Our Man at Oxford University – Ex Student Vernon Moore
Written by Mr Beswetherick:
It all started with an email invite from the Principal of Lady Margaret Hall College at Oxford University passed on to me by ex-student Vernon Moore who is studying Maths and Physics there. The invite was for a dinner, dress code “smart-casual”. What actually transpired was closer to the ‘Sorting Hat’ scene in Harry Potter! Paying close attention to the detail of the invite and leaving in plenty of time to drive the 183 miles to Oxford, the first surprise came when Vernon contacted me to say that he had been told to wear a suit for the night’s formal dinner, consequently I had to stop in the Mall in Bristol to buy a suit as I didn’t take one with me, D’oh!
On arriving at the college where I met up with Vernon for the first time in 6 months, we were all ushered into the Principal’s study for a warm welcome and discussion about the aims of the program of study at LMH (Lady Margaret Hall). After this we were shown down to dinner, which was referred to as ‘formals’. We were shown into the 250 seat hall where the rest of the students and staff were standing silently for us on the ‘top table’. We stood behind our seats until the Principal gave grace (in Latin of course) then everyone sat down and the food, drink and conversation all were started. The food was nothing short of amazing and the wait-staff had a habit of continually filling up your glass until you turn it upside down.
After dinner we were shown to the SCR (Senior Common Room) for coffee, we carried on our conversation about Vernon’s future academic plans but not without interjection from the Principal trying to arrange a quidditch cricket match and one of the tutors mentioning that the painting behind the coffee machine was spotted by the art appraiser (who was there for one of the other paintings) was worth more than a million!
At the end of the evening I was left with the feeling that I was very far from Torquay in more ways than one. Whilst we were all incredibly proud of Vernon for getting to Oxford my head was abuzz with thoughts of what more can we do to give students the same opportunities that universities like Oxford offer.
G4 at TA
We are used to requests from various sports teams and groups who are playing or performing in the area to use our facilities to practise or rehearse. Last we weekend we hosted season 1 X Factor runners up, G4, before their concert at the Babbacombe Theatre.
Last Friday an audience of over 200 crammed into the drama studio to be treated to a lunchtime of live music performances. The audience which consisted of a mixture of our boys and girls from all year groups, staff and visiting governors, were treated to no less than 6 performances! The Y12 music students kicked off this February edition with 2 electro-pop performances which doubled as assessments for their current unit, followed by a beautiful acoustic rendition of Ed Sheeren’s Photograph by Crystal and Taylor both in Year 8, next up were the Year 8 band performing Superstition by Stevie Wonder and to close the set our Music Academy bands performed their 60s RnB numbers. What a breadth of music!
I was even more impressed to learn that our sixth form music technology students set up the whole gig, operated the live sound throughout and managed to pack everything down in time for the P5 drama lesson to go ahead as if nothing had happened! The perfect ‘Pop-up gig’. What a fantastic experience for our students, both the performers and those in the audience. I’m looking forward to the March edition on Friday 23rd.
Zoe is Apprentice of the Year
We are always delighted to hear about the achievements of our ex-students. Zoe Howells did her work experience at Barton Hill Academy where she made a very positive impact during her week there. They were so impressed with her that they offered her an apprenticeship. This week she was awarded the AET Champion of the Year and in another category the Apprentice of the Year. We are very proud of her.
Team TA Sports Roundup
With the sports programme written off last week due to the Beast from the East you would like to think that it was situation normal this week. Sadly the knock-on effect of the storms was frustrating in that many of the fixtures that should have happened this week have not. A visit for our Sports Academy students to Bath University and the final of the Under 14 Girls Devon Football both fell foul of the weather. However, there were some highlights. Our Year 11 boys made their way into the final of the Devon Cup with a 3-0 win over Brixham Community College, our Year 7 boys progressed in the South Devon Cup with a 4-1 victory over Paignton CSC, our 3rd XI continued their winning ways with a victory over Truro and Penwith College, and finally our Year 9 boys football tea ran out 4-3 winners against Teignmouth Community College in the South Devon Cup, well done to all. Our Year 7 and 8 basketball players took part in their Central Venue League fixtures and acquitted themselves very well, one of our two teams went unbeaten all night whilst the other team narrowly lost out in two games but won the rest. With 30 girls off to watch Team Bath play a National League Netball match at Bath University on Friday night the week has ended a lot better sports wise than it began.
On Tuesday, the Year 7 team continued their excellent debut season by recording a 4-1 victory against Paignton in the Quarter Finals of the South Devon Cup.
As has become common, TA dominated the ball throughout, showing composure and poise to pass the ball around confidently, and after creating several chances, took the lead in the first half through Finley Wood. This pattern of the game continued, with TA continuing to create but fail to convert numerous chances. Paignton did look dangerous on the counter, with a pacey striker creating himself a couple of chances which goalkeeper Lewis Vinson was equal to.
Immediately after half time, and with TA in a bit of a lull, Paignton scored an equaliser. Again, the pace of the striker caught us out and this time, Lewis could not stop the shot for 1-1. This prompted a great reaction from the boys and seemed the stir us into action. We raised the tempo of our game significantly, and as such scored three quick goals through Finley Wood 2 and Liam Poole – from a delightful corner delivery from Jack Howlett.
Final Score TA 4-1 Paignton 1. The learning point for the team from this game was that they can beat anyone. Their passing and possession of the ball is as good as we have seen from a Year 7 team at TA. However, they will only win games if they play at a high tempo, with urgency and intensity.
MOM – Finley Wood for good finishing but also tenacious running and endless work-rate
A good result for the boys on Thursday afternoon. TA started brightly, passing the ball well but fell behind early on. TA showed excellent character turn the deficit around with 2 quick goals before halftime from Reece Shaw and Will Makinson. TA then dominated the second half and scored through Josh Watt and Makinson again. Teignmouth countered twice towards the end of the game to make it a nervy final few minutes, but TA held on for the win.
MOM – Charlie Clarke
TA made it 3 wins on the spin to take them to 13 points in their first season in the ECFA Cat 3 league. With 3 games to the end of the season, all against the top 3 teams, TA are currently only 5 points from top spot, in a league where all other teams (aside from Truro) are the college first XI.
As the team grow in confidence and belief, they put on their best performance to date, running out comfortable 4-2 winners away to Truro on Wednesday. Our ball retention and positivity of passing were excellent throughout, and we took an early lead through Louie-Jay Hayward’s long-range effort. A brief lapse in concentration allowed Truro to equalise shortly after.
After a slight reshuffle at halftime, we came out with renewed vigour and really took the game to Truro. We then had a phase of 15 minutes where we were simply brilliant, and scored three goals through Jordan Bastow 2 and Cam Fewings. Despite a late rally from Truro where they got one back with 5 minutes to go and then missed a penalty, this was a deserved 3 points for the lads.
Coach MOM – Josh Clarke
Players MOM – Callum Chalmers Wood/Jordan Bastow
Year 11 make it through to Devon Cup Final
On Tuesday the year 11 football team made it through to the Devon Cup Final for the fourth year in a row after beating Brixham 3-0. The game was not the prettiest of affairs and a resilient Brixham side made it very difficult for TA. However in the end the class of TA showed through with the goals coming from Cole Harford and Olaf Koszella x2. TA will now play the winners of Torquay Boys’ Grammar or Devonport High School in the final.
Mr Harries spent a delightful evening in the company of the Team TA basketball players in their Central Venue League fixtures. He told me the boys played brilliantly and the event was a lovely occasion in which all three schools showed a great improvement.
Students of the Week
Students of the Week this week are : Bethany Stockton – Yr 7, Liam Wallace – Yr 8, Evan Loasby – Yr 9, Umida Alimukhamedova – Yr 12, Luke Brailsford-Dunn – Yr 10. Courtney Quinlan – Yr 13
Principal & Governor Certificates
Principal Bronze: Milly Treleaven, Shaun Peter, Charlie Moore, Will Flood, Joshua Poston, Sofia Evans, Coral Sanderson, Kai Fowler, Nathan Wells, Elisha Perrow, Rhyanna Lewis, Jonathan Woodward, Matthew Leighton
Adam Nelson, Amelie Wallace-Fisher, Charlie Runciman, Ella Heasman-Knight, Jade Taylor, Lacee Borge, Olivia Giddy, Millie Hope, Brooke McCann, Jude Rockey, Ellis Kendall, Cody Lidster, Thomas Huitema, Roman Wyatt, Ollie Mellitt, Rebecca Hall, Leilah Poulain, Kimberly Taylor, Angel McKenna, Gareth Mufford
Principal Silver : Elizabeth Cameron, George Nelson, Emilie Cartwright-Lomax, Noah Handford, Maddy Brewer
Principal Gold : Milla Schwarz
Governors Bronze : Boris Pugh
This week we have had a five-person review team in looking at the school. They have spent three days here and I hope to be able to share their report within the next couple of weeks.
They have been working to catch up the couple of lost days from last week. They are continuing with putting in the block work. We are expecting delivery of the steel structure next week which will give us a clear picture of what the structure will look like.