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larKhall news issue 26

School Reports

A summer of memories for St Mark’s Swainswick Primary’s Super Sleuthers St Saviour’s Infants in Sweden St Saviour’s Juniors’ Historic Finds

Sporting Fun at St Mark’s Summer Sports Festivals at St Mark’s


alice park nursery

in this iSSue St Mark’s School News St Saviour’s Juniors St Saviour’s Infants Eulogy To A Cat Swainswick Primary Community News & Reviews The Larkhall News is a not-for-profit enterprise published by St Mark’s School, Bath. Our next issue will be out Autumn 2014. Editorial: Contact us on 01225 478416 or at St Mark’s School on 01225 312661. Advertising: Contact Paula Hawkins, St Mark’s School, Bay Tree Road, Larkhall, Bath, BA1 6ND Tel: 01225 312661 or email, The Larkhall News is available online at: Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. The publisher does not accept responsibility for any inaccuracies or errors in content. Whilst every reasonable care is taken, the publisher shall not be held liable for any loss occasioned by the failure of an advertisement to appear, or any damage or inconvenience caused by errors, omissions or misprints.


Look with your eyes. Judge with your soul. This has been a busy year for students and staff at St Mark’s School and will no doubt continue to be as we approach a new academic year with a new headteacher.

As I write, we have 34 students making their way to Barcelona for a week of culture, learning and fun. Their adventures are just the start of a very long list of exciting activities that our students have been involved in over the past few weeks. Our Learning to Lead teams have been busy film-making, designing comics, setting up a debating society and decorating the girls’ changing rooms! Students have been busy preparing for Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, attending Science Festivals, and public speaking at Youth Parliament. The list quite literally goes on and on! These are exciting times for St Mark’s. Within the past twelve months, our school has once again achieved a GOOD from Ofsted a rating that firmly places St Mark’s amongst a group of strong schools locally. The new framework for inspections makes it much harder for schools to achieve such a well-respected judgement and we are delighted that the good work at our school was recognised by Ofsted. Furthermore, we were delighted that our parents also consider St Mark’s an excellent choice as a secondary school

for their children. The Ofsted Parentview survey results are a great insight into what makes a school successful. St Mark’s achieved some of the highest scoring ratings across all secondary schools in Bath. Our parents feel that their children are taught well, make good progress and are well looked after. 96% of St Mark’s parents stated that they would recommend St Mark’s to other parents, a figure higher than any other school. Why not come along to one of our Open Events this autumn and discover St Mark’s for yourself ? You may be surprised at what you find! The Larkhall News will continue to work with and for its local residents, businesses and schools, promoting everything that is positive, dynamic and creative about Larkhall. The reporting team continues to grow across the Valley Schools, as does our network of advertisers and regular contributors. We always love to hear from our readers and would encourage you to get in touch with your gardening tips, culinary recipes or just simply a story or anecdote or two! Have a wonderful summer (with or without the sunshine)!

Paula Tel: 01225 312661 or email,


St Mark’s school by Chris Ryan, Headteacher (Acting) The end of  the summer term is always exciting with thoughts of active and relaxing holidays following a season of examinations. The summer holidays are often a chance for reflection of an academic year gone by and anticipation and excitement for the year to come and this year is no different.

It is a privilege to work with them, watch them grow intellectually as well as physically, help them to find themselves, uncover their talent and help them to find their place in an ever changing world.

We look forward to welcoming our new Year 7s who will by now have had plenty of opportunities to familiarise themselves with St Mark’s and get to know our school, our teachers and the famous ‘St Mark’s family atmosphere’. We wish them every success on their journey with us and look forward to reporting on their achievements in future issues of The Larkhall News. Students, exhausted by their examinations, have a long holiday ahead of them. Many are moving on to our sixth form, The New Sixth, or other schools and colleges for their post 16 education. There are significant rights-of-passage associated with leaving at the end of Year 11, momentous occasions that are remembered for years to come. Their ‘Prom’ was held at Bailbrook House on 19 June and it is always a pleasure to see confident young people arrive in their DJs and prom dresses and often in style. This year, the highlight was surely the arrival of Ryan King on a classic Harley Davidson! The confident young people who arrive at the Prom were once nervous children who arrived fresh from primary school. It is a privilege to work with them, watch them grow intellectually as well as physically, help them to find themselves, uncover their talent and help them to find their place in an ever changing world. For this reason, I believe that, however challenging, being a teacher is arguably the best job in the world. As you know, our school welcomes new Headteacher, Mr Barnaby Ash, from September and we are all excited for the future of the school and the opportunities that his appointment brings to our thriving community. Mr Ash has visited St Mark’s on a number of occasions since his appointment to work with the Governors and Senior Leadership Team, sharing his vision for St Mark’s and his ambitions to make us an ‘Outstanding’ school. Prospective families and members of our community are welcome to join us for our Open Events this autumn to meet Mr Ash and hear about St Mark’s from our current students and parents. What better way to get to know a school than from its current ‘customers’? We are confident that you will hear great things about your local school and hope that you will consider it as a real option for your children’s education.

Autumn Open Events at St Mark’s School Open Evening Wednesday 17 September 6.30pm - 9pm Open Morning Thursday 25 September 9am - 11am Open Morning Thursday 9 October 9am - 11am Saturday Open Morning Saturday 11 October 10am - 12pm Sixth Form Open Evening at The New Sixth Thursday 23 October 6.30pm - 9.00pm


Sheila Sheppard

18.7.1924 - 25.3.2014

At the end of  Term 3, it was sadly reported that Sheila Sheppard, a long-serving governor of St Mark’s School, sadly passed away. Unfortunately, The Larkhall News had already proceeded to print and we could not recognise at that time, Sheila’s dedication and support for our school. Speaking on behalf of the governors, Chair, Roger Coombe, comments, “Sheila was a very special lady, much loved by those who knew her. She was very much a part of the family of St Mark’s and will be greatly missed.” “Sheila was a governor at St Mark’s for over twenty years and during that time has been a staunch advocate and campaigner of the school.” “Her loyalty to St Mark’s School was unwavering and she has been a great support to the staff and governors. I have very fond memories of working with Sheila and hold her in the highest esteem. She was a friend and a colleague and the school and local community will not be the same without her.” Acting Headteacher, Chris Ryan, paid tribute to her work at the school, “I have known Sheila for ten years but her affiliation with the school is much longer having been a founding member of the school’s Business Support Group and, latterly, a governor.” “She had boundless energy and indeed at the end of her last governors’ meeting on Monday 24 March, she was keen to draw proceedings to a close in order that she could make a party in town!” “Sheila was an enigmatic character, full of life and vitality and her passion for St Mark’s School was infectious.” “We thank Sheila for all of her hard work and offer our sincere and heart-felt condolences to her family and friends. She was a wonderful lady and it is our honour to be able to celebrate her life through our school.”

Science at St Mark’s

You may have spotted our students in The Bath Chronicle recently as four Year 8 students travelled to Bath University to take part in Salters’ Festival of Chemistry. These festivals provide an opportunity for students to work in a university chemistry laboratory, taking part in fun chemistry challenges in competition with other schools.

This term, students at St Mark’s, assisted by Head of Science, Mr James Cuthbert and Science Technician, Dr Helen Sheppard, have been running a series of ‘Science @ St Mark’s sessions. The after school workshops have been organised by the Science Faculty to provide an introduction to Science at secondary school for primary-aged children and their parents in an informative, yet fun and exciting way.

The day started with the “Salters’ Challenge”, a competitive, practical activity. Then after lunch another practical activity took place, “The University Challenge”, which was followed by a fun demonstration of exciting chemical reactions. Mrs Carrington, teacher of Science at St Mark’s, commented, “Our students worked together really well, demonstrating excellent teamwork, good practical technique and a methodical approach to the task.” Pupils from the local primary schools were invited to come along to the free workshops to encourage younger children and their parents to visit St Mark’s and find out for themselves what life and lessons at secondary school are really like. Pupils from St Saviour’s Junior school, St Stephen’s Primary School and Bathampton Primary School attended, along with their parents.

A Helping Hand at Cleveland pools Hidden away in Bathwick, on the banks of the River Avon, is the country’s only surviving Georgian Lido.

The children learnt about some unusual things that electricity can do, ably assisted by six St Mark’s students, Maria, Isobelle, Bryan, Zac, Callum and Cain. Science Technician, Dr Helen Sheppard, said, “We started the session talking about what materials conduct electricity before electroplating a coin. This was followed by a lot of fun with the Van Der Graaff generator, watching what happens to your hair when you generate a lot of static electricity.” “It was really great to see the younger children getting hands on with science with their parents - many of whom hadn’t been in a science laboratory since their own school days. Our St Mark’s students were proud to show off their school and excited to be involved in some ‘fun’ science”. Milo, a Year 4 pupil from St Saviour’s Junior School, was thrilled with the event, commenting, "I thought the lesson was really good quality. It was really exciting. There were loads of really good cliff-hangers because they said things like "We'll do that at the end". I liked it because it wasn't normal primary science. It was nothing at all like a lesson (in a good way). They did show you but they let you find out what happens by yourself. All in all it was EPIC!" Pupils left St Mark’s excited to attend further sessions investigating the effect of exercise on our heart and lungs along with some experiments on the chemistry in our shopping basket.

Earlier this term, Year 7 students visited the currently unused open air Lido, otherwise known as the Cleveland Pools, as part of their Enrichment Programme. For anyone who isn’t aware, Bath had an open-air swimming pool from the Victorian times until it was closed about 40 years ago. The Cleveland Trust are working tirelessly to raise enough money to get the pools renovated and re-opened for public use. Our Year 7s listened to a talk about the history of the pools and then participated in some creative activities including origami and also undertook a bit of weeding and clearing of the site. To get involved with the project, please visit their website for more details:


St Saviour’s Juniors

Larkhall In Time During March, our two Year 4 classes went into Larkhall with Year 7s from St Mark’s School. We were working together to create an exhibition for the Larkhall Festival. We were hoping to take photos of Larkhall as it is now and compare it to how it looked a long time ago. First of all we had to decide, in our groups, where the photo had originally been taken. This was sometimes very difficult. Some of the photos were difficult to recognise. The grown-ups helped us with this and gave us clues. “There were more trees in the background and buildings missing too,” said Ted. Then in small groups we set out with four photos to find the location. We had to stand in the identical position and use our cardboard viewfinders to match the original photo. We then used a compass to find which way the camera of the original photo was pointing at the time. “It was hard to get the correct perspective,” explained Danny. “Some of the original buildings had either changed or been knocked down.” When we returned to St Mark’s we selected, cropped and resized each photo in their computer suite. We also wrote down our thoughts of each location to add to the presentation. “The best bit about the day was when we got to go out and recreate the photos,” said Caitlin. The exhibition was a huge success and lots of people from Larkhall came to see it. It is currently at St Mark’s School but is soon on the move as it heads to St Saviour’s School for the end of term. The schools are also hopeful that the exhibition may find a permanent home somewhere in Larkhall from September - more news on this to follow! Our teachers are already planning next year’s joint project and we hope that next year’s Year 7s and 4s enjoy it as much as we have. Pictured top: London Turnpike Gate at Grosvenor. September 1826, courtesy of Bath in Time and bottom, as it is in 2014. Middle: group of pupils with their view finders.

(Opposite St Saviour’s Church)

St Saviour’s Infants & Nursery

Our Swedish Trip Last month, five members of the St Saviour’s Infants staff team, visited Sweden. The visit was part of our ongoing Comenius project, exploring Outdoor Learning in Turkey, Spain, Bulgaria, Romania and Sweden. Rosie and Emily in Year 2 have been roving reporters, asking Marie and Louise all about their trip to Sweden. Rosie interviewed Marie: PICtured: Some of our staff enjoying Forest Schools with the Swedish host school

What have you been doing? We went to look at Swedish schools. What was the weather like? Hot and sunny, we were very lucky. Are there volcanoes and elephants? I didn’t see any volcanoes, or elephants, but I did see model dinosaurs in a museum. Did you go to a beach? No, but we went on a boat trip and saw lots of small islands. Emily interviewed Louise: What have you been doing? In Forest Schools we went on a silent walk, listening to nature. What did you eat? Lots of lovely buffet food. We ate traditional Swedish food at the Midsummer celebration and danced to Abba songs. What is their flag? Yellow cross on a blue background. Was it busy or quiet? We did lots of interesting things like visiting schools, but also had time to relax…



to a cat

TO SOME SHE WAS JUST ANOTHER CAT BUT WHERE CLLR. BRYAN CHALKER AND HIS WIFE, GLENYS, WERE CONCERNED, SHEBA WAS SPECIAL IN MANY WAYS, A GREAT CHARACTER AND HIGHLY INTELLIGENT Sheba, our little white cat, died on March 8 of diabetes-related complications at the age of 15. Her last two years were spent battling diabetes, with twice-daily insulin injections, which my wife usually administered, but Sheba took it all in her stride and accepted the needle without any kind of fuss. In fact, when Sheba heard the ‘fridge door open at approximately 09.20am and 09.20pm, she knew it was time for her ‘jab’ and would climb into her basket to await my wife’s gentle hands. It was in 2002, when I was Chairman of the Salisbury Conservative Club on London Road, that we first encountered our future pet, when she emerged from the cellars one evening, made a beeline for us and rolled over to be stroked. Sheba was predominantly white, with tabby highlights to her head and tail, and had been living ‘rough’ for a number of months. The little animal was bordering on feral when we decided to take her home. It later transpired that Sheba had been brutally treated by a previous owner, who had kicked her down a flight of stairs and thrown her from a window because ‘she was only a cat’!

Miraculously, Sheba (who responded to her name) bonded with us immediately, proved to be house-trained, extremely clean and mastered a cat-flap within a week of being in our home. I shall never forget that first day when the little cat jumped on to my lap, settled and proceeded to give me a feline once-over: a full-on, eyeballto-eyeball stare, which lasted for around five minutes and can only be described as ‘spooky’. I am sure to this day that Sheba was actually analysing me and it quickly became apparent that this was no ordinary cat. We are lucky to live in a very quiet neighbourhood, with little traffic and our lounge, kitchen


and garden quickly became Sheba’s domain. She never strayed, except to explore garden sheds and inspection hatches. Our new pet soon established her territorial rights and woe-betide anything that ventured on to her patch – and that included a fully-grown badger! There was a time when we fed a family of badgers on a daily basis but Sheba was having none of it. One evening we heard a feline screech, followed by a snorting grunt and sudden scuffle of claws on tarmac and witnessed the wonderous sight of a small white cat chasing a badger off her ‘patch’.

moods and actions and knew when we were about to go away for a few days. Her reaction was to either to sit on my shoes, before I put them on, or squat on a packed holdall as if to tell us, “I don’t want you to go”. I had a period of extremely bad health a few years ago and one morning, while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance, I rested on the sofa, only to be joined by Sheba, who sat on my chest until the medical team entered the room to trundle me off to hospital. This was a one-off episode and I remain convinced that the little cat knew I was ill.

COMPLEX ANIMAL As time went by the bond between feline and human became ever stronger and Sheba would trot behind me like a faithful dog. Wherever I went, the little cat would follow – even to the extent of climbing into my car with me. In later years she came to know the individual engine sounds of my wife’s modern car and my 1970s Classic and on a Monday evening, when we returned from Midsomer Norton’s Somer Valley FM at about 9.30pm, Sheba would exit through the cat-flap and trot out to the car park to greet us, with tail held high. This complex little animal never quite developed a true cat sound and resorted instead to squeaks, clicks, hisses and occasional chirrups. Sheba also cultivated an extremely loud purr as she grew older but it was often accompanied by a dribble. Not nice. She also loved dark places and once, when we having some plumbing work done under the house, Sheba decided to investigate the inspection hatch and re-emerged several minutes later draped in cobwebs and resembling a feline Bob Marley, complete with dusty dreadlocks!

As a younger cat Sheba would bring me ‘gifts’ in the form of butterflies and moths, which she carried gently in her mouth, depositing them at my feet in the lounge. It was a measure of Sheba’s overall gentle nature that these insects were never harmed in any way – just soggy. I simply picked them up in a sheet of tissue paper and released them outside. On one occasion, when two Canadian cousins were staying with us, Sheba trotted in with a tiny wren for me. Sadly, the little bird had suffered heart failure but Sheba hadn’t harmed it in any other way. For a few years a friend would visit twice daily to feed and groom Sheba while we were on our travels but when the little cat was finally diagnosed with diabetes, we had no option but to use catteries. Over a period of time, it became apparent to us that placing Sheba in a cattery was not something she would ever fully get used to and on more than one occasion, her health deteriorated dramatically. During a trip to Poland, we received a call from the cattery to say that Sheba had been taken to the vet’s hospital at Rosemary Lodge and it was touch and go whether she would survive.

Sheba became extremely adept at judging Pictured: Sheba, Br yan and Glenys’ much loved cat

I love all animals without reservation but have a sneaking admiration for the sheer arrogance of cats. They are proud and accept you on their terms and not the other way round.

Luckily for Sheba and us, she responded to our presence, rallied enough to be allowed home and we enjoyed several more months of pleasure from this delightful little animal. Sheba could be feisty and a little spiteful at times but we later put this down to her diabetic condition. She could also be extremely playful, with an endearing habit of running up to me in the lounge, slapping my leg with a paw and then skipping off. Our home is full of antiques and I have a number of old musical instruments lined up in front of my stereo system, with just enough room between each one to allow mischievous Sheba to negotiate her way through and ensconce herself at the back of the unit. Within a few minutes, the little cat would carefully re-emerge without disturbing one single instrument – but with her tail in the air in a gesture of typical feline defiance. I love all animals without reservation but have a sneaking admiration for the sheer arrogance of cats. They are proud and accept you on their terms and not the other way round. We were, in effect, Sheba’s human friends but she relied on us for her food and creature comforts. She was not a lap-cat and if I picked her up, the little animal would promptly jump down, only to climb back up in a few minutes, settle down with her paws draped over my right arm and begin purring. Sheba did things her way

but two tame mallard ducks – male and female – finally put her in her place.

vet’s hospital, before rallying yet again and returning home to us.


Visits to the vet were far from happy experiences for Sheba, as she was frequently placed on drips to stabilise her fragile condition and the little animal clearly pined for us.

Our home has been a magnet for all kinds of waifs and strays over the past few years and these include squirrels, foxes, badgers, blue-tits (currently nesting), deer and, for at least ten years two mallards, which fly in from the University of Bath and fetch up at our doorstep demanding food. When Sheba arrived, we assumed that the ducks might be a problem but the female mallard quickly asserted her status by quacking at the cat, hissing and flapping her wings and a status quo between cat and ducks was established and once my wife and I put out the mallards’ feeding dishes, Sheba would simply sit a few feet away and watch the ducks feed. Neither species seemed fazed by the other. There was a time when Sheba attempted to cultivate a baby squirrel as a playmate, by chasing it but the squirrel won the day by ‘barking’ at her adversary and scaring off the cat on a permanent basis. Sheba thereafter avoided all squirrels and contented herself by playing with the feather shed by a passing collared dove. One thing our little white cat did like was the smell of bleach and whenever my wife used it as a cleansing agent in a bucket of water, Sheba would be on the alert and wait for Glenys to discard the bucket’s contents in the road outside. Once the liquid had spread itself over the asphalt surface, Sheba would promptly roll in it for several minutes and without any apparent harm to herself. Our vet at Rosemary Lodge assured us that certain cats developed quirky habits and bleach was Sheba’s! During February it became clear that our little cat was far from well ,with serious weight loss and general lethargy. She spent a week in the

At the end of February it became abundantly clear that Sheba was rapidly succumbing to the diabetes and, following several more days at Rosemary Lodge, we brought her home again for the last time. This strange but endearing little cat still managed to perk up again for a few more days but by the first week of March, she took another turn for the worst and we decided that it would be kinder to have her put to sleep, rather than spend yet another period in the animal hospital, where she had no quality of life. On March 8, Glenys and I took Sheba on her final journey and the lethal injection was administered at 3.15pm. It was a tremendously sad moment for us but at least we were with Sheba when she died. We took Sheba to the Companions Haven Pet Crematorium in Pucklechurch, where she was cremated and her ashes placed in a pewter urn in the shape of a sleeping cat. She now ‘rests’ under the coffee table in our lounge, which was her favourite spot and, strangely, we can still feel her presence, such was the level of her personality. As much as I would love another pet, we could never replace Sheba and will leave it at that. We still have the two mallard ducks as occasional visitors and our nesting blue tits have produced two offspring, which seem quite happy to fly around our garden and feed from the peanut containers near our lounge window. Sheba was a great companion.


The Larkhall

Village Kitchen

The column that puts creativity back into cooking with the majority of ingredients sourced from Larkhall shops, gardens or allotments.

New Oriel Hall

Summer is the quietest time of the year at New Oriel Hall. Lots of our regular teachers take a well-deserved break. Weekends are a different story, with plenty of family events such as weddings. The hall is very popular as a wedding venue because we offer a special package, offering complete flexibility. Access includes Friday afternoon, all day Saturday and Sunday until lunchtime, for tidying up. On average we host around a dozen weddings a year, each one unique. Some couples turn the Friday evening, prior to getting hitched, into a pre-wedding party, decorating the hall together with their friends. This goes from moderately simple decoration to the spectacular. One couple turned the whole of the main hall into a huge Bedouin tent, with flower-bedecked hangings. Choice of food varies enormously too, with some couples going for grand sit-down meals, and others preferring hog roasts, buffets, curry banquets or pie and mash suppers. All have been done. The same goes for the music and entertainment. Couples love both the flexibility and the price. If anyone reading this is thinking of getting married check out our venue before going any further. Potentially you could save yourself the price of a deposit on a house. For up-to-date details about summer workshops and all our regular classes, including new ones due to start in September, check out our web site: or drop in for a look around and a chat.

CAJUN STYLE CRABBIE MUSHROOMS Ingredients: 12 large stuffing mushrooms 1 tablespoon margarine ¼ cup of chopped onions ¼ cup of chopped green pepper (capsicum) Fresh crab meat or can ½ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 teaspoon chilli pepper flakes 1 teaspoon of fresh basil ½ teaspoon black pepper 1 clove of crushed garlic Method: Preheat oven to 350F. Wash and remove stems from mushrooms. Chop stems finely and set aside. Heat margarine in a medium-sized pan, add mushroom stems, onions and green peppers. Cook until tender. Remove from heat and add crab meat. Stuff mushroom caps with this mixture and place on an ungreased baking dish. Combine cheese, pepper flakes, basil, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Sprinkle over mushrooms and bake for 20-minutes, or until thoroughly cooked. Serve as a starter. Preparation time – 35 minutes NB. This recipe hails from the State of Louisiana and the word Cajun is a corruption of Arcadian.


porting Fever!

Not to be outdone by a World Cup, Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games or the Tour de France (starting in, um, Yorkshire), St Mark’s School have been hitting the Astro with a range of sporting events of their own! This term, children from St Mark’s and the Valley Schools, Batheaston, Bathford and Bathampton have been taking part in a series of sporting festivals including Tagtails, Tennis Cricket and Multi Skills. Brendan Rouse the St Mark’s School Sports Coordinator thanked headteachers, teachers and parents for choosing to support the festivals. “When I audited competitive sport in our cluster back in 2003, we had about 40 children competing, mainly Year 5 & 6 pupils in football and netball. This year, we have offered competitive opportunities for every year group with over 750 pupils from Year 1 through to Year 6 taking part.” Pictures courtesy of Bath Chronicle

Castle Combe Karting by Marley For anyone who loves the noise, smell and atmosphere of racing, and would like to start off with the basics, then what better place to start than Castle Combe Karting. I have been karting there now for two years and I still absolutely love it! The karting is so much fun and it’s proper good racing. I am currently second in the championship and the feeling you get is amazing. What makes it more exciting however is it’s outdoors so you experience the force of nature. There are two sessions for the juniors every 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month. To participate, you need to be between the age of 1115 or above 4’8” in height. You need no experience and all equipment is provided. All sessions last about 4 hours. First timers go through a full safety briefing and get to learn how to drive the karts properly. Once done, everyone gets to take on the full circuit and really push themselves to the limit. Although small, it’s a fast and demanding track and you get a real buzz driving around it. Once you have your licence and have come enough times, you are then promoted to the Junior Championship. These sessions start at around 1pm and last about 4 hours. You start with a practise session to get your eye in and to sharpen yourself up. After a safety briefing, the heats begin. If you do well enough in the heats, there’s a final, followed by a driver ceremony, awarding the top three drivers with trophies, plus an extra two points for the winner. The astonishing thing is you can get all of this for £36 per session. Don’t worry adults, because there is something for you as well. The Senior Championship is for anyone aged over 15 with sessions lasting 3 hours. Sessions are held most Saturdays throughout the year and cost £47. There is lots more information on their website I strongly advise you to have a go if you have any racing aspirations at all. A fantastic place for a day out, a fantastic day for racing!

FACILITIES TO HIRE St Mark’s School has indoor and outdoor facilities available to hire at very competitive rates from sports facilities to conference and meeting rooms. Please call or email Mrs Hunter on or 01225 326604 for further information.


Swainswick Primary The children in Year 5 at Swainswick School have recently spent four mornings studying the village of Upper Swainswick. Each of the four teams have studied a different house in the village. Here, they describe their findings. We took maps of the village with us, and also iPads to photograph each of the houses. We also fitted in a visit to Cafe Swainswick ( nice cake) and chatted with the customers to find out further information about the village.

The Manor  by Edmund Campion-Dye and Elaeth Myers-McCraw The main reason we picked the Manor House to put in this article about the village of Upper Swainswick is because its one of the oldest buildings and is a big part of the village. The Manor House used to be shaped as the letter L. The manor was knocked down and rebuilt more than twice.

The Old Forge by Stephanie Hill I decided to write about The Old Forge for just by looking at it, it makes me wonder what it has seen and what it has been through. . . The Old Forge used to be known as Forge Cottage and in 1964 was made a private house by Mr Evans. There is still an anvil in the front garden today. Forge Cottage is said to be between 300 and 500 years old. If it were 300 years old that would mean it had been built at around 1686 and if it were 500 years old, around 1486. There are still things in both Woolley Valley and St Mary's Church in Swainswick that were made in The Old Forge. In the Forge men would work six days a week, taking Sundays off. The blacksmith would usually need around two or three men to help. As you may be able to guess the forge would get extremely hot and stuffy and that makes me feel very sorry for the men who had to work all day in that heat. The forge also became a dame school for a few years before Swainswick School was built. After that a man called Fred Moor came to live there. It is said that he made his living by making coffins. The Old Forge is halfway up Blacksmiths Lane and the old anvil is still clearly visible in the garden.


There was an old sword found inside a stone by the house, many people believe that it was Edmund Fforde who found it first. The Manor is located behind St Mary's Church at the southwest part of the village. There is a spring near by. The water travels underground from the Manor down to the stream. The Manor House is on Church Lane near two graveyards, and used to be used as a farm. There is a big tithe barn which worked with the Manor. The tithe barn supplied food for the church. When we were walking around the village we peeked over a wall by the Manor and found some men working on the tiles in a swimming pool.

The Batch

Hill House 

by Freya Higgins

by Toby Smith

I chose to find out about the row of Batch houses because I think that they have some interesting history behind them. I also love the view looking down on the village from The Batch. I also love how there are lots of windows, which I don't think that a lot of the houses in Swainswick have in them.

I chose to find out about Hill House because it is at the top of Church Hill and it is close to the church. I also like it because if you look from there you have a breath-taking view of Woolley Valley.

The Batch is a row of four houses in Upper Swainswick that were built in 1839 making them 165 years old. Number One in the row of houses was a farm house and Two, Three and Four were given out to the people that worked on the farm. Shepherds Hey was originally a barn belonging to the farm, but it is now a house. The Batch was owned by the people who lived in Hill House. Number Two The Batch also became the Headteacher's House for a while. It is said that there is a ghost that haunts the house. Mrs Dawney (a former owner of The Batch) was working late one evening when she heard something behind her. She turned around and saw a woman that looked like a ghost. So from this day on the ghost is said to be still haunting the house. There are many more interesting houses to discover in the village of Upper Swainswick, and each one has its own story to tell.

The house was built in 1600, and one of its owners was a man called William Prynne. He lived there during the time of Charles 1st. William often disagreed with Charles because he was a parliamentarian. This made Charles very cross so he chopped William's ears off and branded him with the letters S.L. (Seditious Libeller).

Larkhall Athletic F.C. Reflections on a historic season for Larkhall Athletic by ex-chairman Jim McLay and Tracey Hill Larkhall Athletic FC will never forget the 2013-14 season. There were so many fine moments and performances to savour from such a wonderful group of young men; a playing squad with depth and with great loyalty to each other.

The season began with dreadful news, however. Only 4 days before the first competitive game the club learned that first team manager Wayne Thorne had been involved in a horrific car accident that left him with serious injuries. The players dug deep and pulled the opening game down at Bridport back from 3-1 down to win 4-3. This set the tone for the remainder of the season, which saw so many fantastic results. The Larks' FA cup run produced a 4-0 drubbing of Willand Rovers, a 1-0 victory over Southern League Tiverton Town, then a really fine performance at higher-level Bideford which resulted in the first defeat of the season. In the other FA competition, the Vase, the Larks equalled their achievement from last season by reaching the fifth round again, beating opponents from the Hellenic and Wessex leagues and only going out to the eventual winners.


There were so many fine moments and performances to savour from such a wonderful group of young men; a playing squad with depth and with great loyalty to each other.


It was not until the end of September that the Larks dropped their first points in the league, and the season saw only one league loss in total. One of the standout matches was the Somerset Premier Cup tie across the city at Twerton Park in the Larks' first ever match on equal standing with Bath City. It took till extra time for the Conference side to beat the Larks 2-1. Success in a cup competition was to come, though, as the Larks beat local rivals Odd Down in the semis to reach the final of the Western League Les Phillips Cup where they beat Cribbs. This result gave the Larks an unprecedented league and cup double as only a week before this final the league title had been won with a margin of 21 points over second-placed Bristol Manor Farm. Thanks to all the hard work over the 2012-13 season, Plain Ham was finally judged suitable by the FA for the club to take up promotion into step 4, the Southern league, where in 2014-15 the Larks will play opponents such Merthyr Town, Mangotsfield, Tiverton Town, Taunton and so on. Before that, there are a couple of home friendlies scheduled: against Bath City on 10th July and Paulton Rovers on 21st July. Come along and watch the new squad be put through their paces!

LARKHALL SPORTS CLUB Charlcombe Lane, Larkhall FULLY EQUIPPED CLUBHOUSE AVAILABLE FOR PRIVATE HIRE AT COMPETITIVE RATES Licensed for up to 100 guests Catering and disco facilities available For further information and booking enquiries, please contact:

Clive Burge on 01225 311156 Special discounts to all Club Members


Student Reviews

Long ago in a dark, dark time known as 1998, a film was brilliantly advertised as being a remake of the original Godzilla movie, making it dark, realistic, and having political undertones. What did we get? A slapstick comedy featuring baby Godzilla slipping on gumballs and Matthew Broderick saying, “That’s a lot of fish.” So naturally fans were left rather annoyed, and left feeling that their beloved king of the monsters wasn’t being paid enough tribute in modern cinema. Luckily, sixteen years later director Gareth Edwards saves the day with his movie “Godzilla” Normally I would talk about the plot in this paragraph, but I really can’t. Half of the experience of going to see Godzilla is really being unaware of what’s going to happen, and so I’ll only give a very brief look at the plot. Joe Brody (Brian Cranston) works at a nuclear power plant, and on his birthday his wife (Juliette Binoche) comes with him to the plant in order to help him with some problems. While there they discover a string of odd radioactive spikes and then blah blah blah Godzilla. I really can’t explain any more than that. This movie’s biggest advantage is its build-up. Godzilla himself only shows up in the last half-hour of the movie, and so the other hour and a half is spent mostly around Brian Cranston’s character and his son Ford Brody (Aaron Johnson) searching around nuclear sites and trying to track down whatever is causing these odd radioactive spikes, and rousing these mysterious other monsters that a certain king of the monsters may throw down near the end *wink*. The tone that this film sets and the overall feel that it creates is astounding, and is very much up to scratch with something like Jaws or Flight of the Navigator. It’s all extremely interesting to watch, seeing how governments and scientists react, how the military overreacts, etcetera. However this film’s negative (notice how it only has one) is side-lining Brian Cranston’s character for his son. Cranston is an infinitely better actor (for one scene of his I’m determined to get him nominated for best actor) and his character is the one that we were most attached to. Pushing him to the side for a character that is a cold, military soldier with a “Let’s get the job done” attitude was definitely a poor decision. But what’s a Godzilla movie without a gigantic lizard destroying the city? Not much, and when Godzilla does appear in this film he is truly fantastic. He is brilliantly CG’d, his scale is brilliantly portrayed, and when he is scrapping with the other monsters he is scrapping HARD. The final fight contains what I would like to say deserves the “Best Kill Award” from whatever silly organisation would grant such a thing. However, a complaint that people have is that Godzilla is teased too much in this film. I completely disagree, as keeping Godzilla’s fighting for the last little bit of the movie made it far FAR more impressive. It’s like having a steaming hot lobster that looks like the most delicious thing you’ve ever seen served, but you aren’t allowed to eat it for half an hour. So this delicious meal stares at you, making you lick your lips in anticipation more and more every second. And when you finally are allowed to chow down, it tastes oh, so delicious. So, in conclusion, Godzilla is easily a contender for best picture this year. It has excellent build-up, flawless acting, and a final fight scene to blow any other film’s climax out of the water. For any lover of action, monster, or any darker movie in general, Godzilla is a must see. Godzilla scores a 9/10.

BOOK: THE HUNGER GAMES by Lizzie “Winning will make you famous. Losing means certain death.” The Hunger Games is a trilogy of books by author Suzanne Collins, currently being transformed into a series of films. They are based in a futuristic setting about a way of life for a girl named Katniss (the main character) who lives in District 12. In this book, there are 12 districts which are controlled by a dictatorship based in the capital, Panem. District 1 is the richest and as you go up through the districts, the money goes down. They celebrate an annual event called “The Hunger Games” in Panem, where one unfortunate boy and girl, aged 12-18, are chosen at random from each district to participate in these televised games. The candidates or ‘Tributes’ are transported to a controlled arena, where they have to fight to the death, while being watched by everyone, including loved ones, as a form of entertainment. This is the second time I have read The Hunger Games and still by reading the first chapter, I am overwhelmed by suspense and the desire to keep reading. Although the first film is mostly true to the book, you can enjoy so many more hours of reading in detail about events that the film has missed out. You realise why characters act a certain way according to their backgrounds, allowing you time to connect to the characters emotionally and physically, which consequently, has led me to admire the film so much more. I would definitely recommend this book as I haven’t found another one like it and you are guaranteed a good read with such a clever and intriguing plot, which can catch you off guard.

Profile for St Mark's School Bath

Larkhall News Issue 26 Web Version  

A Free Publication by St Marks School, Bath

Larkhall News Issue 26 Web Version  

A Free Publication by St Marks School, Bath


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