Principal's Blog

Alliance Blog 12:


Before we broke up for half term a group of senior pupils from across the alliance who are studying GCSE Geography went off on a field trip. I remember my own geography fieldtrips and they were never like this one! The group travelled to Sicily to discover some of its geographical secrets, including a visit to Mount Etna, one of Europe’s highest active volcanoes. These type of trips really do help embed what the pupils are learning in the classroom. Thank you to Miss Ross and Miss Lawrence for organising the trip, together with Mr Jones and Miss Rayer for accompanying the group on this wonderful enrichment opportunity. We’ve already had one student go off to university to study physical geography at degree level, so let’s hope this inspires some more to keep studying this fascinating subject.

Rushmoor and St Andrew’s pupils and staff commemorated the centenary of the end of World War One today by holding a Remembrance Day assembly and holding 2 minutes silence at 11am. Remembrance Day is a day for the nation to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom.

We are looking forward to the alliance ski trip, which is departing on 8 December; this week we held a meeting to advise parents and pupils of our expectations and provide information on travel arrangements, ski equipment, ski school and evening entertainment. I have been organising the ski trips for much of the 30 years I have been at Rushmoor and they are always a wonderful experience. We are a unique school because we encourage families to all come along, which has proved successful, with many coming numerous times. The next ski trip for 2019 is already being organised so please contact the school office if you would like to find out more. Children from year 4 and above may attend unaccompanied. For pupils in year 3 and below an adult family member must also attend. All pupils will attend ski school according to their ability, which will comprise of Rushmoor and St Andrew’s pupils only, so there is plenty of free time for adults, or, if you prefer, you can join in with the alliance ski lessons.

Thank you to Mrs Crannis for arranging for a group of our senior mathematicians to visit Warwick University to participate in the ‘Maths in Action Day’ this week. The speakers looked at maths from different perspectives and included the mechanics of spinning objects, the dark net, statistics and the lies that can be behind them, an interactive puzzle session from Alex Bellos, who sets the puzzles in a national newspaper, and finished with a professional mathematical modeller who discussed whether or not there is a risk of Artificial Intelligence taking over financial institutions leading to an apocalypse. The boys really listened and joined in and one of our students went on stage twice! I hear it was a thoroughly enjoyable day for both staff and students.

Mrs Crannis also took George Clayton, Abbass Hussain, James Bellingham and Tyler Roach to take part in the National Young Mathematicians' Award on Thursday. We are eagerly awaiting the results and will let you know when we receive them. Well done boys!

Another alliance trip took place this week; year 5 from St Andrew’s and year 6 from Rushmoor had the chance to visit The Black Country Museum as part of the history curriculum. This former industrial land is used to tell the story of the creation of the world’s first industrial landscape, with authentic shops, houses and workshops reconstructed. This trip brings the industrial revolution to life with the chance for the pupils to explore and experience the authentic sights, sounds, smells and tastes from the past.

I have been delighted with the number of pupils from across the alliance who have taken up the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Thank you to Mr Morrish, Mrs Andrews and Mr Mudzvovera who are doing an excellent job with promoting and running this worthwhile enrichment activity. It has been the best ever response from pupils in year 9, 10 and 11 and I know that they will enjoy the challenges. As I have said many times before, the Duke of Edinburgh Award is not only character building, but it requires commitment, which is something that universities and employers value. When I read somebody’s CV I always look at what they have done over and above the ‘norm’ as this makes them stand out from the crowd. Well done to all those who are working towards their bronze, silver and gold awards.

I was personally delighted that so many of our pupils received high praise at the London Region ISA Art Competition, which took place before half term. Their work has already been displayed on FaceBook, but I would like to take this opportunity to say well done to Oliver Hills, Rhys Macharia and Ieuan Daniel who came first in their categories, together with Sam Gale, Simeon Gay and Tom Berridge who were awarded 2nd or 3rd place in their categories. We also had a number of our former year 13s achieve 1st place in various categories. I know that two of them have now moved on to study art-based subjects in further education, which is pleasing. Unfortunately, none of the St Andrew’s entries were placed, but we are hoping for success next year. Art subjects are something that we consider extremely important and we are delighted with these results.

Thank you to those parents who took time to attend the Parent Council Meeting recently. Of course, the hot topic was the progress surrounding the planning appeal. This has been taking up a lot of time and the governors and I have been attending various meetings with our legal advisors, so we are hopeful for a sensible outcome shortly.

We have had various senior parental consultation evenings taking place during this week, including one for our sixth formers. Thank you to all those who attended, I hope they were helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact the subject teacher should you have any further questions. Email addresses can be found on the websites. The first set of UCAS applications were sent off this week and some have already received offers.

Thank you to Mrs Lowe and Mrs Johnson for arranging the year 11 mock interview sessions this evening, which will be taking place at St Andrew’s School. Thank you also to our parents for volunteering to help with this event. It is an invaluable experience for our senior pupils to discover how to conduct themselves during the interview process. Not only is this useful for employment opportunities, but also some further education establishments ask individuals to attend interviews. Thank you to Mrs Howard, a Rushmoor parent, who has come in every Friday morning this term to help our Year 11 pupils write their CVs and prepare them for the interviews.
To all Senior pupils – please use this link to view all opportunities available for post 16 studies at our joint 6th form http://www.rushmoorschool.co.uk/sixth_form.php
Year 7 Rushmoor pupils have just finished reading 'Room 13' by Robert Swindells in their English lessons. They have been busy applying their creative skills and knowledge of the book to design 'Room 13' themed board games and, of course, testing them out!

On Friday 16 November we are supporting Children in Need by having a Mufti Day for all pupils. Senior pupils have the option to wear something spotty if they wish but otherwise can wear appropriate mufti. Our Juniors will be joining the Big ‘Spotacular’ event with schools across the nation to raise funds for BBC Children in Need. Spots will definitely be the theme of the day and we are asking pupils to come to school with a minimum donation of £1. Should you wish, your child may come to school dressed from head-to-toe in spots – the more innovative the costume the better. Please don’t worry if your child does not have anything spotty to wear or would prefer to come to school in mufti – the aim of the day is to raise money.

In addition to this, our fundraising ‘Thing’ in the Junior School alliance will be a Children in Need Countryfile Ramble. We are inviting children from both Junior schools to raise funds by having a fun family ramble on Sunday 11th November. We will be setting off from the entrance to Priory Marina at 10.30am and are aiming to ramble as many laps of the Country Park as possible in an hour. The perimeter path is approximately 3 miles (4.2 km) and we are recommending that people sponsor the children per mile. All sponsorship monies can be paid directly via this fundraising page: https://countryfile-ramble-for-bbc-children-in-need-2018.everydayhero.com/uk/RSTA

This will be a fun activity for the whole family and parents will need to accompany their children at all times. If you would like to participate please let Mrs Boland or Gina know so that we know how many people to expect on the day. We are aiming to raise a minimum of £800 from this activity! Unfortunately, I am unable to attend as I am in Wales, but I hope the weather is kind to you all.

SPORT NEWS:
Before half term I spent most of the week at St Andrew’s School because Mr Jones was away on the Sicily trip. During that time, I was really pleased to see how enthusiastic the girls are about sport, not just in their games lessons, but for the extra-curricular clubs and fixtures too. Since I took over as Principal at St Andrew’s in 2013 I have made it my aim to promote sport for all ability levels, just as we have always done at Rushmoor. Finding a sport that you enjoy is important and as sports teachers our main aim must be to encourage participation in a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. The enthusiasm shown by our sports staff across the alliance since the beginning of this academic year has been really pleasing to see and I know the pupils appreciate your commitment and are benefitting greatly from it.

Well done to the year 4 pupils from across the alliance who took part in the Multi Sports Competition run by Team Beds and Luton, which took place just before half term. The competition promoted determination, honesty, passion, respect, self-belief and teamwork. Above all, the pupils had an enjoyable, competitive experience and we would like to thank Scott Primary School for hosting the event.

On Wednesday 10 October the introduction to Active Girls commenced with girls from a variety of schools gathering at the athletics stadium for team building activities so that they could all get to know each other. The girls were each given an IFIT band (similar to a Fitbit) so that they are able to log their activity and steps between now and March. Look how COOL they are, modelled by the year 8/9 girls who are involved in the 2018/19 programme. The Active Girls programme commences properly on Wednesday 17 October. It has been organised by the council and Fusion, and is designed to encourage girls to be active, as well as introduce girls to new activities that may influence them to get involved. Miss Pearce has been involved in this programme for the last couple of years and strongly believes that there is a physical activity for everyone. Not all girls like the traditional, competitive sports like netball, hockey, rounders or cross- country and Active Girls is designed especially for this………… finding an activity for all.
Rushmoor and St Andrew’s swimmers did us proud at the ISA Regional Swimming heats before half term. After a bright and early start, they fought their way through the traffic and swam their hearts out! Charlotte Allen finished 3rd in both her backstroke and breaststroke heats; Sophie Weston won her backstroke heat; Amy Parrish came 3rd in her breaststroke heat. There were 9 different races for Rushmoor and our students got 4 first places, 2 second places and 3 third places in their heats. In the final, Toby Sutliff and Jack Searle obtained a silver medal in back stroke and breast stroke, and Alex Clayton got a bronze medal in front crawl qualifying to the ISA Nationals at the London Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park. Congratulations to all who competed.

On 16 October years 10 and 11 played Mark Rutherford in the netball league. It was a very close-fought match that we eventually lost, but the girls played really well. Special mention to Sana Abidi who played out of position at GS, and to Elizabeth Hazel, who stepped in to help out at the last minute. Player of the Match was Angel-Mei Nicholls.

On Tuesday 6 November, seven students from St Andrews joined up with another seven from Rushmoor to take part in the year 2 multi sports festival at Castle Newnham. The afternoon allowed the students an opportunity to develop a range of skills used across a wide range of sports including, jumping, striking and balancing. They even had the opportunity to try new skills such as tri-golf and uni-hoc. Great fun was had by all students and they performed extremely well throughout the afternoon, especially those who overcame their nerves. Well done to all who took part.

Year 9 girls took part in a badminton tournament on Thursday 8 November hosted by Bedford Academy and Sharnbrook. This was their first experience of playing both singles and doubles in match conditions. The girls played well, with some good results, but unfortunately did not qualify for the next round. However, they are looking forward to their next tournament in Milton Keynes. Well done to Hanaadi Ghazzawi, Christabel Nyamtowo, Lorna Whitehead and Chiamaka Oriaku.

Over the last fortnight we have had a large number of rugby fixtures from Year 3 to Year 10. They have all played some superb rugby with many wins. Year 6 have also had a football tournament this term and gave a good account of themselves considering it is out of our football season. They won 3 out of the 6 games and improved as the day went on. A special mention to Ben Bramwell who was our defensive rock and James Wookey who was clinical in front of goal as always.
I would also like to thank all the parents, grandparents and guardians that come and watch the fixtures. Even now with the weather turning, it is great to see so much support on the sidelines.

In the week leading up to half term Rushmoor pupils from Yr4 to Yr11 took part in the new inter house x-country events during their games lessons. This new competition feeds into the new House Sports Trophy and overall House Cup. Later in the year students will also take part in inter house rugby, football, swimming and sports day. Students who finished in the top 12 for their group received two merits for their effort. The winning house in the year groups are: Year 10/11: Owen, Year 8/9: Richardson, Year 6/7: Owen, Year 4/5: Tied Randall/Richardson.

Under 9 Akeley Wood rugby festival – 7 November 2018. The very talented year 4 rugby team were unlucky not to win this prestigious event. After comprehensive wins against Akeley Wood and Warwick the boys had to beat Berkhamstead to qualify for the final, we lost 5 tries to 4 in a very even game. We went on to beat Swanbourne 6 tries to 1 in the 3rd/4th place playoff. Our victors won the final in a very one sided affair, showing how close we were to lifting the trophy again. Mr Thomas has high hopes of the boys challenging in the ISA national tournament next year.

Today Rushmoor is holding the ISA U11 Rugby Tournament. As I write this we have made a good start with 2 wins and 1 loss, we will update you via our facebook page. Thank you to Mr Hawken and the PE department for arranging this event.

EYFS NEWS
Both of our Reception classes across the alliance hosted a ‘Reception in Action’ morning this week. The Nursery children that will be moving up into Reception in September, had the opportunity to spend the morning exploring Reception. The parents were invited into school to find out information and during the morning the parents were able to take part in busy fingers and a story session with their child. The children had time to explore the new environment through indoor and outdoor play during the morning. I would like to thank everybody who visited or helped to arrange this event.

At St Andrew’s, the pre-school staff and children have had a very busy time making the most of Autumn, with an adventure to Harrold and Odell Country Park where they explored the woods, climbed trees, made dens and hid in the undergrowth. Preschool children also carved pumpkins and chopped some up to make pumpkin soup which was delicious. They enjoyed having it at teatime with chunks of bread.
Orange and Black Day saw a great range of costumes and colour which Owls went to show off to the Residents of Charter House. They played a pumpkin fishing game, sang Autumn songs and came away with a gift of sweets from their friends after a round of applause.

Nursery finished the week with outdoor day which promotes learning in the outside and getting muddy. Preschool took full advantage of the wet weather putting on their splash suits, making clay faces and collecting treasure found in the outdoor area to stash in their treasure tins.

Stories are an important part of young children’s learning and in EYFS they are on a mission to make story time something the children will always remember. Each week the Rushmoor Robins welcome in a ‘secret reader’ to tell a story to the class. Parents, grandparents or other family members will have the opportunity to sign up to bring in a story from home to read to the children. The children are very excited each week to see who the mystery reader would be. The children enjoyed listening to the story ‘Peter Rabbit’ and taking part in some activities linked to the story. The children are looking forward to seeing who will be the next secret reader! Will it be you?

Following the children’s interests in EYFS the children have been learning about Autumn. The children visited Bedford Park where the leaves had started to change and fall, scattering an array of different colours and shapes across the ground. The children enjoyed looking for different signs of Autumn on the walk. The children continued their learning back in the classroom.

JUNIOR NEWS
On Tuesday 16 October staff and children in Reception, year 1 and year 2 went exploring in Bedford Park. They were looking for signs of autumn to take back to school on a special sticky board. They found beautiful leaves everywhere and the children were soon busy collecting as many as they could, identifying deciduous and ever-green trees as they went. They found lots of empty acorn shells and spotted several hungry squirrels enjoying the tasty acorns before the cold winter arrives. The children thought they might be able to crunch through the leaves with their boots, but the damp weather had made them soft and soggy and made some of the leaves tricky to stick on to the boards too – so the children filled their pockets with autumnal treasures! Back at school they covered their boards with the rest of their finds and used them to inspire their creative writing! The children really enjoyed their outing and are looking forward to a return visit to look for signs of spring next year.

In the three weeks running up to half term, years 5 and 6 took part in an ISA Digital Art competition. The aim was to use technology to produce a piece of artwork that had relevance to them. All pupils worked really hard on their piece, even coming in at lunchtimes to get them completed. Sadly, the competition rules required that only one piece could be submitted as our entry and the pupils voted on the winning design. Whilst everyone produced a wonderful piece of work, the entry that was ultimately put forward was called 'Bright Sparks' by Isabelle Burt. We all wish Isabelle's design well but a huge congratulations must go to all those who took part.

Huge congratulations to Mr Farnsworth and the current year 6 girls who have won first place in the film category of the ISA Film and Digital Art Competition 2018. Their film entitled "Does money bring happiness" was produced whilst the girls were in year 5 and can be viewed on this link: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IqmPaE8RFPQ. What an achievement, well done to all.

PRINCIAL’S AWARD:
Kimora Darragh in year 6 for her excellent classwork in Maths.
Caroline Demuth in year 10 for her outstanding presentation on Happiness in English.
Luke Smart for outstanding work in English.
Oliver Weir for doing so well in his maths challenge.
Amelia Hurley, Eros Di Pace and Oliver Millard for their weekend diaries.

JUNIOR SCHOOL STARS:
Rushmoor School
w/c 15 October 2018

Reception – Tom Hall
1TS – Tom Marshall
2KGL – Lilia-Diya Dass
3JM – Yazan Ghazzawi
3ST – Woody Brown
4EB – Whole Class
4ET – Oscar Wood
5CR – Kian Woolven
5RS – Jonathan Camatchee

St Andrew’s School
w/c 15 October 2018
Reception - Marciano Sansevero
Year 1 - Matilda D'Cruze
Year 2 - Gabriel Holland
Year 3/4 - Bronwyn Phillips
Year 5 - Charlotte Pettitt
Year 6 - Cerys Holley

Rushmoor School
w/c 5 November 2018

Reception – Eliza Burchell
1TS – Nyah Wooding
2KGL – Elle Nyoni
3JM – Olivia Crabtree
3ST – Jae Sunda
4EB – Kai Wolkenstein
4ET – Tom Ulvert
5CR – Alessio Sepede
5RS – Ollie Instrell

St Andrew’s School
w/c 5 November 2018

Reception – Marciano Sansevero
Year 1 – Elijah Masih
Year 2 – Agnes Barrett
Years 3/4 – Deborah Nyamtowo
Year 5 – Amelie Walsh
Year 6 – Phoebe Phillips/Lillie Morris

PERSONAL PURSUITS:

Well done to Malique Roach who was selected for the County football squad last weekend playing against Warwickshire. A great opportunity Malique!

Congratulations to Ewan John for winning his category in the 2k at the Bedford river head with a time of 8.50. That is very impressive considering the very wet and windy conditions. We are very proud of you Ewan!

On Saturday 13 October, The Skydive Recruitz, competed in the UK National indoor formation skydiving event at Twinwoods Adventure. After a long day and 10 competitive flights against adult teams from across the UK, the two Recruitz teams (consisting of 7 pupils from St Andrews and Rushmoor; Jorja Bell, Jelena Ilic, George Clayton, Zak Myles, Zak Horne, Edward Chrystal & Joe Davis) finished 4th (narrowly missing a podium finish) and 9th in their respective categories. The teams are now back into training and preparing for more competitive action in the New Year.

We received an email recently from a parent with an interesting observation he wanted to share. During collection times from school, many parents are seen sitting in their cars with the engine running. Firstly, the major concern from the parent was the increasing levels of pollution around residential areas, but more importantly schools. There was a recent news story about London schools suffering pollution (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-44235230) and whilst we are not in such a densely populated area as London, the principal of clean air around schools is an important one. There was also a second point raise and this was that it could be an offence to be in an idling car and could lead to a fine. On a public road, it indeed is illegal to sit in your car whilst keeping the engine running within the UK. The Highway Code states: 'You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road'. Obviously my biggest concern is the health effects on the pupils in the school, but the other point is also an interesting one! (https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/idling/)

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
Principal

 

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