Sad News, Swimming, Musical Talent & Rehearsals

Sad News

6.2.15 Blog1

Pictured: Madeleine on site during the rebuild surveying the scene

It is with great sadness that I pass on the news of the death of Madeleine Perkins (Cooper). She joined the staff in 1975 and spent the vast majority of her working life at Torquay Academy becoming a member of the Senior Leadership Team and heading up Child Protection. She retired in 2009 after 34 years of service to the school.

I am sure that many of you will remember her and would be saddened by this news.

Our deepest sympathy and thoughts go to her family at this time.



Pictured: Students during various PSHE day sessions

The students took a day from their usual timetables to take part in a PSHE day on Wednesday this week.

The day, organised by PSHE leader Miss Martin, provided a wide range of sessions including cyber bullying, finance, sex education, first aid, bereavment, careers, personal health, relationships. The day also included included an engaging drama performance from Solomon Theatre Group, highlighting the effects that alcohol has on you and the potential risks that may be faced when consuming alcohol. Year 9 student, Taylor Corbett particulary enjoyed the performance by the theatre group and said “I learnt that when you are drunk, you can turn into a different person who is less responsible and more likely to get into trouble.”

Miss Nash said “One of Year 7’s lessons was about managing finances and the importance of having a budget. Mr Godfrey and me taught every member of Year 7 throughout the day, and pupils were able to give budgeting advice for real life scenarios and then make their own budgets to help them look after their own money.”

Other sessions included Torquay Fire Service talking to students about the effects and consequences of arson and a presentation promoting online safety by charity Virtually Safe.

PCSO Martin Rushworth teamed up with Kelly Warner of Virtually Safe and PC Brian Guntrip of Devon and Cornwall Police in delivering a workshop on Legal Highs, now know as New Psycoactive Substances (NPS), to our Sixth Form students. PCSO Rushworth said “The session was the best one yet. The Year 12 students were really engaged and had lots of questions to ask and even stayed after the presentation had finished to find out more. The added input from PC Guntripp, who shared his operational experience of dealing with incidents when dealing with legal highs, was really beneficial to the students”. After hearing of the effects, the law, after care and first aid proceedures surrounding NPS, students were advised about other services that can help in this area, including Checkpoint and FRANK. Year 12 Student Freya Browse said “The legal high presentation was good. It was very informative about the risks involved in taking legal highs and the negative effects it can have on your life”.

Our Sixth Form students enjoyed other sessions throughout the day. Head of Sixth Form, Mrs Thomas summarised how they got on:

As part of the PSHE Day, Sixth Form students took part in a range of activities. During Tutorial, students explored the role of men and women in today’s society and this opened up many interesting debates. After tutorial all the students went to see a presentation given by Kelly Warner from Safer Communities, our PSCO Rushworth and PC Guntripp. They gave a frank and open presentation about the Legal High Scene today.

After break, we split into 3 teams and revolved around the different activities on offer, Mrs Haines delivered ‘Hearts and Minds’ to aid the students develop their understanding of healthy and happy relationships and friendships. I delivered the Independent Living Skills, where students were able to make quick healthy snacks that we could all eat for lunch. Mr Harries, Assistant Principal delivered to the girls ‘To un-fit to get fit’ sessions which shows students the benefits of health related fitness for life and the Tutors Mr Gratton and Mr Thatcher spoke to the boys about ‘there is more to life than football’ aimed at expanding student’s fitness.

Students and sixth form staff had lunch in the Sixth Form Centre which consisted of homemade vegetable soup, chilli beef and vegetarian chow mein, and different flavoured muffins (containing courgettes and carrots!), all prepared by the students.

In the afternoon students got together in the Sports Centre to do some team building exercises linked with a fitness activity.

Head of PSHE, Miss Martin said “Our PSHEe day was a very successful event. Staff and students worked hard throughout the day to ensure this success. My highlights were the theater production of ‘Last Orders’ to the Year 9 and 10 students which was excellent. Also, the Fire brigade made very clear to the year 7 students the consequences of arson and all of our year 8 students now have some basic life saving skills.”


Year 8 Pathways Evening

6.2.15 Blog2

Pictured: A busy Year 8 Pathways Evening

Following the Year 9 Pathways Evening a couple of weeks ago, our Year 8 students accompanied by their parents, came into school to discuss their GCSE options for the next three years.

Choosing their GCSE pathways in Year 8 is a change to the way the school has operated in previous years, but allowing our students an extra year to focus on their GCSEs will have a great benefit on their overall success.

If you still have any questions regarding your GCSE pathways, you still have time to speak to your teachers and tutors.


Fairfields Students Explore their Musical Talent

6.2.15 Blog3

Pictured: Fairfields students in our iMac suite

Fairfields students have been undergoing an intensive music programme with the Creative Arts Department. The students receive one lesson of music a week. During this time the sessions have been focusing on improving the students’ ability to rehearse and perform as part of an ensemble as well as developing their own individual skills on a chosen instrument. The students are pictured during this week’s individual instrument tutorial session in which they are using the music software, Garageband, on the the iMac computers.

Head of Creative Arts, Miss Pappin told me “The engagement the students show in every lesson is brilliant; they can not wait to get to their lessons and get on their instrument. The progress the students have made in such a short amount of time is superb. The gains are not just musical either, each student has developed their ability to work with others and has grown significantly in confidence and self discipline.’

The students will be recording their half term band performance in next week’s session. Watch this space for a recording!


Rehearsals are well underway for this year’s Performing Arts Festival

6.2.15 Blog4

Pictured: Rehersals taking place in our performance studio

The Academy choir has set themselves a challenge for this years Performing Arts festival. Inspired by the choir’s energy and enthusiasm at Christmas we have decided that the students had the potential to raise the bar and do something a little bit different. Therefore we will be entering a fully choreographed performance of the Bruno Mars hit song Uptown Funk, with a live band no less!

Our choir will be performing on the evening of Wednesday 18th March at the ERC. Tickets are available direct from the ERC if you would like to come and support them.



Luke Rewarded for Commitment to Swimming

6.2.15 Blog5

Pictured: Luke with his latest haul of trophies and medals

Year 8 student, Luke Owen recently attended an awards evening after competing in the Newton Abbot Swimming Club (NASC) Gala, where he added a new collection of silverware to his trophy collection.

We are used to Luke performing brilliantly and reaping the rewards for his hard work and you may remember him from previous blog posts where his swimming success has been celebrated.

Luke’s most recent swimming gala was even more of a challenge than what he usually faces, as he was competing against swimmers one and two years his senior, making his success extra special.

Luke competed in 8 races in a mixture of distances and strokes, winning two trophies and six medals. The awards evening was topped by Luke receiving a final award for being the most committed swimmer in the whole club. Luke said “This may have been because I put a lot of hours into training each week and even when I broke my wrist, I was still in the pool with my cast on!”

After great success with NASC, Luke is now joining Paignton and Exeter swimming clubs after impressing coach Joe Johns at a swim campearlier in the year. Luke said “As one of the top swimming clubs around, this is a great chance for me to progress and hopefully start medalling in regional events. I’m excited about the change of club and new training schedule but will be dissapointed to be leaving my legendary coach, Lisa Kemp, as she has put in lots of hard work over the past three years. I would like to thank Lisa for everything she has done for me and I hope to repay her effort by medalling at the next regional event”.

Luke has already shown great dedication to his swimming and I’m sure we’ll see much more of him in the coming years.


Riosin Payne Swimming Success

6.2.15 Blog6

Pictured: Roisin with her swimming awards

Another emerging swimming talent is Year 7 student Roisin Payne. Also swimming for Newton Abbot Swimming Club, Roisin competed in a recent club gala, competing in 14 races over two days.

Roisin’s 7 ½ hours a week of training paid off as she came away from the gala with 14 medals (7 gold and 7 silver) and received 4 trophies for the 200m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and 100m freestyle events.

Roisin is a keen sports person who often takes part in after school clubs including football, trampolining, gymnastics and table tennis as well as enjoying wakebboarding with her family at the weekends.

Roisin is certainly ambitious and wants to follow her role model, four time Olympic gold medalist, Missy Franklin (USA) and compete in the Olympics one day for Team GB.


Year 11 Prom Passport – A Little Extra Motivation

6.2.15 Blog7

Pictured: Year 11 student, Carter Perry with his new Prom Passport

A new motivational tool has been introduced to our Year 11 students this week – the Prom Passport.

The Year 11 Graduation Prom, is a right of passage for our students as they graduate into our Sixth Form and is highly anticipated by our Year 11’s.

With students already preparing for their GCSE exams in the summer, the Prom Passport aims to help students focus on four key areas of school life, attendance, punctuality, uniform and revision in order to give them every chance of meeting and exeeding their target grades.

Once their passports are full, after maintaing their effort in the four key areas, students will have earned their ticket and in doing so maximise their chance of success during the examination period.
Year 11 student, Carter Perry, (pictured) said “I think it’s a good idea. Everyone gets a chance to earn their place to go to the prom. For some students it gives them a fresh start and gives you something else to work towards”.

IMIAL Level 2 Students Score 100% in Recent Assessment

6.2.15 Blog8

Pictured: Vehicles ready for work in our student workshop

Since September we have been delivering the IMIAL Level 2 qualification in Service and Maintenance Engineering. Students have spent time in our purpose built workshop, here at Torquay Academy, working on our two vehicles as well as time in the classroom. The groups have already accomplished many tasks that we normally take our cars to garages to get done. This has included changing tyres onto new wheels using the tyre changing equipment and basic service tasks. The students have also been learning the about the safe way to jack vehicles up in the workshop and use the lifting equipment under the supervision of our experienced tutors from South Devon College.

The course they are following has substantial theory section that underpins their practical sessions in the workshop, therefore I was really pleased this week to be informed of the success of our students in a recent Health and Safety assessment. Four of our students have scored an incredible 100% in the assessment, Oliver Metcalf, Jack Schofield, Holly Crawford and Aimee Gagg. Well done the four of you and to the rest of the groups who have also scored really high as well.

Over the next few weeks the students are in the workshop manufacturing their own tools following detailed plans that they have been supplied with. They will be assessed upon their ability to keep to the plans and tolerances stated in creating the tool. I look forwards to catching up with the students once they have made their tools.


Priory Primary School Visit Library and Science Labs for Learning Experience

Pictured: Priory students during their visit today

Priory primary school visited our Library and Science labs today to tak part in sessions, aimed at improving their knowledge in Science and Literacy.

During the Science sessions, students learnt how to use a bunsen burner safely whilst conducting experiments, whilst in the library session, they took part in activities that encouraged their research skills whilst building on their general knowledge.

The students from Priory were thrilled to be in school, taking advantage of our fantastic facilities and we would certainly welcome them back again in the future.


Name the New A380 Link Road

6.2.15 Blog9

Pictured: The new link road, now in it’s final year of construction

There is a competition to name the new A380 link road. If you are able to come up with any ideas for the name of the road, email them to us and enter our school competition. I am sure you will all come up with some innovative ideas. There will a prize for the best entry, judged by Mr Roberts . The deadline for entries to me is Thursday 12th Feb. We will then enter the ideas in the official competition.

The rules are pasted below:

Would you like to choose the official name for the South Devon Link Road?
Devon County Council and Torbay Council, along with Galliford Try – the contractors responsible for constructing the road – have launched the competition which is asking for suggestions for the official name of the new road.

All ideas will be considered and the winner will be selected by a panel comprising of representatives including Devon County Council, Torbay Council, Newton Abbot Town Council, Teignbridge Council and Kingskerswell Parish Council.

Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver said: “We are looking for names that are simple and imaginative. The name will be used on signposts, maps and the Internet – it will become the authorised, formal name we use when describing the road. We’d like to encourage people to enter and we look forward to receiving their ideas”.

There are two rules:

The road may not be named after anyone who is alive.
There must be no duplication of other road names in the area.

Good luck.


Problem Solving Festival for Visiting Primary Schools

Pictured: Year 1 and 2 students from local primary schools during the problem solving festival

Year 1 and 2 students from Watcombe, Warberry and Torre primary schools took part in a problem solving sports festival in our Sports Centre this week and thoughroulgy enjoyed working together during the session organised by Mrs Low and delivered by our students.

The students were a pleasure to have in school and their energy and enthusiasm kept our students on their toes.


We are now Collecting!

We are now collecting Sainsbury’s Active Kids vouchers. If you would like to support the school and help to get new equipment for our students, please bring your vouchers to our main reception.