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
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.
Westlands School was pleased to start a new literacy intervention scheme this half term. The scheme (which was set up to ensure that Year 9 students would be in a strong position to begin their GCSE courses next year,) makes use of the Lexia computer programme and aims to help students make progress with their vocabulary and decoding skills.
Mr Corby, who is leading on the new scheme, works with the identified students on diagnostic activities, highlighting their comprehension skills and identifying the cause of any difficulties. The knowledge gained from these diagnostic activities will then be directly used to implement intervention to support each individual student.
Literacy Leader Mr Loosemore commented that ” our students are really enjoying this new intervention programme and it helps us to ensure that students are ready for the demands of their GCSE courses next year.”
It is hoped that the various literacy schemes running across the School will not only enable the students to access their curriculum subjects with greater ease but also help them in developing a love of reading outside of the classroom.
The intervention scheme will run every morning during registration time in 1601.
For the first time in many years, Westlands School has a group of students following the Gold Duke of Edinburgh programme.
The students, in addition to completing the challenges and activities required as part of the programme, also have to demonstrate the ability to raise a proportion of the funds themselves. Their final expedition, which has to take place in unfamiliar territory, is planned for July 2014 when they will travel to the Isle of Man.
The six students (pictured) have worked tirelessly to raise enough money to pay for the ferry to complete this challenge. The cost of the ferry to the Isle of Man for the group and their equipment is over £700 in total. The fundraising events have included sweet sales in school (above) as well as activities and events outside of school.
In addition to their own efforts, they have recently received a very generous donation of £250 from the Norman Family Charitable Trust based in Budleigh Salterton, in recognition of their hard work. They have a long way to go yet to raise enough for their trip: please support them in any way you can.
The Gold Duke of Edinburgh team members (left to right) are Kieran Tully, Ben Wood, Ryan Shenton-Smith, Abi Humphrey, Josh Ramsey, Joe Tucker.
Year 7 students demonstrated the progress they have been making in Food Technology this week when they presented their Cheese & Potato Pies at the end of their practical lesson. The students have been working on their skills in vegetable preparation in recent weeks and took the opportunity to showcase their skills in boiling, grilling and piping.
Students from 7TeJa2 are pictured with their finished Cheese and Potato Pies.
Luke Bodley, a student in Year 9, recently attended an Armed Forces Careers Day based at the Careers Office in Derry Cross, Plymouth. The event, which took place on Saturday 25th January, was publicised to students via School.
Luke’s ambition is to pursue a career in the Army, specifically as a Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineer working with armoured vehicles. The Careers Day provided him with the opportunity to meet an active soldier performing that role. He was able to spend 30 minutes talking to him on a one to one basis, covering such topics as how to submit the best application and what to expect when in the role.
The meeting with the serving soldier was followed by a 45 minute presentation examining both Officer and Non-Officer routes into the Army.
Reflecting on his day, Luke explains
The Careers Day was invaluable to me in terms of understanding how to take the next steps in my chosen career. I now know what to expect and what the Army expects of me.
Luke is pictured with some of the literature he collected on the day.
Six students from the Year 10 Catering course have successfully achieved their Level 2 Award in Food Safety. The qualification, which is awarded by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, is taken as an additional qualification to their main GCSE examinations.
In order to achieve the Level 2 Award, the boys were required to undertake an additional six hours of training specifically in the area of Food Safety, followed by a written exam based on what they had learnt.
The students were awarded their certificates by Mrs Kane who visited the class to congratulate them. Pictured (left to right): Harry Higgs, Mrs Kane, Kieran McLear, Jacob Fairbrother, Brandon Wilton, Cole Harris and Mitchell Kelly.
Year 10 Catering student, Owen Musk, is busy honing his baking skills in preparation for a National Baking Competition. Owen was put forward for the competition by his Catering teacher, Mrs Singleton, who found out about the event on the Food Technology Teachers Facebook Forum. Owen was an obvious choice to represent the School, having demonstrated a high level of ability coupled with interest and enthusiasm throughout his course.
Owen’s commitment to his Catering course shows in that he routinely practices his recipes at home each week prior to his practical Catering lessons. The competition involves nine regional finals with Owen’s heat being on Friday 7th February. If successful, he will progress to the semi-final on 28th February. The final will be held at the WestPoint Centre in Exeter on 28th March - attended by the legendary Great British Bake Off host Mary Berry.
The challenge for Owen is to prepare and cook an extravagant, extraordinary, creative sweet bake either via a new original recipe or an adaption of their choosing. The baked item must cost no more than £5 in total. Owen will be given 15 minutes preparation time in addition to 60 minutes to bake and display his creation in front of a star studded audience.
In addition to devising his creation, Owen is regularly working after school with Mrs Singleton in order to ensure he can prepare and create his recipe in the time permitted. Owen is using duck eggs for his recipe laid by his ducks at home.
Please join us in wishing Owen every success.
Following the departure of the previous Headteacher, Westlands School is now being led by Acting Headteacher, Lyndsey Kane, and her strong Leadership Team. Working closely with the supportive Governing Body, dedicated teachers and support staff, this revitalised team has been working hard to make significant changes to the School which are already reaping dividends. The combined early entry English and Maths GCSE results in January 2014 show rapid improvement at 47%, these results are 9% higher than last year already, positioning Year 11 students on target for strong results this summer.
80% of the whole year group have already gained at least a Grade C in English and 47% of the cohort have gained at least a Grade C in Maths. There are still many students who have not yet sat their Maths exam and we are confident that our Summer 2014 results will reflect further improvements. We are predicting that our Summer 2014 English and Maths A*-C results will exceed our target of 54%.
Lyndsey Kane’s approach heralds a new era for Westlands, one of trust and openness. The school continues to work closely with their National Leader in Education Partner, rated by Ofsted as outstanding, Ivybridge Community College, which brings rigour, support and advice to the Leadership Team as they review every aspect of the School from raising achievement to teaching and learning. These improvements were also acknowledged in the official report by the HMI (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate) who visited the School at the beginning of December and were further validated by the external results in January.
As Lyndsey Kane explains, ‘Westlands has been through some challenging times but we now have a clear strategy in place to ensure that our students achieve their true potential. The positive attitude and determination from our students have been amazing. They have all worked extremely hard to achieve these improvements and we are very proud of all of them. Our Governors, Senior Leadership Team and teaching staff are dedicated and committed to moving the School forwards and all are quietly optimistic about the recent early GCSE results which are the best in the School’s history. Our job is to provide an excellent education for local children in the Bay, and to ensure they leave here with the skills they need to take their places in a competitive world. I am confident that we will be in a position to do this’.
For further information please contact Carole-Anne Barr, PA to the Headteacher.
PUPILS at Westlands School in Torquay have put into poetry their emotions following the death of former South Africa president Nelson Mandela.
Following the announcement of his death students were deep in discussion in tutor time and throughout the whole day.
For students mainly born in the 21st century, to hear about apartheid and the racial violence and suppression of human rights was shocking.
A young teacher in the English department, Kurt Dettman, who grew up in South Africa, shared his feelings and experiences with his Year 11 English class.
Students had been studying poetry and analysing the African Praise Poem tradition.
After the passing of Mandela, students reflected on his life and wrote their own Praise Poems, dedicated to him.
Mr Dettman said: “One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is that of two men in matching green and gold rugby jerseys, smiling and shaking hands, against a backdrop of 60,000 cheering fans. That a man who had been convicted to life-imprisonment, 30 years before, on terrorist charges and conspiracy to overthrow the state, was having his name repeated in admiration, by the largely white crowd, was something that even as a 12-year-old, I could appreciate as something special.
“Indeed, to witness this public display of unity between white and black at the final of the Rugby World Cup, in 1995, was something I had never witnessed before.
“It will remain with me as testament to Nelson Mandela’s unifying effect on our nation.”
The school will reopen today at 10.40am after the power cut this morning.
Fourteen students from Years 11 and 12 at Westlands School, Torquay, had more to talk about than most with their peers when they returned to school at the start of the new academic year. The youngsters, accompanied by four members of staff travelled to Morocco to trek in the Atlas Mountains. The expedition, in July 2013, enabled the students to experience a completely new culture whilst challenging their ability to move beyond their comfort zone and develop essential organisational and team work skills. In order to participate in the challenge, students were tasked with raising the vast majority of funding themselves which they did by staging a Moroccan themed meal at the school and taking a stand at the Christmas Fair as well as independent fund raising events outside of school.
The party of eighteen, flew into Marrakesh where they spent their first night exploring the Souk and experiencing the cultural differences between the two countries. Before long, they were packing their bags again to undertake a trek to the summit of Mount Toukbal â€“ the highest mountain in the Atlas Mountain Range at 4167 metres.
Accompanied by local guides and mules to carry their luggage and equipment, the party from Westlands experienced camping in a foreign climate as well as staying in a boarding house in the traditional Berber Village of Imlil. In contrast to the traditional British summer, the students were exposed to heats in excess of 40 degrees centigrade during day whilst having to cope with the cold, mountain nights. Thirteen out of the fourteen students managed to reach the summit of Mount Toukbal and were rewarded with stunning views across the mountain range towards the edge of the Sahara Desert. School Leader, Richard Vaas, explains: “The young people involved have had a life changing experience. From seeing a group of very nervous teenagers entering a new culture and environment on the first night in Marrakesh, it has been amazing to see them grow and develop, even in the short space of a week. At the start of the trip many were clearly over-awed and out of their comfort zone in a culture that was so different from anything they had experienced before. Part of the challenge is for students to managing the groupâ€™s cash flow and finances. Their confidence and independence had grown so much by the end of the week that they were able to independently research and visit four different restaurants in a strange foreign city, and negotiate the best possible price with local restaurateurs for a party of eighteen people”.
Student Joe Tucker reflects on his experience:
“Reaching the summit was spectacular. This trip has given me an insight into what I want to do in the future. It has given me a potential career path in Mountaineering”.
Fellow student Harriet Grayston added:
“Reaching the summit was an amazing and proud moment for me. It shows that no matter what you go though in life, if you are determined, you can reach your dreams”
On Saturday the 21st September, Health and Social Care year 10 students Alice Lockton, Megan Clarke, Lauren Lee, Sacha Spencer, Anna Barker, Amy Edmonds, Ella Cuss and Georgina Bailey; and our lovely I.E. Mrs P Frost; volunteered to help fund raise in St Anneâ€™s Hall Babbacombe from 11am to 2pm.
The students were amazing; they helped to sell from a variety of stalls, waited on tables with cakes and beverages and helped Norms with the raffle. I was very proud of the girls, they hardly needed any direction, and they were polite; they engaged with everyone and were a real asset to the department and the school. Well done girls and Mrs Frost! Certificates on the way for the ROA files and Westlands Pounds!.
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