NEW BENTLEIAN Volume 2
Issue 4 | December 2016
Thank you for taking the time to read the Christmas edition of the New Bentleian. This last term has been an incredibly busy time at The John Bentley School. The range of opportunities on offer never ceases to impress me, such as the community youth debating competition against St Mary’s School on the subject of Donald Trump vs. Hilary Clinton, to the continuing growth of our extra-curricular programme, which attracts hundreds of pupils every week. Academically, the school continues to grow and flourish, with the prospect of very promising GCSE results for Year 11 pupils and A level results for our Year 13 pupils. I am sure that both year groups intend to work hard over the Christmas holidays in preparation for their mock exams, which start on the 9th of January. These mock exams are critical in helping teachers identify gaps in knowledge and understanding as this process allows us to better prepare our pupils for the final exams which will be with us very swiftly indeed once January arrives. Looking to the future I continue to be very optimistic that JBS is on track to be recognised as an Outstanding Centre for Learning. The site improvements to the school will support our academic development and I am pleased to say they are progressing smoothly. The extensive work to our roofs is nearly complete meaning we can now begin other, more exciting development work, such as refurbishing our tennis courts and continuing the ongoing refitting of pupil toilets. All in all, 2017 promises to be a year to remember for JBS and I can’t wait to see what we can all achieve together. Merry Christmas
Jason Tudor Principal
Department in Focus Maths
The first two terms in the maths department have been extremely busy with lots of great learning taking place. Year 11 are busy preparing for the demands of a new GCSE and the reformed KS3 curriculum to support these demands is in full swing. Some new exciting maths previously in the A level specification is being taught to students in Year 11. This term students across all year groups have been looking at statistics. There are many ways of representing data and it is important that students understand when each type of graph should be used and be able to interpret it to compare data. 9aM1 have been analysing census data and presenting their findings.
Year 10 working on a Tarsia puzzle
Students in Year 11 have looked at set notation for the first time as Charlotte’s book demonstrates and also lots of other data topics which have been consolidated nicely on Caitlin’s poster. Maths club after school on a Tuesday is popular with Year 11 students preparing for their January mock exams. Many are being mentored by sixth form students and the peer teaching occurring is a joy to watch. In conjunction with Tuesday Maths club, Mrs McGill runs a Maths club ‘with a difference’ for Key Stage 3 students. At the club, students from the three year groups work together to solve puzzles, play maths games or do homework. Rebecca Durham and Christopher Elliott in Year 9, support and encourage Laila Ali-Jones and Charlotte Romain in Year 8, who in turn do the same for Ella Makepeace, Sophie and Vincent in Year 7. The constant sound of laughter coming from L27 on Tuesdays, proves the firm belief of the department that ‘Maths is fun!’ KS3 students have also been continuing with Numeracy Ninjas and congratulations this term must go to Joe Carter in Year 8 who has achieved numerous consecutive black belts!
Charlotte’s work on set notation
Caitlin’s poster summarising methods of representing data
Extending students experiences beyond the curriculum is a focus for the department. This term several students in Year 7 and 8 were entered into a National Numeracy competition to create their own mathematical super hero. The winners received their prizes from Mr Tudor. Many students’ in Year 10 and 11 had a visit from two mathematicians to deliver a talk on where numbers come from and problem solving. Have you ever thought about who created numbers?
Year 8 students Francis, Ben and Lucy receiving their competition certificates. Emily, who isn’t pictured was also a prize winner in Year 7.
Department in Focus Maths Continued
Year 12 and 13 students had the opportunity to sit the UKMT senior maths challenge. Over 82000 students competed nationally in this year’s challenge with the top 10% achieving a gold award, the next 20% silver and the next 30% bronze. Congratulations to all of those who took part but a particular well done to Declan Jarvis (bronze award), Mitchell Perrett (gold award), Joe Packer (gold award) and Will Baguley (gold award and best in school). Joe Packer and Will Baguley also both qualified for the Senior Kangaroo, the next round in the national competition and we are eagerly awaiting the results. In the New Year we have plans to take some Year 9 and 10 students to the University of Bath to expand their mathematical horizons. We are also planning a big problem solving day for Year 10 students in conjunction with other local schools.
Director of Maths
2016 / 2017 Championship Scoreboard Firsts This term has seen immense turbulence in the scoreboards, with every house being in pretty much every position at some point. We have had a momentous run, though for one house in particular, who have spent over 2 years being denied top position; Kerry have soared to the top spot for the first time and gone up again this week! Fitzmaurice have also had a less celebratory first, their first time in over 2 years in 4th, which undeniably is a sad moment, but also remarkable to have stayed off 4th position for so long. Who will be the Christmas winners? Lowest behaviour points this week will also get a festive bonus! House Championship Competitions The Great JBS Christmas Cake Off On two Thursdays in December, an amazing crew of cake bakers from across all school years, including ‘Team Party (Miss Parsons & Miss Baty)’ spent several hours mixing, weighing, feeding (with much rum) and decorating some truly awesome Christmas Cakes. All entries were simply superb and I hope all families and friends enjoyed them; I know our judges Mr Tudor & Miss Giddings did! The first Great JBS Christmas Cake Off winners were Family Robinson who, as father and daughter, made a simple beautiful cake, technically challenging, but beautifully moist. Close runners up were the Lansdowne Lads and the Kerry Girls. I enjoyed every second and learnt much about baking. All the House Teams would like to wish everybody in the JBS community and Calne, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017! Who will win next year? The scoreboards have shown...it could be ANYONE this year!
Mr Wiley & Team House
Year group in Focus Year 11
It has been really impressive to see how focused our Year 11 students have been since starting back in September. In our first assembly of the year, I asked the students to imagine where they would like to be sitting in exactly a year’s time and then to consider how they might get there; the weeks would soon start to fly by. Sure enough, Christmas is upon us, mock GCSE revision beckons and we have almost reached the half-way mark to the first exam. There are only 16 school weeks until the first paper will be sat! It is not, therefore, too dramatic to state that this is the most important year in our students’ school career, and it is heartening to see how many have been so involved in researching their future options and making an informed choice for their next step, be that at college or with us here at The John Bentley Sixth Form. This is the first time in a student’s life that they can really influence their future direction. Our students’ engagement is also exemplified by how many are now attending a variety of after school classes and clubs, and our GCSE teachers are carefully selecting a number of students for extra support so we can ensure that we can maximise their potential next summer. Of course, it is vital that we all continue to work hard to support your sons and daughters throughout this year, and it was wonderful to see that 80% of parents were able to make parents’ evening last month. Please keep an eye out for the GCSE ‘The Key to Success’ evening in the first week of February, and the next parents’ evening the first week in April. Naturally, our students have to put in the hard graft as so many are doing, but by all of us working together we can ensure they reach the destination they deserve next September. I wish every Year 11 student a well-earned rest this Christmas; it has been delightful getting to know the year group as their new head of year. However, among all the festive fun, please make room for some structured and production mock exam revision!
Head of Year 11
Well done to Mr Meadows, Mrs Kelly, Miss Baty, Mr Gregory and Miss Bennett’s tutor groups for winning the attendance trophies for best attendance over the course of the last fortnight. Each group holds on to the trophy for two weeks and receives an edible prize. We have also started our Attendance Lotto where students can win a prize if they have 100% attendance for two weeks and their name is drawn in assembly. We had our first winner of the year when Natalie in Year 8 was triumphant last week (pictured). Well done Natalie and this should hopefully serve as another incentive for students to make that special effort to get themselves into school when they are feeling slightly under the weather. We have also had a Year 7 Reward Movie night for all of our Year 7 students who managed to achieve 100% attendance in term 1 this year. The students got to see the film ‘Elf’ in our Sixth Form Centre on Wednesday 14th December.
University of Bath Trip Widening participation event
Bath University played host to a group of Year 8 and 9 students this month. The students were invited to take part in taster sessions for languages that they hadn’t previously learnt before. The German session in particular went down well, with students rapidly mastering the basics such as greetings and numbers and also names and vowel sounds. In the French session, knowledge of where cities were in France was the order of the day, whereas the Italian class got to grips with numbers and the alphabet. All the sessions were run with the help of university lecturers and Student Ambassadors currently studying at the university. Students enjoyed the sessions and the chance to meet students from other schools too. JBS students also gained an insight into what it was like to study languages at university level and also the types of jobs that they could get into where languages would be useful. They certainly had their eyes opened to the number of courses that could be combined with languages at university. Student Ambassadors from Bath also gave JBS a tour of the campus and the many varied facilities that are on offer for everyone studying at the university. In particular, the library being open 24 hours a day was something that impressed students – although I am sure Mrs Morgan in the JBS library may have other ideas about those opening hours! The sports facilities the students toured are second to none and many pupils were inspired by the number of Olympic athletes who trained at Bath featuring on displays as you walk into the Sports Training Village. The day ended with a quiz about languages and countries in Europe and celebrity linguists. Who knew that Sandra Bullock could speak German? Or that David Beckham was a Spanish speaker? Unfortunately we were pipped at the post, but all students came away with a goody bag at the end of the day. Students really enjoyed the day and felt that they had had an insight into a world of opportunity that they really wanted to be a part of in the future.
Christmas Carols The Calne Community Orchestra together with Staff and Students from The John Bentley School and Heddington Primary took to Sainsbury’s on the morning of Saturday 10th December to raise money for the British Heart Foundation. It was lovely to see familiar faces passing by giving vocal and financial support to the combined efforts of all concerned.
A total of £219.93 was raised and will be more than welcome at the British Heart Foundation.
JBS Mountain Biking Club Extra-Curricular
The JBS Mountain Biking club have recently completed two trips to dedicated trail centres. The first on Thursday 10 November was to the Croft Centre in Swindon. It was the first time that the students had ridden proper single track but all rose to the challenge. The single track was interspersed with plenty of “North Shore” wooden obstacles such as the one that you can see being ridden by Josh and Olly. Whilst I joked in my last report about Mr Maiden struggling to keep up with the pace, this time it was no laughing matter as Mr Maiden genuinely did struggle with the distinct lack of tarmac afforded by a slippery off road surface. The students, however, cruised ahead with confidence. On Saturday 26 November we rode the Verderer’s Blue graded trail in the Forest of Dean. It was a glorious day, and once the initial climb had been completed the students “topped out” to stunning views and began the descent. The standard of riding, given the relative lack of experience of the students, was unbelievable. They made short work of the countless rollers, flew high into the berms and slalomed expertly through the pine forest. If the experienced riders at the trail head had any reservations about our skill levels, Ian’s back wheel skid as we returned to the trail centre, left them in no doubt that the JBS mountain bikers could handle a bike. “Save” of the day goes to Luke Friend who road over the edge of a berm at speed and managed to stay on his bike, ride through the bushes and regain the trail. Many thanks to Mr Rumming who joined us with Mr Maiden still recovering after his last outing.
Review of French Christmas Trip Year 7
On Sunday 27th and Monday 28th November, 48 year 7 students enjoyed a trip to France, to put in to practice their language skills and to immerse themselves in the French culture at a traditional Christmas market. Maisie and Henry have written an account of some of their highlights. “In the morning, we all met at the bus at 03:45 and all were wide awake. We set off on the long journey. When we reached the Eurotunnel, everyone was really excited as we were really close to France. It was really cool.” “The main part of the first day was the visit to the Lille Christmas market. We all had to meet at the Ferris wheel and were allowed to look around the market in groups. The stalls were really cool and decorated nicely. Some of us bought waffles with Nutella at the market and some of us went to McDonalds too!” “We also went to a chocolate factory called P&Js, where we learnt how chocolate is made and decorated our own chocolate bars. We attempted to write our own names on the bars, by drizzling white chocolate.” “When we arrived at the chateau, we were given our room numbers and then told to get ready for our Christmas meal which was at 6:30pm. For dinner, we had a traditional French 5 course meal. To start we had an aperitif (non-alcoholic!) and the starter was a fish pie. We then had a traditional Christmas dinner, with turkey, potatoes, carrots and sprouts. For dessert, we had a chocolate cake. After dinner, we were allowed some free time, to play in the games room and football on the pitches.” “The next day, we had a delicious breakfast with cereal, French bread and pain au chocolat.We also had hot chocolate and tea! We then left for the Cité Europe shopping centre, where we were allowed to go around in our own groups. We all enjoyed it.” “We are very grateful for our teachers who gave us this opportunity.”
by Henry Kaiser & Maisie Spooner
My Favourite Books Mr Cave
This is a new feature in the New Bentleian where two members of staff will share the book they loved at school, their favourite book of all time and the book they are currently reading. The feature will shed a light on our staff members’ reading interests and may even give you some ideas about books that may interest you. This month, Mr Cave and Miss Lewis give us their reviews!
A book from my school days: Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe I read this book for A Level English Literature (more than once as I had to re-sit the unit!), and as a historian, found the story gripping. It’s a Nigerian novel that looks at the impact of colonialism through the eyes of a man named Okonkwo, who was a leader and local wrestling champion in the fictional village of Umuofia. It’s an emotional read, and its power is that it’s written from an African perspective, which in the 1950s (when it was written) was incredibly significant.
My favourite Book: Man and Boy - Tony Parsons I must have read this book at least four times by now. It’s not a story I could particularly relate to when I first read it as a young adult, but as I’ve grown older the story makes ever more sense to me. Tony Parsons creates a flawed hero who you root for despite his mistakes, and powerfully portrays the full range of emotions and impacts that come through human relationships, especially between a parent and their child. As a dad now, it’s a book I probably need to read again!
The book I am reading now: Team of Rivals - Doris Kearns Goodwin I tend to read more non-fiction nowadays, as the historian in me is more concerned with real life stories. I’m halfway through a few books right now, but one is ‘Team of Rivals’- a book about the life of Abraham Lincoln. It paints a fascinating picture of him long before his time as President of the United States. It’s a very long book, and so it’s taking me an awfully long time to get through it, but it’s very easy to dip in and out of.
My Favourite Books Miss Lewis
A book from my school days: La casa de Bernarda Alba (The house of Bernarda Alba) - Federico García Lorca This was a play we studied at school as part of my English course, and although I initially found it fairly challenging, I really enjoyed learning about the complex background of the text. One of the themes in particular was the controversial depiction of women in Spain at the time in communities and households alike. It was also written in 1936, during a fascinating period in Spanish history, just before Franco’s 39-year regime. I would argue that studying this at school fuelled my interest in Spanish history and literature during this time. As I said, a tough read but an interesting representation of what life was like in Spain during such a challenging historical time.
My favourite Book: Harry Potter Series - J.K Rowling I’m the type of reader, like most, that looks for a book that is filled with suspense as well as twist and turns in the storylines and J. K. Rowling certainly ticked those boxes. Not only do I love the action packed, rich descriptive scenes in the Harry Potter books but as a linguist one of the aspects I like most about the series is the etymology behind the characters’ names. The way ‘Harry’ is such a simple name born to do great things, ‘Professor Lupin’ the werewolf or Malfoy meaning bad or evil. I also love how these names are considered when translated into the 68 other languages it is now published in. Not to mention the clever, creative and simply fantastic story lines!
The book I am reading now: The Lie - C. L. Taylor As I said, I love a gripping story line that keeps the pages turning. When I read the first few pages of the book with the first chapter ending ‘I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes’, I was hooked and found myself asking ‘But how? Who is she then? Why has she changed her name?’ Well, although I know more about the reasons behind ‘Jane Hughes’ changing her name, I haven’t discovered all of it and am itching to read more! I will let you know what happened and what the mystery is when I know!
Hugh Pilcher-Clayton Hugh Pilcher-Clayton was a student at The John Bentley School from 1967 through to 1974. Hugh’s father was a navigator with the RAF and once he had left the RAF he became a teacher and taught Maths at, what was then, Fynamore Secondary Modern School. Not surprisingly Hugh’s favourite subject at school was Maths but he also had a strong liking for Latin, mainly due to his teacher he had formed the closest bond with, Mr Sellars. Hugh has fond memories of translating the letters of Pliny the Younger who had witnessed the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 and he is looking forward to taking a trip down memory lane when he visits Pompei and Herculaneum next summer. When pressed, Hugh revealed that his least favourite subject was PE. He has terrible memories of being forced to swim in the outdoor swimming pool in all types of weather. The outdoor swimming pool was where the tennis courts now stand and Hugh’s recollection was that “it was always cold!” Hugh’s final memory of JBS was of a dressing down that the then Headteacher Mr Tickner gave him and his friends for hiding from Miss Newton on the shelves in the Library. A very angry Mr Tickner put Hugh and his friends in their place and over 40 years on Hugh still feels ever so slightly guilty about giving a young teacher a difficult time! Hugh completed his A levels in 1974 and attended teacher training college before realising that this wasn’t for him. He soon found work with HM Customs and Excise as a computer programmer and completed a degree at Queen Mary College in Computer Science. Hugh then went on to work with EPSRC, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and he was awarded the MBE by the Queen on 2007 for his work in high performance computing. Hugh has maintained his connection to JBS for very nearly 50 years; Hugh’s wife Mary has taught piano for many years here at JBS, both his children attended with his daughter Anna winning a place at Oxford University to study Chemistry and his son David going on to become a chef. He has served on the Governing body for many years and was Chair of Governors during the period when Anne Burrell was Headteacher. Hugh continues to serve as a Governor and is an important member of the newly formed Calne Community Orchestra. Although Hugh attended when the school was a grammar school he sees the current Government proposals to reintroduce grammar schools as a big mistake as he is a big fan of the comprehensive education system. Hugh looks at JBS as a fully inclusive school where students feel safe and there are exceptionally high standards of pastoral care alongside being able to stretch all of the students who attend to achieve their absolute best.