Welcome to another edition of our College Newsletter.
As you will know, the College was inspected at the beginning of May by a team of 6 inspectors. They acknowledged the significant improvements that have been made since the College was last inspected, not least the enormous task of all that went with the building of the new College which opened in 2010. The inspectors praised the positive ethos for learning and described it as ‘calm and purposeful’. They said that the attitude of students to learning is good. Students, staff and parents were very supportive of the College and, at the time of the inspection, well over 9 out of 10 parents said they would recommend the College to others. Of course, we know this as we hear the message on a daily basis and we are very proud of this level of confidence that we have been able to build and it is a genuine reflection of our values of wanting the best for our students and the open and honest way in which we go about our work.
Most of the teaching in the 40 lessons seen during the inspection was judged to be ‘good or outstanding’ which reflects the College’s own judgements made within the rigorous monitoring that takes place and which is supported by a comprehensive professional development programme for our staff.
Inspectors also commented that students feel very safe at the College and are extremely proud of the new buildings and treat them with respect. This change of culture is also the result of what we have done alongside the building work and, again, is testament to the skill of so many who work directly with our young people.
Ofsted recognised the whole College drive in recent years to raise standards and the capacity for further rapid improvements. They concluded that all College leaders and Governors are ambitious for the College and its students and acknowledged the close working with community groups and local employers to provide opportunities to introduce students to businesses and other workplaces. This shared vision and ambition was recognised as being a particular strength of the College and, in so doing, it endorses all that has been done up to this point and the judgements that we have made about both direction and strategy.
Behaviour was judged to be ‘good’ and they reported that ‘most students are keen to learn and gain qualifications’. They commented specifically on the good progress made by more able students, particularly in English and mathematics, and those with special educational needs and disabilities. Students were given the opportunity to say what they would change if they had the chance to be the Principal of the College for a week and the only thing they came up with was the queues in the dining hall – needless to say, we’re seeing what we can do about those!
We are now able to focus completely on College improvement with very few distractions compared to previously. Historical results are still an issue for us as Ofsted have to see the track record of improvement in student outcomes and progress over a significant period of time – and we still need a couple more years’ results to finally prove it to them. It must be remembered that the students who took their GCSEs with us in 2012 actually started at the College on the old site and only had two fifths of their secondary school career in the new buildings when the changed culture for the College really took effect. It is the current year 9 who will be the first year group to have benefitted from the full 5 years in the new buildings.
On its last inspection, we were judged to be a satisfactory school. The Ofsted inspection regime and terminology has changed since we were last inspected. What would have been a satisfactory judgement previously is now described as requiring improvement. The inspectors say that, despite the recent improvements in performance they have seen, the College does still require further improvement to become a good school.
As Principal, I am heartened by the total backing shown by Ofsted inspectors for all that we have done to bring the College to this point and the complete endorsement of our own judgements and future plans. We know that the College requires further improvement and our current priorities include bringing all teaching up to the standard of the best and continuing the rapid drive for overall College improvement – there is no room for complacency here and we are determined to become an Outstanding school.
The full Ofsted report is available HERE & via the links on the College website.
After half term parents will be able to collect a printed copy from the College Reception.
If anyone wishes to discuss anything related to the College or if you want to see the College at work, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Veronica Matthews – Principal
Download the Summer 2013 Newsletter – PDF (484kb)
Half Term: Monday 27 May – Friday 31 May
End of Summer Term: Tuesday 23 July
Start of Autumn Term: Monday 9 September
Half Term: Monday 28 Oct – Friday 1 Nov
INSET Day: Friday 29 November
End of Autumn Term: Friday 20 December
There is often a direct connection between concerns about uniform and concerns about behaviour. We ask all parents to ensure that their children take a pride in being dressed within the full College uniform from top to toe. Can we also remind all parents and students that no visible piercings are allowed in College. As parents you may have allowed your son or daughter to have piercings but this will create confrontation in College and our practice is very clear in the planners they are not permitted.
We thank you for your support and look forward to a summer term where being smart is a priority.
The last two days of the summer term will be dedicated to a range of different activities. The aim is to broaden the curriculum and give students the opportunity to try new things and experience activities beyond the classroom.
Majority of students are now aware of their allocated activity and have returned their permission slips along with full payment. If your child is yet to do so, please ensure payment and permission slips are returned to the Cash Office AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Failure to do so will mean students are unable to participate in their allocated activity and will be expected to attend College instead. Spare copies of trip letters can be collected from Miss Jenkin in the Careers Room, next door to the Cash Office.
Golden Hinde Visit:
This May, 32 students and 4 staff took the opportunity to visit the Golden Hinde II in London. The ship is a replica of Drake’s Flagship and the trip was at the invitation of the Golden Hinde Trust, who were celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the building and launching of the Golden Hinde II from Hinks’ boatyard at Watertown, Appledore.
On arriving at their destination the group were divided into different roles – the officers, the barber surgeons, the gunners and the lowest of all were the staff who were the cabin boys. The girls had to adopt boy’s names and speak in deep voices as in Drake’s time it was considered unlucky to have females on board ship. Staff and students were assembled on the Gun Deck and then put through their paces learning about Barber Surgery, Navigation, and Firing Cannons. Any mention of the Spanish was greeted by spitting on the floor! During the evening the origin of a number of phrases such as ‘3 square meals a day’ and ‘on the fiddle’ were explained as was the need not to mention you were born under the sign of Scorpio if you needed bloodletting by the Barber surgeon.
The final activity of the evening was a mock battle with the Spanish, which of course ended in victory. The students and staff then had to sleep on the Gun deck, which was only about 4 foot high, so resulted in regular banging of heads on the beams. After an uncomfortable night’s sleep, breakfast was bread and cheese and plenty of fruit to prevent the onset of scurvy. Mr Nias then marched us along the South Bank to take in the sights – The Tower of London, the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye.
The visit was great fun and quite nostalgic for Mr Ford, Mrs Nicholls and Mrs Trott all of whom were at the original launching dressed as Elizabethan children.
Can You Crochet or Knit?
Would you like to do something charitable for a local residential home? Staff members at Bideford College have given up their lunch times recently to crochet and knit squares to be made into blankets for elderly residents of a local residential home. The project is being organised by the College’s Textiles Technician who is motivated by the fantastic care and support her own Nan has received at her residential home in Westward Ho! (where she turned 100 in February!).
If you would like to get involved there are a number of ways that you can help. We need as many 6 inch squares (knitted or crochet) as possible. They can be plain, patterned, multi-coloured or 3D, but preferably washable Double Knitting wool. Once we have enough squares we can start sewing them together to make into blankets. Alternatively, if you do not know how to knit but would like to donate some double knitting wool, that would be greatly appreciated. For more information please contact Charlotte Gilbert on email@example.com.
The Reduced Shakespeare Theatre Company at the Queens Theatre: A select group of brave students from Y10 to Y12 enjoyed the Reduced Shakespeare Company’s performance of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged!) at The Queens Theatre on the 21 May. Brave? Well, it’s Shakespeare and he’s hard to understand, old-fashioned and irrelevant to the 21st Century, right? Wrong.
Staff and students were all entranced by the way this troupe presented the Bard’s work to us in their trademark fast-paced, slightly irreverent fashion, with some really significant pauses for reflection that struck home with teachers as well as students. The BAFTA Award goes to our own Sophie Lawrence and Greg Lewis, aptly chosen to present Ophelia’s crisis-ridden mind. Who knew Sophie could be quite that loud?!
Perhaps the best part of the evening was the welcome in the foyer afterwards from the actors; our students loved meeting them, having their photographs taken with them, and having their comments ‘re-tweeted’ by the group for the world to read.
Creative Writing Club:
Creative Writing Club has been meeting every Friday lunch time and Mrs Marquet-Georgiou is pleased to announce that several of the members successfully entered Young Writer’s The Poetry Games competition this Spring. Congratulations go to Seraphina Allard-Bridge, Jimmy Wilton, Gracie Walker, George Pizani, George Undery, Siobhan Fey, Nieve Wuttke-Keary, Jack Vanstone and Alex Beer. These students will have their work appear in The Poetry Games book and 12 finalists will be chosen to have the chance to become The Poetry Games Champion. We wish them all good luck!
Creative Writing Club would also like to wish a fond farewell to our year 13 helper Hugo Blick who is off to University this September. Hugo has inspired and guided the students in their creative writing pursuits; thank you Hugo and good luck!
Pink Kangaroo 2013:
Following their Gold Award successes in the Intermediate Mathematics Challenge 2013, Amy Walker and Max Heard qualified for, and took part in, the European Pink Kangaroo Competition, 2013. Congratulations to both for qualifying and further praise for Amy who went on to receive a Certificate of Merit for achieving a score in the top 25% in that very demanding competition.
Junior Mathematics Challenge 2013:
April saw 77 of our best mathematicians in Years 7 and 8 taking part in the UKMT Junior Mathematics Challenge. Congratulations to all those who took part and to the 36 students who achieved a Gold, Silver or Bronze award – a fantastic result!
Worthy of special mention are:
Year 8: Jamie Norton – Best in School, Best in Year. Year 7: Seraphina Allard-Bridge – Best in Year.
Year 10 Mathematics Team Competition:
In March we took part in this competition but missed out on qualification for the South West finals by two points. The students enjoyed two hours of tough problem solving and were a credit to the College.
Junior Mathematics Team Competition:
Also in March we took a team of four students to the UKMT Junior Team competition in Exmouth and competed against 36 teams from across the region. Although we didn’t challenge for victory we had a great day – more than 140 students rushing around a school hall in a race to solve challenging problems. Well done to team members Dylon Perkins, Emma Walker, Gaby Fey and Jamie Norton.
Science Department News:
Science & Engineering week was again a great success. There were lots of Science activities to do in and around the Science Department. We had many visitors to the Department who came to see and join in dissections, chemistry shows, having a go with the Van der Graff generator, standing inside giant bubbles or even make a bird box. We also had a visit from 60 Year 3 primary school children who really enjoyed visiting a ‘big school’ and joining in the fun of Science Week.
We had 6 new additions to the Science Department just before the Easter holidays. After incubating chicken eggs for 21 days, we hatched out 6 little chicks. The students had the opportunity to learn about chick-rearing and the process of incubation.
The chicks arrived just in time for Science Week at the College. We had many visitors at lunch to see them and some students even got to hold them. A number of year 6 students also visited us during Science Week from Torrington Primary School. They were given a talk on the organs of the human body and what they do as well as seeing the chicks.
Year 10 GCSE Science Exams:
All year 10 students entered for exams need to make sure they are revising.
The exam dates are:
Biology Unit 1 – 5 June
Chemistry Unit 1 – 10 June
Physics Unit 1 – 13 June
Students are encouraged to attend the following revision sessions:
Year 10 Core Science Revision Time:
Lunchtime: 1.40 – 2.10 pm
After school: 3.15 – 4pm Core
Unit 1 Core
Unit 1 Core
Mon lunchtime Mrs Harrison F2.1
Mon after school Mr Harding
Tuesday lunchtime Mr Ayre
Wednesday lunchtime Mrs Ayre
Thursday lunchtime Ms Bird
Thursday after school Dr Farmer
Friday lunchtime Mr Young
Year 7 Science Club are currently working on a project that they will be presenting at the ‘Big Bang Fair’ at Exeter University at the end of June. The project involves attempting to generate ‘Bio Gas’ from the College’s food waste, as well as ‘Bio Ethanol’. We then will use our homemade fuels to rocket propel a model car to demonstrate biogas as an alternative fuel. If successful it will prove that biogas/bioethanol is easily manufactured and can be done on a local scale. Potentially each household could have their own biogas generator to run their boiler or car.
Our project and the findings will be presented to judges for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) event and prizes will be given for various aspects of the projects. So far we have built our model cars and had some successful rocket runs. The ‘bio gas’ will still need a couple of weeks, but we are confident we will have things fine-tuned and ready to impress the judges at the event. Wish us luck!
Students in KS4 and KS5 have now competed coursework units and staff have been helping students prepare for Unit Exams for A2, AS and GCSE. Please can we remind students that component invoices must be paid for before Leavers Day and that coursework should be collected before October Half Term 2013 at which stage projects may be recycled to manage our storage space for next year’s projects.
Year 10 students have just started their coursework unit and parents can monitor students’ progress and attainment by checking the task assessment sheet at the front of their coursework folder. Keep an eye out for the new and improved GCSE virtual folder which will go live on our blog in the next few weeks.
The JRB Special electric racing car has finally started testing. The team took the car out for the first test drive on Wednesday. Everybody had a go and drivers will now need to be chosen for the 4 hour race that will be held in Newquay in just three weeks. There is still a lot to do including finish the body work, allocate jobs within the team such as drivers, pit crew, battery handlers, strategists, and managers.
Funds are beginning to get low so to boost them the Team has created some ‘Teacher Top Trumps’. These will be available from the Cash Office after Half Term for £3 a pack. See if your favourite teacher is featured and see how the points compare.
Read all the latest Sports & PE News on the PE Departments own Blog HERE
Art Department News:
Michael Brennand-Wood Exhibition at The Burton Art Gallery:
Thirteen year 8 students were selected by their art teachers to take part in a visit to the Burton Art Gallery on Tuesday 26 March to view an exhibition by the internationally acclaimed Textile Artist Michael Brennand-Wood.
Students viewed his collection of work ‘Forever Changes’, gathering inspiration from his sculptural and patterned pieces. They then took part in a workshop creating a 3D structure, using a frame as a base upon which to build their piece of work, using fabrics, wire, thread, papers and paint to add colour, texture and form.
Year 12 AS Art Visit:
The opportunity to see work by internationally renowned artists is quite rare in Bideford, so when textile artist Michael Brennand- Wood’s ‘Forever Changes’ tour exhibition landed in Bideford, the year 12 AS Students were amongst some of the first to get to see it. Students spent the morning viewing his many layered pieces, taking inspiration from his theme of ‘personal archaeology’. The experience gained from viewing art works first hand enables the students to really get a sense of scale and impact created by the works. Michael’s pieces are often so intricate, full of unusual objects and highly patterned machine embroidery, that to view them in a book does not do them justice.
This Term has seen many excellent individual and group performances from GCSE and A Level Drama students.
On the 14 and 15 May all Year 11 GCSE Drama students performed their final pieces for an invited audience and external examiner. Both evenings were a resounding success with a range of scripted and devised work designed to ‘make the audience think’. As we’ve come to expect from our students the work was exciting, imaginative and thought provoking with many stand out performances.
On the 21 May our Year 12 Drama Students performed various monologues from ‘The Crucible’ by Arthur Miller and a play called ‘Seventeen’ by Michael Gow exploring the pressure on teenagers to ‘fit in.’ The work was creative and moving and all students performed extremely well.
Congratulations to all involved and thanks to parents and friends for their continued support.
Bideford Learning Community Choir at Devon County Show: After their fantastic performance on the 19 March the BLC Choir were asked to perform at this year’s Devon County Show. 200 primary students and 20 students from Bideford College performed a gospel arrangement of Place your Hands by Devon’s home grown band Reef and an arrangement of Karl Jenkin’s ‘Adiamus’. Even though the sun had disappeared and the rain clouds had opened everyone sang their hearts out and put a smile on the audience’s faces. Well done!
BIDEband has grown in numbers this term but there is still space for any budding musicians to join. The club runs after school on Wednesdays in E.2.10. The band plans to host a concert in July to showcase what they have been working on this term – watch this space for more details!
Business Studies Department News:
Sixth Form trip to The Milkyway:
On 24 April the Sixth Form Business Studies students were invited to take part in an external trip to The Milkyway Adventure Park. The students were involved in talks by some of the partners which explained entrepreneurship, organisation (delegation, communication and structure), contracts, training, job roles, and culture (part of the year 13 pre-release). All students that attended had a great time and gained some valuable information first hand. Thank you to all the students that attended for their enthusiasm and interest.
This half term we have had another highly successful DEAR day when everyone in the College Dropped Everything And Read for 20 minutes – as usual it was fascinating to see the wide range of material chosen by the staff and students – everything from the latest newspapers to revision text books.
The Carnegie Shadowing Group are enjoying reading their way through the books from the shortlist and working on the presentation they will make on their chosen book, Midwinter Blood, when they meet with the shadowing groups from the other North Devon schools at the Shadowing Event at Rosemoor in June.
The College will also be taking part in the Appledore Book Festival in September and we have already booked some nationally famous authors to come to the College to work with our students. The Festival is running a short story competition with generous book token prizes and the winning entries will be displayed during the Festival. Bideford College has an impressive record of winners in previous competitions – any students who would like to take part this year can collect entry forms from their English teachers or the Library. Entries close on 26 July.
Gifted & Talented:
Bideford College hosted two fun and challenging days for Gifted and Talented (G&T) students this term. On Thursday 16 May we were joined by ‘Gifted and Talented’ year 4 and 5 students and on Friday 17 May we were joined by Gifted and Talented year 6 students, all from our feeder primary schools, to work with our own gifted and talented year 7 and 8s. They all participated in a workshop ran by the ‘Happy Puzzle Company’ who have been professionally trained to raise students’ own expectations of what they can achieve. They encountered a variety of fun but challenging 3D hands-on puzzle tasks, which they had to complete in teams.
Aims of the day were to help develop:
• Thinking skills
• Team skills
• Communication skills
• Abilities to overcome difficulties with school work
• Awareness of their own potential
STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM workshops can motivate and build confidence in young people who struggle with STEM subjects and provide an extra outlet for children who already show aptitude and are interested in furthering their learning. The following is an example of a STEM activity taking place at Bideford College.
This term students were joined by staff from Wonderstruck who design and manufacture robots nicknamed “Drumbots”. The robots built by year 7 and 8 students use a DC motor and 3v power supply to tackle an off road assault course built by staff. The activity started with a focused practical task before student teams modified the designs to improve the “Drumbots” capability before going head to head in the assault course challenge. Students linked previous learning in science, technology and maths to give them an advantage over competitors. There are certainly some future competitors for Robot Wars!
Expedition Group News:
We have had a very busy few weeks since Easter leading up to our two main walking events – the Exmoor Challenge and Ten Tors.
On Saturday 4 May, 39 of our year 8 students and 2 year 9 students set out on the Exmoor Challenge. Sixteen miles of fairly tough walking with pretty steep hills followed and although the weather was kind the heat proved a challenge! All eight of our junior teams completed the event successfully with just two individuals dropping out along the way. Our two senior teams were doing really well up until Tarr Steps when unfortunately they took the wrong path and ended up a little lost, along with several teams from other schools. They were quickly located and rescued but as they didn’t complete the challenge they missed out on the medal. Some very disappointed students but a good lesson in not following other teams without checking your map because they could be lost as well!
On the following weekend it was Ten Tors and what a difference in the weather! We set up camp in wind and drizzly rain and the weather went downhill from there. We took four teams – two teams doing the 35 mile event, one team doing the 45 mile event and one team doing the 55 mile event. Unfortunately weather conditions were poor and at 5.00am we woke to the sound of Chariots of Fire music and drizzly rain with still a quite strong wind. The top of Yes Tor had long since disappeared into the mist and visibility was getting worse by the minute. In fact the spectators could hardly see the teams as they assembled for the start but one of our 35 teams did appear briefly out of the mist on route to their first Tor. Unfortunately, one 35 mile team got lost in the mist a few times and then not been able to cross a river decided to pull out by lunchtime on the Saturday. The second 35 mile team kept going but were rather slow and ended up being stopped on the Sunday, so disappointingly, neither of our 35 mile teams completed the event. News on the 45 and 55s however was much more positive. Both teams completed in fine style though the 45s did lose Chloe to hypothermia late on the Saturday.
In addition two of our year 12 students were entered in the 12 mile Jubilee Challenge walk.
We are now looking forward to our two summer events, The Exmoor Perambulation and The South Moors Rivers Walk before everything starts again next autumn.
Careers South West News:
Careers South West is available to offer help and advice to Bideford College students over the summer term and during the holidays. Students who are looking for apprenticeships are already being kept informed of vacancies. Further information and support with apprenticeship applications, course applications and other activities to help with their plans can be arranged via the Barnstaple Careers South West office (01271 378585) or by contacting Debs Frazer on 01237 477611 ext. 1210 (term time) or 07977 250175 (non-term time)
Year 7 News & Stories:
Throughout the year, 12 year 7 students have been participating in the ‘Pupil Employer Engagement Project’ (PEEP). The project is a pilot scheme funded by Torridge District Council which aims to raise the aspirations of young people through regular engagement with local employers.
Three workplace visits have been completed to far – Rosemoor Gardens, Saunton Sands Hotel and Dartington Crystal – and students are starting to gather extensive knowledge of the variety of job roles available within different businesses, as well as developing a number of personal development skills.
We look forward to the next trip in the Autumn Term! Visit the PEEP Blog
Year 9 News:
Trip to the Devon County Show:
Year 9 Students visited the Devon County Show on 17 May. Sunshine heralded the start of a fun day with staff and students all eagerly anticipating a good day out. They were not disappointed as the sunshine lasted for most of the time they were there and most managed to dodge the downpours in the afternoon. The College was able to offer a reduced price for the trip as it forms part of a competition that year 9s are taking part in to design a community shop. Students were asked to fill in a questionnaire about local produce on sale at the show. This was helped along by the many taster samples of cakes, pastries and other goodies. Students also enjoyed some of the many attractions such as the JCB Dancing Diggers and the Savage Skills mountain bike stunt team. Students’ conduct was excellent – they were a credit to Bideford College, so a big ‘well done’, and we look forward to seeing the work tutor groups are producing for the competition (prizes include VIP tickets to next year’s show).
Year 11 News:
Sixth Form Army Scholarship: Congratulations to Kristi Tucker in Year 11 for qualifying for a Sixth Form Army Scholarship! She has become one of the few to receive this award in the South-West as it is very competitive and requires academic excellence as well as outstanding personal qualities of leadership and endeavour.
A message from Ms Hollister: I would like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to the current Year 11′s who started study leave on Tuesday. I am very proud to be their Head of Year & will miss them as they move on to the next stage of their lives as well-rounded adults. They have been working hard; studying & sitting exams and will continue this until sign off day on June 28, which is also the day of the Prom. Our expectations have been high for all Year 11s, throughout their five years with us, and we know they will do their best and achieve excellent results. We look forward to seeing them all on August 22 which is Results Day.
Best wishes from Ms Hollister and the Year 11 Pastoral Team!
Monies Raised for Children’s Hospice South West:
Sixth Form students recently received a very poignant presentation by Children’s Hospice South West, they were given details of the valuable work carried out by the Hospice. A group of students from the current Student Leadership Team were able to present John Wyatt with a cheque for £400, monies raised from various activities.
New Student Leadership Team Appointed:
The current Year 13 Student Leadership Team will be leaving shortly, after their exams have finished – a big thank you for all they have done during the past year to help support students and staff both in the Sixth Form and across the College.
A new team has now been appointed. The standard of applications was extremely high, which made decisions very difficult. We are pleased to announce the new team members: Dan Baugh, Francesca Birch, Matt Hewitt, Adam Crowther, Miles Lemmer, Louise Shaw, Poppy Flaxman, Chloe Lott, Dan Willis, Kara Sheppard, Rayanne Vitali, Lewis Johnson, Connor Allsop, Sarah Bailey, Alex Ferriday. We look forward to working with them over the forthcoming year.
University of Plymouth Workshops:
University of Plymouth have been working with Sixth Form Students to help prepare them for University and to give advice regarding Budgeting. Year 12 students began to look at the process of how to apply to University and UCAS information. Year 13 students were given valuable information regarding Student Finance loans for University applicants, as well as tips to help with money management and budgeting – applicable to both University and careers.
Sixth Form Applications – Year 11:
We have now completed the interviews for Sixth Form intake this September, however if there are any Year 11 students who are still unsure of their plans and are still interested in Bideford it is not too late, please contact either Mrs French or Mrs Pells for an informal discussion.