Wheatley Park School
As well as (hopefully) heralding some long-awaited warmer weather, Easter also signals the final run up to exams for our Year 11, 12 and 13 students. With under fifty days to go until the main GCSE exam season, the vast majority of students continue to show real determination to succeed. Attendance at after-school revision sessions is up on last year, and, thanks to the fantastic commitment of their teachers, many students are also benefiting from Saturday and holiday revision sessions. We wish all students facing exams this summer every success.
Learning in general continues to be supported by our sustained improvements in behaviour. Thanks to support from parents and carers, we have halved the number of detentions set for missing homework and equipment since we started emailing notification home a few weeks ago. This allows us to focus even more on accentuating the positives.
The deeply caring ethos we are striving to develop has been very apparent this term, and never more so than last Wednesday when Year 10 demonstrated an outstanding show of support for one of their peers, Dara Ghomshei. Dara is currently responding well to treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and may also need treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. His friends, with the help of the Student Ministries, organised a penalty shoot-out and cake sale that was attended by Dara, his parents and nearly all of Year 10. £300 was raised for a cancer charity in just one lunchtime. The school community wishes Dara and his family all the best at an immensely challenging time.
We have also focused on caring for our special site this term. Geography teacher, Mr Twycross, has led a successful campaign to reduce litter and increase recycling. Students have responded well to our strapline, ‘Don’t mess with WPS’! They have been challenged to avoid the ‘selfish’ act of dropping litter and adopt the ‘self-aware’ behaviour of binning their own litter or even the ‘selfless’ habit of picking up other people’s litter. As a result, we are all enjoying learning in a cleaner and pleasanter environment.
Goodbye to Mrs Roberts and Mrs Wakefield
We bid a fond farewell to two long-serving colleagues this Easter:
Sue Roberts, our much loved Sixth Form administrator, is retiring after 12 years at Wheatley Park. In that time, she has worked for four Heads of Sixth Form and been instrumental in organising a plethora of widely appreciated events for sixth formers. She has an infectious enthusiasm and real concern for the students, who will miss her greatly. The sixth form will not be the same without her. Sue leaves to look after four generations of her family, including her father, husband, daughters and new grandson.
Any contact with Sixth Form from now on should be through Mr West : GWest@wheatleypark.org
Jo Wakefield is leaving us after 18 successful years as Head of RE. After spending the early part of her career at Exmouth Community College in Devon, Jo steadily built up the profile of RE at Wheatley Park, achieving consistently strong examination outcomes and showing great loyalty and commitment to the school during several periods of change. In recent years, Jo has been a form tutor for Year 12 and 13 students and is renowned for the quality of her pastoral care. It is fitting, therefore, that she is switching careers to a heavily pastoral role at Wycliffe Hall, a theological college linked to Oxford University, where she is responsible for student recruitment and welfare.
We say an enormous thank you to both Sue and Jo, and wish them all the very best in the future.
Newsletter- Spring Term 2
British Gymnastics Championships - Sophie Newell (Yr 12)
It’s been a busy time for Sophie and her new acrobatic gymnastics partnership. It normally takes at least a year for a new partnership to become competitive at the highest level. However with intensive training they were ready to compete at the 12-18 year old level after just four months. Sophie’s trio were thrown straight into the deep end for their first competition, at the British Tournament in Stoke on Trent. They produced three excellent routines giving them the silver medal. This competition was also ranked as a qualifier for the World Championship trials. As the trio medalled and produced scores over the qualifying standard they were invited to the trials. The World Championship trials were held at the UK’s National Sport Centre in Lilleshall, Shropshire and again Sophie's trio performed brilliantly over three routines ranking second overall against the best groups in Great Britain. Next, the trio were off to Bristol, competing in an international competition against competitors from Belgium, Holland, Germany, Portugal to name just a few. After qualifying for the final quite comfortably they then produced another good routine to win the silver medal only beaten by the Portuguese champions. The final competition was the British Championships . As Great Britain is one of the leading countries in acrobatic gymnastics this competition is ranked as one of the most competitive events in the world outside of the World Championships. This contest was also designated as the second trial for World Championship selection.
Even though the standard was incredibly high, Sophie and her partners produced two very good routines in the qualifying rounds which meant they comfortably progressed to the finals. Unfortunately a small mistake in their final routine put them out of medal contention and as a consequence it also put them out of World Championship selection. Despite this disappointment it has been a very successful competition period for Sophie and her partners and they have achieved a considerable amount for a trio that has only been together for six months. Sophie now has some time off as she has developed a stress injury in the the bottom of her back, which will keep her sidelined for approximately ten weeks, but once healed, with her partners, she will be moving up to the 13-19 age group with their focus firmly on representing Great Britain in the 2019 European Championships.
World Book Day
Our Sixth Formers took part in World Book Day on Thursday 1st March, along with the whole school. Fancy dress was worn and the students chose a character from their favourite book (see Library section).
Sixth Form News
Litter - Don't mess with WPS!
This term has seen the launch of our campaign to make our school a litter-free zone. This catchy poster is now displayed around the school. Every morning four form groups go out around the site and ensure each day the school starts litter-free.
The pictures below show Year 10 students taking part in the recent ‘Great British Spring Clean’ event. Hopefully you will see a noticeable difference around the site over the coming weeks and months. In addition we are also working hard to improve recycling around the site.
Student participation has been excellent and a true sign of everyone caring.
Spanish Trip to El Puerto de Santa Maria
Day 1: It was a beautiful day…. Well actually we couldn’t tell because the sun wasn’t up, it was 3:30 in the MORNING….
We landed at 11am at our destination. We were out of the plane and the airport but WE WERE STILL IN THE UK as we were in Gibraltar. So we went through security twice to finally reach… SPAIN!!!
We met with Marína our chaperone. She was really nice even though she spoke Spanish to us most of the time. We took a coach to get to Santa María with a lunch break when Jack, Daniel and Ian bought a GIGANTIC orange. We got back on the coach to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery. Finally we got to Spark. It was amazing because it had an upstairs rooftop where you can lounge in the free time you have.
On the first day we wrote postcards, cooked paella and danced flamenco. It was fun cooking and hard, but it was nice to see (and eat) the final product: it was delicious. Flamenco dancing was so fun because we spent our time laughing at the mistakes we were making. Ms Petite and Mr Price danced awesomely but I found out later, that we learnt ONE dance and there are three more….
Day 2: We had breakfast followed by Spanish lessons, it was fun as always. At the market I bought 1 kilo of churros... We had to find the measurements and the prices of things, but we cheated by handing the paper to the shop owners and got help from them. We got caught so we started to actually speak Spanish. After that we went to a castle, had our lunch and got a ground tour of the castle. The castle was pretty cool because we picked oranges and they were so good. After that we went to the beach. It was really nice that we met cool Spanish people: some played rugby and football (Charlie SCORED!!), others, near a stone wall, were doing backflips and frontflips: Jack and James joined them.
Day 3: On this day we went to a place called Cadiz. We travelled there by ferry. We were in the end of the carnival: it was so lively. We saw tower that was so cool we couldn’t take any pictures (it wasn’t allowed). Next we were running to catch a ferry…. but we just missed it…. by an inch. But Marina and Miss Petite, who are smart, got train tickets to go back to Santa Maria. Back at Spark we were pretty late but there was a BBQ so all was good. Actually it wasn’t all good: it was OUR LAST DAY!
Day 4: We had breakfast chatted, then walked to the coach, gave Marina a good big long hug and said goodbye then left for the airport. We came home to the horrible COLD MONSTER! It was so cold. The first thought was ‘How do I sneak past security to get back on the plane?’
The Spanish trip was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! If I could go again I would do it in a heartbeat.
Thank you for reading about my Spanish trip.
Elizabeth Simpson, 10PSI
Records of Holton Park Girls’ Grammar School (1948-1972), Edited by Marilyn Yurdan, Published by: Oxfordshire Record Society Vol 71 (2017), ISBN: 978-0-902509-87-0, Price - see their website
School records are a great source of information that provide so much social history and this collection is a fine example. The detail given in the headteacher’s reports over the life of the school gives depth and quality to the situation of a grammar school. Changes in education led to the creation of the school as the fee paying Thame Girls’ Grammar School. Further changes led to the amalgamation with Shotover School to form Wheatley Park School with the advent of the Secondary Modern system and the raising of the leaving age to sixteen. The attitude parents held, led to many daughters leaving school before completion of courses and this became a constant theme as staff worked to show the opportunities education gave. Other struggles like inadequate facilities, school buses, and lack of cleaning staff shows the concerns of the headteachers and present a full view of the life in the school.
Many readers will recognise parts of the daily routine, but this is not a romantic look at the past. The editor allows the headteachers to express themselves through their reports. A school is a reflection of the headteacher’s personality and this is seen throughout the book. As these records report on living people, some work has been done to hide identities with care and does not detract from the information. A wonderful record of a school that fills the gap between the pupils and the aims of the education system in Oxfordshire. I recommend this book to anybody interested in secondary education in this period, as this type of record do not usually survive.
Reviewed by Tony Sargeant, Buckinghamshire Family History Society
Records of Holton Park Girls' Grammar School
The school library continues to be a real hub for Wheatley Park students. We are even busier than ever, often packed at break times, lunchtimes and with a good number of students coming to our Homework Club. Card games and board games have become particularly popular this year, with students even bringing their own favourites from home to share with everyone else.
World Book Day was a huge success again this year. Students and staff across the entire school all stopped what they were doing to read at 1pm, and spend twenty minutes reading together. All students had the opportunity to join in the day’s dressing up for the first time this year and we saw some absolutely brilliant costumes from staff and students alike. A huge congratulations to Evie Pinkney in Year 7 and Oscar Lindenbaum in the Sixth Form for really wowing of so many students to win our costume competition, and well done to Mr Palmer who braved all that snow in his red wig and dress to win the staff contest! The science team selected a Narnia theme for their costumes this year, which went very well with the weather, and produced some great photos in the snow.
Once again, we welcomed Blackwell’s bookshop to the library to sell 2018’s World Book Day books. Lots of our students came to exchange their vouchers, and some bought the full-length novels that were available at a huge discount for the very first time. All World Book Day titles will be available in the library in the coming weeks.
We look forward to upcoming events for the library in the next couple of months too, with our Oxfordshire Book Award group ready to look at the shortlist and cast their votes, and a trip to Abingdon School in May to meet Chris Bradford, author of the ‘Young Samurai’ and ‘Bodyguard’ series.
LIBRARY NEWS - WORLD BOOK DAY
We have seven Wheatley Park students who will be attending the next Awards event in May at Buckingham Palace. They are John Foster, Ethan Green, Dominic Arkell, Tara Jones, Amber Stokes, Helena Beel and James Austen.
They have all completed the five Award sections with activities such as rowing, music, helping in guides, volunteering at swimming events, learning to drive and of course a 4 day expedition in Snowdonia.
We are Wheatley Park School Interact club and are looking for new students to join. As a club, we raise money for local and international charities and volunteer our time alongside the Thame Rotary club.
The charities we are planning on supporting are Sobell house, which is a charity that provides care and support to adult patients and their family, friends and carers. We are also going to support a school abroad in need of aid and resources.
Currently, we have raised nearly £1,000 from the Valentine's cake sale, World Book Day and the Thame Swimathon. Towards Easter we will also be doing another cake sale; so look out for that. We hope that with new people joining we will raise more money and have more ideas to help out the community and other charities.
By joining our club your leaderships skills will improve; you will make new friends and have fun; you will make a difference to the school and local community and you will promote international understanding. Once you join, you will benefit greatly and also be helping other people out.
We meet on Tuesday lunchtimes in H5 and any student from any year is welcome to come along.
Thanks, The Interact club
Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award Presentation
Year 9 Belgium Battlefields Trip
Between 18th-20th February, we took 40 Year 9 History students on our annual trip to the Belgium Battlefields. At the start of the year students had been learning about World War One, including what it was like to live in the trenches. The trip gave them the opportunity to experience the trenches first hand, but to also reflect on the impact of World War One.
On the Sunday morning, we began our journey to Belgium, firstly by coach and then ferry across to Calais. On Sunday evening we visited Menin Gate and took part in the Last Post ceremony. This was a poignant moment for the students, as four students were asked to lay a wreath on behalf of the school. The students displayed the school values exceptionally throughout the ceremony and reflected on the significance of the event. Chocolate shopping was next on the itinerary. Students were treated to free gifts and came away with plenty of sweets!
The following day, we stayed in the Ypres area to get an understanding of how this one area of Belgium was totally reshaped by the War. We started the day at the German Bayernwald trenches. Students had the opportunity to explore the trenches on their own and consider different aspects of trench life- like sleeping in a dugout in the side of the trench! Following this we went to two war memorials: a German one, Langemark, and a British one, Tyne Cot. Students reflected on some of the big differences between the cemeteries, and at Tyne Cot had the opportunity to look for family names within the cemetery register. Our final visit of the day was Sanctuary Wood, a British trench system that has been left as it was at the end of the War. The area has a small museum beforehand entering the trenches and students were able to witness some of the severe injuries, trauma and weapons that soldiers came into contact with.
Our final morning was a spent at the In Flanders Field Museum in Ypres. The museum is interactive and tells the story of Ypres through exhibits, archaeological finds and first hand stories. Students were able to see how the sites they had visited the day before fitted into the bigger picture of Ypres World War One story and came away with a deeper appreciation on how Belgium had been affected by the war. Overall, the trip was a great success. Students acted with respect and thoughtfulness throughout and represented the school exceptionally.
Miss L Ette
Sixth Form News cont.
Oxford School Shorts - winners
'Oxford School Shorts' is an access programme set up by Oxford University’s Ruskin School of Art students. The programme develops a platform for local Oxfordshire school students who produce films in their art lessons and free time. It hopes to encourage young film-makers that may be beginning to think about developing a career in fine art or film-making, and give them an opportunity to present their work in a contemporary art space.
This is the introduction that was read out at the event on 1st March at Modern Art Oxford:
'Our first submission is a collaboration by Millicent Webb and Hannah Schofield from Wheatley Park School.
We thoroughly enjoyed watching this film, the ethereal imagery combined with the powerful throbbing sounds leaves us with a sense of uncertainty. The reflections of the windows adds a homemade layer to the film, giving us hints as to what is being filmed, or what is in the surroundings of the subject. Still, we are not quite sure what we are looking at: it could be a pond, a test tube, a printer. The highly cropped frames are immersive and we are captivated by this liquid environment that you have filmed and presented to us.
There is a strong sense of narrative within this film as it builds on sound and exploration of editing techniques. We are excited to see how your collaborations or individual work grows in the future as we feel there is great potential to build on these ideas and take it further. We believe this space within Modern Art Oxford will enhance the effects of this film.
This film has achieved what Oxford School Shorts hoped to bring out in students- it is experimental, original, creative and conceptual.'
If you would like to watch Hannah and Millie's film please follow this link by clicking on the online version of this newsletter on the school website:
HANNAH & MILLIE'S DO COLOURS FINAL
Visit to Tate Modern
On February 27th the art department took all GCSE art students to the Tate modern, London to enable them to gain ideas and inspiration for their forthcoming art exam in April. We had 3 hours to take in the immensity of the building and the incredible range of fascinating, sometimes challenging modern art it contains.
An added bonus to the day was a memorable walk back along the Southbank in a snow blizzard.
Two Wheatley Park teams were entered into the Year 10 Maths feast, to compete in four rounds against schools from all over Oxfordshire.
Prizes go to the winners of each round, and our students edged out the competition to win two of them.
Excellent problem solving skills combined with communication and teamwork were shown by Tariq Saeed, Ben Wolstenholme, Tyler Oxley, Wilfred Steane, Dan Carpenter, Ailin Bogers, Al-Ameen, and Sarah Bayliss (Year 9!).
Arts News cont.
Amedeo Modigliani -Jeanne Hébuterne (1898–1920)
Year 10 Maths Feast
On Monday 29th January 2018 we met in the bistro to host around 30 Chinese students. About 10 minutes after we arrived we met them. It turned out that they didn't speak much English, but enough to communicate with us. We spent about 20 minutes explaining the ways of Wheatley Park School so that the Chinese students understood how things were run at our school. After that, we took our students on the tour of the school. This was rather hard as they understood very little English. For the whole week the students were to be in our lessons and we were to help them to understand what life was like in England.
The first lesson was hard because it was History and I didn't really understand much more than my Chinese student but we got some work done and in all worked out fine in all of the lessons. The Chinese students had money to spend in the bistro and they had a food pass which means we could skip the queue, I definitely missed that once they were gone!
Maths was an interesting subject for me because Bill (my student's English name) was so much better at Maths than me and I couldn't keep up with him! The most interesting part was the hot chocolate and debate with Mr Martin because none of us knew Mr Martin could speak so much Mandarin and it was pretty impressive that he could communicate so well with them. I learnt a few sentences and can now say hello and tell people what my name is in Mandarin. The debate was interesting because we got to find more about each other than we already knew and we exchanged email addresses and phone numbers, Bill and I are going to keep in touch. We also got to watch the rehearsal of Beauty and the Beast which was very good and our students really enjoyed it too.
I would like to say thank you to Mr Martin, Mr Heritage, Ms Jenkins and Ms Vear for giving us the opportunity to meet the Chinese students and for organising the week.
Lukas Yendole, 8JGR
Chinese students visit to Wheatley Park
A huge thank you to all students who participated in the annual Rowing Challenge. It was great to see so many students taking part in the two minute challenge, but also the additional support during the two hour row and the staff fancy dress row. As a school we managed to raise lots of money which will go towards the Student Ministry to improve the facilities at school.
Year 9 Football
The Year 9 Football team continue to have a decent season. Most recently they have advanced to the later rounds of the County Cup by beating Matthew Arnold 3-0 and being given a walkover against Oxford Spires.
Year 8 reached the county cup final playing against Cherwell school. They took the lead with a fine goal from Dom Enwonwu and controlled the early part of the game. The second half was a closer affair and Cherwell managed to equalise. The game went to extra time and a Wheatley defender was harshly sent off trying to block a shot on the line. Cherwell scored the resultant penalty. Wheatley showed great character to try and battle back but were caught late on the break to concede a third. The boys did superbly and represented the school with flying colours.
Year 7 were beaten by Lord Williams. After a great battling first half the elements took their toll and they were eventually beaten 3-0.
Year 7 represented Wheatley Park at the South Oxfordshire Netball Tournament on Tuesday 13th March. They played really well and came a respectable 5th out of eight schools. Players of the tournament were Libby Hearn, Honey Valdesarri and Kayla H.
Year 8 also attend their tournament the week before with players of the tournament being Olivia Barton and Anna Sugden.
Well played all.
Sport News cont.
CALENDAR AND EVENTS
END OF SPRING TERM 2
BEGINNING OF SUMMER TERM 1 - week 1
RACING TO SCHOOL TRIP, 8.30 AM
YEAR 13 BTEC SCIENCE DATA PROTECTION TRIP, 12.30-4.30 PM
YR 9 GIRLS CONFERENCE TRIP, INSPIRING GIRLS TO CONTINUE WITH MATHEMATICS, 8.45AM-4.45PM
FRI 20-MON 23.04.18
DoE GOLD PRACTICE EXPEDITION
MON 23-TUE 24.04.18
YR 10 GCSE GEOGRAPHY TRIP TO LULWORTH
CREATIVE/DIGITAL 'SPOTLIGHT EVENT' ORGANISED BY THE EDUCATION BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP, 8AM-3PM
YR 9 TALK THE TALK, 8.30AM-3PM
JUNIOR MATHS CHALLENGE (YR7 & 8), GYM
DRAMA TRIP TO 'PSYCHOSIS 4.48, 4.30-11.45PM
HOLTON GIRLS GRAMMAR SCHOOL 70TH CELEBRATION
DoE TRAINING DAY
AUTHOR'S VISIT: CHRIS BRADFORD, ABINGDON SCHOOL, 9.50AM-1.10PM
YR 9 SEXUAL HEALTH AWARENESS DAY, 8.30AM-3PM
THEATRE GOERS TRIP TO 'TINA THE MUSICAL', LONDON, 4PM
FRI 04-SAT 05.05.18
DoE BRONZE PRACTICE EXPEDITION
TUE 08-THU 10.05.18
KS3 PROGRESS TESTS
WED 09-THU 10.05.18
OBEA PROBLEM SOLVING CHALLENGE DAYS 1 & 2, 8.30AM-4PM
YR 12 STUDY LEAVE COMMENCES
YR 8 GIRLS IMMUNISATIONS: HPV 1
WORLD CHALLENGE MALAWI PRE-DEPARTURE UPDATE MEETING, SFCR, 6-8PM
FULL GOVERNING BODY, 6-8PM
END OF SUMMER TERM 1
START OF SUMMER TERM 2