Today we opened Charlotte’s garden. It is a space in the Year 7 playground that our students can use for friendship, reflection and respect. The garden is in memory of Charlotte who was in Year 8 when she tragically passed away in May last year. I was joined by her mum, Karen, family friends and Charlotte’s friends to open these beautiful new gardens that will grow over time.
In early 2017 Charlotte had a routine eye exam and was found to have features of raised intracranial pressure (pressure on the brain), which was treated. However, on a subsequent follow-up MRI Charlotte was noted to have new changes which turned out to be a cancerous brain tumour. She was referred to Bristol children’s hospital where she was seen by the children’s cancer team. However, the day before her treatment was due to begin Charlotte was at home and had a seizure which lasted for several hours. She was rushed to Torbay hospital and was placed in an induced coma before being transferred to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Bristol children’s hospital. It was there Charlotte passed away.
Charlotte’s family had already spoken about potential organ donation and in the ambulance on the way to Bristol, Karen, made the extremely brave but difficult decision to donate Charlotte’s organs so that other people, with other conditions would potentially be able to live. This decision has resulted in at least seven people having their lives saved because of Charlotte’s organ donation. And beyond this, multiple people, both children and adults, have benefited from her heart tissue donation, which can be frozen and used for multiple appropriate patients in a range of procedures.
This May, Charlotte’s mum, Karen, received the Order of St John UK Award for Organ Donation on behalf of Charlotte. The award honours the incredible gift that donors and their families in the UK make by donating their organs to save and improve the lives of others. It is awarded by invitation to families whose loved one donated their organs, and posthumously honours the donor. Karen attended a ceremony to receive the award at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol.
Speaking about her experience and about organ donation, Karen said: “I was proud to receive this award on behalf of Charlotte. Having conversations and raising awareness of organ donation, who can donate, and the impact it can have is incredibly important. We decided to donate Charlotte’s organs so that other people may be able to live. Since Charlotte’s organs were donated, I’ve been contacted by some of the people who have had their lives changed or saved by these gifts.”
To find out more about organ donation, visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk
Last Friday we held an amazing CCF day to celebrate the launch of our new RAF CCF section. Students had the opportunity to learn about a wide range of careers both within and outside of the forces. They were also given an overview of what it will mean to be part of our CCF.
The Combined cadet force launch day started warm and sunny. The RAF, the Royal Marines and the Submarines all sent along a team of people with the Army topping this with a climbing wall and a large multi-purpose lorry. The CCF brought along some air rifles, food and 2 new Aircraft simulators. Ten Tors and Duke of Edinburgh were manned by staff and the NCO’s from the sixth form.
By 1030 the line up was seriously impressive. Yr 7 came down and visited and got things off to a lively start. They were all over it with a long line for the climbing wall. To be fair though all stands were visited and enjoyed.
The day was put on to show case the different aspects of careers and encourage Yr 9 to sign up to the new RAF section of the CCF. They came to visit after break and had a 2 hour session booked in to visit as many stands as they could and have a go at all the different activities. Yr 9 really warmed to the task and engaged with all aspects. The wall was climbed many times, the air rifles were fired(no ammunition today) and there were a huge number of successful take offs on the simulators. A pity there were only 2 successful landings.
After lunch Yr 8 came down and enjoyed all the aspect really getting into the practical aspects. They will be offered their chance to sign up in September 2020. Over 1000 students had had a great experience. My thanks go to all the services who attended, the NCO’s and the students who made the day a real success. A special mention for our SSI who had the vision and put the day together.
The measure of success was always going to be about how many students signed up and sure enough the cadets are oversubscribed as the students could see that the CCF offers some amazing opportunities. A fantastic start to the Torquay Academy Combined Cadet Force RAR section.
In the evening, Mr Brett held an open event for parents and students to find out more details. We are delighted with the response and we look forward to our first parade soon.
Geography Field Trip
The Geography department enjoyed 2 days of Human Fieldwork in Devonport, Plymouth with the Year 11 GCSE students this week. Across the two days almost 100 students were part of the investigation into regeneration of an urban area in Devonport. The majority of students embraced the opportunity and fully engaged with the fieldwork, which equates to 30% of their overall GCSE.
Last Sunday the school’s Motorsports team made a very early start at 3 a.m. heading up to the latest round of the Greenpower F24 championship at Dunsfold Park, better known as the Top Gear test track in Surrey. It was to be the first time that they had taken both of their cars to a race. It seemed like a fitting time to re-brand their teams cars. The factually named Torquay Academy car number one was to become Pugh with a new nimble lightweight car being named Bindon.
Upon arrival the first challenge was to get the new car through scrutineering as it never gone through this process before. It passed with flying colours and duly made its way out to practice. Early signs were very positive with both cars completing a series of laps before disaster struck, Bindon being forced off the track by another car damaging suspension parts. After raiding the parts bins of rival teams the car was put back together and ready to start in race 1.
Each race lasts for 90 minutes with the winner being the car that has travelled the greatest distance. Being consistent on the track is key.
Bindon proved to be far more difficult to drive than Pugh due to being far narrower and having smaller wheels. Whilst decreasing weight and drag they also reduce stability so it took quite a few laps to gain confidence. It did, however, show great potential, completing many laps at the same pace as the leading car.
Ultimately reliability issues restricted Bindon to 25.42 miles after twice coming in for running repairs.
Pugh remained reliable and consistent and secured a staggering 4th place in class, by far our best result to date.
Confidence was high running up to race 2, all were sure that both cars could improve on their earlier result. Strategies were agreed as the race began, but unfortunately, it was to be a short event for Bindon after becoming involved in a pile up that would result in a retirement before the end of the first straight!
After the restart, Pugh found a rhythm consistently lapping at a good pace. Using the live tracking we soon realised that we were on track to beat our race 1 result. The drivers and team shone brightly and achieved an astonishing second place in a field of 50+ cars, many of which have been competing in the series for over 20 years.
The distance of 33.28 miles puts us in 9th place nationally (244 cars in total) which easily qualifies us for the International Final which takes place at Silverstone on October 17th!
This is our first year offering BTEC dance. In their second practical lesson, our Year 9s have been taking advantage of the incredible facilities in The Platform.
Our first batch of mountain bikers headed out to Haldon forest this week. Next week they will be taking on a nice long flowing single track.
Making bird boxes
Students are as busy as ever in their design and technology lessons designing and producing bird boxes. It is always a real hive of activity when I visit any of the classrooms in Enterprise.
It wasn’t a pretty one to watch, but this week our first team put another point on the board. They played out a tough 0-0 game against last years national winners, Stroud and Gloucester College. It was a different game to last week’s, but four points from last season’s table toppers from our first two games in the new league is a great starting point. Well done to all the players and coaches.
Climbing wall lessons
I am so pleased to see many of our students now enjoying using our incredible climbing wall during their PE lessons.
Our new year 7’s have started their reading lessons in our fantastic study centre space this week. We have combined reading with creative writing this year, and here are Mrs Mortimore’s class getting stuck into their dystopian stories after reading a short extract from Lois Lowry’s The Giver. This also supports their study of Lord of the Flies in English, and many of them were keen to take home some of Mrs Aitken’s dystopian fiction recommendations for their own independent reading.
This year’s Performing Arts Academy promises to be bigger and better than ever! We have been overwhelmed by the number of students who auditioned for a place in the academy and by the talent each of them has shown. The students have engaged in two evenings of audition workshops which have put them through their paces in dancing, acting and singing in our fabulous new theatre, The Platform.
Miss Pappin and the PAA leaders tell me it’s been extremely difficult to decide who to award the final places to, but after many hours of deliberation, we are delighted to announce the final 40. The PAA class of 2019-2020 will be posted in F block today!
Wasting no time, on Tuesday next week this year’s production will be revealed and casting will begin. This is an extremely special year for our PAA members as all rehearsals and the final production in April will take place in our spectacular new theatre!
Students of the Week
Students of the week with me: Katie Packer, Kelsey Cresser, Tyler Hardy, Harvey Green, Tommy Aldous
House Stars of the Week
Brunel – Evie Reece
Christie – Harry Lawler
Darwin – Roberta Bankes-Fay
Fawcett -Tyler Hardy
Kitson – Kaitlin Wright
Nearne – Tyrone Ross
Christie – Kole Gjikolaj
Fawcett – Aleasha Dunford
Harrison – Harrison Shaw
Kitson – Charlie Stevens
Brunel – Leo Driscoll
Darwin – Connie Watts
Fawcett – Tyler Silvester
Harrison – Dimitar Dinev
Kitson – Dan Maw
Nearne – Abi Jones
Pengelly – Thomas Johnson
House Homework Stars of the Week
Brunel – Rebecca Glasson
Christie – Oliver Huxtable
Darwin – Beatrice Corline
Fawcett – Lexi Silvester
Kitson – Daisy Bond
Christie – Ava Sams
Fawcett – Jeb Whatley
Harrison – Harrison Spurle
Kitson – Lilly-May Bond
Brunel – Bethany Stockton
Darwin -Freya Boote
Harrison – Amelia Barrett
Kitson – Sophie Wright
Nearne – Lauren Wills