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Spring 2012 Issue 7

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

Inside this issue: 3

The right result

4-5 Academy of the Year 7

Enrichment for all

‘A real buzz’: Principal Miss S Coates.

A Church of England and ARK Academy

BDA leads the way PUBLIC interest in BDA has surged in recent months, with coverage in local, national and even international media. Prime Minister David Cameron, London Mayor Boris Johnson and Education Secretary Michael Gove all praised Burlington Danes in high-profile speeches and articles, while the news network Al Jazeera produced a report on our pioneering teaching of extremism

in the wake of the ten-year anniversary of 9/11. The standing ovation received by Year 13 student Quddus Akinwale and Principal Sally Coates at the Conservative Party conference gained the attention of The Spectator and BBC Radio 5 Live. Meanwhile, Ms Coates’ chairing of the Teaching Standards Committee was widely reported in the national media.

The journey to outstanding Where are they now? WE spoke to four former students to find out what they have been doing since leaving Burlington Danes Academy.

Mr S Adcock, Assistant Principal

Mohamed Raagi

Standing ovation: Quddus Akinwale, Year 13.


of place

GREAT schools are about so much more than great results. With that in mind, it is with real pleasure that we present our seventh edition of The Griffin. There is so much going on at BDA, it is hard to decide what to include: stunning results, winning awards, trips to India, hampers for the homeless, a brilliant Shakespeare production, visiting speakers... There is a real buzz around the academy. I hope you enjoy this showcase of all that is great about BDA.

Miss S Coates, Principal

Students take the helm: The student leadership team.

Where are you now? Studying maths at Brunel. Describe an average day/week I attend lectures from 11am-5pm on Monday and Tuesday. I’m off Wednesday, then studying from 9am-5pm on Thursday and Friday. My week consists of mostly lectures and three seminars of two hours each. Enjoying it? The atmosphere is more relaxed than school, but a lot harder. The workload is bigger than I thought it would be, with lots of independent study. I enjoy chilling with new friends and chatting in communal areas.

Lord Fink sings our praises BURLINGTON Danes hosted its inaugural speech evening in November to celebrate the achievement of students during the previous academic year. Chair of Governors Lord Fink told a packed hall of parents, staff (who wore academic robes) and students, past and present: “Of all my philanthropic engagements in education and health, the story of Burlington Danes is the one of which I am the most proud.”

Mr A Moore, Vice Principal

Generous support: Lord Fink with Principal Miss S Coates and Yasmin Hamdi Pacha, Year 8.

Students take the helm STUDENT leaders throughout the school have been busy improving the daily student experience at BDA. The Year 12 team, led by Head Girl Altanurel Purevdorj and Head Boy Nawid Daoud, focused on providing opportunities for Sixth Form students to support younger students with their learning. Weekly lunchtime science tutorials have proved especially popular. Meanwhile, the Year 11 team of prefects meet weekly to discuss and improve a range of issues, including toilet facilities and the layout of the canteen. They have also proved themselves adept at carrying out daily duties in the eAtrium!

Mr S Adcock, Assistant Principal


Making the grade: Mr C Fairburn with Winta Tekie and Aden Mekuriya, Year 12, receiving their exam results.

Anne Perera

Rapid rise in results IN this year’s GCSEs, 75 per cent of students in Year 11 gained at least 5A*-C grades, including English and mathematics. This marks an eight per cent improvement on last year and enhances our position as one of England’s most successful academies. Meanwhile, 68 per cent of our first set of Sixth Form students achieved the grades required for their first-choice university. Several students gained places at Russell Group universities, including Warwick, Bristol and Kings College London. A total of 68 per cent of all grades awarded were A-C and 98 per cent A-E. The stand-out student across all year groups was Bahgah Katamesh in Year 11 who gained an A* grade in every subject at GCSE, together with two A* grades at A-level (maths and Arabic, two





years’ early) and an A grade at AS-level (biology, one year early). There is no A* grade available at AS-level, meaning that Bahgah gained the highest possible grade for every exam that she took. A stunning achievement.

Mr C Fairbairn, Assistant Principal

Where are you now? Studying law at the University of Essex. Describe an average day/week Loads of lectures covering land law, commercial law, criminal law and civil law. Enjoying it? It’s a lot harder than I thought as you have to do all your work by yourself, but I’ve made good friends and I love living in halls of residence.

Kirsty Lee Kent

Where are you now? Studying digital film and screen arts at UCA. Describe an average day/week I study from 11am-2pm on two days and 11am-5pm on the other two days. I’m off on Wednesdays. I have one lecture a week, plus three lessons/seminars of two or three hours each, plus five hours a day of independent study. Enjoying it? Yes, although there’s more work than I thought. The best thing about uni is living on campus. I enjoy hanging out with friends at the student union too.


Shamsa Ali

Where are you now? At the University of Bristol, studying for a BSc in politics. Describe an average day/week My day begins with breakfast in halls followed by a lecture on world politics. Lectures last 50 minutes. These are followed up by time in the library reading up on the seminar topics of the week. After a second lecture in the afternoon, the day finishes with dinner in halls at 5.30pm. After that, I either have society meetings or sports practice. Enjoying it? The best thing about university is being able to study the subject I am passionate about with people who are as passionate as I am.


Awards and achievements

A Church of England and ARK Academy

During the past year, the academy, its staff and students, have been recognised for their wide-ranging success

Academy of the Year BDA triumphed in the Academy of the Year category at the EducationInvestor magazine awards ceremony, which was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, in November. Full of praise for the academy, judges cited BDA’s outstanding

‘WICKED’ winner

results, transformational management, year-on-year improvement, the pride that students have in their school, the ‘no excuses’ culture, high expectations and the hard work of staff. It was a great night, and fantastic recognition for all of our students and staff.

YEAR 11 student Jemma Smith has been shortlisted in the 14-16 age category of the WICKED Young Writers’ Award 2011, for her piece, Being 10. In celebration of her achievement, Jemma and three guests were invited to an awards ceremony, hosted by the former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo at the Apollo Victoria Theatre in London, home of the hit musical WICKED.

Mr M Ribton, Senior Vice Principal

Staff celebrate triple triumph

Services to the school: Michael Daly.

BDA staff picked up several awards at ARK’s annual summit, which was held at Westminster’s Central Hall in November. Chaplain Alice Hill won the school hero award, while Goli Mohtadi from our office team and Michael Daly from the site team also picked up awards for their services to the school. Michael has been maintaining the site for more than 30 years, and still manages to bring a smile to the face of students and staff with his unique sense of humour!

Below is an extract from Jemma’s story: “The family was a lot more silent then. I remember hospital sounds. Beep. Beep. Beep. At that time, my life revolved around hospitals. I recall a lot of cars on the Whitechapel Road where the hospital was. Always so much traffic. And sirens. Traffic and sirens will forever remind me of the silence of the hospital.”

Ms Pretsell, English Teacher

On ‘Being 10’: Jemma Smith, Year 11.

Ms A Downey, Vice Principal

Ryan counts his blessings

BDA student Ryan Walters has been selected from thousands of applicants across the country to join KPMG’s school leavers’ programme. This prestigious six-year initiative involves studying for a degree and professional accountancy qualification while earning a competitive salary with KPMG: one of the world’s leading professional services firms. Ryan opted for the KPMG programme ahead of an Economics degree from Warwick University. “It was a tough decision,” says the 18-year-old, “but the prospect of a guaranteed job and an immediate salary proved too enticing to turn down.”

Mr Matt Jerred, Head of Sixth Form

Gold, silver and bronze BDA students of all ages have been awarded the coveted UK maths challenge award. Key Stage 3 students competed in the Junior UK maths challenge, with bronze awards going to Callum Retter, Laura Lukos, Moustafa Katamesh, Shazelle Pascall Louis, Johnley Videna, Hajar Benmehdia and Rio Andrew. Meanwhile, gold prizes were awarded to Yara Awada and Yasmin Hamdi Pacha, while Yusuf Yeni gained silver.


More recently, our Sixth Form students entered the equivalent national maths challenge for their age group. Haengeun Chi in Year 13 gained the silver award with a ‘cum laude’ as the best in the school and Quddus Akinwale picked up a bronze. In Year 12, Joshua Ware was awarded silver and Altanurel Purevdorj received a bronze. Well done to all of our number-crunching award winners.

Mr L Wilson, Vice Principal

University bursary STUDENT Ilham Debaghi has been awarded the ‘Driver Bursary’ award, which covers all university tuition fees for three years of her primary teaching qualification. Ilham produced an outstanding interview, showed passion for her

chosen university course and demonstrated a keen involvement in the life of the academy through her work with younger children. Students in Year 12 will be eligible for the award in 2012.

Drama scholarship

Mr Matt Jerred, Head of Sixth Form

Every student matters, every lesson counts THE academy was named runner-up in the prestigious Outstanding Academy of the Year Award hosted by the TES. Competing against academies from around the country, the judges were deeply impressed by our recent ‘journey’ at BDA. The judges said that BDA was renowned for its care and support of students, excellent results and progress, as well as the “unrelenting drive on learning” and a “strong sense of community”. It is, they said, a place where every student matters and every lesson counts.

Mr G Moore, Vice Principal

A FEW months ago, Jigsaw Theatre Arts, a local part-time stage school, offered one student of Burlington Danes a scholarship for one term’s tuition in singing, dancing and acting. I selected Armani May, Year 9, because of her dedication and commitment in the school production of Bugsy Malone and her passion for the Performing Arts. I am delighted to learn that Armani’s scholarship has been extended to a full year because of her talent and hard work. Her teachers have commented that she has “great energy, good focus and is very bright and bubbly”.

Ms L Yates, Head of Drama

Energy and focus: Armani May, Year 9.


Focus on our faith

A Church of England and ARK Academy

CHRISTIANITY in Focus Week in September gave students and staff the opportunity to look deeper into our faith and explore our foundations as a Christian school. The highlight for many was welcoming the Archdeacon, who presided at Holy Communion in a special after-school service.

Christmas provided another opportunity for us to demonstrate our Christian faith through our traditional hamper appeal. Following generous donations, six giant hampers were delivered to local churches, who distributed students’ gifts to people in need.

A time for giving: Mariam Harrak and Salar Bayezidi, Year 8.

Ms A Hill, Chaplain

Down on the

Green fingers: Jake Graham, Year 9.


BDA Farm is now fully up and running, and with our chickens laying at full steam, we’re doing a roaring trade selling eggs. Forms 7N and 8N, and the dedicated members of farm club, have also been

working hard to prepare for fruit and vegetable planting in the spring. We’ve now planted nearly 50 strawberry plants, ready to make jam this summer.

Ms I Farchy, English Teacher

Firm foundations: Ms A Hill meets with students in Year 8.

Performing Arts light up the stage THE Performing Arts enjoyed an outstanding year in 2011. Students were involved in highprofile events such as the ARK Music Gala at the Barbican Theatre, where our performance of Adiemus was met with high acclaim, while our steel pans stole the show at the Westminster Summer Festival. In February, our Dennis Potter Theatre was transformed into a 1920s’ speakeasy for our production of Bugsy Malone, during which more than 50 students sang, danced

and splurged the night away. More recently, the school’s performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was deemed a resounding success by students, professional actors and the ARK network. The year ended with our Winter Concert, which mixed Christmas favourites with some unusual medleys. Looking ahead, the whole-school performance of Hairspray will take place from 12th-14th March.

Mr Teddy Prout, Director of Performing Arts

Feathered friend: Ahmed Idris, Year 9.

Explore, learn, discover

Lessons beyond the classroom IN November, 60 students from Year 9 and seven members of staff headed to Ypres and the Somme for the annual Burlington Danes First World World tour. After spending a day in and around Ypres, visiting Tyne Cot memorial and Langemark German Cemetery, both students and staff took part in the moving two-minute silence at the Menin Gate, laying a wreath on behalf of the academy. On the second day, we travelled through France to the Somme. Here, students wandered through reconstructed trenches and considered the wider impact of the war at Vimy Ridge, a memorial to the Canadian fallen. In addition to our annual battlefields trip, recent visits have taken BDA students to the Houses of Parliament, Cadbury World, south Wales, the Law Society, the BBC Television Centre, Olympic Stadium and Cambridge University.

Ms R Bedford, Head of History, and Mr G Moore, Trips Co-ordinator

Pedal power: Errol Rivera and Gytis Linkevicius, Year 11.

AT the start of the school year, BDA launched our new Academy Enrichment Programme, which aims to offer every student the opportunity to take part in a new or different type of club or activity. The programme runs before school, at lunchtime and after school, and involves staff and students across the academy. Highlights include the Mad Scientists Club, which is aimed at budding Year 7 and 8 scientists, and the Filmclub, which runs every lunchtime in the Dennis Potter Theatre.

Ms N Mataria, Assistant Principal Musical talent: Charizel Villanueva, Year 12.


Boxing clever: Alif Bahru, Year 11.


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 S Adcock, Assistant Principal. Produced by Words&Pictures. Tel: 01943 854800.

Ping-pong player: Yassin Seddik, Year 7.

Sports roundup DURING the 2011 autumn term, boys’ and girls’ football teams were busy with a packed fixture calendar. The outstanding result of the year was a 5-4 win for the Year 8 boys against ARK Wembley after they were 4-0 down earlier in the match. No such drama for the Year 8 girls in their best performance of the season – a 4-0 win against Phoenix. Meanwhile, ten BDA athletes

competed in the Borough cross-country championships, with three students – Yassin Seddik, Lucillo Burrell and Chiara Kafero-Roberts – qualifying for the London youth games. Finally, our Key Stage 3 girls won the Hammersmith and Fulham basketball competition, which culminated in a convincing win against Phoenix.

Ms L Butts, Assistant Head of PE

Keep fit: Dorcus Olugbebi, Year 8.

Top for table tennis

A LITTLE-KNOWN fact about BDA is that we have our very own professional table tennis coach. Henry Medellin (who qualified for the 1984 LA Olympics with the Colombian team, but had to withdraw through injury) coaches BDA students on a one-to-one

basis through the Greenhouse project, which links schools with professional coaches. Mr Medellin said: “In 2011, we picked up plenty of silverware, with BDA students winning both local and national competitions. I have high hopes for 2012!”

Ms L Morris, Associate Vice Principal

Countdown to London 2012 OLYMPICS fever is descending on BDA as we count down the months until the summer games. In July 2011, every student in the school took part in a two-day project focusing on different elements of the games, from stadium design, to the national anthems and even the maths of the Olympics. Since then, students have visited the Olympic site in Stratford, and we will be rolling out several events and opportunities in the run-up to the games.

Ms L Butts, BDA’s Olympics Co-ordinator

Colossians bracing themselves for defeat: Ms E Hagger, Mr M Rowlands-Roberts and Ms L Stone.

Corinthians take the crown IN July, after four years of Colossians dominance, Corinthians House stole the BDA Sports Day crown. On a damp day at Linford Christie stadium, students in Corinthians dazzled the crowd by consistently collecting points throughout the day, culminating in Head of House, Mr Hudson, crossing the finish line to win the staff relay and ensure overall victory. Ms N Okezie, Assistant Principal

The griffin, spring 2012  
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