Inspired by Oxford

The annual Oxford Visit, for pupils in Kinder (Year 9), is one of the highlights of the academic year: three days of exploring the city’s rich culture, history and research.

In March, Kinder braved their way into school through the late snows to embark on their journey to Oxford and University College, the oldest College in Oxford where they would be staying. First on the itinerary were a couple of talks at Oriel College. The first focussed on the controversial statue of Cecil Rhodes, situated outside Oriel College. Pupils discussed whether it should remain, or be taken down, with compelling arguments made on both sides. The second talk was on research and conservation and how scientific observations can be utilised to improve lives. Everyone was interested to hear that elephants are afraid of the sound of bees and how research has led to the development of a system to stop elephants entering (and destroying) plantations. Upon returning to University College, we were treated to a tour of the College with its rich history and points of interest. After a lovely supper in the dining hall, everyone enjoyed lemonades at The Turf Tavern and indulged in ice-cream at G&D’s. An excellent first day!

The next day pupils set out to explore Oxford’s three most famous museums: The Museum of Natural History, the Pitt Rivers and the Ashmolean. A sketchbook challenge had been set and throughout the day, pupils annotated their drawings with notes and information. The Pitt Rivers gave the opportunity to draw many artefacts, including tools, masks and weapons. An object handling class outlined how much can be deciphered from an artefact by looking at its materials and purpose. The Ashmolean contains artwork from throughout the history of civilisation. A tour showed how paintings have changed since the renaissance, with both techniques and purposes changing through time. The day ended with another excellent supper in the hall and a visit to the cinema.

On Wednesday, everyone had the chance to explore Oxford, including Magdalen Bridge, the University Parks and the magnificent Bodleian Library before heading back home. Our thanks to Mrs Unsworth from University College for making this trip possible.