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Thornton College has a spectacular co-curricular programme. 


In addition to the host of regular lunchtime, after school and House activities, there are special events throughout the year dedicated to the development of students' all-round education. We organise an annual day of service in February and stage informal concerts and productions. In June 2017, we welcomed schools to join us for the Luffield Festival of Arts here at Thornton. Look at our media page to see a full overview of what we have been doing recently. 


Activities Week is held during the last week of June each year and normal classes make way for experiences of a lifetime including action-packed adventure holidays and creative workshops.  In 2017 the students travelled to Poland, London and the Isle of Wight as well as spending days out all over the country.


Sporting Achievements

Sporting highlights from Thornton's senior teams!

junior track and field athletes place second in county, may 2017

Great performances from our Year 7 and 8 Junior team and our Senior Year 9 and 10 team at the English Schools' Track and Field Cup competition. The annual event took place at Stantonbury Campus, Milton Keynes, and welcomed competitors from nine schools in the county.

Very much a team competition, students had to each enter one track and one field event or a track and relay. The Seniors finished in sixth place, The Juniors, we are delighted to report, came second with 247 points.


thornton swimmers raise more than £1,000 for local charities, march 2017

Thornton fielded five strong teams for the 2017 Rotary Club of Milton Keynes’ charity swimathon at Stantonbury Leisure Centre. Our students, swimming in relays, clocked up as many lengths as they possible could in the space of one hour.

All the sponsorship money they raised (£1,109.35) went to eight local charities: The Redway School, Milton Keynes Hospital, Arts Gatway/Pandora, Willen Hospice, Different Strokes, Night Shelter, MK Cardiac Group and Dogs for Good. 



U13 7-a-side hockey team triumphs at Akeley Wood tournament, october 2016 

Our U13s came out fighting for the annual hockey fixture at Akeley Wood. The Year 8 girls played four matches in total. They drew 0 - 0 with Northampton High and beat Sir Thomas Fremantle and Waddesdon 2 – 0. A 3 - 0 win against their Akeley Wood opponents propelled them to the top of the leader board to make them overall winners of the tournament.

Well done to Georgina K, Francesca M, Annie C, Tara S, Ayanda M, Grace H, Charlotte B and Caitlin G. Superb play!



charity swimathon, march 2016

Thornton swimmers made a splash at the Rotary Club of Milton Keynes’ swimathon in a strong turnout from the school. This year, we entered five teams of swimmers in the annual event at Stantonbury Leisure Centre.  

A six-strong team of girls from Years 5 and 6, plus another four teams from the Senior School, had to swim as many lengths as possible in one hour in a relay style with sponsorship money going towards the likes of Milton Keynes Hospital, Willen Hospice and Thames Valley Air Ambulance. Since its first outing in 1994, the swimathon has raised £467,000 for local charities and other good causes supported by Rotary International. 

Between them, our teams completed a grand total of 668 lengths. Special mention must go to our Year 9s, ‘Thorntonian Flippers’, (Tyler L-S, Isabella C, Molly L and Kalista D’S) who swam an amazing 148 lengths in the allocated timeslot. 


U12 team achieves clean sweep in akeley wood netball tournament, february 2016 

Year 7 students Annie C, Tara S, Francesca M (captain), Ayanda M, Georgie K and Gurleen B, plus Izzy G from Year 6, finished victorious in the local tournament with six straight wins out of six against competing schools. Annie C and Georgie K were named players of the tournament.

Thornton’s final scores:
Vs Quinton House School 8-0
Vs Akeley Wood School (A) 8-2
Vs Akeley Wood School (B) 12-0
Vs Sir Thomas Fremantle 9-2
Vs Meon Junior School (A) 7-1
Vs Meon Junior School (B) 8-0


The Swanbourne Chase, February 2016

Year 8 Senior students Liberty H and Suah L joined six girls from the Prep School to compete in the annual Swanbourne Chase cross country race. The girls gave it their all against stiff competition from more than 300 runners from 17 competing schools. The Prep School girls all finished well within the top third with Year 6's Nikki K earning a fantastic 15th place. Suah came 32nd and Liberty finished in 61st place in the Senior race.






Charity Swim, December 2015

(Swim) hats off to Year 10 student Emma W for undergoing a charity swim to raise money for people with spinal cord injuries. Emma put herself through her paces by swimming an individual 22-mile ‘Channel Swim’ at Brackley Pool through the charity Aspire ( She had to swim 1,416 lengths of a 25-metre pool in 12 weeks to complete the 22 miles, the equivalent of the English Channel, to reach the virtual French coast.


hockey tournament wins, autumn 2015

Thornton College triumphed in the annual U13 Akeley Wood Hockey Tournament in September 2015. The mixed Year 7 and Year 8 team played to the best of its abilities to produce some fantastic scores, with Chinny U and Annie C named players of the tournament. The girls came out in competitive mode to win 3-0 against Sir Thomas Fremantle and 5-0 against Waddesdon. They also beat Akeley Wood 2-0 and Northampton High 4-1.

The U14 hockey team also scooped first place in the tournament. Evie E (Year 8) and Amy B, Maddie B, Isabella C, Kaela W, Tyler L-S and Sarah E, all in Year 9, drew on their combined strengths to beat Akeley Wood’s A and B teams 1-0 and 4-0 respectively. Our players drew in their matches against Waddesdon’s A team and the Royal Latin. They won 8-0 against Waddesdon’s B team. The results led them to win the tournament on goal difference by five clear goals.


English National Cross Country Championships, October 2015

Thornton College competed in the 2015 English National Cross Country Championships in early October. We entered six runners from Years 7 and 8 combined, and another four from Years 9 and 10. Credit to them for all successfully completing the course.








School Trips

This page is dedicated to school trips and visits. 

Visit to Brady Mallalieu ArchitectS,
JUNE 2017

Following the success of the recent Missing Building Project (to design a new build for Milton Keynes), Angela Brady OBE invited four students from Thornton College to join an Open Schools Day at the London studio of Brady Mallalieu Architects.

It was a fantastic experience, beginning with a tour of a residential project in Laycock Street. We were able to observe the clever way the architects had incorporated a variety of housing, which was utilised for both private and social residents.

Following an informative film about studying architecture, Clementine, Natasha, Martha and Clara then worked alongside pupils from George Greens School to create memory maps of their local areas. The students were also able to observe plans and models for a pavilion garden room in Kensington the firm is currently designing for a client. It was an inspirational afternoon and a unique opportunity for us to see first-hand inside the offices of such a prestigious architects’ practice. 
Mrs J Scott
Employment and Enterprise Advisor 


The living rainforest, may 2017 (YEAR 8)

On 16th May, the whole of Year 8 went to the Living Rainforest in Hampstead Norreys in Berkshire. This trip related to our Biome and Ecosystem topic that we have been covering for the past term.

Walking in, everyone was buzzing. We were divided by class into three groups and strongly advised to take off our jumpers and cardigans as a gush of hot, humid air hit us. It was a life-like simulation of a real rainforest! There were plants, monkeys, snakes, fish, and much more.

 An animal that struck me as interesting was a Goeldi’s monkey from South America. It is one of the smallest monkeys in the world and we found it hiding under a canopy with the bamboo, no more than five meters away from the shrubs.                

Another fascinating animal we came across was a green tree python. It seemed to stay in the same position for the whole of the trip! It can be found in the canopy layer in Australia. Yvonne, the tour guide, stopped at the plants section and passed around cocoa beans from the Amazon, Brazil, West Africa and Ecuador. Sadly, our tour came to an end and we sat outside for a lovely lunch. After that, we had about 30 minutes’geography-based  free time. We were given competition sheets to complete by the end of the day. The winners would be awarded multi-coloured toy monkeys from the gift shop.
Okezi O (Year 8)


hampton court palace, March 2017 (Year 8)

On Tuesday 21st March Year 8s went to Hampton Court Palace. When we arrived at the Palace we went to see an Elizabethan lady who explained that when Elizabeth I contracted small pox, there was a worry about who would be her heir. We learnt about the contenders for the throne – Mary, Queen of Scots and Catherine Grey and we debated about who would be best for the position; Catherine Grey won the battle of words! 

Shortly after that we headed through the beautiful gardens (the daffodils were amazing!) to make our way to the maze. Mrs Lewis kindly got us all tickets to go in and we all had lots of fun finding our way out.

We visited Henry VIII’s apartments and saw lots of interesting things, including some beautiful paintings and tapestries and where the king used to spend his time. At lunchtime, we all played a game of tag in the amazing gardens, we then visited the kitchens and some of us had a go at using a real Tudor method of cooking meat, using a spit roast. We learnt that to cook the meat, someone would have to turn the spit very slowly for six hours! We sat in the exact same spot as Henry VIII and many other royals and it was such an amazing experience. We all can’t wait to go back again!
Abbie-Mae C (8J)



On a sunny March morning, we arrived at Beth Shalom (House of Peace), The National Holocaust Centre and Museum, which is in the village of Laxton, near Newark in Nottinghamshire.

A very powerful DVD set the day’s agenda and asked us to reflect on some very important questions, not just about the Holocaust but about more recent genocides and about lessons to be learned for life in Britain today, where discrimination against minority groups and ‘foreigners’ is often part of everyday society. How much have we really learned from the past?

After the DVD and some questions, we visited the memorial gardens, the on-site bookshop and the underground exhibition, where we viewed artefacts and personal stories. We viewed with equal amounts of interest and horror the details of the Nazi experimentations and their racial typing programme.

In the gardens we were invited to add a stone to the ever-growing pile in the memorial gardens, to represent the one and a half million children who were murdered in the Holocaust. We learned that the memorial is still only one fifth of what it will eventually be and the Holocaust Centre has been open since 1995. Many of us took time to read the plaques in the garden and discovered one man’s memorial to 87 members of his family who had been killed.

After lunch, we listened to our speaker for the day, Hedi Argent, who was born in Vienna in 1929. She told us how, as a young school girl, she experienced the increasingly tightening grip of Nazi restrictions on herself, as the only Jewish child in her class, and on her family. We listened as she spoke of the family's escape and of those who did not manage to get out. Conscious that Holocaust survivors are becoming fewer by the day, we felt privileged to listen to this first-hand account of how the Holocaust had impacted on Hedi’s life and the life of her family.

Opportunities for questions enabled us to reflect on our own attitudes and to delve deeper into the lessons of that period in our not-so-distant history. All in all, this was an inspiring and challenging visit to a very unique place. It was a fitting preface to the Year 10’s forthcoming visit to Auschwitz in July.



Thornton’s Year 9s have spent a long time learning about Islam and the Five Pillars, which every Muslim should follow in order to please Allah. The purpose of our visit to the Nuneaton Mosque was to see the building rather than to revise the beliefs. Our guide, Imam Abbas, was most welcoming and keen to share his faith with us.

We first visited the Ablutions Room where Muslims perform the washing ritual (WUZZU) before prayer and then made our way upstairs to see the classrooms of the Madrasa. Every day between the hours of 5pm and 7:30pm, more than 200 young Muslims aged five to 18 come here to learn Arabic and the Qur'an. Many hope to earn the coveted title ‘Hafiz’, given only to those, who have learned the whole Qur’an by heart. We found this dedication quite remarkable. Our visit also allowed us to see ‘The Dead Room’ where bodies are prepared by family members for burial. We noted a very different and much more relaxed attitude to death here.

After refreshments, we set off for Coventry Cathedral and arrived in good time for the Litany of Reconciliation at noon. This short prayer for peace in the world takes place every day. We ate lunch in the new Cathedral’s Undercroft and then visited the ruins of the original Cathedral, bombed in 1940 but still standing as a reminder of the destruction of war. We noted the way in which the new Cathedral was linked to the ruins as a sign of hope and the promise of something good coming out of an event of great sadness.

The new building was full of very powerful symbolism. Its furnishings, from every corner of the world, reminded us of the power of forgiveness and working together in the quest to build a better world. We were surrounded by themes of death, resurrection, peace and reconciliation and many of us found the art and architecture inspiring in its ability to communicate the Christian message of forgiveness and hope.

Of particular note was the very symbolic Chapel of Unity floor, where we participated in a mini experiment, dropping golf balls from circles in various parts of the room. Each circle represented a continent and we were amazed when all the golf balls rolled towards the centre and met in the dove of peace, a very powerful visual symbol of what lies at the heart of Coventry’s message.
Mrs Holmes


art in oxford, november 2016 (year 7s and 10s)

During an education visit to the Ashmolean Museum, Thornton's Year 7s and Year 10 GCSE students not only gained inspiration from the art around them, but the exhibits helped them gain a greater understanding of the process of painting, especially the art of layering oils.

We started by looking through the Renaissance paintings which were beautiful and captured their deep religious theme perfectly. We them moved onto European paintings which were also splendid. However, I did notice that they were more anatomically accurate.

Once we had taken a quick look around, we were instructed to make sketches of what we saw. I completed two small sketches. One was sections from a marble statue and the other was of a marvellous yet terrifying sculpture of Lucifer. We also observed different paintings to benefit our learning.

At the moment, we are studying oil paintings and seeing them in real life is much more effective than seeing pictures on paper as you can look at the techniques in extreme detail and get an accurate sense of how the artist worked. The drawing from real-life observation is also beneficial as it teaches us to work faster while maintaining accuracy.

Overall, the trip was very educational and a great experience. I would love to go back at some point to look around as there was plenty I would have liked to have seen and I am sure many of the other students would agree with me.
Maddie B (Year 10)


aim conference, november 2016 (YEAR 12)

A Level Theology students had the opportunity to travel to a lecture given by three eminent speakers on religion at an AIM Conference in Camden:

Professor Richard Dawkins, atheist philosopher, evolutionary biologist and author, Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford.
Richard Swinburne, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford and a renowned Christian philosopher.
Dr James Carleton Paget, Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies in the Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge.

The students had been studying the 'Does He Exist Debate' in class, so this was a super insight into the discussion by some of the best philosophers on this subject in the world.


Rome, October 2016 (Year 11)

Thornton’s annual trip to Italy saw Senior students soaking up the sights of The Eternal City. The girls ticked off the Trevi Fountain, the Arch of Constantine, the Coliseum, ancient Rome and the Forum. They were impressed by the magnificence of St Peter’s Basilica, both its exterior and interior, and they visited the Holy Stairs, which pilgrims must climb on their knees out of respect.

The Catacombs of St Priscilla on the very edge of the city brought another adventure. These 13 miles of narrow and dimly-lit corridors were the underground burial chambers of the first Christians in Rome. During the trip, students also spent time with the Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Rome. After a warm welcome, they visited the grave of Mother St Clare who, in 1917, founded our very own Thornton College.

Day four meant an early start to claim a good spot in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus at midday. This year, Mrs Holmes managed to get 36 tickets to the canonisation of seven saints. When Pope Francis climbed into the Popemobile Thornton girls proved just how good they were at weaving in and out of crowds and managed to take amazing photos of him at arm’s length. To finish, the group enjoyed a short visit to Castel St Angelo in the blazing sunshine with stunning views over Vatican City and the rest of Rome.


france, JUly 2016 (YEAR 7)

Year 7 pupils visited the Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy for a five-day trip as part of the school's annual Activities Week. They took part in a range of activities: fencing, climbing, photography, initiative exercises, assault course, canoeing and bread-making.

The objective of the trip was to speak French and the Château was set out ito maximise their use of the language – students had to listen to instructions in French and also had to use French to ask for things. It was great to see how they coped with all the instructions, as well as see their confidence increase in the use of the language.

Students also took part in small tasks such as feeding the animals in the small farm and discovering about cider making. Evenings were spent doing sports tournaments, French quizzes and a Talent Show and all students took part in these activities with enthusiasm. Behaviour was exemplary and this added to the overall enjoyment by everyone on the trip. 
Mrs Kemble


a midsummer night's dream theatre trip, june 2016 (Year 7)

On 28 June, Year 7 girls enjoyed an entertaining performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford Upon Avon.

An agile and mischievous Puck, a menacing Oberon and a cast of amateur, local actors playing the part of the workmen added humour and farce to the play. The girls enjoyed dressing up for the occasion, sitting in ‘the gods’, the interval ice creams and reciting some of the well-known speeches along with the cast. For some girls it was their first experience at the RSC and they were unanimous in their appreciation and delight.
Mrs Moore

‘We sat in ‘The Gods’ at the very top of the theatre which gave us a great view. The actors were very professional but there was awesome humour, too. Some of my favourite characters were Puck, Lysander and Bottom. Puck, who was a naughty fairy, ran around the stage and across the audience seats, this made everyone laugh. It was very creative how they used the props like doors, stairs and a piano (the piano was used as a bed). We were entertained the whole time and I’d love to go again.’
Melissa F, Year 7


Wimbledon Synagogue, November 2015 (year 8)

When we arrived at the Wimbledon Synagogue, we were greeted by Ros and Mike who, throughout our visit, were very happy to answer any questions we had. I had expected a grand, ornate building, but the Synagogue was rather modern and similar to the size of the sports hall.

At the beginning of the tour, Ros and Mike asked us to name anything we had seen on the outside of the building such as the Mezuzah and the Hebrew signs. They also asked if we knew the Shema Hear, O Israel which we did, and we recited the words.

Inside was a large open space with chairs laid out in rows. We were asked if we would like to wear a kippah, a small hat, which we did as a sign of respect. We were guided into the main section of the Synagogue where they pray and read from The Torah. I was not expecting to be able to touch so many of the artefacts, particularly the silver on The Torah.

Mike indicated the bimah, or platform, on which the ark stood where The Torah was kept. To one side was the menorah with its seven candles. Above the arc we also saw the ner tamid, which is a candle that is always burning as a sign that The Torah is eternal. We could also see the Ten Commandments that are always placed above the ark in a Synagogue.

We were then introduced to the Rabbi, Jason Rossner. He said he would answer any questions we had about the Jewish faith such as: ‘What do you think about what happened to the Jews during World War II?’ He answered that he did not think any religion should suffer but had come to peace with it. Someone also asked: ‘What does a Jew have to do if they eat something that is not kosher?’ He answered that they need to be cleansed by a Rabbi.

We also discussed the Shabbat with Ros. She showed us the Shabbat candles, the challah (the special bread that is shared during Shabbat), a bottle of wine with Hewbrew writing on it, and a wooden charity box into which money is placed every Shabbat. I found the visit very interesting and it helped me understand all the information we had previously studied by seeing it in a relevant environment.
Hannah W, Year 8


Black Country Living Museum,
November 2015 (Year 9)

Year 9s trip to the Black County Living Museum tied in with the girls’ topic on the Industrial Revolution. This trip was thoroughly enjoyed by all and I feel that we gained much from participating. Our guide, Helen, was informative and fun and keen to share the museum with us. We commenced with a general talk about the period of history and the museum.

The Black Country is named after the sooty, polluted skies that were the product of the booming factories that suffocated the area. The museum is a recreation of a typical industrial village at that time of great change. It includes a tramline, a school, a chapel, a mine, shops and even a Victorian fair.

We were privileged enough to descend underground to experience what the life of miners would have been like. Obviously it was not as dangerous, dark or strenuous as it once was, but the excursion was realistic and fascinating. We squeezed through tight, gloomy passages and listened to information about the miners’ work and lives. Boys as young as four were sent down the pitch-black tunnels to start earning a living by helping to obtain huge quantities of coal, lead, tin and limestone from the seams that ran below the Black Country. We can only begin to imagine the horrendous conditions of labouring down a mine. The guide really put across a vivid picture of the mines, assisted by numerous waxwork figures of the dishevelled, desperate men.

Another highlight of the trip was the Victorian schoolroom where we participated in a typical lesson, though not quite as harsh. The realistic schoolmaster took us through our times tables, making us recite them ‘by rote’, and also gave us an introduction to copperplate - the handwriting used by educated Victorians. It is a lot more complicated than normal handwriting and, in addition, had to be written on slate first before it could be accomplished in ink. The schoolmaster also demonstrated some punishments, such as the cane, reciting the alphabet backwards or standing on one leg with your arms on your head in front of the class. It made us realise how grateful we should be to have the schooling we do now.

As well as watching a blacksmith make an original ‘tommy’ chain and give an intriguing talk about the process, we also went inside a miniscule house, listened to a chemist and enjoyed the rides of the fair. The latter consisted of swing boats, a traditional ‘cake-walk’ and an old rollercoaster which was a sort of carousel but with wooden platforms that spun round at a thrilling speed. We concurred that the Victorians, for all their faults and cruel ways, knew how to make fun rides just as well as we do.

Overall, the day was fun and fascinating and had the correct balance of play and learning. The learning was interactive and I think that this trip was a huge success thanks to the hard work and commitment of the staff involved. I would like to say a big thank you to Mrs Lewis for ensuring that the outing was as enjoyable and advantageous as it turned out to be. I certainly benefited from every second of it.
Amy B, Year 9


Natural History Museum, November 2015 (Year 10)

The Year 10 field trip to London’s Natural History Museum gave the girls an opportunity to look at displays and exhibitions relevant to their Biology, Geography and Art studies. The human biology section, for instance, provided many ‘hands-on’ displays to reinforce what they have learnt in class on nerves and hormones, says Dr Parker. Worksheets provided by the museum also guided students around relevant displays.

Here, two of our Art students recount their experience of the day:

I really enjoyed the trip to the Natural History Museum, as it contributed to not only my Biology work but also to Geography and Art. As part of the Art coursework, we have to make independent visits to as many places as we can to help us achieve the best grades that we can. The fact that we visited the Natural History Museum means that we are able to use the photographs that we took, plus any items that we bought there, as reference or inspiration for ideas for art.

At the moment, I have the task to create a response to one of my photographs from the trip, using the effect of stippling, monochrome colours, and oil pastels – three different options that I picked at random. This response must be fairly small scale – either A4 or A3 – and fit in with my theme, which is distortion and decay, leading into consumerism and society. I like the idea of the small scale response to begin with, as we are only experimenting with new ideas, rather than creating a massive response which may not work out very well.

At the museum, we looked at an exhibition on rocks, minerals and other various stones. These were beautiful and related to a lot of our themes, for example, light and reflection, or decay and time as it passes. We took photos of everything, and my friend and I bought a book on the elements from the shop afterwards. We could use photos in this as a reminder of the minerals and rocks that we saw.

As well as this, we looked at dinosaur bones and fossils, which can relate to my theme, inspiring many ideas of patterns involving decay. I have recently been studying towers, such as the Towel of Babel, and creating my own in a Steampunk style. However, another of Mrs White’s ideas was to make another tower consisting of everything I found in the Natural History Museum. This could include rocks, minerals, little bones or fossils, or even styles of architecture taken from the building itself, which sounds like an interesting project! Overall, the trip has benefited my artwork hugely, and has opened up a lot more options and ideas which I can use, either inspired by or in response to the museum.
Sophie L, Year 10

On our trip to the National History Museum we looked at the rocks and crystals. This has helped me with my Art coursework as I took pictures of some of the crystals that were on display. This was a great opportunity to look at all the reflections and details on the crystals. The different colours that were bouncing off them has inspired me to look more into the different colours that are being reflected. Also, the rocks we looked at had a lot to do with my topic: jewellery. This was because there were different colours, shapes and sizes of rocks.

In the museum there was a rock on display that has inspired me to do a large scale painting of a purple rock, and in the painting I can show tiny intricate details like reflections, dark and light areas and the texture of the rock.

On the trip we also looked at the dinosaur section, which has influenced me to look into the bones of the dinosaurs and incorporate it with jewellery. For example, I could draw a skeleton head of a dinosaur as a necklace or draw a skeleton as a crystal. Overall, it was a great trip as it gave me an opportunity to look at crystals, rocks and skeletons of dinosaurs to help me with my course work.
Eva W, Year 10


Lord of the Flies theatre trip, November 2015 (Year 9)

Thursday 19th November saw a party of eager pupils and staff setting off on our first theatre visit of the year to see Lord of the Flies at the Wycombe Swan Theatre. Although not taught on the English syllabus, several of the girls had read William Golding's classic novel in preparation for the trip and by the end of the evening, having enjoyed a fast-paced and brilliantly-directed production, many of the students were putting it on their 'must-read' book list.

The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre Company wowed the audience with their exciting interpretation and very clever staging, as the group of young actors transformed themselves from well-behaved choristers and public schoolboys into painted savages who hunted their prey – both animal and human! – across the 'island' setting. There were a number of very moving, poignant moments which slowed down the action and provided the audience with an opportunity to reflect on the tense and dramatic scenes being played out before them. The broken fuselage of a crashed aeroplane formed the main part of the set and various parts of this were used cleverly to suggest the landscape of the island, while also giving us a very real insight into the aftermath of an airline disaster.

The young theatre company took three curtain calls at the end of the evening – much deserved praise for their energetic and lively performance – and it was obvious that they had enjoyed the evening as much as we had!
Mrs Clements


Rome, October 2015 (Year 11)

An early flight from Heathrow ensured that we arrived in Rome early enough to check into our hotel and then head straight out to explore! We had lunch in the Trevi Fountain area before catching the metro to Colosseo to see the Arch of Constantine, the Coliseum, ancient Rome, the Forum and the Mamertine Prison, where St Peter and St Paul were held before their martyrdom in Rome. We also managed to fit in the Basilica of St Peter in Chains before returning to our hotel to prepare for dinner in the nearby Taverna Lino.

On day two, we were all suitably impressed by the magnificence of St Peter's Basilica, the centre of Vatican City and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The area around St Peter's provided many little cafes and restaurants for snacks as well as a multitude of shops selling religious artefacts, which we were eager to purchase. Another metro journey took us to St Paul's Outside the Walls, another of the great basilicas of Rome.

We then headed to Via Nomentana to visit the Generalate, the home of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Rome. The Sisters welcomed us warmly and we had a tour of the house as well as an opportunity to spend a few quiet moments in the Chapel, reflecting on the fact that Thornton is part of a worldwide community of Jesus and Mary Schools. We visited the grave of Mother St Clare, who, in 1917, founded our very own Thornton College. We were also privileged to meet Mother Cecilia, who, at 114 years old, is the fifteenth oldest person alive. She amazed us with her lively wit and her accurate memories of Thornton.

The third day brought yet another adventure – the Catacombs of St Priscilla, the underground burial chambers of the earliest Christians in Rome. We saw the earliest ever picture of the Virgin Mary with Jesus, etched onto the roof of one of the tunnels and dating back to a time when Christianity was not even legal in the Empire. Lunch in Pantheon Square enabled us to see inside the magnificent Pantheon structure and to do some souvenir shopping. It was then time for an afternoon visit to St John Lateran Basilica, the cathedral Church of Rome and the nearby Holy Stairs, which pilgrims must climb on their knees in an attitude of prayer and respect. Many of us chose to climb these stairs with other pilgrims.

On our final day we were up early to claim a good spot in St Peter's Square, directly under the window of the papal apartment, for the Angelus at midday. Thousands of pilgrims gathered for noon and were overjoyed to see and hear Pope Francis 'in the flesh'.
Mrs Holmes


BAPS shri Swaminarayan Hindu temple (Year 7) July 2015

During their religious education at Thornton College, the girls learn about different religions. Year 7s cover a module on Hinduism in the summer term, which included a visit to the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Neasden, London, in July 2015.

Once we got to the temple, we had to take our shoes off before we met our guide, Usha. She led us to a room and showed us a quick video on how the Mandir was built and the story behind it. We then visited the main temple made out of marble, which had delicately been carved in India by craftsmen, and saw the murti which were dressed in bright coloured clothes. It was amazing seeing all the carvings.

We then went downstairs to the ‘Understanding of Hinduism’, which helped us comprehend how Hindus live their lives and other interesting things like astronomy and how the number 0 was created in India.

We were able to ask Usha questions about the Mandir and her life being a Hindu. Next, we went and saw an arti ceremony being performed by the priests dressed in orange. Some people clapped their hands while others joined in the singing prayer. Finally, we travelled home exhausted but knowing a little more about Hinduism. My favourite part was definitely seeing the intricate carvings in the Mandir.
Asha B, Year 7


Krakow, Poland, June 2015 (Year 10)

Our hotel for the visit was the well-placed Hotel Wyspianski, a stone’s throw from the Old Town. Over the course of three days, we enjoyed a guided walking tour of the city, which included the Jewish quarter. Our visit to Deportation Square and the Eagle Pharmacy introduced us to the reality of life for Jews in the Krakow ghetto and the remarkable story of Tadeusz Pankiewicz, the pharmacist, who was an eye-witness to genocide and who became instrumental in saving the lives of many Jews.

Our first afternoon also took in Wawel Castle and Cathedral. A steep climb to the cathedral’s bell tower enabled us to see the Sigismund Bell and hear the legend associated with it. We were particularly interested in the idea that any girl who touches the bell with her left hand will find her true love within the year! Naturally there was a ‘big rush’ for the bell!

Our guide also took us to many of the sights of Krakow associated with Pope John Paul (II), who had been Archbishop of Krakow before he became Pope, and Maximilien Kolbe, the Catholic priest, who gave his life for another prisoner and died in Auschwitz. This prepared us well for the focus of our trip – a visit to Auschwitz itself. To walk past the ovens where bodies were burned and to see the rooms of suitcases, shoes and human hair, (which were discovered on the camp’s liberation), was at once horrific and intensely moving.

Our tour of the Wieliczka Salt Mines revealed many surprises, among which was an entire chapel carved out of salt by three miners in their ‘spare time’ over a period of 70 years! Some of our Chamber Choir girls provided a ‘musical interlude’ just to test out the superb acoustics. Our final morning allowed for the much-awaited tour of Schindler’s Factory, made famous by the film, Schindler’s List. It confronted us once more with both the reality of the Holocaust and the enormous power of one individual to change the lives of many.

Mrs Holmes 





Activities Week 2015

School was officially out the week of 29th June for Activities Week 2015. The whole school was involved in residential and non-residential visits to every corner of the UK and Europe. Here is a taster of what the different year groups experienced. 

Year 9 Arts and Culture Trip, London

The Year 9 girls who went on the Arts and Culture residential trip to London during Activities Week all thoroughly enjoyed themselves, experiencing a wide range of culture and arts.

We set off early on Tuesday morning and spent the day having a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe and participating in a drama workshop on Romeo & Juliet, a fun introduction to one of the girls’ GCSE set texts for next year. We then went on to The Royal College of Music, where we all got the opportunity to learn how to play in a Gamelan orchestra. The Gamelan is the traditional orchestra of Indonesia and is made up of gongs, metallophones, xylophones and drums. We all felt that we had contributed to playing a pleasingly accomplished piece of traditional south-east Asian music.

We were all relieved to be able to check into our rooms at Imperial College and freshen up – it had been a very hot day. We jumped back on the tube and returned to Shakespeare’s Globe to see an entertaining production of Measure for Measure. It was a fantastic opportunity for the girls to see the authentic sort of production that Shakespeare’s Globe is renowned for.

On Wednesday we visited The Victoria and Albert Museum, participating in a gallery based session based on ‘Performance’. Our guide explained many of the interesting exhibits relating to performance: theatre production posters, props and costumes among other interesting things. Many girls tried on an exciting range of real theatrical costumes.  We also enjoyed visiting fashion, sculpture and jewellery galleries, together with an exhibition called ‘Luxury’. We were pleased to cool off by dabbling our feet in the pools that form part of the gardens at the V&A and enjoy some cooling ice-cream.

We were then off again to visit Tate Modern’s ‘Poetry and Dream’ show, the heart of which was devoted to surrealism, while the surrounding displays looked at other artists who, in differing ways, have responded to or diverged from surrealism, or explored related themes such as the world of dreams and the unconscious. In the evening we saw the fantastic production of Billy Elliot at the Victoria Palace Theatre, which everyone enjoyed enormously.

Thursday morning was spent doing a little retail therapy in Covent Garden. We then moved on to the Palace of Westminster, where we were given a guided tour and were able to sit in the public galleries of both the House of Lords and the House of Commons and see politics in action. The girls then participated in a really useful debating workshop, where they learnt how politicians use rhetoric to good effect, and then got the chance to hone their own debating skills.

I would like to thank all the girls for being a credit to Thornton, all the staff for being such a wonderful team, and everyone who made the trip such an unforgettable experience.
Mrs Newman

Year 11s in Paris

We all set off from school in high spirits on the Friday morning of the last weekend of term to travel by coach to Disneyland Paris where the Year 11s were going to enjoy being together on their final trip as Thornton pupils. At the resort, we had a few hours to jump on rides, eat and begin to immerse ourselves in the Disney experience. The next day was a full day in the Park. With tickets for both the Park and Studios, we knew that we had a great deal of ground to cover (9.3 miles by my pedometer App!) if we were to make the most of it. Finally, we all gathered at 11pm in front of the Castle to witness the most spectacular light show and firework display. Words could not do it justice! 

The final day saw us in Paris, with Stuart, our lovely coach driver, giving us a tour of the city while managing to weave his way through the traffic and work out new routes to take, as many of the streets were closed for a range of Parisian events. One of the bonuses of this is that the girls were able to have a group photo taken in the middle of a normally hectic street, right under the ‘legs’ of the Eiffel Tower. A delightful boat cruise on the Seine completed our visit and we were able to view Paris life from the comfort of the open-air deck of the boat.
Mrs Clements

London for the Year 10s 

So, it was the hottest July day ever recorded and the Year 10 form tutors had organised a day out for their girls. Was it to the beach, a water park, the ice rink? No. It was to Central London! Despite the searing heat we had a fantastic day which started with a walk across Westminster Bridge to the South Bank where we visited the London Dungeons.

As Mrs Holmes kindly offered to wait outside, the rest of us were subjected to torture, an encounter with Jack the Ripper and a haircut courtesy of Sweeney Todd! Our next stop was the Aquarium which was very tranquil after our previous visit. We journeyed through the continents encountering many weird and wonderful creatures along the way. We then took a walk through Horse Guards Parade in order to visit Trafalgar Square and finished our day by having a well-earned shop in Harrods. All in all, a very successful day.
Mrs Lewis 

Year 9's Amersham Trip

Year 9s thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Amersham Field Centre during Activities Week. Excellent facilities offered the girls the opportunity to study biotic and abiotic factors that affected species distribution in two very different ponds.

A variety of species, including newts and leeches, stimulated the students’ interest. They studied food chains and the process of decay and they investigated transects from a path into a wooded area using quadrats and data loggers. The data they collected can be used to develop How Science Works skills in the classroom.
Dr Parker 

Ski Trip

In April 2017, 42 students from Thornton visited Alpe d'Huez in France to enjoy a fantastic week of skiing with lots of sunshine and plenty of snow. It was the first time on the slopes for many of the girls, but they quickly learnt the technique and progressed higher up the mountains.

The students were split into different ability groups and were taught by the excellent French ESF ski instructors who always made the lessons fun. Mornings were spent refining skills and techniques while the afternoons we reserved for exploring the vast ski area. The advanced group even experienced the longest black run in Europe!  

At the end of the week all the students had improved hugely and were presented with certificates. The entertainment continued into the evenings with activities ranging from a quiz night to crepe-making, a high-ropes assault course and a fancy dress disco to keep everyone busy. We all returned home tired but happy after a wonderful week.

Night At The Musicals 2017


Senior students staged a musical extravaganza at Thornton with the entire Year 7 year group, plus some Year 8s and Lola from Year 10, raising the roof of the Assembly Hall with their own classy take on some of theatre land’s most-loved musicals.

With a sparkle in their steps and razzle dazzle in their voices, students performed top-tapping hit after hit. From the opening rousing number, they took us through solo pieces and big group production numbers, covering songs from the likes of MatildaWicked,
Cats and Guys and Dolls.

Activities Week 2016

Towards the end of Trinity Term 2016, Thornton College pupils took a week off-timetable and replaced traditional lessons with exciting adventure holidays and day trips as well as one-of-a-kind activities within the school grounds.

Below is a taster of what the various year groups enjoyed.

Year 7s in France

Year 7 pupils visited the Château de la Baudonnière in Normandy for a five-day trip to take part in a range of activities: fencing, climbing, photography, initiative exercises, assault course, canoeing and bread-making.

The objective of the trip was to speak French and the Château was set out to maximise their use of the language – students had to listen to instructions in French and also had to use French to ask for things. It was great to see how they coped with all the instructions, as well as see their confidence increase in the use of the language.

Students also took part in small tasks such as feeding the animals in the small farm and discovering about cider making. Evenings were spent doing sports tournaments, French quizzes and a Talent Show and all students took part in these activities with enthusiasm. Behaviour was exemplary and this added to the overall enjoyment by everyone on the trip. 
Mrs Kemble


Sixth Form Induction

Thornton College’s new sixth formers enjoyed a weekend of firsts during a challenging but highly enjoyable few days of outdoor activities at PGL Caythorpe Manor in Lincolnshire.

During a testing time while walking the high wires and scaling the trapeze pole, the girls established new friendships and deepened existing bonds. In another team-building exercise, the raft they built actually floated and nobody got too wet (other than the two girls who decided to jump into the freezing lake!). They also all survived in the ‘wild’ as they made ‘shelters’ and fire.


Year 8’s Harry Potter Day

Year 8s enjoy a dayed themed around the nation’s favourite boy wizard. The Assembly Hall had a strict ‘No Muggles’ policy as the girls took it in turns to pop on the Hogwarts Sorting Hat to find out which of the four school houses in which they most belonged.

Were they a Hufflepuff (loyal and just), a Ravenclaw (creative and resourceful), or a true protective and chivalrous Gryffindor? Or did they belong in Slytherin because of their bright minds?

Once ‘sorted’, our new batch of Hogwart witches took part in a quiz about JW Rowling’s wizarding books before engaging in a fun game of Quidditch, albeit without the broomsticks. They also watched Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – great preparation for a trip to the Warner Bros Studio Tour - The Making of Harry Potter the following day.


Year 9s at Amersham Field Studies Centre

Year 9 students investigated plant life at Amersham Field Studies Centre with Science teachers Dr Parker and Mr Smith.

The girls used quadrats to investigate how plant life varied along a transect leading from a path and into the woods. They also investigated two ponds and compared them in terms of the abiotic factors such as light intensity and temperature and the invertebrate life present. These techniques they could subsequently use in Biology lessons going forward.


Year 7 Theatre Trip

The Royal Shakespeare Company entertained students in Stratford Upon Avon with a mesmerising performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. An agile and mischievous Puck, a menacing Oberon and a cast of amateur, local actors playing the part of the workmen added humour and farce to the play.

The girls enjoyed dressing up for the occasion, sitting in ‘the gods’, the interval ice creams and reciting some of the well-known speeches along with the cast. For some, it was their first experience at the RSC and they were unanimous in their appreciation and delight.
Mrs Moore

‘We sat in ‘The Gods’ at the very top of the theatre which gave us a great view. The actors were very professional but there was awesome humour, too. Some of my favourite characters were Puck, Lysander and Bottom. Puck, who was a naughty fairy, ran around the stage and across the audience seats, this made everyone laugh. It was very creative how they used the props like doors, stairs and a piano (the piano was used as a bed). We were entertained the whole time and I’d love to go again.’
Melissa F, Year 7


STEM-inspired Challenges

A cavalcade of brain-teasing activities took Senior students in and out of classrooms and around the school grounds as they tested their minds and spirits in challenges relating to the academic disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

We saw Year 8 girls working as bomb disposal officers as they figured out how to get a bomb out of a cylinder with only canes and string to prevent it from touching the sides. Year 10s, meanwhile, had to put their engineering knowledge to best use by building the tallest tower possible from nothing but old newspaper. The catch? It had to be freestanding and it had to be sturdy enough to support a 100g weight. 

Elsewhere in the grounds, groups of students puzzled over how to measure the height of the sycamore tree – would running a trundle wheel up its trunk help in any way? Dr Ryalls also tested the girls’ maths by asking them to construct and fly a paper aeroplane and calculate its average speed over the ground.

Other cerebral challenges included measuring the thickness of a piece of paper in a magazine, making a pendulum, building a 10cm bridge with plasticine, investigating the way energy tubes behave, and constructing a powered vehicle. The teachers even had the girls dropping eggs out of the Science Block windows. Could the eggs survive unbroken with only a sheet of newspaper and 15cm of sellotape as protection?