Congratulations to Emily Brierly – our ‘Student of the Year’

Greenhead College has an excellent record of success at the British Education Awards, winning the ‘A Level Student of the Year’ category for the north of England three years in succession.

We were hugely disappointed to hear that this year’s awards ceremony had been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as we had nominated a superb candidate in Emily Brierley, who we hoped would win us the award for the fourth year in a row!

Undeterred, we decided to present Emily with our own ‘Student of the Year’ award. 

Emily left Greenhead in the summer of 2020 with A Levels in Philosophy, Religion & Ethics, Psychology and Sociology.  She is a Youth Ambassador for the Mindfulness in Schools Project and has used this as a platform to promote mindfulness to young people.  During her time in College, Emily devoted her time and energy to developing and delivering mindfulness to College students.

Emily said:

“I have always been passionate about helping others by using the tools which have helped me so much. Mindfulness is something that is so important, especially for young people and so to bring this into Greenhead College was an exciting opportunity for me.

“It’s an absolute honour to receive this award and it means a lot to me that I was able to make an impact upon the College and the students there.”

College Principal Simon Lett said:

“As the British Education Awards aren’t running this year, we thought we should find a way to commemorate Emily’s impressive achievements.  This award is richly deserved and Emily has an amazing future ahead of her.”

Emily is currently studying Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.  

Philosophy students treated to revision session by Dr Greg Barker

On February 5th around 70 A Level Philosophy, Religion and Ethics students from both A1 and A2 year groups benefitted enormously from a revision session focussing on Philosophy and Ethics run by Dr Greg Barker, published author and research fellow at the University of Winchester and now a full time educator and coach with plaudits from across academia for his engaging and informative relaxed style.

Greg delivered sessions on several areas of the Religious Studies course covering work on two ethical theories , Euthanasia , the Problem of Evil and the Design Argument. In addition, he offered many revision tips and essay writing strategies that all our students who fed back afterwards, found extremely helpful and easy to follow. This was a most worthwhile day that we hope to replicate in the future!

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

A day out at the Philosophy Gym

The Philosophy department recently held a Philosophy conference delivered by Dr Stephen Law, Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts and Commerce, Provost of the Centre for Inquiry UK,  and  author of several books on Philosophy, including ‘The Philosophy Files’ and ‘The Philosophy Gym’. He also edits ‘Think’, published by the Royal Institute of Philosophy, aimed at the general public.

The 70 students that participated in the conference, benefitted enormously from his engaging style, clear explanation and excellent study notes. A range of Philosophy topics were covered including a house debate on the problem of evil. Dr Law congratulated our students on their debating skills, and was generally very impressed with their enthusiasm and ability to wrestle with challenging philosophical problems. 

Student Comments

“The Stephen Law revision conference was an opportunity to go over old material from a new viewpoint in an enjoyable way, particularly the debate on the problem of evil. It was all presented in a very accessible way that makes a lot of tricky concepts such as the Ontological Argument for God a lot less daunting.”

– Charlie Mackintosh-Simpson

“Picture this… A lecture… Led by a top philosopher… Kant, the Problem of Evil and Plato… What could be better? Saying that I learned a lot is perhaps an understatement. Stephen Law was able to not only able to help me revise but he introduced me to new philosophical concepts that I am certainly going to follow up and bring to philosophy cafe! I thoroughly enjoyed the debate at the end that brought the formidable mental power of A1s and A2s together ! Overall, I feel somewhat enlightened and ready for what the exams can throw at me.”

– Roshni Parmar-Hill

A Brilliant Day of Buddhism

On Wednesday 14th November, 50 Greenhead Philosophy, Religion & Ethics students visited the Triratna Buddhist Centre in Sheffield for a great day recapping central tenets of their A Level Buddhist Course, with established Buddhist practitioners.

A fresh look at the Four Noble Truths including lectures, discussion, reflection and poster making followed by Meditation and ending with a Q and A session was very well received by the A1 students. It has really made a difference to their understanding of the topic and they all had a brilliant day.

Practitioners of the Buddhist Centre said

‘It was such a pleasure to work with such fantastic students’

Thank you to all students who took part for representing the college so well.

Students visit London for annual Buddhism trip


32 Religious Studies and Philosophy students recently went on the annual Buddhism trip to London.

They visited several traditions including Japanese, Thai and Tibetan and their temples, and asked searching questions about how compassion can be put into action. A really interesting visit to Battersea Peace Pagoda allowed students to meet members of a Japanese tradition that undertake peace marches, to raise awareness about oppression and injustice.
They also visited popular London landmarks such as the Diana Memorial in Hyde Park, the London Eye and Primrose Hill, the latter being particularly memorable as they huddled round a phone to watch England score the winning penalty beating Colombia!

The speakers were excellent, as was the weather, and of course, our student cohort were outstanding ambassadors for college!