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GIFT November Weekend for Curious Minds 2019
November 29th to December 1st
St Raphael House, Hertfordshire
Yr7s to Yr13s
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November Weekend at St Raphael House

Numbers are limited on this residential course, so we hope to have an intimate weekend with lots of individual attention. There’s a wide choice of projects on offer, of which you choose one each day. Then there are the usual disarming mix of early- and late-evening activities to enthral you.


Here are the course options for you to chose from - you'll need a first and second choice for each day. 

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The Four Winds!

Forget “British Values” – talking about the weather has been voted the trait that most defines Englishness. People say that’s because our weather is so unpredictable – but is it, and how do those tasked with forecasting the weather make their predictions? There are four winds that greatly affect us. In the UK much of the weather is determined by Atlantic depressions which are formed at the junction of cold air moving away from the Poles and warm air moving away from the Tropics. This project offers an introduction to meteorology such that you’ll be able to supplement a general synopsis of the weather and an understanding of which wind is calling the shots, with your own local observations to out-predict the weather forecasters! 

Eco Worriers

What do we owe to future generations? How should the bill for climate change be split between rich and poor nations? This course is as much about using climate change issues as a way of exploring philosophy as the other way round, seeing how ideas from philosophers through the centuries relate to the greatest challenge of our age. We’ll explore the ethics and politics of climate change, and also the ethics of attempts to change people’s minds and actions on this hottest of topics. 

Latin in a Day

Think Latin is a dead language? On the contrary, it is the key to the living vocabulary of scientists, linguists and historians who all take their job titles from this ancient tongue. Grasp its grammar and see how Latin gives you XXV words for the price of I, as a single word from the streets of ancient Rome, such as currere, “to run”, occurs and recurs in the curriculum down to the cursor currently blinking at “course”. A little Latin goes a long way, and after this course you will see Latin everywhere. 




Bones of Contention

Fossil records of our ancestors in deep time are rare enough that the discovery of individual skeletons such as “Lucy” and “Mrs Ples” can send shock-waves through the discipline, upending theories and leading to new searches for evidence. In this course, you’ll explore palaeoanthropology, the study of human origins through biological and cultural evidence. What made us walk upright? What were the driving factors behind the development of our over-size brains? Many of the most interesting questions remain unanswered. If there’s time, you might get as far as the last 100,000 years, a mere blink of the eye in evolutionary terms, and what DNA suggests we owe to the other branches of the human tree, and whether it was us who lopped them off. 


Sleeve, Loop and Baggy Shirt

Mesopotamia is often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization, and one of its children was mathematics - the universal language of understanding science, art and humanity. The birthplace of writing, the wheel, agriculture, the arch and many other innovations. Even our way of thinking about time itself can be traced back to this remarkable time and place. Why was the square wheel not invented (and when might one be handy)? A day of mathematical madness, pictographic writing and knot wrestling in an attempt to have fun with numbers.


Whodunnit? Youdoit!

From Agatha Christie to the present day, crime authors have been making a killing from a good murder. Perform, participate and solve some existing mystery stories, plays and games, work out the formula that makes them such a constant success, and then devise your own ingenious plots to intrigue, chill and befuddle. Motives, clues, detectives, sidekicks, red herrings - all in the mix for a day of detection, deflection and dénouement.


Booking and Price


All tuition, accommodation, meals, materials and evening activities are included in the price of £229*. A deposit of £50 secures your place. This can be paid online, via bank transfer, Paypal or even a cheque. A sibling discount for the second child attending the same event from the same family is available. 

*GIFT is very fortunate in having the long-term support of a couple of charities that can provide bursaries to cover part of the cost of attending for families who would otherwise be unable to send their child. Please contact us for more information.


Overseas Students

We welcome bright, enthusiastic students from overseas. You do need to have very good English language skills as well as being the sort of bright, curious young person who enjoys this way of working, but GIFTers are a very welcoming community and will be delighted that you are here.  


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