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Skills London

Years 10 and 11 visit Skills 2012 event

Science in Sport

Year 7 visit King’s College for a ‘Science in Sport’ workshop

Rubik’s Cube Challenge Students take part in Rubik’s Cube World Record attempt

Newsletter • Issue 12 • Autumn 2012

Welcome I am delighted to be able to welcome you to the first edition of the Harris Academy Falconwood Insight for the 2012 – 2013 academic year. I hope you enjoy this issue. It was amazing that we had the Olympics over the summer and that it was so close to us. I hope you were able to take advantage of this and enjoyed it, either first hand or through the superb coverage that the television was able to provide. It certainly appears to have been a really motivating factor for our students as we seem to be enjoying some real sporting success this term, some of which is detailed in this edition of the Insight. It is very rewarding that we can share some of our outstanding facilities with students from the other Harris Academies and you will be able to read about how we did that in October with our amazing climbing wall. We are also encouraging the local community to take full advantage of our facilities through our partnership with Schools Plus. Simon Kidby, our Community Manager, has a full programme of activities, which means that out of hours, the site is buzzing with members of the community. Yet again this year we had some of our students participate in the Shakespeare Schools Festival, with a wonderful performance of Romeo and Juliet. In an attempt to raise awareness and make us all more ecofriendly, 5 students represented us in a competition

and won the opportunity to attend a residential trip to Wales. After a very enthusiastic presentation to me on their return, they now plan to start an organic vegetable plot at the Academy. Our Focus Days continue to be really popular with the students and we had one in the summer term and another one took place on 7th December. The students benefit from the variety of activities that they do and it also helps to develop their SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) awareness. The LBC day this term included some fascinating trips to places like Rochester, Chatham Dockyard and the Emirates Stadium and the Year 10s and Year 11s attended a very informative Careers Conference at the Excel Centre. Our Post 16 students received some very pleasing results in the Summer. Many of these students have now taken that giant step to Higher Education and are attending various Universities around the country. I am sure you will join me in wishing all those young adults all the best for the future. Continued overleaf

Principal’s Welcome Continued from cover Our Year 11 students did extremely well in their GCSE examinations. In 2011, with a slightly less able year group, we dipped fractionally from 60% 5 or more A*– C grades including English and Maths to 57%. Our target for summer 2012 was to achieve 65%. We were able to buck the national trend and in fact increase our results by 11% and achieved 68% 5 or more A*– C grades including English and Maths. As with the last two years, not one student left the Academy without a minimum of 5 A*– C grades, even if they were unable to achieve Maths or English. Two of our current Year 12 students were recognised for their outstanding GCSE achievement at the Bexley Civic Centre. I am sure that our continued academic success contributes to how popular we are in the community, as over 3,000 visitors attended our Open Events this term and we are due to test over 1,000 Year 6 pupils who have applied for a place at the Academy for next September. It is very nice that we are so oversubscribed but very sad that so many young people will be disappointed at not being offered a place. However you are spending your Christmas break, I hope you have a really good time. I am sure you will join me in wishing the staff at the Academy a very restful Christmas break, after all their hard work again so far this year, they thoroughly deserve it! We attempt to include articles and information in this Insight that reflect the work of the Academy. We like to highlight to you areas that we feel will be of interest. However, if you have suggestions for something that you would like to see included in any future editions of the Insight, please feel free to contact Mr Metcalfe, Assistant Principal, at the Academy and he will endeavour to look into this for you. Best wishes Ms Terrie Askew, Principal

Skills London Careers Conference 2012 Year 10 and Year 11 students visited Skills London 2012 on Friday 23rd November. This was an exciting careers and skills event for young people from across the Capital. The Skills London 2012 event enabled exhibitors and students to come together. The high level of interactivity provided the students with the chance to have a go at the careers on offer. It also gave the organisations the opportunity to explain their career routes and job opportunities. By engaging the students with focused taster activities such as these, employers get the chance to meet their potential future workforce; inspiring them, entertaining them and most importantly informing them about the genuine opportunities available. Mrs U Divakaran, Assistant Principal and Head of BET Faculty


Scientists in Sport Day at

King’s College

On Monday 5th November a group of the fast track Year 7s took a visit to King’s College to attend a workshop named ‘Scientists in Sport.’ This was a workshop about anti-doping and other ways in which science merges with the Olympics. There were a number of other schools taking part as well as our Academy. One of the workshops we took part in was designed to show us how scientific spot tests can expose cheating in the Olympics and why this is so important for the integrity of the games. It was also an absolute privilege to have bronze medal winning hockey player Hannah Macleod tell us about her experiences from taking part in the Olympics.

Later we tested adrenaline and betablocking drugs that Olympians may use on daphnia (small, planktonic crustaceans) and recorded their heartbeats. We were also shown how scientists at the drug control centre carry out drug spot tests to check the athletes. The day was hugely enjoyable for all students and staff taking part and it brought to life the topics we were learning about in our lessons. Jamie Clarke (7AA)


Year 9 Students Go F In September I had the good fortune of taking five Year 9 students to Wales for a week’s residential trip studying sustainability and organic living. Conor Fabian (9AS) , Kaspar Koo (9SM), Frankie Rogers (9AS), Charlotte Saunders (9AS), Louella Voong (9SM) and I travelled to the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales to spend the week on a free range farm in order to take part in a program called ‘Be Free Range’.

The trip was based around the idea of sustainable living, so we found ourselves camping in tents, on a farm, with no electricity. We were forced to rely on our survival skills by camping, cooking all our own meals, starting our own fires and orienteering.

At the end of the previous academic year the students entered a competition to design the world’s most sustainable school. Through hard work, ingenuity and the use of catchy theme music they were able to impress the team running the programme enough to win our place on the farm.

We were also faced with good old Welsh weather (including the worst September storm in 30 years, in tents), the night long squealing of ravenous pigs (a sound like no other) and worst of all, no mobile reception (the horror!). The students pulled through, however, and even managed to have a bit of fun while learning.

Falconwood Students Recognised for Academic Excellence


Two of our previous Year 11 students who now attend Harris Academy Falconwood Post 16, Kieran Simpson (12O) and Rory Hammill (12L), have been recognised for their hard work and fantastic GCSE results last year, by not only Harris Academy Falconwood but the Borough of Bexley as well.

ree Range As the trip was academic in nature, we did take part in a number of activities aimed at learning. Through campfire debates, visits to local organic farms and forest walks we got back to nature and learned about the natural wealth available to us. The students cooked their own meals using locally grown produce, with the week’s food highlight being handmade pork sausages from one of the farm’s pigs. They did so well, in fact, that some of their batch were sold at the next day’s farmers’ market!

British Museum:

Shakespeare Exhibition

No good trip would be complete without some fun though, and we had our fair share. We took part in some local pastimes including surfing and coasteering, all the while gaining a further appreciation of what the natural environment has to offer. Our return to London was both a blessing (running water!) and a disappointment (no more starry skies at night), but the trip had instilled a new set of values in our hearts. We now plan to plant our own vegetable patch on the Academy grounds in the hopes of growing our own organic produce. Keep your eyes peeled for some green changes! Mr G Ryerson, Teacher of Science

On Friday 5th October, I and some of my fellow Year 11 students were lucky enough to get some free tickets to see ‘Staging the World’ Shakespeare Exhibition at the British Museum. In the exhibition were lots of artefacts on display all relating to Shakespeare’s life and his work. The tour guide that showed us around was able to tell us all about how these artefacts fitted in with Shakespeare’s plays and what sort of world he was living in. Both students were invited to the Bexley Civic Centre to attend the civic celebration in recognition for their outstanding academic achievement. The award was presented to the two students by the Mayor of Bexley. Rory commented ‘The evening was an opportunity for students across the borough to be recognised for their achievements both academically and in extra-curricular activities. It was great to celebrate everyone’s achievements and to congratulate one another.’ Kieran said ‘I feel so privileged to receive this award. My hard work in education has paid off with the grades I achieved and to receive an award for it was amazing. It was a great evening and means so much to me to be recognised for my efforts.’ Both students, like much of the Year 12 cohort, have started the year extremely well. On behalf of the staff and students at Harris Academy Falconwood I would like to congratulate both Kieran and Rory for this achievement. Mr P Wilson, Head of Post 16

The most exciting object we saw was a real eye that had been taken out of a priest after his execution. We couldn’t believe it had been kept all of these years! After we had lunch, and we were nearing the end of the trip, we were taken to a different part of the museum and we took part in a workshop based on ‘Much Ado about Nothing’, the play we are studying for our GCSE. In this workshop we were able to find out how Shakespeare wrote his plays and the way he used a certain amount of beats to make certain words at the end of his lines stand out more than the others. All in all a really worthwhile and exciting day! Lara Hopwood (11CE)


Enterprise at Harris Academy Falconwood 20 Enterprising in the Classroom The Academy Enterprise specialism was launched in September 2008 and the holding of an Enterprise Week ever since has provided students the opportunity

to focus on and develop their enterprising skills. This year students will be focusing on the following key enterprising skills:

• Communication • Team work • Leadership • Presentation • Problem solving • Innovation During the Enterprise Week (November 12th – 16th) each subject area provided students with the opportunity to demonstrate key enterprising skills. • Design Technology: Making and marketing chocolate truffles. Students raised over £90 for charity selling these during Enterprise Week • Science: Making and marketing bath bombs • Maths: Tarsia cards • English: Designing a charity campaign • Modern Foreign Languages: Spanish puppet show • Business Studies: The Real Business Challenge • Sport: Designing a game • ICT: Sustainable healthy juice brand • Humanities: Ethics of Fair Trade • Art & Design: Designing new iPhone app

12 – 2013 Independent Enterprise Challenge Ellie Collinson (9BT) has used her Jack Petchey money to purchase goods to raise money for charity. She has been working with Brittni Bearman (9BT) to raise over £100 so far for charity. Natasha Shewring (8BB), last year’s ‘Enterprise Champion’, will be working with local businesses to secure a deal for personalised items.

Enterprise Academy Days On 7th December the Academy conducted its first Focus Day of 2012/13. Year 9 students will have the challenge to develop their enterprising skills by producing their own perfume in science labs. Students will be expected to produce a marketing and finance plan for their perfume. Students will also be using state of the art video equipment and software to develop a professional advertisement campaign for their perfume. Mrs U Divakaran, Assistant Principal and Head of BET Faculty

Much Ado About Nothing Performance In October this year, Year 11 had the privilege to see “Much Ado about Nothing” by William Shakespeare performed by the Sky Blue Theatre Company. What made this performance different from others was that the majority of the cast were taken from our Year 11 audience. Whilst the performance was limited to only a few scenes, the skilled members of the theatre group modified the performance to change the feel of the scenes from Shakespeare’s designed structure; from pure hate to giddy love. This changed the feel of the scene and the reaction from the audience. The adaptation of the play gave the students an insight into the play and its purpose. Overall, the students found the afternoon rewarding on both an academic and entertainment level and fully appreciated the way in which the theatre group brought the play to life, as well as making it relevant to their everyday lives. Mrs K Ridley, Coordinator of English


Shakespeare Schools


Harris Academy Falconwood’s “Shakespeare Schools Festival” journey all began on 17th July 2012. Fifteen eager young actors turned up for auditions, all desperate to play ‘’the one that has a gun’’ but ‘’not the one that falls in love, yuk’’. After roles were assigned, we began an intensive regime of twice weekly rehearsals and the dedication shown by all the cast members was truly outstanding. Upon asking Annah Fastiggi (8SS) why she loved the festival so much she said “It’s just really great to be part of a team. It feels like a sort of family”, very apt words when you consider that this year’s performance was going to be ‘Romeo and Juliet’; a story of family, friendship and love in its many forms.

Nine weeks; twenty-six rehearsals; one night to perform (and 14 fantastic cast members!).

As a teacher, my highlights of the festival were to see the students engage with Shakespeare, to see them understand what his words mean and why they are so brilliant, and of course to see them performing on a professional stage.

Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box appeal at Harris Academy Falconwood Operation Christmas Child is the world’s largest children’s Christmas project, run by the charity Samaritan’s Purse. They have been sending gift-filled shoeboxes around the world since 1990, bringing joy to the lives of over 94 million underprivileged children. Our Academy has been supporting this project for the last four years and the contributions from staff and students have been fantastic.


Last year, children and adults from across the UK got involved, including many schools and workplaces; wrapping, packing and sending nearly 1.1 million shoeboxes full of gifts to disadvantaged children in Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. At Harris Academy Falconwood, students and staff made a combined effort this year to ensure

It was also particularly enjoyable to see students, some who often struggle with reading, delivering soliloquies in a style that would impress even Shakespeare himself. Harris Academy Falconwood’s performance was highly commended by the festival organisers and special praise was given to Juliet (Nicole Dowse, 10CE), Romeo (Douglas Wathen, 9AS) and the Nurse (Victoria Barrett, 8AS). The SSF director said, “those three would not look out of place on stage at The Globe; truly brilliant young performers, as were the entire cast”.We will hopefully be back next year with another outstanding performance. As soon as the cast members came off stage I was greeted with waves of “Miss! What play are we doing next year?” which just goes to show how important the festival has become to our students. In summary, I have never been more proud of our students; every single member of the cast was a true credit to Harris Academy Falconwood and I am not ashamed to say that I shed a few tears of pride and joy (and a tiny bit of relief) when it was all over! A HUGE well done to the students already mentioned, plus: Bradley Dowling (8AA), Walid Abdalah (9AA), Lewis Farrell (9AS), Ryan Creamer (9AS), Isabella Gammon-McConville (8BB), Sharon Robertson (8AA), Esme JohnsonMorales (8SS), Alicia Hall (8CH), Jessica Slade (9SM) and Owen Pavey (9CE). Miss R Frost, Teacher of English

that our contribution to this cause was our best ever. The students brought in gifts and donations filling over 40 boxes to send away. The boxes were packed full of exciting gifts for children abroad and many included messages in cards wishing a happy Christmas to those that received them. It was fantastic to see the Academy community working together on this welldeserved cause, and it was a pleasure to witness the students feeling so proud about the charity work that they were doing. To everyone involved, thank you for your efforts; it will go a long way in ensuring that many underprivileged children have the Christmas that they deserve. Miss R Hansen, Acting Coordinator of PEA

Coca Cola Real Business Enterprise


This November the Academy’s Year 10s and Key Stage 3 students embraced Enterprise Week by wholeheartedly trying to win the Harris Academy Falconwood ‘Real Business Enterprise’ task which had its origins based on the ‘Coca Cola Business Challenge’. Teamwork and a competitive spirit were very much evident. Students were tasked to set up an imaginary company and assigned key roles such as: Marketing Director, Research Manager and Finance Director. Reasons had to be given as to why individuals were placed in these positions within their respective groups. This itself proved to be very engaging, with students displaying excellent analytical and communication skills. The groups endeavoured to come up with a new sustainable healthy juice brand that has clear health benefits for consumers. The juice brand had to be original with an engaging and unique brand name and slogan. Sustainable and marketable packaging also had to be considered, with students utilising cross curricular skills gained from different subject areas such as Design Technology and Art. All our students displayed excellent entrepreneurial skills, particularly when analysing the drinks market, coming up with an original brand name, logo and slogans. Market research was conducted on a micro scale resulting in good ideas for the USP (Unique Selling Point) for the drink. Most classes decided to attack the Energy drinks side of the market aiming their drink at the 14–30 year olds target market and trying in theory to gain market share from popular less healthy drinks such as ‘Monster’ and ‘Red Bull’. All students rightly felt their healthy sustainable juice drink would be viable, believing there is a gap in that particular market. Special praise must go to Year 9 ICT group led by Harry Gladwin (9SM) who designed numerous logos. Also, all Year 10 GCSE Business Studies students displayed skills that will stand them in good stead for their examinations next year being innovative and creative thinkers and showing great endeavour. Special mention goes to Stacey Uden’s (10SM) group for their slogan for a healthy drink: ‘Drink Some, Love Some, Stay Strong, Live Long’. All in all it was a fantastic entrepreneurial display from all year groups, emphasising that students at the Academy have numerous skills emanating from our enterprising ‘can do’ approach in all lessons. Prizes will be officially awarded at the end of term assembly. Mr D Ross, Coordinator of BICT


Federation Rock Climbing Event

October 2012 saw the first Harris Federation rock climbing event which took place at Harris Academy Falconwood. In total, we had five Academies competing, with three competitors from each Academy. All competitors took part in a group warm up and had a quick tutorial on the correct climbing technique. Students had to complete three tasks which consisted of speed climbing, a collection challenge and a difficulty/ height climb. All Academies completed the challenges extremely well which then allowed the competitors to be taught how to ‘belay’ each other (support one another by anchors and rope). All students and staff thoroughly enjoyed the event. The top three Academies were Harris Academy Falconwood in third place, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred in second place and Harris Academy Peckham in first place overall. Mr K Watson, Acting Assistant Principal and Coordinator of Physical Education


Falconwood Students Get Their Very Own London 2012 Olympic

Gold Medal Ceremony!

In November some of our students and staff from across the Academy had the rare privilege of wearing an Olympic gold medal around their necks. The lucky owner of this medal wasn’t able to bring it in himself as he’s probably busy jumping fences, eating oats or having his shoes changed. For, in fact, the deserving winner of this gold medal is not a human but a horse called ‘Hello Sanctos’. Lord Harris is the owner of ‘Hello Sanctos’ which he bought in 2011 in a bid to realise his long-held ambition to win Olympic gold. He did just that when ‘Hello Sanctos’, ridden by Scott Brash for Team GB, claimed Olympic gold in the show jumping category this Summer (in equestrian sports both the horse and the rider receives a medal).

Year 8 Trip to La Fosca, Spain At the beginning of the summer holidays 25 Year 8 students and 3 staff (Miss Buchanan, Mr Williams and Mr Metcalfe) departed on a week-long sports activity trip to the east coast of Spain. The prospect of the 21 hour coach journey that lay ahead was daunting enough but, due to an extremely dry summer in the Catalonian region, forest fires caused the French-Spanish border crossing to become closed. The following day, at around 13.00 Spanish time (7 hours late having taken a detour through Andorra), we arrived at the Camping Kings camp site. Once we arrived we were given time to unpack and then we were able to recover from the long journey with a well-earned afternoon by the pool. Throughout the week students took part in lots of different water sports activities on the beach or off shore. These included fun boats, windsurfing, catamarans, pico sailing, snorkelling, body boarding and kayaking. The PGL instructors were extremely professional and supportive in helping our students master the art of sailing and seamanship. Year 8 students also had to adapt to the ‘unfamiliar’ environment provided by tents. Luckily regular tent inspections proved successful in helping the students to avoid replicating the state of their own bedrooms at home! Every evening, entertainment was provided for the students with activities such as Beach Olympics, Robot Wars and a talent show. Also every night there was a disco which all our students absolutely loved (even to the point of embarrassing dance routines). Overall the students’ behaviour, effort and attitude were a credit to the Academy. We all had a fantastic time developing new talents as well as providing students with an excellent opportunity to practise their Spanish language skills. Miss S Buchanan, Acting Coordinator of Humanities

Lord Harris kindly lent the medal, as well as an Olympic torch, to the Academy for the day so that students could have their picture taken wearing it. Indeed, even the usual lunch time clamour for food was interrupted by its presence in the Dining Hall as students couldn’t believe that a real Olympic Gold Medal was in their midst. Miss L Clifford, Assistant Principal and Head of Arts Faculty


Year 7 Focus Day: Cultural Awareness In our most recent focus day, Year 7 students took part in a series of workshops centred on cultural awareness.

Rubik’s Cube World Record

Challenge On November 21st Maths students from the Academy took part in an attempt to break a world record for most people solving (and attempting to solve) a Rubik’s Cube at one time. 1,414 of the school children gathered at the O2 managed to solve their Rubik’s Cube within 30 minutes. The Rubik’s Challenge was organised by Depaul UK, the largest youth homelessness charity in the country. It is hoped that the event will raise £100,000 through the support from schools and donations from the makers of the Cube.

Each tutor group attended 6 out of the 8 sessions during the day. These sessions included; African mask making, Japanese paper making, Mexican skulls design, samba music, music from around the world, understanding culture and an American dance session. The aim of the day was to give the students a taste of ways in which a variety of cultures use art, craft, design, music and dance to express their values and identity. The sessions ranged from re-creating traditional artefacts to working in groups to choreograph a new dance routine influenced by a specific style. The students thoroughly enjoyed the day, commenting on how much they had learnt about “so many different places”. It was a pleasure to see the students highly inspired by the sessions that they attended as well as the fantastic outcomes that they produced. Miss R Hansen, Acting Coordinator of PEA

Matt Parker, a mathematician renowned for his enthusiasm for maths and the talent behind ‘Stand up Maths’, headlined the event. He combines stand-up comedy with maths and problem solving. Matt was joined in the “Maths Festival” by performers and artists who transform people’s experience of maths including the Maths Buskers, a group of maths based street performers; Woolly Thoughts, mathematical pattern artists; and Maths in a Suitcase, a hands-on exhibition. Rubik’s provided all the cubes at cost and pledged up to £100,000 to the charity for successfully completing the world record attempt. Specially designed Rubik’s Cubes were created for the event, with each customised cube face a graphic representation of the charity’s work: accommodation, family mediation, training and employment, community work, resettlement and volunteering. All the students and staff that attended the event had an amazing time and I’m extremely proud of the contribution we made to help beat the previous Guinness World Record, set in India earlier on this year, of 937 cubes. The day was so successful that it was covered in the Metro newspaper the next day; an even bigger surprise however, was that the photograph attached to the article featured none other than Harris Academy Falconwood students!!! Mrs L Dugbo, Coordinator of Maths


Harris Academy Falconwood The Green, Kent DA16 2PE T: 020 8304 4916 E:

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