This week the Art department have organised three events for Therfield’s annual Creative Arts inte...
‘Rehearsals are well under way for the school production of The 39 Steps, we have nearly blocked t...
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 24th March
It gives me no pleasure at all to start this Blog with a reflection on events in London on Wednesday. People of my generation grew up with a threat of terrorism linking to the IRA and of course since the attack on the Twin Towers and the 2007 London bombings there have been numerous attacks across Europe and the world. However for the secondary school aged children attending Therfield and other schools, this week’s events will probably be the first time they’ve ‘experienced’ an attack so close to home. I think it’s very important for the adults in a school to guide students’ reflections when such a terrible event occurs. In tutor time in the last couple of days the students have discussed some of the values we hold dear, reflected on the deep sense of loss that the families of PC Keith Palmer, Aysha Frade and Kurt Cochran are feeling and considered what it means to live in a modern liberal society. It will be for this generation of young people to seek an end to this terrorism and, whilst we can acknowledge that the hope of bringing it to an end looks bleak today, we can also remember that at the height of the Troubles it never felt there would be peace in Northern Ireland either. At Therfield I believe it’s our duty to prepare our students to play their part as responsible citizens who make significant and positive contributions to society and their communities throughout their lives. My thoughts on what happened have been guided by listening to Brendan Cox being interviewed on the radio on my drive to school on Thursday morning. Brendan’s wife, Jo Cox, was murdered by an extremist right wing terrorist last summer. He said that we should see Wednesday ‘as one act of evil and hatred, but thousands of acts of love and kindness’. I found Brendan’s words to be inspirational, but also so vitally important in remembering that the good that of which humanity is capable can outweigh evil.
It's been a vibrant few weeks at Therfield as we approach the Easter break. For the Performing Arts team action has been geared towards our performances of “The 39 Steps” next Tuesday and Wednesday. Rehearsals have been in full swing and I know there’s a busy weekend in store for students and staff who are involved. This week saw the Year 12 Performing Arts students complete their assessed coursework pieces. They each performed a stunning monologue and were able to bring out the depths of some very interesting character with their performances. There followed the group’s interpretation of Steven Berkoff’s “The Trial” which was a dark and humorous performance augmented by some fantastic visuals. Congratulations to Alex, Sammie-Jo, Harriet, Ed and Dylan I’m already looking forward to your Year 13 performances.
In sport, we have had some excellent results. The Year 7 rugby team have had a successful end to the season beating both Priory and St Andrew’s, as well as placing 4th in the Effingham and Leatherhead Rugby Club 7s Tournament. The Year 7 Basketball was a well-fought match, against winners The Howard of Effingham. With only one substitute, the boys have done very well.
The combined Year 8 and 9 Rugby Team had an unbeaten spring term, with a thrilling last match against St Andrew’s winning 36-19. Special mention to Harry Thompson, who scored a hat trick in two of the games.
Last night’s football match against St Andrew’s was another victory for our students winning 5-0 with Marcus A, Charlie M & Ollie H scoring goals.
Last Thursday Year Eight students again took part in the annual BBC School News Report, a national event which links schools with the BBC website so students can share their own writing and video broadcasts with a global audience. Students covered a range of events, from the ongoing drought crisis in eastern Africa to Manchester City’s exit from the UEFA Champions League. The day began with students, who had taken part in after-school sessions in preparation, digesting the news using a full range of national newspapers and websites and it ended successfully with publication of a range of reports that can be viewed on the school’s website.
Last week Therfield students triumphed at the European Challenge at St. Edward’s Witley, a competition for KS4 students involving languages and business. We took a team of 3 Year 11s representing us in French (Simon K, Lauren C and Farhan C) and 3 Year 10s representing us in German (Rebecca M, Rachel S & Olivia N).
They learnt about how MFL is useful in business, but also how the world of work needs a whole range of skills, and in order to take part they needed to demonstrate many of these whilst using French and German - working and collaborating effectively as a team, communicating effectively, public speaking, planning ahead, working to deadlines and being creative.
They did all of these excellently and held their own alongside all the other competitors. We got 3 individual honorary mentions for excellent work (Farhan, Lauren and Olivia) as well as one of our two teams being the overall runners up (Rachel, Rebecca and Farhan) – easily more accolades than any other individual school. Very #Therfieldproud ;)
Der einfachste Teil von dem Tag war Kommunikation. Wir haben mit einer anderen Schule gearbeitet und sie waren sehr freundlich. Wir haben gute Ideen gehabt und Kompromisse gemacht. Rebecca's part of her team's summary of their strengths and weaknesses (the easiest part of the day was communication. We worked with another school and they were very friendly. We had good ideas and made compromises).
This week has seen Therfield’s annual Creative Arts Inter-house week. This has involved the Art Department organising three events for students in Year 7, 8, 9 and 10.
On Monday and Tuesday teams of between two and six students took part in our ‘Team Challenge’ initiative. Students were given a theme and a brief of specific materials. The team worked to produce a creative response to an Art work which was already on display in the class room. The Art Department judged the work according to ‘best team work’, ‘most thoughtful use of material’ and ‘most thoughtful approach to theme’. The winners of these awards are celebrated visually on the school website and around the school building on our plasma screens.
Today we had the KS3 Art exhibition. The theme is ‘Therfield Proud’. Students were asked ‘what are you proud of?’ and invited to submit an example of their best work to date, highlighting: favourite subjects, superb presentation, examples of the neatest shade and/or tone or work which achieves ‘think pink’ targets from their Art education to date. The work submitted was mostly A5-A3 in scale and varied in media from pen and pencil to leaf printing and textural watercolour. The exhibition was well received by students and staff alike. Two members of Senior Leadership judged the ‘most skilful’ and ‘most effort’ award. There is also a ‘student favourite’ award which enabled pupils to place tokens by their favourite work. The winner of this prize receives the highest number of tokens by their name. The winners of these awards will be declared on the school website in due course.
The final event of the initiative is the Art Tutor Quiz which has been conducted by Year 7, 8, 9 and 10 tutors during the course of the school week. Tutor groups have collaborated as class teams to complete an Art Quiz during one of their pm registration times. House points are being awarded to all tutor groups depending upon the correct answers given. The tutor group with the highest number of correct answers will win the most house points. A winning house will be declared when results have been collected and collated.
It’s been a brilliant occasion, promoting the Art Department across the school and reminding students of the weekly Art Club which takes place at 1.10pm every Wednesday. Students have returned to the Art Department after Monday and Tuesday’s ‘Art Challenge’ to develop their responses further. Ms Collins, Miss Mundy and Miss Upson have learnt more about some of their students by discovering stunning Art works submitted for the exhibition which were skilfully devised at home without the students’ teacher even being aware of an extra-curricular interest in the subject! Some surprise entries will now result in these students being invited to Art Club personally in future months. It promises to be an inspiring time ahead in the Summer Term!
It’s always great when primary aged students visit the school. Last Tuesday on 14th March, the Therfield Geography Department and Leatherhead Trinity joined together to create a workshop for Year 5 students. The students have been studying European Geography at school, and the workshop was designed to complement and extend the learning they have completed so far. They 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 all the Year 9 and sixth form students who supported the event.
Connecting our students with their future careers and the learning choices that will make these successful is, of course, a very important part of our work. Last week our Year 10 students were able to reflect on the options they will have in the future. It was inspirational for me to listen to our Year 12 and Year 13 students speak about their experiences as students at Therfield and the Year 10s were able to have 100s of conversations about future courses they can study at Therfield and after that at University. We were also joined by the National Apprenticeship network who spoke to students interested in taking a vocational route to their post 16 studies Our visitors praised the conduct and attitude of our students (something that doesn’t surprise me, but makes me a very proud Headteacher nonetheless!) and it was a really excellent day and we look forward to welcoming many of our Year 10s into Therfield Sixth Form in a couple of years.
I hope you agree with me that there are so many opportunities for our students to excel and lead every single day as a Therfield student. Although we’ve still a very important school week to go I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter. For me the holiday provides my first opportunity to directly support a residential trip as Headteacher, as I’ll be spending a week skiing on the Kaprun glacier in Austria with 80 students and staff. I’ll let you know how we all got on in my first Blog of the Summer Term.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"
Friday 13th March
Year 11 students and our sixth formers are in the middle of a busy period with Mock Exams in full swing. I’ve been very impressed by their diligence and focus and I’m sure that their hard work will pay off. We’ve had a good start to this half-term as you can see from the write-ups from colleagues below.
On Friday 24th February, Miss Rolf and our Student Council took part in a consultation regarding the new skate park that is being built along Kingston Road. The students were shown 5 designs and had to pick their top 3, along with any suggestions and ideas to improve the skate park. It was great for the students to be involved in making decisions for their community and we will continue to contribute to the development process. Thanks to Tony Wynn from Mole Valley District Council.
Miss Byrne oversaw World Book Day:
On Thursday 2nd March we celebrated World Book Day. Students from year 7 and 8 got involved, dressing up as some of their favourite book characters for the day. We had some fantastic costumes this year, such as, Katniss Everdeen and the Queen of Hearts.
There was lots of fun had by all in the Learning Resource Centre over lunchtime with students trying to guess the names of some of their favourite books whilst others went head to head against the English Department’s speediest reader, Mr Jenkins. However he wasn’t quicker than Headteacher Mr Malley who beat him by 1 second. Better luck next year Mr Jenkins.
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.
Mrs Knox and 14 Year 7 students took a trip to Surrey University to experience a day of learning about microorganisms and their effect on our world. They designed their own microorganism and created a Superbug which not only made your hair fall out but caused a nasty rash. They named it ‘Betty Baldicus’ and I am very pleased that it didn’t make it’s way back to Therfield on the students return! The Year 7s got to imagine their prospective futures finding out about student life directly from the university students, what they do at University and discovering that campus was like a mini village, even have their own launderette. In the afternoon the Year 7 students used the microscopes to look at Protozoa, and Amoeba.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"
Friday 10th February
I’m writing this blog as we’ve hit a cold snap so things feel very wintry, but it’s amazing to think that the Spring Term is half-way through and, by the time it ends we will be looking forward to summer. An academic year passes a little like the seasons with key moments that shape it. Next half-term sees a number of those key events which will include:-
• Vital mock exams for Years 11, 12 & 13
• A school production of “The 39 Steps”
• The BBC school report
• The Ski Trip to Austria (in the first week of the Easter Break)
• Year 10 “Futures Day”
• Some crucial football fixtures as we chase League and Cup ‘silverware’ in several year groups
• The Year 7 PGL trip to Liddington, Wiltshire.
This builds on our achievements this half term. I mentioned our visiting Taiwanese students in the last blog and the second week of their visit was also very successful. Long lasting friendships were made and Mrs Pickett and Mr Gaehler organised a fantastic celebration on the final afternoon which included team building challenges, music and the presentation of certificates. I was able to say a few words and I felt extremely proud of our students for the welcome they provided our visitors.
This week saw the excitement of RAG week. As always the Sixth Formers engaged in fund raising activities with gusto. Students stepped up to the challenge and brought a great deal of the school with them. They have been raising money this year for Oxfam and disability charity Challengers through a series of events. They have amused us every day with a wide variety of fancy dress, they have kept us going with cake and Donut sales and entertained us with a wonderful range of lunch time shows.
On Tuesday we experienced the talent of bands from year 7 right through to year 13 and even the staff with Battle of the Bands. Won by the Year 7 army. Wednesday was all about eating – but not pleasant eating, taking the infamous food challenges from ‘I’m A Celebrity’ and putting our students through their paces. Thursday, with some trepidation, the staff stepped up to ‘quiz it out’ with a select band of year 13. Although everyone (apart from somehow Hope Harrington!) ended up with a pie in the face, the staff (Mr Jenkins, Mrs Knox, Mr McLaren and Mr Phillips) continue to reign supreme in the knowledge stakes. Finally Friday sees a Talent show for all ages which promises to be great fun.
All these events have raised £100’s because of the support from the whole school. We are extremely proud of the fact that the Sixth Form organise the whole week and congratulate them again on a great way to run up to the February half term.
Last week saw history being rewritten as 21 year 11’s put Hitler on trial for taking decisive steps to start the Second World War. They sat as the jury listening to ten key witnesses involved in the Nazi regime. Each were questioned by the prosecution and defence over the evidence they presented to us, the Jury. Having considered the evidence presented to them, we, the jury analysed whether Hitler appeared to be guilty or innocent for starting the Second World War. Much to our surprise, based on the evidence provided Hitler was found NOT guilty! Yet the conclusion of our thrilling performance ensured that history was not stood corrected, much to the delight of us all!
High drama aside, students spent the first half of the trip in an exam workshop which took them through the series of different exam questions they will face in their summer exams. With a focus on the criteria needed to support them in achieving the highest grades, students were involved in marking exemplar work and highlighting when the highest level answers have been achieved. Overall, an informative and thrilling morning was had as the students were impeccably behaved throughout and no doubt the experience and exam workshop will prove extremely useful in their upcoming summer exam.
Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 have been in special “Word Wizard” assemblies. These assemblies are designed to highlight the importance of regular vocabulary learning and rewarding the students across the ability range who do this best. These students are nominated by their teachers for their good performance in vocab tests. The assembly is organised in the form of an Inter-House quiz, with a House Team of 4 being set timed translation and vocabulary challenges. Each player in a House team has the ability to confer with others in the same house but must be back seated with their team by the end of the countdown for their answer on their whiteboard to count. The Word Wizard leads the quiz, and whilst final totals are being calculated, announces the winners of the individual prizes by drawing the names out of his Word Wizard sorting hat.
Congratulations to Norbury House for their clean sweep! Norbury are the Word Wizards champions this term! The Summer Term round of the competition is in the week beginning 24th April.
I’ve enjoyed talking to parents in our Academic Tutoring sessions this week. It’s a pleasure to look around the school hall and count hundreds of conversations which are focused on each student’s learning. Of course, the challenge for the students is to make sure that they achieve the goals they have set in the second half of the school year. I finish my Blog everytime with the best advice I can give students for hitting their targets!
I hope everyone has a great break and I’m looking forward to the excellent things to come next half-term.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"
Friday 27th January
Whatever the pressures of day-to-day school life – and it’s fair to say that for students in Years 11 and 13 in particular the Public Exam pressure can be pretty tough in this first half of the calendar year – there are moments when we can all reflect that our pressures are fairly inconsequential compared to those borne by other people in other circumstances. I’m writing this Blog having just left an inspirational, though very sad, Year 10 Assembly where Miss McGregor, Bethan Millett and Annie Goldsmith delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the Holocaust. All year groups have seen the same presentation this week as part of the school’s focus on Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27th. Bethan and Annie, alongside Miss Hill, were privileged to visit Auschwitz last November and it was excellent that they were able to share their experiences and learning with the rest of the school. Bethan has written a report about the visit which you can read here. I believe that reflecting on past events can influence the way we live our lives and I hope that Yehuda Bauer’s words provide a strong message;
“Thou shalt not be a victim, thou shalt not be a perpetrator, but, above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
I hope everyone at Therfield can reflect on this quote in the next week when it will be “Our Thought of the Week.”
One of my favourite events of the whole year is our Careers Fair, which took place on Wednesday. I am so grateful to over 80 volunteers who gave up their valuable time to support the event. All of our students attended and there was a real buzz in the air as students found out hundreds of potential careers ranging from Estate Agent to the Navy and from construction to the NHS. I estimated that there were well over 5,000 individual conversations about futures that took place, which equates to a lot of thinking about potential careers. One of the things we asked our volunteers was to give the students “Good Question” cards when they asked something interesting or challenging which were entered into a prize draw. Ted Baker kindly donated a prize for a boy and a girl and my congratulations go to Max Skinner in Year 7 and Chloe Dodge in Year 11 who won. I hope that parents and carers will be able to build on the fair in the next few weeks by having some additional conversations at home to further encourage the hard work required by our students if they are to realise their career aspirations. There is a lot of work that goes into making an event like this successful. The Careers Fair would not have become the established event it is without the leadership of Mr Place over several years and I’m very grateful to Mrs Smith, Mrs Major and Mr Gaehler for all of their support to make it so successful.
Earlier this week Dr Di Salvo and Mr Philips led our Year 12 and 13 Physics students on a visit to CERN in Geneva. Speaking with the students it seems that this was a great experience and their write up is below.
It seemed, at first, that the universe did not wish us to explore its inner workings. However, after a three hour delay at Gatwick, we landed in Geneva and arrived at the hostel in no time. In an ice shrouded city we had a quick tour disguised as a search for a cheap enough restaurant to eat. We were all ready for our CERN trip in the morning and only went one stop in the wrong direction on the tram. On our arrival at CERN the universe became kinder and we explored both exhibitions at reception whilst trying to absorb the news that we were going to be able to go down and actually visit one of the detectors 100 metres below ground.
After our physics lecture from a retired CERN physicist we were taken by bus to the CMS detector. Fitted with hard hats the students filed into the lift ready for the experience of a lifetime. The physics, the detector, the engineering was astounding. Our Therfield students were a credit to the school answering and asking questions throughout. They conducted themselves impeccably and even after a busy couple of days they were excited to be visiting both the Natural History and History of Science Museums. As the experience sinks in, the year 12s we took seem to be planning it again for next year!
As I mentioned in my last Blog our friends from Taiwan have arrived in school this week. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch friendships develop across language and cultural differences as students have tackled lessons together. Although this Blog started with a reflection on the worst of humanity, as a Headteacher I can see huge forces for good in our students every day. I maintain a strong belief that most people are inherently good and I hope that we are equipping this generation with the skills and character to ensure that they are never victims, perpetrators nor bystanders.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"
Friday 13th January
Happy New Year. We've had a great start to 2017 at Therfield with really focused learning as staff and students cleared the Christmas fun with friends and family and have attacked the challenges of their learning with enthusiasm and positivity. Some highlights from my visits to lessons have included seeing:-
-Year 9 students getting to grips with the changes brought about by the Industrial Revolution.
-Year 8 students developing presentations explaining the importance of studying languages.
-Year 10 students teaching the rest of the class translations, rotations and other transformations in Maths.
-Year 7 students working through the intricacies of anaerobic respiration (though I'm not so grateful that they tried their “lactic acid” experiment on the Headteacher!)
I've always felt that for Year 11 students the turn of a new year marks the beginning of the countdown towards those important first public exams they will face in their lives. Of course, there is still plenty of time for vital learning, assessment, revision and dedicated practice, but we also know that winter will turn to spring and then the exams will be upon us. It was fantastic to see so many powerful conversations about learning take place at our Feedback Forum on Wednesday evening. This year group is facing the additional pressures of new style exams in English and Maths. However, their focus in lessons has been strong and with the important support from parents, wider family, teachers and other school staff, I know they are going to achieve great things this summer.
The second half of January promises some exciting events, which are vitally important to the development of our students as leaders. Next week sees the Interhouse Basketball Competition. As you can see from our flags, Leith is currently in the lead but with 779 House Points. It'll be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Wednesday 25 January is our annual Careers Fair. This provides students with a terrific opportunity to explore hundreds of possible future careers. I'm always grateful for so many people who give up their time to support Therfield with this event. After a 'gap year' in 2015-16, we will again be hosting a group of Taiwanese students later this month. This is a great opportunity for our students to represent Britain on a global level and I'm hugely looking forward to this visit. Of course, I will update you about all of these events in my next blog.
“Work Hard. Play Hard. Enjoy Yourself"