Ten Tors Triumph, Exams Season & Shakespeare Festival

Torquay Academy Ten Tors Triumph!


Pictured: Preparing to depart (left to right) Louis Ruegg, Joe Calland, Ryan Duffen, Joe Hill, Jamie Pratt and Aaron Chapman who made up our Ten Tors team.

Huge congratulations are deserved for our Ten Tors team who completed a 35-mile route at the weekend – a first for the Academy! The challenge involved teams of six teenagers walking 35, 45 or 55 miles across the arduous and undulating terrain of Dartmoor. Each team had to carry enough equipment for two gruelling days of trekking to ensure that they would be self-sufficient and prepared for all types of weather.

This year’s event was made particularly challenging by gusting winds of up to 60 miles-per-hour and driving rain, causing the already boggy ground to become even more saturated and rivers to rise. The team had been training hard for these conditions since the beginning of the year which allowed team organisers, Mr Toorneini and Mr Brett to have great confidence in them.

Preparation for the event started in Okehampton on Friday, where the team were allocated their route and the Army scrutinised their equipment for safety. The team spent that afternoon and evening route planning before getting an early night. At 5:45am on Saturday morning the whole camp was woken to the sound of ‘Chariots of Fire’ playing through the loudspeakers. A hearty breakfast was served to the team and they made their way to assemble at the start line for 6:45am. The Defence Minister started the event by reading a good luck message followed by the Ten Tors prayer and the teams left Okehampton to begin their challenge.

All of the Torquay Academy team members made it to the 7th Tor on their first day. Unfortunately due to the strength of the wind, one of the team’s tents was damaged during the night.

Ryan and Jamie saved the whole team with some quick thinking, suggesting that four of the team shared the remaining three man tent whilst they waited outside for the army to rescue them. Due to the weather conditions and lack of shelter the Army insisted that two of the team members had to resign. Ryan and Jamie said “After waiting in the cold for the army to rescue us, we decided we would sacrifice ourselves for the good of the team.” (A minimum of four team members are needed to complete the challenge)

The remaining four carried on during the Sunday to complete the rest of their route; they crossed the line at 2:37pm. Joe Calland, one of the remaining four students who completed the challenge said “It was a long time leading up to the event so it felt brilliant to complete the Ten Tors in such a good time! It was hard not having our teammates with us as they both played pivotal roles in the team.”

The team have not been put off by the bad weather and are already planning for next year’s Ten Tors event and hope to complete the 45 mile route.


Pictured: I invited the Ten Tors team to lunch with me today, where they told me all about their trials and tribulations 


Exam Season Starts!


Pictured: Our Year 11 students in exam mode at the beginning of the week.

After months of hard work and countless revision sessions (often after school and at weekends) our Year 11 students began their GCSE exams this week. Year 11 student, Jack Evans said “I am confident with how they have gone so far. All of the revision has helped because it feels like all of the right questions have come up”.

With a busy schedule of exams ahead of them, I wish our students all the best in this very important time. I should also like to remind our Year 11’s that the Learning Café is open before and after school for any last minute revision needs and we also have lots of useful revision resources on the GCSE Revision Hub on the Student section of our website.

I look forward to seeing some great results in the summer!


Former Student in Top 5 of iTunes Download Chart!


Pictured: Former student, Thomas Kavanagh

I recently received news of former student Thomas Kavanagh achieving great success with his rock band I Divide. It’s wonderful to hear how our students move on and enjoy successful lives and careers. In order to find out more about his life since leaving, what was Torquay Community College, we contacted Tom who was more than happy to tell us about his journey. Here’s what he had to say…

“I finished Torquay Community College in 2003, shortly after this I moved away to Norfolk with my family. I then went onto to do a 1 year course in Music Business at college. After college I found myself very lost within my life. I’d just turned 18 at the time and I was thinking to myself I want to do something with my life. Music has always been the first on the cards for me. So my mum suggested that I moved back to Torquay and play music again with the group I was with at the time.

I did that for a few years, playing up and down the country (small venues to ‘no one’) but having a lot of fun doing it. Due to this, I was moving house a lot, living on people’s floors because I was willing to do anything I could to be in a successful band.

During the end of summer 2007 the band and I went separate ways.

Later that year, me and a few others from ex local bands, still wanted to peruse a career in music. So in the start of 2008 we formed a new band. After 3 years of being part of the new band and numerous line-up changes, we felt that the band had to change.

In 2011 the present line up had formed under a new name I Divide.

Later that year we had released our self-funded debut EP “What’s Worth More”. After its release, I Divide began to grow rapidly. This saw the band play a lot of major UK festivals in the rock scene.

In September 2012 I Divide won the Red Bull Bedroom Jam, which out of 2,000 band entries saw them become the nation’s favourite band. This also gave the band the opportunity to record for 2 weeks at Red Bull Studios in London with top producers, whilst also filming a music video with them. Because of this, I had the opportunity to play the following: 2nd stage Download Festival, BBC Introducing stage at Reading & Leeds Festival as well as playing on BBC RADIO 1, XFM & KERRANG RADIO and even TV appearances with music videos on KERRANG! TV & SCUZZ TV.

April 2014 saw the release of our debut album “Last One Standing”. In the first 9 hours of its release it soared its way to N0.5 in the iTunes Rock chart. After the first week of sales it had reached NO.36 in the official rock charts.

What’s next for I Divide??? Well we’re set to take over the world.

Last One Standing is available now on iTunes & Spotify

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/last-one-standing/id816417026

Facebook: www.facebook.com/idivideband
Twitter: www.twitter.com/idivideband
YouTube: www.youtube.com/idivideband

I think Thomas’ story is one that many young people may be able to relate to. Knowing what path to follow can be an incredibly hard choice to come by but I think that Thomas’ story shows that you should never give up on that dream; grit, determination and perseverance will always pay dividends.


Shakespeare School’s Festival Play Allocated – James Miller Wednesday


Pictured: Students rehearsing for the Shakespeare School’s Festival in our drama studio.

In preparation for the Shakespeare Schools’ Festival, a number of students have been attending after school sessions where they have been exploring Shakespeare’s language and performances.
The students found out this week that we have been allocated Romeo and Juliet for the festival itself and they will be performing at the Princess Theatre on the 10th November. The group is still open to all students in years 8-10 and auditions for the production will be held after half-term.


Year 7’s Learn Graphic Design in their Digital Learning Lessons


Pictured: Student’s final 3D characters.

As part of their Digital Learning lessons, Year 7 students have been learning the difference between 2D and 3D, using visualisation to change some 2D objects into 3D nets.

Students learnt the basics of the computer program Fireworks CS4 and used it to create this wonderful assortment of characters.

The final character designs can be seen above.



Look what we Found Buzzing around…

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Pictured: (Left) bees tending to their eggs (right) Groundsman, Mr Morgan, relocating the nest to a safer location.

We have been lucky enough to discover a rarity on the school grounds this week. Whilst clearing a compost pile, members of the facilities team discovered a nest of a species of bumblebee called the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus Terrestris).

Nests are very rare and can consist of up to 400 individuals. The nests are usually well hidden and only last for a few months so we are very lucky to be able to find one. The bees are a non-aggressive species of which allowed us to take some close up photographs and also rehome the nest to a more secure location in our grounds.

Identification posters close to the school’s lavender beds will be put up next week so that staff and students can identify the various species of bee that visit this area. These will stay up for the flowering clover, as this attracts literally thousands of bees of differing species.

Our grounds are home to a wide variety of wildlife, which our students have the benefit of being able to observe and study.


Year 7 Enjoy the Sunshine as they Study the Flora and Fauna


Pictured: Year 7 students in the school allotments.

Year 7 Opening Minds students have been studying the ‘Flora and Fauna’ of Torquay Academy. This has included identifying trees, shrubs, insects and birds, as well as examining the soil structure.

In this picture students are seen collecting soil, mixing it with water and watching a soil profile develop. From this they find out what percentage of the soil is organic, clay, silt and grit. It can then be determined how suitable the soil is for growing plants.

Opening Minds seeks to develop cross curricular projects to support the work completed in other departments. In this instance the students are reinforcing their Science work.


Year 12 Student Work Experience with Facilities Team


Pictured: Year 12 student, Kane Lewis-Johns, during work experience with the TA Facilities team.

Year 12 student, Kane Lewis-Johns, started work experience this week with our Facilities team. Kane has applied to enrol on a Painting and Decorating course and asked if he could complete some work experience so that he could learn some new skills, in preparation for his course.

Kane is interested in maintenance and is considering it as a career path once he graduates from our Sixth Form. Kane said “I enjoyed working with the Facilities team and have already learnt a lot!”


Tennis Lessons Underway


Pictured: Kieran Bailey, with Tennis coach Robert Short

Professional Tennis Coach Robert Short, began his tennis coaching sessions this week and Year 8 student, Kieran Bailey (pictured) enjoyed a one to one lesson as he was the only one there! Kieran said “The session was really fun. We covered lots of technical points including forehand, backhand and serving.”

The sessions take place on the following dates:

Year 7: 13/5, 20/5, 3/6, 10/6, 17/6, 24/6, 1/7
Year 8: 15/5, 22/5, 5/6, 12/6, 19/6, 26/6, 3/7
Year 9: 16/5, 23/5, 6/6, 13/6, 20/6, 27/6, 4/7

This is a great chance to learn how to play tennis or to develop your skills further with tips from a professional!

If you are interested in future sessions please download and return this booking form to the main reception here at school. A series of seven sessions costs £21.


Allotments Begin to Take Shape


Pictured: Mrs Fortune with our Year 12 Pathways to Employment students.

Year 12 students have continued to work on the school allotments this week and after much hard work preparing the soil they have begun to sow seeds for the salad bed (pictured).

They will hopefully grow Radish, Onions, Beetroot, a mixture of lettuce as well a variety of herbs.

Once grown, the produce will be used in the school kitchens and be served to the staff and students.



Sweet Treat to Aid Learning


Pictured: Year 10 BTEC Sport students making their muscle models.

Mrs Knowles has been putting a different spin on anatomy this week in her Year 10 BTEC Sport lessons by asking the students to make models of muscles using strawberry laces and cling film.

Students were creative in how they modelled the strawberry laces, which replicate how the muscle fibres in the human body form together.  This practical way of learning was not only fun but also helped students understand key terms.



Torquay Academy Sport Holiday Club


Pictured: Holiday club poster at the Sports Centre reception

Two fun filled multi-sport days are on offer for anyone who wants to add some fun to their half term break.

Torquay Academy Sport are offering young people aged 8 – 13 years old the opportunity to attend a holiday club over the May half term (27th and 28th May). The holiday club will involve a range of sports with qualified coaches. Sports include Football, Kwik Cricket, Basketball and Badminton, but also includes arts and crafts, games and more!

To find out more, or to book a place on the Holiday Club call our Sports centre on 317137 or email sportscentre@tqlearn.com.


Sports Round Up


Pictured: (Left to right) Katie Gunstone, Chloe Entwhistle, Nicola Mason, Steven Harris, Terrie Bacon, Robbie York, Alexandria Cole and Dan Smith.

The bowls team produced another good performance against a strong Tower House team this week.

The team drew 9-9 overall and maintain their unbeaten start to the season.