Sir Thomas Rich’s

Welcome / Bienvenidos / Bienvenue

Welcome to the Sir Thomas Rich’s blog.  On this page you can read our reports on each Comenius meeting and see some of the photographs taken.  Below, you will also find links to web pages, presentations, competitions and analysis of our results from the questionnaires investigating the responsible use of new technologies: mobiles, the internet and videogames.

Bienvenidos a la página del blog de Sir Thomas Rich’s.  En esta página, se puede ver los informes de cada encuentro de Comenius y ver algunas fotos.  Abajo, se puede encontrar muchos enlaces a páginas del internet, presentaciones, concursos y el análisis de los datos de las encuestas para la investigación del uso responsable de nuevas tecnologías: los mobiles, el internet y los videojuegos.

Bienvenue au blog de Sir Thomas Rich’s. Sur cette page vous pouvez lire nos rapports sur chaque réunion de Comenius et voir des photos prises.  Au-dessous, vous trouverez également des liens aux sites web, des exposés, des concours et l’analyse de nos résultats des questionnaires qui enquêtent sur l’utilisation responsable des nouvelles technologies : portables, internet et jeux vidéo.

NEW!!!  Below is a videoclip of our students discussing Social Network Sites.  A transcript is available here.  Abajo hay un video de nuestros alunmos chalando de los REDS.  Una traducción es disponible aqui.


The following link is for an article describing a teenage Vietnamese boy who has killed a 7-year-old girl to sell her earrings and fund his addiction to videogames:

Links to other pages of work:-

  • At Sir Thomas Rich’s School, Gloucester, 2010, the Police came in to discuss dangers of the internet.  Click here to read what was discussed.  En la escuela de Sir Thomas Rich’s, Gloucester, 2010, la policia vino para chalar sobre los peligros del internet.  Pulse aqui para leer lo que dijo.  Ici
  • One of our pupils has written an essay on how ICT affects society.  Click here to read the essay.  Un alumno nuestro ha escrito un ensayo sobre los efectos de la informática y la sociedad.  Pulse aqui para leerlo. Ici.
  • Click here to see the results of our Poster competition! Pulse aqui para ver los resultados del concurso de los posters!  Ici

Sixth Comenius Meeting: Ejea de los Cabelleros, Spain, 24th-27th May, 2011

The project was nearing its end and the project partners met for the final time in Spain.  By now friendships had been established between the partners and we no longer felt anxiety about trying our hand at the different languages or embarrassed about mistakes. Conversation, which had been difficult at first, now flowed.

On the first day of our visit our hosts took us to the spectacular Loarre castle, situated in the Southern foothills of the Pyrenees. It is said to be the oldest fortified castle in Spain. Built mainly in the 11th and 12th century it was of strategic importance, lying between the Christian and Muslim lands.

After a wonderful lunch at the best restaurant in Aragon we set off to find the Enate winery.

Despite the best of drivers and the excellent advice given by our co-drivers, we got lost.  Every cloud has a silver lining and this did at least give us the opportunity to see more of this ruggedly beautiful countryside and to enjoy a little siesta. Despite our late arrival we were given a warm welcome and a tour of the winery. Enate was founded in 1991 with the aim of producing wines of maximum quality.

After personal sampling of the wines we feel we can vouch for their quality!

After a wonderful first day it was time for the serious task of analysing the progress of the project, determining the remaining activities and discussing the final report. Once again we are indebted to Mariano Chóliz for his direction and to the whole of the Spanish team for all their hard work, their enthusiasm and their good will.

The farewell dinner in Ejea was tinged with sadness as we realised this was the end of the project. We hope, however, that the links will not die and look forward to meeting up in the future. The research of Professor Chóliz will continue and we shall follow with interest the developments.

Before returning to England we were able to spend a little time in Madrid enjoying the warm sunshine, the relaxed atmosphere and the majestic buildings.

Fifth Comenius Meeting: Arlon, Belgium, 21st-25th March, 2011

For many, Belgium holds little fascination as a country. Often it is a mere transit country as we travel to supposedly more interesting destinations. Few of us are impressed that many European institutions are based in its capital and a declared intention to visit Belgium is rarely met with sighs of envy.

In the Comenius project, however, we have had the privilege of getting to know this country a little better. Our partner school is situated in Arlon, in the south of Belgium. Our journey took us through woodland, rolling hills and pretty villages. Internationalism pervades all aspects of life.  40% of the working population cross the border to Luxembourg each day to work. The border with France is only 25 km away. Our hosts could not have been more friendly or attentive. Their convivial nature and sense of fun belie their industrious nature.

We were able on this occasion to take Ieuan Lavender (9B) and Mitchell Bevan(11R) with us. They had the opportunity to experience a few days in a Belgian family and school and to practise their French and Spanish.

The school offers a number of vocational courses and we were treated to 4 course meals prepared by students on catering courses. It was a new experience for the boys to spend 2 hours over a meal and one which I suspect they would not want to repeat too often.

Work on the project “Responsible use of the new technologies- video-games, mobile and internet” occupied much of our time. Poster competitions alerting to the addictions were held in each country and displayed in the Belgian school where they formed part of a themed week on addictions.

Many pupils from STRS have contributed to the project. Under the direction of Mr Crumblehulme Sixth Form Psychology students have presented the project to tutor groups, engaging them in discussion. Pupils have filled in questionnaires on their use of new technologies, have been made aware of their usage and endeavoured to reduce it. The data has been collected by year 12 students and will be analysed together with findings from other schools in Europe.

Fourth Comenius Meeting: Gloucester, UK, 17th – 19th November, 2010 

The Comenius Project on “The responsible use of the new technologies” is now in its second and final year. Pupils across the school have contributed to research into the addiction to the new technologies and the findings will be published in a book to be published by Mariano Chóliz, Professor of Psychology at the University ofValencia,Spain.

We were pleased to host the first project meeting of the year in November. There was the possibility alongside the planning and evaluation sessions to take our Comenius partners to Oxford.  With its beautiful college buildings, its traditions and the insight it afforded into a very different and unique education, Oxford did not fail to leave a lasting impression on our visitors.

However, work was the main focus. Steven Crumblehulme presented an analysis of the questionnaires completed at Sir Thomas Rich’s, the poster competition was discussed and we were able to present some of the text abbreviations most commonly used by our pupils. We also looked at the possibility of establishing e-mail exchanges between the pupils of the three schools.

 Most commonly used text abbreviations

List provided by pupils from 9R

  • CBB- cannot be bothered
  • LOL – laugh out loud
  • ly- love you
  • ly 2 – love you too
  • ty – thank you
  • FTW – for the win
  • WTH – what the hell
  • OMG – oh my God/gosh
  • ttyl – talk to you later
  • BrB – Be right back
  • GtG – got to go

It was a very convivial and successful meeting. Even the weather did not disappoint on this occasion. We look forward now to the next meeting in Belgium in March. In the meantime there is project work to be done!

Mrs J. Hewett and Mr S. Crumblehulme

Third Comenius Meeting: Arlon, Belgium, June 17th – 19th 2010

I am not sure what expectations we had of Belgium as we embarked on our journey. What are the Belgians famous for?  What is Belgium like?

Although the landscape in the North did not inspire us, the South,  reminiscent of Gloucestershire with its green hills, woodlands and valleys, was a delightful contrast. This was the first evidence of a north/ south divide of which we were to become increasingly aware.  Technical problems, causing a delay to our arrival, were brushed aside with the quip “It happens all the time! In Brussels they don’t worry about us in the South”. A relaxed atmosphere characterised the visit and as well as working on the project we were able to visit some interesting places.

Arlon itself is a small quiet town – except on the day we visited when students celebrated in jubilant mood the end of their examinations.  Situated in Wallonia, the official language is French although the local dialect is a variant of the German language. It is one of the oldest towns in Belgium, originally a Roman settlement lying at the crossroads of trade routes betweenFrance, Germany and Belgium.

The impressive and affluent city of Luxembourgwas only a short distance away. Set in green river valleys, over a hundred bridges cross the city, providing links between the historical and modern sections. Luxembourg, as well as being the nucleus of a united Europe, is an important commercial centre. An afternoon spent exploring this fascinating city could only whet the appetite to see more of its buildings and learn more about its history and culture.

The Palace

The final day gave us the opportunity to visit Orval Abbey.  This beautiful and ancient Cistercian monastery is not only well-known for its history and spiritual life but also its local production of beer!

So at the end of the visit I asked the Belgians, what are you famous for? The answer was beer, one different beer for each day of the year. Naturally this answer came from a man! In my experience Belgian chocolates cannot be surpassed and the interesting mix of cultures and languages made this small country well worth a visit.

I am indebted to Mr Crumblehulme for his dedication to the project, his support  on the visit and his considerable help as Spanish interpreter.

Second Comenius Meeting: Gloucester, 4th – 6th May, 2010

It was a pleasure to welcome our Comenius friends from Spain and Belgium in Gloucester.  On this occasion two pupils from Belgium, Justin and Allan, were able to accompany the teachers  and enjoy the experience of staying with an English family and visiting an English school. It was, however, not possible to miss the opportunity of showing our visitors Gloucester’s  magnificent cathedral and the wonderful city of Bath.

The Spanish group with our French assistant at Gloucester Cathedral

Our Belgian partners

The group in the Abbey Courtyard Bath

The group were very grateful to have the opportunity to speak to the Headmaster, Mr Kellie, about the English school system and life at Sir Thomas Rich’s. All were also impressed with the facilities which the school had to offer.

After a day with Professor Mariano Chóliz working on the project and analysing results it was good to relax in the evening over a game of skittles…

………….and beer!

First Comenius Meeting: Spain, 23rd – 27th November,2009

Sir Thomas Rich’s has embarked on its second Comenius project. These projects are funded by the EU to promote international links and friendships  between schools through curriculum- based work, increase mobility between countries and support the learning of modern languages. We were very pleased to be invited by the IES Rey Católicos school in Spain to take part, having worked with the school on a previous project. The theme on this occasion is “The responsible use of the new technologies” and is being led by Professor Mariano Chóliz of Valencia university who is carrying out research into this area. We expect to involve both pupils and parents in the project. Also participating  in the project is the Belgian school “Institut Cardijn Lorraine” in Arlon.

The trip

Monday, 23rd November- the journey!

It was an early start for the group-up before six o’clock, a struggle to assemble the last minute items and be at school for 6.45 am. It was a straight forward journey on this dark and rainy November morning due to our competent driver Mr Crumblehulme and we arrived in plenty of time at Bristol airport. We breezed through check-in and security with no problems and boarded our Easy Jet flight to Barcelona. Glorious sunshine greeted us and we reflected rather smuggly on our colleagues and fellow students who would be slaving away at school. Two taxis to the railway station brought our first problem. Joshua and I waited outside Barcelona Sants. Five, ten minutes passed. We checked we were at the right station, we observed the taxis arriving, we looked inside the station. No sign of Mr Crumblehulme and Isabella. My mobile rang. Where are you? asked a concerned Mr Crumblehulme. At the station I replied. Where are you? At the station, he replied., near the taxis. Likewise, I replied. Barcelona Sants? Yes, Barcelona Sants. Finally we met up inside the station. The rather imposing Barcelona Sants station had two entrances. Thank goodness for the mobile ‘phone! The AVE train to Zaragoza could not fail to impress – television screen, headphones and an amazingly smooth journey through the Spanish countryside. History has a habit of repeating itself and as we waited in vain at the agreed meeting point for the taxi to take us to Ejea we discovered once again the indispensability of the mobile ‘phone Two cafés with the same name next to two taxi ranks! What more needs to be said.  Later than scheduled we picked up the Belgian contingent from the airport and eventually arrived at Ejea where we were welcomed by the Spanish teachers. Was it French or Spanish they were speaking- we were not sure.

Tuesday, 24th November

Tuesday was devoted to getting to know the Spanish school and town. We could not have received a warmer welcome from the staff- coffee and cake in the school canteen and a friendly chat in a mixture of French, Spanish and English. Who spoke what? It was difficult to remember.

The Belgian Contingent

The school, although catering for the same age range as Tommies, was very different. School finished earlier than here with pupils returning home for their lunch. It was surprising to find in this small rural town that some subjects were taught in English. Break in the staff room and another opportunity to spoil us with local cider and apple cake – delicious! A talk on the local area was followed by a three course meal at a local beauty spot. These meals, we discovered, were to fill each afternoon!  Now to find enough energy for the tour of the town and its two churches. Our final visit was to the Town Hall where we were warmly greeted by the mayor who showed much interest in the project and the impact it might have. Drinks with local cakes, biscuits and chocolates completed the organised part of our day. Evening tapas in a  local bar gave us the opportunity to get to know our Belgian colleagues and Josh was to discover that football is a universal language!

Wednesday 25th November

Wednesday dawned and it was an opportunity to show us the Pyrenees. The monastery of San Juan de la Peña, set into the rocks, was our first port of call.

From there we travelled to Jaca, the first capital of the kingdom of Aragon and enjoyed a stroll in the sunshine around this pretty town. Then it was time for lunch. Several hours later we emerged from the restaurant and visited the cathedral and fort, the cunning design of which had successfully prevented an invasion from France. Thursday was the day when serious work about the project was due to commence. An early night was needed. Listening to three languages at once is tiring work!

Thursday 26th November

This marked the arrival of Professor Chóliz from Valencia university. He led us through his research at the university and outlined the role we were to play. Working with tutor groups we would assess any addiction in our school to the new technologies- internet, mobile phones and video games and the results would be analysed at the university. Comparisons would be drawn between countries and the different age groups. It was a long morning and we were very grateful to the Belgian teachers who boosted our flagging energy levels by passing around some rather delicious chocolates. We also learned to appreciate the difficulties of decision making at international level. Each country had its own contribution to make, which was then translated into the other two languages..

The afternoon was to take us to the medieval fortress town of Sos del Rey Católico. After a leisurely lunch we explored this picturesque and unspoilt village.

Friday, 27th November

The second project meeting took place in the splendid palace of Sástago in Zaragoza, an indication of the prestige which the project attracts. A representative from the Spanish National Agency (British Council equivalent) and the Head of the Province of Aragon welcomed us and joined in with the discussions. We were able to complete these in the morning, leaving sufficient time to lunch and then visit the cathedral in Zaragoza before catching our train to Barcelona.

Saturday, 28th November

The hotel we had booked was in an attractive part of Barcelona, close to La Rambla. We spent a very relaxing evening, taking a stroll along La Rambla to the beach and retired early, looking forward to a morning of sightseeing the next day. Around midnight the music began. This was followed by the loud groans of a drunk in the hotel. Could this really continue all through the night? I convinced myself that my younger companions would not be troubled by the noise but, on emerging from my hotel room on the Saturday, their faces told a different story. Breakfast with strong coffee helped and we did manage, before our dash to the airport, to see and marvel at some of the beautiful buildings of Barcelona.

I am indebted to Mr Crumblehulme, Isabelle Chamberlayne and Joshua Nugent for their invaluable contributions and translating work during the trip. They did much to facilitate communication between the groups and help establish warm friendships with our partner schools.

Student essay on how ICT affects society

Police talk about dangers of the Internet, Gloucester UK, 2010




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