Remembering Miss Foster
It was with a great deal of sadness that I had to inform our school community this week of the death of Miss Foster who has worked with us as a maths teacher since 2013. She unexpectedly passed away on Tuesday morning at her home.
She was a highly valued and well-loved member of staff who will be sorely missed on a professional and personal level by the whole school community. She had an incredible personality and cared deeply about her work and our students.
Staff and students are working together to find an appropriate way to remember her and celebrate her life.
My thoughts and well-wishes go out to her family, friends, colleagues and students.
Lego Robotics finals
On Friday, the TA Robotics team made the long journey to the NEC in Birmingham for the national final of the Lego Robotics challenge. Representing the south-west region, the team competed against the remaining top 40 highest performing schools in the UK. The team faced the same challenges they excelled in at the regional finals, but with a much higher standard of competition.
The TA Robotics display pod was, without doubt, the envy of the other schools. With Mr Hadley’s expert assistance, the pod showcased the design features of both robots (Basil and Fawlty) in the typical TA format. The team wowed the judges with their foamed mounted posters, complete with LED lighting too!
Our challenge mat robot – Basil – unfortunately let the nerves get the better of him on the day, as we struggled to match our fantastic challenge mat performance from the regional final at Airbus HQ. Commandeered by the voracious Brooke McCann, the team showed grit and resilience to return to this challenge and improve substantially for their second attempt.
On the other hand, Fawlty – our speed challenge robot – had a day to remember! He was able to clock a time of 3.85 s over 8 m, reaching an average speed of over 2 m/s. This was achieved due to a clever piece of gearing designed by Antonia Standen, who was able to achieve an impressive 24:1 gear ratio. This placed TA Robotics in the top 10 for the speed challenge overall – a fantastic achievement!
As expected, the TA students took full advantage of the interactive stands and activities on offer from companies at the cutting edge of the UK STEM industry. Whether sitting in a Red Arrow, designing an engine for a BAC Mono, using a high-powered Zeiss microscope, driving an army jeep through a Oculus VR head set or assembling the wheels onto a fully electric car, the students were able to experience and (hopefully) realise the wealth of careers available to them in the field.
For our first year of competing in the Tomorrow’s Engineers Lego Robotics challenge, the team have exceeded all expectations of them. They have experienced the elation, frustration and satisfaction that the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics can bring. They should all be immensely proud of themselves and can hold their heads high as winners in just getting to the national final.
Roll on the new challenges next year!
(If you are a Year 7 student reading this and are desperate to join the team for next year, please see Mr Hadley or Mr Broome!).
Our final PSHE day bought the usual diverse range of topics and visitors. All year groups did a session produced by the PSHE association called ‘Run, Hide, Tell,’ which showed students how to keep themselves safe during a major disaster. AlterEgo theatre company performed ‘Going to Extremes’ which showed how people can become radicalised.
The Year 7 students had sessions on the dangers of arson by the Fire Service and on the importance of a healthy diet from a NHS dietician Caragh Sanders-Wright. ‘Proud 2be’ ran a session on diversity and difference. Students also had a series of sessions looking at their sense of identity and the things that can impact on how they value themselves. The remaining sessions for Year 7 looked at the issues surrounding Female Genital Mutilation and bereavement.
Year 8 students looked at how to identify an abusive relationship, along with sessions on the impact of social media on their self-worth, how to cope with exam pressure, identifying and managing their feelings and also the relationship between rights and responsibilities.
Keeping safe was a theme running through the PSHE day for the Year 9s. Students looked at the issues relating to knife crime, alcohol and how it can lead to risky behaviour. Ricky Miles from the ‘Teenage Cancer Trust’ ran a session. Steve Todd bought some visitors from the ‘Alcohol related brain damage organisation’ and they spoke to our students about the ways in which alcohol had changed their lives.
The Year 10 students had a range of visitors running sessions; Samantha Campbell from the NHS spoke about breast care, Andy Dunn spoke about mental wellbeing, Sian Doyle from the Rotary club spoke about parenting and healthy relationships. We also had a session run by ‘Sexplain’ who looked at many aspects of sexual health.
If I never see snow again…
This was the sight that greeted me on Monday morning this week when I arrived at school.
Ken, Jeff, Mr Chadwick and myself spent most of the day shovelling snow and by the time we left all of the stairs and pathways in the school had been cleared and I felt we were able to open the school.
Having never been able to enjoy a snow day in all my years as a pupil in Torquay, I have now had to close the school for three days as Principal. Playing in the snow with my kids, building a snowman and sledging have all been great fun and something I know they will never forget. Having to decide whether to open or close the school and feeling that I can’t win whatever decision I make, as the heading says, if I never see snow again… (unless it is in the holidays!!).
Abi stars on the stage in Evita
Last week Abi Jones performed in front of thousands as part of the cast for the hit show Evita. She told me that she thoroughly enjoyed the experience of performing with so many world-class singers. Congratulations, Abi, we look forward to seeing you on the stage again in the future!
On Tuesday 20th March some of our more able year 11 Geographers were selected to attend an AQA lecture on ‘Tropical Storms’ and exam focussed workshop delivered by chief examiner and Geographical Association representative, Simon Ross at Torquay Girls Grammar. The year 11 students were able to develop their exam skills knowledge and application and were an absolute credit to the school. A special mention to Billy Gelo and Harrison Beer, for their exceptional responses to some tricky questions that were posed by Simon!
Year 13 Chemistry
It was interesting to see a Year 13 chemistry experiment recently. The students were carrying out some practical work to make a liquid called cyclohexene, which can be used in the production of various medicines.
The students were using special heating apparatus to boil the mixture for a long time without it completely evaporating. They were monitoring it carefully and successfully completed fourteen different steps to make some very pure samples of their product.
Harvey Wins Recycling Award
The Devon Recycling Awards took place last Friday and Harvey Bates, in Year 7, won the top prize in the Junior Recycling Hero category. He has been given a framed certificate and beautiful glass award with his name on. He was also given a gift of a VIP tour of Torbay’s Waste and Recycling Service including an up close visit to the recycling depot. Congratulations Harvey, a wonderful achievement.
Team TA Sports Roundup
I received notification last week of more success on the athletics track, this time Georgia Davies, Year 9, and Jack Luscombe, Year 8, were chosen to compete for Devon at the sportshall regional finals at Clennon Valley last Saturday against Avon, Cornwall, Dorset and Gloucestershire. Jack competed for the u/13 team and Georgia for the u/15. The u/15 girls’ team went on to win overall. They will now go on to represent the south-west at the national finals which take place in Manchester on the 15th and 16th of April against all of the other regional winners. Well done to both. Georgia was very busy last week as she was also part of a group of 30 students that travelled down to Plymouth to watch Plymouth Raiders Basketball Team play Manchester Giants, a very entertaining evening was had by all.
After what was a difficult week in and around school this week, there is very little to report on the sporting front. Football matches, netball Central Venue League Netball and our re-scheduled and much anticipated trip to Bath University were all victims of the weather. We did, however, manage Year 7, 8 and 9 Netball fixtures v Newton Abbot College and our first ever National Schools basketball match. When our Year 7 team took on the local basketball force that is known as Churston Grammar School, for our team to only lose by a single basket is a testament to the work they are doing on a Thursday night with Tim Funnell, from Linx Youth, and Toby Chant from Love basketball and the potential they show. Our biggest success story this week was our Key Stage 3 boys’ Table Tennis team who represented Torbay in the Devon Winter Games. A total of 12 teams took part in this tournament, with each team playing everyone else. After 11 matches and 4 hours of table tennis our boys: Nick Turner, Ellis Knowles, William Bevan and Bobby Western were crowned very well deserved champions. What was an added bonus was the excellent manner in which our Sixth From Basketball Academy boys acquitted themselves as support staff for the event.
Students of the Week
Students of the week this week with me are: Emily Hadden – Yr 12, Sophie Rick – Yr 9, Eloise Jackson – Yr 13, Milly Partridge – Yr 8, Lily Holloway – Yr 1, Natasha Gregory – Yr 10, Poppy Holloway – Yr 7
Bronze (not in order) Archie Hodgson-Hunt, Molly Palk, Tamla Wells, Cobyn Gardner, Sam Robinson, Jake Lewis, Roisin Payne, Antonia Standen, Lily O’Sullivan, Louis Mellitt, Scott Rhodes, Kelan Stanners, Lydia Langhorn, Angel Fox, Mea White, Alexander Roberts, Noah Johnson, Cody Mack, Esther Cox, Thomas Porter, Lily-Grace Lee, Samuel Shewell, Hannah Mabbutt, Imogen Winston, Bobby Western
Silver (not in order) Serena Milton, Brad Fraser, Madelyn Palmer-Kerslake, Oliver Palmer, Hannah Moxhay, Katie Packer, Teegan Waldron, Toby Leaver, Scarlet West
Easter eggs were given to students with the most house points in each house: Max Gamble, Ena Brett-Wilson, Boris Pugh, Milla Schwarz, Teegan Waldron, Josh Furze, Elizabeth Cameron
It has been an amazing week to see the steels being put in place. A team of specialists managed to put up the main structure of the building. Site Manager, ex-student, Steve Essam, told me that he is delighted at how smoothly this critical stage has gone and the project is well on track to be ready for September.
TA Under Several Inches of Snow