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Author Visit A local doctor who turned to writing following a stroke visited BVC to talk to Year 7 students. Alex Mellanby, of Wendy, said his personality changed so much after his stroke that he swapped his stethoscope for a notebook and embarked on a new career as an author. Maddie Saggers, Year 7, said: “When Alex Mellanby visited the college I was invited to meet him when he arrived to ask questions and talk to him. “I had already been given one of his books, Tregarthur’s Revenge, to read and evaluate. Reading this book gave me a sense of what Alex was like as an author. I really enjoyed reading the book and came up with some questions to ask him. He answered them all brilliantly. “Alex is the author of a trilogy called, Tregarthur’s Promise, Tregarthur’s Revenge and Tregarthur’s Prisoners. My friend read Tregarthur’s Promise which she said was also very good.

Alex with students Mark Russell, Beth Makower, Kaitlyn Tennant, Ginevra Harraway, Maddie Saggers.

“His talk was very inspiring. He gave us a taste of the ups and downs of being an author and how hard it is to get your book published. We all found it very interesting. The writing workshop afterwards was also very good, where all the students enjoyed taking part in collectively creating a character of their own with Alex. “Meeting Alex has definitely inspired me to write more.” Mrs Lynn, BVC Librarian, said: “The students thoroughly enjoyed Alex’s talk. They were spellbound by his ability to make up a story just from suggestions shouted out to him. Many of the students said they were inspired by him to write their own stories.”

The Future is GREEN at BVC Over the past year we have seen our carbon footprint get less and less in terms of energy conservation. Firstly we had double glazed windows installed in place of single glazed windows – it feels much warmer just with this done. Then we fitted solar panels on our main school and sports centre roofs, allowing us to export some of the electricity made by the solar panels and using some of it for our own use. It will bring down the overall cost of our electricity usage. Following the solar panels, we had LED lights fitted in all of the school buildings which means that we have better lighting for less money and we won’t have to change the light bulbs for 35,000 hours. That’s a lot of learning hours! This term has seen the last phase of our school energy saving measures – the Biomass boiler has been built and will be keeping us all warm in the main school from now on. The Biomass structure and boiler was delivered and fitted just before the end of term (right). It will take up to 15 tonnes of woodchips and burn them up to heat up the school. The compost (ash) from the woodchips will be great for using on our gardens as The biomass structure being delivered. compost.


Fashion, Futsal and Flying Drones A massive thank you to pupils, staff and parents for contributing to a short and incredibly fast term. There have been so very many varied opportunities for all our students from fashion shows, sports fixtures/trips, careers/PSHE talks, coding club, flying drones, charity fund-raising through their pledges and many, many more. It is also fabulous to see our achievements being publicized across a wide range of media - see details below on how to access our different media platforms. We are currently building strong relationships with Cambridge United resulting in professional football and futsal coaching and we are looking to forge a professional relationship with Waitrose. This term has seen the college receive some external accolades. We were delighted to receive a letter from Nick Gibb MP recognising how much we have achieved in comparison to all the other secondary schools across the country. In it he says: “Your school is one of the top 100 non-selective state-funded schools in England showing the greatest sustained improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades, including English and mathematics GCSEs. Ensuring your pupils are achieving at least the benchmark standard of attainment at key stage 4 provides a strong basis for their further education and employment. “Thank you for your work in this important area of a young person’s education and congratulations again to you and your staff for your hard work and professionalism.” We have also been invited to become a Leading Edge school as part of the Schools, Students and Teachers network (SSAT). The membership of this network is reserved for high performing schools. Finally, as our Head of Technology Andrew Lambley heads off to pastures new, I would like to thank him for all his hard work and commitment and to wish him all the very best for the future. Congratulations to Jo Lambert who has been appointed Head of Technology with effect from next term. Have a very relaxing Easter break. Duncan Cooper, Principal

Year 7 students Jacob Smith, Amelia Perkin, Harriet Alexander and Archie Lievesley with the school’s letter from Nick Gibb.

We are very proud of all our students’ achievements and like to share them publically as often as we can. To keep up to date with what’s happening in college, please make sure you have subscribed to our Parentmail service. The weekly Heron newsletter keeps parents and students informed of events that have happened and calendar dates to look out for. For a more ‘instant fix’, why not follow our news feed on Twitter ( or Facebook ( Congratulations to Danielle Foskett (left) and Bethan Makower who have won shopping vouchers for their involvement in the school’s Pledge initiative. The girls are shown here with Assistant Principal Mrs Edwards.

Alumni can keep in touch with the college through our dedicated LinkedIn Bassingbourn Village College group ( or by emailing and asking to be added to our database.

More information on the Pledge on page 9.


MFL Spelling Bee Félicitations to our Year 7 French students who have been competing in the MFL Spelling Bee. The Bassingbourn final of the Routes into Languages Spelling Bee involved students being tested on their spelling and pronunciation of 50 French words. The final came down to a dead heat and was only decided after a very tough tie-breaker. Winners going forward to the regional final are Bella Harrison (who translated and spelled 10 French words in a minute, using the French pronunciation of the alphabet), Izzie Inskip and Isaac Summers who both achieved 8 words. Katie Cheeseright was a very close runner up. The class winners were (back row, from left) Bella Harrison, Liam Bryant, Isaac Summers, Sam Hale; (front) Isabel Inskip, Archie Lievesley, Katie Cheeseright, Adam Russell, Annie Safford, Evie Adams.

International Visit In February 59 French pupils from Collège Joseph Bédier visited BVC, accompanied by five of their teachers, to experience a day in the life of an English school. When the French students first arrived, Year 9 pupils welcomed them and we spent some time finding out about each other and our lives using the language we had been working on in our lessons. BVC pupils then gave tours of the school in French. The visitors were particularly impressed by our sports centre and canteen. Later in the morning they played some sport, including Unihoc and football, with Year 9 and 10 pupils which was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. The BVC students had been taught how to explain the rules of the games in French in a lesson during the previous week. They then had to use this vocabulary to teach

the French students how to play which was a bit challenging but great fun! During lunch we all sat together and they told us about life in a French school; it was interesting to compare their lives with ours, for example they have Wednesday afternoons off. In the afternoon, the French students experienced lessons such as Maths, Science, Music, History, Geography and English to find out what a typical lesson is like in an English school. Finally everyone posed for a photo of both schools (below). Overall we enjoyed being the hosts and meeting the French students. The French students also loved it: some of them even asked if they could come back the next day! Patrick Safford, Eden Alarcon and Zephir Alarcon


Dad Drops in to say Hello Students had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived at school on a frosty January morning – a hot air balloon had landed on one of the school fields. Landing between the Village College’s Creative Arts block and the Sports Centre, the balloon attracted the attention of a crowd of students from both the college and the primary school. Solo balloonist Adrian Brown had set off just 30 minutes earlier from a field north of Bassingbourn. His daughters Katie and Abbie are students at the college. Katie enjoys flying with her father but wasn’t with him on this particular trip. On this occasion Adrian was flying his Cloud Hopper which has no basket, just a one-man seat with fuel cylinder strapped to a Landing on the playing field frame on his back.

Adrian Brown

Adrian said: “Ideally we like to land close to a road or track to enable easy access for the retrieve crew to come and collect us. With such light winds I didn’t think we would be able to reach the Heath at Royston. The Royston Road from Litlington has the complication of power lines and sheep in the fields which I did not want to disturb.

“I could see there was plenty space to land by the college – with the movement of the wind turbine and some smoke coming out of one of the buildings, I could judge the wind movement on the ground.” Coverage of Adrian’s landing hit news pages and websites across the world as his early morning trip caught everyone’s imagination.

Robotics Club The newly-formed Robotics Club has already attracted a lot of interest from our budding engineers. Organised by Head of Science, Mr Miller, the students have been taking advantage of the space available in the Sports Centre to fly their drones. The group have also been working on building and programming their own robots using Lego Mindstorms, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. James Michael Tennant, Year 10, explained what it’s like to fly a drone: ”It is fun to play with the drones, but we learn how they work as we fly them, and soon we should be experts at drone flying. “Some drones act differently to each other, some have different weight to thrust ratios in proportion to their controllers, so they shoot right up, and fall really quickly so it is hard to keep it at one height. Every drone has its own characteristics and each pilot needs to learn how his or her drone reacts to different movements. “Some drones can fly themselves, and we can even have one circling the school on it’s own! “We program the drones ourselves, adding an artificial intelligence system so it can navigate and choose directions on it’s own.”

Mr Miller with members of the Robotics Club


Term in Focus

Year 7s enjoyed a battle reconstruction during their History lesson.

Sgt John Marshall from the Metropolitan Police gave a talk to students as part of a series of careers events.

Drama company Alter Ego (above) presented the thought-provoking drama Chelsea’s Choices on the dangers of grooming and sexploitation. Year 10 GCSE technology students took to the Prom to road-test their vehicles.

Matthew Bairstow gained a Silver Arts award for his work with the British Film Institute’s Film Academy.

Maths mentors launched a lunchtime maths club to help with homework and revision.


Term in Focus

Streetwise Theatre Company

Pupils from all year groups took part in the annual Dance Show with Year 11s taking to the stage again just a few weeks later with a fund-raising Fashion Show.


Wood Green Trip for Year 7 A group of Year 7 students visited Woodgreen Animal Shelter in Godmanchester as part of a science project. They obviously enjoyed their trip out judging by their comments:  My favourite part was seeing Sheldon the dog who was a stray that they rescued. He was very obedient and energetic. Nicole Burgess  I would like to work at Woodgreen looking after the small animals, the experience was great. My favourite part was making treat bags. Katie Inskip  I really, really enjoyed the interaction with the animals, like feeding the goats and stroking the chicken and dogs. Maddie Saggers  We met a very attention-seeking goat who kept bucking his horns on the fence. Saskia Holloway  We were shown a rat called Fish! James Buchan  We met a Labrador and I got to train him - he was very clever and showed us all sorts of tricks. I really enjoyed myself. Elizabeth Tidmarsh

trained by one of the helpers, Hannah. I wanted to take him home with me! Woodgreen is an animal charity which rescues and looks after animals from the size of a rat right up to a horse. Rosanna Snook

 We learnt that when you breed rats, the most baby rats one rat can produce is 20. The trip has really inspired me to help animals and to have a job  Sheldon was a lovely dog and we saw him being where I can relate to animals. Jacob Smith

Art Showcase While senior students have been working hard on their GCSE art pieces, our younger students have been producing some marvellous artwork. Year 8 students have been working on batik pieces, produced as part of a project on Africa. They have enhanced their images with further textiles techniques, such as beading, embroidery and fabric pen work. The examples above are by Ben New, Alfie Duckett, Leigh Hammond and Emma Kitely. These four below are from the Illuminated Manuscript project, just completed by Year 7. They have researched, planned and created designs for the front of their Art sketchbooks. These are by Annie Safford, Edward Dow, Maddie Saggers, and Emma Shalan.


Pledging to do well BVC students have now set a staggering 1000 pledges in a bid to improve their employability skills as well as achieve their Apprentice Awards and BVC challenge certificates by the end of the year. The Pledge is a national scheme for schools to help students develop essential life skills and experiences. This term students have been considering the importance of organisation in the working world and how they can develop and improve their own organisational skills. Tutor groups have been working on collaborative fundraising projects, with highlights being a bake sale and bargain £1 sweet bags. These events have not only demonstrated our students’ excellent organisational skills but also how kind and generous they are. All the proceeds will be going to Shelter. In addition to this, as part of the Pledge initiative, we held our first debating competition for Year 9 students. Judges were our Principal, Mr Cooper, Mrs Butterworth, vicechairman of the Governors, and Mr Clover, head of English. The final saw four teams competing with two motions to debate: "This House would ban violent video games" and "This House believes that child labour can be justified in developing countries".

Easter cake sale

The winners were Adam Castle, Joe Heavey and Will Gowland whilst the runners up were Libby Taylor, Holly Derrett and Iain Lynn. Other finalist were Sophie Perumalla, Ffion Laugharne, Lydia Cornwell, Bea Cornwell, Leanne Thompson and Amelie Anderton. Abigail Snelling and Cormac Hosie chaired the debate. Iain joined Adam, Will and Joe to form the team going forward to the regional finals which were held in Dulwich during the last week of term. The boys did extremely well, coming in the top four, and are now looking forward to competing in the national finals at Eton College next term. Adam, Joe and Iain were also named in the top five speakers taking part in the competition. Year 9 debaters

Trip To Anglia Ruskin University A small group of Year nine students attended a careers fair at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. The aim of this trip was to encourage us to consider our future career ambitions, and also how to achieve them. The trip was truly inspiring and opened our eyes to so many paths we can take, also giving us a snapshot of how different 6th form and university life is compared to secondary school (a big difference!). Thanks to this trip, many of us can now decide our options confidently. We all learnt so much and had lots of fun along the way. Thank you to Mrs Norton for organizing this amazing experience. Destiny Robinson


Sports News Netball The Year 11 girls (left) played our last tournament together in freezing conditions at Netherhall school. As it was our last year at Bassingbourn we gave it our all. I am extremely proud of my fellow team mates - playing alongside these girls since Year 7 has been a memorable experience. I would like to thank all the girls for their hard work and dedication, as well as Mrs Guilder for her excellent coaching and for organising our matches. Thanks to Mr Beck, too, for his support throughout the years. Holly Anderson

A group of BVC netballers were lucky enough to watch Herefordshire Mavericks play Celtic Dragons at Hatfield Sports Centre. It was a really exciting game which saw Mavericks go to the top of the league, beating Celtic dragons 67-45. Katie Cheeseright went on court at half-time and competed in a shooting competition to win a signed netball dress. Although she didn’t win she did pretty well for a GD!

Clubbercise It’s not often a PE lesson involves glow sticks and thumping dance music! But that HAS been the case for some of our senior girls this term. Year 10 girls have had the pleasure of participating in Clubbercise within their core PE lessons. Clubbercise is an exercise class that is conducted in the dark to dance anthems – the room is lit like a club and rather than hand weights students have glow-sticks. PE teacher Mrs Edwards said: “Our students have absolutely loved these sessions which have improved general fitness levels, developed co-ordination, confidence and helped improve enthusiasm levels towards physical activity. A massive thank you to Helen Reader for leading these sessions. If you haven’t been to one of Helen’s clubbercise classes you really must go.”


Sports News Awards evening Our sports stars shone very brightly at the annual Roy Burrell Awards Evening which celebrates excellence in sport in Cambridgeshire schools. Our Year 11 award winners (left) have shown a full commitment to their sports and have achieved excellence by either representing their district, county or competed nationally in their sport. Bassingbourn winners included Sophie Pedder, Lotti Barrett, Hope Taylor, Holly Anderson, Emily Cornwell, Lauren Goodyer, Oliver Some of the Bassingbourn prizewinners at the awards ceremony Snelling, Tom Robinson, George French and Tommy Compton.

Cross Country

Football club

Sophie Pedder, Year 11, has had a very successful cross country season. She qualified for regional cross country trials, running so well that she qualified as the 5th fastest girl in her age group for the English Schools trials.

During our last half-term holiday, Cambridge United ran a holiday football club for ages 4 – 12 in the Sports Centre from 9am to 4pm each day. It was so successful that we had the largest amount of children attending out of all of their half-term fixtures, all over Cambridgeshire. This is now going At the English Schools Cross Country to be repeated for the Easter holidays and for 2 Championship in Nottingham, Sophie was in the top weeks in the summer holidays. Details below. 6 Cambridge runners bringing the county team in at 13th place. She has worked incredibly hard to achieve this and we are very proud of her. Primary school pupils enjoyed an afternoon in the great outdoors as we hosted our annual Cross Country run for feeder primary school. 170 Children from years 3 and 4 took part in the event from Bassingbourn, Steeple Morden and Guilden Morden primary schools.

Futsal Bassingbourn Sports Centre has become the latest CUFC’s Futsal Development Centre. Cambridge United FC’s 10 week Futsal Development School launched here in March. This course is a fantastic opportunity for children between the ages of 12-16 to gain experience of Futsal delivered by professional coaches. Players will develop through additional weekly training, which will enhance their technical, physical & tactical development. This course also gives players the opportunity to progress into the Cambridge United FC system.


Where are they now? Kate Gwynn is an actress and a former pupil of workshop company which Bassingbourn Village College. she has set up with friend and colleague Vicky Starting in 2001, moving up from Petersfield school, Sheldon, whom she met at Orwell, Kate has fond memories of her tutor Roy drama school. Starkey who will be remembered by a great many former pupils. The girls have based their new venture on a theory Drama was always Kate’s favourite subject at called divergent thinking, school and she says credit must go to Drama and which is a method used to Media Studies teacher Simon Gair for encouraging generate creative ideas by Kate Gwynn her to follow her dreams. exploring possible She said: “Simon Gair was very supportive and solutions. The result is Divergent Drama which encouraging of my love for acting and one of the offers drama-based curriculum workshops that reasons that I had the confidence to continue doing encourage creative learning. what I loved. She said: “Children have the best ideas. I “After studying drama at GCSE I went love working with them because they have onto study at Hills Road Sixth Form such active imaginations. For example, if College. I took A levels in Drama, you give a child a paper clip and ask them English Literature and Biology. From what it could be used for, they will give you there I went onto study drama and loads of suggestions, but if you asked an performance at Queen Margaret adult, they’d say: ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ University, Edinburgh, where I received a “The workshops encourage them to come up with distinction. During my third year I applied to drama their own solutions to situations.” school and was awarded a place at ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts) and Drama Kate says she enjoys the freedom of running her Centre. After thinking carefully about it I chose to own business which gives her the flexibility to take complete my MA in acting at ALRA. up acting roles when they come up. “Since graduating I have had a mix of jobs, juggling “You never know what’s around the corner, but it’s teaching, touring, being a children's entertainer and definitely exciting.” shooting short films.” Kate’s latest project is a drama-based educational If you are a former pupil of Bassingbourn Village College and would like to be kept up-to-date with college news and future reunions, please email your details to

Former Pupils Reunion Over 80 former pupils attended a reunion which was organised by Tony Wilson and Lisa Waller. Those attending the event in the Old Bull had been at the college between 1978 and 1987. Bassingbourn Village College had supplied photographs and press clippings from our archive which created a lot of interest. Tony said: “The most popular pastime was naming the teachers in the pictures and recalling favourite lessons. “The evening was such a success that we are already working on the next event.”


Spring 16  

Spring term magazine for Bassingbourn Village College. We are a vibrant, high-achieving school for students aged 11-16 based in South Cambri...