HEAD’S SUMMER LETTER – 2012

At the end of another extremely busy and highly successful year we look back and celebrate our many achievements.

We began the Autumn term with the knowledge that the outgoing year 11 form had achieved 100% A*- C, including Maths and English, in their GCSE exams. For a mixed ability, truly diverse group this was a hard fought but well deserved result for both staff and pupils. All of Year 9 pupils gained their GCSE Science, which will enable them to undertake Additional Science in Year 10 and then Separate Sciences in Year 11. Congratulations to all pupils and staff for their commitment and hard work.

When the news came that we had been designated an Olympic Recognised School we were absolutely delighted and many of our activities and classwork reflected this theme. Eight pupils, for their continued effort in PE, were chosen to be part of the Guard of Honour at the opening ceremony of the games to support St Vincent and the Grenadines – a great honour. It was an amazing experience – one which they will never forget.  Matthew Barrett in Year 10 was selected to take part in an Olympic Challenge Day in Luton as part of the build-up to London 2012. The event, which included teamwork and communication tasks as well as personal target setting and goals, was attended by pupils from around the UK and was run by Olympic athletes. Also on the Olympic theme, Exeter College organised an Olympic Flames Festival in which the Lower School was one of six schools invited to take part. The day consisted of a mini Olympic competition and, although the weather wasn’t kind, the children had a great time.

Our very packed and varied sporting programme included : weekly fixtures in rugby, hockey, football, swimming, cricket and rounders; surfing club; various House Matches; Swimming Gala (winner Raleigh) and Sports Day (Drake); Exeter City FC after school club and match day package to watch Sheffield Wednesday; Exeter Chiefs coaching programme; Avira Premiership Schools Rugby Programme; two visits to Twickenham to watch “Help for Heroes” and Northern Hemisphere against the Southern; Exeter College coaching sessions with the Lower School and the annual Jane de Bryun Memorial Competitions in football and netball. The SWOP Team trained hard throughout the year and performed magnificently in the Ten Tors Event while the Duke of Edinburgh contestants had their practice expedition in June.  Add in the usual after school and lunch time clubs and you wonder where they get their energy from! The Holiday Club, introduced last summer, has been a great success and has included quad biking, lazer quest, surfing, woodcraft and visits to Thorpe Park, Woodlands and Crealy to name but a few activities.

 

Trips over the year included : Year 10 Geography Field Trip to Dawlish Warren and Years 10 and 11 Plymouth Theatre Trip to see “ An Inspector Calls”. Year 7 went on a History Trip to Rougemount Castle, visited Pizza Express along with Kestrels where they made and ate pizzas and then, with the Lower School, enjoyed the Pantomime at the Barnfield Theatre. The whole school visited the Devon County Show where pupils were able to investigate topics connected to their studies in various subjects. The Lower School and Years 7&8 enjoyed screenings at the Picture House as part of Animated Exeter week. Years 10 and 11 visited the “Open Art Exhibition” at the SW Academy and had two workshops at Unearth Studio where they made and glazed pots as part of their GCSE unit work. The Phoenix was the venue for the “Contemporary Arts Show” and the newly opened RAMM was visited by most pupils. Kestrels and Year 7 pupils watched the Tour of Britain bike race leave from Cathedral Yard. It was arranged for them to see inside the Sky Team coach, which was a revelation and they were so excited and amazed! A former pupil Andre Burton, who is a world class mountain biker and who was performing at the event, invited them into the arena and had lots of photographs taken. It was a truly unforgettable experience.

Some of the younger pupils designed mugs to celebrate 2012 – the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics being the favourite choices and the annual Christmas card designs were as popular as ever. Year 9 designed and produced a beautiful banner depicting St Vincent and the Grenadines for the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

Congratulations to Year 9 who all passed the Royal Society of Public Health level 2 Food Safety examination. They have also made a link with the food industry. Rod and Ben’s soups, which are based at Kenton, gave the group some samples of their latest range to carry out a sensory analysis. The pupils then developed their own recipes and the winner was Lauren Westwood who devised a delicious chicken, noodle and ginger soup. Lauren’s recipe can be found on Rod and Ben’s website.

Year 8 set up a business enterprise scheme incorporating their HE and ICT skills. From information gleaned from questionnaires they made and sold snacks/meals to their fellow pupils. Most groups donated their profits to charity and the winners, who made the most profit, were Declan Arnold and Rebecca Pring for their tasty cheese and bacon pizza.

St Wilfrid’s Day was celebrated with a service in St David’s Church, which was also the venue for our Prize Giving and Carol Service. Mrs Symes graciously presented the prizes and the Lower School delighted the audience with their beautiful portrayal of “A Christmas Story”. Their Christmas Party was a fun afternoon with lots to eat and drink and with a visit from their favourite magician who provided the entertainment. The annual Cheese and Wine evening was, as usual, a relaxed and enjoyable event and the Leavers’ Dinner was a very special evening and a fitting way to say goodbye to year11.

Several of the pupils entered the BBC Shakespeare Competition, which was held in Bristol. Competitors came from all over the country and the standard was extremely high. Although not amongst the winners, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and benefitted hugely from the workshops that were also a part of the day. Others also took part in the BBC School Report project. With support from BBC staff, Ms Shields helped them develop their journalistic skills to become School Reporters. This culminated in March when they took part, along with lots of schools across the country, in the Schools News Day where everyone simultaneously created video, audio and text based news reports and published them on their school web site. These were then linked by the BBC. It was an amazing project – so much fun but with the reality of having to meet deadlines and real working standards.

New members of staff, this year, included  Mr Dogherty and Mrs Donnelly while Ms Norton got married and returned as Mrs Clack. Mrs Lovett, Mrs Morgan, Miss Mannion and Mrs Hoskins retired at the end of June and we will be joined by Mrs Ayers and Mr Hendry in September. We wish all of them every success and happiness in their new roles.

Our charities, this year, have included Children in Need, Jeans for Genes, Marie Curie and Sport Relief – not forgetting our two sponsored children in Africa.

The Summer Term is always frenetic with GCSE and school exams, reports, Year 10 Work Experience, Activity Week and the Residential Holiday to cram in! The Activity Week programme included scuba diving, climbing, puppet making, cookery, mini Olympics, ten pin bowling and a beach study day at Goodrington Sands. A party of Years 7/8/9 pupils had a fantastic week at Atlantic College in Wales in what was the best residential holiday ever! Organised by Mr Hughes, who is a former student, they enjoyed canoeing, sand boarding, ropes course, archery and much, much more. Set in a beautiful castle it very much reflected the Harry Potter image, which only added to the ambiance! An excellently organised event with great leaders and masses of food! Our pupils, as always, behaved impeccably, earning everyone’s respect and admiration for their ability to work together, their commitment to giving 100% and their sheer enjoyment of the holiday.

All of the above would not be possible without the commitment and dedication of the staff of St Wilfrid’s School. They give their time and energy to ensure that the very best experiences are available to the pupils and I am grateful and appreciative of their hard work and support. The pupils also play their part in wholeheartedly participating in these events, acting as wonderful ambassadors for the School and always getting excellent feedback wherever they go.

Finally, thank you to all the parents, grandparents and carers who continue to support us in our work. We strive to deliver a safe, happy and successful environment in which your children will thrive and achieve their best in all aspects of school life.

Have a lovely summer break.

AEM Macdonald Dent.

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