Avant Garde Hairdressing, Maths Challenge & Devon Rugby

Welcome Mr Chadwick


Pictured: Our new Head of Fairfields, Ben Chadwick

I am delighted to welcome Ben Chadwick to the school this week. Ben has been appointed as Leader of Behaviour and Alternative Provision. The role includes focussing on low level disruption and ensuring all students are able to learn in a calm and structured environment. For students who are struggling within the main body of the school a separate provision, Fairfields, has been developed to meet their individual needs. Mr Chadwick said “This is a really exciting opportunity to work in an Academy that has a clear vision and high expectations for student progress and academic achievement. My first week has been very enjoyable and I would like to thank both students and staff for making me feel so welcome”.

Mr Chadwick has a background in working with young people with challenging behaviour and his most recent post was the Head of the Pupil Referral Units in Torbay.


Ten Tors Training Gets Wet and Windy


Pictured: Students on the moor at the weekend braving the weather

It was the last training weekend of the Ten Tors season, which also proved to be the wettest too. Starting and finishing at Postbridge, the team walked in an arduous route anti-clockwise around the Moor. Our students covered just over 30 miles carrying full kit (their rucksacks weighed around 10kg). Their waterproofs only just coped with the heavy rain, they told me it was a good job skin is waterproof! A four hour intense rain band on Saturday evening made camping and cooking interesting as most meals into soup. The team also had to make difficult route decisions when faced by swollen rivers. In total eight Year 10 students took part in the weekend competing for the final six places for the event.

From all of our training sessions, we have now selected the final team that will be taking part on the day. Pictured from left to right, team members are Joe Calland, Jamie Pratt, Ryan Duffen, Aaron Chapman, Joe Hill, Louis Ruegg with reserve team member Brandon Cope.

I wish the team the best of luck for this gruelling adventure.


Student Council Meeting


Pictured: Students from Year 10, 11 and 12 during the student council meeting

Students from Years 10, 11 and 12 met for their scheduled student council meeting this week to discuss and review various whole school issues

Students reviewed the success of the recent Mufti (non-uniform) Day and discussed the possibility of having a new larger planner for the next academic year. Considerable time was also given to reviewing the academy’s Learning Cafe and breakfast club along with the current system of recording achievements with praise points. Finally, Year 11 students reviewed the our 2020 Vision document, commenting on the impact it would have on continuing to raise the standards of teaching and learning across Torquay Academy.

The outcomes that we recorded were:
• 2020 Vision – students recognised the aims of continuing to raise standards and improve learning outcomes of all students. Year 11 students to re-write a ‘student friendly’ version. (Jack Evans/ Gareth Thomas)
• Student planners requested to be larger in size to enable the clear recording of homework/teacher and parent communication – Mr Lamble shared examples. Students to finalise design.
• Non uniform was a success – dates to be included on the school calendar for the next one – Mr Lamble/Mr Margetts
• Breakfast club is well received – to investigate a ‘pre-order’ for a cooked breakfast – Mr Bolingbroke
• Learning Cafe – Increased numbers are studying at school after 3pm – could new incentives be offered such as fruit smoothies and milkshakes to keep the idea ‘fresh’? – Mr Bolingbroke
• Rewards & Achievements – Year 11 Prom points to remain a focus throughout the year 11. Praise points still requested across all other year groups but to have a consistent approach from all staff and acknowledgements in assembly of individuals’ achievements and annual subject area awards. – Mr Lamble/Mr Margetts



Year 8 Student Scouted for Devon County Rugby Team


Pictured: Jacob (left) in action

Year 8 student Jacob Brady has been rewarded recently with a call up to the Devon County U13’s Rugby Team.

Jacob was already playing for South Devon and after only two months he was recommended for Devon trials. After a lengthy selection process, Jacob was picked from a group of 80, as one of only a few talented players to join the Devon County team.

Jacob is now enjoying playing 2-3 times a month with his new Devon team and there is even reported interested from professional team Exeter Chiefs, who have him on their radar for next season.

Jacob first began playing rugby when he took part in Mr Harries PE lessons at the start of Year 7 and has only been playing for 1 ½ years! Mr Harries commented “It was clear from an early stage, that Jacob had talent. I have been impressed by his commitment since I first saw him play”.

Jacob’s dad, Mr Brady was exited to share the news and said “Next season the Devon Training starts up, which he is looking forward to. There is a huge commitment to the game which Jacob has taken up but he has a big desire to make rugby part of his future with a great team of like-minded lads”.

Jacob also told me about his recent success with club team Brixham RFC. They played in a 7’s tournament involving 24 other teams throughout Devon where they finished second overall which.

Jacob said “it was hard because the weather was so bad. The highlight of the tournament was beating Bideford because they were a really good team and we won in extra time”.

Jacob has aspirations of playing for London Irish RFC and even the National team. He has shown great potential and I look forward to updating you about his progress I the future.


Year 8’s take on the UK Junior Mathematical Challenge


Pictured: Year 8 students hard at work during the UK Junior Mathematical Challenge

60 Year 8 students took part in the UK Junior Mathematic Challenge this week. It involved students answering 25 multiple choice questions in one hour.

Maths Curriculum Team Leader, Mr Thatcher, said “I was very pleased and really proud of the way the students worked during the challenge.”

The top 40% of students nationally receive a gold, silver or bronze certificate in the ratio 1:2:3 and each institution receives a Best in School certificate. Around 1200 of the highest scorers are invited to participate in the Junior Mathematical Olympiad; a national competition in June.

Year 8 student Ashley Stott said “We had been practising for the past two weeks so were well prepared. I thought it was a funny experience knowing that we were competing against lots of other students up and down the country!”

To give you an idea of the type of questions they had to answer, here is one of the questions from the challenge: (answered without a calculator)

The number 987 654 321 is multiplied by 9. How many times does the digit 8 occur in the result? A) 1 B) 2 C) 3 D) 4 E) 9

The answer will be revealed in next week’s blog.


Top Marks – Students Ace Avant Garde Challenge at ‘Wild About Hair’


Pictured: Jess Moran, with her winning Avant Garde piece

Some of our Year 12 students were invited to compete in an Avant Garde competition to showcase the skills they have developed whilst studying for their Level 1 Hairdressing qualification at the Wild About Hair salon, Market Street, Torquay.

Avant Garde is the art of making big and bold statements by using unusual and often experimental styles, colours and themes. The challenge asked a lot of the girls who were all excited to be taking part.

The competition, organised by salon manager Stephen Davies, offered the students the opportunity to showcase their skills and really show what they were capable of.

Stephen commented “The standard of the work that the students produced this year was extremely high. They have worked so hard towards this competition to produce these excellent looks and they have embraced all of the skills they have been learning. The Level 1 Hairdressing course is designed to help develop their creativity and styling skills, whilst incorporating colouring, hair extensions and ornamentation. The girls have grasped the course criteria exceptionally well.”

The final pieces were judged by salon owners Stephen Davies and Francine Davies as well as guest judge Samantha Shore, of Aston and Fincher, who also supplied hair products for the competition. Each student was judged on the different techniques that they used, the preparation of the hair and the finished look. The judges also took into account any ornamentation, hair extensions and any colour that was added.

Overall winner, Jess Moran, used friend of the family Becky Fetherlin as a model for her competition piece. Becky said “When I was asked to model for Jess I was more than happy to help as I know how much Jess loves the course. She made me feel really comfortable and her final piece was better than when she was practising; it’s clear she really takes a lot of pride in her work!”

Gareth Harries, said: “The education partnership between Torquay Academy and Wild About Hair has allowed the girls to really develop their hairdressing skills in a formal and professional setting and will no doubt improve their job prospects in the future.”


Runner Up: (left to right) Guest judge Samantha Shore, Salon Owners Francine Davies and Stephen Davies and competition runner up Alana Darke.

If you are aged between 16 and 18 and are interested in hairdressing why not arrange a taster session through Stephen at the salon to see if what we offer suits you? Alternatively contact Stephen at info@wildabouthair.co.uk, 01803 666478 or Gareth Harries at Torquay Academy at sixthform@tqlearn.com, 01803 329351 for more information.



Year 10 Vocational South Devon College


Pictured: Students in action during their vocational studies at South Devon College

Year 10 Vocational students have been very busy at South Devon College this term. Our Vocational students have been attending South Devon College every Thursday and have been working towards gaining their Vocational Pathways certificates.

We have students working in several areas including Animal Care, Vehicle Technology, Hospitality and Catering and Childcare.

These students will continue working towards their certificates through Year 10 and Year 11 with the end goal to gain a level 2 qualification that will help them to gain employment and further education opportunities at post 16.

Our students have been great ambassadors of the school whilst studying at South Devon College. Keep up the good work.


Year 10 Work Experience Assembly


Pictured: Mrs Paddon (EBPS) with our Year 10 students

Yvonne Paddon of Education Business Partnership South West (EBPS) led an assembly for our Year 10 students in order to help prepare them for their work experience placements, beginning 9th June. Mrs Paddon offered advice to the Year 10’s, explaining what their employers would expect from them and how our students can get the most out of their placements.

Almost all of our Year 10 students have secured work experience placements and are looking forward to starting them in a few weeks. For those that are yet to find a suitable placement, Mrs Hadden is on hand to help so please feel free to ask for her support.

Students have placements in a variety of sectors and job roles including education, retail, business, agriculture and many more. We have had great support from many local businesses who make these placements possible for our students.

The week of work experience allows our students to gain an insight into a particular career and see what working life is all about. I look forward to hearing how they get on.


Year 8 Design and Technology Lesson in Structure Building


Pictured: Mr May with his year 8 Design and Technology students

As part of their Design and Technology lessons, Mr May set the challenge to his Year 8 students to design and construct a paper structure, using only 10 sheets of regular A4 copier paper, that had to support as bricks as possible.

There were various different designs and each team seemed to adopt a different approach to the task.

The winning construction (pictured) was that of Kai Andrews, Kara Skully and Amelia Reece, who designed a structure that was low and compact, which helped it bear the weight of the bricks.