annwiddecombechristtheking40Christ the King College welcomed a range of inspirational and exciting visitors last week as part of the College’s Visiting Speakers Programme and as a host school for the Isle of Wight Literary Festival.

The week began with a visit from the Rt. Rev. Bishop Christopher Foster of the Church of England Diocese of Portsmouth. Bishop Christopher had been invited by Christ the King College to speak to students in the Sixth Form, for whom he had opened the Sixth Form Centre last December. As he is now a member of the House of Lords, Bishop Christopher was able to share some insights as to the work of the Upper House, and focused his introductory speech on ‘The similarities and differences between inequality and injustice’.

christhtekingcollegebishopThe Sixth Form students had prepared questions and the Bishop was able to respond forthrightly and honestly on issues such as euthanasia, abortion and gender equality. Many students were touched by his frankness when talking of personal experiences and were also open to challenging his answers. Bishop Christopher later shared how informed the students were, and how thoughtful their questions had been.

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Further to this visit, Christ the King College has been involved in the preparations of the Isle of Wight Literary Festival throughout this year, to which all of the hard work paid off on Friday 17th October when an overwhelming 6 speakers ran talks and workshops at the College in one day!

christhtekingcollegeworkshopAuthors Sarah Holding, Julia Golding, Linda Newbury and Celia Busby all ran workshops and gave readings of their latest work to students in years 7, 8 and 9, encouraging them to develop their creative writing skills and enthusing them to read more fiction.

In addition to the authors, Guy Cross from Medina Publishing delivered a talk to Sixth Form students where he explored the different careers available within the publishing industry, including digital and print media and more recently developing careers such as ‘blogging’.

Guy said:

“I thoroughly enjoyed presenting to the Sixth Form and was pleasantly surprised at how many of them are doing the Creative Writing A level.”

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Finally, the grand finale to the week was delivered by Ann Widdecombe who managed to capture the attention of and excite the whole of Year 7 with an insightful talk covering a range of topics. Ann talked about the novels that she has written over recent years and the events in her life that have inspired these. She talked about her political career, her life in the media and spoke fondly of her television appearances, particularly as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. This was followed by a question and answer session with the students who were visibly engaged and interested in Ann and her career, particularly as a writer and a politician.

Ms Widdecombe previously visited the College in 2012 and was so impressed that she has kept in touch, wanting to return when the College was fully established as a Secondary College with a full Sixth Form. Speaking of this recent return visit, Ann said:

“The young people asked many thoughtful questions and were both confident and courteous. The new Sixth Form centre is impressive and I can see this school growing and flourishing for many years to come.”

College Principal, Mrs Pat Goodhead, said:

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“It was an honour to welcome Bishop Christopher and so many high profile literary figures to Christ the King College last week. It was wonderful to see our young people engaging so maturely with the important topics being discussed and leaving excited with a renewed passion for literacy.”

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