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The Magazine of Comberton Village College ISSUE  50, SPRING 2019

Oh what a lovely show — Page 4

Well-being interpreted


Staff at Comberton hosted a group of 20 headteachers from the Hubei Province of China, exploring how the college manages well-being and students who are experiencing mental health issues.

GETTING A HEADS-UP: Chinese headteachers learn about Comberton’s well-being and mental health provision.

Walk for the World to help cyclone victims

Comberton has made a significant donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal to help victims of the cyclone which has hit southern Africa. The school is partnered with Escola Noroeste in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, one of the worstaffected countries. The money will be donated from the funds raised by the annual Walk for the World. Head of School Peter Law said: “We thought making a donation to help such a major disaster in an area of the world where we have close connections sent a very important message.” Personal donations to the Cyclone Idai appeal to help the estimated 2.6 million people affected in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi can be made at

q An Artist’s Impression — 3 q Comberton Aim for Gold Standard — 3 q Oh What a Lovely Show — 4 q Appliance of Science — 5 q Record Numbers Apply — 5 q A Personal Reply — 5


The teachers were on a three-week programme at Anglia Ruskin University focused on developing their understanding of adolescent well-being and mental health and how to support pupils and manage the issues that arise. The day spent at Comberton enabled them to understand how the ideas and issues discussed at the university manifest themselves and can be managed in a school setting. Across the day they had sessions about the role of The Hub in supporting students and developing staff awareness, the role of the curriculum in developing pupil awareness and understanding, how Comberton engages with external providers and how staff support the well-being and mental health of students with SEND. They also had a school tour led by Year 10 students Thomas Arkesden and William Woodard, who had their first experience of working with an interpreter. The teachers all engaged enthusiastically with the sessions and asked a wide range of questions as well as describing their own experiences of these issues in their own schools (all through an interpreter). At the end of the day course leader Dr Nicola Walshe, who is on The Cam Academy Trust’s Board of Trustees, thanked the school for the programme, saying “I just wanted to thank you for hosting such a wonderful event for our Chinese delegates today. “The programme you produced was impressive, and the delegates (and I) came away with a really good understanding of your very holistic, personalised and effective approach to supporting children's wellbeing and mental health.”

Students welcome a new year ALL THINGS CHINESE: Delicious oriental cuisine in the decorated servery.

Comberton’s catering department helped staff and students see in the Chinese New Year with a range of culinary delights. Prawn crackers and fortune cookies were the biggest hits, flying off the counter so fast that it was impossible to keep up with demand! Also on the menu for the first day of the Year of the Pig was a wide range of Chinese meals, including Hoi Sin Pork, Beef in black bean sauce,

Chicken Chow Mein, sweet chilli noodles, pancake rolls, stir-fried veg in sesame oil, broccoli with sesame seeds, fried cabbage with chilli and soy sauce and sautéed potatoes with chilli, cumin and garlic. In addition the servery was decorated with Chinese lanterns and the whole experience was much enjoyed by students and staff alike.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE q First Tech Challenge — 6 q Science with a Bang — 6 q Susie the Wonder Dog — 6 q Dine and Disco — 6 q Trust News — 7 q Spotlight on Reading — 7 q Exploring Social Injustice — 8

q Sixth Form News — 9-12 q Play Highlights Dangers of ‘County Lines’ — 13

q MFL Round-Up — 15-16 q SCSSP Update — 18 q Sport — 18-20


An artist’s impression

WATERCOLOUR WORKS: Artist Rowan Briggs Smith wanted to create an alternative to the digitally-enhanced selfie!

An exhibition designed to show teenagers in a different light has just finished in Cambridge.

It showcased the work of Comberton student Rowan Briggs Smith, of Year 9, who wanted to demonstrate that, despite living in the digital age where selfies and social media often dominate, not all images have to be digitally enhanced. As a member of the AccessArt charity’s #BeACreativeProducer team, Rowan devised herself an assignment which she called Project 13 and for it she challenged herself to paint 13 portraits of fellow Year 9 students. “Taking selfies with filters and posting on social media kind of makes everyone look the same and doesn’t really show what people look like so I wanted to see if I could paint them and show people’s personalities through the paintings,” said Rowan. After inviting her Instagram followers to send her a picture and speaking in assembly, Rowan selected 13 students from the 35 who were interested; picking a mix of close friends and those in the year group she didn’t know very well. “I think painting friends you know well is more difficult because you know more about

them, so there’s more to get across in the portrait,” said Rowan. It was still a huge challenge. While a selfie can be taken, filtered and uploaded in seconds, each of Rowan’s watercolour portraits took up to 10 hours. The 13 works were then on show in central Cambridge for a fortnight earlier this term before the subjects, who have been given free prints, were offered the chance to purchase their portraits. Art teacher Mr Joseph said: “Mr Dean (Head of Art) and I visited the preview of the exhibition at Michaelhouse on Monday 18th February and were bowled over by the sheer ambition of the project. “Her skill and invention alone were hugely impressive, but what made the exhibition such a hit was her ability to so accurately capture the likeness and personality of each of her sitters. “Rowan has somehow managed to also find time to do her GCSE Art two years early and looks set to achieve a top grade in the summer. “She is also currently producing a mural in Ar2, which will become a lasting legacy of her creativity, that students and visitors to the school can enjoy for years to come.”

Comberton aiming to hit gold standard

Comberton is planning to go for gold this summer. Already an UNICEF Rights Respecting School silver award holder, Comberton hopes to be ready to apply for the gold award next term. The college received the silver award a year ago and at the time the inspector said many requirements to achieve the next standard were already in place. Much work has been going on among staff and students to promote the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and prepare for the gold application. At the latest meeting of the Rights Respecting Schools group, a group of Year 13 students talked to committee members about the initiative taking place at Comberton and beyond to promote children’s rights to a clean environment. There was a day of lessons where all had an aspect of climate change

WORK IN PROGRESS: On one of the portraits.

included and a petition calling for action is amassing signatures. It will be sent to South Cambs MP Heidi Allen, who recently left the Conservatives to join the Independent Group. Another committee member, Gabriel Friend (10N) is looking at the possibility of Comberton supporting a charity dedicated to Visually Impaired students, of whom there are a number currently studying at the college. Additionally Sue Spencer, a Teaching Assistant who works in The Cabin, updated attendees on the Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group charity. Earlier this term she gave a talk which was attended by students, parents and carers and also reported that the Big Sleep Out initiative, where volunteers ‘slept rough’ at a number of locations round the city, raised more than £11,000 which was being shared with Wintercomfort in Cambridge.



Oh what a lovely show!

SCENES FROM THE SHOW: Soldiers take centre stage in Oh! What a Lovely War.

To mark the centenary of the close of WWI, Comberton’s musical extravaganza this year was the 1963 sensation Oh! What a Lovely War.

Instead, the overwhelming majority were dressed as white Pierrot clowns, creating a sense of antithesis in a show about war. Besides connecting this costume decision to the original West End production, the clowns certainly added piquancy to the satire and generated a special effect of colour contrast with poppies Joan Littlewood’s famous ensemble piece is a show that doesn’t foreground stars cascading down and Union Jacks waving about. but, just like the war, celebrates everyone mucking in for the overall effect. Verbally, the heavy use of colloquialisms like ‘blimey’, ‘Wipers’, and ‘crikey’ And that was definitely what Audacious Productions pulled off. The plot raced captured not only the age but the social division between officers and soldiers. through the Great War news and home front reactions, propelling the audience on All of the above features merged to create a wondrous collage effect for the an emotional rollercoaster of a journey that caught you off guard (and helped whole performance. brush up on your history too). The music hall entertainment was wonderfully led by Master of Ceremonies, The range of theatrical effects under the umbrella of a music-hall style Conor Waldock, brilliant in his braided red jacket, and with his charismatic entertainment was superb. At the heart of things was the live band and it was swagger and (and actual) curled and waxed moustache. His exuberance was great that they were more visible than usual. Whether something as subtle as a counter-balanced by Brandon Stein’s stern dispatches from the front lines, looking haunting accordion, played by band leader Ben Parker, or the more obviously and sounding every inch a soldier. The songs cleverly reworded from older tunes military-sounding use of snare drum from Ollie Talbot it mattered not — they were varied in spirit, but many generated hope and excitement for both soldiers and always tight and evocative. civilians. Superb examples included Imogen Lewis and Chloe Hall’s brilliant duet, These weren’t musicians providing backing for the singers, they absolutely ‘Hitchy-Koo’ and the disturbingly playful, ‘I’ll Make a Man out of You’, which they controlled the mood of the entire production, shifting the sentiment for the delivered with Fiona Musto-King and Emily Santus. audience. The broad range of songs was enhanced by the visual imagery as For those who enjoyed last year’s Spamalot, there was certainly another background (mostly sepia photos projected on screen). Lighting effects were generous ration of Pythonesque humour, including a reprise of Tim Easy’s broad and colourful, while sound effects were by turns evocative, surprising and coconuts and Ollie Payne’s Drill Sergeant’s almost impenetrable enunciation and amusing. The main acting space was framed with sheet metal walls to suggest later his ‘almost rude’ trench carol, which featured in the scene portraying the the trenches; but the real eye-catcher was the revolving centre-stage, which famous 1914 Christmas impromptu trench truce sing-a-long when the English and mirrored the kaleidoscopic events for the British people or maybe the futility of German troops met in No Man’s Land. battle and sacrifice happening again and again. The spinning stage carried Besides the music and comedy, there were plenty of satirical jabs. The portrayal everything from corpses to car trips, from soldiers to flower girls. of different European nations was enriched with the generous application of While the audience might have expected to see more than enough khaki by French, German, and an array of accents which tended to poked much more fun night’s end, for a production that boasted a cast of 75, the vast majority weren’t in at the English for their traditionally poor mastery of languages than at other uniform; but rather the cast relied on minimal costume demarcation where a nations. helmet, a rifle, or a feather boa marked out characterisation. You couldn’t help drawing a few parallels with high-ranking English buffoonery interacting with European sensibility and a certain topic in current affairs. General Haig, portrayed with tremendous flair and conviction by Ed Walker especially came in for satirical attack. Other notable cameos included Oli Wilkinson as the Kaiser and as a wonderfully camp chaplain and Zak Bowyer as an eccentric Scottish Ghillie. There were many others who made an impressive impact in multiple roles, including Chris Lewis, Oliver Rowley, Tim Easy and Elliott Noble. However, it was the seamless collaboration between every student in the ensemble that made this production such a huge success; the palpable teamwork in bringing about song, after sketch, after song with such abrupt and effective juxtaposition of tone was deeply moving to all but the most stony-hearted. The audience didn’t know what to expect from one moment to the next, with the mood switching from anxiety, to joy, to bleakness, to optimism, to a profound sense of loss, all amidst a barrage of chuckles. As an intended presentation of “the vulgarity of war”, original director Joan Littlewood wanted her audience to leave laughing; directors Jez Frost, Jane Menczer and Ali CLOWNING AROUND: Pierrot clowns creating a sense of antithesis in a show Hall definitely achieved the same effect, but with a tear as about war. well. Mike Ryall


Appliance of science!


Students from Comberton saw off all the opposition to win the second annual Perse School science quiz.

They won with a clear lead, scoring just over 100, to beat nine other state and independent schools and colleges. Teams competed over three rounds, one each based on biology, chemistry and physics, with each round including a practical element. There was also a bonus section in each round (for example trying to name as many scientists as possible with elements named after them and some trivia-style quiz questions relating to each branch of science). To win teams needed to display a good understanding of and interest in science

Record numbers apply for top jobs

The new head prefect team has been selected. There were 44 students who had applied for the head prefect roles, which was the most the school has seen. After reading through and carefully selecting from the application forms and prefect letters, it was narrowed down to 10 Year 10 students who made it through to the interview process. This consisted of a formal interview, with Mr Law, Mrs Burgess, Mr Carrick and a governor, as well as a presentation on what you are passionate about with Ms Segal, Mr Roberts, the current head prefects and two school council members. The first interview was a very typical style of interview, with formal questions about the role of head prefect and why each candidate believed they were suitable for the position. Afterwards, each applicant gave a presentation on a variety of subjects important to them; these topics ranged from different types of sports to clothing workers’ rights. Everyone involved in the interviews and presentations said how well each candidate presented themselves and that all presentations were delivered confidently and in an engaging and interesting way. The day after the interviews, the candidates were informed whether they had been successful. This was a particularly difficult decision due to the very impressive applicants. The new head prefects, officially beginning their roles after Easter, are Andrei Udrea, Athena Hughes, Ciara McGrath and Felix Palmer. Due to the extremely high quality of all interviewees, the unsuccessful candidates will all become senior prefects for roles such as Interviews, Parents and Open Evenings or Tours. Very well done to everyone who applied and the handover for all roles will be happening very shortly.

as a whole; far beyond what they learn in the classroom! The Year 10 team of Charlotte Hazel, Ben Chung, Ravi Sharma and Adam Gorman saw off their challengers from the hosts, The Leys, The Stephen Perse Foundation, North Cambridge Academy, Chesterton Community College, Sancton Wood, plus Swavesey, Sawston and Soham Village Colleges. Organiser Dr Nick Walpole, a chemistry teacher at The Perse, told Comberton’s team manager Tom Carbonero: “Your competitors did themselves proud both in terms of their attitude and their knowledge, and seemed to enjoy themselves throughout! We will evidently need to find some better competition for you next year . . .”

A personal reply!

WINNERS: Comberton’s victorious team at The Perse School quiz.

NEW HEAD PREFECT TEAM: The quartet were chosen from a record 44 applications, of whom 10 were selected for interview.

A class of Year 9 students worried about global warming decided to voice their concerns to naturalist and environmental campaigner Sir David Attenborough. Mrs Dunn’s English class all wrote to the host of many of television’s best nature programmes including ‘Blue Planet’ and ‘Dynasties’ to share their views and present him with some imaginative solutions to the issues. Although they had been told that Sir David replies to all letters he receives, the students were still thrilled to receive a handwritten reply to their 30 letters just a couple of weeks later, soon after he spoke at the UN meeting on climate change in Warsaw as the only non-political representative.



Every Wednesday for the past six months, our team in science club has been preparing for this day — March 13th 2019 — and it paid off.

We attended a competition, First Tech Challenge, in which a robot we had built ourselves had to complete a number of different tasks to earn points. At the start it wasn’t looking so good as we were building our robot on the minibus! When we arrived and prepared for our first match, tempers were running high but we pulled through and entered the match with what we believed was a fully functioning robot, kind of. However, things did not go to plan as we had no control and it instead spun in circles and crashed into the other robots. We were 25th after this match (last place). After a quick team build and coding with some tech support we entered our second match believing we actually had a chance. Our robot moved but we did not manage to get any points, which left us still last. However, the third match, after a lot of tinkering and a major alteration in design, went a lot better, putting us into 8th place. We then also won the match after that but dropped down to 14th. Luck was on our side as during our fifth, and what we believed to be final match, and we pulled back to ninth. We were preparing to go home, happy that our robot had moved, until we found out that we had been

Science with a bang

On 14th March around 40 Year 9 students made the two-hour journey to the NEC to visit the Big Bang Science Fair. When we arrived in Birmingham we split into smaller groups and entered the venue. Inside the building was huge and really overwhelming (in a good way). We spent the rest of the morning walking around and getting inspired. My group's favourite stands were the ones from the Army and from some of the universities as there were loads of hands-on activities (there was even a climbing wall). Later in the day we met up in our bigger groups to watch an amazing show on Wild Adaptations. All in all it was an incredible day which definitely helped inspire us to think about going into STEM careers. Luise Grosche (9R)

WINNERS: The CVC team and below, tuning up the robot.

chosen to compete in the semi-final. We were put in an alliance with the two top-scoring teams and we smashed through the semi-final 163-90. We then managed to also win in the final, with a tighter score of 123-93. Overjoyed with our results we collected our medals and headed home after a long hard day. Next year we hope to go even further and win a trip to compete in the grand finals in America. Charlotte Hazel (10C)

INSPIRED BY SCIENCE: Students at the Big Bang Fair.

Susie lends helping paw!

TOP DOG: Susie makes herself at home in The Hub.

Susie may be small but she has a big role to play at Comberton. The white bichon frise, owned by PE teacher Sean Pollock, the Head of Year 8, is a regular in The Hub where she is always willing to lend a paw — if she can stay awake. One student said: “Susie is an amazing dog who helps me get through my problems. She is a great dog for The Hub and brightens my day when I see her in her school uniform. “She is very silly but is well-trained and does a lot of cleaning up in the hub! “Susie is about eight-years-old and loves to sleep as she is quite old since bichon frise only live for 12-15 years. But this doesn’t stop her from being Susie the Wonder Dog.”

We had a great time at the Year 8 Candlelit Dinner. The first thing we did was to go to the dining hall and sit down. The hall was so well decorated with a bunch of candles and red tablecloths; it was really pretty! The food was delicious, it felt so fancy with the helpers serving us! After devouring the yummy food, we all went out to freshen up. We came back to the hall and it had transformed from a restaurant to a disco! The DJ was really awesome and played all our favourite songs, including some Christmas ones because, why not? Even though some people weren't as confident dancing, we could all get together and have a good time. Most people danced and boogied including us, who went crazy by busting out some mad moves! After the disco had finished we were all sad to leave but needed to rest our ears as the music was loud! Everyone was tired but it was worth it because we had a really cool evening! Thank you to all the Year 10s and 11s who helped out. Abi Pentlow and Charlise De Jong (8O)

SCENE IS SET: Preparations for the Year 8 Candlelit Dinner.

Dine and disco delight


New chair for Trust


The Cam Academy Trust has a new Chair of the Board.

Sue Williamson has taken over as Chair of the Trust. Sue was already a trustee and is Chair of the Local Governing Body at Melbourn Village College. She has been the Chief Executive of The Schools, Students and Teachers Network (SSAT) for a number of years and lives locally. Given her work with the SSAT, Sue is extremely well placed to help to guide our Trust in the next phase of its development.

Primary is to join us

The Trust is set to have another school join in the relatively near future. As always with such potential developments, there is much process that is required before the move takes place. However, the intention is that Offord Primary School should join and this has been agreed by the Headteacher Board of the Regional Schools Commissioner’s Office. Offord is a relatively small primary school located near Huntingdon and fits within our Trust’s clearly stated aim of being local and enabling close collaboration between our schools. There are already several primary phase Trust schools in the area (as well as St Peter’s Secondary School) and Offord will further strengthen the close working already in existence there as well as across the whole Trust.

IT roll-out set to start

The Trust’s IT strategy continues to develop. The acting Director of IT Strategy, Sean Sumner, has been appointed as the Trust’s full-time Director of IT Strategy from September. This will enable us to press ahead with our intention to use IT in various ways to strengthen the educational experience for pupils in all our schools, enable our schools to work more efficiently and effectively and for our staff to have more access to on-line training and development. The first group of pupils, Year 8 at Cambourne Village College, is set to start receiving personal IT devices during next term and to make use of them as an important part of their learning. From there, other groups across the Trust’s schools will have the opportunity to do this. Ultimately, we hope that this approach will be available as appropriate to all students. At the same time, mechanisms are being developed to allow staff from all Trust schools to share resources to have the best possible learning resources available to all.

She has excellent knowledge and understanding of the school system and has visited very many schools across the country (and indeed overseas). We are very pleased to be able to benefit from Sue’s leadership of our Trust moving forward from here. Dr Gordon Johnson was the original Chair of the Trust from when it started in February 2011 until he stepped down. Everyone involved in all our schools owe Gordon a great debt of gratitude for all of his great, pioneering work that has enabled the Trust to get to where it is today.

NEW ROLE: For Sue Williamson.

WELCOME: Gamlingay Headteacher Shelley Desborough greets pupils and parents on the first day at the new site.

Gamlingay delight at site switch Gamlingay Village Primary moved into its new premises at the start of this term. For the best part of a year, the former Village College site on Station Rd was refurbished and redesigned to make it a really great facility for a good-sized Primary School. The extensive work was completed late in 2018 and the whole school transferred from the First School site in Green End to much larger premises for the Spring term. Everyone at the school is delighted with the space and the opportunities provided by the new site. The official

SPEAKING OUT ON MENTAL HEALTH: BBC newsreader and journalist Kate Silverton.

opening ceremony has been set for Friday 21 June when there will be a celebration of the significant journey that has enabled Gamlingay Village Primary to come into existence and operate in its new premises. The school’s position has been further strengthened following an Ofsted inspection on Tuesday 5 March. The Lead Inspector took a very favourable view of the school and the education provided there following his one-day visit. Full details of his letter and confirmed judgement can be found on the Gamlingay website

Prioritising mental health

The Royal Foundation, established by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, seeks to support young people with mental health issues and raise the profile of this significant issue in society. In February, the Foundation hosted a conference that focused on mental health in schools. Educationalists and others working with schools were invited from across the country to hear input from leaders in the field and to discuss positive ways forward with the issue. The day was hosted by the newsreader (and recent star of Strictly Come Dancing) Kate Silverton, who kept a firm grip on proceedings, including overseeing panel discussions. The Duchess of Cambridge attended for nearly all of the day and spoke clearly about her concern about the issue and desire to support better provision for all young people with mental health issues. I was fortunate to attend a private discussion group with the Duchess and some others where she clearly showed good understanding and a real desire to see positive developments for young people. All attending the day thought it very worthwhile. Stephen Munday, CEO

For job vacancies across the Trust, visit the CAT website at


Celebration of reading! COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and, most importantly, it’s a celebration of reading!

In the end though the winner was judged to be Lucy Byatt (7E) with her A Library of Lemons creation, with Carla Henderson, Annabel Vousden and Darcy Stalham (of 7B & 7C) proving very worthy runners-up with their Alice in Wonderland cake! Some of the cakes were then auctioned off to staff and students to raise money for books for the library. The English Department would like to thank all the staff who got involved on the day and to congratulate the winners of the competitions. Overall, it was a wonderful day celebrating the joy of reading and we can’t wait for next year’s celebrations! English Department

In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in more than 100 countries all over the world! This is the 22nd year there’s been a World Book Day, and on 7th March 2019, students across the school came together to celebrate. Students in Year 7, 8 and 9 rushed about school trying to guess the themes of departments’ fancy dress and clues to win a prize, from Reception’s puzzling Postman Pat and PE’s Quidditch quest to the riotous Roald Dahl and marvellous Mr Men and Little Miss costumes of the English and Science Departments respectively. Year 10 and 11 students played ‘Guess the Shelfie’ in English and tried to match their teachers to their bookshelves, which proved trickier than they thought! The Sixth Form students had rather a different kind of task on their hands, finding David Clarke (Head of Sixth Form), who dressed up as Wally in his distinctive stripes. Luckily a team of Sixth Form staff dressed as literary sleuths were on hand to track him down! DETECTIVES AT WORK: Super sleuths on the hunt for Wally in It proved a fun-filled day. At the Head of Sixth Form’s office. break students flocked to a cake sale to help raise money for resources for students. Then, with appetites whetted, at lunch they descended on the library ready for the judging of the ‘Great Comberton Book Bake Off’ which saw a vast range of cakes with a literary theme submitted to the competition. Head of School Peter Law, dressed as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, had a very tricky job as judge, and he was very right in saying that the all competitors were ‘winners’ such was the quality of the entries.

CAKE WORKS: The competition winner and runners-up.

ALL DRESSED-UP: Members of the English Department as Roald Dahl characters (left) and the Science Department as Mr Men and Little Misses.

Students explore social injustice

As part of our Core RPE programme, all Year 10 take two mornings off timetable in the year to have the opportunity to explore and reflect some Religious, Philosophical and Ethical themes. We spent one of these exploring the theme, ‘Social Injustice’. It was a wonderful morning, full of thought-provoking speakers, creative workshops and much questioning about the many injustices we see in our world and society today. The Year 10s were an absolute credit to Comberton Village College and dealt very maturely with this sensitive theme, leaving our speakers eager to return and engage with our students again.


Kian Kanefu said: “In RPE day we listened to a talk from a guy who worked at Jimmy’s night shelter and who was also homeless himself at one point. “He told us about the struggles of being homeless that no-one had really thought of before. His talk changed most of our views on homeless people because he made them seem like normal people and people you can approach and talk to. “The fact that he was previously homeless as well made it all the more powerful to everyone. He was funny too.”

CHANGING PERSPECTIVE: The speaker from Jimmy’s nightshelter changed views on homelessness.


Staying safe at the wheel

New scheme aims to cut accidents among young drivers

INTRODUCTION: Students learn about Cambs Drive iQ.

A new scheme aimed at reducing death and injury on the road was launched to Comberton Sixth Form students earlier this term. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership introduced all students, whether they have passed their driving test already or not, to Cambs Drive iQ. The police brought a selection of vehicles that have been involved in accidents with young drivers to the college and all students spent one lesson around their regular timetable looking at those as part of the introduction to Cambs Drive iQ. This was very thought-provoking for all. Cambs Drive iQ is award-winning state-of-the-art software which gives users a virtual driving

THE DANGERS: Close-up view of a vehicle after an accident.

experience and allows them to improve skills such as anticipating danger, hazard detection, risk management and eye scanning. It also helps to understand key dangers such as distraction and peer pressure and learn how to build coping strategies to stay safe. It is designed to reduce the number of people being harmed in road collisions, especially among young car occupants. Research shows that a high proportion of young drivers will have a crash within the first year of passing their test and Comberton Sixth Form is working with the CPRSP to make this less likely. Following this visit, students will be asked to complete Cambs Drive iQ. It has been localised to the needs of Cambridgeshire young adults and it is tailored to what they need (based on evidence from

Record numbers choose CSF

January is traditionally a very busy time in the Sixth Form, with mock exams for our existing Year 12 cohort and the Cambridge Area Partnership deadline for applications from Year 11 students. Once again, applications to Comberton Sixth Form to join our A-Level and BTEC Level 3 programmes increased significantly. Due to this, we offered guidance meetings/interview only to those students who had declared that we were their first choice institution and made offers accordingly. Those who made us second choice, are ‘on hold’ with future offers dependent on spaces in our individual courses. We expect to grow our total student numbers across Year 12 and Year 13 a little more to have two year groups of equal size and have plans in the pipeline to undertake some further building work to accommodate this. While having an eye on our future intake, the day-to-day teaching and learning remains our core focus, with a great deal of support offered to students to help them with their next steps into university, apprenticeships and employment. We are delighted that this year applications to Oxbridge and early entry courses have been hugely successful with a record number of students receiving offers. For Year 13, the final examinations feel like they are approaching rapidly, along with submission deadlines for those completing BTEC course. David Clarke, Head of Sixth Form

previous collisons). It is hoped that they will complete eight compulsory modules (five further units are optional) with themes which include distractions, alcohol and drugs, seatbelts, thrill seeking, eye scanning and perception. Each module takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. Students will receive a certificate upon the completion of the course which is signed by Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and can be signposted in any future University or employment application/portfolio. In addition to the safety and credibility benefits, Cambs Drive iQ helps students prepare for both their theory and practical driving tests and for travelling with friends. More information at: CELEBRATION: Bridget Kendall MBE plants a tree to mark Peterhouse’s partnership with Comberton and Cambourne Village Colleges after talking to students and staff about her life, her work and the progress of women in a ‘man’s world’. l See Page 12


Spreading the word . . . SIXTH FORM

Four Sixth Formers have just been given a £400 grant to expand their podcasts.

The ‘Girls Don’t Cry’ quartet of Amy Warburton, Rebekah Timms, Kathryn Farrell and Sophie Perumalla pitched for the money from The Henry Morris Memorial Trust, which makes awards to young people aged 13-19 in Cambridgeshire for ‘projects with purpose’. They were handed £100 each and now hope to buy specialist equipment to enable their podcasts to be more professionally produced, rather than relying on the microphones and editing software built into their smartphones. The Year 12s were inspired to go into podcasting after attending a Millicent Fawcett workshop at Newnham College, Cambridge, in the autumn. The theme there was feminism and female empowerment and how it affects different areas of society. But what really piqued the CSF students’ interest was meeting the ‘Talking Politics’ podcast team, who inspired them to realise that anyone in society can use that platform to share their views. They called themselves ‘Girls Don’t Cry’ and their first podcast was entitled #MeToo off the back of the workshop, but they have since diversified into teenage and other global issues. ‘Dear My Year 11 Self’ is a chance for listeners (of a certain age) to realise that others have been through what they are experiencing and that they are not alone. Then there’s ‘Love, Relationships and Everything in Between’, ‘Global Warming’, ‘Money’ and ‘2019, the year of . . .’ with others in the pipeline. Amy said: “We do want to do some more political ones because the stereotype is that teenagers aren’t interested.” Rebekah commented: “We just want to keep going – there’s room for improvement –and there’s things we want to talk about in the next two years. “We just want to inspire other people and show that they can have a voice. We also hope to have guests in and if they enjoy it, maybe they will take over from us when we go to university. It’s not just about girls; it just happened after the Millicent Fawcett workshop, but we’d be happy if four guys took it over.” Amy added: “In future it would be cool if we could come back and be the guest speakers.” The podcasts are all available on the Anchor app by searching for ‘Girls Don’t Cry’ ( and selected ones are on Spotify

TALKING IT THROUGH: Comberton’s podcast team.

( aMlOQ5hw) and iTunes (due to the delay in them being accepted). The podcasts have received in excess of 200 plays but the podcasters are hoping the new equipment and more professional results will boost their audience. l One of the main functions of the Henry Morris Memorial Trust is to make Funding Awards to young people aged 13-19 in Cambridgeshire for projects with purpose. Awards are made once a year (with a deadline for applications in January). Traditionally, projects funded have involved travel of some kind but the Trust also considers applications from young people for projects which are ‘homebased’. You can apply to the Trust for an award on your own, with a friend or in a small group. You must, however, have planned your project yourself, and any parent/carer involvement must be in a ‘care/protection’ role only. Successful candidates will receive an award (normally in the region of £20 to £200) towards costs. It is not anticipated that the award will cover all your costs but that it will form a proportion of them. More information can be found at: or via twitter using HenryMorrisMT

Musical’s a hit with students

STARSTRUCK: Students meet Joanna Page, who plays Stacey in ‘Gavin and Stacey’, as she attended the Press night event. Year 12 and 13 Drama and Theatre Studies students rubbed shoulders with the stars, pictured here with ‘Stacey’ (Joanna Page), when The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time transferred to its new West End home, the Piccadilly Theatre. The popular musical proved itself a hit with all thanks to its dynamic set design, strong performances and


high octane energy levels. Everyone left with plenty of creative directorial ideas for their practical examination and even more to write about in their A level exam, as well as having had a great night out. Thanks too, Mrs Blackford and Mrs Tanburn for escorting the trip.

Getting out in the ‘field’

Earlier this term Year 12 Geography students visited Mill Road in Cambridge to complete some of their compulsory fieldwork and to look more closely at a case study they have been studying. First thing in the morning, the students were provided with a very in-depth history of Mill Road from a member of the Mill Road History Society, who showed the students a range of photographs and historical records about Cambridge. The speaker also talked about the significant changes that the area had experienced during the course of history. Once the students went out on their fieldwork, they were focusing on how people perceive Mill Road. This involved students using a wide range of fieldwork methods to gain a better understanding of the area. Despite the cold weather, the students completed a number of methods including interviewing shopkeepers, completing questionnaires with passers-by and mapping the different shops and businesses along Mill Road. Overall, it was a very successful piece of fieldwork that showed students a range of techniques and proved an enjoyable day for both the staff and students involved. A big thank you to all the staff involved in the organisation and running of the trip.

Taking the next steps


A taste of university

UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE: Students spent a day at Peterhouse.

A group of Year 12 students was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to attend a day of activities and lectures at Peterhouse, Cambridge University’s oldest college. The trip aimed to provide valuable information and advice to some of our students who might be considering making competitive applications to prestigious universities, such as Oxford and Cambridge, for undergraduate study from 2020 onwards. After an introductory talk detailing what the day would consist of, we received a lecture explaining the financial implications of university and how student loans work, which was very useful and reassuring. This was followed by some taster lectures conducted by staff at Cambridge University. We were offered the choice of attending a science lecture about Mole Rats, or one relating to arts and humanities, with a focus on the European Witch-Craze of the early modern period. Regardless of whether you are hoping to study science or history in the future, the lectures were both highly engaging and informative, and gave us a brief insight into some of the highest quality university teaching on offer. The day also involved another lecture, this time about either medicine or Anglo-Saxon English, as well as a tour of Peterhouse, the smallest as well as the oldest college, advice on making an application to Oxbridge and a Q&A session with current students at Cambridge University. Overall, the trip proved to be extremely enjoyable and beneficial, providing us with some excellent information, which I’m sure will be appreciated over the next few months as we start to consider university courses and applications. Rosie Reade (L6-MR)

Legal challenges for team

The last few months have seen an incredibly busy time for our Year 13 students, as they have started to take decisions about their future paths beyond Comberton Sixth Form.

Record numbers of our students are currently enrolled in the UCAS process, the mechanism through which applications are made to gain places to study at Higher Education institutions. These students are now in the process of hearing back from their chosen universities, with the vast majority already having received offers of places at all five of their university choices. There have been a significant number of unconditional offers made to our students again this year and the process of advising students on what to hold as their first and second choices is well under way. It is always exciting to see the vast array of different courses that our students will be embarking on in the autumn, from traditional academic subjects such as Geography and Biochemistry to vocational routes such as Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Law, and to recognise the part that all members of the Sixth Form team play in shaping the futures of our young people. We are particularly pleased to report that our highest number of students to date have successfully negotiated the demanding Oxbridge selection process and attained offers to study at these elite institutions. We were delighted to confirm that all of our students who were invited to interview at the University of Oxford received offers of a place: Joe Cary has received an offer to study Physics and Philosophy at Brasenose College, Imogen Lewis an offer to study Spanish and French at Exeter College, Fay Hawkins an offer to study Spanish and Linguistics at Somerville College, and Abbey Couchman and Ruby Barnard have offers to study Experimental Psychology at Pembroke College, and Somerville College, respectively. In addition, Amy Dimaline has received an offer to study English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where she hopes to join one of last year’s Year 13 students, Joe Wills, as he embarks on the second year of his English degree. These well-deserved offers, as well as those received by all our students, continue to reflect the hard work of both the students at Comberton Sixth Form themselves and the exceptional and dedicated Sixth Form teaching staff. We congratulate all our university applicants on their successes so far and wish them well with the remainder of their studies. Sixth Form Leadership Team

Comberton Sixth Form has entered a team in Our next two heats will involve a live webinar The Legal Apprentice, a national legal with a ‘witness’ in our case and subsequently competition. writing a witness statement, followed by The competition, run by an internationallydesigning a pitch for a client. recognised If we are London law successful, we firm Kingsley will compete in Napley, in one final task partnership to qualify for with The the live final, Times, which will be at involves teams News UK in of up to four London. Year 12 All the tasks students help to working demonstrate together to the complete a determination, series of clear-thinking LEGAL EAGLES: Comberton’s apprentices. tasks, using and the skills and logic to provide legal advice for competence needed to become a successful, virtual clients. professional and motivated lawyer. As a Comberton’s legal team comprises Holly team, this opportunity is allowing us to Derrett, Rebekah Timms, Bea Greenhalgh develop ourselves as individuals, while and Amy Warburton and we have been definitely instilling a passion for attaining assigned a solicitor from Kingsley Napley, legal justice. who has provided guidance. Finally, as a team, we would like to express We have taken on the role of solicitors in our gratitude for being able to take part in responding to an example scenario, giving us this competition. It has demonstrated the a realistic experience of working for a law multi-faceted role that lawyers play and we firm. The first task involved us using legal hope we do them justice with our upcoming fact sheets and webinar guidance to research competition tasks! a wide variety of types of law and applying Rebekah Timms and Holly Derrett OXBRIDGE-BOUND: The students offered places at them accordingly. Oxford.


Progress in ‘a man’s world’ SIXTH FORM

We were very excited to welcome Bridget Kendall, MBE, to give one of our Henry Morris after-school talks. With a long career including being Russia and Diplomatic correspondents for the BBC, interviewing world leaders from Putin to King Adullah, and being the first female Master of Cambridge’s oldest college, there was plenty for her to talk about. Her particular focus though, was ‘getting on in a man’s world,’ reflecting on the progress women have made during a 100 years of enfranchised participation in public life. Hearing about how, as a girl growing up in Cambridge, she would walk past Peterhouse and imagine that one day it would take female students, but believe that it was impossible that one day there would be a female Master and beyond impossible that one day she would be that female Master, was an excellent reminder to all of us that we can’t imagine how the lives of our students will change in the future. After she had spoken, she was kind enough to plant a tree with our school leaders, in celebration of the ongoing partnership between Comberton and Cambourne village colleges, which has included several of their staff and students helping pupils in all year groups to make informed decisions about subject and university choices, and many students going to visit the college Bridget Kendall to encourage them to aspire to apply to top universities.

Concert is smash hit STAGE IS SET: For the fund-raising concert.

A concert organised as part of an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) has smashed its £500 fund-raising target. Year 13 student Eden Alarcon organised the event in Bassingbourn, which attracted an audience of 150 people not only to count towards her qualification, but also to raise money for NCCU, the Neurosciences Critical Care Unit at Addenbrooke’s. She initially hoped to raise £500, was optimistic of upping that to £700 and was astonished to find the total had reached £1340. “It is clear to say that it was a beautiful and magical evening that followed the fun day of rehearsals and preparation that we had,” said Eden.

Workshops inspire ‘Young Pharmas’ Over the spring term four students from Year 12 A level Biology have been taking part in a series of workshops at the Pharmacology department at Cambridge University. The ‘Young Pharmas’ course aims to give an insight into pharmacology with experiments, lab visits, lectures and presentations. The students have participated in three practical sessions — an introductory session, a practical session on a weekday evening and one masterclass day. From the experiments conducted, we have created posters detailing the methods used and conclusions made. The first session focused on introducing us to the department and the concepts and skills that we would need in the sessions. They included learning how to use a Gilson Pipette and developing a better understanding of the key science terms precision and accuracy. In addition to this, we viewed cells under an optical microscope and visited some of the labs.

On the second evening session, we completed our first experiment. This involved working out how many proteins there are in a human cell. To do this we counted how many cells there were in a solution, then calculated the concentration of protein in the solution. After this we calculated the concentration of protein per cell, which was then used to work out the number of proteins in a cell (around 1.5 x 109 ). In March we spent a full day in the laboratory carrying out two main experiments to look at the mechanism of muscle contraction and how this is influenced by hormones. The final session will give us the opportunity to present our posters to university staff, teachers and parents. We all had an awesome time taking part in this valuable opportunity. Alice Reynolds (L6-EH)

Gaining an insight into careers in science

The Babraham Institute have been holding Schools’ Days for 25 years and 2019 was no exception, with sixth formers from Year 12 at Comberton joining students from schools locally and from further afield for a day finding out what it’s like to work in scientific research. “Upon arriving at Babraham we were warmly welcomed and handed our packs for the day including lab coats and goggles. We were then shown to a lecture theatre where we were given inspiring talks from an employee at Babraham who was starting a new project at the institute, and a PhD student at the Babraham Institute, who studied at Oxford prior to this. After lunch we split up to go do our various different projects.” Isabel Potterill’s project with Kymab: “In my project I worked with the company, Kymab. We were taught how to use a centrifuge, vortex and how to pipette. We did gel electrophoresis, which is a technique used to separate DNA fragments according to their size.” Isaac Walding and Henry Harrison’s project with a scanning electron microscope: “In my project we used an SEM to look at some specimens: hair, DETAILS: Students used a Scanning Electron Microscope at the fabric and a fly. It was very interesting as we got to see details that you would not usually see using a light microscope. For example, the Babraham Institute Schools’ Day, watched by a local press Picture: Babraham Institute photographer. intertwining fibres of the fabric.” Achintya Prasad and Rebecca Allard’s project with DefiniGen: light. This is a simple principle in which the primary antibody binds to the “In our project, we worked with DefiniGen (a company which specialises in specific protein and a secondary antibody conjugated with a fluorophore the production of disease model cells), who provided us with an opportunity allows us to visualise the protein of interest under a fluorescence to practise ICC (immunocytochemistry) techniques on pre-fixed liver cells. microscope.” In the process, we learnt how to use pipettes to wash and prepare the cells The Babraham Institute School’s day gave all involved a great insight into and were shown how fluorescent antibodies can show specific protein working in a laboratory environment and a variety of techniques used by markers on the surface and inside those cells under different colours of scientists in research.


Snapshot of online habits


On 28th January 2019 all Year 8 students took part in an electronic voting survey based on online safety.

friends. If privacy settings are not correctly applied students could be sharing their personal information with a huge number of people online. The survey compiled the online activity of all students present and has since been All the major social networks have privacy settings but in general all are set as analysed. default to public. Below are some key statistics from this survey. It is worth noting that these are A quick search on how to change privacy settings is often the quickest way to not national statistics, but are instead as close to “live data” as possible as they finding out how to make changes. are taken from Year 8 students at Comberton Village College this academic year. In almost all cases there are video tutorials on YouTube if the written instructions General details about the number of social network users and how they are not clear. access their accounts. Dangers related to being a target for unwanted contact l 89% of Year 8 students have access to at least one social network account. l 48% had accepted a friend request/follow from someone they don’t know in the l 92% of those who use a social network account do so via their mobile phone. real world It is unlikely to surprise you that year-on-year more and more students in Year 8 l 38% had actively sought out people they don’t know in the real world to be have at least one social network account. The advice of allowing students access their friend/follow online. to the online world but only from a fixed location such as a family computer is not Worryingly there are still a large number of students who accept friend viable in today’s world as many have phones which enable them to connect to the requests/follows from people when they don’t know who they are. A large number also actively seek out online friendship from people based on profiles. There is web. evidence that online predators create profiles in a way which appeals to students It is therefore vital to have conversations about proper use of social networks. in the hope that they are friended or followed. Sharing of information Cyberbullying l 9% didn’t know how to change their privacy settings on their most-used l 57% had received/seen something related to them which has upset them. account Given that more than half of students have been upset by something directly l 7% of those who knew how to change their settings have left their account as relating to them it’s obvious that cyberbullying is a very real problem for young public. people. Depending upon the type, Cyberbullying is a crime which can breach up l 26% have other social network accounts which are not set to private. to five laws in the UK. Cyberbullying can and should be reported to the police. l 22% of students have not had any contact with more than 50% of their online Images l 29% have taken an inappropriate image using their phone. l 12% have posted an inappropriate image online. l 32% have shared an inappropriate image via a text or direct message. Another worrying trend is the number of Students in Year 9 watched a performance of ‘County Lines’ inappropriate images which are being taken which was touring round a number of schools in the area, and shared either via a social network or peer alerting them to the dangers of criminal exploitation. to peer (phone to phone). Inappropriate ‘County Lines’ refers to when gangs and organised crime images can range from taking a picture in networks exploit children to sell drugs, often across counties, school uniform and posting this online to and use dedicated mobile phone ‘lines’ to supply drugs. sexting. Sexting relates to images which are Gangs own a mobile phone ‘line’ that they use to take orders sexual in nature and are sometimes referred to for drugs. They then send the children and young people out to as nudies. It is against the law to take, store or other places, often rural and coastal areas, to deliver the drugs, share a sexually explicit image of anyone under collect the cash and bring it back to the gang. the age of 18. These gangs deliberately target vulnerable children and What can be done to help protect young teenagers from all backgrounds and groom, deceive or threaten people? the young people into carrying and selling drugs for them. Education and communication are absolutely Gangs may initially offer something in return for the young essential. person’s involvement — such as money, food, drugs, alcohol, The school has in place a number of key jewellery or expensive clothes, status or belonging, but this assemblies and specific periods of input which doesn’t always last and a debt can be set which means the cover a huge range of online safety issues. young person ‘owes’ the perpetrators. Please do talk to your son/daughter about their Luise Grosche (9R) said: “The performance started very tense online usage. to show what sort of terrible things can happen to drug users. It may be almost impossible to keep up to date However, it continued by showing us how the two teenagers with every new social networking application or around which the play is based were persuaded into working site but this isn’t always necessary. for a drug dealer and consequently showed what these sorts of In many ways the format they are using isn’t jobs can lead to. important but it’s what they are doing via the “The play was very thought-provoking and I do believe it has format. helped open Year 9's eyes to the problems caused by drugs. During many of the assemblies or periods of Some of the signs that a child is being exploited include: input these four points make a regular l Returning home late, staying out all night or going missing appearance and are designed to be remind l Being found in areas away from home students about good use of social networking. l Increasing drug use, or being found to have large amounts of drugs on them n Profiles — keep them secure and don’t l Being secretive about who they are talking to and where they are going share personal information l Unexplained absences from school, college, training or work n Know who you are talking to — make sure l Unexplained money, phone(s), clothes or jewellery online friends are people you know in the real l Increasingly disruptive or aggressive behaviour world l Using sexual, drug-related or violent language you wouldn’t expect them to know n Think before you post — could this upset l Coming home with injuries or looking particularly dishevelled someone? l Having hotel cards or keys to unknown places n Do I really want to share this image? Would I Advice from parents/carers and more information on this issue can be found via the following links: be happy if a member of my family saw the lines/county-lines-resources and For more support search online for — sell-drugs-through-county-lines

Plays alerts students to dangers of ‘County Lines’



First exchange is a hit

SEEING THE SIGHTS: Chinese exchange students see Cambridge from the river and also visited Oxford with their partners.

Students are counting down to their trip to China after a successful first leg of the inaugural Chinese Exchange organised jointly with Melbourn Village College.

They leave for their eight-day trip to the Chinese capital, Beijing, on Monday, eager to meet up with their exchange partners again. Just before half-term 29 students from the High School affiliated to the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) spent a week in England, enjoying warm hospitality from host families and attending lessons. As well as gaining a flavour of secondary education in the UK, Chinese students enjoyed day trips to Cambridge and Oxford, the latter with their exchange partners.

In addition, students in Years 7, 8 and 9 were treated to an assembly from Chinese students about their country, city and school. Rachel Hawkes, The Cam Academy Trust’s Director of International Education and Research, said: “It is great to have had such a successful start to our partnership with BIT High School. This first leg of the exchange has been a culturally enriching experience for students and host families alike. “It is no small effort to open up your home to look after another child, who is so far away from family, and we owe an enormous debt of thanks to all the families who are taking part in this, and all of our exchanges.” Katrina Barnes, languages teacher at CVC, and one of the members of staff travelling with students on their return visit to Beijing this month, accompanied

All go for Peruvians

January saw Comberton host our sixth delegation of Peruvian students. Twenty students and two teachers spent two weeks at the college, staying with host families, and taking part in a varied programme of curricular projects and extra-curricular visits. This year our Peru exchange with the Colegio Lord Byron in Arequipa, now in its 11th year, extended its reach to another school in The Cam Academy Trust, Gamlingay Village Primary, as well as both campuses of Hardwick and Cambourne Primary School. The 20 students had a day in each of the primary schools, spending time with every child in the school, leading the learning about Peruvian music and instruments, geography, wildlife, and dancing. One primary teacher commented: “I was totally blown away by the Peruvian students today... young adults who are talented, tenacious and true role models. It was truly heartening to share their experiences today and see how delighted our own children were to interact...” Some classes received letters from primary pupils in Lord Byron, and wrote replies, which the Peruvian delegation delivered back to Peru. Preparations are now ongoing to develop the relationship between the primary schools. Zsuzsa French, Spanish teacher at Hardwick and Cambourne’s Cambourne site, has many exciting ideas for further projects. As well as their primary visits, our Peruvian exchange went to London, Ely and Cambridge, braving the winter cold to experience the obligatory punting! They also spent time in lessons with their partners, and completed an inspiring art project with Mr Feijoo. A highlight of the second week was, as always, the Noche

the Chinese group on a day exploring Cambridge. The excursion included visits to many of Cambridge’s diverse historical sights, punting on the Cam and a stop at King’s College’s new Chinese garden, built in honour of the poet Xu Zhimo. They also spent time at the University of Cambridge’s Museum of Zoology and had lunch at Peterhouse, the oldest college and which has close links with Comberton. Miss Barnes has also joined Comberton students at their after-school Chinese classes on Tuesdays, as they learn some Mandarin in preparation for their trip. She was highly impressed with their enthusiasm and learning so far, adding: “I am so excited about the opportunity for students to experience family and school life in Beijing. It is sure to be an amazing, lifechanging experience for all of us.”

FULL WORKS: Choreographed and costumed Peruvian dancing.

Peruana, an evening when host families are treated to a costumed, fully choreographed, musical introduction to Peru. Though sad to see our Peruvian friends depart, a group of Comberton students will make a return visit to stay with their exchange partners in July this year. While there, they will work and play in our three partner orphanages, spend time teaching and learning in Lord Byron, and spend a week visiting Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu.

Next stop Italy . . .

ON PISTE: Students at the top of the ski slope.


More than 70 Year 8 and 9 students are packing their bags ready to head for the slopes.They leave for Italy on Saturday for a week of snowsports in Aosta. This is Comberton’s second snowsports trip of the academic year as just before Christmas 34 pupils took part in the annual Year 10 and 11 adventure, also to Italy. Pupils could select either skiing or snowboarding, with a number of pupils using the opportunity to be filmed as part of their GCSE PE. They stayed in the delightful hotel Dujuny, which is a traditional Italian ski resort hotel a short drive to the resort of Pila. The students enjoyed six action-packed days on the slopes, learning and improving their skiing and snowboarding. In the evening students were well entertained with activities such as bowling, disco, quiz, attending the Christmas market and finally had their presentation evening, where the instructors visited to hand out awards,

An incredible experience!


At the start of the term, those participating in the Spanish Exchange to Zaragoza 2019, found out who their partners were going to be.

Everyone was very excited and started to communicate with their Spanish partners straight away. Families Facetimed and people soon got to know each other. Then last month, the 30 students from Comberton and Cambourne departed to meet their exchanges and welcoming families for the first time! It was exhilarating but a little nerve-racking. However, as soon as the students had seen the beautiful posters and decorations made at school for them, they soon began to feel at home. In evening of the arrival day, students were taken back to the families’ homes and met lots of family members; grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins. The following morning, pupils arrived in school to experience a day in lessons and bond with some of the younger students over fun activities and games which they had created. After lunch, the pupils were taken home by their exchanges; some met with other partners and others spent the evening with their new Spanish families.

The most daunting part of the exchange came quickly — a weekend of immersing themselves in Spanish culture and socialising with their exchanges. Many exchanges met up over the weekend, enjoying the thrills of an amusement park and acclimatising to their new surroundings. Others spent time their host family, which really helped their Spanish and understanding of Spanish culture. The last four days flew by. The exchanges and students were taken on two tours of the city; one considering the nature and beauty of the architecture and another the Roman history. On the Tuesday, the students enjoyed a typical Spanish meal of a Serrano ham sandwich followed by Chocolate and Churros. ¡ñam, ñam! On Wednesday the students visited the village of Huesca and then, later in the day, had a tour of a large castle in Loarre. It was very cold and windy because the castle is 1070 metres above sea level, but the students took many stunning pictures of the amazing view and the historic castle itself and enjoyed the day very much. The last day was very emotional as the exchanges were all going to miss each other. As a final group activity, the students participated in orienteering and then indulged in a massive tapas feast. There were many goodbyes, hugs and kisses and tears were shed because many strong friendships were formed and everyone was sad to end this incredible experience. Amelie Martin (9N)

Partners seal the deal

One of Comberton’s new partnerships, with top Japanese state school, Kobe University Secondary School, has been cemented by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. This will strengthen the relationship between the schools which started with the first Anglo-Japanese exchange in 2017. Since then students from both schools have had the opportunity to expand their knowledge of the culture and language of each other’s country. During these exchanges, students had the opportunity to experience school life and live with a host family. The next CVC exchange to Japan is planned for October 2019. The trip’s theme will climate change where students will collaborate, discuss and present possible technological solutions and policies to help mitigate the current issues civilization is facing.

The final countdown!

SPANISH SCENES: Out and about and in the classrooom.

Six Year 8 and 9 students are busy preparing for the regional final of the annual national Translation Bee competition. They have won through to represent Comberton at the penultimate stage of the competition — the winners at Queen Katharine Academy in Peterborough on May 14th — will be through to the national final. The Spanish section of the Translation Bee is open to Year 8 and Giulia Porretta and Evie Crossley will represent Comberton after qualifying from the school round. They will be joined by Year 9 winners, George Whittle and Helena Piotrowicz (German) and Imogen Ransome and Megan Clark (French). Another level of difficulty is added at the regional stage of a competition which sees contestants translate as many sentences as they can in a minute. In the class round sentences were only in the present tense, the school round saw the addition of the future tense and for the regional and national rounds, competitors are also expected to translate sentences in the past tense. For Year 7 the challenge is a Spelling Bee along similar lines, with participants spelling randomly generated words from a bank of 50 in the

SIGNED AND SEALED: The Head and students from Japan after signing a memorandum of understanding between the two schools.

REGIONAL FINALISTS: Students prepare for the next round. 

first round, 100 in the second round, 150 at regional level and 200 for those reaching the national final in the summer. The qualifiers for the regional round, which was held at Queen Katharine’s as this magazine was going to print, were Tierney Fernando, Melina Kontoleon and Sarah Cavanagh.



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Quick work impresses

Round-up of the latest news from the South Cambs SSP

It was an action-packed day of hockey as the South Cambs School Sports Partnership welcomed a record entry of 48 teams into their annual Year 5/6 Quicksticks hockey competition.

To accommodate all the entries, the competition, which took place at Comberton Village College, was split into a morning and afternoon event. Teams from the 25 schools saw their A teams playing in a Cup competition and schools’ B, C and D teams playing in a Plate competition. Teams played in a round robin format in quick seven-minute matches. The event was part of the county-wide School Games programme with the top four schools qualifying to represent South Cambs SSP at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough School Games Summer Festival where they will face the best from Cambridge, East Cambs & Fenland, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. There were plenty of competitive matches and close-scoring games as the Year 5 and 6 children gave it their best effort. At the end of all the matches, which were umpired superbly by the sports leaders from Comberton Village College, the qualifying schools were Willingham, Harston & Newton, Histon & Impington Juniors & Meldreth, with the latter two teams both winning all five of their matches on the day. In the plate competitions, it was Meridian B and Swavesey B who came out on top in the morning event and were delighted to receive their winners’ medals. In the afternoon Histon & Impington Juniors B and C teams won nine out of their 10 games between them and drew the other one to mark a memorable afternoon for them, with all three of their competing teams winning their respective pools without a single loss! There was also recognition on the day for those teams or individual players who

PASS IT ON: Action from the quicksticks tournament.

had taken to heart the ‘Spirit of the Games’ and really demonstrated good teamwork and/or honesty in their performances. There were lots of nominations for these awards, which was great to see, but the winners were Georgia (Swavesey), Orla (Bassingbourn), Ahrel (Meridian), Ellie (Bar Hill), Jack (Dry Drayton), Alex (Jeavons Wood), Julius (Cambridge University Primary), Sam (Steeple Morden), Juno (Dry Drayton) and Daniel (Gt Abington). Claire McDonnell, South Cambs SSP Partnership Development Manager said: “It was great to see so many children playing and enjoying the game of hockey in a fun and relaxed environment. “There were some competitive matches with lots of end-to-end action and generally plenty of goals. “We have been running a Quicksticks hockey competition for six or seven years now and the standard of play has definitely improved over the years with some great skills and teamwork on display and, importantly, all the teams got some good, equal competition.”

Gym competition couldn’t have been closer

JUDGES AT WORK: Watching the vault competition.

LEADING INDIVIDUALS: From the gymnastics event.

Teams of Year 3 & 4 gymnasts from 14 South Cambs primary schools took Spirit of the Games awards were nominated by the sports leaders and given part in the annual School Games Gymnastics Competition at Comberton to those children who strongly demonstrated self-belief and passion and Village College. included Freddie from Dry Drayton, who showed real perseverance and The gymnasium was silent and the atmosphere bravery. He finished the event with a huge smile as concentrated as competitors demonstrated their did Bethan (Haslingfield), who conquered her skills on the vault and floor. nerves and apprehension to produce a shining At stake was the chance to represent South Cambs Primary school staff have praised the sports performance. School Sports Partnership at the Cambridgeshire leaders who helped out at the gymnastics event at Claire McDonnell, South Cambs School Games and Peterborough School Games Spring Festival, organiser said: “It’s nice to offer children the Comberton. with the top two schools taking on the best from opportunity to represent their school and compete “What a lovely afternoon it was and I have to say across the County. in a more artistic type of event such as gymnastics. the young sports leaders and judges were The competition was fiercely contested and fewer It always amazes me how well the children perform absolutely fantastic. Sooooooooo supportive and than eight points separated the top 10 teams! Linton under quite intense pressure. encouraging. Credit to them all.” Heights Junior School retained the title by just 0.1 “While we recognise and celebrate the winners, the “Really fabulous Sports Leaders today. It was a main purpose of all of our events is to ensure the from Gt Abington. Both went on to the finals at real highlight to witness how supportive and children have an enjoyable time and to encourage Huntingdon Gymnastics Club late last month, where encouraging they were to the most nervous them to achieve their personal best and I think they the Comberton and Cambourne student judges were gymnasts!” also invited to officiate. all did that. “The young judges also did an exceptional job, we The three top-scoring individuals were also awarded couldn’t have run the competition without them; they were focused and medals. Abigail, from Castle Camps, took top spot with 19.50, ahead of efficient throughout and even supported a couple of the gymnasts through Molly, from Harston & Newton, and Isabel, from Linton Heights, who both their routines when nerves got the better of them.” scored 19.20.

Plaudits for leaders


Girls get stuck in . . . COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE

Year 7 girls were put through their paces by coaches from Northampton Saints Rugby Club.

In an initiative to get more girls playing rugby, the coaches came in to deliver sessions to the girls during their PE lessons. With some more nervous than others to get muddy, they all got stuck in! Students were shown how to correctly pass the ball, how to move to support their teammates and how to tackle safely and effectively. They completed a range of activities to develop their contact skills, including the

‘tightest hug’ competition, body twist challenge and rugby wrestling. They then progressed to a highly competitive and extensive game of fishes and sharks, the fishes battling their way through some determined defending sharks! The students involved really embraced the new opportunity and challenge and were left exhausted but smiling! Many of the girls signed up for a follow-up session and, again, learnt a range of new skills. The popularity of girls’ rugby in the local area is certainly growing and students who wish to give it a go can attend Girls Rugby club on Tuesdays, 34pm with Mr Berwick.

Chance to hit out

NEW SKILLS: Girls have a go at rugby.

This year our Under-13 and Under-15 girls have been receiving some coaching through the Cambs Cricket Board. The older girls kicked off the tournament campaign with matches against St Bede’s red, St Bede’s blue and Netherhall. A number of the girls had also played in previous years as Under-13s so had a good knowledge of the game and what to expect in the matches. They beat Netherhall convincingly, lost a run chase against St Bede’s red then thrashed St Bede’s blue to finish second overall and miss out on qualification, though they will have another chance when the outdoor season gets under way. LINE-UP: Comberton’s cricketers Congratulations to all the girls who took part. Miss Shipley ready for the outdoor season.

The under-16 boys basketball team were drawn in to the Northern Conference league against Parkside, Cottenham, Melbourn, Impington and Swavesey. They had faced many of these teams before and knew it would be a battle, but made a great start with hard-fought victories over Impington (37-35) and Swavesey (41-36). Formidable and experienced Parkside, who went on the win the league, proved too strong with a 57-11 victory, leaving Comberton chasing the second qualification spot as runners-up. However, narrow defeats by Cottenham (4944), who took second spot, and Melbourn (2622) left Comberton in third. It was still a great season and the boys worked incredibly hard, developing a whole range of skills and improving their decisionmaking and tactical awareness in a

competitive environment. Year 11 Fox Pollock was named player of the year. This year much of the under-14 basketball team comprised Year 7 and 8 students. They found it tough against older and more experienced opponents, with each game a steep learning curve. The boys performed very well against hard competition and although many of our games ended in defeat, the learning and progression made was excellent. This season will no doubt give us a massive headstart for next year and hopefully we will be able to see some impressive victories. Make sure you look out for basketball on the PE after-school clubs list and come along to training.

Comberton edged out of final qualification spot

LEARNING CURVE: Comberton’s under-14 boys.

Netballers enjoy their pre-season practice match

PRE-SEASON FRIENDLY: Year 7 took on The Leys — and stayed for dinner!


Before our cluster games started, the Leys invited two of our Year 7 teams to a netball friendly. The girls were very excited to take part in their first game and very enthusiastic about the prospect of teas afterwards! The A team started a little slowly and found themselves four goals down after the first quarter. However, after regrouping they soon found their stride and limited the Leys to only two in the second quarter. The third quarter saw Comberton score for the first time and this quarter was a draw, while Comberton went on to win the fourth quarter, though not the game overall. However, there was a huge improvement from the girls and it was definitely a very valuable game experience. The B team had a very similar game, so while not proving victorious, they made excellent progress throughout the quarters. The day finished with sausage and chips with their opposition! Congratulations to all those who took part. Miss Shipley and Miss Cotton, PE Dept


Dancers keep very busy

INSPIRED BY HAIRSPRAY: Students take part in the ‘Reaching Out’ performance organised by Bodyworks at The Leys School.

It has been an exciting term for Comberton Village College dance.

Selected dancers were invited to perform as part of the ‘Reaching Out’ performance at the Leys School organised by Bodyworks. The dancers were selected on their aptitude, energy and passion in a range of jazz, street and contemporary routines. Comberton Dance was also invited to participate in a Hofesh Shechter Dance Company workshop where they learnt how to creatively explore performance and choreography with the company dancers. Finally, Comberton’s Spring Dance Showcase was an adventure into the world of movies and yet another wonderful demonstration of the dance talent at the college.

Opportunity to show and share

Comberton hosted its annual Dance Share event in early March. Schools from across the local area had been very busy preparing dances with some of their classes, including pupils from Comberton itself. All groups were allocated a rehearsal time during the morning in the Performance Hall, along with some practice time to refine their routines. The afternoon then saw the overall performance take place, starting with Reception children from Haslingfield. This was followed by performances from Coton, Dry Drayton, Barnabas Oley, Monkfield Park and Meridian. The Comberton pupils then continued the performance, beginning with the Year 7 boys' class taught by Mr Carrick. Mrs Pattrick's Year 7 girls followed, then Mr Anderson's Year 8 boys, Miss Cotton's Year 8 girls and Mrs Scarboro's Year 9 girls. The Year 10 GCSE dance group, who had been supporting the primary schools with their rehearsals throughout the course of the day, then showed one of their group pieces, before the event was closed with a performance from our A Level quartet. Organiser Harriet Shipley said: “All participants did a magnificent job of performing in front of others and the quality of the dances was excellent. “Thank you to Lily and Nathan in Year 12 for helping to organise the event, and to Mollie and Lucy for assisting on the day.”

Dancers from all year groups performed routines specially-prepared with the help of the dance teachers from Bodyworks. A massive thank you to Nikki McGowan, Michael Joseph, Katy Graham-Clare and Katy Lark, who have worked with the students to choreograph visually exciting performances that were enjoyed by all. The dancers have shown a fantastic aptitude for performance in a variety of dance styles from Contemporary, Jazz and Urban. Here the audience fell in love with the turbulent romance of Romeo and Juliet and became haunted by Pennywise the clown. The Spring Showcase was a demonstration of talent and passion for dance and for those that did miss this term’s event, make sure you have your ticket for the Summer Showcase on Wednesday 26th June, ‘Dare to Dance in Wonderland?’ Adele Thomas, Head of Dance

SHARED WORK: Students at Comberton’s annual Dance Share.



Rising stars recognised WINNERS: Comberton students at the Roy Burrell Awards and (right) meeting hockey legend Helen Richardson-Walsh.

Twenty-three Year 11 students have been recognised for their sporting success or contribution to school sport.

All received Roy Burrell Awards, which are handed out annually by the Cambridge and District Secondary School Sports Assocation (CDSSA) in memory of a former deputy head of Chesterton School and advocate of sport, who died in 1955. The awards evening, held at Netherhall School, honours young people in local schools who are attaining highly in their chosen sport(s), who contribute greatly to school sport with their participation and attitude, and who go above and beyond in volunteering their time as sports leaders. Pupils are nominated by their PE teachers and attend to collect their awards in the various categories. The event also included a talk from a guest speaker — former England and Great Britain hockey player Helen Richardson-Walsh. She talked about her highs and

On the run . . .

This year, Emily Talbot, 8R, has represented the school at a number of cross country running events. These include racing at St Neots (2nd place), Hinchingbrooke (12th) and Cambridge (2nd). Her latest race was on 16th March, when she competed for Cambridgeshire in the Junior Girls section of the National Schools final in Leeds, having qualified through the District, County and Anglian regional rounds. In very wet, windy and muddy conditions Emily was Cambs’ first runner home and finished in the top third of the field. She still has another year in this category. This comes hot on the heels of competing at the England & Wales Inter-County Championships, held in Loughborough, where she was again the first Cambs runner home and was in the top third of the Under-13 Girls nationwide. What makes this even more impressive is that Emily only started training with a running club (Cambridge and Coleridge) this year.

BEST FOOT FORWARD: For Emily Talbot.

lows in sport and competing in three Olympic Games, and showed her two Olympic medals. The event was an excellent celebration of the many achievements of our students — thank you to Netherhall School for hosting, to the CDSSSA committee and Netherhall PE staff who organised the event, and to all the parents and pupils who attended. Congratulations to you all. Comberton’s award winners are: Beth Martin, Hannah Williams (swimming), Cara Chivers, Harry Walkow-Foster, Phoebe Stearn, Millie Dean (dance), Chaaya Malik, Sama Malik (tennis), Claudia Bazyk, Manula Dharmawardana, Zichen He (badminton), Ellis Miller (squash), Emma Hayward (athletics), Filip Marschall (football), Josh Tingley (Tae Kwondo), Julian Shellard (hockey), Katie Hartwright (cricket), Mitchell Bishop (dodgeball), Toby Pym (rugby), Tom Sharrock (rowing), Milena Cousins (leadership), Archie Macleod, Yasmin Girling (Greg Alvey Award for Contribution to School Sport).

Making a career from sport LISTENING: Students at the Careers in Sport workshop. Students taking Sport in Key Stages 4 and 5 discovered the possible career options available in the sports industry, spending a session with Harvey Grout from Careers in Sport. The organisation specialises in sharing knowledge and information with young people interested in a job in sport and presents it to students and runs practical workshops. All the students listened to a presentation about potential careers, the training routes they could take — either to university or an apprenticeship — and considered the skills they would need for a sports-related job. Throughout his presentation, Harvey encouraged pupils to have a practical involvement, showcasing their skills and

qualities, including a brilliant rendition of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ and a keepy-uppy showdown between Mr Wilce and England under-16 goalkeeper Filip Marschall. After lunch, Key Stage 5 students participated in a practical workshop, taking on the roles of performers, coaches and performance analysts. Those involved demonstrated excellent communication, leadership and cooperation: all valuable skills moving forward into sportsbased careers. We hope this afternoon has encouraged students to seek a career in the sportsindustry and highlighted the opportunities available to them. Abi Cotton, PE Department


Profile for The Cam Academy Trust

News@Com Spring 2019  

The termly magazine of Comberton Village College & Sixth Form

News@Com Spring 2019  

The termly magazine of Comberton Village College & Sixth Form

Profile for comberton