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The News Magazine of Comberton Village College


OU TS T AND IN G I N EV E RY W AY Comberton learned first-hand about the new style of Ofsted inspections — but the result was exactly the same.

Graded outstanding at the last visit in 2007, the college has again been rated as outstanding overall and in the four key areas inspected after the quick-fire visit earlier this term. This included ringing endorsements for three areas of the college that did not exist at the last inspection — the Sixth Form, the Cabin and the Green Room. Since September 2012, schools receive close to no notice for an Ofsted inspection. A phone call is received from the Lead Inspector the afternoon before the inspection is due to take place. The team of inspectors then turn up first thing the next morning. They are then gone by the afternoon of the next day and that is it. It was set to be a time of significant testing for the school. A team of five inspectors (including the designated Lead Inspector) together with a ‘shadow’ inspector (following the Lead Inspector on her work) made up the team. Their task was to make judgements under the four key criteria

that frame an inspection now: Achievement of Pupils, Quality of Teaching, Behaviour and Safety of Pupils, and Leadership and Management. From these, the judgement on overall effectiveness can then be made. They observed 46 lessons, some jointly with members of the senior leadership group at the school (in order to confirm that the school can and does accurately judge the standard of teaching and learning at the school). Various meetings with both staff and pupils took place and much data about student performance was analysed. Governors were interviewed and staff and parental questionnaires were completed and analysed. A phone call with The Voyager , our sponsored Academy in Peterborough, also took place. Inspectors also wandered the length and breadth of the school to clarify various matters. A lot happened in a short space of time! By the end of the two days, there was no equivocation whatsoever about the judgements made by the team of inspectors. The opening statement of the report summarised the overall

message: “Comberton Village College is a highly successful school which enables its pupils to achieve not only academic excellence but also to become mature, confident, thoughtful and rounded individuals with clear goals for their future lives.� That is a pretty good summary of what we do seek to achieve! All aspects of the school’s work were inspected and all came through with flying colours. However, three areas were looked at especially closely by inspectors as they represented newer and very important aspects of our work: The Sixth Form, The Green Room and The Cabin. Given that there are not yet any final results for our Sixth Formers as the Sixth Form is not yet two years old, clarification of the standards of the Sixth was especially significant and important. The judgement was utterly clear-cut: “The relatively new Sixth Form is outstanding. In a short time, it has become firmly established. Students are now achieving exceptionally well and are on track to attain high standards at the end of their courses.� Stephen Munday, Executive Principal

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During the Autumn term Comberton was contacted by a representative for the TDA (the government body for education) asking if they had any teachers who may be available for an advertising campaign.

discussing science with a student in the fiction area of the library, with a Harry Potter novel in the background. After a day of being repositioned, a few applications of powder and attempts to ‘act’ at teaching while being photographed (by the team who put together the John Lewis This was for their new initiative highlighting Christmas advert with the teaching as an excellent career for highsnowmen), a series of photos achieving university graduates; particularly were produced of a “good” level. from chemistry, physics and maths. We were informed that if our The Government has identified a need for pictures were going to be used, science and maths teachers in the UK and they would be put together ready decided that they would like to see graduates to go live, showing up on their with high level degrees in these fields fill these website, newspapers, banner vacancies. A new advertising campaign aimed adverts on websites and on the at this group of people was conceived, London Underground. highlighting teaching as a career comparable in As yet, I haven’t seen any appeal to working in industry or in the City. change in their adverts, so I am THE JOY OF TEACHING: Craig Boyle at the photoshoot for the TDA Naturally, there were plenty of enthusiastic still hopeful that my photos volunteers among the science team, but I was campaign. haven’t been rejected at the final fortunate enough to be asked to participate in their campaign. I felt quite out of place stages. Keep your eyes peeled. in the build-up to the event — having never contributed to anything of this nature Craig Boyle before — but I turned up eager to get involved, making sure that I was dressed as instructed; clean shaven, clean hair and looking as “aspirational” as possible, although none of More than 100 lots were auctioned off to help raise money the Science department could figure out what “aspirational” for a new minibus for the college. exactly looked like. And the Auction of Promises raised an impressive On the day, I was pleased to learn that the photoshoot would £4752.75 as TV auctioneer David Palmer coaxed and be taking place in the brand new building for the school cajoled every last penny from bidders. featured on the TV show ‘Educating Essex’, although I was disappointed to not meet the infamous deputy head. Famous for his colourful waistcoats on programmes like The day entailed a quick assessment of which ‘looks’ would Flog It, Cash in the Attic and Bargain Hunt, the Ely-based work best; it would seem a pink shirt and grey jacket fulfils auctioneer was thoroughly entertaining as he sold off the aspirational look. items ranging from a glider flight and a personal tour of the There were four of us there for the shoot who were part of Hadron Collider in Geneva to extra tuition in maths and the third and final shoot for the campaign. languages. We were to be used for the photos outside of the classroom; Executive Principal Stephen Munday set the tone when he in computer rooms, the library, study areas and general enthusiastically snapped up the opening lot — desserts areas of the school, including stairwells and the canteen. prepared by Head of Food Technology Anne Jones. A handful of students were selected to assist with the shoot, The Auction of Promises was the latest fund-raising but for legal reasons could only be photographed from venture organised by the Friends of CVC Trust Fund, with behind, so some less natural situations were constructed to support from the Rotary Club of South Cambridge, as they achieve this. YOUR BID: David Palmer keeps the work tirelessly to help the college replace its ageing If the library shots are used, you may notice that I am auction flowing. Picture: Gareth Nunns minibuses. The total donated to date stands at £6,252.

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What is a CBE?

A CBE (Commander of the British Empire) is one of four honours that can be bestowed on individuals by the Queen. The others are Knighthood, OBE and MBE. Honours committees look for people who have made a difference in their field of work or community. Comberton Executive Principal Stephen Munday was in the ‘Education’ category. Expert committees can then compare like with like — for instance, teacher with teacher — and the best candidates are put forward to the Prime Minister. He then presents the list to The Queen, who has final approval. A Queen’s honour is considered to be the most prestigious personal award an individual can receive and is a formal recognition at the highest level for the work and achievements of the recipient. It can enhance the profile and reputation of the recipient as well as increasing awareness of the work the recipient has undertaken. Mr Munday received his award for:  Truly exceptional leadership and as an outstanding Principal at CVC  His commitment in terms of time and expertise to improve the education of students in many schools around the country  Being a visionary leader in education, regionally and nationally  Getting lots of recognition for CVC

Chair of Governors Jim Elliott said: “The school's governors and the trustees of the Academy Trust are delighted to see that Mr Munday's inspirational leadership of Comberton Village College and his significant contribution to education, both locally and nationally, has been recognised at the highest level.” Long-serving teacher Mary Martin, who wrote in support of Mr Munday’s nomination, said: “What elevates him above the majority of his peers is that he is able to inspire and motivate just about every single person in the multitude of teams he heads so that we all believe in the overarching enterprise and are prepared to give above and beyond for the fulfilment of its ideals in a sustained way. “Thus his tireless efforts are replicated and his unerring judgment is mirrored in all those he leads.”

Principal honoured NEW YEAR’S HONOUR: Stephen Munday received a CBE for services to education.

The post in my village tends to arrive midmorning. Given this, any post that ever arrives with my name on the front is collected by me some time that evening.

So it was on Tuesday 27th November, 2012, I picked up some post. There were the usual circulars, but one item looked slightly more interesting: ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ and marked both ‘Urgent’ and ‘Personal’. The return address was marked as ‘H.M.T. Treasury, 1, Horse Guards Parade’. Yes, this did indeed look rather more interesting than the standard mail I receive. Upon opening (fairly carefully) this letter, the opening words truly took this letter to a whole new dimension of written communication compared to my standard utility bills: ‘Dear Sir, The Prime Minister has instructed me to inform you, in strict confidence …..’ I confess that I have never received a letter that has started in this fashion. Nor indeed have I received a letter that has been signed off as follows: ‘I am, Sir Your obedient Servant, Ceremonial Officer, The Cabinet Office’ In between was the remarkable news that the Prime Minister was, apparently, recommending ‘ … that Her Majesty may be graciously pleased to approve that you be appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year 2013 Honours List.’ This was indeed officially a better letter than the latest utility bill. I was asked to confirm if I would accept the suggested Honour and told that nothing more should or could be communicated until the official publication of the official ‘List’

on 29th December, 2012. My wife might just have known in advance of that date, but truly no-one else did. When the Ceremonial Officer of The Cabinet Office tells you something, the general rule is, I suspect, to do what you are told. I am very grateful for all the best wishes sent to me since 29th December. These included a letter from my former Economics teacher at school who tracked me down. He inspired me to study Economics at a higher level: a powerful reminder of the impact that a teacher can have on his or her pupil. I am even more grateful to those who I realise took the time and effort to put together the paperwork that must have been required in order for all of this to happen. I had no idea at all that this was taking place. I feel not only gratitude but also rather humbled that people wished to do this. But above all, I am grateful for all those with whom I have had the privilege to work in my years working in schools and in education. That is especially true with regard to the many truly outstanding colleagues that I have had and continue to have at Comberton Village College. Insofar as a significant part of the Honour related to the consistent high-quality of education provided at Comberton Village College, it is those colleagues who share the Honour. I have always believed in teams, and Comberton Village College works as a team. That is why it works so well. I am told that the Investiture is due to take place at Buckingham Palace on Friday 28th June. My wife is looking out for a hat (apparently this takes a long time). Perhaps the sun might even shine. Regardless of that, thank you to everyone who provided that bit of sunshine for me on a gloomy evening late in November. Stephen Munday

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Cambourne takes shape

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In less than four months, we are due to be handed the keys to Cambourne Village College and the progress of the work since September has been simply extraordinary. Due to so much of the building being constructed off site, once cranes had lifted the enormous timber




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panels of the gym and halls into position and lowered the modular units of the classrooms precisely on to their foundations, the shell of the building was in place by the end of January and work to fit out the interior and to clad the outside has been continuing apace. The building feels solid, with lots of natural light, and the different wings of the school are beginning to take on character as the preparation of the science labs, Design Technology workshops and computer rooms

takes place. A new school of course needs children, and we have been delighted with the level of applications for places. We are well on course to open with our full complement of 150 Year 7 pupils in September, and the Year 6 children are increasingly excited as we talk with them about uniform, transition activities, clubs, and perhaps the odd lesson or two! Back at Comberton, we have held our first meeting of new Subject Leaders, and work on staff timetables is well under way. One of the most exciting aspects of opening a brand new school is being able to fit it out with the latest equipment, and this applies particularly to IT — we are determined to make the most of the emerging technologies for the classroom. There is still a huge amount of work to be done — we will need to equip and furnish the school completely once the builders have handed it over at the start of July. We will also have a programme of Adult Education ready to offer for the next academic year — but with the tremendous enthusiasm and goodwill demonstrated by everyone involved, I am A SCHOOL confident that we will be ready EMERGES: The new for teaching and learning in the Cambourne Village county’s first new village College is a hive of college for 30 years, in Lower building activity Cambourne, this September. ahead of its Claire Coates opening in Head of School, September 2013. Cambourne Village College


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E n c ha n t i ng p r o d u c t i o n o f a D i s n e y c l a s s i c

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast was performed by the Bourn Players at Comberton Leisure last week. Packed audiences were treated to a wonderfully enchanting production. Many Comberton students took part in the production — Theo Atherton, Lillie Watson, Zoe Jupe, Sannah Clay, Evy Payne, Gabbie Adams, Kim Ferguson and Eliza Chambers from Year 7, Ellen Petre, Emma Robinson, Grace Evans, Ali Hirsz from Year 8, Olivia Shorter and Ellie Gunn from Year 9 and Abbie Palmer from Year 10. Four performances took place over three REHEARSALS: For Beauty and the Beast Beast had to earn the love of a beautiful young days, featuring a cast of more than 50 performers. woman he imprisoned in his castle, or else remain They told the story of a handsome prince who was a beast forever. transformed into a hideous beast as punishment The story was told beautifully by the entire cast for his selfish ways. To become human again, the

and was supported by a fabulous orchestra. Whilst clearly providing great entertainment, the Bourn Players were also supporting the charity ‘Mind’ who are a dynamic, county-wide charity that supports local people in their recovery from mental health issues, promotes wellbeing and campaigns against stigma and discrimination and donations were collected at each performance. Bourn Players would like to thank everyone who came and helped to make Beauty & the Beast such a success. Bourn Players welcome new members so please do contact for details. Plans are already afoot for next year’s production!

The unassuming maestro Mention the name ‘Geoff Page’ and some would nod in recognition at the name of Audacious Productions’ multiple-keyboard-playing Musical Director.

Others would murmur something about inspirational music lessons, and perhaps a few would know firsthand that he has perfected the art of providing improvised piano accompaniment to early silent films. Geoff rarely blows his own trumpet, and so the news that he is an award-winning composer of more than a dozen works for Musical Theatre may come as something of a surprise. Geoff has been writing musicals for a number of years and in the last few years these have begun receiving the national recognition they deserve. His output ranges from one-act pieces for just one performer to large-scale, full-length musicals. He rarely works with a lyricist, preferring to construct his own lyrics and dialogue. Geoff freely acknowledges the influence of Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd and Into The Woods) on his own writing but his own work very much has its own voice and frequently focuses on the macabre. Five years ago Geoff wrote a new show for CVC. Academy of Death was a great success, so much so that the school toured with it, producing an international version in Germany the following year and then achieving a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Geoff has subsequently had works performed by several adult companies in Cambridge, including Fledgling Productions and the Pied Pipers, who commissioned The Ratcatcher for the ADC Theatre in 2011. Geoff’s 30-minute musical based on Charles Dickens’ The Signalman was a winner of Mercury Musical


HARD AT WORK: Geoff Page rehearses pupils for a show in Germany last year.

Development’s The Sounds of England competition in 2010. This won him the opportunity to work with the Lowry Theatre in Manchester and new-musical-theatre gurus “Perfect Pitch” to extend his original musical with the addition of two further supernatural stories, Bram Stoker’s The Judge’s House and M.R.James’ A Warning to the Curious, making a two-hour musical, No Sleep for the Haunted, which premiered at The Lowry last year. Further collaborations with Perfect Pitch are in the pipeline for a London production later this year. We’re tremendously excited about the possibilities which The Odyssey will offer CVC students in terms of working with such a successful writer and adopting new roles for the very first time. Work on the music is already well-advanced and Geoff even claims that reducing Homer’s Odyssey into a musical form was relatively straightforward. “It’s basically about a guy whose journey home takes longer than he thinks,” he

said. This will be an exciting romp through the epic poem, at times surreal, and often poking fun at the many bizarre twists in the tale. For a fuller picture of Geoff’s musical work, visit his website at, get a taster by following this link to YouTube or scan the barcode at the foot of this article to watch on your Smart phone or tablet. Watch out for future updates in News@Com ahead of the premiere of The Odyssey: An Epic Musical Epic at CVC in December 2013. Ben Parker, Head of Music


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A really Wicked day out!

I never imagined that two years after going to the musical Wicked in London, I would return to the same venue, the Apollo Theatre, to go on stage as one of the finalists for The Wicked Young Award Writer’s competition.

cast. The whole atmosphere was awe-inspiring as I was surrounded by other children who shared my passion and love for writing. After another Wicked song, all finalists were then escorted on-stage for a group photo to commemorate our achievement. As we left the stage, we received our own copy of the Wicked Young Writers Award 2012 Anthology. The highlight of the day was when I had A week after finding out I was a finalist the privilege to talk privately with Michael for this writing competition in the 11-14 Morpurgo. He happens to be a good years category with one of my pieces friend of Anthony Horowitz with whom I entitled The Lyrics of Music, I travelled spent a day at his house last May to London with my parents, my sixdiscussing his and my writings. year-old sister, two friends from CVC I discovered that Mr Morpurgo also and Mr Walker, my English teacher, shares my passion for music and singing who first introduced me to the and he invited me to attend his concert competition when I was in Year 7. at King’s College Chapel next It was a truly incredible and amazing December! This extraordinary encounter day, hosted by Wicked star Louise was followed by a less exciting one Dearman (Elphaba) with prizes when I was asked to be interviewed by a presented by best-selling author, journalist from The Sun about my piece. former Children’s Laureate, and I was to find out later on that day that Wicked Young Writers’ Award Chair the piece I assumed had been published Judge, Michael Morpurgo. in the anthology ‘The Lyrics of Music’ There was an opening performance by was not in fact that one which had a member of the 2012/13 cast of actually been published so no wonder Wicked followed by an introduction by The Sun journalist who had interviewed Louise Dearman after which an ON STAGE: Alexia Sloane with some of the other finalists. me seemed a little surprised throughout interactive literacy workshop hosted by the interview! performance poet, Dean Atta took place. The day after, Mr Morpurgo’s PA emailed me to say that because all my pieces had We all had two minutes to come up with a poem about friendship. There were some made it to the final, there was a mix up and a different one to the one I had originally amazing pieces compiled almost on the spot by other finalists. been told had got me shortlisted was published. After this, there was a welcome to the stage by the award’s judges Michael This was a blessing in disguise as The Alien Toy Maker (short story aimed at young Morpurgo, Jonathan Douglas and Michael McCabe with the 2012/13 cast of Wicked. children) is certainly much more entertaining than The Lyrics of Music. There were some truly magical and most inspiring moments when the winners in the What a wicked ending to the day! Alexia Sloane (8C) different age categories were announced. This was followed by a superb reading of the winning entries in each age category by the principal members of the Wicked

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The word’s out on Grace

TELEVISION WORK: Grace Shelley with Look East reporter Mike Liggins and (right) filming for the programme.

Comberton singer-songwriter Grace Shelley has barely been out of the spotlight since winning the Cambridge Band Competition almost a year ago.

Going under the name GraceSarah, the Year 10 pupil has been busy with new gigs, festivals and other opportunities, both with Year 9 drummer Jonno Gaze, who accompanies her at live events, and on her own. Her work has been aired on Cambridge 105, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, BBC Introducing and Ignite radio. Earlier this term, BBC Look East featured her as their introductory piece for the Brit Awards, which was


happening later that evening. Reporter Mike Liggins opportunity, it was put up on their clothing website, and cameraman Grant Norman spent almost three their YouTube channel and in their stores worldwide. hours recording her playing her latest composition on “Overall, my favourite gig I’ve played at would the college’s grand piano and interviewing her for a probably be The Big Weekend on Parker’s Piece when two-and-a-half minute slot on their flagship show at the Olympic torch was passing through Cambridge. I 6.30pm. supported The Noisettes who wrote ‘Don’t Upset the However, Mr Liggins was clearly impressed. He had Rhythm’. his photo taken with her and later tweeted that he “It was an amazing experience because I got to see would like an invite to the Brit Awards when Grace what happened backstage and met a band who has was playing there. had a No 2 spot on the UK charts. That opportunity followed a video she did for Burberry “Finally I recorded an EP with my producer and that’s Acoustic, which featured Grace playing the piano in a now out on major music selling sites including iTunes garden, dressed, of course, in Burberry clothing. Spotify.” She said: “The Burberry Acoustic Thomson video was a Webb huge 1/4 and (Netherhall) 11/7/12 17:08 Page 1


Hotfoot across the desert

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There is still time to help Comberton Assistant Principal Nigel Carrick make the most of his Easter extreme challenge.

It is not too late to sponsor the PE teacher as he has set himself the task of completing the Marathon des



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Sables, which is, in fact, the equivalent of six marathons rolled into one with the added obstacle of being in the Sahara desert. Mr Carrick is running in aid of the Ally Brennan Trust, set up in memory of the Comberton teacher who died just over a year ago. The Trust aims to raise £4,000 to provide small grants

DESERT RACE: Nigel Carrick in training for The Marathon des Sables (right) which changes course every year and (inset) Ally Brennan.

Website’s makeover

Over the winter months the Comberton Sports & Arts (formally Comberton Leisure) website has been redesigned and launched in a new format. The new site can be found at and is designed in three main sections — Fitness, Sports and Arts. The Fitness section gives details on the facilities available to our members including the Fitness Studio, Weights Room and the popular Studio Classes. All the membership details you need to know can be found on the new website, so why not become a member? The Sports section has details of the indoor and outdoor sports facilities available to use or hire, plus a growing database of the many local sports clubs that use CSA as their base. The Arts section has details of the arts events organised both by the college and by local and community arts organisations. In the first six months of this year the Performance Hall will have hosted events and shows as diverse as ballet, boxing, auctions, dance, arts festivals, poetry, musicals and magic! And, of course, the new site keeps fans up-todate with details on upcoming Custard Comedy and Rhubarb Cabaret evenings. Why not take a look?

to fund the training and development needs of teachers, children and young people with the aim of improving their skills and experience in PE and sport. “The Trust is aimed at teachers and students who are at Comberton or Hinchingbrooke schools or their associated feeder primaries,” said Mr Carrick. To sponsor Mr Carrick or to contribute to the Trust either use the school WisePay system using the Ally Brennan Trust tab within Donations Manager, or send in a cheque, made payable to The Ally Brennan Trust, or cash to the Finance Office or to Mr Carrick. Competitors in the Marathon des Sables carry all their supplies except tents and water for the seven-day, 150-mile race: food, sleeping bag, etc, in a backpack for the duration of the race. They battle through rugged terrain and punishing heat; they suffer exhaustion and swollen aching feet. And on top of that they don’t even know where they are going until just before the race starts. The Marathon des Sables course changes annually. The route is not released until two days before the race begins. Stage 4, sandwiched between two days of marathon runs, is the longest stage, lasting 50 miles. The event attracts more than 900 runners from countries across the world, but the British provide the largest contingent with usually about 300 competitors. The British are famous for their eccentricity and humour, runners being known to have taken buckets and spades, worn bowler hats and even carried ironing boards across the desert, in temperatures of up to 55 degrees Celsius.

CVC helps others develop

VISITORS: Samworth Academy staff at Comberton.

Seven colleagues from Samworth us afterwards for a very useful and Academy, Mansfield, visited Comberton for stimulating day of professional some staff training. development. They toured the school, observing in Some are keen to come back to find out particular the Centre, the Cabin, the Green more about our anti-bullying work and Room and the Mathematics Department. PEOPLE people strategies — the PEOPLE Apex Roofing (Combertontour - guides M)-V1 21/6/10 10:21 There was plenty of scope for exchanging had clearly done a good job am ideas on practice and our guests thanked advertising this aspect of school life!


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Top honour for Walsh

New prefects chosen

NEW TEAM: Comberton’s next Head Prefects will start work after the Easter holidays.

The team of prefects who will take over from the current Year 11s have been named and will take up their positions next term. The group of current Year 10s will be led by the four new Head Prefects, Ollie Wigg, Holly Masters, Alex Sheppard and Adam Sneath, who were chosen after a rigorous selection process. Executive Principal Stephen Munday said: “We were delighted to be able to appoint our new team of Head Prefects this term from current Year 10 pupils. “There were many incredibly strong applications and making a choice was as hard as it could be. In the end, we are clear that we have put together an excellent team of four Head Prefects

who will be wonderful ambassadors for the school.” The Head Prefects themselves said: “No matter what the outcome, applying for a Head Prefect position is both an exciting and rewarding process. Firstly, anyone who is interested is invited to a very informative meeting, where the current Head Prefects explain the position and application process in detail. “To apply for the position, you are required to fill in an application form, giving details of past leadership roles you've had and writing longer answers explaining why you would be good for the job. “If you are successful then you will be interviewed — this year three boys and three girls were invited to interviews. “Even if you are not picked for

interview you are still given the opportunity to become a prefect or student leader. “The first interview panel consists of Miss Segal, the current Head Prefects and two School Council reps, and your Assistant Head of Year. “You are required to create and give a short presentation on 'your passion'. “The second interview panel comprises Mr Munday, a governor, an Assistant Principal and your Head of Year. “Although these interviews sound stressful, they are very relaxed and are great practice for later life. “We are extremely proud to have been selected as the new Head Prefect Team, and are looking forward to being ambassadors for the school, and to the many other challenges and opportunities of the position.”

David Walsh, the Sunday Times journalist who spent more than a decade attempting to expose cyclist Lance Armstrong, the seventimes ‘winner’ of the Tour de France, as a drug cheat, was named UK Sports Journalist of the Year at the Press Awards earlier this month. It is the eighth award for the former Sport@Com columnist and Comberton parent whose latest book, ‘Seven Deadly Sins: My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong’ was published last year. A signed copy attracted a rush of bidding at the Friends of CVC Trust Auction of Promises in aid of the minibus appeal earlier this month, raising nearly four times its face value.

AWARD: David Walsh

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‘Snow way we’ll forget trip’

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A courageous team of 40 Year 12 geographers embarked on a trip which would take them to the middle of a blizzard in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Over a weekend in February we went to undertake fieldwork which would be used as the basis for a study on changing river channel characteristics, in preparation for an exam at the end of the year. The data is essential to this part of the AS course so it was important that, whatever the British weather threw at us, we got that data. Little did we know that we would wake up on the Saturday morning with a fair bit of snow, which only added to the excitement and challenge of the



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weekend. Saturday morning we were up early, ready to set out to Cowside Beck — a small river not far from the field study centre where we were staying. Due to the snow, we couldn’t get the minibuses out to the river so we had to walk through the snow and bitter wind. But like true geographers, we marched onwards with our stopwatches, hydroprops and measuring tapes, with the wind in our chilled faces. Once there we began to collect data. We measured the velocity, width and depth of the river channel and the size of the bedload along the river bed, and drew field sketches with iPads. It was a little unfortunate if you had the task of picking

the rocks out of the freezing cold water that needed measuring! After collecting all necessary data, it was time for lunch. No warm fire to put your feet up by, but a waterproof shelter to huddle under. It certainly made for a memorable fieldtrip. Having hiked out of the snowy hills, we were all glad to get back indoors where unlimited coffee, tea and hot chocolate were waiting. We worked well into the evening on Spearman’s rank and on Sunday morning we interpreted and evaluated our results. It was quite the adventure and certainly a geography fieldtrip we won’t forget. Ed Sage (L6-MR)

FREEZING WATER: Sixth Formers get stuck into collecting data from the river bed.

Pupils’ findings mirror Ofsted’s conclusions

CVC pupils recently showed they can be as expert as Ofsted when it comes to judging the quality of their learning in lessons. A unique project co-ordinated by the Pupil Learning Group asked every pupil in the school to make a judgement about the quality of their learning in each of their six lessons across one identified day in February. The results underlined the high quality of learning at Comberton, and, amazingly, mirrored almost precisely the conclusions that Ofsted inspectors made in the same month. The Pupil Learning Group is a group of pupils representing every year in the school which meets weekly to discuss issues to do with teaching and learning from a pupil perspective. They put a huge amount of preparation into the investigation. They firstly looked at the criteria Ofsted themselves used to define four categories describing the quality of learning in lessons and translated this into language which could be understood by pupils in all year groups in the school. They then prepared and presented an assembly to every year group outlining their plans. Pupils then completed a table recording their judgements of a day’s learning


experience. This created a staggering 5396 individual pieces of data which were then analysed. This data showed that pupils judged their learning in more than 80% of lessons to meet the criteria for the best two Ofsted categories, ‘outstanding’ and ‘good.’ A team of highly qualified and experienced Ofsted inspectors had, of course, themselves spent two days visiting lessons throughout the school and their conclusions were fascinatingly similar: they judged around 85% of lessons were either outstanding or good. The project revealed other interesting findings. For example, while teachers often complain that pupils don’t learn so well during the last period of the day, period 6, the data suggests that pupils feel that they learn just as well at this time as at any other! This project clearly shows that pupils at CVC take their learning seriously, are highly capable of reflecting upon it constructively and can contribute positively to how the school understands the whole teaching and learning process. Paul Lawrence, Head of Upper School


Head notches Ofsted first

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Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector decided that it would be a good idea to have more serving Heads involved in the inspection of schools.

The idea is that the general quality of inspection teams is likely to be higher if serving practitioners, including Heads, form part of inspection teams. With this in mind, I joined a national pilot scheme of 45 so-called ‘NLEs’ (National Leaders of Education) on a new scheme to fast track the training of Heads to become Ofsted inspectors. This took place during the Autumn Term of this academic year and included participating in a ‘training’ Ofsted inspection when I



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took part but was not one of the ‘official’ inspectors. The final requirement in becoming a qualified Ofsted inspector is successfully to complete an Ofsted inspection as one of the inspectors: the so-called ‘sign-off’ inspection. This was organised for me to take place on Wednesday 30 and Thursday 31 January in The Midlands. I duly set off on the evening of Tuesday 29 January to get to the booked overnight accommodation and be ready for an early start the next morning at the school to be inspected (inspectors start early and finish late). The inspection on the first day followed a routine format. After initial meetings, I was asked by the Lead Inspector to inspect several lessons across certain

subjects and representing several year groups. I spent most of the morning observing eight half lessons and making the appropriate judgements (I believe!) on each one of them. Following lunch, the Lead Inspector asked if I could spend some time looking through the school’s Improvement Plan and how effectively it focussed on the key appropriate actions that the school should take in order to improve further in the future. As I settled to this task, I thought I might just check my phone, which had, of course, been switched off. To my surprise, it indicated rather a lot of missed calls. This is unusual for me.

‘There is always someone to talk to’ The Green Room has now been running for five years. During this time our premises have changed from a single room in the Youth Centre to a small bungalow complete with dog, kitchen, bathroom and garden.

difficulties which may, at times, stand in their way. To enable this progress we aim to try and replicate a family environment which supports students in a variety of ways, whether this be by helping stay up to date with work, washing uniform, providing lunch, being a place to come and moan, shout, cry or laugh. Sometimes things aren’t straightforward in young people’s lives and we hope that In the very early days, green was by supporting in these small but the only colour paint that B&Q vital ways, we can remove some would donate to us and so the of the stresses which might face single room became green, and students. from those humble beginnings We are also fortunate enough to grew ‘The Green Room’. have a dog — Susie. She is a All our furniture and equipment hypo-allergenic fluffy white HELP ON HAND: Green Room students can have was donated or we managed to Bichon Frise. Susie is walked, individual help with lessons as well as other find it via Cambridge Freecycle. cuddled, trained (badly) and issues affecting their lives. Susie the dog (inset) We still manage to get most generally very well looked after by is a key member of the team. things which we need very all of us. One of our students has cheaply, which leaves us free to just booked her in to be spayed in June and although some of us are use our budget for more important things like drama therapy (thanks Beau disappointed that we won’t be having any puppies, she remains a really Pirie) or additional Maths tuition (thanks Sally Hildrew). We also now have a valuable addition to the Green Room. car so that we can help students who struggle with attendance, or with getting We work closely with other agencies too and students in the Green Room to appointments. might have other support from a social worker, a counsellor (from Brookside Despite the fact that our location has changed, our core aims and values or Centre 33), our drama therapist or someone from the locality team like the remain the same. Our intention is that every student is able to make academic, education welfare officer, young people’s worker or family worker. emotional and social progress during their time at school, despite any Students get referred to the Green Room in a variety of ways and can spend differing amounts of time with us. Some students have been with us for most of their school career while others have only needed a couple of terms of support. Our aim is that students remain in as many mainstream lessons as possible as this is the best place for them to make the most academic progress. At times we provide support in lessons, additional tutoring in the Green Room and, for some students, some on-line support is available. One student, Cherie Scarff, in Year 11, said: “Because of the Green Room I am now settled in school and achieving the grades I need for college. If it wasn’t Download the full for the Green Room I probably wouldn’t be in school at all. The staff have Ofsted report to your helped me to cope with many personal issues and I know that there is always tablet or Smartphone. someone to talk to.”

Inspectors give new Sixth Form the thumbs-up. Report on Page 15

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And it appeared that they all came from Comberton. I felt obliged to call school. I was greeted by Head of Upper School, Paul Lawrence, with the words ‘The irony of this will not be lost on you’. And so it was that I was the last member of staff at Comberton to hear of our impending inspection. After much negotiation, I was allowed to leave the inspection in The Midlands. The next morning, I found myself observing lessons as part of an inspection again. However, this time I was sitting next to our Lead Inspector so that we could compare notes on our judgement on the standards of teaching and learning observed. At least I had had a good warm-up on the previous morning. My understanding is that, to date, this is the first time such a situation has arisen nationally. As in many other areas, we like to be the trailblazers. Stephen Munday, Executive Principal



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Cabin helps students achieve full potential TIME OUT: Cabin students and their friends relax at break.

The Cabin is situated near the playing fields and was opened in 2007 to provide a safe, secure and inclusive environment where students on the Autistic Spectrum are integrated into mainstream school and get a holistic education.

The Cabin promotes specialist learning support to enable the students to achieve their full academic potential and to provide social experiences, expanding their boundaries and developing their confidence and independence. They promote life skills, empowering students to achieve economic well-being and independent living on leaving school. The Cabin operates a bit like a Tutor Group and there is always something going on. Sometimes CUDDLES UNLIMITED: Susie with one of her there are students around catching up on work, favourite students, Lewis Lancaster. or using our resources to research projects or topics, but mostly they are in lessons along with Another Year 11, Moesha McLaughlin, added: “The Green everyone else in school. Break times and Room has changed my time at school. I like the fact it’s like a lunchtimes are lively and our students regularly big family; the structure is nice. Being the longest-running invite friends to join them for whatever they are student in the Green Room, I like helping the other younger students. Without the Green Room and all the staff in it, school doing — playing Lego, Yu-Gi-Oh, board games, cards, or using the computer, catching up on would be a very difficult place, so for this I would say overall homework or just ‘hanging’. Some students eat the Green Room is a great environment to be in for progress.” Elliot Harrod said: “I’m a Year 9 student who has been in the their lunch in the Cabin but others go to the Green Room for about a year and a half. It has helped me very Dining Hall or their Social Area. Everyone is much by the way the staff are there for you when you need different and everyone gets to choose where them and that when you have work to catch up on they will help they want to be. The Cabin has two Cabin you catch up. I’m hoping by the end of Year 9 I’ll be able to Leaders. This year they are the two Aarons. leave the Green Room because of them helping me to Aaron Green and Aaron Kubaszewski. They are concentrate and helping me achieve my goal. I just want to often around at break and lunch helping out with thank the Green Room for all they’ve done for me, the help and whatever we are doing. Visitors are welcome so the encouragement.” if you would like to know more or to visit us Antoinette Fox, Assistant Principal please get in touch — you would be most

welcome — The Cabin has had students in the Comberton Sixth Form since it opened in 2011, and we currently have three students in Year 12 and one in Year 13. In addition the Sixth Form provides support to students with Autistic Spectrum tendencies who have not had a place in the Cabin, but who are attracted to the Sixth Form because of our expertise in this area. We also have former Cabin students who have gone on to university and who are enjoying their academic success. Our students have had great success integrating into the Sixth Form: they do not have their own ‘Cabin’, but can be found all over the place, joining in with everybody else, whether it is socialising in the Core, studying in the Library or attending lectures. At the recent Ofsted Inspection the inspectors reported that Cabin pupils “achieve extremely well both in the main school and in the sixth form” and that staff in the Cabin “have very high levels of expertise and knowledge” and are “well led and managed” and “very up to date.” We could not have had a better report and we are really pleased that our efforts are both effective and acknowledged. However, we are not complacent and continue to strive for excellence on a daily basis. Finally, a quick word about the two Cabins. One is simply called ‘The Cabin’ and the other is called ‘Cabin Too’. In fact you get to ‘Cabin Too’ before you get to ‘The Cabin’. They were established as temporary accommodation in 2007 and even then they were second-hand. Although they have stood the test of time and are still going strong, we look forward to the day when we can have our own purpose-built unit.

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High praise for Sixth Form

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“The relatively new sixth form is outstanding. In a short time, it has become firmly established. Students are now achieving exceptionally well and are on track to attain high standards at the end of their courses.”



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year from leading universities. A further factor in this has been the strong pastoral guidance offered to Sixth Formers, providing for students a high level of personal support during the UCAS process and in their daily college lives. Teachers also know their students well, a clear benefit of a Sixth Form which is structured to accommodate a busy and thriving student community, while also offering class sizes which enable close attention to the

Just over 18 months since its inception, the recent Ofsted inspection judgement of Comberton Sixth Form as ‘outstanding’ is a glowing endorsement of the efforts of staff and students alike in creating a high-quality centre for teaching and learning. To achieve this accolade in such a short space of time is particularly remarkable, quickly confirming Comberton as one of the leading Sixth Form providers in the region and continuing the tradition of excellence which has for so long been a feature of the educational experience for 11-16 year old students at Comberton Village College. Following a year in which 206 Year 12 students — drawn from 28 schools — joined the Sixth Form, interest from prospective students for entry in 2013 has inevitably grown even further as the college looks towards a very bright future. GLOWING ENDORSEMENT: Of Comberton’s Sixth Form from “The quality of teaching in Ofsted, who said: “The quality of teaching in the sixth form the sixth form is outstanding. is outstanding.” Teachers use their strong needs of each individual. subject knowledge to enable students to understand This was reflected in the views of one Year 13 student key subject ideas in the level of depth that will enable who, in discussion with the inspectors, cited ‘small them to achieve the higher grades.” classes’ and frequent ‘one-to-one support’ Inspectors observed a wide range of Sixth Form opportunities as significant advantages, alongside subjects and individual lessons and were unequivocal efficient and effective feedback on her written in their assessment: students at Comberton Sixth assignments and teachers who could be accessed Form have an outstanding classroom experience, and approached easily and quickly. ensuring that they are consistently stretched and “In both the upper and lower sixth, progress is strong challenged to meet their optimum potential. as a result of excellent teaching.” Teachers have an impressive passion for and Despite the fact that Comberton Sixth Form is still command of their subjects, creating an engaging awaiting its first full set of public examination results at atmosphere for their students who, in turn, are inspired ‘A’ Level, the inspectors’ close scrutiny of data relating to explore ideas and concepts with interest and to students across Year 12 and Year 13, including enthusiasm. Inspectors were particularly impressed results achieved in last summer’s ‘AS’ examinations, with the way that “teachers question pupils with rightly point towards a very positive future and give considerable skill, especially in the sixth form, to help much cause for optimism and excitement. them to deepen their understanding and to extend Newly revised results arising from the recent set of their thinking and own ideas.” modular exams taken by students in January paint an This is helping to shape learners who have the profile even brighter picture, with the grades achieved at AS and skills required to succeed in Higher Education, Level by the current Year 13 showing significant something that is reflected in the very positive number progress. The breakdown of these results is as of offers made to Comberton Sixth Form students this follows:

A 22% A-B 57% A-C 82% A-D 95% A-E 100% Central to this progress, the inspectors were again unanimous in their praise of the quality of teaching offered to Comberton Sixth Form students, a sentiment echoed by another Year 13 student interviewed by the inspectors. His appreciation of ‘the dedication shown by staff to go the extra mile to ensure the grades we want’ was exemplified by the number of occasions in which staff had supplemented regular teaching hours with additional revision classes and support sessions. “A very wide range of courses is offered at every key stage including the sixth form. These are supplemented by a vast range of opportunities for pupils’ personal and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Consequently, pupils leave the college as very well-rounded young people ready for their next stage in life.” Members of the student panel interviewed by the Ofsted inspectors were keen to highlight the additional benefits they have enjoyed as members of Comberton Sixth Form. As part of a community whose size is not overwhelming, opportunities for students are many and varied, and individuals have the chance to access and be actively involved in a wide range of enrichment, extension and leadership activities. The nurturing and development of students’ skills and talents is evident across a number of important areas, from our specialist Sports Academies and the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award Scheme, to opportunities for academic extension through Nuffield bursaries, Villiers Park residentials, Cambridge Pre-U qualifications and the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). And add to this competitive success over Hills Road and The Perse in the recent Rotary Peace Debate, along with some impressive results against our local rivals on the sports field, and it is clear to see that here is a Sixth Form with much cause for celebration and even greater cause for optimism about the future.

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Magical tour has it all

SIMPLY AMAZING: The Harry Potter Experience.

A group of GCSE Graphics, AS Product Design and Film Studies students set off early from school to go to the Harry Potter studio tour.

We were very excited and there was so much to see that it is difficult to know where to start, except at the beginning. We pushed open the grand doors of the Great Hall and walked into a full scale model, the tables laid out with food and everything decorated for Christmas, as it had been in the film. The next part of the tour contained sets, costumes and props. We saw Hagrid’s hut, the Gryffindor boys’ dormitory, Dumbledore’s office and much more. We even had the opportunity to use green screen technology and get filmed on a broom stick or in the flying car. (Some of us went home with quite a few photographs). Some of the props used in the films were amazing product designs, from the door leading to the Chamber of Secrets (which actually works) to the huge ticking

clock seen in the Prisoner of Azkaban and an amazing corridor with false perspective. It was fascinating to see so much detail and care had gone into props which would only be seen for a second in the whole film. Another example of this would be when Harry first goes into Ollivanders (the wand shop). Each and every box containing a wand that you see in that scene was individually hand crafted and painted. Going on from the props and set designs, there was an outside area with No 4 Privet Drive, the Knight Bus, Sirius’ motorbike, Mr Weasley’s flying car, Hogwarts bridge and lastly, life size chess pieces seen in the Philosopher’s Stone. It is here that we got to try Butterbeer, which divided opinion. It was a bit of a letdown for some people, but for others was absolutely fantastic. In the beasts and make-up section, there was a wall covered with mandrakes and prosthetic masks of goblins. There were glass boxes of life size prosthetic models of the actors like Tom Felton (which was used in the Prisoner of Azkaban when Buckbeak attacks

Students pick up new reads

This year’s World Book Day was very successful, with lots of pupils making use of their book tokens to buy World Book Day books in the library. Competitions and quizzes created an atmosphere, with pupils keen to enter and desperately trying to figure out who the “Guess the Characters” were. Well, the answers are: Pink — Gandalf the Grey; Orange — Young Bond; Green — Sherlock Holmes; Blue — Matilda. The winner, picked by Mr Sumner, is Jared Malzone, of 9C! Congratulations. The winner of the £10 book token for the quizzes is Callum Harvey-McMahon (7I). Thank you to all pupils who took part. The Book Mark competition is Garden still open, and we will send all entries to theOakington judges — so get your (Comb - M)-V1 entries in!

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him). They had the face of Hagrid and Lupin as a werewolf. We also saw the face of the Hungarian Horntail, which could shoot a jet of fire up to 40 foot, a huge Aragorn coming down from the ceiling and some great animatronics, including Dobby and a very realistic Buckbeak, which bows down to you. From there, we got to walk down Diagon Alley and into an exhibition of the preparatory designs for the films. This included concept art, the original third angle orthographic projection drawings for the sets and products, and of course some meticulously created models, some small and some big! At the end of the tour, we were totally astounded by the set that met our eyes. It was a giant scale model of Hogwarts. (It’s nearly 50 feet across). They really had saved the best for last, although the whole tour was brilliant. We even enjoyed the gift shop, where lots of us got to try some of the disgusting jelly beans, with flavours like vomit and earwax. We can’t wait to go again! Year 11 Graphics group

7:52 am

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Pupils choose their new books from the World Book Day selection in the library.


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Pallets replace palettes!

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As part of the ongoing project with Kettles Yard in Cambridge, Year 11 BTEC students have built a house out of recycled materials at the back of the school.

The project has been about the Built Environment, and with all the building work going on in CVC and now at Cambourne, Year 11s saw it as their mission to add to the empire with a building of their own. The brief was tough — build a habitable structure out of donated and found materials — in a day!



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Actually, by the time the group returned from looking at a similar structure at Wysing Arts in Bourn and leaving time for lunch breaks etc — they actually managed the task in a total of three-and-a-half hours. Helped in their quest by Patrick, a PHD student at Cambridge, and Raksha, an artist from London, the shape of the structure was quickly mapped out in pallets. Blessed with great weather, students fetched, carried, sawed, and hammered. For many, it was more time spent outside than they had ever done — and yet they laboured on, collapsing only when the toilet and radiator were finally installed (!) as well as a handy bench from where they could

rest and admire their handiwork from the inside. It was a mammoth effort by all concerned and the group are now looking forward to adding the decorative details. The house was designed to be a temporary structure, but several folk have already expressed an interest in renting or buying — prices being what they are in Cambridge — and plans are afoot to build more similar structures around this prototype in the future. (Any interested parties please see Mrs Powys who doesn’t charge too much of a commission on a bespoke building service!)

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Insight into Lords

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Earlier this term Comberton Sixth Form received a visit from Baroness Massey.

She met the Sixth Form’s Government and Politics class to help supplement our knowledge of Parliament, outline her role as a Baroness, and answer questions, ranging from political issues to banter in the House of Lords and the whipping system. She led an interesting session telling us about the functions of the Lords, ethnic minorities in the House, Lords Reform, political participation, and current hot topics such as same sex marriage, the EU and on-line protection for children. After some heated debates, it was agreed that everyone had learnt something during her talk. It helped to strengthen our developing understanding of the Upper Chamber, the responsibilities of a member of the Lords and we gained an insight into Baroness Massey herself, such as the specific issues she has voted on. It was fascinating to hear her views on the 2015 election, hear of her passion towards involving young people in politics and to meet a Baroness! Selina Leung (L6-RW) and VISITOR: Baroness Massey led an interesting Alex Smith (L6-JF) session at Comberton’s Sixth Form.

Dinner and dance fun for all In January we had the Year 8 Candlelit Dinner and it was a real night to remember. Around 200 of us turned out to enjoy the event as well as our tutors. Everyone dressed to impress with the girls in elegant dresses and the boys in suits. We looked an impressive bunch. Tyrone, from O, and Olivia, from I, scooped the “best-dressed” awards. NIGHT TO REMEMBER: Students and staff at the The dining hall had Year 8 Candlelit Dinner. been completely transformed with beautiful blue and yellow decorations everywhere. It was a stunning sight. We were waited on by the Year 11s and ate our lovely food prepared by the catering staff while we chatted to our friends. After a quick break, we headed back inside for the disco, where we all got to show our dancing skills, especially Mr Rogers, with his awe-inspiring Macarena! The boys had a dance war with many impressive moves, including the worm. It was a great night and on behalf of the Year 8s, I’d like to thank Mrs Barcz-Morgan, Mrs Davidson, the Year 11s, the catering staff, the decorators and everyone else who was involved in making it such a brilliant night. Emma Shield (8T)


Pupils rise to the challenge

I have a bag of coins. In it, one third of the coins are gold, one fifth of them are silver, two sevenths are bronze and the rest are copper. My bag can hold a maximum of 200 coins. How many coins are in my bag? A B C D E

101 105 153 195 more information needed

This was one of the questions on the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge in February. 83 pupils from Years 9, 10 and 11 took part and an impressive 78% of them achieved a certificate, of which 20 were gold, 19 silver and 25 bronze. In Year 11, gold certificates went to Oliver Howard, Gareth Nunns, Sanjeeta Abram, Thomas Dimaline, Kartik Vira, Clare Essex, Thomas Denney, Fiona Kendall, Wilke Grosche, Krishna Parmar, Michael Maskell, Amy Bland and Jay Richardson. In Year 10, gold certificates were awarded to Melchior Chui, Wenjie Xu, Jack Benson, Jonathan Xue and Joshua Longstaffe. Finally, in Year 9, gold certificates went to Ewan Jenkins and Rebecca Burton. The next stage of the Challenge will see four of the pupils sitting Olympiad papers and nine sitting the pink Kangaroo paper — results out in April. The answer to the coins question? It was B 105. 47% of Comberton pupils selected the correct answer, compared to a national figure of only 24%.


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New destination is big hit

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In February half term the Foundation Snowsports course this year headed out to Pila in the Aosta Valley.

Although the Foundation course has been going to Italy for more than 20 years, this was Comberton’s first visit to this resort. The staff with the 32 pupils were Mrs Downie, Mrs Fisher, Mr Kelsall and Miss Mertens, who was taking part in the annual snowsports trip for the first time since she was a student at Comberton. We travelled on the Saturday afternoon this year which meant a smooth boarding on to the ferry at Dover and quieter roads through to Italy. Our drivers, Paul and Darren, ensured we had plenty of rest stops along the way, which made the journey manageable. We endured a varied selection of DVDs along the way. Chalet Girl still won the day, along with Dumb and Dumber, to get us in the mood. We arrived on the Sunday afternoon to be met by Kris, our Interski representative for the week, who took care of all of our requests and made sure we were where we should be at any given time. We headed straight for ski fit, which is normally mayhem but we were very impressed at how smoothly all the fitting of boots and skis went. We were then taken to the Hotel Col Serena to have lunch where we were staying for the week with Loredana and her lovely family who made us so welcome — one of the only complaints regarding the hotel was that we got ‘too’ much food! As if by request it snowed through the night on Sunday and throughout Monday as we started our ski and boarding lessons. Once the pupils had been put into groups, they were introduced to their instructors, Zusanna, Andrea, Peter, Patrick and Mark. By the second day all of the groups were on the higher slopes, gaining experience by the minute — the instructors commented that our pupils were not beginners — again, Bassingbourn’s sadly nowthreatened dry slope put us on a good footing. The evening entertainment




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included a Games night (some very serious card games and an interesting game of Twister), a Quiz night with our in house rep/quiz master Kris, Tubing (which everyone enjoyed thoroughly, including the adults), a Pizza night, a trip to the Nike outlet shop, which was conveniently next to the Lindt shop, and, last but not least, the infamous Fancy Dress evening. Pupils didn’t need too much encouragement to get on the dance floor and Mrs Fisher managed to get a keep fit routine going! We even managed to get the hotel owners and their grandson to join in! The best boy’s costume went to our very own Bradley Wiggins aka Miles Smith and the best girls’ costume was won by the Mario brothers aka Mario (Hannah M),

Wario (Ollie), Luigi (Sam) and Waluigi (Hannah C) Sam kindly stood in for Megan, who was unwell on the fancy dress evening. We ended the week with a presentation evening where the instructors came to the hotel and handed out certificates and badges to each of their group. Saturday was an earlier start, the sun shone for us yet again which made it harder than ever to leave the slopes at 2pm. There was a quick visit to the supermarket to stock up on the essential sugar fixes for the journey home and then back to the hotel for a meal before leaving for Comberton. It was a much quieter journey home, with most sleeping virtually all the way.

FUN FOR ALL: Skiing in Aosta Valley (top and above) and Mrs Fisher enjoying tubing (left) as much as the students did.


Second in first nationals

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Comberton’s girls squash team are the National Schools Championships under-15 Trophy runners-up in their first season in the competition.

They came second to the renowned sports school Millfield School, from Somerset, where boarding fees are £30,000 a year. Playing at the National Squash Centre in Manchester last week, they first whitewashed Royal Grammar School, Newcastle, 5-0 in the semi-finals, with Charlotte Davies, Kate Czylok, Casey Miller, Fiona Hughes and Izzy Broadbent all winning comfortably. Katie Reynolds swapped in for Izzy at No 5 for the final against Millfield, but she was the only winner, although Year 7 Casey fought back from 2-0 down to 2-2


before being edged out by her much taller opponent. Comberton had earned the chance to go to Manchester by winning 4-1 at Downe House, another boarding school, this time in Berkshire. That was after Comberton had found their first taste of national squash tough, missing out in the first stage against Benendon A and High Wycombe although they beat Benendon B. Those results put them in the Trophy competition against previous winners Downe House where wins for Charlotte, Kate, Casey and Katie got them through 4-1. Coach Andy D’Alessandro said: “I am extremely proud of the what the girls have achieved this season and it was a fantastic experience for them to play at the National Squash Centre.”


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Boys reach last 32 in older age group

VALIANT EFFORT: Comberton’s boys showed fighting spirit in the Under-19 age group.

Comberton usually enter an under-15 boys’ team in the National Schools Squash Championships.

RUNNERS-UP: Comberton’s under-15 squash squad with their medals, trophy and coaches at the National Squash Centre in Manchester


But as our strength was greater in the Under-19 category, thanks to the new Sixth Form and its Academy, we opted for the older age-group this season. We had a good run in Stage One (the group stage), beating Bedford School and Hills Road Sixth Form College, though losing narrowly against Berkhamsted School. CVC ended up as runners-up in the group and were drawn away to Brentwood School in Essex in the first round of the knockout stage. Unfortunately, our No 1, Jeremy Harris, was injured before the match, which left the rest of the team playing stronger opponents than expected. Our team nevertheless put up a great fight, with all five players winning at least one game. Mark Dancy at No 5 and Nick White at No 4 both looked well capable of beating their opponents, but both

lost narrowly (Mark 3-1 and Nick 32). Marcus Wing, at 3, started nervously, but after scraping through the opening game improved steadily to win 3-0. Todd Roberts, at 2, was handicapped by a migraine, but still battled valiantly, losing 3-1 to a skilful opponent. With the tie lost, it was left to Laurence Temple to provide a dazzling display against the Brentwood No 1 for a comfortable 3-0 victory. Overall we could not quite manage to progress further in the competition, but can take comfort from the fact that we reached the last 32 in England (and also that we actually outscored Brentwood in games 10-9!). Well done to all the squad, including, of course, Jeremy Harris and Henry Prime, who had represented the school in Stage One matches. Ray Scrivens Team Manager


Dancers’ shows of success

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Dancing in the Bodyworks Outreach Show at West Road on February 4 was so much fun.

When we first arrived at West Road we were shown around by the dance co-ordinator so we knew where everything was. It was soon our time to rehearse and we were directed to the stage where all the dances were brilliantly choreographed and everyone who took part had a great time. Before the show we were given some last minute advice and lots of encouragement. Comberton’s Response Dance Group was also fortunate to be invited to open the Roy Burrell Sports Awards at Netherhall School later the same month. There was a full audience and the applause at the end was the perfect sign that we had done well. Although the group were nervous I think we danced well and this was a success, helping to build up our confidence. Our next performances were at this week’s Spring Dance Showcase at Comberton where we invited friends and family to watch us in action. Immy McKay (8E)

WINNING COMBINATION: At the Cambridge Kerala winter showcase.

Pair in top-quality display

Two Comberton students won a dance festival competition in Cambridge. Year 9 pupil Swasti Jain and Anushka Gyanchandani, of Year 7, took part in the Cambridge Kerala Cultural Association (CKCA) winter dance showcase last month.

They danced to a Bollywood song to win the 9-14 years cinematic group category — one of three cinematic group categories in which dancers

ON STAGE: Comberton pupils at West Road rehearsing for the show. could participate.



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High achievers recognised

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The Roy Burrell is a sports award acknowledging the high standard of achievement obtained by Year 11 students from schools in the Cambridge District Secondary School Sports Association (CDSSSA).

This year the ceremony was held at Netherhall School in Cambridge. It was attended by 198 sportsmen and women from 16 different schools across the district. Comberton was represented by 26 students, an impressive number topped only by Bassingbourn, and CVC students were recognised for their achievements across a range of activities including, among others, rugby, karate and equestrian disciplines. Olympic rower and former Cottenham Village College pupil Charles Cousins gave an inspiring speech about



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his experiences from being talent spotted at school to life as an elite athlete, and on what it takes to become an Olympian and to follow your dreams and on his hopes for selection for the Olympics in Rio in 2016. A large number of awards were presented and there was even a rowing competition with hilarious results. A huge variety of sports were represented from Boccia to Taekwondo and from Clay Pigeon Shooting to Water Skiing. There was also a category for those who don‘t excel in one particular sport, rather it acknowledges their contributions to sport on the whole. We had the chance to meet students our age who are currently training to represent Team GB in Rio. Won’t it be an honour, when, in three years’ time, they play the National Anthem and we can say that we also stood on a podium with them during a medal ceremony? Pupils dressed up smartly for the occasion and were

SPORTING SUCCESS: Year 11 Comberton pupils who had their achievements rewarded at the annual Roy Burrell Awards. called up to receive their awards from the chairman of the CDSSSA, Greg Alvey, and Charles Cousins in front of their proud parents and teachers. Comberton PE teacher Adam Potter said: “We are very proud as a department that so many pupils from our current Year 11 attained such impressive standards in their individual sports and we look forward to hearing about their progress in the future.”

Medallists from Comberton: Trampolining — Tate Tucker; Fencing — Max Davison; Golf — Jamie Sandford; Show Jumping — Sophie Howse; Mounted Games — Todd Roberts; Rowing — Amy Bland; Dance — Ella Clark and Emily Chadwick; Judo — Kris Francombe; Karate — Sian Leader; Taekwondo — Lotan Joseph; Cricket — Daren Cooke, Emily Arnold, Joshua Jordan and Lara Chandler; Rugby — Archie Miller, John Dowman, Luca Williams and Sam Walker; Squash — Lawrence Temple; Tennis — Pippa Scotcher; Hockey — Liam Hunt; Football — Alex Clark and Jake Simpson; Leadership — Ellis Maloney and Sunke Trace-Kleeberg.

Staff grab the glory in annual match

The much-anticipated teachers versus students hockey match finally took place at the beginning of this month. Despite the cold windy, wintery weather both the students and teachers were eager to get the game under way! The first half was an extremely close game, with shots coming from both teams, forcing the goalkeepers, Kate C and Mr Rogers, to make some great saves. After the first few shots the defenders, Sarah, Liam and Roxy were breaking down most of teachers’ attacks. The first goal was scored, by the teachers. Miss McKenzie opened the scoring with a well-timed run and shot from the edge of the D, beating the keeper on the inside post. Shortly after the goal, the whistle blew for half time. In the second half Ellie, Maddy, Ishka, Kate W and Katie S were a strong midfield unit for the students, passing the ball to Ellis and Sunke who made M. Rogers make some quick reaction saves. To score the next goal it took a well-timed counter attack by the teachers. They played a great ball through the pupils’ defence to Mr Waistall and he scored.


Sunke Trace-Kleeberg (11M)

MEET THE TEAMS: The staff winners (left) and the students. Soon after the second goal, came the third, this time by Mrs Compton. The students began to challenge the teachers by playing the ball round them and having a shot, but they still could not score and Mr Waistall scored his second before Mr Ryall made the final score 5-0. We would like to thank all the teachers for taking us on, maybe next year we will win! As well, thank you to Sarah, who made cupcakes for both teams. They were yummy! Best quote from the game was from a very happy Mrs Compton: “I scored! Amazing, because overall I was pretty shocking!” Liam Hunt (11R)

• Vans of all sizes • Cars from Corsas to Bentleys, Aston Martins & Range Rovers • Vans for the tip run • Cars for the Prom with or without drivers

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News@com march 2013  
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