Good news Friday: Bolton School, Brighton College Queen’s College, Taunton

The Telegraph, 18.09.15, Good news Friday weekly roundup featuring HMC leading independent schools: budding entrepreneurs at Bolton School raised funds for a Nepalese earthquake relief fund; a 14-year-old schoolboy from Brighton College has been tasked with teaching Brussels-based MEPs how to code and Queen’s College, Taunton students enjoyed a day amongst musical royalty.

1. Schoolboy "ninja" tasked with teaching MEPs how to code

Schoolboy, Louis de Wardt, aged 14, is preparing for a trip to the European Parliament at the end of this month to teach coding to MEPs from across the continent.

Louis, who attends independent school, Brighton College, is a member of Coder Dojo, a free programming and technology club that has more than 700 branches worldwide. The organisation was set up in 2011 following various studies showing a shortage of programmers. It is entirely organised by volunteers keen to encourage young people to code and develop websites, apps and programmes.

The children, aged 7-17, are usually referred to as “ninjas” and they complete activities and earn “belts” as their skills grow. Louis is one of six young ninjas across the whole of the UK hand-picked to go to Brussels by Coder Dojo.

Louis said: “I started coding when I was in Year 6. I’ve always loved computers but when I joined an after school club I really starting getting serious about coding. I just love the problem solving element of it. Now I teach other children, but I suppose it is going to be a bit different teaching MEPs from scratch.”

His Coder Dojo club leader, Johnny Claffey, added: “Louis was picked for this because he is really out there when it comes to coding. He isn’t afraid of anything, he’ll just pick it up and run with it. He’s even taught code to staff at Thomson Reuters. He runs the advanced track at his club, helping others with processing, Java Script and Python. These kids are at the forefront of this digital age."

4. Queen’s College hosts musical royalty

Queen’s College, Taunton, hosted a flute masterclass involving recitals from renowned soloist Wissam Boustany, flute specialist Candice Regan and pianist Aleksander Szram.

Students were given the opportunity to try piccolos, alto flutes and different head joints while learning from the experts. Wissam and Aleksander held a masterclass ensemble whilst Candice taught students tone and technique.

The recital was held in the College’s Performing Arts Centre and came to an end with a recital from Wissam Boustany, demonstrating his coaching points from earlier in the day.

Headmaster Chris Alcock said: “Flute day was a wonderful opportunity for Queen’s students to develop their musical skills by learning from the world famous. The masterclass and the recital were thoroughly enjoyed by all”.

5. Students take part in Entrepreneur Week

Towards the latter end of the summer term, Bolton School played host to Entrepreneur Week, with the Year Six boys tasked with raising profit from lunchtime stalls and the winning team choosing which charity received their funds.

Winning team ‘Sweet Tooth’ found success with their bags of mixed sweets. ‘Chill Out’ came well equipped for the summer heat with a range of flavoured ice-creams. ‘Tom and Seb’s Mocktails’ also capitalised on the good weather, offering the boys a chance to buy a cool mixed drink and even mix their own.

‘Delicious Cakes’ is reported to have lived up to expectations with an impressive variety of home made cakes.

The Young Entrepreneurs project aims to provide pupils with key skills such as producing a business plan and sourcing products. Concepts such as profit margins and marketing are introduced to participants, who are split into teams of 11 and given three lunchtimes to sell their goods to fellow students.

The boys raised an impressive £552.60 in profit, with ‘Sweet Tooth’ pledging the gains from proceedings to HExN’s Nepal Earthquake Relief Fund. The charity HExN (Health Exchange Nepal) also promotes the exchange of medical knowledge, techniques, health professionals and equipment between Nepal and the UK.

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