Pupils Explore Conflict And Co-operation At Rugby School Conference

On Friday 9 November a group of 18 Princethorpe pupils from Years 10 and 11 visited Rugby School to take part in an academic conference on the theme of Conflict and Co-operation. They joined pupils from Rugby School, Lawrence Sheriff School, Ashlawn School and Harris Church of England Academy.

Over the course of the day pupils heard from four thought-provoking keynote speakers, including the MP for South Leicestershire, a barrister, a campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis and a journalist. Their talks punctuated the day and in between the pupils broke out into seminar groups where they each presented a paper, they had written, on the conference topic of Conflict and Co-operation.

Religious Studies Teacher, Cyp Vella, explained, “We wanted to stretch and challenge our top performing students and allow them the freedom to look into a broad issue and explore a particular element of it, that was particularly interesting or important to them.” He continued, “This was the first time Rugby School have run this conference and it proved to be a fantastic day, a really good opportunity to be immersed in an intellectually challenging environment, and where pupils could be exposed to the interests and work produced by their peers. Everyone delivered a presentation and I was really proud of the way our students conducted themselves and the high standards of their participation.”

Abbie O'Carroll-Bailey described the day saying, “Rugby School’s conference was a brilliant day enjoyed by all. It was extremely interesting to hear everyone’s interpretations of the main topic Conflict and Co-operation. There was such a wide range of paper titles, for example some people did essays on the effect of weapons on war, whereas others did essays on how the brain copes with conflict. As well as listening to the presentations we also had multiple talks from keynote speakers. The talks varied from Julian Matthews talking about conflict and co-operation within the law, Robin Scott giving us a controversial talk on alcohol and cannabis, Alberto Costa talking to us about the conflict in his role as an MP, and finally my favourite talk, Tony Birtley speaking to us about his experience as a journalist travelling across the world and reporting on conflicts. For example, he went to Afghanistan to report on the devastation bought about by the war. These talks were extremely inspiring and sparked a lot of discussions amongst the pupils. I want to say thank you to everyone involved in this trip especially Mr Vella and Mrs Scott who gave up their time to take us. It was an extremely engaging day and a wonderful experience.”