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news & views from bablake school issue 50 autumn 2009

In this issue Pullman power! 02 News shorts 03 Future leaders 04 Jean genie 05 DNA 06 Bablake Arts 07 La belle France 08 Bablake Music 09 D of E 10 High flyers 11 A day in the life 12 Bablake Sport 13

Shell Olympians The first Saturday of this academic year saw the School Field and Terrace flooded with new Shell Formers, all of whom were ready and willing to give their all for their Houses. For once the weather was also on our side and we were bathed in sunshine for the entire morning. Forty enthusiastic House prefects ensured the smooth running of the events from welly-wanging and fancy dress obstacle courses, to hockey dribbling, netball shooting and penalty shoot-outs. The Shells threw themselves into every event, really entering into the spirit of the House Activity Morning. In terms of competition, it was extremely close with only five points separating all four Houses in the end. Eventually, after all the excitement, Mr Watson revealed Wheatley to be the winner, much to the delight of its recently appointed House Head, Mr Shelley. More photos of the day inside...


and there’s more...

Pullman power! On 20 June, Mrs Barnacle and three eager pupils set off for an afternoon in the very civilised setting of Exeter College, Oxford, where they were treated to a seminar with Philip Pullman, a tour of the college and afternoon tea at the Rector’s lodge. The event had been organised for pupils gifted in Creative Writing to hear well known and prolific writer Philip Pullman talk about his work and the role of Exeter College (his alma mater) in his development as a writer. Students and teachers from as far away as Devon packed the oak panelled lecture hall, and we were lucky to find seats! Philip Pullman spoke with warmth, humour and generosity about his time at Exeter, his influences, and his work. He is a natural storyteller and had the audience rapt with attention as he recounted events from his time as a teacher and as a (surprisingly) underachieving student at Exeter. He has, however, made up for it since by winning several prizes for his novels. His key message was to find the thing that only you can do… and to do it – a message that our aspiring writers took to heart. The tour around the college was also enjoyable, despite the rain, and the view from the Fellow’s garden was striking. Everyone was impressed by Philip Pullman’s willingness to sign books and to speak to those who approached him during tea. All three of our pupils had a brief word with him, as well as a photograph taken. It was a day to remember for all involved!


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Thanks for the memories

shorts Key Skills Day

During the last academic year, over 1700 pupils from more than 60 schools in England, Scotland and Wales battled it out in regional finals for one of the 100 places in the UK Schools Memory Championship Final held in Northampton on Tuesday 7 July. Eva Ball, Beth Evans and Tom Calderbank all achieved a place in the final. Unfortunately, Beth was unable to compete due to holiday commitments but Eva and Tom both represented Bablake. After five different disciplines, including recalling a sequence of numbers, random words, historic dates and binary numbers, Tom emerged joint tenth and Eva won the entire competition convincingly with 900 points. As UK Schools Champion, Eva received a magnificent trophy and a laptop as well as £1500 worth of Mind Mapping software for Bablake. Eva also gained automatic entry into the UK Open Memory Championship, which took place on the 15th and 16th of August in London. During this event, Eva competed against champions from many different countries and against the current World Memory Champion, Ben Pridmore. In this competition, Eva was awarded one Gold and two Silver medals and she can now look forward to participating in the World Memory Championships in November. We congratulate both Tom and Eva and wish Eva luck in the forthcoming competition.

A bumper crop of Fourth Years packed the Hall and Rehearsal Room to attend the sixth ‘Key Skills’ day at the end of last term. All staff and business volunteers were very positive about the programme and the feedback from pupils was excellent. Two outside volunteers from the world of industry were used as seminar leaders and both gave our pupils a real insight into the world of work. The objective ‘to bring business to life’ was very much in evidence through activities that promoted time management, co-operation, communication and common sense! As usual, the cream egg and rollercoaster challenges were the most popular and several pupils commented on how much they enjoyed these activities. “I really enjoyed making the rollercoaster at the end; it taught me a lot about team work.” “I enjoyed this day and I loved the interactive aspect. The staff were very friendly and treated us like colleagues. The use of time limits was good as it gave me an idea of what deadlines are all about” At the beginning of the day most pupils were unsure of why enterprise was important in business and also of what key skills they already possessed or needed to work on. By the end, their questions had been answered and a high degree of satisfaction was seen in the post-programme feedback. “I totally loved it; the super programme helped loads. I loved the whole day.”

Top of the Form Congratulations to former pupils, Jamie Stefaniak and Sophie Devall who have ended their first year at university ahead of all their peers. Jamie, who is studying at Downing College, Cambridge was the top medic at the end of his first year examinations. He follows in the footsteps of another Bablake pupil, Anna Seeley, who achieved this feat in 2007 and is to be congratulated on a starred first at Cambridge. In turn, Sophie was commended for leading the cohort of geographers at Birmingham. As we are celebrating these academic achievements, we should also record that Rebecca Lane ended her first year at Oxford with a Physics prize.



Twenty five pupils who applied for membership to IGGY ( The International Gateway for Gifted Youth) have been accepted over the last academic year. We congratulate them on this achievement. IGGY, based at Warwick University, is a new organisation aimed at the brightest and most creative young people from around the world. Members become part of a global community that will give them increasing access to a wide range of opportunities unavailable anywhere else. With opportunities designed for the top 5% of young people in terms of ability and potential, IGGY will offer members access to an increasingly diverse range of projects, challenges and learning opportunities that are engaging, stimulating and provide genuine opportunities for international engagement and collaboration. IGGY will provide opportunities for individual endeavour, international teamwork and collaboration, competition, expertise and input from leading professional, academic and creative experts. Please visit: study/iggy for more details.

Well done Congratulations to Bhavika Raichura (3Y) for returning from the Dance Grand Prix Italia Competition 2009 with two trophies. Her dance school won one trophy for Best Street Dance and one for the Judges’ Favourite Act. Congratulations also go to Uma Venkata Raman (U6LJR), Nayantara Sriram (5R) and Anjana Marimuthu (5H) on being selected to attend the Centre for Advanced Training for South Asian and Contemporary Dance. Congratulations to Nicola McIntyre (5H), who won two Bronze Trophies and two medals at the European Championships for Tang Soo Do (a Korean martial art). Twelve countries took part and Nicola came third in the Sparring and Weapons sections. bablake school



Arkwright Scholar’s success by design

Future leaders During the last two weeks of August, seven Bablake pupils took part in a two week enterprise course.

The Future Leaders programme was run by the company Progressive Educational Tools. Over two weeks, pupils were given the chance to develop skills such as leadership and problem solving. Some of the challenges included fundraising and organising an event at the Herbert Art Gallery. Everyone who took part really enjoyed the course, and not only did they gain an insight into the world of business but they also gained a qualification. According to the pupils, it was well worth the time and effort and they would really recommend taking part in a similar course if given the chance.

Academic accolades Bablake pupils again had cause to celebrate their public examination results. Our largest cohort yet of A level pupils (66 girls and 65 boys) were justifiably proud of their successes; most have proceeded to the university of their choice, including eight to Oxford or Cambridge, and some have embarked on GAP year projects. Whilst the proportion of A and B grades (80%) was very similar to last year, a new record was broken, with almost 96% of grades at A – C. At GCSE, there were many excellent individual performances and the vast majority of pupils found themselves well equipped for the next stage of their education.


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Congratulations to Luke Briggs on his award of a prestigious Arkwright Scholarship for Sixth Form study. Arkwright Scholars pass a rigorous selection process and act as ambassadors of flourishing Design Technology in their schools. Scholarships are supported by industry, charitable trusts, the services, institutions, associations and personal donors. Scholars are actively encouraged to develop the partnership with their sponsor which can result in work experience, specialist support for their AS/A2 Design Technology projects and even sponsorship through university.


Write up our street... At the end of the Summer term, the renowned children’s author, Caroline Lawrence, visited us to sign books and give a talk to pupils from the Senior and Junior Schools about her work.

Funky knits Last term we made ‘funky bags’ and many of the girls continued the theme and went on to make purses and mobile phone covers. We are currently making fingerless gloves and tiny hats for the Innocent Smoothie Company to help to raise money for Help the Aged. If anyone else would like to come along and join in the fun see Mrs Davey.

Caroline has recently published the seventeenth and final instalment of her Roman Mysteries series, much of which has been dramatised by the BBC. On arrival, Caroline was whisked off to the library, and was soon inundated by eager pupils, some of whom had brought along their own copies of her novels, whilst others pondered over the difficult choice of which books to buy. After a brief break for lunch, pupils from Year 4 to the Shells assembled in the Hall to hear Caroline give a very entertaining talk about her work. Writing a blockbuster seemed within everyone’s reach, with her talk focussing on the seven tips to writing a best-selling novel, although perhaps the most memorable part of the talk for many would have been discovering what the Romans used sponges for!

Jean genie Each year at Bablake we are fortunate to have a competition run by the well-known jeans manufacturer, Lee Cooper. One of our parents, Mr. Clive Hushon, helps to judge the competition and arranges for the winner to have the design made up to order. This creates great excitement amongst the GCSE pupils in Textiles who are all vying to win this prestigious prize. This year the lucky winner was Sophie Carlson in 5A. Mr. Hushon was so impressed with all her designs that he said any one of them could have been a winner! Have we got a famous designer of the future in Sophie? She can be seen above in her winning outfit, together with Mr. Hushon.

Former Bablake pupil, Anthony Wells (1955-1962), has just had his novel Black Gold Finale published by the Dorrance Publishing Company Inc. The book can be purchased as a hard copy or downloaded electronically via the website http://dorrance.stores.

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Edinburgh 09 The trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year was a great success for many different reasons. The group of 20 Lower and Upper Sixth Formers worked really hard in the Summer Term, as well as in the Summer holiday, to get the production ready for the end of August. Rehearsal times were met, lines were learnt and characters were developed and shaped. It really was a group effort that pulled together. The play, DNA by Dennis Kelly, was well received by our audiences; it is always a worry performing a play that is not well known, but its themes and structure made it a perfect piece for a festival like Edinburgh. Audience numbers were good, and Three Weeks gave us some very promising comments: ‘Bablake School really does restore faith in student acting’; ‘a stunning performance from Sam Rowe, and some others are promising of luminous careers.’ We saw a wide range of top quality theatre and comedy: probably the theatrical highlight was a gripping performance about the Iraq conflict called Palace of the End; but it is too difficult to say which was the best night of comedy. Jason Byrne was a big hit again, not just because, with the help of his beautiful assistant Danny Lightfoot, he sawed James Lambert in half (without a health and safety risk assessment), and Frank Skinner was very popular, to some extent because John Haidar spent a long time on stage with him as a representative of ‘the intelligent youth’ of today. We did a fair share of off-duty celeb. spotting too, Tom Brown getting to grips with Lionel Blair in the Pleasance Courtyard, the pupils recognising Nicholas Parsons, but thinking that he was most famous for Antiques Roadshow, as well as definite and repeated sightings of Stephen Amos, Lorraine Chase, Justin Moorhouse and many others. It was also good to see so many former pupils, some performing their own plays at the Festival, others just coming along to see us.


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'...a stunning performance from Sam Rowe, and some others are promising of luminous careers'

We would also like to thank the Parents’ Association for their generous assistance, which enabled us to buy our corporate DNA polo shirts, which presented a strong image when giving out flyers to prospective audiences. It was a really positive and enjoyable week, and already we are looking ahead to Summer 2010!

(A longer version about Edinburgh will be in this year’s Wheatleyan) Rehearsals are pressing on with The Taming of the Shrew performance, which is part of this year’s Shakespeare Schools’ Festival. The enthusiastic young cast have already had a workshop at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham, in preparation for their main performance there on Wednesday 14 October. It is hoped to present the play at school when a suitable date can be found. The main school production A Servant to Two Masters will be performed in the week beginning Monday 7 December. Parents will receive a letter with further details and prices at a later date.


artsnotes The Mikado in the township

This year, Bablake helped fund a drama enterprise in South Africa at a black township school where theatre as we understand it is completely unknown. The enterprise in question was to produce a fiftyminute version of The Mikado in two weeks! Led by our very own Ian Appleby, former Head Bablake 2002 of English at Bablake, the team set to work. Ian had all the necessary expertise, having staged the musical at Bablake in 2002. Despite certain difficulties, a show was put together for two highly successful and wonderfully well received performances. Encores were demanded and tears shed by some in the audience who had been so moved by the astonishing achievement of the young people in the cast. According to Ian Appleby, the feat of trying to stage this production was like ‘climbing a hill of jelly’! Nevertheless, all ended successfully and Ian believes that the show made an impact not only on those involved but on the school as a whole and on the local community, and even helped to build bridges between the white and black communities.

Harrismith School, Intabazwe 2009

Comedy on our doorstep

Book your tickets for the new British Comedy Nativity, due to be released on Friday 4 December. Directed by Debbie Isitt, the film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival 2009. The story tells of two rival primary schools, each desperate to produce the best nativity play, and stars Martin Freeman (The Office), Ashley Jensen (Extras) and Alan Carr. It was filmed partially on location at Bablake during the summer holidays 2008, so look out for some familiar sights!

Chorale at Leamington Spa Festival

On Friday 19 June 26 members of Bablake Chorale participated in the Schools section of the Leamington Spa Festival at Holy Trinity Church in Leamington. The choir had prepared two pieces, one liturgical Grace be unto You by Allan Bullard, the other a three-part version of Paul Simon’s famous hit tune The Sound of Silence. They gave a spirited and musical rendition of both these pieces, receiving some very favourable comments from the adjudicator. Although they did not win the shield, they received a distinction certificate for an excellent performance both technically and artistically. Such comments as poignant and expressive, scintillating dynamic contrasts, beautifully blended and poised singing meant that the choir could be justifiably proud of their efforts. My thanks in particular to two former members, Millie Ross and Sophie Tumber, who helped swell the ranks of the altos as the Second Year Fousseau trip meant several pupils were away for the competition. Next year is the centenary of the Leamington Festival so it should attract more entries and an even higher standard. I am sure the Chorale will rise to the challenge!

her own work and influences. We also held our annual endof-year art exhibition which was very well attended, and celebrated the high standard and variety of work produced by our exam groups at both GCSE and A level. The new art technician Miss J Price had her work selected to be part of an exhibition of contemporary design work during London Fashion Week at Somerset House in September. Her work utilises digitally printed fabrics which she designs and then upholsters onto vintage and antique furniture. Miss Price combines her work at Bablake with her continuing design practice and is available for commissions. Further examples of her work can be seen on her web site

Making an exhibition of ourselves

The Art Department had a busy summer term with visits, artist workshops and exhibitions of pupils’ work. A group of Third Years visited the National Portrait Gallery to see the BP Portrait Award Exhibition and a group of Fourth Years visited Kew Gardens in London. These visits act as visual starting points for GCSE projects which will be undertaken this year. A level pupils had the opportunity to work with the artist Nancy Upshall, who is a well known local painter and printmaker. Nancy, who also teaches classes part-time at Warwick University, led a two day print workshop, which demonstrated a range of techniques, as well as taking time to talk about

Bablake artists in world’s biggest storybook Bablake is delighted that so many of its current and former Art pupils have contributed to the Jumbo Coventry Storybook, one of the largest storybooks ever created. Recently unveiled to the public in Coventry’s Lower Precinct, the book contains over 300 stories written by school children in the Coventry area and a vast number of the illustrations for this gigantic tome were provided by our pupils. Congratulations to Coventry based design team, Kraken Creative, who worked alongside CV One to make this huge celebration of creativity in Coventry a reality. bablake school



La belle France (Some reminiscences of recent Bablake trips to France) Shell French Trip 2009

On the night of Thursday the 25th June a group of excited Shell pupils bundled onto a coach bound for France. Travelling via the Eurotunnel we journeyed to the French town of Etaples in the Pas de Calais. We stopped at the nearby Commonwealth War Cemetery. Just looking at the masses of well-tended white grave stones could bring tears to your eyes. In silence the name books were brought out and everyone picked a special name on whose grave they would lay their own remembrance cross. Before leaving, crosses were laid down on two former Bablake pupils’ graves and a two minute silence was kept. Everyone seemed much quieter as the bus was re-boarded. However, everyone soon perked up again as we stopped off for breakfast. We then went round a French market to buy souvenirs and sweets. After the market we made our way to the most eagerly awaited event of the day, Aqualud, the water theme park at Le Touquet. With seemingly endless time to splash around the pool with its wave machine and currents, everyone came back laughing and smiling. We then made a quick trip to a small chocolate factory with very tasty samples. Finally we dined on an authentic selection of meats and cheeses presented on a platter in a restaurant with a water mill. Following a good night’s sleep the fun began all over again! We went to Boulogne to visit a sea life centre, which went down a treat. With anything from jumping shrimps to stingray touch tanks, there was no lack of things to do. Afterwards we went to the beach for our packed lunch and fun and games (which resulted in sandy fingers and toes!). In Boulogne Old Town we walked the ramparts and had fun doing the exercises on the trim track before walking up the main street to buy ice creams, drinks and souvenirs. On the last day came the most anticipated event of the entire trip – the famous French theme park, Bagatelle! With endless water rapids, roller coasters and even a crazy golf course, the teachers were surprised to find that all the pupils returned to the coach! Special thanks go to Mr and Mrs Timothy and all the other staff who helped to make this trip a joyful and memorable time for everyone.

The Normandy French Trip 2009

Having left school at nine o’clock in the morning, we reached our destination just after ten o’clock in the evening. At our destination all that was left to do was to find our dorms and drink some chocolat chaud. On day two, we went to the local marché and were encouraged to haggle. One of our number managed to slash something to 25% of its original price – an excellent achievement! After the market, there was a trip to a chèvrerie. We went for a walk around the farm and had a talk in French about goats and reasons a farmer chooses to buy goats instead of cows. Then we went to see the goats, some of the cutest animals you could imagine. There was a dwarf goat


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'On the last day came the most anticipated event of the entire trip – the famous French theme park, Bagatelle!' which we were able to hold and everyone got to brush them. Some people got to milk the goats and drink straight from the udder. Goat milking is more fun than you would imagine! Days three and four were equally full of activity. Day three was taken up climbing and playing aeroball (a cross between trampolining and basketball), which was great fun. Climbing was something everyone seemed to enjoy and some even said it was the best bit of the holiday. The fourth day, which included bread making and orienteering, was spent at “Le Château”. During the bread making we were encouraged to make funky designs and came out with mushrooms, plaits and hands. The bread was heartily eaten and tasted délicieux. That evening a crêperie opened its doors to us and we were served both a galette and a crêpe. The final full day was spent at Arromanches, one of the World War Two D-day landing beaches. The 360 degree cinema and museum were very impressive and we followed this with a visit to a war cemetery. The trip was well worth doing and the confidence we gained in French was invaluable. A big thank you to Mme. Field for organising the trip and also to Mr. and Mrs. Timothy for giving their time to accompany us.

Disneyland Paris

After an exhausting and stressful GCSE examination period, 33 fun-loving Fifth Formers accompanied by four overexcited teachers set out for Disneyland Paris late one evening in July. Arriving the next day in Paris, the group found itself involved in an impressive military parade on the Champs Elysées to celebrate Bastille Day. Not a group to be overly impressed, it was decided that we head to the shops instead in the scorching Parisian sunshine. Then followed two days camped out in Disneyland where every ride that could be ridden was, every Disney character that could be hugged was hugged, every scream was extra loud and every shop that could be shopped in was visited. The result was a very happy group of Bablake pupils wearing an assortment of fluffy ears, faces plastered in face paint and carrier bags stuffed with cuddly toys, not to mention the vast range of sweets, food and ice creams consumed at every possible moment. The coach returned to Bablake four days later, full of tired and exhausted pupils but this time due to fun and enjoyment. Finally, everyone dispersed to enjoy a welldeserved summer break.

City sounds Having toured many of Europe and America’s great cities, this year Bablake musicians took a trip to London, to see how our own capital compared. Our musical experiences began in the arena of the Royal Albert Hall, where our group of promenaders heard the UK premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Con Brio as well as performances of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.3 and Bruckner’s Symphony No.3 by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra. After a successful rehearsal the following morning, we visited both the Foundling Hospital, of which Handel was a governor and benefactor and, continuing with the Handel theme, the composer’s house. The following day began with a musical theatre workshop based on Les Misérables, with the opportunity to meet and ask questions of some of the leading West End performers. The rest of the day was spent shopping and sightseeing in the Covent Garden area, before assembling again to see an eagerly anticipated performance of Les Misérables. All agreed that the show was fantastic, although some of the group succumbed to emotion and tears – a credit, no doubt, to the powerful theatrical presentation of Victor Hugo’s great novel. The next day was our chance to entertain, and thankfully for our first concert in the open air at the Victoria Embankment Gardens, the weather stayed fine. As well as group instrumental and choral items, there were solos from Josh and Aron Sood, Chris Starkey, Hannah Barfield, Leah Judge, Emma Gallagher, Sarah Barnard, Clare Samson, Louis Osbourne and Emily Chomitzki. We were also very pleased to see that Mr. Watson was in the audience. The day was rounded off with an evening spin on the London Eye, affording magnificent views of London and (rather entertaining) group photos! The splendid setting of maritime Greenwich was the site of our second concert venue, and following a coach tour of some iconic London sites, we performed at the historic St. Alfege’s Church, with solos by Matt and Sam Lewis and Nadine Minty. The penultimate day drew to a close with a lengthy walk through the city to our hotel. The return journey by coach served as an ideal opportunity to stage the annual “Bernie Awards”. Thanks must go to Mrs. Mohammed, and her daughter Rachel for their company and to Mr. Sutton for organising a fantastic tour. We wish him a very happy retirement. bablake school



DofE D of E Gold

The staff called the weather ‘character building’ but D of E Gold pupils were not convinced. In their eyes, it was just typical Welsh weather as they embarked on the practice and assessed expeditions in the Brecon Beacons in the pouring rain. The Lower Sixth were spending a week carrying out a series of unaccompanied day walks in and around the Black Mountains. Despite staying at the same campsite each evening, the pupils were not impressed that they had to carry all their kit every day. The groups did very well and completed their chosen routes without too many difficulties. On the second day, the pupils climbed up Pen Y Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales and at the top were met by cheery staff in the fog and pouring rain. Several groups opted for the wet weather route at this point, which cut their original 14 mile route down to a mere 9 miles. However, one group and the staff carried on, determined to complete the route, no matter what the weather. On the third day, with the rain still coming down, the groups ‘enjoyed’ a long walk to the National Show Caves in Glwntawe. Soaked to the skin, the groups looked forward to being driven back to the campsite for a well deserved hot shower and meal. Radha Sehgal celebrated her 17th birthday on the expedition, and a birthday cake provided by the rest of her group was a welcome treat.


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Some memories from the summer’s Duke of Edinburgh Gold and Silver Award programmes in Wales. At the same time, six Upper Sixth groups were carrying out their assessed expedition. After meeting the external assessor they began their fifty-mile hike in the rain. Staff met up with them on a daily basis to check on their progress. One group unfortunately had to pull out on the second day due to injury, and was taken back to base camp by the staff. Group two, which consisted of Charlotte Smith, Emily Payne, Vicky Jones and Vicky Martin got very lost on Thursday afternoon, and, having walked up and down a mountain for three hours without really being sure of their location, decided to call for help. The staff waited anxiously at the control area, whilst the mountain rescue team, consisting of 30 men, search dogs and police made their way up the hillside to find them. An RAF Sea King helicopter was called out and located the lost girls. They all enjoyed being air lifted to safety and even managed to pose for photos in the helicopter. Well done to all assessed groups who passed their expedition. These pupils can now look forward to completing their Gold Award and receiving their certificate and badge from Prince Philip at St. James’ Palace in the future.

'The groups did very well and completed their chosen routes without too many difficulties' D of E Silver

After the panic of GCSE exams had subsided, fifty Fifth Form pupils undertook their Silver D of E assessed expedition in Bala, North Wales. They arrived in Bala to sunshine, and all of the tents bar one were erected in the glorious weather. The sunshine continued for the majority of the expedition with the odd outbreak of rain. The pupils did extremely well as the hot weather made heavy back packs seem even heavier. One group was joined by a little dog that followed them over six miles to the campsite. We’re glad to report that the young puppy was returned by minibus to its grateful owners. One or two groups missed some of the walking on the final day but were caught by Mr Hyde and quite rightly made to do it again! All in all, it was a very successful expedition. All of the pupils passed and they are now eager to continue on to Gold award.


Bablake’s high flyers During the summer, RAF cadets took part in a joint summer camp at RAF Wittering with cadets from other schools around the country.

The days were long, starting at 5.30am and often finishing at 11pm, but they were action packed and varied. A full day was spent at the airshow at RAF Waddington as well as flying at RAF Wyton later in the week. Wittering is the home of 20 Squadron, who fly Harriers, so the cadets were able to visit all the parts of the base supporting this, including air traffic control, fire fighting, engine repair and maintenance, parachute and survival training. The base is also home to the RAF Regiment so the cadets were able to look at the work of the bomb disposal unit and try their hand at operating robotic devices and tracked vehicles. The 25m range was put to good use with cadets practising their shooting skills, still leaving time to take part in night exercises, off road cycling and ten pin bowling. The week culminated in a competition between various sections and a drill inspection by the fearsome Station Warrant Officer, Mr Poulter. Many friendships were made and all the cadets found it a highly rewarding experience. Later in the summer holidays J/Cpl Rees Herrod took part in the Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell. This is a week long residential competitive course and he was delighted to pass with a Merit award. In addition to this, Cadet Sophie Carlson spent an exciting week with the American airforce at RAF Ramstein in Germany. We also said goodbye to Andrew Pyatt, who has gone to Welbeck college to further his studies and military career.

Battlefield visit to France and Belgium Before dawn on 28 August, 80 of this year’s Fifth Year pupils and ten staff went on a three day mission to analyse the battlefields on the Western Front of the Great War. Commanding coach one was Captain Grantham, ably assisted by Sergeant-Majors Alexander, Young, Mohamed and Kimber. Commanding coach two was Captain Skilton. Maintaining order amongst the ranks were Sergeant-Majors West, Blattner, Enstone and Burden. We went on a three day sortie. Having arrived at Calais, we quickly overran the meagre resistance offered by the local authorities and continued our progress towards Allied lines. During our deployment we explored trenches, the last remnants of a system of fortifications that stretched from the North Sea to Switzerland, we examined artefacts and visited museums and cemeteries. This was the ninth year that the Battlefields trip has been offered to our GCSE History pupils and once again they upheld the character of our School. We sustained no casualties. No one went A.W.O.L. and a good as well as moving time was had by all. Our campaign, unlike World War One, was over well before Christmas, as promised, and we returned to Blighty on Sunday 30th August. Unlike Field Marshall Haig’s troops from World War One, we fortunately all made it back fighting fit.

Ellie conquers Kilimanjaro

Congratulations to former pupil, Ellie Donaldson, who has just conquered Mount Kilimanjaro. She has raised over £2200 for ChildReach International. See www.justgiving. com/elliedonaldson for more news. bablake school



A day in the life Upper Sixth pupil, James Vallance, spent a week during the summer holidays shadowing junior doctors at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire. Here he talks of his visit.

I shadowed Dr Saleh, a Foundation Year One Doctor to Consultant General Surgeon Mr Lam. Dr Saleh and Mr Lam’s team was very friendly and supportive and keen to teach me, for example, about the common cases appendicitis and hernias. A typical day as an F1 doctor consisted of: 08:00 Ward round – review of post-operative patients in the wards and intensive care unit 11:00 Quick meeting with junior doctors to discuss patients, for example the organisation of scans and tests 11:10 Respond to ‘bleeps’ – blood tests, intravenous fluids and cannulations 13:00 Short lunch (hoping not to be distracted by pager) 13:30 Fill in forms to send patients home and perform more tests 15:30 Assist in operations or attend multidisciplinary meeting (to discuss complex cases) 17:30 Finish I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak to patients about their conditions and I noticed how keen the patients were to talk. I discovered that one patient was ‘anti-warfarin’ as he has seen the effects it has on rats – their stomachs explode! Warfarin is given to humans in a much lower dose in order to thin the blood, so this does not happen, but it was still interesting to see how opinions can be influenced. The most important thing I learnt was how grateful patients appeared to be. The face of one patient lit up simply after being told she could drink tea again! It was also very satisfying to see patients you recognised from the wards on their way home once fully recovered.

Being Strong

Paula Strong (5B) was kept busy with her horse ‘Midnight Express’ aka ‘Poppy’ over the summer holidays, competing in many shows. She has regularly been placed in competitions and also recently qualified for ‘Trailblazers’ and the National Dressage Championships at Arena UK in Grantham. We wish her well.


the lion Autumn 2009

Charity choices Thankfully the credit crunch does not appear to have affected the charitable spirit at Bablake. We have had an excellent year and have raised money or sent items to 24 different charities. We have supported several former pupils, three marathon runners and Miss Blobby and her team taking part in the Race for Life. We have thrown sponges, worn bandanas and red noses while singing, dancing, swimming and skipping. We have sold cakes, poppies, books, CDs and videos and even managed to stay silent and awake! We have sent computers to the Ethio school in Ethiopia, Christmas presents to Eastern Europe, given equipment, toys and games to Walsgrave Hospital Oncology Department and bags of clothes to Cancer Research. All in all a brilliant year. Thank you all very much for your generosity and thoughtfulness. The grand total for the year was £16,207. The new school year got off to a very good start when we supported Macmillan on Friday 25 September. 5H sold “Krispy Kreme” doughnuts during break and made £82. The Sixth Form held a Coffee and Cake Morning, complete with chocolate fountain, and raised £76. Staff also enjoyed a Coffee and Cake Morning and held a raffle raising £330, and 3C held a “Guess the number of coffee beans in the jar” competition. Final totals were still unknown as we went to press.


Fun and games in the Windies Girls’ hockey and netball tour – Trinidad and St Lucia 2009 What better place to test the skills of the Bablake girls’ teams than the beautiful islands of the Caribbean? Escaping England in the early hours of the last day of term, three staff and fifteen pupils embarked on the trip of a lifetime. Our first stop, Trinidad, proved slow to get into due to swine flu checks, but once settled in our hotel the girls soon took advantage of the hotel pool. Massive thunder storms made us wonder if we had come to the right place, but these soon gave way to wonderful sunshine. Tourists are not abundant in Trinidad, so the girls caused quite a stir when out and about, bringing traffic to a virtual stand still on a casual jaunt to the supermarket prior to their first match. Trinidad has just one astro hockey pitch which it calls its national training centre. We were guests there for all our hockey matches and it soon began to feel like our home venue. The decision to play quarters

rather than halves was a wise one as it was evident that our girls would not manage half a match without a rest, as acclimatising to the extreme heat and humidity was an ordeal. Each match was played in excellent spirit with the Bablake girls fighting against strong opposition consisting of national development squad players. They won one of their four matches, enjoyed excellent hospitality throughout and on one occasion walked out onto the pitch to the sound of the our national anthem being played on steel drums. The pool back at the hotel was just the place for the girls to unwind and cool off after the intense heat each day, but the promise of watching turtles laying eggs on a moonlit beach was enough to entice even the weariest out for the night. It was one of the highlights of the tour and an experience that will stay with us forever. A karaoke night with girls from an opposing team and an amazing experience learning to play steel drums and limbo dancing will also be remembered fondly. When in a more demure mood, we were given a guided tour of the Queen’s Park cricket ground and were guests of the president in the members’ bar. For our second week we transferred to the tourist island of St Lucia. Being told by guards at passport control that they were a bit

too short to be playing netball certainly fired our girls up in preparation for the remaining netball matches. The St Lucian girls were indeed taller than us and often very athletic but what we lacked in physical strength we more than made up for in terms of well honed skills. Each match was fought fiercely to the last whistle and Bablake was proud of its victory over the St Lucian Eagles 33-28. The hotel nestled on the edge of the beach and the girls enjoyed drifting between the pool and the sea, finding a place in the shade or indulging in some water sports. A trip to a local street party one evening soon got us into the island’s laid back approach to living which continued for the duration of the trip once off the netball court. The highlight of St Lucia was an all day tour of the island on a motor launch, visiting sulphur springs, swimming in rock pools among the rain forest waterfalls and snorkelling off one of the beautiful beaches. The whole tour was superb and made all the better by the excellent behaviour and attitude of the girls. They truly were a credit to Bablake throughout the fortnight. We may have won only one hockey match and one netball match but we gained a wealth of experience which was the main purpose of the trip. bablake school



Girls’ Sport Girls’ Athletics Both the Shell and 2nd Year girls’ athletics team followed on from the Junior team and won the Coventry Schools Athletics Championships. The U13s (Shells) won with 113 points to 2nd place King Henry VIII on 86 and the U14s (2nd Year) won with 106 points to 2nd place King Henry VIII on 61. There were some excellent individual performances and winners were: Beth Mordey – high jump and hurdles, Lauren Carr – javelin, Rosie Hirst – 75m sprint, Amy Lilly – hurdles, Mollie Sargent – javelin, Aimee Piercy – shot, Sophie Zgraja – high jump, Lucy Smith – javelin & shot, Emily McNeice – 200m, Ashni Desai – shot. Both the Shell and 2nd Year relay teams won their competitions. In the English Schools track and field the inter girls reached the Regional A final. They were winning after the field events and were placed 8th overall. The Junior team won the district round and went into the Regional B final, in which they were runners up. Girls’ Rounders Bablake hosted the Coventry Schools Rounders tournaments once again this year and for once things ran smoothly and we enjoyed good weather. Bablake came third in the U13 tournament, runners up to Tile Hill Wood in the U14s, runners up to King Henry VIII in the U12s and were winners of the U15 tournament, beating Tile Hill Wood for the first time in the final. Perseverance, determination and good tactical play were the key to their success.


the lion Autumn 2009

Girls’ Tennis The girls had a very good season this year. In the Coventry league the U13 & U15 teams won all their matches and in the area section of the AEGON team tennis event, the U15s continued to win all their matches and the U13s won all bar one to Rugby High. In the Coventry School Singles, Katie Wainhouse finished runner up at U15 level and Ellie Davies beat Jenny Tasker in the U13 final. In the Coventry doubles Jonine Bains and Alice Hayward were runners up in the U15A competition and Beth Rowland and Jenny Reay were also runners up in the U14B. Katie Wainhouse and Alexandra Clarke won the U15B and Erin Hushon and Beth Jepson were winners of the U14A competition. Girls’ Hockey and Netball The U19 netball squad began their season with the King’s Worcester Invitation tournament. Eight twenty minute games certainly tested their skills and fitness after the summer. All teams have made a promising start and are looking forward to the season ahead. On Saturday 19th September, Loughborough High School held a festival of sport for U12 netball, U13 netball and U15 hockey teams. Bablake has always entered this and we have won a trophy on occasion. However, this time Bablake girls were entirely focussed and on form and took a clean sweep of the trophies. Needless to say they were in high spirits on the coach on the way home. It was a superb day of sport and one that will be extremely difficult to replicate, but we are up for the challenge.

Individual achievements Congratulations to Jessica Horn on her selection for the U16 England squad. Congratulations to Lucy Smith on finishing third in the shot at the English Schools Competition.

Boys’ Sport Rugby There have been some promising performances already in boys’ rugby this term. The 1st XV started in fine form with a convincing win over Wellingborough School and have also progressed in the Daily Mail U18 Cup with a win over Solihull Sixth Form College. Five players: Max Goodyer, Alex Myers, Sam Jack, Henry Chamberlain and Kilian Kleine have represented Warwickshire U18s whilst Ben Cooper and Josh Buggea have been selected for Warwickshire U16s. The Under 15 team has also progressed in the Daily Mail U15 cup with a hard fought win over Stoke Park. James Brindley, Ronan Jones, Emile Pokoj and Aleem Iqbal have all been selected for Coventry. The junior teams have also shown great promise with the Under 14s recording wins against Wellingborough, KES Aston and Denstone. The U13s were involved in a nailbiting draw with Denstone and soundly defeated KES Aston. Ben Cooper Ben Cooper (5M) recently represented Worcester Warriors in an Academy Under 16 Tournament hosted by Northampton Saints. It was his first game for the Academy since


joining Worcester as a member of their Elite Player Development Group. He played very well against the likes of Leicester Tigers, Newcastle Falkons, Northampton Saints, Leeds Carnegie and Sale Sharks and Worcester won two, lost two and drew one. Ben is also a member of the Scottish Exiles Regional Development Squad, as well as being involved with the Warks School of Rugby. Many thanks A big thank you to Coventry Rugby Club for providing the school with 25 junior season tickets for their home games this season. This has been sponsored by Mr David Hutt of Hutt Financial planning. Boys’ Athletics There were some excellent performances in boys’ athletics this season. In the Coventry Championships both the inter and junior teams finished runners up. Outstanding individual performances in the inter competition came from Kilian Kleine, Frank Sackey, Ben Davies and Jamie Cozens who were then all selected for Coventry. Jamie Cozens also qualified to represent the West Midlands and finished runner up in the 300m. In the junior competition Ronan Jones won the javelin and also represented Coventry. The Second Year boys’ team has excelled this year. They won the Coventry Championship and Coventry relays and progressed to the Midlands B Final of the English Schools’ Cup, finishing fifth. City champions include James Faulkner, James Tumber, Luke O’Neill, Lewis Marshall and the relay team. Richard Price was runner up in the

800m and 1500m despite only a 5 minute rest between the two races. The Shell team finished runners up with some excellent performances. Boys’ Hockey Boys’ hockey at Bablake is continuing to go from strength to strength. The new season has seen a further increase in the number of pupils involved in the sport, consequently raising the standard of school representative teams across the age groups. Players have been training hard in the first few weeks of term in preparation for upcoming fixtures and cup competitions. Expert coaching assistance is once again being provided by Phil Gooderham (Wales U21 & Birmingham University Women’s 1st XI coach). The senior teams have started the season with a number of convincing results. The 1st XI and 2nd XI both beat Camp Hill, 5-2 and 5-1 respectively, whilst the 3rd XI recorded a win against North Leamington College 1st XI (5-1). The 1st XI also gave a very impressive display against a strong Lawrence Sheriff side, emerging 4-0 winners. Hopefully this rich vein of form will continue throughout the season, which includes a tour of Hamburg in October. International honours went to William Kenney-Herbert, who enjoyed success representing Wales U16s in the Four Nations tournament during the summer. Congratulations to Jack Webber (U14), Hugh Kenney-Herbert (U15) and Jake Basra (U15) for being selected in the Junior Regional Performance Centre. Finally, good luck to all those boys who are currently trialling for a place in the Junior Development Centres.

1st XI Cricket This season produced some excellent performances. A comfortable win over Solihull School in a 20/20 match and a well judged victory over Warwick in a 40-overs-a-side game were the undoubted highlights. The team also performed extremely well in the Bablake 20/20 competition, including wins against Warwick and Loughborough, but narrowly lost out in the final to Lawrence Sheriff School. The U13 side has had a very successful season, losing only once to Bishop Vesey early in the season. They recorded some fine victories, including comfortable wins over Warwick and last year’s County Cup finalists, Lawrence Sheriff. Congratulations to Matt Clements on his selection for Warwickshire and on scoring another century [108] for the School. Congratulations also to Matthew Payne on scoring his maiden century [117]. Mark Best has added to his collection of centuries this season for the School and should also be congratulated on his excellent Warwickshire performances. England call up for Paul Best Paul Best, a key player for Bablake’s 1st team and Warwickshire over the last few years, has been selected for this autumn’s U19 England cricket tour of Bangladesh. His selection crowns a fine summer which has already seen him captain Warwickshire 2nds, act as 12th Man for England Lions, captain the England development squad in trials and receive the offer of a summer contract with Warwickshire. He managed to squeeze in three A grades at A Level and a Cambridge place for 2010 too! Congratulations to Paul; we wish him the very best for the tour. bablake school



Headmaster’s Staff news notes It is always refreshing to witness the excitement of our new Shells (Year 7), as they embark on the next chapter in their lives. Many of our pupils join Bablake ‘on their own’, and whilst there may be initial anxieties, all are eager to forge new friendships and to find kindred spirits. They are pursuing new subjects with specialist teachers and facilities, and are keen to learn in an environment which fosters academic and creative initiative. They are often playing new sports, and the extensive list of extra-curricular opportunities and house events requires some tough decisions! Their enthusiasm should encourage those higher up the school to make the most of precious time and talents, and never to lose the spark of imagination and high aspirations. Our A level and GCSE results again tell a story of success, but they do not reflect all the other achievements of individuals and teams, as pupils benefit from the rich diversity which Bablake has to offer. Nor do they reflect the nurture of self-esteem and community spirit which equip our young people for life. Every individual is different and has immense potential; our high expectations and support, both inside and outside the classroom, can help to turn dreams into reality.

Many congratulations to Mr Jackson, Head of Geography, who has been awarded the prestigious Michael Hunt Award and life membership of the Royal Meteorological Society. His certificate reads as follows: “For over 30 years Steve Jackson has led the development of Bablake Weather Station. From humble beginnings with a few basic instruments, the station became an official Met Office climatalogical station in 1984 and today utilises state-of-the-art automated recording systems. Steve’s infectious enthusiasm has inspired an entire generation of school students of all ages to take an active practical interest in all aspects of observational meteorology.” We welcome the following new staff: Mrs Claire Black, Teacher of French, to cover for Mrs Sarah Harris during her maternity leave. Mrs Black has a degree in French and Film Studies from Warwick University. Her first teaching post was at Reading Blue Coat School, where she was also Head of Girls’ Games. She subsequently taught French and German at Solihull School, before the birth of her first child. She taught some part-time French as a supply teacher at Bablake between January and April of last year. We extend our very best wishes to Mrs Harris for her maternity leave. Mr Patrick Herbert, Assistant Caretaker. Mr Herbert was previously a Site Services Manager, and is a local man. He takes over from Mr Howard Stringer, who is now working as Caretaker for Bablake Pre-prep at Cheshunt and at the Junior School. Our French and German Language Assistants, Someia Ouaziz from Saint-Etienne, and Simone Limpert from Munich. Mr Anthony Jones, temporary Maintenance Assistant, who is covering for Mr Stuart Slater during his absence.

Diary Open Morning Saturday 7 November 9.30am – 12.30pm Autumn Concert Thursday 19 November 7.00pm (EDM) Charity Concert for ‘Zoe’s Place’ Friday 20 November A Level Presentation Evening Wednesday 25 November 6.30pm PA Christmas Fayre Saturday 28 November School Play A Servant of Two Masters Monday 7 – 11 December 7.30pm (Theatre) Graduation Evening Tuesday 15 December 7.30pm (Main Hall) Carol Service VTBC Thursday 17 December 7.00pm Autumn Term ends Friday 18 December Entrance Examinations Tuesday 5 January Spring Term begins Wednesday 6 January

Bablake School, Coundon Road, Coventry CV1 4AU +44 (0)24 7627 1200 +44 (0)24 7627 1290 e w t f

Martine Croxall, former pupil and BBC newsreader, meets two Shell prize winners (Bradley Pinkham and Aimée Piercy) at the School's annual Prize Giving. 16

the lion Autumn 2009

Design: by Mustard: Printed on paper sourced from sustainably managed forests.

The Lion - Issue 50  

Bablake's termly newsletter

The Lion - Issue 50  

Bablake's termly newsletter