Philosophy trip to London 2019 – A reflection on living in harmony with others


Early morning, as the sun was rising, 33 students, set off from Huddersfield, in high spirits, if not a little sleepy, for our sixth annual residential visit to London. They were about to embark on a whistle-stop tour of various Buddhist groups, from different cultural traditions practising across the capital: Tibetan, Thai and Japanese, as well as visiting some other well-known popular landmarks, such as the Battersea Peace Pagoda.

One of the many highlights this year was our visit to Tibetan Peace Garden, Samten Kyil, a ‘Garden of Contemplation’, formally opened by the Dalai Lama back in 1999; himself awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, to promote a message of peace and non-violence. This is especially poignant given its location next to the Imperial War Museum, a stark reminder of the horrors of violent conflict.

The Peace Garden, with its imaginative design, contemporary sculptors and monuments, and fragrant flowers and plants from Tibet and Himalayan regions is one of the unique Buddhist landmarks in the UK.  In 2002, it featured in “Time Out” magazine as one of the best gardens in London. On our arrival, the Executive Director of the Tibet Foundation, Dhondrup Samten, gave us a very warm welcome.  He went on to give an inspiring talk on the aid work that his organisation was doing to help relieve poverty, to raise standards of education and health care in Tibetan communities around the world, and to preserve Tibetan culture and the way of life.


At the centre of the  Peace Garden is the “Wheel of Time” mandala; this reminds all who visit, to reflect deeply on the preciousness or the ‘oneness’ of life, and in our short human existence for each of us to work for peace and unity in the world.

The Peace Garden offers a retreat from our busy and hectic lives; and we took a few moments to reflect on the Dalai Lama’s central message: that genuine peace comes through dialogue, mutual respect and trust, and for this to take place there needs to be some kind of inner disarmament to develop love and compassion.  After a long, tiring first day, if not feeling a little more ‘awake’, with the sun now high in the sky, we left the Peace Garden contemplating the following thought before the sun finally sets:

“Machines cannot generate the inner peace we require, nor can peace be bought in a shop. Peace is something that has to come from inside, through transforming our hearts and minds.”  The Dalai Lama 

Student comments on the trip

“Overall, the London Buddhism trip met all my expectations in that it was a jam-packed few days full of relevant subject-centred visits which brought our lessons in class to life. I would say the real benefit of the trip was the wide range of people we met.” 

– Nancy Tupling

“On reflection, I enjoyed the experience as a whole, as although it enabled me to gain more of an understanding of Buddhism in the real world, it also allowed me to be more independent and make memories that I will never forget! It goes without saying that I would definitely recommend the trip to next year’s students because there is only so much you can learn from a booklet.”

–  Eleanor Hannah

“I would definitely recommend the trip to next year’s students because it is a fantastic opportunity to consolidate knowledge as well as gain further insight into a vast number of Buddhist traditions and practices. All the places visited on the trip have made me feel more confident in my knowledge of Buddhism.” 

– Carla Stanley

From ‘The Incredibles’ to ‘Pitch Perfect’ via the Bafta’s on the way to ‘Avengers Endgame’

Congratulations to former Greenhead student Ellen Birkinshaw, who remains ready for her close up, whilst interviewing current industry directors, writers and performers. Ellen won a nationally competitive place on the IntoFilm Young Reporters Scheme as an A2 student at Greenhead last year. The Young Reporter scheme offers “young people the opportunity to take part in podcasts, review films as well as attend red carpet events and press junkets”.

Ellen is about to start her second year at Brunel University London, where she will continue Film and Television studies, which she really enjoys. Ellen’s assignments have already been diverse.

“So far I’ve been assigned ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ where I had the chance to catch the film before its initial release. I then interviewed both Hailee Steinfield and Rebel Wilson at a press junket. Earlier this year, I attended the BAFTA red carpet which was incredible. There I interviewed several people including Oscar winning director Barry Jenkins. In April, I was cast as the reporter for the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ assignment. I interviewed the two directors, Anthony and Joe Russo as well as actors Chris Hemsworth and Paul Rudd.

“Presently, I’m not entirely sure what I want to do with my career. I know I want to work in the film industry, working with IntoFilm has allowed me to get some incredible experience and meet some amazing people. This experience, I feel will benefit me, when I begin looking for work, as I feel for this particular field, experience is key.”

Congratulations to Ellen on this outstanding achievement. We wish Ellen continued success as an IntoFilm Young Reporter, and in her exciting career aspirations.

Certificate of Teaching Excellence awarded to Liz Bowen

A huge congratulations to Liz Bowen, Head of English Combined and Film Studies, who has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from the 2019 Pearson Teaching Awards.

The Pearson Teaching Awards were established in 1998 to recognise and celebrate excellence in education. “Teachers are the quiet hero’s. We should honour them, for they have in their care the next generation, our whole future” Michael Morpurgo, President, The Teaching Awards Trust.

In her 19 years of teaching at Greenhead College, Lizzie’s passion and enthusiasm has made such a positive impact on her students as well as her colleagues, who have nothing but fantastic words to say about her..

“Without fail, Liz will always say hello to everyone in the class as we walk in and tell us how pleased she is to see us. As the lesson progresses she will tell us how highly she thinks of us and that as long as we continue to push ourselves everybody will get the grades that we are both capable and deserve. In addition, she places the focus on the end result rather than sole essays marked throughout the course; Liz recognises that hard work is needed to achieve one’s best and that every low mark across the way carries lessons to be learnt.” 

– A current Greenhead College Student

“If it wasn’t for Liz, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It was Liz who introduced me to the Young Reporter Program which has given me amazing opportunities that will help further my career. Liz would arrange for people from the industry to come in and talk to the class about what we needed to do. She made us aware of every opportunity out there and encouraged try and get as many as we possibly could, helping us along the way.”

– A former Greenhead College student

“She is quite possibly the most generous colleague I have ever worked with – nothing is too much trouble – from making a cup of tea to taking a session to accompanying me to London to celebrate our students’ successes. Her positivity and ‘can-do’ attitude is infectious and her combination of intellectual acumen and intuitive understanding of students’ (and colleagues) needs have provided some of the most rewarding and enjoyable working experiences I’ve ever had.”

– One of Liz’s Colleagues

Liz was awarded her certificate in a presentation at a presentation in College last week by Principal, Simon Lett who commented:

“It’s superb that Liz has received this Certificate of Excellence. It shows how much her hard work is valued and appreciated, and recognises the life-changing impact she has had on young people.”

Local secondary schools put their Maths skills to the test

On Wednesday 3rd July, Greenhead College welcomed 15 teams of pupils from local secondary schools who pitted their mathematical wits against each other in the 2019 Greenhead College Pop Maths Quiz.

The teams were challenged by a variety of puzzles and problems, such as:

‘A Rolls Royce and a Ferrari together cost £190000. The Rolls Royce costs £100000 more than the Ferrari. How much does the Ferrari cost?’

All of the teams participated enthusiastically and showed some impressive maths skills. Many congratulations to the winning team of students from King James’ High School, and the runners up from Huddersfield Grammar School.