Head’s Letter 2010 – 2011

We began the academic year by celebrating, yet again, our outstanding GCSE results. As a non-selective school we put great store in all pupils achieving their very best results and they most certainly did that. An impressive 88% gained 5 (or more) A*-C grades, including Maths and English – only two were unfortunate in missing out. Our predicted CATS result was 63%, which clearly demonstrates what hard work and good teaching can achieve.

Parents were given the chance to meet the new members of staff at the Cheese and Wine Evening – always a good event! Mr Hughes took over the ICT Department while Ms Shields joined the English Department as Head of key stage 3.

The St Wilfrid’s Day Service was held in St David’s Church and it is always pleasing to have parents and friends join us on our special day. We welcomed Reverend Honey who will continue to provide our spiritual guidance.

The Autumn Term was rounded off, as usual, with the Christmas Carol Concert and Prize Giving, which was, once again, an outstanding success and a delight to see such obvious enjoyment on the part of both the audience and participants. Congratulations to Mrs Payton and her staff for all their hardwork. The Lower School’s Annual Christmas Party was it’s usual enjoyable experience with Emazdad providing the entertainment.

As usual a variety of trips took place over the year:

  • GCSE PE Group trip to Twickenham to watch England play Argentina. The pupils sampled the delights of a full house at Twickenham and were given a clear insight of what it takes to be a professional athlete.
  • GCSE History Group visited the Fleet Air Museum and took part in a workshop on the Korean War.
  • GCSE Art Group visited several galleries – SW Academy of Fine and Applied Arts Open Exhibition, Tate Modern and Britain in London and Plymouth University Art Graduates Degree Show.
  • Year 9 visited the Centre For Contemporary Art and the Natural World and local artist “EK” provided excellent workshops in school about the culture of Tibet. Mrs Beechener, once again, ran workshops on the use of felt in textile design.
  • Years 7 and 8 took part in Animated Exeter and saw animation screenings at the Phoenix Theatre. They also visited the local Synagogue as part of their RE syllabus and had a demonstration, from Keith Barwick, on fire prevention and the correct use of fire extinquishers.
  • Years 10 and 11 visited the Devon County Show to investigate topics connected to their studies in home economics.
  • Years 7 – 9 spent a day at Paignton Zoo and two days wild camping on the Escot Estate.
  • Pupils travelled to Birmingham for the British Science Festival and Think Tank.

Lower School visited:

  • The Mythic Gardens to support art work.
  • Exeter Cathedral and Exeter Mosque – local history and RE work.
  • Exeter Library – personal research on projects.
  • Animated Exeter – day workshop to celebrate National Film Week.
  • Visit to the Castle Gallery to study different forms of animation.
  • Drumcrazy Workshop.
  • Paignton Zoo and a workshop on African Animals.
  • Year 6 joined in the wild camp at Escot where a fantastic time was had by all (check out the pictures!).
  • Years 1&2 held a “Teddy Bears Picnic” and a mini olympics.

Clubs this year included:

  • Surfing on the North Devon coast.
  • Gym Club – Studio One to One gym was the venue for pupils to be put through their paces to increase fitness levels and create an enjoyment for the gym.
  • SWOP training walks for years 9 and 10 and participation in the Sidmouth Saunter. The Ten Tors team were on magnificent form and turned in a wonderful performance, given that they spooked us all by getting well and truly lost on their final training session! Congratulations to Alex, Joe, Matt, Harriet, Hannah and Chloe and to all who gave their time so generously.
  • Various sporting clubs included rugby, cricket, rounders and hockey.
  • Ceramics, cake decorating, drama and photography.

Sport played a major part of school life and Mr Bovingdon is keen to keep extending the sporting horizons. The pupils took part in fixtures in rugby, football, cricket, rounders, hockey and netball against other local schools and many more have been organised for next year. Exeter City Football Club held training sessions throughout the year,for all pupils, and some were lucky enough to take part in a training session at the club itself followed by lunch with some of the players and then grandstand seats at the match in the afternoon. Thanks also to Mr Shaw for his cricket coaching skills and for the use of Alphington Cricket Ground. To the loyal core of parents who brave all weathers to support the pupils at their various matches a heartfelt thanks. The parents and former pupils tug of war team demonstrates quite graphically where our pupils get their tenacity from!
The house championship was very closely contested with honours even across the board. Competitions in hockey, cricket, football, netball, athletics, tug of war and swimming resulted in Scott House eventually emerging victorious.

Each year years 7 – 9 enter the ‘Young Writers’ poetry competition and this was our most successful year with 24 entries being accepted for inclusion in the anthology, ‘Bust-A-Rhyme.’ We have recently entered the ‘Booktrust’ poetry competition and the winning work will be posted on their website.

Emily, Becky, Jordan and Sam took part in the ‘Salters Festival of Chemistry’ at Plymouth University. We have taken part in this competition for ten years and have been placed six times – an excellent achievement for a small school. Aaron, Alex, Ben and Joe have been accepted, from applicants across the UK, for the ‘Salters Chemistry Camp’ this summer.

Last summer term we introduced ‘Parent Mail’ whereby parents can be contacted by e-mail and by text messaging. This has proved to be extremely worthwhile, despite a few teething problems, and with no crumpled letters left at the bottom of school bags!!

The current year 11 rounded off their school days with our annual ‘Leavers Do.’ Once again it was held at the Queens Gate Hotel and was a wonderfully entertaining evening. Lots of happy memories tinged with sadness as we also said goodbye to Mrs Symes and Mr Backway who have both finally decided to hang up their mortar boards. Not that they are going to have much time to relax with all the projects they have planned! The pupils now have their results to look forward to in August – always a nail biting wait! Year 9 have all taken GCSE Science and we await their results with interest.

As always we finished off the term with Activity Week and with the current year 10’s undertaking their work experience placements. Their thoughts will be posted on the school web site over the holidays and next term!

Our charities this year have included ‘Cancer Research’ and ” Red Nose Day” as well as our own two sponsored children in Africa and India. Everyone always digs deep and the BBQ’s and cakes always raise lots of money.

Mrs Mackey has had a particularly successful year with two members of year 11 having their HE coursework being chosen by the Examination Board as exemplary pieces to be shown on the web for students across the country to follow. Also she has won” A Good School’s Award” for the highest grades achieved, over the last three years, for girls’ HE in England and Wales. This follows a similar award for Mr England for boys’ Chemistry in 2009. We finished on a high when we learned that we had been awarded Olympic status as a school and we will be coming back to you in September with all the good things we have planned.

Our first summer school has been a resounding success and more of the events will be posted over the holidays. A week is currently being planned for the Xmas holidays – see Mr Bovingdon!

My report is merely a resume of the year’s events. Detailed information and photographs are continually being updated on the school web page and please use this as your first point of information.

It’s been another hectic but very successful year. We continue to manage to incorporate so much into the curriculum whilst achieving such high standards. Thanks has to go to everyone – staff, parents and pupils who work so hard to make St Wilfrid’s such a unique and successful school.

Have a lovely, relaxing break – school begins on Thursday 1st September.

Please note: contact details over the holidays: office @stwilfrids.devon.sch.uk / mobile 07817 465760.

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