6th Form to University | by Lucy W

I think it’s safe to say that this year was absolutely not the year anyone planned for. At the beginning of 2020, I had planned to take my A-level exams in the summer months and hopefully pass, before spending the holidays travelling before I left for uni. Instead, I spent five months at home, waiting for the government to give me my grades, so I could find out if I would be going to uni. Not really the ideal last year, but somehow we all made it through the boredom!

I set off to the University of Exeter at the start of September, which was really strange as I was going away so much earlier than all my friends. I was exceedingly nervous to meet my new flatmates, and I was also going to live in accommodation I had never even seen before. Despite all that, I made good friends with my flatmates quickly and had a lovely first week, although we didn’t have a ‘Freshers’ week. Starting my university course after six months of almost no study was quite a shock in the second week, but everyone soon settled down into a routine of study. However, this year was very strange at university as our courses were delivered with blended learning; a few in-person seminars and all of our lectures online via Microsoft Teams. It was quite a struggle to get to know the people on my course as we couldn’t meet in person, but we somehow managed to in the few practicals we had. My course, in particular, had very few contact hours and so I spent most of my time doing lots of reading, and watching lectures! Despite all of that, I have really enjoyed my course so far and I’m looking forward to my second term, where I will have the option to pick a few of the modules on offer.

The hardest challenge this term has been leaving home to live in a new area in a pandemic. I didn’t realise as I left that I would not be able to come home again until December, and so getting used to being so far from everyone was difficult. However, living in a shared flat like mine has been so useful, as you can really get to know your flatmates and enjoy spending time all together. I would also really recommend going self-catered at university. I wasn’t sure I would like being self-catered, as I thought fitting in the time to cook would be hard with the course, however, it is so nice to cook with flatmates in the kitchen, and go out for dinner together (obviously when we are not in a lockdown!).

The change from the sixth form to university has been very strange, however, I have absolutely loved being at university so far, and it has been a good time despite all the differences as a result of living during a pandemic.

Will the Covid-19 Pandemic Change Human History? | Jodie W

The year 2020 brought unimaginable change to the every-day lives of almost every person on the planet, but it is difficult to know how much of this will eventually impact the future and will genuinely be remembered by those who come after us. At every stage of the pandemic thus far, we have anticipated worsening circumstances but by now, the situation has entirely surpassed most people’s wildest nightmares. For many, the pandemic and the ‘stay at home’ order which came with it have served as a catalyst for positive change, whether that be a matter as simple as making time to exercise more regularly or utilizing our free time to protest for fundamental societal change. Changes have come both on a large scale, with closures of mass retail chains such as Topshop and Debenhams, and on more banal fronts, such as the way in which the ordinary workplace has adjusted to accommodate. The pandemic has also highlighted the rising cruciality of science and technology in our everyday lives which become more and more prevalent as vaccines continue to be rolled out in Great Britain and across the world. Of course as I write this, it is largely hypothetical, but what of this momentous year will people even want to remember? Or would those who lived through it simply rather forget the events altogether?

As a result of Covid-19, society has had to adapt massively. We have had to change our habits, forcing ourselves to recoil away from others in an effort to avoid contamination and this is likely to continue as we fear a continuation of the pandemic. Although many have been disproportionately affected by the measures imposed, such as children living in homes without an internet connection missing out on vital years of education, where society has been divided in many ways, in others it has been united. Everyone has faced some form of difficulty as a result of the disease and although obviously varying in extremity, it is easy to sympathise with one another. Invariably, sharing a common problem is likely to nurture the emergence of a common purpose within society, giving the human race as a whole one polarity of opposition; Covid-19. This has, of course, been seen previously in history too. During the blitz, a 56-day Nazi bombing campaign against the British Isles during the second world war, the cabinet under Winston Churchill witnessed what many described as an ascendance of human good, with British society uniting in an altruistic effort to benefit each and every person, having each experienced the same horrific actions. However when this is reflected on today, this is rarely the focus, instead being the loss of life and destruction which took place, suggesting that whether or not society is able to unite as a result of the pandemic may not truly have a historical significance. Furthermore, although in the past moments of historical significance such as the blitz have united us, this unity is rarely able to be maintained for long periods of time and given the high political tensions which the pandemic has acted as a catalyst to provide, it is unlikely that the unity demonstrated by the ‘clap for carers’ and other similar events around the world will change human history going forward.

On the contrary, there have been mass demonstrations of continual division within society as the news regarding covid-19 eventually blurred for many, leaving room for the promotion of more constructive change. Undoubtedly, George Floyd will be a name for the history books. His tragic death at the hands of three police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was filmed by onlookers and posted online. His death led to countless protests, echoing the chant of ‘Black Lives Matter’ in an effort to raise awareness initially for police brutality but also for the need to eradicate institutionalised racism from our modern day society. This movement spread worldwide thanks to the ease of access improved through technology and social media, prompting the forced removal of the statue of Edward Colston, a known slave trader, in Bristol as well as many other drastic, memorable actions. In the United States, President Trump’s Administration’s mishandling of both these protests and the pandemic as a whole, swayed many voters towards Joe Biden in the November 2020 US Presidential Election, something which will inevitably change human history due to the drastically different policies of each of the respective politicians. The change which so many people have experienced is likely to alter the viewpoints of many individuals, leading to long term changes.

Not only has the income of so many people been jeopardised, along with the fears of an imminent economic recession but the increased time alone has forced so many people to consider who they truly are, what they value. People are now more likely to prioritise what they truly value as the magnitude and speed at which change can occur has become increasingly clear. Therefore, it seems foolish to suggest that the Covid-19 Pandemic will not bring tremendous changes to human history within society.

Furthermore, there have been drastic changes in the way in which education and the workplace will function. There has been a realisation of the necessity of technology in the workplace as almost all university lectures have been moved online with technology being the enabler so that people can work from home as instructed. It is likely that a sense of office camaraderie may become a thing of the past as the necessity to social distance is not possible in many bustling offices, resulting in the need for staggered work-shifts to ensure work spaces do not become overcrowded when not working from home, something which may have seemed unimaginable to many just less than a year ago. However, the opportunity to work from home has been positive for many as there has been a shift in the expectations of employees as they are able to prioritise their responsibilities outside of work, such as childcare, and workplace culture has adjusted to enable employees to be valued more for meeting targets rather than the time which they spend sat at a desk. It will be difficult to deny employees the option of working from home from this point onwards and this is also likely to reduce the number of people looking to commute to their workplace following the relaxation of restrictions. We may even hypothesize that the future will see the eradication of the 9-5 altogether. Although it is impossible to predict how many of these changes will be continued following the return of normality, it is easy to suggest that many of these changes in education and the workplace will be sustained, and although there may be less drastic changes than those within society, the pandemic has acted as a stimulant for changes in human history.

This pandemic has had one crucial difference from those comparable with it which happened in the past, the crucial role of technology. The tools of technology have undoubtedly saved the pandemic from having a worse impact than it may have had in a pre-technological age. Not only has technology played a pivotal role in spreading lockdown messages from governments and of course actually caring for patients ill with the virus, but it has also allowed for many people to authentically offer tools to help people cope with the lockdown measures. For example Joe Wicks, who will be receiving an MBE for his contribution to society through fitness classes which he provided daily through Youtube during the lockdown and Marcus Rashford, who will also be receiving an MBE for his contribution to the campaign against child food poverty, much of which was spread through social media. We have seen a global rise in the ease of access to medicine and doctor’s appointments, and although this has been done due to necessity it appears as though an awful lot of appointments could simply have been an e-mail or a five minute phone call. Technology has brought an unlimited sense of opportunity for change during the pandemic but it is difficult to know how much of these will be acted upon to the extent of truly changing human history or if society will simply wish to return to normality as these technological advancements make change far more gradually. It is certain that without technology, the human history of the pandemic would have been very different.

To conclude, it is evident that the pandemic will bring fundamental changes to our way of life as we move forwards. The Covid-19 pandemic has been the defining global moment of the 21st century so far and given it has had a global impact, the measures which have been put in place in an effort to prevent contamination, and of course the direct impact in terms of illness and death due to the disease itself, will change human history. It is now up to us to decide how it will do so.

Image Link: https://www.ox.ac.uk/sites/files/oxford/styles/ow_medium_feature/s3/field/field_image_main/shutterstock_1660181482.jpg?itok=HyE8LIgY (22/06/21)

An interview on all things weird, wild and wonderful with Mr Loveday | By Eeman Y and Olivia R

Backchat: Do you believe in aliens?

Mr Loveday: I do believe there will be alien life discovered at some point. I’m very hopeful! There’s something amazing called the Fermi Paradox that you should, every reader, should go and find out about. It’s something I think about a lot, it freaks me out.

If you were a child at Hogwarts who would your best friend be?

I think I would have been friends with (…) I wouldn’t want to be with the core group! I suppose Neville seems like a nice guy, definitely! The reason why I wouldn’t want to hang out with the core gang is they’re always getting into trouble and death-defying feats. I wouldn’t want to fight snakes and defeat evil wizards.

There’s this TV character called Jessica Fletcher, who solved murders every time she went on holiday and everyone says, who on earth would want to be Jessica Fletcher’s friend? You’d end up dying or being arrested around her.

If you could describe yourself with one noun, verb and adjective, what would they be?

Now you’re testing my English abilities. (…) Enthusiastic. A noun, a tree! And swaying. Yep! An enthusiastically swaying tree.

On the spectrum, what is your inspiration in life?

Okay, quite a few. One of the main guys at the top because he has just been writing some articles I’ve been reading, is a guy called Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He was a South-African freedom fighter, essentially, who was very important in trying to put together South Africa after their difficulties with apartheid.

What do you think is the best gift you could ever give somebody?

Your time, I guess! Making time for other people is something we really struggle to do in the modern world. We are not taught to do it anymore. We text, we swipe. We don’t do much else in human interaction.

Thoughts on social media and phones in school…

Well you may remember an assembly I did on Internet Safety Day and my line of argument is, from an evolutionary point of view, our brains aren’t very good at coping with new shiny gadgets… they make us freak out. I’m very interested and concerned basically about the impact social media will be having on us long-term. Like our friendship circles, or how we see ourselves. Our self-worth and how stressed we are, always having to check or be exciting.

There’s a lot of pressure when you’re in your twenties after when you’re at university and getting jobs… seeing other people being successful and you think that you’re not being successful. In terms of mobile phones in school, I think you guys will have the rest of your lives to be hooked up to devices. I think six hours in a day while you’re trying to study things, wouldn’t be a bad thing not to have your phone with you.

On the spectrum that is life, where would you place yourself and why?

The spectrum of life? (…) It could be a really exciting period.

LGBT Rights | By Raven

LGBT rights have been fought for for hundreds of years. While early on in time homosexuality was tolerated, there were numerous religious laws incriminating gay people within their religion. In the 16th century, Henry VIII, along with disbanding multiple monasteries across the country, introduced his own law making male homosexuality punishable by death. After being reenacted three times, it was decided that it would be in force ‘for ever’. During the 17th century, despite there still being laws incriminating homosexuality, King James I had many male lovers. Near the end of the 18th century an essay was written by philosopher Jeremy Bentham that explained how homosexuality was not damaging to men, or the population. However, due to beliefs at the time, this essay was never published.

Moving into the 19th century, the 16th century law was repealed, only to be replaced by another law which again made homosexuality punishable by death. 30 years later, this law was abolished. This, however, was not the end. Another 30 years later, the criminal law amendment act meant homosexuality was yet again illegal, although no longer punishable by death. The 20th century brought more drastic changes to the lives of the LGBT community. More gay clubs and societies began appearing, then the war began. When World War I began, the men left, meaning homosexuality between women was more common. It had seemed too little a problem when the laws were first introduced, however the war made it more prominent, so the criminal act was amended to include women.

After the war, homosexuality became a topic of public discussion, due to songs and books being published which brought the subject into the public eye. Not long after discussions began, the first cases of gender reassignment surgery appeared. A book was written about a man named Maurice in 1932 called ‘Amazing Change of Sex’, making the public aware of what was happening. During this time, homosexuality was still illegal, and was often punished in horrific ways. One of the most famous cases being Alan Turing, who undertook chemical castration instead of going to prison in a bid to continue his work, however the treatment eventually drove him to insanity. After many deaths and centuries of fighting, in 1967, homosexuality was decriminalised in England. While the laws only extended to men over the age of 21, the LGBT community was finally making progress towards equality.

Things progressed quicker after the law was introduced. In 1972, the first London Pride Rally was held, which is still celebrated today. Through the 1980s, the criminal justice act extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland. With the discovery of AIDS and the link to homosexuality, things did not become any easier for gay people, as they were constantly avoided and frowned down upon. Eventually, in 2001, laws were amended to give gay people the same rights as straight people, however it was another 5 years before anti-discrimination laws were put in place. In 2004, same-sex couples were allowed to form a civil partnership, but it was in 2014 that they were allowed to marry. This was the first time the crown had openly supported the LGBT community, with the Queen making the comment to the Lesbian and Gay Switchboard on their 40th anniversary: ‘Best wishes and congratulations to all concerned on this most special anniversary.’

A step back was taken in 2010, when the Pope heard about the new laws, saying they went against natural law, however pride parades continued, and progress continued towards full equality. Now, we have more LGBT characters in literature and film than ever before, meaning younger generations are more open and accepting. There are openly gay celebrities and it is usual to see pride across social media platforms. Despite coming a long way, the fight is not yet over. There is still discrimination and homophobia across the world. The US are fighting for the right to fight in the army for trans people, and often LGBT people will encounter homophobia during their everyday lives.

We are a spectrum of people, and the rainbow has come a long way, but we’re still striving to reach the pot of gold at the end.

Image Link: https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1562592619-908ca07deace?ixid=MnwxMjA3fDB8MHxzZWFyY2h8MXx8bGdidHxlbnwwfHwwfHw%3D&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&w=1000&q=80 (24/04/21)

New Beginnings, An Interview with Mrs H-T | By Jess C-J and Lexy D

An interview with Mrs H-T on starting a new job in an new environment.

What made you first become interested in Chemistry?

I was quite good at it in secondary school and I found it quite easy. I also like Games, but when it came to A levels I didn’t have a choice for Games or PE or any of that. So I picked Chemistry, Biology and Maths and just stuck with it because I’ve always found it reasonably straight forward.

What is it like starting somewhere new where you don’t know anyone?

Pretty awful! I was at my previous school for 10 years, so I was the kind of person that people would come to when they were new. To answer questions like, “Where do you get your photocopying done?”’ or “Who does this?” and “What’s that?” I had moments of complete doubt of what I was doing, why was I starting somewhere new and it’s stupid little things, not how to teach or how to do the important bits of my job, but it’s how to get photocopying done or what do I do if this happens. It’s just really quite scary, but after about 3 weeks it didn’t matter. It was all perfect.

How easy is it to adapt when you come to a new school?

Schools are all the same. Well, there’s little intricacies that are different, but effectively schools are all the same: people come in, they learn, they go. So once you’ve got the basics of that, it’s quite straightforward and, yes, I would say within the first month I felt a lot more settled. When we had our first staff meeting we were asked for anecdotes about what made us feel happy and what made me feel happy was that it felt like I’d been here forever — in a good way. I was settled, I was happy. Every day is a learning day, so every day I find out something new, but I would say within a month it was quite easy to be settled.

‘I feel like I’ve been here forever – but in a good way’

Mrs H-T

Do you think it’s harder to contribute ideas when you are newer than other people?

It goes both ways, really. I am quite happy to contribute ideas, but that all comes from being comfortable in my environment. I think if I was having a different year and I was still wary about what was going on or who’s who, I probably wouldn’t contribute as many ideas and I definitely wouldn’t start an equestrian club! I think because the school has helped me settle so quickly it’s just been quite easy.

What is the best thing about the High School?

Well, there’s lots of best things. I think it’s the atmosphere because everybody wants to learn and it’s not just the girls that want to learn, the teachers want to learn how to be better teachers to make the girls learn better. I think it’s just that everybody works together as one big team. Even if you’ve had a little bit of a falling out with somebody, it’s fixed, you move on. It’s great. So I think the atmosphere is the best thing.

Do you have any advice for students that are about to start university or get a job next year?

This school is very good for preparing you for the future but not scaring you. I think my best piece of advice if I was going to leave and go off to university is to do everything that you want to do but challenge yourself at the same time. Don’t just sit back and do something because it’s easy; don’t sit back because it might be fun; do it as a challenge. Do it because you want to, but get it all done and dusted and out of the way so when you know what you want to do for the rest of your life you can get on and do it.

Finally, what is the best thing about chemistry?

The best thing about chemistry has to be that it’s a practical subject and it’s indoors where it’s warm. My other choice was teaching PE where it’s cold! So you can do lots of practicals and even if you don’t like it you’ll find an aspect about it that you do because it’s vast and clearly is the best science!

Image Link: https://www.nunii-laboratoire.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/shutterstock_1241820865.jpg (03/04/21)

Women in 1200-1900 | By Lexy D

In this essay, we will be looking at the way the role of women has changed between the 13th century and the 20th century. We will be looking at three areas: behaviour and expectations, work and money and leisure activities. In each section, we will first look at the 13th century and then compare it to the 18th-20th centuries. Finally, we will summarise whether things improved for women or not in the 700 years we will be looking at.

The behaviour and expectations held against women, in my opinion, have not changed all that much. For example: in both 1200 and 1900 women were expected to do all the tedious, unwanted and dangerous jobs in factories, fields or at home. They were expected to clean, look after the children and keep an eye on the servants. In 1200, they had to behave how their husbands wanted them to behave, and if they didn’t behave well their husband could sell them, beat them or even use a scold’s bridle. In 1900, it was slightly better, but not by much. Girls were finally allowed to go to school, but women’s jobs did not improve.

Money for women, as with all their other possessions, was actually owned by their husbands or fathers. They worked in very simple, repetitive jobs that men did not want to do. They were therefore required to have very little skill. Even if they managed to do jobs that the men would do, they would be paid substantially less than them. All the work was some kind of manual labour, such as farming. Once they were married, they would normally become a housewife. Here, they would have to look after children and their husbands, and they would also have to do all the cleaning in the house. If they managed to get a bit of spare time in amongst all the housework, they would be expected to either do spinning or sewing; still manual labour that was required to help them live.

Throughout the next few hundred years, things didn’t get much better for women in the workplace. In fact, the conditions of their jobs were actually getting worse and were gradually becoming more dangerous. They were still given the tedious jobs that men didn’t want to do and it was always manual labour. Even by the 1900s, they still had no financial control and all their hard earned money would automatically belong to their husband or father. The scenery had also changed too; instead of just being housewives, women could now get jobs as farm hands, although few chose this option as they still had to do most of the work a housewife would do anyway.

During the limited spare time of women in the 1200s, they were very restricted on how they could relax. They most wealthy of them would be allowed to go riding and most would be able to visit friends, mainly female, and if they were to visit male friends, it would never be unaccompanied. If their house contained a garden, then they would quite often be found relaxing there, sometimes reading a book, if they were literate. Everyone would have been religious, and therefore religious practices would be allowed, although, as it was something that was expected of all people, not just women, I cannot justly say that it was something done for leisure.

Nothing changed at all in the years before 1900, the only freedom that was given was that women were now allowed to play games of cards, although everything they did, they could only do with fellow women. Things may have got a bit better, but not a lot had changed and women were still greatly underprivileged.

I don’t think that any progress had been made for women between 1200-1900. In fact, in certain areas, I think that the status of women had decreased, although only slightly. By 1900, women were still greatly inferior to men and they were still basically owned by men. Everything they did was controlled by men and they were hardly ever allowed to do anything without a man watching over them. I think this was greatly unfair and I would have expected more progress to have been made in the way of a woman’s rights and status over a period of 700 years.

Paperbacks Vs EBooks | Lexy D

In 2011, it was feared paperback books would die out forever. However, in early 2017, the paperback made a comeback, outselling ebooks and e-readers. The sale of paperbacks grew by 4%, while ebook sales shrank by the same amount. This is believed to be down to an increase in price for ebooks, making them less affordable compared to paper books than they were when they first came out. In 2011, ebook downloads overtook paper book sales on Amazon, which developers had hoped would happen eventually, but never expected to happen so quickly.

Studies have shown that the paperback revival has been fuelled by the younger generations. Many children’s books, the kind that would typically be read to a toddler by their parent, just don’t have the same reading experience while on an e-reader as they do in physical form. 16 – 24 year olds have also said they prefer physical books to ebooks, saying they “like to hold the product”. It is also believed that, since teenagers live in a digitally dominated world, the opportunity to read a book in print instead of on a phone or e-reader gives them a chance to escape from the digital world. When a student’s eyes get tired, whether from revising or using social media, it is a lot more appealing to pick up a paperback instead of another screen. Paperback books provide downtime when people, and their eyes, get tired.

Books make an easy present for anyone. A book can be found and packaged up easily while staying a surprise to the recipient. A physical gift is much more satisfying to receive than a digital download code, saying that someone has bought you a book. Physical books also offer the ability for the reader to easily see how far through they are. Physically seeing how far through you are instead of just reading a percentage written in the corner of a screen appears to be much more satisfying to read. It gives a quick and easy idea of how much is left.

Reading comes with a whole experience, from going along the bookshelves to choose the book, sitting on the floor of a bookstore reading the first few pages, and then tearing a page as you turn it too quickly. You don’t get all of this with ebooks. And I may be alone in this, but books have a very special smell, which again just isn’t the same with ebooks.

So it would appear that paperback books are on the rise yet again. You‘ll be much more likely to see a paper book instead of an e-reader. However, fast readers and travellers may still prefer the ease of carrying many books at once in the form of an e-reader. So this won‘t be the end of e-readers, but it is definitely the resurrection of paperbacks.

Image Link: https://www.californialifehd.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/books.jpg (12/03/21)

The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith | Florence G

Tom Ripley is far from a hero. In fact he’s probably more of a psychopath.

Thomas Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law, when an unexpected acquaintance offers him a free trip to Europe and a chance to start over. Ripley wants money, success and the good life so much so he’s willing to kill for it. When his new-found happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking.

His innate ability to charm, impersonate and subvert make him one of the most confusingly amazing and lovingly hated characters in modern writing. The constant threat and danger to everything he’s worked for make it near impossible not to root for him. Yet not to like him; not to want him to win, which is certainly unusual. Patricia Highsmith does an excellent job of ensuring he wheedles his way into our sympathies. It’s a classic story of someone who starts off with bad luck and is disregarded by society, but who, through force of personality, hard work and sheer determination, manages to make something of himself. He’s had a hard upbringing; he lost his parents and was brought up by an aunt who called him a “sissy”. And yet, he came out the other end polite, self-effacing and hard-working. He is endearingly shy in company and worried about the impression he makes on others. Not to mention always assessing himself, always trying to improve. In all aspects, Tom Ripley is a multi-faceted character that comes to life within the first few pages.

“He liked the fact that Venice had no cars. It made the city human. The streets were like veins, he thought, and the people were the blood, circulating everywhere.”

You can’t ever quite tell what’s going to happen. Patricia Highsmith balances the calm beauty of Italy with the violence of murder in such a way that you feel constantly on edge even though you’re enjoying yourself. It’s definitely one of the most interesting books you’ll ever read.

Thomas Ripley is struggling to stay one step ahead of his creditors and the law, when an unexpected acquaintance offers him a free trip to Europe and a chance to start over. Ripley wants money, success and the good life so much so he’s willing to kill for it. When his new-found happiness is threatened, his response is as swift as it is shocking. His innate ability to charm, impersonate and subvert make him one of the most confusingly amazing and lovingly hated characters in modern writing. The constant threat and danger to everything he’s worked for make it near impossible not to root for him. Yet not to like him; not to want him to win, which is certainly unusual. Patricia Highsmith does an excellent job of ensuring he wheedles his way into our sympathies. It’s a classic story of someone who starts off with bad luck and is disregarded by society, but who, through force of personality, hard work and sheer determination, manages to make something of himself. He’s had a hard upbringing; he lost his parents and was brought up by an aunt who called him a “sissy”. And yet, he came out the other end polite, self-effacing and hard-working. He is endearingly shy in company and worried about the impression he makes on others. Not to mention always assessing himself, always trying to improve. In all aspects, Tom Ripley is a multi-faceted character that comes to life within the first few pages.

You can’t ever quite tell what’s going to happen. Patricia Highsmith balances the calm beauty of Italy with the violence of murder in such a way that you feel constantly on edge even though you’re enjoying yourself. It’s definitely one of the most interesting books you’ll ever read.

Image Link: https://i.grassets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1540771547i/7853133.UY1520_SS1520.jpg (26/02/21)

The 10 Best Films of All Time | Katie G


This is a much less well known film but one of my personal favourites. It is the story of an insurance investigator who sets out to find the murderer of his wife but in the same incident he received short term memory loss. So he is able to remember everything before the accident but not make new memories. Half the film is told chronologically providing the backstory of the characters, and in the other half the scenes run in reverse order helping the viewer unravel the mystery the same way as the main character. Directed by Christopher Nolan, it is one of the most cunning film ideas I have ever seen.

Rating – 15


Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this film truly expresses how the pen is mightier than the sword. When 12 alien spaceships land across the world, a linguist is called on to help understand why these creatures have landed on earth. Another film that uses non-linear storytelling, it displays how language forms the bridges of society.

Rating – 12A


Terminator In 2029 an artificial intelligence system called sky net tries to launch the nuclear apocalypse; a cyborg assassin known as a Terminator travels from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor the mother of the man who will grow up to lead the human resistance against the machines. It is one of the most creative and iconic films in movie history, directed by James Cameron.

Rating – 15

Groundhog Day

A cynical TV weatherman finds himself reliving the same day over and over again when he goes on location to the small town of Punxsutawney to film a report about their annual Groundhog Day. Directed by Harold Ramis it is another classic loved by all.

Rating – PG

Back to the Future (Trilogy)

Films that don’t require an introduction. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Back to the Future is the timeless classic of Marty Mcfly’s adventures of travelling through time.

Rating – PG


WALL-E In 2805 when humans have been forced to leave their dying planet and leave robots to clean up the mess. Wall-E the heartwarming story of a robot falling in love is adored across all generations.

Rating -U


This thought-provoking film directed by Christopher Nolan involves nonlinear storytelling. It is the story of a group of thieves who steal secrets from subconscious people as they sleep. But 5 minutes in the real world is an hour in the dream. It is a mind-boggling film that is seems to change each time you watch it.

Rating – 12

Jurassic Park

In Steven Spielberg’s massive blockbuster, a select group are chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. It is another timeless classic for anyone to enjoy. ”an adventure 65 million years in the making.”

Rating – PG

The Shawshank Redemption

Arguably one of the best films ever made. Directed by Frank Darabont and based on the story by Stephen King, it is the tale of two men’s time on the inside. “when those bars slam home, that’s when you know it’s for real. A whole life is blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.”

Rating – 15

Harry Potter (Film series)

Although this isn’t a film directly related to the time, I felt the need to include it as they are films that are just as magical rewatching as it was when you first watched it as a child. And I’m sure they are a staple of many people’s childhood. So they will,in my eyes, forever be timeless.

Rating – PG/12

An Interview with Mr Donaldson on Time | Conducted and Transcribed by Eeman

Backchat: Which is your favourite time period to teach and why?

Mr D: Easy! The making of Modern Britain from 1951 to 2007 because it’s really relevant to students’ lives and I like how they can relate to it and it also brings in politics and economics. Also, probably because it’s the story of my family; my dad, my mum, my grandad lived through this. I’ve found that when teaching history it’s important to relate it back to them because it’s such an abstract subject.

B: If you could talk to your past self for exactly one minute what would you say?

Mr D: Blimey! I think I would say you worry too much. People plan and they never work out how they’re supposed to, but that’s sort of how life works. If I went back to talk to myself as a teenager, I would say stop worrying about what might happen, what you need to do and to relax a little bit because you haven’t got a lot of control over things. As you get older you realise that it matters less what other people might think of you than you believe when you’re growing up. You’ve just got to be yourself!

B: If you could choose to be immortal and have all the time in the world, would you take it?

Mr D: No. Because… I think I’d get bored of it all eventually. This might sound quite dark, but I think one day I’d just like to sleep and leave it all behind. That’s gonna happen anyway at some point, but I just feel like life is so hard and tiring, although I’d like a good innings, at some point I would want it to stop. To avoid boredom as well is difficult, in some ways I’m accepting of the fact that this is temporary and you’re only here for a short time…and that’s fine.

B: What do you think has been the most significant change in the world?

Mr D: I guess today you would sort of say climate change, but in my lifetime the biggest change has been… technology. When I was at university, writing my dissertation, I did it on a typewriter! Computers were something that weren’t common back then, so I think the internet has been a massive change. As a teacher you notice it more, but life in general has become so hectic and busy. Perhaps that’s me saying it as an adult, whereas a child you have more time to daydream. I think lots of people would argue life is more complex now. I think the modern world has become a very busy place to work in.

B: Which period would you like to live in the most?

Mr D: I’m quite happy with now, because that’s where I am. You might get some history teachers that have favourite time periods they would love to visit, but I think I’m quite accepting of the fact that I’m around now. I would love to go to the future, but a bit of history I’d go back to… maybe just for a day.

B: If you could time travel would you choose to go into the past or the future?

Mr D: Future. That’s the great unknown isn’t it? I already know about the past, but the future I have no idea about so it would be quite interesting! Maybe about sort of 50 years ahead. I’d love to travel around space a bit, I think that would be really cool! It’s so gigantic and vast and we’re in such a tiny contained part of the universe, to see it in all its vastness… Because life is actually quite claustrophobic. So maybe a bit of space travel??

B: What do you think humans should aim to do at least once in their lifetime?

Mr D: I have tried skydiving, but I’m not sure it’s something you have to do in your lifetime. It’s such a vast question, but there’s obvious thing like everyone should fall in love. Mostly I think it’s the little things you do every day that everyone should experience, for example, saying hello to your neighbour or having a chat with your kids… It’s the little things like that, that I think add up to make a massive difference. The idea that if you can help someone just a little bit is… I mean if everybody did that the world would be a much nicer place.

B: Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Mr D: Ten years’ time… Not teaching! I’m not one of those people who will have the energy or passion to do it anymore. So, I would probably be somewhere doing a bit of travelling… Back to New Zealand, which is fabulous! Or wandering around Scotland a little bit, exploring. Just spending time doing things I actually want to do! Once you get a job, it steals a lot of time from you and in ten years I will have done my bit in teaching and you lot will have had enough from me. I want to still be young enough to actually put effort into my travelling and have a proper go at it… not on a cruise with a pension and those group coaches. That’s not me!

B: If you had all the time to change one thing about the world, what would it be and why?

Mr D: I’m not sure what it is I would do…. But it would be along the lines of helping as many people as possible. Like reversing climate change, or curing cancer, or making sure coronavirus didn’t get out. Something that would make the most difference to the most amount of people as possible…. That is a massive question!