Both last term and the first two weeks of this term have been very busy for both our staff and our students as we enter the final run in to the examinations and we begin our visits to the feeder primaries to meet the students who will be our new Year 7 in September. In addition to this, our building programme has entered the next phase within the school and we continue to be involved in a wide range of trips and activities.
Our exam groups have been working hard as they have completed their projects and controlled assessments and they now enter the final stages of their exam preparations. Our lunchtime and after school revision sessions have been very well attended and I would like to thank our staff for the many extra hours of work they have put into supporting our students at this crucial time. In order to provide further additional support, we will be running a reorganised timetable for our Year 11 from Monday 16th May to enhance the impact of our revision support. Students will be given full details of this via assemblies. Our students can enter this final period with confidence, knowing that they have been well prepared for what lies ahead. I wish them every success in the examinations and I hope they reap the reward of their hard work.
Our Sports Centre is now fully operational and I would like to thank Ryan Sidebottom, the Yorkshire and England cricketer, for generously taking time out of his very busy schedule to join us for its official opening. This facility is extensively used in school and it is now also available for community hire in evenings and in the holidays. We have just begun work to install tennis courts at the side of the new Sports Centre to further develop our sports provision and to replace the courts lost to the Newton Block build. These facilities should be ready for use by the start of June.
The final phase of our building redevelopment work will start in late May. This will involve the expansion and improvement of our dining and catering facilities and the relocation of a Drama Studio, a Photography Studio and the redevelopment and expansion of one of the Food Technology rooms. Further details of this work will be given as the project develops, given this work will impact upon the catering facilities we can offer in the school once this building starts. The improvement of our dining facilities is long overdue and this crucial work will enable us to increase the seating capacity of this area to ease congestion in this facility.
We have had an extensive programme of events and visits since my last update. Our Athena Charity week raised just over £1100 for Sports Relief. Our House Captains and Sports Leaders ran a number of different activities including table tennis, penalty shoot-outs and sit down volleyball. In addition to this the sale of Sport Relief merchandise helped raise additional funds throughout the charity week.
Miss Greene and the cast of Romeo and Juliet are to be congratulated for the great success of this production. This was an ambitious script to tackle for all involved and the production was all the more impressive given the lead actors managed to successfully combine the time demands and preparation for this with their studies. This production really showcased the talents of the students within our school.
Our tea party for senior citizens from a range of local residential homes was a very successful and well attended event. Students and staff did a marvellous job in providing beautiful hand-made invitations, a wide range of entertainment, light refreshments and a range of prizes for all those who attended. Thanks go to Mr Harney and his team for their skill in running both the bingo and the quiz.
In terms of visits, the History department led a highly successful A level Politics visit to Washington where they visited several key sites including the Capitol Building and the Supreme Court. Our students were able to experience US coverage of the Presidential election campaign and also of the death of Supreme Court judge Anthony Scalia, with the consequent fierce debate that has erupted over his replacement. In addition to the History visit, our Art A level visit to the London Galleries was again highly successful and has provided both inspiration and encouragement for our students.
Our latest visits have included the Villarreal football camp residential to Spain and the Geography fieldtrips to Malham and Bewerley Park. We have also had a range of visits to theatres, sports fixtures and to events such as local Maths Challenges. I would like to thank all the staff involved in leading these visits, and all the others who assist with trips that we run, for their time in organising and leading such activities.
The Villarreal visit saw 45 Year 9 students travel to Spain to live the life of a footballer at Villarreal football club. Once the students were split into teams the training began in high temperatures. The sporting efforts paid off with the boys beating the Spanish opposition in both games with Robbie Thompson scoring two goals to aid the win. The girls lost both games but held their heads high with some impressive saves from Katie Jenkinson and Amie Nield. The students had a superb time enjoying shopping, touring the stadium, lying by the pool and playing football on the beach. By the end of the five days everyone had improved their individual skills at football as well as making new friends. I would like to thank Mrs Jagger, Miss Hughes, Mr Bonsels, Mr Knight and Mr Kisby for giving up their time in the Easter holidays to attend the development tour.
In the Fulford Masterchef competition, Holly Littlewood and Edward Issott progressed to the next round of the competition at York College where they were both highly commended by the judges for the quality of their dishes as they competed against many much older and more experienced contestants. Both judges noted that Edward, in particular, was ‘one to look out for in the future’.
We have seen a number of sporting successes in the school this year. Our under-13 boys’ indoor cricket team emerged as winners in the York area competition and went on to contest the county finals at Headingley.
This year saw the U13 and U14 basketball teams retain the York and district basketball titles with both teams going on to represent the York schools in the North Yorkshire championships. In both cases our teams ended being runners up out of the four areas taking part.
In a fabulous achievement, four students from Year 7 and 8 have been selected to represent North Yorkshire U13 Girls’ basketball team. They are Emma Dorland, Emily Lunn, Ellie Kimberley and Robyn Carter. The girls will play in a tournament in May against South and West Yorkshire and Humberside and have the potential to be selected for the Yorkshire squad who will go on to play in a national tournament. I wish them every success in this. Ms Patchesa is really proud of the progress and commitment they have shown.
Our U15 netball teams were involved in the York and District Netball tournament, playing against teams from all over the area. Following some fantastic netball from both teams, the U15 team secured a place in the semi-final after successfully beating Joseph Rowntree, Huntington, Canon Lee and Manor. The girls beat a tough Queen Margaret’s side 4-2 to earn themselves a place in the final. Unfortunately the girls narrowly lost out to an unbeaten St Peter’s, in a very close game, to finish the tournament as runners-up. Well done to all involved for taking part!
Libby Smith, Harriet Eastwood, Kerin Hulse, Emma Vincent and Somika Thapa recently represented the school and York in the North Yorkshire Badminton competition. The girls played really well in the matches with some games being very closely contested. All our players enjoyed the event despite not making the final round. Thanks go to Sophie Arundel, Charlie Cresswell, Anna Harris and Ava Patchesa for assisting with the event on the day.
Several students, both girls and boys, in Years 7-10 represented the school at the York swimming gala. They were very successful in both leagues coming second in one event and first in the other. All students worked really hard and competed at a very high standard. The results of the event follow at the end of the update.
We have ended up having a highly successful year with our boys’ football teams. Our Year 11 team won their league in an excellent run of form but lost in the cup play-off. In Year 10 our team had similar success in winning their league but this time they lost out in the cup semi-final. Our Year 9 team won the cup final in a thrilling penalty shootout and are to be congratulated on their success. Mr Bonsels is still celebrating this victory! The Year 8 team won the league and although this success was not repeated by the Year 7 team, they only very narrowly missed out on a victory in the cup final after extra time. All the boys who took part in these teams are to be congratulated on their performances and I would like to thank all the staff who have committed time and effort to run these teams throughout the season. A full football write up is attached at the end of this update.
In further sporting success, Jack Bachelor in Year 8 continued his amazing progress in tennis. Jack competed in the Winter National Tournament, an event with the top 32 boys in the country. After battling through five tough matches Jack was crowned the eventual champion. His success continued in a further European tournament where Jack made excellent progress through the early rounds. Jack continues to be one to watch out for in the future.
I would like to end this update by thanking our students and our staff for engaging in the opportunities outlined above and for the work they complete within our school. I would also like to thank our parents for the support and guidance you provide to your children and for encouraging them to actively participate in our school community.