School news – January & February 2016

Bookfest

Thousand children ready to read

In December, Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest launched its hugely successful reading development project, the 2016 Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest Book Award. This is the fourth time the scheme has been in action and this year it’s bigger than ever, with more than 1,000 children aged 9 to 11 in 28 primary schools across Shropshire taking part.
With the help of Beanstalk, the Book Award project will enable all pupils, whatever their reading ability, to read and vote for their favourite book from among six recently published titles. These have been specially recommended for the Book Award shortlist by panels of children across the county.

Children will vote for their favourite title on 18 March, and the winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Theatre Severn on 22 April 2016. This will also mark the start of Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest’s annual May Literary Festival, which begins on Friday 29 April. Go to shrewsburybookfest.co.uk for more details.

School in tune

Almost a third of Shrewsbury High School pupils performed as part of the orchestra, concert band, choirs and ensembles to a packed Shrewsbury Abbey for the school’s Autumn Concert in November. The programme included the stirring film music of John Williams, an orchestral medley of Phantom of the Opera, and Ravel’s exciting Bolero. The school’s Autumn and Spring Concerts are now firm fixtures on a busy musical calendar at both Prep and Seniors, with musicians at Prep recently performing in solo and ensemble recitals. Musicians at the Prep School benefit from many of the same teaching and peripatetic staff to ensure a seamless transition to the Senior School, and music scholarships are available at 11+, 13+ and sixth form. The Senior School entrance exam takes place on Saturday 23 January. To find out more, call 01743 494038.

Adams’ pupil’s military success

A cadet from the CCF Army contingent of Adams’ Grammar School has successfully completed a prestigious training course in Canada. Company Sergeant Major Josh Stork was just one of a handful of UK cadets selected to attend the six-week exchange course with the Canadian Cadet Force.

Josh said, “It was a fantastic experience. I took part in canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding and a glacier mountaineering expedition. Unfortunately I missed the alpine trekking cycle as I had to have a wisdom tooth extracted, but that certainly didn’t spoil my experience!”

Josh, who is currently studying A-levels at Adams’ Grammar School, has been an active member of the school’s CCF Army section since Y8, progressing through the ranks to Company Sergeant Major. He was encouraged to apply for the summer course by his Officer Commanding Captain Matthew Garthwaite and was delighted to have made it through the fiercely competitive selection stages. Visit adamsgs.org.uk for details about the school.

St Dominic’s in the swim

In November, four students from St Dominic’s Brewood won the Independent Schools Association Midlands Swimming Championships, held at Walsall Gala Baths. The girls swam against 18 other teams from the region in the U13 category. Miss Hovland, head of PE at St Dominic’s said, “This is a tremendous achievement and shows the latest success in the development of sport at St. Dominic’s Brewood.”

Neah Boniface, aged 13, individually won the Front Crawl and the Butterfly competition. She will now compete for the Midlands team in January at the National Finals held at the Olympic Aquatic Centre in London – Neah affectionately remembers standing on Block 5 where her hero Michael Phelps stood to win the Olympic Gold in London 2012.
Visit stdominicsbrewood.co.uk to find out more about St Dominic’s Brewood.

School to remain open

Parents and community members breathed a sigh of relief after a successful Academy put in a bid to the Department for Education to sponsor Buildwas Primary School, meaning the school will stay open. The rural school offers education for 3 to 11 year olds within the Buildwas, Leighton and Eaton Constantine parishes and the surrounding Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire areas. The Academy conversion is planned to take place in the spring term and new pupils are welcome to join at Easter or in September – visit the school admissions section of shropshire.gov.uk or call 01952 432135 for more information.

Buildwas also welcomes applications to join its 12-place on-site nursery, a dedicated learning environment that has been redesigned to make it more stimulating and engaging. Ofsted reported in March 2015 that ‘teaching is now good and children achieve well. They are ready to start Year 1 with above-average standards.’

Heady award for designer

Charelle Brown, a Textiles student at North Shropshire College, recently won an award for her design work. Charelle created a carnival-inspired headdress that incorporated exotic feathers, flowers and butterflies in hot tropical colours. The piece won the Student Bronze award at the Shrewsbury Drapers Company Textile Competition.

Textiles course leader Helen Furber said, “Charelle’s work answered the brief perfectly; I’m very pleased the judges liked her work and that she came third, despite fierce competition from a large number of entries.”

Fiona takes the reins at Prestfelde

Shrewsbury preparatory school Prestfelde has appointed its first female head teacher. The London Road school has selected one of its current deputy heads for promotion to the position, which will commence in January. Mrs Orchard joined the school, which has almost 300 girls and boys aged from three to 13, six years ago. She will succeed Mark Groome who is stepping down as head after almost eight years.

“I’m looking forward to becoming head of Prestfelde immensely. It presents a thrilling personal challenge and promises to be a positive experience which I intend to embrace wholeheartedly,” said Mrs Orchard, who was born in Chester and later studied music and teaching. Prestfelde chair of governors Brian Newman said, “We’re delighted to appoint the first female head since Prestfelde was founded in 1929. After a wide search, we’re confident we’ve found the best candidate in Fiona.” The school’s website is at prestfelde.co.uk.

Little robots at Castlefields

Following the purchase of new computers and staff training, children from Castlefields Primary in Bridgnorth joined in a week of coding to prepare them for the new ICT curriculum. Great fun was had when everybody dressed up as robots or computer game characters, and children also became game programmers and wrote sequences using programmes called Kodu and Purple Mash. Digital Leaders, who are children from Y5, helped to organise the week.

Children become curators

An exciting art project is taking place at Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge CE School with the support of Meadow Arts and Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Following a visit to the Landscape With Machines exhibition at the nearby Museum of Iron, pupils will work with artist Megan Clark-Bagnall on their own work at school and in a local print studio, supported by a range of artists.

Megan explains, “These sessions will explore contemporary art and challenge the students’ perception of what art is. They’ll explore a range of art forms in different settings, from the traditional to the more obscure.”

All 210 of the children at the school will take part and a dedicated team of pupils will be chosen to curate a finale exhibition in February, choosing the work of their fellow students and deciding how the exhibition is to be displayed. (this section can come out if necessary)

Sixth form event

Oldbury Wells School sixth form held its information evening in November to inform students in the local and near district areas about provision for students after the age of 16 years.

Miss Warner, head of sixth form, said, “The sixth form at Oldbury Wells is a happy and caring environment. With around 60 in a year group, we can take an individualised approach to meet the needs of our students, ensuring they’re correctly placed on courses to maximise their success. We have small class sizes, which means teachers are able to cater for the individual needs of the students. As a consequence of this we get to know the students very well and they get to know each other; it’s a very close-knit community.”

Former sixth form student Amy Smallman said, “I’ll always look back on my time at Oldbury Wells sixth form with happy memories. The family feel of the sixth form and the individualised learning experience are unique to Oldbury Wells and are really important during what can be a tough two years, especially with A Levels getting harder.”

Asian experience

A Telford restaurant welcomed pupils from Lawley Primary School as part of a project to learn about different types of food. The Y5 pupils visited Mimosa restaurant in Southwater and were given a tour of the Asian restaurant, trying their hand at making fresh naan bread and sampling dishes being prepared in the kitchens. Manager Amulya Pilai talked to the children about the origins of Asian food and where the different flavours came from. He said, “It was wonderful to welcome the children into our restaurant. It’s the first time we’ve hosted a school trip like this.”

Teacher Matthew Burton said, “The children were fascinated and haven’t stopped talking about it. The staff at Mimosa were really friendly and welcoming, and the children particularly enjoyed getting hands-on with the naan bread.”

Mimosa, which serves dishes from China, India, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan, is offering diners a 25% off deal to beat the January blues – visit mimosarestaurants/telford to find out more.

Primary pupils head for uni

Eight specially selected sports ambassadors from Worfield Primary School went to Wolverhampton University to take part in a day-long programme of sporting and leadership activities. The children, who were chosen for their sports leadership abilities, joined other Midlands ambassadors to be trained to deliver sports activities to peers. A spokesman for the school said, “Peer leadership is key to our sporting ethos at Worfield Primary School and the whole school will benefit immensely from this opportunity.”

Heathfield core values

Heathfield School, an independent day school and nursery located in Wolverley near Kidderminster, is continuing to deliver education that combines outstanding academic performance with instilling children with the school’s core values. Staff at the school encourage an atmosphere of mutual respect so every child is aware, not only of his or her own needs, but of those of other people. Heathfield children are encouraged to approach adulthood as confident, articulate and courteous members of society. Pastoral care continues to be as important to the school now as when it was first established in 1960. Recent successes for Heathfield have included a National Final win for a Y9 table tennis player, and the awarding of an International School certificate that recognises the school’s achievement in modern languages. Call 01562 850204 for more information.

LEGO Centre to open

The LEGO Innovation Centre, a central hub dedicated to LEGO Education, opened at Birchfield at the beginning of September 2015 and is already delivering results in maths, science, literacy and computing skills. iPads which were introduced at the beginning of 2015 have been successfully integrated throughout the school, which is located in Albrighton.
The official opening of the Innovation centre, the only one of its kind in a UK independent prep school, will take place on 12 January with LEGO International MD Dr Rene Lydiksen officiating. School head Mr Myott is thrilled with the results so far, saying, “In a short space of time, LEGO has enabled the children to draw on skills they didn’t know they possessed; the pupils have developed a sense of independence in their learning.”
Visit the website at birchfieldschool.co.uk or call 01902 372534 for more details, or come along to an open day on Saturday 23 January or Tuesday 9 February.

Head heeds poet’s words

Moffats School prides itself on living up to its motto ‘the days that make us happy make us wise’ and places each child’s happiness and personal success at the heart of its educational offering.

The day and boarding preparatory school in Kinlet near Bridgnorth has been run by the same family of educationalists for more than 80 years and is located in Kinlet Hall, a Grade 1 Georgian manor house. The school’s founding heads were inspired by the educational leaders of the time and placed great emphasis on the value of out-of-class activities.

In keeping with that belief, Moffats not only offers high educational standards but a whole range of artistic, sporting and practical activities and even has its own stables, giving pupils the chance to ride and keep their own ponies.

Head Robin McCarthy said, “When a child joins us at Moffats, our aim is not only to give them a strong education, but to broaden and enrich their lives.

“The modern world puts pressure on children to grow up before their time, with a constant bombardment from social media and advertising. As educators and parents, we must be certain the expectations we place on each child are truly in the interests of that child’s happiness and well-being. This is what is meant by our motto — taken from a John Masefield poem. It’s not an invitation to stay in the comfort zone; far from it, it is about the effort and imagination that go into making each child’s education something special.”
Visit moffats.co.uk or call 01299 841230 to find out more about the school’s ethos and education.

Endowed makes strides

Governors and staff at Bridgnorth Endowed school are confident OFSTED will rate them a ‘good’ school under the new more rigorous OFSTED inspection criteria.

Ofsted inspector Mel Ford, and her team visited the school in November and confirmed that all teachers “plan their lessons well and have a clear view of the level of challenge required for different abilities.” Consequently “rates of progress for current students are continuing to improve for all year groups in English and mathematics. Students with a disability or special educational needs are making particularly good progress.” She also noted “all students spoken to during the monitoring inspection said they felt safe and well supported”.
Bridgnorth Endowed’s GCSE and A Level results from the summer support the HMI’s finding. For example, in humanities, students achieved results that placed the school in the top 4% nationally, while students in languages achieved results that put them in the top 19% nationally.

The OFSTED report and last summer’s results together show that the school is already providing its students with a better education than most schools nationally and many locally, and are cause for great confidence that it will be recognised as a ‘good’ school very soon.

Tettenhall takes pupils to the next level

At Tettenhall College, we prepare our pupils for life beyond the classroom, helping them to make decisions about their future careers and further study. Our sixth form is a close-knit community delivering excellent teaching alongside dedicated pastoral care. We guide and support our sixth formers as they consider their next steps, and many pupils join us at this stage because of the extra support we provide.

Our careers department benefits from close links with employers and higher education and we take into account individual goals and ambitions. Pupils were recently inspired at a bumper careers skills and workshop day featuring speakers from across the region, and practice interviews took place, undertaken by local professionals including a magistrate, a solicitor, and a human resources manager.

An employability workshop was run by Aviva Insurance, which has the largest graduate recruitment programme in the UK, and there was also a talk on How to get the most out of student Life delivered by Aston University Students’ Union representatives.
Events such as this help our pupils consider their futures and understand what is expected of them; they complement our academic success.

George Harvey, who was Head Boy, was one of the standout performers at A Level, gaining A*A B in Business Studies/Economics and Biology. A quarter of A Level students achieved the top A*/A grade and the overall pass rate was 92%. Head Girl Ellen Walker, who is already a published illustrator, achieved A* A*A* in art, English and psychology – including full marks in her art examination.

Come to our dedicated Sixth form Opening Evening, see our outstanding environment and talk to our staff and pupils to find out more about what Tettenhall College has to offer.

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