1st Prize: TPS Gifted and Talented Pupils

Gifted and Talented pupils from The Petersfield School have scooped first prize again at the College’s annual Above and Beyond Competition. This year’s topic was ‘The Refugee Crisis’ and the final presentations took place on campus last week.

The final saw each team give a short presentation exploring their interpretation of the topic, ranging from an explanation of the violation of basic human rights, the misrepresentation of the crisis in the media, the impact refugees will have on British culture and the identity of a refugee.

The winning team from The Petersfield School consisted of Evie Lunn, Alex Evans and sisters Bridget and Rebecca Lees. Team leader Bridget said ‘The experience of being involved in this competition was great. We learned a lot about the value of teamwork and enjoyed focussing on such a diverse, controversial and emotive topic. The process of researching the topic and deciding what to include, of unpeeling the layers to find the core values was enlightening.’

Peter Cox, Head of Quality at Alton College, was on the judging panel and congratulated all the participants explaining how impressive all the different presentations were and how difficult the decision had been. He said ‘Each team showed a great grasp of understanding the topic, displayed a fantastic sense of teamwork, organisational skills, the ability to prioritise work and their communication skills were extremely impressive. I am sure that each individual in the competition would succeed with the Extended Project Qualification at College.’

Each school managed to cover a different angle of the topic with the winning team concentrating on the identity of a refugee. They questioned how a refugee child could form an identity when growing up in fear with no voice or certainty. They gave out red wristbands to a select few in a similar way to Cardiff council which they suggested caused segregation, confusion and discrimination and likened it to the Star of David placed on Jews in the Holocaust, removing personal identity. The pupils also discussed the manipulation of peoples’ views by the media and the importance of visuals in changing opinion.

Eggar’s School based their presentation on the poem Home by Warsan Shire. They focussed mainly on human rights, in particular those refugees from Syria where they quoted a 24 year old civilian who said ‘basic human rights are denied by the government. Killing used to be targeted, but now it has become indiscriminate murder’.

Perins School's presentation made the other pupils think about how they would feel if they were in the same situation. They stated that ‘over half the world’s refugees are children and that the refugee crisis is the biggest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War. They were also keen to point out the difference between asylum seekers, economic migrants and refugees, terms which are bandied around in the media, manipulating the public’s views on refugees.

Weydon School concentrated on ‘What impact will letting in refugees have on British culture?’ They explored what culture means and the history of a lot of British traditions, core values and customs, many of which came from overseas. They discussed assimilation, multiculturalism and integration.

The final team from Robert May’s explored the terminology used in the media stating that ‘the press use migrant, refugee and immigrant interchangeably, but they mean very different things.’ The pupils also explored some possible solutions to the crisis and which they thought was the most plausible.

The competition is based on Alton College’s EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) taken alongside other courses which is highly valued by Universities as it develops critical thinking, research, planning and reflection. Find out more about the EPQ here