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Welcome to Year 7! Each September as many of our new Year 7 students as possible squeeze into a couple of coaches and travel to Condover Hall in Shropshire for three days. Based in an Elizabethan mansion house, the adventure and activity centre offers our new students the perfect opportunity to get to know each other. Ami Tobin explains what it was like for her ... Condover was a great experience for me. When I first got to Bassingbourn I had made no new friends so when I got to Condover it was very easy to make friends as we got put into dorms with people we had never met before, and then in our activity groups we got put with completely different people. The activities were very good too. We did abseiling, rock climbing, caving, laser tag, leap of faith and much more. On the tower activities (the tower is where most of the activities were) it was so scary because you had to build up your confidence and put all of your trust into a few ropes but once you get down to the bottom you feel so proud of yourself. In the evening it was much more relaxed but we still had time to spend with the new friends we have made whilst enjoying pool parties and discos. Leaving Condover was very sad but we were allowed to go to the gift shop and take home some of our happy memories. My favourite thing was making all my new friends who I have enjoyed spending time with over the last term.



Students To Be Proud Of

A huge thank you to all our students for their hard work during what has been a very busy and successful term both in the classroom and with all the extra curricular activities that are held. Of course, we rely heavily on the support of parents and family, too, so thanks to you all.

exploring options to develop the tennis court area.

I would like to congratulate our newest members of staff on successfully completing their first term and who have already made a massive contribution to BVC. As they move onto new teaching positions, I would like to thank Simon Gair and Min Du for all their hard work, dedication and commitment to BVC. I wish them both the very best for the future.

This term has seen us become part of the Anglian Learning multi academy trust alongside Sawston and Bottisham Village Colleges and the Netherhall School and Sixth Form. We have been working to establish systems to support the running of the trust but the next two terms will see us focus on achievement, collaboration and best practice.

Hopefully you will enjoy reading this term’s newsletter and, like me, marvel at the talents and interests of our students – from championship diving to language trips, creative arts to book awards, charity fundraising to problem solving, our students I am really pleased to report that for the second year give 110% effort and I am immensely proud of their running, our overall Progress 8 figure is significantly achievements. above the County and National average. This puts I would like to wish you all a very relaxing and us comfortably in the top bracket of schools in the enjoyable Christmas holiday. country for student improvement. Duncan Cooper, Principal We have been enjoying the positive impact of the ICT upgrades which took place over the summer holidays – looking ahead, we have been developing two external bids for site improvement funding. These have been submitted and are aimed at upgrading sections of the roof and site security. We are also

We are very proud of all our students’ achievements and like to share them publically as often as we can. To keep up to date with what’s happening in college, please make sure you have subscribed to our Parentmail service. The weekly Heron newsletter keeps parents and students informed of events that have happened and calendar dates to look out for. For a more ‘instant fix’, why not follow our news feed on Twitter ( or Facebook ( Alumni can keep in touch with the college through our dedicated LinkedIn Bassingbourn Village College group ( or by emailing and asking to be added to our database.

Year 8 quiz team who competed in the UK Kids Lit competition.


Photo Competition Winners This term saw the College Captains run their first Congratulations to the winners: ever photography competition, with the prizewinners Year 7,8,9 - Poppy Jack (sunset); receiving points towards the Inter College cup. Year 10, 11- Eden Alarcon (otter) and Open to all year groups, the categories were: Runner up - Ben Hale (bird). Nature (including animals), People, Buildings and structures, Action.

Leavers’ Awards Evening We welcomed back last year’s Year 11 students to celebrate their excellent exam achievements at the college’s annual Awards Evening. The guest speaker was former pupil Kate Gwynn who is now a successful actor and runs her own drama company, Divergent Drama. Main prize winners were: Charlotte Day (Art, Graphics and English), Nadia Miller (BTEC Construction), Jemima Chamberlain (BTEC Media), Jordan Bye (BTEC Science), Alex Collet-Sinfield (Computing and Music), Georgia Bartlett (Drama), Lois Daw (Dual Linguist and Hospitality & Catering), Kate Weddepohl (French), Holly Anderson (GCSE PE), Finley Burchett (Geography), Jason Tai (History), Lauren Gwyther (Health & Social Care, Latin and Maths), Matthew Gillman (PSD/ICT), Maddie Smith (Religious Education), Joe Failettaz (Resistant Materials), Elena Strollo (Sociology), Daisy Bergin, (Spanish), Lotti Barrett (Additional Science), Melissa Jakes (Further Additional Science), Isobel Holcroft (Textiles). The Principal's Award for Contribution to the life of Bassingbourn Village College was awarded to Charlotte Heavey (Keller College), Daisy Bergin (Luther King College), Ellen Jenkins (Moore College), Kerris Hughes and Olivia Walker (both Shakespeare College).

Principal Duncan Cooper and guest speaker Kate Gwynn (seated centre) with prizewinners.


Route to Excellent Language Skills This term, the whole of Year 7 has been involved in a Spelling Bee competition in French and Spanish. They have worked really hard to learn the spellings of 50 words, and for the class competition they were given one minute to translate the words into either French or Spanish, and then spell them correctly using the French/Spanish pronunciation of the alphabet. Three winners were successful from each class with the top scorer managing to translate and spell a very impressive 14 words in one minute. In the Spring term these 15 students will go through to the next round, which is against each other, where they will learn another 50 words. In the Summer term, the winners of that round will compete against other schools. The 15 students all won points which count towards the Intercollege competitions. The winners of the class competitions were: Shakespeare: Nyah Cretton, Melissa Phillips, Will Marsden, Kai Gilligan, Jake Hall. Keller: James Pryer, Johanna Anderson, Connor Livings, Meaghan Knibbar. Luther King: Oliver McGowan Wood, George Ellis-Crease. Moore: Will Daniels, Charlotte Parr, Stella Morris, Abigail Scott.

Year 7 competitors with Ms Dix-Pincott

Goodbye Mr Gair The final week of term was a sad time for many students as they said their farewells to one of their favourite teachers — Simon Gair. Mr Gair joined the teaching staff at Bassingbourn Village College in 1998 and over the last two decades has taught English, Drama and Media to BVC students. Assemblies, speeches and presentations were made in his honour, both within school and also amongst former BVC students. Here are just a few of the tributes paid to him: “Mr Gair was always there for me for support and saying good luck before our exams. It’s difficult to stay in a bad mood when we see you because your also just for a laugh. I remember once I was upset jokes instantly put smiles on our stressed faces, so about a Progress Check - it was Mr Gair who thank you for that. And thanks for being an all round phoned me up on a Saturday morning to reassure me. I can’t imagine any other teacher doing that for awesome teacher!” me and he will be missed dearly by us all.” “Mr Gair will always be remembered at this school “It’s rare to find a teacher who cares so much about for his friendly greetings, caring nature and his ability to inspire everyone he teaches. BVC will not his students and works so hard to make time for be the same without him.” everyone and treat our problems with respect. He’s “Mr Gair is the man who someone I’ve always been helped a shy, broken girl and able to trust with my allowed her for the first time to problems and his support has have a stage and a voice. He helped me through them. I’ll does not judge, he does not miss his humour, kindness and mock, he does not lecture. ability to be a friend.” What he does is encourage, “Mr Gair, we are going to miss saying hello to you every morning in the corridor, and you calling out our names and

Mr Gair with GCSE drama students


support, motivate and inspire. How lucky am I to have had Mr Gair as my teacher. I am eternally grateful.”

Term in Focus




History Science

Curriculum Day & Open Evening English Design



Food TK

Construction Experience



Food TK

Term in Focus


Yr 10 GCSE Drama

Junior dance

Streetwise Theatre Company

Creative Arts Showcase Music

Junior choir Yr 11 GCSE Drama

Yr 10 GCSE Drama

Yr 11 GCSE Drama

Yr 11 GCSE Drama

Yr 10 Dance


Yr 11 GCSE Drama

Fun in the Sun In October, a group of GCSE Spanish students were fortunate enough to spend some time in Andalucia, in the south of Spain. We left school at 3am and arrived in Malaga at 10am, where we met our guide, Mario, who spoke to us only in Spanish during the whole trip. We all found that very useful and we all thought that our listening skills improved after the four days in Spain as we were listening to a lot of Spanish from Mario, as well as the guided tours, Spanish people and from Ms Rios. We spent our first morning in a Spanish school in Malaga, where we did some activities like asking basic questions about each other to practice our languages. The teachers also showed us the school which had an impressive and huge sports centre. After leaving the school, we began our journey to Puerto de Santa Maria, but on the way we stopped off in Ronda. It was a beautiful city and gave us all a chance to stretch our legs and grab a drink and some ice cream. After Ronda, we got on with our final leg of the journey, and when we arrived at Spark, we were shown Sightseeing our rooms and had a barbeque for dinner outside in the Easter cake sale terrace. On the second day, we stayed in Puerto de Santa Maria, and visited la Plaza de Toros. When we got to the bull ring, which is the biggest in the country, we played some games, and were given the opportunity to try out the cape that the matador uses to fight the bull. We then visited a castle, which had previously been a church, and before that, a mosque. We were told by the tour guide how Christopher Columbus had used the castle to prepare for his expeditions. In the afternoon we went to the beach and played some games and went for a paddle in the sea. In the evening, we split into two groups, and whilst one group made paella, the others did a quiz with Mario and also wrote postcards home. For dinner, we all ate the paellas that we cooked earlier in the evening and the teachers and students really enjoyed them. On the third day, we travelled via catamaran to the city of Cådiz. We visited the city Bullfighting with centre, saw the cliffs, and spent time in the market. We then visited the Torre Mr Budd Tavira, which is the Camera Obscura. Using a lens, we were able to see what people in the city were doing, which was odd, but also fascinating. We had lunch at a beautiful beach, where Halle Berry’s James Bond scene was filmed. We also tried some churros con chocolate, which is a typical breakfast for Spanish people. In the evening, we returned to the beach in Puerto de Santa Maria. There, we saw the sunset, played some more games and were given certificates by Mario. On the last day, we travelled to Sevilla where we visited the Alcazar gardens, which were beautiful, and the Cathedral, which is where the tomb of Christopher Columbus is. We walked up to the top of the Cathedral, up the Giralda, a tower with 37 ramps, where we had a brilliant view of the city. It was a fantastic trip, and we really enjoyed ourselves. During the whole trip, the weather was very nice and very hot - we learnt a lot of new and interesting things about the Spanish culture. We all practiced our Spanish and we felt more confident speaking the language after those four days there. Bea Cornwell

Making our mark on the beach


Computer Challenge Success Over 200 BVC students were awarded achievement certificates after taking part in the national Bebras Challenge, a competition aimed at raising awareness of Computer Science in a fun and rewarding way. Open to selected BVC KS3 and GCSE Computing students, the competition involved solving problems using skills and techniques that software engineers use to write programs and apps. Examples of these computational thinking techniques include the ability to break down complex tasks into simpler components, algorithm design, pattern recognition, pattern generalisation and abstraction. As the top scorer in BVC, Jacob Draper has now been invited to attend the UK final at Oxford University. Other BVC winners were: Junior - Jacob Draper, Jack Foster, Julianne Hobbis, Sam Rogers. Intermediate - Alice Wright, Noah Telford-Reed, Oliver Haley, Jemima Sutton. Senior - Billy Reader, Izaac Marvell, Ruben Beukes, Christopher Turrell.

Jacob Draper

BVC Equestrian Club Horse-loving students are enjoying a new club set up by Mrs Myles Baker this term. Open to all students, the club (right, with Mrs Myles Baker) meets on a weekly basis to work on crafts, theory of riding and other equestrian-related tasks. Students will compete against each other in termly competitions with ridden and non-ridden disciplines. Students do not need to have their own horse to take part, just have access to one to work with outside of school.

Bridge Book Awards A group of 20 keen readers from Years 7 and 8 have been working hard over recent weeks, reading their way through the books nominated in the inaugural Bridge Book Awards. Authors as diverse as David Walliams, Simon Mayo, Zoe Sugg, Sarah Crossan and Derek Landy were included in the longlist of the awards which was organised by Alison Tarrant at Cambourne Village College, with sponsorship from Heffers bookshops, Cambridge. Mrs Lynn, BVC Librarian, said: “The Bassingbourn students have thoroughly enjoyed reading the books. For many of them it has given them a chance to try authors they hadn’t read before.” Students read the books and voted on their favourites in addition to writing reviews of some of the books for the Bridge Book Awards website. The winning book was One by Sarah Crossan which will be honoured at an awards evening to be held early next year when it is hoped the author herself will attend. Special congratulations to Ami Tobin who won a £10 book token for being the best BVC contributor.

Some of the BVC reading panel


Decorating Royston Art Teacher Ms Price set an unusual half term challenge for our students – to make Christmas tree decorations using reclaimed materials. The resulting creations can be seen decorating shop windows in the High Street. She said: “We were asked to help Royston town centre with its Christmas decorations and the students were all really excited to be involved. So much work went into some of the decorations with students using a wide range of materials … bottle tops, lightbulbs, sticks and tin cans to name a few.” The manager of Royston town centre, Geraint Burnell was so impressed by the decorations that he Prizewinners with Ms Price (back, right) awarded prizes of chocolate Santas to the 10 most original and seasonal designs. The crafters of the winning designs were Archie Triplow, Rafferty Hall, Lucy Whiteley, Frankie Venn, Ruby Ames, Hannah King, Julienne Hobbis, Avuyile Mdzinwa, Melissa Phillips and Caitlyn Smith. Mr Burnell said: “It was clear the students had put tremendous effort into their designs and we really enjoyed admiring every single one of them. Thank you and congratulations to all who took part in the project and particularly to those who won chocolate!” Year 8 students also enjoyed a specialist workshop in lantern-making before going on to produce their own which were used as part of the town’s Christmas Trail in December. Sally Williams, of Retail Revivial, spent time with the students showing them how to make lightweight lanterns using willow and tissue paper. The youngsters then decorated them before sending them off to be hidden in shops and market stalls.

Bulldogs Victorious Over Pussycats

Staff and students (above) organised a fundraising volleyball match at the end of term with the proceeds going to Shelter, the official BVC charity. The Bassingbourn Bulldogs (staff) beat the Year 11 Pussycats 29-28 in a closely fought game. Charity stalls were also organised by tutor groups and altogether the event raised over £200.


Ben’s Diving Success Year 9 student Ben Cutmore is rapidly becoming a name to watch in the diving world with a flurry of success and exciting times throughout this term. First off was the Meditteranean Diving Cup 2016 where he took 3 golds in Bolzano (Italy) at the 1m, 3m & Platform events. Following that he went on to trials at the National Assessment Camp, gaining a place in this year’s England Talent National Squad … all by the end of September! Ben’s most recent events have seen him compete at the Luton Challenge National competition in the 3m & 10m platform events, securing gold on both boards. He also represented Bassingbourn Village College in the England Schools Divisional Trials - finishing in 1st place and earning him a place within the EAST team. He represented BVC again at the ESSA national schools diving finals at the London Aquatics Centre where he was thrilled to be able to compete at the Olympic Pool. Ben finished nationally overall in 2nd place.

Ben in action

There was also a lovely surprise for Ben as he was recognised at the ASA Aquatics Awards 2016 as the England Programmes Athlete of the Year for Diving. Although Ben is looking forward to the Christmas break, there will be no respite from training as he prepares for the season ahead when he is hoping to qualify for further internationals. We are justly proud of our champion diver at BVC and look forward to the day when we are cheering him on at the Olympics!

ASA Aquatics Awards

Sports Captains The 2016/17 Sports Captains are: Year 8: Hannah LaskeySanders, Katie Cheeseright, Josh Izzard, Jack Jordan. Year 9: Amaya Cook, Lucy Cragg, Max Jones, George Bergin .

Year 10: Hattie French, Libby Taylor, Cormac Hosie, Shauna Tynan. Year 11: Phoebe Barratt, Chloe Compton, Ben Hale, Euan Denchfield Sports Captains ©Inkwell Photography


Where are they now? Gareth Wesley attended Bassingbourn Village College from 1991-6. He is currently a daytime presenter with Heart Radio and frequently reminisces about his BVC years on air. He lives in Leighton Buzzard with his wife and two children. His younger sister Megan also attended BVC. Memorable or inspirational teachers? John Rowe - the drama teacher. Without him and Reece Wilson (music) I would never have had this career.

Where did you go after BVC? Long Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge. Finally - Anything you’d like to tell us about your life now? Errr I have a cat called Nigel!

What is your current career? Heart radio presenter and owner of, a weekly topical quiz package that raises funds for charity. What led you to that? A love of Drama and English Any particular memories of what you did at BVC? Being Danny in Grease and then immediately wanting a career in showbiz after it! Sadly my acting was rubbish so I went for radio instead. Gareth starred in the 1996 BVC production of Grease - he is no 3 in this photograph. Does anyone else own up to being in this photograph?

If you are a former pupil of Bassingbourn Village College and would like to be kept up-to-date with college news and future reunions, please email your details to


BVC News Autumn 2016  

The termly magazine from Bassingbourn Village College, a high-achieving academy for 11-16s in South Cambridgeshire.

BVC News Autumn 2016  

The termly magazine from Bassingbourn Village College, a high-achieving academy for 11-16s in South Cambridgeshire.