23 February 2018
Dear Parents, Colleagues, Governors and Pupils of the school,
I’ve realised that – in the course of editing this week’s newsletter – there is such a great deal of other people’s input in terms of mini-reports from pupils and editorials from other members of staff, that this week’s edition reads less like a traditional “letter” and more like an actual newspaper. I’m happy with that, and I hope you are too, because it showcases what we do best at Read, working as a team to get the most out of life. I thank all contributors for this week’s edition in advance.
On Tuesday of this week, we experimented with an Open Evening. Many of you will recall the open mornings we’ve hosted at the weekends, but on this occasion we changed things up a gear, by inviting people to come and see the school in action at night.
What was so gratifying about the whole experience, wasn’t just the number of visitors we had through the door, but actually the number of your children who had volunteered to stay behind and take part in various hub activities around the school site. These “hubs” were designated areas around school, dedicated to a department, where pupils would participate in various activities which would relate to what would ordinarily be going on in the classroom during lessons.
So as I walked around the school site, I witnessed GCSE food technology pupils doing some pretty sophisticated cooking, a number of prep pupils engaging in physical team sports, drama and music pupils performing ‘Annie’ numbers in the hall, with the humanities department growing their own vegetables, World War 2 style, to the melodic backdrop of Gracie Fields’ wartime classics! There were some really interesting board games being played en francais in the French room. Do you remember the family memory classic, Guess Who? Some of the girls were playing that in French: We had a number of interested parents and children coming round to see the site, so it was well worth the effort. A big thank you to all pupils, parents and colleagues who remained in school to show it off to its fullest potential.
Lexi, Emily and Charlotte of Year 8 playing French Guess Who?
CCF Cadets Visit to Linton on Ouse
Yesterday, a number of our Year 9 cadets went flying from RAF Linton on Ouse, in uncharacteristically beautiful azure skies. The pupils captured some excellent footage from 30,000 feet, which unfortunately can’t be incorporated into the body of this letter, but suffice it to say the view was spectacular.
Parents and Teachers Focus Group Meeting
Last night, teachers and parents of Read met to talk about our school, looking at various issues to do with school improvement in the wake of our recent questionnaire to you all. The whole process was very positive, with constructive feedback being given by willing parents, who we thank for giving up their valuable time. We will be acting on this information to further improve our service after further consultation with staff.
Spotlight on… Ella Frost
Once more we celebrate success and achievement in our pupils, this time in the sporting arena of Girls’ Winter Triathlon and Pentathlon.
Ella recently qualified for the Pony Club Winter Triathlon national championships, which will take place in Milton Keynes next month. This means that she will represent herself, her Pony Club (York & Ainsty South) and her area (Pony Club Area 3) at national finals level.
She has also just found out that the day before she has simultaneously qualified for a national pentathlon competition! Ella is actually representing Read School on this day, so we are all rooting for her.
Ella proudly clutches her certificates after making the grade for national qualification!
The story of that day is recounted below by mum, as we can see it is a tense day which unfolds!
“The qualification took place at St. Peter’s School in York. It was a very nail-biting performance as Ella made a mistake in her pistol shooting and a rogue shot landed her a 4 (out of 10) on her first target sheet. Somehow, she managed to remain calm and her second target was better. Shooting is normally Ella’s strongest discipline and she ended up with a final shooting score of 860/1000 (for a comparison, Ella normally scores in the 900’s).
She knew she had to do well to claw back some points.
Her next event was the swim and Ella maintained her professionalism in the warm up and pulled out a Personal Best in her swim heat, completing 105 metres in 2 minutes! A PB by 2 metres and an absolutely solid performance!
The last event of the day was the 1000 metre run. Again, Ella knew that she had to do well and she remained calm and focused at all times. The conditions were not good as the event was all on (muddy, wet) grass and there were some steep hills to negotiate, but Ella put in a very strong run maintaining a fast pace for the duration and ending up with a finish time of 4 minutes and 36 seconds. Not a PB, but a solid performance and enough to get her lots of points.
Out of 18 entrants, Ella ended up in 7th place overall, but a 1st place for her Area, 1st place for her team and qualification to the Triathlon finals. This is what she has been working for and she was as proud as punch!”
It should be noted that Ella is in the ‘Minimus’ Grouping which is for girls aged 11 and under on 1 January 2018. Ella is still 10 and this means that she was competing with other girls at least one year older than her. This is a fantastic achievement for one so young and one which Read School will be watching and supporting her with in the years to come.
Sixth Form Renaissance Trip to Italy: a report from Head Girl, Lizzie Townend
During February half term, in order to help with our Renaissance topic in history, Fillipo and I headed to Rome with Mrs Morrell (our history teacher) to admire the artwork in person. On Monday night we met up and headed towards the Colosseum, walked past the Roman ruins and after a long walk we arrived at the Pantheon. We spent time looking at the design of the building as it inspired much of the architecture that was to come in the Renaissance period. We ended the evening with a visit to Trevi Fountain, which we realised was a huge tourist attraction, even at night.
Tuesday was spent walking around the Vatican museum and looking at much of the artwork that was collected during the time period we are studying. One of the most recognisable pieces in the Vatican, is the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo. The Vatican had such an extensive amount of artwork that we ended up walking over 25,000 steps that day! It was a sunny day so we had lunch outside and appreciated the trip back to the hotel through many different areas of Rome. Tuesday night we explored more of Rome, such as the Spanish Steps and it allowed for us to have a traditional Italian meal with plenty of pizza and pasta to go around.
An early start to catch a train on Wednesday announced the beginning of our day in Florence. We started the morning with brioche and a drink just outside the Duomo and then made our way to the Uffizi where we saw pieces by artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. Later on in the day we walked to the Accademia Gallery where we saw Michelangelo’s statue of David. It was such a shock to see the size of the statue and we realised it was much more effective than seeing it in a book or online in the classroom. Overall, the trip was a huge success and an amazing experience.
Filippo, Mrs Morrell and Lizzie in Rome, doing as the Romans do.
The Enterprise Hub – In Valentine’s Week known as “The Cringe Cabin”
By Daisy Heywood, Year 9
On Thursday 8 February, the Year 9 Business pupils hosted a ‘Cringe Cabin’ in the hub to bring love and romance to the school. We sold luscious love-cakes, specially made and designed individually for you.We sold many other extravagant items including teddies, chocolate lollies, and more.Love was certainly in the air as we had Cupid, played by Ben Abrams, who delivered notes to pupils from their secret admirers.
The so-called Cringe Cabin, with Year 9 girls steadfastly retailing chocolate hearts to an adoring public. In total, we made £42.50 and are very pleased with this profit.
We really enjoyed hosting this Valentines themed Cabin. Also, we designed and handmade the posters and sign. It was a spectacular experience for the budding entrepreneurs among us.
“I really like the fact that we raised money for the school in a fun way.” – Ben Abrams, Year 9
So, there is the height of the bar for the rest of the pupils to beat! This first group have utilised some great ideas to sell their product. Now the rest of you have your chance to club your ideas together and beat this total.
Andorra Ski Trip – a report by Mr Garrard
“Condensing 7 days of an action packed ski trip into a short report is not going to be easy but I’ll give it a go. In summary, 17 pupils from Year 4 to Year 10, 9 parents and 3 staff had an amazing week of skiing and having fun in the resort of La Massana, Andorra. They learned (for many) a new skill and developed many soft skills required in today’s world; organization, team work and communication, whilst showing high levels of resilience, patience, determination and commitment. A ski trip is not just about the skiing. The beginners group were soon travelling across the various pistes, practising their turns with their instructor Diego, whilst the intermediate group became their instructor, Claudio’s ‘Wolf Pack’ and could be heard howling from the chair lifts, having a wonderful time. Both instructors commented during the presentation of certificates how much fun they had had all week and how well behaved, kind and determined the pupils had been.
The snow was great, we had blue sky skiing, though on one day with heavy snow and low visibility, the mountains threw everything at us. Whilst the pupils got to grips with Blue, Red and Black slopes the beginner adults chose instead to come up with their own unique labelling system, 1 dot, 2 dot and 3 dot, needless to say for some even this caused confusion. In the evenings we went bowling, to a pizza restaurant and had a quiz night, in addition we relaxed and recharged tired legs in the hotel. There is something quite special about a ski trip, it’s not like other holidays. Sharing the mountain views as you ride the chair lift, the excitement of fresh snow, discussing favourite slopes, hot chocolate so thick you can stand your spoon up in it, tired legs masked by big smiles, exhilaration of conquering new slopes and laughing at friends who end up off piste in waist deep snow. A huge well done and thank you to this year’s group for making the Andorra Ski Trip so special. If you fancy joining us in 2019 then keep an eye out, we’ll be launching it really soon.”This weekend the girls’ netball fixtures take place at home against Fulneck School, starting at 10.00am but the boys can have a lie in, as all football fixtures have been cancelled by Ackworth School due to the forecast of frost!
So, it just remains for me to thank all of you for your hard work this week, in whatever capacity you have given it and to wish you a peaceful and restful weekend.