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Highgate School has around 60 active clubs and societies for pupils to take part in and enjoy. The range of activities is diverse, ranging from academic societies such as Chemistry to non-academic ones like Bee Keeping. Alongside these clubs, for Year 9-13, Tuesday Afternoon Activities (TAA) take place.

Pupils have the chance to choose from a range of activities which they take part in for 1 hour after school every Tuesday. These can range from debating to sign language.

This week we visited the puzzle club TLA to find out what it’s all about and what you can learn.

Here is what some of the pupils had to say about the club:


Q: Why did you decide to join the puzzle club?

A: The puzzle club is a very nice way to interact with different people, it is a very enjoyable experience.

A: It looked fun and many of my friends were doing it.

A: Because I enjoy maths and puzzle solving.


Q: What do you enjoy about it?

A: The puzzles are always fun and challenging and the class gets very competitive.

A: I enjoy the satisfaction of solving a really tricky puzzle.

A: Working on the problems in groups is a lot of fun, I also like the competition.


Q: What takes place during a normal session?

A: For each session we get put into groups of 3 or 4 and are all given a folder of 10 puzzles to solve. The team that solves the most puzzles win.


Q: Why should others come to puzzle club?

A: Because it is difficult and makes you think really hard.

A: Because it is very fun, and a great way to challenge yourself.

A: Because it's the best TLA


We also asked Ms Murphy, who runs the activity to tell us a bit about the activity:


Puzzle Club is one of the Thursday Lunchtime Activity options for Years 7 and 8. They make three choices from a long list of clubs and do each one for a term. They can repeat their Year 7 choices in Year 8, and I really enjoy it when Year 7 Puzzle Clubbers want to come back in Year 8!

I put them into random teams of three or four and they are competing to see which team can complete the most puzzles between 1.30-2.00pm. The puzzles are quite hard, and in fact, some are very hard. I am regularly impressed by how many they crack in the time, and the occasions on which they conquer the toughest ones!

There are ten new puzzles every week and each puzzle comes with its own hint. The first hint is free, and thereafter, if a team elects to get the hint for a puzzle, they can only score 8 points for solving it, rather than 10. The team with the greatest number of points at the end, wins.

I try to balance the selection each week between mathematical/word/visual puzzles and there is often a dingbat too. I believe that pupils are developing their problem-solving skills as by the end of the term, they are often rattling through many more of the puzzles in the time. They work as a team and every week I notice pupils working together, congratulating each other, encouraging each other… It does get quite competitive but because the teams are reshuffled every week, there’s always a fresh start.

I am lucky enough to have Year 12 student, Kira, helping me. She began last year, as part of her DofE volunteering allocation, but has come back to help me again this year, just for the fun of it! Together we review the pupils’ solutions to puzzles and keep track of scores. The last few minutes are always exciting, with a countdown to the very last second!

It is a busy, fun time and it feels like the pupils really enjoy it!

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