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On Tuesday 7th March 2017, seven A Level photographers travelled from Leatherhead station to Russe...
On Wednesday 22nd February, 14 Year 7’s took a trip to Surrey University to experience a day of le...
Friday 18th March
I’m writing this blog in a significant week for education with The Budget delivering the news that every school will have to become an Academy in the coming years. That will clearly have an impact on Therfield as we are currently a Local Authority Community School. So it looks like change is on the way in the coming years and it will be for the governing body of the school to work with parents, students, staff and other stakeholders to think about how we will approach the new era. I know that I’m biased, but I think Therfield is a very special place and, whilst we must strive for improvement to become even better, there’s a lot we do that I would like to see us continue to provide. I hope that this Blog (and previous entries) gives a good impression of the opportunities that the staff provide our students and I hope that you will also agree with me that our ethos, values and opportunities are ones that are worth preserving.
Those opportunities have been many over the last fortnight. I’d like to start with superb learning demonstrated by students in English. 22 Therfield students (from Years 7, 9 and 11) have just had their original poems published in an anthology entitled “The Poetry Trials”. There was some excellent work produced and I’ve picked my favourite three poems to share with you here.
TRUTH ABOUT THE LIE
If you are about to hurt someone, try lying to them
Lying to someone you care, could be the worst weapon you could fire.
If you are about to sustain someone’s trust
Try sticking to being honest to them at any cost.
If you are trying to hide your lie, you are fooling yourself, not others,
Try not to live with your lie, as you can’t live in a dream forever.
If you are trying to amend your lie, it’s almost too late, as you have already lost the trust.
Try building the trust by being you and being honest.
If you are about to lie to someone,
Try to not look into their eyes as they can see the lie within.
If you are about to lie for fun
Try thinking it through as a lie is an aeroplane travelling half the world.
If you think a lie is better than a truth
Try being a slave, never to let yourself be free.
Living with your lie is like living in the darkness.
Try letting go of your lies to come out to the light.
If you don’t manage to tell the truth,
Then your legs will carry you as a lonely person through life…
And that’s no lie!
By Vithursha Sujeevan
Eating fish and chips on a sunny pier in July,
Tea and cake and Mother’s apple pie.
Cream, strawberries and chocolate sauce,
Eating many cheeses like cheddar, and clotted cream.
All of these foods are unique,
Eating them makes it feel like a treat.
Taking a seat in the local restaurant, Be our guest, be our guest,
Put our services to the test,
Your always welcome no matter what.
From ice cream to something hot,
Our service for you will never stop!
But from the start everyone knew,
That food would save the world,
And it could help to save people’s lives.
Giving cans of food can help them live
From peaches, vegetables and maybe ham,
I hope in the future everyone is well
And I hope food doesn’t rain from the sky and kill everyone,
‘Cause food is good for many things,
Seeing the world live on many things,
Maybe someday we may run out,
Take care of all the food in the world we have!
By Elliot Dunham
The old cars are growling,
As the sports cars are bragging.
The trains are running,
As the bicycles are chasing.
The helicopters are high up and happy
The cars below are sad.
The boats are relaxing on the calm ocean waves
As the aeroplanes are at work.
The tanks are shooting,
As the buses are hooting.
By Ben Rossi
As part of our National Science week celebrations on Monday the University of Sussex visited the sports hall with their mobile planetarium. Students were then invited as part of their science lesson to enter the large dome to learn about the electromagnetic spectrum, how we observe space and learning in detail about the James Webb Space Telescope orbiting in space approximately 1 million miles away! The short program designed by the Physics Outreach program at the University is tailored to the GCSE science specification and so some lucky Year 10 and 11 students were first in to experience the dome. After the program, students were able to ask questions to the two well informed Physics undergraduate students and were able to use an infra-red scanner to see a small scale example of the type of detection equipment on board the James Webb Space Telescope. Some of our Year 8 students also paid a visit as they will be learning about space later this year. We hope to have the planetarium visit again next year so that more students can experience the excitement and awe of space!
Science week continued with a bang with The Big Bang Event on Thursday. Miss Reynoldson and 68 Year 7 and 8 students went to the NEC in Birmingham. After an early start students were excited to arrive. The day consisted of students taking part in a huge range of practical activities. This included racing energy efficient cars, around a race track, to learning about the chemicals in beauty products. Students loved the interactive forensic stalls and had a chance to make strong structures out of newspaper. The students were able to talk to professionals in the science industry and learn about where science can take them in the future.
There’s been two great examples of how developing an understanding of the modern media can support creativity and learning in the last fortnight. On Thursday the 10th March, Year 8 English students took part in this year’s annual BBC School News Report – where their reports and articles were able to be read and watched by audiences across the globe. The school website was linked to the BBC’s website for the day and students were able to share their take on the top stories with the world – this year from the comfort of a CGI BBC News studio that was created in the school’s library.
Molly Webb, who was involved in the day and the after-school sessions, said, ‘It was really exciting to work to deadline in the news studio at school – and to learn about how important the news is to audiences.’
Students reported on a range of top stories from the day – including the developments in the debate about EU membership.
Articles and video-bulletins from this year’s successful day can still be viewed on the school’s website or please follow the link: http://www.therfield.surrey.sch.uk/index.php/news/bbc-news-school-report
On Monday we were privileged to be visited by a local screenwriter and former student of Therfield, Mark Stay who is the writer of the film Robot Overlords starring Ben Kingsley and Gillian Anderson, who came to visit Therfield School to speak to GCSE and A Level Media Studies students about technology used in film production and the science-fiction genre. He gave students advice on becoming a writer for film and discussed how his film was produced and distributed.
A Level student Oli Hart said ‘Our teachers are great - but hearing from an industry insider about the business was really insightful and brought what we’ve been doing to life.’
Mark Stay also gifted the students a signed copy of his new book based on the film, which has been donated to the school’s library.
Mark Stay: "It was wonderful to return to my old school, where I first made a short film with my friends and started writing seriously. For me, this is where it all began. And the Media Students asked some very savvy, insightful questions. It's great to see Therfield still has its passion for creativity all these years later."
I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Mark for giving up his time so generously and supporting Therfield in this way.
Last Wednesday our friends from Willi Graf Gymnasium (Gymnasium=grammar school) in Germany arrived for the exchange visit. I was delighted to welcome the students after rehearsing my welcome speech with Ms Ashburner. (Thanks to her for excellent tutoring even if her new student needed a lot of support!) On their first full day all the students went to Brighton together to get to know one another. They completed a quiz in teams, with the prize going to Lara Richardson, Jessica Davis and their partners Veronika and Anna. The German students visited London with their teachers on Thursday and Friday, before spending the weekend with their partners, taking part in various activities with their host families, seeing what everyday life in England is like and sampling traditional delights like roast dinners. On Monday everyone spent a day at Therfield and for some of the German partners this was the highlight of their week – some of our students took them on a tour of the school first thing, then everyone spent two lessons with their partners in class, thanks to many helpful teachers who hosted them. Period 4 saw everyone in the IT rooms helping the Germans with a project they were working on, which involved comparing various aspects of German and British society, and writing some heart-warming summaries of the daily lives of our students and their families. Period 5 was a scone-baking session in catering with the help of Mrs Sime and Mrs Sandy. The Germans don’t have food lessons in school so it was interesting for them to try something new, and at 4:30pm everyone met up for a cream tea, featuring their own scones, and a bit of farewell karaoke. There were some tears when we saw the German students off in the morning, but everyone is looking forward to visiting Munich for the return leg in June, and are already planning what they are going to get to.
During the weekend of 4th – 6th March the Therfield Year 7 & 8 football and netball players attended a tournament at the PGL Centre Liddington. The tournament is organised and run by England A.E.N.A
NETBALL - Both Netball teams played against 6 schools over 2 days. Year 8 won 2 matches, drew 2 and lost 2 matches, narrowly missing out on getting through to the semi-finals.
Year 7 won all of their matches with ease apart from Sutton Coldfield Grammar school who proved to be more of a challenge and drew 1 – 1.
The year 7 team were elated when they found out they had made it to the Semi-final, however it was then announced that they would again play Sutton Coldfield Grammar School in the Semi-final. We knew this would be one of the toughest matches.
Unfortunately Sutton Coldfield scored with 20 seconds to go and the final whistle blew, we lost 6-7. The team had mixed feelings being proud of what they had achieved over the weekend but also disappointed to lose in the semi-final.
Mrs Woodroffe - PE Teacher and Netball Coach said “I always knew the Netball squads had a lot of potential and this showed when it really mattered. When the going got tough Therfield rose to the challenge and each individual player had the inner strength to work together as a team.”
Both teams got to meet England player Ebony Beckford-Chambers who answered their questions and presented the Year 7 squad with their medals.
FOOTBALL - The boys took part in two morning training sessions run by highly skilled and friendly EFA coaches who delivered very engaging activities.
The boys took part in a range of progressive drills and games that put their skills to the test with every student working very hard to improve their ability. Excellent feedback was received from the coaches during small-sided matches where the boys were able to show off their skills and compete against other schools attending the PGL weekend. Additionally, the Year 7 boys took part in a 5-a-side tournament and came second only to an older team from another school.
In addition to this all students took part in outdoor adventurous activities such as the infamous giant swing, abseiling, orienteering and aeroball to name a few
Mr Lyle – PE Teacher and Football coach said “The boys were amazing ambassadors for Therfield School and this was reflected in positive comments received by the coaches after the training sessions.
The boys were very mature throughout and really enjoyed the range of activities that took part in.”
My thanks go to Mrs Woodroffe, Mr Lyle and all the staff who made this weekend possible for Therfield students
I enjoyed taking the Year 10 students with the best Attitude to Learning scores to the Allsaints café for a hot chocolate and snack last week. It was impressive to hear about the ambitions of our students and to celebrate their hard work. Well Done all concerned.
Tonight I will be attending the Annual Youth Showcase Awards held at Dorking Halls. This event aims to highlight the achievements of young people which often go unrecognised within the community. The event is organised, coordinated and presented by Youth Voice Councillors whose focus is to recognise local young people for all their efforts. Therfield I am pleased to say have made 81 nominations as individuals and team entries and I am really looking forward to the event.
I hope as many readers of this blog as possible will be able to join us for our “Living the Vision” Evening next Wednesday 23th. This is a fantastic showcase of everything we do at Therfield and I’m sure will provide an excellent close to a very successful term. As this is my last Blog before we break for Easter I’d like to wish everyone an enjoyable and restful break interspersed with plenty of revision for those students who are approaching GCSE and A Level exams next term.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself”
Friday 4th March
On my walk around lessons last Tuesday I was privileged to spend some time in Mrs Martin's Year 11 lesson. Seeing the Year 11 students reflecting on the power of the words that Harper Lee wrote 56 years ago, just a few days after her death, was spine-tingling. Future Year 11s won't be able to study To Kill a Mockingbird as Modern American Literature has been removed from the new GCSE syllabus. However I'm pleased that at Therfield our Year 9 students will be able to experience the youthful mischievousness of Scout, the morality of Atticus and the sheer joy of the novel, whilst learning about prejudice in its rawest form. In my view, To Kill a Mockingbird perfectly demonstrates how great literature shapes our values, beliefs and morality, which is one important reason we celebrate World Book Day at Therfield.
Therfield School celebrated World Book Day along with schools around the country on Thursday, 3rd March. Year 9 Literacy Leaders, Emma Adsett, Abbi Burgess, Dana Hargrave, Rebecca McDonough and Molly Mynn put a lot of hard work and effort into the event, making the day a real success. Students from Year 7 to Year 9 got involved, dressing up as their favourite book characters for the day. From Where’s Wally to Thing 1 and Thing 2, a great effort was made by all. Not to mention the great efforts displayed by the teachers, which featured the Science department dressed up as characters from the classic tale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I was invited to judge the KS3 fancy dress competition which formed part of this year’s events. There were some excellent examples of fancy dress and choosing the winner was a tough task but in the end I chose the St Trinian's girls.
There was lots of fun had by all in the Learning Resource Centre over lunchtime, other events included students going head to head against the English Department’s speediest reader, Mrs Martin. Not even I could better her!
All in all, it was a great day celebrating World Book Day at Therfield, and fantastic to see so many students having fun and sharing their love for reading.
Another wonderful event to coincide with World Book Day welcomed the Orange Tree Theatre Company from Richmond to the school to perform Romeo and Juliet to the whole of Year 10 in preparation for studying the text for their GCSEs next year. The production was set in a modern day context and the Orange Tree team focused on bringing the characters to life for the students. The English Department were especially pleased with the workshop after the performance that focused on Romeo and Juliet’s first meeting and a discussion about the end of the play and how the production team chose to interpret the text.
I thoroughly enjoyed chatting to parents and students at our Academic Tutoring Days last week. It seemed to me that the new way we are judging Attitude to Learning Scores is enhancing the crucial conversations about next steps in learning and encouraging conversations about the key skills needed for success. Of course we welcome feedback from parents and students about the scores.
I was delighted to be able to celebrate with the KS3 students who scored the very best AtL scores. Well done to all concerned. I'll be celebrating the Summer AtL scores with a pizza picnic in the Peace Garden so I hope there is a strong incentive for everyone to improve their scores. Celebrating KS4 student achievements will take place before the Easter break and I will share that with you in my next blog.
Last week we were able to welcome a distinguished visitor from Japan to the school. Professor Tsuyoshi Watanabe was in the UK to research how schools develop Character Education. He is a published author in Japan and it was interesting to explore, via a translator, some of the similarities and differences between the two country’s education systems. Professor Watanabe visited two secondary schools: Therfield and Eton College! Thanks to Ms Walker for arranging this visit.
In preparation for the Regional UKMT team challenge on 9th March, we hosted our own challenge, ably supported by Dan Cullen (one of our sixth form students). 60 Year 8 and 9 students pitted their maths skills against a cross-number, group challenge and quick fire questions. All rounds required them to apply their maths knowledge to problems of differing challenge with points allocated for correct answers only.
By round three one group were beginning to pull away from the rest…..they continued with this in the final round, finishing with the highest overall score. Louis Cullen, Sam Wild, Joshua Gray and Ben Elliott will be representing Therfield on 9th March (we will let you know how they get on). My thanks go to Mrs Picket for organising.
On Wednesday 24th February ten Year 10 students travelled down to Southampton with Mr Phillips to take part in the Sci-tech challenge, a partnership between Exxon Mobil and Young Enterprise. They were briefed by the General Manager of the Fawley refinery about the work they carry out. Then at the end of the presentation he set the students a multifaceted challenge of reducing externally supplied water reliance and energy efficiency. The teams then had 2 hours to prepare a paper and presentation on their ideas. From Therfield, Fin Sturgess, Mariska Viljoen, Simon King, Sheree Usman Binasing and Katie Jones made it to the final round. They had to present their ideas to a panel of five which was intimidating enough but all the students from seven schools were also watching! They performed well and clearly identified their project strengths and excelled particularly in the Q&A session at the end. While the judges deliberated we were shown a series of science and engineering experiments all based around the work of the refinery. As the judges filed back in I had high hopes for the team and felt they justly deserved their podium finish and the applause they received. They received certificates and a trophy for 3rd place and left a lasting positive impression on all the students, teachers and Exxon staff present. My thanks to Mr Phillips for organising such a successful visit.
Photo credit to J Stock Photography
Our Year 9 Language Leaders have been learning about leadership and trying out various teaching activities on each other, and over the last few weeks they have been working hard preparing German taster lessons for Year 4 students at The Greville School where they went on Tuesday. This forms the first official part of their Foreign Language Leaders Award. Also attending were last year’s excellent language leaders who are now in Year 10. The students had been working in four teams to prepare 10 minute German taster lessons, which could be delivered to the Year 4s in a rota during their afternoon lesson. These mini lessons covered topics such as greetings, ages, where they lived and favourite colours, and when all the elements were put together, they built up a short conversation in German. The students had full responsibility for coming up with teaching ideas, planning the lessons and producing and copying resources. Ms Ashburner has written the following on the actual visit –
“ Before we started some of the Year 9s felt quite nervous while others were full of excitement (and the same was probably true of the Year 4s). The braver Year 9s volunteered to introduce their teams to the Year 4s, and the teaching got underway. Soon everyone was in the swing of things and as they repeated their lessons, which they delivered four times in total, they became more confident and the lessons went more smoothly. It was lovely to watch the Year 4s looking up to the Therfield students, smiling and joining in with real enthusiasm, and to see the Year 9s and 10s interacting with the younger students, explaining things when they needed help and encouraging them to get involved. The Year 4 teachers and The Greville MFL coordinator Ms Nichol were very impressed and commented on the buzz in the three classrooms and the maturity of the Therfield students. Some of them were ex-Greville students and various teachers popped in to see them as the word got around the school that they were there. We left The Greville at the end of the day with a job well done. The Language Leaders were an asset to the school and are now going to work towards their second teaching challenge which is the Sports and MFL festival in the summer.”
I’ve been feeling very proud of our Year 11 students this week as they undertake their final set of “Mock” GCSE exams. I’ve seen students all over the school with revision cards and notes, quizzing each other on those important facts and figures they need to be successful. The hard work they are currently doing will pay off in spades when they open those important envelopes in August. I’m looking forward to catching up with Year 11 parents at our Study Evening on 17th March as we make plans for the final push towards the summer exam season.
Work Hard Play Hard Enjoy Yourself
Friday 12th February
This week has been our Sixth Form Rag week. I thought I would hand the first part of my Blog over to Callum and Anna (our Head Boy and Girl) to tell you all about what everyone has been up to…….
From Monday 8th February to Friday 12th February, the Sixth Form committee organised a series of entertainment events during lunch time to collect money for Therfield’s Raise and Give week, whilst the entire Sixth Form dressed up to increase awareness for RAG. All of the money raised has gone towards two local charities: Rays of Sunshine and Action Medical Research. Rays of Sunshine is a charity which brightens up the lives of seriously ill children in the UK by granting wishes, organising outings and large scale events. Similarly, Action Medical Research protects children and saves lives through funding for medical research which is surprisingly underfunded in the UK. It was amazing to have all of the committee working together for a great cause, along with multiple volunteers from the rest of the school to make sure the week was a success.
Monday 8th Feb – To begin the exciting week, sixth formers had it easy, coming to school in their pyjamas. It was a nice treat, but did make it difficult to keep awake during lesson! Nevertheless, everybody was excited for the first event of the week, with a Student vs Teacher quiz organised by Ashley Brothwell and myself. Four teachers and four students competed in a general knowledge quiz, where the winning team would pie the losing team in the face! The teachers’ team included Mr Place, Mr Philips, Mrs Blackwood and team captain Mr Malley. They managed to claim victory against students: Lewis Napper, Kai Bingham, Bronte Skey and Ella Tennent. However, to the audience’s delight, somehow Ashley still managed to pie both the Head and Deputy Head teacher, which was extremely funny to watch.
Tuesday 9th Feb – On the second day of RAG week, the dress code for the sixth form was ‘Geeks and Gangsters’. The event of the day was a fun fair which involved multiple different stalls which students and teachers could pay to do, or donate to. There was a wide variety of stalls: a cake sale; guitar playing, where Mark Castle performed; lucky dip; tin can challenge; arm wrestle challenge vs Mr Cowlin to win a prize (and some bragging rights); table tennis challenge, where students could pay 50p to try to beat Mr Hibbert at table tennis, and for every time he lost he would donate £5 to charity. Although nobody managed to win, Mr Hibbert still made a generous donation, which was really appreciated. A “sponge a teacher” stool gained lots of attention – probably because students wanted revenge for all the homework they have been set. It involved Mr Windolf, Mr Downs and Mr Jenkins sitting down in chairs getting soaked by wet sponges, which was hilarious. On top of all this, one of our sixth form students, Billy Budgen raised over £120 through donations to shave his head on stage during the fair. This was really impressive of Billy, who said he was very grateful for his free haircut!
Wednesday 10th February – Gender swap was the theme for the third day of RAG week, and the event was a competition for who had the best outfit. Mr Chamberlain was the winner and won a bunch of flowers.
Thursday 11th February – The theme for Thursday was Initials, meaning that students had to dress up with something beginning with the first letter of their first name. I really liked Hannah and Hollie’s hippy costume. The event for the fourth day of RAG week was Food Challenge which involved a team of students going against a team of teachers in various food challenges. For instance, Mr Phillips was against Beth Rowe for “chubby bunny” where the winner was the contestant who could fit the most marshmallows in their mouth and still say the phrase “chubby bunny”. Mr Phillips won this first challenge, but fortunately, the students won the remaining four challenges.
Friday 12th February – After a busy five days of organising the events, the final day of RAG week arrived very quickly. The theme was TV and Movies, which meant there was an array of different characters in the sixth form common room. The week’s final event was Therfield’s Got Talent. Students from Years 7-11 were given the opportunity to audition a few weeks prior to the event. We had various contestants including Zak, from Year 7, doing karate and David from Year 9, playing drums,. The winner was decided through a round of applause, so Noor and Keira from Year 10, singing a duet won as the audience loved their performance!
We are very pleased that all the time and effort we put into organising these events was worth it because we raised over £650¬¬¬, which will be divided equally between Rays of Sunshine and Action Medical Research. We are very grateful for all the help from the Sixth Form committee, and the rest of the Sixth Form in helping us make the week a success. We are also very appreciative of all the teachers and students who kindly volunteered to take part in the various events during the week – we couldn’t have done it without you!
I think you’ll agree that our Sixth Formers have shown considerable character this week. You’ll recall that the school was awarded the Character Award by the government last March. One of the initiatives we launched was to encourage students to suggest ways we could spend some of our Award. Paige and Zara in Year 11 asked if we could put on some girls Rugby sessions and as you can see from the photos below these have started in the last two weeks. I don’t know about you, but I think that rugby in February is definitely Character Building!
Last Friday we welcomed Year 5 pupils from Leatherhead Trinity School to undertake “the European Roadshow.” The pupils have been studying European Geography at school, and the workshop was designed to complement and extend the learning they have completed so far. The pupils participated in four interactive activities, including locating the mountains and rivers in Europe. It was a wonderful experience, and both parties found it a thoroughly valuable learning tool. Thank you to Miss Rolfe and Ms Heugh for organising and to all the Year 9 and Sixth form students who supported the event and to Leatherhead Trinity School for attending and making the event such a success.
We had great success at St Bede’s School in Reigate last week where 12 students competed in the SATRO Problem Solving Challenge last Thursday, hoping to win a place in March’s grand final. Our KS5 team, consisting of 2 Year 13 and 4 Year 12 students (Rustom Parekh, Ricky Honey, Matt Munnings, Dan Cullen, Nick Bennett and Jamie Davison) were runners up in their category, having designed 10 second timer using cocktail sticks, tin foil, a battery and straws – impressive! They are now off to the grand final – well done!
Last week was Year 9 Options Evening. It was an excellent evening which saw hundreds of conversations about learning. I’ve been hugely impressed by the Year 9 students’ ideas regarding their futures and subject choices.
As you may have seen, this week was Safer Internet week, the purpose of this is to promote safe and responsible use of the internet. The week aims to teach young people about how to keep themselves safe online. Clearly in our 21st Century world, keeping young people safe in the virtual and online environment is of vital importance. At Therfield we have displayed posters supporting the message of “Using the internet in a positive way to enhance student’s lives”. Miss Mundy and Mrs Woodroffe have run assemblies and organised study skills sessions with all KS3 and 4 tutor groups taking part. They have been given the opportunity to analysis scenarios and comment on how they would feel in given circumstances. My thanks go to all staff involved.
I’ve written to parents and carers this week about how we are planning our Curriculum Enrichment Days (formerly known as Activities Days.) I’d welcome any feedback regarding this either by using the email firstname.lastname@example.org or in person during Academic Tutoring the week after half-term.
I know that many of our Sixth Formers are hugely looking forward to their trip to New York over half-term and I’m sure I’ll be able to share some photos and stories of their Big Apple Adventure in my next Blog.
I’d like to share with you one of our student’s, Amy Wild’s words on taking part in the French Spelling Bee recently:-
“There has been a Year 7 French Spelling Bee, Hannah, Oliva, Charlotte, Oliver, Georgie and I participated in round 2 as we were the round 1 winners in our tutor groups. The second round was tough and was against each other to see who would complete at the regional final. After a tense, scary and close competition Charlotte, Oliver and I were selected to go on to the regional final! Wish us luck!”
Finally I promised the answers to the UK Linguistics Olympiad question I set in my last Blog. Here they are below:-
Have a good half-term break. I’m looking forward to catching up with parents and carers at Academic Tutoring in the first week back after half-term.
Work Hard Play Hard Enjoy Yourself
Friday 29th January
Some days at Therfield are simply superb. Wednesday was one of those days. Our Annual Careers Fair saw students in every year group hold thousands of conversations about futures with employers, universities and many inspiring adults. Every student I’ve spoken to enjoyed the fair and valued the opportunity to talk about possible career routes, many of which they had never considered (or in some cases even heard of!) before. As Headteacher I can’t thank the people who gave up their precious time enough. The commitment of all of them enabled a truly great event which had a palpable buzz.
Wednesday was also Holocaust Memorial Day. We were privileged to link up to Rudi Oppenheimer’s live webcast from Pimlico Academy in London. Rudi was a very engaging speaker who spoke of the horrors of the Holocaust whilst, somewhat astonishingly, remaining true to values of friendship, love and family. He lost both his parents in Bergen-Belsen as the war was coming to a close in 1945, but went onto a hugely successful career and was truly inspiring. We were also pleased that Ashley Brothwell’s question was asked to Rudi in the live webcast. I also attended Juniper’s assembly on Wednesday which was led by Billy Cottee and Euan De-Netto from Year 13. They were able to describe their experiences from their visit to Auschwitz in November and show photos of the infamous extermination camp. They also explained that the message of this year’s Holocaust Memorial day is “Don’t Stand By” which is as powerful a message for us in 2016 as it was during the Second World War. Billy and Euan delivered their assembly to all the Houses this week; thank you, both, for your leadership, understanding and compassion.
Wednesday also saw Year 8 students participating in a numeracy day with Mr Cowlin run by The British Horseracing Education and Standards Trust at Lingfield Racecourse. The day involved seeing behind the scenes at the racecourse and putting Maths into practical use. The students experienced estimating, measuring distances, finding averages, weights and measures as well as practical ways of using mental maths. The day is run by BHEST and is organised by Ollie McPhail, an ex-jockey who was really engaging throughout the day and certainly made it enjoyable for all. The students even got to wear some of the jockeys’ colours and watch one of the races from a private box! A great day had by all and certainly a very good way of making Mathematics exciting and different for a group of lucky students.
Last week we were privileged to welcome the High Sheriff of Surrey, Mrs Elizabeth Kennedy who was accompanied by Mrs Catherine Campbell to Therfield last week. The main purpose of her visit was to explore the partnership work between SATRO and us. Our guests met with two Therfield students who have benefitted from the SATRO business mentoring programme through the partnership with Unum. Therfield students are carefully matched with an experienced business mentor who helps guide and support them in preparation for their examinations and next steps in their education. During the visit, they also viewed the SATRO construction course in which students were very proud to demonstrate their skills and showcase their work. SATRO tutor Jeremy Gardner explained how this course helps students gain a good understanding of practical building skills whilst working towards their qualification. Students explained how much they enjoyed the course whilst demonstrating some of the techniques involved in a plumbing task. I was able to show Mrs Kennedy and Mrs Campbell around some lessons and it was a real pleasure to showcase excellent learning across the school. I’d like to thank the High Sheriff for visiting Therfield and for the support to the important work of SATRO.
Also last week on Wednesday 20th January, 6 Year 7’s took a trip to Surrey University to experience a day of learning about microorganisms and their effect on our world. The following has been written by Amy Wild, Charlotte Fitzwater, Luke Duffy, Owen Lewis, Andre Viljoen and Hannah Shepherd:-
“We had to design our own microorganism and we made a “Kukruris Bulgarius” as our ambassador for the day was the amazing Mo from Bulgaria. Our microorganism was a particularly nasty virus capable of wiping out the human race, starting with the scientists!!!
Lunch in the canteen was awesome as we were given a lunch voucher to spend on whatever we wanted to. In the afternoon we used the microscopes to look at Protozoa, and we could see them swimming around under the microscope which was really cool. Learning to wash our hands properly was also really interesting as we used a UV light to show up the areas where we accumulate germs.
Surrey University looks like a really good place to study, everyone was really helpful and it was a fun day out.”
When I was visiting lessons I came across Ms Ashburner introducing the “United Kingdom Linguistics Olympiad” with her Year 10 German class. The UKLO is an annual contest for school age children, based on a whole range of different languages, which requires students to think outside the box to complete language and linguistics-based problem solving tasks. It has different levels, suitable for KS2 all the way up to KS5, so that students can take part each year and progress upwards. This is the first year we have taken part and we are offering it to all top sets and those that have been identified as particularly able and determined linguists.
I joined in with the class tackling the challenge below. Without any other information (or use of the internet) you have to work out which pronunciation matches with which Japanese word. I was quite proud to achieve a score of 6 out of 8 in the five minutes Mrs Ashburner set us to complete the task. Readers of my blog are encouraged to “have a go” and I’ll put the answers in the next Blog.
The last fortnight has seen some important assessments and exams. Sixth Formers have been working on assessments across all subjects and we’ve had a hugely successful exam season in Catering. As you can see from the photos below these exams have produced some work of the highest quality – congratulations to the Year 11 students for planning and delivering such exquisite meals.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself”
Friday 15th January
Happy New Year!
One of the aspects we really wanted to further develop at Therfield in 2015-16 is the day-to-day leadership opportunities for our students. Regular readers of my Blog know that developing leadership skills and qualities is a strength of the school and in 2015 our achievements were celebrated through receiving the Department for Education Character Award and through the huge success of the Duke of Edinburgh Award at the school.
To build on these successes this academic year we have created a number of leadership opportunities for our current Sixth Formers. Students can choose to be part of the House Prefect or Academic Prefect team or get involved with the vibrant Sixth Form Committee. Our House Prefects lead the school council meetings every month and help younger students share their opinions and thoughts about a range of issues from playground space to Year 9 options. It is an enormously effective way of finding out what students actually think and getting their ideas about improvements.
This Tuesday I visited the Sixth Form prefects leading the School Council Session with students from across the school. It was fantastic to walk into a room where discussions about the school were taking place led by students. The younger year groups definitely benefitted from this approach and I’m looking forward to my next visit when they will be grilling me!
The Academic prefects have developed their leadership in a range of ways. In the next few weeks the Geography prefects will be leading a Year 5 lesson for students from Leatherhead Trinity. The students will be learning about the main features of Europe such as rivers, mountains and key landmarks. The prefects will be leading a range of activities which introduce the Year 5 students to Europe and we look forward to seeing them being proactive, responsible, communicate and work together to run a really successful morning.
The photo below shows Matt Lee and Bethany Hollands, our English Prefects leading a “Student Voice” session with Year 7 and 8 students.
Year 10 and 11 will have their own forum. As you will see from the information on the photo montage the English department is also running a survey to further develop the department.
Of course you can develop leadership qualities in hundreds of ways and our Year 10 Child Development students faced a significant challenge last weekend, as you can see from the photos below. The challenge is part of Therfield Schools GCSE Child Development Course and is intended to demonstrate the full-time commitment required to parent a baby and the skills needed to care it. This experience directly links to the GCSE Child Development Specification and will aid the students’ knowledge and understanding of caring for a young child and the impact on lifestyle.
Mrs Woodroffe explained “The aim of the programme is to enable our young people to learn what it means to become a parent whilst experiencing how demanding a baby can be in preparation for careers such as becoming a midwife, nanny, child minding, working in a Nursery”
“This unique weekend gave our young people a real eye opener of how hard it is to be the sole carer of a young baby, and the impact children can make on their life and daily routine. This experience will also allow them to make informed choices about their future. We get a report on how well each baby was cared for and we will use this to discuss with the students how well they did or the mistakes they made when caring for their charge.”
The students returned the babies on Monday feeling exhausted. Overall students said that they enjoyed having the responsibility of being the sole carer for the baby however the hardest part of the experience was being up during the night and the effect on the student’s routine. Students said that what they learnt from the experience was that babies cry a lot and that you have to be with them 24/7 as they can’t do anything for themselves. Looking after the babies takes a lot of effort and time which was tiring and you have to put them first.
Well done to the Year 8 & 11 footballers. The Year 8s beat St Andrews on Monday 5-0 and played some great football. It was a joy to watch at times. Football is a team game and all played their part but a special well done to Charlie Miers who despite being a Year 7 played for the Year 8s and he scored twice to round off a great performance by him and the team! The Year 11s drew Wednesday night 1-1 with Priory. It was hard fought game where both teams showed grit and determination.
This Wednesday saw the school’s first Feedback Forum. This provided a new approach to Year 11 Parents’ Evening, which was designed to ensure that students, teachers and parents could hold those important conversations about learning in this very important year. There was a real ‘buzz’ in the Sixth Form area during the evening and the students and parents I spoke to were very positive about the changes we’ve made. I hope that everyone left with strategies, tips and the confidence to tackle the challenges of the next five months or so. Of course I’m sure there are ways we will be able to make future evenings even better so please do let us know your feedback about the Forum.
We have two very important events coming up in the next fortnight. Next Wednesday we welcome Mrs Elizabeth Kennedy, the High Sheriff of Surrey to the school. She will be looking closely at the work our KS4 students do in Construction in partnership with SATRO.
The following Wednesday, 27th January, is our Annual Careers Fair where all students will have the opportunity to talk with adults from a range of businesses, universities and other employers. This is a key event in our preparations for students after school, college, and sixth form. We already have volunteers from finance, retail, engineering, photography, health, armed services, and modelling, as well as representation from universities, colleges, and apprenticeships. We will continue to welcome, further volunteers so if you are happy to volunteer or want more information please contact us on CareersFair@therfield.surrrey.sch.uk
I will, of course, update you about these events in my next Blog in a fortnight.
On Thursday 3rd December, 14 members of the Student Council paid a visit to Pippbrook, Dorking. They were invited by the Transform Leatherhead team who are currently working on a project to improve the local area. This was not only a great opportunity for the students to give feedback and ideas to promote and improve Leatherhead but due to their help, the students then won a drone for the school to use. The students received this prize on Monday 11th January at the monthly Youth Voice meeting. This will be used to aid student learning, and enable us to film exciting events that take place around the school. My thanks go to Colin Mills and the Transform Leatherhead team.
"Work Hard Play Hard Enjoy Yourself."