Academic Scholars’ News

Meetings of Minds.

Mr Elder reports on the activities of our Academic Scholars who meet regularly to discuss and question current affairs and wider matters of interest:

‘On particular Wednesday mornings, while staff and students are arriving at school, the academic scholars are to be found in the Scriptorium discussing matters of the day or listening to presentations.  The Scholars meet in two groups – Form III and Lower IV, and Upper IV to Upper V. This week it was the turn of the younger students to meet, and we were treated to two excellent presentations from Lower IV students.

The topics for presentations are chosen by the students themselves; last year we had a talk on the Girl Guide movement one week and Bees the next – just to show the range of ideas the students have and the topics they explore. This week, Sofia in Lower IV told the meeting all about coffee. We learnt that Yemen plays a key part in the history of coffee and its export around the world. Sofia detailed the four types of coffee bean, even bringing in some beans for us to enjoy the aroma! Besides discussing the health aspects surrounding the drink and matters concerning Fairtrade products, Sofia raised the pressing problem of coffee cups. Apparently, 70 million cups of coffee are drunk each day in the U.K. and of course many of these are in plastic/cardboard cups. However, some cups (the cup Sofia showed us was from Costa) cannot be recycled because of a plastic lining. The use of re-usable cups is encouraged, and Sofia’s presentation made us reflect on our own coffee drinking habits (though most of the Scholars at the talk don’t drink coffee).


Helena, also Lower IV, then gave an eye-opening talk on veganism, a topic that is very much of the moment. Helena explored the health aspects of veganism (perhaps not as healthy as I had believed, certainly for particular age groups), and also spoke about the environmental concerns associated with veganism. We were made aware that being a vegan is no easy thing, since animal products can occur in products as diverse as bread, chewing gum and any food dyed red.

Both talks were informative and engaging. However, among the most pleasing aspects of the morning was the fact that the students had selected their own topics, things of personal interest and thus the talks had greater investment from the students. Furthermore, both Sofia and Helena handled questions from listeners with aplomb and showed Form III scholars how to present with clarity and composure’.