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news & views from bablake school issue 56 autumn 2011

In this issue Top grade success story 02 Recognition for excellence 03 Words of wisdom 04 An inspirational journey 05 Discovering Oxford 06 The spirit of enterprise 07 Bablake’s arty party 08 Notre voyage français 10 Far out in the Far East 11 CCF in the Yorkshire Dales 12 DofE in the Peaks and Snowdonia 13 Bablake Sport 14

World Challenge

Bablake’s epic Central American visit On July 13 the team met up to carry out the all-important final kit checks. This was the culmination of 18 months of planning and fund raising: a combination of bag packing, car washing, sponsored abseils, runs, stay awakes and part-time jobs. Finally we were off to Heathrow and then onto Mexico City for the start of the ‘Maya Route’.


Top grade success story

Record examination results for Bablake students

Continued from cover: The team arrived late evening and prepared for an early start. With money to change and provisions to buy, it was off into the city. The team used their linguistic skills and with transport now booked, went to explore the ancient city of Teotihuacan before heading for the cactus reserve, with cacti as far as the eye could see. Tents were pitched and it was time for the first meal under the stars. The following day, we trekked up the Cerro de Cutha to see the ruins of the city of Cutha. After an overnight coach to Oaxaca, we had time to collect more provisions and prepare for the project phase. It was now time to work the land on a permaculture farm in Tlacochahuaya and to build a clay oven at the local junior school. Time to get hands dirty, feet dirty and just about everything else! Friends were made as well as pizza when the oven was finished. San Cristobal offered a day to relax and after a little shopping at the local market we set off to Belize, stopping on the way at the awe-inspiring Mayan ruins set in the jungle at Palenque. After another bus journey we arrived in Monkey Bay. We met our local guides and set off into the jungles of Belize. Creeks, caves, rivers and overgrown trails: this was the jungle. During the first two days we made good time on the trail, but then the weather closed in. The creeks became rivers and the rivers became impassable. After a somewhat extended time in the jungle we got to meet the Belizean Defence Force and Disaster Rescue Team as they assisted our river crossing. We also met the local Amish Mennonite community who kindly offered to help. We got back to Monkey Bay and, after a shower and some hot food, headed to Kaye Caulker for a couple of days of well-earned rest and recuperation: white sands, warm sea and snorkelling with the manatee, rays and sharks. Finally we were homeward bound with many stories and memories; three weeks suddenly seemed far too short. Congratulations to the team members on completion of their ASDAN CoPE portfolios, earning them 70 UCAS points, and thanks from Mr Mohamed for making him part of the adventure!


the lion Autumn 2011

Record GCSE results Bablake’s 2011 GCSE pupils are the toast of the school with 34% of all grades awarded being A* grades. In fact 69% of all grades gained were A* and A and 36 pupils, almost a third of the year, gained at least 9 A* and A grades. Georgia Powell and Maneesha Seghal led the way with an impressive 11 A* grades, while 6 more pupils – Sunnah Aziz, Rebecca Brown, Marlena Cummings, Arun Dhanjal, Eleanor Morris and Jennifer Scoular – are all proudly celebrating 10 A* grades. Sam Paplauskas has 9A*s and 6 others – Ben Evans, Joe Gibbins, Lois Miller, Jack Mills, Beth Rowland and Rebecca Taylor – each received 8A*s. Jack Orford has particular cause to celebrate since he was one of just four people in the country to record full marks (480/480) for Classical Civilisation, one of his 6 A* grades. This is an exceptional achievement since amongst other tasks, he was required to write 3 full essays and a 2000 word piece on ancient hero Aeneas. Headmaster, Mr John Watson, paying tribute to the year group, said: ‘Our pupils have worked hard, and with flair and imagination, to gain deservedly pleasing results. They are a smashing and very rewarding bunch of young people with many talents beyond the classroom, as well as a spirit of generosity which is undoubtedly reflected in the sum of almost £20,000 raised for charity last year across the school.’

A level success Bablake pupils always achieve some of the most impressive results in the Midlands and this year’s A Level cohort was no exception. Of 324 entries, just under half of all grades awarded (49%) were at A* and A, whilst over three quarters of all entries (79%) were at A*, A or B grade. An impressive third of the year achieved three or more A grades and Oliver Towlson celebrated his 18th birthday in fine style with four A* grades; other notable successes included twins David & Thomas Dwyer and Sam & Matthew Lewis, who followed their exceptional GCSE performance by sharing an impressive 12 A grades, with 5 at A*. Arrandeep Banwait, reserve for the first Young Apprentice series, gained A* grades for each of his subjects, while Sam Lewis and Katie Timms also gained 3 A*s apiece. Daniel Richards, Millie Ross, Chris Starkey and Jemma Williams also gained a full house of A grades. Headmaster, Mr John Watson, commented: “Many students have again achieved excellent results, and the vast majority have won places at a university of their choosing in a year of unprecedented competition; they and their teachers deserve great credit, and we thank them for their generous and colourful contributions to the life of the school community.”

‘Many students have again achieved excellent results...’


Recognition for excellence Award-winning achievements by Bablake students

CREST Awards The following pupils had their projects assessed and gained their CREST awards last month: Chandni Patel gained a Silver Award with her investigation of over the counter pain relievers and making and testing the purity of aspirin. Connor Putnam and Rory McDermott also gained a Silver Award with their project on alternative fuels, as did Matthew Hayhurst, Theo Lawrence and James Hamer for their investigation of chocolate. Charlie Bramwell gained a Bronze for his project on natural indicators. The Big Bang In the West Midlands National Science and Engineering Competition at RAF Cosford the overall winner in the silver science project category was Chandni Patel, for her project on over the counter pain relievers and making and testing the purity of aspirin. Chandni has also been invited to the National Finals next year by the British Science association. Runners up in the silver science project science category for their project on designing and testing indigestion remedies were Aaron Patel, Jacob Williams, Marcus Judge, Marco Ciao and Matthew Payne, who all gained their silver award last summer. Overall winner in the bronze science project category for his project on natural indicators was Charlie Bramwell.

Arkwright Scholars Congratulations to Joe Gibbins and Oliver Warlow on receiving Arkwright Scholarships for 2011-12. Both pupils had to undergo a rigorous application process which included an aptitude paper and an interview, and then a two month wait while the results were decided. There were 904 applicants nationwide this year and only 300 Scholarships awarded. Each pupil now receives £300 a year to assist with the purchase of materials and books, while the Design Technology department receives £200 per year. Enterprise Award Congratulations to Lower Sixth pupil Alexandra Clarke who has won the 2010-11 Progressive Educational Tools (PET) Ron Neal Annual award for Enterprise and Opportunity. This prestigious award is presented to the young person who has shown the most initiative and enterprise during the academic year and is a real achievement as PET has worked with over 1,300 young people during 2010-11. Mrs Fleur Sexton, Managing Director of PET, commented: ‘What marked Alexandra out the most against the other nominees for this award was the way in which she constantly strove to maximise the opportunities presented to her. We congratulate her and send our best wishes for what is going to be, without doubt, a bright future.’ Sam Shebl In August, Upper Sixth pupil Sam Shebl completed a work experience placement at Progressive Educational Tools. PET is a Coventry based- training and digital delivery organisation,

‘...she constantly strove to maximise the opportunities presented to her’ focused on the educational sector. The company provides training and qualifications in a variety of subject areas. Sam worked with PET on the preparation of a new product for national release, The Arena German Vocabulary. He was involved in preparation work and testing the activities prior to launch. Managing Director, Fleur Sexton, was so impressed with his hard work and passion for languages that she has offered Sam the opportunity to continue his involvement with the project and complete some German vocabulary translation. Pupils learning French and German at A Level have also been given the opportunity to gain an insight in to teaching by assisting with French and German immersive, intensive GCSE programmes to be held in the October half term. Sam, who hopes to continue with French and German at university, found it a valuable and rewarding experience and he is looking forward to working with PET in the future. Top Physicist Award For Robert Vallance, the end of his AS examinations coincided with recognition for his excellence in Physics. As well as being appointed a school prefect, Robert has been chosen as one of a number of pupils from across the Coventry and Warwickshire area to be recognised as ‘Physicist of the Year’ for 2010-11. This award, sponsored by The Ogden Trust, was presented to Robert in a ceremony at the University of Warwick. Mr Malcolm Duerdin, Head of Physics, was also delighted with Robert’s accolade saying: ‘I am very pleased to see Robert’s talent for Physics being officially recognised and am sure this will give him much confidence for the A2 topics ahead. He is a meticulous Physicist who has generously given up his time to help with Junior Physics club and mentor younger pupils in the subject.’ bablake school



We welcomed five students from mainland China into Bablake Sixth Form in September. Having taken an entrance examination and undergone an interview with Mrs Tumber when she visited China in March, Flora Zhan from Jiamusi City, Lucas Zhang from Urumqi City, Shirley Wu from Shaoxing, Sally Li from Tianjin City and Ellen Luo from Hangzhou, joined other newcomers, Laura Cope, Ollie Adebisi, Rebecca Davis, Jonathan Randle and Thomas Ryan-Moulder, who have moved from schools closer to home. Flora, Sally, Ellen, Shirley and Lucas are staying with local families for the two years of their studies, immersing themselves into British culture as well as into the British education system. They have quickly made themselves at home, and when asked what they enjoyed most about Bablake so far, the unprompted and spontaneous answer was ‘everything!’ However, Ellen, who bravely attended the performances of the two absurdist plays taken to the Edinburgh Fringe, said that understanding the British sense of humour was quite a challenge! The students come from a range of cultural and geographical backgrounds in China and during the year Sixth Formers will be able to attend seminars and workshops, led by our Chinese students, on aspects of Chinese language, culture, history, geography and economy.

Words of wisdom... The Library was thrilled to welcome authors Ann Evans and Mark Robson to speak to the Shells and Third Years in July 2011. Ann is a local author most well-known for her thrillers Beast, Rampage and The Reawakening. She spoke to the Shells about her first nonfiction publication A Children’s History of Coventry in which Bablake is mentioned. She also talked about her route to becoming an author and provided inspiration and practical advice for the budding authors in our midst. Mark, an ex RAF pilot turned author, enthralled his Third Year audience with tales of the Bermuda Triangle which has inspired his latest work The Devil’s Triangle. Mark also demonstrated the Tae Kwon Do skills he learnt

to authenticate the action scenes in his Imperial books. He attempted to break a block of wood with his hand. Unfortunately, due to an old injury, he was not able to do so, but it did show his commitment to his craft! At the end of the sessions, copies of the authors’ latest books were available and many pupils took advantage of this great opportunity to have their books signed.

Aspiring pupils... Congratulations to the team that has put the first issue of Aspire together, under the expert eye and keen interest of English teacher and Gifted and Talented coordinator, Mrs Louise Yates. Aspire has been designed by editor Connor Putnam and his team over the last few months. This team also includes Daniel Cotton, who has been working on various exciting mobile applications for the Apple platform over the last year. To view the first issue that covers a number of key moments from 2010-11, please visit Online_Version.html


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Team building Back in May, members of the Fourth Year not involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award took part in a Team Building Day where the aim was to build a bridge out of planks, pallets and ropes. Pupils had to participate in cycling, running and climbing as well as tackling memory games and communicating directions to a blind folded team member to gain ‘money’ to purchase equipment to build a bridge. They constructed a variety of bridges and the Headmaster tested them all out! The pupils on the winning team were Sania Akhtar, Anu Bose, Charlotte Cooper, Isabel De Veer, James Hunter and Olivia Luciano. Mr Robson also rose to the challenge, walking the entire winning bridge, and survived to tell the tale! Thanks to Mr Robson for organising this entertaining day.

An inspirational journey We were privileged to welcome back a distinguished former pupil to Bablake earlier this term. Dr Qanta Ahmed is a British-born Muslim woman, who was educated and trained in the UK and New York City. She is a highly qualified medical practitioner, who was invited to practise intensive care medicine in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. She spoke to parents about her fascinating book, In the Land of Invisible Women (A Female Doctor’s Journey in the Saudi Kingdom), and spent two days in school, talking to pupils on topics as diverse as her experience of Saudi Arabia, Hajj, ethical and cultural issues in Islam and the Arab/ Israeli conflict. She presented prizes at Prize Giving, and inspired pupils to make the most of their outstanding opportunities as they look forward to exciting futures. bablake school



Photo by Steve Cadman

‘Oxford Discover was an enjoyable and enlightening three days...’

Discovering Oxford

Oxford opportunities Members of the Lower Sixth who achieved excellence at GCSE were able to investigate where their success might lead them with a trip to Oxford, for the University Autumn Open Day. With departments offering seminars, lectures and mock interviews, pupils were able to see first-hand the range of courses available and to discover why Oxford is one of the top universities in the world. Colleges were festooned with bunting and balloons, enticing prospective students in. Bablake pupils enjoyed exploring the College grounds, to get a ‘feel’ for the place and quizzed undergraduates and admissions tutors about the admissions process. With a discount voucher for Blackwells included in the Open Day guide, many students were inspired to buy some reading matter for the journey home. It was a very informative and enjoyable day and has spurred the pupils on to stretch and challenge themselves as they start their Sixth Form careers.


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Oxford Discover The ‘Oxford Discover’ programme was initially fairly vague and on arrival, we were surprised to find it was only the five of us from Bablake! We were thrown in at the deep end with an all day debating master class with a former European Debating Champion at the Oxford Union. This developed our skills of exploring multiple layers of an issue, as well as constructing and defending a watertight argument, often having to argue against our own personal standpoint. Our second day was spent immersed in the university application process, where our leaders explained everything involved in applying to university, from writing the best personal statement to the all important Oxford interview. We each then had a mock interview and our fullon day concluded with a performance of Hamlet by the dramatic society in the atmospheric Merton college chapel. Our final day was subject based and integrated into the Oxford University open day, with additional discussion arranged with subject tutors former students. Our free time allowed us to explore the city and colleges, acting like a tourist and taking photos of the stunning architecture. On the final night parents came to join our evening meal, and after some brief feedback from our leaders, Ash and former Bablake pupil Somie, we said our goodbyes. ‘Oxford Discover’ was an enjoyable and enlightening three days, as we gained vital guidance and expert opinion; the experience has inspired us to push ourselves to achieve at one of the world’s greatest universities.


The spirit of enterprise... In the days of The Apprentice, Dragons’ Den, The Secret Millionaire and other similar programmes, there has never been more interest in owning your own business amongst young people.

Future engineers Three of our Fourth Year pupils, James Bullen, Will Banfield and Aron Sood, returned to Bablake this term excited by the taste of engineering they had experienced on residential courses offered by the Leamington based Smallpeice Trust at universities across England. Each pupil attended a different course but all three returned fired with great enthusiasm for areas of study that often cannot be offered in the GCSE or A Level specifications. These courses have certainly captured an interest in our pupils and we look forward to reporting on future ventures.

Ana takes flight Upper Sixth pupil, Ana Skamarauskas, has gained her Silver Wings through the RAF section of the CCF following an intensive training week at RAF Syerston learning to fly and handle gliders during the summer holiday. Silver Wings are awarded to cadets who reach the required level of skill and who complete their first solo flight. Ana is now going on to work at RAF Syerston as a Staff Cadet Instructor.

The taste for business was certainly alive when, at the invitation of Head of Fourth Year Mrs Sue Smith, local entrepreneurs Mr Dave Routh and his colleague Mrs Catherine Kelso, part of the DMR Business in Schools Network, expertly led a Key Skills day. The whole day was a vital introduction to business and the following areas were all excellently covered: group communication, marketing (with an especial view to logos), job applications, interview technique, making a profit as a team, developing enterprise, team organisation, practical problem-solving and much more. There was much healthy rivalry among all the Fourth Year pupils and a great day was had by all who participated. bablake school



‘...a mixture of painting, sculpture, textiles and photography...’

Bablake’s arty party The art department held its annual art exhibition in June which was very well attended and admired by pupils, parents and staff alike. The quality and imaginative qualities evident in the work were exceptional, with a mixture of painting, sculpture, textiles and photography on show in the Main School Hall. The high standard of work has been reflected in a very pleasing set of exam results, which are just reward for the effort which went into the production of pupils’ work.


the lion Autumn 2011


We didn’t cut our Fringe in 2011! This year’s trip to the Edinburgh Fringe was notable for a variety of reasons... Firstly, it was a celebration of 25 consecutive years at the festival, an achievement of which the Drama department is justifiably proud. Perhaps inevitably, the 25th trip broke with Bablake Fringe tradition in several ways: Instead of one play this year, we took two; The Bald Prima Donna and A Resounding Tinkle are both absurdist comedies and played to good audiences on alternate days. We also had to contend with the different demands of being in a new venue, ‘Ceca’, within the grounds of the Edinburgh College of Art.

‘...instead of one play this year we took two...’

Veterans of the trip will be glad to learn that not all traditions were eschewed. The pupils and staff still enjoyed a wide variety of comedy and theatre, with some particularly enthusiastic members of the group seeing five or six shows a day. The Bablake contingent is still particularly fond of sitting in the front row at stand-up shows and once again proved to be a rich seam of untapped material for most of the performers. A huge thank you to anyone who has offered their support to Bablake drama in any way over the last eventful year.

The sounds of summer

Our summer concert took place in the theatre on 21 June. We were pleased to welcome the inaugural performance of the Junior Strings group, who played a selection of folk tunes and also performances from the Rock School groups. Several solos and duets from our Fourth Years were very well received. Mr Cooper and the Wind Band ended the evening with a rousing performance of We are Family, including some fine audience participation! We had entries for the ABRSM Music examinations in all grades and on a wide selection of instruments in May 2011. Congratulations to all our pupils as the pass rate was 100%! Special mention to Josie Hyde who gained a distinction and the top mark of any of our pupils.

Art trips

The art department has recently had a busy time, with visits to the National Portrait Gallery for Third Year pupils and a visit to Kew gardens for the Fourth Year pupils. The visits gave the opportunity to see work from contemporary artists in the prestigious BP portrait award exhibition at the NPG and to generate a wealth of primary research material through their photography and drawing of the exotic flora and fauna at Kew, which will help generate ideas for coursework. The Sixth Form also visited the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford as a start to their A level to explore the ethnographical objects in the collection. bablake school



Notre voyage français

‘...everyone bought funny hats and wore them all day’ Starbucks, jacuzzis, penguins, funny hats and singing teachers – Tom Nelson recounts the details of the Shells’ recent trip to France.

We left Bablake at 12.15 a.m. and met our driver, Mike. On the way to the Channel Tunnel we stopped at a service station and although everyone was very tired, they managed to wake for MacDonald’s and Starbucks! When we got to France we had breakfast in a café in Etaples and went to the market where everyone bought funny hats and wore them all day. We then went to the Aqualud Water Park and enjoyed the pool, wave machine and huge water slides. They were all fantastic, especially the Twister and the Black Hole! There were also water cannons and jacuzzis. We then went to the Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and visited the graves of two Bablake Old Boys who were killed in World War One; we each put a cross on a grave with a name similar to our surname. After that we arrived at the chocolate factory where we learned about making chocolate and tasted some. We had our evening meal in a restaurant called Buffalo Grill and then settled down for a good night’s sleep. The next morning we were woken by some very loud teachers! After breakfast we went to the Sea Life Centre where we saw hundreds of fish and loads of


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penguins; we even had a go at touching the rays in the touch tank. We then walked to the beach where we had a picnic and played football and rounders. After this we walked round the ramparts of Boulogne and went to the market. On Sunday morning we went to Bagatelle Theme Park and went on all of the rides, which included log flumes, rollercoasters and much, much more. We had money to buy a good lunch and ice creams. Fantastic! Finally we got back on the bus and saw some amazing sites as we headed back to the tunnel. Just as we were getting back to school Mr Atwal sang an immense song that went like this: Everywhere in France! People always ask us Who we are and Where we come from So we tell them We’re from England Mighty mighty England! Coventry! Bablake! Shells (S-H-E-L-L-S)!


Far out in the Far East From day one, members of the tour party bonded brilliantly both on and off the pitch and on arriving in Singapore, we were lucky enough to go on a Singapore Zoo night safari, a city tour, a trip to Sentosa Island and to explore the Botanical Gardens writes Ellie Hutchinson James. In the first girls’ hockey match of the tour, a team of first and second team players fought hard to draw 1-1 against Victoria College. The netballers also put up a strong fight in the sizzling afternoon sun but only managed to secure one victory out of three matches. After an exhilarating four days in Singapore, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. The iconic Petronas Towers were clear to see and we got to view the city from the 421 metre KL Tower. Throughout the tour we learnt to adapt to the climate and the different style of sport that was encountered and realised that in order to overcome the opposition, we needed to work hard for each other. The boys’ hockey 1st XI won two games, drew two games and lost two games, which was a fantastic achievement. The players’ player awards went to Hugh Kenney-Herbert (1st XI) and Suraj Majevadia (2nd XI), with Manager’s Player of the Tour awarded to Matt Hollinrake (1st XI) and Samy Shebl (2nd XI). During our time out from playing matches and training, we visited the stunning Batu Caves, historic temples and the Sunway Lagoon Waterpark, went on a rainforest tour and even watched Liverpool Football Club beat the national Malaysian side 6-3 at the spectacular 100,000 seat Bukit Jalil Stadium. We also got to take part in bathing and riding elephants at the Kuala Gandah Elephant Orphanage. Our third and final destination was Penang Island and after crossing the 13.5 kilometre Penang Bridge linking the Malaysian mainland to the island, we settled down to make the most of our final few days together. With our hotel offering a wonderful sea view, there were many opportunities to relax on the beach or by the pool. Unfortunately for the girls, both hockey teams lost the final games on tour, however on the netball front, all three teams were able to leave with their heads held high after winning two and drawing one game, playing for the first time on a grass court! Our visit to the Children’s Orphanage was a memorable one, as we had the opportunity to have fun and play with the children. The tour led to new close friendships and shared memories which will be cherished for years to come and I am grateful to have been part of a wonderful tour.

‘Our visit to the Children’s Orphanage was a memorable one...’

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Photo by Steve Partridge


With the CCF in the Yorkshire Dales For the majority of cadets attending, this would be their first time at Wathgill, a rural training camp set amongst spectacular scenery in the North Yorkshire Dales writes C/Sgt Sophie Tumber.

The three hour journey was full of excitement; especially as we were to see Miss (Major) Hall, one of the founding members of Bablake CCF who now runs the CCF at Barnard Castle School. The first day was a contingent day and was spent at Eden Camp, a popular tourist attraction highlighting the ‘People’s War’ 1939-1945 and Britain’s Military History of the 20th Century. This was a fascinating museum which engaged us all on many levels – sight, sound and even smell, all evoking the war years in Britain! Once back at camp we put on our uniforms and headed to the dismounted close combat training area, where we could prepare ourselves for the range day. On the second day we headed to Battle Hill Ranges for the range day which included shooting on the 100m rifle range to obtain a grouping, working in the butts setting up targets and measuring the groupings, and shot gunning. The range day concluded with a competition against Ipswich School. Sadly, the majority of Bablake cadets either missed


the lion Autumn 2011

‘Despite being very tired everyone who took part was very energetic and enthusiastic...’

their target completely or hit it only once, but a special mention has to go to L Cpl Sam Dale who successfully hit the target five times. Needless to say, we came second in the competition! During the evening, the contingent was treated to a drill session taken by a ‘professional’ drill sergeant who put us through our paces. He was very knowledgeable and interesting in the way that he explained what our bodies were actually going through when we carried out drill and why actions are carried out in certain ways. Once he had finished, we were unrecognisable on the parade square, shame it didn’t last!

Tuesday brought the Orienteering and Leadership day. The morning was dedicated to orienteering in which everyone was paired off and had to locate eight stands which recorded our arrival times. The fastest pair was L Cpls Richard Price and Sam Dale. As we had been so efficient, we had the opportunity to run as individuals and congratulations go to L Cpl Price who completed the course in the fastest time the organisers had seen all week. The afternoon was devoted to ‘leadership’, which involved us going round different stands to solve mental and physical challenges; it was all very tough but enjoyable. Later that evening we did the obstacle course, a test of fitness and team work and the opportunity for another competition, once again against Ipswich School. As Wednesday dawned, lots of us were suffering from various aches, pains and bruises, but we were all very excited as we made our way to Ellerton Park to participate in the Adventure Training Day. We split into our three sections to take part in the water-based activities in the morning: raft building, canoeing and kayaking, and dry activities in the afternoon: rock climbing, volley ball and archery. It was noticed during the archery that we had some real talent within the contingent, so we were given the opportunity to have another go in the evening, this time trying flight (clout) archery as well as target shooting. On the final day, we were taught how to patrol effectively, apply camouflage cream correctly and carry out a section attack successfully. Despite being very tired, everyone who took part was very enthusiastic and energetic in the final attack – a great way to end the week. Once back at school, Cpl Perry, Sgt Mason and I, all Bablake CCF leavers, reflected on how much we had enjoyed our time in the CCF and how the whole experience had helped us mature and develop as young people, giving us skills and the confidence to embark upon the next stage of our education. We would like to thank all the staff who have given so generously of their time, not just on the Summer Camp, but during the whole academic year and we wish the members of Bablake CCF all the best for continued fun and success in the future.


Making interviews a piece of cake...

DofE expeditions in the Peaks and Snowdonia

Photo by Alan Heardman

In July, 64 Fifth Year and five Lower Sixth pupils, along with seven members of staff left school for their Silver qualifying expedition in the Peak District. Two coach loads descended on the very picturesque and peaceful village of Brassington and the pupils were quickly on their way with little or no disturbance to life in the village. At the end of the expedition, after three days walking and two nights camping, all 69 pupils arrived at Carsington Water with some looking as though they could manage another three days and others very happy to have reached the finish. Then, in August, 27 Upper Sixth and 34 Lower Sixth pupils took part in the Gold expedition to Snowdonia. The Upper Sixth were on their qualifying expedition and all completed their four day hikes from Lake Bala to Beddgelert. Nearly all the Lower Sixth made it to Beddgelert on their Gold practice but some dropped out, although they will get the chance to try again. Those that completed it now understand that Gold is a big step up from Silver! Overall the expeditions went very well; everyone enjoyed the experience (although perhaps not at the time!) and the weather was kind and the locations beautiful. Thank you to all who took part.

We are indebted to our willing band of former pupils and current Bablake parents who spent a precious morning of their weekend in school interviewing our Upper Sixth pupils. This annual exercise, now in its 18th year, allows our pupils to be pitted against experts in the fields they are investigating for university or future employment and is described by scores of former pupils as the most useful event arranged by our Careers department. As well as being guided on Interview Technique, our pupils were set an online application form to complete. With the latter, they learnt the importance of accuracy, time spent in rough preparation and the need to advertise all their achievements. Importantly all our interviewees gained a massive boost in confidence from being told how special and talented they were by our experts interviewing them.

A fantastic effort As always, we rose to a variety of challenges last academic year on the charity front; it is not just about giving money to charity but also giving of our time, belongings and effort. The total for last year was a fantastic £19,504. During the year, we raised the equivalent of an extra £4,000 through giving items of clothing, toys and books to Cancer Research. ‘Movember’ raised over £3000, as did our donations for UK Cancer Research and Mr Enstone and Miss Blattner’s London Marathon run. Congratulations go to everyone who has donated or participated in any capacity. It would be fantastic to hit the £20,000 mark for 2011-12! Whether we reach that target or fall just short of it, we know it will be a tremendous effort on behalf of the whole Bablake community.

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Girls’ Sport It has been a busy start to the Autumn Term, with teams entering pre-season tournaments and friendly fixtures from the first week back after the Summer Holidays. U14 hockey girls took part in the Loughborough pre-season tournament and the U19 netball team went to Kings Worcester for their pre-season event. Both teams benefited from the experience and early match practice and as a result have fared well in recent matches. The U19 netball teams took part in the Coventry Schools Netball tournaments; the A team won their section and the B team were winners in their respective section, closely followed by the U19 C team in second place . It was an afternoon of excellent netball and a fantastic opportunity for all of the senior squad players to represent the school. The U16 and U15 A and B netball teams have made promising starts to the season, with both age groups displaying their talent and skills in beating King Henry VIII in recent matches. The U12 and U13 netball teams as well as the U15 hockey team participated in the Loughborough Festival and the U15 Hockey team finished third overall. Both the netball teams played against tough opposition and had mixed results; however the experience and team practice for all was very beneficial. The senior hockey teams have had good results so far this season, particular mention should be made of the clean sweep against Newcastle under Lyme, where the 1st XI won 6-0 and the U15 XI won 6-1. The 2nd XI have also had


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opportunities to represent Bablake and they had a pleasing 4-0 win over Stratford Grammar. The junior hockey teams have already had many matches and are showing promise for a successful season. All the girls are committed to training and bursting with enthusiasm! We are looking forward to an exciting season of girls’ sport at Bablake. athletics Lucy Smith followed her fourth place in the Shot at the England Games during the summer

with the same placing at U16 level in the UK School Games. Miss Stacey Wilson, Head of Girls’ PE, said: ‘I am so pleased that all of Lucy’s hard work over the last few years has paid off. She has been dedicated to the sport throughout her school career and is an inspiration to so many of the younger pupils at Bablake. Her excellent performance gives Lucy further confidence in her quest to make the Commonwealth team and we wish her all the best for this challenge.’ sailing Nia Gripton-Crockford has had a busy summer sailing and has competed in her last ever Topper National Champs and also her first youth boat Nationals. She has just finished her 2nd year as a RYA regional West Zone squad member and will now actively pursue selection into the RYA transition squad in December which will place her in the top 24 youth sailors entering the class in the UK.


Paul made his Championship debut for Warwickshire in April, taking 3 wickets in the game. After returning from university, Paul also played 6 CB40 games, 3 for Warwickshire and 3 for Northamptonshire on loan. Impressive performances throughout the season have resulted in Paul gaining a further summer contract for 2012 with Warwickshire and, in December, he is going to South Africa as part of the ECB Young Spinners Programme. RUGBY The rugby season is now fully underway at Bablake with great success for many teams and individuals. Congratulations should go to Jack Webber, Liam Moore, Will Kirkman and Robert Faulkner, who have all been selected for the Warwickshire U16 squad. Hugh Edwards, James Faulkner and Lewis Marshall have been selected for the Warwickshire U16 Barbarians squad and still have high hopes of making the full squad. Level 1st XV captain, Ben Davies, should be congratulated on his selection for the Warwickshire U18 squad, as should Jamie Jack, Bradley Pinkham and Paul Gascoigne for their inclusion in the Coventry U15 squad. table tennis Congratulations to Paul Lilley who has had a fine summer with his Table Tennis, winning the U15 Warwickshire trials. Paul, whom we reported on earlier this year, is now selected for the U15 Warwickshire squad that will take part in the County Championships in December and March 2012.

Boys’ Sport cricket Bablake cricket teams once again had a very successful summer; the U15s were crowned Coventry Cup winners and the U13s won the Warwickshire Knock-Out Cup. The U14s are Coventry Cup finalists, which will be played at the start of next summer due to the original date being washed out. Warwickshire representative honours went to Ross Parnell (U13), Harvey Burke (U13B), Matthew Clements (U15), Matthew Payne (U15) and Mark Best (U16 & U17). Best Brothers Mark Best had a record breaking summer representing Warwickshire. He beat the previous record of the number of runs scored by an agegroup Warwickshire player in one county season, scoring 893 runs at an overall average of 52. He scored 2 hundreds, with a top score of 157*, a 99 and 4 further scores of over 50. Mark also played a game for the U19s county team. Mark was selected for Leamington CC 1st XI who play in the Birmingham Premier League. His exceptional performances throughout the summer have been rewarded with selection for England Trials at the National Cricket Performance Centre at Loughborough. Mark’s brother, former pupil and 1st XI cricket captain Paul Best had an excellent season with

Cambridge MCCU, scoring over 600 runs and taking 52 wickets, including 150 against Surrey (which included Kevin Pieterson), taking 6 for 101 against Middlesex and 9 wickets in the 4-day varsity match against Oxford University. Paul was named MCCU Player of the Month (May) by the MCC. He also played at Lord’s in the one-day Cambridge victory over Oxford, scoring 61 in 30 balls. bablake school



Headmaster’s notes

Staff news

Diary Saturday 5 November Open Morning 9:30am – 12:30 am

Our new pupils have embarked on their fresh adventure full of energy and excitement, and undoubtedly reach half-term healthily exhausted by participation in a rich array of opportunities. I hope they have felt challenged and inspired in the classroom, and that both teachers and classmates have encouraged them to reach for the stars in their endeavours. I hope that they have made new friends within a community which newcomers often describe as warm, welcoming and happy. I hope too that they have discovered new gifts in their enjoyment of the myriad activities which occur beyond the classroom. Their infectious enthusiasm should remind all of us to make the most of our gifts and opportunities, as precious time too quickly slips away. Our uniqueness as a school is underlined by the very special nature of some of these opportunities: as you will have read earlier in this newsletter, we are the only school to have taken a play for 25 consecutive years to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; and – another example – we are the only school to have a weather station over 30 years old providing daily readings for the Meteorological Office! With record GCSE results, the academic opportunities are also there for the taking. In teaching, learning, care, and all these opportunities, we continue to strive for excellence, with the aspiration that our young people emerge from Bablake as talented, well-rounded and generous young adults. To do any less would be to both undervalue and underestimate their futures.


the lion Autumn 2011

We have been pleased to welcome our new Modern Languages Assistants, Miss Amandine Perin (French) and Miss Nicole Hammer (German – shared with King Henry VIII School). Miss Isabel Cobo-Palacious (Spanish) has remained with us and King Henry VIII from last year, and is also teaching some lessons.

Tuesday 15 November Entry to Sixth Form Evening

We also welcome Mrs Trudi Clarke as our other nurse after half-term. We are grateful to Mrs Amanda Weatherall for working full-time during the first half of term.

Wednesday 7 December Drama Production Theatre 7:30pm

We regret that Miss Stacey Wilson, Head of Girls’ Sport, will be relocating to the USA at Christmas, and will therefore leave Bablake at the end of this term. Her replacement will be announced shortly.

Saturday 19 November Year 6 Activity Morning 9:45am – 12:30pm Saturday 3 December Parents’ Association Christmas Fayre

Thursday 8 December Concert at St John the Baptist Church 1:00pm Drama Production Theatre 7:30pm Friday 9 December Drama Production Theatre 7:30pm

Bablake School Christmas Fayre Saturday 3 December 2011 11:00am – 2:00pm

Saturday 10 December Drama Production Theatre 7:30pm Thursday 15 December School Carol Service Friday 16 December Autumn Term Ends 12 noon

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

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The Lion - Issue 56  

Bablake's termly newsletter