Today we formally say good-bye to our Year 13 and Year 11 students who begin study leave in preparation for their GCSE and A level exams that start in earnest next week.
As Year 13 depart, we are delighted to announce our new Head Students Andrew Barnes, Emmanuel Chapman, Katie Walmsley Smith, Elsinea De Beer, Finlay Woodward and Ava Kernan. Following a rigorous selection process, we are convinced that this team of students will contribute to the whole school community and be excellent role models for the younger years.
Each year group celebrates in their own unique way to share memories, commemorate their time at Stratton and applaud individual achievements. It is a day of mixed emotions for students as well as staff; we will miss them but wish everyone all the very best of luck for the exams and whatever they aspire for in the future.
Over the Easter break the Science Department hosted a team from Cambridge Assessment International Education who came to record their new video resources for their international science qualifications. The team were very impressed with the new facilities in the Stratton Science Centre, which they said provided a fabulous setting for the filming. Liz Duncombe, the Development Manager and former teacher at Stratton, was also very complementary about the Science Technicians, Andrew Peacock and Jackie Cooper who liaised with the team in advance and supported them throughout the project. We are very grateful that the Cambridge International team generously donated a significant amount of equipment that will be used for practical work at GCSE and A level.
On Tuesday 30th April, Year 12 drama students went over to Willington Peace Memorial hall to perform the murder mystery again, this time for Willington History Society. The group had a lovely evening and the performance was superb, only 2 teams managed to work out who the killer was! Thank you to the History Society for inviting the students to perform and for the donation of £50 towards new equipment for the drama studio.
GCSE and A level practical and oral language exams have been taking place over recent weeks and the written papers start in force from the 13th May. We therefore will be seeing Year 11 and 13 off on study leave next Friday 10th May. This is always an emotional as well as happy and exciting occasion for both staff as well as students. Year 11 will be dressed in formal attire and will have a farewell assembly after break. Year 13 will be dressed in Hawaiian outfits and from period 3 will take part in activities, followed by a farewell lunch and assembly in a suitably decorated common room. We wish both year groups a focussed and enjoyable final week of formal studies.
Ms Roz Hodges Interim Headteacher
Drama students dressed up ready to play their part in the murder mystery evening.
Welcome back to the summer term. I hope all our families enjoyed the sunny weather and had a good break over the Easter holidays.
Year 10 begin their internal exams today. This is an opportunity for them to experience GCSE level exams in all their subjects and assess their progress to date. The majority of students have been working hard and preparing well for these exams and we wish them well.
On the last two days of term, Ms Doig, Ms Walton and Mr McIntosh took 18 Year 10s on the first ever Stratton Upper Core Camping Trip. This camp was to provide students with two days of core skills both in life and for the curriculum in their core subjects. Over the two days, the students were split into teams; where they had to put up their own tents, learn to build campfires and how to cook on them. Each team worked to gain enough money to eat in the evening by completing a series of challenges, all of which were based around what they have been studying in maths, English and science. The idea of this was to build confidence in themselves, whilst helping them to make links between their core subjects and real life. All students enjoyed the trip and Ms Doig, their Head of Year, was incredibly impressed by the resilience and perseverance in completing tasks they had never done before. Ms Doig reported that a particular highlight was seeing the pride students felt in themselves after having earned and cooked their evening meals on an open fire. Our hope is, that as we enter the Year 10 mock exam period, these students remember what they are capable of and begin to reap the rewards of the effort they put into their exams.
This last week of the Spring term has been an exciting one with lots of student successes to report.
Four students from our STEM club entered a competition run by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust) at the Department for Engineering, University of Cambridge.
The students produced a detailed report in which they used STEM ideas to identify and overcome various problems to promote a sustainable and environmentally friendly school as an Island. They then translated this into a physical model and presented their ideas and research to a panel of professionals from the STEM industry.
Aleena Bhatti, Cameron Goodwin, Katie Neagle and Adrian Wood not only engaged with STEM, they also developed interpersonal, project management, leadership, creativity, and problem solving skills. Over a 12-week period, these students worked hard in their own time to develop the project.
The team were highly commended for their project and presentation style. There were 10 strong teams competing and we are delighted to announce that the Stratton team won The People’s Choice Award! The students involved have now graduated as industrial cadets at bronze level, which is a nationally recognised award. They did an amazing job and were outstanding ambassadors for the school; we are very proud of them.
I would like to say thank you to Ms Stanton for her work with and encouragement of the STEM club and to our project mentor, Jenny Smith who is a mechanical engineer working for MBDA, a defence company based in Stevenage.
On Tuesday night, we celebrated Stratton's diverse musical talents at the Spring Festival of Music. We had performances from Rock bands to solo singers, Beethoven to Rage Against The Machine. We had performers from all year groups including Year 7 & 8 students from Biggleswade Academy, Edward Peake and Henlow Academy. The evening was enjoyed by an audience of over 100 family and friends and helped to raise money towards creating a recording studio in the Music Centre. Well done to everyone who performed and to all the staff who helped make the evening such a success
On Wednesday 3rd April, Miss Maley took some Year 9 and 10 female students to Cambridge University’s Department of Engineering. The students had a tour, visited the Whipple Museum, and took part in a History of Medicine talk. Students had the chance to look around the whole engineering department, which was really inspirational and opened the girls eyes to possibilities related to maths and physics, which they had not considered before. During the History of Medicine talk, the students demonstrated great talent, a passion for history and got involved in answering questions. They were a credit to the school.
Ending the term on a high!
The Year 11 football team managed to successfully finish the football calendar on a high for Stratton. Thursday 4th April saw the team take on Samuel Whitbread to be crowned league 1 champions. The team were not in need of any extra motivation as they are all very competitive; however with this being their last game and Mr Evans’ last fixture for Stratton they were most definitely fired up! The game was a testimony of both sides looking to play progressive football. Stratton dominated possession for high periods of the game and early on were unable to break the dead lock. Late in the first half Stratton went 1-0 up with some classy work by Josh Byrne. The second half going up the slope saw much of the same. Stratton carved out a few half chances but did not capitalise on these until Josh Roberts broke through from midfield and slotted home. 2-0 and comfortable the team began to relax and as a result were put under spells of attack from Sam Whit but they did not manage to take any opportunities thanks to some robust defending from Kye Barker and Cameron Godfrey. Later in the second half Sam Whit managed to claw one goal back from a corner, but thanks to some great tactical substitutions by Mr Evans, Stratton were able to see the game to the end and finish 2-1 winners. Champions!
The full team were to be congratulated: Kai Dawson, Kai Etienne, Kye Barker, Cameron Godfrey, Dan Hemming, Karim Khedjari, Josh Byrne, Leon Isaacs, Josh Roberts, Alfie O’Dell, Sam Oakins, Max Taylor, Giuseppe Newman, Tommy Wilkinson and Cobi Binks
The game was hosted by Biggleswade United and as always provided excellent facilities.
I would like to wish all our families a restful and enjoyable Easter break and look forward to welcoming students back to school on Tuesday 23rd April.
You will be aware that the book fair has been in the library for a while. It has now finished but more than £325 worth of books were sold meaning that we have earnt nearly £90 commission. The student librarians have chosen the books they wanted from the fair which are now in the library.
Sixth Form students have once again performed a successful Murder Mystery event for the Rotary Club. The event raised over £1000 and the Rotary have donated £100 to the Drama department for which we are very grateful. The next performance will be for the Willington History Society on the 30th April and the students involved are Poppy Kennedy, Katie Walmsley – Smith, Isobel Frost, Grace Robinson, Bethan Thomas, Georgia Carter, Holly Daldry and Kieran Hazell-Luttman. The Tech team consists of Jacob Tufts, Daniel Anderson and Jasper Hare.
Thank you to everyone who attended the Parents’ Forum on Wednesday evening. As always, it was a pleasure to hear views and have an open discussion. Two members of the Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) Executive presented information about the Trust, its values and ethos and how they support schools who are part of the CMAT family. There were a number of questions about the process for joining a new trust and we will keep all parents informed of progress over the next few months. Please see below for the link to the Presentation from the evening; you can also visit the CMAT’s website here. https://www.cmatrust.co.uk/
Also on Wednesday evening, members of the band ‘The Underfunded Part Deux’ performed at Battle of the Bands at The Stables in Milton Keynes. I would like to congratulate Ben Coyles, Josh Stevenson, Tom Tunnard, Stephen Day, Matt Pittkin and Lucy Paget for an absolutely fabulous performance. We are very proud of you all.
A reminder that the Spring Concert is on Tuesday 2nd April at 7.00 pm in the Hall. It would be lovely for the students to see lots of people in the audience, so please join us if you can.
The Staff vs Students rowing challenge for Comic Relief last Friday 15th March raised over £158. Of course, our energetic students were victorious but the staff team put in a magnificent effort. In total the student team rowed 89000m, 6000m ahead of the staff team. The event was well supported with lots of students and staff taking part. A fabulous end to the week.
On Wednesday, there was a great turn out of Year 10 parents and students for our Revision Information Evening. As Year 10 mock exams take place after Easter, this was a good time for us to share advice on how to revise well for embedding learning long term as well as how to manage stress and be mentally prepared for exams. Hopefully students will use these techniques regularly so good habits are set in time for Year 11 full GCSE exams.
On Tuesday and Thursday evenings this week I had the pleasure of being reminded of just how many very talented students we have at Stratton. There was a good audience for the students to perform to at both the Dance Showcase and the A level Music Recital. Performing to an audience is such an important part of these qualifications so we are very grateful for your support and for the work and professional expertise of the dedicated staff in Performing Arts.
Science Week During science week we have been fortunate to have:
The Bosch Group giving an assembly on hydraulics.
The Sixth form had a talk on Astronomy with Matt Bothwell from the Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge
Year 9 have taken part in a Technology Tournament
Students were able to dissect eyeballs, hearts and octopi in the Dissection Club
On Thursday, the Sixth form had a Science talk
Today year 9 are out at the Big Bang Fair
Performing Arts News We were delighted to hear that Kieran Hazell-Luttman came first in the Solo/Duet over 16 singing class at the Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama, receiving some excellent comments and encouragement from the adjudicator.
We should also plug that Georgina Carter’s new single was played on the BBC Introducing this week and can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p070mt25
Sixth Form Events It has been a busy and exciting week in the Sixth Form for the Year 12 students. On Tuesday Personal Development sessions were held on Cooking on a Budget, First Aid, Self Defence and Well-Being/Mental Health. During Wednesday, Year 12 went to the Apprenticeship Fair in Milton Keynes Area. Thursday saw the Sixth Form hold an Industry Experts day where global and local companies/higher education providers presented careers information to students. On Friday we held CV writing sessions, UCAS guidance groups and Personal Statement Writing Workshops.
For Comic Relief the Sixth Form challenged the teachers to a rowing competition - results to be announced next week!
A number of exciting things are happening next week: British Science Week starts today and is a ten-day celebration of science, technology, engineering and maths with a huge number of events taking place across the country. The Stratton Science department have been planning a number of activities and trips for next week including talks from the Institute of Astronomy and Glaxo Smith Kline, a technology tournament, dissection club and a Year 9 trip to the Big Bang Fair in Birmingham.
During the course of next week, the Sixth Form will be taking part in a number of events focused on skills and careers including an apprenticeship fair, careers day, technology challenge, first aid training, self-defence, cooking on a budget and a mental and physical wellbeing workshop.
As if that wasn’t enough, Friday 15th March is also Comic Relief and the Sixth Form Student Leadership Team have organised a staff vs students rowing competition and other events to raise money for this charity, which we are always proud to support. Students in Years 9 - 11 are expected to be in full uniform as usual on Friday 15th.
Therefore, next week looks set to be an engaging as well as fun and exciting week across the school for both students and staff.
On a more serious note, Year 11 Core Mocks start on Tuesday 12th March and run until Friday 15th March. Students have been focused on revision and preparing for these assessments in their English, maths and science lessons. We wish them luck, as every bit of preparation they do now will be beneficial for the summer exams.
Revision Information and Strategies Thank you to all parents and students in Year 11 who attended the revision information evening on Thursday. We have had some positive feedback from those who have attended and we have sent the slides used to all Year 11 parents and they are also available on the website http://www.stratton.beds.sch.uk/index.php/news/latest-news/219-revision-evening-a-guide-for-parents . We will be running the evening again for parents of Year 10 students on Wednesday 20th March at 6pm so please do come along, we would love to see you there.
World Book Day 7th March The Library at Stratton is celebrating World Book Day with activities throughout the month of March. Students will be given a World Book Day token during their English lessons over the coming week which can be exchanged at Sainsbury’s in Biggleswade for one of the special World Book Day books or used for £1 off a book at the book fair taking place in the Library from 20th - 25th March. There are book-related quizzes, a bookmark making competition and a book cover designing competition taking place in the Library until the end of March – students can come to the Library and pick up a bookmark and/or book cover template and join in! There are prizes for the winning entry and treats for everyone who takes part. Parents are welcome to visit the book fair after school any day between 20th and 25th March when it will be open until 4pm and until 6pm on Thursday 21st March only.
FREE workshops for parents on mental wellbeing Please see the flyer providing details of a programme of free parent workshops on mental health and wellbeing together with a flyer for the first workshop on 'anxiety and panic', provided by Bedfordshire CAMHS. These workshops are open to any parent who is registered with a Bedfordshire GP. Parents do not need to have a child open to CAMHS. Please contact: Sarah James - Public Health Senior Practitioner, Children and Young People, Telephone - 0300 3004109.
Year 11 parents should be aware of the Revision Information evening on Wednesday 27th February at 6pm. We are very much looking forward to sharing some strategies and revision techniques as well as ideas on how you as parents can support your children. I hope to see as many of you as possible on Thursday evening next week.