to the VEX Robotics World Championships after three of the School’s teams qualified for the trip to Texas.

Teams Gearsquad, Constellation and CircuitBreakers will be heading for the States at the end of this month, having maintained strong performances at the national championships in Telford.

Head of Technology Michael Noonan lauded their achievement, pointing out that the three teams had qualified even though the number of places on offer to UK teams has been halved this year. And he singled out the Year 8 CircuitBreakers team (pictured top) for a special mention: “Their success is all the more remarkable, given they are in their first season.”

The teams, all from the IQ age category (Years 8–9), will travel to the VIQRC world championships, which run from 1st–3rd May in The Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, Dallas. They will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of previous QE boys who have achieved success on this international stage, including the 2018 team named VEX IQ World Champions after winning the overall Excellence Award.

The three 2024 qualifiers sealed their qualification at the recent UK national championships, in which all 11 QE robotics teams took part.

In the VRC (Years 10 & 12) age group, Override was a divisional top-ranked team, while fellow Year 12 team Hybrid was a divisional finalist.

Among the younger boys, Gearsquad and CircuitBreakers returned from Telford with a trio of awards apiece, while there were single awards for Hybrix and Constellation. The accolades included: Teamwork Champion and Innovate awards for Gearsquad; Robot Skills Champion and Amaze awards for CircuitBreakers; a Think Award for Hybrix; and a Build Award for Constellation.

Earlier in the Spring Term, both Year 12 teams travelled to Calgary, Canada, for a competition involving 132 teams. (This was arranged because QE sixth-formers cannot be considered for the world championships owing to their Summer Term public examination commitments). Their fellow competitors came mostly from across North America and included former world and national champions.

“QE performed well, ranking 25th and 26th in their divisions of 60-plus teams and both successfully being selected at Alliance Selection, being unfortunate to be knocked out at the round of 16, “said Mr Noonan. “Students loved the experience, despite the cold temperatures, particularly commenting on the beauty of Calgary.”

Last term, QE was also the host for a regional robotics challenge – the VIQRC Full Volume QE Battle for Barnet – where Gearsquad were among the winners.

Finding solutions and soaking up the atmosphere at water-themed national chemistry competition final

Four QE scientists headed to Scotland for the national final of a Royal Society of Chemistry competition.

After successfully battling through the regional heats of the long-running Top of the Bench competition, the team took on competitors from around the country at Edinburgh Napier University.

The weekend included not only the competition rounds themselves – a written test and a laboratory-based practical – but also a lecture, a prizegiving ceremony and an address from the RSC President, Professor Gill Reid.

QE’s Head of Chemistry Amy Irvine said: “Our students worked brilliantly together as a team and impressed with their fantastic chemistry knowledge and skills.

“It was a closely fought competition with little to separate the teams, and although they were not named among the eventual winners, getting to the final was itself a huge achievement.

“Moreover, they had a great time sampling university life in the labs and lecture theatres.”

The team comprised Year 11’s Zayn Phoplankar; Vu-lam Le-Nguyen, of Year 10; and Aarush Choudhary and Rishan Virmani, both of Year 9.

They reached the national final after scoring 66 points out of a maximum possible 72 in the Chilterns and Middlesex round of the competition during the autumn.

The four travelled by train to the national final. After the four-and-a-half journey from King’s Cross to the Scottish capital on the East Coast Main Line, they spent Friday evening exploring and relaxing prior to the start of the competition the next day.

“They were excited to see the beautiful Edinburgh old town,” said Dr Irvine. “They then headed back to the hotel, just off the Royal Mile, after a much-needed Nando’s!”

Water was the theme of this year’s Top of the Bench – a competition open to all UK secondary schools that has been running for more than 20 years.

On the Saturday morning, the students completed a written paper with questions that covered areas ranging from separating techniques to neutralisation.

The afternoon brought a team practical assessment. “They had a chance to show their separating technique and have a go at a redox titration – normally an A-level topic!” Dr Irvine added.

The keynote lecture on Chemical engineering to produce clean drinking water came before the competitors heard from Professor Reid.

 

 

Rewarding sustainable start-ups and inspiring future business founders at QE’s entrepreneurship festival

Hundreds of sixth-formers were involved in a two-day entrepreneurship festival hosted by QE that featured a pitching competition where real money was offered to real entrepreneurs.

As well as a workshop and presentations, the festival incorporated the final of the quarterly Startup Competition run by LSE Generate – the London School of Economics and Political Science’s entrepreneurial hub. This included a Dragon’s Den-style pitching competition.

Year 12 pupils from QE were joined by counterparts visiting from North London Collegiate School. QE frequently collaborates with NLCS as part of an academic partnership between the two schools.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was an inspiring couple of days! Hosting the event provided a brilliant way of celebrating innovation and leadership among entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, giving our boys an insight into the worlds of business and seed-funding.

“The workshop got the students working together to think about how they can empower themselves and others to solve the problems they see in society.”

The workshop was run by entrepreneur Nikita Khandwala and the LSE Generate team. Nikita, who read Spanish and Linguistics at the University of Oxford, is a freelance writer and consultant, who is also Head of Partnerships for the London Interdisciplinary School.

Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement) Crispin Bonham-Carter outlined some of the highlights of the festival and the numbers involved.

  • “Sixty Year 12 students from the two schools workshopped key entrepreneurial skills, guided by the wonderful Nikita Khandwala;
  • Six real-life start-up founders gave an inspiring after-school presentation;
  • Over 200 boys watched the pitching competition itself;
  • Another 50 boys took part in an impromptu Q&A with the entrepreneurs during the judges’ deliberations.”

Several start-ups were allocated funding, with the top prize of £6,000 going to Haja Isatu Bah, who runs Uman4Uman, a social enterprise that focuses on the issue of period poverty in Africa, providing young girls in Sierra Leone with reusable, sustainable sanitary pads.

Haja said afterwards: “It was an honour to showcase our mission and vision alongside seven other remarkable startups, each striving to make a positive impact in their respective communities.”

The £4,000 second prize went to Prakriti Gautam, who runs agricultural business Khetipati Organics, which works with smallholders in Dhankuta, Eastern Nepal, offering them fair prices, while also providing opportunities to young people. Third and fourth prizes were £2,000 apiece, with £1,000 awarded to the four runners-up.

All the businesses had to explain how they are contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The sixth-formers even had the chance to allocate some money themselves: those observing the pitches in the competition were able to put their questions to the participants and vote – resulting in the award of a special £2,000 grant. This was added to the prize money awarded by the adult judges.

This vote for the best presentation went to one of the four runners-up, The Corporate Law Academy – described as “the largest community for those entering the legal profession, with over 20,000 members”. Its founder, Jaysen Sutton, later said he was “grateful to have won audience favourite and grant funding”. He thanked the organisers for giving him “the opportunity to talk to a very engaged group of school students”.

To view photos from festival, click on the thumbnails below.

Celebrating QE’s champions at Senior Awards

Olympian Derek Redmond offered both congratulations and some sage advice born of his own hard-won experience to prize-winners at 2024’s Senior Awards ceremony.

Mr Redmond enjoyed a successful international career as a sprinter before it was cut short by injury. He drew on the lessons he learned from this huge disappointment to explain to the boys how they can overcome the setbacks that will inevitably come their way and then go on to further success in the future.

He was Guest of Honour at the ceremony – a highlight of QE’s calendar – speaking to the assembled boys, their families, staff and VIPs including the Deputy Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Tony Vourou, in the School Hall.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “This year’s Senior Awards was very successful, with a great atmosphere: it was the first time we have had a professional sportsman as our guest speaker, and Derek’s speech was pitched perfectly for the occasion. It was very well received, with large numbers eager to speak with him at the post-reception ceremony.”

In his own speech, Mr Enright drew parallels between the prize-winners’ achievements and those of élite sportsmen. He pointed both to the personal attributes that the boys had demonstrated to achieve such success, but also to the way in which QE itself contributed: “We achieve at a very high standard here. We are unashamedly personally ambitious for our performance and our future development. But we do so together, in unison and cooperation. We all realise, I hope, that our individual performances are enhanced by working together in partnership.”

Senior Awards saw well over 100 prizes awarded to boys from Years 10, 11 and 12. They ranged from awards for individual subjects to those for ‘contribution & responsibility’ and for excelling in extra-curricular activities including chess, music and the Combined Cadet Force.

The evening was punctuated by musical interludes performed by some of the music prize-winners. The music played included pieces by Handel, Schubert and contemporary British composer, Ian Clarke.

In Mr Redmond’s speech, he congratulated the award-winners on all the work that they had put in unseen to earn the “15 seconds of fame” they enjoyed as they came up to receive their prizes.

But he signposted that he also wished to give them a reality check – that they have now set a standard for themselves that everyone will be expecting them to reach all the time.

Using his own personal story, he explained that there will be setbacks, but that his definition of success is “getting up one more time than you’ve been knocked down”. To do so you need determination and self-belief.

He recounted how, having ‘popped’ his hamstring in the Barcelona Olympics semi-final in 1992, he spent the next 18 months going through recurrent treatments and operations, only for it to happen again as soon as he was back in training each time. This led his surgeon (who by this point had very little left to work with) to declare that the hamstring was ‘shot’, that his athletics career was over, and that he would never compete for his country again.

It was this last part that riled him and motivated him, as he took it as an indictment that he would never be good enough.

However, he went on to play for England (briefly) in basketball and played professional rugby, just missing out on selection for the national Rugby Sevens team. He has subsequently successfully raced endurance motorbikes, won a national kickboxing title, and is still boxing (ahead of turning 60 next year).

He has found new challenges to motivate him in which he can achieve. He does not claim to be the most naturally talented in these other sports, but has put in the work. This applies to whatever field the boys want to pursue, he told them.

 

First Organ Scholars from QE announced in new partnership with Barnet Parish Church

Sixth-former Joel Swedensky and Year 10’s Noah Morley have been named as the first-ever Organ Scholars under a new partnership between QE and St John the Baptist Church.

The pair will have increasing responsibility for playing the organ at services and for rehearsing the choir at the church, while also being fully involved in the extra-curricular Music programme at the School.

They have the opportunity to practise the instrument extensively at QE, which is now home to an electric organ supplied by the Royal College of Organists (RCO). The scholarships include an honorarium.

Team Vicar Fr Sam Rossiter-Peters said: “We are delighted to have welcomed Joel and Noah as Organ Scholars at St John the Baptist, and from the outset of their time with us have been hugely encouraged and impressed by their ability as organists, their commitment to service and learning, and their willingness (and the willingness of their families) to be part of the wider church community.

“Joel and Noah are a credit to Queen Elizabeth’s School. They are passionate about music, they engage with their fellows in the choir and organ loft, and they display considerable talent and potential as organists. Everyone I have spoken to in the church, both those who frequent the loft, and those who sit in the pews, speak very highly of both boys, who have made the scholarship programme a delight to run.”

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “We are very pleased to have launched this new partnership and hope that in the future there will be many more such Organ Scholars from QE. It fits in very well with the Evensong tradition that we are rapidly developing at QE: our Chamber Choir has sung Evensong both at the parish church and at Southwark Cathedral in recent months.

“Furthermore, the Organ Scholarship scheme with St John’s is not only important in itself; it also creates pathways to other opportunities, including scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge.”

Two Old Elizabethans have won Organ Scholarships from Cambridge in the 21st century – Drew Sellis (2013-2020) and Peter Yarde Martin (2002-2007), who is now a peripatetic Music teacher at the School.

More recently, current Year 13 student Arjun Patel has won a Choral Scholarship from Merton College, Oxford – one of the record-breaking 62 Oxbridge offers this year.  Another of the School’s peripatetic teachers, operatic tenor Rhys Bowden (OE 1996–2003) was a Choral Scholar at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, and then went on to study music at Girton College, Cambridge.

Joel and Noah’s role includes playing the church organ and conducting at Sunday morning Eucharist and Evensong. Working with the church’s Choirmaster and Organist Emeritus, Terence Atkins, they also attend Friday evening rehearsals, giving them additional experience of rehearsing the choir.

Similarly, at QE, they are working with various ensembles to gain experience both of conducting and of providing accompaniment.

QE’s Viscount Chorum 40-S organ was supplied last term by the RCO under its Organs in Schools programme for state schools. It was immediately put to good use, including during the recording session for Howard Goodall’s anthem, And Be It Known, which was commissioned to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the School.

Joel said: “It’s been really useful having the electric organ to practise on, as unlike with other instruments, it is usually a very difficult instrument to practise, so this has helped me get in significantly more practice time.”

“I am looking forward to gaining very useful experience in not only playing for services but also in choral conducting and accompaniment. Father Sam and choirmaster Terence have been very welcoming.”

One of the priorities of the parish church’s mission action plan is to become a centre of musical excellence. On Palm Sunday, 24th March, the church hosted a production of St John’s Passion by Bach.

Speaking ahead of the event, Father Sam said:“I am delighted to say that Noah will be playing for some of the chorales during the performance. This is a huge opportunity for Noah, as it is the largest production the church will have hosted for a few years, as we welcome the Anglo-Japanese Choir, several local dignitaries and distinguished guests, and honoured guests of the Japanese Embassy.

“I was equally delighted that Joel was able to take part in our interview process for our Director of Music and Musical Mission role. Joel stepped up to the occasion admirably, and was an invaluable voice amongst the wider appointment panel. His thoughts on the candidates made a material contribution to our choice, and we were pleased to appoint his preferred candidate.”

Noah and Joel (along with Zach Fernandes, of Year 8) have played at previous QE services at St John’s, as well as playing voluntaries at Southwark Cathedral prior to the Chamber Choir’s Evensong there last Summer Term.

The School is taking active steps to inspire boys to take up the organ. Peripatetic teacher Adam Hope has been teaching the instrument to Noah and Zach, who both passed grade 3 with distinction in a year.

Music teacher Jas Hutchinson-Bazely, who is himself an accomplished organist, has now started a club for pianists to come to learn more about the instrument, with a view to them taking lessons in the future.

He has also taken a wider group of potential organists to the parish church after school and has arranged a day at St Paul’s Cathedral with its Organ Education Lead, Jeremiah Stephenson. Eight musicians will visit: Joel, Noah, Zach and another existing organist, Year 7’s Gabriel Ward – plus another four who are attending the club. They will: be able to play all four instruments at St Paul’s; receive a masterclass from Jeremiah; watch the choir rehearse Evensong; and then attend with reserved seats in the Quire.

 

Critic critically acclaimed! Suryansh named among winners of New York Times competition

A sixth-former’s review of Balenciaga’s autumn collection has been named among the winners in a New York Times writing contest.

Suryansh Sarangi was selected as one of nine overall winners – and one of only two from outside the US – after penning a review that commented not only on the clothes, but on the collection’s relationship to the American dream.

He drew inspiration from his interest in fashion, but also from his A-level English classes, and especially American literature lessons on F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Head of English Robert Hyland said: “Full marks to Suryansh on this outstanding success! Having discovered the competition for himself, he then submitted an entry that was at once lively, original and thoughtful.”

There were more than 3,200 entries to the NYT’s Ninth Annual Student Review Contest. Entrants, who had to be school pupils aged 13 to 19, were invited to write original reviews of up to 450 words on any kind of creative expression covered by the Times, one of the world’s most influential newspapers.

In his review, Suryansh began by noting the importance of the show’s setting – “Draped in the golden Californian sun on a pristine neighborhood boulevard punctuated with postcard-perfect palm trees, everything about the Balenciaga fall 2024 collection just screams Los Angeles.”

The city, he noted, carried special significance for Balenciaga’s creative director,  Demna Gvasalia: “Having grown up in a dreary ‘post-Soviet vacuum’, Demna himself states that the very culture he idolized as the perfect, colorful life was that of L.A.”

The collection, with its “relaxed yet stylish outfits” and its mixed messages – “Perhaps celebrities are just like us. But are they?” – was, Suryansh concluded, “an ironic highlighting of inequality…nothing more than a testament to the modern American dream, an illusory ideal we can only chase, yet never achieve”.

Suryansh, who is in Year 12, found out about the competition through a friend he made at a US universities fair. “I was compelled by the immense creative scope it allowed entrants. I realised this was a great opportunity to express my passions about my non-academic interests: this competition gave me a free licence to write about whatever I wanted

“Social commentary through the media of fashion piqued my interest and I was drawn to brands which did this, like Balenciaga. Balenciaga’s philosophy is to make every piece a work of art, something that transcends mere fashion and becomes a statement of expression, emotion and creativity.

“I did not have to research much; I just had to watch the fashion show on YouTube, and from there, it was just about interpreting it and analysing it beyond its face value.

“When doing The Great Gatsby, we talked and learned a lot about the American dream, with it being a key focus of the novel, and I was able to incorporate this into my review.”

Suryansh writes for The Econobethan and The Arabella – pupil-run magazines at QE – and recently led a creative writing workshop at the School.

He recommends that anyone interested in fashion’s role in social commentary should look into:

  • Raf Simons Fall 2001 Show, Riot! Riot! Riot!
  • Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2010 collection, Plato’s Atlantis
  • The work of other designers and fashion houses such as Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto and Jean Paul Gaultier.

As his prize, Suryansh’s review has now been published, along with those of the other eight winners, on the NYT’s educational resource website, The Learning Network.

 

Launching QE’s new pupil-run Science magazine

Bioquest, QE’s new, richly illustrated Science journal, features articles covering topics that range from a look at plant communication to an exploration of the eye’s importance in predicting human health.

The first edition is contained within the pages of The Econobethan, the School’s well-established Economics and Politics magazine, but future editions are intended to be stand-alone publications.

Edition XVII of The Econobethan takes as its theme The Economics of Conflict, looking at economic topics in theatres of war from Nazi Germany to the current conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to the team who have launched Bioquest – I hope it will be the first edition of many. It is also good to see such a high-quality edition of The Econobethan.

“Such publications provide excellent opportunities for boys to display genuine academic curiosity and scholarship. Through its thematic approach, The Econobethan demonstrates how the big issues cut across disciplines.

“It is important that our pupils develop an understanding of the world around them, and these publications show that they are taking great interest and thinking carefully about context.”

Bioquest is produced by a six-strong editorial team. One of them, Year 12’s Advik Balaji, appeals in his introduction for “dedicated scientists to contribute articles” for future editions.

Its six articles all feature colour illustrations and are all written by pupils in Year 12. They include Kavinayan Manivannan’s investigation of The Plants’ Trojan Horse, which explores plant cells’ use of RNA defence systems against necrotrophic fungi. Shivam Vyas looks at Microbiome Engineering in Plants, considering how a recent research breakthrough could “dramatically cut the use of pesticides and unlock opportunities to bolster plant health”.

Seyed Jalili considers how the identification of CHIP (Clonal Hematopoiesis of Indeterminate Potential) in human blood cells might translate into effective treatments. Joshua John looks at the ethical implications of genetic screening in his piece entitled The Cost of a Human Life.

Within the Economics of Conflict-themed section of The Econobethan, the writers look both at particular wars and at economic lessons to be drawn from conflicts more generally. For example, Year 12’s Akheel Kale reflects on The Bizarre Nature of ‘Hitlernomics’ and Suryansh Sarangi, also of Year 12, explores the legacy of the British selling opium in China on the Chinese economy.

The magazine also includes a more general section on Economics, Politics and History.

  • For those with access to the School’s eQE network, The Econobethan and Bioquest may be viewed here.
Global warming to a theme

Twenty of QE’s youngest boys teamed up with pupils from a leading independent girls’ school to explore the environmental crisis and learn how to persuade others to take action.

The QE contingent headed to North London Collegiate School for the Year 7 academic symposium, starting the day with a critical examination of social media posts representing different viewpoints and highlighting different scientific data on the atmosphere.

Together with the NLCS girls, they then explored the power of persuasion, studying the speeches of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, before enthusiastically taking up the opportunity to write and practise their own speeches.

Enrichment tutor and Chemistry teacher Xiangming Xu said: “It was an amazing display of collaboration and environmental responsibility, in which the aim was to educate young students about the environmental crisis and empower them with knowledge about their role as students.

“Thus, they not only expanded their knowledge on environmental issues, but also developed essential skills such as teamwork, quick thinking, and persuasive communication techniques. Overall, the symposium served as an inspiring platform for students to learn, develop, and take action.”

The start of the day was marked by discussions about the selected social media posts, with the boys and girls supporting or challenging the various arguments being propounded.

Next, they looked at the impact of different techniques employed in speeches, including the influential contributions made by Thunberg, who customarily challenges world leaders to take immediate action over climate change.

Later, in the afternoon session, they had the opportunity to apply these techniques and to deliver their own speeches targeted at specific audiences, including business professionals, politicians, primary school children, and teachers.

Afterwards, three of the QE participants gave their reflections on the day:

  • Arnav Ghoshal: “We learnt about the environment – which is a major factor in today’s world – while doing engaging and fun activities, making it a great time. Also, as QE is an all-boys school, it is good to mix with other genders, too.”
  • Aaron Khan: “The activity I enjoyed most was when we worked together as a group to create an ‘elevator pitch’ for our chosen audience. This trip helped build confidence and my communication skills with others whom I may not be so familiar with.”
  • Thomas Leung said he enjoyed delivering a speech aimed at changing politicians’ minds, since politicians can have a significant impact. “They have enough money and power to change something. I felt more confident at the end as I knew more about the environment and learnt new facts.”
World-beating QE team celebrate competition success

A Year 12 team have been presented with their trophy after seeing off competition from 1,200 teams from Slovenia to Singapore to triumph in the international Ritangle Mathematics competition.

The five-strong team submitted the best answer to the final question, thus winning them the title in the competition run by education charity MEI (Mathematics, Education, Innovation).

Competition organiser Bernard Murphy, a Maths Education Support Specialist for MEI, visited the School to present the trophy and a hamper in a special assembly.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My congratulations go to the five on a splendid victory in a competition that is designed to stretch young people’s Mathematics knowledge to the limit.”

Ritangle is a free competition for teams of students aged 16-18 studying either A-level Mathematics or equivalent qualifications. Fifteen QE teams took part in the competition.

Harik Sodhi, captain of the winning team, said: “My favourite part of Ritangle was collaborating with friends on solving an interesting Maths problem. I definitely enjoyed the final question the most as it was a very open question and required lots of steps and a combination of Python and Maths and Excel programming, which made it very fun.”

His fellow team members were Anshul Nema, Koustuv Bhowmick, Shreyas Mone, Joel Swedensky.

For the first four weeks, one question was released every Monday. For the following five weeks, three questions were released, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Every correct answer revealed a piece of information that helped solve the final task.

Shreyas said he particularly enjoyed the period in which the number of questions started to increase each week.

The final problem, involving the pairings for a ‘jamboree’-format chess tournament, was released on a Tuesday evening, with even those who set it not knowing what the best answer would be.

Mathematics teacher and Head of Academic Administration Wendy Fung said: “It essentially involved finding the smallest possible number that met a set of criteria. The question setters came up with an answer of 56, which they expected to be beaten by someone, but not by a great deal.

“The first correct answers submitted were above 100. On the Thursday afternoon, the winning QE team submitted the figure of 0.16. MEI initially assumed it must be wrong, but it proved to be correct once checked, and was never beaten – though some other teams got quite close. It was a remarkable performance by the boys, who have vowed to try and win again in 2024!”

The winning team, The Flex Angles, worked independently to solve the questions and needed to get to grips with using various forms of technology, from spreadsheets to graphing software.

Joel particularly enjoyed the early stages of Ritangle, when large numbers of boys at QE were taking part. “Racing to complete each question first after it was released was its own mini-competition.”

Anshul added: “Beside the final question, which will always be special to me, I really enjoyed all the prior questions in which I could use my technical expertise in plotting advance or interactive graphs to optimise functions. I’d have to say that my favourite part was at the very end, coming back to my computer after taking a break from the frustration to see my code announcing that a solution had been found, and rushing to tell Harik and the team.”

Of all the teams who entered, only 153 submitted correct answers to the final question. A second Year 12 QE team – The Left Angles, captained by Uday Dash – was among these and was therefore listed among the “commendable” teams by MEI. Uday’s fellow team members were: Saim Khan; Kovid Gothi; Adyan Shahid; Vijay Lehto and Dinuk Dissanayake.

 

Seeing things in the round: geopolitics charity quiz explores global affairs

The two Year 8 boys behind QE’s Geopolitics Club staged a successful quiz to share their passion with their peers.

Ibrahim Syed and Azaan Haque promoted the lunchtime quiz to Year 7 and 8, who turned out in numbers to answer the questions, raising money for Greenpeace in the process.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “With geopolitics at the forefront of so much of the news at the moment – from conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East, to the Red Sea and the recent election in Taiwan – it is important that our pupils understand how place and space interconnect with politics and international relations.

“Well done to the two organisers! We have many pupil-run clubs, and this is a great example of students taking leadership in offering opportunities to share their interest in a topic with their peers, thus creating additional enrichment activities. It was also lovely to see other boys supporting those efforts through their enthusiastic participation.”

Geopolitics is defined as: political activity as influenced by the physical features of a country or area of the world; the study of the way a country’s size, position, etc. influence its power and its relationships with other countries.

Ibrahim and Azaan were assisted by QE Flourish tutor Eleanor Barrett, who is also a Geography teacher.

“They approached me to help organise payment, booking the Main Hall and supporting in the promotion and running of the event,” she said.

“They worked hard to create a PowerPoint quiz and serve as quiz masters, and they were rewarded with a brilliant turn-out.”

“The material, looking at global relations and geographical influences, was very advanced for Key Stage 3.”

The quiz included individual question rounds, team rounds and a buzzer round. It started with the basics (What do you think geopolitics is? was the first question, for one point), but quickly moved on to more advanced questions (for example, The Strait of Gibraltar separates the Iberian Peninsula from which African country?).

Among the attendees was Priyankan Ampalavanar, of Year 8, who said: “The geopolitics quiz was not only a very riveting experience, but it also broadened my mind to how aspects of geopolitics are intertwined with our daily lives.”

The event raised more than £50 for Greenpeace. It was the second year such a quiz has been run.