Archive News

Writhlington Student Shows England Rugby How It Is Done - October 2015

Whilst England have been struggling through their matches at the Rugby World Cup, Writhlington student and member of Somerset Rugby’s Junior Development Programme, Gene Norris, has excelled beating touring Australian team, the Sydney Cavaliers, who had previously held an untarnished record.

Gene, who already already boasts a very promising sporting career, trains once a week with the Bath Rugby Academy Squad Development Programme and twice a week with Bath University working on agility.

Year 10 student, Gene said

‘ It was a really hard fought match but an invaluable experience. The team were not only unbeaten but are the best in their country. This is their first overseas tour and it was a real privilege to be selected to play against them. I really hope we get to to go on tour in the future and play other teams from across the world.’

Gene hopes to stay with the Bath training squad and eventually gain a place on the Bath A team, following in the footsteps of Rugby legends such as Johnathan Joseph, Anthony Watson and Kyle Eastmond.

Macmillan Coffee Morning Success - September 2015

Writhlington students and staff joined in with the Macmillan Cancer World’s Biggest Coffee Morning last week raising over £300 in less than an hour.

Students and staff provided their very best ‘Great British Bake Off’ style bakes before opening the doors to invited guests; celebrating and raising awareness for Macmillan Cancer support. Students were joined by residents of Hanover Court and school Governors before offering the rest of the cakes and biscuits to students during break time.

Fundraising co-ordinator?? Emma Sage said:

‘It was a really lovely morning and I was very proud of the staff, students and community for their contributions and support during the morning. We sold out in record time and raised a fantastic amount of money for charity’.

Young Ambassador Of The 21st Century - September 2015

Writhlington Sixth Form student, Carenza Clifford, has been nominated for a top award by members of Radstock and Midsomer Norton Lions Club.

Carenza was nominated for a nationwide competition, aimed at finding inspirational young people to represent as ‘Young Ambassador of the 21st century’. The award celebrates the efforts of young people in volunteering, fundraising and…………

Presenting to youth clubs across Peasedown and Radstock, Carenza was nominated for her work developing a Road Safety campaign, in memory of her cousin Neil Drew who was killed in an accident near Emerson\'s Green near Bristol last year.

Carenza said:

‘My first reaction was to be very angry at the needlessness of his death but I quickly realised that I could help others, educate them on road safety and help them avoid what my cousin and family went through.’

Carenza hopes to set up a charity in her cousin’s name and continue to promote the importance of road safety to a wider audience.

The winner of each Lions\' District receives a £500 bursary and the overall winner an additional £1,000, to be used to further their projects.

Defending Champion - September 2015

Writhlington student Corey Walkes, competed at the British Gymnastics Trampoline & Tumbling British Championships 2015 held at the Echo Arena in Liverpool representing Quayside Trampoline & Gymnastics Club based in Bridgwater.

Corey, who is going into his first year of GCSEs at Writhlington, is one of just 6 boys in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the 13-14 age group, who qualified through to the prestigious National Finals after winning Gold at a National Qualification event earlier in the year and by competing for Great Britain at the 2014 World Age Group Championships which were held last November in Florida.

The British Championships showcases the very best of the Nation\'s junior and senior trampolinists, tumbling and DMT gymnasts with National titles in each discipline being fought after in a spectacular displays of elite ability.

Corey, who was defending his 2014 National title, didn\'t disappoint the spectators competing his voluntary routine with both a tucked and piked triple somersault and the highest tariff difficulty (14.00) of his age group.

After entering the final on Sunday in second place, with the highest execution marks for his Set Routine, Corey held his nerve in a nail biting Final, winning the Gold medal and the \'Trampoline Elite Level Men\'s 13-14 British Champion 2015\' title for the second year running.

The event was also used as one of two National Trials for the 2015 World Age Group Championships which are to be held in Denmark in December.

Sixth Form Shine With Community Spirit - September 2015

Over one hundred Writhlington & Mendip Studio School Year 12 students had a fantastic few days away in \'sunny\' Swanage undertaking a range of adventurous training activities as part of the National Citizenship Service.

Students have been tested to their limits in kayaking, raft building, coasteering and bushcraft. In the evenings team building activities took place at Harrow House as well as on the beach. These activities were run by trained instructors from Joining Forces and Land and Wave.

Students have commented:-

\'awesome\' , \' great to find a school who has given me a second chance\', \'fantastic\' \'never thought I could jump off a cliff\', \' really motivated me to get on in the Sixth Form\', \' I\'ve made so many new friends\'.

On their return, students have undertaken exciting and stimulating team building life skills and are now embarking on 30 hours of voluntary community work to deliver a social action project. St Nicholas Church is benfitting from young people clearing the churhyard, renovating the basketball court and decorating the café.

Ed Hodges, Director of Joining Forces says, \' Writhlington & The Mendip Studio School & the Dragonfly Education Trust are leading the way in enabling NCS to be delivered alongside their curriculum. We are giving all Year 12 students an opportunity to experience new activities, meet new people and gain valuable skills outside the classroom.\'

Ms Blofeld, Sixth Form Year Leader says, \' NCS encompasses the core values of the Dragonfly Education trust of creating opportunity and inspiring achievement by challenging our students to embrace a greater sense of responsibility and self- confidence.\'

Finally students will graduate from the NCS programme with a celebration ceremony where they will be awarded a certificate signed by the Prime Minister; an excellent opportunity to boost both CV and UCAS application. if you would like Writhlington sixth form students to support your community projects in the future please contact David Warwick of Joining Forces:


A Step Closer To Olympic Glory - September 2015

Writhlington Year 8 student, Zoe Simmons, travelled to Manchester last week to compete at the 2015 Sainsbury’s School Games where the country’s top elite gymnasts came together to battle it out against teams representing England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Zoe, who was selected to join the the GB Junior European Squad last year; a stepping stone towards Olympic Entry, competed with the Welsh squad with fellow team mates Maisie Methuen, Latalia Bevan, Jolie Ruckley and Emily Thomas.

The team performed an outstanding set, scoring 205.100, securing them a 5.4 lead and a Gold place with England following with 199.700 in Silver, Scotland with 193.150 in Bronze and Northern Ireland with 91.700 in 4th.

The all-around title also went to Wales with Latalia Bevan clinching Gold with 52.100 ahead of England’s Megan Parker in silver with 51.700 and Welsh teammate Maisie Methuen in bronze with 51.400. 

With training in full swing Zoe now begins training for the Northern European Gymnastic Competition at the end of September held in Ireland.

African Adventure At Rook Lane - September 2015

An exhibition at Rook Lane Gallery in Frome on Saturday 19th September celebrates the work of Writhlington School students in Rwanda.

Images taken during expeditions to Rwanda in 2013 and 2014 showcase the work our students completed with Rwandan students from four secondary schools and a college  studying conservation and wildlife management.

Students who took part in the Expedition will be on hand in the gallery to describe their experiences.

Writhlington School’s work in Rwanda is focused on setting up Rwanda’s first orchid propagation laboratory, training Rwandan staff and students and leading field treks into the Nyungwe National Park which is Africa’s largest mountain rainforest.

Sixteen year old, Maisha Harvey, from Frome who devised and lead a series of workshops on the 2014 Expedition, described the trip as “truly life changing and an opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of the wonderful people we met”. She added; “it is wonderful to be able to share our experiences with people back in Frome.”

Writhlington students will be joined by their partners from the Dyson Foundation supporting the development of creative solutions to some of the real problems and opportunities offered by the project in Rwanda. It is an opportunity for visitors, old or young, to try out the technology being devised and used in the Rwandan project.

The Exhibition will also include artwork by the Year 7 students.  Their first lessons at Writhlington have involved a viewing of the award winning Orchid Project at school and from this students have gone on to produce works that reflect their initial reaction to this spectacular environment.

These opportunities at Writhlington School provide the start of the next generation of botanical scientists, conservationists and future expeditions. In addition, A level Photography students have produced imagery that captures their own view on the Orchid Project.

Rook Lane Gallery, Rook Lane Chapel, Bath St, Frome BA11 1DN

Open from 10am until 4pm before appearing across the UK during the next twelve months.

New Studio School Opens Doors At Writhlington - September 2015

This week the new Mendip Studio School based at Writhlington admitted its first cohort of students to start their GCSE and A Level courses. The school has attracted 14-19 year olds with a keen interest in Science, Technology and Engineering and has received almost £5 million from the Department of Education to provide specialist teaching in these key areas. There is a shortfall of approximately twenty thousand engineers in the UK and the new school buildings will be equipped with industry standard high spec facilities, including a Biotech “Superlab” modelled on equipment at Kew Gardens and the Eden Project and Design Technology laboratories which are based on the facilities at Dyson.

Industry supporters will be working collaboratively with Mendip from day one to ensure that students are able to experience work on projects which are authentic and commercially relevant. Construction work on the new buildings starts next month and during this first year classes will have access to enhanced technology and IT facilities at Writhlington.  Students at the new school will also be able to follow Language courses, study for the Ebacc and also take part in Writhlington’s rich array of extra-curricular activities, including sport, theatre, music and dance.

Headteacher, Bob Girvan, is extremely pleased with the progress of the new school -

“This is a great opportunity for students interested in following high quality Science and Technology courses at GCSE and A Level. Mendip Studio School will provide traditional academic examination success allied to project work supported by both industry giants and local high tech companies. We have already recruited 100 students for our first year and are now opening the registration process for new Year 10 and Year 12 to start in September 2016. The strong relationship with Writhlington means that parents and children can be confident of having all the facilities of a large successful organisation, as well as the benefits of a small school model with a real focus on science, technology and innovation.”

Executive Headteacher, Mark Everett, was on hand to welcome the new students and expressed his delight in welcoming the new school as an integral part of the newly established Dragonfly Education Trust.

Cambridge Success - September 2015

Writhlington Sixth Form Student, Laura Wiltshire, took part in the prestigious Cambridge Chemistry Challenge receiving a Silver Award and placing in top 16% in the country.

This competition aims to stretch and challenge students interested in chemistry with questions Set by an experienced team of teachers and university chemists. Questions begin at AS Level and challenge students as far as Degree and PHD level.

Laura said:
This really was an exceptional opportunity to stretch my knowledge and take part in something very exciting. You are competing against some of the brightest students across the UK.

With the opening of the new Mendip Studio School; specializing in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, Writhlington and Mendip hope to enter a record number of students for next years competition.

Outstanding Sixth Form Results - August 2015

Writhlington School is celebrating an outstanding year of Sixth Form results. Thirty different subjects had a 100% pass rate and almost 50% of the grades were at A*/B. Over 150 students successfully completed their sixth form studies this year. Over 30 students obtained three or more A*/B grades and 45% of students achieved at least two A*/B grades. This year will see the highest ever number of Writhlington students progressing to university in September.

There were many outstanding results in subjects favoured by top universities, including some remarkable individual achievements. Lucy Chivers gained four top A grades in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology and Extended Project and will be joining the Royal Veterinary College in London. Robert Clapp will be studying Environment & Development at London School of Economics after achieving three A grades in Geography, Maths and Politics. Megan Martin is off to Southampton University to study Civil Engineering with an A* and two A grades in Maths, Physics and Chemistry and Alessandra di Vincenzo also achieved three A grades in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Jena Bryan achieved three A grades in Maths, Biology and Psychology and a Distinction* in Sport and will be studying Physiotherapy at University of the West of England. Other top performers were Scott Baker, Hannah Bennett and Rebecca Thomas with four Distinction* grades and Bradley Edwards, Jamie O’Neill, Mollie Woods and Nadia Mead with three Distinction* grades.

Writhlington Sixth Form students will be progressing to a number of universities across the country, including London School of Economics, Exeter, Cardiff, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Southampton, University of Kent and University of Bath. Matt Bell and Dixie Newman both secured a first for Writhlington with places at prestigious national performing arts schools.

Steve Cantrell, Director of Sixth Form said, “All staff have commented on how impressed they have been with this year group throughout their Sixth Form studies. As well as being dedicated and hardworking, they have always shown a high degree of loyalty and support for each other and it was heartwarming to see so many smiles due to their successful university applications.”

“Writhlington School is extremely proud of its students and their achievements. Their success is very well deserved and they have shown consistent commitment throughout their time in the Sixth Form. We are delighted with their results,” said Headteacher Mark Everett. “What is particularly pleasing 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.”

Writhlington Super Students Smash Exams - August 2015

Writhlington Year 11 students are celebrating this week. GCSE results at the school were exceptionally strong with an A*/C pass rate of over 70 per cent in both English and Mathematics. Sixty per cent of students passed at least five subjects at A*/C including English and Mathematics. There is an increasing emphasis on the progress in these key subjects made at secondary school and Writhlington students performed exceptionally well. Results for the number of Writhlington students achieving the Government’s “better than expected” progress were significantly above national figures. Seventy three per cent of students passed English Language at A*/C and 71% passed at this level in Mathematics. Results in other subjects were equally strong, with an A*/C pass rate of over 70% in seventeen different subject areas, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Additional Mathematics, Philosophy and Belief, Business and Music. Almost 130 students achieved at least seven A*/C grades and the proportion of students with at least five A*-C grades including English, Maths & Science was up six percentage points on last year.

There were many highly impressive individual achievements. Among those students with exceptional performances were:

Hannah and Kate Slater (both of whom achieved 8 A* and two A grades), Sam Burry (6A*/3 A grades). Gemima Carpenter (2 A*/6 A grades), Amber Clark (4 A*/6 A grades), Georgia Clark (2 A*/3 A grades), Tom Davies (3 A*/3 A grades), Robert Duffy (4 A*/3 A grades), Joe Grainger-Hull (3 A*/6 A grades), Danielle McMenemy (2 A*/6 A grades) and Isabelle Vallis (3 A*/6 A grades).

Headteacher Mark Everett said: “I am delighted with the success of all our students. Their dedication, commitment and hard work has 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 the highest ever number of Sixth Form students progressing to university. I am especially pleased with our English and Mathematics results this year. The progress made by students of all abilities in these subjects has been very impressive and reflects the very hard work of everyone at the school. What pleases me most about our results is the fact that all of our students have obtained qualifications which help them to pursue their chosen career paths. They are a credit to the school and their families”

Tennis Team Take On National Finals - July 2015

Writhlington Sixth Form tennis team travelled to Queenswood School in Hertfordshire to take part in the Aegon School’s Team Tennis Finals.

After a successful season of tennis, beating some of the toughest teams in the district, Writhlington made their way to Hertfordshire where teams travelled from across the UK to compete in the finals.

Writhlington started well taking on Sevenoaks School, after the singles matched Writhlington found themselves pulling ahead 3-1, with some excellent wins from Matthew Alexander & Alex Day and a final win from the doubles securing them to the next round.

The quarterfinals saw the team up against the 2014 World Champions, whose rating are only slightly lower than that of Andy Murrays professional sitting.

In the first round of singles, Hamish O’Mahony and Tom Hunt found themselves against some heavy opposition. This didn’t shake them however and with some great tennis being played, along side an ace on the first point from Tom Hunt the team lost overall.

Alex Day had the hardest challenge of the day, playing against a 1.2-rated player, tipped to be the next rising star of English tennis, but despite some unbelievable tennis being played and Alex pulling out some huge first serves, the team saw their first loss of the season and a 4-0 deficit.

With teams still in high spirits, they continued against St Peter’s School, and Peter Symonds School for play off places some well played games including Jack Sparks who came as reserve player, but played himself into the team with some singles & doubles play, saw Writhlington School finish 8th out of 16 teams in the country an outstanding result.

Said Patrick Lodge, Senior Performance Coach who accompanied the team all week ‘ Writhlington should be very proud of these students, who stepped up and played some amazing tennis this week against some stiff opposition, the standard was incredibly high, overall with the girls tournament as well there were 32 teams in total, only 12 state schools represented with 20 private schools making up the balance’.

A Bald Move By Student - July 2015

Writhlington Student, Catlyn Stephens, raised money for Cancer Research this week by shaving her hair off.

Catlyn has been planning the event for weeks, trying to think of an interesting way to raise money whilst shaving her hair off for charity. Over 30 individual plaits were auctioned off to spectators, including Deputy Head Nicholas Russon, who helped cut off the plaits before the big shave.

Students gathered to support and cheer on Catlyn as she bravely shaved her long hair in support of family members who have had Cancer in the past.

Headteacher, Mark Everett said:

‘We are very proud of Catlyn, anyone willing to shave all their hair off in aid of charity shows tremendous courage. Students really rallied around not only to help cut off the plaits but also to raise money.’

Sixth Form Go Out In Style - July 2015

It’s an end of an era for Writhlington Sixth Form students as they say goodbye to their favorite teachers and the school that has been their home for the past 7 years. Going out in style, students arranged their very own formal prom at Wick Farm, Farleigh Hungerford and enjoyed an evening of dinner, dancing and photo booth fun.

Head of Sixth Form, Steve Cantrell said:

‘This is certainly a year group we will fondly remember, they have been an absolute pleasure to have in the school and will leave a wonderful legacy behind them.’

Writhlington Sports Stars Strike Olympic Gold - July 2015

Jason Gardener MBE, Olympic and Common Wealth Games Gold medalist presented the awards at Writhlington’s Sports Presentation Evening. He gave a heart warming and inspirational speech and students and their families were invited to celebrate and received awards in recognition for their sporting success throughout the year.

Head of PE, Ben Naunton said:

‘This year’s event was Black Tie and the students looked fantastic, they take such pride in their sports and it’s a really wonderful way to end the year. Nothing quite beats the look of pride from parents as their children receive their awards and it is a real privilege to be apart of that. We were very lucky have Jason Gardener present the awards and it really gave the evening an incredible atmosphere ’

Writhlington students have excelled in sports this year reaching finals in County and National events, training with GB athletes and a few attending training for the 2016 Olympics.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘We are very proud of our students, they always strive to be the very best at what they do and it is incredible what some of the young people have achieved. We have a fantastic PE department who offer so many opportunities to our students and I feel privileged to work with such a dedicated and hardworking team.’

Students Join Parliament Debate - July 2015

On Thursday 25th June three Year 8 students represented Writhlington at the B&NES Young Parliament event held at St Mark\'s School in Bath.

Students explored the theme \"Me, Myself, My School\" and it commenced with key note speeches, including one from Writhlington Year 13 student, Ed Joseph, who is an active Member of the Youth Parliament (MYP).

Delegates split into workshop groups to discuss a range of issues presented to them by the council in hope of engaging them with the democratic process of local government. Students discussed how the local council can support young people when preparing to take the “Next Steps” to Further or Higher Education and onto independence and employment, they further discussed \"Curriculum for Life\", \"Ways to Wellbeing\" and \"Power to the Pupils\".

Head Teacher Mark Everett Said:

‘This was a really great opportunity for students to have their say and get involved with local government politics. Ed Joseph is a fantastic representative for young people and he has certainly had a great impact on decision-making in school, students can articulate their beliefs and are very good at putting forward a good argument for something they feel passionately about.’

Students from schools across B&NES including the University of Bath thoroughly discussed their chosen topics and prepared presentations explaining why each one should be a priority for development at council level in the coming year.

B&NES Council and representatives from the Local Authority arrived to listen to the presentations where students were challenged to not only engage the Government in their topic but also encourage backing from the audience.

Students voted \"Power to the Pupils\" as the main priority for the council, with \"Next Steps\" coming a strong second.

Studio School Opening Confirms Extra Places At Writhlington - July 2015

The opening of the Mendip Studio School in September and its recent successful pre-opening Ofsted inspection mean substantial new capacity for Writhlington School. Executive Headteacher, Mark Everett, pointed out the close collaboration between the two schools and said:

“I am delighted with our preparations for September. The launch of the new Dragonfly Education Trust and the opening of the Studio School on our campus enables us to provide a new Science and Technology specialist pathway. Many students have also chosen to study a Modern Foreign Language and will be taking the EBacc qualification. The increase in capacity across both schools allows us to admit additional students in all years and we are now in a strong position to respond to demand and offer places to a significantly higher number of families from the Midsomer Norton and Frome areas.”

Earlier this month Ofsted inspected the Mendip Studio School’s preparations for opening and it was judged on 105 different education standards, including leadership and management, safeguarding, spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, welfare, health and safety of pupils, staffing levels, buildings and the quality of information provided for parents. The school was delighted to receive official Ofsted approval on every single standard in the report.
Design for the new building is now complete and a planning application has been submitted. While the new building is being completed students will be able to use all of Writhlington’s existing facilities, as well as enhanced Technology and IT suites and updated teaching classrooms in the retained area of the campus.
Senior staff and Chair of Governors, Tim Cooper, met with the Department of Education Panel in London last week to confirm the opening arrangements for September. Students will be taught in small classes and Sixth Form students will be able to complete a technical Extended Project, a qualification which carries additional university entrance points and is highly valued by industry.

Many new schools struggle to recruit students in the first year of opening but this has not been the case with Mendip. Specialist teaching in Science and Technology plus the added benefit of strong industry support and expertise from companies such as Dyson, ScienceScope, Intel, Cambridge University and The Eden Project has proved very attractive. Recruitment has been very successful, with almost 100 students already enrolled to start their GCSE or A Level studies in September.

Students Cheer For Joy - July 2015

Writhlington students returned from the British Cheerleading Associations Schools Championships victorious this week as they scooped three 1st Place and two 2nd Place trophies.

Students from Writhlington School, St Gregory’s School and Peasedown St John Primary teamed together to make up the Bath All Starz Cheerleading Squad to compete at the Cheerleading Associations Schools Championships.

Formed in 1984, the British Cheerleading Association is the UK\'s original cheerleading event organisation, educating coaches and cheerleaders. Top teams from across the UK gathered for the annual event hoping to claim the winning title.

Head Coah Ashia Kusawake said:

‘Each and every cheerleader gave everything on the performance floor and fought for their routine. Our aim of this competition was to showcase their talents and build on confidence, we believe in the importance of hard work but first and foremost cheerleading should be fun. Each cheerleader played an important role in the success of the team and now they have some big trophies to show off.’

Writhlington School now hold a two year defending champion record and fully intend on training hard and keeping it next year.

Best Professional Display At International Show. - June 2015

Green fingered pupils at Writhlington School are celebrating after winning the top prizes at the Malvern International Orchid Show.

The Malvern international show is the biggest annual UK orchid event and attracts trade and display teams from right across Europe. This year Writhlington entered some of their best specimens and walked away with two prizes including Best Professional Display and Best Professional Species.

Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones commented,

“I am delighted that our students have gained the recognition that they deserve. The display is the culmination of a year’s hard work for all of the team.”

Year 10 student, Lexie Johnson, who was responsible for the nurturing of prize winning plant said

“The plant is called Aerides odorata which is native to the Himalayas. We have had it growing at Writhlington for 23 years and it is now over 2m high and has more than 2000 fragrant pink flowers.”

Writhlington’s Summer Orchid Festival is from 10am until 4pm on Saturday 27th June and this year the public will be able to meet the orchid growers and see their prize plants as well as enjoy displays from across the South West. They can buy plants from both school pupils and a leading orchid nursery from Taiwan, Chantelle Orchids.

There will also be talks on orchid culture and a chance to get your orchids repotted.

Writhlington Host Bath Music Festival - June 2015

Writhlington School hosted over 300 students from primary schools across B&NES and Somerset for a day of musical celebration.

Working alongside Bath Music Festival, Writhlington School hosted an afternoon of dance and music celebrating Asian Arts with the Bhangra Dance and Music Group 4x4.

Sixty students from Writhlington took part in workshops learning traditional Bhangra dance and drumming before performing to a jam-packed theatre of excited primary students who joined in from their seats.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘This was a really exciting opportunity to work with Bath Music Festival and we are very glad that not only did out students benefit from it but we were able to invite 7 other Primary Schools to join us. Students had an amazing time taking workshops and performing and there certainly was a lively and excited atmosphere from our guests!’

The show was attended by the CEO of both the Asian Arts company and Bath Music Festival who celebrated as the show marked the final performance of the Music Festival this year.

Writhlington’s Prospect Theatre will be working closely with primary schools in the area offering performance opportunities and workshops during the next academic year. For more information please email:

Writhlington Host Primary Tournament - June 2015

Writhlington hosted the primary schools mini-tennis competition with fifteen teams taking part in the Midsomer Norton Competition from eleven schools, involving sixty pupils aged 7–9 years.

This event, organised by the Writhlington Coaching Team, supported by Wesport and the LTA, forms the initial stage of the competition pathway leading from local competitions through to a Wesport County Final. The 2015 County Final will be held on Wednesday, 8th July, at Bath University and the winners of the Midsomer Norton Competition, Shoscombe, will go to the County Final.

Beth Jones, from Schools Partnership, said: “This is an excellent way for children to experience competitive tennis in a supportive and encouraging atmosphere, with their friends from school. A huge vote of thanks must go to the team of Coaches, young leaders and volunteers who helped to ensure the tournament ran smoothly. We hope these young people are now encouraged to play more tennis at the numerous clubs and centres in the B&NES area.”

Mandy Stonier, Head of Tennis at Writhlington Tennis Centre, said: “I thoroughly enjoy watching and overseeing this tournament, as it is the culmination of years of hard work by my coaching team and other Coaches in the area, who are ensuring tennis in Midsomer Norton is thriving, not only with adults, but with the children, who are the future of the sport.”

Writhlington Drop Everything And Read - June 2015

A new scheme being trialled at Writhlington Academy is igniting everyone’s passion for books. DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) involves every member of the school community stopping work for 15 minutes every school day to read a book for pleasure.

Associate Head Maddy Flagg, who is leading the initiative, said:

‘I’ve always been an avid reader myself but it is a sad fact that many young people choose other forms of entertainment rather than reaching for a book. Many pupils have a reading age lower than their chronological age because they are not reading enough for pleasure.’
The scheme has already been well supported by the local community as books were initially sourced from charity shops in both Midsomer Norton and Frome. Maddy Flagg told us, ‘When I explained about the scheme, all the shops were really keen to support us; Frome’s Oxfam store was particularly generous, donating a number of books so that each classroom now has its own book box.’

We have also gained support from ‘Bookbarn International’ in Hallatrow so we will be working alongside them in the future to ensure the books we have are engaging and accessible for our students.

The trial and consultation period will continue until the end of the summer term. Each week DEAR will take place at a different time in the school day before a final decision is made about when it will be timetabled permanently in September.

Over the coming weeks, parents, pupils and staff will be invited to share their views about the success of the scheme. Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with many staff and pupils commenting on the calm atmosphere in school during DEAR. One Year 10 student responded, ‘I don\'t usually read. This is a good opportunity to get everyone to read something.’

Head teacher, Mr Everett said, ‘It’s been so powerful to see everyone on site reading together. Even visitors to the school are given a book to read during DEAR as reception is closed to participate in DEAR time.’ It is hoped that the scheme will increase confidence in reading and ignite a love of books that pupils will retain throughout their adult lives.

Students Impress Employers - June 2015

Over two hundred Year 10 students took part in a Mock Interview and Careers day as part of Writhlington’s personal development program for students.

Many students enter the working world with little or no experience of attending interviews or writing CVs. With many more students applying for Higher Education, students are concentrating more on their studies and less on weekend jobs, meaning the average student will not apply for their first job until their early 20’s.

Schools have recognised this growing trend and are now providing students with more opportunities to develop their career development skills, including CV writing and interview practise - a vital tool for young people today.

Throughout the day an array of activities were set up to replicate the job seeking and application process in order for students to get first hand experience of the working world.

Activities included mock interviews, hosted by working professionals from local businesses, CV and cover letter writing workshops and employability seminars held in the theatre.

Careers Day Coordinator, Lindsay Sloman said:

‘ This is a really valuable day for students, we were very fortunate to have professionals including Wessex Water. Further education was represented by Bath and Strode Colleges, offering practical sessions ranging from Stone Masonry and Animal Care to Beauty Therapy. Julian Frost from Hawk Eye brought some spectacular birds to school for students to handle and learn more about.’

As well as interviews and seminars, students had the opportunity to talk to university specialists from Bath and Bristol about application processes and courses. Students also took part in activities hosted by leading apprenticeship organisations.

Year 10 student, Freddie Pascoe said:

‘At first the interviews were a daunting prospect but we were quickly reassured by the friendly employers and it became a very enlightening experience. The day provided us with the opportunity to explore all avenues post GCSE, whether we were thinking about A-levels and university or whether we wanted to take on an apprenticeship.’

Cookie Thursday - Thursday 2nd July 2015

Help raise money for outdoor seating,sports equipment and indoor games for break times.

British Champion - June 2015

Year 9 student Taya Hamblin competed in The 2015 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu British Open last term and won the British Champion title.

Taya, who trains five times a week with Jamie Woodlands Blackbelt Academy in Radstock, attended the 6th Annual Competition held at the Coventry Skydome to compete against some of the best junior athletes in the UK.

Over 1,200 competitors travelled from all across the UK to compete in their individual weight categories.

With British Champion now firmly under her belt, Taya will continue to train with club joining the adults to help get her ready for the Senior Opens while also mastering Taekwondo and Kickboxing.

Taya said:

‘Training is very hard work but I do enjoy it. I am really proud to have won the British Champion title and it really makes me want to train even harder. I also train in Taekwondo and Kickboxing and have won a few medals so I am going to keep going and see how many martial arts I can master!’

Dance School Success - June 2015

For most students your last year of Sixth Form is full of the stress and woes of exams and coursework but what happens when you throw in dance classes and a performance with one of the worlds leading Dance Choreographers?

Year 13 student, Matthew Bell, has had an extraordinary year. After performing with The Matthew Bourne Company in the new adaptation of ‘Lord Of The Flies’ Matthew continued his training in preparation for Dance School auditions.

Matthew said:

‘I have always had a passion for dance; I began classes when I was three, first attending mother and toddler groups and then eventually joining real lessons. Neither of my parents dance or do anything theatrical, so I am not really sure where my love for it has stemmed from but they have been incredibly supportive of my dance and I couldn’t be more grateful.’

Matthew, who trains 3 times a week with companies across the Southwest and Wales, recently auditioned and gained one of only thirty places at the country’s leading dance school, The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, beating hundreds of applicants.

Matthew Commented:

‘It was a really tough audition, we had to attend a two hour intense Ballet class while being observed by a panel of some of the best leading names in the industry, we also took a contemporary class and had a formal interview. Hundreds of people auditioned in London, hundreds more by Video application and even more internationally so I am thrilled to have been offered such a coveted place.’

Head of Sixth Form Steve Cantrell said:

‘ We are very proud of Matt, his dedication to both his dance and his studies have been incredible. Matt has always been very quiet and humble about his achievements outside of school but this is certainly something worth shouting about and we hop that he will come back to perform and help inspire the next generation of performers.’

Tai Chi On The Lawn - June 2015

Writhlington are proud to be hosting 17 Chinese students and 2 teachers from the International School of Changshu as part of a two and half month long annual exchange programme.

The Bath–Suzhou Educational Partnership has been running successfully for four years working with schools across B&NES. Chinese students are allocated to volunteer host families and become an integral part of these families learning about British culture during their time in the UK.

One of the biggest draws for Chinese students is the opportunity to experience the English education system, the students are given full timetables and expected to attend lessons and join in extra curricular activities.

Writhlington China Co-ordinator, Rebecca Jones said:

‘This is a really valuable experience for the students. It is a really great opportunity for them to consolidate their learning and put it to practice.’

Students also have access to the wide range of extra curricular activities organised by the school including sports, music, arts and drama clubs.

Lead teacher, Shao Yiyi, has been teaching Writhlington students Tai Chi and Kung Fu and organising a number of Chinese cultural exhibitions and interactive performances for Writhlington students and host families.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘It is always a pleasure to welcome our partner school from China. The Exchange Programme is a fantastic way to explore both British and Chinese culture and it is a very rewarding experience for students, teachers and host families alike.’

Student Accepted To Prestigious Performing Arts School - June 2015

Writhlington students have had a very successful year of performance, whether taking part in the school musical, the Winter, Spring and Summer Concerts or A-level and GCSE performances, this year’s students have certainly excelled themselves.

Year 13 student, Dixie Newman, has had a particularly busy year auditioning for some of the country’s most prestigious Performing Arts establishments

Dixie, who played the coveted part Fantine in Writhlington’s production of Les Miserables has been busy applying to Drama Schools to study Acting and Musical Theatre.

Dixie said:

‘It is quite a tough process; I have had exams, final year performances and training outside of school to keep up with. It is really hard to tell how an audition has gone and I have been nervously waiting at the edge of my seat for weeks.’

Dixie has been accepted to study at RADA, ALRA, Central and Italia Conti which is a fantastic achievement and she is now facing the tough decision of which one to choose!

Head of Drama, James Moore said:

‘We have some exceptionally talented students at Writhlington, we are so fortunate to have outstanding facilities which really gives students the opportunity to work in a professional environment. Dixie’s performance in Les Miserables was outstanding and she received incredible feedback. We are very proud that her talents have been recognised and expect great things from her in the future.‘

Writhlington Student Meets Royalty - May 2015

Writhlington students attend an array of vibrant and exciting afterschool activities and regardless of the activity our students take great pride in going the extra mile and creating their own opportunities for success.

Year 10 student, Olivia Collins, travelled to London to be awarded for her outstanding efforts raising awareness for Diabetes and also for her long standing commitment to the St John Ambulance Cadets where she was recently made Corporal in her unit. In the ceremony hosted by HRH The Princess Royal at St James Palace, Olivia received a Young Achievers Award.

Olivia’s mother, Annabel Collins said:

‘My husband and I are very proud of Olivia’s achievements. She has worked remarkably hard and shown great dedication to both the Cadets and to raising awareness of Diabetes.’

Olivia, who is in her first year of GCSEs, has been helping to raise awareness of Diabetes following the news that her younger sister had been diagnosed with Type 1, aged 2. Embarking on a fundraising mission, Olivia hoped to educate not only her family and their friends but also students at Writhlington on the impact of Diabetes and also the concerning signs.

Olivia said:

‘It has been a really big part of my family’s life, I have had to learn all about insulin control, sugar intake and how to give injections, it’s a big responsibility considering what can happen if you get it wrong but we are a really great support system for my sister and I am really proud of my family. Raising awareness at school was really important to me, if everyone knows the dangers then maybe they can tell the signs of a friend or a family member and then they could save their lives. We raised £1,200 including money raised at my sister’s school.’

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘We are incredibly proud of Olivia for her outstanding achievements and are delighted she got the opportunity to travel to London to have those achievements recognised. Olivia’s dedication to raising awareness of Diabetes is very noble and we look forward to supporting her with her efforts in the future.’

First Place Winners In The Salters Chemistry Challenge - May 2015

Four Writhlington students travelled to Bath University this week to take part in the annual Salters’ Challenge Festival.

Salters\\\' Festivals provide the opportunity for enthusiastic young chemists to spend a day in a university department taking part in practical chemistry activities and explore all the different uses of Chemistry in jobs and everyday life.

The four Year 8 students were selected to compete against other local schools, completing various challenges including identifying a criminal from a group of suspects using a series of chemical tests.

Molly Pascoe said:

\\\"It was really fun and interesting to see a real chemistry lab. At one point we got a negative result and so had to retest it. It was challenging but it was really exciting when we managed to find what we were looking for.\\\"

Students completed advanced problems requiring them to spot patterns in chemical reactions before attending the final award ceremony.

Chemistry Teacher Emma Taylor said:

\\\"They had an exceptional day and met some fantastic and inspiring Chemists. The students worked really well together as a team and it was great to see how they went about solving the challenges.\\\"

Molly Pascoe, Emë Shattock, Chelsea Smith and Emily Serle received First Prize in the Salters\\\' Challenge for their correct identification of a suspect and excellent descriptive skills and received over £100 worth of prizes for the school.

Congratulations to all students involved.

Writhlington Girls On Top Form - May 2015

Writhlington’s U14 & U16 girls\\\' football teams travelled to Broadlands School to compete in the Bath & North East Somerset District Football Tournament on Wednesday 20th May.

A number of Year 7 girls debuted in the U14 team and the team finished a very impressive third against some of the toughest teams in the district. The Under 16 team played a tremendous set of games beating Wellsway 2-1 and drawing with Somervale 0-0 before competing in a nail biting final against Chew Valley School. Chew Valley scored the first goal, Mia Payne was quick behind them scoring an equalizer with a free kick. Rhianna Jamieson brought the team to victory scoring the winning goal with a thunderous strike.

Another fantastic team performance saw Writhlington win the Tournament for a second year running.

Students Steal Show - May 2015

Writhlington Year 7 students are celebrating success after the Devon Orchid Show held at the weekend in Budleigh Salterton.

Tallis Inger explained,

“This was the first show where Lottie, Cara and I were responsible for preparing the plants, designing the display and putting it together for the judges and the public to see. It was really fun and we got to be super creative.”

Lottie Serle from Frome added:

“We were amazed to win a total of twelve rosettes and two trophies. There were some amazing orchids at the show and we all learnt a lot about the art of competition and putting on a prize winning show.”

The third member of the design team was Cara James who particularly enjoyed selling the orchids to the public.

“It is really interesting talking to people who want to buy our orchids and helping them to grow them successfully.”

The next chance for the public to visit the Writhlington Orchid houses is on Saturday 27th June when Writhlington hosts it’s Summer Orchid Festival.

Writhlington Students Design Interactive App For Bristol Zoo Display - May 2015

Students from Writhlington School have won a contract to design an interactive App for the Bristol Zoo exhibit at this year’s Hampton Court Flower Show.

Writhlington students have always been successful with creative and innovative projects, whether it is designing climate replicating control systems or growing orchids close to extinction They take an enthusiastic approach and create opportunities and experiences for specialists, learners and educators; redefining the power and innovative nature of the young mind.

Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones explained,

“We have been working with Bristol Zoo for many years and this new initiative draws on our experience of designing interactive displays for national events and particularly the creative design of James Stewart.”

Year 10 student, James Stewart, who has designed award-winning apps for Writhlington displays, said:

“This is a really exciting opportunity. I will be working with Zoo staff to gather images, information and audio and then developing an iPad app that will engage with the public and add an extra dimension to the Zoo display.”

A team of Writhlington students will be supporting James’s work alongside Zoo researchers to ensure that the content is both up to date, valid and engaging. Students will follow the success of the app, analysing download rates and engagement rates internally and assisting the development over the next six months.

The research will prepare an information app that the public will be able to download onto their phones to find out more about the science behind the Zoo’s exhibit which centers on the first Community National Plant Collection - Calendula.

Students Shuffle Ball Change Their Way To The Stage - May 2015

Tapping their way to the top

Writhlington Sixth form Drama students love nothing more than a challenge and this term they have certainly embarked on a toe tappingly difficult one!

Eleven students are spending their evenings learning to tap dance from scratch in preparation for their final BTEC show ‘Stepping out’.

Stepping out is a rollicking comedy about the attempts of some working class, middle-aged amateurs to overcome their inhibitions and left feet in a dance studio in North London. Mavis, a former professional chorus girl tries her hardest to teach the bumbling amateurs some terpsichorean skills for an upcoming recital. But before the dancing begins Mavis must mediate the dramas that erupt among this motley but loveable crew on their way to triumph at their recital.

Head Of Drama James Moore said:

‘This is such a funny and heartwarming play, you can’t help but grow attached to every lovable character and find yourself really invested in their final dance recital. We have some exceptionally talented Drama students with offers from top Drama schools and we can’t wait to showcase their work.’

Thursday 21st May, and Friday 22nd May.
Performances start at 7:30
Tickets £5.

Buy tickets online at:

For more information, please email

Ten Tors Challenge - May 2015

The Ten Tors Challenge is one of the biggest outdoor adventure events for young people in Britain today. Over 2,400 students aged between 14 and 19 embarked on a grueling challenge trekking 35, 45 and 55 mile distances, without adult supervision, across some of the toughest terrain and highest peaks in southern England, relying on their navigational skills and carrying all their food, water, bedding, tents and other essentials.

Over 40 Writhlington students signed up for one of 12 spaces in the two 35 mile teams and began training across the Mendips. Students walked carrying full gear, which weighed up to a third of their own body weight over 20 and 30-mile distances testing their strength, determination and resilience.

The top 20 were selected to train on Dartmoor where they were whittled down to the final 12.

Science Teacher and Head of Outdoor Education Jamie Comber said:

‘It is a real privilege to be selected for a Ten Tors team, students have to train very hard and show real determination and resilience. Dartmoor is renowned for its testing weather and freezing conditions and you have to be able to work through all that and still get up at 4.30 the next morning to do it all over again.”

The event is a spectacular logistical training exercise for all the Armed forces including Headquarters 1st Artillery Brigade & South West, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, Dartmoor National Park Authority, the emergency services, Dartmoor Search and Rescue Group, and many other voluntary organisations and individuals who ensure the safe conduct of the Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenges.

A team of Blue Peter presenters attended the event not only to report on the triumphs of the young contenders but also to take part and see what participants have to face. Escorted around by trained Cadets, the presenters only made it through the first day before pulling out!

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

“We are so proud of our students. We are still waiting the official results but both teams have done remarkably well finishing in the top 5 of their routes. It is always nerve racking sending them off to the start line, they look so vulnerable and you wouldn’t think these young individuals would be capable of something so extraordinary. It just goes to show how incredibly determined they are and that if you put your mind to something then you can achieve anything.”

Congratulations to our two Teams; Josie Lee, Isaac Soccorsy, Chloe Bridgesm Oliver Crawford-Craig, Megan Bryant, Otta Brown Rohan Witcombe, Evie Gardiner, Amy Luscombe, Lydia Simmons, Theo Stonier and William Holmes.

Writhlington Host Elections - May 2015

Year 12 Politics students at Writhlington School hosted a mock election on Thursday following a successful few weeks of campaigning.

The students were nominated to represent the parties and researched and created manifestos based on current political party agendas and created campaigns aimed at getting students interested and understanding politics ahead of the general Election.

Students from across all year groups were invited to place their vote at the Writhlington Polling station where they were able to vote for the party that best represented their thoughts, opinions and ideals.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘It is a fantastic opportunity to get young people involved and understanding politics from an early age. This year’s UK turn out barely cut 66.1%, which is really quite disappointing compared to the 89.4%, turn out in 1950. We hope that by making politics accessible to all of our students that we will provide students with the understanding of the importance of voting for their future.’
With Various trips, exams and clubs taking place, turn out for students reached 52.6%.

Results came in:

Greens - 256
Conservative - 178
Labour - 152
UKIP - 134
Lib Dem – 55

Sixth form students stayed up throughout the night for elections results setting up camp base in the sixth form building.

Head of Politics Nichola Giddings said:

‘It was a real pleasure to see so many young people engaged in the political process. As the results came in overnight, it was clear that the polls had all been under-predicting the conservative support. A very interesting election - both within Writhlington and the wider country.

Somerset County Cup Triumph - May 2015

Writhlington U14 Girls Football team travelled to Street FC on Wednesday 29th April to play in the final of the Somerset Cup against Kings College, Taunton. The teams began confidently against a well organised Taunton side. Taunton took the first shot but Writhlington’s Martha Briggs stood tall and commanding in goal; allowing no way through for the opposition.

A nail biting second half saw Writhlington take the two first goals with Taunton chasing closely behind scoring their first goal of the match and bringing the score to 2-1. With just minutes to go, Taunton swept in with another goal bringing the final score to 2-2 and forcing a penalty shoot out to determine the winner.

The penalty shoot out saw the teams level out 4-4. Taunton missed their next penalty, leaving it down to Writhlington to secure the winning title; a miss from Writhlington meant a return to penalties and sudden death! Writhlington captain, Gracie Oake, stepped up in a last chance shoot out and scored the deciding goal to secure the Somerset Cup.

Congratulations to the team for their fantastic determination and nerves of steel.

U13 Girls Cricket Team Triumphs - May 2015

Writhlington U13 girls cricket team travelled to Midsomer Norton CC for the District Round of The Chance to Compete Tournament to be drawn against local rival Norton Hill in the opening match. Writhlington were put into bat first and amassed a competitive total of 62 in their allotted overs. Steady bowling saw the team keep Norton Hills runs down and all bowlers deserve credit for their accuracy throughout the innings. Fleur Nielsen sealed the opposition’s fate when she took two wickets caught and bowled in the last over to leave them 13 runs short of the desired total.

The second game was between Oakhill and Hayesfield and saw Hayesfield come out on top to face Writhlington in the play off for top spot! Despite losing the toss Writhlington were asked to field first and again bowled steadily throughout, leaving Hayesfield on 42 at the finish. Writhlington did not make the best start losing two wickets in the first over but then settled into their task with great determination and excellent running between the wickets which saw them reach the required score with 10 balls left. A fantastic team effort!

Fleur was Writhlingtons Player of the Tournament.

The team now progresses to the County Finals to be held at Weston Super Mare CC on Tuesday 16th June.

Writhlington Students To Design New Exhibit For Bristol Aquarium - April 2015

An exciting new permanent exhibit at the Bristol Aquarium will be designed by students at Writhlington School and The Mendip Studio School to highlight conservation efforts in tropical forests.

Students met Aquarium staff this week to plan the first phase of the display and are now identifying key plant species to include in a living display that will represent the diversity of the world’s tropical forests, highlighting both the threats to these habitats and the sustainable solutions being developed by Writhlington pupils and their tropical partner organisations.

Teacher, Simon Pugh-Jones, described the project as “an exciting new initiative allowing students to develop scientific, educational and business skills to deliver a world class experience for the public.”

Pupils have formed teams to deliver different aspects of the exhibit. James Stewart is leading the technology team; “Our target is to develop exciting Apps for the public to help them explore the exhibit and learn about tropical forests.”

Jacob Coles is leading on the plant display, he explained,

“Our biggest challenge is to deliver year round interest in a living display. We are matching species to the environment in the Aquarium and looking for ways to tell stories through the plants of lifecycles, human use of plants and conservation.”

The exhibit is planned for completion this summer and will be open to visitors from the autumn.

Details about visiting the Bristol Aquarium can be found at

Writhlington School Hosts Centurion Book Awards 2015 Winner’s Ceremony - April 2015

Book-lovers from schools across Bath and North East Somerset attended the 2015 Centurion Book Awards held at Writhlington School.

The Centurion Book Award is chosen each year by school students in Bath and North East Somerset and is named in honour of the Roman foundations upon which the city of Bath is built. A centurion was a leader in the Roman army and each year’s shortlisted books are considered to be leaders in the world of children’s literature. Each year, the shortlist is selected from the most frequently borrowed books by Key Stage 3 students in secondary schools across BANES. Reading groups then read and vote for their favourites and the ceremony celebrates the shortlist and, of course, the winning novel.
This year students were in for a real treat as Writhlington Librarian, Victoria King, secured multi award-winning and best-selling author, Sophie McKenzie, to collect her award.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘ It was a real honour to hold the Awards at Writhlington this year. We are very passionate about reading at Writhlington and it has been a great opportunity to work with the other great schools that share our passion. I had the privilege of opening the ceremony and talked about my experiences with reading, from the struggles to the joys of getting lost in a book.’

Councillor Martin Veal, Chairman of BANES Council, then shared his delight at being involved in the ceremony before revealing to an excited audience the winner of this year’s prestigious award.

Sophie McKenzie treated a delighted crowd to a potted history of her life as a writer. Before doing the job she adores, Sophie shared the love of reading and writing she experienced as a child, as well as details about her life as a journalist. She revealed that it was a redundancy at work that triggered her participation in a creative writing course and she hasn’t looked back since! She shared the inspiration behind Girl, Missing- her first and most famous teen thriller- and Split Second, for which she was awarded the Centurion Book Award for 2015.

After an interesting and varied Q&A session, Sophie signed books for her fans who were thrilled to meet one of their favourite authors in person.

Victoria King, Librarian, said

“It was such an honour to host the Centurion Book Award Winner’s Ceremony at Writhlington School for the first time, especially as we were able to welcome the winner in person this year! Every librarian had to keep Sophie’s victory and appearance at the event a total secret from their students and their reaction on the day was well worth the wait! The competition is a wonderful opportunity to engage more students in reading for pleasure and the award itself has increased in prestige as a coveted reward for an exceptional novel. It was an absolute pleasure to welcome the Chairman of BANES Council, Councillor Martin Veal, Lynne Hamer from Bath Central Library and, of course, Sophie McKenzie. Thanks to everyone who helped with the organisation and all of the many schools and students that took part in the very special day.”

Writhlington Welcome Lta President - April 2015

Writhlington School and Tennis Centre welcomed the Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) President, Cathie Sabin, to their courts to showcase the fantastic activities and opportunities taking place in the school, Sixth Form Tennis Academy and the community.

Writhlington has a long history of success and excellence through sport and excel with their community and school outreach programmes. Students have achieved UKCC LTA qualifications & awards and Scholarships to attend top universities in both England and America, as well as travelling to New Zealand to coach.

Amanda Stonier Head of Tennis said:

‘Not only are we proud to offer great courses and coaching opportunities, but it is a real testament to what we do that a lot of our young enthusiasts come back and help coach the next generation of sports stars.’

Mrs Sabin, who became President of the LTA in 2013, took the tennis world by storm becoming the first female to represent the LTA, following a successful career as Assistant Head of Idsall School - a Specialist Sports College, working with students from all backgrounds including Famous football stars Michael Owen, Andy Cole and Jamie Carragher.

Students welcomed Mrs Sabin to the Tennis Centre where she presented Year 10 students with their Sports Leader certificates, she watched Year 10 and 11 students playing and spoke to the 6th Form students who are on the Workforce Development Programme that is now in its second year.

The Tennis Leaders Award is designed to engage students and adults in sports organisation, assisting the coach and committee with the day to day running of the tennis venue and tennis programme. Young leaders often see the course as the first step on the career ladder, gaining valuable transferable skills.

Tom Hunt & Maz Veater Year 13 students and the Tennis Ambassadors for Writhlington took Mrs Sabin on a guided tour of the sports centre and school.

Maz said: ‘Mrs Sabin was lovely and really liked our school and what we do here.’

Cathie Sabin said:

\\\" I was inspired by the tennis programme led by Mandy Stonier at Writhlington; she is clearly making a positive input to the future workforce for British tennis and engages with young people as volunteers, leaders, coaches and Ambassadors, in the hope that they will continue being involved in and leaders of British tennis in the future. There is excellent cooperation between the tennis team and the school senior management team which enables such a programme to develop. The young people were delightful and, if all our young leaders are as good as this, then our future is bright.”

Students Take Part In Prestigious Award - April 2015

This term a group of Year 10 students travelled to the Earth Science Centre in Shepton Mallet to complete their first task of the prestigious John Muir Awards.

The John Muir Award is an environmental award scheme focused on wild places. It encourages awareness and responsibility for the natural environment. Participants take part in four challenges following its core values; Discover, explore, conserve and share.

We arrived at the Science centre and were greeted by Gill, Juliette, Adrian and Adele from the Science Centre and Somerset Wildlife. They introduced themselves as part of the John Muir award and announced what tasks we would be taking part in that day.

First of all we had to put on hard hats, hi-vis jackets and wellington boots. We were bussed to Moon Hill Quarry and split into our groups. Each group took part in tasks including, cleaning bird houses, cleaning bat houses and coppicing. Coppicing is where you cut away branches from the main stem of a tree in such a way that will make the tree stronger.

We then made a badger hyde, we made this from branches. This took a long time to build but it looked really good when we finished.

It was a very rewarding day, especially seeing some wildlife and knowing what we had to do to preserve wildlife for the future.

Students Heading To The States For University - April 2015

Writhlington students, Dejanelle Broadway and Laura Heal have made it into the final 150 students to participate in the Sutton Trust Programme 2015, from over 3,700 original applicants from all over the country. ]

The Sutton Trust Foundation was set up in 1997 dedicated to improving social mobility through education. The programme offers students in Year 12 the chance to get a taste of student life at a research-led university. The programme balances busy academic days with social activities and has been successful in encouraging bright state school students to study at the most selective universities in Britain and America.

After attending the Finalist Residential in London, the two Writhlington students were selected to be part of the top 150 students who will attend a week-long trip to America in the summer holidays.

The aim of the Sutton Trust - Fulbright Programme is to support and guide those interested in studying in America and the Trust will fully fund all 150 students for this unique opportunity.

Laura will be staying at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which specialises in science and engineering. While Dejanelle will be staying at Yale University, a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut, the third oldest university in America.

The students will be shown around many different universities and attend a Higher Education Fair at Harvard University which is also an Ivy League university located in Massachusetts.

Deja said:

\'I\'m so excited! I can\'t wait to go on the trip. I\'m already certain the U.S. is the place for me.\'

Football Victory - April 2015

On Wednesday 22nd April, Writhlington Year 10 football team faced local rivals Norton Hill in the Bath & North East Somerset School League Final at the newly built Odd Down 3G pitch.

A tough game saw teams battling high winds as they tried their hardest playing some excellent passing football in a very end to end, free flowing match.

A couple of chances were created by Writhlington early on, before Bradley Gould was played in superbly by Captain Morgan Skipp, Gould finishing with composure to give Writhlington a 1-0 lead. This lead was doubled soon after through a defensive mix up which saw the Norton Hill defender pass the ball into his own goal as his goalkeeper came rushing out to clear the ball. Louis Diegutis produced a couple of very good saves to keep Writhlington 2-0 up at half-time as, to their credit, Norton Hill came back in to the match .

A slow start to the 2nd half saw substitute goal keeper Elliot Oatley forced into a couple of sharp and brave saves to deny the Norton Hill forwards any joy at getting back into the game. With 10 minutes played, a sweeping move down the right hand side resulted in a great cross to the back post where Skipp controlled the ball before blasting it past the keeper to make it 3-0. For the last 15 minutes of the match, Norton Hill pressed hard to get back into the game with a goal but to no avail due to the resolute defending of David Hare and Caleb Wright at centre back. Chances were being created at both ends before Norton Hill finally scored a consolation goal in the last 5 minutes to make the final scoreline 3-1 to Writhlington.

Deputy Head Nick Russon said:

‘This was a tremendous end to a truly great season. The boys played a superb game and I am really proud of their achievements. ‘

Young Sports Volunteer Of The Year - April 2015

Writhlington student, Hayley Chivers, was awarded The Young Sports Volunteer of the Year Award at The Chairman’s Community Awards in Bath in April 2015.

Hayley was nominated by the school for the dedication and commitment she has shown whilst volunteering, on a regular basis, at Writhlington Gymnastics Club; a community club which is based at the school’s sports centre.

Hayley assists every week with the Boys Competition Squad, in addition, she also helps at competitions and other club events. Hayley is an excellent role model for the younger gymnasts and her volunteering has inspired others to volunteer as well.

Head Teacher Mark Everett Said:

‘We have so many students like Hayley who give up their time volunteering to help others and they are a real inspiration to all. With activities like DofE promoting volunteer work, we are seeing an increased number of students not only volunteering but also having a big impact on their community and it is something we are very proud of and congratulate Hayley on this wonderful achievement.’

Easter Camp Success - April 2015

Over forty cadets took part in this year’s CCF Easter Camp, packed full of exciting activities and fierce competition at Yoxter Training Camp.

Students competed in teams in a series of activities run by Writhlington CCF, in a competition to secure the Easter Champion title. Blank firing exercise, air rifle shooting, full bore rifle shooting, archery, football, volleyball, an expedition and several other events all made up the elements of the competition that saw 6 Section take the winning title.

Congratulations to 6 Section: Cdt M Seviour, Cdt E Willoughby, Cpl J Owen-Pinkney, Cpl A Luscombe, Cdt L Bunn, Cpl O Bazeley, L/Cpl W Holmes.

CCF 2LT Nathan Marshall said:

“These camps are a really great opportunity for students to consolidate the skills they have been learning throughout the year. We have such great fun setting up and watching the students compete, they take real pride in every event they do and it is always a pleasure to take them away.”

Student Selected For Gb Junior European Squad - April 2015

Young gymnast and Writhlington student, Zoe Simmons has taken another step towards her long-held dream of becoming an Olympic star after being selected for the GB Junior European Squad.

Zoe will be part of the Artistic Squad, which includes her favourite disciplines of bar, beam, vault and floor. As an 11-year-old, she vaulted her way to become National Champion in her own age group.

The committed Year 7 student took the title in the bars, beam and vault event proving that she has an all-round talent.

Since then Zoe, who has Welsh ancestry, has represented Wales and will be competing for Wales in France in May.

Training is in full swing and Zoe spends up to 35 hours a week at the Academy Gymnastics club in Portishead, which is home to Olympians Imogen Carnes and Ruby Harold who compete internationally for England.

At Christmas Zoe travelled to America spending a week in Cincinnati training with other young gymnasts.

Mum Jill Simmons-Temple said:

‘The whole family are proud of Zoe and her achievements. We are also fortunate to have sponsorship from Aqua Sulis Financial Management and Louise’s Take Away, which helps with some of the training costs.’

Zoe admires the Americans because of their dedication to training but says the conditioning they undergo is hard.’

Writhlignton To Host Primary Roald Dahl Event - April 2015

Writhlington School is gearing up to host their very first Roald Dahl Primary Festival, based around the fun and popular Roald Dahl Mini Musicals.

Writhlington School has invited local primary schools to take part in a festival celebrating drama, creativity and the popular writing and stories of Roald Dahl. Schools will perform popular stories including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs transformed by the Roald Dahl team into laugh out loud mini musicals.

As well as performing, students also get the opportunity to help design the set including over 6ft tall letters that spell out Roald Dahl.

Theatre Manager, Roxy Thomas said:

‘We really wanted to offer local primary schools the opportunity to perform on a real stage. We are very lucky to have such fantastic facilities and are passionate about linking with the community and sharing our resources. We hope the Festival will grow every year and will erupt into a celebration of all the talented and confident students our primary schools nurture.’

Students will help design the lighting with Theatre technician, James Fox-Robinson, before performing to parents, friends and family.

Head of Drama James Moore added:

‘The Roald Dahl Festival is such an exciting project. Performance is about confidence and team-work, enabling our community’s younger performers to take part in a rewarding challenge. Sometimes all it takes in a student’s mind is a little change to create a big impact on learning and participation.’

Writhlington Win Best In Europe - April 2015

Pupils at Writhlington are celebrating winning Best Amateur Exhibit and a Gold medal from the Royal Horticultural Society at the European Orchid Show held in London over the Easter holidays.

Pupils planned a display that featured diverse orchid species grown at the school along with education activities and information about their conservation work in Africa.

Seventeen year old Zoe Barnes described the design. “We wanted to showcase our project and so built a working propagation laboratory for the public to try micro-propagation techniques as well as designing boards to describe our research”.

The plant display that was commended by judges for the quality of specimen plants was supported by a special app designed by fourteen year old James Stewart who explained, “The app linked plants on the display to how the plants grow in the wild as well as how we grow them at school. This helps the public to improve their own plant culture.”

Students were joined by two of their partners from Rwanda. Nathan Kabanguka lectures at the Kitabi College of Conservation and Environmental Management and Tonny Kasinja, Head of Science at FAWE School in Kigali. Nathan and Tonny presented their orchid conservation work with students in Rwanda.

Teacher, Simon Pugh-Jones described the event as a great success. “As well as winning awards the show gives students the opportunity to link up with scientists from our partner organisations such as Kew Gardens, Cambridge Botanic Gardens and Kent University to plan future collaborations in science and conservation”.

The next European Orchid Show will be held in Paris in 2018 but those who don’t want to wait that long can visit the Writhlington Orchid Project for the Summer Orchid Festival on June 27th from 10am until 4pm.

Writhlington Host Hustings - April 2015

The topics of animal testing, the future of Trident and should education be reformed put North East Somerset parliamentary hopefuls in the hot seat at a hustings organised by students at Writhlington School.

Students, many of whom are first-time voters, grilled the candidates on subjects they feel strongly about.

On the stage answering some tough questions were Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative), Todd Foreman (Labour), Wera Hobhouse (Liberal Democratic), Ernie Baber (UKIP) and Bath candidate Dominic Tristam (Green) who stood in for Katy Boyce.

But while the answers to the questions may have varied all candidates were keen to make sure young voters were engaged in the political process.

Five questions were put to candidates with students wanting to know their views on election recall and the need for faster broadband
They also wanted to know whether testing on animals was suitable for the 21st century and was there still a need for the Trident deterrent.

With suggestions that the voting age should be reduced to 16 they were also keen on hearing views on whether education should be reformed to include political education.

But while many of the young audience are about to cast their votes for the first time, member of the North East Somerset Youth Parliament Ed Joseph will have to wait another five years to vote for an MP as he was born on May 26.

Ed, who organised the event and chaired the Question Time style session, said it was about young people getting their chance to be involved.

Each candidate was given time to introduce themselves with two minutes to answer each question.

The questions were put by students themselves and had been submitted from all areas of the sixth form.
Ed said: \"Students were very keen to be able to engage with their local candidates and to have their views on subjects that matter to them.\"

As well as sixth formers and staff there were parents and representatives from the community.

Writhlington Welcome The Spring In Style - April 2015

Following a successful Charity Concert with Downside School, staff and students at Writhlington are putting the finishing touches to the Spring Concert, ready for curtain up on Friday 1 May.

Over one hundred staff and students are set to perform at this year’s Spring Concert including Writhlington’s saxophone, string and clarinet groups. Junior Band will be performing a number of songs from the very popular hit musical Mary Poppins. A-Level and GCSE students will be presenting their exam pieces with some beautiful solos before all coming together to perform a show stopping finale.

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 going to be a spectacular show.”

Tickets are £6.00 [£3.00 OAP/children] which includes refreshments and are available from Mrs Tout on 01761 433581 ext 2315 or

Lucia Wins Bath Pride Award - April 2015

At the end of March, Bath Chronicle launched their fourth year of ‘Pride Awards’, Writhlington Year 11 student, Lucia Robinson, could not believe that she had been nominated for her fundraising for CLIC Sargent, Teenage Cancer Trust, Rainbow Trust and Ward 38 at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

You hear a lot about the Big Society these days and Bath has always been enhanced by people who think nothing of doing something for others. The Bath Pride Awards are to thank these people for what they do and give them the credit they deserve. The categories recognise people who care for others and their communities and those who have been involved in remarkable acts of bravery.

Lucia was unable to attend the award ceremony as she was taken ill at the last minute however some of the Lucia’s closest friends, family and teachers attended on her behalf.

Year 13 student Ellie Soccorsy said:

“I\'ve known Lucia for about 2 years. We first met at a New Years party where neither of us knew anyone and we\'ve been friends since. Lucia is so funny, positive and she\'s just a great person to know. I\'ve been astounded by her strength throughout her illness, so I am ecstatic that her amazingness has been recognised officially!

The awards ceremony was lovely, it was a one-of-a-kind experience to be sitting in the same room as so many inspiring and humbling people. Of course we were all devastated that Lucia couldn\'t be there but the support from everyone attending the event was fantastic. When Melina (Lucia\'s Mum) went up to the stage to collect the award for \'Young Person of The Year\', everyone waved and cheered to Lucia (who was able to join in the celebration via FaceTime from the hospital)

All in all it was a wonderful privilege not only to have attended the Bath Pride Awards but to know and be involved in the personal story of such an incredible individual.”

Art Teacher Helen Sen-Sharma said:

“Year Leader, Natasha Fear and I were honoured to attend the Pride of Bath Awards in support of Lucia Robinson and her family.

It really was a truly humbling experience to be amongst all the remarkable people from the local community. Unfortunately Lucia was unable to attend as she was in hospital following an operation and was being closely monitored but we were able to FaceTime her from her hospital bed.

All entrants had their own incredible story, selfless, personal achievement through adversity and making a difference to the community. Lucia won in her category ‘Young Person of the Year’, making us all extremely proud to be there to celebrate a very special individual.

Her mother picked up her award on her behalf, with Lucia being able to see from her bed.

Ali Vowles from BBC Point West and Mrs Robinson both agreed they would give Lucia the award ceremony she deserved and were going to making it happen, with the aim of potentially holding the event at Writhlington School when Lucia is recovered and well enough.

I look forward to celebrating Lucia\'s success with family, friends, staff and students in the near future, taking time to recognise a very strong, understated, talented individual.”

Students Take Part In Gifted And Talented Sports Programme. - April 2015

Forty Writhlington PE students attended a full day of sporting activities at University of Bath as part of the Gifted and Talented programme.

The pupils were put through their paces in various tests such as sprinting, agility, balance, power, hand-eye coordination and teamwork drills. All of the tests carried out were designed by professional athletes and trainers to give the students a taste of what training as an elite athlete entails in order to train for big competitions.

In the afternoon, the group were treated to an in depth Q&A session with Great Britain Paralympic medal winner, Ben Rushgrove, who achieved a silver medal in the T36 100m at the Paralympic Games in Beijing 2008 in a time of 12.35 seconds.

Some excellent questions by the students gave them an insight into the mindset of an elite athlete, absorbing tips about how to deal with the pressures of training and competing at the very highest level.

Girls Excel In Engineering - March 2015

This project was set up to teach girls they can be engineers too. The project helped inspire us to believe that we could be what we want to be, like top leading engineers.

The workshop started with a task to draw what we thought an engineer would look like, most people drew a man thinking that girls aren\'t for this kind of work. The next task was to get into small groups and design our own air-using tool which would be useful around the house.

Our group made a toaster which had a fan on the side to blow out the crumbs at the bottom of the toaster through a tube and into a container once the toast is ready. When the crumbs are in the container you take the container off and empty the crumbs into the bin. After discussing other things we could make, we decided to make the toaster prototype because we thought that it would be helpful in the kitchen because it would stop the toaster being blocked which is unhygienic and stop the risk of catching fire.

Another group of six came up with an idea of finding a way to help cake rise when baking. They used the materials they had to make a prototype of a air cake machine. The model would have air coming up from the bottom of the machine, which would have a dial to control how much air comes into the mixer whilst the mixture is being mixed.

Lucie said \"it was a really fun project to do with Dyson and being a able to create our own prototype. It was also fun working with Dyson employees and getting to know what it is like to be an engineer. \"

Lydia also said \" I really enjoyed making the prototype, it was good to be able to have a chance to learn about James Dyson and how they work.\"

Phoebe thought \" That it was a good opportunity and it made think that I would mind being an engineer when I\'m older .\"

Written by Phoebe Tesoriere, Lydia Collingwood and Lucie Turner.

Students Design Commercial Airliner For The Future - March 2015

Writhlington students visited the Bristol Airbus Company for a day of challenge and inspiration.

Year 11 and 12 ICT and Computing students were invited to discover more about the engineering world with Bristol based company Airbus. Students explored the possibilities offered by the company for work experience and internships whilst taking part in workshops based around some of Airbus’s successful projects.

Students registered in the morning, receiving security ID badges before being given a tour of the wing manufacturing production line where Airbus manufacture carbon fibre wings the A400 (M), a military air craft designed for harsh combat environments.

Donning hard hats and safety goggles, students were invited to see the landing gear test facility for the enormous Airbus A380, the double-decker passenger plane that not only boasts the largest commercial aircraft flying today but also holds the capacity to transport up to 544 passengers in a comfortable four-class configuration and up to 853 in a single-class configuration.

After lunch the students formed teams to compete in a design challenge to create a commercial airliner for the future. Students worked alongside Airbus staff to make engineering decisions regarding efficiency, noise and range.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘Students are really lucky at Writhlington to have access to such empowering and inspiring companies. We work with leading engineers at forefront of technology and students have more opportunities than ever before.’

Writhlington Triumphant In Somerset County Schools U19 Semi-final - March 2015

Writhlington U19 football team finished triumphantly in the semi final of the Somerset County Cup against Millfield School.

A thrilling match saw Writhlington concede a goal within the first 10 minutes, setting pressure on the team to regain control. Rallying themselves, Jacob evened out the match with a equaliser after picking up the ball from just inside the centre line.

Galvanised, Jacob continued to demonstrate his excellent ball handling skills and scored his second goal again running nearly half the length of the pitch. Writhlington secured a strong first half with a last minute goal from Alex who scored a header from the edge of the box.

During an excellent second half, Millfield ramped up the pressure and clawed back a goal setting the match at 3-2 with all to play for. Writhlington continued to show great resilience as Millfield maintained their pressure on defence and goal, forcing Owen to make a couple of brave saves. With Millfield hitting the bar and centre posts in the dying moments of the match it was a tense finish to a well fought game.

Writhlington are now through to the finals where they will play Clevedon or Gordano for the winning title.

Swimming Success - March 2015

Writhlington School entered its first British Association Swimming Gala in Bristol with twenty of our students competing for a space at the top of the table for their individual events.

Over 26 state and private secondary schools took part in this annual event hoping to reach the finals. Writhlington students swam well throughout the day securing seven places in the finals which is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations to all who took part.


Chloe Derrick 1st intermediate breaststroke
Zachary Keeling 1st intermediate breaststroke
Kam Smith 2nd senior breaststroke and 3rd butterfly
Emily Shattock 2nd butterfly
Ethan Doble 2nd butterfly and 3rd freestyle
Will Holmes 2nd freestyle
Rob Duffey 3rd freestyle and 3rd backstroke

Shakespeare Week At Writhlington - March 2015

Students at Writhlington School celebrated the biggest name in world literature recently as the library honoured Shakespeare Week.

The nationally-recognised week is the work of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, an organisation that passionately believes that “that Shakespeare is not only for all time, but for everyone, and that having a great first experience of Shakespeare should be something every child experiences”. As the library greatly supports this belief, all manner of Shakespearean delights were on show at Writhlington School and students, as always, involved themselves in as much as possible!

As well as promoting his world-renowned plays and sonnets, displays included more unusual interpretations of the Bard’s work, from picture books and quick reads, to graphic novels and Manga. These exciting retellings of classics such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth flew off the shelves as students discovered more about the drama behind the titles and found out why a staggering half of the world’s schoolchildren study the great man’s plays every year.

Lunchtime activities, dubbed ‘Bard Games’ in honour of the great Elizabethan playwright, were also a big hit as students’ knowledge of the man, his life and his work was tested with crosswords, word searches, quizzes and challenges. Many impressed with their knowledge of the Bard, several learnt something new and all had fun in a week designed to bring the magic of Shakespeare to life.

Librarian Mrs King said, “This was our first ever celebration of Shakespeare Week and it was a huge success! I was delighted to see so many students embrace the week with their book loans, participation in activities and the general buzz the event created in the library. I look forward to building upon this success and making next year’s celebrations even bigger and better!”

Community Afternoon Tea - March 2015

Year Eleven students at Writhlington School, welcomed members of the community for an afternoon tea in celebration of the final element of their Hospitality course.

Over 25 members of the local community, including long-standing governor Phyllis Gay, who celebrates her 50th year as a Writhlington Governor, were welcomed to Writhlington for a spot of afternoon tea and entertainment.

Welcomed proudly by the Maitre ‘d; Year 11 student Owen Pass, guests were invited to join Writhlington staff members for afternoon tea to celebrate the hard work put in by year 11 Hospitality students as part of their course.

From table decorations to menus, students prepared a wonderful afternoon on treats including finger sandwiches, freshly baked victoria sponge, Caramel Shortbread, Caramelised apple cake, delicious scones with clotted crème and Jam and a selection of pastry goods.

Teacher of Technology Phil Hobley Said:

‘It is such a wonderful opportunity for students to not only put their new skills in to practice, but also to give back to the community. The students are very proud of what they have achieved and were very excited to be able to share that with their guests.

This annual tradition not only offers the community the opportunity to see the vast array of activities going on at Writhlington, but also allows students to engage in stories from their guests of past visits and their time at school.

Year 11 student and Maitre ‘d Owen said:

‘ It went really well and I think everyone really enjoyed it. As Maitre ‘d I got to spend a lot of time talking to our guests and they had really interesting stories to tell. One guest told stories of meeting Royalty and told me that they were really quite normal. I think they thought our afternoon tea was fit for royalty too.’

Girls Make It Through To The Somerset County Cup Finals - March 2015

Writhlington’s girls U14 Football team travelled to Wells Blue School on Wednesday 4 March to play in the Semi Final of the Somerset County Cup.

The team were excited as they made their way game, with just one win to go to secure their place in the Finals, students geared up for a tough game and battled the pre-game nerves.

Writhlington started the game well, attacking from the off. Summer and Mia linked well from the centre of midfield into attack, leading to a powerful shot on goal from Mia. The Wells goalkeeper parried the ball away but only to the feet of Emily who neatly finished into the top corner to put Writhlington in command.

The game stayed 1-0 at half time, thanks to some strong defending from Rhianna and great saves from Martha. The second half saw Writhlington dominate, with Mia scoring a quick hat trick to put the game out of Wells Blue School\'s reach.

Wells Blue scored a late consolation goal after a rare lack of concentration but the game was already won (4-1). A fantastic team performance won through grit and determination.

Writhlington now wait to hear their opposition for the final at Street Football Club.

The Adventure Begins Here - March 2015

What better way to start your day than a 3am wake up call ready for a day on Dartmoor.

Eighteen brave students and six excited teachers set off on an exhilarating 19 hour adventure. Students were greeted at Okehampton Camp by clear skies and light (for Dartmoor) winds, perfect conditions for a 30km walk across some of the toughest terrain in England.

Three teams set off down the East side of the National Park navigating independently between tors. They visited 8 checkpoints and 5
Tors including: Oke, Cosdon, Watern, Sittaford and Higher White and climbed almost 1000m throughout the day.

Ten Tors training volunteer Roxy Thomas said:

‘In my 3 years of training we have only ever had one other day of sunshine so it was really lovely for the students to actually see Dartmoor. This is a really tough challenge and I admire students who take it on. I don’t think I could do it!’

With no injuries or drop outs and almost no grumbling or complaining, this was one of the most successful training sessions and puts Writhlington into a very strong position with two teams competing at the event in May.

Last year Writhlington saw two teams complete the challenge in record time setting a tough time to beat.

Head of Outdoor Education at Writhlington, Jamie Comber said:

‘ This competition is a real test for strength of character. Students have to show resilience, determination and compassion for their teammates. We have a really determined group of students this year and it is going to be very tricky to pick the teams.’

Paralympic Star Visits Writhlington Students - March 2015

Paralympic swimmer Kate Grey visited Writhlington last week as part of the Sky Sports ‘ Living for Sport’ programme.

Starting with an inspirational talk to Year 9 students, Kate spoke about her journey and the importance of will power, strength and determination before sharing a video of her fellow athletes, who have defied all odds to become world renowned inspirations for the sporting world.

Kate represented Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics and went on to win a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke and bronze in the 100m Individual Medley at the World Championships in 2009. Unfortunately, due to illness Kate missed out on qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. However she still has the hunger to achieve her dream of winning a Paralympic medal and hopes to compete at the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016.

Year 7, 9, 12 and 13 students were given the opportunity to take part in practical team building sessions where they learnt the importance of team work, communication and enthusiasm

Second in PE, Ali Weeks said:

“We are very lucky to welcome so many professional athletes to our school. Nothing is more inspirational than hearing directly from these accomplished sports people and learning about their journey to success. Kate absolutely exudes confidence and inspiration. Students had a fantastic time working with her and absorbing all her tips and directions to success”.

World Book Day Success - March 2015

A myriad of book characters were brought to life before our eyes at Writhlington School on Thursday when staff and students celebrated a very special day across the globe: World Book Day!

Raising money for Book Aid International, students and staff whole-heartedly embraced the invitation to dress up or dress down. Among the student costumes were JK Rowling’s Dumbledore, Alice in Wonderland, a trio of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins with Legolas, The Mad Hatter and the Tiger Who Came to Tea!

Teachers also rose to the challenge of topping their efforts in 2014 by creating some fantastic outfits from Paddington Bear to Where’s Wally, The Cat in the Hat to The Illustrated Mum. In fact, Geography teacher Miss Youde’s recreation of Jacqueline Wilson’s tattoo-covered character garnered lots of attention on the library’s Twitter page and even received a tweet from Dame Jacqueline herself who called the outfit “perfect”!

Group ensembles were very popular too, with the entire English department teaming up to bring the characters from Harry Potter to life, while the eight members of the Games department transformed themselves perfectly into Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

Photos of all the teachers were widely acknowledged across the nation throughout the day on social networks and students within the school were buzzing about the staff’s efforts! Staff and students raised an impressive £821.59 and all money raised will be donated to Book Aid International who will use it to send books to much-needed libraries for children in Africa.

As well as fancy dress, the library ran a host of exciting events, including lessons starters for every subject across the school, lunchtime games and activities in the library and a “Guess the Teacher” quiz which tested students’ skills in deduction and recognition as they had to identify the teachers who’d been snapped hiding behind some striking book covers. Furthermore, all students were given £1 book tokens to allow them to buy a specially-written £1 World Book Day book for free or redeem it against the purchase of any book for a £1 discount. Students were also treated to World Book Day entertainment outside of school with an online festival of all things booky called ‘World Book Day Teen Fest’ which, by all reports, was fantastic too!

Mrs King, Librarian, said

“As ever, our students and staff demonstrated an incredible amount of effort to celebrate World Book Day and show each other how much books mean to them! The whole school was animated by the excitement of the day and the library was certainly the place to be! As well as the brilliant response to the call to dress up or dress down, students involved themselves in so many other parts of the day. We’ve no doubt raised a considerable amount of money for Book Aid International and also reminded everyone about the joy of reading for pleasure; altogether a tremendous result of a wonderful day! Thank you to everyone who made it so special.”

Ground Breaking Work For Writhlington School - March 2015

Writhlington science teacher Simon Pugh-Jones (MBE) headed to Rwanda this half term to carry out some extensive research and to continue conserving rare species of Orchids.
Writhlington have long been developing working relationships with schools and colleges in Rwanda, including taking teams of Writhlington students to visit and share their expertise. Based at the Kitabi College of Conservation and Land Management (KCCEM), a centre of excellence for conservation education in East Africa, Simon ran a series of workshops on orchid conservation and laboratory propagation.
KCCEM diploma students carried out field studies and laboratory work developing potential sustainable enterprise work with key endemic Rwandan species.

The British Council Connecting Classrooms initiative provided funding for Simon\'s work as well as bringing a group of students from FAWE School, Kigali, to KCCEM to carry out scientific research in Nyungwe National Park and learn laboratory procedures.

Simon is due to have the research on rainforest micro-habitats published in the UK to help the FAWE students develop their scientific career prospects.

FAWE is a specialist sciences school and Teacher Tonny Kasinja will be visiting Writhlington in April to continue the partnership between the schools.

Writhlington\'s partnership with Rwandan schools and colleges began in 2013 and provides for sharing skills and offering students from both countries unique opportunities to develop scientific, communication and development skills.

Writhlignton Pupils Go For Big Bang Glory At National Science And Engineering Competition Finals - March 2015

Talented pupils from Writhlington School in Somerset are one step closer to science and engineering victory after winning places in the finals of the UK’s prestigious National Science + Engineering Competition.

James Stewart excelled in the heats of the Competition with a project to improve the product ‘CoderKits’ in a bid to to help people learn coding more rapidly and intuitively, whilst Jacob Coles’ project analyses his trip to Rwanda to help set up its first plant propagation facility. Their peers, Emily Thearle, Chloe McGiveron and Rosie Vallis also shone in the qualifying rounds with a project in which they attempted to isolate their own mycorrhiza from the roots of Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted Orchid) in a bid to improve its conservation. The pupils will now go head-to-head with students from across the country in an attempt to claim one of the UK’s most sought-after science honours for young people.

James, Jacob, Emily, Chloe and Rosie will now represent the South West as a region of rising young talent at the finals of the National Science + Engineering Competition held at The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair at The NEC, Birmingham in March 2015 – the UK’s largest celebration of science and engineering for young people. There, the pupils’ shortlisted entries will be showcased to over 75,000 visitors and they will come face-to-face with top celebrity judges in a Dragons’ Den style pitch process.

James said: “I’m thrilled my project has made it into the finals of this year\'s National Science + Engineering Competition and I can’t wait to get to The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham this March! It\'s been a lot of fun thinking about science and engineering in a new light and coming up with something that can help enhance people\'s everyday lives.\"

Imran Khan, Chief Executive of the British Science Association which runs the National Science + Engineering Competition, commented:

”I am thrilled that James, Emily, Chloe and Rosie have got through as finalists and I wish them all the best for the national finals at The Big Bang Fair in Birmingham. Their projects really caught the imagination of the judges and I hope that they inspire other young people to enter the Competition next year.”

Visit for more information about this year’s Competition.

Writhlington Students Join The Queen - March 2015

Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi to join HM The Queen for Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey

On Monday 9 March, students from Writhlington School in Radstock were among nearly 1,000 young people from all corners of the UK in attendance at Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Observance, Britain’s largest annual inter-faith gathering.

The celebration was attended by Her Majesty The Queen and Their Royal Highnesses The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge. This year’s Observance celebrated the 2015 Commonwealth theme ‘A Young Commonwealth’.

Speakers included international child rights’ activist and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kailash Satyarthi; Queen’s Young Leader and community mobiliser, PJ Cole; and Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury MP, the first female Speaker of the Parliament of Bangladesh.

The multi award-winning South African a cappella group, The Soil performed and Indian poet, Sharanya Manivannan read a new poem, commissioned for Commonwealth Day.

The children present in the Abbey – including those presenting posies to The Queen and The Duchesses – were from schools currently involved in Commonwealth projects.

Sixth Form student and Youth MP Edward Joseph said:

\'It is such an honour to attend this event uniting the commonwealth, young and old with the Queen and her family.\'

Genocide, Tourette\'s And Inspiration. - March 2015

This term, Writhlington Sixth Form hosted their first Inspire Day modelled on the TEDx conference we attended in Bath on 5th November last year. A variety of people from all kinds of professions and walks of life came to share their ‘story’ with us. The raw impact of the stories was sometimes hard to comprehend. We heard about different things happening in the world, from the entertaining life of an octogenarian actress to the slaughter of dolphins in Japan; surviving genocide in Rwanda to appearing on The Voice TV show.

We entered the theatre hoping to be inspired and we certainly were. We learnt many things throughout the day but the most important was that everyone is an individual who is special and has something to achieve in life.

One student commented,

“I was very touched by all of the inspirational speakers. They all had an impact on me and made me think. However, one of the talkers got me thinking deeper and I was pure focus and concentration throughout Mark Aston’s talk about joining the SAS.”

Naturally students were drawn to different speakers and many commented on Jamie Comber who presented his wife, Kate’s journey from hobby sportswoman to international Ironman contender in Wales, Nice and Hawaii.

” I felt inspired after the talk because I have always been a sporty person. For someone to be put out of their comfort zone and achieve so much is truly amazing.”

James Fox Robinson who coordinated the presentations, designed the stage and also took part provoked the following response:

‘I found the way you delivered your talk both capturing and funny, you really got the audience’s attention (hard to do with us sixth formers) and I think everyone really listened to you and took on board what you said.’

‘The way I felt about Inspire day was that it made me realise that no matter where and who you are you can still be a hero to others even if they are from a different culture. I also felt inspired to push myself so that I can achieve a lot more and maybe one day I could be inspiring to others around me. That would change my life completely.’

Inspire will be an annual event at Writhlington.

Students Showcase Success - February 2015

Writhlington students celebrated this week as they hosted their very first ILP Showcase.

A new homework initiative has seen students across Key Stage three take part in Independent Learning Projects as part of their new homework scheme. ILPs offers students a range of tasks they can do that explore all different creative outputs, whether they are a creative writer, thinker, explorer or designer students can engage in something that inspires them to work independently and effectively.

Deputy Head Teacher Clare England said:

‘ The ILPs were designed to cater for students of all abilities, we really wanted them to engage with the task and feel excited about creating a project. We have had some exceptional projects handed in; from movies and movie trailers, novels to models of theatres. ‘

Parents were invited to a showcase of gold homeworks displayed in the Atrium and students toured their parents around talking them through their method and thinking behind their projects.

Year eight student Molly said:

‘ It has been really nice to be able to pick which parts of the homework we did. Some were really creative and we got to build models and some needed lots of writing but we were able to pick our topic and so that made it more interesting.’

Inspirational Student Nominated For Bath Pride Award 2015 - February 2015

Year Eleven is notoriously a tough year for students faced with exams and life changing decisions, but what would you do if you were also faced with the ultimate challenge: battling cancer?

Brave and inspirational Year 11 student Lucia Robinson has faced more than your average troubles approaching her GCSEs. Diagnosed with astrocytoma, Lucia underwent a five hour operation to remove a tumour from her spine.

After spending three weeks recovering at Bristol Children\\\'s Hospital and undergoing two courses of chemotherapy, Lucia decided that she wanted to give back, and so began a fundraising journey, a journey that has touched the lives of hundreds of people and earned her the Somerset and Guardian ‘Young Person of the Year’ award.

Lucia began fundraising for many charities including Ward 38 of Bristol Children\\\'s Hospital, the Teenager Cancer Trust, CLIC Sargent and the Rainbow Trust.

Lucia said:
I really wanted to be able to give something back. My family and I have been given so much support from various organisations. I wanted to do something quite stand out-ish, that would capture people’s attention; that’s where ‘Go Blue for Lucia’ came from - what is more attention grabbing than bright blue hair?’
One of their first events saw hundreds of friends, family and supporters turn out for Lucia’s fun run, raising well over £1000.

Fun run organiser Anna Mercer said:
“The event went tremendously well and we were overwhelmed by how many people came along to support the day.
“What made it for me was seeing Lucia smiling and laughing with her friends and family. Her mum told me she felt like she had gone back to how she was before, something she didn\\\'t think she could do. I think it was quite an overwhelming day for her.
“She is doing all these wonderful things and we were so pleased to be able to bring a smile to her face.”

The place closest to Lucia’s heart is Ward 38 of Bristol Children\\\'s Hospital where she spent weeks recovering after her operation.

Lucia said:

‘The team work so hard in there, it must be one of the hardest illnesses to deal with, it is always sad when someone has cancer, but it is especially sad when a child has cancer. With Christmas approaching, all I could think about were all the families that would spend their special day in hospital, so I wanted to do something that would make it a little bit nicer, so they know that there are people thinking about them.’

The Robinsons took presents for all patients on the ward and provided tea, coffee gingerbread, panettone, stollen and other refreshments for the family room over the Christmas period as well as donating £600 to the ward to buy fans for the patients.
But despite all of that, she still wanted to give something back to the hospital and with her mother, family and friends, she embarked on a fundraising campaign, ‘Go Blue For Lucia’. She recently donated Christmas gifts and presents to little ones who will be spending the festive period in hospital and £600 to improve family facilities in Ward 38, where she recuperated.

Writhlington held a mufti day at the end of term in hopes of aiding Lucia with her fundraising goals raising just over £1,000.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘ Lucia is a real inspiration to the students and staff, her fundraising ideas and efforts have been exceptional and she must feel very proud that she is making such a difference to hundreds of people. We look forward to supporting not only with upcoming events but with her GCSEs also.’

Lucia recently received an invite to the Bath Pride awards, where she has been nominated for her outstanding efforts, courage and resilience.

Lucia said:

‘ It has come at a really pivotal time, treatment has worked really well and I begin my last course of chemotherapy at the beginning of March. It really is going to be an evening of celebration for my family and I. I am very honoured to have been nominated for such a lovely award, it’s really touching to know that so many people have followed my story and that I have inspired others to try make a difference too.’

Writhlington And Downside Concert - February 2015

Writhlington and Downside Schools have a long held tradition of hosting charity showcases celebrating the wealth of talent within their music departments.

This year the schools will be performing a concert of well loved musical numbers played by their student bands; audiences will be treated to an evening of memorable performances from \'Every Little a Thing is Magic\' to \'Shrek Dance Party\'.

The schools have chosen to support two charities: Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance who provide vital services saving 100s of lives each year and Bath Mind, a charity that provides information and support to empower people experiencing mental health problems. The charity campaigns to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding of mental health issues.

Head of Music at Writhlington, Fiona Langley, said:

\'This will be a truly fabulous evening where we get the opportunity to celebrate the talents of our young musicians. Hours of hard work and rehearsal go in to this showcase and we are very proud of our students and their dedication’.

Writhlington Head Teacher, Mark Everett, added:

‘We have such an array of talented students at Writhlington and it is always a pleasure to welcome Downside School to join us. This show is such a success and a real delight to watch. I always mark this occasion as the beginning of spring and there is certainly no better way of welcoming in the new season.’

Tickets are £6 (£3) and include interval refreshments provided by our very hard working Music Association.

National Storytelling Week At Writhlington School - February 2015

Writhlington School celebrated National Storytelling Week in the best possible style this year, with good old-fashioned story time in the library every day.

Teachers from across the school volunteered to share a story to eager listeners and we were well and truly treated to some fantastic choices! Madame Knowles- better known for her French teaching than her knowledge of Ukrainian short stories- read The Importance of Having Warm Feet by Marina Lewycka (author of the well-known A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian). With the additional inclusion of a song, Monday’s reading was a real hit and got us off to a great start!

On Tuesday the library welcomed Mr Naunton, Head of PE who, as well as treating us to a story recommended to him by his wife, told his listeners about his dyslexia and the strategies he uses when reading aloud. His inspirational reading was followed on Wednesday by Mr Moore’s predictably dramatic reading of Great Expectations (well, he is Head of Drama after all!).

Miss Taylor left her Science lab on Thursday to share Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Mr Readman (with a name surely made for storytelling?!) finished the week off perfectly with a reading from a book of one of the library’s most popular authors, Neil Gaiman.
Students loved listening to a story each day and teachers relished the opportunity to share their favourite childhood books.

Librarian Victoria said,

“National Storytelling Week should always be a big event for any school library and it certainly was for us! It is stories, after all, which fill our shelves and inspire our young readers’ minds. It was lovely to hear stories rise off the page through the voices of teachers who are proud to share their love of books and I’d like to thank everyone who took part in an event that so perfectly encapsulated the joy of reading.”

It’s Win-win For Writhlington School Library - February 2015

There’s nothing our librarian loves more than the chance to boost the library’s bookshelves with new books and when it comes to acquiring them, a run of amazingly good fortune has resulted in us winning two sets of fantastic fiction books in as many months!

Our ever-active Twitter account (@WrithlingtonLib) attracts followers including authors, publishers, journalists, libraries, schools, teachers, parents and young people. In addition to sharing news, reviews and recommendations, the account provides occasional opportunity for the library to enter into competitions and one such entry in January lead to a prize haul of fiction books from publishing giants, Penguin Random House.

To celebrate their one week anniversary on the social networking site, they ran a one-day competition encouraging followers to retweet their online birthday that morning. Just three lucky winners were announced only hours later and Writhlington School was one of them! Our prize arrived shortly afterwards and the brilliant books- including the ever-popular ‘Wonder’ by PJ Palacio and ‘Noble Conflict’ by student favourite Malorie Blackman- have been flying off the shelves ever since!

Less than one month later, more luck was bestowed upon our library with a mystery delivery in the shape of a large, heavily parcel-taped box one morning this week. Inside, another stash of fantastic fiction and a friendly note informing us that we’d won the Readathon Christmas Quiz! This quiz, from the first fortnight of December, featured fiendishly tricky questions about some of our favourite fictional book characters, from the Grinch to Tiny Tim, and was distributed to library visitors with instructions from the organisers to complete it in the spirit of Christmas- that is, without Google!

Entries were collected and duly posted off for judging and it wasn’t until the arrival of the prize that the competition was given a second thought in this very busy post-Christmas term!

Librarian Mrs King said,

“It’s difficult to describe the surprise and joy at discovering we’ve won a set of books (there’s surely no better prize?)- and not once, but twice! While the first win in January was down to random selection and a little bit of luck, it was the students’ impressive knowledge of all things Christmassy- and their eagerness to win books for the library- that gave us our second wonderful win! Our students should feel very proud that it was one of their entries that resulted in us now having these books, allowing everyone in the school to benefit from their efforts. As well as sharing these exciting new books on our library shelves, I am just as pleased to be able to share the amazing story behind them!”

Writhlington Students Are At It Again! - February 2015

While most of us relaxed into the winter holidays loosening the buttons on our trousers in preparation for Christmas indulgence, Year 8 student, Rebecca Coombs, continued her strict training regime in preparation for the annual South of England trampolining competition.

This year saw over 40 teams compete at the British schools’ Championships, aiming to steal a place in the top two in order to qualify for the UK Championship. The Writhlington team displayed routines of high calibre and technical difficulty in their set piece and voluntary routines, gaining a well-respected third place and narrowly missing one of the top places for the UK championships.

Year 8 student, Rebecca said:

\'It was a really tough competition, standards were very high and we were up against some incredible trampolinists. I am very proud that we came in third place and it will no doubt make us work even harder ready for next year.’

With a third place already under her belt, Rebecca continued in the individual categories up against some of best in the South of England, including those who had beaten their team to the top spot. Rebecca swept the boards, winning second place and a spot in the UK championships individual category.

Second in PE department, Ali Weeks, said:

\'We have so many talented students, we are bursting at the seams with high achieving athletes and they are not only inspiring to their fellow students but to us as a department also\'

Nothing But Drama - February 2015

Writhlington welcomed the all male theatre company Propeller to its stage as they performed Shakespeare’s classic The Comedy Of Errors.

The Comedy of Errors is Shakespeare\'s funniest and smartest comedy. Two sets of estranged twins, separated at birth, find themselves in the same city 25 years later with hilarious consequences. A series of mistaken identities, assumed personas, and wild mishaps bring a family crisis - so complicated that time itself loses the plot - into heart warming focus. Fortunately the audience is always one step ahead...

Pocket Comedy is a sixty minute version of Propeller\'s acclaimed production of The Comedy of Errors which has performed in theatres around the globe.
Under the direction of Edward Hall, Propeller is an all-male Shakespeare company that brings texts alive with productions full of clarity, poetry, speed and imagination.

Head of Drama James Moore said:

‘We are always so excited to give students the opportunity to watch some truly exceptional theatre. Propeller are incredible, not only are they a wonderful group to work with professionally, but their ability to make Shakespeare understandable, engaging and accessible to all is incredible.

Since September, Writhlington have welcomed four theatre companies to perform to students including ‘Theatre in Education’ performances from graduating partner universities.

Theatre Manager Roxy Thomas Said:

‘We are very lucky to be working with Hannah Entwistle at the Egg Theatre who has been working to create links with touring companies and provide our students with these amazing opportunities. After working with Winchester Universities exceptional TIE company last year, we contacted other universities and offered to host their top graduation companies. We really believe that theatre should be made accessible to all.’

Writhlington Readers Win Rare Book Prize - February 2015

Ten very lucky students at Writhlington School were recently rewarded for sharing their love of books with exclusive proof copies of forthcoming novels from Bloomsbury Publishing. The competition was the idea of Writhlington’s Patron of Reading, Huw Powell, whose books are published by Bloomsbury- the publisher that also brought us Harry Potter. Competition rules required students to condense their love of books to just 140 characters, Twitter-style, and share with Huw why they believe- like him- that books are so blooming brilliant!

Author of space-pirate adventure series Spacejackers, Huw then had the very tough job of deciding on his top ten entries, before crowning an overall winner. Huw told students in his monthly Huw’s News blog: “Thank you to everyone who entered the competition. You have risen to the challenge and have done your school proud! There were so many great ideas; it was difficult to pick the winner.”
After much deliberation, Huw declared this response from Lauren Carver, Year 9, his absolute favourite: “I love books because they inspire people to feel confident and give company when people are lonely, also they open up a new world for us.”

Huw said of Lauren’s entry: “Lauren recognised that books inspire people and comfort those who are lonely, as well as opening new worlds for readers. I particularly liked this entry as Lauren thought beyond herself and celebrated books for the positive impact they have on other people.”
Other highly commended responses came from Jade Claridge in Year 11 and Tom Jefferyes in Year 7, who eloquently considered the power and inclusivity of books respectively.

Huw asked the author of one of the prize books, Love Bomb by Jenny McLachlan, to share what she likes best about books and she sent this message to students: \"Hello Writhlington School. Apparently, like me, you love reading. When I lose myself in a book, it feels like magic and it amazes me to imagine young people, like you, believing and loving the worlds I\'ve created. Reading makes life feel like an adventure, where anything is possible.\"

Librarian Victoria King (pictured with the winners) said: “We are so very lucky to have Huw as our Patron of Reading! Not only does he champion the joy of reading to all our students, with this competition he also provided them with a fantastic chance to win rare copies of future favourites. The competition uncovered some wonderfully original and thought-provoking opinions from our students and I was very proud of their responses. Thanks to Huw for coming up with the idea, Bloomsbury for providing the very special books and, of course, the students for all of their brilliant entries! Congratulations to our winners and happy reading!”

Writhlington Students In Intel Partnership - January 2015

Five Writhlington school students have been representing Intel at the prestigious BETT show at the ExCel London. The students from year 10 and year 12 have been working on Intel\'s Intenet of School Things project, an initiative to develop use of the new Intel Galileo programmable electronics board to enhance learning in schools though the capture and analysis of live web streamed data.

Year 10 student James Stewart worked with staff from local electronics firm ScienceScope to design Robotug a digital force meter that uploads data to the Internet of School Things Website.
\"We completed our designs over the Christmas holiday and Intel manufactured them in time for the BETT show\" said James \"It was a real treat to present our collaboration at the show and help the public understand the potential of the Internet of School Things\'

Intel staff were delighted with the contribution of Writhlington School students and are keen to continue working together to develop the project. Teacher Simon Pugh-Jones described the work with Intel as \"a real opportunity for students to develop their skills in electronics and coding, demonstrate creative innovation and work with one of the world\'s leading technology companies.\"

Year 12 students Calum Rush, Year 12, was among students helping Intel staff to run workshops at the show. Callum explained, \"It was a great experience to work with inventors from Intel and to have input into such an exciting project.\"

Future collaborations with Intel will form part of the curriculum at the Mendip Studio School which opens on the Writhlington campus this September. Plans include developing a series of innovative web based sensors for The Eden Project in Cornwall and potential projects in Rwanda.

Youth Parliament Joins With Mps And Lords To Celebrate 750 Years Of Parliament - January 2015

BANES member of Youth Parliament, Ed Joseph joins with MPs and Lords to celebrate 750 years of Parliament.
On 22 January, The UK Parliament hosted a special event to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the parliament, called first by Simon De Montfort, in January 1265.

Forty members from the Houses of Parliament including Writhlington student and member of Youth Parliament, Ed Joseph, gathered together to celebrate this momentous occasion.
The 1265 Montfort Parliament was called together for first time with representatives from both towns and shires to discuss matters of national concern. This gathering of all towns became the major stepping stone to forming the House of Commons.

Buckingham MP John Bercow said:
“Over the past eight centuries, the public and their Parliament have shaped society and changed the way we live our lives. The Montfort and Magna Carta anniversaries which we commemorate in 2015, provide the perfect opportunity to remember the beginning of the UK’s journey to the rights and representation we enjoy today. This ‘re-summoning’ reminds us how far we have come, and that we need to continue to work together to shape our society for future generations.”

The Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza, said:
“This symbolic ‘re-summoning’ of the shires and towns brings the story of Simon de Montfort and his 1265 Parliament to life, recognising the emergence of Parliament and local representation. Like the House of Commons, the Lords has members from every part of the UK. We also have members with experience and expertise in virtually every area of public policy. I hope celebrating anniversaries like this and highlighting the role Parliament has played and continues to play in the history of our nation will encourage people to find out more, and get involved in the important work that goes on in both Houses throughout the year.”

The event was followed by a Special Evensong, which was open to the public, in Westminster Abbey. Those who had spoken earlier in the day laid wreaths at the Montfort Shield commemorating the pioneers of parliamentary democracy and those who campaigned for the rights and representation that we enjoy today.

Ed Joseph, Member of UK Youth said:
“It was such an honour to be invited to attend such a prestigious occasion. We are so lucky that the voice of young people in the UK is not only acknowledged, but that we are given the opportunity to express our beliefs and have an impact. This is a real testament to the progress and hard work since 1265. Throughout the day we heard some inspiring speeches, most notably, speaker John Bercow, who identified us Youth Parliamentarians as experts on ourselves and confidently said that soon the baton of governance would be passed on to us”.
Pictured from left to right: The Rt Hon Chris Skidmore MP, Kieran Mulvaney MYP, The Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Ed Joseph MYP, The Rt Hon Baroness Butler-Sloss, Ellie James MYP, Vishal Mamgai MYP and Jake Pitt MYP

Celebrating Hard Work - January 2015

From frisky cocktails to fruity mocktails, students and parents gathered together in style last week to celebrate their exam success at the school’s annual certificate evening.

For our A-level students, it is the end of an era. An accumulation of seven years’ hard work at Writhlington and the opportunity to reflect and share new experiences with their teachers. With many students beginning their university careers, apprenticeships or new jobs, the staff relish the opportunity to catch up with students and wish them well in their future endeavours.

Assistant Head, Mark Bridges said:

‘We love hearing how students are getting on after they have left Writhlington. It is always the sign of a job well done if your students are excited to come back and share their progress. I still hear from students I taught five years ago and when they visit, it almost feels like they never left.’

For GCSE students, it is a celebration of their exams being finished and the chance to share the excitement of what higher education brings. Whether they continue A-levels at Writhlington or begin courses elsewhere, nothing quite beats the feeling that you no longer have to wear uniform to school again.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘I love seeing the beaming faces of proud parents as they come through the doors; while the students have put in the hard grafting, there is no getting past the tantrums and meltdowns dealt with over the years by parents. The evening is a wonderful way to start the year and a great reminder to staff and students of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.’

Along with their exam certificates, students were awarded special certificates nominated by staff through out the last year, recognising those who had gone the extra mile or had achieved wonderful results despite any challenges they may have faced.

Record Turnout For Local Youth Parliament Vote - November 2014

Writhlington student and member of Youth Parliament for Bath and North East Somerset, Ed Joseph MYP, has rallied over 4,500 votes in this year’s ‘Make your Mark’, the UK’s largest youth led ballot style campaign.

The campaign presents young people with ten issues – and they are asked to vote for the five that should be debated in the House of Commons where Members of the Youth Parliament meet for their annual sitting.

All secondary schools in the local authority were sent ballot papers, and every single teenager is asked to make their views known.
Across the country, over 865,000 young people took part which was an 81% increase on last year’s 478,000 votes.

In Bath and North East Somerset, the 4,500 young people making their mark was a 2000% increase on last year’s 210 votes.
The five topics that received the most votes in the ballot nationally were 1) Votes at 16, 2) A living wage for all, 3) An improvement to Mental Health services, 4) Work experience schemes in all schools and 5) to bring back exam resits in Maths and English.

Ed Joseph, MYP, said:

“I am extremely happy with the number of young people in Bath and North East Somerset who took part in ‘Make your Mark’.
“As many will know, the 18 – 24 demographic has the lowest turnout in general elections. With this year’s campaign achieving over 4,500 in B&NES and 865,000 nationally, here’s hoping to change that.”

Eight schools in Bath and North East Somerset participated in ‘Make your Mark’. Writhlington, St. Marks, Hayesfield, Oldfield and Norton Hill; all had Living wage as a top issue.

Somervale had ‘Improvement to mental health services’ top, as did Chew Valley who also voted this joint top with ‘Euthanasia’.
St. Gregory’s Catholic School selected ‘Euthanasia’ as their top issue – with pupils wanting to see assisted dying made legal here in the UK.
Ed thanked Bethany Tavener, Don Foster MP, Director of Children Services Ashley Ayre, Cllr. Liz Hardman, Cllr Nathan Hartley, Ben Howlett and Off the Record for their help promoting the campaign, and looks forward to debating the issues in the House of Commons.

E-learning Regional Champions 2014 - November 2014

Writhlington School is committed to ensuring high standards of education for all students using the very best of new technologies allied to successful traditional teaching and learning. The school’s success has been recognized by the elearning Foundation with an award as a regional champion for the school’s achievement in providing one to one mobile technology in school. Every student in the school is provided with their own iPad to be used as an integral part of their learning experience. The school uses a range of 21st century IT devices to support traditional teaching resources and enable students to access and use new material and software both in school and at home.

Having already successfully hosted a series of events to support local schools with the implementation of a one to one device scheme, Writhlington staff and students are now looking forward to future collaborative work with the e-learning foundation.

Head Teacher Mark Everett said:

‘We are delighted to have been recognized for our contribution to the development of IT provision in schools. We believe the success of this scheme is the ongoing commitment of staff, students and parents and we are looking forward to continuing our work with the e-learning foundation. We are committed to ensuring that all students have access to high quality learning resources and the opportunity to achieve high value qualifications which reflect their aspirations.’

Writhlington School Get Hacked! - Novemer 2014

Year 8 students welcomed a very special guest to Writhlington School recently when author Tracy Alexander paid us a visit to talk about her brand new book, ‘Hacked’.

Tracy spoke to students about her life as she revealed her teenage dream of becoming a sprinter before real life took over and she worked in several jobs in banking and marketing before finding herself in the enviable position of being a published author. Tracy explained that a small flyer in a bookshop window, advertising a local creative writing class, once caught her eye so she cycled straight to it on a whim and she hasn’t looked back since! She told us that inspiration is all around us and ordinary people, their stories and news items from around the globe can easily become the basis for a novel.

It was the representation of teenagers and the topical issue of drones that became the basis for Tracy’s latest novel as teenage protagonist Dan finds himself spiralling into a world of excitement and terror after a spot of ‘harmless’ hacking begins to lead to more sinister and mysterious events.

With the help of some willing volunteers in the shape of Joe and Jordan, Tracy asked the audience to consider what she might keep in mind when writing her books and the list they came up with was exhaustive! Tracy then read an extract from her book, after explaining her teen-speak style and combination of naughty and nice characters, and had us all hooked with a sparky boy-meets-girl encounter with a modern teenage spin.

Tracy then answered questions from students about her book, her life and her top tips for writing before signing copies of her new book- hot off the press- in the library at break time.

Mrs King, Librarian, said,

“It was wonderful to welcome Tracy to Writhlington School as part of the launch of her thrilling new novel. It was very special to listen to her read from her own book and to find out more about the author behind the story. Our students love to hear where authors get their ideas and how to go from a casual story-writer to a famous published author. Hopefully they are so inspired that we will one day stock their books on our shelves too!”

Double Silver World Champion - November 2014

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 Taken Over By Spacejackers - November 2014

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.\\\'

Les Misérables Review - November 2014

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.

Claudia Pepler
Artistic Director Merlin Theatre, Frome.
Co-Director Theatre School & Dance Academy

The Great British Book Off 2014 - November 2014

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!”.

Digital Classroom Is Future Of Learning - November 2014

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 To Castrate Wild Boar - November 2014

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.”

Dancing With The Stars - October 2014

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.

Jumping To New Heights - October 2014

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

Centurion Book Award Nominated By Students - October 2014

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.

Make Your Mark - October 2014

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.”

Following In The Footsteps Of The Greats - September 2014

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.
She said:
\\\'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.
Zoe said:
\\\'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.\\\'

Combined Cadet Force Come Out Top - September 2014

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

Competing For Great Britain - September 2014

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

Writhlington Team Third Best In The Country - September 2014

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!’

Important Information -

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.

Young Gardener Of The Year Leads Team To Gold. - September 2014

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.

Pupils At The New Mendip Studio School To Develop Bio-technology In Rwanda - September 2014

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.

Hard Work Pays Off For Writhlington High Fliers - August 2014

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”

Records Hit New Heights At Writhlington - August 2014

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.”

New Science And Technology Studio School At Writhlington Campus Next Year - August 2014

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.

Tanzania Update Wednesday 25 July - July 2014

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.

Tanzania Update – Monday 21 July - July 2014

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!

Students Raise Awareness Of Me - July 2014

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.

Girls Make National Finals - July 2014

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

Outstanding Art At The National Students Art Exhibition 2014 - July 2014

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).

Emily Farebrother Awarded Rba Art Scholarship - July 2014

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

Young Scientists Win Grant - June 2014

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

Cheering Their Way To The Top - June 2014

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

Bike Project Launch A Success - June 2014

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.

Dressed To Impress! - June 2014

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’

Race For Life - June 2014

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

Year Ten Take Victory - June 2014

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.

Writhlingtons Youth Mp Campaign Success - June 2014

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.

Ed commented:

\\\"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.

Ed added;

\\\"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

Student Receives Highest Award - June 2014

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.

Rhiannon said:

‘ 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.

Boys Football Team Go The Extra Mile - June 2014

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.

Students To Perform West End Classic! - June 2014

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.

James said:

‘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.

Fiona said:

‘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.

Crickland Success For Year Eight Student - June 2014

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.

Kezia said:

‘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.

Students Soar To Greats Heights - June 2014

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.

Girls Triumph At Football Tournament - May 2014

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

Students Take Part In European Football Tour - May 2014

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!’

Sporting Star Has Bright Future Ahead. - May 2014

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 Students Attend British Basketball League Playoff Final At Wembley Arena - May 2014

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 Charity Wins Unicef Bid Of £120,000 - May 2014

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.

Chantal commented;

“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:
or email:

Best Selling Author Visits Writhlington - May 2014

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.

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow - May 2014

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.

Victoria said:
‘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.

Ten Tors Triumph - May 2014

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’.

Somerset Junior Champion - May 2014

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.

Two Teams And Ten Tors - April 2014

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.

Youngest Member Of The Great Britain Team - April 2014

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!’

Spring Concert - April 2014

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

Tea Fit For A Queen - March 2014

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.’

Award Winning Show To Perform At Writhlington - March 2014

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!

Jumping To New Heights - March 2014

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.

Students Win First Prize At National Science Competition - March 2014

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.

Writhlington Girls Rugby Kicks Off To A Superb Start - March 2014

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’

Top Prize For Students - March 2014

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.

World Book Day Triumph - March 2014

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.’

A Challenge And A Half - March 2014

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

Girls Reach County Finals - March 2014

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 Schools Equestrian Team Joins Nsea - March 2014

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.

Sporting Triumph For Year Ten Girls - February 2014

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!

Spring Orchid Even 2014 - February 2014

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
and India.

There will also be photographic displays of British orchids and
orchids of Bosnia Herzegovina hosted on by the Bath Area Orchid Group.

Students Prepare For The Finals Of The National Science And Engineering Competition. - February 2014

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.

Heather said:
“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.

Curtis explained:
“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.

Twelve Days, Thirty-seven Thousand Scouts And One Writhlington Student - February 2014

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.

Lydia said:

‘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.’

Gale Force Winds, Flood Water And Hailstones. - February 2014

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’

Twitter Sensation - February 2014

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’

Election Success Third Year Running - February 2014

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.’

Christine Sprowell Visits Writhlington School - February 2014

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 !’

Charity Showcase Concert 2014 - February 2014

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 [ 01761 235104/ 151] or Liz Tout at Writhlington School [ – 01761 433581 / 2315]

Writhlington Pupils Team Up With Scientists From Kent University To Launch Major National Exhibit. - February 2014

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.

Extreme Reading Taken To New Heights - January 2014

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.

Vote Ed Joseph For Myp 2014 - January 2014

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.

Student Wins Royal Horticultural Award - January 2014

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. ”

Students Building A Sustainable Future - January 2014

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 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!’

Gb Judo Star Tom Reed Visits Budding Athletes - January 2014

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.’

Students Discover Secrets Of Parliament Life - January 2014

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 Bowl Over Private Schools - January 2014

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.

Writhlington Science Pupils Design New Exhibit For Cambridge University - January 2014

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.”

Taking An Arctic Plunge - January 2014

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.

Lucy said:

‘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!’

A-level Students Take On Degree Level Sport Science - December 2013

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.

Christmas Flowering To Life At Writhlington - December 2013

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 Selected For Bath Rugby Programme - December 2013

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.

Student Reaches Final With Gb Commonwealth Hopefuls - November 2013

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.

Mo-bros Movember Moments - November 2013

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.

Dressage Result - 146.5 Marks Out Of 180! - November 2013

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.

Coming Out On Top - November 2013

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’

Eight Hundred Competitors, Forty-seven Countries And One Writhlington Student! - November 2013

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.

Corey said:

\"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.
Corey said

\"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.

Future Tennis Star Heads To The States - November 2013

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

Following The Footsteps Of Sporting Greats - November 2013

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.

Mason said:
‘ 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’

Excellence Is The Gradual Result Of Always Striving To Do Better. - November 2013

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

Students Help Film Professional Music Video - November 2013

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.’

Power, Control, Revenge And Forgiveness - November 2013

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.

Empowering The Masses - November 2013

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.

Kicking Off To A Good Start For Sixth Formers - Novembr 2013

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”.

Training With The Greats - November 2013 2013

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.

Striving To Provide The Best - November 2013

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.

Bringing Home Bronze - October 2013

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.

Hosting A Chinese Student In 2014 - October 2013

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 or contact Mrs R Clarke-Dodgson, China Link Coordinator on

Young Sports Personality Of The Year - October 2013

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:

Student Liaison Officer For China - October 2013

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 or email Mrs Rachel Clarke-Dodgson at

A Taste Of Culture - October 2013

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 or email Mrs Rachel Clarke-Dodgson at

Roaming Romania -

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.’

All For One And One For All! - October 2013

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 High Flier Chosen For Great Britin - October 2013

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.”

How To Train Your Dragon - October 2013

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.

Students Prepare The Uk’s Biggest Orchid For The Regions Autumn Orchid Festival. - October 2013

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.

Coaching Masterclass From Spanish Professional - September 2013

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 - September 2013

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.

Congratulations Katie & Chloe At Warminster Saddle Club Hunter Trials On Sunday - September 2013

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

Writhlington Student To Hold Lecture In South Africa - September 2013

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.

Writhlington’s Success At Chew Valley Show Jumping Event - September 2013

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 To Host House Of Lords Chamber Debate - September 2013

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.

Major News For The Combined Cadet Force - September 2013

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 Qualifies For Badminton 2014 - September 2013

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.

Junior Area Show Jumping At Leyland Court - September 2013

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.

Frome Show Success - September 2013

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.

Students Create History - Setember 2013

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.

Celebrating Success - September 2013

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.

Charlotte said:
' 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.

Student Awarded Bursary For Outstanding Achievements - September 2013

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.

Jayde said:
‘I’m so excited to be starting this new chapter in my life, university is going to be hard work but an amazing experience’