Thirteen year old Writhlington student, Corey Walkes arrived back to his home town of Radstock to rapturous applause as a double silver world medallist!
Corey, who trains up to six times a week in Bridgwater at Quayside Trampoline and Gymnastics Club under the watchful eye of International Performance Coach, Sue Bramble, flew out to Florida last Sunday as part of the 60 strong Junior Great Britain delegation of Trampoline, Tumbling and Double Mini Trampoline gymnasts from across the country.
The World Age Group Competition showcases the world’s best boys and girls in the four events in four age groups: 11-12, 13-14, 15-16 and 17-18 years of age.
The Great Britain’s rising stars shone brightly at the 23rd World Age Group Championships 2014, which were held at The Ocean Centre, Daytona Beach, Florida USA (12th - 16th November) with the top individual and synchronized gymnasts winning an incredible 21 medals.
Corey, who recently won two international gold medals at the Loule Cup in Portugal and the title of British Champion in the Trampoline Elite level Under 15\\\\\\\'s Mens at the Elite British Championships in September, was selected to compete at this pinnacle event of the international trampoline gymnastics calendar from W.A.G.C. National Trials earlier in the season.
Corey excelled in this his second World Championships, beating his previous outstanding 7th place achievement in the Under 13\\\\\\\'s Mens Age Group at the 2013 WAGC in Bulgaria to become a double SILVER World medallist in the Under 15 Mens category.
Starting his competition strong, Corey won the 13-14 Mens Qualifiers where 60 boys competed for a spot in the top 8. His impressive set and voluntary routines gave him the top score of 95.945, closely followed by two of his GB team who between them held the top 3 places going into the Final.
After a nail biting finale, watched by family and friends at home on the Live Stream Coverage of the competition, Corey placed 2nd in the World winning the Individual Silver World Medal, narrowly missing the gold. Andrew Stamp, Coreys Synchro partner and team mate, came a close 3rd winning the bronze medal.
Day 3 of the competition saw the Dynamic Duo continue their impressive form to again take their place in the top 8 final and place 2nd in the 13-14 Men\\\\\\\'s Synchronised Trampoline with Corey winning his second silver medal of the Championships.
The British team return home with an impressive 7 gold, 5 silver and 9 bronze medals, the most successful Age Group Championships for Great Britain in over a decade.
Writhlington School’s Patron of Reading and author of Spacejackers, Huw Powell, visited last Monday and took part in an action-packed Spacejackers Day!
Huw, who was announced as the Patron of Reading for Writhlington in October, visited students in a bid to encourage reading for pleasure. Starting with a presentation to Year 7, Huw told stories of his childhood and of inspiration found at the end of every childhood book he read. It wasn\\\'t long before students were embarking on their very own Spacejackers journey helping Huw design the next captain to join the ranks of space pirates.
Students from all years queued in the library to have their exclusive copy of Huw\\\'s book signed by the author himself.
Writhlington School Librarian, Victoria King said:
‘There is always such a buzz when we have visiting authors. Huw is a wonderful role model for the students, he is very enthusiastic and the students love reading his books.’
After a busy book-signing, Huw visited Year 8 and Year 9 English classes that were all completing fun-filled tasks based on his book, including a tourist information guide about Earth for a future alien visitor, a newspaper article about a UFO sighting above Writhlington School and even a continuation of Huw’s story as some carried on his science fiction fantasy in their own words.
At lunch, the library was buzzing with Spacejackers fans who, as well as drawing their own space-pirates, completed space-pirate word puzzle challenges and asked Huw more questions about being a published author. Several had also created their own space-pirate helmets and were complimented on their efforts by a very impressed Huw.
As Writhlington\\\'s first ever Spacejackers day came to an end, Mrs King, said:
\\\'Spacejackers Day was a great success! I know Huw was impressed with all the students he met and was delighted to meet so many fans of his book and sci-fi in general. The best news is that Huw will return later in the year with his second book in the Spacejackers series.\\\'
I have only ever heard dreadful karaoke version of songs from Les Misérables which put me off ever going to watch the show, yet alone an amateur version. So I went along with some trepidation to Writhlington School’s version on Thursday 6 November.
My goodness was I converted! As soon as the opening bars of the prologue started, I knew we were in safe hands; this was going to be a good production. However I was not quite prepared for how stunning it would be.
The overall design of the production was well executed as we were transported to 19th century France with an effective set designed by Becca Long, excellent period costumes designed by Carol Lewis and her army of makers and beautiful atmospheric lighting designed by Ed Hill.
Attention to detail was evident throughout from director James Moore whose vision and dedication to his production was obvious as he led his team and cast to produce one of the best non-professional productions I have ever seen.
The cast worked very well as an ensemble telling the story of Victor Hugo’s classic tale. Never was any student out of character. The set pieces were delightful and well-staged. There were some difficult scenes and the young actors performed them with maturity, energy and passion.
There were some stand out performances; Flora Moore and Michael Doe brought a wonderful comedic element as the Thenandiers, Tom Hunt gave a solid performance as the radical leader Enjolras, Lily Ballantyne- Morrison melted hearts as the dejected Eponine, Leon Driessen gave gravitas to his Police Inspector Javert, and Ellie Rose Soccorsy performed beautifully as the sweet, mistreated Cosette. However watching Tom Davies as Marius singing ‘Empty Chairs at Empty Tables’ surrounded by dead comrades, drenched in candle light, will stay with me for a very long time.
Owen Stephens as the iconic Valjean gave a haunting performance of ’Bring Them Home’ ensuring there was not a dry eye in the house. For me though the performance of the night had to go to Dixie Newman as the tragic Fantine. The audience felt every single painful and heart rending moment her character went through.
The school Orchestra (with guest musicians) was skilfully led by Fiona Langley ensuring the music complimented and enhanced the action on stage.
Writhlington School students are lucky to have such a wonderful state of the art theatre to perform in; however the superb production values do not take away the fact that this was an extraordinary production with a very talented cast and a fantastic creative team led by James. Congratulations to all involved.
Artistic Director Merlin Theatre, Frome.
Co-Director Tri.art Theatre School & Dance Academy
After the excitement of BBC’s Bake Off final, Writhlington School hosted its inaugural Great British Book Off in the Library The challenge saw students of all ages create a cake in the design of a book cover or book character and in the words of Mary and Paul, they certainly saw some show-stopping bakes!
Students in all year groups impressed with their creativity and cooking skills as they fashioned humble sponge into intricate designs, from 3D replicas of the Doctor’s Tardis to giant Wonka bars. Other elaborate designs including an anatomically correct heart inspired by Malorie Blackman’s Pig Heart Boy, an eerie hand- complete with spooky quotes- from Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak, a depiction of the five factions in Veronica Roth’s Divergent, a killed mockingbird in homage to Harper Lee’s classic, and a Fault in Our Stars-inspired cake that was more than just “okay?”!
As in our competition’s more well-known counterpart, there could only be one Star Baker and that accolade went to Emily Serle in 8FCA, who’s Dr Seuss-inspired Cat in the Hat cake not only featured a fantastically stripy 3D hat, but also intricately detailed sugar-paste figures of the Cat himself, alongside Thing 1 and Thing 2. Scoring just three marks off perfection, Emily’s cake achieved top marks for design and very high marks for both originality and taste.
The competition was judged by our very own Mary and Paul, Food Tech teachers Mrs Chivers and Mr Hobley, who praised the students highly on their design choices, the intricacy of the cakes’ decorations and the obvious time and effort that had gone into the planning, baking and finishing of the amazing creations.
Mrs King, librarian, said
“I was so pleased to see so many students from all of the year groups getting involved in our first ever Book Off. The standard was extremely high and a wide range of books were represented beautifully in cake form! Thanks to all of our bakers, as well as our judges and helpers, for a fantastic turnout and a great excuse to eat cake! I am looking forward to next year’s entries already!”.
ARadstock teacher is heading for Toronto to help explain how technology is making learning fun as well as allowing schools to evolve teaching methods.
Writhlington School science teacher Simon Pugh Jones has been invited to present the keynote address at the fifth annual Technology Education Strategies conference.
He will make the presentation alongside Mendip Studio School partner David Crellin, of ScienceScope, in February.
The presentation, entitled Case Study: Writhlington School, UK: Internet of Things, will examine the future digitisation of education to advance learning.
The talk will explore how the internet will affect future school curriculums, how different devices will change education, including their impact on learning, teaching and the traditional classroom setting.
It will also explore the benefits of linking to a large inter-connected network through a variety devices from phones, tablets, computers and other smart technology.
The invitation to the education conference stems from the partnership that has developed between the school and ScienceScope Ltd, which is based at Writhlington, and project Distance.
Project Distance was funded by a grant of £800,000 from the Technology Strategy Board and was led by ScienceScope Ltd and partners, Intel, Xively, Explorer HQ, Stakeholder Design, University of Birmingham\'s Urban Climate Laboratory, UCL Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis and The Open University Department of Computing.
It gives schools the ability to measure and share data in a way that helps to make learning fun, links directly to the curriculum, helps to inform the design of the next generation of schools, and better prepares children to work within the digital economy.
The project has accomplished this by creating an information hub in the cloud using an open source.
David Crellin, from ScienceScoper, said:
\"We worked with more than eight schools, including Writhlington School, across the country to define how an Internet of School Things can enhance learning in science and across a range of other subjects such as technology and geography.
\"Students and teachers participated in design activities aimed at transforming the way in which data is collected, shared and analysed across school campuses.\"
Writhlington student Jamie Gould will be appearing on television screens over the next ten weeks in a BBC show that will see him castrating a wild boar, removing a spleen from a dog and micro-chipping a racehorse.
Jamie Gould, 13, beat competition from over 1,600 entrants to win a place on Junior Vet, which follows six young animal enthusiasts as they train at Edinburgh University. Jamie’s interest in animals was first sparked as a young boy when he began helping to feed the chickens, ducks and geese on his family\'s smallholding.
Since then, he has raised dozens of different breeds of animals from sheep and goats to hamsters, cats and dogs.
The most recent additions to the menagerie, are two rheas, hatched from eggs just five months ago to become giant, long legged birds that can run at speeds of up to 40mph.
Jamie decided he wanted to showcase his skills on the CBBC show and filled out the application form without telling his parents.
His credentials impressed producers who invited him to send in three film clips showing him working with his animals, which won him an audition in Leeds where he was selected from twenty young hopefuls to become one of the final six contestants.
He said: \"I never thought they would pick me, but when I came home from school one day, my mum said, \'Go on Amazon and buy a kilt – you are going to Scotland.’
The three-week long challenge will see the school children working alongside vets to gain hands-on experience and a flavour of what a career in veterinary medicine entails.
Mum Lyndsay said: \"It was an amazing opportunity. We are really proud of him for doing it all off his own bat, we didn\'t realise he had entered until he needed someone to hold a camera phone to film his clips. He has loved animals since he was born. We hope he does consider it as a future career – it would certainly save us a lot of money in vet\'s bills.”
Two Writhlington students have been invited to perform alongside dance professionals in Matthew Bourne’s latest piece, ‘Lord of the Flies’.
Matthew Bourne is known for pushing the boundaries of dance and challenging your expectations and nothing could be truer of his up-coming production of ‘Lord of the Flies’. Matthew Bourne astounded audiences when he cast the traditional ‘Swan Lake’ entirely of male swans, winning him a Tony Award for his direction and choreography.
Year nine student Leo Horler and Sixth form student Matthew Bell will be working alongside professional dancers from Bourne’s company ‘New Adventures’ to bring to life William Golding’s classic story ‘Lord of the Flies’.
Leo Horler said:
‘It has been a really great opportunity, there isn’t a divide between us and professional dancers, everyone is working towards the same goal. It is a challenge, but I am loving every minute of it. It has been really intensive training, but it’s really exciting to express our feelings through dance on stage.’
Bourne’s latest venture will see aspiring dancers from across the country perform is some of the UK’s most prestigious venues including London dance house - Sadlers Wells, Wales Millennium Centre and Canterbury’s Marlowe Theatre.
Sixth form student Matthew Bell said:
\'I have been dancing since the age of three and since then have been involved in numerous amazing performances but to perform in front of 2000 people each night is definitely the highlight of my career so far. I am really fortunate to be working with prestigious and world leading artist Matthew Bourne and I am relishing the opportunity to work alongside such a strong team of young male dancers.\'
Matthew and Leo will be performing at the Cardiff Millennium Stadium on the 22-25 of October.
Writhlington School gymnast, Corey Walkes is on the lookout for donations to help his dream of competing at the World Age Trampoline Championships in Florida become a reality.
The 13-year-old, who was crowned a national champion just a fortnight ago, was one of four boys selected in his age group at national trials last week.
In order to compete at the championships, held in Daytona Beach in November, he must now raise £2,500.
Corey is recognised by charity Sports Aid as one of Britain’s most promising athletes, and said he was “honoured” to be competing for his country once more.
“I competed last year in Bulgaria at my first World Age Group Championships and came seventh in the world in the 11-12 boys’ category,” he said.
“This year I have moved up to the under-15 men’s age group, so the competition will be even more challenging.”
While Sports Aid have provided him with a small amount of funding, Walkes and his family must otherwise support his gymnastic endeavours themselves.
“Competing for Great Britain as a junior gymnast is completely self-funded, with my training, travel and competition costs averaging at £500 a month,” he explained.
“Sports Aid have helped support me this year with an initial £500 award through the Springboard Programme back in April but the cost of taking part in the World Age Group Championships next month is another £2,500.
“Please help make a difference by supporting me and making a donation, no matter how small.”
Donations can be made online atwww.virginmoneygiving.com/coreywalkes2014
This term, Writhlington Library team travelled to the Royal High School in Bath for the winners’ ceremony of the Centurion Book Awards.
The Centurion Book Awards recognises authors both up and coming and well established across a variety of different genres, celebrating the engagement of hundreds of students across the county.
The winner is chosen by students each year from a shortlist of books nominated by students of schools in Bath and North East Somerset. Each library also puts forward a short list of books, proven most popular by students in years 7-11. This year’s short list included; Dead Romantic by C. J. Skuse; Dodger by Terry Pratchett; Gangsta Granny by David Walliams; Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver; and Soldier Dog by Sam Angus.
Library prefect Jasmine Russell tells us about their day.
On arrival at The Royal High School, we were directed to a large hall, in which the audience’s seats were arranged in a theatre-like fashion and the walls were cloaked in red curtains. We quickly found our way to our seats, which were near the front, and in front of the chairs was a table, on which the nominated books were displayed. Seated at the table were children’s author Sally Nicholls, the Chairman of Bath Council, Councillor Martin Veal, and the school’s Head teacher Mrs Rebecca Dougall. Mrs Dougall opened the ceremony by talking to us about the joy of reading and how magical it is, quoting Stephen King (author of The Shining) who describes books as ‘a uniquely portable magic’.
Then Sally Nicholls followed, firstly taking about how she had always known that she wanted to be a writer and that even as a young child she had always adored stories, no matter how she came across them. She then asked for a volunteer to help her tell a story. The story was an interactive one, set during the time of the Black Death, a time in which she set her novel All Fall Down. Every now and then, the audience would vote on what to do next in the story, or the audience volunteer would roll the dice to decide our fate. The story revolved around a woman named Alice, a peasant farmer who was happily married to her husband, Will. The Black Death hit their village and from then on, the audience decided her fate. Luckily, we as the audience managed to keep Alice\'s character alive (although Will and Gilbert the Ox met a hideous end) and after surviving the story, it was time for the announcement of the winner from Councillor Veal.
Councillor Veal announced that the winner of The Centurion Award 2014 was David Walliams for Gangsta Granny, but as David was unable to attend, the award was collected on his behalf by Margaret Pemberton, Children’s Librarian for the Bristol Schools’ Library Service and past chair of the Carnegie Book Award. Margaret informed the audience that David’s publishers had provided a small number of signed copies of Demon Dentist and the suspense continued as she drew school names from an envelope to decide the lucky recipients. Unfortunately, Writhlington’s name was not drawn, but the school did receive a signed copy of Soldier Dog by Sam Angus, which will be a great addition to the signed books we already have.
After that, refreshments were served while we reflected on the ceremony, before we headed back to school to share the stories and events of the morning.
Writhlington student and Member of Youth Parliament for Bath and North East Somerset, Ed Joseph, is promoting in B&NES the annual Make Your Mark ballot, the largest consultation of young people in the country.
In a ballot beginning 12th August and running \'till 10th October, young people across the country will be asked what issues matter most to them, in order to determine what is debated by the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) in the House of Commons on 14th November. Voting takes place both online and through ballot papers issued to schools and youth centres.
Ten topics will be available to choose from on the initial Make Your Mark ballot paper, with the five most popular topics, decided on by young people, being discussed by MYPs in their November debate, chaired by the Speaker of the House of Commons Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP and broadcast live on BBC Parliament.
Last year, the Make Your Mark ballot surveyed the opinions of over 478,000 young people, making it the largest youth consultation of its kind in the UK. This year, MYPs have set themselves a target of getting 1,000,000 young people’s votes. Ed has set B&NES a target of 6,000 votes as he wants B&NES to be a hub of Youth democracy and participation, re-writing the figures of last year’s vote, before he was the member of Youth Parliament, which gathered only 210 responses.
Seventeen year-old MYP Ed Joseph, who will be running the Make Your Mark campaign in B&NES said: \"I believe that young people should have the chance to voice their opinion through voting before the age of 18 and that’s just what ‘Make Your Mark’ will do. So far I have persuaded six local schools with over 7,500 students to sign up, and hopefully more will still do so. For some, this will be the first time their views and voices have been listened to and I look forward to hearing what they have to say.”
Writhlington sports department are bursting at the seams with talented and accomplished young competitors. From national cricketing champions to Team GB trampolinists, Writhlington train them all.
This year, joining the ranks of professional athletes is year seven student Zoe Simmons. Training for 30 hours a week before and after school, Zoe competes nationally for Great Britain and as part of the Welsh National Squad in Gymnastics.
Twelve year old Zoe vaulted her way to the national title in her age group at the championships in Guildford, taking the titles in bars, beam and vault events; Zoe proved to be an all round performer, even taking second place in floor.
Trainer and Writhlington teacher, Kelly Wilson successfully gained Zoe a place training at the Portishead club which is home to Olympians Imogen Carnes and Ruby Harold, who will be representing England at this summer\\\'s Commonwealth Games.
Jill Simmons, mother of Zoe expressed the pure delight she and her family feel about Zoe\\\'s achievements.
\\\'We are all very proud of Zoe, she trains incredibly hard and has a very bright sporting future ahead of her. This is a really busy time of year for Zoe as not only is she making a big transition moving schools, but she has a very busy schedule of competitions ahead.\\\'
With just twelve weeks until Christmas, Zoe has the Sapphire Competition in Hemel Hempstead, Daphne Leeworthy Cup, National Rushmoor Rosebowl in Aldershot, the South West Alpha Factor and the end of year British finals which will dictate her eligibility to compete next year.
\\\'It is really hard work, I have to put in a lot of hours training and squeeze in homework and time with my friends too, but it is all worth it.\\\'
Writhlington’s Combined Cadet Force attended 43 Wessex Brigade, South West Division ,Cadet Skill at Arms (CADSAAM) shooting competition this weekend.
Writhlington took two teams of cadets to Yoxter Cadet Training Camp on Friday night. Cadets competed in this annual competition to test the shooting skills of cadets across the region.
With teams entered from across the area, individuals were judged on their ability with points awarded to each group, in hope of winning the 43 Wessex Brigade CCF cup for 2014.
The two cadet teams represented the school with honour and took the cup for the winning. Individual team members also entered fine skilled competitions, taking home some well deserved awards.
Corporal Chris Sinanan won gold and was placed within the top three best shots in the South West.
Sergeant Jessica White won bronze and was placed within the top twelve shots in the South West and also won the pool bull competition, meaning she hit the dead centre of the bullseye of the targe from a distance of 300 yards.
Second Lieutenant Marshall said:
‘This was our first shooting competition and we are very proud of our cadets. We hope to build even further on their shooting skills and begin to look at national competition.’
To keep up to date with CCF news please visit their website or follow them on Twitter @WrithlingtonCCF
Year 9 student Corey Walkes had an unusual start to the Autumn Term. Whilst his friends were starting back at school, Corey was flying out to Portugal to compete for Great Britain at the 2014 Loulé Cup.
Corey, who trains at Quayside Gymnastics and Trampoline Club in Bridgwater with his personal and Head Coach, Sue Bramble, was selected earlier in the season to compete at this international age-group trampoline, tumbling and double mini-tramp competition.
The Loulé Cup runs alongside the Loulé World Cup, the second of the 2014 World Cup series events to select the best trampoline gymnasts in the world. Some 300 junior competitors from 19 countries competed alongside 125 seniors from 26 countries.
Corey competed as part of the GBR 13/14 Boys Trampoline Team at his third international competition for his country.
After a strong preliminary round, where Corey competed both a stunning set and voluntary routine, each made up of ten elements of difficulty, Corey stormed into the lead after receiving \'9.3\' scores across the board for his set. This put him in pole position by over 6 points for the cumulative final where the top eight in his 25 strong category went through to Saturday\'s final. After an anxious two hour wait, as the schedule was updated, his family and friends gathered to watch the final competition on an internet Live Stream back at home.
The gymnasts competed in reverse order, with Corey going last, producing a stunning final voluntary routine which scooped him the Individual Gold with an 11.475 point lead, helping the four strong GBR 13/14 boys team to also gain the Team Gold.
Great Britain swamped the junior competition with some stunning displays of talent, bringing home a total of 11 gold, 8 silver and 5 bronze individual medals.
Corey is now straight back to school and starting final preparation training for the British Trampoline, Tumbling and DMT Championships 2014 which are being held at the Echo Arena in Liverpool on the 20th & 21st September followed by the second Trials for the World Age Group Championships which are being held in Florida in November.
To find out more about Corey, you can read his SportsAid Profile at http://www.sportsaid.org.uk/athletes/profile/corey-walkes
Writhlington’s Under 15 girls cricket team represented the South West of England this week in a fierce competition to take the National title.
On Monday 15 September, the Under 15 girls’ team traveled to Birmingham to compete against the best teams in the country. The semi finals saw Writhlington play Appleby Grammar school from Yorkshire, who proved to be very stiff competition. Batting first, Appleby posted an impressive 105 in their seven overs, leaving Writhlington with a tough score to beat. Despite some outstanding batting, Writhlington took 86 runs, leaving them battling for third or fourth place in the finals.
Cricket Coach, Lloyd Davies said:
‘The team have been outstanding this season. I have been so impressed with their commitment to the game and the camaraderie amongst the team. The girls played some outstanding games against the very best in the country and we couldn’t be more proud of them.’
The last play off saw Writhlington take on Christopher Whitehead School from Worcester. With it all riding on this game, Writhlington batted first, scoring 82 before restricting Christopher Whitehead to 68, taking third place.
Head of PE Ben Naunton said:
‘This is a fantastic achievement; the girls have represented the school with distinction and have been an absolute joy to watch over the year. We are very excited that we can boast the third best cricket team in the country!’
As you know our Open Evening is on Thursday 25 September. As in previous years the school will be closing early in order to prepare for the evening event.
Coaches will be taking students home at 1.20 immediately following afternoon registration. If you collect your son/daughter from school please make arrangements to pick up at this earlier time. A bus has been arranged for the students who normally get the Frome public bus.
The structure of the day has been altered, so that students will have lunch prior to leaving.
The Writhlington School orchid growers are celebrating winning two major awards this summer.
Fifteen year old, Jacob Coles, won the Royal Horticultural Society Young Gardener of the Year prize for his age group and then worked with a team of fellow pupils to win a Gold Medal at the Hampton Court Flower Show.
Asked about his achievements Jacob put his success down to a passionate interest in plants, hard work and the support of other students in the Writhlington Orchid Project.
Jacob received his award from the headquarters of Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley, where the Judges commented on his outstanding knowledge as well as the efforts he makes to share his love of plants with the community through talks, shows and advice.
Jacob hopes to put his passion to good use and plans to follow a career as a botanist.
Hampton Court Flower show is the UK’s most visited flower show and this year was the second time that Writhlington had displayed in the Floral Marquee. Writhlington’s display linked the orchid species grown by pupils at the school to their native habitats and hence good growing in the UK. Two island displays featured plants from hot tropical lowlands and cool tropical mountain forests. The judges were particularly impressed by the quality of the plants on display including many giant specimens grown at Writhlington for over twenty years.
Two of Jacob’s fellow students featured on the BBC TV coverage of the event. Presenter Rachel de Thame was interested to know about the impact of the orchid project on the young people involved. Zoe Parfitt, aged 18, explained that this would be her last show with the Writhlington Orchid Project as she was about to start a horticultural career at the University of Bristol Botanic Gardens. In contrast Zoe Barnes, aged 17, is laboratory manager for the project and is planning a career in Science.
The next chance to visit the Writhlington Orchid Project and catch up with the award winning students is at the first Writhlington Christmas Orchid Show which will be held on Saturday December 13th from 10am until 4pm.
An innovative biotechnology project developed at Writhlington school is set to become a key component of the curriculum at the Mendip Studio School which will open on the Writhlington Campus in September 2015.
Eight young people, aged 14 to 17, from Frome, Radstock and surrounding villages have just returned from an expedition to the mountain rainforests of Rwanda in Central Africa which promises to improve the lives of the local population and help with long term conservation.
The students, along with three staff, spent two weeks working with colleges and schools in Rwanda to build capacity for conservation and science education through laboratory based production of Rwanda’s rarest plants.
Home for the team was Kitabi College of Conservation and Land Management on the edge of Nyungwe National Park.
Fifteen year old Maisha Harvey from Frome explained, “We arrived in Rwanda with the essentials to build a high tech aseptic laboratory and took two days to convert part of the college library into a Rwanda’s first propagation lab.”
Once the laboratory was finished, the next step was training and knowledge sharing with staff and diploma students from Kitabi College. The pupil team ran workshop sessions on orchid diversity, structure, ecology and laboratory culture as well as leading forest learning walks where the knowledge learned could be applied. Comments from Diploma students who will become the leaders in national parks across Central and East Africa included recognition that the experience will increase their ability to support conservation and involve future generations in working sustainably with biodiversity.
The Writhlington team then broadened their target audience, bussing school children from three of Rwanda’s city schools out to Kitabi and the Nyungwe rainforest. Devin Read and Ike Shakleton, both 17, ran classroom activities around orchid diversity in Rwanda. “The sessions were great fun.” Noted Devin, “the school pupils were really excited to discover the significance of Rwanda’s orchids and really enjoyed learning about their special ecology.”
According to Tom Forsythe, aged 16, the most exciting experience was taking Rwandan school children into their rainforest for the first time. “The school students really enjoyed the forest. They were eager to apply their new knowledge and particularly keen to find some of the many Rwandan endemic species found in the Nyungwe national park.”
Expedition leader Simon Pugh-Jones MBE, who is part of the Mendip Studio School lead team explained, “ We have put together plans for more collaboration over the next few years including enterprise initiatives and developing advanced practical science in Rwandan classrooms. This work is just one example of the wide range of projects that will give Studio School students opportunities to lead in the development and design of innovative solutions in science and technology.”
Students will be presenting their report and evaluation of the expedition at the Christmas Orchid Show at the Writhlington which takes place on December 13th from 10am until 4pm.
Writhlington students produced another strong set of GCSE results this year despite turbulence in the examination system and a number of significant late changes to qualifications and performance measures. Over 70 per cent of entries in Mathematics were at A*-C and English results also rose to 68%. Sixty per cent of students achieved 5 A*/C GCSE grades including English and Mathematics. Over 100 students in the year group achieved at least one A*/A grade and well over 50 achieved at least 3 top A*/A grades.
The proportion of students succeeding in Ebacc qualifications continued to rise, with many more students successfully following Modern Languages and Humanities GCSE courses. Students following these courses had an overall A*/C pass rate of almost 70% and the pass rate in these subjects has doubled in the last two years. Results in other subject areas were equally impressive. In fifteen different subjects over 80% of students obtained good A*/C GCSE passes and the overall pass rate for all subjects at A*/C was over 70%.
There were very many highly impressive individual achievements. Amongst those students with exceptional performances were:
Laura Wiltshire 11A*
Callum Rush 8A* 2A 1B
Alec Newland 7A* 3A 1B
Araminta Hampden-Martin 9A* 1A 2B
Alexandra Hodges 8A* 3A 1B
Oliver Beechener 8A* 1A 3B
James Turner 6A* 6A
Barnaby Wheeler 5A* 6A 1B
Fiona Walker 6A* 3A 2B
Molly Grainger-Hull 4A* 7A 1B
Headteacher Mark Everett said: “I am delighted with the dedication, commitment and hard work of our students. They have worked exceptionally hard, despite suffering from continued uncertainty and lack of clarity in the examination system. The overwhelming majority of our students are staying on to undertake their A Levels and we have a large proportion of Sixth Form students progressing to top Russell Group universities, including Cambridge and UCL. Twice as many students are now successfully following GCSE courses in Science, Modern Languages and Humanities. What pleases me most about all of our results this year is the fact that both Year 11 and Year 13 students have been able to obtain qualifications which help them to pursue their chosen career paths. Their hard work is a credit to the school and their families”
Sixth Form students at Writhlington are celebrating a record-breaking year of A Level results. Over a third of the grades achieved were at the very highest level (A* or A) with a number of students producing some phenomenal performances. Over 150 students successfully completed their A Level studies this year, with average grades of AAB. This sets a new record for the school and also marks the highest number of students progressing to higher academic studies.
There were outstanding results in subjects favoured by the top universities, including some remarkable individual achievements. Two sets of twins in Year 13 achieved exceptional results. Amy and Jess Dowler achieved six A* and A grades in Sciences and Mathematics. Amy has been accepted to study Veterinary Medicine at Cambridge University next term and Jess will be at Exeter University studying Animal Behaviour. Anthony and Elise Mckeever achieved 6 top A grades with Anthony off to Liverpool University to study Medicine and Elise pursuing her degree studies at Queen Mary\'s College London.
Other individual success stories include Megan MacPherson also obtained 3 top A grades and will be studying Civil Engineering at University College London, while Lauren Sly is off to Cardiff University to study Human Geography having obtained A* A B grades.
Writhlington Sixth Form students will be continuing their studies at a number of other prestigious universities across the UK, including Cambridge, UCL, Liverpool, Exeter, Cardiff, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham, Kent and Loughborough.
Steve Cantrell, Director of Sixth Form said, “All staff have commented on how impressed they have been with this year group throughout their A Level studies. As well as being dedicated and hardworking, they have always shown a high degree of loyalty and support for each other.”
“Writhlington School is extremely proud of its students and their achievements. Their success is very well deserved, given the consistent commitment shown over their two years in the Sixth Form. We are delighted with their results,” said Headteacher Mark Everett. “What is particularly noteworthy is that almost every single student has been able to go to their first choice of university. Has secured a course in Further Education or a high quality apprenticeship with a clear career path.”
The Department of Education has announced that Writhlington School’s application to open a brand new \'Studio School\' has been successful. Headteacher, Mark Everett said that he was absolutely delighted that the new school , which will be called The Mendip Studio for Electronic Engineering and Bioscience, will open in September 2015 and will offer exciting high quality specialist Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths courses for 300 14-19 year olds. Writhlington is working in close partnership with the Dyson Foundation, Sciencescope, Intel and a number of Higher Education institutions, including Cambridge, Bath and Bristol Universities.
Working closely with local employers, the new school will offer a range of academic and vocational qualifications including GCSEs in English, Maths and Science, as well as paid work placements linked directly to employment opportunities. This approach ensures students\' learning is rooted in the real world and helps them to develop the skills they need to flourish in life. Students will gain a broad range of employability and life skills and will have the option to go on to university, further training and employment. Enquiry-based learning lies at the heart of how Studio Schools work. Students will learn through Science and Technology projects both in school and with local businesses. In addition students will be able to study extra courses which will help them in the workplace, including qualifications in IT, Computing, Engineering, Electronics and the Sciences.
Students will work in smaller groups with individual support from a ‘personal coach’ who will meet with them one-to-one every fortnight to develop their own personalised learning plan and tailor their curriculum to meet their individual needs and aspirations. The new Mendip Studio will offer choice for young people in the area and will help to equip them with the skills they need in a highly competitive jobs market. Studio Schools are fully inclusive, are open to students of all abilities and comply with the national School Admissions Code.
The building project on the Writhlington campus is expected to start later this year, with completion planned for the summer of 2015. The first students will be able to join the school in September 2015 to start their GCSE or Sixth Form courses.
News is through that the group are all safely down Mount Meru. Mr Moore reports it was hard work and everyone is tired but well. The group is due to return on Wednesday 30 July.
The latest news from Tanzania is that everyone is well. Alison Blofeld reports that they have just finished the construction project and the classroom is now built. They have been camping with 22 primary school children for a week and said sad farewells yesterday (Sunday). Today they are in Moshi preparing for climbing Mount Meru tomorrow. All the students are having a huge experience and are learning about African culture and history. Now comes the physical and mental challenge of the mountain!
Over two hundred and fifty thousand people in Britain suffer from ME with thousand of people undiagnosed or suffering in silence. Writhlington students took part in a Mufti day raising £660.11 for the charity Tymes Trust
The charity supports ME sufferers and their families and provides a network of professional services to advise and assist those affected.
In some the effects may be minimal but in a large number, lives are changed drastically. In young people schooling and higher education can be severely disrupted and employment becomes impossible for many individuals. For all, social life and family life become restricted and in some cases severely strained. People may be housebound or confined to bed for months or even years.
Assistant Head Mark Bridges said:
This is a commonly misdiagnosed illness that affects roughly 1 in every 250 people. Our school has almost 1,600 students, which is potentially six or seven students faced with this challenging illness every day. We wanted to make the students aware of the effects, how some of their fellow students could be struggling and give them strategies to help each other.
On Wednesday 9th July, the Under 15 girls cricket team represented Somerset in the South West regional rounds of the Chance to Compete cricket competition at Bristol Grammar School. Eight other teams from different counties competed in three pools of teams.
Writhlington got off to a great start against Abertillery (Wales) before defeating Bournemouth Grammar (Dorset) in the 2nd pool game, topping the pool and progressing the team into the finals against the highest scorers on the leader board.
Two thrilling matching saw the team beating Kings Winchester (Hampshire) off the last ball in our semi-final, before taking on and beating South Dartmoor (Devon) with just 2 balls to spare in the final.
Huge congratulations to the team who will be playing in the National Finals held in September in Birmingham.
The girls had fantastic spirit - every player conducted themselves in a polite and respectful way, showing great sportsmanship throughout all 4 games. The teamwork and encouragement really stood out over the whole day.
The girls were presented with the trophy by current England Women\'s Cricket Captain, Charlotte Edwards
Seven pieces of art from Writhlington students were selected from thousands across the country to be exhibited at the Mall Galleries London. Emily Farebrother’s “My Beautiful Dream” was selected for scholar status. Here are the other six fantastic pieces.
From left to right: Holly Powney, Year 13 (“Nelson Mandela”, oil on canvass); Madelene Robertson, Year 12 (“Mum”, oil on canvass); Alicia Chambi-Trowell, Year 12 (“Fantasy Landscape”, mixed media collage on canvass); Rosanna Mohn, Year 13 (“Sylvia”, oil on canvass); Alicia Chambi-Trowell, Year 12 (“Tribal Influence”, mixed media and oils on canvass) and Emily Savage, Year 12 (“Monochromatic Woods”, watercolour on canvass).
The National Students’ Art Exhibition 2014 has been held at the Mall Galleries, London. This is the twelfth year of the exhibition held under the patronage of the Royal Society of British Artists (RBA). It features work from the best young artists in the country aged 11 to 18 years of age from Schools, Colleges and Academies.
Many thousands of artworks are submitted to the gallery and only around 350 from across the country are selected to exhibit. As in previous years, the very high standards and outstanding talent of Writhlington art students resulted in a number of pieces being selected for this year’s exhibition: Emily Farebrother, Year 13 (“My Beautiful Dream”, oil on canvass); Holly Powney, Year 13 (“Nelson Mandela”, oil on canvass); Rosanna Mohn, Year 13 (“Sylvia”, oil on canvass); Madelene Robertson, Year 12 (“Mum”, oil on canvass); Emily Savage, Year 12 (“Monochromatic Woods”, watercolour on canvass) and Alicia Chambi-Trowell, Year 12 (“Fantasy Landscape”, mixed media collage on canvass and “Tribal Influence”, mixed media and oils on canvass).
The six students travelled to London accompanied by Head of Art, Caroline Slater, to see their art on show in the prestigious gallery. To have six students from one school selected for this exhibition is a very high accolade indeed. However, the day was to get even better when on arrival at the gallery, the President of RBA, James Horton, announced that Emily Farebrother was awarded one of only 24 RBA scholarships to be handed out this year, making Emily one of the very top artists in the country for her age. To be an RBA scholar affords lifetime membership of RBA and an opportunity to exhibit work at the gallery every year starting in March 2015 where “My Beautiful Dream” will be exhibited and available for sale alongside other established RBA artists. The name of Emily Farebrother will appear on the public register of recognised RBA artists.
Emily’s work will now go forward for consideration for this year’s top prize which will be a scholarship to study art in Rome.
The students will long remember the excitement of the day in London which included celebratory refreshments on the roof terrace of a top London hotel.
Image: “My Beautiful Dream” by Emily Farebrother
Three Writhlington Students aged twelve and thirteen have won a £600 research grant from the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) for their project studying the laboratory conservation of the common spotted orchid.
Emily Therle, aged thirteen, explained,
\"We are working to isolate and grow the particular mycorrhizal fungus associated with common spotted orchids growing in the gardens of Ammerdown House, near School and then using this fungus to germinate seed collected from the same plants. We are hoping to find that this approach will select and grow plants that are best added for local conditions and therefore more successful when used for introduction into nearby habitats for conservation.\"
Chloe, aged twelve, added:
\"The techniques we are using in the laboratory are quite complicated but we have carried out a lot of research and are very excited with the way our work is going so far. We collected root samples from orchids in the lawns at Ammerdown House and have isolated several fungal isolates which we are now testing with orchid seed to see if we get germination.\"
The grant from WWCT allows the girls to buy the specialist scientific equipment they need for the work and to scale up their production for ‘full field’ trials at Writhlington and at Ammerdown House.
Rosie, aged 13, hopes that the work will help others to try out similar techniques.
\"We are looking forward to publishing our findings and hope to win a place at the finals of the UK National Science competition in March which will give us a chance to present our work to more of the public so they become aware of our native spiceies.\"
Asked what the girls have learnt so far their answer was unanimous \"Mycorrhizal fungus is really cool.\"
The girls\' progress can be followed on the Writhlington School Orchid Project website www.wsbeorchids.org
Writhlington’s very first cheerleading team have come out on top following a trip to the British Cheerleading Associations Southern Schools Championships n Guilford.
Seventeen students from Writhlington represented the school in their first big Cheerleading competition held annually by the British Cheerleading association. Made up of skilled gymnasts and dancers, the two teams competed in both the junior level 2 and the senior Level 3 sections.
Writhlington All Starz junior team performed an impressive routine, against five others schools from the south. Performing a brilliant display of skill and enthusiasm, the team took top marks finishing in First place.
Year 8 student said:
‘We have to wait in a holding bay before we perform so you never get to see the competition. It’s good because it means you don’t get freaked out but its hard because you have absolutely no idea if your routine is going to be good enough.’
Writhlington All Starz Senior team performed a complicated level 3 routine with some spectacular performances from individuals. With eight impressive teams to compete against , Writhlington finished in second place narrowly missing first by just 0.04 points out of 100.
Special mention was received for the two teams who scored the highest combined score out of all the competitors and received individual BCA medals and two trophies. The trophies now take pride of place in the Writhlington trophy cabinet.
Head Coach Ashia Kusawake said:
‘On behalf of the coaching team at Bath All Starz Cheerleading, we would like to thank the girls for their hard work and dedication. Each cheerleader played an important role in the success of the team and every girl represented the school with pride. We only had 10 weeks to pull and train the team together a new team all the hard work paid off
Students have been given the opportunity to Join Writhlington’s first Bike Project coordinated by inclusion manager Andrew Padfield.
With the launch of the Bath and North East Somerset Cycle scheme, cycling has never been more popular. Hundreds of employers across the Uk offer employees the opportunity to buy a bike with a discount of up to 42% and pay for it over a period of time to break down the cost and to encourage people to switch from cars to bikes.
Inspired by the Scheme and the success of last years big twenty-five mile cycle during activities week, Writhlington set up their own Bike workshop, teaching students basic level to advanced bike mechanics giving them the opportunity to learn how to restore and fix old bikes. The project aims to inspire students get more involved in school community.
Andrew Padfield said:
‘ The project encourages students who prefer a more vocational approach to learning, to get involved and acquire new skills. They are in a safe and encouraging environment and so feel comfortable expanding their knowledge. We have already seen a remarkable change to student attitude back in mainstream classes- we couldn’t be more pleased.’
The first batch of bikes were kindly donated by Bath Police Station, who favor the project and encouragement for the less engaged students.
Radstock PC Garry Hancock said:
“I was approached by the school to see if I could possibly help, and I’m very pleased that we managed to arrange to provide the bikes. It sounded like an excellent idea and a way to engage the students, and it’s great to hear that the scheme is working and that they seem to be really enjoying it.”
With the project in full swing, staff and students have begun commissioning the boys involved to fix their personal bikes and a proposal put forward for a purpose built workshop for the future.
Last week over two hundred and sixty Year 10 students took part in a Mock Interview and Careers day.
Through out the day an array of activities were set up to imitate the job seeking and applying process in order for students to get first hand experience with the working world.
Students took part in ‘application’ writing seminars, hosted by Edwina Thomas from Norton Radstock College and Steph Hoddinott from Bath Spa University. The seminar showed students how to format their application and write a convincing and passionate cover letter. With the keys skills firmly in place, students wrote letters of application to a career specialist, who then matched them up with an appropriate employer.
All students arrived dressed in their smartest ensemble and assigned an interview time with one of the many professional volunteers who came to take part.
Careers day co-ordinator said:
‘It is a great opportunity for students to experience a real interview, with a working professional. They had a formal interview and were given the opportunity to receive feedback. This is a great stepping stone for most students, who at this age are probably looking to apply for their first jobs.’
As well as Interviews, students attended talks on future pathways, exploring the different level of education each could receive. Gemma Palmer from Bath University gave an inspiring talk on ‘Education now’ and ‘Why University’. Terrie Norris from Norton Radstock College explored in ins and outs of apprenticeships and how to apply for them and Writhlington Site Manager Les Palmer gave a full and frank account of what employers look for in a successful applicant.
When students were not on interviewing they took part in numerous activities arranged by partnering organisers Bath College, Norton Radstock College, Writhlington staff and University ambassadors from Bath, Bath Spa, Bristol and UWE Universities. Sue Lewis, from Career Pilot gave tutorials alongside other activities including stone masonry, electrical engineering, hair & beauty, massage, fitness, brick laying, construction, bike maintenance, horticulture, IT, Art & Design and Technology.
Year 10 Students Amber Clarke said:
‘It was a really interesting day. We were all quite nervous about our interviews, I guess the unknown is quite scary, but they were all lovely and we got great feedback after. I really enjoyed talking to all the different workshop facilitators and Uni reps whom could answer all our questions’
If there is one thing that students at Writhlington are passionate about it’s Fundraising for charity and this year has been no exception.
Writhlington supports a number of Charities throughout the year, but none are more popular than the Race For Life and Movember Fun runs hosted by Writhlingtons Learning to lead Fundraising teams.
Every year, students from across all year groups don their PE kits and Pink t-shirts to take part in the nationwide popular event ‘Race For Life’. Last year saw over one hundred and fifty student’s raise almost £1000 for Cancer Charity.
Event Co-coordinator and Year 10 pupil Rebecca Pink said:
‘ Last year was brilliant. It was amazing to see students come together to raise money for a worthy cause. This year we have no doubt it will be bigger and better than ever. It takes a lot of organizing, we use the CCF to martial the event and the fundraising team for logistics.’
Students will run, jog or walk the 5k route designed by students. Although not a competition last years fastest time will be available for the competitive students to compete against, set at 23 minutes by year 8 student Chloe Derrick.
The event takes place on Wednesday 16 July. For more information or sponsor forms please email email@example.com.
The year ten girls rounders team played in the B&NES district tournament on Tuesday last week at Norton Hill school.
The girls began the games focused and determined to secure a win as they beat St Greg\'s and Wellsway convincingly in the first two games. The next two proved more challenging as they took on local rivals Somervale and Norton hill; both swept aside with some excellent fielding, and giant hits.
The group stage results saw the girls pitched against Hayesfield in the final. A fierce match played closely with Writhlington narrowly securing a win 6-5.
All teams play approached the tournament with enthusiasm and professionalism, and a real asset to their school. Congratulations to Writhlington girls who finished victoriously.
Thanks to the campaigns by Youth Parliament representatives, children and young people across Bath and North East Somerset will now be able to travel on the bus with up to a 50% discount.
Writhlington Sixth Form student and Elected MYP for B&NES Ed Joseph, has won his campaign to lower the price of travel for young people across his constituency. Representing over 14,000 young people, Ed has successfully secured a reduction of 50% for people aged 5-15 and 30%for those aged 16-21.
Young people will be required to purchase a First ID Card in order to receive the discount, costing just £10. There will be no cost for young people still in full-time education.
The news comes as part of the results of the regional wide consultation by First Group carried out earlier this year, where they asked local people for their views on service fares.
\\\"This is fantastic news for children and young people. For so many years the price of public transport has prevented us from travelling across the area and spending time with friends outside school hours. It has also meant that people with part time jobs often arrive at work after spending well over an hours wage.\\\"
Ed conducted his own consultation among young people over the spring and collected almost 300 responses from teenagers who said they never used public transport because of excessive costs, irregularity of bus times, and general poor service.
Other concerns raised included the sanitary conditions, minimal seating and not enough services running from more remote locations.
\\\"After meeting with First Directors in March at The Guildhall in Bath and presenting them with copies of my consultation results, I highlighted the key issues faced by young people. Furthermore, I highlighted these same key issues to Don Foster MP, local councillors and at one of the council’s ‘Policy Development and Scrutiny’ meetings.\\\"
For the past 15 years public transport has been a hot topic at the national UK youth parliament and with the slow nature of national and local government little changes have been made.
Ed\\\'s victory for local young people is not just an achievement for Bath and North East Somerset, but can be seen as an example to others across the country.
For more information about Ed\\\'s consultation and his work across the local authority please email EdJosephMYP@Hotmail.com
Year nine student Rhiannon Bramley is celebrating after receiving the highest accolade for Guides – the Baden-Powell Challenge Award.
Fourteen year old Rhiannon had to complete five ‘zones’ entitled healthy lifestyles, global awareness, skills and relationship, celebrating diversity and discovery before taking part in a residential event organised by her district.
‘ It was a really great experience. There were lots of components to the award so I had to be organised and at times it was really challenging. Before receiving the award we had to go on a residential with other Guides who had received the award already, it was great to hear their stories and get an insite into how other districts run.’
In recognition of her achievement, Rhinannon met District Commissioner Michelle Bowell who congratulated and presented Rhinanon with her award.
Year Seven and Eight sport students, Mason Harrison and Harry Barter, went that ‘extra mile’ when they travelled to Holland for an international football tournament.
The Akiko Cup involves teams from across the UK and Europe in a Challenge Cup challenge competition and gives sporting teenagers the opportunity to play against some of Europe’s most promising players.
On the first day both under 11 teams and the under 13s made excellent progress with some great attacking flair and strong defending from both teams. The under12s played up an age group and just missed out on goal difference against some very strong opponents in their competition. The boys were all rewarded for their performances with a trip to the swimming park before settling down to watch the Madrid Champions League Final.
It was an early start on Sunday for the older age groups but the under13s put in an impressive performance to win their opening match 3-0. A draw in their next game meant that wins and goals were crucial if they were to take the 2014 title. A dramatic last-minute strike in their final game proved to be decisive as Bath and Wiltshire Boys were crowned overall winners.
First the staff marched and then the students. All the way to the Prospect Theatre for Writhlington’s production of Les Miserables.
Following the popular Les Miserables promotional video performed by Writhlington staff; which received over five and a half thousand hits in less than two weeks, students braved the stage auditioning for some of theatres most sought after parts.
Director James Moore was inundated with emails from students across all year groups and most surprisingly from prospective year seven and sixth form students wanting to audition.
‘We were overwhelmed by the response, it was great to see students coming to the school in September eager to get an early foot in and Sixth form students applying purely on the reputation of our Drama department. We have some exciting projects coming up with Les Miserables and I can’t wait to showcase what talented students we have.’
Students went through a rigorous casting process, where they performed in front of various panels including Head of Music and Musical Director Fiona Langley and Director and Assistant Director Helena Greenlees.
‘It’s a hard process for anyone to go through and we saw such high standards of performing, it was nearly impossible task for us to cast as some of the auditions were so very good- a real pleasure to listen to! I was particularly impressed with outside students performing in front of complete strangers. By including perspective students it has really given the show a community feel and that is what as a school we hope to achieve, they are not just our talented students but the communities also’
Rehearsals begin this week and the fifty strong cast are eager to get started.
Year 8 student Kezia Reynolds took part in the Cricklands Equestrian event on Sunday 1st June.
This years event showcased some of the best young riders and beautifully bred horses as they took part in dressage and jumping competitions.
Kezia attended with her Welsh Mountain Cob and was placed first prize in the Mountain and Moorland Bred Large Class.
‘I have been training really hard for my individual show and I am so pleased it has finally paid off.’
With a fantastic first place under her belt, Kez now qualifies for the South West Pony Association Championships which will be held at Cricklands in September.
Sixth Form students Hannah Bennett and Helena Midgley took part in a 10,000ft tandem parachute jump in Swindon last term in hope of raising money for their two charities, Great Western Air Ambulance and Action for Children.
Action for Children supports more than 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers through 650 projects across the UK. The charity helps young people to realise their unique potential and offers support and opportunities needed for them to reach it.
The girls also chose local charity, The Great Western Air Ambulance who provide critical services to over nine counties including Bath and North East Somerset. The service is called to emergency cases often involving children or young people under that age of 16 on average, four times a day. Although the service is run mostly by volunteers, it still costs 1.7 million pounds a year to provide.
Fundraising Manager for Great Western Air Ambulance, Emma Carter said:
‘It’s fantastic to see young people get involved and take on such impressive challenges to help fund raise. Every donation is vital and so we really appreciate the lengths the girls have gone to to support us.‘
Setting off with promising weather, the girls made their way to the Swindon based training centre where they took part in a safety briefing and training session.
Helena Midgley said:
‘This really was a once in a life-time opportunity. You get such a rush of adrenalin when you first climb into the plane. The scariest part is when you first lean out of the plane at 10,000ft; because you are strapped to someone, you’re just left leaning out of a plane with no control. It was an exhilarating experience and I am so pleased we managed to raise over a thousand pounds for our charities.’
The girls landed in a field near by with their family and friends there to congratulate them and capture the moment.
The under thirteens and under fifteen girls football team travelled to Hayesfield school last week to play in the B&NES tournament.
The U13 team played in a series of intense games against Hayesfield and Wellsway, resulting in a penalty shootout to decide the winner. Summer Hemmings and Emily Petteford scored their penalties while Martha Briggs made some outstanding saves in goal. In the semi final Writhlington beat Somervale 1-0 and played their final match against Norton Hill. A teeth gritting match saw an even game played to the very last minute where Lyesha Stacey hit a well timed volley into the bottom corner, bringing Writhlington home to victory.
The U15 team played against Somervale, Norton Hill, Ralph Allen and Wellsway. In their first match the U15 team had a close match against Somervale beating them 1-0 thanks to an excellent strike from Paris Griffiths. Some outstanding play by Anna Lee and Amy Seymour saw Writhlington take Norton Hill and Ralph Allen to a draw, leaving the team needing to finish the last match with a win to take the cup.The final match against Wellsway was end to end, with both teams playing superbly. Some brilliant saves by Georgia Clark saw the game set to be a goalless draw. However in the last second Josie Lee stepped up with an unstoppable finish into the bottom corner, winning the cup for Writhlington.
U13 players of the tournament were Lyesha Stacey, Rhianna Jamieson, and Martha Briggs.
U15 player of the tournament was Georgia Clark
Year Eight students Harry Barter, Ryan Guy and Cameron Moore toured Belgium this season with their U13 football team from Chilcompton.
International sports specialists offer young people the chance to compete in tournaments across the UK and Europe. Chilcompton U13s set off on an exciting adventure, hoping to bring back the coveted Brugues cup from this beautiful City in Belgium.
In the opening rounds Chilcompton beat teams from across the UK and Belgium with outstanding attack and great defending, They got through to the final following an exciting semi-final penalty win against UK team Boston United.
The final was an intense game against Kewford Eagles from Birmingham but Chilcompton pulled off victory with an outstanding performance and brought the cup home with a 3-1 victory.
Centre midfield player Harry Barter said:
‘It was a really great experience. We got the chance to play some big teams and came away with the trophy! We would love to compete again next year. We definitely saved the best two games until last!’
After breaking the school shot-put record in Year 7, throwing 9.47metres, Gene Norris has gone on to achieve success in the county squad.
In February, Gene was asked to attend Avon county squad trials at Bristol Grammar School where he participating in both track and field events. Achieving 1st place in the shot-put and 2nd in the two lap race, Gene was selected to represent Avon becoming an official member of the region\'s team.
Gene’s first big competition saw him placed second in shot put at the South West Regional finals, after throwing a massive personal best of 10.19 meters. Avon won overall, putting them through to the UK finals.
Avon Indoor athletics team travelled to Torbay to compete in the South West Regional Finals where Gene ran a strong race and came second in the South West for shot-put, equaling his personal best of 10.19 meters, qualifying him for the UK finals held in Manchester. Competing against some of the best young athletes in the country, Gene finished in an incredible 6th place as an individual and came 1st as part of the Avon Schools’ team.
Head of PE Ben Naunton said:
‘We have some exceptionally talented sportsman at Writhlington. Gene is a fine example of what commitment can help you achieve. We are very proud of him and can see he has a very bright future ahead of him.’
Not only a competitive sportsman at school, Gene also plays rugby for Bath’s U13’s club where he has had a very successful season. With 21 appearances, 45 tries and 38 conversions, Gene has the highest try scoring record for the club at 301 with an average of 14.3 per game, with the closest following scorer at just 100.
Writhlington sports department took seventy pupils this week to watch the British Basketball League play-off final at Wembley Arena.
It was a great spectacle for all and students were able to enjoy a close game against Newcastle Eagles and underdogs Worcester Wolves which saw Worcester take the win in the BBL Play-off final.
Wolves, appearing in the final for the first time, settled into their rhythm quickly and began to pull away in an intense opening period. Eagles centre Defoe, influential at both ends, helped to drag his side back to within one in the second period with some fine under-pressure shooting to take him to 16 first-half points. However Taylor hit a brilliant three-point buzzer-beater to take the Wolves into half-time six points ahead. A stunning scoring run, including three straight fast-play baskets saw Wolves finish the quarter with a 72-52 lead. Two straight three-pointers from Eagles captain Charles Smith brought his side to within nine points in the final period and set up what proved to be a tense final period.
Students were in awe watching incredible basketball skills during a slam dunk competition featuring club mascots, BBL players and a stunt group previously seen on Britain\'s Got Talent. There was a fantastic atmosphere with Mexican waves and some very creative supporter chants!
Event Organiser and PE Teacher Sean Bailey said:
‘The students were superb ambassadors for the school. They had an action-packed day, were impeccably behaved and learned a lot about this increasingly popular sport. They have already spoken to me about wanting to play more matches and begin training for next year’s basketball season.’
Writhlington School charity the ‘Burundi Education Foundation’ which runs within Writhlington School has been given a grant of £120,000 by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.
The charity was created in hope of building a primary school Rusaga, which is the poorest village of one of the poorest countries in the world, Burundi. The new primary school would follow an English Curriculum guided by Writhlington School. After spending a year planning, selling blends of Burundian tea and coffee and various other fund-raising activities, the first of the BEF’s goals has been achieved.
The charity was founded by Joseph Katihabwa, former Dean of the University of Burundi who lived and grew up in the village of Rusaga. His daughter, Chantal Ndikumana, a trustee of the charity and teacher at Writhlington School, took the charity to new levels with the support of fellow colleague and Charity Director, Chris Donovan.
“When Burundi became a member of the East African communities, it became clear that all the other member countries spoke English except Burundi. We wanted the poor children of Burundi to have access to an English education as currently only children from rich families do. By providing this opportunity we are supporting them to become self-sufficient and have the chance to get good jobs in the region, or elsewhere in Africa.”
The aims of the charity not only include teaching English in one of the only French speaking East-African countries, but to give local adults in communities access to information giving them the capability to compete in the global marketplace and empower people to gain relevant vocational skills. This will help local adults create sustainable development in their communities and pass on their knowledge to others.
Edward Joseph, Member of Youth Parliament and Trustee of the charity said;
“The residents of Rusaga are socially and economically disadvantaged in their education and skills development. Education is the most effective pathway of ensuring a sustainable livelihood and an improved quality of life. That’s why I have chosen to have a gap year between Sixth form and university teaching English in the Burundian school which we are working hard to build”
When completed this October the school will act as a model for other schools creating an education model which can be used in other areas of Burundi.
To find out more, donate or get in contact with the charity, check out the website: BurundiEducationFoundation.org
or email: BurundiEducationFoundation@Outlook.com
Year 7 and 8 girls welcomed a very special guest to Writhlington School when the best-selling author of the hugely popular ‘Mates, Dates’ and ‘Zodiac Girls’ series, Cathy Hopkins, paid us a visit to talk about her brand new book.
Just one day after its official release, Cathy told students about the inspiration behind her new book, ‘Playlist for a Broken Heart’. She showed us the home-made CD she found in a London charity shop many years ago, which prompted her to consider who had created it and the story behind its emotional songs. Cathy explained how this relates to her new book as the main character (who, like Cathy, lives in Bath) finds a similar CD and begins a search for its creator in the hope of discovering his story.
Cathy revealed that she still has no idea who made the CD that she found, and how she would love for the creator to one day sit down to watch a film version of her book and realise he was the inspiration behind it!
After speaking about her life, including a stint in a Rock’n’Roll band and getting started as an author by writing a chat-up guide for men, Cathy answered questions from the students about how to get published, her own favourite reads, where else she finds inspiration and her top tips for writing. She then signed copies of her new book- hot off the press- in the library and, especially for her biggest fans, copies of her other books they’d brought in from home. Cathy also kindly donated copies of several of the books she mentioned in her talk.
Where do you get your ideas from?
Anywhere and everywhere. All over the place. Talking to teenagers, teen mags, newspapers, dreams and sometimes ideas just come from nowhere.
How long does it take to write a book
Different with all of them, some are cooking in my head for months before I actually start writing. About 6 months on average once I have worked out the idea.
Where do you get your characters from?
I sometimes do a page on them in the beginning in three parts, physical – what they look like, social: where they live, who their family is, what their parents do etc then lastly, psychological: what they want, their goals, dreams, ambitions, disappointments, hang ups – everything that makes them the individual they are. After that, I often go through teen mags and see if I can see a picture of someone who looks like I imagine my character then I’ll cut it out and put it on the notice board.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Seeing a book come from nowhere and end up on a shelf in a book shop, Being able to do something I really enjoy as a job, Being able to skive off and see a movie in the afternoon without having to ask anyone’s permission.
Students also had the opportunity to get signed copies of her new book- hot off the press- in the library and, especially for her biggest fans, copies of her other books they’d brought in from home. Cathy also kindly donated copies of several of the books she mentioned in her talk, and these can be found on the shelves in the library.
Not many young girls reaching the end of their GCSEs and fast approaching prom would consider shaving all their hair off.
Inspiring and courageous Year Eleven student Victoria Horroll has decided to do just that in front of an audience.
Every day in the UK around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer. Many charities are set up to support sufferers and their families in a bid to unite and support those affected everywhere.
Fifteen year old Victoria chose a charity close to her heart and began making plans to take a ‘bald’ step forward in the face of cancer.
‘When I was younger I was told that my cousin had leukemia. It was a really challenging time for my family. We are all very close and so we faced the hardship together. CLIC Sargent, a charity that supports cancer sufferers and their families really helped us, from the very beginning until he had the all clear.
This is my way of making a bold statement and really saying thank you for everything they did.’
Not only will Victoria be raising money for CLIC Sargent but her long hair (currently measuring 24 inches) will be donated to the Little Princess Trust who make wigs for young girls who lose their hair to cancer or alopecia.
The big shave will take place on July 22 at Writhlington School. If you would like to become a sponsor or find out more about Victoria’s story please follow the link below.
Two teams of Writhlington students took part in the Ten Tors challenge this weekend and completed in outstanding times.
The sun shone down on students as they arrived for their first team briefing and began planning their routes. Not fooled by the glorious weather both the CCF team and the School Outdoor Education team psyched them selves up for a tough challenge ahead.
More than 2,000 teenagers from schools, ramblers groups and cadet units across the country took part in the army-organised event, which saw the Writhlington teams trek 35 miles across some of the toughest terrain and highest peaks in southern England.
Over the two days teams were faced with gale-force winds as well as torrential downpours as they made their way across the moors to each check point. More than 250 competitors dropped out over the two days because of the increasingly poor weather conditions and over 50 on the first day because of injury.
Head of Outdoor Education Jamie Comber said:
‘The routes changed this year to avoid river crossings. This has made a massive difference to the competitors and the army personnel who have to man them for safe crossing. They were faced with really tough conditions. We lost two big 6 metre bell tents at the base over the weekend including the main support pole bending in half, which really puts in perspective just how tough it must have been for the students.’
Writhlington’s CCF team, made up of Year 10 students, completed the challenge in impeccable time placing fifth out of 217 35-mile teams and the School Outdoor Education Team, also made up of Year 10 students, finished just a few hours later. All competitors received a Medal from army officials in recognition of their accomplishment.
Lt Phil Harwood said:
‘The teams did extremely well. It is not a race but to finish fifth is outstanding, especially as they came first out of all the local cadet forces. Both teams worked incredibly hard over the training period so we are really pleased they were able to celebrate completing this difficult course. This is a really tough challenge which tests even the most strong minded of competitors and both teams came out triumphant’.
Writhlington Sixth Form student Ben Josham has won the 2014 Somerset Junior Championship at Clevedon. The six handicapper from Midsomer Norton beat a strong field of under 18 boys to capture his first major golf trophy.
Seventeen year old Ben struggled to a 79 in his first round in the 36 hole championship after missing several fairways in the morning. However a fine spell of putting left him 3 under par gross after 13 holes in the afternoon round.
The difficult closing holes at Clevedon pulled Ben back slightly with four dropped shots in the last 5 holes but his gross 73 for a total of 152 was good enough for a 1 shot victory over Kieron Babbage of Saltford Golf Club.
Ben was delighted with his win and said:
‘I’ve been playing quite well over the last couple of weeks and I just went out without too many expectations. After struggling in the morning, I played really well in the afternoon and holed some very good putts at crucial times. The hard work I’ve done with the professionals at Farrington Park through the Writhlington academy golf programme has really paid off and I’m obviously delighted with the win’
Ben’s win is the second year in a row that a Farrington Park Junior member has claimed the Somerset Junior Boys crown. Current Somerset Men’s first team member Josh Hilleard won the 2013 championship and has gone on the represent the county at the highest level.
Ten Tors is a long-standing tradition for schools, scout groups, and cadet forces across the southwest. When first started in 1960, just two hundred and three young people took part, walking distances of up to 60 miles.
Today Dartmoor sees over two and half thousand young people complete challenging 35, 45 and 55-mile routes. However, the Ten Tors is about more than just distance. To be successful, competitors must overcome everything this diverse and unpredictable landscape can throw at them. The 368 square miles that make up Dartmoor National Park contain steep valleys, rivers prone to swelling, bogs and magnificent granite topped peaks called ‘tors’. All of these pose problems for the competitors, but are also the reasons behind the event’s huge popularity.
The event is organised by the army’s 43 (Wessex) Brigade. It is assisted by the Royal Navy, who primarily provide manpower and helicopters; the Royal Air Force and the Dartmoor Rescue Group. These services ensure the safety of participants while they are on Dartmoor.
Following a challenging year before where severe weather conditions meant an unusually high number of teams were unable to complete their routes, Writhlington prepare for this years event where three teams will get the chance to compete.
Outdoor Education officer Jamie Comber said
‘Students have trained really hard for the event. You have to a show a strength, determination and resilience to compete, which is a lot to ask a young person to do. It has been inspiring to see both our teams and the CCF teams train so hard to make the teams. It is competitive and there can only be 6 in a team. It is always hard to turn away students when they have trained so hard.’
Writhlington Combined Cadet Force and Writhlington Outdoor Education programme offered over 40 students the opportunity to train for the events with team selections being made this weekend. Both groups have been training hard over several months, faced with adverse weather conditions from blistering February Sunshine to torrential April showers.
With the main event just weeks away we wish all the students the best of luck.
Thirteen year old year 8 student Corey Walkes, competed as the youngest member of the Great Britain team at the 24th European Trampoline DMT & Tumbling Championships 2014 in Portugal during the Easter break.
After two impressive routines, competing his highest tariff difficulty to date of 13.3 with a triple somersault start, Corey placed 17th out of 60 in the Junior Under 18 Mens age group, a massive achievement as the third youngest competitor of 558 gymnasts from 27 countries.
The cumulative scores of the three GBR Junior Mens team, Corey and 17 year old Daniel McCaffrey and Zachary Sheridan, qualified them in 3rd place to the Team Final where the top 5 countries battled it out for the podium places. Team GBR eventually placed 4th, narrowly missing the bronze by only 0.81 points between them.
Great Britain brought home 7 golds, 5 silver and 6 bronze medals across the Championships where GB Senior, Laura Gallagher, whom he trains with at Quayside Trampoline & Gymnastics Club in Bridgwater under International Performance Coach Sue Bramble, brought home yet another Gold medal as part of the Senior Ladies Team.
Coreys Mum said,
‘It was a nerve wracking week for us as we were unable to go out to Portugal to watch Corey compete this time so had to rely on the Live Stream results on the internet and his coach to keep us updated! We were proud enough that he was selected to compete for Great Britain but his performances during the Championships just shows his dedication and hard work is all worth the hours he puts in. We are very proud of our son!’
Following a successful Charity concert with Downside, staff and students at Writhlington are putting the finishing touches on their Spring Concert ready for curtains up on Friday 2 May.
Over one hundred staff and students are set to perform at this years Spring Concert including Writhlington’s very own Man Choir who will perform the popular classic ‘Lean On Me’ and new groups including Clarinet choir, String group, Guitar group and Saxophone group.
A popular event pencilled in by music lovers everywhere, promises to be an exciting evening featuring music from the School Wind Bands, Choirs, solo and Ensemble performances including recital pieces from our Advanced Level musicians.
Head of Music Fiona Langley said:
This is a really busy time of year for all involved. Students have exams fast approaching, revision classes after school and extra revision at home. Both staff and students have shown dedication and perseverance for this show and it’s on route to be one of the most spectacular ever.’
Tickets are £6.00 [£3.00 OAP/children] which includes refreshments and are available from Mrs Tout on 01761 433581 ext 2315 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sixth Form and Year Eleven students at Writhlington welcomed members of the community to school for a guided tour and afternoon tea.
Over 20 members of the local community, including long standing governor Phyllis Gay, were welcomed to Writhlington and given a guided tour of the school. Guests were given the opportunity to talk to students and many were able to reflect of their time or their children’s time at the school before the investment and rebuild took place.
Sixth Form support and guidance officer Alison Blofield said:
It was so lovely to see the students and the guests sharing stories and experiences. When we spoke about how to approach this topic in their studies, they all thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to get to know the community and the people who walked in their footsteps years ago.
Once their tours were complete, Year 11 students welcomed guests into their boutique cafe, transforming the cafeteria into a lovely traditional tearoom. Students had spent the morning baking everyones favorite cakes, waited on the guests and provided them with tea coffee and treats, including carrot cake, Victoria sponge and fruit scones. Guests then invited the students to join them and tell them more about their experiences at Writhlington.
School Governor Phyllis Gay said:
‘It was a wonderful experience for our guests. It is so important for the community to get an insight in our wonderful schools. They were blown away by the facilities available to the students and how engaged and enthused the students were in their learning.’
Prospect Theatre welcome award-winning director for a special one off performance.
Writhlington welcome back Exit Stage Left for a last chance performance of their award winning show The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
This hilarious tale of overachievers’ angst, chronicles the experience of six adolescent outsiders vying for the spelling championships of a lifetime. The shows Tony Award winning creative team have created the most unlikeliest of hit musicals about the unlikeliest of heroes……a quirky yet charming cast of outsiders for whom a spelling bee is where they can stand out and fit in all at the same time.
Before every performance, four audience members are recruited to participate on stage guaranteeing a new set of hilarious twists and turns around every corner – meaning every show is as unique as the one before.
Theatre manager Edward Hill said:
We are really excited to be hosting this fantastic show. The attention to detail is what sets a James Moore production apart from the rest. Coupled with the incredible talents of Musical Director Harry Burt and outstanding performances by some of Bath’s most seasoned professionals, I have no doubt it will sell out very fast.’
The show was performed to sell-out audiences at the Rondo Theatre in Bath and was recognized at the Somerset Fellowship of Drama – David Beech awards, where Director James Moore received an award for his outstanding and innovative directing style.
Director James Moore said:
It has been a really rewarding experience working on this Off Broadway Musical. Not many groups in this region tackle these unusual shows but there are so many extraordinary musicals waiting to be performed on our stages. My theatre company Spare room have just had a successful run of Gutenberg, which is another off Broadway musical and are taking it on tour around Bristol and Bath. I already have big plans for my next show Les Miserables which will be performed in November at Writhlington and then joining the award winning creative team at the Merlin Theatre for the Christmas show. – it is going to be a very busy year!
After his success at the World Championships, Writhlington Year Eight student Corey Walkes has not relented in his vigorous training schedule.
Great Britains team for the 2014 trampoline, tumbling and double-mini trampoline European Championships has now been selected, following a series of intense trials held across the country. This year’s hopefuls carry a mix of experienced stars and exciting rising talent aiming for success in Portugal in April.
GB Athlete Corey Walkes said:
‘I was really excited to be invited for the trials. I hadn’t yet performed a routine at a high enough level to really qualify for the full national trials but I thought it would be a great opportunity to get inspired by other athletes performing at the next level and gain more competition experience.’
Trials are held for athletes performing at a difficulty level minimum of 12. At Corey’s last international competition he competed with a level 9.5 making the leap to 12 quite significant. Corey performed with outstanding confidence and completed a 12.4, including a triple somersault, and received third place on his first day of competition. Corey then went on to exceed even his highest expectations gaining second place on day two of the prelims and first in the final.
From his early hopes of just gaining experience to now realising he may gain a place on the team, Corey was finally informed that he was the only successful candidate of these trials.
A massive achievement for the young 13 year old Writhlington student who will now be competing against 18 year old Russian athletes next year. The 24th European Trampoline Championships act as a platform for many athletes wishing to compete in the Youth Olympics held in China. Unfortunately Corey is still too young at the moment, but the rising star hopes to make it there in the near future.
Five of Writhlington’s A Level scientists are celebrating winning the National Science Competition after two days of judging and presenting their work at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.
The competition is held annually to find the best of the UK’s young scientists and Engineers and four hundred school pupils from thousands make it through to the finals.
Matt Bell, Zoe Barnes, Heather Limond, Devin Read and Ike Shackleton entered their research of orchid microhabitats carried out during the school expedition to Sikkim in the Himalayas in April 2013 and carried off the top prize in the Science and Maths Competition.
Devin explained, “We each studied the habitat of a charismatic Himalayan orchids species and used the data we collected to make recommendations about growing the plants successfully in cultivation”.
The students have had their research published in specialist journals and have used it to help design a new orchid exhibit at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens which represents the diverse forest habitats of Sikkim.
Heather added, “The judges were particularly impressed with the different ways we had presented our data. It is available in poster format on the University of Cambridge website as well as in the published articles. We hope that our work will both help people to grow the species better and protect wild populations through education and understanding of these amazing plants.”
While in Sikkim the students worked with staff and pupils from the Taktse School, Gangtok, and Zoe described this as “the best part of the whole trip.”
Zoe and Devin are arranging to volunteer at Taktse school during a gap year before university and all the winners are looking forward to the next stages of their already glittering scientific careers.
Diving in the mud and preparing for battle Year 7 and 8 girls embraced their first competitive rugby game.
As the game approached the nerves kicked in for the two Writhlington teams competing, whose four training sessions served as their only ‘on pitch’ experience.
There was an exciting and competitive atmosphere as the teams lined up and the students got into the spirit donning rugby “war paint”. Their first game against Selwood Middle School saw them narrowly missing out on a victory with just one try separating the sides. Similarly against Oakfield Middle School the girls lost their match by one try but with some outstanding work in the backs from Isabelle Davilla.
The final match against Ralph Allen proved to be a teeth gritting game as both teams battled for the lead with great tackling from Katie Duffy and Flossie Ahmet. With just minutes to go and Writhlington up by one try. Harriet Pegg showed great determination diving on loose balls and holding up a strong defence. In the very last few seconds Ralph Allen eventually broke through the Writhlington defence and evened the score out to 6 tries all.
Rugby Coach Rebecca Darke said:
‘This was a great display of resilience, determination and sportsmanship from the team. They are already eager to get back on the training field and prepare for their next match’
Year 13 student Zoe Parfitt and Year 10 Ashley Teall are celebrating this week after winning the top prizes at last weekend’s Gloucester Orchid Show.
Zoe was presented with the prize for Best Species for her Arpophyllum spicatum, a species from Guatemala. Best Hybrid was awarded to Ashley for his plant Dendrobium Delicatum.
Ashley explained his success: “The Dendrobium has been growing at Writhlington since 1992 and is now so large that it is difficult to get it out of the greenhouse doors or fit it into a transit van. The judges were impressed by the 900 flowers on the plant and the exceptional culture. It is a really fragrant plant and its perfume filled the whole of the show hall.”
Zoe, who has been going to shows organised by the Cheltenham Orchid Society since 2010, also gave a lecture about Writhlington’s conservation work in Rwanda and said:
“We had a great day. It is really nice to meet up with so many orchid growers who follow our progress and enjoy seeing our plants and displays.”
Chelenham Orchid Society will be joining other gardening groups sponsoring Zoe’s trip to South Africa next year where she will be lecturing at the World Orchid Congress and speaking about her experiences with the Writhlington Orchid Project.
Writhlington’s staff and students celebrated World Book Day in style this year as colorful, creative and wacky costumes came pouring into the library.
Staff and students donated £1 to either dress up or dress down for the annual event that supports Book Aid International. Every year the Charity sends half a million books to community, public, school and academic libraries in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, to increase access to the best quality books in some of the poorest areas of the world.
For the “big celebration of reading”, costumes ranged from Tintin to Tigger, Sherlock to Skulduggery Pleasant, Head teacher Mark Everett even donned mortarboard and cape to preside over Bash Street School for the day.
Headteacher Mark Everett said:
‘It was so great to see students and teachers dressed up as inspiring book characters. When asked about their book, they were excited and passionate about the stories. We encourage the students to read more by displaying what we are currently reading outside our rooms. I think I have a few more books to add to my list!’
Students proudly shared stories of spending many hours creating papier-mâché accessories and fashioning crossbows from branches, while teachers raided their cupboards, wardrobes and children’s face painting kits to create pretty, spooky or inventive outfits for the day.
In addition to the fun of fancy dress, the canteen provided book-themed food (James and The Giant Peach cobbler) and students took part in competitions and activities in the library throughout the week. All students were also given book tokens to be spent in bookshops this month, enabling them to receive a £1 discount off any book at all, or exchange it for a specially-written £1 book.
Librarian Victoria King said:
‘There was such a wonderful atmosphere. Staff and students really embraced the joy and fun of the day and left feeling inspired about new books. Last year, Book Aid sent over 38,000 books to Africa and to be a part of that is really quite special. A big thank you to staff, students and parents who supported us on this very lovely day.’
Despite the cold and drizzly weather, over twelve thousand runners pounded the streets of Bath for the 33rd annual Bath Half event held on Sundays 2nd March.
Four students and 3 staff members took part this year raising money for the charity ‘Moving Mountains’. Thousands of competitors ran for a multitude of different reasons, from those striving to achieve a personal best or taking part in a charity challenge, to elite athletes aiming for a new course record and world record attempts.
Over thirty thousand people turned out in support of the event and watched as the competitors completed the two lap course that runs along both sides of the river Avon, avoiding the hills surrounding the city.
Students and staff all completed the course with very respectable times, raising a significant amount of money towards their charity.
Sixth For Support and Guidance Tutor Alison Blofeld said:
‘I am very proud of everyone who took part. it takes a lot of time and commitment to train for the event and even more determination and resilience to complete it. Everyone completed with really good times and they were so supportive of each other,’
Money raised went towards their fundraising target of £12,000 pledged to the Charity Moving Mountains. Sixth Form students have been hosting a series of different fundraising events throughout the year.
The next event will be a Table Top sale on on Sunday 16th March at Writhlington School. Tables are still available at £5 a table. For more information, please contact email@example.com
On Monday 3rd March Writhlington hosted the North East Somerset round of the Lady Taviners Under 15 girls cricket competition.
Writhlington faced old rivals Hayesfield and private all girls school Sexeys’ from Bruton in the qualifying round.
An impressive opening against Hayesfield School saw Bay McKewen run to take a great catch off the bowling of Abi Tonks on their first ball. This was just the confidence boost the team needed and they easily restricted Hayesfield to 88-7 off their allocated eight overs.
Writhlington batted brilliantly and managed to post 111 for the loss of only 2 wickets to take a well deserved victory. This was a real milestone and was their first win over Hayesfield.
The second game saw Hayesfield ( 95-6 ) defeated by Sexeys (103-6) which left the competition wide open.
Writhlington lost the toss for their final game and were put in to bat, a decision which Sexeys soon regretted as superb running between the wickets saw Writhlington set a massive total of 133-4.
Sexeys were on the back foot right from the start and despite giving their best were bowled out for just 34 runs with nearly two overs left to play.
Karla Passingham said:
‘This was a fantastic and well deserved result for the Writhlington team. They have such tremendous team spirit and a wonderful team ethic. The team now proceed to the County Finals to be held in Taunton on Thursday 20th March and we all wish them every success’
Writhlington School, near Bath, is one of the recent state schools to become a member of the National Schools Equestrian Association (NSEA). The aim of NSEA is to promote and encourage articipation in equestrian sport within schools across Great Britain. It gives school children access into team competition and the opportunity to become more involved in any extra-curricular activities offered by the school. With more schools starting to offer an equestrian team as one of their ‘team sports’ this increases the recognition of equestrianism and offers these children a ‘way in’ to the sport. Headteacher, Mark Everett, met with Mrs Angela Yeoman OBE (district commissioner for the Pony Club Wylye Valley Branch at the time) and following a successful application the club has really taken off in terms of popularity and success.
Sue Lock, Head’s PA and secretary for the Wylye Valley DC, is the lead staff member and says: “I was aware that many of our students were already active Pony Club members and when I mentioned the possibility of a school team it was no surprise that there was a great deal of interest. Minty Hampden-Martin, a Year 11 student and a very competitive rider, is our school captain and represents
the students. Ms Catt Benson, manager at Luckington Equestrian and parent, is the team manager with responsibility for organising training and event entries.”
The team now has over 45 members, of whom 20 compete on a regular basis. They have already entered several competitions with a number of notable successes and hope to be successful qualifiers for the NSEA Championships in 2014. “The students are delighted to have the opportunity to represent their school at prestigious inter-school equestrian competitions throughout the country. Our students will be taking part in all disciplines including dressage, show jumping, eventing, hunter trials and tetrathlons, culminating in the National Schools Equestrian Championships in October
2014,” explains Sue.
The club is working hard to increase participation in the sport and to support newcomers as lead member of staff Sue Lock was keen to emphasise: “We have had an amazing number of students who have shown an interest in becoming part of the school team and we would like every student to be given the opportunity to represent the school. The team rallies will become the main opportunity to group student riding ability. We are usually able to enter two teams and individual entry is also available.” With the growing success of Writhlington’s equestrian team, it has enabled the school to move forward with plans for additional training, speakers and trips so that all students, including those who do not own their own horses, will have the opportunity to be involved in this popular sport.
The club is conscious that horse riding is considered by many to be an elitist sport and often if children are from a non-horsey family they will not have had the opportunity or the ‘know how’ to give it a go. Therefore, the club is offering taster riding lessons and stable management courses, which will give these students the opportunity to become team members. Mrs Heather Collingwood from a local riding stables, Brookover Farm, is supporting the club with this venture.
As an added bonus, the school has its own mascot, Wizard IX, who is seen as an inspirational role model for the team. Wizard IX was bred by an ex-employee of the school and is now owned by Mrs Jayne Andrews. He is a 15.2hh, nine year old, chestnut gelding. He is currently eventing at BE100 level, ridden by Kathy Emery and the pair competed at the Grassroots Championships at Badminton in 2013.
Sue explains: “students are made aware of where and when Wizard is competing so they have the opportunity to go along to support him and if not the results from his competitions are posted on the school website. We hope that the students will get some inspiration to help with their own riding achievements”. Wizard has qualified for Grassroots Badminton 2014 so the team are looking forward to watching him compete at the prestigious event.
Thanks for Redpin Publishing for the article and photograph.
Despite the wind, rain and hailstones, Year ten girls netball team left victorious from their match against Oldfield School, 14-4.
The team played some fantastic interlinking netball with exceptional shooting by Amy Seymour and Megan Bryant. Well planned and highly skilled interceptions from Georgia Clark gave them the advantage and provided great drive for the team.
A big congratulations goes to Alice Stockley who was voted Player of the Match’. The team are going from strength to strength with only one loss so far in their league matches this season.
The Year 11s lost their match 10-4 against a well played and strong Oldfield side.
Second in Department Helen Earle said:
‘The girls commitment and enthusiasm was fantastic and they were a pleasure to coach. Their smiles still did not fade during the hail storms, despite not being able to feel their fingers!
This was their last match with Miss Robinson coaching the side and the girls gave her a well-deserved, enormous three cheers!
All girls teams are in action against Chew Valley next Wednesday. Come along and cheer them on!
Writhlingtons Orchid Club will be opening the doors to their Orchid
Empire for visitors on Thursday 6th March to allow the community to
catch a glimpse of some of the inspiring work and orchids being
produced by the students.
Some of the prize orchids on display will include award-winning
orchids acclaimed at both the Bournemouth and Cheltenham Orchid Shows.
There will also be the opportunity to catch a sneak preview of the
displays prepared for the biggest event of the season, The London
International Orchid Show.
Year Seven student Emily Thearle explained:
\'Spring is our busiest time because most of our best orchids flower
from February to April. Next week is a great chance for people to come
and see the orchids without having to go all the way to the London
The Orchid Evening runs from 5pm until 9pm and will include a chance
to purchase orchids grown and nurtured at the school as well as find
out the latest news on their exciting conservation projects in Africa
There will also be photographic displays of British orchids and
orchids of Bosnia Herzegovina hosted on by the Bath Area Orchid Group.
This month is competition time as two teams of Writhlington students prepare to compete at the NEC Birmingham in the finals of the National Science and Engineering competition.
Year 12 students Heather Limond, Zoe Barnes, Matthew Bell, Devin Read and Ike Shackleton got through to the finals by combining their research in the jungles of India with design work for a new orchid display at the University of Cambridge Botanic Gardens which opened to the public last week.
Heather and her team recently travelled to Cambridge where they ran a series of successful workshops specialising in in orchid science and propagation for Botanic Gardens’ staff and pupils and teachers from Cambridgeshire schools.
“A really exciting time. We have been able to see the finished displays that we helped to design and share our knowledge and experience of orchids in the wild and in the laboratory with lots of people.”
The orchid display consists of two trees planted with orchids supplied by Writhlington School Orchid Project. The trees represent the hot tropical valleys and cool sub-temperate forests of Sikkim where the young scientists spent last Easter researching the habitat niches in which these threatened orchids grow.
Devin explained, “It has been amazing to take our research and then work with Cambridge to apply it in such a dramatic way.”
Alex Summers, glasshouse supervisor at Cambridge, described the new exhibits as a real success.
“We have had enormous interest in the orchid trees since we opened the orchid festival and people have really learnt about the plants and habitats thanks to the excellent research carried out by the Writhlington students.”
Joining them in the finals is eighteen-year old electronics expert Curtis Shaw. Curtis is now putting the final touches to his invention BioBox which takes data from remote rainforests to control a unique growth chamber giving a real time rainforest in a box.
While the orchid research team have been busy at the Cambridge Orchid Festival Curtis has been hard at work finishing circuits on the final prototype of BioBox and getting to grips with coding his computer-controlled electronics.
“I am now confident that everything will be finished in time for judging in Birmingham and I am hoping that they will be impressed by the design, the control and the exciting things that this invention can be used for.”
Curtis has involved a group of younger pupils in his work and has been advised by a number of leading electronic and electrical engineers. The project will continue after the competition both to develop commercial production and strengthen electronics expertise amongst Writhlington pupils.
All the finalists will be presenting their work as part of Writhlington’s Spring Orchid Evening which is open to the public from 5pm until 9pm on Thursday 6th March.
Year Eight student Lydia Swanson has been chosen from hundreds of Scout ambassadors across the United Kingdom to represent her district in the 23rd World Scout Jamboree in Japan.
Almost thirty-seven thousand Scout leaders aged between fourteen and eighteen from all around the world, will get together in Japan to celebrate their achievements and share good practice.
The Jamboree which takes place every four years started in 1920 as a result of the First World War when founder Baden-Powell wanted to bring the world’s youth together to encourage peace.
The scouting organisation hopes to continue forging links between neighbouring scouting groups and opening opportunity for cross-seas partnerships allowing scout groups to get a broader scouting experience inspired by different cultures.
Activities at the Jamboree will encourage the Scouts to work together and think about issues facing the world. Alongside this there will be plenty of adventurous activities, cultural events and water sports.
The camp in Kirara-hama, Yamaguchi City, takes place for 12 days, and as well as this the participants get two days exploring Tokyo and also will live with a Japanese family for several days.
Lydia who has been a patrol leader for almost three years was chosen from hundreds of applicants and went through vigorous rounds on interviews and presentations to gain her place.
‘I am so excited. I had to attend a selection day and complete loads of team building activities and games. In the second stage I had to give a presentation about my family, my involvement and myself in the Scouts. It was scary at the time but it has all be worth it.’
While most of us have taken to extended hibernation, a few brave souls have been battling against intense weather conditions to prepare for the Bath Half Marathon.
Twenty three sixth form students will be traveling to Tanzania in Africa this summer to carry out extensive charity work with the organisation Moving Mountains. Having paid for their own flights and accommodation, students have been working hard to raise money for the charity hosting events throughout the year including a talent show, Mufti day, Jumble sale and Quiz nights.
It hasn’t just been the students working hard to raise money for the Charity. As some of the students announced their intention to run the Bath Half to raise sponsorship members of staff stepped forward to help too.
Both Staff and students have been training hard for the event that takes place on the second of March training in the most adverse weather conditions, demonstrating the greatest level of resilience and will power.
Head of Geography Karis Higgins said:
‘It’s really inspiring to see so many students willing to give up their own time to raise money for a great charity. A few members of my tutor group are amongst those running and so I decided to show my support by entering too. Training has been hard, I have gone from zero running experience to attempting the 13.1 miles! – I am looking forward to the challenge’
Sixth Form student Holly Powney has created quite the stir in the twitter world after tweeting her hand painted portrait of Nelson Mandela.
Holly, who is studying A Level art, created the exceptional 5ft portrait of Nelson as a home project to practice her fine art skills. Having chosen three images of inspirational people, Holly painted the portrait on cardboard and shared it with the twitter world, including Nelsons ex-wife Winnie Mandela, who re-tweeted the image.
The beautiful image was re-tweeted by many of Nelson Mandela’s followers and
comments congratulating her on her remarkable talents and for capturing the kind-hearted nature of Nelson so beautifully came flowing in.
Head Teacher Mark Everett said:
‘ We have some exceptionally talented students in our Art Department. This is a clear example of some exemplary work being produced. We are very lucky to have the original painting being displayed at the front of the school as Holly was offered the opportunity to sell it to a number of bidders from South Africa’
Year Twelve student Edward Joseph has been elected to represent thousands of young people across Bath and North East Somerset.
After weeks of campaigning, poster covered hallways and heated debates, Edward Joseph has finally gained a place in local government. Elections were held across Bath and North East Somerset where over five thousand young people aged between thirteen and nineteen, turned out to cast their votes for one of the six candidates.
Edward soared past the other six candidates representing their schools, including Bath College, Royal High, Norton Hill and Ralph Allen. He received 1360 votes beating the lowest vote count by 1052 votes.
Edward Joseph MYP said:
‘ I am really excited to be elected by my peers, It is very humbling to know that over a thousand people believe in me and what I stand for. I already have lots of exciting plans to get the ball rolling but I am most looking forward to attending my first official parliamentary meeting!’
Members of the Youth Parliament will work together on projects which affect Bath and North East Somerset and will also represent the authority at national and regional events.
Ed Joseph will be following his Writhlington predecessors Jamie Smaje and William Bridges who were also successfully elected to the Youth Parliament.
Head Teacher Mark Everett said:
‘ We are very proud that the last three candidates from Writhlington school have all been successful in their election campaigns. Students are given every opportunity at school to excel and to become well-rounded, independent individuals with an interest in current affairs.’
This term Writhlington students welcomed Christine Sprowell, The Tennis Foundation\'s Further Education Manager, to meet with Steve Cantrell, Head of Sixth form and Mandy Stonier Head of Tennis, to discuss the on going development of the Sixth form workforce development programme.
Christine Sprowell said:
\"Writhlington is a great example of a school using tennis to engage learners across the curriculum. The staff from the school and Writhlington Sports and Leisure Centre have developed a comprehensive programme which allows young people across the school to both enjoy tennis and to learn through the sport.
I would certainly encourage other schools and colleges to look at their successful model. I am particularly impressed with the post-16 offer and how they are utilising members of the sixth form to broaden their skills by taking on the role of Tennis Ambassadors to promote and drive tennis participation with their peers aged 16-18 years. Marianne Veater and Tom Hunt are the nominated ambassadors and are real assets to the tennis programme at Writhlington and will be such good roles models across the school.”
Currently there are twenty to twenty-five Sixth formers playing tennis in a lunchtime club plus some cardio and formal coaching going on, the termly sponge-ball tournaments are proving very popular with 60 entrants last time. The next tournament is to be run by the students as a fundraising event for Sport Relief & a school trip planned for this summer to Tanzania.
Support & Guidance Manager Alison Blofeld said:
‘For the Sixth form this is an excellent way for the students to plan and organise an event and such a fun way to raise money for our trip !’
Writhlington and Downside Schools have a long held tradition of hosting charity showcases celebrating the wealth of talent in their music departments.
This year the schools will be performing a concert of well loved musical numbers played by their student bands. From hit songs such as Nina Simone\\\'s Feeling good to beautiful orchestral pieces like the Pirates of Penzance overture, audiences will be provided with an evening of memorable performances.
The schools have chosen to support H.A.R.T [Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust] which works with villages across the world to help provide resources to rebuild communities post war and the local charity \\\'Children’s Hospice South West\\\' working with children and adults to build a brighter future.
Head of Music at Writhlington Fiona Langley said:
“This is a concert not to be missed, including performances from Downside School’s Orchestra, Wind Band, Barbershop, Ceilidh Band and Pipes and also from Writhlington School’s Junior and Senior Wind Bands, Stage Band and Choir with a joint finale at the end! It\\\'s a really great opportunity to celebrate the talents of so many young people and raise money for some really worthwhile causes.\\\'
Entry is free but tickets are limited and must be booked in advance – book yours early! There will be a retiring collection with a suggested donation of £5.00 per person.
Tickets may be booked from Carolyn Wroe at Downside School [firstname.lastname@example.org 01761 235104/ 151] or Liz Tout at Writhlington School [email@example.com – 01761 433581 / 2315]
Writhlington pupils team up with scientists from Kent University to launch major national exhibit.
Pupils at Writhlington School are working with academics from Kent University’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology to develop a dramatic new exhibit about conservation which will tour the UK during 2014.
The Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE) is Britain’s leading research and postgraduate training centre dedicated to conserving biodiversity and the ecological processes which support ecosystems and people. It has teamed up with Writhlington to highlight the international impact of Writhlington’s global Orchid Project and to draw on the expertise of Writhlington pupils.
Fourteen year old pupil Aaron Rabbits explained; “We spent a whole day with Dr David Roberts and Amy Hinsley from DICE during which they shared their knowledge of conservation and the Convention on Biological Diversity. We were able to share our experiences of working with orchids and helping in tropical countries.”
The joint project is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and will culminate in a conservation exhibit at London’s International Orchid Show in April. Thirteen year old Emily Thearle describes planning the exhibit as “the most exciting thing I have ever done. Our unique exhibit will include our best orchids as well as the latest research about conservation and making a difference to our planet.”
After London the exhibit will feature in a number of events around the UK giving pupils the opportunity to get their message across to thousands of people.
Dr Roberts described the workshop at Writhlington as an inspiring day and hopes that the partnership between Kent University and Writhlington will continue to grow and flourish.
In a world of technology and gadgets, it is becoming increasingly hard to get young people to engage with reading - but a new initiative at Writhlington has managed to do just that.
Extreme reading was introduced to students across all year groups and a competition launched to encourage students to pick up a book and get excited about reading. The challenge was to take a picture of yourself or a friend reading in unusual places.
Entries from across the school came flooding in with students performing stunts on bikes and horses and scaling buildings to reach obscure locations. But it wasn’t just students who were getting excited about reading - entries began appearing from as far as the army camps in Afghanistan!
Matthew Graham Heavy vehicle mechanical engineer – Afghanistan said:
A friend of mine told me about the competition and I thought it was a really great idea. There is a lot of off-duty time in Afghanistan so we are always reading something. It really is a great way of escaping where you are and using your time profitably. We decided to have a go and send some pictures to encourage the students.
Writhlington School Library donated Kindle Fire HD as first prize plus additional prizes of Amazon and iTunes vouchers. The competition is the launch of a new series of reading initiatives across the school.
Associate Head Maddy Flagg said:
We were delighted with the imaginative \'extreme reading\' entries from our students who really embraced the challenge, coming up with some fabulous photographs. We plan to make a number of them into posters with slogans promoting reading for pleasure across the school. Students were inspired by extreme reading photographs of their teachers, friends, family plus entries from abroad.
Studies have shown that students who read regularly also do well academically and this is just one of the activities planned to encourage Writhlington students to pick up a book. We have a brand new library and librarian at school this year and we are working hard to entice as many students and staff to make use of the library as possible.”
Competition winners were announced during morning assemblies and their pictures turned into posters to be displayed around the school to promote reading at school and at home.
First place was awarded to Year Seven student Isabela Lamb who was pictured leaning across her low-rise chimney wearing a Santa hat. In Second place was Jack Phillips who was pictured on the top of an armchair being carried by a forklift truck and third place was awarded to Megan Blackmar performing the ultimate balancing act of horse jumping and reading!
To see the winning entries please visit the ‘Week in Pictures’ on the Writhlington website.
The UK Youth Parliament was first established in 1998 when a group of young people aged between eleven and eighteen decided that it was time they had a parliamentary voice which would be valued and listened to by local, regional and national government. The idea was backed by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and campaigns launched to begin an important movement by young people across the United Kingdom.
This year Writhlington Sixth form student Edward Joseph is running for the B&NES Youth Parliament position and is campaigning for farer and consistent public transport prices, advanced technical intervention for rural communities and the re-introduction of work experience placement schemes for students at school.
Edward took a few minutes of time away from his busy campaign schedule to answer some of our questions.
How did you first hear about UKYP
I first heard of UKYP when my friend William Bridges was elected as the MYP for North East Somerset. He was a really inspiring candidate who captured the thoughts and views of his peers and really strived for success. His dedication to the cause inspired me to take an interest. I am very excited that it’s now my turn to take the lead and become the voice of my fellow peers.
Have you always had an interest in politics?
I have always had a keen interest in politics. From a young age I have followed local campaigns and kept up to date with politics in the media.
I also study A Level politics. My teacher Miss Giddings has been very supportive and has prepared me really well for my campaign.
What has the process been like so far?
We live in a society where individual opinions are valued and young people today are passionate, more independent and are not frightened to stand up for their beliefs. Competition to be elected to the UKYP becomes increasingly harder every year. I attended an eight hour workshop with peers selected from 100s of applications and they spent the day with us before selecting just six candidates for election.
What do you hope to achieve if you get elected?
I have three main aims if elected as MYP:
• Align the current age brackets with those recognized by law so that young people are not paying adult prices on public transport. This will include a re-evaluation of the travel allowances for those aged 60-65 to reflect the increased retirement age and create allowances for young people.
• Push forward plans for fiber optic internet in rural areas and encourage the recognition and need for development in rural areas.
• Re-introduce the work experience scheme in Key Stage Three and Four. This would allow students to make more informed decisions about choices both academically and in terms of job prospects.
Are you considering a career in politics in the future?
Absolutely. I am currently studying A Level politics and it is really fueling my passion for politics. I am hoping that I will get the opportunity to study it at degree level.
What will it mean to you to get elected?
Getting elected will mean a lot to me. I feel very passionately about the voice of my peers being heard. It will also be a great step up the political ladder and will hopefully be the catalyst to a successful political career.
How much work have you put in leading up to elections?
I have attended workshops which teach successful canvasing techniques. I have embarked on a major campaign making sure that I am well represented across the whole school and throughout my local area. I have also attended public speaking workshops to perfect the way I address my peers. It has been hard going, but I can only imagine this is just the beginning and if elected there is a whole lot more of hard work ahead! – I can’t wait.
For orchid growers all throughout England, January is a very exciting time. While most of us are fighting through the January post Christmas blues, orchid growers everywhere are preparing for the Royal Horticultural Societys Orchid Trophy award. This award is given each January to the grower of the best orchid specimen of 2013.
This year saw the Award go to one of Writhlingtons most seasoned Orchid specialists - fifteen year old Jacob Coles. Jacob will receive his trophy at the Royal Horticultural Societys Awards Ceremony in Westminster.
Jacob describes the plant as follows: “ It is a fantastic specimen. It has been growing at Writhlington since 1993 and it is now enormous with over one hundred and eighty flowers when it was in full bloom last spring.”
The spectacular orchid will be flowering again in time for Writhlingtons next orchid open evening on March 6th with spectators and orchid enthusiasts invited to attend between 5-9pm.
Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones said: “Jacob is an exceptional orchid grower and really deserves this national award. We as a school are very proud and feel honored that we have had the chance to nurture his talents. ”
While most of us are busy planning our Summer holidays, twenty two members of our Sixth Form are planning fundraising events to raise money towards a trip of a lifetime.
Students will be traveling to Tanzania in Africa to work along side the charity Moving Mountains. The charity was first established in 1991 to provide aid for the relief of hardship and inequality for children and adults through education and vocational training, medical treatment, sport and employment.
While out there students will take part in the renovation and building of new classrooms, work with children from orphanages, community centres and on an environmental project.
Charlotte Webb said:
‘Its not about quick fixes. The charity provides sustainable resources for families and towns. They monitor the positive socio-economic impact of our work and helps to support bordering villages – it’s going to be such a rewarding experience and I can’t wait to go. I will be skydiving in the Spring to raise funds for our charity donation.’
After the hugely successful ‘Taste of Africa Evening’ students have arranged a series of events to take them through to the summer.
This term Year 12 and 13 students will be hosting a ‘Quiz Night’, an evening of mind-boggling trivia and classic quiz games. The quiz takes place on January 31 at 7.30pm. All ages and quizzing abilities welcome with teams no bigger than six.
The bar will be open from 7.00pm offering a wide variety of beverages and bar snacks including cheese platters for all your brain food needs.
To avoid disappointment book your tickets via email firstname.lastname@example.org Teams cost £2.50 per person with all money raised going towards the Moving Mountains Charity
Drama teacher and assistant trip co-ordinator James Moore said:
‘It’s really inspiring to see so many students willing to give up weeks of their summer and months of preparation time to help people in other countries. Not only are they paying the full cost of their flights, they are raising a substantial amount of money in support of the charity. I really hope to see friends and families of these wonderful students coming along to support. Of course everyone else is welcome too!’
Writhlington school welcomed British Judo Champion Tom Reed to their Sports Centre this week to inspire some of its budding athletes.
Last year, students from across all year groups were nominated for upholding the British Olympic values within the school sporting community. Writhlington’s sports department take great pride in nurturing every student no matter what level of skill and fostering a passion for sports and creativity.
Tom Reed has long been one of Britain\\\\\\\'s most exciting judo performers, possessing an explosive arsenal of throws that make him a crowd favourite. After claiming silver in the British Championships, Tom joined the ‘Living For Sports’ Sky Sports initiative aimed at engaging secondary students in sports and school community.
Students took part in workshops, learning the six key skills to creating success: mental toughness, hunger to achieve, people skills, sports and life knowledge, breaking barriers and planning for success. These attributes help young people develop valuable life skills that will aid them in and outside of school, now and into the future.
While Tom demonstrated different judo techniques, students had the opportunity not only to try these out on each other but also on Tom himself.
Year 8 student and fellow GB Athlete Corey Walkes said:
‘It was a brilliant day. I know how hard training is, so could really appreciate the wisdom and knowledge he was passing down. We all had such fun taking part and it was really great opportunity to work alongside a top class professional athlete.’
Sixth form and year eleven students visited London this week to gain a better understanding of the workings of Parliament.
Students studying politics and year eleven students selected from the gifted and talented scheme spent the day in Parliament houses studying the workings of Parliament life and gained insight into live debate during parliamentary meetings at Portcullis house.
Students were given a tour around the impressive buildings and taken to places of great historical importance, such as the courtrooms where Charles the first was tried and convicted.
They then had the opportunity to watch a debate about the Offenders Rehabilitation Bill in the Commons and Army recruitment being debated in the Lords.
Head of Politics Nicola Giddings said:
\'\'I was thrilled with how much enjoyment the students got out of the visit to Parliament, particularly the workshop, it was great to see them sharing their experiences with other students once we returned to school. I can\'t wait for next years trip - proof that Politics is not dull!\'\'
The tour was followed by an engaging workshop on electoral systems that inspired our students to think about voting in the future. Local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg held a question and answer session giving students the opportunity to explore parliament life in more depth and discover the passion and hard work behind running for local MP.
Writhlington’s Under 15 girls cricket team were victorious in their early stage matches in the Lady Taverners Cricket Competition.
Since 2003, the Lady Taverners U15 girls cricket competition has given over 75,000 girls the opportunity to participate in cricket, many for the first time. The UKs only national girls-only cricket competitions provide a vital pathway for grassroots girls cricket, introducing participants to local clubs and development programmes.
Writhlington played exceptionally well led by Captain Anna lee, against two high quality Bath private school teams. As the games began Writhlington looked on as Kingswood beat King Edwards with an impressive 124 runs to 54 setting the bar to qualify very high.
Team Captain Anna Lee said:
‘We were nervous about playing these two schools as they both have very good sporting reputations and a number of their girls play at county level. They were great games and I am very proud of our teams performance.’
Writhlington had an excellent game restricting Kigswood to ninety eight runs with Abi Tonks taking three wickets in the last over. Intelligent running between wickets saw Writhlington come out on top with two overs to spare.
The final game saw King Edwards school post seventy eight on the score board, with wickets falling steadily. Writhlington showed no relent and battled through playing a skilled and steady game that led them safely home with three overs to go. The team have now qualified for the next round of the Lady Taverners Competition which will take place later in the term.
Head of PE Ben Naunton said: Girls cricket continues to grow at Writhlington. The dedication and commitment these girls have shown over the past four years has been reflected in their success in this tournament and shown that we can compete successfully at the highest level against state and private schools.
Members of the Writhlington Orchid Club spent their Christmas holidays designing a new exhibit to be displayed at Cambridge University. The unique design inspired by the research carried out in the Himalayas will showcase in the university’s Botanic gardens the students’ most profound work to date.
In March 2013 Cambridge asked advice from Writhlington’s most seasoned orchid growers about ideas for a new scientific orchid display at the University.
A team of six students took on the challenge of researching and designing a unique environment which could exhibit orchids grown in some of the World’s most diverse forests in as natural a way as possible.
The first step was to travel five thousand miles to the Himalayan Indian state of Sikkim, where students explored remote forests to record the epiphytic micro-habitats where key orchid species grow in the wild.
A Level Biology student Heather Limond explained,
“ Books about plants will tell you where a plant grows in the wild but with very little detail. Our aim was to identify the altitude, the type of forest, the part of the canopy, even the amount of moss present around the roots. We then collated this data and combined it with what we know from growing the same species at Writhlington to plan and design the Cambridge exhibit.”
Cambridge will use plants grown at Writhlington to fill their specially built trees and each plant will be nurtured in the correct environment.
Cambridge Glasshouse Supervisor Alex Summers is delighted with the plans:
“This will be a unique exhibit.” he said, “As well as being really educational for our visitors, putting the plants in exactly the right conditions will ensure that they thrive and provide a long term attraction to the Gardens.”
Writhlington students have also been published in horticultural journals and won the team a place at the finals of the UK Science and Engineering competition.
A Level Physics student Devin Read said,
“We are thrilled that our project has made it into the finals of this year\\\'s National Science and Engineering Competition and we can’t wait to get to The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham this March. It has been rewarding to carry out research in the Himalayas and then be able to apply what we have learnt to design the new exhibit at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.”
While most of us curled up in front of the TV after a new year feast surrounded by our nearest and dearest, Writhlington student Lucy White was plunging into the arctic conditions of the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst on a trip to Canada to visit family, Year Eleven student Lucy decided to take on the ‘Polar Bear Challenge’ on the English Bay of Vancouver.
The annual competition, held on New Year’s Day, sees hundreds of swimmers embracing subzero conditions to swim just fifty meters to the finish line. Waters often still frozen over from the harsh winter, challenges even the very best athletes to swim the short distance.
Lucy, who recently swam the English Channel as part of a 7-piece relay, braved the cold waters with her dad Marcus White completing second in the female category. Many of the thousands of competitors only reached ankle deep before retreating back to the warm.
‘It was such an exhilarating experience. When we swam the channel we had to qualify through a two hour swim in cold waters. This was so much colder. I don’t think I will ever need to wear a wetsuit in English waters again!’
On Friday 6 December, seventeen A Level PE students visited Bath University to see what courses were available to them and what they entailed once they had completed their A Levels.
The day started full of energy with students completing field tests, which included the yo-yo test, 5 by 5 test, jump test and speed tests. This certainly brought out the competitive nature in the students, with some exceptional performances, particularly by Matt Caddywould and Mr. Bailey!
They collected data on their progress and took to the labs to analyse and find a greater understanding about the biological effect exercise has on the body. Luke Targett became the subject for the VO2 Max test (a test that forces you to run on a treadmill until you are no longer able to.) Luke had his blood lactate tested as well as his oxygen consumption. He was pleased to learn that his results were comparable to that of a professional footballer. Holly Francis also took the leap and participated in the Wingate test, which is a maximal power test on a bike. Although Chris Hoys scores were about fifteen times that of Hollys, she enabled the group to draw some interesting comparisons.
Assistant Head of PE Helen Earle said:
\"This insight into the world of sport science gave the students the opportunity to consolidate their understanding of the physiological aspects of the course, as well as opening their eyes to future employment prospects\"
The day finished with a lecture on principles of training and an overview of the sports science set-up at the university, which featured some very interesting careers which appealed to our students.
This month Writhlington celebrates the official naming of a brand new orchid hybrid raised at the school.
Callum Swift, now aged twenty-four, was just fifteen when he first successfully made a cross between two charismatic orchid species from South America. After nine years of careful nurturing and care, Callum’s orchid has finally flowered allowing official registration with the Royal Horticultural to take place.
Callum visited Writhlington as soon has he heard that his orchid had flowered:
“I knew when I made the cross that it would be years before it flowered and now I’m really proud of what I have achieved. I imagine this is the feeling you get when you have a child for the first time – I feel like a dad!”
Callum decided to name his new orchid Oncidium School Days, dedicating the orchid to his memories of Writhlington and its new generation of orchid growers.
‘I can’t begin to tell you how much being part of the Orchid Project benefited my time at Writhlington. The students are really lucky to have those opportunities and to be taught by a really inspiring teacher’
Orchid Christmas is from 6pm until 9pm on Thursday 12 December and will be an opportunity to buy orchids and Rwandan crafts for Christmas as well as enjoy a party atmosphere in the Writhlington Greenhouses.
Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones MBE explained “Orchid Christmas is a public event with mince pies, mulled wine and all the festive delights needed to hot a magical evening. It is a great opportunity to celebrate our Orchid Project and the achievements of our students.”
Writhlington was chosen as one of the first schools to receive professional coaching from players at Bath Rugby.
The Bath Rugby’s Secondary Schools\' programme was launched this September, aiming to offer tuition to young talented players from Bath and North East Somerset schools.
The classes, facilitated by seasoned professionals, will be tailored to each school harnessing their strengths and challenging their areas for development.
Head of PE Ben Naunton said
\"We have had such a great season so far and there are some really talented players here. I am very excited that they will get the opportunity to showcase their abilities to the Bath players and learn valuable skills.\"
So far the teams have received coaching from rising Bath Rugby stars Tom Dunn and Ollie Devoto and have been working on key skills including scrummaging and lineouts
Bath Player Tom Dunn commented:
\'I had a great time coming into the school and meeting the pupils. They were really keen to learn and I was more than happy to share my knowledge of the scrum. It is hugely important, especially at a young age, to learn the safe and correct way to scrummage.”
After a great season so far for Writhlington teams, students look forward to putting their new skills into practice for the final cup matches.
Writhlington student Amelia Dyer 15, from Frome took part in one of the most important events in the target shooting calendar. The Surrey Open, an Air Rifle and Pistol competition, is run at the National Shooting Centre, Bisley each year and attracts competitors of all levels from across Great Britain. With the 2014 Commonwealth Games less than a year away, this year’s entrants saw some of the top names in British shooting taking part in a bid to secure a place on the GB Shooting Team.
Amelia took part in three matches over the weekend and, in her first match of the competition, she achieved a Match Qualifying Score (and new Personal Best by an incredible 31 points) of 385 ex.400. This put her into 6th position overall and secured her a place in the final. With another high score in her second competition, Amelia was rewarded at the end of the weekend with Gold and Silver achievement medals.
The Surrey Open’s results are used to evaluate a shooter’s performance with a view to Great Britain selection in international competitions, including the Commonwealth and Olympic Games, and the final was run under the same conditions as Olympic shooting events.
Amelia said, “I was both nervous and excited that my score had qualified me to take part in the final, especially when I was in a line up of some of this country’s top women shooters, all looking for a place on the GB Team for the Commonwealth Games next year. However, my training with the GB Junior Rifle Squad paid off and helped me keep my nerve”.
Amelia is now back in training in order to prepare for the first of next year’s competitions, the Geoff Partridge Memorial Trophy competition in January, closely followed by the British Air Gun Championships in February.
Every November across the world, thousands of brave individuals take on the challenge of growing a moustache for thirty days.
Disowned by partners and loved ones for an entire month, men gather together in hope of changing the face of men’s health
While the teachers band together to create their Mo-teams, students decided it was time they did something to join in the fun.
As most students are unable to grow their own successful moustaches, they decided they could raise awareness in other ways.
The Learning to lead fundraising team organised a Movember Fun Run. Inspired by their very successful Race for Life event in the summer, the team invited all boys to run, jog and walk the five-kilometre challenge-gaining sponsors from friends and family.
Assistant Head Mark Bridges said:
‘ It was a great turn out. There were freezing conditions outside but the boys still came in shorts, t-shirts and high spirits’
The boys not only wanted to raise money and awareness but had another goal set in mind too.
Year Eight student Lewis Bond-Kendall said:
‘ My friend Chloe Derrick came first in the girls’ Race for Life in the summer so I really wanted to beat her time. Unfortunately she beat me by just over a minute but I am still very proud of her and of what I achieved. Everyone did really well. It was such a fun morning’
The boys ran the race in impressive times. The fastest time for completing the run was recorded by year 10 student Joe Blakely in 18.01 minutes, closely followed by Sixth Form student Harry Bone in 18.35 minutes.
To date students have raised almost two hundred pounds and are still collecting sponsorship. After two successful sponsored runs, the Learning to Lead team have already started to plan next year’s event.
Well done to Owen Pass who came 1st in a RDA Dressage Competition held at Avon Riding Centre in Bristol on the 1 November 2013. Owen who rode Dolly had a score of 146.5 out of a total of 180, which is a brilliant result.
Avon Riding Centre provides the positive experience and proven therapeutic benefits of horse riding to hundreds of children and adults with a wide range of complex additional ability needs each year.
Year 10 student Owen Pass was awarded First Place in the RDA dressage competition held at Avon Riding Centre in Bristol. Owen scored an impressive 146.5 marks out of 180 in his first equestrian competition.
‘ This was a really fun experience. I love horse riding and it is a really good opportunity for me to get out and do fun things.
I am really surprised I came first. It’s quite hard to judge the 10 meter parade circle but I was delighted with the final result’
Corey Walkes arrived home from the twenty-second World Age Group Trampoline Championships 2013, which was held in Sofia, Bulgaria, with another top performance under his belt.
After months of intense training with High Flyers Trampoline Club in Cheddar under the excellent guidance of Head HPC Coach, Sue Bramble, Corey has ranked 7th in the world, in trampolining for his age group.
There were eight hundred competitors from forty seven countries taking part in the Juniors’ equivalent of the World Championships, which spanned all Trampoline disciplines, Individual and Synchronised Trampoline, Double Mini-Trampoline (DMT) and Tumbling, in four age groups: 11-12 years, 13-14 years, 15-16 years and 17-18 years.
For Corey, this was his first time competing for Great Britain on an international level and the experience was definitely one to remember.
\"I have had the time of my life. I have met so many new people who share my passion for trampolining it’s been incredible!.\"
Corey held the lead in the 11/12 boys age category right up until the last two Russian competitors competed in the preliminary rounds, putting him in 3rd place going into the final. The top 8 then went onto compete later in the evening in an intense final round where Corey unfortunately overpowered his 3rd move, sending him into 7th place.
\"I tried to put everything into my final routine and unfortunately the adrenaline kicked in a little too much! I am still very happy as I achieved my personal goal of a place in the final.\"
Corey and his family would like to say a huge \'thank you\' to everyone who has supported him in competing for Great Britain.
Sixth form student Francesca Beg, is off to the United States this January to begin her career in University tennis.
Francesca, who joined Writhlington last september gaining a place on the tennis training programmes usually reserved for year twelve students, has been offered a place at one of the leading universities for sporting excellence in America.
Francesca took some time out of her busy training schedule to answer a few of our questions!
How long have you been playing tennis for?
I have played and enjoyed tennis all my life. My dad loved tennis and would spend hours with me in our back garden, dropping a tennis ball in front of me and telling me when to swing so that I could develop good timing and hand eye coordination.
When did you realise that you really loved the game?
My love for the game started with my dad in my back garden. I quickly joined two group squads for children my age at Bath University and then at our local club, near where I live in Leighton, Westbury. It just blossomed from there.
When did you realise you have real flair and talent for the game?
From the very beginning I was far more advanced than children my age, I could hold a rally and hit a ball, which sounds simple but for someone my age to have such good hand eye co-ordination was quite rare.
When did it all really start kicking off for you?
It all kicked off in 2011 when, having joined Writhlignton tennis club when I was nine, I had progressed quickly through the different ability groups. I began competing in big competitions and doing really well. It was suggested that I join the Bath University development squad so that I could compete against more people of my ability to improve my game and increase my ranking.
What made you choose Writhlington sixth form?
I knew that in order for me to progress with my tennis and achieve well academically, I would have to find a balance. The tennis programme held at Writhlington was the perfect opportunity. The coaches already knew my potential and Writhlington had a brilliant reputation for its Sixth Form courses. It was an important choice and now a whole new world of opportunities has opened for me.
So what are your future plans?
Thanks to the help of my coaches, Amanda Stonier and Mandy Baldwin, I have won a university scholarship in America. I applied through the organization ‘Tennis Smart’. It was a rigorous process and I had to take the SATS test and send footage of me playing.
I was quickly offered thirteen scholarships and after narrowing it down I have decided to go to Augustana in South Dakota.
I\\\\\\\'m so excited and grateful for this incredible opportunity to start a whole new chapter of my life. It seems that my hard work through the years is really starting to pay off! If it hadn\\\\\\\'t have been for the amazing coaches, staff, volunteers and people at Writhlington, I wouldn\\\\\\\'t have stayed in the sport and got to where I am today
After weeks of rigorous trials Year Seven student Mason Harrison has just been selected to train with the Welsh National football team
Mason, who currently plays for Southampton FC, was selected from a large group of very talented hopefuls from across the UK to train with the team.
Professional players including Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale played for the Welsh National under 21 team before hitting the Premiership and European stage .
Having shown great potential, Mason will travel to Newport, Wales once a week to train with the team.
‘ I am really excited to have been selected. There are some amazing players who started off playing for the Welsh National team. I really hope I will get the chance to play in the Premiership one day’
Writhlington provides the very best opportunities to excel in extra curricular activities.
Our sports department offers many lunchtime and afterschool activities for students, with some of the best coaching available our teams have had an outstanding first half of term.
Both Year Eight and Year Nine rugby teams competed in the BANES league, finishing top of the league with an unscathed record.
The Year Elevens had another great season narrowly missing the chance to defend their title in the Super 8s tournament after losing to St Gregorys School.
The Year 9s are having a very successful football season in the English School National Football Association cup, reaching round 5 of the competition recently after beating Backwell school 7-2. With just a few more games left the team look set for a very successful season.
The Year Seven Netball teams are storming through games with an unbeaten record and are proving to be the top team in the district. Year Eight and Nine netball teams have played 13 games with mixed fortunes, won 7, drawn 1 and lost 5 of their matches.
Head of PE Ben Naunton said:
Our teams are really passionate about the sports they play. Their determination and commitment to every game and training session is second to none. Its a busy time for our sports department and I would really like to thank the staff who organize and run all the sports sessions for the students
Writhlington’s very own producer Daniel Harper who has been nominated three years in a row for the Songlines World Music Awards 2012 has created professional opportunities for students at Writhlington.
Daniel’s critically acclaimed album Tiga Tej Tiba has already created a buzz nationally and a Swiss music channel requested a music video which will be aired through music outlets across the world.
Daniel Harper said:
‘This video request was a really great opportunity to share my achievements with students. I had to work from the very bottom to get where I am today. It’s a really tough industry to crack so I know how important these opportunities can be’
Media Students Mitch Williams and Harry Henderson both want to work in the film industry. They took to Frome’s hidden tunnels under the town bridge to begin filming under the expert guidance of both Dan Harper and Director Ryan Coyle.
Sixth Form student Mitch Summers said:
‘We were really honored to be given the opportunity. Not only did we gain practical skills, but also acquired important media knowledge from seasoned professionals in the field.’
Year Ten Drama students launched themselves into one of the most challenging nationwide events in the UK.
The Shakespeare School Festival inspires over seventeen thousand students each year to embrace his complicated yet beautiful language and perform in professional theatres across the country.
Writhlington students took on ‘The Tempest’, a compelling story of power, control, revenge and forgiveness. Rehearsing both in class and after school, students performed with spectacular effort and produced a thrilling contemporary piece loved by all.
Head of Drama Helena Greenlees said:
We are very proud of our students. The language of Shakespeare is both difficult to learn and also requires a high level of ability. They performed with great finesse and were great ambassadors for the school’
Special congratulations and a huge thank you from the GCSE class went to Year Eleven student Peter Seal who took on the lead role of Ferdinand and memorized his entire script in less than 24 hours.
As a child you are used to your parents making decisions for you, but what happens when suddenly you are faced with a choice that could affect the rest of your life?
The subjects you choose at GCSE directly impact where you go in life, what career you choose and if you go to university.
Students attended a whole day seminar with leading experts in employment LV, discovering how to make the decision which best suits their journey.
After filling in an online questionnaire, students were provided with a Motivational Map, designed to their specific needs and encouraged to discuss their pathways through a series of group and independent activities.
Buisness studies teacher Rebecca Heppinstal said:
‘ This is the first big decision students will have to make. We hope that with guidance from both ourselves and their parents, they will be making decisions that really empower them for the future’
Students left feeling excited about the journey ahead and more confident in their ability to make the right choices to be able to follow their chosen careers.
Five Writhlington Sixth Form students were chosen to play for Bath City First Team against Larkhall Athletic in the Somerset Premier cup.
Writhlington students Ryan Mitchell, Jordan Ricketts, Nathan Legge, Elliott Gibbons and Jake Miller, played in the teeth-gritting game where a goal in the final minute of extra time saw City overcome Larkhall Athletic.
It was an even match against the high-flying Western League side after Larks keeper spilled the ball only for Jake Miller to fire wide of the unguarded goal. The visitors began to look more threatening as the second half progressed and when Lyons headed home a 75th minute corner it looked as if they were on course to win the first competitive meeting between the Bath clubs. However, six minutes later a stunning 25-yard shot by Aaron Brown levelled the scores. Just when the game looked destined for penalties, City broke forward and James Fisher slotted the rebound home to secure City a quarter-final place.
Head of Sixth Form Steve Cantrell said, “We love hearing about the success of our students outside of school. It sounded like a thrilling match. The boys should be very proud of themselves; they are an asset to the school and make great role models for our own teams wanting to compete professionally”.
Writhlington Sixth Form students visited the National Tennis Centre in London this week to talk to professional coaches and train with some of the best in the sport.
Students were greeted by Christine Sprowell, Head of Further Education for the Tennis Foundation, and given a tour around the extensive facilities. The tour included all the indoor acrylic courts, offices, altitude centre and gyms used by well-known faces of the tennis world such as Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
Year Twelve student Tom Hunt said:
‘It was an amazing experience. Andy Murray and David Beckham were training there just days before. There were life-size models of Rafael Ndal. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. It was just brilliant and really informative.’
After the tour, students had the opportunity to join in with a cardio tennis session. Cardio Tennis is a high-energy fitness activity which combines the best features of the sport of tennis with cardio-vascular exercise, delivering the ultimate full body calorie burning aerobic workout.
George Donnelly, Head of Competitions UK, held a short conference with the students where they shared ideas about engaging their age group into sports such as tennis and how to maintain participation in sport .
Head of tennis at Writhlington Amanda Stonier said:
‘This is the first of several trips we plan for the tennis squad to give them an insight into working within sport and the business opportunities available. The major principle behind the 6th Form sporting opportunities at Writhlington is to ensure that students have a full formal programme of study, as well as enjoying the benefits of being involved in tennis.
All the students involved were a credit to the school. We would like to thank Christine Sprowell from the Tennis Foundation for hosting the day and allowing our students to have access to the superb facilities of the National Tennis Centre.
Writhlington strives to provide students with endless opportunities for extra curricular activities.
This year Writhlington launches its Outdoor Education programme, starting with registration for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and Ten Tors Challenge.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is designed to encourage students to take part in extra-curricular activities, community outreach work, charity work and outdoor pursuits. Universities and employers look favorably on those who have completed these awards as they show a multitude of skills and competencies.
Those undertaking the Gold award will have the opportunity to take their expedition on international terrain. Students this year will get to choose between the French Alps, Tanzania and The Lake District.
Outdoor coordinator Jamie Comber said:
“I remember doing these awards when I was at school. They were brilliant fun to do with your friends and you gained a lot of experience without realising it”
“If it’s not hard it’s not worth doing” is the motto of this year’s Ten Tors Challenge. Students who competed last year could not agree more. With training just around the corner, students are gearing up to compete for a place on the Ten Tors 2014 team.
Year 11 student Nicole Poole said:
“Hundreds of people compete in Ten Tors and it’s one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s an amazing experience and you make great friends along the way. If it wasn’t for my GCSEs I would be doing it again this year!”
For more information on the outdoor activities at Writhlington please see Mr Comber.
Judo is a fascinating Olympic sport. More than that, it is an art form. It is now practiced in almost every country of the world.
Year Nine student Regan Watkins has shown great strength, resilience and dedication in his preparations for the Somerset Judo Open competition.
Regan was up against a number of athletes who had already won judo competitions at an international level. He performed exceptionally well in a very competitive and hard fought weight category and won a Bronze medal.
For the third year running, Writhlington will be participating in the Bath–Suzhou Educational Partnership (BSEP). The project involves students from China attending schools in the local area, including Writhlington, and students from this area making a similar trip to China. BSEP enables students involved in the project to experience a broader and enhanced curriculum as they witness first-hand the differences in culture and ethos, providing an exciting opportunity for their personal and academic development. The project aims to develop strong and sustainable educational links between schools in Bath and Suzhou New District.
It is anticipated that a group of 20 Chinese students will arrive in the United Kingdom on Tuesday 22 April 2014 and will remain here until Sunday 20 July 2014. During their stay, they will be accommodated by families wishing to take part in the programme.
If you are a interested in hosting a Chinese student please visit the China Exchange website www.wsbe.org.uk/china or contact Mrs R Clarke-Dodgson, China Link Coordinator on email@example.com
Writhlington’s GB athlete Corey Walkes received some exciting news at the weekend. Following his recent success, Corey has been selected as a finalist in the Bath Young Sports Personality of the Year 2013. With Corey away competing in the Bulgarian Trampolining finals, he won’t be able to attend the event at Bath Race Course on 13 November 13, however siblings, Daniella, Jasmine and Oliver have been invited to represent their younger brother in his absence.
Corey trains daily with coach, Susan Bramble of the High Flyers Trampoline Club, in the gym and at home, in preparation for the most important and challenging competition yet.
Corey said ‘I am so honoured to have been nominated; I get to practise non-stop doing something I love. It’s really hard work but rewarding all at the same time.’
Corey has remained incredibly focused and is going above and beyond what he thought he could achieve.
Want to know more about Corey’s incredible story?
Follow the link:
Tom Lilley has recently been appointed at Writhlington’s Student Liaison Officer for China in recognition of his involvement in the China Exchange Project since it started in 2011.
In the last two years Tom has hosted Chinese students and worked closely with visiting groups of students and their teachers. Tom is a keen student of Mandarin and has even managed to learn to rap in Mandarin, performing alongside last year’s group of Chinese students in their farewell presentation.
Tom will be working closely with Mr Burr, Assistant Head and Mrs Clarke-Dodgson, China link Coordinator to develop the link within school.
If you wish to find out more about the Bath-Suzhou Project please visit our website at www.wsbe.org.uk/china or email Mrs Rachel Clarke-Dodgson at firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of the Bath-Suzhou Exchange partnership Writhlington are hosting two Chinese teachers, Qiu Chenlong (William) and Gu Yunlong (Daniel), who both teach English in the historic city of Suzhou, located near Shanghai. Our guests were greeted by the Head, Mr Mark Everett and Tom Lilley, Student Liaison Officer for China.
During their time in school, William and Daniel will be teaching some of our key stage 3 students who will get the opportunity to learn about Chinese culture, History and the art of Calligraphy. William and Daniel will be staying in the UK for seven weeks and during that time will visit other Bath-Suzhou exchange schools in B&NES and tour the UK .
If you wish to find out more about the Bath-Suzhou Project please visit our website at www.wsbe.org.uk/china or email Mrs Rachel Clarke-Dodgson at email@example.com
During October Half-term eight members of Writhlington staff are off to Romania to work with the Rroma Education Centre for disadvantaged and poverty stricken families.
SENCO and trip co-ordinator Kathy Mitchell has been working alongside Fast charity for over twenty years helping to ensure that the Rroma families have the opportunity to build a safer and more sustainable life for their families.
Many of the families the staff will visit live in simple wooden shacks with wooden floors. Through the winter months they are forced to send their children to orphanages to escape the freezing conditions.
Trip co-ordinator Kathy Mitchell said:
‘ I have been going to Romania for nearly twenty years and it is such a rewarding and enriching experience. We have already made a difference there, from building homes to providing clothing and essentials for Rroma families. They are so grateful for all the help they receive’
Staff have been fundraising and collecting essential items that will provide the centre with tools to facilitate a more nurturing learning experience for the children in the surrounding villages.
Teaching Assistant Rebecca Horler summed up her feelings as follows:
‘ I am really excited about the trip. This is such a great opportunity. Our aim is to provide families with the essential means to provide for their children and to house them in suitable establishments. Fast Charity have already provided for many families and I can’t wait to see the difference it has already made.’
Writhlington school strives to ensure that all students are unique, that they fulfill their potential and are given the opportunity to achieve great things.
The school’s Learning to Lead fundraising team, which was established last year by Assistant Head Mark Bridges, organizes and facilitates events throughout the school to raise money for charity. The students have already organized events such as the school disco, race for life, mufti days and cake sales, raising over £5,000 for selected charities.
This year the team decided that although they will still donate and raise money for charities they wanted to do things a little differently.
Year 10 student Rebecca Pink said
‘We wanted to offer opportunities to our fellow students, help them reach their goals. So we decided to set up a Scholarship Fund so that individuals can apply for a grant which will help them further their education and career prospects.’
With the launch of the programme still weeks away, the Learning to Lead team couldn’t resist starting early when they heard of Corey Walkes’s fantastic success in trampolining.
Year 9 student Josie Lee said:
‘We were so inspired by his story. For someone so young to achieve something so great is amazing. We all knew straight away that Corey would be our first candidate. It’s quite cool to think we are sponsors of a Team GB athlete!’
The fundraising team donated a generous £1,000 towards Corey’s target of £2,000, which will allow him to fly out to Bulgaria to compete in Gymnastics World Age Group Championships.
Head Teacher Mark Everett said
‘ We have some truly spectacular students, not only do they achieve great things but the level of support offered to each other is incredible’
Writhlington student Corey Walkes has been officially named as one of the youngest members of the Great Britin Junior Trampolining Squad and will be representing his country in the Gymnastics World Age Group Championships held in Bulgaria next month.
Corey trains five times a week at High Flyers Trampoline Club both at Kings Fitness & Leisure Centre in Cheddar and at the Bath University Sports Training Village.
Corey trains alongside some of the most widely respected athletes in the country, including seasoned GB Senior Ladies Squad member Laura Gallagher. He is coached by High Flyers International High Performance and Head Coach, Sue Bramble, who has already coached many national and international Junior and Senior medalists during her career.
After achieving the highest qualification scores in the country for his age, Corey was selected to attend trials over two weekends in September and won both his age group event competitions by a clear margin. However it has been an anxious time for Corey and his family waiting for the official publication of the team.
“I have been training so hard for this opportunity and it is now paying off!” said Corey,“I was selected to join the Trampoline Junior High Performace Squad in May and I now travel to Lilleshall in Shropshire for GB Squad training as well as my training with High Flyers. It is hard work but I am dedicated to being the best I can be. I hope to make everyone who is supporting me in competing for my country proud.”
Corey has had to make some hard choices as competing at this level means he has decided to put his beloved rugby training on hold and swap his usual muddy rugby kit for a pristine leotard!
“I haven’t been able to go back to play at Bath Rugby's Junior Under 13s this season as the chances of injury are just too high but my team mates have all been wishing me luck!”
Competing at the highest international level for his age does have its financial implications. The families’ petrol costs alone have trebled in the past 6 months driving him around the country!
His parents, Richard & Pippa Walkes are delighted with his selection and said,
“We are exceptionally proud of our son. To compete for Great Britain at just 12 years old is a massive achievement! When you see how much he loves his sport it is very rewarding to see him achieving at this level. We know that this will be a fantastic experience for him and spending time with the rest of the G.B squad will only further his development as a top class junior trampolinist.”
Critically acclaimed author, Cressida Cowell visited Writhlington School last Friday to inspire students with her books.
The author of the nine part - How to Train Your Dragon series, spoke to Year seven students telling them inspiring tales of her childhood and revealing the magic behind the stories.
Nine books and one film later, Cressida began her tour, taking a few minutes to answer some of our Year sevens' burning questions:
Q. Why are you so interested in dragons?
Dragons have always fascinated me. They fascinated the Vikings too. They thought that dragons were magical creatures because they could live in all four elements; earth, air, fire, and water.
Q. What inspired you to create this world of dragons and Vikings?
I spent a great deal of time as a child on a tiny, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. The island had no roads, houses or electricity.
The island was so remote; there was absolutely no way of getting off, even if we were terribly ill and needed medical attention.
By the time I was eight, my family had built a small stone house and bought a fishing boat so we could catch our own food. From then on, every year, we spent four weeks of the summer and two weeks of the spring on the island.
My father told us tales of the Vikings who invaded this island Archipelago twelve hundred years before: of the quarrelsome Tribes who fought and tricked each other, and of the legends of dragons who were supposed to live in the caves in the cliffs.
It felt like the kind of place where dragons really could have existed and it was, of course, one of the first places the Vikings came to and one of the last places they left… that whole area has that Viking heritage.
That was when I first started writing stories about dragons and Vikings, way back when I was nine or ten years old.
Q. Are any of the characters in the Hiccup books like YOU?
I identify with Hiccup a lot, because I think he is in a really difficult situation, trying to live up to a parent, (Stoick), who is very different from him. However, Hiccup is a diffident person who doesn’t put himself forward as Mr Important, but in fact, he is full of clever ideas and very calm in a crisis. I, on the other hand, am a bit of a show-off and in a crisis situation I tend to panic and run around in circles.
Q. How was it seeing your story brought to life on the big screen?
It was amazing to watch the process of the movie being made. It took seven years to make, and the artistry and creativity of the animators, directors, writers, storyboard artists, not to mention the actors, was truly astonishing.
I love the movie, and so the whole experience has been very enjoyable for me. It is a little mind-blowing to think that a story that began in my head is now giving pleasure to so many people across the world.
Q. Does the film match the book visually?
Yes and no. The island is actually very close to my vision in the book. The island it’s based on is Scottish, which doesn’t make sense, but it’s very similar in the wildness of that. Of course, in the book, you can’t explain the wildness of it but that’s what’s so wonderful about having the movie; it can paint the picture that you can only really hint at in the book. And particularly Hiccup, I just think it's a deeply satisfying performance, both acting and animation wise.
October the twelfth is approaching fast for pupils at Writhlington school who are hosting the Autumn Orchid Festival. The festival, which is the largest autumn orchid event in the South West, will feature orchids from across the region but none larger than a plant of the Coelogyne fimbriata that takes six teenagers to lift it.
Aaron Rabitts, thirteen from Peasedown st John, who has been looking after the plant for the last two years explained “This orchid is a real monster. The records show that we have had it at Writhlington since 1992 but in the two years it has trebled in size and is probably now the biggest orchid anywhere in the UK”
Josh Gibbs, fifteen and also from Peasedown added; “The plant won a national award in 2012 when it was much smaller and so we are really hopeful that it will win a prize at the Orchid Festival.”
The Orchid Festival is open from 10am until 4pm at Writhlington School and as well as orchid displays and competitions there will be a chance to buy orchids from specialist orchid traders, tour the Writhlington School Greenhouses and listen to talks about growing your own orchids.
Current and ex Writhlington pupils Jack Sparks and Jack Greenwood enjoyed a fantastic morning of high quality tennis coaching in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, on Monday 23rd of September. They attended the bi-annual coaching tour of the highly respected Sanchez-Casal Tennis Academy which visits England for approximately 8-10 days each year. Casal (pictured) reached No.3 in world doubles rankings, whilst Sanchez made it all the way to No.1 (both also rose to top 30 in world singles rankings around twenty years ago).
Sparks, having trained with Sergio Casal on the same programme in 2012, returned as one of seven juniors who benefited from a three hour coaching masterclass from the Spanish ex-pros. Jack Sparks clearly benefited from the day, and continues to be one of the leading young players at Writhlington.
Greenwood completed the four hour course in a coaching capacity, learning invaluable tips and on court tennis drills from the six coaches present on the day.
It was a day full of learning for two eager young players who were pleased to hear that the Academy would welcome the chance to factor in Writhlington's own indoor courts in their visits to England in the upcoming years. Perhaps a connection can be made with an enterprise that was a regular feature during Andy Murray's early teenage years. The next great name in tennis could well be from B&NES in just a few years time!
Amanda Millward Show Jumping Championships at Western Lawns, Warwickshire 7 & 8th September 2013
Twins Dolly and Tia Drayson (Year 7) had great success at the Championships held in Warwickshire. On the first day Dolly came 2nd in the 128/138 handicap, where unfortunately Tia knocked down a pole. The second day brought success for both girls with Dolly winning her class and Tia coming 2nd with a time of 21.22.
Well done girls.
Well done to Katie Duffy and Chloe Derrick who won 1st place in the 2’6 pairs competition qualifying them for Horseware National Hunter Trials Series
Sixth former Zoe Parfitt from Writhlington School is preparing to travel to South Africa to lecture about her school experiences the World Orchid Congress in Johannesburg.
Zoe who has been involved in the Writhlington School Orchid Project for six years and regularly gives talks to local WI and gardening groups is looking forward to speaking to a world audience in Johannesburg.
Zoe explained, “My talk is titled ‘The Writhlington School Orchid Project – a pupil’s perspective’ and I will talk about what I have learnt and how the Writhlington model could be applied in other schools across the world.”
She will also focus on some of the highlights of her time in the project including winning a gold medal at the Chelsea Flower show and expeditions to Rwanda and India to teach children and adults the laboratory skills to grow orchid from seed.
Those who will not be at the World Orchid Congress can hear Zoe’s talk at the Autumn Orchid Festival, at Writhlington School on the 12th October. The event runs from 10am to 4pm and Zoe will be speaking at 12 and again at 2.
Zoe Parfitt with one of her beloved orchids.
Equestrian Team members competed at the Chew Valley School Team Show Jumping event on the 14th Saturday and had a very successful day. This is an annual event where schools are invited to compete in school teams or individually. Other schools competing were: Wells Blue School, Chew Valley School, Wells Cathedral School, Stroud College and Wookey with around 85 entries in all.
The results were as follows:
Class 3 Restricted Novice (not placed 1st-6th SJ) 70cm max – Writhlington 1st with Shannon Kingman (Year 7) being placed 4th in her individual score
Class 4 Open Novice 75cm max – Writhlington 3rd with Maddie Weeks and Shannon Kingman and Shannon being placed 5th in her individual score
Class 5 Open 85cm max – Writhlington 1st (team Nisha Benson, Dolly Drayson, Tia Drayson & Hattie Smith) with Hattie Smith (Sixth Form) winning Best Turned Out
Class 6 Open 90cm max – Writhlington 1st (team Nisha Benson, Dolly Drayson, Tia Drayson & Chloe Derrick)
Class 7 Open 100cm max – Writhlington 1st (team Nisha Benson, Dolly Drayson & Tia Drayson)
Writhlington will be hosting this year's House of Lords Chamber debate, an initiative set up to encourage members of all four Cadet Forces to engage with members and veterans of the Armed Forces.
These discussion days will allow veterans to provide an insight into and an understanding of the realities of service life, the consequences of conflict and the importance of peace.
They will also provide an opportunity for the cadets to discuss the continuing impact of World War I on contemporary society and subsequent military issues.
Cadet Forces will gather together from all across the South West to compete in the first heat of debates. Successful competitors will go on to represent their squadron at the House of Lords with forces from across the whole of the UK.
The Combined Cadet Force held a special parade last Wednesday to award a promotion to Major John Price, the Commanding Officer of Writhlington School CCF.
Major Price joined the school in 1973 as a PE teacher and was subsequently Head of Foxcote House and Head of Year. He started the Combined Cadet Force in 2003 and in the same year he took a commission as Captain and was appointed as Commanding Officer.
Today Writhlington has a flourishing CCF with over 140 members and 8 instructors. The school is one of the very few state schools in the country to have its own CCF.
Major Price said: “It has been a privilege for me to be able to serve Writhlington CCF. Our Combined Cadet Force is highly regarded as one of the best in the country and goes from strength to strength every year”
Wizard IX, who is our equestrian team mascot’ has qualified again for the BE100 Grassroots at Badminton 2014. Wizard already had four qualifiers under his belt for regional finals for the BE100 Grassroots Badminton and it was wonderful that on his first competition at Goring Heath on the 7 September he came 3rd with a score of 33.
Badminton dates for 2014: Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 May - links to the results page will be available during the competition.
We are delighted to report that four of our Writhlington school students, competing in two teams, achieved great success at Leyland Court. Students taking part were: Lydia Collingwood (Year 7), Amelia Knatchball, Chloe Derrick and Katie Duffy (Year 8).
Lydia, Chloe & Katie achieved 5th place overall as part of their team and Amelia’s team came 6th overall. There were 27 teams competing.
Amelia and Chloe also achieved three clear rounds.
Congratulations to Katie Duffy on Tinks and Lydia Collingwood on Jazz, who were both successful at Frome Show. Lydia was 3rd in the Novice Working Hunter, 2nd in the Working Hunter Pony and reserve in the Working Hunter Championships. Katie was 2nd in the Novice Working Hunter and 3rd in the Working Hunter Pony. Well done girls.
Schools from across Bath and North East Somerset gathered together at Radstock museum to mark the fortieth anniversary of the closure of Somerset Coalfield.
A new project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund has been set up to encourage students from local schools to become involved in gathering the life and history of the coal miners. Using the Twenty Fifth Annual Miners’ reunion as a platform, students will gather together information and create an exhibition, publication and a DVD.
It is anticipated that the project archive will help future generations learn about the lives of men who helped shape our local communities, inspiring classroom learning for years to come.
As our former sixth form students begin packing for university, there is one student who is still celebrating.
Charlotte-May Messer who gained a place at Royal Holloway University London to read Music after receiving two A* and an A, recently discovered she also received a grade eight Distinction in singing.
Having dedicated her academic career at Writhlington to the Arts; in particular Music, Charlotte could not be more thrilled.
Head of Music Fiona Langley said:
'Charlotte has shown such dedication to her music at Writhlington, she was a member of choir, senior wind band and directed a fantastic concert. To achieve top grades and a distinction at grade eight on top of everything else is truly formidable'
As a farewell gift to Writhlington, Charlotte organized an end of year concert for all her fellow students.
' Writhlington is full of talent and I wanted to showcase that before I left, I wanted everyone to see what I see at Writhlington, it's a hub of creativity and there are so many inspiring teachers to guide you'
The show was a roaring success, and a truly memorable exit for Charlotte.
Writhlington A Level student Jayde Dix, who has gained a place at one of England’s most prestigious universities after receiving three A* at A level, has received a Provost’s Excellence Scholarship for the University of College London.
Head Teachers Mark Everett said:
‘It has been a real privilege to have Jayde in our sixth form, not only has she achieved remarkable results, but she has been a real asset to the school and a fantastic role model for the younger students’
Jayde who studied Biology, English literature and Psychology was accepted to University College London to read Psychology after gaining exceptional grades in her studies.
The Scholarship is offered to those who have not only demonstrated academic excellence but also of those who push themselves the extra mile and achieve above and beyond that required for entry.
‘I’m so excited to be starting this new chapter in my life, university is going to be hard work but an amazing experience’
Writhlington has become home to the highest recorded amount of twins across the whole of the South West, narrowly missing the UK Guinness world record. Eight sets of identical and non Identical twins roam our hallways causing great confusion amongst teaching staff.
Head Teacher Mark Everett said:
‘It’s quite remarkable, we already have multiple sets of twins throughout the school, but never have we come across so many in one year group.’
Two Writhlington teachers flew to Burundi in Africa this summer to help set up a school in Rusaga, one of the poorest villages in the world. Students at Writhlington will be helping to raise the funds needed to provide this remote village with educational facilities. Hundreds of children live in this deprived area and travel eight miles barefoot each day to reach the nearest school.
The school will be the first in the country to follow an English curriculum, which will be developed by Writhlington School. This will eventually be used by other schools in the area. Writhlington has already donated 43 computers to the school and these will give the children access to a wide range of educational resources.
Alongside collecting resources such as pencils, toys and books, Writhlington students will also be helping to form marketing strategies for the tea and coffee produced in the region. Profits raised will enable the school to eventfully be self-sufficient.
Chris Donovan, Head of Media at Writhlington, is excited about the project and has already created a film in Burundi to help with fundraising.
“The desire among the whole community there for education was amazing; They really need help and are so grateful that a fantastic school like Writhlington wants to share their resources and expertise. The whole visit was a humbling experience. These children have never even seen a pencil before”
The new school will cost £40,000 and will be built on land donated by the Burundian government with construction due to start in 2014.
Well done to Kezia Reynolds who came 1st at Corsley Show in the Mountain & Moorland class on her pony Charlie.
After four months of intensive training, students Lucy White (Year 10) and Nicole Poole (Year 11) took on the ultimate challenge for any young swimmer.
As part of a seven-piece relay team, the students swam twenty-seven miles across the English Channel from Dover to Calais raising a staggering £4000 for their chosen charities; Dorothy House Hospice and PAC (Positive Action on Cancer), a Frome based charity.
The team, who are all members of Frome swimming club, gained their place by completing a two-hour qualifying swim at Weymouth Beach.
Expertly led by Kat Baker, intense training commenced in preparation for the big event, starting with weekly sessions at Frome Swimming Pool and Vobster Quay and fortnightly sessions at Weymouth beach.
On Wednesday 4th September they arrived in Dover at 7.15am to begin, the sun shone kindly down and waters remained calm. The team swam in hour-long intervals powering on as they darted through masses of jellyfish and with temperatures dipping well below 17 degrees.
Swimming through one of the world busiest shipping lanes, the team enjoyed the sights and sounds of passing P&O ferries, large shipping containers and even a visit from dolphins.
Jenny Steele a spokes-person for Dorothy House said:
‘‘We have been astounded by the level of commitment this group of young people has shown in raising money for Dorothy House and PAC. The dedication to their training and fundraising activities has been amazing. We are really proud of them for taking on such an incredible challenge and would like to say a big thank you for their guts and determination.’
The team completed the swim in an incredible thirteen hours and nine minutes, averaging an impressive seventy strokes per minute and arriving in tremendous spirits back to England at midnight.
Head Teacher Mark Everett said;
‘ We are very proud of Lucy and Nicole for their fantastic achievement. It’s a wonderful example of how strength and determination can help you achieve your goals.’
If you would like to hear more about their story please visit: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/channelswim
Writhlington had a number of students who attended the Wylye Valley Pony Club camp this summer. During the second week of the holiday students camped in tents or caravans at Southfield House the home of Mrs Yeoman, DC. The week was action packed with a programme of training and competitions and many trophies and awards were achieved by the riders.
Writhlington students produced another excellent set of GCSE results this year. The results in Mathematics were particularly pleasing with 75% of students achieving results at A*-C. The percentage of students with at least 5 subjects at A*/C including English and Maths was over 60% and 87% obtained 5 good GCSE passes. Almost 50 students achieved at least 5 A*/A grades and over 90 achieved at least 3 A*/A grades in this year’s examinations. Writhlington Science students continued to outperform the national trend with over 80% obtaining 2 good GCSE qualifications. The English Language and Literature results were also very strong with a pass rate of over 75% for students taking both subjects.
The proportion of students succeeding in Ebacc qualifications rose significantly this year, with many more students successfully following Modern Languages, Science and Humanities GCSE courses. Students following these courses had an overall pass rate of 80% and Modern Languages had a pass rate of over 85%. These Ebacc results are the highest ever for Writhlington. Twice as many students obtained good passes in all three Ebacc subjects compared with 2012. Results in other subject areas were equally impressive. In twenty three different subjects 100% of students obtained good GCSE passes and the overall pass rate for all subjects at A*/C was 76%, significantly above national results for the third year in a row.
There were very many highly impressive individual achievements. Amongst those students with exceptional performances were:
Erin Slater – 12 A*, Megan Martin - 9 A* and 4As, Jena Bryan - 5 A* and 5 As plus 2 Distinction*, Holly Francis - 4 A* and 6 As, Molly Treasure - 4 A* and 6 As, Ellie Rose Soccorsy – 4 A* and 5 As, Rosemary Cox - 3 A* and 7 As, Callum Phillips Browne – 3 A* and 6 As, Matthew Bell – 2 A*, 8 As and 2 Distinction*s, Robert Clapp – 9A grades.
Headteacher Mark Everett said: “I am delighted with the success of all our students. Their dedication, commitment and hard work have been striking throughout this year and they deserved to do well. The majority of our students are staying on to undertake their A Levels and we have a large proportion of Sixth Form students progressing to top Russell Group universities, including Oxford. I am especially pleased with our Maths and Ebacc subject results this year. Twice as many students are now successfully following GCSE courses in Science, Modern Languages and Humanities and numbers will increase again next year. In Maths the proportion of top grades has increased by 8 per cent and the progress made by students of all abilities has been very impressive. What pleases me most about all of our results this year is the fact that Year 11 and Year 13 students have been able to obtain qualifications which help them to pursue their chosen career paths. They are a credit to the school and their families”
For another successive year, students from Writhlington Sixth Form are celebrating an excellent set of A Level results. More than a third of the grades achieved were at the very highest level (A* or A) with a number of students producing some phenomenal performances.
There were outstanding results in traditional subjects favoured by the top universities for: George Beechener (Geography A, History A*, Maths A) studying Geography at Oxford; Jessica Bray (Geography A, History A, Maths B), studying Environmental GeoScience at Birmingham; Sofia Chambi-Trowell (Biology A, Chemistry A, Maths A*, Extended Project A*), deferring entry to university until 2014; Katy Elsam (Biology A, Geography A, Maths B), studying Geography at University College London and Callum Jennings (Biology A*, Chemistry A, Maths A*, Further Maths A, Physics A) studying Medicine at Cardiff.
There were also top A Level grades in a range of subjects for: Jako Barker, Jayde Dix, Siddhartha Lethbridge, Bethan Lewis, Charlottte-May Messer, Alex Perry, Jake Smaje, Ryan Strother, Carys Baker, Michaela Chivers, Grayson Ford, Maisie Hillier, Victoria Isaac, Eliot Jones-Eliot, Calum Masterton, Jenn Morgan, Thomas Newton, Sam Philips, Joshua Rivers, Eirinn Rusbridge-Jones, Laurence Selwyn, Amy Stewart, and Kain Van Den Elsen.
A number of the students will be continuing their studies at prestigious universities including University College London, Exeter, Cardiff, Kent, Loughborough and Royal Holloway, University of London.
For achieving a “Distinction” grade in all their subjects, congratulations go to: Robyn Bishop, Amy Burton, Jessica Butler, Zhivko Dimitrov, Danny Farnen, Lauren Gilham, Erica Gresham, Georgina Hansford, Molly Haskins, Chloe Hilleard, William Hobbs, Lauren Jackson, Jordan Kelly, Oliver King, Katie McDermott, Georgia Nash, Joshua Raynes, Antonio Ricci-McElhone, Zoe Robertson and Arron Smith.
The school is particularly proud of Callum Jennings who achieved A*/A in all his subjects and will now be able to pursue his ambition to study medicine at Cardiff. Michael Burr, Director of Sixth Form, said, “Callum, a former Writhlington “Young Person of the Year” is proof that with courage, resilience and determination, individuals can achieve what may have seemed unattainable goals.”
We also congratulate George Beechener who has combined his academic excellence, sporting prowess and musical talents throughout his time at Writhlington School and will now read Geography at Brasenose College, Oxford.
Alongside outstanding academic achievement, three students; Maisie Hillier, Charlotte May-Messer and Hannah Regan, have achieved Grade 8 Singing.
Michael Burr, Director of Sixth Form said, “All staff have commented on how impressed they have been with the whole year group throughout their time at Writhlington. As well as being dedicated and hardworking, they have always shown loyalty to and support for each other.”
“Writhlington School is proud of its students and what they have achieved. Their success comes as no surprise given the consistent commitment shown during their time here. We are delighted with their results,” said Headteacher Mark Everett. “Almost every single student has been able to go to their first choice of university or has secured courses in Further Education (including Foundation Degrees in Arts) or apprenticeships with a quality career path (including Ministry of Defence and Wessex Water).
On Tuesday 16th July, eight students took the opportunity to meet 6 times Olympic medal winner, Sir Steve Redgrave.
The event was part of the Matalan Sporting Promise initiative, which has enabled KS4 students in the B&NES area to benefit from coaching in a variety of alternative sports.
Sir Steve Redgrave gave a presentation on his Olympic successes and career as a professional rower and then the students had the opportunity to ask questions, before playing lacrosse alongside him.
P.E teacher Helen Earl commented ‘The girls were inspired by Steve's positive attitude, determination and down-to earth persona. The message was clear: with hard work and dedication, anything is possible’.
Prictured back from L-R: Miss Darke, Amy Williams, Ellie Bennett, Charlotte Claasen, Sir Steve Redgrave, Nicole Curtis, Daisy Hudson, Minty Hampden-Martin, Mrs. Earle Front L-R: Charlotte Holmes, Dejanelle Broadway
Earlier this month, the Writhlington Girls’ Cricket team reached the final of the Sainsbury's West of England School Games held at The University of Bath.
The team of eight battled their way through the preliminaries, beating Bristol Met, St Katherine’s and Downend Schools to set up a chance to be on the winners’ podium.
The final was against old rivals Hayesfield who opened the batting with an impressive first innings. This was well matched by some superb fielding and bowling from the Writhlington girls. Hayesfield finished on 57-4, a tough score to beat; this became a struggle once opening bat, Abigail Tonks was run out early in the innings. Josephine Lee and Lizzie Finch then made a great effort to reduce the gap between the two teams but despite their brave efforts Writhlington fell short of the required total, to take the silver medal.
At the start of July, Mr. Naunton and Mrs. Earle rewarded some of Writhlington’s most helpful and talented 6th form students with a trip to the All England Tennis Club to watch the Wimbledon Championships.
They left Writhlington at 7.30am and headed to London with Court 2 tickets in hand. On arrival, the students were treated to the sight of Andy Murray warming up on the training courts, which proved to be just one of many highlights from the day.
The first match they watched was fourth seed David Ferrer play Ivan Dodig in a tight match that finished 6-7, 7-6, 6-1, 6-1. This was followed by Agnieszka Radwanska, also fourth seed versus Tsvetana Pironkova, which finished 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
Following some good fortune the students were able to finish the day on Centre Court watching the World number 1 and Wimbledon finalist Novak Djokovic beat Tommy Hass.
‘ We all had an amazing day. Trips like this are valuable to the our students as it shows them what it takes to perform at a professional level’ said Mr. Naunton.
Four Writhlington students recently travelled to Bath Community College to take part in this year’s YouthParliament.
The event brought students from schools across B&NES together to discuss some of the key issues affecting young people.
Kezia Coles and Ella Churches White from year 9 and Will Hawkins and Connor Hill from year 10 travelled to the event to meet with their peers and discuss issues including safe places to hang out, how to keep young people emotionally and physically well, preparation for training and work and good ideas on the use of public transport in B&NES.
The four Writhlington students chose to focus specifically on how to keep young people emotionally and physically well. The group prepared presentations, along with students from other local schools, about why they believe this is an issue that needs Council support and how they can effect change.
A close vote at the end of the day saw Writhlington’s students victorious and their issue will now be taken forward and discussed at a Policy, Development and Scrutiny Council meeting at the Guildhall, Bath.
For the second time this year, on Monday 15 July, Wizard will be competing at Badminton in the Riding Club Inter Team Competition sponsored by Badminton Horse Boxes. At this event he will be competing wearing the Writhlington School logo. You can keep up with news from the day using the following link: http://www.badmintondressage.co.uk/class-5.html
As part of activity week, seventy Writhlington Key Stage Three students took an educational tip to Bristol Zoo with the Humanities department.
The weather for the trip was exceptional, as the students explored the diverse wildlife that the zoo had on offer. This was followed by a fantastic educational session on animal adaptation, held by zoologists.
Pupils had the chance to study some of the exotic animals up close and got hands on experience in holding mealworms, terrapins and geckos.
At the end of the day students also had the opportunity to see one of the 80 uniquely painted Gromits, which have been placed around Bristol. The animation company, Aardman are running ‘Gromit Unleashed’ as a means to raise awareness and funding for ‘The Grand Appeal’, a charity for Bristol children’s hospital.
Four incredibly talented Writhlington students have been selected to showcase their artwork at the National Students Art Exhibition, held at the Mall Galleries, London.
Jamie Wheeler (yr 12), Rosannah Mohn (yr 12), Emily Savage (yr 11) and Alicia Chambri Trowell (Yr11) will be exhibiting their work for 4 days in the prestigious Mall galleries situation on the Mall near Trafalgar square.
This is the eleventh year of the National Students’ Art Exhibition held under the patronage of the Royal Society of British Artists. It features the best young artists in the country exhibiting alongside work from some of Britain’s finest professional artists.
The Mall describes the show as ‘A truly inspirational exhibition, celebrating gifted and talented students in Schools, Colleges and Academies.’
The exhibition runs from Tue 9th – Sat 13th July 2013, 10am – 5pm. It is free admission, so if you are in London during this period we would encourage you to visit this exceptional exhibition.
Picture : Girl with Fan By Year 12 Rosanna Mohn
The art students at Writhlington School are again celebrating outstanding student progress and achievement this year.
The annual final year art exhibition was recently held at the school to showcase the exceptional talent of Fine Art and Textiles students.
The students used an exciting range of media within a diverse selection of themes. A remarkable example was Holly Powney’s interpretation of realism (pictured) using oil painting on card. The piece demonstrated incredible painting technique and sensitivity towards the subject and feelings portrayed.
Fashion Textiles has proved popular this year and is now preparing for a large intake in September. Catwalk bags, Indian henna tattoos and Samurai warrior costumes were just a few of the fantastic pieces produced this year.
The Head Of Art, Caroline Slater has described this year’s work as: “...Exceptional and of a degree standard. They are a hugely talented group of students who have been an absolute joy to teach. I am very sure that some of them will go on to be amazing within the creative industry”.
Once again some artists will also be exhibiting at the highly prestigious National students’ Art Exhibition at The Royal Society of British Artists, Mall Gallery, London.
Please visit www.wsbe.org.uk to view prints of students’ work that can be ordered.
Despite rain, Wizard who was fresh from victory at Pontispool at the end of May, had a brilliant score at the Nunney International Horse Trials. He managed a dressage score of 29, with no faults in either show jumping or cross country, and therefore finished on the final score of 29 giving him 2nd place. Unfortunately he missed out on 1st place by 1 second!
From an early age we are asked to choose: Art or Science? Creativity or Analysis? But why does it have to be one or the other. The James Dyson foundation celebrates innovation and creativity, helping to train a new generation of designers and engineers.
Students from five schools across Bath and North east Somerset, gathered at Writhlington to celebrate their learning with a showcase of work inspired by the Dyson project.
Lady Antonia Dyson and two other trustees of the Dyson foundation visited the showcase event to see some of the inventive ways that students have been using Dyson’s investment.
Writhlington showcased their ‘BioBox’ prototype, an initiative set up in cooperation with the award winning Orchid Project. The BioBox is designed to replicate the perfect growing ecosystem for rare and endangered orchids.
Simon Pugh-Jones, NBE commented ‘ the donation from the Dyson project has been vital in the development of the BioBox and has allowed students to advance their learning to a whole new level’
All the schools involved will continue to receive support and investment from the Dyson foundation for the upcoming year.
View the event video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q3qlKQ0NVA
After the great success of last year’s LV=SOS Kit Aid Writhlington School has again risen to the challenge.
The charity LV=SOS Kit Aid has been collecting second hand/surplus rugby, cricket and sports kit from clubs and schools around the country since 2001 and redistributing it to disadvantaged young people across the world. In 2012, 28 tonnes were sent to over 20 countries and the target for this year is 35 tonnes.
There was an outstanding response from the whole school and it is estimated that this year’s collection has been an even larger kit donation than last year.
Ross Young, Kit Aid representative for the South West commented “We are very grateful to the children of Writhlington School for yet another huge collection which included 18 pairs of cricket pads, 96 assorted football shirts, 88 pairs of shorts, 27 pairs of boots and trainers, cricket balls, socks and more. It is all going to a great cause”.
For the first time at Writhlington both the Year 7 and 8, boys’ and girls’ tennis teams have made it through to the County Finals.
The students fought hard all the way through the regional tournament, which was held in Writhlington’s fantastic tennis centre. Their hard work was rewarded with a place at the county finals, held at Bath University on Friday 5th July.
The students involved have shown great commitment in attending one of the many weekly after school clubs that are offered to Writhlington students. They were chosen to represent the school because of their hard work, dedication and very high performance.
Over two hundred and thirty 5K and 10K Race for Life events take place each year all across the UK. This year, students from the ‘Learning to lead- Fundraising team’ organised Writhlington’s very own event.
One hundred and fifty students aged 11-15 took part in the race raising £892.86.
Students paid a £2 entry fee and were encouraged to get sponsorship from friends and family.
Rebecca Pink, a student member of the fundraising team, said “People were so generous, we raised a substantial amount of money and there is still more coming in. The sweat and tears were all worth it in the end.”
The sun shone favourably on the event as students ran, jogged and walked the 5k route. The first student, Chloe Derrick (Year 7), completed the course in twenty three minutes closely followed by Kate Duffy (Year 7) and Deja Boradway (Yr 10) in 24 minutes.
Assistant Head, Mark Bridges said “It was brilliant to see so many young girls getting involved for this valuable cause. This is a brilliant example of how student- led projects like ‘learning to lead’ have made a really positive impact on the individuals involved and the wider community”.
Students hope to run the event next year making it bigger and even better... Watch this space for the Movember Fun Run.
As the end of the school year draws closer, congratulations must go to the students who setup and ran the Writhlington school shop this year. Since the shop was rebranded, it has turned over a massive £8000 and has achieved a good profit.
Unfortunately the shop will be losing some of its year 11 and 13 staff. Particular mention must go to Chloe Hilleard, a year 13 student, who was the managing director and deserves special praise for her dedication and hard work.
Head of Business, Mr Mann commented ‘We’ve had an amazing response from the whole school and especially all the students involved with the shop. Some of the current student staff will be leaving Writhlington this year and I hope they can take the skills and knowledge learnt with them into their future careers’.
The school shop is recruiting new staff, so if you are interested in joining the enterprise, please contact Mr Mann in the Business Studies Department.
For a second year running a Writhlington Band has managed to obtain a place in the final of the Young Chamber Battle of the Bands to be held at Westminster on 17th of July. The four-piece band, Bad Friend, were the first to make it through to the finals with their video receiving the most “likes” in the Skills Factor Facebook competition.
The national competition, which is run in conjunction with Skills Factor, aims to encourage young musicians to celebrate music making and take to the stage in front of industry judges.
The remaining competing bands’ videos and business plans will now be viewed by a judging panel and three bands will be chosen to go through to the finals to compete with Bad Friend.
Ciranne Barrass, aged 16, has recently been offered a place on the University of Exeter’s Year 11 summer school program.
The University of Exeter, which is rated in the top 10 universities in the country, runs a year 11 summer school annually in July. The aim of the programme is to give students a taste of university life.
As well as attending a varied academic programme, students are also invited to stay on campus, giving them the opportunity to socialise with the other summer school students and obtain a first-hand experience of university life.
Students will also take part in careers and skills sessions designed to inform and equip them with skills relevant to further study, such as team building and study skills. Workshops will be offered on career opportunities for university graduates and students will be encouraged to discuss career options and life at University with their Ambassadors.
Headteacher, Mark Everett said, “Well done to Ciranne. It’s a fantastic chance to find out about life at university”.
Year 7 helped celebrate a very special birthday during term 5... The brilliant Bard himself, William Shakespeare!
On the 23rd of April, 7b/EnH spent the week studying a variety of Shakespeare's plays and poetry. They decided to bake cakes and even make birthday cards, as a celebration of the life and work of one of Britain's greatest playwrights.
“My Money Week” is a high profile personal finance initiative which provides an opportunity for young people to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence in money matters, to thrive in our society.
The beginning of June saw the fifth annual “My Money Week”, with thousands of teachers and students taking part.
Throughout the week students became ‘employees’ and were rewarded with ‘wages’ (in a currency designed specifically for the week) for the work-based skills of efficiency (working hard), customer service (being polite) and having the correct equipment.
The highest earning student from each year group was awarded a £30 gift voucher.
Some students also competed in a national competition in which the challenge was to think creatively about “The A-Z of Money”. Students produced stories or poems or anything else which inspired them to write. The winners – to be announced shortly - will receive prizes as well as being entered for a trip to the winners’ event in London.
Paul Mann, Head of business commented “It was a really fun week for all the students and it definitely helped to develop their accountancy and money skills”.
The Year 11 Geography classes have their unit 2 GCSE on Wednesday this week. The class celebrated one of their final lessons with cake and exam practice. Nina Varney brought in the delicious cupcakes with Geography key words in the icing, a fantastic effort. Good luck to all in their GCSE exams.
Congratulations to Wizard IX who came 1st in the BE100 class at Pontispool on Saturday 25 May. The link to his record can be found by opening http://www.britisheventing.com/asp-net/Events/Results.aspx?HorseId=86996
Wizard IX will be competing at the Nunney International Horse Trials on 14 June 2013 in the BE100 (times are not yet available).
Writhlington girls had the opportunity of a lifetime when England cricketers Charlotte Edwards (MBE) and Heather Knight, along with former England player Caroline Atkins, visited school on Tuesday.
A brief but strenuous warm up preceded short master classes in fielding, bowling and batting, with students receiving individual help and advice throughout the afternoon. This was followed by a game session where the girls were able to demonstrate their new found skills, clearing showed that real progress had been made even in such a short amount of time.
The afternoon ended with a question and answer session; students were amazed to hear that Charlotte started her England career at the age of 16, has been England captain for seven years and has scored a double century. Questions about diet, training and the development of the women’s game in comparison with the men’s, gave students a real insight in to the world of an elite sportswoman.
Karla Passingham, P.E teacher commented ‘A fantastic afternoon for all concerned, which left all the girls full of enthusiasm for their cricketing futures.’
Pictured: Charlotte Edwards left and Heather Knight (Right) with Writhlington's Girl cricket team
One-Day Event held at Stonar on Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th May 2013 Two students, Minty Martin (Year 10) and Chloe Derrick (Year 7) took part in a One-Day Event this weekend having a very successful competition. Minty finished 4th with 29 points and Chloe 15th with 52.4 points. Unfortunately Megan Blackmar (Year 8) was unable to compete on this occasion due to the large number of entries. Well done to both girls.
Well done to Katie Duffy who took part her first Pony Club Race Day at Wincanton Racecourse on Saturday 18 May 2013. Katie and Tinks entered The Old Mill & Champion Headwear Novice Stakes, which was run over 4 furlongs. They came second in a very close race, only being beaten by a head, out of a field of 12.
Year 10 student, Amelia Dyer, has been selected to represent Great Britain in the Target shooting junior squad.
Amelia competes in .22 target rifle (over 25 yards and 50 metres) and .177 target air rifle shooting (over 10 metres). She has been a member of the Scout Association Representative Rifle Squad for the past two years and following a successful competition at the British Airgun Championships in February, was invited to become a member of the GB Junior Target Rifle Squad.
The past 6 months have seen a great improvement in her shooting, taking part in several major competitions with some of the country’s top competitors. February saw her get two personal best scores in the British Airgun Championships.
Amelia is incredibly dedicated to the sport and recently ended up participating in back to back competitions, seeing her take part in the Fareham Open, followed by a trip to Cambridgeshire the following day to take part in another 50m prone competition.
Amelia is currently training hard for the National Smallbore Rifle Association (NSRA) 50m Championships coming up in June and then competing as part of the GB Team in the Junior International Competition at Bisley, in August.
The U13 and U15 girls football team travelled to Broadlands School to play in the B&NES football tournament on Wednesday 8th May.
Despite the pouring rain, both teams approached the tournament with great enthusiasm. The U13 team won their tournament, and the U15 team came an impressive 3rd place.
Miss Weeks, P.E teacher commented ‘Some excellent football was played by both teams, and the girls' were a pleasure to take. U13 player of the tournament was Tallulah-Ede Bishopp, and U15 player of the tournament was Anna Lee. A massive well done to all of the girls involved.’
Over 2,400 teenagers braved torrential rain, strong winds and aching limbs to take part in one of the UK's most renowned and grueling expeditions.
Two teams of Writhlington students faced treacherous conditions as they battled their way across Dartmoor to compete in the annual Ten Tors challenge.
The army saw the highest drop out and incompletion rate that they have seen in years. Not only were they manning Tors, but also had to safeguard all river crossings as they had risen up to waist height over night. Conditions were not just challenging for the students, as 100s of team organisers set up their base camps only to be faced with up to 75mph gusts of wind, which left one man unconscious as he collided with a flyaway tent.
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, director of Ten Tors and commander of 43 (Wessex) Brigade, said: "It's been really tough conditions this year. When they set off on Saturday morning there was a lot of rain, drizzle and very poor visibility. A lot of teams got disorientated early on”.
He added: "It's not a race, it's a challenge and the conditions out there have been very challenging."
Unfortunately, both Writhlington teams drew a new and particularly challenging route this year. Though many students wanted to carry on, both teams were forced by the organisers to withdraw from the competition, due to time and weather restraints.
Emily Applegate, captain of the School team said: ‘The weather was horrible, the rivers were so high that the army had to help us cross, often sending us an extra 3 or 4 miles to a safer part. I am very proud of our team, despite everything, we worked hard and together.’
Jess White captain of the CCF team said ‘only 8 teams out of the 13 on our route completed, it was a new route and much harder. I am proud of our team and the school team. We worked together and supported each other. If we have learnt anything, it's the importance of teamwork and determination’.
Gene Norris, in Year 7, has been recognised for his outstanding rugby in his last year in Bath Mini Rugby Club. Gene won both the Bath Mini Rugby Under 12s Player's Player, as voted for by all his team mates and Player of the Year, as chosen by all his coaches. Gene will now progress into the Bath Youth Rugby Section in the Under 13s next season and is looking forward to training at the Lambridge Ground, alongside the more experienced Youth and Colts teams in September.
Earlier this year, students from Writhlington took part in World Maths Day for the first time.
World Maths Day is an international event in which students compete online against each other answering questions as quickly as possible.
This year there were around 6 million students from over 200 countries taking part. Now part of the World Education Games, nearly 300 million Maths questions were answered correctly during the competition.
Over 300 Writhlington students took part, answering nearly 80, 000 Maths questions correctly, some individuals answered over 2,000 questions.
Mr Page, Maths teacher, commented ‘Congratulations to all those that took part. The students really enjoyed the competition and in particular competing against International students. It’s really great to see students involved in an international tournament and we are already looking forward to World Maths Day 2014.’
Lord Lucas from the Education Select Committee, visited Writhlington School to talk to pupils and staff about the work the school is doing in partnership with the Dyson Foundation. Year 9 pupils in Technology are carrying out investigations into the aerodynamics of equipment in disaster zones, using ipads and apps to measure and analyse the effects of mass, surface area and terminal velocity.
Lord Lucas also viewed the Orchid Labs and the work pupils are doing with Sciencescope. He was able to see the latest invention – a Biobox which can simulate different climate zones and support the propagation and growth of plants from across the world.
His parting comment to Headteacher Mark Everett was: “I’ve never seen a school where work of this standard is being carried out so successfully.”
The school’s work with Dyson is continuing next year, supporting and encouraging the aspirations and inventions of young engineers and entrepreneurs.
Pictured: Lord Lucas learning about the 3D printer, which was donated by the Dyson foundation.
Wizard finished eighth in the Mitsubishi Grassroots Championships BE90 category at Badminton Horse Trials last week ridden by Kathy Emery.
Wizard also qualified last year but was denied the chance to compete when the event was cancelled due to poor weather. Competition organisers allowed his previous score to carry over to this year and he competed against a 53 strong field.
Wizard looked likely to finish third but, unfortunately, knocking one pole down in the showjumping denied him of a podium finish.
Congratulations to Chloe Derrick who competed in the Winter League show jumping finals over the weekend. She came 1st in the 2’6 , 1st in the 2’6 Totally Tack winter league, 2nd in the 2’9 (unfortunately beaten by 1 second), 1st in the league at 2’9 and finally 1st overall with the most points overall in all her classes.
Writhlington School is donating a large number of old student netbooks to support the education of students in a small village in Burundi, Africa. During parental consultation about the change to iPads, many parents were keen that the school found a charitable purpose for the redundant equipment.
Chris Donovan and Chantal Ndikumana, two Writhlington teachers, have established a charity in Rusaga a remote community of only 6000 people, which aims to open a school and health centre for the local population.
Chris Donovan commented‘ Rusanga is one of the poorest villages in the country, so the gift of these netbooks will make a huge difference to the children, especially as they have no other means to access this type of equipment’.
The Burundi Education Foundation has been gifted land to build the school by the Burundian government and work on the structure has already started. However the charity is still in need of equipment and resources to turn the dream into a reality
Professor Joseph Katihabwa, organizer of the project in Burundi, commented ‘It will be the first school in the region to follow the English curriculum and everybody is extremely grateful to Writhlington School for their kind offer’.
by Petra Schofield for remotegoat on 05/05/13
Little Women - The Broadway Musical, Allan Knee, Mindi Dickstein and Jason Howland.
This triumphant musical is based on Louisa May Alcott's classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel, charting the lives of the iconic March sisters.
There are few who may not know the story of the tomboy aspiring writer Jo, the romantic caring Meg, pretentious Amy and the kind hearted, tragic Beth who live with their loyal, caring Marmee whilst their absent father is away serving as a Union Army Chaplain during the American Civil War.
Writhlington School at The Prospect Theatre has captured a production of beauty and poise with the finish deserving of any professional touring company. Set design (Becca Long), creates a beautiful homestead with a warm happy environment, the versatility of the log cabin staging allowing the drama to flow easily, a highly atmospheric vision coupled with complementary lighting design (Ed Hill) and costumes from Carol Lewis, defines a tableau that is quintessentially American and this fine artistic stamp sets a memorable platform for the show.
The charm and beauty of this musical lies within its excellent score and wonderful script, bursting with fun and reality never shying away from sadness but ensuring there is little sentimentality; this gives the characters added strength and tenacity, a driving force which fuels the central character Jo (Hannah Long)
It is almost impossible to believe Hannah Long is a pupil, she transports the audience away from the school based auditorium into another league; controlling, defining and shaping the show into something quite " Astonishing" Her vocal and acting ability belies her age and it is an inspirational performance from a truly extraordinary young talent.
The March sisters are all in fine form supporting their big sister. Amy (Nicole Welling) is a suitability spoilt, jealous and ultimately successful socialite who craves to be noticed. Meg (Caroline Albrow) is a delicate, loving sister who finds love and settles happily. Beth, (Emily Seal) captures the pathos and tragedy with tenderness and understanding, ensuring her relationship with Jo is completely credible and life without each other utterly suffocating and empty.
There are excellent supporting roles from Hannah Barry (Marmee), Danni Pearce (Aunt March), Leon Drissen (Professor Bhaer), James Mcdowall (Laurie) and Jack Strawbridge (Mr. Brooke.)
This is an excellent production with wonderful detail; much of this credit is owed to the precise direction of this young company by James Moore, confident, foot sure and so much more. These are detailed considered characterisations which come only at the expense of long rehearsals, goodwill and the burning of much midnight oil. There are few schools that can attract such a calibre of teaching staff when coupled alongside a sought after regional MD in the guise of Harry Burt there is truly little that is left unexplored. The orchestra are well balanced and the dynamics of the set pieces enabling the principals to flourish.
An inspiring evening of what can be achieved when all are in harmony, it is hard to imagine many productions that compare with the excellent finish and style that this school has been able to present. Moments such as these reflect the very best of opportunities when young adults are able to achieve with perseverance and professional guidance, Writhlington School should not let this team get away. The standing ovation was well deserved and the reputation of this drama department now firmly established.
Find this article posted by Petra Schofield on RemoteGoat.
Writhlington joined forces with local emergency services to deliver a ‘ better/safer-driving day’ for its Sixth Form students.
The aim of the day was to encourage sensible driving among Sixth Form students, as this age group is statistically most likely to be involved in a traffic collision.
As part of the day, sixth formers were invited to watch and participate in a controlled car crash scenario, which was set up in conjunction with the fire brigade and ambulance service. The whole of Sixth Form also heard the tragic warning message of Justin, a young man who had lost his girlfriend in a car crash the previous year.
Mike Burr, Head of Sixth form commented ‘The organisation and coordination of the various services and volunteers was outstanding. Students were able to witness teamwork, skill and the high level of commitment that the emergency services have to undertake’.
‘Having spoken to a number of students and staff it is clear the message has got through and this day will have saved lives. Students and sixth form tutors have said it was the best personal, social and Health Education day they have had in their time at this school and many said they were lost for words when Justin shared his personal tragedy; a courageous and selfless act’.
Corey Walkes, Year 7, has been selected to be part of the 2013 Great Britain Trampoline High Performance Junior Squad.
Corey is one of just two young trampoline gymnasts selected nationally for the 11/12 year old age group and is one of only twelve in total in the Under 18's junior squad - so this is a fantastic achievement.
The High Performance Junior Squad focuses on producing outstanding European Junior and World Age Group results whilst the Senior Squad targets European, World and Olympic senior levels.
Corey is currently training 12 hours a week at High Flyers Trampoline Club, based in Cheddar. He trains with International High Performance Head Coach Sue Bramble, who is also Personal Coach to Senior GB Squad member, Laura Gallagher.
Corey will now be travelling regularly to Lilleshall National Sports Centre in Shropshire to attend training camps for the GB squads. His training will now be focused on the 2013 British Championships held at the NEC in July and trials in September for the Junior World Championships held in Bulgaria in November.
Year 10 BTEC Business students completed an activity day to develop team working and leadership skills.
Over 70 students from BTEC Business participated in specially programmed activities and team building exercises. The students completed a range of activities, that challenged both physical and mental abilities.
The day was aimed at developing the essential skills and personal attributes required to work in the business sector. The activities encouraged the use of teamwork and problem solving, as well as helping students to identify their own leadership qualities and use them in the most effective way.
Mr Mann, BTEC teacher commented ‘The students demonstrated outstanding behavior throughout the day and although some found the tasks challenging, they are were still able to develop their communication, team work and leadership skills’.
Pictured: One group completing a challenge, which involved removing ping pong balls from a bucket only using ropes.
Writhlington Equestrian Team members first event at Minimus & Junior Tetrathlon Sandroyd on Sunday 28 April 2013
We are delighted to report that two Writhlington students entered the Minimus & Junior Tetrathlon on Sunday 28 April 2013 - Chloe Derrick taking part in the Junior's and Katie Duffy in the mini groups.
Both girls had to start early, getting up at 5.30am to get their ponies ready and travel to Sandroyd School for a 9.30am start ready for their first phase, Chloe’s run and Katie’s shoot. Normally these events are held over two days so with this one being on the same day it was very long and tiring, and the girls did not arrive home until 7.30pm.
The groups consisted of approximately 35 girls.
Shooting - Turning targets at 7m with two hands (maximum score 1000) - 840
Running 1000m (as fast as you can) - 3 mins 58 sec
Swimming - 2mins (as far as you can) - 139m (joint 2nd)
Riding 2’3” (looking for clear round, max points 1400) - 1350
Shooting - Turning targets at 7m with one hand(maximum score 1000) - 860
Running 1500m (as fast as you can) - 6 mins 46 sec
Swimming - 3 mins (as far as you can) - 221m (2nd)
Riding 2’6” (looking for clear round, max points 1400) - 1350
(The riding phase height can increase depending on the competition)
One-Day Event on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 May 2013 to be held at Stonar School, Melksham. If you are interested in entering as a team or individual please contact: Catt Benson firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two students are taking part in a Junior Tetrathlon on Sunday 28 April 2013 at Sandroyd Prep School, Tollard Royal, Nr Salisbury. The event consists of running, swimming, shooting and cross country.
On Sunday 21st April, six boys from Writhlington School entered the annual LTA Avon School Doubles Tournament held in Bristol.
Siddhartha Lethbridge (yr 13) and Tom Hunt (yr 11) had an amazing run and won their round robin box matches easily, then came up against Beechen Cliff in the semi final, they were due to play the Gibbs twins, a renowned doubles team. Tom & Siddhartha were under pressure to start with going down 3-0, and then they managed to swing the advantage and momentum of the game and came out the winners 6-4. With Tom placing some unforgettable volleys and Siddhartha powering his serves at the opposition.
In the final the Writhlington students faced Colstons School, who they had already played in their box and had won easily, but this time they did not get such an easy time. Winning the first set 6-4, they were cruising through the second when Harry Coulthard from Colstons pulled out some amazing serves and changed the set into Colston’s favour, winning in 6-3. The final set was then a championship tiebreak to 10.
With the rest of the Writhlington boys watching, a tense tiebreak ensued and at 8-4 down, Tom & Siddhartha thought all was lost, but again some great rallying & tight play turned the match again and at 9-9 everyone was tense. A final score of 11-9 in Writhlington favour was a fantastic result for Writhlington School.
Siddhartha commented ‘I thought we were gone in the tiebreak, but Tom pulled out some excellent net play and we managed to hang in against two match points when the opposition unfortunately did two double faults, then we turned it round for the final few points’
Also playing were Ross Harding & Luke Reddington for the Junior Boys (yr 7 & 8) and Jack Sparks and partner Ryan Harris for the intermediate boys (yr 9 & 10). Both teams gave a good account of themselves but the wind and change of playing surface were elements that slightly ‘foxed’ the boys and they did not progress further than the round robin stages.
Writhlington students have been relaxing their bodies and minds by taking part in a new after school yoga class, which began this term.
The club is for students of all ages and takes place in Fitness Studio 2 on a Wednesday, between 3.45 -4.45pm. Anyone wishing to take part is welcome to come along. The club is highly recommended for anyone with exams approaching, as yoga can help to alleviate stress and clear the mind.
On Thursday 22nd of April, 9 Writhlington school pupils attended the Playground to Podium Sports Day at Bath University.
The students took part in a variety of different sports including karate, tennis, trampolining, athletics, boccia & multi-skills.
Sarah O'Connell said, "karate was my favourite activity as I hadn't done it before and I might have to use some of the skills I've learnt one day!"
All of the pupils involved were a credit to the school for the way they conducted themselves and for giving 100% throughout the day.
Writhlington School Combined Cadet Force was visited by General Sir Jack Deverell KCB OBE for the Biennial inspection where he observed all aspects of the Cadet force.
The day was split between two locations. Some of the cadets were taken to Vobster quarry where they took part in activities such as kayaking, canoeing and Diving.
The rest of the cadets remained at school to engage in First aid (where the cadets had to deal with a road traffic accident), Skill at arms, climbing and the Army Careers stand.
‘It was a very successful day and all of the cadets thoroughly enjoyed all the activities on offer’
After the great success of last year’s kit collection, Writhlington School will again be taking in part in LV SOS Kit Aid.
Kit Aid is an organisation set up to send unused sports kit to disadvantaged children in the UK and overseas. Since 2001 the project has sent £3.5 million pounds of recycled kit to 20 emerging countries in Africa and Eastern Europe, benefitting over 135,000 children.
Writhlington is asking students to bring in any unused or old sporting items, over the next four weeks, which could be re-used by other less fortunate children. Kit Aid accepts a diverse range of sporting goods whether it be clothing or old sports equipment.
If you are interested in donating or would like further information please contact Mr Mann at Writhlington
Writhlington is delighted to announce that the school has signed up to become members of NSEA (the National School Equestrian Association) and will compete against other schools across the country.
There has been huge interest in joining the team, with approximately 40 students attending assessment events, held at Hill House Farm by kind sponsorship of Heather Larson. Mark Everett, Headteacher, would like to thank Mrs Angela Yeoman OBE and Mrs Susan Larson for supporting Writhlington’s application for membership into NSEA. Trainers for the assessment events were Andy Carter and Catt Benson.
Students were split into groups according to their riding ability and the assessments included flat work and jumping. Although many students already compete with Wylye Valley Pony Club, the Riding Club and local shows, Writhlington is very keen to give those who have not competed the opportunity to be included. The standard of the students was excellent and the trainers were very impressed with everyone involved.
There will be various teams competing for the school in the various equestrian disciplines. Students have entered for the Junior Tetrathlon which will take place at Sandroyd Prep School on Sunday 28 April 2013.
Writhlington Equestrian Team has a school ‘inspiration’ horse whose progress the students will follow in future competitions. Wizard XI, who will compete bearing the school’s logo, was purchased by Jayne Andrews as a six month foal. Ridden by Kathy Emery, a local freelance rider and instructor, who specialises in bringing on young horses, Wizard XI will be in action at Badminton Grassroots in May.
Each spring the Royal Horticultural Society hosts the London International Orchid Show featuring the best orchid nurseries from across Europe including our own Writhlington School Orchid Project.
Fourteen year old pupil, Georgia Hughes, explained, “Writhlington has been displaying at the show since 2003 and this year was our most successful yet. Our display won a coveted RHS Gold Medal and we carried off both of the top plant awards at the show.”
Chair of the RHS orchid judging committee, Johan Hermans, described the Writhlington display as outstanding especially in terms of the beautifully grown specimen plants, the quality of finish and the excellent information about the school’s conservation work in Rwanda.
The top plant awards at the show are ‘Best specimen plant’ which Writhlington won for the third year in succession, this time with an enormous plant of Coelogyne cristata, and ‘Best Orchid’ won by Writhlington’s Dendrobium thyrsiflorum.
Tom Forsythe, part of the set up team, noted “We are fortunate that after twenty two years of the orchid project we have grown some real monster plants. The only problem is that these plants are really difficult to transport to London and our Coelogyne now needs four people to carry it.
The next chance to see Writhlington School’s orchids and orchid growers will be on July 4th when the school hosts the British premier of a new David Attenborough film about orchids, featuring the school. More details can be found from the school on 01761 433581.
Writhlington is always proud to welcome past alumni back to the School, and this year’s production of the Broadway Musical, ‘Little Women’ will be the opportunity to do exactly that.
After the hugely successful production of My Fair Lady, Director James Moore returns to Writhlington to lead a talented group of Sixth Form students in their final unit of study.
James has gathered a team of Writhlington leavers and Alumni professionals to work closely with the students, helping them create what is shaping up to be a very memorable performance.
This beautiful musical, charts the trials and tribulations of the four March sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - four "little women" enduring hardships and enjoying adventures in Civil War New England. The book is an inspiring tale of loss, true love and is a family drama that validates virtue over wealth. This beautiful musical allows the stories of each of the four girls to unfold, masterfully weaving relationships and romance into their simple lives.
Director James Moore commented, “It’s rare to find a musical based on a piece of literature that conveys the true emotion found in the pages of its physical counterpart, but in Little Women, the expert writing team has managed to weave the wonder, excitement and sorrow of Louisa May Alcott’s classic 1869 semi-autobiographical novel into the soaring score and haunting melodies of this show”
Ed Hill, Theatre Manager and also a former student, has relished the opportunity to use the school’s state of-the-art Prospect Theatre to its full capability, proving students and the community with a professional experience.
The on stage talent will be accompanied by a twelve piece orchestra, comprising of some of the school’s past and present students and being expertly lead by one of the South West’s most sought after Musical Directors, Harry Burt. This show is set to be a fantastic evening’s entertainment for the whole family.
The show runs for three nights from 2nd to the 4th of May 2013. The show starts at 7:30, but the Prospect Bar will be open from 7 onwards.
Tickets cost £7 (Adults) and £5 (Concessions)
Tickets Available online from www.prospecttheatre.co.uk, or by calling the Prospect theatre Box Office on 01761 438562.
In May half term, Writhlington student Zoe Barnes will be hiking up Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in aid of the charity Shelter. The big challenge is to climb one a day over three days. Zoe would love your support and if you would like to sponsor her please visit her justgiving page.
As part of World Down Syndrome day, held annually on 21st March, Writhlington ran a Mufti collection to raise money and awareness for local Down Syndrome charity Ups and Downs.
World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Each year the voice of people with Down syndrome and those who live and work with them, grows louder.
A total of £668.50 was raised by Writhlington and presented to Ups and Downs Southwest, a local charity that supports families, schools and people with Down Syndrome.
David Cudworth, Specialist Advisory Teacher for Ups and Downs, visited Writhlington to receive the donation. The check was presented by Sarah (Year 8) and Sam (Year 10), two students with Down Syndrome, who are currently studying at Writhlington.
David commented, ‘It means an awful lot to us as an organisation because we exist solely on funding and donations’. ‘This money could be used to fund the schools’ advisory service for a week or to pay for 14 visits from a family support worker to homes or hospitals when a child is born with downs. It all makes a huge difference’.
Eight Writhlington students battled through a weekend of wet and windy conditions on Dartmoor as they trained for the forthcoming annual Ten Tors challenge, held in May.
The Ten Tors challenge involves 2400 young hikers and explorers from across the UK. They compete in groups of 6 to navigate, 35, 45 or 55 mile routes across the moors.
Training intensified as the remaining 8 students in contention for a place set out across Dartmoor for their penultimate training session. After a gruelling 8 hours of walking in the constant rain, thick fog and poor visibility, students remained in good spirits and endeavored to stay on for the second day despite the drop out of many of the other schools.
‘The students were inspirational. Despite aches, pains and tears, they all insisted that they could make it through the second day’ said a member of staff.
As the last training weekend approaches and with only 6 places available in the final team, students will have to battle their way not only across the moors but also with each other to obtain the final spots and participate in the final challenge.
On Easter Saturday, Marianne Veater (y11), Tom Hunt (y11), Kira Harding (y12) and George Beechener (y13), who are all longstanding members of Writhlington Tennis club, were invited to attend a 'regional young volunteers forum' at Bath University. The course, which was provided by the LTA (Lawn Tennis Association - the Governing body for UK tennis), aimed to promote the potential career paths available in the sport.
Andy Trott, one of the LTA's Tennis Development Officers, emphasised that ‘sports coaching is not the only option open for young people’. There are many ways to pursue a career in tennis, - or any sport for that matter. Pathways now include marketing, running your own club, working for the LTA or even developing new tennis 'products' that aim to increase participation in the sport.
The regional forum offered students a chance to get involved in a range of activities and group sessions. Some of these varied activities included, running a 'mini tennis' tournament, and designing a viable and profitable tennis club, which culminated in a Dragons’ Den style presentation to the group.
As part of their A level choices, two of the students will also be starting Withington’s new Sixth Form Tennis Pathway which is set to launch in September. Through their contribution at the forum and active involvement in Writhlington tennis, it is hoped that they can help increase tennis participation throughout the school and offer all students the opportunity to further get involved with the sport.
This summer will mark the graduation of a Writhlington class, which began as an experiment and has become a community.
At the start of Year 9 a select group of boys was brought together to be taught English in a single-sex environment. The experiment was undertaken in order to ascertain whether a change in learning environment could lead to a marked improvement in results.
Academically each student achieved incredibly well and everybody should feel very proud of this. However, it is their social and personal achievements that are the real cause for applause. Over the past three years, a very positive, supportive and purposeful dynamic has grown between the group and it still continues to develop now.
Mr Fieldhouse, English Teacher commented “as a group they are focused, and actively engage with whatever text or task they are confronted with. Without exception, the young men of 11x/En2 have become mature, thoughtful and diligent individuals and I feel honoured to have witnessed this”.
On March 22nd, 41 students, years 9-13, and 7 members of staff embarked on a 24-hour coach journey to the Austrian ski resort of Kaprun, situated above the beautiful town of Zell Am See.
The Zell am See area is the perfect Easter ski location as the glacier offers great conditions throughout the whole season. This year proved to be no exception as the ski conditions were some of the best seen in years.
The students spent their days taking ski lessons and exploring the resorts’ various pistes, which are perfectly suited for all skill levels and which offer a diverse terrain. In the evening there was a varied assortment of Apres Ski activities, including curling, trampolining, indoor football and ten pin bowling.
Mr Edwards, one of the staff on the trip commented “It is great to have been able to offer this opportunity to students again. It has always been an excellent break and this year was no exception”.
All the students show excellent progression and by day two the beginners were starting to ski down blue slopes. By the final day both the intermediates and advanced groups progressed to an extremely high standard.
Mrs Chivers, a member of the staff, commented “All 41 students were absolutely amazing, both on and off the slopes. Everybody encouraged each other, mixed well, were polite and a real pleasure to spend the week with, they are fantastic ambassadors for Writhlington school and a real credit to their parents”.
Writhlington inclusive zone basketball (IZB) team has again emerged as the best in the Southwest after winning the Regional Schools Competition for the second year running.
Involving wheelchair and running basketball, IZB combines players with a mixed range of physical disability alongside their non-disabled classmates in a fast-paced adaption of the traditional basketball game.
Defending national champions Writhlington, were joined at the regionals by Bath’s, Ralph Allen School and Pool Academy from Cornwall. The teams were fighting to gain a precious place in the national finals, held at Worcester Arena on May 1st.
With only a few of last years Writhlington’s national winning team returning, Writhlington had a shaky start but managed to advance through to face Ralph Allen in the final. The Writhlington team stepped up a gear and achieved a convincing 4-0 victory to secure a second successive South West title and lock down their place at the national finals.
British Wheelchair Basketball education officer Matt Gibbs said: "It's a great testament to these schools in the region, building on the great coverage of wheelchair basketball and the Paralympic Games to create a real sporting legacy.”
Writhlington student, Aaron Griffiths, who assisted a roadside collision, has been given an award recognizing his bravery.
Aaron Griffiths attended a ceremony which celebrated the quick thinking and bravery demonstrated when faced with a car collision on his way to school. After witnessing the crash, Aaron rushed over to safe-guard the situation and perform first aid on the injured.
Aaron said “My cadet training kicked in straight away. I knew I had to make sure there was no further risk of danger from the cars and to assess the injuries of the passengers. After calling for an ambulance I attended those with head injuries, assuring they were comfortable and not at further risk”.
The Midsummer Norton platoon was pleased to hear of Aaron’s actions and were very proud to nominate him for the award.
“Aaron has been a pleasure to have in the platoon. He is a team player and is always first to offer assistance.’
Aaron was presented the Outstanding Cadet award by Rob Appleyard, Chairman of B&NES Council and Lady Gass, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset.
Seven Writhlington students have just returned from an expedition to the remote North Eastern Indian state of Sikkim to share knowledge and skills with local children as well as researching Himalayan orchid species.
The students, who are all part of the Writhlington School Orchid Project, worked with students and staff of the Taktse International School in Gangok to help develop Taktse's own orchid project.
Sixteen year old Matthew Bell explained, "We started by spending a day trekking in Fambong Lho forest reserve where we introduced the Sikkim students to the field identification of Himalayan orchid species. The next day we worked in Taktse school to build on the initial learning from the first day."
The group also trained Taktse students and staff to use data logging equipment to enhance science teaching and learning. Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones MBE described the group’s work in Sikkim as "very significant for the futures of the Gangtok students and an example of the very best of British students sharing there skills and knowledge to support the learning of others."
Writhlington's young orchid experts also spent a day at the Himalayan Institute for Natural History Art with internationally acclaimed artist Hemlata Pradhan and a group of her students. Sixteen year old Georgia Grant described the day as "Inspiring. Sharing our knowledge of orchids with the students and there knowledge of art showed us how art can play a significant part in conservation work".
Teacher, Sophie McDonnell commented that this was “the beginning of a lasting partnership between Writhlington School, Taktse School and the Himalayan Institute. Working together will benefit the students of all three institutions and we hope that these three schools together with our partner schools in Rwanda will form the basis of an international network of Orchid Schools working for conservation, sustainable development and educational excellence.”
As well as working in schools, the expedition to Sikkim gave Writhlington pupils an opportunity to observe Himalayan orchid populations. The target is to publish articles comparing conditions plants experience in the wild with the way students grow them in the Writhlington greenhouses. Sixteen year old Devin Read explained "I am studying Cymbidium devonianum which is an impressive orchid that I have been growing at Writhlington for five years. It was very interesting to see it in the wild and I am sure that my observations will help growers to get the best out of their plants."
Kew botanist, Dr Lauren Gardiner who accompanied the trip, noted the importance of the students’ field research, "Not only will the work help orchid growers but the experience of publishing articles will prepare Writhlington students for future scientific research."
An Internet blog is being set up to allow continued communication and cooperation with students until Writhlingon's next trip to Sikkim in 2015.
Three amazing geographers from Year 10 took part in the annual B&NES Worldwise Quiz against other local schools. The quiz is provided by the Geographical Association and the Writhlington Team fought through the first round to be placed a respectable fifth overall. Congratulations to Laura Heal, Oliver Beechener and Rosie Wadsworth pictured.
This month Aalsmeer, Holland, the ‘Flower Capital of the World’, turned into a hub for Elite International Trampoline Gymnasts. The small town just outside Amsterdam hosted the biannual International Trampoline Tournament seeing world-class Gymnasts compete together with those new to International Competitions.
Both Clubs and National Teams sent their best individual trampolinists in the Junior/Senior and Men’s/Women’s categories to compete in the International Aalsmeer Flower Cup. Emily who has been trampolining since 2011 competed alongside gymnasts from 21 different countries and gained valuable competition experience for future European and World Class events.
Having passed her first Trampoline Regional Grade in May 2011 Emily was promoted to National Grade C in February and subsequently was invited to compete at this International Competition. Emily is now looking forward to competing around the world.
Fine Art Textile students were treated to a workshop based on the Dung Beetle. Local artist Emma Carpenter uses the beetle as inspiration for her work and used it as a framework to encourage students to explore a theme taking drawings on a piece of canvas into batik and then quickly taking the same pieces through different techniques and processes in order to draw out their creativity.
It was a perfect demonstration of allowing work to evolve imaginatively. The students just said ‘ Can we do another workshop soon’ . Their work will be available for sale at the Chilcompton Fayre in July. (Photo shows art by Beth Williams)
Writhlington’s Key Stage 3 dancers shone at the B&NES Dance Umbrella on March 14th at Bath Forum in their piece to Rhianna’s “Diamond’s” pop song. The twelve students, both boys and girls, have been working towards the performance in Dance Club since January and the hard work paid off when they produced a confident performance in front of a sold out audience.
A total of 55 primary, secondary and special schools took part this year over three evenings with performances ranging from Key Stage 1 to A level. The evening was both enjoyable and inspiring and has given the students lots of ideas for the next piece of work.
Anyone who would like to get involved in dance club can e-mail Mrs Wilson for more details email@example.com
Writhlington Shop is a business established and run by students. The shop originally started just over a year ago with a handful of students and the support from teachers. The business has dramatically improved since then with a refurbishment of the shop premises, a wider product range and a doubling in the number of customers.
The team consists of ten students ranging from years 8 to 13. Working in Writhlington Shop allows the team to develop a variety of business skills and learn the real life aspects of running a business. At the shop each has a different role and responsibility but all share shifts to serve customers. The team is focussed on providing an excellent service and team members take all their responsibilities seriously including cleaning of the shop, ordering the stock and monitoring finances. The school shop is open every day during morning break and both lunch times to students and staff. The school shop sells a wide range of products from drinks such as 'Simply Fruity' to healthy snacks such as Apple Nutrigrain bars.
The team is constantly working to improve the school shop. We take pride in the role that we have within the school. The shop not only promotes the ability to take on responsibilities but also brings students closer together as a result. The team meets every week and the members have had a chance to get to know each other and form friendships across year groups. New members are always welcome, if you are interested please speak to one of the team at the shop.
The shop is located opposite the IT student support desk next to the dining room. Currently the shop only accepts payment by cash but hopes to accept student card payments in the near future. There are also plans to develop the product range further – please look out for the survey monkey.
Writhlington’s Sam Harvey is probably one of the youngest shepherds in the country. He currently has a small flock but is ambitious and has dreams of one day running a farm shop. Sam’s interest in farming began when he visited a commercial pig farm and decided to have a go himself. Sam has earned the money to buy livestock through part time jobs and also by applying for a grant from Timsbury Parish Council.
As well as studying for GCSEs at Writhlington, Sam is taking Environment and Land-based Studies at Norton Radstock College and is a member of Farrington Gurney’s Young Farmers’ Club. Sam works long hours to ensure his flock is well cared for and has a great future in farming.
Sam is pictured here with Headteacher, Mark Everett.
A group of Writhlington students were delighted to receive a letter from the British Heart Foundation thanking them for their donation of £159.19. The letter confirmed that heart disease is the nation’s biggest killer and that the money raised goes towards research to help beat the disease.
The students organized themselves to complete a charity cycling event in the school’s atrium using spin-bikes kindly loaned by Writhlington Sports Centre. Said Oliver Johnston, the teacher supporting the group “the students were very focused on raising the money and put a lot of effort into organizing their event which was a great success” (picture shows charity cycle organizers)
Four students from Years 8 and 9 recently took part in the Junior Team Maths Challenge at Millfield School, Street.
This is a well established and highly competitive event attracting state and private schools from all over the local area. Our team can be proud of how well they acquitted themselves, especially as there were some last minute replacements to the line-up. They enjoyed the challenge this event provided as it really made them think about and apply the Maths they have learned to different situations. They worked very well as a team and are looking forward to using what they have learned in similar events next year.
This year has seen the re-launch of an Eco group at Writhlington. It started with "Switch Off Fortnight" before Christmas which saw students and staff save energy, money and the environment by switching off lights and equipment when they were not in use. Recently the Eco team has started a recycling scheme which they hope to build on and expand in the near future. They are also looking at how to make the school more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Writhlington’s prestigious Football Academy team is currently in the midst of its strongest performing season to date – with many team based and individual player achievements being stacked up to add to their repertoire of experience.
Since the disappointing home loss to Millfield School in the later stages of the English Schools’ Cup, Writhlington got back on an even keel by beating them during the Somerset Schools’ Cup with a comfortable 4-1 victory, putting them into the quarter final of a competition which they have won for the past two years. The team also currently holds the top spot in the South West Counties Youth League, five points ahead of the nearest rival and with four games left to play.
Players Ryan Mitchell, Mitch Harrison, Lewis Shipp, Morgan Marsh and Sam Babatunde have also been regular players in Bath City’s under 21 development group this season. Ryan, Mitch, Lewis and Sam also made appearances with the Bath City first team on Tuesday 26th March, representing the team in the Somerset Senior Cup. They helped the team secure victory to reach the semi final. Morgan is also acting as Captain for the Somerset County Representatives side, and is joined by his fellow Writhlington teammates Sam, Nathan Legge and Matt McCarthy. In addition to this, Morgan and fellow team mate Joe Raynes have been offered scholarships to play and study in the United States!
Out of Writhlington Alumni who used to play for the team, both Martin Lenihan and Will Hailston are currently studying on the performance course at Bath University, and regularly play for the University team and Bath City under 21’s team
These exciting developments show that Writhlington continues to produce outstanding athletes and is doing all that it can to aid students who wish to take sport seriously. Congratulations to all of the students involved for giving it their all and doing us proud.
Writhlington School was delighted to host a presentation and a reading from author/ actor John Barrowman. John, famously renowned for his portrayal of Captain Jack Harkness in BBC 1’s Dr Who and Torchwood was accompanied by his sister Carole Barrowman, a professor of English and a reviewer of crime fiction and also co- author of John’s books including his 2008 autobiography ‘ Anything Goes’.
John and Carole spent Tuesday morning in Withington’s Prospect theatre, where they talked about their new book ‘Bone Quill’ which is set in the Middle Ages.
They addressed all the students in Year 8 about the novel’s plot, concept and characterisation. The students were asked to participate in an opportunity to create their own Art work, embracing John’s impression of the Middle Ages and to depict a mythological creature describe in the novel. Students were invited to send their Art work to John and Carole, where they will be displayed in their ‘Beast Gallery’.
The Barrowmans signed books for the students before they rushed off to a public promotional book signing at Waterstone’s in Bath.
Writhlington School also hosted published children and teenage author Karen Saunders the day before. Karen addressed the Year 7 students about her new novel ‘ME, Suzy P’, a hilarious tale of a teenager trying to navigate the perils of school, families and boys!
The annual Chairman’s Awards took place at The Guildhall, Bath, on 27th February with representatives from Writhlington nominated across three categories.
Chairman of Bath and North East Somerset Council, Councillor Rob Appleyard and Stephanie Millward, Paralympic swimmer and London 2012 five times medallist, presented awards and had photographs taken with all the nominees.
Congratulations to Paul Hurley (pictured), nominated for “Coach of the Year”; Daisy Johnson, nominated for “Young Volunteer of the Year” and Corey Walkes, nominated for “Young Achiever in Sport”.
Last week saw two teams from Writhlington enter the Year 10 Maths Team Challenge event that took place at Abbeyfield School, Chippenham. The students enjoyed the challenge an event like this provides as it really does stretch and test the most able mathematicians. Congratulations to both teams who worked well both as individuals and as teams and who held their own against state and public schools in this regional final. This is the first time this event has taken place and they are already looking forward to the year 11 competition next year.
Congratulations to 7JW who won the first Year 7 tutor group sports competition organised by our new Sixth Form Sports Management Team. This term the event was indoor athletics, tutors sent 6 representatives from their tutor group to take part in the following events: Shot Putt, Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump, Vertical Jump, Speed Bounce and 6 lap relay.
Points were awarded to the tutor groups whose competitors came first, second and third in their events. 7JW scored 25, followed closely by 7JCO with 24, 7PJM came in third place with 19, 7HEA achieved fourth with 15, 7FCS/7SMC/7AWE all scored 10 points and 7PAH/7MJW came in joint ninth place with 7 points.
Well done to all Year 7’s who took part and to the Sports Management Team who organised it. We are hoping to organise another event soon so look out for details. If there are any other sixth formers who would like to get involved with our Sports Management Team then please contact Mrs Wilson –firstname.lastname@example.org
Forty five pupils from nine local primary schools enjoyed an afternoon of Gymnastics, hosted and organised by Writhlington School on Monday 25th February.
The nine schools, all members of the Midsomer Norton Games Association, came together for the annual Year 3/ 4 Gymnastics Competition. During the afternoon pupils competed a floor routine and vault that they had all been busy practicing and perfecting during and after school since January. They were also given the opportunity to explore some of the other pieces of equipment on offer in the Gymnastics Centre and participated in a variety of activities led by students from Writhlington.
The pupils performed with confidence and panache and were a credit to their schools and teachers. The afternoon finished with a presentation of medals confirming the team from Farrington Gurney as the Level 1 winners and the all male team from Westfield as the Level 2 winners.
Writhlington will also be hosting the Y5/6 competition on April 15th if there are any Writhlington students who would like to get involved please contact Mrs Wilson - email@example.com
The Year 10 rugby team has continued its unbeaten run in the Super 8 State Schools' Cup by beating Beechen Cliff in the Semi-final 12-0. This is a fantastic result - match report to follow.
Students from Writhlington School have just returned from a ground breaking visit to Rwanda in Central Africa where they have been working to set up orchid projects in Rwandan Schools.
Zoe Parfitt, aged seventeen, described the trip as the most amazing week of her life saying, “We visited four schools and in each one gave presentations and workshops to staff and students about the possibilities of setting up orchid propagation laboratories to develop education and conservation. We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and interest of the students and the future for the project looks really exciting.”
The students lead by teacher Simon Pugh-Jones were all experts in orchids thanks to their involvement in Writhlington School’s Orchid Project. The project combines science horticulture and student enterprise and is currently working with conservation partners in India and Laos. Since 2011 teachers and students have been working to develop a new initiative in Rwanda in Central Africa. The target for this months’ expedition, to Rwanda, was to establish partner organisations and support networks for the development of a project based on setting up specialist laboratories in the country.
As well as visiting schools, the group explored the Nyungwe National Park, Africa’s largest mountain rainforest reserve, and the worked at the Kitabi Conservation College.
Simon Pugh-Jones, explained “Rwanda is a remarkable country with great biodiversity especially in orchid species. Nyungwe forest is a majestic tropical forest and has the potential to act as a focus for effective science and conservation education in Rwandan schools and beyond. Kitabi College is a regional centre of excellence and it was a pleasure to work with acting principle Richard Nasasira and Diploma students to share our knowledge of orchids and their propagation.”
Writhlington School’s initiative is supported by the Rwandan Education Board and during the trip students held meetings with several officials including the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Mathias Harebamungu.
The visit also attracted the interest of the national Rwandan media with Writhlington students appearing on Rwandan TV and in the national newspaper.
Fifteen year old Zoe Barnes who manages Writhlington’s orchid propagation laboratory explained, “It was great to be on TV and in the newspapers but the best part was meeting lots of Rwandan School children and having the chance to share our enthusiasm for orchids with them.”
Zoe also enjoyed exploring the rainforest, “Nyungwe forest was amazing. We found and photographed some really special orchid species, saw incredible birds and primates and experienced the heaviest rain I have ever seen. I guess that that is why it’s called a rainforest.”
By the end of the expedition five schools and colleges had committed to joining the project. The next stage will be in July 2013 when teachers and scientists from Rwanda fly to the UK to learn techniques from Writhlington students and meet Writhlington’s partner scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Bristol University. This visit will be followed in 2014 by the next Writhlington student visit to Rwanda to commission six orchid propagation laboratories and share laboratory skills with Rwandan school children.
The Writhlington Orchid Project has an open morning from 10am to 1pm on Saturday March 9th when the public can learn all about the Rwandan expedition as well as seeing the school orchids at their best and having a chance to buy orchids and Rwandan crafts for Mothers Day.
Former sixth form student, Alexandra Hull, has reported back from New Zealand where she and compatriot Jack Greenwood, are working as tennis coaches during a gap year. Alex tells us what it is like coaching on the other side of the world and how Writhlington's Tennis Centre helped both of them gain vital experience in the sport they love.
She says “Both Jack and I have been playing tennis from a young age and we were given the opportunity to achieve coaching qualifications at Writhlington's Tennis Centre. Our coaching was sponsored by Malcolm Eglin until we were 16 years old. As well as this we took part in the Tennis Leaders’ course, run by Mandy Stonier, which gave us an insight into the world of tennis coaching. We both had a great time on the course and we quickly clocked up our volunteer hours. We later completed our LTA Levels 1 and 2 coaching qualifications, which gave us the knowledge and skills required to be better coaches as well as opening the door for future opportunities - and getting paid for it was a bonus!
Having the Tennis Centre at Writhlington has made a real difference to us. We started as assistants to coaches Patrick Lodge and Tom Entwhistle, learning from their techniques and methods of coaching. We learned how to teach groups of different ages, abilities and sizes. Patrick acted as our mentor and was happy to help and guide us through all our questions. He gave us advice about how to prepare lessons to suit the needs of particular players. He had many great ideas and it was fantastic that we had the opportunity to learn from him.
Living in a different country without our family nearby means that we have to act and think more independently than we would at home. We have learned quickly about budgeting, self management and how to be very organised. We have a tight schedule where we coach at many different clubs and we look after public enquiries in the absence of the manager so are picking up all sorts of skills and broadening our experience.
I definitely feel that it was the right decision for me to have a gap year. I am doing something I love and at the same time have the opportunity to travel and experience a different culture. I am learning what full time coaching would be like as a career. I think the Universities I apply for will recognise that I am more mature, independent and ready for university.