Principal's Blog

Alliance Blog 27.04.18:

What a difference a few weeks makes – in March we had snow and last week we had the hottest April day recorded in the past 70 years. It can only mean two things – hay-fever season is upon us and so is exam season! I can sympathise with the pupils involved with exams and I can equally sympathise with their parents – I have two sons doing A-levels and GCSEs this summer, so I know what you are all going through.

In eight short weeks all the formal examinations will be over and all our year 11s and 13s will have to look forward to is a long summer break. From now until that final examination they must be prepared to work harder than they’ve ever worked before. Hard work, determination and thorough revision can make the difference between grade boundaries. They must ask for help if they feel under pressure, they must attend all the booster revision sessions and query anything they do not fully understand. Balance is also required when preparing for examinations: sleep well, eat well and have regular breaks. If they take on this advice, come the results day they will know they did their very best and that is what counts.

This term will not only be busy due to the formal examinations, but there are plenty of residential trips organised throughout the year groups too. We have the Frontier Centre, Bushcraft, Grendon Hall, Chellington, Blue Peris and a Sixth Form trip to Disneyland Paris all coming up in May and June. These are all run jointly across the alliance so are a great way for the boys and girls to interact and build up friendships. Residential trips are important as they help our pupils try out new skills, develop socially and build-up their resilience. Above all, they are an opportunity for the pupils to have fun whilst they are learning and that, as far as I am concerned, is of major importance during their school life. Happy children develop into happy, confident and resilient adults.

We have also got expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh Award coming up in June for all levels: bronze, silver and gold. I hope the weather is kind to our trekkers! This year I will be joining the team of DofE staff, as I am doing the assessors qualification, which means our trekkers will see me from time to time making sure everything is as it should be. As I have said in the past, I strongly urge pupils across the alliance to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award as it is fun, character building and useful on your CV! Pupils may also like to get involved with the Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) scheme, which also aims to build qualities such as determination and resilience.

During assembly today Year 9 to 13 pupils received a talk from Mr Broomfield offering volunteering opportunities at the Mencap Summer Scheme. This will provide a valuable service and an incredibly satisfying experience for any of the volunteers that take up the offer and if any other pupils require more information please let Philippa Abruzzese know.

On Wednesday 18 April the Sixth Form year 13 students who have completed their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) held a presentation event for fellow sixth formers, staff, parents and younger members of the school. Their projects could be on anything they wished, the idea being that the development can be seen from first idea to end dissertation. It was particularly pleasing to see our year 13 students explaining their projects to pupils from further down the school. The year 3 boys were particularly enthralled because projects included the development of formula one racing cars, aeronautics and even development of theme park rides at Disney, Alton Towers and Europa-Park. The year 13 students were superb with the younger pupils and this is such a good experience for all concerned to interact together. Thank you to Miss Rayer for co-ordinating such a successful event and well done to all the students as it was evident that a lot of research had gone into each of your projects. The EPQ is awarded UCAS points ranging from 8 to 28, so is a useful addition to the sixth form years.

On Thursday 19 April our GCSE year 11 geographers headed out on a field trip studying the urban area of Bedford. This was a joint venture across the alliance, with their results being analysed at St Andrew’s School. I hope our pupils found the experience useful.

On Tuesday 24 April the pupils at Rushmoor were gathered together for a whole school photograph. Of course, this is to mark our 100th anniversary which we are officially celebrating on Friday 11 May 2018. It is a fitting reminder of how far Rushmoor School has come since it was moved from London after the First World War in 1918.

On Tuesday 24 April four year 10 girls, Emma Fitt, Sophia Collier-Rodley, Zeynep Salerno and Eleanor Williams-McCabe, helped with the interview process at St Andrew's Church for a new role of Youth and Children's Worker. As well as being very helpful to the church, this provided invaluable interview experience for the girls. Rev'd James Reveley commented: "We were all very impressed with their ability to give constructive and perceptive feedback on the candidates and to enter into the process with a seriousness of mind and attention to detail. The professional and courteous way that the girls engaged in the sessions and the feedback was a credit to the school."

In English, as part of year 8’s speaking and listening assessment, the girls were asked to work in groups and research different energy resources to see which energy would be best to invest money into for the future. Groups were given either: nuclear power, renewable resources or fossil fuels to choose from. The girls enjoyed working together in groups, and although at times it was challenging to ensure the workload was split equally between one another, each group was able to produce a very informative and persuasive speech. Through this year 8 have proved they are able to work as part of a group but individually too. Well done girls – you should all be proud of what you achieved.

After the success in the Senior UKMT, this week was the turn of pupils in Year 7 and 8 at Rushmoor School who took part in the Junior UKMT. It was a great opportunity for the boys to experience exam conditions in the hall. I will announce the results in a few weeks when we receive them.

Music News:
A number of students from Rushmoor and St Andrews will be attending a singing workshop day next week at the Union Chapel, London. This is sure to be an amazing experience and will give students a chance to sing with many other schools. It will be a busy week as on Friday 4 May the first informal concert is taking place during lunchtime at St Andrews. Girls across all year groups have had the chance to sign up to perform and Mrs Shackleton is delighted that so many have shown an interest in this event. Students may come along to watch the performance, by invitation only, and the invitations will come from the performers themselves. Students will be reviewing both of these events in the next blog.

The music department has kindly been given funding for a Samba kit which will help to provide more opportunities for class performance alongside concert work. I am sure you will hear this for yourselves in future performances. Thank you once again for your continued support of music at St Andrews.

Sports News:
Well done to the Year 5 football team who reached the semi-final of the County Cup. Unfortunately they lost to a very well drilled Robert Bloomfield side this week. The boys played extremely well and we were really happy that they had reached so far in the county cup having won their district. A feat they should be delighted with!
A large number of our Year 9 students attended a 7-a-side football tournament at Sharnbrook Academy this week. We entered two teams into the event with both teams playing plenty of football over the tournament. The Rushmoor A team were impressive throughout winning four of their five games to win the overall event, only a shock defeat to KCA stopping them from a clean sweep. Rushmoor B team played very well over the tournament showing their fighting spirit and work rate throughout, a hard fought win against Bedford Free School being the highlight of their games. All the players also took a turn playing for other teams who were missing players which was excellent to see.

Year 6 pupils from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s took part in the mixed rounders tournament at Westfield School on Thursday 26th April. It was our first joint rounders fixture this year so the boys and girls were getting to know each other and the game. They all showed good signs of improvement throughout the competition and are looking forward to more fixtures.

This week our Yr7/8 alliance pupils braved the hot conditions to take part in a Super 6 Golf event held at the Bedfordshire Golf Club. The event is aimed at giving all students, including beginners, an opportunity to experience Golf in a fun event played on the clubs par 3 course. All the pupils thoroughly enjoyed their time on the course especially those experiencing Golf for the first time, experienced Rushmoor pair William Stuart and Ben Clarke carded the best score of the day to take the overall title.

On Monday 23 April, pupils from years 5 and 6 at St Andrew’s were chosen to attend the Football Association (FA) Girls' Football Week 2018 which runs until 29 April. The event combined girls from across a number of schools in Bedfordshire and provided the girls with an opportunity to develop their football skills and then apply them in a tournament. During Monday’s event the girls were also lucky enough to have been joined by England Lioness, Laura Bassett, who also took part in the training sessions and all the football fun. Well done to the pupils who were involved.

Also last Thursday, the year 5/6 netball team played their final league fixture against Riseley and drew 1-1, which means that the team were undefeated for the season! This was a fabulous effort from all the girls who have represented St Andrew's. Players of the final match were Chloe Marcos, Riya Sangha and Ada Padbury. We are still waiting for the final league results to be sent through.
On Thursday 26 April years 9 and 10 competed in their first rounders league matches where they faced St Thomas More and Stratton. In the first match St Thomas More got off to a very strong start but in the second innings the girls fought back with good fielding. Unfortunately an injury knocked confidence in the team, resulting in a win for St Thomas More. In the second match against Stratton the girls showed much more positive play, both in fielding and batting with Shelby and Emily scoring for the team. It was an incredibly close game but unfortunately St Andrew’s lost by 1 rounder. Well done to the girls: Angel-Mei Nicholls, Emma Fitt, Sophia Rodley, Maisie Edwards, Ellie Williams-McCabe, Shelby Gwiza, Evie Maddison, Ella Wing and Emily Morris. Player of the match goes to Evie Maddison for her fielding skills and decision making.

Unfortunately the first year 7/8 and year 9/10 Athletics League fixtures this week were cancelled due to the rain but we wish the joint teams of boys and girls every success for their next competition.

Junior School News:
On Thursday KS1 pupils at Rushmoor finished their Creative Curriculum topic of Fantasies and Fairytales by holding a banquet for their parents. They dressed up and performed poems and speeches, taught their parents what they had learned last term and finished the afternoon with food and drink. Fun was had by all!

Today in KS1 across the alliance we launched our final Creative Curriculum topic of the year, ‘Through the Ages’, with a joint trip to our local museum. The children enjoyed exploring the ‘Higgins House’ and its contents, comparing what they found to the furnishings and technology that fill our modern houses. The collections throughout the gallery enabled the children to understand how people worked and lived from the earliest times, discovering artefacts that date back millions of years. The children particularly enjoyed a ‘Toys of the Past’ session, where they were able to have some hands-on experience of playing with toys from years gone by. It was an exciting day enjoyed by all.
EYFS News:

Nursery children have been having fantastic fun since the last blog. The pre-school children enjoyed a ‘bring your scooter to nursery’ day which was used as an opportunity for children to understand how important it is to be active, as they manoeuvered around a course.

Owls class have enjoyed another visit to Charter house where the children took hoops and beanbags to demonstrate how well they could throw and the residents also enjoyed having a turn too!

The pre-school garden continues to develop with the new addition of a bug hotel that has been filled with straw, pines cones and small tubes to make a very cosy space for our visitors. The children have also been learning how to respect nature and treat the insects carefully.

All Nursery parents have been invited to a parents' evening from 6.00pm to 8.00pm today, Friday 27 April, and staff look forward to seeing you.

Rushmoor EYFS have had a very busy and exciting start to our new term. Following the children’s interests their learning has been based around the new project ‘minibeasts.’ Over the holidays the children enjoyed going on a minibeast hunt with their families and talking about the different ones they found. The children have enjoyed learning about different minibeasts in non-fiction books and have been using different media to create their favourite minibeast.

The children have been particularly interested in learning about caterpillars this week. The children have been writing letters to Butterfly World, asking if they would be able to send us some caterpillars for us to look after. They are looking forward to learning about them and watching them change over time. The children are waiting for their reply.

The children in Reception are looking at ‘exploring changes over time’. They went for a walk around Bedford Park and looked carefully at the changes in the environment, looking at the different signs of spring.

Principal’s Awards:
Amelia Logan in year 11 for her outstanding effort and focus in English.
Lorna Whitehead in year 11 for the confidence shown in her presentation to the class.
Congratulations to the following the pupils at Rushmoor for receiving a Principal’s Award: Ben Spary, Jacob O’Neill, Harry Mayrick, Matthew Eaden, Leonard Owino, Tom Ulvert, Harry Smith, Kian Woolven and Toby Sutliff.

Junior School Stars:

St Andrew’s Week: 27 April 2018

Reception Spike Haskins-Yapp

Year 1 Emma Hindocha

Year 2 Errol Bogacki

Year 3/4 Lydia Shortland

Year 5 Saikeisha Comatchee

Year 6 Laura Smith

Rushmoor Week: 27 April 2018 
Reception Eliza Burchell 
Year 1ST The whole class 
Year 2EB The whole class 
Year 3JM Shenay Muirhead-Stewart 
Year 3ST Jacob Adedeji 
Year 4AB Rio Noto 
Year 4ET Maya Brown
Year 5CL Joshua Mortensen
Year 5CR Harrison Wilson
Year 5RS The whole class

You are all aware that I like to hear about our pupils’ activities outside of school so that we can celebrate their success, so I was delighted to hear that Jack Norman’s football team won their U11 football tournament during the Easter break. Jack plays for MK Dons pre-academy team and they travelled to Holland for the competition. They left Stadium MK on a coach at 3.30am on Good Friday, coming back on Easter Monday, and in-between played a lot of football against teams from all around Europe, securing a place in the elite competition final on Easter Sunday with a hat-trick from Jack, who his coaches named as the outstanding player of the tournament. What a fantastic opportunity - well done Jack!

I was delighted to hear Heath Clarke has been selected to the Bedfordshire County Cricket Squad for the coming season. Heath attended the County training programme over the winter months and now he can show his bowling talents in competitive matches.

On Thursday 19 April, Heath had the pleasure of meeting Gladstone Small, the former Warwickshire and England fast bowler. Gladstone signed a cricket ball and bat and spent some time talking to Heath about cricket – what a fantastic experience Heath and good luck in the County squad.

I would also like to congratulate Jacob Wells for being chosen as a DPP Bedfordshire player. We are very proud of you!

Have a wonderful weekend.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH


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