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Principal's Blog 20th December 2019

20 December 2019
Principal's Blog 20th December 2019

ELVIS in Zaragoza

Staff and students attended a meeting putting international skills into practice. This gave students a chance to develop international skills and for teachers to strengthen their classroom and management competences through seeing different ways of working.

This Erasmus funded meeting reinforced a 10-year partnership for Ridgeway as an Electronic Virtual International School involving 12 schools in Europe from Norway in the north to Italy in the south.

Activities in heritage rich Zaragoza included visiting the Roman Forum, Islamic Palace, University and a toy distribution centre. We were also given Spanish lessons and learnt how to dance the Jota.

From January 27th-31 we have an ELVIS meeting here in Wroughton and are short of a couple of hosts. If your family could host a student, who will be busy at school and elsewhere during daytime please email simse@ridgewayschool.com.

We are offering £50 to help support costs of hosting. All students speak good English and have been carefully selected as ambassadors for their schools.

Immersion Day 5th December 2019

Another fantastic and busy Immersion Day. Year 7 had a day focusing on British Values in a day that was designed to continue to developing relationships with their mentor groups through team building activities and further supporting the transition process. Activities ranged from looking a British architecture to finding out about British Scientists.

Year 8 spent the day exploring Resilience an again, team-work played a big part. Students spent time thinking about our Ridgeway Values and were able to find out about how our brains work as well as think about the importance of resilience and how do develop key skills.

The Year 9 day was split into two parts. The morning was spent immersed in history and in the afternoon students were able to take part in various sporting activities.

The history sessions had a variety of activities; students learnt about how soldiers signed up, what life was like in the trenches, what life was like at Christmas, how technology developed, the training of the soldiers and also how punishments were created for cowardice. The house games had elements of Gym & Dance, Basketball, Rugby and Football and everyone was able to take part in developing skills of making tactical decisions to outwit opponents!

Year 10 had an exciting day working with the CPA department. They worked in groups to design their own ethical clothing brand for teenagers. They designed statement pieces for their clothing collection, created the advert for their brand and then designed the logo for the brand. Groups were awarded scores and the top scoring groups were then able to pitch their brand to business owner Vicky Sanders, who has her own very successful Wedding Dress Design Company.

In ‘Drive to Success’, Year 11 spent the day focusing on preparation for their upcoming exams. After being given their preparation tool kits, students were able to explore a variety of revision techniques and learn how to do ‘brain friendly’ revision. Students also spent a session focused on their well-being and started thinking about their post 18 choices.

Swindon Youth Festival of Literature

This year over 950 students from both The Ridgeway School and our partner primary schools participated in events in school as part of the Swindon Youth Festival of Literature. Blue Peter Book Award winner Ali Sparkes kicked off the week with a lively presentation with plenty of audience participation for Year 5 pupils from our partner primary schools.

Visiting author Jenny McLachlan led creative writing workshops for our year 10 students as well as getting year 8 students up and on their feet to act out scenes from her new book The Land of Roar. Jenny’s books have been flying off the shelves since her visit as have the poetry books written by Ash Dickinson following his ever popular performance poetry workshop with the whole of Year 7.

A trip to the theatre saw our Year 9 students listen to an emotional and heartfelt presentation by Annabel Pitcher about her writing that resonated with everyone in the audience. Sitting in the VIP seats right at the very front, our year 9 students were in the spotlight quite literally and benefited from having Annabel frequently seek their opinion on the questions she posed to the audience.

At the end of the week, our literature quiz team members were feeling the pressure as both defending champions and hosts, but their knowledge ensured victory once again, pipping Commonweal into second place by just a couple of points. Mrs Tonkin did a fantastic job in organising the quiz for the whole of Swindon schools and Mr Burtwell aced it as quiz-master.

In school winners of the illustration competition attended a workshop at Swindon College as their prize with professional illustrator Steve Antony; a truly fantastic experience from this local artist who has had 18 books published and sold over a million copies worldwide. The Festival came to a close with a celebration event for our prize winners and their families. These included not just our literature quiz team – Hugo, Thomas, Josephine, Caleb, Ottilie and Eleri, but our Library Ambassador Seren, and Rosie who was placed 3rd in the overall Swindon school’s poetry competition.

The White Horse Federation Primary Coaching Session and Festivals

From the beginning of the year, different primary schools around the federation have competed and taken part in various events. We started of the year with an amazing coaching session for KS1 football. 40 Ridgeway students made the most fantastic decision in deciding to become a year 9 sports leader. This is an opportunity for students to be role models to other primary schools across the federation. The Year 9 sports leaders Callum Ballantyne, Isaac Gibbs, Lewis Gurr, Stephanie Harkenss, Laura Hughes, Alice Lewis, Joseph Liston, Jamie Sheppard, Harvey Spurgeon and Jack Tatem, did a brilliant job in organising their own drills and warm up sessions which looked at ball control, dribbling skills, passing, spatial awareness and goal keeping.

This event was then followed by the KS1 Football Festival, where primary schools, Moredon, Drove, Croft and Haydon Wick attended the event and competed against each other to be the KS1 Football Champion of 2019. Callum Ballantyne, Ashley Brooks, Isaac Gibbs, Lewis Gurr, Laura Hughes, Alex Jackson, Alice Lewis, Joseph Liston, Ethan Moore, Jamie Sheppard, Harvey Spurgeon, Jack Tatem, Wilfred Whitford. The Year 3 and 4 Winners were Drove Primary School and the Year 5 and 6 winners were Moredon Primary School. Well done to all and thank you for the sports leaders for all your help.

Oxford Outreach Visit

We have been privileged this week to have a visit from Oxford University as part of their Outreach programme. This is designed to encourage talented students to think of applying to Oxford; to work with schools to raise levels of attainment; to mentor and support students in schools; and to encourage students everywhere to be curious, inquiring, and to enjoy learning.

Anirudh Sridhar, a DPhil student, delivered a presentation on Art and Science asking questions like can the number three stand alone or is it purely defined by the noun or object it is attached to (for example three trees, five apples)? Another question raised was does the scientific explanation of colour fully describe our experience of it?

Students grappled with these ideas and applied them to texts such as Melville’s Moby Dick (the Whiteness of the White) and artwork by Turner.

A level students attended a session on the application process for studying English at Oxford which clarified and demystified the process with a focus on having a love and passion for English. Students were invented to apply for Target Oxford, a summer school for aspiring applicants and we hope to also visit Merton College and the English department in the New Year.

House News

There have been so many brilliant things going on in the House System this term. There have been weekly House Activities, monthly House Events as well as lots of all important house points being earned by all students at Ridgeway.

The Great Ridgeway Bake Off

The annual Great Ridgeway Bake Off took place on Friday 4th October and the standard was unbelievable. The designs of these show-stopping bakes were outstanding and very hard to judge. All students received a house point for their entry into the highly competitive Bake Off. A huge well done to all pupils who represented their house fantastically with their amazing cakes!

Year 7 Team Building Day

The Year 7 students who did not attend the residential took part in numerous team building activities. Students designed House Logos by decorating biscuits (and ate them all), designed their dream holiday, competed in balloon races and a mini Olympics. The day was enjoyed by all students and staff.

Ridgeway Remembers

The 11th of November marked the 101st Anniversary of the end of the First World War. The Ridgeway staff and students paid their respects by pausing for a two-minute silence to remember all those who gave their lives. All students did this in a respectful manner and designed their Remembrance Poppies which were impressive.

Ridgeway does Children in Need

On Friday 15th November, Ridgeway students came into school in their own clothes and donated £1 towards Children in Need. The House Team, House Captains and Year 11 Prefects organised a Fun Fair with stalls they created to help raise money for this great cause. This includes popular events such as Splat the Teacher and covering Year 11 Avebury House Captain Ryan Leigh in whatever food they could! There was a fantastic buzz around all the school all day, and the House Captains and House prefects were superb, organising every aspect of their stalls. As a school we managed to raise a massive £1670! Thank you all for your kind donations and effort in making this possible!

Visit from Year 4 Students

Year 4 from Wroughton Junior School came to The Ridgeway in order to do some Christmas cooking They showed great skill and flair as they produced attractive and tasty Christmas trees.

All three classes had an opportunity to partake in this activity in an action packed morning.

Using ready rolled out pastry, each pupil carefully cut out a shape before choosing cheese and ham or a mincemeat 'filling'.

Once the Christmas tree were out of the oven they were decorated with a cherry and flicks of white icing to give a very professional finish -of course the cheese ones weren't iced!

It is always a pleasure to welcome the pupils and staff from the Junior School and this occasion was no exception. We look forward to seeing them again in the New Year.

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