After what was hopefully an enjoyable Christmas holiday for everyone, it was nice to be eased back into the school routine with a teacher training day on Monday 6th and a 10 o’clock start on the Tuesday. That said, it didn’t take long to get right back into the spirit of things with the inter-house basketball competition. Regrettably I cannot remember which house won overall but I can say that it was a well-contested and successful event – the only unfortunate occurrence being an injury during one of the senior girls’ matches.
After winning the regional final earlier in the year, the senior maths team journeyed to London for the national final of the competition at the beginning of February. A night’s rest in St Pancras Youth Hostel saw the team ready to give their all the next day. However, despite our best efforts, a few minor mistakes ended up costing us greatly with Queen Mary’s ending up 28th out of 60 schools from across the country.
As far as exchanges go this term, a group of our students paid a visit to Spain at the end of January, looking forward to a week of sun and language practice. Unluckily for them the weather turned out to be worse over there than it was in England at the time, but reports from the group members have assured me that it did not stop anyone from having a good time.
Given that the government has put an end to January exams, this half-term was a much more relaxed one as far as sixth formers are concerned. Speaking of firsts, this is the only year of school I can remember without there being any significant snowfall; so that meant no snowball fights, broken heating systems or even a day off.
The final day of school saw the start of the trip to Huntsville in Alabama, the home of the United States Space & Rocket Centre. After meeting at 00:30 on Friday morning and a twenty-three hour journey later, we were ready for some rest at a nearby hotel. On the more tourist-style days we enjoyed watching an Ice Hockey game, going bowling, and shopping at the local malls. By contrast, our time at Space Camp was spent completing mission trainings, being spun around in a multi-axis trainer, or simply learning about NASA and space exploration. Overall it was a highly worthwhile trip as well as being memorable to say the least.