Apprentice Day at Farlington School

June 15, 2016

This year’s ‘Farlington Apprentice’ for Year 10 was a great success. With a series of challenges, both mental and physical, being undertaken until a winning team emerged. This year had a very different format to previous years – 32 Year 10 boys from Richard Challoner School, Kingston joined the Farlington girls for a joint challenge.

On the boys’ arrival, introductions were made and pupils were put into teams of 9 – 5 girls and 4 boys in each. They were all briefed as to what to expect during the course of the day and the importance of following instructions, listening, effective communication and teamwork. The day was broken into two distinct parts – before and after lunch! The morning’s activities were varied and challenged pupils in a number of different ways. Interestingly the very first challenge – to be completed in silence by all team members started with the instruction ‘ …make sure you read everything before you do anything else’.  There followed a series of 22 written questions, the first of which was to name the sheet and answer the 22nd question which was all that was required… remarkably all the groups busied themselves answering all 22 questions!

A variety of rounds followed including identifying capital cities and flags, some lateral thinking matchstick puzzles, some ditloids  – amazingly not many teams knew – S W A T 7 D – Snow White and the 7 Dwarves!

After some refuelling in the form of doughnuts, the tasks continued challenging the pupils to build the tallest structure possible with a pack of marshmallows and spaghetti! Some interesting designs, some rather more stable than others, and quite a few sticky fingers to boot! The music round was next – ‘beat the intro’, followed by mental agility quizzes, guess the famous landmarks and all rounded off by the composition and performance, in their groups, of a ‘Right Royal Rap!’  This was judged by Mrs Sprey, Mrs Binns and Mrs Higgs with marks awarded for originality and performance. Some interesting and spontaneous performances were given, particularly considering teams only had 15 minutes to devise and practise their ‘raps’.  The scores going into lunch were fairly evenly poised with Team 2 in front by just a couple of points!

After lunch the teams were divided into two groups – Teams 1, 2, 3 and 4 headed for the Sports Hall to be initiated into a new game – ‘tchoukball’. After some initial instruction delivered with aplomb by Farlington Director of PE and Games, Sara Whittaker, two matches began, pitting team 1 against 2, and 3 against 4. Pupils quickly got the hang of the basic principles made all the more interesting by the fact that points could be scored at both ends of the court! Meanwhile teams 5, 6, 7 and 8 headed for the astro where an extremely enthusiastic tug of war competition soon got underway, skilfully managed by Sean Binns from Richard Challoner. This was followed by some very competitive skipping – how many people, for how many turns of the rope – the more people and turns, the more points. After everyone had taken their turn at both disciplines, teams swopped over ensuring everyone had a go at everything. The final competition of the afternoon was back on the tug of war where ‘pulls’ were done for final positions and, ultimately, a girls versus boys tug of war – no prizes for guessing who won that one!

Having made some quick calculations the final scores were totted up and narrowly, very narrowly, Team 2 managed to maintain their earlier lead and go on to win the final competition – well done to Captain Kira Hyde, and her teammates Millie Jewry, Ella Li, Charlotte Lionel, Lauren Pedel and the four lads Leo Rogers, Alistair Stockley, Alvin Alex Juderaj and Aaron Walsh who joined them from Richard Challoner.

Mandy Higgs, Assistant Head at Farlington School, commented: “All of the students clearly enjoyed the day. The tasks were varied and allowed everyone to show their strengths and take the lead at different points in the day. From an observer’s point of view, everyone was engaged with the activities, although it was interesting to note that, sometimes, the girls allowed the boys to take the lead, where they would be normally be very happy to take charge when working in a single-sex environment. The girls showed they were confident to work in mixed teams and to contribute their ideas, but it seemed to emphasise the importance of learning in an all-girl environment where there are no (sometimes self-imposed) boundaries.”