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The News Magazine of Rivington & Blackrod High School Spring 2014

By the Book! Rivington & Blackrod Students explore the pleasures of reading as they take part in the ‘Big Book Quiz’ and celebrate ‘World Book Day’ in literal style

Community . Standards . Inclusion


Welcome to the spring edition of EXCEL Magazine. We are delighted to be able to share some of the excellent achievements of our students and to hear about the exciting activities that have recently take place. This term has seen students from across the school visiting countries far and wide, as residential trips to New York, Sweden and Les Corbier, France have taken place. Such valued enrichment opportunities help to support the academic achievement of our students and also develop their views and their engagement as worldwide citizens. Many thanks to all the staff, who provide these opportunities, and the students, who continue to demonstrate Rivington values and remain a source of pride to us throughout the trips. A host of other activities have taken place, including World Book Day: a day where authors, illustrators, books and most importantly reading is celebrated. This meant that the school came alive with characters from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Alice in Wonderland, Macbeth, Jamie’s Kitchen, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Three Musketeers, to name but a few. It was an excellent day and it was great to see students celebrate their love of reading and literature. Our year 9 careers convention was a great success, as students prepared to decide upon their options and future careers, whilst other students start to plan for examinations. We wish all of our students the best of luck in their preparation and want to thank parents, who continue to support our students in their aim to achieve to the very best of their abilities. We hope you enjoy reading this edition of EXCEL and the achievements of so many of our students. With best wishes,

Tony Purcell, Head Teacher


Safer Internet day was marked here at Rivington and Blackrod High School by a series of assemblies, one for each year group at upper school, led by Mr Parsonage. Mr Parsonage gave the following advice to all students to make their internet use safer:

1. Do not have a picture of your face as your cover and profile picture. 2. Make sure your profile settings are set as private. 3. Remove your telephone number from ALL social media sites. 4. Remove your school from your profile. 5. Think about what you post online, if it could hurt someone and remember that it is always online. Students were also advised where to gain help if any issues online arose. The advice is: a) Tell your parents. b) Use the sites’ ‘report abuse’ button. c) Tell your form tutor or Head of Year. d) Use the CEOP website reporting tool if you feel you are at risk. The internet and social media sites are great places to stay in touch with your friends, when used safely in accordance with the advice above. Kim Skinner, Director of Assessment, Reporting & Recording and New Technologies Mr Parsonage, Head of Computing, Hafsa Muhammed - Year 10, Alex Challands - Year 13 and Elisha Barrass - Year 8 1 | COMMUNITY . STANDARDS . INCLUSION

NEWS Maths Challenge Sixteen of the best mathematicians in year 10, took part in the UK Intermediate Maths Challenge. This is a national competition, designed to provide lively and intriguing maths questions to stimulate an interest in maths. 600,000 students sit the papers, from 4000 schools and colleges, with the top 40% of these receiving a Gold/Silver or Bronze certificate. Ten of our students were lucky enough to receive one of these certificates. Kris Arkwright and Joe Citarella, Maths Teachers Sushanth Rajendran, Rachel Harwood, Sarah Acton and Harry Parker - Year 10

Rewarding Good Work To celebrate the achievement and success of the year 7 students at the end of the first term at Rivington and Blackrod Lower School, 70 students, who have demonstrated outstanding effort and commitment to their learning across all subjects, were invited to a reward breakfast. The students enjoyed a breakfast of croissants, fruit and drinks, served by staff before returning to their studies. Andy Tipney, Director of years 7 and 8 Aaron Lancaster, Lucy Walkden, Milly Stanworth, Gabrielle Collier, Emily Clegg and Jawad Saiyed

India Beckons

Students involved were Thomas Ainsworth, Kian Patel, Hannah Broderick, Hollie Rushton, Ellie Mills, Rabia Majid and Chloe Greenhalgh.

After completing my A-levels at Rivington last summer, I returned this term to work as a learning mentor in English and maths. Teaching students has been fascinating and rewarding and I am sure I have learnt as much from them as they have from me. Before going to university in the autumn, I am travelling to India to teach English and would like to thank the school for all the support they have given me.

Ann Devine, Director of Teaching and Learning, PE and Expressive Arts

Sam Slater, Former Pupil

Students from year 7 and year 8 were selected to participate in a Heart Start forum with Julie Hilling MP and the emergency paramedics, who are specifically trained in emergency life support and CPR. Our students performed wonderfully, showing how they would react in a cardiac emergency. They were a credit to both themselves and to school. All of the students involved were given a British Heart Foundation badge in assembly, in recognition of their support.



New York, New York

Summer School Students

Thirty four students from Rivington and Blackrod visited New York in February. They visited all of the major attractions, including the Empire State Building and the ‘Top of the Rock’, where they met Bono and the rest of U2, who were filming a new video. The group had a very moving tour of the 9/11 memorial, led by a survivor who passed on some of his recollections of that awful day. Needless to say, the group found plenty of time to visit the shops, as well as a few good delicatessens, to get some idea of what life is like in the Big Apple. Paul Canning, Head of Sixth Form

The Mayor and Mayoress of Blackrod with students from Blackrod Primary School

Year 7 Students

Fairtrade Activities

Winterwatch Over the course of the autumn term, year 7 students have been donating tins and other goods for the Urban Outreach Winter Watch campaign. Just before Christmas, we were delighted to present the charity with five crates of food items, to be distributed to the homeless of Bolton over the Christmas period. Andy Tipney, Director of years 7 and 8

Both Horwich Town Council and Blackrod Town Council have supported us in our quest to provide Fairtrade activities for young people from local primary schools. Young people, from year 5 in local primary schools in Horwich and Blackrod, took part in the activities run by our Creative Design department. All involved learned about Fairtrade, what it is and how we can use Fairtrade products in our cooking and through technology-based activities. Pupils made peppermint creams, designed t-shirts and made Fairtrade bunting / art. We are now working with Horwich Fairtrade Group to display young people’s artwork in local shops, after the Fairtrade fortnight. Amanda Ferson, Head of Food & Textiles



Max Weston, Adam Darbyshire and Cameron Austen - Year 8

RBHS SKI COURSE In February, 47 students and staff embarked on the annual ski course to the resort of Les Corbier, in the beautiful French Alps. We had daily ski lessons, enjoying great snow conditions, stunning scenery and lovely weather (most of the time). Evening entertainment, organised by our staff, included karaoke, bingo, fancy dress and more. The course was a great opportunity to learn or improve our skiing, meet new people and make new friends from our school and also from the other schools we shared the hotel with. It was a great week and everyone had an enjoyable time. Sarah Acton, 10K

Sixth Form fundraising continues... Sixth formers have continued to raise money for Derian House, Children’s Hospice in Chorley, by selling Christmas tree decorations, Christmas teddy bears and reindeer dust. Jane McDonough, Assistant Head of Rivington and Blackrod Sixth Form visited the hospice to present the cheque. The hospice aims to encourage those children with life limiting illnesses to be independent and gain a sense of normality and Jane was given a tour of all areas. A food collection was also picked up on the last day of term for Bolton Urban Outreach. Five boxes of food and toiletries were donated by students and staff for those who are suffering extreme hardship through illness, family breakdown, domestic violence and homelessness. Jane McDonough, Assistant Head of Sixth Form

Community Christmas Party RBHS students kept the Christmas spirt alive when they invited elderly members of the local community to enjoy some festive cheer. Students from all year groups entertained the 100 strong crowd with seasonal music and dramatic performances while year 8 and 9 students from the Creative Design: Food Technology department, prepared and served up a feast of tasty Christmas delights. The event was kindly supported by the Rotary Club of Horwich. Graham Gartside, Media Production Manager Staff and resident of St. Catherine’s Care Home, Horwich RIVINGTON & BLACKROD HIGH SCHOOL | 4

FACULTY Mentoring Partnership Aids Students Sixth form students have been given the opportunity to work in partnership with one of our top university mentoring programmes, held at Lancaster University, for the second year running. The programme gives students, who meet the criteria, opportunities to work with a current student mentor to improve their knowledge of university including the application process, admissions, finance and student life. This is with the aim of ensuring that the students then have the confidence to make applications to top universities. The programme also involves a one day visit to the university, meeting other students and subject leaders. Once students have completed the course, they also receive a guaranteed offer from Lancaster. However, there is no obligation to accept. Geraldine Owen, Sixth Form Study Support Sixth Form Students and Mentors

The Big Book Quiz

Rivington entered 9 teams of year 7 and 8 students into the first, Bolton inter-school Big Book Quiz, hosted by St. Joseph’s RC High School. This was a record number of teams being entered from one school. Students represented their school with pride and parents watched on, as students battled it out, answering questions on the four chosen books: War Horse (Michael Morpurgo), The Twits (Roald Dahl), A Greyhound of a Girl (Roddy Doyle) and Midwinterblood (Marcus Sedgwick). Two of our home-grown teams came in the top three, as The Epic Powsters took third place and Tributes came in second place, making it through to the final round in the summer term. Watch this space for more book-related triumphs. Sally Grundy, Teacher of English Top: Ceridwen Bell, Alannah Graham, Rachel Banks Bottom: Emily Rushworth, Rohan Jenkins and Tai Isherwood - Year 7

Working with Nature A small team of students in year 7 are working to improve the local environment at lower school by building bird feeders and a ‘living wall’. The ‘quad’ area in the centre of the building should now attract more birds and insects, giving them somewhere to feed safely, allowing us to watch without them being disturbed. Members of the Trailblazers Club have also installed a bee and ladybird house made from natural materials, which will provide these insects with a place to live. Gabrielle Collier (year 7) said “It’s nice to have somewhere in school where we can watch the birds feeding.” Milly-Anne Stanworth (also year 7) said “The environment at lower school is good for wildlife, but we are making it even better.” Chris Cowlin, Science Teacher - Lower School

Physics Olympics Eight students from year 9 took part in the Physics Olympics at Bolton School. They formed 2 teams and competed in 5 events against strong opposition from other schools. Each event involved demanding concepts in physics, teamwork, a flair for creative practical skills and a race against the clock. The two Rivington teams showed tremendous enthusiasm and team spirit in all 5 events, balancing their competitive approach with a sense of fun and enjoyment. There was plenty of anticipation and excitement at the end of the day, as results were announced and for the third year in a row one of our teams won the ‘Jelly Baby Tower’ event. Nava Velupillai, Head of Science Mustafa Ilyas, Madelaine Littlewood, Lily Gregory and William Speakman - Year 9


FACULTY Insight into Games of Thrones

Oliver Dobson, Danny Myers and Aaron Cork attended an afternoon with Hollywood actor Joseph Mawle, who has starred in ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Troy’. The afternoon was hosted by Propel Actor Training Company, which is run by former student Simon Trinder, who himself has performed for the RSC and has acted alongside Pete Postlethwaite. Students were given an insight into training to become an actor, Hollywood life and preparation for challenging film roles. All three students are hoping to pursue a career in acting. Janine Stephens, Head of Drama

An Enterprising Day Year 10 and 11 students attended a Valentine’s Day themed Enterprise day at Bolton College, which was hosted by the popular apprentice runner up, Adam Corbally. Adam started the day with a motivational speech to all of the students that attended. Students were split up into mixed teams, in order to create an original business idea for a product or service that could be sold on Valentine’s Day. The range of ideas that the groups came up with were vast and innovative, ranging from luxury holiday packages, to a pillow that acted as a human cuddle! The groups then worked together to create a presentation, as well as filming an advert to accompany their product. There were medals and certificates awarded to the groups who came first, second and third, based on their final presentations, how they had worked as a team and the viability and originality of their business idea. Adam was extremely impressed with all of the groups and found it particularly difficult to pick out the 3 overall winning teams. Prizes were also awarded to individual students who had stood out and worked really hard throughout the day. This was a fantastic day for all involved; a thoroughly enjoyable experience for both students and staff. All staff were exceptionally proud of our students, whose behaviour and participation were terrific throughout. A big thank you to all involved and to Bolton College and Adam Corbally for hosting the event. Jade Lyons, Head of Business, Careers and Enterprise

Showcasing talent at the BBC Jack Massey, a former student who is in his second year at Liverpool Hope University studying Drama and Dance, took to the stage as part of a 40 strong dance troupe performing at the BBC Worldwide Showcase: a TV industry event presented by Graham Norton, held at the Liverpool Echo Arena. Global broadcasting executives came to decide which British programmes to buy for their channels and actors from Dr Who, Top Gear and Sherlock were amongst the celebrities at the event. Jack developed his interest in drama in year 11, after performing in the school production of Grease, as Kenicke, and continued into the sixth form, studying performing arts. Jack said that it was a fantastic experience, but without the support and encouragement of his drama teachers at school, he would never have considered pursuing his interest at university. Jack is now looking forward to coming back to school, but this time to perform for the school as part of a theatre group. Janine Stephens, Head of Drama

Rivington staff and students celebrated World Book Day in style, with students and staff alike dressing as their favourite fictional characters. Each lesson on the day began with 10 minutes of ‘reading for pleasure’. In addition to this, during form periods that week, students took part in a quiz marathon, with questions related to a wide variety of books and authors. Rivington staff also contributed to the celebrations, with a bookthemed bake-off raising money for the school library. In addition to the celebrations, 40 students and staff across the school were given ‘the gift of reading’ as they received a brand new book, wrapped in brown paper. The aim is that these books will continue their travels around Rivington, as they are passed on to somebody new, after each reader has enjoyed them. Sally Grundy, Teacher of English Students and staff celebrating World Book Day



BASKETBALL SUCCESS After a few absent years from our Physical Education extra-curricular program, basketball was reintroduced this year, with teams in year 8 and year 9 being entered into the Bolton School’s Leagues. The club aimed to engage more of our students into physical activity over the winter months; however, initial expectations were far surpassed. Both the year 9 and year 8 teams, captained by Oliver Chapman and Cameron Austin respectively, showed both a great commitment in weekly practices and games, and showed great improvement as each game passed. The year 9 team played a total of 8 games, winning 7 of those games with their only loss coming against a school that plays in a National competition yearly. Similarly, the year 8 team also had a successful season playing a total of 7 fixtures, winning 5 with only 2 losses. Following this successful season we look forward to progressing the program further, with a full complement of teams in year 8, 9, 10 and 11. Well done to all the boys who participated in this year’s fixtures. Scott Porteous, Physical Education Teacher Representatives from our year 8 and 9 Basketball teams

Former Student has Rugby Success

Evie Clare started sailing at Ullswater Yacht Club at the age of 10. She was very much thrown in at the deep end, having never been in a boat before. She attended a five day Sail Camp and won the most positive person on camp award. She went from strength to strength over the next couple of years sailing in some very difficult and dangerous conditions. She achieved her RYA level 3 this year and also won the Ullswater Yacht Club Sail Camp Regatta for U14s. She is now working towards becoming an assistant trainee instructor by the end of this summer. Hopefully, her new boat will help!

Rebecca Trist, former student of Rivington and Blackrod High School, has been playing Rugby Union for the England team under 20’s against France Rugby Football Club. Rebecca plays for the University of Gloucestershire Women’s Rugby Team and is studying sports strength and conditioning at the University of Gloucestershire. She also plays Rugby with Worcester Ladies team. It is great to see our former students doing so well. Well done Rebecca, we will be cheering you on!

Ann Devine, Director of Teaching & Learning, PE & Expressive Arts

Steph Drysdale, PE Teacher

Student Sails Ahead

We appreciate hearing your views on this Excel magazine. Please email to give your feedback. Lower School The Pathway Centre Albert Street Horwich Bolton BL6 7AW

Upper School Rivington Lane Rivington Bolton BL6 7RU

Telephone. 01204 333266 Fax. 01204 333264 E-mail. Website.


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Spring 2014 edition of Excel Magazine