Page 1

Spring 2013 Issue 9

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

Inside this issue: 3

Performing Arts


Spotlight on literacy


Future focused

A Church of England and ARK Academy

Spirit of excellence

Enrichment across the curriculum

A CHARACTERISTIC of every good headteacher is that they are competitive. ‘Not to be outdone’ could be our motto at Burlington Danes: on the playing field, the lectern at a debate, the way our students behave when in public… We compete because we believe that we can match and sometimes better the best. Some years ago I was an English teacher. I remember this quote from the play Richard II: “I wasted time and now doth time waste me.” The phrase encapsulates a universal truth: that when young, time seems limitless and never ending. With the wisdom of age, you realise how little there is of it and how much needs to be done. To be truly competitive, we must use every second. For many of our pupils exams are looming and time is precious indeed. I hope they use some of the competitive spirit, and the spirit of excellence, embodied in the pages of this magazine to maximise their chances of success. Thank you so much for the cards and best wishes on my knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List. I consider it an award as much for Burlington Danes as for myself.

THE academy’s extra-curricular activities are thriving. With more than 50 clubs running each week, our internal House competition heating up and the introduction of a new characterbuilding scheme, there is never a quiet moment. BDA’s very first Chess Club is now open to all year groups, while the Debate Mate group has been busy attending a number of competitive events across London. Other clubs at Burlington Danes include the ever-popular Film Club, the Boxing Club, Farm Club, Choir, Guitar Club, Manga Club, Cricket Club, Netball Club, Homework Club, and many more. Students at BDA also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of trips. In recent months, our historians made their annual pilgrimage

to the Somme to see the First World War battlefields; the English department travelled to Yorkshire to explore the home of the Bronte sisters; and our talented musicians honed their skills with the SPARK Choir in Hampshire. Students have also been working hard to raise funds for the forthcoming trip to India. Our enrichment timetable is an integral part of life at Burlington Danes and, in line with this, we have launched a new character-building scheme, which emphasises the importance of personal qualities such as kindness, determination, empathy, perseverance and good manners. Students who display these attributes receive deserved recognition.

Mr Adcock

Dame Sally Coates, Principal

Bringing out the best in us

Chess club: Yassmine Al-Amire, Ilaha Akhbar, Abubaker Baldo, and Alfie Harris, all Year 7.

SINCE the last edition of The Griffin, BDA’s performing arts department has been basking in some well-deserved limelight. At the end of last year, students delivered an excellent performance of their inspired take on William Shakespeare’s Henry V. As part of the Shakespeare for Schools’ Festival, the cast and crew entertained a packed house at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. Directed by Mr Rowland-Roberts, and with a superb central performance from Rahsaan Mauricette-Brown as the King and a brilliant stand-in role for Dion Wildman, the production was a roaring success.

Fred Gill, Sixth Form

Actors bring the house down: Members of the Guys and Dolls cast in rehearsals.

Fresh challenges: Fred Gill, Year 12.

MR Prout and the Burlington Danes Parent Teacher Association have been very busy during the past few months. As well as delivering a sterling performance in the academy Christmas quiz, they have made valuable contributions to various school events, including the brilliant winter concert and a mouthwatering cake sale that raised £125 for charity. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the PTA’s recent activity has been the introduction of the Parents’ Forum, a new initiative that enables parents and guardians to put questions to members of staff in a warm and welcoming environment.


Mr Ribton

Budding journalists THE BBC School Report is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience the world of journalism and try their hand at producing professional articles and reports for a real audience. Aspiring journalists from 7B have embraced the opportunity to create a series of excellent articles about recent events, as well as producing some expert video reports on current affairs. You can see a selection of their videos on the Burlington Danes website. These include stories about the English Baccalaureate, the horsemeat scandal and public transport prices in the capital. The team came together for this year’s News Day on 21st March when they spent the day penning a variety of stories. To read their work, please visit the academy website.

Miss Pretsell

Peak performance

I HAVE now entered my sixth year at BDA and, over that time, it has changed a great deal. The school is well organised, and students learn in a structured and happy environment. The main thing that has made my time here such a great experience is the effort that teachers are willing to put in to bring out the best in us; they are always easily accessible. Starting Sixth Form has brought fresh challenges, and my role as a member of the UK’s Youth Parliament has ensured a busy year so far. I am very much enjoying my studies and looking forward to my final yearand-a-half at the academy.

PTA raises the bar

Our correspondents: Emmy Toulson and Saleem Shah, both Year 7.

More recently, the department revamped the Broadway classic Guys and Dolls. The romantic musical comedy, set in the criminal underbelly of 1950s New York, went down a storm with audiences in the Dennis Potter theatre during its three-night run in March. Miss Yates said: “I was so proud of the whole cast. Chanté Faucher and Charles Sutton playing Sister Sarah and Sky Masterson must be commended for their outstanding singing voices and on-stage chemistry, while the perfect comic timing of Chanel Vital and Ezra Gill, playing Miss Adelade and Nathan Detroit, provided the audience with many laughs.”

Mr Cooke

A school of the future ALONGSIDE our busy Twitter accounts and regular web updates, the introduction of ParentPay puts Burlington Danes at the forefront of online communication. The ParentPay programme has been introduced to help parents manage their children’s in-school finances and to simplify some of the more laborious school-related activities, such as paying for trips and purchasing school uniforms. In other news, a detailed outline of every subject’s curriculum plan is available on the website, while the

school shop is accessible online and the academy newsletter is delivered to parents via email. As a means of keeping parents and students informed of all that is happening at BDA, many of our departments make use of the social networking site Twitter. Our tweeting departments include: @BDAbiology, @ BDAphysics, @BDAliteracy, @BDAsport, @BDAenterprise, @BDAeconomics, @ BDAsixthform and, of course, the main school account, @burlingtondanes

Mr Adcock


Accent on literacy

A Church of England and ARK Academy

From our class reader scheme to lunchtime lexia, students at BDA are given every opportunity to enhance their reading and writing skills

A love of literature AS part of our recent literacy drive, we have implemented a number of exciting intervention schemes across the academy to boost students’ reading levels and improve their writing skills. We know that books are a wonderful source of both knowledge and entertainment, and through initiatives such as International Book Giving Day, we make sure that students appreciate their enriching potential. Alongside extra-curricular activities such as the popular Manga Club, students can take part in a class reader scheme, in which every form group reads a stimulating work of literature twice a week for the whole of tutor period. Additionally, we have incorporated a number of other schemes, including one-on-one reading booster sessions, a reading buddy system, lunchtime lexia and additional literacy lessons.

Miss Harnetty

The joy of reading: Abeselom Mebrahtu, Joanna Lucas, Milos Vukasinovic, and Blayze Clarence Chetram, all Year 7.

A good read STUDENTS in Year 8 discuss what they have been reading in recent class reader sessions. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas: Joanna Lucas: “I’m really enjoying this because it helps us with our grammar and it brings us all together.” Youcif Kouadri: “It was a really good book and I learnt as lot about the Holocaust. It also taught me about how Hitler lived.” The Short Stories of Arthur Conan Doyle: Jay: “The high-level language is really intellectual and shows how people lived in that period.” Abdi: “I was amazed by the fantastic language used in the book.” Adam: “The logic behind the short stories is truly magnificent!”

Mrs Castle


First Story success THE talented students from BDA’s First Story group reached new heights last term with a fantastic article making the front page of a popular online publication. The satirical piece made the front page of News Biscuit, a site that provides a daily humorous take on various stories from around the world. The article focused on the coalition’s pledge of support for gay marriage; in an inspired demonstration of support, the writers depicted the Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg tying the knot.

Miss Farchy

Headline news: Cesare Byron Scott, Year 7, and Shahraiz Irfan, Year 8.

Young readers get together THE Burlington Danes literacy team have launched what is proving to be a very popular Twitter page this term. @BDAliteracy allows our young readers to interact with staff and provides them with a platform for comment, analysis and discussion

Good read: Miss Pretsell.

about the range of books that they are currently enjoying – or not, as the case may be! The wartime classic Goodnight Mister Tom has emerged as a favourite among Year 10 history students, who bombarded the page with positive and insightful feedback.

Miss Mataria

A few of our favourite books… STAFF at BDA reveal some of the books they have been reading recently: Miss Bridger on Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens: “Oliver Twist is a children’s classic about a young orphaned boy who leaves the confines of a workhouse to embark on an adventure that sees him embroiled in London’s criminal underbelly. The students loved the twists and turn of this story, and the villains are among literature’s greatest.” Mr Adcock on Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman: “Written by a Nobel Prize-winning psychologist, this is a wonderful book about the workings of the human brain.” Miss Pretsell on Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: “Mrs Dalloway is a wealthy socialite living in New York. The novel spans the course of one day and, in that limited timeframe, you learn so much about who she is, what she values and that she is deeply unhappy with her apparently perfect life.”

Mr Cooke


A Church of England and ARK Academy

Oxford bound WE are delighted to announce that Haengeun Chi, pictured left, is the first student at BDA to be offered a place at the Oxbridge universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The star student has received an unconditional offer to read mathematics at New College, Oxford. Apart from her academic achievements, Haengeun has been a joy to teach and a bright and valuable presence around the school. Haengeun took to twitter to comment: “I couldn’t have done it without amazing Burlington Danes teachers. Can’t thank them enough”.

Mark Bourdillon Photography

The Sixth Form Mr Jerred

Philosophical debate THE main hall at Burlington Danes played host to two Sixth Form RE days. Led by Mr Whitlock, the events facilitated theological and philosophical debate about a wide range of issues surrounding the RE curriculum. The first of the sessions focused on the film, Schindler’s List. After watching the famous Holocaust drama, the students proceeded to discuss the film in a mock courtroom situation, debating Jewish responses to the problem of evil and suffering, alongside philosophical arguments for and against God’s existence. The second event featured inspirational speakers Lord Hastings and Paul Payne, who joined students to discuss the theme of ‘destiny’. They addressed the question of whether your future is pre-determined or if success lies in your own hands.

Ms Downey

On set with Tom Cruise

and Trips far and wide IN addition to their studies, BDA Sixth Formers have been enjoying a variety of enriching trips and excursions. In February, 20 AS English students made the pilgrimage north to visit Haworth, the hometown of the Bronte sisters, which provided a valuable

insight into their work. A number of history and politics students also took part in a collaborative scheme with SOAS University. In a series of masterclass sessions, they explored the famous institution’s specialities, including law

Dramatic achievement RISING drama star Rahsaan Mauricette-Brown’s exceptional talent has been applauded in some influential circles this term. As well as appearing at Westminster Hall for the PIXL Conference for Headteachers, the young thespian was invited to Downing Street to perform a speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V to an audience of select

Mr Prout

Rave reviews: Rahsaan Mauricette-Brown, Year 12.

Where are they now?


and international relations. As an additional part of their preparation for further study, students also visited the University of Sussex, which is famous for producing radical thinkers such as the critically acclaimed novelist Ian McEwan.

government ministers. In a letter of congratulations, the Shakespeare for Schools’ Festival said: “Rahsaan really commanded the room. He is an incredibly confident, mature and compelling performer, and he has a charisma that captivates an audience as soon as he walks on stage.”

Many Sixth Formers are also involved in fundraising activities for next year’s trip to India. During Valentine’s, they sold countless roses, chocolates and love hearts, and organised a blind date competition for staff. Mr Fenn Pilgrimage north: Sixth Form students in Howarth.

FORMER BDA students talk about life at university: “Right now, I am at Loughborough studying politics, international relations and economics,” said Tobi Light. “The course is going well as I received a 2:1 in my first semester. The best thing about university are the socials and sports.” Tele Odunjo is also a Loughborough, and studying the same subjects. “I’m enjoying the wide variety of clubs, although I’ve not yet visited the Pirate Society! The worst thing about uni is the constant essay deadlines, but I’m getting used to it.” Meanwhile, Jaiyeola Odusina who is studying BA Honours business management at Anglia Ruskin University through a Barclays School Leavers Programme, as well as working as a Trainee Assistant Branch Manager, said: “The best thing is the people I’ve met in the retail bank environment and at university. The worst thing is meeting assignment deadlines, but I have done well so far. “ Salah Hussein is studying accounting and finance at the University of Bedfordshire. “The best thing about uni is the social life and the amount of free time you have to do your hobbies and explore other interests,” revealed Salah. “The worst thing is the early morning lectures, but my course is very interesting so I soon wake up.”

Miss Megaw

Former student: Jaijeola Odusina.

IN November, Miss Coates and 13 Sixth Form students visited the set of the new sci-fi thriller, All You Need is Kill. They were lucky enough to be permitted some time on set while the crew filmed a sequence involving Bill Paxton and Hollywood mega-star Tom Cruise. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Cruise took time out from his busy schedule to chat with the group for more than 45 minutes, answering their questions and giving an insight into what inspired him to become an actor. They were all very impressed by his kindness and generosity.


Mrs Goodwin


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&Pict ures. Tel: 01943 854800.

At the top of their game OVER the past few years, our table tennis teams have gone from strength to strength, and are now recognised as a truly formidable force in the London region. Three teams attended the Jack Petchey London Schools’ Finals in January, where they each won their categories. This followed similar success in the West London Schools’ Championship. In recognition of their hard work and determination, coach Henry Medellin and his young prodigies have been awarded the highly coveted Sports Project of the Year Award.

A knockout success

Miss Aitken Ring leaders: Ramy El-Gamal,Year 8, Aaron Sylvan, and Raeem Levy, both Year 9.

AFTER watching a video of BDA students boxing on the roof of a building in west London, we decided to make Burlington Danes a safe place for students to practise the noble sport by sacrificing an assembly hall and installing a boxing ring at the academy. It has since become one of our most popular sporting activities. So much so, that we have appointed a resident coach, Leroy Nicholas, who has described BDA


takes off

BURLINGTON Danes has experienced a revolution in recent months. At the beginning of the academic year, rugby was a non-entity at the academy. However, the introduction of specialist coach Mr Thornton has resulted in a dramatic change. Students from Years 7 and 8 have shown a strong interest in the sport, and

students as some of the best young boxers he has ever worked with. Assistant Principal and PE teacher Mr Jerred commented on the positive impact that boxing has had at BDA: “Our students have progressed exceptionally well, both as boxers and – in many cases – as young people. Boxing seems to be unique in the way it instils confidence and self-respect on those who enter the ring.”

Mr Wilson

their progress has been remarkable. Notably, it has not just been the boys who have impressed with their skills, but girls in Key Stage 3 have also made excellent progress. Mr Thornton said: “Their dedication has been very impressive and I’ve even taken some of the players to play club rugby for Richmond.”

Mr Gooch

Students tackle rugby: Kurt Fagyan, Abdullah Azaid, Amin Popal, Yassin Seddik, and Adam Elbounabi, all Year 7.

The griffin, spring 2013  
The griffin, spring 2013