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Principal's Blog 9th December 2019

9 December 2019
Principal's Blog 9th December 2019

Penguins Visit The Ridgeway

Immersion Days are a valuable addition to school life, when vital life skills can be taught that don not fit into the normal curriculum. However, they can be difficult for students with autism, who generally do not respond well to sudden changes, especially when they last a full school day!

The Silver Block students have their resilience stretched in the planned sessions and then, if they are swamped by sensory overload, return to the SRP for a ‘reset’. On such days as this, a sensory distraction is required, and lies waiting for the students when they return.

This time, real live Humboldt penguins visited to provide a startling seasonal sensory lift. Needless to say, response to them from the autism students was polarised; with one student displaying his love for and expert knowledge of penguins to anyone who came in, and another only agreeing to enter the room if he could stay pressed back against a wall, well away from the pen!

Word soon got round, and Silver Block received visits from mainstream staff and students all keen to get a glimpse of these unusual visitors. As distractions go, the penguins were a resounding success, with many students able to return to their mainstream sessions afterwards, having had the source of any anxiety or stress wiped from their minds by the presence of these amazing birds.

PE News 2nd-6th December

A busy week in PE with lots of student representing Ridgeway in many different sports. It is great to see.

Monday 2nd December Year 8 Boys Basketball – Lost 30-12 vs Highworth, Warneford.

Tuesday 3rd December Year 7 5 aside Football Tournament.

Year 7 Girls Bench-ball Tournament, fourth overall.

Thursday 5th December Year 8 Boys Rugby. Lost 40-35 in Swindon School’s Cup Final against Lydiard Park Academy.

KS3 Girls Badminton.

Year 8 Rugby… The Year 8 Ridgeway Rugby Squad travelled to Wootton Bassett Rugby Club for the final of the Swindon Schools Cup. They deservedly reached the final after convincingly beating Nova Herod 30-5 in the semi-final, setting up the challenge of overcoming Lydiard Park Academy to lift the trophy.

The game kicked off and was hugely competitive from the first whistle. The tackling and rucking skills, which the boys have worked hard on in training, certainly paid off, with all of the team rising to the challenge. LPA managed to score tries in the first ten minutes, but Ridgeway hit back through tries from Julian and Ethan, displaying their good footwork and running ability. Two further LPA tries meant the score was 20-10 at half time.

Ridgeway came out of the second half firing, putting in some massive tackles and went forward every time they attacked, putting LPA under pressure. They were rewarded with two quick tries from Julian, completing his hat-trick and bringing the score level on 20-20. Ridgeway continued to apply pressure with their impressive attacking skills, moving the ball into space and pinning LPA back into their half.

This was matched by Ridgeway's continued defensive efforts, forcing LPA to make errors. Ridgeway captain Julian then made another break and scored in the corner (his fourth try), allowing Ridgeway to take the lead for the first time in the game!

LPA continued to attack Ridgeway, putting them under pressure with some strong running lines, matched by Ridgeway’s bravery in the tackle and ruck.

They had some very strong runners but the Ridgeway boys put in a massive effort in defence. Ridgeway were unfortunate to concede two tries after LPA continued to apply pressure, setting up a nail-biting last couple of minutes. Ridgeway then turned the ball over at the breakdown and passed the ball into space to allow Natanael to show off his impressively strong running ability, allowing him to cross the line and score.

LPA then struck back soon after, making the scores level. In the final seconds, and the cruellest of manners, LPA scored in the last play of the game and the final whistle blowing meaning Ridgeway unfortunately lost 40-35. The boys were gutted to lose in the last play of the game, but put in arguably their best performance of the season.

They all represented the school well, showed incredible team spirit and continued to encourage each other throughout the duration of the game. A huge well done to all the players in this match as they certainly put in a fantastic performance in a thrilling final.

All members of the Year 8 Rugby Squad should be proud of how much they have developed and continued to improve from working hard in training at Monday lunchtimes and Tuesday’s after-school. A massive well done to all Year 8 boys who have represented Ridgeway this season.

Year 8 Rugby Squad vs LPA: Dylan Hockin, Luke Reed, Tyler Lehman, Jack Eddy, Rhys James, Ethan Gough, Julian Nunn, Tobias Scott, Elias Beech, Natanael Andone, Jamie Black, Miles Green and Alex Williams.

For all information about upcoming fixtures, extra-curricular clubs and celebrating achievement in PE, please follow our Twitter page to keep up to date - @RidgewayschPE

Year 9 Geography & History Trip to Portsmouth

On the 20th November, the Geography and History Department took 120 students on a trip to Portsmouth. The Year 13 Tourism class had spent months planning the event as part of their Diploma, which requires them to market and plan a tourist event.

Highlights of the trip included going up the Spinnaker Tower, a visit to Gunwharf Quays where students improved their geographical fieldwork skills in urban environments by completing an environmental quality assessment, questionnaires, as well as looking at the land use of the regeneration of the area. We also visited Fort Nelson, which is one of the five defensive forts built on the summit of Portsdown Hill. During our visit, the students had the opportunity to take part in multiple activities from the following:

· “Trench Warfare” (an opportunity to see a collection of original World War 1 and 2 weapons).

· “A different kind of War” (An interactive role play workshop where students discovered

· the impact of what war had on medical and surgical techniques).

· “Your Country Needs You” (A workshop comprising practical activities to focus students' thoughts on the realities for British soldiers during world war 1).

Overall, students were a pleasure to have on the trip which was an interesting and educational experience. We hope this aids them in their learning of geography and history throughout Year 9 and look forward to further trips in the future. Thank you to all staff involved.

Senior Maths Challenge

Congratulations to all Year 12 and 13s who took part in the senior maths challenge on 21st November. A number of students received a certificate; Bronze awards went to Alex Hunt, Henry Peterson, Max Allen, Maddy Tonkin, Freddie Carlisle, Solomon Pease, Euan Balmer, Phoebe Marshman, Isabel Day, Prewon Gurung, Isabella Williams, Darcy Merchant-Hills, Raj Burman and Jamie Ridge. Silver certificates were awarded to: Eve Clulow, Robert Hawkins , Junaid Afzal, Josie Forsythe, Levi Farrow, Oliver Busby and Harvie Greenwood. Ben Middlemass obtained a Gold certificate and was in the top 25% of students who took part nationally and was therefore invited to take part in the Kangaroo round which took place on Friday 29th November.

On Wednesday 27th November four students from R6 attended the Senior Maths Team Competition, hosted at Wycliffe School. Twenty-two teams took part and the competition was excellent. The team of Eve Clulow, Ben Middlemass, Junaid Afzal and Oliver Busby held their own against some strong teams, they showed great teamwork and problem solving skills, finishing a respectable 12th place.

A Christmas Carol Performance

On Friday 29th November 2019, the English department welcomed Quantum Theatre back to perform a stage production of A Christmas Carol, for the whole of Year 10.

This energetic performance wonderfully brought to life Charles Dickens' Christmas classic. As well as being extremely entertaining and a festive treat, this was a valuable revision tool for our GCSE students.

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