I wanted to pass on my thanks to the PTA for supporting the entry into the British Maths Olympiad for Girls. We had 14 girls who optionally entered from years 11, 12 & 13. We may extend this to year 10 in the future.
I am pleased to say that we had three girls of the 14 whose score placed them in the top 25% of entrees across the UK. This is by no means an easy competition and all girls did really well. I am very proud of them. Each participant will get a letter from the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust in place of any certificates. These shall be printed and handed out to the girls after half term. I have shared this information with them on SMH.
I would like to continue to build upon this and develop an ethos for our female mathematicians, across all years, that they can succeed and flourish in mathematics.
Mr David Smith, Leader of KS 5 Maths
D&T: Nicola Grice / Paul Evans
I just wanted to say a huge thank you for the donations you have so kindly given to the D&T department this year. The software and licences have proved invaluable during this third lockdown as now all of our students can carry on using the design software at home for the onsite learning we are now doing. The cricut machine was greatly received by both Year 11 and Year 13 students although unfortunately, due to the current circumstances, I do not have any examples yet to show you. When restrictions are lifted I will send you some pictures of some items created. Thanks again, the donations are much appreciated by both staff and students in helping us keep up with current technology.
Chess Club: Matt Amison
The funds used to purchase new equipment for the chess club have been gratefully received. The new boards and pieces have meant that more students have been able to access chess club at once this year, despite the restrictions from Coronavirus, and they have benefitted from the display board when learning new techniques. We hope to be able to organise a chess team for our school in future to compete locally, and the new boards and pieces will help us to hopefully make that goal a reality.
English: James Bargh
I wanted to pass on my sincere thanks from the English department for the money that the PTA have granted us over the past two years. The money has been invaluable in allowing us to target one of our main department improvement areas which focuses on developing a passionate love of literature in all of our students across all year groups. In recent years, although students have always performed outstandingly well in English, there appears to be a little bit of disconnection between love of reading and actually studying the subject. This has been shown nationally where fewer students are choosing to study English Literature at A level as they progress into subjects that offer more direct paths into high paying jobs like mathematics and the sciences. As a department, we want to enthuse students in order to love English once more and we see that this will take place through developing a love of reading for pleasure. Therefore, we have spent some of our money on building a bank of independent reading texts for the department to share with students to help them develop a love of reading beyond the curriculum. In addition, we have also invested some of the money in buying class sets of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which we study in year 9 in order to allow students to take books home and establish a love of reading Shakespeare for pleasure. This has previously not been possible because of budget constraints and we are excited by the possibilities this new investment has allowed us. We are excited about the way that this money can help us progress to realising one of our department improvement targets and we will keep you updated of our progress.
PE: Kyle Hindley
A massive thank you to the PTA from the PE department for our Basketball hoop. Having it in the sportshall has changed how we can use that space for our students and has given us a whole new indoor space to use in the winter terms with our students.
I would like to thank the PTA for their generosity in providing the funds to purchase A-level Sociology textbooks. These books have given students a range of study resources they can utilise to fully develop their sociological thinking!
PTA funding has enabled the Music department to improve the sound environment of our four main practice rooms by installing acoustic panelling. Visiting peripatetic teachers and our students have commented on how much better the rooms sound, and how much more enjoyable they are to play and practice in as a result. The practice rooms are now less reverberant which enables a wider range of instruments to practice effectively, such as Brass. The panels were a resource that we would have not been able to afford out of the department budget, so the PTA funding is most appreciated!
We are very grateful to the PTA for helping us to fund Loudmouth Theatre performances which all students in years 7-10 experienced during 2019 College Week. The SLT and PSHE lead chose the performances to complement the work done during PSHE as well as responding to needs of the year group.
Year 7 – Bully 4 U, Year 8 – Safe & Sound, Year 9 – Working for Marcus, Year 10 – One too Many. A range of issues were sensitively covered, engaging the students and ensuring the students gained greater awareness of topics which affect their emotional and physical well-being. Staff and feedback on College Week showed that these performances were one of the highlights of the week.
Please send the department’s huge thanks to the PTA for the funding they provided for the additional cameras. Last Thursday I collected four DSLR cameras to add to our stock and they have already been a huge help and very gratefully received. Photography is a hugely popular options subject with students with around 60-75 students opting to take it each year as a GCSE, and I know that this will have a huge impact on our students’ learning.
The DVDs of the RSC performance of Othello has been an essential resource in allowing A level students the chance to see a powerful and moving interpretation of the play from 2016. Seeing the play in performance has allowed students to explore an interpretation of performance and staging that they cannot get from just reading the script.
The financial support offered to Media has been a huge help (particularly as we are currently in the first two years of delivering the new specification). We used the money to purchase a camera which we is currently being used to support the students’ practical skills (for coursework) and we have purchased numerous DVDs (Luther/ The Bridge/ The Sweeney / I, by Daniel Blake and Straight Outta Compton. The PTA has also helped to fund the new text books required- we are very grateful.
“That’s amazing!” “Can I have a go now?” “How fast can it go?” “Can we use it again?”
These are just some of the comments students have made in their Physics lessons after seeing the new equipment.
The ripple tank is an essential piece of equipment, used at all key stages for students to observe and measure travelling waves. Previously, we used a very unreliable ripple tank, made up of various improvised spare parts. It had become almost impossible to use and it was therefore vital that this was replaced. The new ripple tanks are the latest designs, with integrated controls and an inbuilt projecting strobe light, features that allow students to make measurements far more easily than before. Unlike the previous Heath Robinson ripple tank, the new ripple tanks do not require any time to set up, saving valuable technician and teacher time.
Our new signal generator and vibration generators will allow us to carry out essential practical work at A-level. Previously, students had to take turns to carry out some investigations, which was not ideal.
Now we have enough of these essential items for us to run whole-class required practicals. Year 12 will be using these in the coming weeks to investigate standing waves and harmonics. Year 11 will be using them a few weeks later to obtain the speed the sound in a string.
Science practicals need to go with a bang and our new fire stick (a device that pre-dates Amazon’s) allows us to explode cotton wool, so we can demonstrate compression ignition and the link between heat and energy. The ballistic pendulum has been a very helpful tool in teaching conservation of momentum and conservation of energy. A-level and GCSE examinations often feature questions based on ballistic pendulums, so to be able to actually demonstrate one is a much-needed boon.
Thank you to the hard efforts of the PTA for helping the Science department source this essential equipment. Teachers and students are all very grateful.
Kerboodle is a fantastic online resource that allows our students to access to their textbook at home as well as complete assessments and revision quizzes. The annual licence paid for by the PTA also gives us as teachers a powerful and efficient assessment tool that is now supporting student progress in all key stages of science.
We are very grateful to the PTA for providing us with updated audio equipment. Our microphones are much more reliable now and when we have done moderation and played sample recordings back, the quality is so much better. In addition, they are a more slimline design than the previous microphones and therefore less intimidating for the students in trial and final examinations.
I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for the tumble dryer that you so kindly got for the PE department we are extremely grateful. It has been so useful for us as it has meant that we have been able to wash and dry all of the sports kit and has enabled the students to be able to play in clean kit which has been fantastic. Now we can also wash and dry all of the bibs used during lesson time. This may sound like a small thing but actually when the bibs get wet and then dry in the cupboard they smell which the students really dislike- so having clean bibs has really helped with motivation during lessons times. We are always so grateful to the PTA for the help that you give us and really do appreciate the things you have donated to us.
The food department purchased an online resource programme for child development. This allows students to complete tasks at home online and develop their skills and knowledge in the comfort of their own home. This also supports the teacher to track their progress in the subject and stretch learning outside the classroom. As a department we have filtered the resources into lesson planning and PowerPoint presentations.
Money gratefully received from the PTA re: Safeguarding and wellbeing has so far been spent on the following:
26 x books and a transportable book shelf unit to create a Wellbeing Self-Help Hub in Student Services that can be accessed by all students Y7 – 13 inclusive.
Presentations delivered by our SEMH teacher to both half year groups in Y11 prior to their GCSE examinations in order to provide them with coping strategies.
Attendance at a Mental health First Aid 2 day training course (MHFA) for our Student Welfare and Liaison Officer.
The purchase of Bee Kind wrist bands to sell to students during the Bee Kind month (October).