School news September & October 2016

St Johns

The long road to Rio

Pupils at St John’s Catholic School celebrated the Rio 2016 Olympics in a very unusual way – by travelling the distance from the school to the Nilton Santos Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Everyone in the school played their part by joining an after-school or lunchtime club, doing exercises in PE, being part of Running Club or wearing a pedometer to count their steps.
The school’s administrator Kasha Miller explains, “The distance we needed to travel was 5,762.79 miles, but the children have beaten this by travelling 6,126 miles in one term. We’re really pleased that everyone has got involved; it’s been a great success and encouraged a lot more children to take part in extracurricular activities and sports clubs.”


Blue skies for leavers’ prom

Towards the end of the summer term, over 100 Oldbury Wells Y11 students dressed in their finest attire to attend a prom at Astbury Hall to mark the end of their school life. The pupils turned up to red carpet treatment and non-alcoholic cocktails. Transport to the prom is always a highlight, and attendees arrived in a variety of vehicles from tractors, a moped, a Bentley, a Lotus and a Rolls Royce to a Dyno Rod van and a very long pink limo!
Spokesperson Glynis Madden says, “After a week of uncertain weather, the pupils made the most of blue skies and a warm evening. The food was scrumptious and the pupils danced the night away to DJ Luke Thomas.”

This year’s Prom King and Queen (as voted by staff in attendance) were TJ Lendrum and Rachael Seymour.


Hats off to young riders

A gymkhana at Moffats School was a fantastic finale to the end of the school year. A damp start didn’t hinder the enthusiasm of the riders, ponies or families and friends who came along to support the event. A musical synchronised performance was executed perfectly and a Social Committee Mums’ race saw the competitive spirit transcend the generations.
Judge Sarah Whiteway says, “The turnout was at a higher level than previous years, the jumping was great fun and very competitive between the riders and the musical ride was fabulous!” Moffats’ next open morning takes place on Friday 30 September – visit for details.


Mural delight

Pupils at a Shrewsbury prep school have created a giant mural which will be part of their school for generations to come. The artwork was created as part of Prestfelde School’s arts week and was led by artist Rory McCann, who has created murals all over the world inspired by the plight of endangered animals.

Head of art Helen Allen said it had been an inspiring week. “It’s the first time for eight or nine years we’ve held an art week and it’s been a great success,” she explains. “The children designed the mural based on the animals which make up our house system, and it looks fabulous.”

The art week also included a school exhibition in which a piece of art from each pupil was framed professionally and displayed in the school chapel, with family members able to view and purchase the pieces. For more information about Prestfelde, call 01743 245400.


Young musician takes crown

Wrekin College has crowned flautist Emily Burton its Young Musician of the Year. The inaugural contest saw pupils participate in one of five preliminary rounds; strings, brass, woodwind, piano or voice. The winners of each ‘advanced’ category went on to compete in the Grand Final, held in the school’s Centenary Theatre.

Judged by renowned oboist Anthony Robson, the competition’s standards were first class, with Emily, aged only 12, just coming out on top with her performance of Chaminade’s Concertino for Flute. As well as being an outstanding flautist, Emily, who plays for the National Children’s Orchestra, also plays violin, piano and cello. Second and third went to trombonist Mark Nicholls and pianist Atahan Camlibel respectively. To find out more about Wrekin College, call 01952 265603.


School’s bio-med bonus

Shrewsbury High School is celebrating after being nominated for three national education awards at the Education Business Awards 2016 – and going on to win in one category. The school was shortlisted for Best ICT Initiative for its Computing Robotics programme, and for its outstanding progress across the ball, while its Bio-Med Programme won its category.
Head of chemistry Darren Payne, says, “We’re delighted to have received this award as it’s recognition of the progress we have made in supporting pupils in schools across the region. On October 8, we host our third annual Biomedical Conference and we’ll expand the programme to include nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy and dentistry.”


Heathfield pupils’ success

Two Heathfield School pupils have won a National ISA (Independent Schools Association) Junior Coding Competition run in collaboration with Discovery Education. The challenge for KS2 pupils was to create a space-themed game using coding. Heathfield teacher Jonathan Bugg submitted 10 entries and was delighted to hear that out of hundreds of submissions from all over the UK, two of the school’s Y5 boys, Daniel Newton and Arthur Mitchell, were declared national winners and a second team, Peter Morton and Ben Thacker, were highly commended. Judges said the winning entry was “extremely engaging and fun. We loved trying to catch the strawberries and dodge the rocks… We wanted to keep playing!” Daniel and Arthur have won the opportunity to take their teacher and class to visit London’s European Discovery Headquarters.


Shropshire sings!

Much Wenlock Primary School pupils took place in the musical extravaganza Shropshire Sings towards the end of the summer term. Over 2,000 children from all over the county took part in a range of singing activities at the West Mids Showground in July.
Much Wenlock Primary’s choir leader Sarah Holmes says, “The children sang their hearts put and really did the school proud. It was a wonderful event and it was fantastic to see all those young singers joining together to make such moving music.”


Chloe is on song

A talented Tettenhall College sixth former hit all the right notes when she sailed through a prestigious national music qualification. Chloe Fisher, who has just completed her A Levels at the school, has her sights set on a career in the performing arts. Her dream is now one step closer after she passed her diploma qualification from the London College of Music with 90%, exceeding the pass mark of 75%. Head David Williams says, “For a pupil to gain qualification of this standard, with such a high mark, is a remarkable achievement. We’re very proud of Chloe and are certain she has a bright future ahead of her in music and drama.”

Chloe recently starred alongside fellow pupils in the school’s summer musical ‘Just So’… and musical talent obviously runs in the family as her sister Aimée, another former pupil, has just made her West End debut in ‘Les Misérables’.


Castlefields boys scale Snowdon

In early July, four boys from Reception at Castlefields School climbed Snowdon as part of the Kiddie Climb event to raise funds for the Rose Blossom Trust and Joining Jack charities. The trust was set up by Mark and Natalie Chapman to support their twin girls Darcie and Evie who both suffer with Dravet Syndrome, a rare and catastrophic condition that affects only 1 in 40,000 people.

Darcie passed away suddenly in December, aged just five years old. A fundraising page has already raised over £2,000 in her memory.


Kiwis in county

A group of agricultural students from Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre in New Zealand have spent three weeks at the Walford Campus of North Shropshire College as part of a cultural exchange. Three students and a member of staff made the 24-hour plane journey to Shropshire to experience a day in the life of an NSC agriculture student. The exchange was an eye-opening experience for the students as Walford Farm is a considerably smaller enterprise to what they are used to – their own college owns over 50,000 sheep, cattle and deer as well as over 2,500 dairy cows.

Taratahi tutor James Cundy says, “We’ve really enjoyed our stay here; I’m impressed by the animal care department of the college, as we don’t have anything like it in New Zealand.”


School hit the mark

A Broseley primary school has achieved the coveted Silver Active Mark for school games. Broseley CE Primary teacher Mr Heath says, “This award reflects the school ethos, FACES, which stands for faith, ambition, courage, endeavour and success. We’ve won three major trophies this year, which is a symbol for success.”

The School Games Mark is a government-led awards scheme launched in 2012 to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. Broseley’s young sportspeople represented the school in cross country, cricket, rugby, football and many other sports.


Walford welcomes old students

The Walford Campus of North Shropshire College is calling for any former agriculture students to get in touch. Whether they studied five years ago or 25 years ago, NSC would like to hear from alumni in order to let them know about a planned reunion. The aim is to show old boys and girls how much the college has changed, and to put them in touch with fellow classmates. If you’re an ex-Walford student, call 01691 688087 or email


Call for businesses to link with schools

This September, Telford & Wrekin Council is launching a programme that supports young people transitioning between education and work.

Spokesperson Kim Hodgetts explains, “We’ve signed up to the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC), developed with the aim of supporting businesses and schools to connect. It’s backed by government and business and links with our Life Ready Work Ready programme. The aim is to link 20 volunteer business advisers with 20 schools, and we’re calling out to local businesspeople who’d be interested in taking part in this programme to support our local young people to be better prepared for the world of work.”
Visit for more information.


Palin inspires

Each year, Shrewsbury School gives more than 60 scholarships for academic, sporting, artistic, musical, technical or dramatic ability; the school is now launching scholarships rewarding all-round talent starting in 2017, which are named after former pupil, adventurer, comedian and writer Michael Palin. Head Mark Turner explains, “We’re delighted and honoured Michael has given his approval for scholarships to be awarded in his name. Quite apart from the success Michael has achieved, at Shrewsbury School we’re particularly proud that he is perhaps most famous for his warmth of character and the personal qualities that shine through.

“We’re particularly keen that young people currently from state schools will feel encouraged to apply – as well as those from independent prep schools.”
Michael Palin says, “I very much hope that those who benefit from the Michael Palin Scholarships will appreciate that they are named after someone who came to Shrewsbury mistaking shyness for inability and indecision for lack of talent, and who left having discovered that everything that seemed impossible was possible.”
For further information visit


St Chad’s hosts graduation

Led by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, the annual Shrewsbury College graduation parade and awards ceremony took place in St Chad’s church at the end of the summer term, with around 100 students and tutors taking part. The College has seen an increase in higher education (HE) student numbers, with over 140 graduating from its university-level courses this year.

Shrewsbury College principal Steve Wain says, “There are many benefits of studying HE with us, including smaller class sizes, taught by lecturers with industry experience who have the opportunity to influence the development of programmes, excellent facilities and the ability to study around work and family commitments.”

Shrews College Grad Caption Gemma Bridges, Sue Jones, Suzi Tomlinson, Ben Seager, Kayleigh Davies, Amy Crampsie and Haylie Norton completed a PGCE in post-compulsory education


Shrewsbury colleges merge

Two Shrewsbury education providers have come together to combat funding issues and lowered intake figures. Shrewsbury College and Shrewsbury Sixth Form College entered into merger discussions in 2015, and the new Shrewsbury Colleges Group came into being in August. A single principal/CEO will be appointed to oversee the merged group, and the interim post has been taken up by Lyn Surgeon, formerly deputy principal of Pendleton College, an ‘outstanding’ sixth form college.

Lyn says, “I’m delighted to be leading the newly formed Shrewsbury Colleges Group, where we will provide excellent opportunities for all our students, enabling them to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.”


New book for school starters

A Shropshire author has penned a book designed to help children and their parents as they start school for the very first time. My First Year at School by Lindy Higgs helps children record their memories and face any fears. The book is published by Austin Macauley (

Lindy explains, “The idea for this book came from my own experiences with my children and how I wish I’d been able to record memories of their first days at school. It was with this in mind that the concept of my book developed… I wanted to create a way for other parents to capture this special moment.”



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