Asian Correspondent » Sedbergh School Asian Correspondent Fri, 03 Jul 2015 10:16:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Sedbergh School Merges with Casterton School and Creates Major New Force in the North Tue, 12 Mar 2013 14:49:27 +0000

One of the North of England’s leading co-educational boarding schools will combine forces with a top-ranking girls’ school in September after governors recently approved plans for a joint future.

Sedbergh School looks forward to welcoming girls from Casterton School

Casterton School has experienced a decline in pupil numbers in recent years, a national trend in single sex education, whilst Sedbergh School has been growing. By bringing the two schools together, governors have enabled Sedbergh to expand further at Prep and Senior levels while providing continuity of education for Casterton pupils.

Senior pupils at Casterton School will transfer to Sedbergh School. Sedbergh Junior School will relocate to the Casterton site and will be renamed Casterton, the Preparatory School for Sedbergh. Pupils will benefit from a combination of the most talented teachers and impressive resources; particularly for Music, Sport, Design & Technology, as well as the rich heritage that both schools offer. Sedbergh School was founded in 1525 and Casterton in 1823.

Andrew Fleck, Headmaster of Sedbergh School, said: “This is a truly exciting development. The creation of a superb new preparatory school at Casterton is a bold step, which will enable us to provide an exceptional start in life to our youngest pupils. The Senior School will provide continuity of education to pupils who transfer from Casterton to Sedbergh. We are constantly seeking innovative means to improve the education we offer, be it through links with Cambridge University, internships in industry or the development of technology in the school. The greater size of the school will lead to a wider range of subjects, sports, cultural and social opportunities which will undoubtedly benefit our pupils and prepare them for the fast-changing world they will enter.”

Members of the Chapel Choir, Sedbergh Cloisters

Hugh Blair, Chairman of Governors of Sedbergh School said: “I am delighted that the governing bodies of Sedbergh and Casterton School have agreed unanimously to combine. This merger will create the pre-eminent prep and boarding schools in the North of England. Senior staff have worked hard to plan a seamless integration and I am confident that we will be able to bring the schools together in such a way that pupils only benefit.”

Colin Tomlinson, Chairman of Governors of Casterton School said: “The amalgamation of these two fine, nationally and internationally renowned schools, both with a wealth of heritage, respected culture, high reputations for excellent standards and exemplary academic results, provides the opportunity to establish one of the best co-educational schools in the north of England. This will be achieved by combining the vast range of resources available from both schools. The prospects and enormous potential are immensely exciting.”

Sedbergh School has made news headlines recently with three pupils securing places in the National Youth Choir, three others heading for Cambridge and no fewer than five schoolboy/girl winning international caps in Rugby, Netball, Shooting, Sailing and Hockey.

Sports Hall, Sedbergh School


Cycling is one of the many activities on offer in the Sport for All programme

The school’s reputation on the sports field is first class with Will Carling and Will Greenwood (England Rugby) among senior alumni whilst Phil Dowson and James Simpson-Daniel represent younger Old Sedberghians. Further Sedbergh alumni include Oscar winner, Simon Beaufoy, Screenwriter Slumdog Millionaire; Roger Gifford, the current Lord Mayor of London; Adam Sedgwick, the father of modern Geology, and Lord Bingham, former Lord Chief Justice.

Casterton School, whose alumni includes the three Bronte sisters recently made headline news for its exam results. It was ranked highest in Cumbria for AS/A Level points per pupil and in the recently released BBC Secondary School league tables, Casterton came just below the top 50 schools nationally for candidates achieving AAB grades in ‘facilitating’ subjects, subjects leading universities prefer applicants to have.

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Year 10 Girl Wins Sports Performance Award for Hockey Thu, 07 Feb 2013 10:56:58 +0000

Congratulations to Emilia Tyser (Lupton House, Yr 10), who won the Berwick Junior Sports Performer of the Year award last week.

Emilia Tyser hopes to represent England at the Olympics

Emilia, from Berwick upon Tweed, Scottish Borders, started at Sedbergh School last term and has been playing hockey since she was eight. With an ‘U13 Northumberland Hockey Player of the Year’ to her name already, she was selected to the Regional squad a year early, playing at Durham.

Emilia’s success is a great start to her first year at Sedbergh. She is already setting her sights on securing a place in the U16 England squad and her long-term plan is to play for Great Britain. “Like any person who plays sports, the Olympics is the big aim… but that is a long way in the future. Playing hockey for the first team at Sedbergh has improved me a lot as a player. Older players are obviously more physical than me so I have to improve my skills to beat them. I play centre half for County and Regionals and right holding player for the first team here at Sedbergh.”

Emilia enjoys all sports but when she is at home, she also competes for the North Northumberland Pony Club.

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Sedbergh School Trio Joins National Youth Choir Tue, 29 Jan 2013 16:19:41 +0000

Three Sedbergh musicians have recently gained entry into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. They join existing members, Charity Schofield (U6, L) and Sam Duffield (OS, 2012), in what is a most prestigious setup.

The three pupils are Thomas Willock (Y10, School)


Mollie Richmond (Y10, Robertson)


Mollie performing at the annual Jazz & Swing evening


James Horan (Y9, Winder)

Music plays a prominent part in the life of all boys and girls at Sedbergh School. Among the best independent boarding school music departments in the country, the school affords musicians a high status and we are able to offer unrivalled attention to the individual.  Musicians benefit from our new state-of-the-art recording rooms and acoustically designed performance facilities. Combined with our traditional conservatoire style teaching and our youthful, dynamic staff, it means that Sedbergh musicians get the best of both worlds, traditional and modern.

The Thornely Studio opened in 2011 with £1 million investment in Music facilities at Sedbergh

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Three Sedbergh Pupils Head for Cambridge Tue, 29 Jan 2013 14:58:42 +0000

Jack McConnel, Angus Strachan head to Cambridge University in Michaelmas Term 2013. Jack McConnel will go to King’s College to read Middle Eastern Studies and Angus Strachan to Clare College, to read Theology. Maddy Redmayne, who has an offer to read Anglo Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Magdalene College, hopes to join them.

Both boys found time during their busy Gap year to answer some questions about their choices, preparation and plans.

Angus Strachan (standing) and Jack McConnel (left), Dinner Debate 2011


Jack has always had an interest in Arabic and the Middle East since 9/11, when he remembers being introduced to Islam as a force for evil, and he was intrigued by it. His journey to Cambridge really started when he won the St John’s Quincentenary Essay Competition (‘Yemen: Arabia Infelix?’) and got to spend a week studying at St. John’s College. He did apply to St.John’s but says of King’s: “It is supposed to have a fantastic music scene, as well as a very active student journalism scene – both of which I would like to take advantage of. The two colleges are the poles of Cambridge University.” Mrs Corry, Head of Modern Foreign Languages, studied at King’s and said: “I recommended it to Jack because I thought it would be the perfect match!”

In terms of preparation for his interview, Jack says that it isn’t enough to just read the ‘in’ book a week before. “You need to indulge your geeky interests on a regular basis! Actually, I think that is something that has changed at Sedbergh recently – it has become a lot less necessary to be ‘cool’ and I think that being different (to a degree, of course!) is actually more of an asset now and less of a pitied drawback!”

“I wasn’t intimidated by the people who interviewed me at King’s. My interview was fascinating, in fact. The people I met inspired me and their questions made me think about things in a different way. If my tutors are similar, it will be an amazing experience. I’m also looking forward to the societies, orchestras, newspapers, buildings, radio stations… the ‘everything else’. Cambridge strikes me as being very vibrant.”

Before Jack takes up his place at King’s College, he will spend three months in the Sultan’s School, Muscat, as part of a ‘cultural diplomacy’ exchange, organised by the Anglo-Omani Society, then a month in a language school in Cairo, “then I’m going to hop around the Middle East: Jordan, Lebanon, Iraqi Kurdistan, Yemen, Tunisia, and then I’ll take a ferry to Italy where I will bump into another OS to go to the Opera in Verona.” Jack was most insistent on pointing out that just three marks out of a 400 mark A Level History Course made the difference between going to Cambridge or not. Reluctant to be held up as an example, he said, “If I had had half an hour’s less sleep the night before one of my History exams, then I probably wouldn’t be going to Cambridge. I firmly believe that getting into Cambridge is more about showing a deep and genuine interest in the subject than anything else.”


Angus is the fifth of six Strachan boys to go to Sedbergh, all Hart House. He follows his elder brother Frederick (2003-2008) to Cambridge, and William who did his MPhil in Real Estate Finance. He loves Cambridge for its traditions, structure, collegiate community and beautiful architecture, and felt that only somewhere like this could he continue to live in a similar environment to the one he has enjoyed at Sedbergh.

He was aware that he didn’t have multiple A*s predicted but felt confident about dealing with the aptitude tests and interviews, and puts his success down to the mentoring he had from School chaplain Rev. Paul Sweeting and his Housemaster, Mr Griffin. Angus gained much from Rev. Sweeting’s TGI Thursday group, where he learned to analyse, empathise and articulate.

He is currently in Ecuador, working on a charity project  in the Amazon Rainforest, the cloud forest and the coast and plans to travel around the world with a Sedbergh friend before term starts later this year.

Of his interview, Angus said: “The experience was intense – I had two interviews at two different colleges – and both were entirely focused on the subject, Theology. The questions were very probing but I felt hopeful. I feel that Sedbergh must take credit for me appearing to be capable and quietly self-confident; I didn’t feel nervous.”

“I found it very difficult to choose the right college but Clare College was recommended to me and I was really inspired by my surroundings when I arrived, the night before my interview. I felt very strongly that getting a place would make a difference to my life, even though I already had an offer from Durham and would have been really happy to go there.”

“I chose Theology because I’m interested in its practical application. I would like to work in a leadership role in Foreign Affairs one day and feel that a study of Theology enables a better insight into people and their cultures, in order to deal with present day concerns and likely future developments. I plan to make the most of being at Cambridge, both the course and everything else that being a student there offers.”

We wish both boys well.

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Senior Girls’ Fundraising Auction for South African Primary School Tue, 29 Jan 2013 14:13:40 +0000

A walk-on part in an Emma Thompson movie, a cricket bat signed by Kevin Pietersen, a football signed by the current Manchester United team and a copy of the Cashmere sweater worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall were among lots at a silent auction at Sedbergh School on Saturday evening, 26th January.

Dinner was cooked by Michelin star chef Michael Wignall

The school’s senior girls’ hockey and netball teams hosted the event to raise money for a forthcoming tour of South Africa.

Both captains gave speeches: Lynda Onuoha, 1st Team Netball and Maddy George, 1st Team Hockey

Seventy guests attended the black tie event, with a dinner cooked by Michelin star chef Michael Wignall. The evening’s biddings raised £10,000 – some of which will fund kits and tour costs.

Head of Girls’ Sport, Lucia Sdao (101 caps for England Netball) said: “In July this year, 21 girls from Years 11, 12 and 13 will tour the Garden Route playing against South African Schools, they will also be coaching primary schools in the Zwide township of Port Elizabeth.  During the tour, the girls will open a netball court at Emzomncane Primary School, completed with money raised by the auction event. Each girl had to source an individual lot for the charity auction and £4,500 was the figure needed for the netball court, which will be donated to United Through Sport.”

Other fundraising activities included a netball match against the First XV boys’ rugby team – the girls won.

Lynda Onuoha (Captain), Courtney Savage (England U19 cap) and Sally Wellock (Vice Captain)

In 2011, the boys’ tour of South Africa initiated a link with Ithembelihle Comprehensive School, also in Port Elizabeth. The girls will coach netball and hockey at the school during their tour.


Sarah Hirst with Deputy Head Sue Wallace-WoodroffeSally Wellock (right), Vice Captain of the Netball U19 First Team

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Blood Wedding – Michaelmas Term in Sedbergh School’s Arden Theatre Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:18:10 +0000

With a cast made up of old-hands and first-time-performers from all year groups, and a full moon overhead, ‘Blood Wedding’ opened to a packed auditorium every night during the final week of November.

Blood Wedding

Telling the story of a bride (Dana Bond) torn between a sense of duty to her betrothed (Jonny Mells) and a passionate longing for a former love (Harris Favell), Lorca’s poetic tale brings the dilemma of a torn young woman into sharp relief. But this is also the story of two families separated by years of bitterness. A mother (Olivia Bradley), already a widow, grieving for her eldest son, must come to terms with the one thing she has fought so hard to prevent.

The production took place in Sedbergh School’s Arden Theatre.

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Sedbergh School’s 2012 Christmas Concert in Powell Hall Mon, 17 Dec 2012 12:04:32 +0000

The Christmas Concert rocked Powell Hall on Wednesday evening – a hearty musical feast topped with a Five Gold Rings sing-off and the anticipated rousing rendition of school hymn, ‘Winder’.

Powell Hall

Highlights included The Prefects singing Merry Christmas Everybody, Mrs Doherty’s groovy, upbeat conducting of the sensational Swing Band, and a sultry, perfectly timed Skyfall from the Orchestra and Anna Batty (U6, Robertson).

Anna Batty's sultry rendition of Skyfall

The Three Wise men – Mr Swanson, Mr Raw and Mr Harrison – recounted the nativity story in Rap, Aussie style and Yorkshire speak – to great applause.

As if the CCF Band hadn’t been busy enough lately with performing at the Lord Mayor’s Parade in London, Remembrance Sunday and Christmas carols in the town, they opened the show with Do they know it’s Christmas and caused some tingles with We are the world.

The String Orchestra’s refined number, Mvts I & VI from The Capriol Suite (Warlock) was a fitting number for the grand, historic setting of Powell Hall.

The programme included:

CCF Band (Do they know it’s Christmas, Ure & Geldof are Bernaerts, We are the World, Jackson & Richie arr. Bernaerts)
CCF Band & The Prefects (Merry Christmas Everybody, Holder/Lea arr. Broadbent)
Percussion Ensemble (Summon the Spirits, Kevin Tuck)
Chamber Choir (Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Martin and Blane)
String Orchestra (Mvts I & VI from The Capriol Suite, Warlock)
Girls’ Choir (Christmas Prayer, John Rutter)
Swing Band (Mack the Knife, Kurt Weill)
Orchestra (Music from Gladiator, Zimmer arr. Wasson)
Orchestra & Anna Batty (Skyfall, Adkins/Epworth arr. Allinson)

John Seymour, Director of Music, conducts the audience for Five Gold Rings

A festive start to the evening, then pupils and staff left the concert to go for Christmas Dinner in each boarding house.

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