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Big Ideas for Bright Minds

In March, 14 of our Year 10 students went on a Philosophy day trip to Oxford Town Hall and Keble College, here Julia reflects on the day.

We all got up super early on the day and began our journey at 7am. We travelled to Oxford by a minibus driven by Mr Herford himself, and we were accompanied by one of our school nurses, Peggy Pearson (as you will see later – Henry’s Mum). We arrived at 10am to the beautiful Oxford Town Hall which stunned us all.

We received four fascinating lectures. The first lecture was titled ‘Justice Truth, Beauty, and Maths’ which opened our minds to think in all perspectives on beauty and what it truly is. The second lecture was all about answering Oxbridge interview questions, so we were shown examples of questions that have previously appeared in Oxford and Cambridge university entrance interviews. The presenter, Julie Arliss really presented to us how deeply you must think into the simple and random questions you are likely to receive. We then had a short break and continued into the next lecture – ‘The Psychology of Outstanding Achievement’. In this lecture they talked about the four stages of achieving your goals and becoming the best version of yourself.

After lunch, we had a debate about whether it should or shouldn’t be okay to make comments on other people's bodies. It was very interesting to see how many students from different schools came up to the microphone to all make different points on this topic. One of our students took part in the debate and did a good job of being confident enough to stand in front of a full town hall and speak out.

We then had our last lecture about Rock in 11 Dimensions: Where Physics and Guitars Collide by a physics professor who is also an amazing guitarist who performed some solos to us and talked about the physics side behind the guitar and its strings. The lectures ended at 3 pm, and we left the Town Hall and walked through the Oxford city centre in the pouring rain all the way down to Keble College where we met a past pupil of St Peter’s School who now studies at Oxford University – Henry Pearson, reading Archaeology and Anthropology. Henry kindly gave us a tour through the gorgeous buildings of the well-known and prestigious Keble College. We went inside the so-called chapel which was so gorgeous and beautiful that it was hard to believe it was just a chapel and not a church, we got to see the priceless painting (The Light of the World) kept inside a side chapel. Only 2 people were allowed to view it at once. Henry guided us around the campus and showed us the dining hall and the dormitories. We asked him many questions about studying at Oxford and how he managed to get in and received a lot of information and stories from him.

We then walked back to our minibus, passing through some really pretty streets of the city and were on our way home. On the way back, we stopped at a McDonald's and had great fun. We also only found out on the bus journey home that it was Mr. Herford's birthday, so we sang him a happy birthday. The trip was 14 hours of great memories. Thank you, Sir, for making this day possible; we all learnt lots of new things, and it created great memories.

Julia, Year 10