The Newspaper of Ridgeway School
Annual Awards Evening celebrates student successes
Art students meet the Duchess of Cornwall The Celebration of Success Evening at the Guildhall in Plymouth is always the highlight of Ridgeway School’s academic calendar. It is the time when we recognise the achievements of students in Years 7 to 10 in two major categories, Academic Achievement and Most Improved over the year. This year’s guest speaker and presenter of the awards was Plymouth Argyle and Northern Ireland striker, Warren Feeney. We were also delighted to welcome as our special guest the Stannator of Plympton, Pauline Kadoche, to the ceremony. Proud parents and families gathered for this year’s awards to watch their sons or daughters receive medals and certificates which are in recognition of their hard work and determination to succeed. This year around 132 students were nominated by their teachers in every subject area and in some more specialised categories. Science Specialist Awards and Maths Specialist Awards are made in recognition of our Science and Maths Specialism. Sports’ ties are also awarded to those students who have, over four years, immersed themselves in school sports, playing for teams, attending after school clubs and leading coaching sessions. They proudly wear this tie in place of the normal school tie. The P.E. Victor Ludorum
and Victrix Ludorum went to Todd Rossouw and Rhiannon Dumper respectively. Student of the Year awards were presented to Amie Field in Year 7, the first student to amass 75 commendations over the year making her the first student to win a gold commendation award. Isla McCarthy in Year 8 was nominated for her total involvement in school life and fund raising work. Chelsea Wallace in Year 9 won her award for her almost unblemished attendance record and for her cycling where she is number one in her year group in the south west. Finally, George Hamblin in Year 10 was recognised for his involvement in the school rugby team, his participation in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and for leading the 45 mile Ten Tors team. Warren Feeney concluded the evening giving the students some food for thought from his own experience about having the determination to succeed and setting themselves goals. He explained how he felt homesick leaving his home in Belfast to play for Leeds but never gave up. He also spoke of his determination to play for Northern Ireland and was driven to gain more caps than his father and grandfather. He explained that the awards they had won were to be cherished but only a step towards achieving greater things.
Eight young artists from Ridgeway School were lucky enough to meet HRH Duchess of Cornwall at Exeter Cathedral. The students had previously taken part in a Gifted and Talented art workshop at school. The project was entitled ‘The Colours of the Commonwealth’ and was a Jubilee Art Project run by the artist, Phil Creek. Students were asked to paint large resin flowers, such as daffodils, roses, sunflowers and tulips. The largest flowers stood six feet tall. More than fifty schools from across Devon took part in the project. The students painted the flowers in styles inspired by artists from Commonwealth countries. The flowers were then displayed outside Exeter Cathedral on the green in time for the commencement of ‘The Majesty Flower Festival’. Visitors to the Cathedral Green were able to see the colourful display of art work throughout the week. Even the rain failed to spoil the fantastic exhibition! The Year 10 students who took part were, Megan Bowman, Rex Greenaway, Ruth Blake-Lobb, John Brown, Zoe Perfect, Hollie Brokenshire, Molly Constable and Jessica Lawrence. John Brown said, “We really enjoyed taking part in the project and although it was raining it did not dampen our spirits. It was an honour to meet The Duchess of Cornwall and the flower show in the cathedral was spectacular.”
Ridgeway staff and students right behind Sarah’s Olympic medal bid By the time you read this we will know whether ex-Ridgeway student Sarah Barrow and her partner Tonia Couch have won a medal for Great Britain at the London Olympics. Students and staff at Ridgeway are right behind Sarah in her quest
for Olympic success and have been bombarding her with good luck messages. Diving with Tonia Couch in the 10 metre synchro event calls for split second timing and this can only be achieved through constant practice. As a student at the school, Sarah had
to balance her studies with her diving competitions and training schedule, often sitting crucial A Level exams in unfamiliar settings. We all sincerely hope that her dreams have come true and that all the hard work was worth it.
Hard work and dedication of Ridgeway staff raises standards Ending the summer term in a flurry of great enrichment week activity, Year 10 work experience, the art and technology exhibition, the Arts Festival, Maths at Work Day, silver and gold Duke of Edinburgh expeditions around the country, sports day, the Celebration of Success Evening at the Guildhall and the Year 11 Prom, to name but a few, reminds me of the wonderful range of activities available at Ridgeway School for our enthusiastic and highly motivated students. I often feel we might spread them out more but such is the intensity of day to day school work, examination preparation, and examinations for every year group in the school that the core teaching and learning priorities have to remain our number one area of focus. As our dedicated and skilled teachers and teaching assistants do everything possible to ensure students are successful, this year has been even more intense, as we work with students and parents to drive results even higher. So this term I dedicate this column to our teachers, teaching assistants and support staff for their dedication and hard work. I am sure from the many letters and emails I receive and share with staff, that you will join me in thanking them for their efforts this year. Your many expressions of praise and support have been much appreciated by all at Ridgeway. Thank you. Mr Didymus.
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Horror of the Holocaust leaves lasting impression on Dean and Charlotte
The trip we took to Auschwitz was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so glad I managed to be chosen to experience it. The day was very long, emotionally draining but also emotionally enriching and I learnt so much. I not only learnt facts and figures but developed a clearer understanding of how victims’ lives were affected, what they experienced and we heard intriguing survival stories which are an inspiration to us even in today’s society. The most moving part of the day was seeing the possessions of victims including children’s shoes, toys, valuables and suitcases, although the part which put the horrific events into context was the massive pile of human hair shaved from the victims in one of the rooms at Auschwitz I. I think an important lesson I learnt from the event was that, it is so easy to brand people as ‘crazy’ or ‘evil’ when actually it is usually down to their surroundings, upbringing and the fact that they either truly believe what they are doing is right or they
fear that their own lives would be in danger if they do not follow the orders of someone ‘superior’. It has taught me to question people’s intentions, not always follow the crowd and conform if you have reservations and think of the consequences of your actions more deeply. It is easy to point the blame and criticise but we should think first. Charlotte Gosling The experience of going to Auschwitz was a very daunting prospect, but I am glad I went as it was very mind opening. The day itself was a very memorable experience and one that I will not forget. At Auschwitz I, I was very surprised at what I saw; I did not expect it to be that way. It looked ordered and did not resemble a death camp, but it was. The complex had been turned into a museum and so was very similar to what it would have been in the war. The different barracks had been turned into exhibits, including images and physical exhibits. For me, the most touching
exhibit was the roomful of hair which made me think deeply. It’s estimated that the hair came from 40-50 thousand people. At Auschwitz I it is what you can see that affects you, such as the only remaining gas chamber, but at Birkenau it is what you cannot see. Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, strikes you with its vast barrenness. The guards’ tower is a powerful symbol of the Holocaust. Many of the wooden huts used as accommodation are gone and all that remains are their chimneys. The wooden huts that are left portray the dire living conditions. Walking to the bottom of the camp was a spine chilling experience as we walked the path of so many before us who were destined for death. The cold certainly added to the feeling of despair, as even though we had warm clothes, you could not help but think of those standing there freezing in their striped pyjamas. The experience is one that will stay with me forever. Dean Popperwell
Class of 2012 celebrate the end of exams in style Singers and musicians
The skies may have been leaden but the rain held off as the class of 2012 celebrated the end of their GCSE examinations with the annual Prom at the Elfordleigh Hotel.
showcase their talent in Open Mic event
There is no doubt that this is the highlight of the Year 11 social calendar and over 120 students had been preparing for this day over the last few months. This year saw the biggest gathering of family and friends to witness the now traditional arrival in a wide variety of transport and there is always something different. The stretch limos and classic cars all made their entrances but this year we had the ‘Stig’ and a rally driver to ring the changes. The ingenuity of parents knows no bounds! The girls, as always, are dressed in styles that would not look out of place on the catwalk, a film premiere or a high class ball. Clearly long hours had been spent in getting ‘The Look’ just right and it was time well spent as they made their glamorous entrances. The kaleidoscope of colour brought vibrancy to an overcast summer’s evening. The boys also looked the part in their suits and, incredibly, had their shirts tucked in and ties done up. Needless to say this didn’t last long! With the razzmatazz of the arrival over and the nervousness under control the dance floor was soon crowded and remained so for the rest of what was a memorable evening. Not to be outdone,
some staff attempted to show off their dancing skills and most managed to keep their dignity intact. Fortunately, most of the year group
are returning to school for their Post 16 studies and so we look forward not only seeing them next year but celebrating their exam successes with them.
Kitchen nightmares turn into dream food Ridgeway Kitchen Nightmares involved a full week of cooking where students learned techniques to ensure that their cooked items came out without any disasters! This is not always possible but great fun trying. To add to the fun they were taught to decorate a cake with some clever
and intricate designs. Not as easy as it might sound but, fortunately, they had the help of an expert in Mrs Brown. Surprising as it might seem, the boys were actually very good at it. We were also pleased to welcome a Leading Chef from the Royal Navy who showed the students how to
make fantastic burgers with full flavour, fruit skewers and Eton Mess for desserts. Everything was provided and lots of food was taken home each day from pizzas to brownies and fish cakes to truffles. A great time was had by all and no one went home empty handed.
The Open Mic event at the Ridgeway Arts Festival always provides something new. Older students, more confident in their own ability are not shy about coming forward and they regularly provide high quality entertainment. This year, Year 7 students overcame their nerves to entertain the audience. A particularly notable performer this year was William Kirk whose singing was pitch perfect. The variety of entertainment on show was testament to the work of
the Music department and showcased the talent that exists in the school amongst all ages and both sexes. What is increasingly evident is the number of students who are writing their own music and others who don’t rely on backing tracks but are prepared to put their talent on show and accompany themselves. The whole event was beautifully compared by Freya Dawson in her usual inimitable relaxed, confident and humorous style.
Live entertainment drives rain clouds away
Rain finally gave way to sunshine as the inaugural Ridgeway School Busk, Bop, BBQ got under way. Live entertainment was provided by staff and students from the school as well as invited performers from the local community. Faces for
Radio, featuring school governor Geoff Blake-Lobb and friends, played the first set and they were quickly followed a range of singers and musicians including Flanagan’s Girl. An exhibition of street and ballroom dancing by students in Years 7 and
Comic timing provides audience with all the laughs
A homage to classic musicals, the imaginatively titled ‘Musical’ starred students from Year nine to twelve sharing the main roles of Bella and Colonel Flashpants as they negotiate the trials and tribulations of living in Widdecombe in the Moor. The students performed superbly, fully embracing the ridiculousness of the play and gamely throwing themselves around the stage despite the somewhat muddy conditions.
Special mention must go to Catherine Couch for her stirring rendition of “The Sad Song that Ends the Musical”, Ruth Blake-Lobb for her refusal to die quietly during the obligatory death song “Don’t Mourn for Me” and Matthew Wiles for enduring the indignity of playing a pig and being shot in the face three times. This hilarious play, with lines delivered with great comic timing, and written by drama teacher Peter DinsmoreGriffiths, was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Year 10 actors tap in to topical subject Zil Lane Miracles featured eight energetic actors from Year 10 and looks at the impact of the Olympics on young people living close to the site of the Olympic Park, in Stratford, London. Resentful of the intrusion, in particular the temporary loss of the use of their own streets (so that the Olympic Officials can travel unhindered along the ‘Zil Lanes’), they plot an act of resistance.
8, trained by Putting on the Ritz, provided the audience with a range of skills taught in the after school dancing clubs. It was also an opportunity for the school to present a cheque for £203 to Jon-Paul Oxley, an
Murder mystery has the audience in stitches The first night of performances at this year’s Ridgeway Arts Week was yet another triumph. The Year Eight performance, Flora Spread and the Mystery of St. Oswald’s, another play from the pen of drama teacher, Peter Dinsmore-Griffiths, was indeed a mystery, taking place in the convent school of St Oswalds where the statue of the saint had been stolen. So that seems like a straightforward type of school play but not here! The mother of the detective student has a fixation about Angela Landsbury and is in league with the school caretaker. This is crazy, but then you have to meet the school chums of our heroine! As with all Ridgeway Arts Week productions, you never quite know what twists and turns will have the audience crying with laughter next. What is certain, is the quality of the acting and the superb comic timing of those taking part.
They exchange stories as they wait for their moment. We find out how Despo spots an unfinished piece of graffiti by a mystery artist (could it be Banksy himself?), and completes it in the only way he knows how. We hear from Clare, about how she overcame her fear of the underground by means of a ghostly encounter in the tunnels beneath the city. And Taz tells us about how she swapped shirts with her sporting hero, Usain Bolt, no less.
ex-student who has suffered all his life with cystic fibrosis. Jon-Paul received the cheque on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. The money was raised at the recent Celebration of Success evening for school awards.
Art and technology exhibition of students’ work wows visitors again this year
One way to brighten up the day, during this damp and dismal summer, was to visit the large exhibition of Art and Technology in the main hall. This was another part of the Ridgeway Arts Week event. The students had impressed us, as usual, in presenting their unique and spectacular work which bore witness to their creative talents. Textiles, carpentry, metalwork and plastics were included in the range of technology designs on show. The art and photography came mainly from the AS and A2 Post 16 students, although this year, we were able to include some GCSE artwork and for
The Year 10 ensemble worked a miracle of its own, turning the muddy ‘stage’ of this year’s festival tent into a series of different locations. Callum Dawe, (Despo), took us to a precarious railway bridge to share his appreciation of street art; Selena Trout (Clare) led us on a terrifying trek through the underground system, relieved only by bizarre phone calls to her hippy mother (sensitively portrayed by Sarah Staples) who is making a pilgrimage to the East; April McDermott
the first time, a range of art from the Key Stage 3 ‘Art Extravaganza’ week. Presenting the work in this way meant it was possible to see the continuity from Year 7 to Year 13. Two of the most important elements for inventing and making something are self confidence and hard work. There was an abundance of evidence for both! The positive comments from visitors to the exhibition echoed the praises of visiting examiners who complemented the students on their originality and high standards. Congratulations to all involved!
(Taz) presided confidently over the greasy counter of Sam’s Chicken Hut; Cameron Pearce (Mac) finally transported us (illegally) down one of the Zil Lanes and into the Olympic Stadium itself. A chorus of media types and others was ably created by Katherine Couch, Charlie Gould and Chloe Henderson. Fast and thought-provoking, Zil Lane Miracles was a memorable contribution to this year’s summer festival.
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Children in Zambia benefit from car cleaning in Plympton Post 16 students who have been undertaking the Wheelz course at Ridgeway School, engaged in a mammoth fundraising car wash in aid of the SOS Children’s new village in Chipata, Zambia due to be completed in October. The village will provide a home and much more for children left alone through family poverty and disease. Wheelz is an active partner in Plymouth Casualty Reduction Partnership and regularly attend meetings designed to promote road safety in the area. They work with Devon Fire & Rescue, Devon & Cornwall Police, the NHS and Plymouth City Council. This course is a fantastic opportunity for all students who will turn 17 during the next academic year and who want to learn to drive at the same time as studying for a Level 2 qualification in employability. The course is open to all students and lasts for 32 weeks and includes 3 hours a week of classroom based learning combined with 40 hours of driving lessons. This is in addition to their other studies. Thanks to the tremendous response and effort from staff and students at Ridgeway School and the other schools involved, Wheelz can announce that it is likely to raise a figure approaching £1500. this is a very significant sum when you consider, that according to the Charity SOS Children, it costs just 66p a day to support a child!
Art competition winners work Cancer charity benefits from catering displayed at Plymouth University teacher’s cake sale and bike ride
The theme for this year’s Lord Mayor’s Day was Countries of the World, a fitting theme given the world was coming to London for the Olympics. School were encouraged to submit artwork to celebrate the event and Ridgeway Head of Art, Mrs Romanski, launched the Olympic Dreams Art competition to uncover paintings that could be part of the city display at Plymouth University. Congratulations go to everyone who entered the competition. We had a record breaking 166 entries! The standard was very high, especially considering the majority of students who entered were from Years 7, 8 and
9. Most of the entries were displayed around the school and remained on display for the duration of the summer term. The top three entries in each category were be awarded Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates. The Gold winners also be received a cinema voucher. The top three in each category went on to have their work exhibited at Plymouth University for the Lord Mayor’s Day celebrations, the same day that the Olympic torch came to Plymouth. The Gold winners were: Bethany Dean (Yr7), Jessica Clemes (Yr8), Samanta Kotlinska (Yr9), Sam Brown (GCSE), Mrs Franzi Dawson (Teachers)
Ridgeway Rangers Have a Wild Time! This year’s activity week saw fourteen keen Rangers of the future finding out about conservation, wildlife management and animal care. The week consisted of five days of activities based at four different wildlife centres close to Plymouth. Staff and students began the week by heading off to Mount Edgcombe to work alongside the wardens. Students were invited to watch the resident bats roosting away from the rain. They then found out interesting facts about the park’s history and went on a country walk to find out about the role of the wardens and some of their top bush craft tips.
Students spent Tuesday in school working in teams to complete an apprentice-style challenge. Each team researched the requirements of their chosen animal, produced a model of their animal’s ideal enclosure and presented their ideas to the rest of the group. All of the students came up with excellent ideas, but in the end the meerkat team won by a whisker! Ranger Training wouldn’t be the same without a great hands on experience so we visited Pennywell Farm where the students spent their time learning how to milk a goat, plant seeds, feed the baby goats, check the health of the horses as well as finding
Martin Tinkler, Head of Catering at Ridgeway School, has taken part in a charity cycle event called the Jurassic Classic. Martin said, “The route is 100kms long and involves a circular route from Exmouth taking in Sidmouth, Honiton and Collumpton. In true Devon fashion the route is described as hilly, which roughly translates into your legs
will be screaming at you to stop throughout the ride”. Every entrant is raising money for the Prostate Cancer Charity. This, I’m sure you will agree, is a very worthwhile cause, especially when you consider it is the most common cancer in men and that 37,000 are diagnosed with it every year in the UK alone.
As you can see from the picture Martin spends rather a lot of time cycling so this seemed the most logical event to enter. He has also been raising money with the help of his Catering classes through charity cake sales. Students baked a variety of cakes and buns and then sold them to staff and students where £137 was raised.
out how to handle some of the baby animals. We finished the day watching a birds of prey display.
student’s imagination was certainly sparked as it was a race between the
girls and the boys to come up with the best interactive enrichment toy.
The next day was full of wild adventures as the students explored Paignton Zoo and learnt why the zoo is so important to the conservation and protection of many animals around the world. The students also had lots of fun trying to teach each other a new trick using positive reinforcement techniques rather than words. All too quickly, the week came to an end and the last day was spent at Living Coasts finding out about the penguins, seals and auks that live there. Students had a great time finding out about the animals and had a go at making an enrichment toy for the seals. The
Something for everyone as Rain makes Wet and Ridgeway on Tour goes north Wild even more fun
Despite the very early start, the Ridgeway on Tour coach was buzzing with excitement as they left Plympton for five days exploring the theme parks and museums of the North West of England. Little did the 42 students and 5 teachers know what lay ahead, that Mr Tinkler would be a man broken by Thirteen at Alton Towers, that the Liverpool FC tour would outshine the Old Trafford visit and that some of the group would have a starring role on Blue Peter.
were comforted by the knowledge that Michael Owen couldn’t either! The afternoon was spent in and around the Albert Dock, with students exploring the dark history of Slavery in the International Slavery Museum, seeing the sights of Liverpool on the amphibious duck tour and exploring the shops of the Albert Dock and Liverpool One.
Monday saw the group explore a rather wet Alton Towers with the majority of students being scared by Nemesis Sub Terra and despite a brave approach to Nemesis and Rita, it was Thirteen that made Mr Tinkler a shivering wreck after its plummet in the pitch black. Despite the rain, a good time was had by all.
Wednesday was the highlight for most of the group, with a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Whether it was the teachers being rescued from the broken down Valhalla ride (and then being the first to ride it again when fixed), testing nerves and courage on the Big One plummeting 235ft at speeds of over 85 mph or deciding that the 1930s Grand National rollercoaster to be the best of the lot, we definitely got our money’s worth at Blackpool.
Tuesday began with the first football stadium visit. Our guides took us behind the scenes, with students and staff sitting in the press conference seats pretending to be interviewed by Match of the Day and relaxing in the surprisingly plain dressing rooms before attempting to touch the ‘This is Anfield’ sign. Those who couldn’t reach
Thursday was back to football with the first stop being Old Trafford.Despite being impressed by its enormity and the trophy room, most people enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of Anfield more! An added bonus was seeing the alterations that were taking place to turn Old Trafford into an Olympic venue with the addition of drug testing
rooms and raising a concrete floor a few centimetres to meet Olympic regulations. Five minutes down the road was the Imperial War Museum, where we picnicked by the side of the Manchester Ship Canal. The opposite bank of the canal houses the BBC’s new media city and as we had some time to spare before the museum induction, we headed over the bridge to have a nose around. After admiring the shiny new buildings adorned with sporting stars such as Chris Hoy, Jess Ennis and characters from CBBC and Cbeebies, Mr Tinkler spotted a programme being filmed for transmission later that day. After lurking at the sides, we were asked to form an audience for a world-class scooter stunt-riding team and were soon applauding the tricks being performed in front of us. Then it was back to the War Museum to experience their Big Picture show on the effects of war, explore the history of war in the 20th Century and interact with exhibits on war in children’s fiction including War Horse and Carrie’s War.
It was obviously tempting fate to call one of the options for Enrichment Week Wet and Wild. Who would have thought when these events were planned nearly a year ago that in July it would rain, rain and rain! Not to be put off by the weather, Year 7, 8 students set off to the Ashcombe Adventure Centre and the Year 9s headed for the River Dart Country Park for fun in the mud and water. At the River Dart Adventure Park the students tackled the assault course in teams of five throwing caution to the wind as they dived through tunnels, made light of tightropes and hurled themselves over rope netting to determine an eventual winner. By now, wet and muddy, the group tackled the adventure playground before finishing by attempting to cross a stretch of water using a series of tyres and swinging bars. Needless to say, the failure rate was high with a good
soaking the end result. Well, it was raining so a bit more water wouldn’t do anyone any harm! The Ashcombe Adventure Centre provided an even better opportunity to get completely soaked and plastered in mud as the students took on two assault courses. The first course was a test of balance and endeavour but once covered in mud, the students threw caution to the wind. The second course was far more challenging and required teamwork and no little courage to take on the water and mud obstacles. The third day was spent in the more civilised surroundings of Butlins at Minehead before moving the next day to the heart stopping water slides at Woodlands. The week ended as it began in rain at Quay West Leisure Park but by this time we were used to the weather and a great time was had by all.
Activities close to home provide winning formula
Friday saw us make the long journey back to Plymouth via a very wet and soggy Drayton Manor but, overall, it was a fantastic week.
New skills developed in Multi Sports’ Week On Your Doorstep was created in order that we could visit places of interest by using public transport. On our first day we visited the National Marine Aquarium where we had a guided tour and discovered lots of interesting facts about life under the sea! We then bowled our way through the afternoon at Tenpin Bowling.
If you really wanted variety, then the Multi Sports Activity during Enrichment Week was the one for you. From dodgeball to street surfing and bell boating to basketball, a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all. Every minute of this activity was taken up with learning a different sport or activity and there were certainly a few tired faces as the week progressed as it had been so physical
throughout. All the students rose to the challenge and made sure they made the most of this great opportunity to do things they had never tried before. Bell boating certainly provided one of the highlights as it was a totally new experience for most students and they had to work as a team. By the end of the week, even Miss Crowther could all street surf!
Tuesday saw us all catch the train to Looe. We explored the historic fishing village where we enjoyed the treats of chips and ice cream and even managed five minutes on the beach when the rain stopped! Wednesday brought the artistic side out of all of us when we visited China Blue by train, where we all decorated
mugs and plates. We then had a roam around the shops of Totnes and surprisingly managed to find the fudge shop! On Thursday we caught the bus to Paignton Zoo and had an enjoyable day talking to the animals. Not quite sure who was studying who most of the time! Friday Plan B was brought into force due to the persistent rain and we went to Vue Cinema and enjoyed Rock of Ages and the Amazing Spiderman. This was followed by a happy meal at McDonalds. An enjoyable week was had by both students and staff, the rain definitely did not dampen our spirits but it certainly soaked out clothes!
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Students and staff recognised in new awards’ nominations Celebrating the work, achievements and successes of students and staff has always played a major role in the life of Ridgeway School. With the appointment of a new Gifted and Talented co-ordinator in Mrs Burman, this work has become even more high profile and she has introduced a termly recognition for staff and students. The first of these celebrates the work of teachers as well as the qualities demonstrated by tutor groups, teams and individual students.
Mr Squance has been a teacher at Ridgeway for eleven years. He teaches R.S. and is Head of IAG. He was nominated for ‘Teacher of the Term’ and here are some of the reasons why: ‘Mr Squance is always willing to hear you opinion. He lets you have your say and doesn’t tell you that you are wrong. ‘He is always there for his tutor group and classes, and he always makes learning fun and exciting.’ ‘He always helps you when you need help.’
Celebrating Tutor Groups 9EB received the most nominations for Tutor Group of the Term. Teachers praised their hard work and good attitude in lessons. Year 9 student, Thomas Godiff, said: ‘9EB is not a tutor group, it is a family. We are all friends and get on well. We have had good times and bad, but always stay friends. Personally, I like being in this tutor group because everyone in the tutor group is diverse and unique in their own way. That’s what makes us interesting! Don’t change, 9EB!’
Celebrating Teaching Groups I nominated mine and Ms Edmonds’ Year 9 English class for Teaching Group of the Term because they are a joy to teach! Last Christmas, I wrote home to the parents of the entire class because I found them such an interesting mix of young people. They could never be described as ‘goody two shoes’ because, at times, they are quite challenging. However, they are bright, very enquiring, sensitive, excitable, hugely creative and slightly mischievous! The balance of personalities is great, and in class discussion they are at their very best. In the last speaking and listening task, the Teaching Assistant felt compelled to stand up and give a little speech about how fantastic she thought they were. She admired their collegiate sprit, complete support of each other in group work situations and the intelligence of their discussion. You won’t find a more interesting class, and I love the fact that they demand high standards from their teachers and keep us on our toes! Mrs C Davidson
Grace Jordan 7AMW I nominated Grace firstly because she has excelled in the Year 7 Literacy Extraction group. She works hard and quietly gives every task her full attention. She has worked so hard on her reading that her Reading Age has gone up by over 2 years in the last six months. She should be very proud of her achievement. Secondly, I was unaware initially of Grace’s triathlon achievements. It was only when I walked past the Success Board at the front of the school that I realised how talented at running, swimming and cycling she is. I feel the school should be very proud of how well she has done in the challenging sport of Triathlon. Hearing that Grace was to carry the Olympic Torch in May was such wonderful news. She thoroughly deserves the honour and I am so pleased for her and her family. I expect one day we will see her representing her country in the Games themselves. Miss V Rogers
Sean Wills 13NM
Sean Wills has been singing since he was at primary School and since attending Ridgeway School, has gone from success to success. He recently passed his Grade 8 singing exam with Distinction losing only 7 marks out of a possible 100. A committed member of the Ridgeway School Choir and Chamber Choir, Sean has performed in many concerts in school and around the community. Plymouth Herald’s culture journalist Phillip R Buttall made special mention of Sean after the Ridgeway Choir performed at the Roland Lewinsky Building:“It was also good to see the lads on board, with Sean Wills’ contribution being particularly impressive”. He has taken principle roles in five Ridgeway School productions, most recently playing Kay in ‘Snow Queen. Currently he is rehearsing for Plymouth’s prestigious ‘Music of the Night’ concert in July. A real team player, Sean juggles school work, singing commitments, and a passion for rugby. He is one of the most committed and one of the nicest students I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I have no doubt that Sean will go on to greatness in whatever field he chooses to pursue. Ms K Marcer
Nicole Tremain 11 Nicole has been going the ‘extra mile’ regularly and not only attended one to one after-school tutorials, but has consistently submitted outstanding homework assignments. She recently painted her visual interpretation of the poem ‘Funeral Blues’, which was quite moving. Miss S Oram
Nicole said about her poem To be honest I have never really got on well in, or liked English lessons, I didn’t really get it, even right back to primary school literacy lessons. It was only because I like doing well at what I do and I just couldn’t get my head around how to succeed in English. I worked hard to change that this year, as it is my last chance to try and get good at it. My grades weren’t where I needed, or in fact wanted them to be, so I just tried my absolute hardest to get them there. This piece of work was my response to the poem “Funeral Blues”. I enjoyed this homework as I could be creative and I really like art. The poem was about someone who had lost somebody who had meant the world to them and was in complete shock that the world was still continuing, even though that person was no longer alive. I chose to do my response on wood as it lasts longer than paper and one of the lines in the poem was “I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong”. I made the background of my response grey to represent the dull and depressive feelings of the narrator. I drew the character crying as it represented his sorrow and pain; the narrator of the poem wasn’t exactly smiling when they said it! The reasoning behind the emotions I had written in black was that the narrator was in complete shock that the person they loved so much was no longer here and it didn’t make a difference to most people around them. I did the bold black writing to portray their feeling of wanting the deceased to be noticed, remembered and missed. Another reason was that he was overloaded with emotions that are particularly hard to distinguish and deal with whilst grieving for somebody, so I made sure that my response was overloaded by emotions too.
Three Peaks Challenge tests students’ resolve and determination Getting to the top of the highest mountains in England, Scotland and Wales in the space of one week was set to be one of the more arduous adventures of our Enrichment Week programme and so it proved to be. Students from Years seven, eight and nine took up the challenge of a lifetime knowing that getting to the summit of these mountains would depend upon the weather, their own fitness and a real determination to endure discomfort and exhausting climbs. Working with a team of highly experienced staff, some with previous mountain experience and others with experience of everything Dartmoor could throw at them, we set off on our twelve
hundred mile journey around the country to visit the mountains of Scafel Pike in the Lake District, Ben Nevis in Scotland and Snowdon in Wales and to experience some of the most beautiful scenery in Britain. The students we took did not disappoint and proved up to the challenge, fighting through driving rain, snow and thick cloud at every summit. What a great pleasure it was for the adults to share this experience with such determined and positive students. During the week individuals experienced sickness at the top of one mountain, blisters, a damaged knee, aching limbs, exhaustion and very sore feet and yet they all reached the top of every mountain. Furthermore, not one student complained of having wet clothing and boots for most of the week or having to experience the culinary skills of Mr Didymus and Ms Mason every evening. This trip was not just about reaching the top of every mountain,
it was about doing it together as a team, looking after each other, sharing a tent with someone new, sharing cleaning and washing up duties, keeping organised and being ready to walk or travel on time. Our students excelled. Anyone for the Lake District in 2013?
Ridgeway School welcomes Chamber choir invited to sing at Buckfast Abbey visit from Chinese teachers
Ridgeway’s School Choir and its smaller ensemble, the Chamber Choir, have an enviable reputation in regional music circles. It was, therefore, no great surprise, but still a huge honour, to be asked to perform in a prestigious choral event at Buckfast Abbey.
Ridgeway School welcomed another international visit. Four teachers from Heilongjiang in north-eastern China were able to spend a full school day with students and staff. The four educationists observed lessons in lower school Science, A level Photography, GCSE Chemistry as well as Information, Advice and Guidance. They also spent time touring the school, talking with teachers and spent an hour with the headteacher considering educational issues.
In the afternoon the four visitors were able to give a presentation to the School Council and students were able to ask them questions about their homeland and school system. The four teachers praised the excellent teaching and learning they saw and commented on the quality and depth of the students’ questions. Pictured are Xiaodan SONG, Jianrong LI, Zhongyu WANG and Zhichen WANG with headteacher John Didymus and two students from the school.
The Ridgeway Chamber Choir was invited to be involved in an ambitious musical project to stage Elgar’s masterpiece The Dream of Gerontius in the Abbey. Ridgeway School’s singing teacher, Trefor Farrow, directs a number of choirs around Devon and selected the Ridgeway Chamber Choir to sing the part of the Angelicals which appears in two sections of the work. The students rehearsed for this major event by attending exacting
Work of A Level Textiles students draws praise from subject moderator
daily rehearsals to master the three and four part harmony needed. It was also an added challenge for some who were in mid-preparation for important GCSE and A Level exams. The age of the students involved ranges from Post 16 with students Isabelle Fitzgerald, Deborah Couch, Hannah Blake-Lobb, in Year 13 and Hannah O’Neill and Lauren Hamblin in Year 12 to Key Stage 4 students represented by Rebecca Fitzgerald, Chloe Harris, Freya Dawson in Year 11 and Ruth Blake-Lobb, April McDermott, Katherine Couch, Sarah Staples and Haley Tremain in Year 10. The youngest member, Fiona Turner, is still in Year 9. Needless to say, the choir performed to the highest standards and certainly did not look out of place amongst the top choirs and singers in the region.
Year 9s shown how maths figures in the work place
City businesses provide students with ‘hands on’ experience
Math’s at Work Day is a great opportunity for students to discover for themselves how mathematics is used in the workplace on a regular basis. The day involved the whole of Year 9 rotating around four different workshops. The employers who took part in the day were STEM ambassadors, Army Cadet Force, Babcock, Asda, the RAF, Living Coats, Plumbing and the National Marine Aquarium. Students were engaged in problem solving tasks and learned a good deal from meeting people with experience in jobs they
were interested in. One student said, ‘The day helped me to know how much maths is used in everyday life’. Another student said, ‘I have learnt a lot about my career choice and how I will prepare well to ensure I get the job I desire’. The day was rounded off by a whole year talk by Ted Graham from the University of Plymouth. Ted inspired the students with magic and puzzles based on mathematical certainties. Overall students, employers and members of staff thought the day was a positive experience.
Employers asking schools to produce a more rounded workforce, Government telling us Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is high on the agenda and students taking their time to decide on a career path. Why not get a cross section of employers to come into school to show Year 10 students what their work involves? That’s exactly what we do on Science at Work Day with two hundred students interacting with twelve businesses from around the city. There was a diverse choice of employers from aquarists to welders, electricians to surveyors with students moving from one session to another,
listening, working on small projects and talking about possible careers. The experience is invaluable as students are able to gain, first hand, what the world of work in science and technology based subjects are all about. The students enjoyed the mix of activities and many felt that it helped them make decisions about career choices. It may have been a long time since the employers themselves have been in a school so they benefit from the experience, gaining some understanding about how students learn. It’s all part of getting Britain to lead the world, once again in the STEM subjects, building a well informed, flexible and skilled workforce of the future.
A Level Art and Fashion Textiles students yet again produced a stunning display of their work at the annual Art, Photography and Technology exhibition held just before the end of last term. The display is not just a showcase event as it is also used to present their work for examination moderation. As always the work was of a very high standard and demonstrated the imagination and ingenuity of the students as well as the all important skills learned during their A Level studies There are a broad range of interpretations of the set themes, developed and realised through an equally broad range of media and techniques. A comment from the visiting moderator about the work of A2 student, Hannah McArthur was ‘It’s as good as it gets’, which is testament to the quality of work produced by the students this year!
8 RIDGEWAY review
Loneliness of the long distance runner pays off for Ridgeway’s Claire Davidson I’d been to the London Marathon on many occasions to watch my husband run, and now it was my turn! My friend has a house in Greenwich, so, for the first time ever, we were able to get up at 7am instead of 4.30am! and walk to the start of the race. It was a perfect blue sky morning with a light breeze, and I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve always loved the atmosphere at London – it’s very special and like nowhere else – but to be one of the runners made it extra special. As we neared the start line, we joined the ranks of thousands of other trainerclad runners all moving towards the same spot in Greenwich Park and all sporting the same microchip attached to their shoe (designed to give you an accurate time, as it can take half an hour to get across the start line!) I was raising money for Jeremiah’s Journey, a wonderful Plymouthbased charity which supports families suffering bereavement. I knew that nearly everyone around me was raising money for someone. One girl wore a union jack dress, the Cancer Research icon, and a big banner on her back: ‘Miss You, Dad.’ Perhaps the most humbling was a dad running for
Children With Cancer. He wore a t-shirt with a photo of his child. Underneath was the date he was born and the date he died – less than two weeks before the marathon. I realised that this is a run that is about so much more than running for a time. Many were running to try and make a difference. Since the marathon began in 1981, over £450 million has been raised. The marathon itself was overwhelming, exhausting and wonderful. Although the wheels came off at 19 miles, I
managed to get round in 3.35.29 and I was thrilled. It was by far the slowest time I’ve ever run, by nearly 20 minutes, but that didn’t matter one bit. It was a fantastic experience, made all the more special by having my daughter there to support me. I’m sure one day, she’ll run the legs off me! I raised over £300, thanks to the fantastic support of my family and friends at Ridgeway School and Sir Robert Geffery’s School where my daughter is a student. Thanks everyone!
Taekwondo star, Adam, wins silver in English championships
Ten Tors’ teams show great character, determination and resilience
After a gruelling eight month training programme over the wilds of Dartmoor in unrelenting wind, rain and snow, the only weather students had not experienced was bright sunshine and heat. Of course, the weather we eventually got during the actual event was just that!
young people spread out across Dartmoor on any one of twenty five routes, watched by three helicopters carrying the media representatives. As one parent observed ‘I had no idea how big this event was’ we settled down to await their arrival back at the camp the following day.
Having started in October with up to fifty students from both Ridgeway and Devonport High for Girls, we were now down to six teams of six, with one or two reserves. The teams entered consisted of one combined Ridgeway DHSG team for the 55 mile route, two teams for the 45 mile route (one from each school) and three 35 mile teams, having been given the rare opportunity to enter a third team at short notice. The extra team, entered under the Ridgeway name, consisted of five DHSG girls and one Ridgeway boy. He didn’t complain! This balanced the 55 mile team entered under the DHSG name and comprising three Ridgeway students and three from DHSG.
After a Sunday spent worrying and waiting, five teams made it back to the camp by the designated time of 1700 and received their medals. Regrettably following a valiant effort, which included one airlift to Derriford on Saturday and one fall out part way through Sunday, the sixth team on the 55 mile route were taken off the moor due to a lack of time to complete. It is in the character of the 55 team members that even after the upset of not completing that they are already determined to enter next year.
On Saturday morning, following a 04.45 wakeup call over the camp tannoy to the dulcet tones of the theme tune from Chariots of Fire and other uplifting musical pieces, teams assembled at the start point overlooked by the dominant Yes Tor. Then at 0700 to the sound of two field guns we watched as over 400 teams and two thousand five hundred enthusiastic
As we wind down and reflect upon another highly successful year it is great to learn that the commitment by the military organisers of Ten Tors is undiminished. They recognise as we do at Ridgeway and DHSG schools that this event offers a unique chance for young people to build the character, skills, determination, resilience and teamwork so valued by employers and so important to equip our young people for meeting the challenges of the workplace and life in general.
Olympic torch relay re-enacted by Plympton pupils
Summer for one day allows sports’ day to go ahead The last two sports’ days have had to be cancelled due to bad weather and we feared the worst for this year’s event. But lo and behold, despite a bleak outlook, the weather this year remained dry. However, after almost constant rain for the previous week, the ground was too dangerous to go ahead with traditional events. Not to be put off, the P. E. faculty put plan B into action.The programme of events had to be altered and all of the sprint athletics events took place on the rowing machines. The long distance races, shot putt, vortex throw, speed bounce, standing jump and the infamous tug of war continued as normal. To tie in with the Olympic theme this year, the PE department allocated a country for each tutor group in Key
Stage 3. The countries were chosen to allow for a variety of colours to be worn on the day and to represent the 5 continents. The students arrived at school in vibrant clothing and carried flags for their host countries. They had also painted their faces with their country’s flag. Bonus marks were awarded for the best dressed tutor group which was a tough decision for the judges this year. The atmosphere was electric aided by the music and support from parents, teachers and students alike. The day was a huge success with all competitions running smoothly and the rain stayed away. The PE department are looking forward to hosting Sports Day at Brickfields in 2013.
Year 11 student, Adam Green, is a rising star in the martial art of taekwondo. After some amazing sparing bouts against very tough competition, Adam recently won a silver medal at the Professional Unification of Martial Arts English Championships in Swindon. This makes him the English Junior Middleweight silver medallist having lost in the final to a fellow England squad member by only a few points. To hone his skills, Adam trains locally four times a week and once every other week in Yate with the national team which competes all over England. To date he has entered seven competitions and has won either silver or bronze in all but one. He has recently been promoted to assistant instructor in his home club in Ivybridge which means he now regularly takes classes and helps his instructor. His ambition is to compete around the world and to advance to the highest level of Black Belt, the 9th degree (Grand Master) Black Belt.
Inspired by the fantastic level of interest in the Olympics and the torch relay, all of the schools in the Plympton area came together to do their own version of this historic event. Organised by Theresa Roberts from Old Priory Primary School and Anna Clooke from the Plymouth School Sport Partnership, the day was a huge success with all who took part enjoying thoroughly enjoying themselves. Pupils from each school turned out to cheer on the torch carriers. Torch bearers from each school were selected on the merits and values linked to the Olympic and Paralympics values. From Ridgeway School we selected Grace Jordan for her commitment and dedication to her sport and for also
being an inspiration for others. We also selected James Mace from Year 7 for his determination to succeed and willingness to try. Walking our leg of the route was an absolute pleasure with two very deserving students. At the end of the event we all arrived at Hele’s school to welcome the students from Woodford Primary who had the last leg of the relay. The torch was welcomed in style with students singing, dancing, trampolining and taking part in floor gymnastics. Grace’s real Olympic torch was also a show stopper as all of the staff, never mind the students wanted their picture taken with it! What an amazing day of celebration!
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