<![CDATA[Portland Place School - Student Blog - Sixth Form Blog]]>Fri, 12 Feb 2016 16:59:33 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Freya's call-up to the Scotland National U17 Football Team]]>Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:40:42 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/freyas-call-up-to-the-scotland-national-u17-football-teamFreya has done a great job of keeping it under wraps this term, so I am delighted to announce that Freya Glen in my Year 12 tutor group has been called up to represent the Scotland National U17 Football Team in a series of challenge matches in Iceland next week.

Freya will be playing up front in a team formed of rising stars in Scottish women’s football. She is the sole representative of her home club, the Millwall Centre of Excellence.
Their matches against Iceland U17 were on the 2nd and 4th of February.

Follow Freya’s (and the squad’s) progress here: http://www.womenssoccerscene.co.uk/

Toni Tasić
Sixth-form Tutor

<![CDATA[Debating ]]>Wed, 11 Nov 2015 13:15:04 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/debatingA person is more likely to have their opinion heard when calm, rational, and logical than if you were shouting, interrupting and speaking from emotion without citing a source, in essence that is what debating is.  

Last year, we were given the debating title of “Should the NHS fund alternative medical treatments such as aromatherapy, acupuncture and osteopathy, etc?”. We then had to to build a case, understanding the “for” and “against” arguments around the topic question. You do this so you can prepare for either side of the argument as you don't know which side you will be debating until the coin toss on the day. However this is very important as you can argue both sides and you are able to understand your opponents argument well as they probably have they have researched the same argument. So you know the strengths and weaknesses for both sides.   

The debates themselves only last for about 30 minutes. There are usually three people in a team but we only had two, and you only have to speak for 4 to 8 minutes, so you have to talk precisely and to argue your points logically to get all your points across. You then keep a “flow sheet”, with all the arguments your opponent has made, you are then more able to rebuttal your opponent in a more logical and formulaic way. 

Debating is a useful skill, as it can help you in many ways, and is a great transition into higher education. It can help with, researching and using only the relevant information, working in a team, culling bad ideas from good ones, understanding your opponents argument so you can make a suitable rebuttal, it can help you formulate your thoughts into a well laid out and logical argument, it can develop patience - which most people need to work on, improve communication skills and debating itself is in an important skill, as it is needed for many aspects of life. 

 Even though we lost the debate in the end, - there might have been some debatable judgments made by the judges, we still had a great time and it was a great experience, and it has taught me a lot about approaching a subject and constantly listing and questioning your opponent and their argument. 

Sam Hirons
<![CDATA[Peer Mentoring Blog]]>Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:27:49 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/-peer-mentoring-blogI have recently started participating in the peer mentoring scheme. I have been helping in a Year 8 music class and I am coming up to my 4th week helping out and so far it has been very eventful! In my first week mentoring we were given the task of drawing a graphic score for the song Billie Jean by Michael Jackson. The job of a graphic score is to give a performer the general theme and direction of the music through a combinations of pictures and words like coffee and directions like laugh, then let the performer figure out the rest, at the end of the session Miss Boyle was tasked to try and perform a couple of the student’s scores much to our amusement! The songs that she ended up performing were very fun to listen to and I would definitely buy from iTunes, but how closely they resembled Billie Jean is up for debate.

In my second week I was tasked to help the students create their own short repeated pattern, this week was also very fun as I would show the students an example of a ostinato and then a few of them would scramble to jot it down with varying degrees of success. In the end there were a few very original and very impressive little patterns of music. A few of the students were given merits and the promise of sweets for their pieces of music. Some of the inspirations were very interesting. My favourite had to be a piece written in the minor key and the inspiration was said to be a scary halloweeny night.

In my third and most recent week the lesson’s aim was to familiarise the students with keyboards, this was done by writing all the notes on the board and then writing the note names on the keyboard with a board marker. This lesson I really wasn’t needed much as the class picked up how to do it REALLY quickly. They were given the sheet music of a few well known little extracts from pieces, for example the national anthem, the Star Wars theme tune and even the theme tune from EastEnders with a few other tunes. The students worked in groups of two as they matched the notes on the score to the notes on the piano, at first it was difficult but there were many break through moments where the pieces were played perfectly, it was these moments and all the excitement and joy from the students with the breakthroughs that made me understand why some teachers decide to become teachers.


As the school year has started students in year 12 (AS LEVEL) have started to peer mentor and work towards their golden CV’s. I have been helping out Mr Yazdi in his Tuesday Year 11 class where she quiz’s them on education videos they have watched and set them homework to revise everything they have learnt during the class/classes.
Here is a quote from a student in the Year 11 class. “Leyla is a good mentor because she helps a lot and explains things if you don’t understand.” Another also mentioned that she helps the students “concentrate” in class. 


<![CDATA[Speech by International Rescue Committee]]>Tue, 08 Sep 2015 08:03:12 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/speech-by-international-rescue-committee In August I spent a week with the International Rescue Committee in New York. The IRC is a publicly and privately funded organisation, originally set up by Albert Einstein, to help people suffering from the consequences of war and natural disasters.  I helped refugees from Syria, some of whom were teenagers my age, whom the IRC is resettling in the USA; we spent time teaching them about the basics of life in the USA.

The main project that I worked on was something called shopping day. Over the previous month people had donated hundreds of different items to the IRC, refugees that were helped by the IRC could come into the office and take them for free. The items that had been donated were clothes, children’s toys, kitchen utensils and computers. We were only expecting around fifty people to come because it was raining, but one hundred and fifty people came, which really lifted my spirits.

The world now faces the single worst refugee crisis of the last 25 years, with more than four million people displaced from their homes in Syria, and many of them in temporary camps or squatting in cities in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon. In addition to running camps for Syrians, the IRC works in over 40 countries, including Pakistan, Iraq and Nigeria. The UK has so far done little to take in refugees from Syria, and I feel everyone should do something to alleviate their suffering.

On September 24, Sanjayan Srikanthan who works with the IRC will give a talk at the morning assembly about the IRC, about some of the brave things he has done, and about what we can all do to help. It is a chance to donate to the IRC, and anything given will be hugely appreciated. Here is a link to the IRC website: the article about the Syrian who made it across to the safety is worth reading. www.irc.org


James Greer

<![CDATA[Exams]]>Fri, 08 May 2015 14:44:43 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/exams Hi, my name is Michael Stratton, and I’m a sixth-form student here at Portland Place. I moved to London in mid-2012 from Sydney, Australia; and have been at the school for almost three years now.

This week is the final week of full time classes before Lower Sixth break up for study leave to take our AS examinations, and as expected everyone’s going full throttle into study mode. I don't think I’ve ever seen the common room so quiet.

I take four subjects: English Language, Biology, Mathematics, and Computer Science, which are all pretty hefty, so my timetable’s become full with all my free periods being tutor, or study based. Luckily, everyone else in the same boat, so we tend to work in big study groups, taking up as much space as we can.

Aside from the academics, I’ve been involved with the prefect team this year setting up parties for the Year 7s, and 8s, as well as raising money for this year’s prefect charity.

This summer (post-exam period) I’m looking forward to receiving my exam results (I’m gunning for straight As), and have already started talking to teachers about different universities, both UK and Australian based.  In July, our year group is going on an overnight UCAS trip to the University of Kent, where we’ll stay in student accommodation, and meet some of the students there.

Good luck to all of PPS Sixth Form, I hope your exams go well.



<![CDATA[Review of ‘The Pajama Game’, by Mischa Alexander]]>Fri, 13 Feb 2015 11:24:00 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/review-of-the-pajama-game-by-mischa-alexander
As February rolls around, we come to the tenth annual Portland Place School Musical. After a great success with last years 'Guys and Dolls', the Drama department has decided to tackle the 1954 Richard Adler musical, ‘The Pajama Game’ (adapted from Richard Bissell's book ‘7 1/2 cents’). I arrived for the show’s penultimate performance, hoping to be amazed by the show, this being the first PPS Musical I had ever seen.

After an overture that, whilst played very well, seemed to go on a bit, the show began. The story follows an American pajama factory, currently on strike for a wage raise of 7.5 cents. At the same time, one of the leaders of the union, Babe Williams (Played by Naz Simsek) and Sid Sorokin, a Superintendent of the factory (Played by Preston Nyman) start a rocky romance. There's also drunken rage, knife throwing and "Political Symbolism". When asked, Why this musical?, the director (Mrs Lambert) said simply, "I love it". It's clear why as this charming little musical combines everything that everyone enjoys about musicals.

As with any musical, the musical numbers have to work in order for it to be any good. And here, they do. There's a range of different styles here, from your classic group numbers (the synchronization and voices creating a nice sense of unison and strength), the duets (songs such as 'I'll never be jealous again' and 'Her Is' being funnily choreographed and having voices that sound really good together) and the solos. The two that really stand out for me are Preston Nyman’s performance of 'Hey There' which goes from a heartfelt solo, to an unexpected duet between Preston and himself, courtesy of a recording machine. It's actually very funny when it starts and then continues being heartfelt. Nice touch. The other is ‘Hernando’s Highway’, as performed by Gladys Hotchkiss (Emily Willis). Whilst the group number of the song is cool with the torchlight and the singers in the dark, Emily's voice combined with her and Preston make a stylish, classy tune that really is fun to listen to.

The acting in the musical is also a lot of fun. Naz Simsek returns as the leading lady of the performance, bringing to the character of Babe both an aggressive assertive side, and a subtler, friendly tone which is difficult to pull off. Think Natalie Wood from ‘West Side Story’, combined with Catherine Zeta-Jones from ‘Chicago’. We also have Preston Nyman, who after having side roles in the previous year’s shows, finally takes up a lead role. There on-stage chemistry is greatly helped by the real life friendship they share. "Preston's lovely to work with," Naz commented, "It's absolutely lovely working with Naz," Preston remarked, after the show. Other acting highlights include Patrick Miles as Vernon Hines, who manages to look really to cool holding a stopwatch, whilst giving a couple of well choreographed dances, Emily Willis who gives one of the funniest moments in the musical, and Leyla Constantinidis who it's nice to see taking a larger role in the productions.

In conclusion, a highly successful production. Whilst the original source material may not be to my taste, under the Drama and Music departments, the cast really have brought to life a musical which is thoroughly entertaining. Continuously topping itself each year, this production is well worth seeing. Hats off to all involved.

<![CDATA[Alan Ayckbourn's Confusions: A review by Mischa Alexander]]>Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:48:34 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/alan-ayckbourns-confusions-a-review-by-mischa-alexander Well, with the opening night of the upper school’s play behind us and it having been a success, I take a moment to look over the play and our performance of it. The 1974 play is less of an overall story, but is five short scripts, each one having a slight relation to the next. A kind of staged love actually (only without Bill Nighy making sex jokes). Originally meant to be performed by one group of actors playing multiple characters, our production has each part played by a separate actor (with one or two (three) exceptions). Making it seem like less of a school production, than a GCSE drama exam with different groups going up at different times (trust me, I've been in two and watched one). So as it was five separate stories, I'll go over them individually, focusing on the acting without giving too much of a synopsis of the story (it's on Wikipedia – look it up)

1. Mother Figure. This one is an interesting one to start with. With Daisy Dean playing a woman who talks to everyone like they're a child, and Isabella Weintraub and myself playing a married couple who are continuously fighting, there is a lot of tension on the stage. With most of the humour coming out of awkward situations, the actors (going third person here) have to deal with a lot, each having a definite character with issues that they do not address having to deal with (for lack of a better term) baby talk. I have to give credit to Daisy here, as she plays the role very maturely and manages to keep the weird humour alive while never breaking character. Reacting to her cheering someone up with a sock puppet brought in a lot of laughter from the audience, who seemed to enjoy the awkwardness between the 3 characters, which in the end was the desired effect.
2. Drinking Companions.

This one is definitely not focusing on the comedy. Though there are a couple of jokes here and there, the focus has to be on the drama between Milo Stilitz and the two girls he's hitting on (Leyla Constantinidis and Cora Hilliard). We see him becoming more and more desperate after drinking, you start thinking that it'll just be a funny drunk story. But instead, you get a quite heartfelt piece, not so much about someone wanting to have sex (though it's in there) but someone who really is lonely. The main actors taking the piece and their dialogue really seriously and you end up feeling sorry for Milo’s character, while at the same time worried for both of the girls he's hitting on, which is an impressive combination. 3. Between Mouthfuls.

Defiantly the funniest one. The scene between 2 couples talking amongst each other with the actors taking turns speaking, seems a bit flat at the beginning. But what makes it really funny, is the waiter (played by Sam Hirons). Mixing fantastic facial expressions, timing that adds a quick pace humour to it and reacting to what the other actors are saying, by both offering them food and playing the understanding barman. The two sets of dialogue also adds a lot of tension on stage with Naz Simseck's character accusing Patrick Miles's character of cheating on her, while Leyla Constantinidis's character admitting that she had cheated on Preston Nyman's character. So this scene has tension, awkwardness, great timing and lot of laughs.

4. Gosforth's Fete

This one had a lot of plot, including cheating, pregnancy, poorly timed announcements and terrible weather. With all 5 of the characters each having something go wrong for them, which of course means great jokes for us (the audience). The humour mainly comes from something going wrong (tea overflowing, scout masters getting drunk, and pregnancy announced over tannoy). But highlight has to be Thomas Barkley who after hearing his fiancée is pregnant, gets really rather drunk and starts singing into microphones and calling people fascists. Defiantly a highlight of the play as a whole.
5. A Talk In The Park

This is by far the strangest one. The rest of the stories have some form of realism, to the point where you could believe each one could have genuinely happen. This one (consisting of 5 monologues) is very unrealistic as each one is annoyed by someone interrupting them, and then goes to interrupt someone else. While each of the actors perform their respective part very well, it is interesting to see how it breaks away from the style of the previous four stories.  

All in all, I think it went rather well. It's also impressive as it was the director’s (David Chivers) first time directing at the school and he has certainly proved himself worthy enough to direct more.

<![CDATA[November 04th, 2014]]>Tue, 04 Nov 2014 10:06:50 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/november-04th-2014
Peer Mentoring in the Sixth Form, by Sam Hirons

Why would you volunteer to mentor younger children in school? There are many reasons that benefit younger pupils, yourself and the school itself.

Relationships are important through life and the mentor-mentee relationship is an early example of this. Also it shows that the school is promoting a caring environment and parents can be reassured that their children have an outlet other than staff if they are having problems.

How does peer mentoring benefit the mentees? Firstly the mentee receives individual support and attention that will make them feel more comfortable and confident in school. It will help them develop their social skills and self-worth. If they have issues that they may not want to share with a teacher, such as bullying, a mentor is an alternative option.

How does this benefit the mentor? They will see themselves as an asset to the school, someone who is contributing to the school and adding value. As older pupils they have experience they can share with younger members of the school, they can guide and steer, offer advice and generally be a sounding board to young pupils. It is also good for their CVs and their own personal development.

<![CDATA[Our Portland Place Sixth Form Family]]>Mon, 29 Sep 2014 13:56:45 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/our-portland-place-sixth-form-familyWelcome Portland Place Sixth Form,

I’m Daisy Dean, the current head girl and I have been a proud Portland Place student since 2008, I was in Year 7 and I am now in Year 13 (11 and now nearly 18!) so PPS is truly a family to me. 

As a sixth form group we are really very close, our Yr12 and Yr13 have already bonded and become a group and
the atmosphere within the common room is warm and happy. This is importantbecause the friendships we build over these crucial A level years are fundamental in helping you develop, providing support when the exam pressure
kicks in and hopefully keeping a smile on your face.

Portland Place Sixth Form is a fresh start. We have many students starting at PPS, whilst others have been at
the school since Year 7. Regardless of this, Sixth Form is a complete clean slate with new subjects and exciting opportunities. 
Finally, we also have a fabulous new team of PPS Prefects, who have been handpicked and elected by the students
themselves in a democratic process. As a prefect you have the ability to meet weekly and discuss any changes that you would like to implement, ranging from transforming the format of the Common Room, sorting out accessible Wifi codes
and in previous years buying fridges, microwaves and fruit blenders. Most importantly as a prefect you get to voice your opinion on matters that really affect you in day to day school life.

I’d like to wish everyone in the Sixth Form a happy and successful
start to the school year!


<![CDATA[January 20th, 2014]]>Mon, 20 Jan 2014 08:50:13 GMThttp://portlandplace.weebly.com/sixth-form-blog/january-20th-2014Set sail,

The sea swallowed us up,

Staring above at new friends,

I am just a stranger

 A slave to survival.

 The potion is acceptance,

 Heal the wounds of my corrosive soul,

A secure suit,

 I am just a stranger

A goddam slave to survival.

 The engines shove me,

Shove me to the centre,

Where my dreams can propel,

I am just a stranger

A slave to survival.

 The Gods depart above me,

So set the sails,

Se the goddam sails

Dan, Natalie, Joy, Isaac (Year 10).

Based on image below,

from ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun