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Principal Blog 12th November 2021

12 November 2021
Principal Blog 12th November 2021

LEST WE FORGET… Thursday the 11th of November once again saw the school come together to honour and pay their respects to those who had given their lives in conflict throughout the 20th and 21st Century. The Armistice of the First World War took place on the 11th of November at 11am although it was agreed and signed at 5am that day. At 11 o’clock the school participated in the national two minutes of silence and remembered with the country.

2021 is a special year for remembrance activities as it marks 100 years since the use of the poppy as a symbol as remembrance and the modern remembrance ceremony. As a result the day was marked with several activities within the school. On the Friday the 3rd the House Team asked students to create poppies to form part of our remembrance, as well as this the Remembrance concert took place in the evening, additionally several lessons used the themes of remembrance to allow students to explore this theme through various activities and subjects.

On the 11th November, it was important to reflect as a whole school and bring the community together in a collective act of remembrance. The History department, with the help of Wroughton History group members Catherine and Jeremy Kemble, as well as Year 10 Students Eleri, JC and Anja created an assembly of remembrance where the school learned about the connections Wroughton had to both the First and Second World Wars and who was marked on the local Cenotaph as well as the individuals that staff and students were remembering that day. This then led to a more traditional remembrance service which was held on Blue court. Students from several local cadet forces formed a parade and in uniform marched out to where the school had gathered. The traditional wreath laying followed by the Last Post was played, as well as our Head boy Callum reciting the Exhortation. Every cadet performed this duty with remarkable respect and professionalism. A special mention has to be said for Matthew and Siobhan who not only led the cadets out but also played their instruments to perform the Last Post and Reveille expertly on the day. After the two minutes of silence the school remained in place to watch Onnee perform the Schindler’s List theme on her violin with the accompaniment of Mrs J on the piano. The event was incredibly poignant and the school showed their respect incredibly well throughout.

The Schools act of Remembrance will be finalised on Remembrance Sunday in Wroughton where the Head Boy and Head Girl will lay the wreath as part of the Remembrance Service.

It is important to remember all those who have fought and died for a cause, and the students and staff at the Ridgeway School have once again showed the utmost respect for those we remember. Lest We Forget.

HOUSE NEWS… Following an unpredictable eighteen months which effected all aspects of school life, as Heads of House, we were united in our determination to play our part in reinvigorating students’ schooling through the House culture and spirit.

As documented in our previous Principal’s Blog post, the first couple of weeks of Term 1 saw excitement and engagement build at pace. Year 7s were introduced to the House system with a live and lively House Quiz, and all students released their creative side with our Art Attack themed task.

Our next activity was more reflective. Entitled ‘Lockdown Lessons’ (students were swiftly made aware that this did not mean a return to sitting in front of their computer at home), everyone was encouraged to share what they had learnt about life in general during lockdown, and to consider the positives. Students responded openly and honestly and it was humbling to hear the life lessons students had taken from a traumatic and disruptive period, and how they had grown as individuals.

Building on the competitive spirit of our House culture, later in the term, students were given the opportunity to display their confidence in their own House, and to gently mock and deride the others, by creating a meme. The students had great fun showing their humour, as well their pride in their House, and since this activity, we’ve definitely witnessed even more determination from students to show everyone what their House is really made of!

At Ridgeway, we see out each Term with a big event which can excite students and get the whole school involved in the House atmosphere. In Term 1, this event was… The Great Ridgeway Bake Off! And, oh, did the students rise to the occasion! We were blown away by the number of entries, sixty-seven in total, and we quickly had to provide more space in the Main Hall to accommodate all of them. Although a little daunted at first, our Judges fully enjoyed their responsibility of tasting each creation. It did feel criminal to take a knife to many of the creations, as so much time had evidently been spent on them, and there were a few highly impressive feats of engineering on display (as pictured above). However, once tasted, the Judges were less concerned about demolishing said masterpieces. We also had a number of Staff entries, with our very own Mr Hurd winning for his House with his particularly flavoursome sausage rolls. The bake sale raised an amazing £171.94 for our House charities (Barnardo’s, Swindon Mind, Swindon and North Wilts Deaf Children’s Society, and SNDogs). A week prior, the House Team held a staff coffee morning, where cake and treats were again on offer, with the proceeds of £43 going to Macmillan Cancer Support. Huge well done to our winners and to all those who participated, and a massive thank you to our Year 10 helpers, everyone who came and bought to support our charities, and of course, to our fabulous and probably very full Judges.

On the final Friday, the House Team led an all school House Assembly during which winners of the Bake Off and other activities were announced. Certificates were awarded to the five students with the most House Points, and to the top scoring Mentor group who, in classic GMTV style, received a surprise visit from Mr Hurd and Mr Lloyd. This assembly was held on Teams, which showed that this platform may still have its benefits in school life, as the whole school could come together to share in everyone’s achievements and to reflect upon and celebrate a fantastically fulfilling term.

We are very much looking forward to what Term 2 has in store, and to continue to build the House culture and spirit!

ELLIS PHILLIPS AND HIS AMERICAN FOOTBALL ACHIEVEMENT … At the Ridgeway School we are proud to be a part of not only our school community but also value the wider community. Charlie Pook in 9A1 has reflected this in his most recent volunteer day for Ronald Macdonald house in Bristol.

Along with his family Charlie handed over a magnificent cheque for £8192 a sum which has been raised by the family and was donated on the 4th November and given to Riley’s room. This money has given families 234 nights stay close to their children receiving treatment in Bristol Children’s Hospital. Charlie and his family continue to support this wonderful cause and have not only continue to raise much needed funds but also donate household essentials in order to help families in need. Well done Charlie you endeavour to support others is excellent and something to be extremely proud of.

RIDGEWAY GARDENING CLUB… This year at The Ridgeway School we have set up and established a Gardening Club. So far we have planted bulbs for next spring, tidied up and weeded large spaces around Quiet Court and Centre Court as well as re-working the land outside the front of school. We have a strong and enthusiastic group of students with a wide range of backgrounds, some having done almost nothing in the garden before, and some with a wealth of knowledge. Frankly, myself and Miss Morley are very grateful to have those with a bit of expertise, because we are bringing a limited amount to the table.

We have also been thrilled by the support we have received from the wider Wroughton and Ridgeway community, offering expertise and resources to enable us to make the progress we have.

Exciting times lie ahead. The overall hope is to enable students to recognise how they can work with the natural world, live in the most self-sufficient way possible as well as encouraging bio-diversity in the school grounds.

With winter just around the corner, we may be about to slow down our work a little bit with the greenhouse needing repair, the planting season being over and no crops coming through as yet, but we are ready for the coming year and all the opportunities that accompany it.

If there is anyone in the local area who would like to offer any assistance, please contact me: Mr P Burtwell - [email protected].

NETBALL… We have had some fantastic performances in netball so far this year and has been great to see so many students attending extra-curricular clubs. Our year 9 girls just before half term came second in the Swindon school netball tournament beating teams throughout Swindon. They were then selected to represent Swindon at the Wiltshire tournament at Marlborough college. On Sunday they played against schools from throughout Wiltshire demonstrating excellent skills and really improving their play to compete at this level. They played all the school in a round robin tournament beating Sheldon and having some other very close games. They came 8th in the whole of Wiltshire. Well done to all the girls who took part. Millie Taylor, Carley Lainton, Maddie Clark, Faith Herring, Lily Herring, Isabella Curtis, Lauren Keogh, Orla Golden, Taylin Fouracre and Emily Hannay.

YEAR 10 BOYS SWINDON SCHOOLS RUGBY CHAMPIONS… On Wednesday night Royal Wootton Bassett Rugby Club hosted the Swindon Schools rugby finals in which our year 10 boys were victorious against Abbey Park winning the match 26-0 with a fantastic team performance. Try scorers were Ethan Gough, Julian Nunn and Leo Boateng. If you see the year 10 squad, please congratulate them.

Bobby Emsley- Daniels, Ellis Phillips, Adam Smith, Elias Beech, James Kyeremeh, Ethan Gough, Harry Wallis, Thomas Wetton, Tyler Lehmann, Julian Nunn, Joe Short, Dylan Hockin, Jamie Black, Leo Boateng and Alex Williams.

REMEMBRANCE DAY ART… Our Year 10 enrichment group have spent the last 5 weeks working wonderfully on a series of work for Remembrance Day. They have each created a tonal pencil study, as well as a clay sculpture focusing on Poppies. Their work has been exhibited at the front of the school in reception. Each student has received two house points, for creativity and endeavour. Incredible work guys, congratulations!

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