Last year’s Anglia certificates handed out

As of today last year’s 3tto students (both havo and atheneum) are given their Anglia exam certificates. Only one student didn’t pass but overall there is a positive shift for our school in that more students achieved a ‘Distinction’ grade (80-100% score) instead of a “Merit’ grade (65-79% score) than the year(s) before.

At the havo level 12 (36%) of the 33 TTO students managed to achieve a ‘distinction’ score on all parts of the written Advanced (the two but highest level within the Anglia organisation) exam. (‘Distinction’ means you scored 80% or more correct.) Practically all the others (61%) passed with a ‘Merit’ qualification – having scored between 65 and 79% correct) and one of our students got a ‘Refer” (scoring below 50%).

At the atheneum level 16 (26%) of the 62 TTO students managed to achieve a ‘distinction’ score on all parts of the written (AcCEPT) Proficiency (one but highest level within the Anglia organisation) exam. Seven students (11%) managed a ‘Pass’ qualification, which means that the other 39 students (63%) scored a ‘Merit’ one.

Well-done all and congratulations and for those who continue their bilingual training within our school, either at havo level with Cambridge Business English (BEC) or at atheneum level with Cambridge Advanced English (CAE) – the best of luck there too.

Anglia Speaking Exams 3tto – 2020

Although life is far back from normal after the initial impact of the corona virus, we can at least mention one aspect of school life that is taking place as we speak, or rather, write, or better still – type.

This year’s 3tto students, both havo and atheneum, will be sitting their written Anglia exam soon (18th June, to be precise), but they are already trying their best at the oral exam this week.

This takes places in twos that have to face two of our (Anglia-spoken-assessor-qualified) teachers, Mrs Verbruggen and Ms Veerman, while trying to convince them of their attained level of fluency in the course of the past three years.

Some of the lucky ones were caught on camera and we hope they as well as all the others have done well and will continue to do so in the written exam on the 18th June.

Stay safe!

World War I Poets workshop – 5/6 IB

Our 5/6 atheneum IB students were treated to a workshop on First World War Poetry, a 4D-experience of the trenches, on a slightly lower budget than the 1917 film that is currently shown in the cinemas.

Real-life props were used to have our students experience a little bit of life in the 1914-18 trenches, the background of which was used by writers and poets to tell the world about what happened there and then.

And, though they were very hard times for the young men, often as old as our students taking part in this workshop, and some had to be stretchered away seriously injured or worse, there was occassionally time for camaraderie amongst the fighting troops, exemplified by one famous story of a football match being played on No Man’s Land over a short truce at Christmas, even in wartime. Much better idea to play in peacetime, however, than in wartime, wherever, whenever.

Romeo and Juliet 2020 – 2TTO

The Phileas Fogg Theatre Company were here again, this time with a performance of Romeo and Juliet with and for our 2tto students. Three nights in a row this dramatic romance story by William Shakespeare (1564 -1616) was rehearsed and performed under the superb guidance of our actors Ivan and Jen.

Every night our students were split into two groups, roughly the Capulets and the Montagues, the feuding families in Shakespeare’s play. They then rehearsed their half of the play and then had to convince Ivan and Jen, the audience and their teachers that they could turn the whole thing into something worth watching. And did they succeed? A ‘yes’ is in order here.

Obviously, there were quite a few lines to be read, quite a few stage skills to be learnt (sword fighting, lying dead, being dramatic, and the like), but on the whole our students took it all in their stride.

Of course some had to overdo things a little but then exaggeration is one way of turning a dialogue into something worth acclaiming and remembering. And others were helped to overcome their natural shyness to shine (word pun, aha!) by means of extremely ingeniously selected disguises, making them instantly unrecogniseable.

Of course, Shakespeare wouldn’t be Shakespeare without a few dead bodies, so we had a fair selection of those cleaning the floor as well. And, to cap(ulet!) it all (word pun number 2, aha!) Radio Verona did intervene a couple of times with the latest (?) 15th century news on the everlasting battle between the feuding families.

And after some slow motion dancing moves the party came to a dead end (Yep, numero tres, thank you), with both Ivan and Jen earning their money in the easiest way possible, leaving all our poor students to do the rest of the acting all on their own.

We hope everyone enjoyed themselves and to see you again next time.

Da Vinci Junior Speaking Contest

Organisation-wise, this year’s Junior Speaking Contest for our 2nd and 3rd-year TTO students was a bit of a nightmare, but, thanks to a lot of keen 5ath IB students, we managed to hold this annual contest (in a down-watered version) last Tuesday, 12th February 2020, in the H-wing.

Students had to prepare a 1-minute speech on this year’s topic of ‘My future is now’ (this topic is always decided on at a national level, by the way) and make notes of other students’ performances when not speaking themselves.

That our 5ath IB students enjoyed organising and running the show in the various classrooms may be pretty obvious judging by the picture of Shania and Kim, who took care of one of our seven groups this afternoon.

Once the speeches had been prepared it was time to actually give them to your own class and it was up to the members of the jury in every classroom to decide on the finalists. Once all seven of those were known, everyone gathered in the central space of the H-wing for the final.

We had seven finalists this year (one for each class). First, it was the 2TTO students’ turn and they were (in class order):

Ruben van der Stouwe (2G)

Lylian Tai (2S)

Nailah van der Jagt (2T) – and their winner was Lylian.

And in the 3TTO segment we had:

Jaro Titsing (but he withdrew from the contest) (3G)

Max den Broeder (3H)

Anoek van Eerde (3S)

Veròn Guizani (3T) – and their winner was Max.

Some jury comments were:

– a very weird topic but it wasn’t very bad language

– a bit shy, but the rest was good

– good message and well spoken

– knows what she’s talking about, good presentation

Congratulations to both winners and it is Max (with tunner-up Anoek) who will represent us at the Regional JSP at the end of March in Heerhugowaard (with a 3-minute speech on the same topic and with the use of 20 keywords only).

Once again, many thanks to our ‘helping hand’-5ath IB students (in alphabetical order: Minke, Tom, Serena, Femke, Suzanne, Kim, Lot, Yelana, Maria, June, Kim, Marit, Luna, Angelina, Levi, Anna, Shania, Amber and Lotte) and my colleagues Ms Boekestijn and Mr Groeneveld.

Open nights 2020

And, once again, we welcomed loads of prospective pupils and their parents to our school. Windows had been cleaned, floors had been vacuumed, cupboards had been dusted, lights had been put up, stalls had been placed, materials had been gathered. In short: everything and everyone was ready to go.

The first thing  people must have seen when they approached the building was the collection of art work and the new tto logo behind glass on the first floor. The next step would have been the balloon-enhanced entrance to the school where a carefully handpicked selection of students and colleagues welcomed everyone and handed out the necessary folders with information. And, once inside, the art department displayed an array of wonderful products.        

A leisurely stroll through the various parts of the building led from one experience to another and, we’re happy to say, in lots of classrooms people were not only just interested but also actively trying to solve some of the problems set out for them.

In order to help people on their way to the by far most intriguing parts of the building, lots of very helpful students and colleagues were posted in various areas, some disguised as historical figures, some in an after-life outfit, some in the latest fashion-wear for BSM and PE.

Once inside the H-wing, where the central space had been turned into a kind of market-style venue, various tto subjects had displayed all their trophies and teachers and students alike were more than willing to explain anything people wanted to know.

For those wanting to know even more we had Mr Roosingh explaining everything in detail in his own classroom. And for those who had to wait for him there was a continuous PowerPoint presentation on a large flatscreen with all the perks of a tto student’s career in our school.

Rests us to once again thank one and all, hoping we shall remain the school where you are (not only heard but also) seen!

Little Victorians were here again!

Playing dead!

Yes, they were here again. This year we welcomed the actors of the Phileas Fogg Theatre Company for two shows in one day, to have our own students perform a play about small children’s lives in the Victorian Age (second half 19th century) in England. After a short rehearsal and sort of make-up session with our 1st-year bilingual students, both havo and vwo, a show was staged for the audience consisting of parents, brothers, sisters and other interested family or friends ( and colleagues).

Getting drama instructions and historical background

This performance tries to make the students experience the sort of lives their peers in the Victorian Age in England must have led – as chimney-sweeps, as poop-scoopers, as beggars, as factory-workers – in order to survive. Not only did they need to work just for their own sake; often whole families had to make do on what little money these children (of whom there were usually many in one family) earned. Often forced by their parents and by their circumstances they often fell  prey to the lowest scum in society – the ones abusing and misusing the youngest of children.


How different from today’s young, with their everything: mobile phones, clubs, clothes, holidays. Glad to be alive today was the life lesson to be learned from this performance, for which we, once again, thank Phileas Fogg – and all of it was IN ENGLISH!

England trip 1ttoath 2019 – Grittleton

A ‘Chateau-worthy’ experience!

Yes, believe it or not. We were off again with this year’s (52) 1st-year tto atheneum students, on our way to Grittleton House in county Wiltshire in England. A house that is well-known locally because of the resident ghost, the ‘Grey Lady’, who is said to appear from time to time to scare the living daylights out of anyone willing to be her victim.

Unlike during previous visits we stayed in the Old Stables this time, although ‘old’ only refers to when thet were originally built as all the rooms had been refurbished with proper beds (you’ll find out later on what the old wooden ones are used for) and en-suite bathrooms/showers – an almost ideal venue. And, boy (and girl), did these people know how to lay a table for us!

Day Two found us on our way to Bath Narrowboats, not for the boats though, but for the mountain bikes which we were to use for a cycling tour along the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, under the guidance of Darroch Davidson, who takes his job very seriously and instructed all of us as if we had never seen, let alone used, a bike before!

En route several stops were made and we were told to inform us about the history of the area and it dawned on us that England could in fact have been Dutch if some of our royal ancestors had paid only a little more attention! Then we would at least have cycled on the right side of the road!

After that gruelling bike ride in the 20-22 degrees sunshine (with helmets on) we had lunch at the end of the railway path where we (1S) had lunch and waited for the other class to switch bikes. Then we were driven to Bristol Zoo, where we could have enjoyed the animals if any of them had been outside! The most active creatures turned out to be a fairly tall, pig-like human (more about this later!) and a sloth (D. luiaard).

Back ‘home’ we made good use of the old woorden bedsteads of the house in our campfire. It took a while (and a few books and an ipad) to get it going but once the flames had started there was no stopping the fire. Another thing that was difficult to stop was that same tall creature we had observed in the zoo, but this time it had a field time, standing on a log, in the dark, telling Black Stories for the audience to unravel by means of highly intelligent questions. And we all know the Dutch saying about one sheep having jumped across the dyke … well, it wasn’t a sheep, it was a pig, as we shall find out later. So lots of others kept coming up with ever more horrifying black stories until it was wel after bedtime. And was that the Grey Lady that paid us a visit in the Stables that night? Or was it one of the teachers sleepwalking and snoring at the same time?

Day Three started off as a truly English day weatherwise – drizzle, the sort of tiny droplets of rain that will actually get you soaked in no time. So … sports it was. Because of the rain golf was cancelled but the other three sports instructors were there for Frisbee throwing (indoors by the way), cricket and rugby.

Fortunately, the weather improved a lot and after a quick shower and lunch we found our way to Berkeley Castle, an 11th-century building, lived in by the same family for the last 900 years. The place is probably most ‘famous’ for the fact (though disputed by some) that King Edward II was murdered within its walls in 1327 (yep, the story of the red-hot poker being shoved up the royal xxxx, excusez-le-mot).

That, however, has not prevented our Arts teachers from allotting our students a drawing assignment. Once again, sitting on the grass (or rather lying down as some did) the most splendid black-and-white sketches were made, the quality of which was perfectly in line with what one would expect from Rembrandt’s offspring.

As Mr Roosingh had managed to hire a few of the local teachers to watch our students he had time for a quick power-nap.

As we had plenty of time before we were expected to be back ‘home’ for dinner we made a short stop in the small town of Dursley, where most shops were either closed or about to close, but where we did discover a small swimming pool that could come in handy in the future perhaps.

Day Four was our big Bath day. We were split up again into two groups (easy with two classes of equal size) and one group started with the guided tour of the city of Bath while the others were given the opportunity to visit the Roman Baths, still in use today because of the healing powers of the spring water there, which you could (and I did) taste. The water is said to contain over 40 different minerals beneficial to the human body (which makes me wonder how there can still be space of water in it) but judging by the skeleton we found inside I have my doubts!

In between those parts of the programme we all enjoyed a bit of spare time. Needless to say, the local MacDonald’s cashed in on this visit and were able to close for a week after as they had earned enough money serving us. And all that in spite of the fact that a modest BBQ was waiting for us at the house.

And then it was time for the ‘Colourful Evening’ (Bonte Avond). All kinds of acts were performed, with singing, dancing, telling jokes and more black stories, which made it very difficult for the jury. But the ‘douze points’ went to everyone that did their best of course, even though some were praised by the jury for being exceptionally good.

The ‘top act’ was probably our afore-mentioned pig-like creature making an entrée with two co-dancers, performing a one-time-only choreography of K3’s ‘Three Little Piglets’ (rather like a ‘witte schimmel’ in Dutch) with near-perfect footwork and extra bonus minutes all thrown in for free.

A good time was had by all, drinks and crisps were free and packing was delayed until it was well near 11 that evening.

But everyone had to be up bright and early again the next morning to start the homeward-bound journey.

Let me close by saying that, on the whole, we, the teachers all enjoyed being with you this week, in which hardly any (serious) complaints had to be listened to, in which everyone was right on time whenever that was called for and in which we all had many a good laugh.

To quote Mr Roosingh: “Het was goooooooeeeeeed.” See you (all?) next year in Oxford. And here’s the group picture: one ‘before’ with the director Sebastiaan Spielberg arranging the groups and the one with the mysterious shadow still in the foregound (because of that horrible English sun!) and one of 1S and 1T separately.

PSG Da Vinci College, English Department bos, September 2019    

High Tea & Pub Quiz 2019

Last Thursday (October 17th 2019) was the day for our annual High Tea & Pub Quiz (for 1tto students and their parents). From 5 o’clock onwards parents and students laid out the most wonderful-looking and (as later turned out) very tasty dishes onto the specially-decorated tables. Some had even taken the trouble to add a little bit of Britishness to the dish maybe still hoping to avert the impending Brexit.

After a bit of a wait everyone was guided to this amazing treasure trove of food and as there was plenty to go round some even managed to squeeze in a second round. If that doesn’t prove the food was good, what will? May we thank all chefs of the day for their efforts and those colleagues who assisted in making sure everything went very smoothly.

After all the tables had been cleared it was time for the annual Pub Quiz, a British cultural phenomenon of the highest standard – trying to answer (or guess) the silliest questions possible on a variety of subjects. This year there were five rounds, some consisting of open questions.

It was Mr Roosingh who opened with Round One, on pop culture; then it was Ms Semler on a more European round; then our charming student co-presenters, Babette, Kim, Kim, Minke and Shania, took over for two rounds (one on Brexit – ORDER!!) and finally, it was yours truly for the Shakespeare Round.

This year’s winners were The Deal, with 35 points (out of 50) and two teams with 33 points in shared second place: The Best Parents and The Blackies. Congrats all round of course.

May we end by once again thanking all those involved in organizing everything, both in front of and behind the screens and – believe it or not – for the first time in our Pub Quiz history – nothing was left behind!  No dishes, cutlery, etc. for Market Place for once.

PSG, Da Vinci College, English Department, bos, October 2019

English Teachers in Training at Da Vinci College

In the past fortnight we had two teacher trainees from Durham University training in our school. They had already arrived a week before but because we had a test week then it was arranged for our English visitors to have a look round in two other TTO-schools in our province.

On their return here they first observed a number of Junior TTO-classes so as to get a feel of the education these students get here. After that they were both allocated a ‘personal tutor’ for the rest of their stay. Tracey Donnelly was here for English, Jake Burdis was here for Science and Biology in particular. Special thanks go to Ms Dagmar Semler and Ms Rineke Voogt for their time and effort spent on their part.

Towards the end of their visit two of their tutors from Durham University came to see Tracey and Jake to find out how they were doing and to judge whether this experience was a worthwhile one for them.

As far as we at Da Vinci College are concerned – these training periods for English students are worth OUR while as these native speakers do not only learn and benefit from our guidance as far as teaching is concerned – they can also contribute to the increase in fluency of our TTO teachers when visiting the latter’s lessons.

Apart from lessons both Tracey and Jake enjoyed some non-curricular activities and attended our Open Nights. And that they had a good time there is proven by the pictures here.

We sincerely hope they have enjoyed their stay here in Purmerend and would like to thank everyone involved in making it a success.

And we wish both Tracey and Jake success in both their teaching careers and personal lives and hope to hear from them how they are doing in the future.