Ackworth Today - Autumn 2020

Page 1



Ackworth Today Autumn 2020, Issue 10

FOUNDERS’ DAY Celebrating our 241st Founders’ Day a little differently, but with just as much excitement

Results & Awards Recognising pupils’ efforts in the face of adversity

A New School Year What was it like to start a new school year in the pandemic? We talk to our pupils to find out



Meeting the challenge head on It took until the week before half term before we unfortunately had to send pupils home to go into self isolation with the news that a pupil had tested positive for Covid-19. At present whilst I write this I am sitting in the Visitors’ Room with six boarders waiting for their isolation area to be prepared. Three have already been in quarantine upon their return to school from Ukraine and the Czech Republic but despite that, they are upbeat. As long as they can have their hotdogs for break (it is Charity Week) and access to an Xbox.

2 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10



e have been very fortunate and parents, pupils and staff have conducted themselves brilliantly as we have adapted to the new normal. Pupils and staff are all wearing masks, favour the outdoors as they move about the campus, have hand sanitisers intruding into every corridor and generally have had to adapt to new routines including drop offs and after school collection. It is a much changed school, but it is a relief to be able to return to our principal task of education. Ackworth pupils actually feel that the return to school with a “new” normal has worked out better than expected. There is still the same sense of community and commitment to Quaker values, perhaps even more so with kindness and consideration evident across the school. Our amateur dramatists are happy that our incredible Drama department has been able to persist with rehearsals for the school production, albeit mask-clad and socially distanced, and most of our after school activities continue with staff providing exceptional levels of care. Pupils are quick to praise their teachers who have to deliver lessons using new technology as well as remaining distanced when their instinct commands them to assist. They really appreciate the teachers cleaning desks after the lesson is completed, ready for the next class. Whilst Founders’ Day was more limited with no groups allowed to walk anywhere, teachers focused on topics linked to Founders’ Day wherever possible. They would all however prefer a return to a day out of school. An unexpected advantage of having fewer boarders is that they have all become closer and the new kitchen and new lounge in Boys’ School House has helped to encourage a stronger sense of community. On the other hand School Meetings and House Meetings are missed. It is hard to be together safely but we must find a way. Despite everything, there is much humour about the school, with some pupils remarking that the school is at least cleaner that it was, with rigorous use of hand sanitisers and constant wiping of surfaces. Juniors are quick to tell their seniors if they are not wearing masks, with good humoured reaction. Several members of staff have had to self isolate but we have only had one pupil tested positive so far (at the time of writing). We are a rural school and parents drop their children off individually. We are fortunate that we are also a small school with relatively small numbers and no children on public transport.

The school has provided iPads for everyone. This has followed a successful lockdown where we maintained our high standards of provision. It has made a spectacular difference to our provision. Imagine 400 iPads arriving at the same time! Lessons have changed from teachers knowing everything to pupils being asked to find the information for themselves. Apple Classroom allows us to control the use of the devices in class and teachers have had training from Apple to help them get the best use of the devices.

We have become a staggeringly modern school in a very short space of time. We are now streets ahead of most of the state sector and at least on a par with our independent rivals, if not better. Coram also has iPads for years 5 and 6 and then share a set for the other year groups. We are developing Coram to maintain our numbers as boarding has declined. The quality of the education on offer in Coram House is having the right effect with many pupils transferring from state primary schools into our school. A similar effect is being felt in the Senior School. We have provided two new classrooms for Coram House to help them cope with the rise in pupil numbers. The maintenance team is concentrating on all the projects that have been on hold for years: replacing electrical supply boards, working on central heating provision, refurbishing rooms in the boarding houses, replacing gutters, painting rooms that have not seen any paint in 35 years and so on. Rebecca Edgington our Alumni and Development Assistant, hosted our first online Old Scholar coffee meeting recently and it is intended to be the first of many. We were able to break into smaller groups to assist discussion. It was a fabulous occasion with visitors from all over the UK but the oldest by far was Dorothy Robbins from Nova Scotia, Frederick Andrews’ granddaughter (she is celebrating her 100th birthday on November 14th). The important news is that we are all still here and we are prospering despite the international crisis. I hope that as the school year progresses, the situation improves allowing fixtures against other schools and greater prospects for all. | 3


New Term, New Staff A big welcome to our newest staff members:

Alison Hallas

Senior Finance Officer

Eli Baraty

Head Table Tennis Coach

Sam Mabey

Priya Varadan-Raman

Victoria Newmarch

Emma Sissons

Table Tennis Coach

History (maternity cover)

Teaching Assistant, Coram

SEN Teacher

Also, we welcome the following new starters: Sandra Broadbent Learning Support Mentor

Oliver McCarthy Bell Director of Music

Lisa Turner

Specialist Learning Mentor

Meet your School Officers Welcoming Maisie and Harry into their new roles as Head Girl and Head Boy (third and fourth from left respectively), as well as Rachel, Ben, Gelegu and Polina as our new school officers for this academic year! 4 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Rachel McLaughlin Specialist Learning Mentor


CATCH UP The following students have been recognised for their outstanding academic achievements this summer: Highest Scholarship (A Level) Boy

Henry Hackwell 3 x A*


Martha Hathaway 3 x A*


Rhys W (8 x 9s and 2 x 8s)

Girls Charlotte G (10 x 9s) and

Jasmine W (10 x 9s)

Congratulations to all!

Alice joined Wakefield Wildcats Netball team last year. Recently she was presented with an award for the most outstanding player. Alice’s mum, Joanne said, ‘It’s been a joy to watch her determination as centre position.’

Music Success

Congratulations Alice!

Many congratulations, Rhys!

Rhys has passed his grade 8 music examination with distinction in Rock School Guitar from the London College of Music Examination Board. | 5

STAFF LEAVERS Bruce and Jenny McDowell

Daniel Marks Daniel joined us in September 2017, and in the short time he was been here, worked hard to move the Music Department forward – first persuading the Head that we desperately needed to replace the old and battered pianos, and then putting a compelling case for new iMacs for the Music ICT Suite.

Bruce and Jenny joined Ackworth in 2016 and 2017 respectively, to work in the Biology and Psychology departments (Bruce), and EAL via Learning Support (Jenny). Christopher Bailey, Head of Biology said: ‘Bruce has an impressive knowledge of all areas of Biology and he took a keen interest in new research and applications. He inspired students to develop a greater curiosity of the natural world by carefully weaving the practical and theoretical aspects together, and making good use of technology. His willingness to give time in extra revision classes helped students across the ability range to achieve their potential.’ His extra-curricular activities at Ackworth included the Fothergill Society and Chess Club. Jenny’s natural patience and genuine nature made her a perfect fit for her first role at Ackworth as a Learning Support mentor. From there, she moved into teaching EAL, drawing on her experiences in Malaysia. We wish them both well!

Daniel stunned us with his piano playing in Morning Readings, and impressed us with his ability to provide accompaniments for the most challenging of pieces. One of the stars of Inter-House Music was certainly Daniel, calmly and unobtrusively holding everything together. He led a number of music related trips – locally, to perform in Wakefield Cathedral and to Sibford School for the Joint Quaker Choirs; abroad, expanding the choir trip in to a full music trip to perform in a number of locations in Austria. The visit to Hamburg to tour the Steinway factory and then to choose the new pianos was an experience not to be missed, and who could forget the performances on 10 pianos in the Meeting House, when they arrived? Enabling music to continue during lockdown was challenging, but the rendition of ‘We’ll meet again’, masterminded by Daniel, kept the flag flying. Daniel – we thank you for all you have done and we wish you well in your next appointment.

Cindy Hamill

needed, without fuss. She saw huge numbers of Sixth Formers take Maths and Further Maths A Level.

Cindy retired this September after 16 years, arriving in September 2004. She led the Maths Department through a number of changes of personnel – Paul Frith, Diane Parkin, Gill Murray, all having retired before her.

Outside the classroom, Cindy was a key member of the Duke of Edinburgh team, feeding her colleagues, and stoically facing hardships and bad weather, but relishing the challenge and sense of achievement with the pupils. Knitting and sewing also benefited from her skill and talents, and who could forget her appearance in the Top Gear sketch for Staff/Sixth Form Entertainment?

Cindy brought with her a clear knowledge of National Curriculum Maths, which helped to keep this core subject at the heart of the School. She had endless patience when working with pupils, and always quietly and without complaint took on whatever teaching and duties were 6 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Cindy has a deep Christian faith. Her Morning Readings always exemplified her faith and gave us insight in to the working out of her faith in the world. Cindy – we wish you well for the next stage in your career – and hope that you can now have a well-earned rest, not that your various grandchildren are likely to allow that!


BOARDING AND QUARANTINE A new look for Boys’ School House The maintenance staff were busy over the summer, building and fitting a brand new dining and living area for the boys’ boarding house. The boys are now able to socialise and dine together in a family type setting. Many FIFA games have already taken place! Sam Baker, Deputy Head (Pastoral)

Our ‘quarantiners’ having a brilliant time at Carlton Lodge to celebrate finishing 14 days in isolation. Now they’ve done this they can tackle anything in the school year ahead! | 7

SENIOR SCHOOL Sport It is with much pride Brooke has achieved a place within the South Yorkshire Hockey Academy, a pathway to England Academy. Brooke only started taking hockey more seriously in year 7 at Ackworth after enjoying playing with the school team in defence for Jane Donnelly, Head of Girls’ Games. Jane encouraged Brooke to join a local hockey team to help progress further, Brooke continues to attend the school hockey club after school and now trains weekly on evenings and weekends with Doncaster Hockey Club under 14s, under 16s and Doncaster ladies.

The feedback from the coaches was very positive on the standard of skills and match play on both nights.

Brooke was selected by her club to attend two gruelling hockey trials recently for South Yorkshire and displayed hard work and perseverance which resulted in securing a place.

Brooke looks forward to the additional training from the South Yorkshire Coaching team to improve her skill set further.

English Students in the 5th form are required each year to perform a compulsory speech as part of their GCSE qualification. Here is a particularly powerful one shared by Grace:

Changing the World 2020, the year of global pandemics, killer hornets, and staggering celebrity deaths. 2020, the year of protests, speaking up, movement. But I’m not talking about the movement you do with your hands, or feet. I want to talk about movements in society, in your local area, in you, even. Recently, the hate we have seen in our communities has spilled over the edge, and we need to do something about it. So many of us have been protesting. Many people have questioned the purpose of these often violent protests; so, I want to use this speech to try to educate myself, and you, on issues that really matter in the world, because ‘there comes a time where silence is betrayal’. His name was Elijah McClain. He was walking home. ‘I can’t breathe. I have my ID right here. My name is Elijah McClain, that’s my house. I’m just going home.’ Elijah McClain was 23 when he was murdered. The police were called because he was wearing a ski mask and ‘flailing his arms suspiciously’. He played the violin for stray pets every day in his lunch break, and he was practising, a bit like air guitar but air violin. The person who called the police even said he didn’t seem dangerous and didn’t have a weapon. 8 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

‘I don’t see colour’. Congratulations! you’re lying to yourself. Of course, you see colour, and that’s good! Black people want you to see their colour. Their colours are beautiful and the very foundation of who they are. If you don’t see colour, then you also don’t see their culture. If you don’t see colour, then you erase their very identity. If you don’t see colour, you can’t see the pattern of violence they’re confronted with every day. If you don’t see colour, then you’re blind to more than just racial injustice. You are blind to the world. Even as a white person I acknowledge that I am privileged in today’s society. I can also admit I was raised in a community riddled with subtle racism (NOT my close family, though). I had to take it upon myself to educate myself on racism and the issues surrounding oppression against black people and I am still learning. It is EVERYONE’S responsibility to educate themselves on these issues. It is so easy to ignore when it works in your favour. I’ve spent months getting worked up about injustice and having arguments because I’ve come across so many ignorant people who refuse to educate themselves and understand why they are so brainwashed into having racist views. So, I can only imagine how exhausting it would be for the black community who constantly feel ignored and misunderstood. I’m so glad to see so many people come together to support the BLM movement. Don’t stay silent just because you are scared of how people will take it. Educate yourself then use your voice to amplify those of the black community because they have been silenced too long. Grace, 5th form (year 11)


Two 1st form students, Jodie and Rocco made it past the first round in a national short story competition, ‘500 Words’, which was on the theme of ‘Black Lives Matter’. Here is Jodie’s submission: The protests were broadcasted on every news outlet but they were portrayed as violent and destructive. I knew the protests were misunderstood. They were a fight for justice and peace. Most were peaceful. So evidently peaceful. I wanted to be a part of it; to watch, to learn, to listen. All my mother knew was that I was running off to school because I was late but the cereal box wasn’t for a school project, the money wasn’t for snacks and the empty backpack wasn’t because I was getting new school books. That was all a lie. I hurried down to the corner shop and sat against the wall to catch my racing breath and speech. I pulled the cereal box, scissors and a sharpie from my bag; attempting to cut the cardboard, my attempt was failing. So I called upon the newsagent to help and I bought some milk with the pennies in my pocket. His face was puzzled and twisted but he didn’t ask what I was doing but instead painted a smile over his utter confusion. I leaned on the shelf in the crisp aisle to write on my sign and scurried outside. I zipped up my backpack and hurried past people in suits on their way to work and parents dragging their kids to school; I stopped as I heard the chants and powerful voices shouting for justice. I dived into the crowd. It seemed to consume me but as we stood shoulder to shoulder, I felt safe. I sneaked under signs and arms of the dominant people at the front. At that moment, no words could describe my fear and uncertainty to keep moving forward. A woman grabbed my shoulders and told me not to go too close and to stay back from the police. But was a 12 year-old kid really that threatening to them that tear gas had to be thrown at their feet as they watch her try to run back into the mass and to safety? She may not have been 12 but she definitely wasn’t threatening or violent. I reached for the milk out of my bag and threw it to the lady kneeling next to her. Two minutes before, the young woman was stood with her sign above her head, waving and chanting. But that was too dangerous. Too threatening. Too violent. Right? Wrong.

Art We have all settled into our new studio spaces really well having decorated our boards with inspiration (and the odd fairy light!). One of the main reasons for me returning to Ackworth was to study A-Level Art, as nowhere else allowed me to be independent in my creative approach. This has allowed me to explore and develop my practice and my teachers’ support has given me the confidence to do so. The way the Art Studio is set up means that we have our own work areas, but it is also a great collaborative space to discuss ideas with our fellow students. I’m really looking forward to the months and years ahead. Mia, L6 (year 12)

History In history this term, students have looked at the question: ‘The British Empire should be remembered with reverence.’ How far do you agree? Here is a selection of some of their thoughtful responses:

I had walked further than I thought I should have; I had never been this far alone. But I wasn’t alone. I had my band of merry men who strived for change. I stopped worrying about becoming lost or being lectured by my parents on stranger danger or never leave the house alone but this was more important. People on the pavement threw us water bottles and sandwiches – I was thankful because I didn’t want to run back to the corner shop with the money I had left bouncing in my pockets. I chanted and held my sign proudly as I wandered my way home. Jodie, 1st form (year 7)

Congratulations to both Jodie and Rocco! | 9


Pupils interview... Will Bayley Will Bayley, Paralympic Gold Medallist and Strictly Come Dancing contestant answers our pupils’ questions about his brilliant table tennis career.

I was born with arthrogryposis which affects all four of my limbs. It is like a type of arthritis which makes it more difficult to move my limbs. I also lose muscle in my limbs which affects power of shots – this impacts my table tennis the most. How long have you had your disability? (Niall) I was born with the disability. I have had operations to have my feet rebuilt – they were back to front so had to be straightened. With my hands, they couldn’t operate on them so I can’t open them fully. Sport has played an important role in recovery. Did you every get bullied because of your disability? (Alara) When I was at school, I did have some moments where people stared at it because they didn’t know what it was and they were interested. I found that I could talk to them and be open about it and it was a good thing. When did you start playing table tennis? (Alice) I started at 7 years old in Great Ormond Street Hospital in a mini hospital. After recovering from cancer, I started playing more at home. I then I joined a club when I started beating my brother but I didn’t started playing more until I was 17. I played lots of other sports in that time too. Have you every played, thought about playing or want to take up any other sports? (Theo) I played lots of other sports – tennis, table tennis, football, badminton, and cricket. They have all helped me with my sporting career. Football is my main hobby outside of table tennis, although I follow lots of other sports. 10 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Do you get nervous when competing? (Liam) Yes, I think it is normal to get nervous. I feel that when you put a lot of work and effort into something that you want to do well in, then you are going to get nervous. Although I am excited at the same time. What drives you to want to play in the Olympics? (Tilly) Wanting to win! I love competing. I want the challenge of them trying to beat me and me beating them. I want to see who’s the best in the world. I also want to be the best that I can be. How many times do you train a week in the lead up to the Olympics? (Hannah) I am just back from recovering from an injury at the minute so I am just trying to do a little bit every day. Before the injury, I was training three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon, five days a week – that’s how much my body would let me. It is also about the quality of hours not just the number of hours. We also compete on a weekend. Which was your favourite Olympics and why? (Alara) They are all different. I won in Rio so that was special, but the atmosphere wasn’t as good as the others. Beijing was special for the atmosphere and London is the home games so that was my favourite. A lot of international athletes say that was the best too. Do you get to tour around the country when you are there? (Tilly) A lot of the time I go to compete for a few days, arriving the day before and leaving straight after, so I don’t get to see much of the country. But if I’m there for the World Championships or Olympics then I might get a few extra days to have a look around.

Photograph: Guy Levy / BBC

What is your disability and how does it affect you playing sport? (Karsten)


What’s the hardest match you have ever played? (Tilly) London 2012, I lost in the final. I played world Number 3 in the semi final and played really well and in the final. I played world Number 10 and I was the big favourite and it just didn’t happen for me. It was the toughest and hardest loss I have had. Why did you decide to go on Strictly Come Dancing? (Niall) It was weird because the show producer at the time, her son was watching Olympic celebrations on YouTube and they saw me jumping on the table in Rio after winning. So she googled and then called me to ask if I would come for a rehearsal. I did and I really enjoyed it. How did you feel when you dropped out of Strictly? (Jess) I was gutted. It was when I was going to do my favourite dance of the show – the Jive. It was upbeat and I feel we would have gone through to the next round. In the dance I was flying in as Casper the Friendly Ghost off of the rooftop, landed awkwardly on the ground and injured my leg. I knew it was serious as soon as I landed. I am still recovering now. Which made you feel more nervous, Olympic final or Strictly? (Mrs D) I think it has to be the Olympic games and playing table tennis. It means a lot more to me than dancing. Strictly was fun and I did get nervous because 12 million people were watching me and I didn’t want to fall or drop someone. It was a different kind of pressure. How did you feel when Tokyo was cancelled? (Mrs D) It’s a dream for me. It has given me an opportunity to recover. I was really struggling with my knee injury and I’m still not 100% fit yet. I am getting fitter every day and am looking forward to the games now. Did lockdown affect your training? And what did you do to get around it? (Michael)

How heavy is your Paralympic gold medal? (Tallulah) It is really heavy; it took me by surprise how heavy it was. It feels more special with it being heavy. Have you made any other friends in the Olympics? (Tallulah) It is hard because at the major events you are so focused on trying to win and what you are doing there so it’s not the best environment to make friends. But when you have finished competing then there is chance to speak with others and I have done from there.

It has worked out nicely. I am going to the gym and working on my leg muscles to strengthen them. But the positive was I got to spend a lot of time with the family. How do you juggle family life and training? (Mrs D) I have two young daughters and a family in Brighton (Grace who is three weeks old and Bella who is three years old). Table tennis is a really short career. Just one or two more Olympic games left and I want to make the most of it. I think they understand that it is my dream to win another title and although I miss out on seeing them a lot, it will be worth it for another gold medal. Who is your favourite child? (Jess) Neither – they are both brilliant. | 11

AUTISM RESOURCE & PSA The PSA school uniform shop has recently located to the old Health Centre. We would like to thank everyone who has donated to or purchased from us in the past. This year in particular you have been a huge help. Because of COVID we have had to cancel all planned events and as you can imagine this has affected our funds. We have extended our uniform service to try and support the school community to kit out their families affordably but also to generate funds for the PSA. We will be revising our opening times but also understand that it is sometimes difficult to attend due to work commitments. If you need any particular items you can email, and we will check our stock and arrange collection. Hannah in our Autism Resource gives some of her time to help with the running of the shop but would like to extend it to sell very good condition second chance clothing, for example party dresses, boys’ clothing and outdoor wear. One of Hannah’s ideas is to collect unwanted Christmas jumpers from toddler size to adult and then open the shop the week before Christmas Jumper Day. This would fit in with the Quaker ethos of sustainability and help the PSA.

There is a basket at the front of senior school where school uniform and other items can be placed. Once again thank you for supporting the PSA. Elise Ager, Specialist Learning Mentor, Autism Resource

During this half term pupils from the Autism Resource have been developing their independence. Pupils have been using the kitchen in Girls’ Boarding to practise how to make basic meals. Evie has made eggy bread to eat. She has followed her photo book to help her.

12 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10


NURSERY The Nursery and Reception children have had a very exciting return to school! In October they celebrated Founders’ Day by creating a Founders’ Day Peace Garden in the Early Years play area. The children took turns weeding and preparing the soil before planting numerous, colourful flowers. To ensure their garden blooms all year round, the children also planted daffodil bulbs which we will all enjoy in the spring. To add a finishing touch to their beautiful garden, they made a border using rocks which they had painted themselves. The children are excited about caring for their very special garden and understand it will give pleasure to many other children for years to come. There were also some spooky goings on at the end of October with Halloween crafts and stories. All the children went for a walk in the school grounds and after listening to Mr Barker read a ‘Winnie the Witch’ story, they scattered pumpkin seeds on the ground and said

the magic words “Abracadabra!” Nothing happened at first but when we all went back the next day, the children were delighted to see that their seeds had grown into pumpkins over night! The fun continued with the Reception children baking delicious Halloween buns and everyone having a party and ‘Halloween Dress Up Day’. The children played a ‘Pin the nose on the witch’ game, carved their magic pumpkins and of course, enjoyed some sweet treats! What a fabulous end to a super half term! | 13


Art Club In the Year 3 to 4 Art Club, we have enjoyed gathering autumnal finds: pine cones, acorns, leaves, dried grasses, seeds etc... We used those to create natural sculptures. We experimented with the glue gun and liquid glue to create 3D sculptures. We used some of the leaves to create prints. On very wet paper, we applied watercolours, laying the leaves flat and letting them dry. The colour pools around the leaves and dried forming patterns. The moment of the great reveal was the following week, when leaves were peeled away. It was the highlight of that project! Finally, Years 3 and 4 wove wool around sticks to create a spider’s web, making sure to have enough tension in the thread that it would hold. They designed some spiders to sit on their webs using their own initiative.

Garage Band Year 5 students were given the very special opportunity of experiencing and performing in an iPad Band, using the software program Garageband. Despite most of them never using the software before, they got to grips with it quickly, and learnt how to set up the chords they needed to play, learnt how to perform musically, and in time together in a group containing acoustic guitars, keyboards, drums, bass guitar, organ and electric guitar! We were very fortunate to have had David Kirtlan, the Apple Education trainer to deliver the workshop, and we all learnt a lot about Music and Performance; Mrs Hussey learnt some things too so hopefully she can continue to take iPad Bands in Music lessons in the future.

14 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10


Coram House Head’s Address Sally Slater

New Art Room Coram House Prep are using an exciting new location for their art and science lessons this year. The large classroom is full of natural light, making it the ideal art studio. In the photograph you can see Year 6 working on their pieces inspired by Elizabeth Catlett, a talented black artist known for her print work. Here are some comments from the children: ‘I really like the displays and all the photographs on the wall.’ (Grace) ‘It’s better and bigger.’ (Sebastian)

‘It feels like a proper art room.’ (Zarah) ‘I like the tables because we can get them messy, without having to put a sheet down!’ (Gabriella)

Spelling Shed In Coram House we have introduced an exciting new spelling scheme called ‘Spelling Shed’. Weekly spellings are allocated by the class teacher and the pupils can log into their personalised account and practise their spellings through fun and interactive games. They can also compete against their class mates by playing a ‘hive’ game where they must complete their spellings as quickly as possible. Not only are scores shared on their class leaderboard, there is a whole school leaderboard and also a world leaderboard! The children (and teachers) are becoming extremely competitive trying to reach the top! As children learn their spellings, they earn ‘honeypots’. These honeypots can be used to personalise their own avatar character. The more honeypots they earn, the more accessories they can purchase for their character.

Since our return to school in September, we have constructed a curriculum that wraps around the children, helping them to become learners again in a school environment. We recognised that due to lockdown children had suffered five losses – routine, structure, friendships, opportunity and freedom. We appreciate that School, which was once a very safe environment, has for many pupils become a place that feels less safe. We have looked at how to re-engage the disengaged. We have adjusted lesson times as concentration times have diminished. We have introduced the Recovery Curriculum into our lessons. A secure attachment to the school environment makes our children better problem solvers, more curious, increases the quality and duration of learning and improves academic achievement. We are all desperate to move on – and are in many ways unable to do so. The news and COVID sits at the heart of everything we do. We must, however, concentrate on its positives. We have become better digital learners; teaching methods have had to change. We have been able to hold our traditional Autumn events such as Harvest Festival, Curriculum Evening and Founders’ Day. Thanks to technology we have not had to make too many changes. Our children are excited and happy to be back together; they have new academic targets and are striving to achieve them. Friendships have been rekindled and there are new avenues for opportunity and challenge. We have returned to routine and structure within our school, families and homes. The Autumn Term has faced its challenges but we all have survived and thrived.

There is a real buzz around school and we are excited to see the children progress with their spelling results. | 15

CORAM HOUSE Halloween has come a little early at Coram House! The children fully immersed themselves in this holiday by getting involved with pumpkin carving.

Year 3 – Essential Oils As part of our Recovery Curriculum at Coram House (focusing on supporting children’s mental well being after the long period of lockdown) I introduced essential oils into Year 3.

It must be nearly half term? The children were wanting lots of energy today!

Meet the Global Committee Our first Global Committee meeting went well as we found jobs for each person. Our Chair is Zach (Year 6) and Vice Chair is Henry (Year 4), Gabriella (Year 4) is our writer/designer for posters with Harry (Year 5). We also have William (Year 6) as our Minute Taker and Evan (Year 3) is William’s assistant. Holly (Year 3) and John (Year 5) join our team as Global Ambassadors. In our next meeting we will think about how to make the school a more environmentally friendly area. By William Halls and Zachary Quinlan 16 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

One of the first lessons was learning about smells and how smells often spark emotions and happy memories. The children then experienced three distinctive smells (without being told what they were) and were then encouraged to write down their feelings and memories based on that smell. Some ideas included the way lavender ‘makes me think of mummy’ or ‘a hug’, and citrus ‘makes me feel fresh and excited’.

class and ticked which emotion they would like a little more of for the day. We have all loved learning about the history of essential oils – which have been used for thousands of years – as well as finding out where they came from. Our plan is to plant some of these special plants in the school garden and have a go at making our own exciting potions.

We then created a menu. Each morning the children came into

Katie Staton (Head of Teaching and Learning - Year 3 Teacher)


HEALTH CENTRE Catherine Boak began working at Ackworth School just over a year ago. With 20 years’ experience as a Health Visitor for the 0 to 19 team working in Bradford, Featherstone, Leeds and as a volunteer in India, Catherine has built up a wealth of experience which she is now able to use for the benefit of the pupils and staff. Some of these skills consist of working on healthy eating, behaviour management, immunisations, eczema, and supporting low moods.

Where is the New Health Centre? The exciting news is that the Health Centre has finally been moved to Middle Passage. The newly furbished rooms are equipped with a clinic room for pupils and staff to seek confidential medical advice and treatment for minor illnesses. The drop in session is 8-10am Monday to Friday. The second room is a large office with a relaxing seating area. I recently completed a counselling course and use active listening to get to the root cause of anxieties by encouraging students to decide what is within their control. We now have a confidential listening service on offer, which can be accessed, either from me, or by a referral to the external counsellor Dan Hussey or to the yoga teacher. In addition, the school is supporting staff with a free confidential Helpline from

What is the role of the Ackworth School Nurse? I will usually be available between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday and appointments can be arranged through reception. Parents who request medication to be given in school are asked to complete a Medication Consent Form. There is a Nut Free School policy (which includes Nutella) and pupils with allergies are supported by both me and Susan Liddle in Catering in balancing a safe nutritional diet. Prescribed Epipens are often kept with the person but there is a back up anaphylaxis kit in the staffroom. As allergic reactions are on the increase it is important everyone understands what they should do in an emergency: https:/ / As a Public Health Nurse my role could not have been more timely to work with Claire Mawson, the Health and Safety Manager, in minimising cross infection within the school. I work closely with the Matrons Maureen Gibbons and Michelle Walker and the houseparents to optimise the health of the boys and girls living in the boarding houses. This year there have been more challenges than most for everyone but the school has implemented the right balance of a safe environment whilst providing an education. During these difficult times I encourage everyone to select one positive in each day and limit the amount of news they watch to reduce their stress levels.

Stay safe. Hands Face & Space. Sister Catherine Boak | 17


‘Hello Yellow’ October 9th We have an increasing awareness of mental health and wellbeing in the modern world. Many people are affected and many have struggled because mental health has historically been stigmatised and hidden away. Recognising that we all have a part to play in protecting the mental health and wellbeing of ourselves and others is a big step forward and a journey we should all try to continue making.

Understanding how our actions and words affect others, thinking about how we make others feel by what we say and what we do, is an important part of developing and growing. We are trying to raise awareness of this responsibility and make a difference in the lives of our community at Ackworth.

Form groups have had presentations during tutor time relating to what it means to have good Mental Health and how different factors contribute to this. Pupils have been learning that the most important things are to be happy in your own skin, to celebrate difference and diversity, be accepting of themselves and others, know that everyone is an individual and that we should value each other, by being kind, thoughtful, helpful. They have learnt about people who historically have been judged and discriminated against. We know that the suicide rate of young males is significantly high; we know incidents of self harm are increasing; we know many young people battle feelings of self doubt causing anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. Different organisations do amazing work to help and support the mental health of young people. Young Minds is one such organisation, Papyrus is another that works to protect young people at risk of suicide. Sadly these resources are stretched. As a school we supported World Mental Health Day – pupils and staff wore something yellow to support the ‘Hello Yellow’ theme. We raised £175 which will be divided between Young Minds and Papyrus. We were treated to Ben spending the day in a bright yellow onesy and Charlie resplendent in his daffodil headgear. Many thanks to all who supported the day helping to raise awareness of something which affects so many – well done, Ackworth.

18 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10


With a Covid-safe approach, we held a bingo and quiz night for our boarders in aid of World Mental Health Day. Boarders enjoyed snacks and drinks whilst competing against their fellow teammates in a general knowledge quiz, picture quiz and then a round of bingo, with Mr Bailey as the caller. He delighted us with the various phrases that go with the numbers! Many of the pupils have not seen, nor will be seeing their families for a while, so we recreated that family feeling on this significant day. Sam Baker Deputy Head (Pastoral) | 19

FUTURE SKILLS AT THE CORE Ackworth School understands the importance of moving forward whilst maintaining Quaker values, such as equality and sustainability. All over the school pupils this term pupils unwrapped their personal iPads for lessons and day planning – a new step forward in education in the digital age! Once it had been agreed that we would upgrade the out-dated fixed computers in classrooms by distributing iPad Pros to the staff, the long term ambition was always for a planned roll-out of iPads for pupils. When COVID-19 arrived, we were extremely grateful for the decision on the staff iPads, and during lockdown, some crystal ball gazing suggested that it would put the School in an even better position if we could allocate iPads to pupils, in case of further disruption to teaching. Despite the challenges of cost and the concerns about configuring 370+ iPads in one go, it was agreed that we should take the plunge. Looking back over the term, a lot of hard work was put in (unwrapping 370 boxes, putting glass screen protectors on, assigning iPads to individual pupils, designing home screen layouts, creating Apple IDs) – all before pupils arrived back in September, so that the iPads would be ready to distribute on the first day of term. Has it gone well? Maybe not hitting the school WiFi with that number of iPads on the morning of day one would have helped. Lots of work has gone on to improve the infrastructure behind the scenes, to make WiFi work better, to allow printing from mobile devices. Would we do the same again? Given a similar situation of COVID-19, yes. As the Roman author Suetonius wrote, on the eve of Caesar crossing the Rubicon river – ‘iacta alea est’ – the die is cast. There’s no going back now! Jeffrey Swales, Deputy Head, Strategic Development and Digital Learning

When we were told that the school was going to go paperless and use iPads my first reaction was, ‘Not while I’m here’. However, iPads have been very beneficial to my school and home life. I find myself carrying folders on an iPad which has made life easier. The whole idea of using an iPad was weird at the beginning but the more you use it the more you adapt to this new sustainable way of living. My planner is connected to all my devices and therefore I can schedule my day wherever I am. The iPads have been the best resource in my time at Ackworth and I am grateful for the opportunity to use it. Nathan Charlesworth, L6th (year 12)

20 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

I like using the iPads to do work. Instead of having to carry around the prep, we get it on Teams. This makes it a lot easier since our bags don’t get as heavy and it’s a lot harder to lose it. We can do other activities on the iPad, such as PicsArt, Autodesk Sketchbook, Word and PowerPoint. Having them also allows us to do more work in class and it is also easier to do research. We are also allowed to talk to each other on Teams, which is very helpful. We can also communicate with the teachers easily if we are stuck on a certain part of the prep as well, which is nice. All in all, I think that the iPads were a great idea. Mila, 1st form (year 7)


The iPads have been incredibly valuable tool in adapting the way we learn to deal with the restrictions of coronavirus and to utilise modern day technology. Although it has been a big adjustment in the way we work, it’s been an important new skill to learn. I feel there are fewer anxieties in the event of us going into another national lockdown and having to work from home. Evelyn, 5th form (year 11)

Year 2 are enjoying working with iPads in their English lesson. At Ackworth, technology is integrated into every stage of our pupils’ learning to ensure they’re developing skill sets that are future-proof.

Although charging them and remembering to bring them is a faff, they have improved my learning drastically. In the majority of subjects, having access to the internet means that I can google something that I don’t understand if the teacher is busy. Also, during school time I have access to past papers and practice questions and I have access to all of my subject notes in one place. Overall, using an iPad has made school more enjoyable. I can sit down to write an essay during lunch without dedicating my time to going to find a computer. They are a lot less hassle. Isabelle, 5th form (year 11) The introduction of iPads in our school was initially a difficult task to grasp as learning how to use a completely different method of learning is bound to be, but it has changed the way we learn for the better. Previously the task of writing an essay on a piece of paper would crumple, tear and smudge. The use of the iPads substantially benefits us, making more time which can be spent on ensuring the fullest education possible. The magic of the digital device means I can carry, send and sort all my work anywhere, anytime with ease. I feel like the iPads have given more than enough to us and they still have much more to offer us. Femi, 5th form (year 11)

I’ve found the iPads extremely useful and an exciting opportunity for us. The convenience of having all our resources and work books in one place is beneficial for learning, adding to the advantage of being more eco-friendly. Personally, in my English lesson, I have really enjoyed having the text of ‘An Inspector Calls’ on the iPad, as making annotations is simple and makes a great revision source to return to, along with it being just as useful in many other subjects. Having iPads makes Ackworth School very technologically advanced, and puts us in a great position for a further lockdown, if required, as all our school work already exists with us and virtual learning becomes more accessible. I believe it is easy to forget the privilege we have with receiving these devices, and we should be grateful for the fantastic opportunities that they present to us, as other schools are not put in this fortunate position. I hope they continue to be useful resources for us for years to come. Isabelle, 4th form (year 10)

The introduction of technology in classrooms has provided students with many opportunities, allowing us to adapt and learn through a more modern medium. In my experience, I’ve found that the iPads have helped to motivate and engage us which has led to increased collaboration, communication and self-reliance in the classroom. Now that iPads have become part of our routine, students have recognised and appreciated the usefulness of them, with constant access to resources and apps helping us to work at our own level and pace. Annabel, 4th form (year 10) | 21


Interview with Oliver McCarthy-Bell by Rachel, L6 (year 12) What is your musical background? I started playing my first instrument when I was 7 or 8 – that was clarinet – and decided that I really enjoyed it. Then I joined the choir and the orchestra at junior school and found that it was my calling in life, my passion. When I started Year 7, my music teacher wanted me to learn saxophone, so I began learning that, and it just grew from there, really. What did you study at university? My specialism was composition – I studied a double module in composition, and single performance module as well. And where was that? Sheffield. Which school did you teach at before you came here? I was at St. Wilfrid’s Catholic High School, not too far away from here – just up the road in Featherstone. So have you always lived around here? Yes, I’m from the other side of Wakefield originally, and I’ve never really travelled too far away – university is probably the furthest away I’ve got! I did my PGCE at Huddersfield and then moved out when I got my first job. Do you have any children? Yes, I have two little sprites, who are 3 and 2 years old, and they run me ragged sometimes, but I absolutely adore them! What made you want to come to Ackworth? The opportunity arose out of the blue really. It was Mrs Hussey who alerted me to the advert, and I thought ‘why not?’ But upon doing a bit more research, I found that the atmosphere was really nice; I really enjoyed the fact that there’s a healthy Music Department. The opportunity to teach A level was another plus, and being a small school, Ackworth has a really nice community feel about it. So did you know Mrs Hussey before coming to Ackworth? Yes, she used to be the peripatetic violin teacher at St. Wilfrid’s. What’s your favourite thing about teaching? Always getting the unexpected, when you least expect it! Whether it be those moments when something just clicks in a pupil’s head, or when rehearsals come together and it sounds absolutely amazing. Seeing young people thrive and being able to do something that they really enjoy … is such a privilege.

22 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

What have you enjoyed most about being at Ackworth so far? One thing which has made me feel more at ease is the fact that I’m not the only one running around like a headless chicken, under the current circumstances! I think being able to dive straight into running extra-curricular ensembles and actually being able to teach and make music, (risk-assessment permitting, of course!) when a lot of other schools aren’t able to do that at the moment has been really enjoyable. What have you found most odd about Ackworth so far? I think it’s the little quirks and traditions, like coming into the dining hall in silence and having a few minutes of quiet on a Thursday morning. Not that Morning Meetings are ‘odd’ – I was used to times of reflection at my old school – but having those few moments to do a little bit of mindfulness is quite relaxing, especially in the current climate, where mental health is more important than ever. What do you think is the most important part about teaching music? Keeping it practical. Obviously the theory is important, but music is a practical subject and it’s a chance for people to be creative, so being able to allow students actually to make music is important. Like all the arts, music builds a person as a whole. Rather than just directing them down one direct route, it opens up so many different options and pathways. You mentioned clubs and societies earlier. Are you enjoying being involved with things such as the Christmas production? Yes, the production is such an interesting concept. Again, being able to jump straight in has been really enjoyable, because musical theatre is one of my passions, and especially when so many schools and groups are unable to do things like this at the moment. How has COVID-19 impacted on music in schools, but also across the world? I think now, more than ever, music is important: it’s a creative outlet for some; it allows other people to relax; it enables people to express their feelings; and can be used as a form of escapism. Especially during this time where, again, mental health is really important, and quite a big issue, the lack of access to music could be quite damaging for some people. I think it is still really important that people have that opportunity, even though it’s diminished in some ways. What would you most like to achieve at Ackworth? Firstly, to make it through this difficult time! But I also want to help to develop and build the music department here. I hope I can bring a new perspective and new ideas to focus on — I’d like to offer more opportunities, because, who knows, when we come out of this, there could be all sorts of avenues that we’re yet to explore.


Julie Hoar has worked at Ackworth School for an impressive 34 years. Here, her son, and Head Boy, Harry, interviews her for Ackworth Today. What did you do before working in Coram House? In 1987, I joined Ackworth School primarily as Head of Girls’ Physical Education in the Senior School but with regular teaching opportunities in Coram House, formally named ‘Ackworth Junior School’. I was also appointed to the role of Assistant House Mistress at Ackworth House, looking after approximately sixty girls aged between 14 and 16 years old, and this became my home for the next six years.

Did you do anything before becoming a teacher? After college, I took a gap year where I worked for the Ministry of Defence, waitressed at a local pub and worked as a nanny. I always had a particular interest in working with children and this, combined with my passion for all aspects of sport, would pave my way towards and through a gratifying and rewarding profession. What are the highlights of working with a range of different age groups? I feel privileged to see children improving their sporting abilities and progress through the years with more confidence. In recent years, I have been especially delighted to have had the opportunity to teach nursery children and I am pleased to have helped them form a well rounded foundation for life.

As a result of the Senior School PE department being restructured in September 2007, an opportunity arose to work permanently in Coram House to teach younger children.

I have thoroughly enjoyed organising sporting fixtures, which makes true talent and potential shine under performance conditions, and supporting those who have played for district and regional teams at a competitive level.

What attracted you to teaching at Ackworth School?

Do you still love teaching after 34 years of service?

It was mainly the fact that the school accommodates a multitude of different children from all four corners of the earth and I am thankful to the school for letting me meet so many interesting people. There is a strong sense of community in this beautiful setting and I was immediately made to feel part of the Ackworth family.

Absolutely! It keeps me young and up to date! As well as taking pride in helping children to achieve their sporting aspirations, there are always intriguing things to be learnt through the children themselves.

Interview with Julie Hoar by Harry, U6th (year 13) | 23

COMMUNITY AND TENNIS This term our Community Outreach Programme has been a challenge. With the rules required around social distancing, it has been more difficult for us to work with the local community directly. We therefore focused on how we could work for our local community, working on their behalf in Autumn 2020. We recently created the Ackworth School Community Voice – a group of community-focused individuals who develop and support the delivery of our outreach project in light of the ‘new normal’. At our first meeting we made plans for the following Autumn projects: Firstly, an Autumn Litter Pick: we ran a weekend activity for pupils and staff to rid our local village of rubbish. Secondly, as the Ackworth Senior Citizens were unable to host their Christmas Tea this year, we made and will present Christmas tree decorations to our local senior citizens, as an alternative way to make them smile. Thirdly, our marketing team recorded our Christmas Drama Production and shared this with our local primary schools and local community, so that they could share in our Christmas production experience virtually. Finally, our Primary Schools Community Committee met in October, with plans to create either a coordinated Christmas Carol across the primary schools or some Christmas signage for the village to be displayed on the Co-op roundabout. If you have not yet registered your interest in joining our Community Student Voice and would like to get involved, please see or e-mail Mrs Langfield. It is wonderful to be able to give something back to our community, whilst benefiting from the development of your own skills/experience. There are many things that make Ackworth School unique and our community, embedded in our core Quaker values, is certainly one of them.

24 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Alice Robson, Ackworth’s Tennis Coach has been named Development Coach of the Year, by the Lawn Tennis Association (Tennis For Britain). The award ceremony, which was due to take place during Wimbledon fortnight, was instead hosted by Ackworth School at our own socially distanced awards ceremony at the end of the summer. It was a hugely proud moment for us as we congratulated Alice for being awarded Development Coach of the Year for her exceptional contribution to grassroots tennis and passion for developing a successful tennis club in Ackworth. Equally, Don Saul, Club Chairman was recognised for his outstanding volunteering, by receiving the honourable Volunteer of the Year. Since Alice began coaching at the club, membership has increased by over 1,200%. Each week she coaches 80 club members and each year more than 2,000 school pupils from 17 primary schools receive free six week coaching courses. Congratulations both!



with a difference!

Coram House

Across the school, children painted pebbles and made wind chimes, using beads and clay to decorate our playground and create a space promoting contemplation and meditation. They carried symbols of peace, kindness and respect to illustrate our Quaker values.

Y1/2 Founders’ Day: Years 1 and 2 began the Founders’ Day with a Yoga session with Mrs Withington which included, breathing, mediation and different yoga postures. We then went down to Forest School where we sat around the fire, toasted marshmallows and reflected on the meaning of peace. The children later enjoyed climbing trees, getting muddy and building dens! Just before lunch, both classes competed in a ‘peace run’ where we ran two laps of Great Garden. After bangers and mash for lunch, the children relaxed whilst completing some mindfulness colouring, and created a collage of a dove. We discussed how the dove is a symbol of peace and ended our busy day by watching the assembly about the peace flame. | 25

Y5/6 Founders’ Day: Years 5 and 6 recreated photographs displayed in Centre Passage. We were able to locate the exact spot and worked to pose in the same manner to try and replicate the original image as closely as possible.

As part of Founders’ Day Coram House held its InterHouse Cross Country Peace Runs. It was a great day for running and even the heavy conditions of the cricket field couldn’t slow our children down!

Penalty Shootout

Winners in each years were: Reception: Henry


Year 1:



Year 2: Niall


Year 3: Ray


Year 4:



Year 5: Joel


Year 6: Harrison Isla On Founders’ Day I helped organise a penalty shootout game for charity in the Resource. I believe this was successful as everyone enjoyed taking part and had fun. It got everyone out in the fresh air doing some physical activities, it also gave some students who don’t often get to play football, an opportunity to be involved in the action. We gave the lower ability students cones closer to the goal to allow them to score and feel like winners – to feel as they have achieved. In the future I would like to arrange a 5-a-side game for the Resource to give students a sense of playing a real game of football and to help them understand the game more. I want as many lower ability students to get a chance and increase their knowledge of football as a game. Brendan, AR 26 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10


FOUNDERS’ DAY Senior School Nostalgia filled the air in school as the sound of the school hymn was heard, familiar voices delivering the readings, slightly out of sync as form groups gathered in form rooms at slightly different times watching a remote service, reminding us of the history and beginnings of Ackworth School. As with many things in 2020 we had to have a new normal: no gathering together in the Meeting House, no collective silence, instead our gatherings were small, discrete, each form spending time to remember and mark the day. The wonders of modern technology allowed this as the pre-recorded service, was streamed to rooms throughout the school. What would the founders of Ackworth School have thought? Those who have been at school a long time probably felt the difference most – one member of staff said, it ‘made her feel sad’, reminding her as memories pinged up on her phone of previous Founders’ Day events where we were able to go further afield, walking in new and

inspiring places, or visiting old and familiar friends walked before. We knew 2020 could not be the same. But, Ackworth found a way to do the day differently. We asked staff to explore themes of Peace, the Senses, Famous Walks or something connected to the history of the school; our staff did an amazing job and the pupils had a day to remember. Lunch was of course Bangers and Mash! Doing it differently allowed creativity to thrive as staff took the opportunity to think outside the box. There were many links to the past as pupils were taken around the grounds to see things which they probably pass everyday, but never notice; apples from trees which grew from those planted by the Founders were used to make apple crumbles and flapjacks; these are just two of the many wonderful experiences which will be shared through displays and social media. Thank you to the staff and pupils for making Founders’ Day 2020 a day we will remember. Lynda Barker, Deputy Head Academic (Acting) | 27

Literature Descriptive writing – a mountain walk The withered, winding, worm-like paths run down towards a glazed lake. Colours burst from every direction, overwhelming my eyes with amazement. The picturesque view with jagged mountains, stand tall, proud and undisturbed Peace. Annabel, 3rd form (year 9)


In the middle of nowhere, the crisp mountains poke through the perfectly green grass for miles and miles, peaking up at the sky. Under soft white umbrellas, they sit, wearing ice cold shawls. Surrounding the cluster of mountains is a rippling river, the sound relaxes all the people who hover over it in their little boats. The ground on either side is carpeted in pearly pebbles that knock together as passers-by leave their footprints behind. The wind whistles and flys over the endless green sea, where cotton balls meander. The landscape zig-zags and can’t decide where it wants to go. Emily, 5th form (year 11)

There in its blood-red spotlight, stands the leaf. Many would have to stop and stare at its overwhelming beautiful horridness. The leaf’s life is falling apart at the seams in front of my eyes before I could get a chance to save its wonder. It dances in the wind with its red beauty like a ballerina that has just committed a murder, ignoring the painful fact that the murder victim was itself. 28 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Olivia Hillas, 1P


Founders’ Day PE Challenge To replace the traditional year group walk on Founders’ Day, a PE Challenge was created instead for 2020. Each student in each year group had 30 minutes to walk and run as far as possible around a 400m course. Each lap completed was recorded with results being compared between year and house groups, and between boys and girls too. The best individual efforts were also highlighted from each year group. The results helped to show a collective distance that each group travelled to and from the school. The maps below show the collective efforts of different cohorts.

Total distances



To destination and back

All students




All Boys




All Girls




First form




Second form




Third form




Fourth form




Form groups

Student average (m)


2nd form boys



2nd form girls



1st form boys



3rd form boys



4th form boys



4th form girls



1st form girls



3rd form girls



Student average (m)


Second form


Third form



First form



Fourth form


All students together travelled to London and back



Student average (m)













Individual efforts 1st 2nd 3rd

All Boys together travelled to Newcastle and back



Yisa & Finn


Chloe, Anna & Natacha














First form running their laps

All girls travelled the distance to Scarborough and back | 29

CHARITY WEEK On Tuesday, Founders’ Day, the Upper Sixth used their PSHE lesson to all go for a walk together on the school site, in a traditional Founders’ Day activity, and their last one at the school. Wednesday saw the arrival of hotdogs. On Thursday the Auction took place in form groups through Teams, using our new technology. The highest single bid was for this amazing Bueno cake, generously donated by a parent who is a professional baker and won by the tutor group 6W. After being quarantined, it was eaten in tutor time!

Here is a record and a summary of the changes to Charity Week 2020, in a very different year: Sixth Form Entertainment postponed until February to give the potential for an audience, and no stocks until Upper Sixth leave for study leave. This spreads Charity Week across the year. • No Founders’ Day walk.

Friday: Doughnuts. Everybody’s favourite!

• Online live auction and bidding.

Congratulations to Jodie in Second Form who correctly guessed the name of Mrs Gordon’s baby – and to Mrs Gordon on the safe arrival of baby Seth!

• No bake sale: due to health and safety rules.

The Sixth Form worked so hard to ensure that events could go ahead safely this week – thank you so much to the Charity Committee and all the other volunteers – well done!

y 23rd October 2020

Monday 19th – Frida


ed with a disease Imagine being diagnos known cause, no so rare that there is no tion online, and no treatment, no informa These difficulties to. turn support group to developing many in are even greater s have been nations. 7,000 rare disease have a licensed 400 only but d identifie work to build patient treatment. Findacure and supporting those groups, connecting as well as promoting with the same illness, h, including rare disease researc treatments. repurposing existing

Within whatever you want! Today you can wear no pyjamas and reason… no fancy dress, please. nothing too revealing

Wednesday Break Dining Rooms



or you could have a You could have a biscuit, Dog! Go to your normal famous Ackworth Hot allocated time please. dining room at your

Wednesday Lunch


of money is raised Stop complaining! Lots offer soup; besides, when the school just hotdog! you’ll be full from your

Wednesday (and maybe Thursday) tutor time

s Admiral Nurses for Dementia UK - provide dementia. When families affected by or difficult, the things get challenging e the entire family, nurses work alongsid support, expert giving them one-to-one l solutions. The guidance and practica e and unique dementia expertis l Nurse brings is a experience an Admira lifeline.




rity Week

Ackworth School Cha


ces available to bid There are fantastic experien of Parties and hampers for. Expect Cakes, Pizza for 1st-3rd form, but you delicious food. £10 limit more for your money! can team up to get

Sports Centre


DOES MAKE A GENOROSITY – IT REALLY THANK YOU FOR YOUR T YOU. CAN’T DO IT WITHOU DIFFERENCE AND WE – so you need to give change this year your tutor. DON’T FORGET: we can’t the token system with use or change bring the correct



30 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

name you think she Come and choose the baby arrives. You don’t should use when the a great sweetie prize win the baby, but there’s name! if she uses your chosen

Thursday Break and Lunch The Terrace (hopefully dry!)


Friday Break Dining Rooms

At the end of the week, Need we say more? ss of a delicious enjoy the sugary goodne to your normal dining doughnut (or two). Go d time please. room at your allocate

•H otdogs and Donuts will take place, with Sixth Form serving in PPE, and year groups enter the dining rooms at their allotted time to keep bubbles separate.

Charity Week is something integral to Ackworth and something which I’d always looked forward to since my first year. Not only does it encompass the Quaker values that our school holds close to its core, but it’s also a wonderful end to a first half term which often feels so tiring. It’s because of this that the Charity Committee felt so passionately about being able to put on Charity Week, even in a hugely different form. Of course, it required much more planning than usual and also meant sacrificing events which we loved, to maintain the safety of our community, because our main aim had to be protecting the year group bubbles and therefore each other. But even with these sacrifices, symbolically just being able to organise an event like this shows the adaptability and creativity of our Committee members. Moreover, it was extremely important to us to raise money for charities we felt passionately about as through lockdown, due to the closing of large events and fundraisers, charities experienced striking reductions in the amount of money they received, and through lockdown we’d also seen the importance of community and helping others in times of difficulty, and this for us, is what charity week is all about. Maisie, U6th (year 13)


STAFF NEWS Karen Chadwick, Head of Learning Support from 2009 until her retirement in 2016 died in September. Her quirky sense of humour was enjoyed by staff and her students alike, but it was her students for whom she really cared. The individual attention and help she gave to each of her students went above and beyond that which was required of her. She was the inspiration behind the Toilet Twinning project in school and was a vocal advocate of Comic Relief, unafraid to challenge ideas and people in order to support projects to help others. Those who knew her will not be surprised that she wanted normal clothes, as colourful as possible to be worn at her funeral. She will be sadly missed by all with whom she came in contact.

When Gary Connelly left school to take up his first job at the age of 16, he had no idea what the future would hold for him. Having passed his City and Guild qualifications to become a professional decorator, Gary moved to his second employment but was soon approached by a teacher at Ackworth School advising Gary that the School was seeking to employ a full time decorator, and in 1985 therefore Gary’s love of Ackworth School began. Ackworth School has been a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge for Gary. Although some areas have been decorated multiple times over the years, Gary was proud to announce this summer that when decorating a room in the Art block that he had now finally painted every room in school! When asked if he was ready to start all over again, he was happy to respond with a resounding ‘Yes’. Gary admits that if he hadn’t enjoyed working at Ackworth he wouldn’t have stayed for 35 years. He feels very much a part of the Ackworth family, has made some good friends here and has always enjoyed the beautiful surroundings in which he works. Given that Gary has painted so many areas of the school, we asked him about his favourite and least favourite colours. He said that he hates painting white but he favours red generally, as this replicates the colours worn by his football team Barnsley. Well here’s to the next 35 years Gary!

Daisy Sophia Wiseman was born on August 22 at St James’ Hospital, Leeds, weighing 5.5lbs. Congratulations to both Dan and Sarah.

Heather Gordon gave birth to her baby boy, Seth Gordon Grieves, on 22 October at 9.46am weighing 8lb. Congratulations to both Heather and Kev. | 31


Remembering Ackworth Dorothy Robbins – 100 years old (OS 1933 - 1938) Ackworth School would like to wish a happy 100th birthday to Dorothy Robbins who celebrated on 14th November 2020. Dorothy is the granddaughter of our ninth Head of Ackworth, Frederick Andrews, who served as head for 43 years. From all of us at Ackworth School, Happy Birthday! Some time ago a large and heavy parcel arrived in the mail from the U.K. It turned out to be three copies of the 2018 issues of ‘Ackworth Today’ with a covering letter signed by Anton Maree, Head of School and Janet Blann, OS General Secretary. This explained the changes in the AOSA and the Annual Report as we have known it for many years. I have perused all of these issues with great interest, including the Old Scholar news which is quite sufficient for me at this stage of my life. I am fascinated by all the exciting happenings that are going on in the School today, so many things and all delightfully written, mostly by students. Any comparison between the School now and that of the 30s when I attended is purely coincidental, which has inspired me to write something of ‘our time’. I was born in Nova Scotia, the third daughter of Frank Walker and Gertrude Andrews, who was the youngest daughter of Frederick Andrews, Headmaster of Ackworth School for 42 years, 1887-1920. Because our mother had grown up in the School and had attended as a student along with her other three siblings … AND my father and his sisters had also gone there, Ackworth was a constant topic of conversation when we were growing up and it was a ‘given’ that all three daughters would go to Ackworth. As the youngest I was the last to attend, travelling of course by ship across the Atlantic and I spent five wonderful years at the School. In the Spring 2018 Issue of ‘Ackworth Today’ there is a story of the early days when John and Henry Burtt arrived at Ackworth in 1847. Well! I was there in the 1930s, not quite 100 years later, but to those reading this in 2020 our life in the School then will sound equally amazing. Outwardly the buildings are much the same with some new additions, but there are many changes on the inside and everything else is completely different, except for the Quaker ethos which shines through in so many writings from the Head right down to the younger students. There is indeed something special about Ackworth which continues over the years. 32 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

Eighty years ago there were two distinct schools, girls – in the west wing, boys – in the east and ‘seldom the two shall meet’. By 6th form, because of smaller classes, we did join up with the boys and even went over to their class rooms near the Great Garden! Mostly however, we watched the boys from our windows in the west wing…. but on weekdays relatives from both sides were allowed to walk together on the Terrace, I think it was at noon hour. To enable this togetherness there was a tendency to develop what we termed “Ackworth cousins” of which there were quite a few! On Sundays after Meeting you were also allowed to walk up and down the boys ‘green’ (which was asphalt) with a ‘special’ friend and this was very exciting! At this time we were all boarders, with only one or two day students, children of staff members and once the term began we were in the School and only allowed to go to certain places in the village when family or relatives came to visit. Founders’ Day always saw us (the girls anyway – I don’t know what the boys did!) off in charabancs (not buses as we would call them in Canada) to places in the moors – generally some historic spots like Fountains or Rievaulx Abbey, arriving back at school for the infamous bangers and mash. In the sixth form we did take a week or 10 day trip to the Continent but mostly to Holland or Belgium and it was very carefully controlled and only girls! Classrooms and common rooms were on the first and second floors in our wing, heated only by a grate fire so you either froze near the windows or burned up beside the fire! We spent what little free time we had, particularly on Saturdays, in the common rooms. That was when we could go to the tuck shops (only 2 of them) in the village, spend our allowance of 6d per week, then come back and ‘pig out’ on our goodies, cosied up by the fire!! Sleeping accommodation was mostly on the second floor of the girls’ wing in dormitories of anywhere from 4 to 16 or 18 girls. There was no heat, as I recall, and I particularly remember one year in one of the bigger


e s ! or ct n M u oo od g s pr in m co

dorms, pulling the floor mat beside my bed on top of me to try and counter the cold. I spent one year at Ackworth House about a 10 minute walk towards the village and this was a delight – with smaller rooms and a more family like atmosphere. There were two other houses, Seatons and Carr House which accommodated smaller groups of older students but I did not experience those. Field hockey was the main sport for girls and the boys were involved in cricket. We had some competition with other schools but seldom went very far. Tennis was popular, played on the girls’ green and up at flounders. Meeting for Worship was held twice a week in the Meeting House, half an hour on Thursdays and an hour on Sundays with every student in attendance. The big excitement of the week was a lecture or slide show by visiting speakers on Saturday evening in the Fothergill Hall. These were also times to get a better look at the boys also in attendance! In retrospect and in comparison to today’s freedom of choice and activity it sounds pretty awful but I loved my five years there and credit much of my success in future years to the influence of Ackworth and the Quaker background. It is still very dear to my heart and very much a part of me. After leaving Ackworth I chose to return to Canada and decided to pursue physical education as a career following in my mother’s footsteps. This eventually brought me back to Nova Scotia in the mid 1940s where l was involved in the initial development of physical education and recreation within the Province at a time, post WW2, when very little was happening. And so my career continued over many decades through all the phases of development in education to the sophisticated schools we now have. I am one of the few ‘pioneers’ of this era in Canada still living and reasonably active at 100 years young! In 1963 I received a Doctorate from Acadia University in Wolfville for my contribution to the Province and am now the ‘heritage item’ and source of information for physical education through the years in Nova Scotia! Dorothy Walker Robbins, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Connect with Old Scholars Head over to to join our fast-growing Alumni community! Never miss an event or a chance to win Old Scholar goodies!

Old Scholar merchandise Contact information

Old scholars Dušan Repčák and Viren Pandya have created a publication on Medium called ‘PR Business and Economics Review’. Both have published their first articles: Viren, about Carbon Tax, and Dušan about the European Emissions Trading System. ‘These are both topics about the environment that Viren and I think concern us all,’ said Dušan. Dušan

Viren | 33

Founders’ Day – Old Scholar Coffee & Cake Founders’ Day 2020 was unlike any other we have experienced here at Ackworth School. A day usually full of walking and exploring with all pupils, past and present. Having had our regular activities being either delayed or cancelled, Ackworth School invited the Old Scholar community to be part of our first online Coffee and Cake event in celebration of Founders’ Day 2020. Organised by your Old Scholar representative for Ackworth School, Rebecca Edgington, we were happy to introduce a couple of special guests and group chats. The online event was held via Zoom and was a success. Here are what some of the attendees thought of it:

‘Many thanks for organising that event; I thought it went very well. There was also a good mix of people in the group’ – David

‘It was fun to be part of the Founders Day celebration’ – Dorothy ‘Thank you for including me in the Zoom meeting. A very nostalgic hour. Good wishes to everyone. Hope you keep well and safe’ – Pam

Obituaries Mary Dunning, née Wetterstrand

She died peacefully at home on 5 July 2020, aged 93, leaving three children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Mary was born 1926 in Tonbridge. Her mother Hilda died in childbirth, so Mary was brought up by a Great Aunt in Saltburn, Yorks. In 1939-42 she was a boarder at Ackworth School to avoid the bombing of Middlesbrough area, but she remembered vividly a stray bomb that broke the dormitory windows at Ackworth. She worked for her father, Gustave, on his fruit farm, until starting nursing training at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Newcastle,1945-1948, when the benefits of the new Penicillin treatments were discovered. In the RVI she met a young doctor, Derek Bryant, and married in 1949.

John Parkinson

They had two children, Pamela and Peter, and got divorced in 1960. Mary continued to work in nursing, also after her second marriage to John Dunning, also an Ackworth old scholar, in 1961, and moved south to Hertfordshire. Here she was active in the local Operatic Society, joined AOSA activities in London, and also worked with drug addicts. Jonathan was born in 1964. In 1982 she divorced and later took early retirement from District nursing, moving to Portsmouth with her partner in 1986. Mary was active in Portsmouth Cathedral congregation and also guided visitors round the warship “Warrior” in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. Mary travelled to various countries, especially to Switzerland to visit family, and twice to New Zealand. She was a keen reader and enjoyed knitting and sewing until her eyesight worsened, and was a regular swimmer. 34 | AUTUMN 2020, ISSUE 10

John Parkinson (scholar 1945-1951) was born in Scarborough in 1934 and was orphaned in his late teens. After national service as a conscientious objector at the Retreat Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases in York with the support of his older sister Janet he qualified as a solicitor. John met his wife Civil at the Retreat and together they raised a family of four children. John returned to Scarborough in 1964 and built a successful law career in Scarborough including being president of the Scarborough Law Society. John used his talents as a solicitor to good effect in Scarborough. John did not advertise his good works but from other sources it is clear that he did a great deal for individuals and for many of Scarborough’s charitable institutions. Among the beneficiaries of his talents was his help in the relocation and building of Scarborough Friends Meeting House. Outside his professional activities John’s interests were in family history and he was a keen supporter of Derby County football club and Scarborough and Yorkshire cricket clubs. Civil died in 2005 and in 2014 John made the difficult decision to move from Scarborough to be near family at Harpenden in Hertfordshire where he died on 19th April 2020. In Scarborough John lived out the Ackworth School motto “Non sibi sed omnibus” (Not for self but for everyone).



A beautiful first day of term and a big welcome back to all our pupils, teachers, and staff who contribute everyday to making this school what it is.

Night time at Ackworth School | 35

Pontefract Road, Ackworth, Pontefract, Wakefield, WF7 7LT Tel: +44 (0)1977 233600 Email: