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Academic Blog

Views from the study

Latest educational and intellectual comment from the Headmaster, senior staff and pupils at Canford School. It includes latest written papers, addresses at assemblies and departmental essays, reflecting the vibrancy and diversity of life at Canford.

Heretics paper by Emma Large (Lower Sixth)

In around 400 AD St Augustine perhaps summarised the feelings of all philosophers since the beginning of human history: ‘So what, then, is time? If no one asks me, I know; if I wish to explain it to someone that asks, I know not.’ The use of human language to try to explain time is perhaps one of the most difficult challenges that philosophers face in attempting to understand such a concept. How can we truly understand something we cannot touch, cannot see or hear or taste; something intangible, yet something that seems to be ever presently ticking in the back of our minds? How can we convey something that seems outside the bounds of human language itself, a colossal force that appears to rule our everyday lives, yet our language struggles in its capability to form words that truly encapsulate it? It is something that seems to defy human definition - we can say what we believe it is on the surface, yet when pressed, most do not seem to be able to find the words to express it. So what then, after thousands of years of relentless debate and struggle, is time? Of course, I can’t produce a conclusion, but I can explore the different theories.

Read More about What is time?
Ten Tors 2019
A personal account of Ten Tors 2019

As the sun set over Dartmoor, on Friday 10th May, nervous and excited crowds gathered to view the spectacle. The Ten Tors challenge 2019 would begin when the sun surfaced again in less than 12 hours. Canford had no less than four teams entered this year – a first; two fourth form 35 milers and two lower 6th , taking on the 45 mile challenge.  They had all trained hard for the event but nothing quite prepares one for the scale of it all, or the weight of the expedition ruck sack!

Read More about Ten Tors 2019
Junior Heretics Paper by Sophie Hussey and Frances Fleming (Fourth Form)

The definition of a stereotype is; ‘a widely held but fixed and oversimplified image or idea of a particular type of person or thing’. Anyone and everyone can have a stereotype.

Different people have different perceptions of whether stereotypes are a good or bad thing. It is quite easy to see how stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination.

Read More about The Science and Morality of Stereotyping
Max Glowacki (Upper Sixth)

We are celebrating publication of a Canfordian’s written word in a national publication.   Max Glowacki has written an article on a novel entitled Eva Luna by Isabel Allende that will be published in the next edition of the Bulletin of Advanced Spanish. This is one of the novels Max studied in preparation for his successful application to read Spanish and German at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge for 2019 entry, and the editorial team has decided to include his article in the new edition due to its excellent academic standard.

Henry Baynham Essay Prizewinner 2019 - Finn Baker (Lower Sixth)

It has become fashionable in recent decades amongst commentators on British politics to speak of the increasingly “presidential” role of our prime minister. In seeking to evaluate the truth in this claim I will judge to what extent the office of prime minister has become more like that of a US president in both a stylistic and constitutional manner.

Read More about To what extent has the office of Prime Minister become more presidential since 1945?
C.P. Snow Essay Prizewinner 2019 - Jessye Phillips (Lower Sixth)

The human race has always been fascinated by immortality; in fact, the main aim of alchemy, the basis of modern day chemistry, was to find the philosopher’s stone – a mythological substance that could create an elixir of life. As scientific potential rapidly grows we have an increasing chance of understanding the complex mechanisms of aging and thus how it can be overcome. Whilst to many the concept seems science fiction alone, scientists all over the world are beginning to see aging as a disease which will soon be cured. However, the nature of this cure is still unknown and many avenues are being explored.

Read More about Who Wants to Live Forever: An insight into the Quest for Immortality
Heretics Paper by Ben Evans (Upper Sixth)

In Back to the Future part 2, Doc Brown and Marty McFly travelled to October 21st 2015. It’s now November 16th 2018. So, where’s my hoverboard, why don’t my shoes tie themselves? The future always seems to be so far away, and every time there’s a technological breakthrough, people seem less and less amazed. 

Our future will be exciting, and the world we leave will be completely different to the one we entered. We are the ones who are going to change it and I think it’s important that we talk about how our advances may affect us in the long run. 

Read More about Is This the Beginning of the Future
Aimee Hairon (Upper Sixth)

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s worldwide is growing exponentially and this is putting massive strain on healthcare facilities and resources worldwide. This is not because Alzheimer’s is a new disease but simply because were just living much longer. The human body wasn’t designed to live for 80, 90 even 100 years and the signs of mortality are beginning to show. In the UK Alzheimer’s is the only disease in the top 10 causes of death without any treatments to prevent, cure or even slow the progression. Part of the fear around Alzheimer’s stems from the sense that despite decades of research there’s still nothing you can do about it. So if we’re lucky to live long enough Alzheimer’s seems to be our brains destiny.

Read More about Alzheimer's Talk
Libby Jones (2014 leaver)

Four years ago today, I was devastated by the news that I had missed one of my A Level grades and had therefore been rejected by Exeter University. I remember frantically calling the admissions office and unsuccessfully pleading with the lady on the other end of the phone to accept me. I had had my heart set on studying at Exeter for years and I really struggled to process that this was not going to become a reality for me.

After several days of feeling really upset and thinking everything through with the support of my parents and teachers, I decided instead to defer my entry to Cardiff University, which was my insurance choice, and to take a gap year – something that I had previously been too nervous to commit to doing. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Read More about A Level Results Day: an OC perspective


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