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@CombertonVC & @CombertonSF

www.combertonvc.org & www.combertonsixthform.org

The Magazine of Comberton Village College

ISSUE  53, SPRING 2020

Exchange Trip success — Page 16

Sun shines at challenge COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE

Two talented Comberton students were invited to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford in February as finalists in a UK-wide competition — The UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge.

Kai Sun and Ben Chung were among the top 56 highest achieving students to reach the final out of 22,722 participants students entered into the first round for their age group. In the Seniors (age 14-16) age category Kai achieved joint third place and was presented with a medal at the prize-giving ceremony at Hertford College. The UK Bebras Computational Thinking Challenge, supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, is designed to get students excited about computing and computational thinking. It is a problem-solving contest with questions inspired by topics in computer science. In the first round, held in their own schools, students have to try and solve as many problems as possible in the allotted time. There are six age categories. The highest scoring students from the four oldest age groups (Elite, Seniors, Intermediate, and Juniors) were then invited to the Oxford.

Drivers: it’s time to kick that idling habit!

You may have noticed our new signs in the car park. Although there are an increasing number of electric cars in the car park after school, there are still some drivers who sit waiting with their engines running. There are several reasons why this is unnecessary and harmful, and we’d like to encourage those drivers to stop. Young people’s lungs are still developing until they are at least 18; they also tend to have a more rapid breathing rate than adults, and these two things make them more vulnerable to air pollution. That air pollution causes asthma and allergies in the short term, and over time contributes to poor heart health and cancer. Some studies have even suggested that air pollution damages brain cells. This makes sitting outside a school with your engine running, which is already illegal, inexcusable. We know, because Councillor Bridget Smith shared this with us during her visit in September, that people in South Cambridgeshire are dying from air pollution athough we are a rural area. Although older drivers may believe that it takes more fuel to switch the engine off and then on again, this is no longer the case for modern cars

q National Finalist — 3 q Project Engages Students — 3 q A Rock ‘n’ Roll Triumph — 4 & 5 q Anazing Panto Experience — 5 q Robots on the March — 6 q Leog Challenge — 6 q Trust News — 7


MEDAL WINNER: Peter Millican, Professor of Philosophy presents the medal and finalist’s certificate.

Fairtrade in spotlight

with electronic ignitions. An engine running while the vehicle is still creates as many or more emissions as it does when the car is moving, (more in some cases because the engine is not operating at its most efficient) . As the car is stationary, all of those emissions accumulate very quickly in a cloud of harmful gas around that car, that affect the driver and any passengers. Even the most dedicated petrolheads might want to consider the fact that as the fuel in your engine is not completely combusted if you leave it running while you are sitting still, this can lead to the build up of residue on your cylinder walls that reduces engine efficiency and damages components. Kicking an idling habit is also one of the easier ways to reduce your contribution to the climate crisis: 10 minutes idling creates up to 500g of carbon dioxide. If we all managed to stop doing it for just a few minutes a day that would amount to a significant saving. Please obey the signs, and switch your engines off, and if anyone else collects your children from school, ask them to do so as well. Green Group

Comberton’s Green Group raised awareness of Fairtrade and its global impact during a week of sales at the college. Following a launch in assembly explaining what Fairtrade certified goods are and how buying them benefits the producers, staff and students were given the opportunity to sample some of them during Fairtrade Fortnight. A range of tasty treats was for sale in the foyer as the group looked to encourage consumers change their buying habits to help producers, usually in developing countries. Fairtrade certified goods mean that there are set standards for workers’ rights and protection for the environment. It ensures that producers receive a set minimum price for their goods and that there is an additional Fairtrade Premium paid to invest in business or community projects of that community’s choice. Fairtrade works directly with farmers and workers as well as the companies’ own schemes and all products and ingredients are certified. An example of how Fairtrade works is clearly illustrated in the chocolate industry where business has boomed but the producers of the main ingredient, cocoa, are receiving a tiny — and everdecreasing — share of the price paid with the majority going to the retail and supermarkets to maintain their margins. Fairtrade ensures farmers receive a fair price for their crops. Fairtrade products also include things like bananas, coffee, cotton, flowers, tea, wine, beauty products, clothes, juice, herbs and spices, sweets and snacks, gold, rice, grains and cereals, sugar, spreads and oil. Last year British consumers and companies choosing Fairtrade sugar sent more than £5m in Fairtrade premium to sugar cane smallholders.

q Making Maths Magic — 8 q Learning to Debate — 8 q Test of World Knowledge — 8 q Alien Cakes Take Biscuit — 8 q Sixth Form News — 9-12 q DofE — 13 q Focus on RPE — 14

q Lessons in the Field — 14 q Discovering Rome — 15 q Survey Raises Concerns — 16 q Event Aids Guide Dogs — 16 q MFL Round-up — 16 q SCSSP Update — 18 q Sport — Pages 19-20


National finalist


Hospitality and Catering student Megan (10E) has been very busy in the kitchen and her hard work is paying off!

A keen cook, Megan reached the national finals of FutureChef, a national cooking competition run by Springboard a charity focused on helping and enriching education of young people by providing advice, training and skills courses. For the last two years, Megan didn’t progress beyond the local finals, but with her determination stronger than ever, and an incredible supply of resilience, She earned her place in the final 12 from a competition which attracted more than 14000 entries, getting through the school, local and regional rounds. The finals started with a celebratory dinner at the Hotel Café Royal in honour of the 12 finalists from across the UK. The evening was attended by the finalists, their parents and teachers, as well as the judges, including celebrity chef Brian Turner, who has been involved with the competition for many years, and Briony Williams, a contestant from Great British Bake Off 2018. The next morning, Megan arrived at Westminster

Kingsway culinary school, who were hosting the final. Megan’s mentor, Gavin Murphy, was on hand to help with kitchen organisation, then the kitchens were cleared and, after a short briefing, the final commenced! Megan had two and a quarter hours to prepare, cook and plate up four servings of a main course and dessert based on a brief and limited shopping list or ‘mystery basket’ provided a few weeks earlier. After a nail-biting wait, all finalists produced an array of wonderful dishes, showing incredible ability and creativity, with considerable culinary skills demonstrated in their preparation and cooking of their dishes. In the end, Megan was not placed in the top three, but can hold her head up high — this is an incredible achievement as well as an experience of a lifetime. Megan left with an armful of prizes and new opportunities to advance her education in hospitality and catering, should she wish to pursue it. Megan really is an inspiration and she has shown us all what can be achieved with a positive mindset. Huge congratulations Megan! We are so very proud of you. Emily Goodson, Head of DT

Award-winning project engages students CHEF TO CHEF: Brian Turner was one of the judges at the national finals.

Students in Year 8 have been working in their PSHE lessons with Cambridge United Community Trust (CUCT) and the club’s players. This is the second year that we have worked with the ‘Mind Your Head’ initiative, which the club spearhead. United players have delivered lessons focusing on resilience, boosting mental health through physical well-being as well as thinking about different strategies to stay mentally healthy. The project was recently recognised by the English Football League at their annual awards ceremony at the Houses of Parliament. Dr Suzanne Smith (Head of PSHE) attended as a representative for Comberton Village College as Cambridge United Community Trust won the award for Community Project of the Year. Dr Smith said: “You can see the students ’switching on’ and engaging with the players. The issue we have with mental health is that students have a stereotype of people who have mental illness. “Working with Cambridge United has meant that our students, especially our boys, see mental health as part of their overall well-being and something that they need to work on just like physical well-being.’ Darryl Coakley, Mental Health Lead at CUCT, said: "Throughout the six-week programme one of our key aims is to simply start a conversation among young people regarding their mental health. “It's fantastic to see how open the students are once they realise that mental health is something we all have, just like physical health. By raising awareness and letting young people know it's OK to talk, it provides a

Help in 3D

Climate engineering club has recently received a large 3D printer from the Royal Society, London, to help explore the options of putting eco bottles together for construction. To learn how to use the technology, club goers have been printing mathematical models, and simple geometrical structure. They are all very impressed with the quality of our models although they have discovered printing takes quite a bit of time! The students had hoped to use the summer term to learn how to use fusion360 software, which would have allowed them to design and print Eco bricks connectors. A further £1,500 has recently been given to the school by the Royal Society to support the project. The club is open to all students and take place Monday and Tuesday lunchtime as well as Tuesday after school 15:00-16:00 in CPR4.

WORKING TOGETHER: Cambridge United players and staff have been helping Year 8 look at mental health. platform and some common language for them to use to take the stigma away from talking about mental health.” We look forward to working further with CUCT as part of our Trust-wide project looking at supporting the positive well-being of staff and students. Zach Beamish, Trust Mental Health and Well-Being Secondee

PRACTICE GO: Learning to use the

new 3D printer.

Focus on charities

Year 9 ran a charity fortnight to raise money for Sport Relief and East Anglian Children’s Hospice, the year group’s chosen charity. Each form group ran an event on one day for their peers to take part in. These ranged from students having Nerf Wars and a competition for how long students could hang on a bar, to pie the teacher, all raising an amazing amount of money. Thank you so much to all who took part, donated and spectated during this successful fortnight. Year 9 also had the chance to go bowling for their social event and 86 of them attended Eat’n’Bowl in St Neots. They were very competitive and had varying success down the lanes with some students scoring strikes. Some students were accompanied by their Spanish exchange partners to join in the fun.


A rock ‘n’ roll triumph!


With Queen’s driving guitar, thumping rhythms, and anthemic subject matter, it’s near impossible to better this musical for sheer Rock ‘n’ Roll vigour.

Audacious Productions’ recent version of We Will Rock You provided the complete set-list with indisputable mastery and incredible consistency. (Everyone asked had a different favourite, if indeed they could decide). The hero of the adventure, Galileo, anchored the show; and with Oli’s animated charm and great voice, he delivered a rocket-fuel performance as the coming-ofage Galileo. Song after song, it was spontaneity on demand! Millie, as Scaramouche, formed a wonderful pairing as Galileo’s ‘chick’ (I call her that only in the safety of print!). She didn’t make-up the love story, she made it with her drive. Her lovely voice warmed and dominated the audience as each song requires. The pair’s duets (‘Hammer to Fall’, for instance) packed a punch when they were sparring, and they rose brilliantly to the occasion when balancing on hospital gurneys in ‘Under Pressure’. Bea and Ben as Meat and Britney respectively were an excellent second couple. Supporting in one sense, galvanizing in another. Bea nailed notes like a sniper and Ben injected such earnest force into every scene he was in. Wonderful stuff. Their characters wished to bring love to all, but what they really offered us was dynamism. The commercial and cultural villains of the show were more playful than nasty, maybe joyously nasty. They relished their control like a small child pulling legs off an insect. Maisie strutted about the stage with wild abandon. Her evil voice and presence produced amazing Killer Queen authority. Chris as her sidekick, Khashoggi, offered a Jarvis Cocker-esque performance. With an award-winning villain’s laugh and oily sycophancy, he nailed the part. Their excellent duet of Don’t Stop Me Now / Another One Bites the Dust was as hilarious as it was accomplished. Ollie gave an equally accomplished performance in the role, bringing out both the villainous and the comic qualities of the character with massive energy and flair. The late cameo of Pop (Ben and Tim) was playfully exuberant and added that extra comic dimension to reinvigorating all for the finale. Both Tim and Ben delivered ‘Those Were Days of Our Lives’ with great poignancy and emotion and brought out the objectionable as well as the strangely likeable qualities of Pop wonderfully well. The Ensemble, about three dozen strong, dazzled with vibrancy time after time. Such range of styles, such flexibility, whether as pop-clone-preppies the Gaga kids, the Bohemians, fascist culture-police, or even futuristic inquisition torturers and victims, the Ensemble flooded the stage with energy. The choreography and singing were sensational. Many caught the eye, but Bob the Builder, Cliff Richard, Puff Daddy and Sir Paul McCartney (who looked more like Keith Richards to me) provided that extra little chuckle. The core dance troupe were brilliant, simply brilliant. Highlights were frequent, one such being ‘A Kind of Magic’, but really, they electrified the stage with each appearance. The band, featuring 20 current Comberton students, was polished to a sheen by the masterful Ben Parker. Boxed by a lighting rig, their early, subtle performance seemed as if they were caged. When ‘the music’ was discovered, the band were lit up, drawing due attention to their mammoth contribution. They were a tight ensemble and the wide range of instruments added many lovely textures to Queen’s music. Special recognition should be made for the guitar work — always a riff-tastic delivery of the core songs and elsewhere, playful flourishes aplenty. The minimal, stripped-down set design allowed for a clever and complex use of space, while the costumes made strong statements and vividly portrayed the futuristic world in which the musical is set. The menacing angry-ballerina outfits worn by the dancers were particularly striking. Lighting and sound cues seemed flawless. As with many a rock concert, projections were used to superb effect. Video links enhanced the authenticity of the overall concept, increased pace, provided context and offered plenty of humour. The backstage team dealt with complex entrance and exits, wildly varied props and dozens of musical numbers easily, making it all seem as simple as a coach doodling a half-time plan. Enough credit cannot be expressed for the commitment of all, but especially the organisers: Nick Hall, Ali Hall, Jane Menczer, Ben Parker and Jez Frost. For extra entertainment, it was difficult to tell whether there were more double-


entendres than hall of fame rock lyric references. There was much vaudeville and something of a pub quiz about the show too. Regardless, all the tongue and cheek stereotypes about Rock ‘n’ Roll, simply served up the main meal: a multicourse feast of Queen hits. ‘Somebody to Love’, ‘Under Pressure’, ‘Seven Seas of Rhye’ were just a few favourite flavours. Overall, the audience gorged themselves on feel-good factor, while the cast celebrated youthful individualism with zest. The latest Comberton show was an absolute triumph. Mike Ryall, English Dept

Cast’s chance to work with West End pro


FANTASTIC ACTING AND SINGING: From the Comberton cast of We Will Rock You.

The cast of We Will Rock You had the privilege of a whole day’s rehearsal with West End performer Richard ‘Woody’ Woodford. Currently playing Monsieur Andre in Phantom of the Opera, Woody has also been in the London production of WWRY playing numerous characters including the lead character Galileo. He offered the cast a masterclass in musical theatre and worked with all of them on key scenes and developing characterisation. The whole day focused on the physical demands of the show, the dancing and the vocal qualities needed for such a demanding musical and the advice and support that Woody gave to each of them allowed the show to take on a whole new confidence. If that wasn’t enough the cast were further inspired by his performance of ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables, which was quite simply mesmerising.

Panto run was ‘amazing experience’ MASTERCLASS: With Richard ‘Woody’ Woodford for students in Comberton’s production of We Will Rock You.

I was very lucky to be chosen to be one of the Panto Babes in the and it felt like we were all part of one big family. Cambridge Arts Theatre pantomime ‘Cinderella’ last Christmas. I had a We had several costume changes during the pantomime and we were fantastic time! looked after by two chaperones who stayed with us all the time. Back in September, I auditioned at the theatre with about 160 other 9-13 It was fascinating to see how things work backstage and how many people year olds. For the first audition, are involved in making the we had to learn a dance. pantomime run smoothly. About 40 of us were called back When we weren’t on stage, we to a second audition a week later spent our time in our dressing where we also had to do some room, preparing for ‘Babes Got singing and acting. By the end of Talent’. the day, they had chosen two This is a talent show which the teams of 10 children. Panto Babes put on at the end of I was in team ‘Cinders’ and I was the run for all the adult cast made dance captain of all the members and everyone else who panto babes and captain of my works at the theatre. I own team. choreographed our main ‘team We all rehearsed together six dance’ and we won the days a week for two-and-a-half competition! weeks in November and then the I was very sad, and rather tired, shows began! The teams shared when the panto run came to an out the performances, with each end because we had all enjoyed ourselves so much. I would doing 35 from the end of highly recommend auditioning November to the beginning of for the panto next year if you January. enjoy performing! It was an amazing experience! All PANTO RUN: Each dance team performed in 35 shows. Isabelle (8B) the adult cast were so friendly



Robot on the march . . . FULLY FOCUSED: Members of the Comberton STEM team work on their robot (left) and take a pit stop (right).

Comberton’s STEM Club reached the national finals of the First Tech Challenge after picking up the award entitled 'Think' at the regional finals.

This was the second highest award — one more and the team would have won automatic selection to compete in the USA. The regionals took place at Duxford Imperial War Museum and consisted of a day of intense scrutiny on the design of our robot and then challenging the robot to perform in the arena. Comberton reached the nationals at the Copper Box in London scheduled for late last month, with a place at the world finals in the USA up for grabs. THowever, these were postponed due to Coronavirus. Comberton made a big impression in the regional round of the competition backed by ARM and Qualcomm, in which students build and program a robot during a six-month build-up then compete against other robots . Proving their resilience, the team had to enter a broken robot into the first round after a mishap with the volunteers who were helping to connect the robot phones.

Instead of giving up they supported other teams by lending them equipment and cheering them on. Helped by Comberton’s Eco Club, who lent their eco brick bench, as well as the team all wearing high vis jackets, they continued to make themselves noticed, choosing to sing Queen songs after their robot broke instead of getting disheartened! They also decided to have a rainbow flag picnic for lunch, bringing all the food to share. They were the only group who had a picnic mid-competition and it scored them more points for teamwork. Despite the difficulties, Comberton’s STEM club of students from Years 7-13 managed to win the Think Award for the engineering of their robot. This included designing the autonomous phase and engineering an arm designed to pick up blocks, a key part of the challenge. They were also commended for teamwork! Those involved were Owen S and Jack S (Year 13), Lucy S and Kit B (Year 12), Lottie D, Charlotte H, Nathan L, Charlotte W, Tom H (Year 11), Adithya (Year 10), Lowenna C, Joe S and Luc S (Year 9). The STEM club would also like to say a huge thank you to Dr Harding and Dr Smith for their support.

Students from Comberton joined hundreds of youngsters from across the East of England at the ‘First Lego League’ tournament in Cambridge. Eighteen teams of youngsters from Year 6 to Year 12 competed for a place in the national finals in the regional event at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering. For the past few months Year 7 students from CVC have been working to build and programme autonomous robots to create innovative solutions to a real-world problem, using a Lego Mindstorms kit. They then put their efforts to the test in the competition arena, where the robots had just 150 seconds to complete missions on a playing field. The robots were pre-programmed with special kits to complete these missions. They also had to give a presentation on a technical solution to redevelop a part of a city to improve people’s lives. Although none of Comberton’s teams was among the qualifiers for the England and Wales final in Bristol, one did win the judges’ award for bringing great spirit to the competition. The students reported: “Everyone had great fun and learned a lot about programming, building robots, problem solving, giving presentations. We are already preparing and looking forward to next year’s event. We would like to thank Qualcomm who sponsored us for the event.” ‘First Lego League’ has been running for more than 20 years globally but only arrived in the UK about 12 years ago. The national final winners have the chance to compete in the international final in the United States. Lowri Walton, Education Manager for the First Lego League, said: “The skills that young people are learning are coding and programming skills, engineering skills, researching, problem solving. “The technical skills are wonderful, but it's the softer skills that they are learning as well, teamwork, communication and that really important problem-solving which they need to become future engineers." Those taking part were Claudia, Zach (7C), Luc, Joseph (7O), Matthew (7M), Abigail, Connnor, Ceceilia (7T) Rufus, Avigael and Oliver (7V).

LEGO ROBOTS: Year 7 prepare their robot (above) and (left), one team collect their Judges Award.

Year 7 teams take up Lego challenge


New Principle is added


The Cam Academy Trust has added a Sixth Principle to lie at the core of what we believe about education and the sort of education that is provided in all the Trust’s schools.

From the outset, the Trust suggested that five fundamental principles lie at the heart of what we seek in all schools involved in the Trust: Educational Excellence, Comprehensive Education, Community-based Schools, Partnering with others, and International Education. These sum up how we seek to work and the sort of education that might be expected in our schools. Within all of this, and perhaps especially within the key statement of ‘Excellence for All’ (a summary of our educational philosophy), we have always taken a broad view of education. This is now being formally stated as a further Principle in its own right: The Broad Education Principle. It is considered to be so important as part of what we mean by educational excellence that we need to acknowledge it in its own right. So we are very clear that educational experience in all of our schools should be broadly, and therefore not too narrowly, based. It must include quality provision in areas such as the Arts and Sport and Physical Education. It means a genuine emphasis on the personal development of young people, the importance of creativity and the significance of developing as a citizen. All these things are part of a proper, broad education. This does not all detract from academic excellence in our schools. It enhances and indeed supports it. In practice, this may simply re-confirm the significance and importance of the sort of great educational experiences that are regularly reported about our schools in such publications as end-of-term magazines and newsletters. It means the following activities and opportunities are fundamental to really great education rather than nice ‘added extras’: l Duke of Edinburgh programmes with mass participation from pupils. These provide wonderful and powerful educational experiences for all involved.

BROAD EDUCATION: Sport (above), productions and trips and exchanges (below) are all important features.

l Whole School Productions that provide memorable and valuable educational experiences in a range of roles and responsibilities. l Trips and exchanges both within our country and overseas. These provide broad and powerful education to all involved (as well as being central to our International Principle). l Sporting fixtures and activities that do so much to develop young people positively. And of course, there are many more. It is great that, the Broad Education Principle is so clearly demonstrated in our schools even before it is formally stated. Stephen Munday, CEO

Trust focus on health and well-being The Cam Academy Trust has identified a focus on improving student and staff mental health and well-being. Work began on the project in January with two members of staff seconded to focus on this area. Zach Beamish (Comberton Village College) and Annabelle Harder (Gamlingay Village Primary) successfully interviewed for the secondment and have begun their work by meeting members of staff with oversight of well-being across the Trust. Evidence from national and local data suggests that improving well-being should be at the heart of every school to ensure that their students achieve their full potential. At the end of February, Zach and Annabelle attended the Youth Sport Trust Conference at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Zach presented with the Cambridge United’s mental health officer Darryl Coakley on the work

that the club has done with Comberton Village College and other Trust secondary schools. The conference was useful for finding out about how other Trusts up and down the country are looking to enhance mental health and well-being provision.

KEYNOTE TALK: Rachael McKenzie.

The focus at this stage in the project has been to investigate the superb well-being provision that so many students and staff have in their respective schools. The findings from these school visits are being shared with Heads from across the Trust to help them consider different ways to address about the question of improving well-being. Supporting the introduction of the ‘Sixth Principle’, the project will also work with schools to develop their curricula on well-being. Part of the Trust training day in April will engage with the question of how everyone working in schools can contribute to the positive mental health of students and is scheduled to include a keynote talk from world Thai boxing and British boxing champion Rachael McKenzie, now a mentor with the Youth Sport Trust, on mental health.

For job vacancies across the Trust, visit the CAT website at www.catrust.co.uk


Ways to make maths magic COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE

Comberton students have excelled at national competitions as the Maths Department continues to widen participation and encourage an enjoyment of maths.

In this year’s UKMT Individual Maths Challenges a total of 83 students from Years 9-13 received awards recognising their achievements including two Year 11s, Kai and Ben, who both got full marks in the Intermediate section (Years 9-11) and have been invited to the Maclaurin Olympiad. That was after both also achieved gold medals in the senior competition.

They were among 26 of the 32 Comberton students who participated in the seniors to receive medals with the college collecting 10 gold, 10 silver and six bronze awards. At intermediate level, TEAM CHALLENGE: For a group of sixth formers Comberton students picked up 14 gold, who competed at Cambridge University. 21 silver and 22 bronze medals. engrossed in the mathematics — and we were As well as individual challenges Comberton students delighted that one of our teams came back with the also take part in team events. Earlier this term 11 “best teamwork” award. Year 10 students travelled to Cromwell Community Earlier in the year, a team of Year 12 and 13 College, Chatteris to take part in the AMSP Maths students represented Comberton SF at the Senior Feast competition. Maths Team Challenge, which was held at the They competed in teams of 3 or 4 students against Centre for Mathematical Sciences at Cambridge 15 teams from a wide variety of schools. It was an enjoyable morning — everyone was completely University.

Chance to learn key debating skills

Finally, we returned after a short break Last month myself and several other to witness the very relevant debate on students in Years 10, 11 and 12, whether it is too late for our climate to accompanied by Mr Cox, attended the be saved with speakers, such as Natalie Student Union at Cambridge University Bennett, former Green Party leader. to take part in a debate workshop and This was an absorbing and rewarding watch the public debate that was experience for us, as we got to have a taking place about climate change. look at important debating skills, life at To start the afternoon we began with Cambridge university and listen to a the workshop, where we learnt about debate on a such a hot topic that is the debating style used at the Student pertinent to our futures and everyday Union. lives as young people. Also, while on We then discussed some interesting this excursion we learnt a lot of and relevant debating topics for us as important skills about debating, like students and young people and we using counter arguments, charismatic ended up with: ‘This house believes jokes and emotive stories and how they that university should be free at the DEBATE IN ACTION: Rowan Briggs-Smith’s sketch of work in the Union to create time of admission’. proceedings in the Students’ Union. entertainment, but also to spike Next we were split into teams opposing important and apposite discussion, which could generate change in people. and proposing the motion and we had to come up with witty and emotive This was an important experience for me as not only did I learn about arguments, which we then were free to debate between ourselves. debate and key debating skills and tools, but I also observed a riveting and Unfortunately for me, who was on the proposing team, the opposing team compelling debate on climate change, which gave me some new insights won with the majority ‘naes’. into the climate crisis and what must be done to stop it and help the world We then had a short tour around Peterhouse and got to look at what a life at to begin healing. Becky (L6-EH) Cambridge University would be like.

Aliens cake takes biscuit!

Students from all years donned their aprons and put on their thinking caps to take part in Comberton’s annual World Book Day cake competition. The challenge was to produce a cake on the theme of a book of each student or group of students’ choice. The entries were excellent and Emily Goodson, Head of Design Technology and catering specialist, was given the tough task of picking the winner. After much delibertion the winner’s £10 book token went to first-time competitor Daisy (7N) for her beautifully crafted and very colourful design based on the book ‘Aliens Love Underpants’. Runners-up book tokens of £5 each went to Bradley (7T), and Jeremy (9B) whose cakes were themed on ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ and ‘The Colour of Magic’ respectively. Other books that featured on cakes included ‘Snakehead’ by Millie (7B), ‘Noughts & Crosses’ by (Connie 7I), ‘Dracula’ by Ben (7M), ‘Wave Me Goodbye’ by Darcey (8B) and Annabel (8C) and ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Libby (L6-JD).

CREATIVE CAKE-MAKING: Head of DT Emily Goodson chose ‘Aliens Love Underpants’ as the winning cake.


SELECTION OF ENTRIES: Some of the other cakes.

Valuable safety lessons


Top tips to help teenagers avoid driving distractions

All students in Year 12 took part in an event led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership.

The event promoted safe driving awareness and was accessed by all students, whatever their driving experience. Students took part in an interactive session, in which they were introduced to relevant topics such as avoiding distractions, drugs and alcohol, seat belts, hazard perception, and peer pressure when travelling with friends. They also had the opportunity to examine a vehicle that had been involved in an accident with a young driver, and consider ways in which the impact of this could have been lessened. During each session, students were introduced to Cambs Drive iQ, an awardwinning state-of-the-art software programme, which gives users a virtual driving

experience. The platform provides an important insight into a variety of areas pertinent to new drivers and affords the opportunity for users to prepare for both theory and practical driving tests. All students now have the option to complete modules via the platform, which build further on key areas such as anticipating danger, hazard detection, risk management, and eye scanning. If eight modules (out of a possible 15) are completed, students will receive a certificate signed by Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, which can be referenced in future university and employment applications. We would like to thank the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership for providing our Year 12 students with this valuable opportunity. Hannah Powell, Deputy Head of Sixth Form

Experiencing life in the lab

First golds

LESSONS FOR LIFE: Year 12 hear about the dangers for young drivers and see some of the consequences of an accident.

A group of six Year 12 students studying A Level Biology Another fascinating project included learning how to were selected to go to the Babraham Institute for a maintain C. elegans (which is a tiny nematode worm Schools’ Day. around 1-1.5mm long!), sorting mutated from wild-type We learned about what the Institute researches, got a (normal) C. elegans under a microscope. The research taste of laboratory work through completing a lab-based scientists leading the project were really friendly and project and heard from PhD students currently studying answered all our questions. at the Institute. Overall the trip and the projects that we participated in One of the projects involved using Polymerase Chain were very worthwhile, giving us the opportunity to work in Reaction (PCR) to differentiate yeast strains that have a a professional lab and enabling us to be better informed gene mutation from those that do not. about whether we would like to continue pursuing a PCR s a technique to make many copies of a specific career in biology. DNA region in vitro (in a test tube rather than an We would definitely recommend this trip to anyone organism). It is used daily at the Institute. thinking of doing anything biology related in the future, it We used the enzyme Taq polymerase to synthesise the was an amazing opportunity for all of us to gauge what DNA stands and DNA primers to start and end the DNA some jobs in the fields of biology and chemistry are like sequence. In PCR, the reaction is repeatedly cycled and ask lots questions to those who currently work there. through a series of temperature changes (50, 72, and 95 Erica (L6-MR), George (L6-JM), Joe (L6-LM) and degrees Celsius), which allow many copies of the target Molly (L6-LM) region to be produced. We then did gel electrophoresis. This a technique used to separate DNA fragments according to their size. We pipetted DNA into wells at one end of a gel and applied an electric current to pull the DNA through the gel, as it is negatively charged, the DNA moves towards the positive electrode. The smaller strands of DNA moved quicker and travelled further, so ended up closer to the positive electrode. We then put the gel under an ultraviolet light. The larger and brighter samples were the mutant genes. LAB WORK: Students worked with research scentists.

Designed to challenge and inspire, the UK Chemistry Olympiad is the leading chemistry competition for students in secondary education across the British Isles. This enriching experience is a unique opportunity for students to push themselves further and excel in the chemistry field. Budding chemists develop critical problem-solving skills, learn to think more creatively and get a chance to test their knowledge in new, real-world situations. The Royal Society of Chemistry has released the grade boundaries for Round 1 of the UK Chemistry Olympiad 2020. This year we have two students — Isaac and Catriona — who have achieved gold, a first for Comberton Sixth Form chemistry. In total, the students achieved two Gold, two Silver and three Bronze awards in Year 13 with a few brave Year 12’s having a try and getting one Silver and two Bronze awards. Well done to all who had a go at what is without doubt one of the hardest exams you can ever undertake in chemistry. A special mention also has to go to Joseph in Year 11 for giving it a go. Congratulations to Isaac, Catriona, Max, Henry, Isaac W, Jack, Albert, Anja, Lucy and Rosemary.



Helping good causes

This year, the Sixth Form Student Council have organised many Charity fundraising events. Our first event was to raise money for Children in Need for which we carried out a bake sale and collected £285.58! As a response to the Australian bushfires crisis we organised a series of charity fundraisers to raise money for the Australian Red Cross. We held another bake sale, which went down very well (with students and teachers alike) and we also organised a Name the Teddy fundraiser where one lucky person

could take home a Koala (a plush one). Congratulations to Cody (Year 7) for guessing the right name. Both fundraisers were a success and collected £100.50. We held a ‘Shoot the Basket’ charity event for Sport Relief on 13th March and raised further funds for worthwhile causes. Thank you to all the students and teachers for your help and support! We look forward to organising even more fundraisers. Happy Easter! Elliott and Jess, Student Council Leaders

A snapshot of uni life

CAKES MAKE CASH: The Sixth Form bake sales

are always popular.

At the beginning of March, I took part in a visit to Peterhouse in Cambridge with other Year 12 students, both from Comberton and around the country. I was part of the Arts and Humanities stream, which involved taster lectures that allowed us to deconstruct the Old English language as well as explore the background of colonial religious conversions from the past. There were also multiple STEM lectures, which covered maths and modern advancements in the field of medicine and biology. The sample lecture was thoroughly enjoyable, with another student, Holly, commenting: “Despite not studying RPE or History, I found the lecture on Christian Conversion immensely interesting as I was able to link it to my own A Level studies and see how the humanities are so fundamentally interconnected.” Following a tour of the college grounds, we received guidance on careers and employment and were informed as to how non-linear a graduate’s work-life can be in the modern labour market. We also received advice on applying to Cambridge and other competitive universities from the College admissions tutors, with an emphasis on personal statements and interviews.

TASTER DAY: For Comberton students, who visited Peterhouse, Cambridge University’s oldest college.

To end the day, we had the opportunity to take part in a Q&A with current

Peterhouse students, which provided us with a more general insight on what life is

Students come storming through . . . like at a top university.

Over the first weekend of February half term, Comberton’s Year 12 and 13 Art and Photography students visited London for a hectic but highly productive two days. Despite the best efforts of storm Dennis to disrupt all our transport plans for both days, the group still managed to complete a range of exhibition visits and photoshoots across the capital. Highlights for the Art students included a visit to the Picasso exhibition at the Royal Academy and the exhibition ‘Painting in the New Millennium’ at the Whitechapel Gallery. The photographers visited the V&A museum where they saw the theatrically displayed Tim Walker photography show. They observed some of the best portrait photography of the year at the National Portrait Gallery and completed a number of shoots around London. We were also joined by an ex-student, currently taking his degree in London, for a masterclass on flash photography in Leake Street tunnel. Many skills were developed for both year groups during a very successful and productive trip all round. Final score: Comberton one, Dennis nil.


Gabriel (L6-SC)

STREETS OF LONDON: Photography students completed a number of photoshoots around the capital during their weekend visit.

Author visit thrills group


“It was like meeting Shakespeare!”

These were the words of some of the French A level students, who joined Faïza Guène at the Alliance Française on 7th March 2020. During one short hour, we were immersed in French literary culture and gained a real insight into the mind of Faïza Guène. Guène, who is currently writing her sixth novel, published Kiffe Kiffe Demain (a current A Level set text) as her debut novel at age 19. She has since gained critical acclaim for her place in French literature where she covers issues normally left untouched by mainstream French media. After a cheeky request (for which we are very grateful!) from French teacher Mrs Gillings, Guène kindly added Cambridge to her visit itinerary. Talking primarily about Kiffe Kiffe Demain, Guène also brought to light issues faced by young people living in the banlieues of Paris, such as the lack of resources in education, and discussed the importance of positive representation in the media. Kiffe Kiffe Demain has become a figurehead and symbol of hope for those living in the banlieues, but this was not her intention — to her, adolescence and humour, rather than poverty and social justice, were the key themes. Yet Guène’s authentic, genuine and thoroughly engaging style of writing has caught the attention of the French media and has ultimately become a prominent work of French literature. All students were hugely grateful for such an incredible opportunity, and even ‘LIKE MEETING SHAKESPEARE’: Students and staff with managed to get copies of the books signed (as well as a mention in her Instagram story)! Jenny (L6-LP), Beth (L6-RW) and Holly (L6-LM) renowned French author Faïza Guène.

Sharing the love of learning a language

The Teaching Leadership Programme (TLP) is a unique opportunity for Sixth Form students to experience language teaching and share their love for language learning with students from the lower school. This year, our selected cohort of Year 12 and Year 13 linguists have been collaborating with our partner school in Spain, Colegio María Rosa Molas, to develop students’ understanding of different aspects of Hispanic and British culture while promoting multilingualism in their respective schools. The value of the programme has been recognised by the European Commission and the TLP is now an Erasmus+ Project and we are working together to raise awareness of multilingualism, language and identity. We want all students in our schools to start a journey in which learning a second language helps them reconnect with their own identity and expand their horizons. For the TLP programme, the A level linguists plan lessons to teach to a small class of Year 7 or 8 students. These sessions take place once a week during the Autumn and Spring term. Whilst evaluating lessons each week and with help from Señorita Vázquez, they have been able to understand some of the theory behind second language acquisition to help maximise the sessions for students. They have found that not only have they seen progress in students’ Spanish, but also in their own understanding. With the help of Erasmus + funding from the EU, students have been able to work alongside teachers and students from Rosa Molas in Zaragoza to implement a similar model in their school, with Comberton students’ help and support. The students in Spain complete the same program teaching English to students in their school. Distance has not become an obstacle for

developing a relationship of mutual respect and trust and, whenever technical issues did not interfere, there have been collaborations via Skype to discuss and plan a joint lesson. The program culminates in a cultural exchange to both countries and at Christmas they were finally able to see each other in person for the first time, after two months of Skype calls and messages over Edmodo (a sharing platform for resources, news and information), as the Spanish students visited Comberton. Over the week all students went into Year 7 lessons and taught them about the difference between Christmas in England and Christmas in Spain, bringing the Spanish curriculum for Year 7

alive. Assemblies also played a key role in the project as we are committed to develop understanding of the relationship between language learning and identity. Sixth formers had the opportunity to speak in Year 7 and 8 assemblies about the importance of multiculturalism. Although it was sad to see the Spaniards leave, Comberton students are looking forward to the return leg. Preparations are under way with questions arising out of Skype calls that have even made students question their own cultural understanding of UK traditions. Alex said: “Despite the challenges ahead I can already feel the benefit of the program and would recommend it to any future linguists in the school. “It has not only given us perspective to our language learning but enabled us to engage purposefully with Spanish and apply what we have learnt to real life. An invaluable experience.” Holly added: “ I am so grateful for this opportunity. TLP has helped me to develop so many skills and experience so many aspects of Spanish culture. I feel I have made lifelong skills, developing hugely as a person and have grown in confidence a lot! Srta Vázquez

INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION: Comberton sixth formers have been working with students in Spain on a language teaching project.


Aspects of sporting life SIXTH FORM

This term the BTEC Sport Level 3 students have had the opportunity to take part in a number of taster sessions within the sector of sport, physical activity and well-being.

In January, they were visited by Alistair Patrick-Heselton, a Paralympian in London 2012. He told his story of becoming an athlete and the challenges he had to overcome to do so. He spoke of mental resilience and led some practical activities on teamwork and communication. Alistair was incredibly inspiring and baffled all of us with his mindtricks! The following week students were put through their paces with the team from RAID Self-Defence. They learnt vital skills in how to defend themselves and how physical strength and power are not always the key to preventing situations from escalating. The students had great fun using the disruptor technique and learning how to pull out of hand grips. Finally, they were given a taster session in sports therapy from Megan at Fit Again Sports Therapy (FAST). She explained her career pathway to becoming a sports therapist and a lecturer at local universities. The students then participated in some flexibility and range of movement testing before learning how to tape various joints and body parts!

ALL TAPED UP: Students learn how to correctly tape various joints.

DEFENDING YOURSELF: Students had the chance to try RAID SelfDefence and now a new enrichment course will start in September.

Self-defence course added to enrichment RAID Self-Defence Cambridge provides modern self-defence and conflict management training within the Cambridgeshire area. This year, CSF and RAID Self-Defence Cambridge have formed a new partnership, providing sixth form students with the opportunity to learn new skills. RAID is a self-defence system that is not gender, age or physically biased and can be learned by anyone. The system develops realistic self-defence concepts for the real-world ,preparing students both physically and mentally for their next steps at university, travelling around the world, or entering the world of work.

Following the taster session for those taking Level 3 BTEC Sport, during enrichment next year students are being offered the opportunity to not only learn self-defence but to also complete a L3 qualification in conflict management and selfdefence. The course combines both physical defence elements with theoretical study to include topics such as personal security, situational awareness, anatomy of defence and attacker psychology. This option will be available to all Year 12 and 13 students in September 2020 with limited spaces available. The cost for the full L3 course is £200 plus £50 administration/certificate fee at the end of the

course. Enrolment details will be sent out in due course. RAID also offers open/public sessions including: l Two-day Self-Defence courses l One-day E.D.G.E Awareness course (knife crime) l Weekly self-defence sessions (Tuesday evenings) Further information including dates and prices can be found on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/h2hcambridge/ Alternatively, send them an email: h2hcambridge@gmail.com

Student to take up baton for England

Sixth Former Hannah (L6-WG) has been selected to represent England at a European competition for majorettes. Subject to the easing of travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic, she is due to fly to Spain in early July to compete in the EuroTwirl Cup run by the World Baton Twirling Federation. Hannah started with the Crystalites Majoriettes almost four years ago and the following year they started participating in British Majorettes Sport Association (BMSA) events, regionally and nationally, with great results. The BMSA then decided to start a ‘development squad’ to focus on improving twirling skills and more. From there Hannah and several other squad members were selected for the competition in Spain, after being watched by officials for three months.


TEAM SPORT: Hannah was part of the Senior Baton team who competed at the October nationals in Skegness.

Plans for busy season


After an extremely busy 2019 season with more than 300 students involved in the DofE awards at Comberton, staff and volunteers have had some rest and returned with enthusiasm for the nine expeditions scheduled for this year.

As always, we appreciate all the support that our volunteers continue to give students completing the awards, as well as the determination of our parents to support the students’ through the programmes. We could not do it without this support!


This year, there are 149 Year 9 students enrolled on the award and are looking forward to a much smaller operation than last year. Expeditions are not scheduled to begin until May for the Bronze award so students have plenty of time to prepare for their weekends using the advice and guidance provided at the food and kit evening. The scheduled dates are: Practice Expedition A: 1-3 May, Practice Expedition B:12-14 June, Route Planning Day: 27 June. All being well, students will complete their expedition section in September 2020 when they return as Year 10 students. All the Bronze participants are set to complete their assessed expedition on the same weekend (18th – 20th September).


Following the record-breaking numbers reached by our Bronze cohort last year, this theme has continued with 103 students signed up to complete their Silver award this year. The combination of Year 10 and Year 11 students has made the expedition logistics extremely challenging, made more so by the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus which is forcing us to reschedule the practice expedition which was due to take place at the end of March. This may impact on the assessed expeditions currently scheduled for July and September as well as the route planning due to take place in March. We are waiting for advice from DofE HQ.


REFRESHER: Gold DofE participants had the chance to pick up tips and showcase their skills at Grafham Water.

A weekend in early March set the tone for the upcoming Gold expedition programme with a training/assessment opportunity at Grafham Water. This enable students to showcase the skills that they have learned from previous awards, as well as developing some new tricks to take up into the mountains with them whenever the practice expedition goes ahead. Students enjoyed good weather — a few storms overnight, followed by plenty of breaks with sunshine as the students made their way across the Cambridgeshire countryside. All the students approached the weekend with enthusiasm and apart from some minor kit changes, the groups are ready to tackle the mountains although the practice expedition scheduled for April has been cancelled. With 27 students involved, we are still hoping for a busy time on the mountains with them. We have a large number of volunteers involved in the programme this year and look forward to introducing some new faces to the team. Jo Pattrick, DofE Co-Ordinator


Insight into worship . . . COMBERTON VILLAGE COLLEGE

The Year 10s who are taking RPE as a GCSE visited Cambridge on an interesting and intriguing trip to multiple places of worship.

The first place we visited was the Roman Catholic Church, Fisher House, where we were greeted by Father Marcus. Fisher House contains numerous items and places that are key to the Roman Catholics. For example, there was a confession box where individuals would tell their sins to the priest as part of the sacrament of reconciliation. There were also relics, which came as a surprise to some of the students as they are parts of dead saints. The students then learnt that Catholics value these saints so much that they will pray to them when they feel they require their help.

All of this was a stark contrast to the Protestant church of St Barnabas, our second stop. At this church, there was a stage for a band that performs during services, which creates a much less strict and formal atmosphere. As well as this, the vicar, James, and Jess, who is a Youth worker, both gave detailed examples of how Jesus has changed, helped and appeared in their lives. They then answered multiple questions which helped further develop our understanding of this Christian denomination. Finally, we visited the new Cambridge Central Mosque, which commanded amazement purely from its architectural genius. Initially, we were shown to a gallery which demonstrated Islamic scientific advances. Some of the inventions comprised medical devices and mathematic advancements. These were all fascinating to learn about and every student was eager to learn more about how Islam was integrated into medieval science.

Core RE day themes offer food for thought

PLACES OF WORSHIP: Fisher House (left), the new Cambridge Central Mosque (centre) and St Barnabas church. The theme of Core RE Day for Year 10 day was Social Injustice. The students took part in workshops from visiting speakers; Barry, from Jimmy’s Night Shelter on homelessness, WCCYM (West Cambridge Christian Youth Ministries) on modern day slavery and CRRC (Cambridge Refugee Resettlement Campaign) on refugees. The last session looked at how different religions combat injustices in the world around us and what we can do too. The day was a real success and gave opportunity for reflection. Well done Year 10!

LEARNING CURVE: Students heard from various speakers about different aspect of social


WATER WORKS: Students carry out fieldwork.


Lessons in the field

Year 11 geography students went on a field trip to Sheringham, a coastal town in the east of England. We went to to complete our last paper, which is geographical applications. The two-day visit consisted of environmental investigations at the beach and a day of fieldwork in a river. The beach day focused on the impact that tourism has on the environment, asking questions to the residents to get their opinion as well as completing an EQA (environmental quality assessment) to get our own opinion on the beach. The other day was a lot more hands-on as the next section of our field work was in a river. We investigated the discharge and cross

section of the river as we got further away from the source. This involved standing in the river, taking measurements at different points and collecting our data. Both days were jam-packed with still some time for fun. One group stayed in the youth hostel in Sheringham, while the other group stayed in Holt Hall. The free time in the evening was nice to play games and catch up with the other geography students to see how their day went. We really enjoyed our time in Sheringham as it was really useful to apply the knowledge and understanding we obtained in lessons to the real world. Lydia (11B)


Discovering Rome SIGHTSEEING: GCSE RPE students out and about in Rome.

Comberton took 27 GCSE pupils to Rome earlier this term.

It was a fantastic trip during which we explored the philosophical and religious past and present of the Italian capital. As well as being of huge interest, it provided valuable information and experiences supporting RPE at GCSE. The trip included a walking tour of the ancient Roman Forum and Colosseum, where students considered what life would have been like for Romans more than 2000 years ago. The group learnt about tensions between the Roman empire and early Christians, and the transformation of many ancient pagan sites of worship into Christian sites of worship, as Christianity gained a foothold in Western thought and societies. The tour of the Pantheon, which students saw during a walking tour that also included the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps and Piazza Novena, provided a perfect example of the complex and layered religious and philosophical history that Rome has. Furthermore, they visited the Catacombs of St Callixtus which, containing the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries, provided another opportunity to explore the history of early Christianity and life in ancient Rome. The catacombs proved to be incredibly atmospheric, and many students were left feeling a bit uneasy when our tour guide said that he had recently got lost for several hours on an underground expedition of one of the lower levels!

Finally, we had a guided tour of the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, all of which were breathtaking in their richness of history and their beauty. The students learnt about the seat of the Catholic Church throughout the last 2000 years to present day. Many students held out high hopes for seeing the Pope, however, he must have been having a busy day because there was no sight of him, though there were some exceptionally large groups of singing and dancing nuns! On top of their tour to the Vatican, students also saw several basilicas and churches, of which there is a wealth of in Rome. A particular highlight was the Sant Maria Maggiore, which is incredibly beautiful. When we visited the basilica, we saw some of Mass, which has apparently been held at the Santa Maria Maggiore every day since the 5th century! On top of all the sightseeing, we managed to squeeze in a wonderful restaurant meal in the city centre of Rome, as well as some time to explore some of what modern Rome has to offer. The students were an absolute credit to themselves and complete delight to be with over the course of the four days. Thank you very much to all students and staff involved! Rebecca Kirkby, RPE Dept











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Event aids Guide Dogs

At lunchtime, Book Club, we have been working hard to raise money for guide dogs. We decided to do a Teachers’ Pets fundraiser and organising this took a lot of time and effort as we had to ask permission of our teachers – if they have pets – collect pictures, go through emails and print the photos. Before we could do anything else however, we needed permission to do our fundraiser which was granted by Mr Sycamore. The next few weeks were a flurry of

emails, pictures and prizes. Finally, we were ready! It was a huge success. We raised £100 from more than 60 entries and donations, including from teachers and we were lucky enough to be able to hand over the money in person when a lovely Guide Dog puppy in training and her carer came to visit us. We had a wonderful time learning about guide dogs. From all of us at Book Club, we hope you enjoyed our event and a huge thank you to all the staff and student swho helped make it such a huge success. Abigail (8O)

Survey raises concerns

On 13th January 2020 all Year 8 students took part in an electronic voting survey based on online safety.

should be reported to the police.

The survey compiled the online activity of all students present and has since been analysed. Below are some key statistics from this survey. It worth noting that these are not national statistics but are instead as close to ‘live data’ as possible as they are taken from Year 8 students at Comberton Village College this academic year.

General details about the number of social network users and how they access their accounts. 93% of Year 8 students have access to at least one social network account. 95% of those who use a social network account do so via their mobile phone. It is unlikely to surprise you that year on year more and more students in Year 8 have at least one social network account. The advice of allowing students access to the online world but only from a fixed location such as a family computer is not viable in today’s world as many have phones that enable them to connect to the web. It is therefore vital to have conversations about proper use of social networks. Sharing of information 12% didn’t know how to change their privacy settings on their most used account 34% of those who knew how to change their settings have left their account as public. 48% have other social network accounts which are not set to private. 46% have more than 300 online friends 17% of students have not had any contact with more than 50% of their online friends. If privacy settings are not correctly applied students could be sharing their personal information with a huge numbers of people online. All the major social networks have privacy settings but in general all are set as default to public. A quick search on how to change privacy settings is often the quickest way to finding out how to make changes. In almost all cases there are video tutorials on YouTube if the written instructions are not clear. Location services 52% of pupils didn’t know what location services were. Of those that did only 54% had turned off


PUPPY LOVE: Students meet a Guide Dog in training.

location services for apps which share images online. When images are taken, they are stored with meta data which contains data such as date taken, image size and location. Software exists which can strip out this data so that the location of an image taken can be found. Pupils who post images without restricting these apps in the location services menu are unwittingly posting their location which could then be “pulled” from images they upload.

Dangers related to being a target for unwanted contact 51% had accepted a friend request/follow from someone they don’t know in the real world 30% had actively sought out people they don’t know in the real world to be their friend/follow online. Worryingly there are still a large number of students who accept friend requests/follows from people who they don’t know who they are. A large number also actively seek out online friendship from people based on profiles. There is evidence that online predators create profiles in a way which appeals to students in the hope that they are friended or followed. Cyberbullying 56% had received/seen something related to them which has upset them. Given over half of students have been upset by something directly relating to them it’s obvious that cyberbullying is a very real problem for young people. Depending upon the type, cyberbullying is a crime that can breach up to five laws in the UK. Cyberbullying can and

Images 62% know someone who has taken an inappropriate image on their phone 30% have taken an inappropriate image using their phone. 12% have posted an inappropriate image online. 33% have shared an inappropriate image via a text or direct message. Another worrying trend is the number of inappropriate images which are being taken and shared either via a social network or peer to peer (phone to phone). Inappropriate images can range from taking a picture in school uniform and posting this online to sexting. Sexting relates to images which are sexual in nature and are sometimes referred to as nudies. It is against the law to take, store or share a sexually explicit image of anyone under the age of 18.

What can be done to help protect young people? Education and communication are absolutely essential. The school has in place a number of key assemblies and specific periods of input which cover a huge range of online safety issues. Please do talk to your son/daughter about their online usage. It may be almost impossible to keep up to date with every new social networking application or site, but this isn’t always necessary. In many ways the format they are using isn’t important but what they are doing via the format. During many of the assemblies or periods of input these four points make a regular appearance and are designed to be remind students about good use of social networking. l Profiles — keep them secure and don’t share personal information l Know who you are talking to — make sure online friends are people you know in the real world l Think before you post — could this upset someone? l Do I really want to share this image? Would I be happy if a member of my family saw the image? Additional support l For more support search online for ThinkUKnow https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ l Are you worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating with you online? https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/


ON TOUR: Comberton and Cambourne students on the Spanish Exchange to Zaragoza.

All go at home and away Comberton students on the Spanish Exchange have had an action-packed adventure with their partners — both in Zaragoza and the UK.

The group first spent a week in the Spanish city, living with Spanish families and enjoying a mix of in-school activities and excursions, alongside a group from Cambourne Village College as part of a joint exchange. As well as spending time with their host families, including a weekend, they participated in a range of in-school activities including an art project and sports afternoon and joined their partners in their regular lessons. Cultural visits included meeting the Counsellor of Culture in the Town Hall, going to the Castillo de Loarre, taking La Zaragoza Romana Tour which took in Foro Romano and Puerto Fluvial, the Palacio del la Aljaferia and a minibus tour along the Paseo Echegaray. The students all had a fantastic time. “It was so nice to get to know all the students and learn more about life in Zaragoza. Everyone is so friendly and it was great to have a partner to be with us and to get to know them over the week.” Aralia (9R) “Doing the exchange in Spain was really fun. Guille’s family has been very kind and enthusiastic. Every afternoon I would look forward to a fantastic meal. Overall

it was fantastic.” Lola (9M) “I will never forget the Year 9 Spanish Exchange. I enjoyed every minute of it from the amazing churros to meeting the families for the first time. Everyone was so welcoming and kind to me as soon as I stepped off the bus. I loved getting the feel of Spanish culture and day to day life. My Spanish has improved tremendously over the two weeks and I can’t wait to learn more. I would recommend to everyone. It was eye-opening.” Heather (9M) “I think the Spanish exchange was a great experience. It taught me a lot about Spanish culture and their way of life. It’s been a great way to practise my Spanish and get more confident speaking it.” Thandi (9M) Just a few days later the Comberton and Cambourne students and welcomed their Spanish visitors to Cambridgeshire. They spent the first school day together in a drama activity before the visitors spent a day in Cambridge. The Spanish students also ran activities for Comberton Year 7 and 8 students before spending their final full day locally after the Coronavirus caused them to cancel their planned day in London. They went to Wimpole before heading into Cambridge to visit the Fitzwilliam Museum, enjoy scones at Fitzbillies and indulge in some shopping.

New club is launched

SPORTING FUN: For students in Zaragoza.

Earlier this term 19 families who speak a language in addition to English met in the library to discuss the possibility of their children taking a GCSE in their first language. The languages represented included Bengali, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), French, Greek, Gujurati, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Persian, Punjabi, Russian and Turkish. Members of staff presented information about the format of the exam, the exam boards and how to register. Eight members of staff who speak French, Greek, Italian, Polish, Russian and Turkish, volunteered to mentor families in improving the students’ written and spoken first language. There was certainly an exciting buzz to the evening! This year, 16 students have registered for exams and three staff volunteer mentors are working with students to prepare them for their exams over the next few years. We are hoping to meet at least every term.

Comberton’s 31 Year 9 Language Leaders have now all taught two of the three lessons they will deliver to primary pupils as part of the award. Youngsters at Barnabas Oley, Gamlingay, Meridian, Barton and Hardwick primaries last term learnt about Christmas in the country whose language they are being taught – primarily Spanish but with one group doing German. This term the Comberton students delivered lessons on Easter and Spanish festivals. The leaders spent their own time planning and preparing to deliver the lessons. Lucy and Caroline (9V) said: “We greatly enjoyed our experience as Language Leaders when we taught our lesson. The class were friendly, and we were immediately put at ease by their willingness to learn. “We had full control over how our lesson was planned and executed, giving the children an enjoyable and fun experience. “We would highly recommend becoming a language leader when you reach Year 9 because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a new experience we will never forget.”

TAKING A LESSON: Language leaders in action.

Taking the lead


Record numbers join in Round-up of the latest news from the South Cambs SSP

More than 60 children with additional needs, which could be physical, learning, sensory, or a combination of these took part in the annual Adapted Multi Sport Competition.

The morning was full of activity and excitement with children, from a record 12 primary schools, competing in pairs as they rotated all around four different sports: Polybat, Boccia, Table Cricket and New Age Kurling. For many of the children this was their first experience of representing their school and taking part in competitive sport so the event was very much about the children having an enjoyable experience and trying out some new NEW AGE KURLING: One of the activities. sports, with an element of competition added After all the activities had taken place the finishing in. positions were announced, and they were extremely Children played matches and scored points on each close but the four top placed pairs on the day were activity and these were added together to give each pair a total and determine the winners. as follows: Kaileb and Benny (Histon Juniors), Kevin

Harston move up

Teams of Year 3 and 4 gymnasts from eighteen South Cambs primary schools took part in the annual School Games Gymnastics Competition at Comberton Village College. The top two schools earned the chance to represent South Cambs School Sports Partnership at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough School Games Spring Festival. The mixed teams of six children all had to perform a vault and then either a floor or body management routine with each performance judged and given a score out of 10. Each child’s score in both disciplines was then combined to give an overall team score. Fewer than seven points separated the top two teams but defending champions Linton Heights again took top spot with Harston & Newton A improving from fifth last year for second ahead of their B team, Coton A, Haslingfield A and Dry Drayton. Scarlett from Coton was second in the individual competition, sandwiched between two Linton pupils, 0.1 behind the winner and 0.1 ahead of third. Qualified young judges from Comberton, Cambourne, Linton and Swavesey Village Colleges did an excellent job in scoring the performances of all of the competitors, keeping the competition running smoothly and encouraging and supporting the young gymnasts. Spirit of the Games awards were nominated by the sports leaders and given out to those children who strongly demonstrated self-belief and passion in their performances with the following children among those receiving recognition — Jassiyah (Coton), Annabelle (Monkfield Park) and Felix (Haslingfield). Claire McDonnell, South Cambs School Games Organiser said: “It was another great competition. It’s nice to offer children the opportunity to represent their school and compete in a more artistic type of event such as gymnastics. “It always amazes me how well the children perform under quite intense pressure, it is so quiet in the gym and there are lots of other children, staff and parents watching. All the children did exceptionally well and should be proud of themselves. “The young judges also did an exceptional job; we couldn’t have run the competition without them.”

WARM-UP: Youngsters prepare for the gymnastics competition.


and Eleni (Bourn), Eric and Henry (Bar Hill) and Peyton and Miles (Linton Heights) These four pairs will now represent South Cambs SSP and compete as a team at the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough School Games Summer Festival scheduled for June. Partnership Manager, Claire McDonnell said: “It was great to see so many youngsters taking part in this event, we had a record number of schools taking part this year with four of them taking part for the first time. “It’s important we provide opportunities for all young people to take part in physical activity and sport so that they can experience the enjoyment and wider benefits it can bring, and this event certainly helped to do that.” Those taking part were Bar Hill, Cottenham, Waterbeach, Bourn, Jeavons Wood, Gamlingay, The Meadow, Trumpington Park, Willingham and the University of Cambridge Primary Schools and Histon & Impington and Linton Heights Junior Schools.

QUALIFIERS: Bourn will be one of the teams to represent South Cambs.

Bourn fly the flag

Bourn Primary School will challenge for the right to represent South Cambs in Quicksticks Hockey at this year’s Cambridgeshire & Peterborough School Games Summer Festival. They were among the qualifiers for the South Cambs finals due to take place in May where they will face Willingham, the other qualifiers from their competition at Cambourne Village College as well as the qualifiers from the larger event at Comberton Village College. The winners from that showdown will take on the winning schools from Cambridge, East Cambs and Fenland, Huntingdonshire and Peterborough. Both South Cambs competitions were organised with A teams playing in a ‘Cup’ competition and B and C teams playing in a ‘Plate’ competition. Teams then played in a round robin format, playing all the other schools in their pool in seven-minute matches. At both venues there were lots of fast-paced matches on the day, all played in a competitive but friendly manner and umpired superbly by sports leaders from Cambourne and Comberton Village Colleges. At Comberton the qualifiers from the Year 5 and 6 event were Pendragon (Papworth), Linton Heights, Steeple Morden and Great Abington. The Plate winners were Bourn B and Willingham B at Cambourne and Pendragon B, Bassingbourn B, Histon B and, jointly, University of Cambridge B and Steeple Morden B. 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 plenty of goals. “It was also nice to see a few schools taking part in this event for the first time this year and some different schools winning. “Junior hockey continues to grow out in the local clubs too, so I really hope some of the children who took part go home and ask their parents to take them along to a training session to give hockey a go. More info on the junior clubs in the area can be found on the SCSSP website (http://www.scssp.co.uk/information/community-club-contacts/).”


For the love of dance . . . DANCE SPECTACULAR: Students perform at The Bodywork Outreach show in Cambridge.

An incredible total of 91 Comberton students performed at the Bodywork Outreach show at The Junction, Cambridge.

After a successful tech run, students from Years 7 to 13, including the A Level Dance group, showcased their talent in a fantastic event. They also enjoyed watching the other performers, finding inspiration from the breadth of dance in the Outreach Show. Following the performance, some of the pupils shared their experience, which provides a true insight to the night! “This term I did Nikki's junior street and Katy's junior acro. I do dance classes because I love to express how I feel while dancing and I love that there are loads of different styles of dance. “What I love about the dance classes is that they are really good fun and the dance teachers are really talented and create amazing dance routines. “The show was at the junction in Cambridge. When we got there we went over all the dances and everyone was very nervous! It finally got to the moment everyone was waiting for and that was to perform. I think the show went very well and that everyone who participated did amazingly!” — Lola (7M) “This term I did Nikki’s Sixth Form class as well and Senior Acro. I enjoy these dance classes as it gave me an opportunity to make loads of amazing new friends as well as improving at something I love! “This term the show was at The Junction in Cambridge. It was an incredible

opportunity as it felt very professional and gave me the opportunity to perform to my full potential. Overall the show went really well and I really enjoyed it.” — Gemma (U6-JM) “I’ve been dancing at Comberton since I started Year 7 in 2015. I do a range of classes, but my personal favourites are Katy’s senior dance (Tuesday 4-5) and Nikki’s senior dance (Tuesday 5-6). “From not being a dancer to begin with, I can say that I have improved tremendously; that’s all down to the teachers. They support and help everyone no matter the ability and will always strive to provide the best for each student by making lessons valuable and enjoyable. “And better yet, the showcases that take place are definitely something to look forward to. To perform in front of parents and friends is so fun. “Recently, we performed at the ‘Bodywork Reaching Out’ at The Junction in Cambridge. I enjoyed the show so much despite being nervous at first. “The applause from the audience for each dance was superb and definitely got rid of a few nerves. My time dancing at Comberton has not only improved my ability, but has also improved me as a person. It has created a new hobby for me to enjoy, all thanks to Comberton and the outreach teachers!” — Ella Mae (11V). Huge congratulations to everyone who performed in the show. Rebecca Larter, Head of Dance

Duo contest national finals

BARROW OF CASH: Raising money for Sport Relief.

Going the extra mile

Comberton raised money for Sport Relief by holding its third Comberton Mile. Staff (Mr Magan and Mr Mannion) and student support was excellent on the day and family and friends of students were very generous with their sponsorship, helping raise more than £500. Many students decided to come in fancy dress and find novel ways to complete the mile to help increase their sponsorship. There were students carrying each other, students in a wheelbarrow and threelegged runners, all adding to the atmosphere of day. It was a great activity that demonstrated Comberton Village College students’ willingness to help others.

Two Year 9 students, Jacob and Emily travelled to Sefton Park, Liverpool, for the annual English Schools Cross-Country Championship. Being selected among the eight runners for the Cambridgeshire team in itself is a huge achievement after performing well at the qualifying rounds at the district, country and regional competitions. The conditions on the course were very muddy and tested the runners to their max. Jacob finished 290th in the Junior Boys race and Emily Talbot 167th in the Junior Girls race. Huge congratulations to both athletes on their success and performance at this competition.

Football proves popular as ever

ON THE RUN: Comberton’s national competitors.

TEAMWORK: Comberton’s Year 7 team.

There has been a good turnout for the Year 7 football team, which has enabled Comberton to field an A and B team. Both teams played well despite mixed results in their first fixture against Cottenham, the A team winning one and drawing the other and the B team losing both. Toby was the A team man of the match with Edward taking the honours for the B team. Year 8 have had upwards of 35 players at training and both the A and B teams have done well with more wins than defeats. Against Cottenham, Olly was man of the match for the A team who won both games, and Jack was the star for the B side, who won one and lost the other.


Regional rugby honours


Year 11 student Oscar scored the winning try in his final game of the season after winning a place in the Eastern Counties under-16 squad.

His score gave the regional team a narrow 21-19 victory against East Midlands in their third match and helped finish the season on a high after defeats in their opening games. Oscar’s journey started in November when 65 boys from Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk were shortlisted to take part in the selection process to represent the region. Over three brutally cold and wet sessions in Thetford, the Eastern Counties squad of 31 was finalised, including Oscar (11O). In January and February, the boys played three very competitive games against Leicestershire, Notts Lincs & Derbyshire (NLD), finishing off with East Midlands. Oscar, who also captains Cambridge Rugby

Club’s under-16s, was one of only nine boys in the Eastern Counties squad to start every match. “To make the EC squad is a huge honour,” said Oscar “The standard of rugby is really high and the competition for places in the team is fierce. “Our first two games were against Leicestershire and NLD and despite losing both, we learned a lot about our strengths and weaknesses and took that into our training sessions ahead of the match against perhaps our toughest opposition, East Midlands. “We played this match at The Leys School in front of a big crowd. The atmosphere was amazing. “We applied all that we had worked on in training and flew out of the blocks to reach half-time with a 14-5 lead. “A few tactical changes by E Mids brought them right back into the game during the second half. It was really close until I scored the winning try to finish the game 21-19.”

A great day of rugby ALL TOGETHER NOW: Comberton boys at their pre-Varsity Match fixtures.

The Year 7, 8 and 9 boys as well as the girls rugby team all attended Cambridge v Oxford Varsity Match in December. Before watching the game at Twickenham they went to Twickenham Academy, a local secondary school, to play several fixtures against them. The girls had a great training session with an RFU coach where they were training with students from Twickenham Academy. The Year 7 team had a very high scoring and competitive game but after Twickenham Academy scored in

the last few minutes and Comberton couldn’t get a try in return, they lost by five points. The Year 8 team won their game comfortably with a great team performance, while the Year 9s also won in tricky conditions. Then it was on to Twickenham itself. It was a very wet, cold and windy day, but that did not stop Comberton students from having a great time as they were chanting and trying to start the Mexican wave! Cambridge won the game, rounding off a great day of rugby.

Four on Saints path

FLYING HIGH: Eastern Counties rugby action.

Last year’s ‘team of the year’ continued their form with some brilliant displays of skill, teamwork and resilient attitude. The Year 8 boys only lost twice and reached after the semi-final of the county schools festival. Coach Johnny Berwick said: “They are a pleasure to coach and numbers at training has really helped them develop as a squad this year. “We would like to congratulate Kishen, Louis, Alex and Jack on being selected for the Northampton

Saints under-13 developing player pathway programme.” The girls’ rugby after school programme has grown this year with participants ranging from Year 7-11 and numbers remained consistent throughout the season. The girls have had the time to develop their skills, learn new ones and lead others to understand the game. The coach was particularly pleased to see the majority of the girls looking to join local clubs as a result of playing at Comberton.

DEVELOPING: Comberton’s Year 8 squad have continued to improve.

Top spot for Abi as girls prepare for exam

ROUTINE EVENT: A Comberton trio took part in a trampolining competition to help with GCSE PE preparation.

Pippa, Grace and Abi went to Sawston VC to compete against other GCSE students in a trampolining competition. All the students who are taking trampolining as one of their chosen sports for their GCSE practical competed. The three all did well with Abi producing an excellent performance to win the competition overall. It was great to see how well the girls had prepared for the event by performing a set routine for the first round and then creating and performing a routine of their own for the second round. The level of their skill was fantastic, especially Abi who scored the highest marks in both rounds. With many of these specific GCSE PE competitions taking place throughout the year, it shows the high standard of performance needed to gain the top grades for the practical sport element of the GCSE.


Profile for The Cam Academy Trust

News@Com Spring 2020  

The termly magazine of Comberton Village College and Sixth Form

News@Com Spring 2020  

The termly magazine of Comberton Village College and Sixth Form

Profile for comberton