Principal's Blog

Principal's Blog - Friday 10th May 2019:

Firstly, I would like to warmly welcome Mr Alun Evans, Deputy Head Teacher at Rushmoor, to the team. 

My last blog was dated 22 March, which seems an awfully long time ago now!  Now we’ve got over the Easter break and done the Bank Holiday, it is full steam ahead for our senior pupils sitting their GCSE, Cambridge Technical and A-level examinations; I hope they used the holiday period for revision purposes!

Whilst I was away during the Easter break I received the wonderful news that we have finally received planning permission for our Woodland Park site.  We now have the exciting task of moving forward with the finer details and I would be pleased to hear from anybody who has ideas about the building development.  We are in discussion with sponsors and various outside partners and will also be considering ideas such as allowing our past and present families to get involved, perhaps with a ‘sponsor a brick’ style fundraiser.  As you can imagine, there’s lots to think about.

The staff returned for their first day back after the Easter break and were met with a musical theme for the teacher training.  As the whole Alliance staff were together on one site it was also the perfect opportunity to discuss the plans for the new joint site. I followed this with assemblies to the pupils at both schools explaining all about the exciting times ahead.  I linked this in with the theme of perseverance, because we definitely had to persevere with the Bedford Borough planners!  The assemblies touched on the failures and successes everybody faces, such as the entrepreneur Elon Musk and his SpaceX project. 

We introduced a new higher level qualification for our sixth formers this year, Cambridge Technical Business Studies, which is equivalent to 3 A-levels.  The moderator for the exam board visited us recently and I would like to thank Mrs Morris for organising this new course so well and receiving good feedback from the moderator. 

The PE and DT departments also had visits from their moderators, so thank you to Mr Hawken, Miss Pearce, Mrs Bassett-Gilham, Miss Cripps and Mrs Wakeling.

Our sixth formers have the opportunity to add to their UCAS points by working on an Extended Project Qualification.  This can be on any subject they wish, but should show their progress from initial investigation through to the final outcome.  The sixth formers presented their final projects to members of the whole school community.   It was particularly pleasing to see our older pupils enjoying the chance to explain all about their work to the younger pupils, something that is quite unique and promotes the caring and friendly atmosphere we have at the schools; it gives the younger pupils something to aspire to.  My thanks to Miss Rayer for her hard work in co-ordinating the Extended Project Qualification.

Last week, years 7 and 8 at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s took part in the UK Maths Challenge.  The pupils sat the test in the hall, for some this was the first experience of exam conditions.  We should have the results in time for me to put them in the next blog.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend some of the senior pupils from both schools were completing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition.  It wasn’t the best of weather, but they all survived and seemed in very good spirits when I visited to assess them on Friday evening and Saturday morning.  Well done to all involved and thank you to the staff, Mr Morrish, Mrs Andrews and Mr Mudzvovera.

Well done to Mr Jones, Deputy Head at St Andrew’s, who completed the London Marathon this year; not only is this a tremendous personal accomplishment, but Mr Jones raised funds for Brain Research UK and St Andrew’s pupils attended an assembly which explained all about this worthy cause.

During the Easter holidays, our Combined Cadet Forces pupils took part in the Mobbs Memorial Service.  Charlie Klein from year 10 spoke at the service and was a credit to the school. 

Whilst I write this Blog, I am looking out of the window at the grey sky, with the rain pouring down, and wondering just how the year 5 pupils are going to get on with their Bushcraft experience this week.  I am sure that they will not be defeated by the conditions and will relish the times when the sunshine breaks through the heavy clouds.  I, along with the other year 5 parents, shall look forward to my child arriving home with a bag full of very wet and dirty clothes!  Thank you to all the teachers for organising the trip and giving up your own evenings to attend; Mrs Colbert, Miss Robson, Mrs Kelly, Miss Leeburn, Mr Farnsworth and Mrs Robinson.

Pupils in years 6 and 7 pupils from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s have also been away at the Frontier Centre.  They have been abseiling, canoeing, wall climbing, king swinging, and problem solving among other activities.  Thank you to Mr Breeze, Mr Ferrer, Miss Croft, Mr Fryer, Miss Holyoak, Miss Ralph, Mrs Bassett-Gilham, Mr Jones, Mr Wyatt, Miss Thompson and Mr Mudzvovera.

Sports News:  

I regularly meet with educationalists within our local community and further afield so I was pleased when I was speaking to Gill Morrow from the sporting initiative set up as a legacy of the 2012 Olympic.  Gill works for Team Beds and Luton and I am on the local organising committee.  Gill is conducting a sports exercise survey and she was very impressed with the amount of fitness opportunities the girls have across our alliance, which I was pleased to hear as it underlines our commitment to our pupils’ wellbeing. Both schools have the Gold award for sports involvement.

The girls from St Andrew’s had a strong finish to the cross country season, competing at the Alameda School event, and the ISA competition – a fantastic achievement to reach this stage.

Well done to the year 7 netball team who played in the District tournament on 26 March.  The girls showed tremendous determination and perseverance in a set of very close matches.  Player of the tournament was Olivia Patel who was consistent throughout and put in a great performance on her birthday!

I would like to congratulate the year 8 girls for reaching the ISA Netball finals which takes place in York on Saturday 11 May.  Good luck, and enjoy the day. Thank you to Mrs Bassett-Gilham and Miss Pearce for accompanying them.

I hope that you heard the news about our pupils who represented the UK at the World Indoor Skydiving Competition in Lille over Easter. It’s been on local press sites and on our social media platforms.  A massive well done to George Clayton, Jelena Ilic, Jorja Bell and Zac Myles.  Also, thank you to each of the parents for supporting the team so well.  Our pupils looked quite young in comparison to the other teams, so I have no doubt they will go from strength to strength over the years ahead.  Fourth place in the World this year...what next?

The summer term is always a busy one for sporting fixtures and we have got off to a great start already with years 7, 8, 9 and 10 competing in the Athletics League.  We’ve had Malique Roach winning the 80 metre hurdles and Oscar Smith came second in his event.  Well done to all participants.  At the fixture on 7 May, both boys and girls teams gave strong performances and finished in first place.

Year 5 had their first cricket match of the season against Bedford School and year 6 had a friendly football match against Oakley Primary School.

Well done to the year 5/6 girls who played in their first rounders match against BGS on 25 April.  They all played very well and player of the match went to Grace Langridge.  They then played against Westfield School and had a convincing win despite the rain. Well done too to the year 9/10 team who played against Biddenham. Player of this match was Ophelia Humphrey.  

Lastly, but by no means least, huge congratulations must go to our year 3 and 4 pupils who made up the Alliance team at the Quadkids Competition.  Out of the 43 schools who took part, our team came second, which means they are now through to the County finals.  Superb effort and well done to all the team members.

Nursery News at St Andrews:

At the St Andrew’s pre-school this week the children have been looking at the letter ‘B’, and have linked this with babies, balloons and beetroot.  The children have brought in photographs of themselves as babies, they have played with balloons, and they have cooked beetroot – to taste it and have also used the water to do some tie-dying.  The children in Robins and Owls have also made some banana loaf.

Rushmoor Robins News:  

This week the children in Rushmoor Robins and Reception Class have been on a storytelling journey. The children have been learning how to change a familiar story to create their own version. They have been creating their own version of the story, ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff.’  The children used resources to create their own story setting and selected their own characters.  After telling their stories, using props, the children made books of their own stories.  It is great to see our pupils loving books and reading at such a young age.      

Principal’s Award:

Jacob O’Neill for excellent work in humanities.

Joshua Thornton for his confident, detailed (and humorous) presentation on the weather in his geography lesson.

Elizabeth Hazel in year 10 who achieved a Merit in her grade 4 Pop Vocals exam with the London College of Music.

Hannah Amor in year 8 who achieved a Merit in her grade 3 Musical Theatre exam with the London College of Music. 

Caroline Demuth in year 10 for taking her Spanish GCSE a year early.

Junior School Stars of the week:

Rushmoor School

w/c 29 April 2019

Reception – Arthur Lees

1TS – Beatrice O’Connor

2KGL – Alex Harrison

3JM – Yazan Ghazzawi

3ST – Ethan Ndokera

4EB – Oliver Elphick

4ET – Ethan Watson

5CR – Ali Ghazzawi

5RS – Jonathan Camatchee  

St Andrew’s School

w/c 29 April 2019

Reception – Scarlett Rook

Year 1 – Fox Choy

Year 2 – Grace Perry

Year 3/4 – Scarlett Barber

Year 5 – Elizabeth Seddon

Year 6 – Ava Hendry    

Rushmoor School

w/c 6 May 2019

Reception – Harvey Reynolds

1TS – Nyah Wooding

2KGL – Elle Nyoni

3JM – Ruby Stoughton

3ST – Woody Brown

4EB – Kai Wolkenstein

4ET – Oscar Wood

5CR & 5RS – the whole year for being great at Bushcraft!  

St Andrew’s School

w/c 6 May 2019     

Reception – Oliver Barber

Year 1 – Max Hendry

Year 2 – Tiggy Willcocks

Year 3/4 – Perpetual Nyamtowo

Year 5 – Kimora Darragh

Year 6 – Poppy Corner    

Personal Pursuits:  

Congratulations to Tiggy Willcocks in year 2 at St Andrew’s who has won the award for Most Improved Player for the U8’s at Milton Keynes Hockey Club.  

Well done to Mia Moliterno in year 8 for raising money for Lulu’s Appeal by overcoming her fears and doing a bungee jump at Twinwoods.

Ben Handscombe attended a cricket coaching camp in the holidays and was awarded Player of the Week for his hard work.  Congratulations Ben!

Well done to Harry Smith from year 7 who was awarded U12 Boys Most Improved Player by Milton Keynes Hockey Club at their end of season event.  Given that he didn’t start goalkeeping until the middle of November, Harry rose to the challenge as the A team goalie at the Bucks County Championships in March, at which he saved a penalty flick from the top ranking Marlow team.  Excellent effort Harry and we look forward to hearing more about your progress over the years to come.  

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH


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