Viewing archives for Trips

Hot topics and the Cold War: learning about racism and discrimination, past and present

In a week bookended by a special assembly from an anti-racism expert and a cinema visit, QE’s Year 7 got to grips with topics including diversity and intersectionality.

In between these highlights, regular pastoral sessions and a special afternoon were devoted to a project looking at race, intersectionality and women in science ahead of seeing the film, Hidden Figures.

Fully prepared, the School’s youngest pupils then travelled to the Phoenix Cinema in East Finchley to watch the award-winning picture, which focuses on the story of three female African-American scientists working at NASA during the Space Race in the 1960s.

Head of Year 7 Rosie Uduwawala said: “While at QE we celebrate our diversity as a School, it is nonetheless important to ensure that our boys understand racism, knowing how to recognise it, and what to do when they see or experience it.

“Also, in our single-sex environment, it is good for pupils to develop an understanding of intersectionality, particularly with regard to how women may be affected by discrimination.

“It was a very successful week: the boys responded well to the workshop, which ended on a very uplifting note with a message about empowerment and the reading of a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah. They then worked diligently on their project, which included learning about the Cold War and the Space Race – an important period of history. And, of course, they enjoyed their trip to the cinema to see what is a very engaging film.

“We hope that all they have learned will promote discussion about diversity beyond the classroom.”

The Monday assembly was given by Mpula Lawton from ARISE (Anti-Racism In Schools & Education), an organisation dedicated to promoting equality in education. Her themes were:

  • What is racism?
  • What does racism look like?
  • Language: “I never ever say the words, but we discuss slurs and how terrible they are,” says Miss Lawton. She related how one such slur was addressed to her when she was young, and how it has stuck with her;
  • Racism on social media;
  • ‘Hero’ versus ‘snitch’: what to do when you see or experience racism;
  • ‘Upstanders’: how to spread the word about anti-racism;
  • Empowerment, including the poem.

The boys’ project involved completing a PowerPoint presentation designed to teach them about topics such as the origins, causes and effects of the Cold War and about the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

The presentation also featured statistics from 2012 about the representation of various groups in professional careers, particularly in the field of technology. It highlighted, for example, that whereas Black and Hispanic people make up 30% of the US population, men from these groups represent just 9% of computing jobs, and Black and Hispanic women even less, at just 4%.

It challenged the boys to discuss the reasons for these differences, introducing the concept of intersectionality and looking at whether the situation had changed in the 60 years since the period depicted in the film.


Meeting a Nobel prizewinner

Year 12 economists seized the chance to meet Nobel laureate Claudia Goldin – only a short time after writing an essay about her work.

Hers was one of three lectures given by Nobel prize-winning economists at the LSE within the space of just one week. The sixth-formers attended of their own volition.

Economics teacher Celia Wallace said: “Claudia Goldin’s work on women in the workplace over the centuries has been hugely important, and the boys have enjoyed learning about it.

“I know it was a real thrill for them to be able to hear her lecture, ask her questions and then meet her. They also enjoyed hearing from her fellow Nobel laureate, Esther Duflo, on the same evening, while two of the group attended a lecture by yet another Nobel prizewinner, Joseph Stiglitz, earlier in the week.”

Claudia Goldin, who won her Economic Sciences Nobel prize in October 2023, delivered a lecture entitled Why women won.

Looking particularly at how women’s rights have evolved in the US, she explained how discrimination actually increased during the early decades of the 20th century, as legislation protecting women from certain hazards in the workplace led to women being seen as inferior to men. With women expected to focus on family life, regulation increased, preventing them from working longer hours and earning more pay, and also denying them jo bs, with posts instead reserved for men.

The turning point came in the 1960s and early 1970s, she said. The Civil Rights Movement catalysed protests and a female push for power, leading to legislative change.

One of the boys, Dheeraj Karnati, then put to her a key question that was also in the minds of his fellow QE economists: what was the reaction to the new laws, and how did society feel about women having an equal role with men in the workplace? In response, she noted that many traditionally minded women were against the changes, even more so than men, and openly opposed the women’s movement.

Meeting Claudia Goldin was a real highlight for Shrey Tater, who described her talk as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear a Nobel prizewinner speak – particularly one who is, like Esther Duflo, a woman breaking down barriers in Economics”.

Esther Duflo’s lecture, the second of the evening, focused again on inequality, this time looking at the climate. The 2019 joint Economic Sciences Nobel prizewinner spoke about inequality between emitters, quoting French economist Lucas Chancel’s finding that 10% of the highest polluters worldwide are responsible for 50% of global emissions. Poorer countries also tend to be unequally affected by climate change as they are mostly in warmer places.

When highlighting the ‘mortality cost’ of global environmental damage – amounting to $518 billion in poor countries – she emphasised the necessity of the world committing to mechanisms to cover this sum. Such mechanisms included increasing the existing 15% tax on multinational corporations and an international wealth tax of 2% levied on the 3,000 richest people in the world.

In addition to Dheeraj and Shrey, those attending the lectures included Sushant Aryal, Zain Farooqi, Abyan Shah, Andreas Angelopolous, Vaibhav Gaddi and Rohan Varia.

Vaibhav and Rohan also attended the lecture by Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Economic Sciences Nobel Prize and a former World Bank chief economist. Afterwards, they stressed how important it was for them to hear experts in the field speak and thus to develop their knowledge of Economics and the world around them.


Making QE history! Pupils sing evensong at King’s College Cambridge

QE’s Chamber Choir relished the opportunity to sing evensong at King’s College Chapel – one of the world’s most famous venues for church choral music.

Singing alongside the King’s Voices – the college’s mixed-voice choir – in only their fourth-ever evensong, the QE boys not only enjoyed the chance to sing in an inspiring setting, but also to sample the life of a university Choral Scholar.

The historic event also proved to be a draw for Old Elizabethans, with two singing with the choir and other alumni joining the congregation.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It is a tremendous honour to be invited to sing at King’s College Chapel. This was, therefore, an historic occasion for our School, and one that will live long in the memory.

“I know our boys really enjoyed the chance to sing amid the soaring Gothic architecture of King’s College Chapel. Musically, it was a great success, with the boys attentive and sounding superb in their rendering of Dyson’s Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D major and Wood’s choral setting of Bramley’s O Thou the Central Orb.

“It was also a pleasure to see alumni turning out to support the current boys – my colleagues and I enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with them afterwards.”

Renowned for its choral tradition, including its Christmas Eve Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is broadcast worldwide, King’s College Chapel welcomes members of the university, local residents and tourists to its services.

As well as taking part in afternoon rehearsals, the QE Chamber Choir spent time looking around Cambridge, visiting the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences and touring a number of colleges with OEs Raphael Herberg (2015–2022) and Jao-Yong Tsai (2016–2023), who are studying Music at Cambridge and who rejoined QE’s choir for the occasion.

At St John’s College, they had a Q and A session with the current Director of Music, Christopher Gray, where the boys found out more about choral scholarships and asked questions about the application process.

For the evensong back at King’s College, the Chamber Choir were directed by the Interim Assistant Director of Music, Ralph Woodward, who is also the current Director of King’s Voices.

Music teacher Rebecca German said: “We were extremely fortunate to be given the chance to sing evensong at King’s College Chapel; it gave the boys a taster of what life would be like as an Oxbridge Choral Scholar. We hope that a large number of them will go on to apply in the future.”

Current Year 13 student Arjun Patel has won a Choral Scholarship from Merton College, Oxford.

Hovan Sarkissian, of Year 8, said: “It was greatly enjoyable to explore the beautiful sights of Cambridge with my fellow choir members. Even so, nothing could top the truly unforgettable experience of singing with my peers and the King’s College Chapel Choir in such a historic and remarkable place.”

  • Click on the thumbnails below to view more photos.
Peak performance in the Peak District: boys stretch themselves above and below ground, and on water, too

Year 8 boys enjoyed the challenge of demanding new experiences out in the wilds on a trip to the Peak District.

Thirty-five boys took part in activities including mountaineering, canoeing and caving, before heading down into the city for a visit to the University of Sheffield’s Department of Geography and Planning.

It was the first such QE Geography trip to the Derbyshire Peaks.

Head of Geography Chris Butler said: “The boys enjoyed the trip enormously, as did the staff accompanying them. For many of the boys, it was the first time that they had come close to a true wilderness.”

The primary aim of the visit was to take pupils into an open rural landscape and get them to appreciate some of the processes that have shaped that landscape and how we interact with them. The activities were also designed to extend the boys both physically and mentally.

“Day two saw us hike on to the Kinder Plateau [also known as Kinder Scout] and take in its desolate beauty,” said Mr Butler. “The long walk up to the highest point at 601m saw the boys having to scramble Grindsbrook before topping out. To many, this was quite an accomplishment.”

One of the boys, Siddarth Kulathumani, said: “This was my first time going on this sort of trip where I knew there was going to be a lot of exercise and climbing. At first, I was a bit nervous, but that all changed during the huge climbs, learning with my friends and really pushing myself.”

The party stayed at the Edale YHA accommodation (Youth Hostels Association), which is nestled in the almost inaccessible Edale Valley in Derbyshire.

As soon as the boys had dropped their luggage off on arrival, the group immediately set about climbing Mam Tor, an imposing peak to the south of where they were staying.

“Mam Tor is known as the Shivering Mountain owing to its highly unstable geology. Interbedded with layers of shale and coal measures, the entire mass is slowly slipping towards the southwest,” said Mr Butler.

The climb was conducted in overcast, wet and gloomy conditions. However, on arrival at the top, the sky cleared, and the group were treated to magnificent views of the Hope Valley and the Peak District.

“The principal aim of this day was to make sure that the boys were ready for the challenges that lay ahead. All passed successfully, and by the time the weary party arrived back at Edale, they had walked nearly seven miles and gained nearly 200m elevation to reach the peak. Dinner was enthusiastically wolfed down!”

The next day brought an early start for the climb to Kinder Plateau. “The views from the plateau were simply stunning, and the group were extremely fortunate to have had good weather up there.”

Before lunch, the QE staff made the most of the opportunity to talk to the boys about the importance of upland peat deposits and bogs.

Pupil Adyansh Sahai enjoyed the combination of education and exercise: “The vistas surrounding the Kinder Scout peak were amazing, and the hike itself was incredible, because we were gaining knowledge while having fun.”

It was a steep descent back down to the YHA centre via the Pennine Way, where Mr Butler then regaled the boys with a ghost story after their well-earned dinner.

On day three, the boys were in the hands of the YHA activity centre staff. In the morning, the group split, and half went canoeing on a reservoir, whilst the remaining boys visited a number of large cave systems. Here, they were taught how to pothole and cave.

“Perhaps the most impressive cave was Carlswark Cavern – home to the Oyster Cavern, the largest brachiopod bed anywhere in Europe,” said Mr Butler.

Siddarth said this was his favourite activity, while another of the boys, Arinze Ezeuko, added: “The caving was a great experience as I had never done anything like it before, and it made me realise how complex they truly were.”

After one more night at the YHA centre, the group then took the bus into Sheffield to visit the university. “The staff there gave fascinating talks on some of their research, including research with a PhD student who has been tracking the response of large glaciers and ice sheets to global warming,” said Mr Butler.

They also found out about the department’s work with the Mars Rover, and the role that the Planning Department plays in shaping our cities, not just today but also exploring how cities will look in the future.

“It was a fascinating insight into the subject at university and certainly gave many of the boys pause for thought.”

Mr Butler thanked his colleagues, Eleanor Barrett, Bryn Evans and Celia Wallace, who accompanied him. “I would also like to thank the boys for being such good company. Their superb behaviour, willingness to get involved and genuine interest in what they were doing was acknowledged by the YHA centre staff and by the university staff.”

  • Click on the thumbnails below to view photos from the trip.


Birds, basketball, a basilica and fun among the branches – creating memories of a lifetime on QE’s long-running French exchange

Twenty-two Year 8 pupils spent a week soaking up modern French culture and improving their language skills on a trip to eastern France.

The group were kept busy with a host of activities during their stay with pupils from QE’s partner school, Collège St Pierre, from the town of Bourg en Bresse, between Lyon and Geneva.

The trip was the return leg of the exchange, following the visit in February of the French pupils.

Languages teacher Katrin Hood said that the exchange had definitely been a highlight of the year: “It was such a pleasure to see our students rise to the challenge of ‘living like locals’ for a week in another country.”

By spending evenings and the weekend of the trip with families, the QE boys were able to build their confidence in French, as well as experiencing a different way of life.

Pupil Aarav Agrawal, of Pearce House, said: “My partner was David and he was a really nice person and his family really treated me well; especially with snacks! My favourite part of the whole French exchange was probably our visit to the 1055 leisure park with our partners. It had laser tag, VR, bowling and a trampoline park.”

The official programme also included:

  • A joint visit for both the QE boys and their partners to the Parc des Oiseaux (bird park)
  • QE day trip to Lyon, one of France’s biggest cities with a beautiful old town
  • A day at the Collège St Pierre to see lessons take place
  • An interactive quiz about Bourg en Bresse, which lies at the foot of the Jura mountains and is the capital of the ancient province of Bresse
  • An afternoon at Accrobranche (similar to Go Ape).

Several of the boys listed their own highlights. For Noah Green, it was the bird park visit, although he said the whole trip was “definitely the most fun thing” he had ever done as a QE pupil.

Noah’s fellow member of Underne form, Harsh Chavda, said: “I particularly enjoyed going to the market on the last day because it is rare to find such markets here in London. There were so many different shops – selling cheese, olives, bread, desserts, Chinese food, clothes and so much more! Some of us asked the owner of the cheese store to give us his strongest cheese, and we all tasted some. It was so strong and for me, disgusting!

“When we went to Lyon, we learned about the Basilica of Notre-Dame and how it’s dedicated to the Virgin Mary for saving Lyon from the plague.

“My highlight of the trip has to be the basketball match my exchange family took me to, because I have never been to one and the atmosphere in the stadium was so good. All in all, the French exchange trip created memories of a lifetime – such a special experience.”

Accompanying the boys were Ms Hood, Sciences teacher Bryn Evans and cover supervisor Joan Anderson. The exchange with Collège St Pierre has been running since 2010.

“We are very grateful to all of the families who took part for hosting our French guests so well, and to all of our colleagues who have played a part in the success of the trip,” said Ms Hood.



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.

Thrills – and not too many spills – on an alpine adventure

With beginners making up at least half the 80-strong party that headed for the French alps, this year’s QE skiing trip was a time to enjoy thrilling new experiences alongside friends and classmates.

The boys enjoyed plenty of time on the slopes in the beautiful setting of Les Deux Alpes, near Grenoble – the destination for this year’s nine-day, half-term trip.

Group leader Richard Scally said: “It was a super trip, with everyone having a good time – and no major injuries!

“Such visits provide adventure and fresh experiences for the boys, and are a really important element in the QE experience.”

Les Deux Alpes, a ‘snowsure’ resort popular with British skiers, boasts a number of records: it has Europe’s largest skiable glacier and is also home to the longest fully on-piste vertical in the world, at 2,200m.

In total, Les Deux Alpes has 200km of on-piste terrain, ensuring that skiers of all abilities and experiences can enjoy their alpine adventure.

The boys stayed at the traditional Le Soleil alpine hotel in the centre of the village. Its après-ski attractions include a cosy fire area, ping-pong and table football.

Their busy programme when not skiing included ten-pin bowling and the opportunity to see some spectacular ice sculptures.

The trip began with a coach journey of more than 21 hours that took them all the way from the School to the resort, and included crossing the Channel on the Dover–Dunkirk ferry.

The boys were accompanied by ten members of staff, led by Mr Scally, who is QE’s Head of Cricket and Combined Cadet Force Contingent Commander.

He said: “Temperatures were very warm – up to 18 degrees one day.

“Snow was good at higher altitude, but, in an indication of how the climate is changing in the alps, it was interesting to see things getting a little slushy lower down in the afternoons.”

Destinations for the long-running QE skiing trip have in recent years ranged from the Italian alps to the Purcell Mountains, close to the Canadian Rockies.

  • Click on the thumbnails below to see more images from the trip.
Collaboration on location: QE Together support local school

Members of the QE Together partnership have now begun editing after spending two days filming in a Barnet primary school as part of a community outreach project.

A team from the partnership – consisting of senior pupils from QE and Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School – visited QE’s near-neighbour, Christ Church Primary School. The filming was the latest stage in a project that the team have been working on for several months to create a promotional video aimed at encouraging prospective parents to sign up for Christ Church’s nursery.

Lead Enrichment Tutor Kanak Shah said: “All the students – our boys, the girls from QEGS and the Christchurch pupils – did very well, and the little ones were adorable!”

The QE team comprised the 2023 School Captain, Darren Lee, and two of the 2023 Vice-Captains, Shuaib Adam and Anthony Bartlett.

Shuaib, of Year 13, explained that the QE Together team had first held meetings with Christ Church’s head, Mrs Elena Print, to map out ideas and plan the key messages of the video.

During the two days, the team thoroughly explored the school in their filming, as well as shooting B-roll footage (supplementary video) to support the visual story-telling at the heart of the film.

“We engaged with children, including those as young as nursery, guiding them to express the school motto [‘Through God’s love, we learn, aspire and achieve; we flourish’] and ethos. This collaborative effort not only enriched the visual narrative, but also provided an authentic perspective on the school’s values and identity.

“The experience so far has taught us many valuable skills, especially teamwork skills – both within our team and in collaboration with other schools – which has strengthened our capacity for effective communication, task delegation, and collective problem-solving. The cross-school collaboration has not only expanded our network for QE Together’s future, but also deepened our understanding of community dynamics and the importance of collective efforts.”


“For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo”: QE actors bring Shakespeare’s tragedy to life

QE’s production at this year’s Shakespeare Schools Festival was uncompromising and unflinching in its depiction of the brutal feud between the Montague and Capulet families that is at the heart of Romeo and Juliet.

Crispin Bonham-Carter, Assistant Head (Pupil Involvement), lauded the vivid depiction given by the School’s senior actors of the dark themes that pervade the perennially popular tragic tale set in the Italian city of Verona – including depression, street brawls, domestic violence, duelling and poisoning.

Yet he also praised Year 10’s Dhruv Pai (Romeo) and Year 12’s Anshul Nema (Juliet) for their “sensitive and intelligent portrayals of the ‘star-cross’d’ lovers” immortalised in the title of the play.

The 19-strong cast drawn from Years 10–13 travelled to Finchley’s Arts Depot to take part in the local performances for the national festival, run by the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation. In addition, the boys put on three showings in Main School Hall, giving all of Years 10 and 11 the opportunity to see the play, which is part of the GCSE English syllabus.

“Two sullen gangs facing off… faces masked… hoodies up… suddenly a knife is drawn and all hell breaks loose! That was just the start of our brilliant senior drama production of Romeo and Juliet,” said Mr Bonham-Carter.

“The surrounding cast provided a wonderful supporting ensemble of raging fathers, desperate friends and loutish thugs. It would be churlish not to mention [Year 13’s] Keiaron Joseph’s outstanding Mercutio, who delivered one of the best ‘Queen Mab’ speeches* I’ve seen. That and [Year 12’s] Saim Khan’s convincingly thuggish Capulet – complete with gold necklace – almost stole the show!

“Special praise must go to the protagonists, Anshul Nema and Dhruv Pai: it can’t be easy falling in love in front of an audience of your school mates, but it is a credit to both the cast and the audiences how convincingly this was handled.

“All in all, a fantastic experience for all.”

Saim reflected afterwards on an “amazing experience” that encompassed making new friends across year groups, sharing funny moments in rehearsals when things went wrong, and getting to see a different side of people as they fully embraced their characters.

“Getting the chance to perform in front of all our friends and family at the Arts Depot, one of the best venues in Barnet, was a unique opportunity – a truly special day for all the cast.

“On a personal level, playing the part of Lord Capulet was fascinating, since I could explore the nuances in his character, and delve deeply into how quickly he turns from a caring, but slightly overbearing, father at the start of the play, to one who raised a hand to his own daughter towards the end of it.

“It also meant that I got to wear a rather flashy costume for the performance, complete with that large (sadly fake) gold chain!”

* In his speech, Mercutio teases his friend, Romeo, about an unrequited romantic infatuation for a girl called Rosaline, telling him that the mischief-making Mab, queen of the fairies in English folklore, has been infecting his dreams. Romeo later meets, and falls in love, with Juliet.

  • Click on the thumbnail images below to scroll through photos from the production.


Sixth-formers’ “thrilling” visit to cutting-edge company helping to create a circular economy

Year 12’s Technology students saw for themselves how start-up Batch.Works is using 3D printing as a true manufacturing technology by focusing on specialist design techniques and by automating its array of printers.

They learned how the company is pioneering a truly sustainable approach by recycling already-recycled materials to produce the plastic filament used by the printers.

And the 17-strong group had the chance to present their own design projects to Batch.Works’s Chief Industrial Designer, Liam Hwang.

Head of Technology Michael Noonan said: “This visit provided the Year 12 cohort with unique and exciting insights into a company that is at the leading edge of sustainable design and manufacture, using heavily recycled materials to help its customers reduce their carbon footprint, and thus making the circular economy a reality.”

Now operating out of London Fields, Hackney, and from Amsterdam (and with plans to open a base in Rotterdam soon), Batch.Works was founded by designer Milo Mcloughlin-Greening and digital fabrication specialist Julien Vaissieres.

It first made waves in its sector during the pandemic when producing PPE for East London hospitals from its then-home in Bethnal Green.

Recently awarded an innovation grant of £1.8m to create a network of manufacturing hubs that will use local recycled materials, Batch.Works is now investigating ‘urban mining’, the notion of turning waste streams into new products. It launched an equity crowdfunding campaign in September.

“Our students were absolutely thrilled to be told about the history, current works and future plans for the company by Dean Pankhurst, Design Co-ordinator at Batch Works,” said Mr Noonan.

“The company engages in specialist design for 3D printing, using the skills of industrial designers and project managers to enable a faster design-to-print lead time than most companies. Liam spoke about optimisation in design – how they alter designs to use ‘vase design’ principles so that no unnecessary bodies are created. As a result, unlike in other companies, at Batch.Works 3D printing can be used as a manufacturing technique, rather than only for making prototypes.

“Most impressive of all was that the company have themselves closed the loop of all the PLA filament they use, using recycling techniques on already recycled plastic: they are proud to use only 100% recycled materials in their work.”

During a tour, the boys first visited the company’s co-working room, where they saw technologies, collaborative techniques and methodologies similar to those which they use in their own product design work.

“Next, they were shown into the wildly impressive plant room by Dean and Liam,” said Mr Noonan. “The room contained 40 3D printers, some of which could print items as large as 1 metre square. Many of these were stacked on server cabinets, and the designers had impressively ‘hacked’ the G code [the most commonly used 3D-printing programming language] which drives the printers to turn them into automated 3D printing machines that could work around the clock. This means the rate at which the designers can prototype and manufacture is unrivalled.”

The boys were given an overview of the company’s projects and clients, from commercial giants such as M&S, to smaller medical companies and furniture businesses seeking sustainable design solutions. They were able to peruse prototypes that Batch.Works had created, including medical devices, personal hygiene products and headphones.

“It was at this point that the students began to ready themselves for their own presentations, as Liam had kindly agreed to take in the students’ presentations on their own recent vacuum cleaner projects. These, in fact, utilised many of the prototyping techniques with which he was familiar from his own studies in Product Design at the RCA and Central St Martins.”

Each pupil had five minutes to present, followed by two or three minutes of questions and direct feedback from Liam on their designs.

During the presentations, all other students were linked into a scoresheet via MS Teams and could score their peers using a system of comparative assessment. Liam and Mr Noonan had casting votes.  “Aniththan Kugathasan, Kiaron Lad and Aadish Praveen were crowned champions, earning a hearty round of applause for their superb presentation and an especially well-finished prototype.”

Liam told Mr Noonan: “The skills these students have in terms of presentation and CAD certification is very impressive – much closer to what we see from interns and graduates than from A-level students.”