Head of School – April 2017
Welcome back from a beautiful Easter break, everyone, and to a summer term which sees the weather holding so far. I have tried, to no avail, to not be envious of those fortunate pupils and teachers returning from Italy and Spain but am absolutely delighted that both trips went so well.
In Italy, the pupils explored Pompeii and Herculaneum – very useful for those taking Classical Studies GCSE – after which they travelled north to the Eternal City and spent two days walking in the ancient Forum, marvelling at the Colosseum and enjoying the occasional gelato by the Trevi Fountain. In Spain, the footballers spent the week in Valencia as guests of Valencia CF. They had lots of training opportunities and met some of the world-class players as they arrived in an array of extremely impressive cars! At the end of the week, the boys signed a football and gave it to their reps as a thank you which I thought was a really nice touch.
Just before Easter, we enjoyed great success at the South Lakes Music Festival. Our Junior guitar ensemble was awarded a Commendation and we also had nine winners in the Poetry and Reading categories. Many congratulations to:
Poetry Yr 4 Winner – Nathan Lee Cheong, Poetry Yr 5 Winner – Fiona Manoharan, Creative Writing Yrs 5-6 Winner – Thomas Nussbaum-Richman, Acting Yrs 5-6 Winner – Phoebe Lever, Reading Yr 5 Winner – Fiona Manoharan, Poetry Yrs 7-9 Winner – Shubham Kukreti, Creative Writing Yrs 7-9 Winner – Lydia Hetherington, Bible Reading Winner – Subhash Chatterjee, Reading Yrs 7-9 Winner – Shubham Kukreti
- £50 bursary to Phoebe Lever
- £75 bursary to Fiona Manoharan
- Award for ‘Meritorious Speech’ to Tilly Greenall
Some of our senior students are enjoying a new initiative this term as part of their extended studies. Alec, Ollie, Leah, Amy, Callum and Cavan are travelling to the Cowran Estate farm every Friday afternoon where they are learning all about animal welfare and husbandry in preparation for an eventual Btec course. Although this course is only in its very early stages at the moment, the pupils are clearly absolutely thrilled with the experience so far. Many thanks to Anne and Mike Diss of the Cowran Estate for all of their help and support in helping Mrs Hinton develop this branch of their studies.
Also just before Easter, the senior school held its very first Spelling Bee. The theatre was packed to the rafters with the three hundred Key Stage 3 and 4 pupils as they watched twelve of their friends battle it out on behalf of the four Houses; Spartan, Sceptre, Vanguard and Valiant. The words selected were extremely difficult and if we add to that the experience of standing on the stage in front of a packed house with floodlights highlighting every bead of sweat and a microphone broadcasting every tremor of the voice, I was not alone in being full of admiration for those twelve brave volunteers. Well done to everyone who participated, for the audience for being so quiet and attentive and for the English department and Mr Clarke for the organisation. A victory for Sceptre House!
And last but by no means least…the BAE Systems Science and Maths Competition, otherwise known as Top of the Form. The trophy was won by Chetwynde last year so Mrs Berry was extremely keen to not allow any other local team to take it away this year. Our team comprised Liam Edgley, Heather Aitken, Amy Spry and Jack Roberts with Antoni Kudelski and Sophie Ward as reserves and they sailed through the Semi-finals, beating Ulverston Victoria in an extremely commanding performance, leading from the very first. The Finals were held at Forum 28 in the full glare of the media, many supporting parents and staff and some high-ranking management from BAE. It is no exaggeration when I say that it was one of the most nail-biting two hours of my teaching career. The team were up against an extremely confident and bright Academy squad who took the lead early on and who dominated in the first half, knocking the confidence of our four who knew the answers but who were beaten time and time again to the buzzer. As we went into the half-time practical component, we were trailing by 100 points or so. The practical was fiendishly difficult; four very complicated Maths or Science-based challenges which would reveal a four digit code to unlock a safe. Twice we thought that the Academy had the code but twice, they had one number wrong. Our team were confident with three but desperately needed the fourth. The tension in the room was quite unbearable with teachers and parents looking on but unable to help or even encourage. Finally, it was over. Chetwynde had the four digits, the safe opened and we were back in the running for the second half.
By the last round, we were just ahead but the questions were coming thick and fast, each one worth a crucial ten points. Time up, Chetwynde ahead by twenty! The winners! But…a complaint from the audience, a stewards’ enquiry!! Ten minutes of silence, the poor teams sat upon the stage not knowing what to do. The complaint upheld! The quiz-master had been inconsistent in the rules to the Academy’s disadvantage! Ten points to the Academy, ten points away from Chetwynde! Both teams on 490 points. Tiebreak.
By this time, my head is buried in Mrs Aitken’s sleeve, Mrs Ainsbury’s face is in her hands, the two teams were…well, they look quite composed and stoical actually. Both teams answer…both teams wrong. Second tiebreak. Audible moans of genuine pain and anguish are drifting up from the audience but still the eight teenagers look calm. The question; how fast does sound travel under water? Silence. Everyone looking rather blank. The teams looking terrifyingly blank! Mrs Ainsbury’s face now buried in her knees, Mrs Berry gnawing at her lips. Miss Hicks, Mrs Nicholls and myself staring blankly at each other, wondering where all the questions on Lord Capulet’s relationship with Juliet had got to. Both teams answer. 350,000 miles per second say the Academy. 345,000 miles per second say Chetwynde. Both wrong. Both atrociously wrong!!! But Chetwynde 5,000 m/s closer to the actual answer so Chetwynde declared the winners! Again. (And of course, for all of you shouting out at home, sound travels at 1,484 miles per second under water, so now you know.)
Well done to our team. Well done to Mrs Berry for spending so much of her free time coaching. No pressure, but wouldn’t it be nice to win it three times in a row…?
(A very nice moment… Round 4 was Dodgeball. The teams all stand, if a contestant answers a question correctly they can eliminate an opponent or bring an eliminated colleague back from the dead. The team with at least one contestant still standing wins the round. Lots of excited audience participation in this one. After fifteen minutes, three of our team are standing, only one Academy contestant on her feet. Liam gets the question right! Eliminate her! shout the otherwise extremely kind and caring Chetwynde teachers and parents, Kill her! Take her out! Eliminate! Eliminate! We had turned into Daleks, baying for blood. But Liam chooses instead to bring Heather back from the dead. Noooo, howl the Chetwynde fans, heads in hands, what have you done? But Liam knows what’s right and what’s right is to win as a team. He gets the next question right, he eliminates the final Academy opponent and Chetwynde takes the points as a team. Winning competitions is great but standing by your mates is what life is all about.)
Ms. S. Jeffreys
Head of School