Education = Transforming + Informing

Event going ahead – despite Snow!

Yep – we’re covered, against all odds and many prayers, under a blanket of snow. Most teachers (including me) have had to leave their cars at the school and take public transport home. It’s well and truly treacherous and set to continue in to tomorrow and Thursday. (according to all eternal pessimists and the MET Office) So where does that leave us? I sent an e-mail out to all table contacts reminding them that this was all for charity and these weather conditions simply could not have been foreseen. Furthermore the hotel has already made the catering order and taken payment with the suite (and accept no negotiations or rescheduling) which means going ahead is our only option. Events insurance (We were looking into this a week or so ago) doesn’t cover cancellation due to weather (unless the weather posed a threat to LIFE OR LIMB (which we’ll never be able to prove) so taking out that would have been useless. On the bright side – what a great experience this has been. Lots for students to write about from a legal point of view (Croydon Park Hotel’s contracts + cancellation rights + data protection + payment etc) and even more interesting twists and turns to add to their reports (once we are back under controlled conditions) I think the students have been through it all in the preparation and planning for this one event! (a range of emotions, situations and incidents) I suppose if it had all run like clockwork it would have been boring!

IT MATERIALS PREPARED FOR THE QUIZZING EVENT – available soon as a free downloadable pack

So – operation “Go ahead against all odds in fiercely hostile weather conditions” looks like the only plan we have going! All the IT materials for the quiz are in place. Notably, the quizzing Template (it’s truly amazing) with integrated questions, music rounds etc (created by the incredible Alistair Wick) – He can add this to his growing professional portfolio of copyrighted creative designs.  Geewai’s scoring system (very complex and perfectly implemented) along with the answer sheet packs beautifully designed and printed by Alice. Omar and Rodard have both contributed to the questions and general organisation/negotiation of the event but are also integral to the evening with their prepared speeches.  Tevin tireless worked to get the music downloaded, clipped, trimmed and integrated. He also designed the programme for the evening and a very moving video that will be played at the start. Matthew and Alice stayed behind on Monday after-school for a few hours to organise all the raffle prizes, list them, put them into appropriate bundles and wrap them too! What a huge task – and thank you for doing this without even a hint of complaint! All these items will be available for use for all event attendees and presented as a downloadable pack from http://www.teachingict.net


Despondent (but strangely positive and wonderful) students met me outside the staffroom at lunch and we made a brief plan for tomorrow. No run through took place (like planned) so it’s going to involve a bit of winging it on the night … Alterations to the quiz and programme will also need to be made to cater for people wanting to leave early.


November 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Philosophical Question: What about when God doesn’t answer prayer …

[Warning: This post reflects my own personal opinions/views!]  Higher Ways – Steven Curtis Chapman

So I prayed that it wouldn’t snow (so our tiny [in the scheme of things] quizzing night could go ahead smoothly) and others like Mr Baldwin’s young daughter prayed that it would! The cartoon above is an interesting one simply because it’s often these little things (these unanswered prayers – big or small) that are the reason that people stop believing! I once asked a Year 8 kid why he (a once Christian) now called himself an Atheist – his response – because he once prayed for Chelsea to win, and they didn’t! (which confirmed, in his mind, that there was no God or even if there was a God He wasn’t worth believing in)  There are so many people who feel just like Calvin, only they have prayed for things much more important than a few inches of snow (or for no snow!). I can’t help but think of Charles Darwin – who started off  in Cambridge studying to become  an Anglican clergyman and a believer in the literal truth of the Bible. He learnt John Herschel’s science which, like William Paley’s natural theology, sought explanations in laws of nature rather than miracles and saw adaptation of species as evidence of design

He had ten children: two died in infancy, and his darling daughter Annie’s death at the age of ten had a devastating effect on him. In 1849, Anne caught scarlet fever along with her two sisters, and her health thereafter declined; some authorities believe that she suffered from tuberculosis. I imagine he must have prayed …

… but she died.

Truth is – God always answers prayer. In His [Higher] way. Ways that we aren’t always likely to understand with our pea-brains. Also, we don’t get to dictate how life pans out – but I’d like to think we are right to ask, and pray and trust. (even for the small things). That’s what it means to be in relationship. It’s one thing to trust God when he answers our prayers (big or small) but it’s an even greater thing to trust/praise him when he doesn’t.

Our quiz is a tiny thing in the huge arena of far more important events/incidents, but the philosophical implications associated with any sort of hope/request/prayer are interesting to consider …

Higher Ways – Steven Curtis Chapman great song [lyrics] by Steven Curtis Chapman

If I could only fly
I’d go up and look down from the sky
So I could see the bigger picture
And Lord if I could sit with You
At Your feet for an hour or two
I’m sure I’d ask too many questions
‘Cause there’s so much going on down here
That I must confess I just don’t understand

But I have prayed
And at your feet my whole life has been laid
So I wont worry I wont be afraid
‘Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways
Let the road ahead become unclear
I am Yours so what have I to fear
If my soul is resting on Your higher ways

Your higher ways teach me to trust You
Your higher ways are not like mine
Your higher ways are the ways of the Father
Hiding His children in His love

So let it rain
And if my eyes grow dim with tears of pain
This hope I have will not be washed away
‘Cause my soul is resting on Your higher ways

Someday I will fly and
Maybe then You will take me aside
And show me the bigger picture
But until I’m with You
I’ll be here with a heart that is true
And a soul that’s resting on
Your higher ways

“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
G. K. Chesterton quote

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To be or not to be … in control … (snow, illness)

Just when you forget that you were never in control in the first place, something happens to ensure you remember! All the planning and hard work in the world are no match for things that are simply not in our hands. Illness is one, and the weather is another. Today two IT teachers were taken ill (both integral to the event) and even though I’m much better and will (God willing) be fine for Monday, there is more … the weather forecast predicts heavy snow for Tuesday and Wednesday! (the exact days that are crucial) Now is that a coincidence or is that a coincidence? The hotel wrote an entirely confusing e-mail (trying to cover their own back and ensure no losses) and it’s another one of those disheartening times. Realistically, what is there to do at this stage? Events Insurance was never an option as the policy (I’ve looked at a couple) all outline that cancellation of an event due to weather is not covered. We could cancel, but the weather could end up being perfect. Cancelling now (by some) would be viewed as “cutting our losses” but I can’t help but think it would also be an entirely faithless thing to do …

How ironic – that we are fully booked (against all odds) and then are faced with a potential severe weather warning that could ruin the event. (Remember, the Eggheads are coming down from all over the country – Kevin, in fact, is flying down from Paris on the Tuesday)

I had a chat with Trevor Montague – the quiz master for the event – he is currently writing the quiz. We decided the only way to be was positive and to believe things will work out for the best. Now what we do is hope and trust that there will not be snow (as predicted) but that the winds will change direction and it’ll be sunny OR that even with the snow it’ll be perfect with no disruptions whatsoever! Hope is a wonderful thing (especially when there are no other options).  Trusting (when you know it is not in your control) is another wonderful (but very difficult) thing to do –

Watch this space …

November 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

150 people confirmed and good planning meeting

So….quite miraculously….out of the blue…..we appear to have 150 people confirmed. Two tables confirming literally yesterday (Thursday 25th November). Full capacity….and planning is well under way.  We have more auction/raffle items than we know what to do with (way too many books) and it’s interesting to note that a few weeks ago we all were ready to give up. Loads of interest but no confirmed bookings and it all looked completely and utterly impossible. Trevor came down to meet the students and we had an initial run through of the evening. Omar and Rodard had written two absolutely stunning speeches. Everyone else had met the deadline for their various (all equally important) contributions. Notably Tevin and Alistair with the music and actual quiz presentation (ensuring it will be seamless), Geewai with his design for the scoring system, Alice and Matt with a script for the in-house filming and other important design/layout/print considerations for the evening. We also went down to Croydon Park Hotel for a meeting with the events manager there.

Rodard, Alistair and Geewai led the negotiations there and we came to an agreement (not ideal and not what had been agreed verbally) but an agreement nonetheless.

Difficult Negotiations with the Croydon Park Hotel (on the details of technicalities, budget, resources, staff etc)
















…hey, but they have a great Christmas tree out front.

November 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Centrale agrees to sponsor the Eggheads Charity Event – Thank you!


After a few weeks of deliberation and the persistence of Geewai Chui from Team Light, SHOPPING CENTRE CENTRALE  has kindly agreed to sponsor the event. This means they will be paying a rather considerable sum of money to the school to go towards covering costs (breaking even) that will be incurred by the event (i.e venue hire, catering, etc). This is absolutely amazing news and what an achievement for Team Light! The story  started a month or so ago when Team Light (Alistair, Tevin and Geewai) (accompanied by Miss Syal) went on one of their “sales rounds” to Centrale.  The receptionist there was extremely helpful and allowed the students in to the marketing department. The team made their pitch and left the marketing dept with their contact details and the event’s promotional leaflet (created by Alistair).  Centrale did of course have to consider the proposal but Geewai ensured this was definitely happening by touching base with the Marketing Head there during half term.  And then this evening, I received the e-mail we were waiting for from the lovely Sony Mistou who has been such a support and encouragement to our students.

Thank you Centrale for your support and sponsorship which will go a long way towards making the evening a success. More importantly it will ensure that most of the profits from ticket and raffle sales will go to the two worthy charities we are working on behalf of.  Children in Crisis and the Purley Cross Centre.
Team Light – well done! And Geewai – congratulations.

A few quotes below on PERSISTENCE …

“Persistence is the twin sister of excellence. One is a matter of quality; the other, a matter of time.”  Napoleon Hill (American author, 1883-1970)

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” Calvin Coolidge (American 30th President of the United States, 1872-1933)

G.K Chesterton (a favourite author of mine and the guy who inspired C.S Lewis) puts it more simply:

“Energy and persistence just may conquer all things.” -G.K Chesterton
and finally…

“If  success is the destination … Persistence is the vehicle you arrive in.” -William Eardley, IV

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Importance of Supporting Each other: The Lessons we are learning…

“The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for”.   -Thomas More

Even for me as a teacher, the twists and turns this course has taken has been a learning curve. Organising, planning and selling tables for a somewhat high profile quizzing event is no small thing.  The students have had all sorts of crazy experiences with businesses and companies they approached and how valuable for them to have had these opportunities at so young an age. You’ve got to try and sell “on the floor” to understand how corporations work, and our students have certainly gained an understanding into the business world.  (good things and bad) The complexities of getting past the “gatekeeper” (often the secretary or PA) and the dejection that comes from rejection! But Life, work and challenges would be quite worthless if things came easy and required no effort.

As a class we agreed that one of the most irritating things in life are people who are intrinsically un-supportive or unhelpful. The customer service staff that hang up or turn up their nose the moment they realise we just may be “selling” something. One thing we’ve decided is to let the experience turn us into people who DO help and DO support others.  The key thing in this unit (Mark Band B!) is team work and what an important part of life learning to work effectively in a team is.  Whether leaders or followers, team work consists of doing what is right for the greater good. A wonderful thing I’ve noticed with our students is that though the two teams have been working in this enterprise unit in competition against each other, they have also broken down the barriers on several occasions and simply helped each other out. A good example of this was Rodard (in Team Archten) who helped with some of the pitches that Team Light made.

These things – that show character – are far more important than success. How do we act under pressure? What do we do when things aren’t going great? Do we give up? Are we positive, supporting and an asset to our team members or a hindrance?

“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed”  -Alan Loy McGinnis

“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”  -John Andrew Holmes

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment


One of the things students are doing is raising money for the Purley Cross Centre. It is anticipated that the centre will then be used to cater for different groups in the local community including the elderly, disabled and local businesses who may benefit from having a training centre/base. Archbishop Tenison’s Students (as part of their networking unit) were able to analyse this realistic scenario, come up with a proposed solution and make a presentation. Some students attempted the creation of a 3D model. We are still in the process in raising money to make this a reality, but in the meantime have a look at this…..

The joys of sketchup, 3D design and rendering (see the final design with the light effects!) ICT has the power to transform…

November 4, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment