Over the past few months we have introduced a number of positive changes at Westlands to ensure that your child receives the best possible education. Our leadership team has focussed on improving standards of teaching across the board, while students have been challenged to raise their aspirations, realise their potential, and work harder to achieve better results.Click here to continue reading...
The Governors of Westlands School are delighted to tell you all that, following a rigourous, exhaustive and challenging process of interview, testing and assessment, Ms Alex Newton has been selected as our new Principal.Click here to continue reading...
Welcome to the Headteacher's Blog. I hope that this will give you an insight into the daily life of a student at Westlands School. We pride ourselves on ensuring that all students are given the chance to excel and here are a few examples of the opportunities available to all of our students and parents.Lyndsey Kane
Students and staff from Westlands School Outdoor Education Team volunteered to perform the role of 'casualties' to help with training for the Ashburton Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team. The day-long event involved simulated accidents and emergencies designed to test and develop the skills of the rescue team members.
The blog post below, written by Mrs Darby, outlines the action packed day:
"If there is one thing that we love, it is helping out our friends at Ashburton DSRT. We know that they would be there to help us if we needed them (no offence guys but we hope that never happens). Saturday 15th March was the third time that we have played the part of stranded Dartmoor casualties and I like to think that, along with some of our Westlands youngsters, we are getting quite good at it. Lucy Atkins, for example, is becoming a very convincing "Stroppy Teacher" and Fi Darby is now an expert at the role of "I've Lost the Kids". For this training session however, the acting awards have to go to our youngsters who, with the help of judiciously applied make-up, portrayed convincing snakebites, burns, hypothermia and broken legs (we promise to learn the difference between a femur and a tibia for next time!)
The beautiful weather was a mixed blessing, it was lovely to have a rare opportunity to sit on Dartmoor in the sunshine but the excellent visibility made us far too easy to find. We are planning to wear camouflage next time! However, even on a lovely day it is not too difficult to imagine what you would be feeling if your scenario was real rather than make-believe. Seeing red jacketed Rescue Team members appearing over the hills to offer help is always a moving experience.
The depth of knowledge and experience of the Ashburton team once again provided a unique opportunity for both ourselves and our youngsters to learn about managing difficult expedition situations. Our older lads were particularly impressed and we know that they aspire to becoming team members themselves when they are old enough.
We would all like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to all involved in the training exercise. The experience was, once again, an invaluable one and the care, attention and encouragement offered to our youngsters by the already hard-working team members was heart-warming and very much appreciated. A particular thanks to Mickey for liaising with us over our scenarios, to our minders Lugs, Andy and Si for looking after us so well, to the lovely ladies who made ten extra meals so that we could join in with dinner and to "Bill" and "Bill" the paparazzi who were impressive in their persistence and really made me laugh.
Any time you need casualties guys, you know where we are â€¦ or do you!?!
Pictured is Westlands School's Sian Lyden, Year 10, playing it cool whilst on a stretcher ride.
Last week students in Year 7 went to Glastonbury Abbey and Tor on an English trip. Students visited the ruins of the ancient Abbey and completed three activities. The first was a myths and legends tour of the Abbey ruins looking at King Arthur’s grave and the monks’ kitchen amongst other things. The second a medieval toothpaste making session as an apothecary. Thirdly, a ‘life as a monk’ learning session which ended up with students (and teachers) dressed as monks observing a vow of silence and walking around the Abbey grounds.
After lunch, students climbed the Glastonbury Tor and looked out over the whole of Glastonbury and the surrounding area. All students had a fantastic day and really enjoyed learning about the myths and legends of our own country!
Following on from previous student success in the Level 2 Award in Food Safety for Catering, a number of Westlands School staff have also successfully completed the qualification.
Working with Mrs Heritage in the Food Technology Department, the group of support staff undertook training in their own time in order to develop the subject knowledge required for the examinations. Over a three week period, the staff met for a total of six hours in order to prepare themselves for the tests.
The award, issued by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, is a recognised professional qualification enabling recipients to secure employment within the food industry.
Pictured with their certificates (left to right) are Lisa Wrigglesworth, Peta Frost, Debbie Summerfield, Course Leader Gail Heritage, Rose Howells-King, Bernie O'Callaghan and Charlotte Lear. Jacqui Harding and Sandra Mills (not pictured) also achieved the qualification.
Speaking of the Award, Rose Howells-King explained:
"I thoroughly enjoyed taking this course and learnt a lot from it. The members of the group and tutor were lovely and very supportive. I will find my learning very useful both at home and during Activities Week when helping with the cookery groups. I would certainly recommend this course".
The Westlands School Gold Duke of Edinburgh group continued with their fund raising efforts this week with a sponsored cycle and row. The event, which was staged to coincide with the Year 8 Options Evening in order to maximise interest, mirrored the journey in terms of distance between Westlands School and the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is the destination for the Gold Expedition in July 2014.
Using static exercise bikes and rowing machines, the six Sixth Form students successfully cycled and rowed the required distance, starting at 7.00 am and finishing at 7.00 pm. Between them they covered 323 miles. The Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award group comprises Joe Tucker, Josh Ramsey, Abi Humphrey, Ben Wood, Ryan Shenton-Smith and Kieran Tully.
Thanks go to all of the staff, students and parents who sponsored the team, or who contributed to the donations on the day. The funding will be used to pay for the cost of transporting both the students and their equipment to the Isle of Man in the summer term.
Westlands School Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme Manager, Lucy Atkins, spoke of the students:
"I am very pleased with how hard the Gold group are working to make their expedition a success."
Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award participant Kieran Tully explains:
"This expedition marks the completion of three years hard work and involvement in the scheme. Not many people achieve the Gold Award and it gives me a real sense of satisfaction. To raise funds for the expedition we have run sweet sales, ice lolly sales and a Year 7 Disco in addition to this week's sponsored cycle/row. We will be undertaking expedition training on Dartmoor over the Easter holidays and our practice expedition will be on Exmoor".
The students embark on their trip to the Isle of Man at the end of July.
If you would be interested in making a donation to help fund the expedition, please email Lucy Atkins -
Students in Year 12, following the A-Level Geography programme, visited Dartmoor last week to undertake some of the fieldwork that makes up an integral part of their qualification. The trip, which was organised by Mr Willmore, focused on the River Teign and its surrounding area.
The students were briefed with examining and investigating the changing profile of the river from its source to the sea. The students began this particular part of their research near the source of the river at Teigncombe and finished by Coombe Cellars in Combeinteignhead.
Year 12 Geography student Alex Littlejohns explains:
"We spent the day measuring the velocity of the river and the pebble calibre to see how the river changes from the upper course to the lower course. It was a really interesting and enjoyable day".
Westlands students from across the year groups were given an opportunity to try the sport of Archery last week. The participating students were selected by their Student Progress Leaders, in recognition of their hard work and academic progress throughout the year. Two boys and two girls from each year were nominated for the reward.
The hour long sessions were led by visitors 'Brixham Archers' who provided the expertise and equipment.
PE teacher Mr Veale explained:
"We wanted to offer our students an opportunity to take part in an activity that under normal circumstances would not be possible within curriculum time. At Westlands we hold regular events such as this, called "Trailblazer". Trailblazer events are normally free to students, made possible because of the sponsorship given to the scheme by Waitrose in Plainmoor. Trailblazer aims to create a sense of adventure in our pupils, through trying new activities, or by plying their skills in environments that are unusual within a school setting".
The Archery day catered for 100 students in total, who had been awarded a place on the day for a variety of reasons: â€¢ Gifted and Talented PE students â€¢ Pupils that have made excellent academic progress within the last year â€¢ Less confident PE performers targeted through the REACH campaign â€¢ Purchasing a place by using 10 of their hard earned 'Westlands Pounds'
Amy Hewitt, Year 9, said of her experience "This morning has been great. I have had a go at archery once before and am enjoying the opportunity to have another go".
Her fellow archer, Paige Mitchell confirmed:
"I also have done archery before but I really enjoyed it and was keen to learn some more skills. Today has helped me to do that".
As part of their BTEC course in Health and Social Care, Year 11 students hosted a group of younger children to participate in a creative activity. The activities were planned, developed and delivered by the Health and Social Care students as part of their Creative Activity Unit.
The visiting children, who were predominantly aged between 4 and 5 years old, came from a number of local primaries including Homelands Primary School, Watcombe Primary School, Warberry Primary School and Shiphay Learning Academy. They spent the afternoon working in the Health and Social Care Department under the guidance and supervision of the Westlands School students.
The purpose of the afternoon was for the students to plan a creative activity, taking into account the physical, intellectual, emotional and social benefits the younger children would gain.
Teacher Mrs Annette Corner explains:
"It is fantastic to see the little ones so engaged. The concerns of the group regarding how they would cope were unfounded. Both young and older students have been brilliant".
Year 11 student Alisha Aziz explains what she has learnt from the assignment:
"From this activity I have a better understanding of children's' capabilities. It was great fun interacting with the children.
Salam Yonis, from neighbouring Shiphay Learning Academy, spoke of her time at Westlands:
"I enjoyed the painting and making flowers from paper and tissue"
Year 8 student, Xavier Constantino , has been gaining valuable work experience working with Trinity Sailing Foundation based in Brixham.
In this personal account, Xavier tells us what he has been learning and the work he has been undertaking:
Every Tuesday, Mrs Skingle takes Anna and I on the bus to Brixham to help restore a selection of boats. We have been working on a fleet of three boats in conjunction with a charity by the name of Trinity Sailing.
The first boat we worked on was called Leader. We started off by sanding it down before cleaning and preparing the bunks for painting. Once that was completed, we painted them. Next, we slushed the anchor and a few metal poles (slushing is painting things in a black thin layer that dries like rubber; when applying the slush it is like paint).
We are currently working on Provident, sorting out and cleaning the back of the boat where the crew sleep. We have cleaned and sanded it and we are just in the stage of painting. I really enjoy going to Brixham to refurbish the boat and I have learned a lot of useful skills.
Trinity Sailing Foundation has two main aims - to support the personal development of young people, using the medium of offshore sail training on traditional vessels and to preserve the historic vessels for which they are responsible as important examples of the UK's maritime heritage.
Thirty-six students from Westlands Sixth form visited the annual UCAS Higher Education Convention at Westpoint Exhibition Arena in Exeter on 20th March 2014.
This invaluable experience enabled the students considering Higher Education to meet representatives from a variety of Universities and discover more about the courses on offer and University life in general. 140 Higher Education institutions and professional organisations exhibited at the convention which was visited by over 9000 students from across the country.
Uptake for the trip was much greater than in previous years, and the Sixth Form Team are hopeful that the students who attended will be in a better position to make informed decisions about their future upon leaving Westlands.
The students were great ambassadors for the school displaying maturity and interest throughout the day.
Nicole Colledge, Year 12, reflects on her day:
"On arrival we were given a plan of the arena which showed the different exhibitors - the majority of the universities in the UK were represented at the event. The visit enabled me to collect lots of different literature and to ask questions of the staff about the courses available. It provided me with a greater insight into the courses I want to do".
Year 9 ICT students have been working hard in their Computer Science lessons, developing their own version of the computer game 'Flappy Birds'. The game requires the player to navigate a bird past a number of obstacles. The students have been producing their own version of the game creating the sprites, backgrounds and obstacles as well as writing the scripts to control game play . The programming based activity has been the focus of Computer Science lessons this term, using the program Scratch to develop the game. The ability to code computer programs is an important part of literacy in today's society and Scratch is a great introduction to this.
Teacher, Mrs Cooper, explains the purpose of the module:
"Programming itself and the underlying concepts of programming not only helps students to understand how software works but also develops their computational thinking. Subjects such as this promote key skills such as critical reasoning, logical thinking and persistence as well as the ability to problem solve. All of these skills are becoming vital in a wide range of careers choices. Plus, it's great fun!"
Natasha Bednall, Year 9, said: "I'm enjoying my lesson more and more each week." Whilst her classmate Charlotte Barrington confirms: "It's fun creating the sprites and backdrops for our own game."
English Literature students in the Sixth Form are taking it in turns to perform the role of teacher as part of their A-Level course. The Year 13 students have each been allocated a poem to study from the 21 required for their course. As part of their programme they have been required to study their allocated poet, write a mini biography and explore the structure and themes of the poem.
Teacher, Mrs Atkins, explains the task:
“The class have worked really hard preparing their poem in order to teach their peers. I am pleased that they have all tackled this task with such maturity. The teaching has been fantastic.”
In school, the students have taken turns to lead a class session exploring the range of pastoral poetry shared among them.
Leah Garrett, Year 13, was allocated the poem ‘Birds all singing’ by Norman MacCaig. Speaking of her role in the activity she said:
“I found that teaching the class helped me have a fuller understanding of the poem. I became more confident in having my own ideas and putting them forward to others. When learning from my peers, I found it easier to grasp as it is a fun way to learn and if you don’t understand something it is not scary to ask!”
Amber McDonagh and Alicia Staples, both in Year 9, are using their academic success in Science to help support the work of their peers through a regular mentoring scheme. Both girls have been elected ‘Science Mentors’ by their peers and, as part of this role; they are delivering revision sessions for their classmates at lunchtime.
Every Monday and Tuesday lunchtime the girls give up their free time to help other students by going through Science topics with them and helping them to secure a better level of understanding. The students benefiting from this support are identified and referred to Amber and Alicia by their class teacher.
Amber and Alicia explain their role:
“We really like Science and helping other people so that they can succeed. It helps us learn at the same time as we are going through the topics with them. This is important as we have our own exam in May”.
Class teacher, Miss Bentley said:
“9C1 are the most motivated class I teach. The two girls were elected by their peers and they are doing an amazing job”.
Amber and Alicia are also using their Science Mentor role as evidence for the voluntary section of the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.
Year 8 students recently attended a drama production designed to highlight the 350 plus career opportunities within the health industry. Funded by Plymouth University, the ‘Healthcare Success’ performance introduced the students to a range of vocational areas within the NHS and health care system - many of which may not have previously occurred to them as possible routes for employment.
Intended on breaking down the misconceptions that only those aspiring to the roles of doctors and nurses should consider the health industry, the team of actors showcased the sheer variety and options available in a thought provoking and stimulating manner.
The event was held as part of the school’s careers programme which is designed to expose students to a range of career opportunities and encourage them to explore a number of options before finalising their post 16 decisions.
Speaking of the performance, Year 8 student Melody Sanders said:
“I thought that the presentation was really good and informative. I learnt a lot from it. It was very funny and the actors were brilliant. I would like to see a lot more of these kinds of things because I thoroughly enjoyed it”.
Fellow student Emily Sharples echoed:
“I thought the play was funny and educational. I learnt lots about the NHS whilst having a laugh. It was very good. Personally I thought I would have to sit still and watch a boring play but it was very active and everyone joined in with big smiles. I could tell others enjoyed it as much as I did”.
On Friday 14th March students from Years 9, 10 and 11 who are participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme stayed after school to undertake team building activities. The event was organised to help the young people prepare for their Bronze or Silver Award.
After the team building sessions, three of our existing Duke of Edinburgh students, who now perform the role of Young Leaders, taught them how to safely use the expedition stoves, pitch a tent, choose a suitable menu and carry out basic first aid. Year 12 Young Leaders Joe Tucker, Josh Ramsey and Ryan Shenton-Smith willingly gave up their own time to support the learning of the next generation of Duke of Edinburgh participants.
Duke of Edinburgh Scheme Manager Lucy Atkins said
“The evening was very successful and the participants are all now ready and enthusiastic for their expedition in either Torbay or Dartmoor later this year”.
“It was an amazing and fun experience, I loved building tents and doing team building!” explains Year 11 participant, Jay Pilkington.
Fellow Year 11 Olivia Barry confirmed:
“It was an intuitive and amusing experience, where the leaders were able to assess that we are prepared to undertake the expeditions this summer safely whilst still able to enjoy the experience.”
Nine students from Year 8 and a representative from Year 7 have formed a ‘Book Ambassadors Association’ to help promote their love of literature and reading. The students meet every Wednesday lunchtime to review and explore what is happening in the world of books. In addition to fuelling their own interests, the Ambassadors make recommendations to their peers in terms of which books are ‘a good read’ and to be recommended.
Keen to encourage other students to develop a passion for books, the Year 7 and 8 students highlight activities that are taking place within Westlands School and Torquay Library.
The Westlands School Book Ambassadors (pictured) are Ashleigh Burkin, Katie Wilden, Emily Pinggera, Chelsea Edwards, Kathryn Wiltshire, Emily Warner, Maddy Timmins & Charlotte Purcell. Devon Taylor (Year 7) is not pictured.
Ambassador Katie Wilden explains:
“We are enjoying reading and recommending books to our fellow students. A fun part of this group is finding out what is going on in the world of books both within school and the wider community”.
English teacher, Julia Johnson, who is working with the student explains what being part of the group means:
‘It is really great to see the students so enthused about reading and wanting to share this with other students. The students have all been given roles within the association which they are eager to fulfil. I am sure you will find out more about these roles in the near future!’
Training is well underway for this year’s Ten Tors Challenge. At 7.00 am on May 10th 2014, two teams of six Westlands students will start their thirty five mile and fifty file mille tests of endurance across some of the most difficult terrain the South West has to offer.
The annual Ten Tors Challenge was established in 1960 and is organised by the Army - specifically 43 (Wessex) Brigade, from its Moor Group Headquarters at Okehampton Camp. Assistance is also given by the Royal Navy (with manpower and helicopters), the Royal Air Force and the Dartmoor Rescue Group. The role of these groups is to oversee the event and ensure that none of the participants come to any harm. Thousands of young people between the ages of 14 and 19 take part each year.
Months of preparation goes into the event, with school staff ensuring the teams have the necessary skills to navigate the route and build up the stamina to complete the gruelling challenge. As well as training in some tough Dartmoor weather conditions, students have been taking part in classroom navigation and camp skills training.
Year 10 student Paris Williams explains the impact the Ten Tors Challenge is having on him:
“Ten Tors rewards you with a sense of accomplishment. It teaches you important life skills such as navigation and survival. I have never done anything like this before in terms of testing myself and I am really enjoying working with my team mates to prepare for the actual event”
As part of the training of their Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions later this year, Bronze and Silver participants have been learning some basic First Aid techniques. This has included CPR practice with resuscitation dummies. These sessions were very ably led by our Duke of Edinburgh Young Leaders, Josh Ramsey, Joe Tucker and Ryan Shenton-Smith who are all currently in Year 12.
Duke of Edinburgh Young leader, Josh Ramsey, explains:
â€œI helped the Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh group to learn how to carry out CPR on a resuscitation dummy. I enjoyed teaching them as part of my own Gold Award. It is important to pass on skills learnt to newer and younger participants”.
The Duke of Edinburgh staff team at Westlands felt it was important for the Young Leaders to be involved. In doing so, they not only cemented their own understanding of CPR but passed on a valuable life skill to their peers.
As part of their studies into ‘Community Cohesion’ students following the Year 11 GCSE Citizenship course have undertaken a research project entitled ‘Responsible Action’. As part of the activity, which contributes towards their final assessment, the Key Stage 4 students investigated the range of activities available for young people in the Torbay area. The intended outcome was to promote positive action for the youth of today.
The group began by developing a hypothesis - that there were limited options for young people living in Torbay and that this, potentially, leads to an increase in youth related crime.
From a starting point that becoming involved in the local community is beneficial to the health, social life and futures of young people, the GCSE students undertook their own primary research to ascertain the views and opinions of the teenagers in the area. This research took place both in person and via the creation of a Facebook page which attracted more than 100 followers. A further 200 students were involved in the survey findings.
Presenting their findings to an invited audience of Miss Cox, Mr Moore and Paul Taylor from the National Citizenship Service / Youth Service, the students explained that whilst the range of activities available was sufficient in terms of range, the cost of transport to and from the activities meant the vast majority of students could not afford to participate. When questioned about the next step in their work, the students confirmed they would be contacting the Mayor of Torbay to discuss the transport cost issue further.
Pictured left to right: Sam Isaac, Madeey Woodward, Rachael Binnie, Sian Lyden, Craig Emerson, Lewis Ansell, Josh Goodhall Jones.
Citizenship students Sam Isaac and Madeey Woodward explain the next step:
“We feel that transport prices for young people in Torbay are far too high. We intend to carry on from here and lobby the Mayor’s Office to ask for some decisive action following our research findings”.
The Year 11 GCSE Catering students completed their final assessed task, demonstrating the range of culinary skills and knowledge they have developed during their course. Each student had to select a special diet and then cook a two course meal suitable for that particular diet.
The students were required to not only to prepare and cook the selected menus in the time available, but also to display the courses produced in an appealing and appetising manner. They certainly did not disappoint. With food that you would be happy to see in front of you in a high class restaurant it was clear that the students were taking a lot of pride in their work.
Pictured: Aidan Healy, Hugh Murthwaite, Jamie Richards, Chloe Jordan, Scarlett Pope, Amy Boardman and Hanan Yonis.
After months of preparation and rehearsals, the Westlands School production of ‘Bugsy Malone’ ran for three consecutive nights from Monday 4 March to Wednesday 6 March 2014. The hard work of all involved was clear to see in the fun-filled musical gangster extravaganza. The now traditional cameo role by staff proved to be one of the highlights of the show.
Cast members included Jack Musk (Year 12) in the lead role of ‘Bugsy Malone’, Beth Wilkinson (Year 11) as ‘Tullulah’, Shannon Oates (Year 11) as ‘Blousey Brown’ and Fran Old (Year 13) as ‘Fat Sam’. The remaining cast was made up of students from all year groups, making the production truly a whole school event.
In addition to the three evening performances, the cast and crew also ran a matinee show on Tuesday 5 March, with an invited audience of local primary school children. Staff and students from All Saints Babbacombe Primary School and Homelands Primary School enjoyed an afternoon at Westlands soaking up the atmosphere of 1920s prohibition America.
Tarik Cox-Ertugrul, aged 9, explained:
“I really enjoyed watching Bugsy Malone. I liked the fact that the splurge guns were real and the people in the show seemed to like being covered in foam. The singing and dancing was really cool”.
Students from Years 11 to 14 took the opportunity to learn more about apprenticeships at a Careers event last week. In addition to the detailed information provided, students were given a demonstration of the National Apprenticeship Website, enabling them to receive alerts directly related to apprenticeship vacancies in their areas of interest.
Students who had previously expressed an interest in apprenticeships were invited to a number of workshops focusing on the vocational areas of Public Services, Motor Vehicle, IT, Plumbing, Engineering, Hair & Beauty, Hospitality and Animal Care. Additionally any student could attend a drop-in session at lunch time to find out more.
Careers Advisor, Georgina Cleasby, thanked the school for inviting her to visit:
â€œI really enjoyed coming into school. The students behaved impeccably and engaged really well. I would be happy to come back and work with you very soon".
Speaking of the event, Megan Palmer, one of the Year 11 students who took advantage of the opportunity to attend the workshops, said
â€œI found the careers advice on apprenticeships very useful. It helped me focus on what I needed to do to apply for the courses I need and made me understand more about the course and if it was a suitable one for me".
As part of their World Community studies, Year 7 Opening Minds students examined the origins of Fair Trade and its importance in securing better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.
Speaking of the work undertaken by 7J2, class teacher Mrs Cooper explained:
â€œThe students worked in teams to plan, design and produce a Fair Trade product and in the process learnt how important Fair Trade products are to developing countries. They had to present their product to the rest of the group, which was a little scary, but they did an amazing job."
Pictured, one of the 'Fair Trade' teams with their teddy bear product. Year 7 student Callum Fraser put it simply:
"In our project we made a Fair Trade bear. It was really enjoyable!"
Year 7 devoted their Opening Minds curriculum time this term to investigating the topic of 'world community'. As part of this unit of work their studies included an examination of the Chinese New Year. The Opening Minds team organised a range of engaging activities designed to bring the learning to life for the students. 7C1 welcomed intentional Sixth Form student Tin Loi Vong to their class who spent time talking to the younger students about his experiences of Chinese New Year. This opportunity enabled the students to really understand the importance of the festival to the Chinese nation. 7J2 enjoyed making their own Chinese Dragons having spent time researching the legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore. Pictured are members of the group with their finished products.
Westlands School’s netball teams were delighted to unveil their new kit for 2014. In keeping with the school colours, the new sportswear is a smart and distinctive red and black but with a break from traditional kit the teams will be playing in netball dresses.
Pictured are the highly successful Year 9 Netball Team showcasing the new kit. The team is comprised of Molly Hughes, Amy Hewitt, Dawn Powley, Maya Haneuer, Ellie Smith, Steph Broad, Jasmine Aziz, Jasmine Heale, Emily Cannon and Sophie Thomson.
The teams play competitive matches every other week and are currently preparing for a tournament for Year 7 , 8 and 9 to take place at the end of this term. The girls train every Tuesday lunchtime and Thursdays after school.
A second group of Year 10 GCSE Catering students have successful achieved their Level 2 in Food Safety Award. The award, issued by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, is undertaken as part of their KS4 programme, enabling them to not only achieve the GCSE Catering qualification but also to gain a recognised professional qualification enabling them to gain employment within the food industry. Every year, many people become seriously ill as a result of eating contaminated food. These students, along with any other holder of this qualification, will have demonstrated knowledge and understanding of the importance of food hygiene, associated food hazards and good hygiene practices.
Year 10 Catering student Saxon Hadland explains:
â€œThe Food Safety Award has given me a great opportunity to secure work within the catering industry. Any job in Catering requires this qualification so successfully completing it this early in Year 10 gives me a real head start. The GCSE Catering course as a whole is really good and I have learnt a lot”
Students within Peters House took charge in organising an inter-house charity event in aid of the British Heart Foundation prior to the half term break. The event took the form of an inter-house â€œbake off” with each tutor group nominating a baker. Some tutor groups took the challenge to a new level with multiple, or in some cases, all tutees becoming involved in the baking. Where one baker was nominated, the rest of the tutor group contributed financially to the challenge.
The rules required tutor groups to produce a baked item which could take the form of a single cake, tray bake or cup cakes/muffins. Given that the judging took place on Friday 14th February, many students opted for a Valentine’s theme for their product. Members of the Senior Leadership Team and a representative from the School Canteen formed the judging panel.
Following the competition, the cakes were sold through the Charity Shack with all proceeds going to the British Heart Foundation. The quality of entries was extremely high. The eventual winners were Mrs Cooper’s tutor group (P-CPR) who collaborated as a team with the entire tutor group decorating cup cakes with a hearts and flowers theme (see below):
Katie Wilden, Year 8 and from winning tutor group P-CPR explains, "I got a good feeling from helping this charity,” whilst her classmate Charlotte Purcell, also Year 8 added, "It was a good opportunity for team work for a good cause.” Mrs Cooper said, "I’m very proud of my form group. They are a very creative group who are keen to rise to any challenge. A number of them made the cakes at home and then came into school early to get them decorated, which was great fun. Now they’re all looking forward to the next challenge.”
Second place was awarded to George Watkinson-Biddulph and Corinna Cooke from Miss Perry’s Tutor Group (P-PRY) with their multi coloured creation (right)
Mrs Lamacraft, Peters House Leaders explains the role of her students:
"I am so proud of all of the entrants but indeed these students from my House. Events like this make my job the enjoyable role that it is”.
The final total raised through the sale of the cakes was £150.94
Please find the link below for the latest newsletter from the Headteacher. Have a great half term and we will see your child on 24 February.
Our Acting Head Teacher Lyndsey Kane is an experienced and forward-thinking leader with more than 20 years in the teaching profession. But, what is her vision for Westlands School and why is she so confident that we have turned a corner? Here we learn a little about the secret of her determination and drive for perfection.
“My ethos for the future of Westlands is simple, yet uncompromising: that we must relentlessly pursue academic excellence,” said Lyndsey. “I care passionately about removing the barriers that can stand in the way of a good education and my mission here is to help each child to not only reach their potential but also leave school fully ready for the next stage in life’s journey”.
“I feel that we can only achieve this though by working openly together, without exception - as teachers, parents, governors and support staff - to develop our students’ capabilities”.
“So, how are we going about this, in a practical sense, at Westlands? Without going into too much detail, over the coming weeks and months I will be continuing to introduce new measures and placing an emphasis on delivering ever-improving standards of teaching. While every child has their own individual needs, it is not good enough for us to accept mediocrity or make excuses. Throughout 2014, Westlands staff will be driving and challenging students to work harder, to raise their aspirations, to realise their potential, and to achieve better results”.
“We’ve already set many of the wheels in motion, including new schemes to accelerate literacy, improve parent liaison, and internal measures that ensure staff are more accountable for their classes’ behaviour and results. But this is just the start. We’re also working in partnership with Ivybridge Community College, one of the most successful schools in the country, both in terms of its academic achievements and its extra-curricular provision. This is a school that has recently been rated ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, in all measures, for the fifth time in a row, and I will be liaising closely with the Principal, Rob Haring, to learn from their good practice and ensure that we’re putting in place every possible measure for improvement”.
“Rather than accepting a culture of under-achievement, you will get used to students being driven to do more and encouraged to better themselves. You will also see less tolerance of those students who sit back and waste their opportunity for an education or who prevent others from making the most of theirs. As an educational establishment I believe it is our duty to provide the best education that delivers the best opportunities for our children, so that when they leave Westlands they are ready for the next stage in their lives, whether they have plans to continue in academia or enter straight into the world of employment”.
“It’s important that we further develop a sense of pride for the school and everything it stands for - pride for where we work as teachers, pride for where we send our children, and pride for the difference we can make to their futures if we work together”.
“With our recent increases in GCSE grades (early entry GCSE English and Maths in January were already 9% higher than last year’s results), we are now on the cusp of an exciting journey that will see Westlands quickly transform from an under- performing establishment into a strong, well-respected school. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all and celebrating future successes in all its forms”.
The RAF Outreach Team spent the day with the Year 11 and Year 12 Public Service students as part of their BTEC qualification. The action packed day, which took place on Tuesday 4 February, included a careers presentation, teambuilding activities and character development workshops.
The opportunity enabled the students to gather up to date information relating to the variety of careers in the RAF and the life they could expect to lead should they opt for that route.
Students were encouraged to explore their own progress in terms of personal skills and attributes and took time to investigate the importance of these both in the RAF and in employment generally. The Year 11 and 12 students were given then valuable advice about careers in the military and preparation for interviews and the working world. Sergeant Straker from the RAF gave them a challenging, informative and fun day that was beneficial for the whole group taking part regardless of career aspirations.
Following a successful lottery bid, Westlands School has begun working in conjunction with SOS Global with the aim of raising awareness across a number of issues affecting the young people of today. The lottery funding which was written with the support of SOS Global will enable the school to run a number of workshops which will equip the students with the information they need on topical issues such as teenage pregnancies, alcohol and drug awareness, sexual relationships and youth culture. As part of the programme, the students will learn about the various agencies that can offer support and guidance in these areas.
SOS Global, which is based at Exeter University Innovation Centre, is a social enterprise that provides courses which raise awareness of health and social issues and promoting positive and healthy lifestyles for youth and communities. They are delivered through workshops, training initiatives and safety products. As part of their work they help people create situations in their lives where they are able to take control of their health, strengthen their personal resolve and respond in positive ways to their fundamental purpose - reducing risk to themselves or others.
To date, the organisation has run workshops in the school with selected students from Years 9, 10 and 11. An extra-curricular day for the whole of Year 9 is planned for June 2014.
Following the event, the Year 9 students expressed their views of the workshop:
“I enjoyed the workshops, especially the role play” “I have learnt a lot from these workshops which will help me to choose a sensible lifestyle” “I have enjoyed the workshops which has made me more aware of life skills.”
Pictured with the SOS Global staff are students from Year 9.
Forty Westlands School students from Years 7 & 8 took part in a gifted and talented day exploring the world of a published author. The session was led by David Lawrence Jones, author of the Bradley Baker children's adventure series.
The author led a session with the young people on the topic of book writing and encouraged the students to think about about character profiling. The session started with an overview of book writing and what the project they were about to embark on would entail.
The content of the session developed further with students thinking about a central character, the physical characteristics of that person and aspects of their character both good and bad. From this, the students then began to design and sketch the physical appearance of their lead character in readiness for the illustrations.
As part of the experience, the staff involved chose an editorial team to run the project. This was made up of students from both years that had put themselves forward for the roles. In order to obtain an editorial role, the students had to attend an 'interview' with staff.
The project is being undertaken in conjunction with Westlands School's partner, Wampeewo Ntakke Senior Secondary School, in Uganda. Teacher, Richard Aboko, is coordinating a similar project at Wampeewo Ntakke. When published, the finished book will contain stories from both schools. This is a further step forward in the relationship between the two schools.
David Lawrence-Jones will return to work with the students at the start of the Summer Term to publish the book â€“ at which point there will also be a book signing opportunity.
The PE Department at Westlands School hosted a Gymnastics Festival for students of several local Primary Schools. The festival was aimed at Years 1 and 2 primary pupils. The afternoon event, which took part in the School's Sports Hall provided the ideal opportunity for the school's Year 9 students to develop their leadership skills, assisting with the smooth running of the event.
The event was run by Torbay Gymnastics Club, and the primary pupils in attendance were representing: Queensway School, St Margaret's Academy, Babbacombe Church of England School, Priory Roman Catholic School, Homelands Primary School and Sacred Heart Roman Catholic School.
As part of the afternoon, the primary school students participated in a number of different gymnastic disciplines including floor work, body management and vaults. Every school competed to the best of their ability with some really good work being produced. The final results placed Babbacombe (pictured) as overall winners with Homelands taking second place. These two teams will go on to represent our cluster of schools in the Level 2 competition at Paignton.
Year 13 ChildCare students benefitted from the experience and knowledge of a visiting Midwifery Practitioner as part of their studies into the development and care of babies. Ceni Wyatt (pictured with the students) is a Midwife based at Torbay Hospital.
During her visit to the School, she explored a number of areas with the students including what happens when a woman goes into labour, the various stages of labour, pain relief options and any possible complications that may occur.
The students were provided with the opportunity to talk about the strengths and limitations of breast feeding with a professional â€“ a topic which is frequently discussed in the Media. As part of this they examined how best to support new mums in terms of successful breast feeding. The Sixth Form students then became 'hands on' â€“ practicing breastfeeding techniques with a baby doll and knitted breast!
The final part of the visit enabled the students to ask questions and discuss their own ideas, worries and thoughts.
The visit tied in with a unit of work the students are completing entitled 'Working with babies from conception to 12 months".
Pictured are the Year 13 ChildCare students Chloe Cross, Amber Winfield, Chantelle Myers, Mercedes Major, Michala Lawton with Ceni Wyatt and teacher Mrs Parker.
Torquay United and Westlands School were pleased to once again join forces this week as Torquay United players took time to help promote the schools new ‘Get Caught Reading’ campaign.
The new initiative will look to not only highlight the importance of reading skills, but also to foster a love of reading among the students. Torquay United players were more than happy to help and were able to recommend some of their favourite reads before posing for pictures.
Mr Loosemore, the leader of Literacy at the school, was keen to emphasise the importance of the scheme. "A student’s ability to read well is crucial to their learning and all the research shows that those students who read for enjoyment are more likely to succeed. As such we are very grateful for the support of the football club and the time that the players have given to act as role models for our students."
The reading campaign works alongside the new ‘Accelerated Reading’ programme which the school has invested in. The programme tracks the reading records of students and allows staff to keep a close eye on how their reading age and reading levels are progressing. Mr Loosemore commented that "the programme is working really well. Students enjoy the competitive nature of the scheme, enjoy the challenge of meeting the targets set by the programme and are improving all the time. Unbelievably, we already have students who have read over a million words this year."
This is the latest in a series of schemes that have seen the school working with the club and something that the students enjoy and benefit greatly from.
Pictured: Westlands School’s Mr Loosemore with Torquay United’s Karl Hawley and Jayden Stockley.
The parents/carers of students from the Apollo provision in Years 7, 8 and 9 were invited to attend an information evening at School designed to enable them to understand and support the work of their young people.
The evening, organised by Ms Bacon, introduced the launch of the Read Write Fresh Start programme within the School. This programme aims to support the learning of individual students by helping them to raise their reading ages and therefore improve their ability to access the curriculum in School. Through this, young people will often develop a love of reading beyond what is necessary for their education.
Over twenty parents attended the successful evening. Ms Bacon explains:
The purpose of the event was to enable parents/carers to fully understand the programme we are launching in school and, with this understanding, feel they were in a position to support their child with the work they are undertaking. We cannot stress enough the importance of the partnership between School and home when it comes to the progress of the students.
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