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Spring 2014 Issue 11

The news magazine of Burlington Danes, A Church of England and ARK Academy

Inside this issue: 3 4-5 6

Sixth Form Outstanding Ofsted Academy visitors

A Church of England and ARK Academy

‘I know the academy will continue to thrive’


The road to academic excellence

A credit to the academy: Members of the Oxbridge Project.

Aspiring to aim higher THE six years I’ve spent at Burlington Danes Academy have been easily the most rewarding of my career. When I arrived in 2008, faced with the daunting but exciting challenge of reinvigorating the then struggling school, I had no doubt of its potential, and I can’t stress how delighted I am to have seen it all come to fruition. I will miss everything about life at Burlington Danes, most particularly the students. The decision to leave a job that has given me so much joy was extremely difficult, but I leave safe

League leaders

in the knowledge that the academy will continue to thrive in the hands of an outstanding staff and with the support of a wonderful community. We have achieved something great together, and I thank you all for making my time as principal such an unforgettable pleasure. I look forward to hearing all about the continued success of our school.

Dame Sally Coates, Principal

Invitation to Buckingham Palace YEAR 9 student Cherri Noel enjoyed a visit to Buckingham Palace in November for the launch of Prince Charles’s Step Up To Serve campaign. The initiative aims to encourage youngsters to help in their communities. The event was hosted by Prince Charles and attended by David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. Cherri was one of 50 young people invited to attend in recognition of their services to others. “It was a great experience, and I felt very privileged to meet Prince Charles and support such an exciting project,” said Cherri. “I also spoke with David Cameron and Ed Miliband. The prime minister said that he was very impressed with my school.” Cherri, who is a member of her local church, has volunteered at a care home for the elderly, helped to clean the Thames of litter and donated her pocket money to the Philippines Typhoon Appeal.

ENGLAND’S secondary school league tables were published in January, confirming Burlington Danes Academy’s impressive progress in a year that saw an overall drop in the UK’s exam results. The tables show BDA’s rise to 77% of students achieving 5A*-C at GCSE (including English and maths) against the national average of 59%. Dame Sally said: “I’m delighted that Burlington Danes Academy has achieved its best results ever. This is particularly satisfying within the context of more challenging grade boundaries.”

SINCE its inception last year, the Oxbridge Project has hosted a range of stimulating events for students, including lectures and seminars delivered by a catalogue of prestigious figures. These include a senior policy advisor to the Liberal Democrats, a human rights barrister and a former diplomat. Dr Tim Leunig, an associate professor at LSE, spoke to students about the economic history of the apartheid regime. Dr O’Hear said: “The students were a credit to the academy. Dr Leunig commended them for keeping pace with what was essentially an undergraduate lecture.” In February, Phillippe Bonavero, a barrister from 4 King’s Bench Walk Chambers, addressed the group on the history and application of the refugee convention. And earlier this year, George Walden, who worked in the USSR in the Krushchev era and in China during the cultural revolution, took students on a tour of his fascinating career.

THE academy would like to congratulate year 13 student Adekunle Awodele, who has received a conditional offer to study architecture at Trinity College, Cambridge. Head of Sixth Form Ms Megaw said: “All three of Adekunle’s assessors said they were very impressed with his interview and that he was a very unique student. Adekunle should be especially commended for his research around architecture, for which he has a real love and passion.” The University of Cambridge is revered worldwide for its academic excellence, with the Department of Architecture consistently ranked in the UK’s top three. Trinity is one of the university’s three royal colleges and enjoys a formidable reputation for success, boasting 31 Nobel Prize winners among its illustrious alumni. Congratulations also to Marcella Cilia, who has been awarded a scholarship to travel the world studying tectonic activity and renewable energy. Impressive interview: Adekunle Awodele, year 13.

Awards hattrick

At the campaign launch: Cherri meets Prince Charles and David Cameron.

First aid: Shuiab Baryan, Ahmed Cacherel, Damani Mirjah-Mercer, Marwa Abdi and Caitlin Ramirez-Proaho, year 8.

Emergency life support STUDENTS have been learning about first aid in PSHCE lessons recently, with a little help from Saving Londoners’ Lives (SLL) – a programme that prepares youngsters to offer emergency medical assistance. Dr Gillian Schiller, programme lead for SLL, attended BDA workshops in December to observe and assist students as they learnt about dealing with a serious bleed. She said: “I set up the Saving Londoners’ Lives programme with partner organisations to grow a community in London that will see many fewer deaths from heart disease, and especially cardiac arrests.”


Positive contribution: Adam Woodward, Redwan Abdi, Bashir Hassan and Ali Chaudhry, year 10.

Entrepreneurs make their mark

THE BDA Enterprise team has been extremely busy over the past two terms. During Black History Month, the students contributed to our famous Cultural Gala with a whole-school cross-cultural quiz and by selling various products for charity, including flags and badges. Over the Christmas period they organised a staff karaoke session, during which Senior Vice Principal

Mr Ribton delivered an authentic rendition of Fairytale of New York with Ms Ingr. More recently, the team won a competition with Queens Park Rangers to develop methods of increasing revenue streams from the African and US markets. As a result, they represented QPR in the semi-finals of the Premier League Enterprise Challenge at the home of West Bromwich Albion FC and came an impressive second.

THREE Burlington Danes students received recognition for their positive contributions to the school at the Jack Petchey Awards in January. Congratulations to Bashir Hassan, Zakaria Ellis-Khan and Sumei Awo, who were chosen to receive the accolade by their peers. The trio attended a ceremony in Kensington Town Hall to collect their awards in front of family and friends. Since then, all three winners have been busy spending their £200 prize money on items that will benefit the school. Well done – and keep up the good work.


Writ large: Students celebrate the academy’s success.

A Church of England and ARK Academy


BDA has experienced a dramatic turnaround in recent years. According to Dame Sally, the recent Ofsted report is ‘a stunning achievement for Burlington Danes and ARK Schools Teachers make learning enjoyable by providing imaginative, structured and challenging activities that enable students to make outstanding progress. Ofsted Good subject knowledge and planning … make an outstanding contribution to students’ progress and ensure students learn effectively. Ofsted Attainment by the time [students] reach year 11 is significantly above the national average, especially in mathematics and English. Learning is brilliant at this school.


Year 8 student

Teachers really support us to meet our ambitious targets. Year 11 student We are given so many opportunities to really prepare us for the best universities. Year 13 student


BURLINGTON Danes Academy has been judged outstanding by Ofsted in all four categories. Following a full inspection on 21-22 November, Ofsted inspector Linda Austin reported: “The mission to provide the very best education for every pupil within a caring and safe environment has become a reality in this outstanding academy. Students, staff and parents are proud to be part of this mission and speak very highly about the academy.” New criteria The achievement of students, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety of students, and leadership and management, all received the highest grading based on the tightened Ofsted criteria introduced in September 2013. Under the new standard, it is thought that only 4-5% of schools will be awarded outstanding status. Placed in special measures in 2006 and made the first ARK academy the same year, the school has experienced a dramatic turnaround. Principal Dame Sally Coates and Senior Vice Principal Michael Ribton joined in 2008, and the school has been on an upward trajectory ever since. High praise In a major education speech in 2011, Prime Minister David Cameron praised

the academy for setting an example for other failing schools across the country. The school has seen soaring GCSE and A-level results, and Dame Sally was knighted in the New Year’s Honours List in January for her great leadership. Dame Sally said: “It is a stunning achievement for us and ARK Schools. I am so proud of my staff.” Despite fallen national averages in this summer’s GSCE results, Burlington Danes students celebrated record success with 77% A*-C (including English and maths) – more than double its 2006 results. The sixth form, founded in 2009, followed suit with a 99% pass rate and 50% of all qualifications awarded at A*-B. Personal testimony Ken Bromfield, governor and former student, said: “BDA is now established as an outstanding school, serving the community in which I was born and raised. The decision to bring BDA under ARK’s wing was the vital step on the hard road to success via Sally and her fantastic team.” Chair of Governors Lord Stanley Fink said: “I am so thrilled and proud of the school and would like to pay enormous tribute to Sally for her phenomenal leadership, the Senior Leadership Team who have helped drive the school forward, and the amazing and hardworking staff.”


Look who dropped by!

Much ado about

WE have welcomed a number of high-profile visitors to the academy in recent months. In February, former JLS star Oritsé Williams joined the minister for intellectual property, Lord Younger, as he launched a new music app, Music Inc, at the academy. Ahead of their autumn international against England’s rugby team, the All Blacks made a surprise appearance on our AstroTurf. In fact, they enjoyed the facilities so much they trained with us for three days. Portuguese Minister of Education Nuno Crato visited BDA in January. The university professor, researcher, mathematician, economist and writer toured the school and spoke with Dame Sally about the strategies that have contributed to BDA’s success. The UK schools minister, David Laws, also found time to pop in for a chat. Dame Sally said: “I was very pleased to see Mr Laws. He is interested in looking at our systems and how we manage to do so well. He was really impressed with the school.”

Visit bridges cultural divide

House competition heats up

A CAST of talented BDA actors have been entertaining parents, politicians and royalty with their acclaimed adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. In association with the Shakespeare Schools Festival, the successful production was first seen at the Shaw Theatre, King’s Cross, in November. The group were then invited to Southend’s Palace Theatre, where they performed for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall as part of the celebrations marking the Bard’s 450th birthday. Sixth form student Fred Gill said: “It was an honour to perform in front of Prince Charles and to talk to him afterwards about the variety of dramatic events we put on at Burlington Danes. He seemed really interested in what I had to say.” For a dramatic final rendition, the group visited 11 Downing Street in February. Attending the prestigious event were Education Secretary Michael Gove, Elizabeth Truss MP, television executive Alan Yentob and actor Simon Russell Beale, among others. Head of Performing Arts Teddy Prout said: “It is wonderful that we have been given the opportunity to showcase the incredible

BDA’s hotly contested house competition has produced a number of closely fought events over the past two terms. From the ever-popular Mini Olympics to the academic grandeur of our recent House University Challenge, students have exhibited a formidable variety of talents. During this year’s cook-off, staff and students joined forces to prepare a selection of culinary delights to tempt the taste buds of Dame Sally and to win valuable points. Earlier this year, teachers took part in an entertaining afternoon of badminton, while other events have included football, rugby, netball, chess and spelling competitions. There’s still plenty more to come!

Lesson in sustainability

AFTER a busy year of fundraising and preparation, a group of BDA Sixth Form students packed their rucksacks and boarded a plane for India, where they spent ten days experiencing the country’s amazing culture and teaching at SKSN – a residential school for children affected by polio. Head of English Ms Pretsell described their arrival at SKSN as one of the most


moving days she can remember: “These young people are capable of living virtually normal lives thanks to the work of the teachers and sponsors.” The students also had the opportunity to visit a number of prominent attractions, including Humayun’s Tomb, the Lotus Temple and the Qutub Minar, as well as the packed lanes and traditional markets of Old Delhi.

Shakespeare A Church of England and ARK Academy

EARLIER this term, BDA Governor Ken Bromfield joined sixth form geographers for a student-led discussion on the theories of Thomas Malthus and their relevance to modern issues of sustainability. During a productive session, the group discussed a variety of issues including aid and climate change. Mr Bromfield said: “It was rewarding for a governor of Burlington Danes Academy to be working with students who responded to the challenges posed by the Malthus axiom and its relevance to sustainable development.” A few weeks later, a group of students who attended the session hijacked a year 9 geography class to explain the fundamentals of development.

talents of our students in front of such a distinguished audience. “Our young actors show again and again how professional they are and how our involvement in the Shakespeare Schools Festival is such a valuable experience for them.” The Shakespeare Schools Festival is the UK’s largest youth drama festival, giving students from all backgrounds the opportunity to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres. In other events, a range of accomplished musicians spread seasonal cheer with BDA’s excellent Christmas Concert – claimed by many to be the academy’s best yet. Black History Month was, as ever, a triumph – as a close community, comprising a wonderful range of cultures, it always gives us great pride and pleasure to celebrate our diversity and progressive spirit. We also hosted a very successful Future Success Day and Careers Fair, offering students a taste of what’s on offer beyond BDA. Our annual Prize Giving ceremony was also another fantastic acknowledgement of our students’ achievements.

Trips far and wide AS always, BDA students have been enjoying school life outside of the classroom as well as in, with a typically enriching range of adventurous trips. In February, a group of sixth form English enthusiasts travelled north to Haworth, to visit the home of the famous Bronte sisters. As well as two fantastic talks, the students enjoyed a taste of country life, venturing on to the harsh and wildly evocative moors – the setting of Emily’s only novel, Wuthering Heights. Meanwhile, the annual geography expedition to Wales explored the river Ogmore. Students also took part in business and economics visits to high-profile companies such as Bloomberg and KPMG, and university tasters including Oxford, Cambridge and Loughborough. In a special media trip to the BBC, students took on the role of programme-makers for a day.


Burlington Danes Academy Wood Lane, London W12 0HR Tel: 020 8735 4950 Fax: 020 8740 5659 Email: Website: Follow us on Twitter:

Editorial team: Mr T Cooke, Communications Manager. Produced by Words&Pictures. Tel: 01943 854800.

Training hard: year 8 and 9 boys’ rugby team.

At the top of their game THE BDA girls’ football team is proving to be a formidable force on the field. Since losing their opening match to Hammersmith Academy, the key stage 3 girls have won every match by at least a two-goal margin.

Well done Rikki, who is the leading goalscorer with an impressive ten goals to her name. Also to Eman, Hayley and Amanda for their heroic defending. Special mention must also be made of Bobbie, who has been a rock in goal.

Impressive performance: Members of the BDA girls’ football team in action.

Rugby revolution RUGBY at BDA has gone from strength to strength this year. While the year 9 boys have picked up key wins against the likes of Holland Park and close rivals Hammersmith Academy, years 7 and 8 have followed suit with a number of excellent performances. The teams have advanced from playing a basic level of rugby to looking a well-organised, disciplined and physical group. It’s fair to say that BDA rugby is fast becoming a force to contend with in the local area.

Jewel in our sporting crown IN table tennis, there have been a number of success stories across all year groups, with students showing their prowess at the table time and again. Well done to Eman, Rikki and Demi, who have qualified for the London Schools Individual Finals in June. What’s more, the U13 girls have secured a place in the National Schools Finals. Cacherel Mirjah-Mercer has also won the U13 West London Schools Individual Championship. Check our online newsletters for more information – there really has been too much good news to cover! U13 champion: Demi-Chante Reid, year 9.

The Griffin, Spring 2014  
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