A Celebration of Fifty Years of Newent School
June Davies Plants Commemorative Tree To complete our celebration of the first fifty years of Newent Community School, Councillor June Davies planted a commemorative tree at the front entrance. June was a student of the school when it was in the former buildings on the road to Gloucester. Her very first job was as a secretary in the new school on the present site. With a short break for raising her family, June worked at Newent Community School until her recent retirement, at which point she was PA to the Headteacher and Clerk to the Governors. The tree is a Tulip Tree. It is easily identified by the unusual shape of the leaf. Which turns a light buttery yellow in autumn. But its real glory will come in a further decade or so when it begins to flower. The mature tree carries large flowers the size of a rose but shaped like an open
tulip, cream with lines of orange and green. The flowers appear in time for the summer exam season! And they will follow nicely in sequence from the powerful flowering cherries, the brilliant white magnolia in the quad, and the delicate pink Amelanchier planted to mark the life of our former Head of Maths, Tony Trevail, which stands just beside the front entrance. We are very fortunate in the quality of the school environment. The judges, inspecting the town of Newent for “Britain in Bloom” recently complimented the efforts of the ELBS group and those who take care of the site, saying that this was the “best growing school” they had seen. This substantial tree can last for centuries and grow to a commanding height. It is a proud addition to our legacy for the future.
My Personal History of Newent School By Jane Nichols ondary Modern School at Picklenash and the Grammar School on the Gloucester Road. Mr Jack Miller arrived in 1961. Newent School has always been a pioneering school and this was certainly the case under the leadership of Jack Miller. Jack Miller was a visionary and a forward looking educationalist. He was practising ‘comprehensive’ education long before it became common in the world of Education. When he arrived, he started mixing all the classes of both schools up, really making it ‘comprehensive’. Lessons were held at both sites for all students. As I complete my fortieth year of teaching at Newent, it is perhaps fitting that I put some details and memories to paper. In fact, my association goes back 50 years, as when I was a student at school in Gloucester, I can remember coming out to play sports matches at Newent. We were always impressed by the facilities and the fact we had soup and a roll! The entertaining for visiting teams was provided from the G corridor kitchen. Coming from a city school, I was envious of the field space and the beautiful view to May Hill. Little did I know then, I would be back 10 years later as a rather ’green’ teacher! There has been a school in Newent, since the days of the Newent Workhouse. Following the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act, the conditions would have been on a par with the lowest paid labourer living standards. This was followed by an elementary school at Picklenash in the 1800’s. This would have taken children of what we call primary school age. Then, children would have to work, possibly in the pin factory in Newent or straight into the farming or horticultural community.
In the early years of the twentieth century, the school leaving age was raised to 14. Before 1925, students travelled by train along the ‘Daffodil Line’ to Gloucester to go to grammar school, other students remained at Picklenash. However, in 1925, the grammar school was opened, (now the Newent Community Centre). The first Headmaster was Mr F.W. Dickinson and he was followed by Mr Peacock, who gave the houses the names of sailors/seamen, including Nelson, Collingwood and Drake. In 1952, a Bi-Lateral system was established, with a Sec-
When the new building opened in 1965 in Watery Lane, the students walked from the old school to the present site, some of them carrying equipment! It was effectively the first purpose-built Comprehensive School in Gloucestershire. The facilities were impressive. The story goes (according to Mike Gray, former Assistant Head Teacher, who started at Newent in 1968), that Jack was offered 2 large spaces in addition to the Main Hall and it was originally planned to have 2 gyms, owing to pupil numbers. But Jack wanted a swimming pool! He succeeded in his request, but it does explain why each building is the same size and why the pool is an unusual size at 15 metres length. We were the first school in Gloucestershire to have an indoor pool. The school quickly expanded and the H block was added in 1972. I was always grateful to Jack as he appointed me in 1975 and I was much in awe of him during my first year. In 1976, Peter Landau arrived and the pioneering spirit continued. This was a period of continued growth and expansion. The History block, Art block and Sports Hall were all added in the 1980s and Peter managed to purchase extra land on the back field. By now, there were kitchens everywhere: H Block, G corridor, History block. You can still the tiles on the wall in G10, which was a kitchen, with adjoining dining rooms on each side. Similarly, the private study area for sixth formers was a former kitchen, with Mr Balmer’s office, formerly used for storage. The original partition in the library classroom was used to open up the classrooms as dining rooms. The partition didn’t close properly in the 1970’s and it still doesn’t! Nelson and Mountbatten dined in the History block, Collingwood, Drake and the Sixth form in the H block. All staff did lunch time duties and we sat on tables with the students to dish out food. Grace was said at the beginning of lunch and at the end. All clearing up was done by students and the tables had to be checked by the member of staff on duty, before students could leave. School camp was already well established by 1975. It has always been supported by Headteachers as an important extra-curricular activity, often envied and copied by other schools. Different sites have been used: Biblins, Crickhowell and now Brecon. Indeed, Peter Landau also introduced an ‘activity’ afternoon for some years to enable students to experience a wide variety of different activities. This was copied by a Forest school not so far away.
This can also be said of our House system. The vertical tutorial system, which provides ‘family’ groups was always seen as being appropriate for our wide and extensive rural catchment area, to enable support from older students for younger ones, who may have been the only student to come from their small primary school. An extra house was added in 1975 – Mountbatten House with Head of House, Allan Slade. The house system has grown to support strong pastoral care alongside a competitive programme of house activities, adding a special dimension to the ethos of Newent School. After 40 years, it is interesting to see, with new Education Ministers, how what ‘goes around, comes around’! Currently, we have a literacy drive; I can remember the Bullock Report of 1975 saying the same things. As we face new challenges in the twenty first century and as I move into my 41st year of service at Newent, I think it will be the special and particular qualities of the staff, students and the wider community who will carry the pioneering spirit forwards to even greater heights. The 50th year anniversary celebration was a wonderful day, recognising so many achievements. Here’s to the next fifty!
Telltale signs - the tiles on the wall of G10 which show that it was once a kitchen.
Year Nine Camp 2015 By Imogen Heath Day 1: On Monday 22nd June “Week 1” left to go on camp at 8.45am from the school. When we arrived at the camp we all settled into our tents to unpack. We sat outside to have a little snack before we went on a low level walk which took about 3 hours. On the low level walk we came to a stream we had to cross and Liv Suchocka was crossing it but at the last bit she tripped and fell in; needless to say, everyone laughed. Back in camp Mrs Williams had made us some spaghetti sauce, but we had to make our own pasta in our table groups. While our pasta was cooking we had a challenge which was to make a sculpture on something to do with Wales. The things we had to make it with were a water melon, berries and 2 oranges. Our table groups also had to decide who was walking up Pen Y Fan on Tuesday and who was walking to Brecon. When we finished eating we were told the duties we had to do - my table (table 3) were on litter: Sophie and I accidently tipped the bucket over which was full of waste food and water. We were supposed to carry it over to this hole and pour it in there. However, we didn’t make it to the hole: we didn’t even make it half way! We picked it up, took one step, then it was all over the floor.
On the first night we did an activity that was to make a shelter that had to be water proof. Someone had to sit in it whilst your group was making the shelter and when it was finished, someone would come round with a jug and tip water over your “water proof” shelter to see if the person inside would get wet. Table 3 won this challenge which was Imogen, Sophie, Jack, Joe, Ottalie, Bryony, Sam and Luke. We also had to make our own fire to roast the marshmallows on. After a very enjoyable evening we came into a very nice hot chocolate and biscuits in the marquee. Day 2: After a very cold night we had to be up at 7:30, but if we were cooking breakfast or on sandwich duty we had to be up at 7. After breakfast we did our duty and then we went
back to our tents for a while before we headed off for the day. Before we left we all had to go to the Marquee to get our packed lunch and drinks. The group walking up the mountain left first, not long after the group walking to Brecon left. When we were walking to Brecon we stopped first at the woods, had a snack and did an activity. The activity was all the boys to hide and all the girls to find them, and then we swapped over. We made our second stop at a park known as Miracle Park around 1 hour away from Brecon. It is known as that because a man jumped out of a plane and his parachute didn’t work and he landed in the park and didn’t die, only broke a few bones, luckily. We had an activity there after we had eaten our lunch. The activity was we had to do the worst landing position. The next challenge was who could hold the plank for the longest it was funny, but hard at the same time! JJ Bignell won the challenge. We mostly walked on through fields to get to Brecon; there were loads of sheep! We walked through a forest again that was next to a canal. When we got to Brecon we were allowed an hour and a half to ourselves; some people went shopping but most people went to Costa. At 4 we all had to be shopping for our food with the 4 people in our table groups, we were given £20 to do this. When we were shopping a few people brought water balloons to have a water fight because it was so hot. We were allowed to get the minibus back because we had to carry all our shopping. After the tea that we had to cook ourselves - a starter, main and dessert - we had to tidy up our tables etc and do our duties. We then all thought it was time to have a water fight with water balloons. Zoe and I blew up a water balloon and threw it at Mr Gibson and he thought it had water in! In the evening Mr Gibson got the water slide out. Everyone went charging down it. It was such good fun. Some people tried running up the water slide without falling back down: it didn’t go too well. They just fell straight back down again! When the water slide had finished the girls got to go down to the stream first to have a bit of a wash. I’ve never been so cold in my life. It was as cold as being in a freezer! Even though we were all freezing we still decided to go under the water-fall and just laugh through it all, having a good time. We eventually swapped with the boys and dried off. Before we went to bed the teachers made us all a hot chocolate with biscuits, and cake because it was Cameron’s birthday. Day 3: Today the groups swapped over. We did the same morning routine as Tuesday. Walking up Pen Y Fan was hard at first, but when we got to the flat bit it was alright. The last bit was all rocks; it was scary looking down. However, we made it and it was a good feeling: I didn’t think I would make it. We ate our lunch up the top of the mountain and sat up there for half an hour maybe. It was an amazing view. It was cold up the top of the mountain therefore everyone put their jumpers on. When we started to walk down it looked so scary and it was so steep, it hurt your
knees. When I was walking I fell because I tried lifting my knees up higher, then I tripped over. We also got to walk round the mountain, it was a really small path and scary because we were still quite high. When we got back we were all really tired, we made it back before the group that went to Brecon. After dinner and duties, Mr Gibson got the water slide out again. Then the sixth formers had a game for us: it was pass the parcel but you would either get a sweet or a dare. Lydia Kelly had to have Ellie Chivers’ dirty sock and suck water out of it, Sam had to suck jam out of Jack Matthews’ belly button, Luke C had to get sweets out of baked beans with his toes and Joe Mower and Oscar Senior-Fellows had a fight in sleeping Bags but Oscar didn’t know that Joe wasn’t in the ring! The prize was an onion - Jack Bliss had to eat it. It was a really good night; we then had a hot chocolate and biscuits again before bed. Day 4- last day: On the last day everyone was tired. We had our breakfast as usual and did our duties although no one had the energy. When we had finished our duties we had to prepare our tents and make sure that we were packed and ready to go. We had to leave the camp how it was when we arrived. Soon, awards were given and the new group arrived: we clapped them in, boarded the coach and set off for Swansea beach. On the way there everyone was asleep. A few people went into the sea - it was so nice because it was hot. We had some ice cream too. At 3.30pm we headed off on the coach for the leisure centre, with a swimming pool and loads of slides. It was really good. On the way back everyone was asleep again because we were so tired! Overall I loved every single bit of it and if I had the chance to go back I would.
Art, Design and Technology Showcase For Amazing Talent By Miriam McClay The Art, Design and Technology Show in the Art Department delighted all with the superbly high standard of work across all year groups and art disciplines. Visitors were treated to seven art specialist teaching rooms crammed full with a vast array of visual responses from students in Year 7 all the way through to the finest A level work. The Art department continues to offer a broad and diverse curriculum of skills including both traditional and contemporary digital media and as such the exhibition reflected a wealth of cre-
ativity within the areas of Fine Art, Graphic Design, 3D Studies, Photography and Design Technology. The exhibition clearly illustrated that standards in art continue to be outstanding, as recognised in Jan 2014, Ofsted. We have many Year 13 students now moving on to Foundation courses at both Stroud and Hereford colleges and we are especially delighted that Isabel Hurley has been offered a place directly onto Cheltenham’s Fine Art Degree course; the standard of her work was so high she was able to bypass the Foundation Diploma stage and tutors
at Cheltenham identified the impressive teaching in Newent’s Art department. Thank you to all department staff for working so hard to display the art work and a special thank you to our Sixth Form helpers who really helped make it all happen.
You are Invited to BEE (Biology Ecological Experience)
– Saturday 3 October 2015. Forest of Dean
From BATS to BOAR and MOTHS to MILLIPEDES come and find out more. A one night residential with a focus on wildlife in the natural habitat. COST: approximately £38.00 Mrs V. Taylor (Learning Lead Biology)
Year 12 Artists Excel
Year 12 Fine Art students showcased their artwork recently at May Hill’s Celebration day on June 13th. Students were invited by organiser Anne Charnock to submit work inspired by May Hill to be displayed alongside professional local artists. Visitors were impressed by the superb standard of art work from Newent’s outstanding art department. The paintings of Lydia Armstrong, Emily Dowle, Harriet Hurley and Megan Farrell were admired throughout the day and Megan Farrell received a number of offers to buy her work there and then! The event was organised by The National Trust as a celebration of the beautiful, treasured landmark of May Hill which has inspired many poets and artists to create work. 2015 is the centenary of Edward Thomas' poem Words, which he was inspired to write on May Hill.
As the dementia awareness project continues towards the end of its third year, Year 8 students finish as Dementia Friends! Lena Maller – The Forest Community Engagement Officer came in to PSHE lessons and took the session. During the session, Lena explained what it is to be a Dementia Friend. She said people living with dementia sometimes need a helping hand to go about their daily lives and feel included in their local community. Dementia Friends is about giving more people an understanding of dementia and the small things that could make a difference to people living in their community. The Dementia Friends information session tells people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and encourages them to turn that understanding into action. From helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media, every action counts. Anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.
Dementia Awareness Project Ends for Year 8 Students By Di Harrill - Head of PSHE
The 5 key messages were: Dementia is not a natural part of aging Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain It’s not just about losing memory It’s possibly to live well with dementia There’s more to a person than the dementia We look forward to creating more Dementia Friends, when we continuing the project next year!
P Money and the Quadrats - Final Tour
Library Book Fair The recent Book Fair in the Library was a success, despite the absence of most of the Upper School, campers, German tourists, etc… The ‘Name That Book’ competition was won by Phoebe Bunce, who identified all 12 books and their authors and won £10 to spend at the Book Fair. Students bought over 70 titles between them, plus a huge number of pointing fingers, and some members of staff started shopping for Xmas! The Library took its commission in the form of books, and added over £60 worth of stock to the Library. Thanks to all who supported the event. The next Book Fair will be held in November.
P Money (AKA Mrs Price) led a team of biologists on one last trip out to Aberystwyth for the A Level biology field trip before she retires. Torrential rain did not put off the limpet measurers and quadrat throwers, and all students worked hard from dawn till the late hours to collect valid data for their A2 coursework. The rocky shore and sand dune teams went head to head on Ynyslas Beach on the last night for a head to head battle for the biology trophy. Rounders were scored, wellies were wanged, and at the end of the night Mrs Price’s rocky shore team were overall winners in the best of three competitions. “It was a good alright trip”: Charlie Docherty.
A final mime tribute to “Pricey” from a “Village People” tribute act
Year 10 Work Experience Excellence By Sue Lawrance - Learning Lead Careers
Andy Murray, Dementia Care, Cricket Bats, Birds of Prey, Sticky Cakes and Dentistry – where else wold you find a common link except through our Year 10 Work Experience. As usual we had a large number of varied and interesting placements not only in Gloucestershire but as far south
as London and as far north as Newcastle. Students came back to school with stories of meeting famous people, working for renowned companies including Superdry, finding their strengths and amending their weaknesses. Employers are looking for students who have developed strong employability skills and Work Experience is an invaluable tool to enable students to do just that. My thanks goes to everyone involved in Work Experience this June from employers themselves to family and friends who supported our students, some of whom had early starts and late finishes, but above all to the students who were a credit not only to our school but more importantly to themselves.
Goodbye to Year 11 - and a Few Prom Pictures Year 11 celebrated their last day on 22nd May with food and fun. The day began with an English Exam and ended with a gathering to sign shirts and say goodbye, including farewell messages from staff, leavers’ hoodies and photos, and the final raffle for the revision reward cards. The grand prize was a Samsung Galaxy S4, with a case, Bluetooth keyboard and a few other accessories, worth a total of £250, sponsored by Abbey Business Equipment, for which we are very appreciative. Students have been collecting stickers for attending revision sessions since Easter. Each time they completed a card they were entered into the draw. Mr Wycherley had the intense pressure of drawing the winning ticket, and the winner is … drum roll please… TOM CLIFFORD! A huge well done to Tom. Tom is a lovely student, who tried very hard and attended many revision sessions, including the odd one which was not for one of his classes but for a group in which he supported another student who was working on challenging topics. Tom had this to say… “Since receiving the tablet it has helped me, not only on an entertainment side, but on an educational point as well. I have been able to download many helpful revision apps. All of these apps have helped me with my revision for my exams. The tablet is easy to handle and control, so I can get it out and do some revision using the apps
whilst I am on the bus for example. I am thankful for Miss Morgan for organising the completion – using a prize for going to revision sessions is a great idea, and I feel she should continue to do this for the next Year 11 and for many years to come.” We wish all Year 11 the best of luck for the future and hope they achieve all they set out to.
See you all on Results’ Day
Year 12 Induction Day Students were welcomed into the Sixth Form to experience their first taste of what Sixth Form life may bring. After a warm welcome from Ms Rogers, Mr Britten and the Sixth Form team, students collected their welcome pack, their timetable for the day and launched into each of their sessions. It’s been a long time since the end of GCSE courses and students appreciated the ‘Step up to Sixth Form’ session which was provided to give them information regarding how then can prepare to be successful A level students. Students took part in many activities, from experiments in Sciences to cheese-rolling with Babybels (rather than Double-Gloucester) in PE. We all gathered together for pastries at break and pizza, chips and ice cream at lunch. All welcome refreshments after a morning of activity! In the afternoon session, once again we were fortunate to provide students with the Heartstart course from the British Heart Foundation, thanks to Miss Llewellyn and our qualified first aiders. This course covered dealing with an unconscious person; the signs and symptoms of a heart
St John Ambulance Visit Year 7 for Basic First Aid Sessions By Di Harrill, Head of PSHE
Every year, many people die in situations where first aid could have given them a chance to live, and fewer than one in 10 people have been trained in first aid. In PSHE, all Year 7 students took part in a basic emergency aid lesson run by St John Ambulance. As well as equipping them with the knowledge to be the difference between life and death, learning first aid helps to improve self-esteem as well as teamwork and communication skills.
attack; recognising a cardiac arrest and performing CPR; dealing with choking and serious bleeding. Obviously, being in the Sixth Form means that students will be taking on more community and social responsibilities. To equip our students with the skills which they can use to save a life was a fitting end to a very successful day. Students were extremely positive in their feedback and left with beaming smiles and great memories. We wish all students awaiting examination results the very best in August and we look forward to congratulating you personally on results day. The following websites provide further information about the British Heart Foundation Course and the Air Training Corps: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/nation-of-lifesavers/ heartstart http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets http://newent.gloucs.sch.uk/Sixth
Success For Year 7 and Year 8 in UKMT Junior Maths Challenge
On 21st May 2015 a group of 56 students and four staff visited Chepstow Castle. This site is the focus of study for the controlled assessment that is currently part of the History GCSE. The students were tasked with gathering notes in preparation for writing up their essay answers, which will account for 25% of their final grade. In class groups, the students rotated between 3 activities which included a tour of the outside of the castle with Miss Nichols, an internal tour with Mr Woodward and an interpretation exercise with Mrs Boyle and Mr Morley. The trip was much enhanced by the superb weather that day and the excellent behaviour of our students.
Many of our gifted and talented mathematicians in Year 8 and Year 7 took part in the United Kingdom Mathematics Trust Junior Challenge earlier this year, gaining very promising scores. Many gained Gold, Silver or Bronze awards with the ‘Best in Year 8’ awarded to Lily Hughes and the ‘Best in Year 7’ awarded to Patrick Barber. Patrick also qualified for the Junior Kangaroo Challenge which is a fantastic achievement. Congratulations to all of these students!
History Visit - Chepstow Castle
Maths Enrichment at Bath
By Dean Fisher
The Further Maths Support Programme (FMSP) ran two sessions at Bath University. One was an enrichment day that gave students an insight of how Maths can be used in the real world. They looked at the Maths behind topics such as disasters and elections. The aim of the session was to inspire students studying Maths in school to consider degrees that have a significant Mathematics content. Five students attended this session from Newent with all saying after the session that they would be considering Maths related degrees when they apply to University in October. Rather than attending the enrichment day students and teachers could attend a STEP/AEA/MAT training day. Some universities require students applying for Mathematics degrees or Maths related degrees to take an exam that tests a much deeper Mathematical understanding than A-level Mathematics. Typically this is universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Bath, Bristol and Warwick. We had one student that attended this session along with myself. It was a very informative day and also a challenging day as we gained experience working on questions. It was a very successful day with students not just gaining some inspiration to study Mathematics but also experiencing a campus university and what it would be like to study there.
RADA Tara Tara! Newent Drama Department celebrates the success of Former Student Ralph Prosser who has gained a place on the prestigious RADA Acting Course. With fewer than 30 places available each year and huge demand for places this is an exceptional achievement. Ralph, many will remember from his Year 13 performances in ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘We are Malala’, is a shining example of what is possible when you work with grit and determination and have the courage to believe in your dreams.
The Drama Department have successfully applied to be a part of ‘Connections 500’ – the largest celebration of theatre in the United Kingdom that is happening in 2016. The project, which is run by the National Theatre in London, will involve staging a play in both our home venue at Newent and in a professional theatre.
Using Technology to Develop Teachers
Throughout Term 6 the three webinars were delivered by Mr. Michael Wycherley, Assistant Principal, Miss Catherine Llewellyn, Middle Leader, and Mrs. Victoria Sherwood – Business Teacher and former NCS colleague.
“This was a terrific presentation. One of the best uses of 20 education minutes, this year so far. Thank you.”
The webinars consisted of the following topics: Imaginative business teaching Effective and active participation in lessons Middle Leader’s Perspective – The Emerging Leaders Programme
The Social Sciences Department were commissioned to deliver three Webinars (online seminars) and Newsletter articles for the EBEA. The Economics, Business and Enterprise Association (EBEA) is the professional subject association for everyone interested in the teaching and study of Economics, Business and Enterprise.
Emerging Leaders Certificates Presented At NCS, all staff undertake continued professional development to keep up to date with changing teaching practices and enhance their skills. An option this academic year was to undertake the Emerging Leaders Programme. This programme was facilitated by Advanced Skills Teacher, Paul Gibson from Sir Christopher Whitehead School in Worcester and was adapted for our needs from the National College for Teaching and Leadership training course for Middle Leaders. Ten staff came on board and commenced the scheme in September and were assisted by an in-school mentor. The programme consisted of eight sessions covering
Thank you to those who helped to put Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre firmly back on the map! The feedback has been positive and future sessions will be undertaken.
amongst other aspects; the role of the middle leader, leading teaching and learning and leading change. As well as participating in the sessions, the staff had to undertake an action research project which they could share with others and lead change within their departments. At the end of June all of the staff presented the outcomes of their research to each other as well as to members of the Senior Leadership Team including Mrs Harrison, Principal. The presentations ranged from literacy, more able and talented, BTEC, deployment of Teaching Assistants and reducing the gender gap. All staff were pleased to follow the course and in the post course evaluation said they had benefited from being a part of this activity. A similar course will be arranged next year.
What Has This Got To Do With A-Level Public Services? By Ian Morley It was the question that was raised several times when the A-level Public Services group were informed that as part of the course they would have to train for, plan and complete an expedition in North Wales. Unlike other students who ask to go on school expeditions these 4 boys and one girl weren’t exactly willing volunteers. Nevertheless after trekking and camping high in ‘wild country’ for three days and nights the famous five knew the answer to the question; perseverance, organisation, tolerance, compassion, team loyalty were just some of the terms used when they had to explain to themselves why they were successful.
Picklenash Primary Years 5 and 6 Visit Science Lessons 17th June Newent Community School Science Department had an influx of 46 keen Year 5 and Year 6 students from Picklenash School. The group were here to extend their KS2 learning in Science. With lab 102 set up as an experiment amphitheatre the pupils worked out differences between physical and chemical changes through bangs, whizzes and wonder. We then moved downstairs where all pupils learned how to safely use Bunsen burners as blue crystals emerged from evaporating copper sulfate solution. Finally, it was outside for a hands on example of a chemical change: exploding film pots! Even Mr Wycherley stopped by to watch the best mini rockets soar up into the air. The Picklenash teachers wrote, “Thank you for a really enjoyable afternoon yesterday. The pupils were all engaged and enthusiastic about the experiments and investigations. It was lovely to see them using scientific vocabulary independently. Thank you to all your team for their time and effort in supporting our school extending scientific learning.”
Inaugural Spelling Bee Won by Nelson House teams have been taking part this term in the first Newent Community School Spelling Bee. The competition, led by Mrs. Barnes, involved a series of elimination rounds and then a grand final in the school hall in front of a Year 7 audience. Mrs. Harrison presided over the final and presented the trophy to the winning Nelson team, (names removed).
Tibberton Year 5 Taste the Science of Food
Tibberton Year 5s visited the food rooms for Viking Honey and Oat Spiced Cookie making. The Year 5 students used their literacy, numeracy and science skills to the full during the food lesson. Pupils followed recipes and independently practised the measuring of ingredients and then watched the scientific changes that happen when certain ingredients are melted. The end products were then analysed using our senses and a yummy, yummy at the end of it! An enjoyable, educational morning.
BTEC Food Success For Year 9 Students
This year, the majority of Year 9 have successfully passed their BTEC Level 1 Home Cooking Skills Qualification. These are the students of 9P3 showing their BTEC certificates.
Pizza Party Picnic
Some Mountbatten Year 7s enjoyed sharing their pizzas with their families and friends. Students made the pizza dough at lunchtime and cooked them after school ready for the Pizza Party as a ‘Celebration Picnic’ of their first 12 months at Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre. Students demonstrated confidence and competence in the way they worked as a team to prepare for the event and then when washing up afterwards. Parents were greatly impressed with how their children showed their skills.
A Hat Trick of Gold Medals for Newent Mountain Bikers By Tim Drake Three Year 10 boys each won a Gold Medal in the Gloucester Games mountain biking competition held at Hartbury College on Saturday 13th June. That's a hat trick of wins for these lads - and Tegan Penny, who was injured and was replaced, very ably, by Tom Isbell. Between them they’ve proved to be the best in the County for the last three years. A brilliant achievement.
Up the Rhine Without Ein Paddel From 22nd27-th June this year, forty Year 8 and 9 Newent students stayed for five nights close to Koblenz in western Germany, where the Moselle River spectacularly flows into the Rhine at Deutsches Eck (German Corner). Having cruised up the Rhine past the imposing Lorelei Rock, where, legend has it, a golden-haired siren lures unsuspecting sailors to their death on the rocks below, our students travelled along the Moselle to a riverside vineyard, where they were able to sample locally produced white wine and pink champagne. Students also visited Heidelberg Castle, which houses the world’s largest wine barrel (the size of several double -decker buses!) and Burg Eltz, the very epitome of the fairytale castle. Museum visits allowed our students to see 100-year-old
Burg Eltz Castle mechanical musical instruments in action, the true forerunners of modern programmable computers, to see one of the world’s only 4 remaining space shuttles, and to witness not only surround sound, but surround vision in an IMAX dome cinema. Visits to the centre of the towns of Cochem and Heidelberg allowed our students to practise their Germanspeaking skills on local shopkeepers, which was, judging by the amount of I♥Germany themed souvenirs brought back, very successful! Evenings at the youth hostel allowed our students to speak even more German with the German school children staying there, not least during two epic football matches, after which the true winner was football (it certainly wasn’t England!). Wherever our students went, local people commented on Members of the Mountain Biking Team include Dan Rowley, Tegan Penny, James Cartwright and Tom Isbell
their exceptionally good behaviour and manners, and as such they were outstanding ambassadors, not only for the UK but for Newent School. Next year, forty Year 7 and 8 Newent students will have the chance to enjoy similar experiences in France, while Year 9 and 10 students will be able to take part in our proposed French and German exchange programmes.
Above: Moselle Wine Tasting Below: Between games at Deutsches Eck - pause for thought!
The 2015 KENYA Exchange
By Scarlett Miller
From the start of Year 9, some fellow Newent students alongside students from Laker’s and Dene Magna and I have been heavily involved in the Kenya Project. For those of you that don’t know, this is nothing like any other school trip. It is a life changing experience, an attitude, and eventually becomes a way of life for those involved. The project was started up in 2002 when teachers from the three Forest of Dean schools went on a trip to Kenya to visit schools they had been partnered with in Kisumu, Western Kenya. This was so successful that the first exchange took place in 2004 and has been continuing every other year since. We would love for it to run more frequently but it currently takes around eighteen months to plan and implement an exchange. The programme is always extremely oversubscribed and selection is by application letter followed by an interview with three teachers. We fundraised for our trip and to help the Kenyans come to England by bag packing, long sponsored walks, quiz nights, car parking at the Onion Fayre & for Gloucester Rugby, serving teas and coffees, having a stall at Parents’ Evenings and many other events. It is a big commitment to be involved in the Kenya Team and something we have all thoroughly enjoyed. We are a strong team and have learnt many things about each other and ourselves throughout our journey. In March we were lucky enough to host our Kenyan visitors in our homes. We learnt so much about them and life in Kenya. We spent the Easter holidays showing them sights such as Gloucester Cathedral and we even went on a coach to London where we took photos by Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. It was really special having the Kenyans in England because it was interesting to hear about the many differences in our cultures and to see how amazed they were at our lifestyles and everyday routines. They really taught us a lot about having more appreciation for what we have in England and it was very touching to see them enjoy themselves so much and not even want to go home! Having the Kenyans stay in our homes was definitely the best part of their visit as it was love-
ly to talk to them and introduce them to new experiences. My favourite part of the visit was watching The Hunger Games in my home with my family and my Kenyan visitor Brenda. It was great to see her so lost in the story and she told me afterwards that she loved it so much and asked to see the second film, Catching Fire. We gave her the books to take home with her and when we travelled to Kenya last month, Brenda and I were reunited. The first thing that she told me was that she was delighted to find that the third Hunger Games, Mockingjay Part 1 was on the television on the plane back to Kenya and she loved it also! It was so funny to see her so enthralled with something so different to what she normally sees at home, especially as she has no electricity in her home to power a television and didn’t know what a cinema was. Seven students from Newent were lucky enough to take part, and altogether nineteen students, six teachers and Mr Iain Baird travelled to Kisumu last month.
We were all really excited to travel to Kenya. I don’t think any of us really knew what to expect and what lay ahead. We had been fundraising for a year but the fact that we would actually be travelling to Kenya was mind blowing really. On the 16th of June at 18:00 we boarded the plane to Zurich in Switzerland where we would be staying overnight in the airport. Then at 9:00 the next morning, we flew to Nairobi and this took 9 hours. We were all filled with anticipation but ready to experience a trip full of excitement and intrigue! Once we got to Kenya at 18:40 the same day we travelled by bus to a hostel called the Wildlife Clubs Of Kenya in Nairobi. We stayed there for one night and were cooked a hot meal in the evening. The next morning we drove to Nakuru National Park where we also stayed at another hostel and there we went on Safari where we saw Impala, Lions, Zebras, Giraffes and many more amazing animals that you would normally only associate with a zoo in this country. This was really the first chance we had to experience Africa at its best. The next day we travelled to Kisumu where we would be spending the majority of our trip and it was great to see the pupils of St George’s , the school Newent school is partnered with, there to greet us. In the evening we relaxed and got the chance to unpack some of our things, which was great as we had been living out of our suitcases for 3 days! Then we ate our evening meal and got an early night, much needed might I say! The next morning we were allowed a bit of a rest and some of us ventured into the showers to investigate, we were greeted with 2 massive, hairy, black caterpillars and some of the group were delighted to find these black caterpillars in their suitcases. Then for lunch we travelled to Tilapia Beach, a fish restaurant in Kisumu. Being vegetarian, I wasn’t overly fussed but as the waiters began to bring out the plates I was horrified to be greeted with an enormous fish, just cooked, sat on a plate. It was about 30 centimetres in length and still contained its teeth and eyeballs. Some of the group even ate one! It was a strange experience and one that I shall never forget. Then we travelled to the equator where we stood
on the line dividing the north and south hemispheres and visited Kit- Mikayi, a rock formation around 40m high. The next day we visited Kisumu museum where we looked at the lives of the Maasai warriors and visited the craft stalls. There we looked at beautiful crafts handmade in Kenya and some of us bought presents for our families. In the evening we played games organised by Mr Edgell, which were great fun and there was never a dull moment with him around. We also went hippo watching in the morning on Lake Victoria which is 68,800 km squared and is the size of Wales to give you an idea of scale. There we saw many hippos which gave some of the group a bit of a fright. On the Monday we all split up into our schools and went to our host schools for a day of learning. St George’s was a great school to be at and the students were delighted to see us. It was a bit overwhelming to say the least as the seven of us, Imogen Tomlin, Emma Dodd, Beth Sladen, Mia Coleman, Joel Loader, Dafi Griffiths and I were all split up and put in different classes and all the students crowded around you which made us feel really special. The classes were like tin huts and
I will never forget the day there was torrential rain so loud that they had to stop the lessons as no one could hear the teacher. Another funny moment was when Emma and I had to stand at the front of the class of about 40 and describe ourselves. I started off talking about my family, saying about my mum and sister but as I mentioned my dog, Alfie, they all completely fell about laughing as I was later told, they do not keep dogs as pets or give them names like we do! We spent the next five days enjoying school life and trying to understand the complex lessons of Kiswahili, when I had absolutely no idea what they were saying, and making new friendships with people we would never forget. The last day of school was a bit traumatic, knowing we would probably never see these students again but we were also invited to a special ceremony to honour the link between Newent and St George’s where the students from Newent sang some songs to thank the students in Kenya for their kindness. This was a lovely experience and the Kenyan choir even made an appearance which was a magnificent sound to hear. We learnt a number of words in Swahili from the Kenyan students such as: Hello, How are you?— Hujambo I am fine—Sijambo No worries—Hakuna Matata Goodbye – Kwa heri On the Saturday, there was an environmental day at the hostel and we discussed the topic of this year’s trip which was Trees. In the past students have investigated politics or water but this time we chose to look at both English and Kenyan trees. The students from Newent and St George’s both had made presentations to show the rest of the group and the day was very successful to say the least. Then came the time which we were all dreading, the time we would have to say Kwa Heri to our Kenyan hosts. A lot of the group were very upset but Mr Edgell and Mrs Taylor took the Newent group out for ice cream which was so lovely and really raised our spirits. On the Saturday we packed up our things and drove to Turi, about 5 hours from Kisumu to visit Mr Clarke’s home and where he teach-
es. There we had a picnic lunch and relaxed in his garden. It was amazing to see him and his family so happy in Kenya. They obviously love the country and people a great deal and it was brilliant for us all to see him again. Then we drove to Elsamere by Lake Naivasha, where we would be staying for two nights. Elsamere is a conservation centre and Lodge and was the former home of Joy and George Adamson. There we had a lovely night’s sleep and woke in the morning to go on a small boat trip, where we saw a python and many more hippos. We also went to a flower farm after lunch which was absolutely spectacular. Next time you go into a supermarket, have a look at the roses: they are almost always imported from Kenya. The rose farm we went to was full of about 3 giant polytunnels that contained millions and millions of species of roses. There were red ones, yellow ones, pink ones and they were even researching into finding or breeding a blue or black rose. That night we had our evening meal or our ‘last meal’ at a local restaurant and there we discussed the amazing experiences we had shared together and would never forget.
The next morning we packed all our suitcases onto the minibus and drove to the Elephant Orphanage where we got to stroke baby elephants that had been abandoned and some of the group even got water sprayed at them by the elephants. Next we went to a Giraffe park where some of the group kissed a giraffe: not something that you do every day. At 19:35 we departed Nairobi and flew to Tanzania, where we stayed on the plane for an hour and then flew overnight to Zurich. We arrived at Switzerland at about 9:00 the next morning and waited about an hour before boarding our plane back to Birmingham. By then I think all of us were ready to come home and couldn’t wait to see our parents and families. Once in Birmingham we got on the coach back to Newent and we were all just ecstatic to get off the coach and be reunited with our families. I can’t finish this article without mentioning the two amazing teachers who supported us on our exchange journey. Mrs Taylor and Mr Edgell have worked tirelessly from the start of this to ensure the trip was a success and that we were all able to enjoy it. They have sacrificed so much time and energy for all of us and we will always be grateful for them doing this. They are such very special people who looked after us like our parents when we were in Kenya and made sure we got the most out of every experience. We want them to know we all think they are amazing and thank them so much for helping to create some amazing memories. We will never forget just what an impact they gave to the experience and they are both very special to all of us. Going to Kenya has really opened my eyes to the world and just how different it is for some people. We often take for granted what we have and this trip has definitely made me much more grateful for what I have and how I am able to live. Seeing the children in the slums who are so happy and jolly really made me feel bad for being moody or grumpy sometimes towards my parents and I think that this trip definitely HAS to go on so that other students are able to ex-
perience what we have. Kenya was probably the most amazing place I have ever experienced and I will never forget the bond we created with our Kenyan schools and students: We will remain firm friends I am sure.
Leaving Us This Term After Several Years... Ash Mortimer Ash Mortimer is a long serving member of the school community. He was educated here himself, as were his children. He is very sad to be leaving for the second time but is happy to think of his teaching at Newent as a real opportunity to put a little bit back into the school and the community. He started his career at a mere 16 years old with the National Coal Board, where he began as a ‘lab-rat’ and worked his way up to a research chemist after achieving his chemistry degree. Retraining as a teacher eventually found him back on home turf at Newent Community School. He is immensely grateful for the support he received when progressing to become an Advanced Skills Teacher and for the many opportunities afforded to him, such as training the new generation of science teachers through Gloucestershire University. “Working with some fantastic colleagues and outstanding students has been an absolute honour.”
Kenya has provided a fulfilment in seeing students develop their wider skills. Ashley has been wholeheartedly committed to the wider activities of the school, just recently returning from supporting the Coast to Coast riders, but known from his work at Year 9 Camp and, of course, his energetic promotion of the Kenya Link over many years. He is characteristically modest as he jokes that he wishes merely to be remembered as “someone who made us laugh occasionally!” ….with his ‘jokes’.
Life outside of the classroom has been equally important, from building the Eco Lab, to leading teams from the school and wider community on various projects in
Ashley is really looking forward to using the skills he has obtained in his new job as Lead Science Practitioner at Severn Vale School. However, as Newent lad born and bred you can be sure that this is not the last time you will see him.
The mere thought of Newent School without the steady, compelling flow of energy that makes Jane Price such a magnificent classroom teacher, puts a cloud in your sky. But the twinkling eye and the decisive outline of her plans for the future reminds you to think positively of her legacy and know that she will not be far away from us either in body or in spirit. She is a believer in “Newentness” and a great contributor to it, though her community involvement as well as through her role in this School. She has been at the school for many – we are not allowed to know – years. “I live in Newent, I’d just had a baby, and I came here to do a bit of supply teaching. I was given an English class and I didn’t enjoy that at all! But a science teacher who had a very light Science timetable decided that she’d had enough – and left. Graham Giles asked me to cover her absence for a year. Nobody ever interviewed me, and gradually my timetable grew and I found I worked here full time.” Jane has worked with some inspiring people. Des Marshall, who recently retired, was passionate about the subject and a truly gentle man. These are qualities Jane respects. “I try to make the classroom fun. I too am passionate about the subject and if I can give just a little bit of that passion to others, it’s worthwhile. Success to me is sharing the understanding of what’s behind it all. Biology is a synoptic understanding of how living things work.”
The School too is a complex organism, appreciated in many ways. Jane would never have discovered skiing without the chance to go with Pippa Palmer for the first time – as many students have done – and develop a new interest. “Camp too. Just seeing the way that our children are very different outside of the classroom. And that can work both ways.” The recent Reunion showed the depth of the appreciation people have for the school. “They’d felt it quietly for years, hadn’t said anything, and we weren’t aware of that. I have done many Onion Fayres over the years. Our links with the community are really important. The Transition Group in Newent helped us set up ELBS, which is hugely important to me. I think it is applied Science at its best.”
And in her new free time? “I’d love to become a small mammal recorder. Training courses, and then helping with bio-data. We don’t understand how things change unless we know what our base-line is. So collecting data matters. I run a wildlife watch group, I am involved with the Hockey Club and would like to do more supporting work there. I just love Newent because there are so many links. I will be walking, gardening: my present to myself will be a greenhouse. Now I will have the time for it. This place has been my life for twenty-plus years. Students come from other schools and say it is unlike where they have been before. I am going to miss it.”
Ian Smith Ian Smith is a man who knows his mind as well as he knows his body. His calm and modest poise confirm the proverb that still waters “run deep”. He is a man who acts decisively, who is, according to his colleagues “the voice of sanity and reason”, who understands precisely what needs to be done, and also a man who has the judgement to stop when the time is right. The time is now right, sadly, for him to stop teaching. It is the latest in the purposeful moves that have characterised and enriched his career. He is a fully qualified Vet. His initial scientific interest and his commanding intelligence took him into that notoriously difficult field. But when his interests changed, he was prepared to refocus. He entered teaching and eventually became the Head of Science at Newent School. He is a creative and individual teacher, always trying out practical work that is ‘different’ and unpredictable, restless and curious about how to explore Science with youngsters in exciting and successful ways. The restlessness took him to the other side of the world in an exciting teacher exchange with Vaughan Tulloch. His time in Australia and his growing interest in Human Physiology convinced him to seek a more healthy work/ life balance. He stepped down from the position as Science Lead, concentrating on his interest in classroom teaching, and making more time for athletics and spreading his enthusiasm for multi-disciplines like the triathlon: our own Newent Triathlon star, Vicky Holland, certainly benefitted from his encouragement that she might widen her targets from swimming and do a bit of running and cycling as well! Unfailingly modest, he can scarcely be drawn into conversation about his own sporting prowess – which is considerable. Suffice it to say, that when he runs the London Marathon, it isn’t in a penguin suit! He is a ‘veteran’ triathlete of considerable standing, cycling into school from the other side of Ross most days, and is serious about orienteering too. Released from the timetable, he wants to build – a new
interest. And no doubt, we will still see a lycra blur passing us at speed because Ian Smith is not a man to let himself go, even if we have to now let him go.
Kevin Stacey By Mark Ellis Kevin Stacey first worked on “New Programmes” at Xerox. “And when you haven’t worked on a ‘new programme’ for two years, you see the writing on the wall.” Xerox was about to close its Mitcheldean operation. Xerox did the professional development that introduced Kevin to networking, “But it was frustrating, because with Xerox reducing size, it was a case of where to go.” Just at this point, Newent School was advertising for a network manager. Since he arrived, we have seen the IT infrastructure in the school grow massively. “There were about 50 network devices then, and now it is around 500.” Teachers in some other schools don’t have access to such a stable network as Kevin’s team manages at Newent. Since he started here in 2001, the network has had no more than a small handful of ‘down’ days – and most of those were caused by a single virus brought in on a memory stick. Protection is much stronger now! “We have always tried to align our technical staff to know where their role is within the curriculum and how the job they do affects teaching and learning.” This has led to very effective and innovative solutions which tie the whole school’s data and curriculum provision together electronically – one part speaks immediately to another, which is not always the case in schools who have had to purchase ‘off the shelf’ solutions from individual companies. Newent’s IT is responsive and robust. By thinking hard about teaching and learning, the IT team has a “whole new set of priorities” beyond merely making machines function. “We have had other schools, we have had companies come here to see some amazing stuff done in partnership between teachers and technical people – nationally as well as locally. And we have had the opportunity to present our story on wider platforms such as the South West Grid for Learning conferences, and at BETT in London. “We were probably one of the first schools with a really comprehensive remote access solution, online reporting, hosting our own VLE on Moodle and Mahara – these are things that others have come to see, particularly the way the system’s parts all speak to each other!” But It never stands still. Things we used to train specially for fifteen years ago are now basic require-
ments for teachers and create increasing demands for even more creative technology. “I think there will be an increasing trend to move things to the cloud. Office 365 is the next step for us.” The IT team is amazing, he believes. “It’s six years since we took on the first few primary schools, and now there are ten schools, with an increase in the time that the team spends in some of them too.” Some technical staff who have trained at Newent are now Network Managers in their own right elsewhere. Kevin will find it hard to leave such dedicated people behind, but it is time for him to take a short rest, now that the children are grown up, to work on the house, as he has promised himself many times, and then to return to a different kind of role, providing IT services where there is a need for expertise as a consultant. Over fourteen years, Kevin has been a friendly, supportive and inspiring colleague to all staff and an approachable mentor to many students whose interest in IT has flourished with his gentle guidance. I personally have been proud to work alongside Kevin, to feel the drive of his can-do attitude and the reassurance of his patient creativity. He will be greatly missed.
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Deborah Morgenstern Deborah was gullible enough to believe that the entrance exam for the North London Collegiate was just a ‘practice’ and was therefore surprised to find that she’d ‘got in’. The resulting fiercely competitive education, relieved by bouts of projectile nose-bleeding, certainly gave her the sharp intellectual cutting edge for which she is justly known. She was encouraged to enjoy learning for learning’s sake, and not to be put off easily by difficulty. Her two children are at the dependent stage of their lives and she feels that it would be sensible to take a break from teaching to enjoy their childhood. She is quick to point out that she is not giving up teaching, just putting it aside for a few years. Why Geography? “I had the most appalling Geography teaching ever in my first few years at school. My sister, who was nine years my senior at the time, (but who now is six months my senior – funny that!) was doing A-level Geography and using me as her revision buddy. I was finding out all these amazing things about plate tectonics, ocean currents, rivers, erosion and geomorphology from her, and that turned me into a physical Geographer. It led to a Geography degree, and in the mean time I had done Gap Year jobs and Summer jobs working in outdoor centres, canoeing, that sort of thing, and environmental ‘stuff’. But I fell into teaching because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I wanted to be my own boss, to some extent. And I DIDN’T want to do accountancy; I was an A -level Mathematician and accountancy was the ‘obvious’ thing. If you look at my life, all the things I did seem to lead in a logical way to becoming a Geography teacher, but it was actually random. “I really enjoy teaching. My mother says that she always thought I would end up on the stage. I was regularly in school productions and I suppose that being a teacher really is being on the stage, though with a smaller audience. And they heckle!” Deborah’s first teaching job was actually at Newent School, but she left for a gap of a couple of years and then returned to take her current post. “The first time round, I was Geography, History, RE and PSE; basically
all the bits of the timetable they couldn’t quite get to fit. I did that. “I very much enjoyed Camp at Newent, being backstage at productions, and perhaps most of all I enjoyed my Morocco trip a few years ago with Des Marshall; I particularly remember Sophie Lister’s uncanny impressions of goats – she bleated at every one we passed.” Deborah has enjoyed travel and passed an eventful summer in Mongolia sleeping rough. She is looking forward to her children being old enough to carry their own sleeping bags to go ‘wild’ camping in Wales. A few years yet: after which, she will return to teaching, maybe even once again to Newent School?
Chris Marriott It’s probably true to say that poor old Chris sees the most frustrated and impatient side of teachers: largely because they are struggling to ‘mend’ a photocopier that they shouldn’t be touching and have burnt themselves, cut themselves, or smeared toner over their clothes. She is unfailingly positive and resourceful, taking no notice of spluttering and teeth-grinding, but rescuing the situation and doing the job brilliantly. Ten years ago, Chris first arrived at Newent because of the convenience of bringing her children to her workplace. She began in Meet ‘n Eat, but then moved to Reception and for the last eight years she has been our resources specialist, producing anything and everything to support teaching and learning, from print runs of thousands to individual copies for students. She has outlasted MANY machines! And got the better of all of them along the way.
We will really miss her expertise because she actually knows what to do – whereas the rest of us punch buttons and hope for the best. And we will miss her calm smile and her sunny temper. We are sorry to lose Chris, but now that her children no longer attend the school, it seems pointless to travel so far in to work. She is a great loss to us.
Steve Layton Deputy Head of Nelson House, Steve Layton is stepping away from pastoral work briefly to develop his Science teaching in a new job in rural Herefordshire. The school, Lady Hawkins, was founded in the 17th century and has a strong sense of tradition which may give the school a different character to Newent. In his previous school he was a Head of Year. “I can see some benefits of a year-based system, but I think the Newent system has a lot of strengths that you don’t necessarily see immediately. The House System unites the school and I will certainly want to return to pastoral work in the future.” An all-rounder, Steve has taught a range of subjects in smaller schools than Newent, but his great interest is in Geophysics. Sixth form curriculum does a little more Geophysics but the amount you get in GCSE varies as the syllabus changes. “I think I would have been a physical Geographer if I hadn’t done a Science degree.” He has travelled widely, enjoying Indonesia, the volcanic islands, and the similar landscape of New Zealand. The smell of the sulfur in Rotorua and the mud bubbling in the ground is very special. He remembers trekking into a volcano before dawn to catch the sunrise from the top of a hidden cone. “We spent some time on a little island in the middle of a crater lake in Sumatra.” This was part of a world tour of exotic landscapes when Steve had the chance to indulge his love of extreme geography. Understanding the Earth is important for a proper understanding of global warming, for instance. “You can’t really teach global warming in isolation.”
And that’s more than just the curriculum,” he says. We can’t do that piecemeal.” It is this sense of holistic education that particularly appeals to Steve and his pastoral interests of course. We need to look at “the whole of the school, not just specific aspects of progress.” And as adults we are always learning. “I have learnt a lot at Newent. I hope I will find the same friendliness elsewhere that you find in Newent. I am very much a person who takes opportunities when they arise.” New job, new opportunities: best of luck, Steve.
“Schools need to prepare students for life after school.
Yanna Zissiadou How exciting it must be to be told by your teachers to rip up your school texts books! When Yanna was just 6 years old, her native country, Greece, was ruled by men with guns. She remembers learning poems about how wonderful the dictatorship was – and Animal Farm readers will remember similar poems composed to honour Comrade Napoleon. This really happened. But suddenly – resistance. Students barricaded themselves in the Polytechnic and the tanks crushed the gates and went for them. Greece erupted, the Colonels fell from power and as a result the children had to take their books, and rip out the symbol of the old government – a soldier on a phoenix background. There was no music taught in school, so Yanna went to the local conservatoire every day because lessons were available, piano, theory, choirs. Her first experience of being taught music was five minute lessons at the age of nine – so much later than many children are ‘encouraged’ to begin. “This is a media driven thing. The great Sviato-
slav Richter didn’t play until he was 18! So there. My Godmother gave me a three and a half octave thing and said, ‘See how this goes’. “My first teacher was really discouraging of everybody, hence the five minute lessons.” The first recital was at the age of twelve. “Little pieces by Kabalevsky. Things like that.” Yanna was encouraged at the age of fifteen to think of going abroad to pursue music. Her father – as fathers tend to do – said, ‘Rubbish. Stay here and finish your education.’ But eventually, Yanna came to London at the age of 22 to do post-graduate studies and be presented with her Advanced Studies Diploma by Princess Diana at the Royal Academy of Music. After that, a masters at Rochester, New York completed her initial training. Yanna hopes to re-establish a balance in her life. “I have-
n’t played really seriously for sixteen or seventeen years, but it’s all coming back – perhaps too easily – and I just want to do more of it. I also want to do things that I like doing – such as busking. I will take my keyboard and the trio – and we will play in a Mall, or a wide open public space, like The Cross in Gloucester.” Is this for the money or for the closeness to people/ “Yes, exactly right. I want everybody to enjoy it.” It is hard to say goodbye. Her colleagues performed a heartfelt rendition of Thank you for the Music at the end of the Showcase last week. And the passion of the individuals at that concert will be an enduring legacy of this most talented musician and wonderful person who has touched so many lives in this school.
Ollie Wood Most people would fail to pick Ollie Wood out of a line up for Insurance brokers if he stood in a suit with a big sign saying “I work in Insurance” over his head. But he has in fact served for 9 years with Abbey National and Ecclesiastical before deciding that he wanted something different and moving towards education. He has been with us for six years now as a Cover Supervisor, but he has spent his time very wisely, studied hard, got the grades, and now “I will be doing the GITEP teacher training course next year. I should find out my placement school this week. It has been a long time coming, but it’s happening. “Doing the Cover work was a means to an end. I began to do my degree at Hartpury but I also pursued all the extra curricular work in sport at Newent, particularly rugby, which is my big love. I have had a big hand in all the rugby teams at this school. Hopefully, I have built up a lasting legacy with many of the boys going on to play for local clubs. And keeping in touch through the game.” What does he think about girls playing rugby? “Mad keen for it. With a teacher at John Masefield, I have tried to push girls Rugby at Newent RFC. They have a girls rugby team now with a full list of fixtures. So I’m pleased about that.” A really good sport to introduce in schools would be handball. It went well in the 2012 Olympics, but it has such a wide range of competition here, with archery, showjumping or rowing going on in the community that it didn’t catch on when we tried it. “This time next year, I will be looking for a job. I should be fully qualified by then. I think Gloucestershire is a bit of a hotbed for rugby. I would like to stay in the area, but I would particularly like to come back to Newent one day. I have been very happy here. And, in my favour, I know too much about Mr. Edgell for him not to give me a job.” So,
see you soon, Ollie.
And Finally ….
... A Preview of the New Uniform