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Principal's Blog 5th July 2019

5 July 2019
Principal's Blog 5th July 2019

Immersion Day 1st July 2019

A fantastic and busy final immersion day of the year. Year 7 spent the day learning about relationships, body changes and healthy living. They created role plays and took part lots of topic based discussions.

While most of year 8 were on a trip to the Science Museum, those staying behind spent the day learning about water conservation and were set the task of building a working water wheel for a Nepalese village using only limited resources.

The year 9 day was all about promoting a better understanding of healthy living. After a morning of smoothie making and brain training, students spent the afternoon outside playing team games.

Year 10 spent the day in the maths department. From understanding payslips, to finding the best mobile phone deal, to finding out the costs of learning to drive, students took part in multiple activities teaching them all about personal finances.

The year 12 progression day provided students with a fantastic opportunity think about their next steps. The day included external speakers and subject specific advice.

GR8 Book Debate Final

After reading 5 books over several months, aided along the way by break time biscuits, our year 8 book club students were joined by the team from LPA for the Finale of The Gr8 Book Debate. The students were opinionated, and critiqued everything from the cover, the blurb, the plot, character development and everything in between. The joint winning titles are both fabulous, thought provoking, contemporary reads that will stand the test of time. Thank you to BookTrust for providing the books and for Joel Crowley, Programme Coordinator for joining us for the debate.

From the author of Boy 87 Ele Fountain –

Dear students,

Well done GR8 Debaters – you’re almost there!

I’m so impressed by your enthusiasm and dedication. Reading five books is a challenge. Reading and critiquing five books takes that challenge to a whole new level. It requires a deep understanding of every element of the book, to develop opinions, and courage to share and defend those opinions. It requires an open mind to change those opinions in the face of compelling argument.

Enthusiasm, dedication, courage and an open mind are great assets, and watching how you’ve engaged with books and reading will inspire others to do the same.

Congratulations! Whichever book wins the most votes, you are the true winners. I hope you all feel very proud!

Kind regards,


From the author of Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes –

Dear Students,

I am so honored that GHOST BOYS is one of the five books being discussed. It's thrilling to have Jerome, Carlos, Sarah, and Emmett be out in the world sparking and inspiring conversations. Racism and racial bias must end! I do believe that young people like you are going "to be the change agents" the world needs.

My generation has made progress but not enough. I was an infant when Emmett Till was murdered but every year thereafter on the anniversary of his death, magazines would arrive showing images of him alive and dead. Now as a grandmother, I am still living in a world the criminalizes the innocence of black youth. This is so disturbing. It has also been hard to me a mother to a black son and to watch him (even as an adult) experience the effects of persistent racism in America. My son advocates for social justice and with my writing, so do I.

It was extremely painful writing GHOST BOYS and for about a year afterwards, I was deeply depressed. But as schools and students started reaching out to me to say they've had significant conversations about prejudice, my spirit has lifted. I write so youth can have "safe spaces" to discuss real life. You are all so smart, brave, and empathetic. Being independent, critical thinkers, you, like Sarah, can reject biased adult beliefs.

I was shocked when Jerome didn't leave the story once he figured out that he was meant to "bear witness" like all the other ghost boys. When he (in effect) told Sarah that she could condemn her father's actions but still love him--I was bowled over by his compassion. (I'm not sure personally that I could have done the same!) But, you see, Jerome was modeled after YOU--students like YOU--and his words "Only the living can make the world better. Live and make it better" is the wisdom that I've gained from today's youth.

I will be in the UK next year but, oh, how I wish I was with you RIGHT NOW. Please know that I will be with you in spirit ---heralding, cheering you all on as you discuss books. What a gift---

Thanks to Nicola Brown and Sarah Day for reaching out to me and organizing your debate.

Stay passionate! Stay brilliant! Always believe: YOUR generation is POWERFUL.

Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes Founding Artistic Director, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing Endowed Chair, Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing Professor of Narrative Studies College of Integrative Sciences and Arts, and Liberal Arts and Sciences Arizona State University

Year 13 Prom

On Friday 28th June, we all said goodbye in style to our Year 13 students. Over the last few weeks the students have all studied and revised so hard, so it was lovely to see them relax and enjoy themselves.

The ball was in Chiseldon House, and the sunny June weather meant that we could make full use of the grounds. Both teachers and students danced the night away and it was a perfect last hurrah for everyone.

The next time we will all see each other again will be on results day, Thursday 16th August, and we wish all the students the best of luck, and hope they get to the destinations they want to.

Training for Food Teachers

On July 4th The Ridgeway School hosted Food-A fact for life (FFL) twilight training session. The course was designed to support the training needs of teachers and assistants who deliver food in secondary schools. The British Nutrition Foundation has been supporting teachers over many years by providing resources, giving on line and face to face training.and this occasion proved very productive.

Teachers were able to work around a variety of well planned practical activities, including making cheese,,examining food labels and exploring healthy eating ideas.

In addition teachers were able to exchange good practice tips with others as well as examining the excellent FFL website. We were very pleased that Roy Ballam for the BNF traveled from London for the meeting. All that attended, said the session had been extremely useful in giving initiative ideas for teaching in 2019/20.

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