November / December 2022 Blog
In my last blog I talked in depth about the importance of partnership between the College and home. For the second part of the Autumn term, I want to take the opportunity to celebrate the extent of enrichment we have underway during these autumn months and the staff who organise it and the students who take part so enthusiastically!
Inspector Calls Theatre Trip:
Mr Bezant took a group of Year 10 and 11 students to see ‘An Inspector Calls’. He has seen this particular adaption of Inspector Calls over 10 times- and was very clear that this performance was the best performed to date. The casting was colour-blind and the actor who played Shelia Birling, was truly amazing. Without doubt the students thoroughly enjoyed it and no doubt this was partly because they were right in the front row.
Famous Five Theatre Trip:
The second theatre trip of the year took place on Weds 8 November when 6 staff took 37 students from Year 7 and Year 8 to see the world premiere production of 'The Famous Five' at Chichester Festival Theatre. Students enjoyed a high energy musical performance which took them all to Kirrin Island, captured the essence of Enid Blyton's characters, added engaging puppetry (Timmy the dog!) and updated the plot. Needless to say, the world was saved, picnics were plentiful, and lashings of ginger beer (well, ginger ice cream) were enjoyed by all!
Now I know that the staff loved it, but I was curious as to what the students thought - so Mr Bezant kindly collected some student reviews for me:
Hollie .M (Y7) said: ‘I liked that the characters were much like in the books and they brought the characters to life. I really liked it and I don’t really think they could have done anything better.’
Joel .S (Y7) said: ‘I loved the fact that they were so energetic when performing.’
Elsie .W (Y8) said: ‘I really liked how the characters were all so different in many ways but could all blend together and let us see their personalities together.’
And Finally… Isabel .A (Y8) said: ‘I liked the stage set up. I think the use of projection was great.’
Maths and numeracy week:
We had another amazing numeracy week this year with a total of 194 students taking part in the after-school competitions- a new all-time record. Petworth house had a very convincing win in the Geocache competition having the most attendance and the winning individual team. The students did a fantastic job solving the maths challenges and using the grid references and maps to find the locations. It was fast, and full of energy and smiles!
Countdown was also a great success with over 100 students taking part - yet another record! The winning individual team came from Goodwood House and comprised entirely of Year 7 and 8 students! The overall winner for the countdown competition was Arundel House with the highest attendance and the highest average team score.
During the course of numeracy week all subjects were asked to take part in numeracy starters that were devised by subject teachers for their different curriculum areas. The consensus from the students was that they loved the challenges and so all the hard work put in by staff paid off.
The return this year of The Christmas Science Lecture was triumphant with an exploration of marine life in ‘Two Thousand & Twenty-Two Leagues Under the Sea’. As the name suggests, the lecture was a journey of discovery into the depths of our planet's oceans - where the audience learnt about the different zones and the many fascinating creatures that dwell within them. The lecture was delivered with great enthusiasm by Mr Russell - the Head of Science; Mrs Davies and Mrs Lemon and was a mix of demonstrations, audience participation and a fabulous audio-visual presentation. Amongst the many highlights was the demonstration that required Mr Collins to dunk his face into a bowl of ice water for as long as he could; a stroke of genius from the science team but unfortunately, he ended up with flu across the Christmas break!
I can honestly say that the whole event was enthralling, and many stayed at the end to ask questions and look more closely at exhibits that had been loaned to the College for the event. A particularly memorable part for me, was when Mrs Davies explored the impact of the fishing industry on our oceans. She opened my eyes to some truly shocking facts that has made me really aware of the damage we are capable of doing and how fragile the balance of life is on this planet. It was fantastic that so many keen scientists were there to hear such an important message for the ‘next generation’!
Mrs Jones and the RS department are determined to increase the opportunities available to students to visit the places of worship that they learn so much about in their lessons. In the first half-term, Mrs Jones had taken Year 11 students to visit a mosque in Fareham, which the students found truly inspirational and fascinating. In November Mrs Jones took a group Year 8 students to visit Winchester cathedral. Here is her account of how the visit unfolded:
“The day started with a re-enactment of the Holy Communion within Winchester Cathedral, led by Canon Tess, where students learnt first-hand about the symbolism and the beliefs behind the service, and how it is run. Next our students got to ask their own questions to Canon Tess regarding religion, ethics and humanity as viewed by the Church of England. This was a really interested part of the day as Canon Tess was able to answer our students' questions candidly and no topic was considered taboo. Lastly, to round out the day, we received a personal tour of the Cathedral, led by local volunteers, where students learnt about the history of the Cathedral and the events that took place there.”
Mrs Jones was keen to know what the students felt they had got out of the trip and this is what some of our students had to say about the trip:
"I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the history of the Cathedral and the significant events that took place there throughout history."
"Our tour around the Cathedral and its Crypt was amazing!"
"It was lovely meeting Canon Tess and having her answer our questions, no matter what we asked”.
Ambition and Aspiration:
Year 7 University of Portsmouth Visit
As part of the ‘UP for Uni programme’, 14 Year 7s took part in the Transition Mindsets visit to Portsmouth University. During the day students were encouraged to think about all the wonderful skills they already have, but also ones they hope to develop during secondary school, and beyond. The day’s events included: a library scavenger hunt, practical challenges as a team and individually, a campus tour and the chance to hear from current students and ask them questions. As a first trip to a university for the students, they were excellent and loved the experience.
Year 8 – More & Most Able Visit to the University of Southampton
23 students visited the University of Southampton and followed a programme of activities introducing them to the life and academic expectations of a Russell Group university. The students had the opportunity to find out about different aspects of student life including living away from home, the work of the student union and what it is like to attend a seminar. The students were all fully engaged in every part of the day and were really enthusiastic at the end about life at university!
Thriving Minds Trip:
Mr Collins and Mrs Humby took 15 Year 11s who are aspiring to and working so hard for the top grades in their GCSE exams to the Thriving Minds conference in London. The conference sessions discussed topics such as justice, truth, beauty, success and achievement from different philosophical perspectives, and offered the 400+ students in attendance an insight into Oxbridge interview questions and the right way to approach answering them.
The students were encouraged to think in a different way, to expand on their thoughts and think about the bigger picture. There was also a debate on the rights and wrongs of commenting on other people’s bodies- a relentless topic, of course for the gossip magazines. The final session, which was truly quite a show used an electric guitar and music to demonstrate principles of physics. I have to just add that the highlight of the day for Mr Collins occurred after he had dropped Mrs Humby and the students off and was driving the minibus off to park it when he was forced to pull over, because a motorcade driving the King and the Queen Consort went past on the way to Buckingham Palace. According to Mr Collins, he was recognised by the King, from his twitter posts - which apparently thousands follow, and so got an enthusiastic wave. We do of course only have Mr Collin’s word for that!
The Winter Show:
Like with the Christmas Science lecture, the Creative Arts subjects were delighted to be able to return to putting on The Winter Show production. This ran for two successful two nights and was fully sold out as parents and friends came to watch 100+ students perform. There was an eclectic mix of solo and group performances in dance, drama and music. Everyone in the audience, in particular the College Governors were unanimous in their praise for the students who took part and showcased their talents so brilliantly. It is always especially pleasing to see the range of students from all year groups who put themselves forward to perform – they truly represent the inclusive ethos that we foster at the College.
The Crookhorn Forest School Trip
10 students who have been taking part in the Crookhorn Forest school went on a trip to explore our local flora and fauna. After walking to Johnstones Coppice the students followed a pre-arranged trail collecting different types of leaves and looking for some hidden animals and insects. There was naturally a half way stop for S ’mores cooked over a camping stove which were very well received. The students were concerned about the litter they saw in some areas and so are starting to formulate a plan to help combat this and I look forward to the hearing the suggestions they come up with.
Finally, I want to finish with a recap of another event that we have not been able to do for 2 years, but this year we were able to do it again, on a bigger and better scale than ever before! This was of course the Whole College Act of Remembrance which took place on the Friday before Remembrance Sunday. The whole College attended the service held in the Sports Halland it was a deeply moving and profound experience. The service was conducted by Reverend Grove from Purbrook parish and he was incredibly impressed with the respect our students showed throughout the service. The historical focus this year was on the anniversary of the Falkland Islands and also of course on the years of military service and dedication given to our country by the late Queen. The Rock Choir performed an amazingly haunting acoustic performance of the Foo Fighters ‘Times Like These’. Their performance blew me away - they really are something else as a group of performers.
This academic year we have made a commitment to extending our provision of enrichment activities for students to take part, so they get a full experience of attending a secondary school. We believe this is vital for student’s wellbeing, and finding a love of something outside of the classroom often supports their academic study within the classroom. This year for the first time we offered a breakfast sports club, which had 688 attended sessions in the Autumn term. This session runs from 8am and our PE department have seen numbers be consistently high for this club. We ran 12 sports clubs every week ranging from developing sports leaders to volleyball, rugby, football, alternative sports and so on. There is so much choice now that should really offer something for everyone. 1,171 afternoon sessions were attended, which brings the total number of attended sessions up to 1,859. Amazing success, and a big thank you to everyone who has run a session.
We also now offer a number of enrichment activities that don’t revolve around sport, which have been well received by lots of students. From September, we ran chess club which was very popular, Dungeons and Dragons, science, art, music and debating club all of which have had a great uptake of students coming each week. In total, we had 1,344 attended sessions. As you can see, this offering gives our College something extra, and we are so pleased students are recognising this and taking part. If you would like more information on what is on, or just some support getting your child to attend a session, or if there is a session you could offer, please do contact Mr Baker at the College.
I am also incredibly proud - that to date Year 11 have attended 1750 Study Club sessions either during lunch or after College!!!!
This brings me to the end of my enrichment summary for November/December and hopefully gives a collective flavour of the wonderfully exciting and varied opportunities students have here at the College. I hope as many of our community as possible had a great Christmas break, and I really do pray for a positive 2023.