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Headteacher’s Newsletter


Half Term Spring 2011 Message from the Head Every picture tells a story! More p ic t ures , les s s to r y? No t so…..there are still lots of stories behind this pictorial résumé of what we have been up to over the past seven weeks! Individual stories of major success, achievement and altruism as well as similar stories at whole-school level. Do enjoy this round-up of Vesey activities of a half-term that will be remembered for ‘working hard and playing hard’!

Staff News In January we welcomed Maryann Dye, our new Director of Music and wish her a long and happy association with BVGS and the musical life of the school. Similarly we welcomed Alex Davis, Teacher of PE/Games, who joins the team of expert teachers and coaches in another high profile department. We say thanks and farewell to Fiona Conway, teacher of Modern Foreign Languages who leaves BVGS to begin maternity leave.

Academic Profile

Students enjoy friendship, the beginnings of warmer days and benefit, thanks to Vesey benefactors, from the magnificent facility on Middle Field, available each day for recreational football.

Dan Evans L6 delivered a 9 min Alan Bennett style monologue in the final assembly of term last Christmas, entitled ‘A Shepherd’s Tale’, re-telling the story of angels appearing to shepherds, watching their flocks by night. The passage encouraged us to reflect on the inter-dependence between shepherd and sheep and consider, through revelation and then faith, the possibility of our dependence on the ‘Shepherd King’. A well delivered, dramatised message for Christmas and the New Year.

and ‘Forty Years on’ …….

David Iddon Headteacher Happy hour at lunchtime!

‘Talking Heads’

Good news of Oxbridge places revealed to three wise men of Vesey’s: Congratulations (left to right) to Phil Griggs Mech. Engineering at Pembroke, Cambridge Patrick Ball Earth Science at St Hugh’s, Oxford Conor Healy History at Pembroke, Cambridge

Talk of the town…... …..across the city and beyond! Such is our academic profile locally, across B’ham and beyond, that in 2011 there are no fewer than 468 applicants from across the region (375 in 2010), seeking to join our Sixth Form.

BVGS Deputy Head, Ian Maddy, who retired in 2009, was Guest of Honour at the 40th running of the King Henry VIII’s National Cross-Country Relay Race on 2 Feb in Coventry. Ian was there at the inception in 1971 when this prestigious race began. BVGS was awarded a special trophy for being the only school to have competed in all 40 years! Pictured below is the BVGS running squad, managed by Deputy Head Bill Potter. They were also awarded a trophy for the most improved school placing from 2010 to 2011.

6th Form Admissions Officer, Julie Evetts (above), displays a small sample of the sackfuls of applications from would-be New Veseyans.

Lower Sixth Chemists in action Tom Andrew L6, deep in concentration during a recent practical, investigating the effect of temperature on the kinetics of thiosulphate/hydrochloric acid reaction. Science is an increasingly popular choice, along with Maths, for entrance to our L6.

Ronan Davis in the Sutton Park Race 2011

Sincere thanks to Sportology of Mere Green for so kindly sponsoring two voucher prizes for Sportsman/woman of each term. Congratulations to last term’s winners: Ryan Brunsden U6 1st XV winger with 17 tries and a hat-trick against Princethorpe Coll. and Dan Powell 8W recently crowned National U14 Judo Champion and now selected for the Great Britain squad. Dan also plays full-back for the U13A rugby team.

Headteacher’s Newsletter

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Blowing their own trumpet.……..and other instruments! The BVGS Brass Ensemble in practice at lunchtime


The Tom Wyer Maths Room

The next concert in Big School will be on Tuesday 29th March at 7.30pm. Tickets on sale after half-term.

GCSE Maths hits record number! News came in this January that our top set of 31 fasttrack Mathematicians in Yr 11 had all scored A* in the early entry GCSE. A new record for the Maths department. Congratulations to teacher Stuart Hutchieson and his students!

Pictured by the plaque, members of the family of the late Tom Wyer, governor and dear friend of the Vesey Community. We commemorate his tremendous work for the school and his bequest, which has enabled the complete refurbishment of one of the Maths classrooms, the award of a Senior Speech Day prize and a bench in his name.

Art On Wednesday 2 Feb our Yr 10 GCSE students spent the day in the Art Dept with visiting artist Jon DeNaro who taught them his technique for creating larger than life portraits. Students really enjoyed the experience of spending an extended amount of time on producing such a large piece of work. Students will spend the coming lessons completing the portraits which will then be displayed around the school.

Three generations of Veseyans

Chess move with Coaches! A BVGS first: 4 teams of 6 entered the Lightning Tournament on Friday 4 February. We had so many players we had to arrange coach transport. They held their own against stiff opposition from KES, Solihull and Five Ways. Coaches Heather Hodkinson and Alex Morgan were impressed with the maturity of all the players. Individually, they achieved some great wins and maintained a fantastic team spirit throughout the event.

V-Factor Charity Event 11 Feb

Year 8 Trip to Köln Pictured below: 38 students in Yr 8 who visited the German Markets in Köln just before Christmas.

Dad: John Cooper (1973-75) 1st XI Hockey captain. Son: Tom Cooper 2010-11 1st Oh, what a night! Not one of the songs but our tal- XV Full-back. Grandad: Dr Nigel Cooper (1940ented students produced a sensational V-Factor show 47) former 1st XV scrum-half and Son: Rob Coofor 100+ Vesey guests in Big School which rivalled, if per (2001-08) former 1st XV winger, enjoying a not superseded, the equivalent TV version! Simon moment of post match Vesey togetherness. Cowell eat your heart out! Beautifully laid tables Left to right:

and a great ambience, created by ‘maître d’hôtel’ Jay Lal U6, Charity Officer, and his team of Sixth Form helpers. They were ably supported by the PAC who ran the bar and booked ‘The Picnic Basket’, our outside caterers. A great team effort on the part of students, who planned and delivered the whole event.

BVGS Charitable Donations Cancer Research and Breakthrough Breast Cancer £225.32 Help For Heroes


Great Ormond Street Hospital


Winner of V-Factor Alzheimer's Society £55.52 2011, Taleisha Hutton V-Factor Event 11 Feb in Big School £957.00 (right) with Jay Lal (left) Poppy Appeal £379.48 ready to receive his Red House Charity £30.56 guests for what promGrand Total since September now stands at £9,605.31 ised to be and proved to be another memorable night in the Vesey calen- Physics: The final lecture at B’ham Uni. this season will be: The Science of dar. Congratulations to Armageddon Jay Tate, Spaceguard 8th Mar 7.30pm, looking at the threat posed to earth by impacts from space and also a demonstration of a robotic telescope. all involved!

February 2011

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Vesey’s goes to Science Live!

Crimewatch UK!

Fifteen Yr 10 students recently attended a lecture day at Birmingham Symphony Hall to hear a mixture of top scientists discussing research in their collective fields. A wide range of topics was covered including evolution, oscillating reactions, careers in Physics and black holes and time-travel. The scientists were all famous within their own subject areas and included the likes of Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones and Jim Al-Khalili who have written some excellent popular science books, plus Maggie Aderin-Pocock who recently featured in the BBC documentary ‘Do we really need the moon?’. The students gained some inside knowledge from a chief GCSE examiner on exam technique, which means they have no excuse for not excelling in their GCSEs now!

Bringing History alive!

Year 7 students were invited to investigate the crime scene of the murder of Thomas Becket. Our young investigators were given evidence and reports in order to stimulate their study of the death of Thomas Becket and its impact on the medieval period. All Year 7 students produced some fantastic models including devils’ heads and lego cathedrals in order to illustrate their opinions of Thomas Becket. The next cases for the Year 7 investigators will be the suspicious deaths of Amy Dudley and The Princes in the Tower. Congratulations to both teachers and students for their work in these cordonedoff areas of crime! AS & A2 level historians attended a History lecture at the University of Aston, this half term. The Lower Sixth were invited to discuss the impact of immigration on Western Europe and the Upper Sixth attended a lecture on the future of Public Policy in England.

Holocaust Memorial Day was commemorated with an assembly on the theme of ‘Untold Stories’. The ideas and themes about how the Holocaust and other genocides have affected ordinary people will be followed up in Yr 9 History lessons.

Zip Theatre On 2 February the West Midlands Arson Task Force and Zip Theatre performed a play for Yrs 7 & 8, raising awareness of the dangers of malicious fires and the importance of fire safety. The students’ post performance questions were thoughtful and sensitive. The students thoroughly enjoyed the performance which clearly demonstrated what could happen and how quickly things get out of hand if fires are started without appropriate control measures in place.

Headteacher’s Lunches

New Veseyans in the L6 enjoying a ‘business lunch’ with the Headteacher as a further welcome to Vesey's and a chance to offer feedback on their experience after one term. The reports were very favourable and students offered many ideas for future improvements.

Other Sixth Form News Abrar Ibrahim U6 was the lucky winner of the £300 prom dress, a prize that was raffled between the 6th form girls with money raised going to Breakthrough Breast Cancer. On 7 January Dave Goodwin and Pam Maskell attended the annual Admissions Conference held at Aston University enabling us to keep up to date with changes within the University admissions process.

David Graham pictured above with Year 7 Natural High Prizewinners in Old Big School in December. Zip Theatre, based in Wolverhampton, provides dramatised pieces designed for the Citizenship and PSHE programmes.

L6 Careers Aspiration Interviews with Senior Learning Mentor Pam Maskell: every student in L6 has the opportunity to discuss future plans and the university application process. Advice on Gap Year, money management and alternative career paths is also available.

Yr 11Geography Field Trip 14 Jan

Wednesday afternoon mountain bike option led by Martin Lea, Head of Science, in Sutton Park on 9 February 2011.

to the beautiful Ashes Hollow Valley, the Long Mynd, Shropshire, during which our students attracted compliments from members of the public, including a retired university lecturer, for their enthusiasm towards their study.

Headteacher’s Newsletter

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Heads we win? U13A & U13B Front Row forwards have heads up before a recent match against King Edward VI Camp Hill Left to right: U13A & U13B

Samee Khan 8G Ben Saveker 8W Patrick Singleton 8W Kar Fung Yip 8B Nathaniel Longhorne 8W Ben Jesson 8G

Rugby: U18 Daily Mail Cup Round 6 on 8 Jan 2011(Last 32 from 500+ schools). Following victory over the Australians from Merewether HS, Melbourne on 3 Jan our 1st XV went into this game against last year’s quarter finalists The Bishop Stortford High School in buoyant mood. However, despite an early first half try and a valiant second half of 8-7 to Vesey’s, they succumbed, unable to claw back the early deficit, 15-30 to the better team on the day. Well done to this year’s 1st XV who equalled the best progression by a Vesey side in the history of this competition.


available at lunchtimes in the Sports Hall: Richard Slater 11B in action.

Jon Hipkiss, at centre tries hard to penetrate the defence, whilst (above) winger Ryan Brunsden weaves his way, with good Vesey support, through the opponents he has wrong-footed. (Left)

England U18 Hockey

West Midlands Senior Swimming Champions

England U16 Rugby Congratulations to Matt Goodall 11R (centre and full-back) who has made it to the final round of selection for the U16 England squad, ahead of the naming of the England teams. Matt has also recently been promoted to the Worcester Warriors Academy EPDG Gold Group.

Philip Hewitt, Dominic Rickards and James Youngman

Congratulations to 17 yr old Navraj Degun L6, selected for the England U18 hockey squad with another year ahead of him at this age range. A magnificent achievement which will be recorded on our National Honours in Sport board in Big School.

Northampton Head of the River Nene 29 Jan A great start to our first outdoor regatta with two wins: Muzamil Shaikh below with his tankard for a victory in U15 Single Sculls. Congratulations also to our Sixth Form Crew who won the U18 Coxless Fours. Referee Dave Goodwin signals a try for Vesey’s in the U16 match v Solihull.

Left: U15

David Tonks 10B makes a break. Above: U16 Jordan Beer 11G brings down his man v Solihull.

Monty Foley-Williamson 10B, U15A scrum-half, evades his counterpart and distributes the ball with poise and control in a close 3-7 encounter against Solihull School on 12 Feb.

Hockey: BVGS U18 Warwickshire Champions 2010 and favourites to win again this year were defeated in the semi-final by Solihull School in a goal-mouth mix-up against the run of play. Up and coming player to note: Will Backhouse 10W playing 1st X1. A disappointing end to the season for a tremendous 1st X1 squad but a brilliant record overall P16 W12 D 3 L1. 2nd XI P14 W5 D2 L7. U15s remain unbeaten with James Brown 10G and Drew Byrne 10B prolific scorers. U14s were defeated in the County Cup semi-final by Rugby School. Tomas Homer U6 in action

Published for BVGS by Sharon Weblin, Headteacher’s PA Printed by Jayne Joyce , BVGS Reprographics.

Bishop Veseys Newsletter Feb 2011  

Newsletter from Headmaster David Iddon of Bishop Vesey's Grammar School, Sutton Coldfield for half-term Feb 2011

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