Principal's Blog

Principal's Blog - 20th November 2020:


Health and Safety

On the first week back from the half-term break, we received a visit from The Health and Safety Executive.  They are carrying out random spot checks on schools across the country and St Andrew’s was one of those chosen.  I am pleased to report that they were very happy with our COVID-19 risk assessment and all the measures we have put in place.  They stated that they could clearly see that we are following all the current guidance and taking all reasonable precautions.  I was very pleased to hear this because, as you can imagine, it has been a relentless task making sure we are doing everything possible to keep our pupils and staff safe, particularly because the guidelines are continually changing.  

Please can I ask parents and guardians to wear a face covering at all times whilst on the school site.  If you are dropping off or picking up, please ensure you are socially distancing and you are wearing a face covering.   

Pupil Voice We are always keen to hear what our pupils have to say and the Pupil Council at both sites have been meeting to discuss various ideas on how we can improve their school days.  Members of the groups were invited to discuss travel issues recently with the Local Authority via a Teams meeting.  They gave some good ideas towards the Council’s action plan for school and business travel. They are very much encouraging the pupils to walk or cycle to school where possible, although we did explain many pupils live a distance away from Bedford.  

We have a number of Wellbeing Ambassadors throughout the year groups who have been working with Mr Swannell to come up with ideas to mark various events for wellbeing.  This began on Friday 13th November when pupils were asked to complete an act of kindness during the day.  Today, Friday 20th November, pupils were asked to exercise more than normal at break and lunch.  Next week, on Friday 27th November, we will be celebrating ‘Thankfulness Day’, where we can all wear an accessory that is brightly coloured, or rainbow themed, to say thank you to the NHS workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 battle.  School uniform should still be worn with, perhaps, a bright badge, socks or hair accessory.   The object of the exercise is to think about others and to discuss ways we take care of ourselves too.  

This year, we have appointed ICT Ambassadors amongst the pupils.  After all, this generation is far more computer ‘savvy’ than most of us!  They have been complimentary about the recent improvements in IT and our Wi-Fi speed.  Information technology will always be an ongoing battle with ever-changing resources and we will meet with the ambassadors regularly to ensure we continue to make progress in this area.  IT has been an important discussion point whilst planning the new school site and we have now finalised the floorplans. Our present and future IT provision has become a hot topic of conversation over this week.   

It was nice to see the pupils enthusiastically taking part in Odd Socks Day on Monday 16th November at the start of Anti-Bullying Week.  I hope they appreciate the message behind the idea as an opportunity to encourage people to express themselves and celebrate their individuality. We have discussed this during the week, together with the anti-bullying theme.  This ties in well with wellbeing.    

Despite COVID-19, we have still been supporting our usual charities.  This year’s Children in Need Day was a far cry from our party last year, attended by Matt Baker and his Rickshaw Challenge Team; however, the pupils still had fun and raised money for this great cause.   

I hope they have all donated directly via the Children in Need website https://www.bbcchildreninneed.co.uk/ Particular congratulations must go to our sixth former, Autumn Handscombe, who raised an incredible £652 by running 17K in the ‘Act your age’ challenge – 17k for 17 years.  You should be extremely proud of your achievement Autumn!  

Maths in Action Day  

Pupils in Year 10 and 11 enjoyed the Maths in Action Day. Despite not being able to make the usual visit to Warwick University, pupils were able to engage in virtual lectures and demonstrations. They learnt about the important use of studying patterns and sequences, vectors and trigonometry in Air Traffic and Maritime Control systems to help predict behaviours and prevent accidents. They also learnt from a structural engineer on how they apply maths to ensure their construction projects are safe and the potential consequences of errors. Also, why triangles are so important and why we spend so long studying them in maths! Further sessions on the truth behind statistics, angular momentum and its application in satellites and space, plus revision techniques, made this a really engaging and informative day.  

Staff

Mrs Beattie, who has been our Director of Sixth Form for the past few years, has now decided to step down from the role.  She will continue to teach Business Studies to our GCSE and A-level groups, but wants to move away from the leadership duties from April.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Beattie for her hard work in leading the sixth form.  We have been conducting interviews over the past week and will be announcing the name of our new Head of Sixth Form shortly.   

There are a few changes to the staffing after Christmas: Miss Bamber from the English Department at Rushmoor is leaving and Miss Clifton is her replacement, joining us from Stamford Endowed School.  Mrs Couzens, who teaches food technology and some business lessons, is also leaving.  Mrs Brewer, from Goldington Academy, will be joining us as the food technology teacher at Rushmoor.  Mr Evans, Deputy Head at Rushmoor, will now teach the business lessons that Mrs Couzens taught across both sites. Mrs Maxwell will also be joining us as an additional member of the science team, teaching biology.  We would like to wish Miss Bamber and Mrs Couzens well as they take up their new posts and thank them for their contributions.  

Careers Programme

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, we have invited some of our parents to talk in career assemblies.  These are aimed at giving our pupils ideas to ponder about their future careers.  We’ve already had question and answer sessions about science, computing and business, which were well received.  Today, I invited my friend to talk about careers in law as he has been a barrister and coroner.  I would like to thank everybody who has given up their time to speak to the pupils about their career choices, as I am sure they have found it inspiring.  Having had one of our sixth formers recently go off to study law at university, two going off to study business, advertising and marketing, another medicine, together with previous cohorts studying fashion, geography, history and art, to name but a few, we need a broad spectrum of careers advice.  

Over the half-term break, I tasked our Year 11 pupils with starting to writing their own CVs.  Those I have read through have been interesting and I provided advice on ways to improve them.  Under the guidance of Mrs Lowe at St Andrew’s and myself at Rushmoor, ably supported by Mrs Ciuro, we will be providing more advice on how to write a good CV over the weeks ahead.    For those of you who have now experienced the Microsoft Teams meetings version of parent consultations, I hope that you have found them useful.  It is certainly a different way of working for the teaching staff and I would like to thank you all for adapting so well during these strange times.        

Junior Stars of the Week  

St Andrew’s School

Week ending: 6 November 

Reception – Nathan Olayade

Year 1 – Nari Molo

Year 2 – Liliana Sepede

Year 3/4 – Ariana Mule

Year 5 – Alexandra Simpson 

Week ending: 13 November 

Reception – Chloe Forton

Year 1 – Veer Mills

Year 2 – William Woodrow

Year 3/4 – Kieva Walker

Year 5 – Bronwyn Phillips

Rushmoor School

Week ending: 6 November     

Reception – Emerson Manser

KS1KG –  Tom Hall

3JM – Megan Pyatt-Slade

4ET – Valentino Ianiri

4ST – Leo Mehmi

5CR – Ophelia Manser

5TS – Danushka Gunasekara 

Week ending: 13 November

Reception – Sophie Surridge

KS1KG –  Rafael Mehmi

3JM – Ethen Canning

4ET – Sebastian Rooke

4ST – Josh Miller

5CR – Olivia Crabtree

5TS –Mohammed Deen

Principal’s Awards  

Maddison Agama-Spencer for PE and games.

Florence Steed for maths.

Lily Eade for organising the Children In Need presentation.

Ruby Ryall for outstanding work in geography.

Arman Treis for his geography poster.  

Oliver Stock for getting 100% in his history test.  

Franky Wolkenstein for excellent work for Miss Braines.                           

Amrit Gill for working hard on her travel writing, including relative clauses.    

Congratulations to the following pupils have been awarded their 25 House Point Certificate this fortnight:  

Emma Hindocha         Elijah Masih           Isabella Diffey                  Stephen Muniu     

Tanishk Barve              Billy Bell                 Harry Clayton                   Ophelia Manser

Ruby Stoughton          Zarah Sheridan     Josh Miller                         Sebby Thomas

Alex Harrison               Kyan Sohal            Sienna Nandha                 Lilia-Diya Dass 

Jonah Steer                  Tara Adams           Ethan Kenna                      Qais Ghazzawi

India Ward  

Christmas will be different this year as we are unable to hold our usual festivities due to the Pandemic.  I will miss seeing pupils and their families at the Winter Fayre this Christmas!  The Junior Nativity will be recorded and sent to parents and guardians to watch at home.  The younger pupils will celebrate Christmas in small groups during the last week of term.  Education has been disrupted enough this year, therefore pupils will be working up to lunchtime on Friday 11th December when we break up for the holidays.  

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

View previous blog posts by clicking the titles below

Principal's Blog - 6th November 2020

I hope you all enjoyed the half-term break and were able to make the most of it considering we are now back to lockdown restrictions for the next four weeks.  We are very pleased that schools are to remain open this time.   

Lockdowns in England and France have meant that our annual ski trip due to depart in December will now not go ahead as the tour operator has cancelled it.  I know many of the pupils are disappointed, as are the staff, but all being well it will return in 2021.  

Over the past months, we have been bombarded with rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 and sometimes it has seemed quite hard to focus on anything else.  However, we are still ploughing through the normal routines of school life and making sure we are prepared for future events.  We are due an inspection and I am waiting for the phone call.  As such, the leadership team has been checking all our policies and procedures to ensure they incorporate the most up-to-date legislation.   Governors have also reviewed them.  As an inspector for the Independent Schools Inspectorate myself, I am aware that inspectors don’t just want lists of what we do, their focus is now on the outcomes and impact lessons and activities have on each pupil.  Over half term, I have been working with the staff to compile a detailed record of all the enrichment opportunities we provide and the impact these have on pupils.  Compiling the list made me reflect on just how much we, as small schools, provide. 

We have also been updating documentation, and I thought it is an opportune time to remind our families of our vision and aims, which are integral to the way we operate:  

‘A caring environment, where individuals matter’  

Our Vision

We seek to create a sense of CARING, belonging and pride in our school   We aim to provide the ENVIRONMENT for all pupils and staff to achieve their full potential.  We strive to ENCOURAGE individuals in all areas of school life and will achieve this through involving all stakeholders  

Our Aims

To maintain a community spirit, with parents, pupils and staff working in partnership and with respect for each other, where we demonstrate tolerance, full engagement, a desire to find out what we have in common, develop confidence and a sense of community.

Provide the best curriculum for the needs of the pupils in the alliance both academically and pastorally. To ensure pupils of all abilities have high outcomes.   

High academic standards in a caring, calm, nurturing environment.

To provide a vibrant, supportive and challenging learning environment with traditional values.   

To encourage, praise and celebrate all achievement, creating a happy, caring school. Pupils to demonstrate pride in truth and loyalty.  

To encourage pupils so they achieve their potential and develop into well-rounded individuals to enter the next stage of their development.

To instil confidence in preparation for adulthood. Pupils to know the difference between right and wrong.   

We have a policy for a group core of children with specific and more complex needs.  

These vision and aims have been vitally important to each school for decades and they have helped to ensure we provide a successful educational experience for our pupils. I believe we meet our aims well and COVID-19 has enhanced our community spirit and partnership with parents, as we have all pulled together to deal with the challenges of remote learning and remote parental communications.  

A reminder that there is a Parent Council Meeting on Tuesday 10th November at 9.00 a.m.  Anybody can join, just email my PA to ask to be invited heads_PA@rushmoorschool.co.uk (whether you are a Rushmoor or St Andrew’s parent).  If you have any questions you would like to raise at the meeting, please include those in your email.   

I hope you all saw the email about extra-curricular clubs.  The Government’s instructions are to avoid operating clubs unless they are essential to support working parents.  We will continue to provide the clubs in the group bubbles throughout the next four weeks, but if you do not have work commitments you should drop off and collect your child at the normal opening and closing times.  

Prior to half term, an email was issued about delays to the interim grades for years 6-13.  I apologise for this, which was caused by teething problems with the new IT system.  Our new data manager has been working hard to rectify the issues.  Part of the new ‘Engage’ system includes a Parent Portal, where you will be able to see your child’s assessment results, download reports, check invoices and update your contact information.  Next week you will receive an invitation to set up your access to this portal, and, for years 6-13, the assessment results will be available on the portal on Friday 13th November 2020.   Setting up a new information management system is time-consuming and it is still a work in progress, so not all information will be available immediately.  

 

Junior School Stars of the Week  

St Andrew’s School

Reception – Harry Elliott-Willey

Year 1 – Eloisa Di-Stazio

Year 2 – Oliver Barber

Year 3/4 – Matilda D’Cruze

Year 5 – Perpetual Nyamtowo    

Rushmoor School Week ending: 16 October  

Week ending: 16 October

Reception – Khalid Shadid

KS1KG –  Eliza-Priya Dass

3JM – Tom Marshall

4ET – Jonah Steer

4ST – Jamie Buddle

5CR – Henry Svendsen

5TS – Yazan Ghazzawi  

 

Principal’s Award

Gurshaan Kullar and Yazan Ghazzawi for their half term diary entries.

Tiggy Willcocks for outstanding achievement in maths.

Woody Brown for playing a concert to inspire other young musicians and writing a brilliant weekend diary each week.  

I would like to congratulate Esme Wood, Alessio Nandha and Jamie Buddle who have been awarded their 25 House Point Certificate this week.

In relation to the new site, meetings with the architects, builders and local planners are still ongoing.  Unfortunately, the Council’s planning department are running behind because of a backlog caused by COVID and changes in staffing, which has a knock on effect on us.  This is tremendously frustrating due to the delays we have already faced with the battle for planning permission in the first place.  However, we are moving forward in other areas, such as branding, where there has been an obstacle to overcome, but we are nearing a completed brand.  I am still meeting with local community schemes to work together to allow our facilities to have a wider community use, which falls in line with our charitable status. Site investigations have started in this regard.  We have come so far, the end is in sight, but the current COVID situation has certainly not helped.

In the meantime, the current sites are well maintained and there is a positive attitude amongst the pupils who show great enthusiasm despite having to wear face masks, follow one-way systems and sanitise their hands countless times a day!  They are happy and making good progress, which is pleasing.    

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - 16th October 2020

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS  

It was nice to see the pupils across both sites supporting World Mental Health Awareness Day.   

The girls from Year 8, led by their Wellbeing Ambassador, Amelie, took this fundraising mufti day particularly seriously and I hope you have seen their pictures on our social media platforms.  

We were promoting the organisation called Young Minds, which is fighting for a future where all young minds feel supported and empowered.  

The crisis in young people’s mental health is real and urgent, with COVID-19 just adding to the problems.  More young people than ever before are reaching out for help. By raising awareness and money we are supporting a great cause.   

Thank you to those who have already donated and for those who haven’t yet, please remember as we cannot accept cash due to COVID-19, you need to donate via the general section on the WisePay system.  

HARVEST FESTIVAL  

The Junior pupils at each site put together marvellous video presentations to celebrate Harvest Festival this year.  Links to these presentations were sent home to the parents concerned and I am sure they were enjoyed.  The pupils put a great amount of effort into their performances and I would like to thank all the junior staff for adapting so well to ensure the celebrations could go ahead still.  

Thank you to all our families for your donations to Bedford Foodbank, which have gone to support the homeless shelters in Bedford.  If you would still like to donate this can be done via WisePay.  

CAREERS - VOLUNTEERS REQUIRED  

With all the news about unemployment numbers rising because of the impact of COVID-19, now more than ever it seems important to offer careers advice to our secondary students, starting at Year 7 to enable them to begin to consider their futures.   

We already provide a good careers programme for our senior age groups and have received invaluable support from parents in the past.  If you feel you could offer careers guidance and would like to get involved, please contact my PA, Philippa, as we would be very grateful for your support.  Ideas such as giving a presentation on your area of expertise, how you chose it, what qualifications you need, where you studied, where you started your job through to where you are now.  We also always need parents to volunteer to assist with interviews to give the pupils some role-play opportunities.   

When COVID-19 restrictions eventually lift, we would like to invite volunteers from our parents to ‘career breakfast meetings’ with a small group of students who are interested in your area of expertise. For example, pupils who express an interest in medicine talking to a doctor; or those who express an interest in law talking to a solicitor.  Any field of expertise would be helpful, such as financial experts, business leaders, etc.   

Please let Philippa know using heads_pa@rushmoorschool.co.uk (for both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s).  She will compile a list, so that when we are allowed to invite more visitors onto the site, we are ready. We would also like to have some of these meetings on a Friday morning at 9am using MS Teams during this Autumn Term.  

COVID-19 UPDATE  

I hope you all saw the Clarion message on Monday, which stated that we have reviewed our COVID-19 risk assessment and now books can be taken between home and school, but the electronic platforms will still be our preferred choice for homework tasks.      

There have been some local schools where whole year groups have had to be sent home, but we have been very fortunate to get through the first half of this term without having to do this.  Please be assured that staff are primed to transfer swiftly to teaching lessons via Microsoft Teams for pupils in year 3 and above should the need arise.  I have asked this to be in the form of live lessons and assignment tasks in every subject and the normal timetable to be followed.  If our younger pupils have to isolate, then we will revert to using the appropriate platforms.  Contingency plans are in place, but let us hope they are not required.   

It was pleasing this week to see the pupils at both schools benefitting from a lesson live using MS teams directly into the classroom. It was such a positive experience for the pupils.  

SUMMER FORMAL EXAMINATIONS

Next summer's A-levels, Cambridge Technical and GCSEs examinations in England are going ahead, but with reduced content and a start date pushed back by three weeks.  Most exams will now start from 7 June 2021, rather than mid-May, in an attempt to make up for lost teaching time.  However, Head teachers have accused ministers of an "Inadequate response" to the scale of disruption facing pupils and teachers.  The Education Secretary has said back-up plans will be decided later.  

It seems we will have to work towards the June dates, but things might well change dependent on how pupils across England are disrupted by COVID-19.  As we have already stressed, our pupils continued to work through the syllabus throughout lockdown and received extra booster lessons during the summer, so are well placed in comparison to some of their peers.   

Junior School Stars of the Week    

St Andrew’s School  

Week ending: 9 October

Reception – Hugo Acquah

Year 1 – Harris Pacuka

Year 2 – Emily Perry

Year 3/4 – Kieva Walker

Year 5 – Emily Simmonds    

Rushmoor School 

Week ending: 9 October

Reception – Ava Masih

KS1KG – Eloise Perry

3JM – Aaleesha Gusswami

4ET – India Ward

4ST – Jack Saunders

5CR – Jae Sunda

5TS – Ethan Ndokera    

Principal’s Award

I was delighted to present a number of Principal awards this week:

Josiah Bryan for his excellent work in geography. 

William North and Zaphaniah Bryan, for their work in history; they re-enacted the roles of defender and prosecutor at the trial of Charles I.

Alessio Nandha for a consistent high level of homework.

Sebastian Saint-White for writing an amazing story inspired by the writings of a classic gothic author.   Olivia Crabtree for her written work.  

Amelie Ferguson for all her hard work in arranging mental health day last week.  

As I said previously, I am thankful that we have managed to get through the first half of this term relatively unaffected by COVID-19.  I am certainly looking forward to our two-week break and I am sure many of my colleagues are too.  It has been a huge additional responsibility to make sure that we are doing everything possible to minimise risks in relation to COVID-19 and I would like to thank all the support staff, teachers and leadership team for helping to ensure the pupils have enjoyed a relatively normal school experience. 

I would also like to thank our pupils for taking everything in their stride and having such sensible attitudes towards all the additional health and safety measures.

If you need to contact the school in relation to COVID-19 during the break, please use heads_pa@rushmoorschool.co.uk (for either Rushmoor or St Andrew’s) as this is routinely checked. I hope you have an enjoyable half-term break and stay safe. 

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - 6th October 2020

It’s the new normal…

Teaching and learning has gone back to the more traditional methods, but we are still busily adapting to the ‘new normal’.  Mrs Djukic and the junior staff at both sites were the guinea pigs with the remote curriculum information meetings at the beginning of the autumn term.  Now they are putting their heads together to find the best way to present both the junior schools Harvest Festival celebrations.  Plans are afoot, the pupils have been rehearsing and they are getting quite used to their performances being videoed.  I am sure that the junior school parents will enjoy watching the final film.  The new normal might be a virtual experience, but at least we can keep the usual traditions going so that the pupils do not miss out.  We are all definitely getting better with technology.   

We had the Parent’s Council meeting recently and I hope you all saw the minutes.  It appears that parents really like the remote Teams meetings and this may well become the ‘new normal’ forever.  If you would like to join the next meeting, we would love to have you, so just contact my PA using heads_pa@rushmoorschool.co.uk so that we can add you to the list and then invite you via the Teams calendar.  

Bikeability

It was lovely to see the pupils take part in the usual annual Bikeability training course.  It will be one of the only activities allowed on site this term and probably next because of COVID-19.    We would like to thank Outspoken Training for providing their expertise, allowing the pupils to learn how to cycle safely on the roads.  Well done to all those who took part.      

Enrichment

It was good to see that the geography A-level trip was allowed to go ahead recently.  Our A-level geographers headed to Dorset to carry out fieldwork.  Thank you to Miss Ross for organising the trip using strict social distancing guidelines.  Also thank you to Mr Evans for accompanying them.      

Extra-curricular clubs  

Now that the children are back into the swing of school life, they might want to broaden their enrichment opportunities by taking part in more clubs.  Some of our extra-curricular clubs still aren’t full-up, so if your child would like to participate please contact our office teams to sign them up.  Of course, COVID bubbles apply!

Out of the Egg!  

The children in Rushmoor’s EYFS have been learning all about eggs.  They have found eggs in the playground and a story has unfolded over the weeks to allow the children to use their imaginations to discover fascinating facts…

They have talked about where their eggs came from and what they thought had happened to them.  They discussed what they think is inside the eggs and who they belong to.  

They have enjoyed sharing ideas about what might be inside, from a penguin, T-Rex, dragon, lion, hippo and a unicorn!  This led on to learning about which animals actually lay eggs.   

We’ve seen some wonderful paintings of what they think might be inside.   They have also made their own nests.  They even asked me if they could have a sleepover to keep watch on the eggs they’ve found!       

School Information Management System

During the summer holiday we transferred our school information management system over to a new system called Engage MIS.  It has been a major upheaval, but it will make systems much more user-friendly.  The staff are currently receiving training on the Parent Portal.  This will mean that parents can access their child’s information, including academic progress tracking, attainment, school reports, rewards and invoices, all in one place.  This should make it far easier for both parents and staff.  We will be issuing instructions and login details shortly.  

Junior School Stars of the Week  

St Andrew’s School

Week ending: 2 October 

Reception – Beatrice Norman

Year 1 – Arabella

Year 2 – Isabella

Year 3/4 – Matthew Turpie

Year 5 – Jasmine

Rushmoor School        

Week ending: 2 October

Reception – Connor Bannan

KS1KG – Lyuben Savkov-Lin

3JM – Oscar Brenchley

4ET – Sienna Nandha

4ST – Alex Harrison

5CR – Tanishk Barve

5TS – Jack Hill  

Principal’s Award

Evie Martin – Playing the violin in front of the class.

Annabelle Scott - For RE, Science and Art  

Kind regards    

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH  

Principal

Principal's Blog - 19th September 2020

My blog this term is mainly going to be about reminders of how we are operating around the new restrictions enforced by COVID-19.  I usually issue the blog fortnightly, but this term it will be as and when we have updates and news.  Obviously, without sporting fixtures, outings and visitors to the school sites, the news will be limited.  However, I am sure that you are all pleased that the students are now back at school, learning in the traditional ways and enjoying the company of their friends.  Despite the restrictions, the students are full of energy and enthusiasm. 

Facemasks

We have all been extremely impressed about the way our students are coping with the new measures introduced because of the COVID-19 virus.  The secondary students took the introduction of the facemask rules in their stride and they are now worn in communal areas and corridors.  However, we have had a large number of students forgetting to bring their own mask in each day, which means we have to provide them.  I would be grateful if you can ensure your child has their own facemask with them each day if they are aged 11 or above (unless they are exempt from wearing one).  Providing their own facemask means that less disposable masks need to be provided by the schools, which helps to reduce damage to the environment. 

Traffic safety

We have had concerns raised by some parents over the past couple of weeks, so please can we remind everyone at drop off and pick up times to be respectful of the Highway Code.         

  • There has always been a one-way system suggested around Rushmoor School, where we suggest parents turn into Byron Crescent and drive round to Cowper Road; hopefully, with the majority of cars all facing one way, this will reduce the congestion caused by the double-sided parking and single-file traffic directly outside the side gate on Cowper Road.  Please try to make use of this system.       
  • There have been new yellow zigzag lines painted outside St Andrew’s School and you must not park on these at any time, even just briefly to let your child jump in or out of the car.      
  • Both schools have zebra crossings nearby, with a new one now located at the top of Shakespeare Road, please can you reinforce the rules to your child about waiting for the car to stop before crossing.  We have witnessed some children stepping onto the crossing before they are sure the car is going to stop.  We recommend that the crossing nearer to Rushmoor is used and not the new one at the top near the roundabout.         
  • Due to the roadworks on Kimbolton Road, the area around Pemberley Avenue is even more busy as people are using it to avoid the roadworks; the blind corner is particularly hazardous, so please bear this in mind.  
  • Please may we also remind you not to block driveways around the schools as we are having complaints from our neighbours about inconsiderate parking. 

Thank you for your support in this matter.

Waiting outside the school premises, Budgens and Sainsbury’s

There have been some reports in Bedfordshire recently about safeguarding issues.  Therefore please note:-      

  • When children are dropped off in the morning, students should come directly into school.  They should not go into Budgens or Sainsbury’s unless they are accompanied by an adult (sixth formers are exempt from this ruling). 
  • They should not congregate outside the school premises, this is particularly relevant due to COVID-19; they should meet their friends in their form rooms.  This will help ease congestion during the drop off times, as everybody has to sanitise their hands before entering the buildings. 

Open Morning

Regrettably, due to COVID-19, as safety must come first, we have now made the decision to have a ‘virtual’ Open Morning instead of expecting students, staff and prospective families to come into the sites.  I am pleased to say that we have a lot of interest already and I will be speaking to each of our prospective parents and showing them around the schools using a film.  This is being made by Forge Photography and Videography Ltd.  We were delighted that former Rushmoor pupil, George Child, acted as the videographer and recently filmed various year groups and subjects to help show off the schools at their best. 

Extra-curricular Clubs

The Clubs are now up and running and I hope you’ve had a chance to look through to see which ones your child may wish to join.  The Clubs are operating within the ‘bubbles’ this term due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  The Clubs are great enrichment opportunities for our pupils and we offer a diverse range, which should appeal to most students, but we can only keep them running if enough students participate, so please email the school office if you would like your child to join in. 

Internet safety and etiquette

Over the past six months a great many children have had to make use of the internet to keep up with their schoolwork, our pupils included.  They have also used social media to keep in contact with their friends, which is a fantastic resource when forced into lockdown.  However, we must all be aware of the safety rules surrounding internet use and the etiquette.  Opposite is a poster stating the main points for us all to consider.  We routinely go through these points at school with our students and you may like to do the same at home.   

Principal’s Award:

Lottie Kent received a Principal’s Award for her outstanding contribution to the school community through her work on the ‘School News publication’ and her suggestions for marketing.  Well done Lottie. 

The news surrounding COVID-19 precautions is constantly changing.  This week I spoke to a representative from the Health and Safety Executive about our arrangements.  They are calling every school to discuss matters.  You will be aware of the suggested ‘circuit break’ lockdown for two weeks over half-term, which should coincide with the independent schools holiday period.  No doubt, we shall have to provide more information on this over the coming days once the Government reaches a final decision. 

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principals Blog - Friday 11th September

It was a pleasure to see all our students return on the 3rd September.  There were a lot of new starters and it was lovely to welcome them.  I know there are many new considerations for us all to remember because of COVID-19, but there is a great deal of positivity on each site and many happy, smiling faces, which is wonderful.  Students have already benefitted from being back amongst their classmates; they are all taking the new rituals of hand sanitising, one-way systems, cleaning their workspaces and keeping their distance in their stride!  They are kind, considerate and full of enthusiasm, which is great to see.

We have welcomed some new teachers, Mr Pugh teaching sport, Mr Little teaching physics, Mrs Burkett teaching Biology, Mr Brown and Mr Kelly teaching mathematics and Mrs Garden teaching art.  I was pleased to hear their initial comments about how polite and welcoming our students have been.  We also have two new members of the office team, Mrs Silvestre is the new Receptionist at St Andrew’s, and Mrs Gooch is our new Data Manager working across both sites. 

I would like to express my thanks to all our students and their families for doing so well with the remote learning last term.  It has meant that our students are well placed for the term ahead.  I would also like to thank the GCSE students and their teachers for coming into school during their holiday period to help embed the topics they were learning throughout the lockdown period. 

Of course, during the school holiday period, the staff at St Andrew’s Nursery were still working full-time.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Miss Niro and her team of nursery workers for their commitment.  They continue to make huge efforts to ensure that our youngest children are receiving excellent care and opportunities to explore learning through play.   

We also had students taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh expeditions during the summer holiday period.  Again, staff had to give up their time to monitor these, which I thank them for.  The sixth formers were keen to finish off their gold expedition before heading off to university, so we were pleased they got the chance. 

Both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s have always been small and friendly schools; very family orientated and we usually have an open door policy, so the current rules are somewhat impersonal.  However, we have discovered that remote meetings are extremely useful and staff are becoming ever more reliant on Microsoft Teams as a way to stay in touch.  Those of you who joined the leadership team for the recent question and answers session expressed how helpful it was and have asked for this type of thing to be repeated if the current measures persist.  Thank you for your positive feedback and we shall notify you of the next question and answer session as we move through the term.

On the subject of meetings, we shall have the next Alliance Parental Council meeting using Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 22nd September at 9am.  If you would like to be invited to attend this meeting contact Gina Ciuro on gciuro@rushmoorschool.co.uk  Anybody from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s can join the meeting and we discuss items such as curriculum issues, plans for the new site, school meals, rules, etc. We do not discuss individuals during the meeting, it is purely an opportunity to further develop excellence in the school with parental support.

In this respect, please find attached the updated Alliance Behaviour Policy that has been put together with input from parental feedback, especially with reference to pupil rewards and sanctions.

Parent consultation meetings will be remote via Microsoft Teams.  Slots will be booked with subject and form teachers, limited to 5-10 minutes per slot to ensure the teacher can speak to all parents.  Dates and timings will be available shortly before each year group’s consultation evening, together with further instructions of how to book your slots. 

It can all seem a bit complicated, but the Junior School did hold a very successful curriculum information meeting this week, which means it does work.  Thank you to the junior staff who hosted that meeting. 

A reminder, if you wish to contact a particular member of staff, all email addresses are listed on our websites under ‘About Us’. 

Another reminder, our old VLE homework system will not be used.  Homework assignments will be set via Microsoft Teams.  If your child does not have their login and password details, please contact the school office.  It is helpful to set up the App on your own mobile, so you can see at a glance what homework they have.

Sports news:

We have to follow the advice about COVID-19 and sport, but it has been pleasing to see the students participating in PE and Games lessons once again.  Mr Pugh, our new Head of Sport at Rushmoor, has already shown me that he is passionate about giving our students, of all abilities, the best opportunities to help them enjoy exercise and stay fit – even with the rules surrounding COVID-19!   The PE team at St Andrew’s have also been keen to get the students off to a flying start with exercise following their long absence from school, which is great and I hear they are organising the House Dance Competition which was missed last term, albeit within the COVID-19 guidelines in place.   

Principal’s Award:

Woody Brown – excellence in guitar grading during lockdown.

New site:

As I have previously mentioned, the timescale has been delayed for our new building, but we are hopeful that construction will start after Christmas, which will really be a positive moment for the Alliance.  Meetings continue to be ongoing to try to speed things along.

GCSE Results

We implemented a professional and responsible assessment system to ensure the grades are a true reflection of ability levels.  Rushmoor recorded 98% of all grades at 4-9, with St Andrew’s at 93%.  Departmental results in all areas remain incredibly strong. Notable subjects include 100% of pupils achieving a grade 4-9 in Art, Biology, Drama, French, Geography, Further Maths, Photography and Music.

As ever, and especially in light of the year we have had, these results reflect the enormously collaborative efforts of pupil, parent and staff. We are immensely proud of all our pupils. The following pupils deserve special praise for their superb results:

Olivier Gaillard adds 5 grade 9s, 2 grade 8s and a grade 7 to his grade 9s achieved for Maths and Further Maths and A* for AS level Maths in Year 10. In addition to his GCSE results Olivier has also achieved an A* for A level Maths this year which is a stunning accomplishment.

Luke Barton achieved 5 grade 9s and 5 grade 8s; Jamie Burke’s grades include 1 grade 9; Murray Gates results include 2 grade 9s and 5 grade 8s; Head Boy, Oscar Smith, results include 3 grade 8s and Navrak Waraich’s results include 4 grade 8s.

Caroline Demuth achieved 7 grade 9s and 2 grade 8s; Head Girl, Shelby Gwiza, results include 3 grade 8s and Endean Nahummah-Eli’s results include 2 grade 9s and 1 grade 8.

We also had an incredible set of A Level and Cambridge Technical results. 100% of grades achieved were at a pass of A*-E and a staggering 73% of all grades were awarded at A*-B. This brilliant set of grades demonstrates that the nurturing environment and ethos of hard work in our Sixth Form is incredibly beneficial for pupils and, ultimately, leads to a great deal of success.

We are incredibly proud of every single one of our 6th form pupils and what they have achieved but, as always there are some very notable high achievers including Leon Smith - 3 A* and 1 A, Eve Enwright - 3 A*, Alex Brown – 1 A*, 2 A and 1 B, Muhammad  Abidi – 2 A and 1 B, Max Cooper-Kilroy – 2 A and 1 B and Gracie-Mae White – 1 A* and 2 B.

This was also the first year of Cambridge Technical results for Rushmoor and these have been incredibly successful. All students entered sat the Extended Diploma in Business which is equivalent to three A level subjects and many Distinction* and Distinctions were awarded.

I would like to say thank you to the leadership team who gave up time during their holiday to ensure that the schools were ready for everybody to come back, particularly Mrs Diffey, our Business Manager, who has been a huge support to me throughout the whole COVID-19 saga and I thank her immensely for her never-ending efforts. 

As you might have seen, there have been alterations to the schools because of COVID-19, with the Rushmoor staffroom converted to an additional dining area, and a marquee erected.  Numerous people helped by doing things like moving furniture and helping to solve the puzzle of setting up the marquee. You know who you are!  Thank you to those who helped, I very much appreciate you going above and beyond in order to prepare for the students.

Going above and beyond is exactly what the Rushmoor and St Andrew’s Alliance is all about and that makes me immensely proud to be part of it.  Let us hope the academic year ahead is less turbulent than the one we’ve just experienced.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 5th June 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

I hope you all had a lovely half-term break with the opportunity to enjoy the lovely weather we’ve had during lockdown.

During half-term, it was nice to have some parents join me for the Microsoft Teams meeting about the return to school.  I’ve never experienced a meeting with 50+ people on a computer before, but it went quite smoothly.

As you know, pupils from Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 were given the Government’s go ahead to join us on the school site from Monday 1st June.  It was a lovely feeling to be able to welcome them back. They have all been sensible about the hygiene issues and following the one-way systems around the site.  They understand the new working conditions, but they all seem incredibly pleased to be back with some of their classmates.   

We have roughly half of each of the classes back, with their friends at home following the same work structure remotely, so nobody is missing out.  The online lessons are supplemented at school with exercise and enrichment, such as baking a cake themed around the NHS.  I thoroughly enjoyed taking the St Andrew’s girls for food technology on Monday morning, with some great results. 

I have been very pleased to receive nominations from teaching staff for my electronic version of the Principal’s Award.  I have sent emails to many pupils throughout lockdown congratulating them for their super work and effort. 

Over the half term break, I took the decision to order some ‘Star Student’ postcards, which I will use as the next level of recognition during lockdown.  I will be posting out cards to those pupils nominated by the teaching staff for exceptional work and dedication to their studies during this pandemic.

I hope that you are following us on the social media platforms, which allow you to see the most up-to-date news from across the Alliance.  Recently we posted some examples of fantastic artwork from our year 8 pupils, Brandon and Erik.  Great work boys.    

I know that there is a lot of art, design and photography work going on throughout lockdown.  Certainly, I know my daughter and her classmates are taking inspiration from artist Gustav Klimt.  She has produced a decorative box covered in 3D swirls based on his style of work.  At the other end of the scale, I’ve seen my son in year 13 finishing off his A-level photography sketchbook, taking inspiration from artists like Josef Sudek and Minor White.  I’ve also seen design technology projects being made, from initial ‘mood boards’ through to market research and then final design.  I would like to thank all the staff involved in the creative arts for the ideas they are coming up with during lockdown to keep our pupil’s creativity flowing.

There have been many inventive methods that the teachers have used during this lockdown period to help progression with arts based subjects, which are really important for our pupils to enjoy at this strange time.  For example, drama lessons allow pupils to express themselves in different ways.  Pupils have been given tasks that have unfolded over the lockdown period, such as researching a myth or legend; making a storyboard about that myth; thinking about characters, costumes, emotions; then moving on to act out a scene or recite a monologue to share with the teacher and their classmates via Teams.  Our pupils really have been very fortunate to have these opportunities.  I know from speaking to my own family members in Wales that there are children simply not getting enough from school to occupy them, let alone help them progress, which I find troubling.

With the mention of progress, I have decided that pupils will still receive a progress report at the end of this term.  We have discussed what this report should include and have decided that it will be based on effort shown over the lockdown period to engage with the work set and will include a brief comment from the teacher leading that particular year group.  If anything, it will serve as reminder of the time they spent in lockdown. 

Our annual prize-giving, on the last day of term, is a ceremony that we always look forward to.  It seems wrong not to mark the accomplishments of our pupils just because Covid-19 has changed our year.   I have decided, therefore, that we will still award pupils in the usual categories.  This gives our pupils something to aim for throughout this half of the summer term.

Miss Nero, our Nursery Manager reports that the Nursery children at St Andrew’s have been enjoying lots of activities and the lovely weather outdoors this week.

Pre-school have been looking at how germs spread with putting their fingers on a slice of bread and waiting to see what will grow on it!  Also, spraying coloured water to mimic a sneeze and measuring how far it will spread if you catch it in a tissue, your hand or just let it go! 

On Tuesday, the children made elderflower champagne, cutting up and slicing lemons using fine motor skills with safety knives.  They enjoyed smelling the flowers.  We will have to wait a couple of weeks to taste it and see if it has turned fizzy!

Covid-19 has meant that many plans have been put on hold for us all, but throughout lockdown the governors and I have still been working on our new building.  We should receive approval of our detailed planning permission within weeks.  We have also been working on the legalities for the new name of the combined schools, together with the new logo.  We are really looking forward to sharing these details with you, which shouldn’t be too long now.  The architects are working on a 3D model of the buildings, which will be available for you to view. 

Obviously, the pandemic has delayed building work actually starting on the site, but I want to look on the positive side, so I think it has enabled us more time to ensure we get everything just right, which has been helpful.  It also meant that we had the time to seek planning permission for our existing sites, which makes them much more attractive to buyers, so helps to secure a better deal for the school charity in the long-run, which means the benefits of that will immediately pass to the pupils attending the new school site.  We are also still in discussions with sports providers and hope to finalise plans with them for their use of our facilities shortly. 

Nobody could have foretold the current circumstances that we find ourselves dealing with, but we remain positive about the future of the Alliance and the new site. 

We thank you for your continued support.  Please do get in touch if you have any queries. 

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 15th May 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The past weeks have been the strangest that any of us have ever experienced, but I have tried to maintain a positive mindset throughout and have hopefully reacted to your concerns quickly and satisfactorily. 

At the forefront of everything we are doing during lockdown, we are listening to the Government’s instructions and responding as best we can. 

We have enjoyed having our key worker’s children into school each day so that their parents can continue with their vital contribution to the community.  I hope you all liked the artwork put up on the Rushmoor railings to show our support of the key workers and the NHS. 

It seems that you are all coping with the remote learning we are providing, obviously there were a few teething problems, but they have been smoothed out now.  I know the teachers are becoming better and better each week at using Teams and Seesaw, from understanding how to make sure the uploads are able to be printed off clearly, to becoming more confident with video lessons.  I also know the children are becoming more familiar with the new systems and are beginning to understand the etiquette required for video calls – not muting your classmates being the main one. I’ve even had to work out more technology, making an assembly using Powerpoint, videos, audio recordings and hyperlinks is something I’ve never done before – luckily I have grown up sons to help!

I know that our pupils are particularly fortunate to have a comprehensive timetable in place, with regular live conference lessons, as many of the local schools just aren’t doing that.  The feedback regarding our remote provision has been excellent and it appears most pupils are keeping a good check on their calendars so that they attend all the live conference lessons, whilst also having plenty of time off the computers to actually complete the assignments being set. Should you have any queries about your child’s learning provision then you can always contact Mr Evans, Mr Jones, or Mrs Djukic to discuss matters, either via email or by phoning the Rushmoor site.

The regular lessons and contact with their teachers and feedback is allowing pupils to continue to make progress throughout these trying times.  The senior leadership team and the governors are all kept up-to-date on what’s happening and we have been impressed by the marking, feedback and pastoral support still being provided.  The governors and I have sat in on online lessons to monitor what they are like. 

Microsoft Teams and Seesaw do not allow live conference calls to the entire school, but we’ve even managed to do remote assemblies and I would like to thank Mr Jones who put together a great presentation to celebrate VE Day.  I hope that the pupils found it informative and understand what costs our grandparents’ generation had to pay in order to secure our freedoms.  The stories of World War veterans have been very much at the forefront of the news recently and after the assembly presentation, in my household we discussed just what our own relations did with our young daughter.  Everything from making parachutes for the war effort, making food for the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, to her beloved Grandad’s older brother walking in to help liberate the Belsen Concentration Camp. We want her to remember and be proud.  I hope you had the same discussions with your children.  VE Day, supported by Mr Jones’ assembly, helped bring history to life for our pupils.  It also led to the discussion that we are all living through a remarkable time in history now – I wonder what our pupils will be telling their grandchildren about this pandemic lockdown?  

As you are all aware, the Government has stated that Nursery, Reception class, year 1 and year 6 should be the first pupils to return to the school site.  Since lockdown began, myself and the leadership team have been thinking about how we will manage the physical return to site.  Despite what the press would have us believe, it’s not just a concept we started thinking about on Sunday.  We completely understand any reservations and that is why we have already contacted the year groups concerned and stated clearly that it is the choice of the parents whether or not they want to send their child in.  We have put in place a risk assessment and full instructions for those particular year groups for our plans, which include hygiene, cleaning and distancing rules.  Obviously, we are now waiting for the Government to confirm the date as the 1st June.  There has also been discussion about inviting years 10 and 12 back for some face-to-face contact, so we will keep you updated about that as and when we know more. 

Our stance is that the amount of teachers interacting with pupils needs to be the minimum amount possible; therefore, lessons using Microsoft Teams will still be used in the classroom for specific subject teachers of the year 6 group, using the overhead Smartboard, and supervised by just one teacher throughout the day.  This will allow those not wishing to return immediately to the school site to participate in the subject lessons with their classmates remotely from home.  Those in school will have their timetable enhanced with regular outdoor exercise, PSHE, well-being and creative lessons. 

It seems that none of us will be heading off on our holidays anytime soon, which will mean that the summer holiday period will be a bit different this year and your children might want things to occupy their minds.  We are currently working on ideas of how we can support you throughout the holiday period by providing learning opportunities your child can do at home in order to help them continue to make good progress.  This idea will unfold as we move towards the holiday period and when we know more about the restrictions likely to be in place then.  Obviously, any provision provided will not be compulsory.

Our younger children, who attend the St Andrew’s Nursery, have not been forgotten throughout lockdown.  I would like to thank Mrs Niro, the Nursery Manager, for setting up a private FaceBook community where our Nursery families are sharing what they have been doing during the past weeks.  There have been lots of ideas shared, which is especially helpful when you have to occupy little ones at home all the time. 

The nursery and the school has been open to key workers children throughout the whole lockdown, so I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the staff who have been working on each site during this time.  Indeed, I would like to thank all the staff who are continuing to work and adapt throughout this period for their amazing efforts and overall positive attitudes to help the school and its pupils adjust.  It isn’t easy relying on online resources to set classwork for our pupils and it isn’t easy balancing their own family’s needs with those of their pupils.

The governors and I have still been in contact with our architects for the new build, which obviously has been another issue during this pandemic.  We’ve had weekly online meetings and I’ve seen the detailed plans, which look amazing.  We have also been in contact regularly with the Local Authority planners and our builders, which means we are making progress with the new site and Covid-19 hasn’t stopped that. 

I have given out many electronic versions of the Principal’s Award over the past weeks and I have received many emails in return stating how delighted our pupils have been to receive them.  Again, Covid-19 hasn’t stopped us from being able to celebrate good work and personal achievements.

The theme to the song that we chose to use for our video production was ‘Standing in the Halls of Fame’.  The idea around that was to celebrate everything that we all can achieve personally.  “You can be the best”, “You could beat the war”, “Don’t wait for luck, dedicate yourself and you can find yourself”.  Wise words! Let us hope that very soon we shall all be beating the war on Covid-19.  I hope you enjoyed the video production and my great thanks to my good friend Mick Child from Forge Photography who edited it for us, together with Mr Day who co-ordinated it and did a very good job of acting in it too.

Above all, during lockdown I feel that we are maintaining our friendly, caring and supportive ethos. 

I am sorry that our older pupils in years 11 and 13 missed out on their final weeks of school and the opportunity to sit their exams.  We hope to arrange the year 11 Prom at a later date so that they can come together to still have this rite of passage in their young lives.  We also hope to arrange a time when the year 13 pupils will come together to celebrate their achievements.  In the meantime, we wish all our pupils the very best for results day in August and we do hope we will be able to meet up with you in person at that stage.  Please watch out for news about how results day will happen this year in line with Government advice on distancing measures at that time. 

We look forward to the future with optimism and in the meantime, hope that all our families stay safe.

Kind regards,

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 20th March 2020

Today we are being forced to close the schools because of the Coronavirus.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our families for their support and understanding at this extremely difficult time.  Your response to our contingency plans for remote teaching is greatly appreciated.  As a provision that cares for children from 4 months old all the way up to 18 years old, we have to tackle so many considerations about how we support our families, with the wellbeing of our pupils at the forefront of everything we do.  Let us all hope that this unprecedented measure helps to ‘flatten the curve’ of this dreadful virus and that we can all return to our normal daily routines as quickly as possible.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns about your child’s education during this period.  Individual email addresses are on the websites, or you can use closure@rushmoorschool.co.uk, or telephone us at the Rushmoor site.  https://theyarethefuture.co.uk/worry-anxiety-coronavirus/  

With the whole world gripped by the coronavirus, it seems a long while since our open morning just two weeks ago.  However, I would like to thank all pupils who came along to carry out activities and tours, they showed off the schools superbly.  There was a great atmosphere at both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s sites, with more prospective families than ever coming along to find out exactly what we can offer.  It was also nice to see so many current parents coming along to see the plans for the new site too, which I hope you found interesting.  Once again, thank you to the staff, parents and pupils for making it another successful open morning.   

Well done to our pupils who have taken part in The Bedfordshire Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.  Particular mention to Amy Parrish and Lydia Shortland who placed 1st in Duologues - Year 5-6, Lily Eade and Amelie Ferguson who placed 1st in Duologues - Year 7-8, Lily came 2nd in Verse Speaking Solo - Year 7, Lydia Shortland came 3rd in Verse Speaking Solo - Year 6, Charlotte Kent who came 3rd in  Dramatic Solo - Year 9-10, Peony Western and Grace Langridge who came 3rd in Duologues - Year 7-8, Ellery Few-Wiegratz for achieving 1st place for his solo reading and Josh and Billy Bell who came 1st in Prose Reading Duet - Mixed Ages.  Well done to Amelia Gardner, Ben Handscombe, Charlotte Allen, Ben Morgan-Jones, Aiya El-Koum, Elizabeth Taylor and Sophie Fletcher for their performances.  I would also like to congratulate our Year 7 pupils who came 1st in the group performance, Beau Johnson, Ben Spary, Ben Morgan Jones, Toby Sutliff, Ellery Few- Wiegratz and Jonas Lee and our Year 9&10 who came 2nd Karl Vonwiller, Thomas Kilroy, James Houghton, Louis Taylor, Ellis Lynch, Nathan Johnson, Sam Spary and Wolfie Millard.  

We are celebrating the fantastic news that Tabitha Crocker (year 11) has successfully auditioned and been accepted at the world famous Brit School, gaining one of only 7 out of London catchment placements for her age group. Tabitha was one of 1000 applicants for the coveted place and we are thrilled that our very own 'Mary Poppins' will be following in the footsteps of former students there who include the singer Adele and actor Tom Holland.  

The pupils in years 3 and 6 had a visit from Quantum Theatre to watch their ‘Calculating Mr One Show’.  During the performance, place value, number and calculation were presented in a comedy format surrounding a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ adventure. It was a great way to learn more about numeracy.     

In English years 3&4 at St Andrew’s have been learning about Ancient Greek Myths, which traditionally were passed on from generation to generation orally.  In order to practice their oracy skills, the pupils worked in pairs to write and learn their own section from the story of Daedalus and Icarus.  A performance was then given to year 2 who thoroughly enjoyed the story. Years 3&4 were very proud of themselves after the performance for remembering their words, speaking clearly and also using expression in their delivery.  

Pupils from year 6 at Rushmoor visited Rogan's Book Shop in Castle Road.  They discussed a variety of books and we hope that it has encouraged them to read more.  Our thanks to Rogan’s Books who provided a lovely welcoming environment.   

Our younger pupils in Key Stage One have been learning about ‘Fairy tales and Fantasies’ as their creative curriculum topic this term.   

In order to round this topic off in a fitting style a royal ball was held with drinks and cakes!  Parents were able to look through their child’s topic book and the children were able to make royal crowns and masquerade masks.  There was even some dancing too!  Thank you to all the staff and parents who helped make this a lovely event for the children.  

Pupils in years 6 and 7 attended a disco last Friday night at Rushmoor School with one of our former pupils acting as DJ, so thank you to Kieran Singh.  Thank you to Mr Jones, Mrs Djukic, Mr Morrish and Mrs Couzens for supervising.  When I came to lock up it looked as if everybody had enjoyed themselves!  

Pupils across the alliance had a fantastic trip to Wembley for WE Day. It is a global event aimed at enabling pupils to understand issues such as hunger, poverty and lack of education. The day attracts a variety of celebrities and the children were fortunate enough to hear inspirational speeches from Lewis Hamilton, Idris Elba and Leona Lewis, amongst others. Ex-Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard and Sophie Trudeau, wife of current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin spoke about issues affecting girls and women in acknowledgement of International Women’s Day.  I was told it was a great day experience for all and our pupils were a credit to both schools.  

Sports News: Please see the social media sites for full details of all sporting events.

The coronavirus has meant that schools around the country are cancelling fixtures, which is unfortunate, but understandable.  However, we have had some of our younger teams taking part in fixtures over the past two weeks.  The year 5 and 6 hockey team played against Bedford School.  The under 8s football team were the winning side against Quinton House and the under 9s team showed effort and determination playing Broughton Manor School.  Our Yr11, Yr10, Yr9, Yr7 and Yr6 football teams all managed to get run outs last week before the cancellation of fixtures began. The pupils from years 3 and 4 took part in a multi-sports event, with the football team and score-ball teams winning their events.  Well done to everybody who took part.    

Evie Maddison has performed brilliantly throughout the cross-country season. She qualified for National Finals of the ISA Competition, which was unfortunately cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak. She also qualified for the County Finals and was called from there to represent Bedfordshire in the English Schools Championships last weekend. She travelled up to Liverpool last Saturday and ran in a highly competitive race against the best runners in the country. It was a fantastic experience for Evie and we would like to congratulate her on her successes. In the Year 7 & 8 Netball League, the girls started off really well by beating KCA. Unfortunately, they lost their following match, against Wixams and the remaining fixtures were cancelled, which was a big disappointment to our players as they were looking forward to another successful season.  

The Year 9 netball team travelled to Nottingham a couple of weeks ago for the ISA National Finals. It was a very competitive competition but they got off to a great start by winning their first match. They narrowly lost their second, before coming up against two of the strongest teams in the tournament! However, the girls continued to play with determination and gave their all. They didn't manage to qualify for the knockout stages but it was a great experience for them all.

Congratulations to our Year 6 Cross-Country relay team, who won silver medals at the Rowney Warren Cross Country relays last earlier this month.    

Matilda played Goal Keep with the U12 A team in a tournament in Luton at Challney high school and they won gold! Well done!      

Sport Relief  

A huge thank you to all our families who supported our Sport Relief Biathlon/Triathlon and contributed so generously. Together, our pupils travelled a combined distance of over 320 miles and raised over £1,370 for this worthwhile cause. Special thanks go to Mr Thomas and Mrs Bassett-Gilham for organising these events. Well done everyone!  

We have had to postpone many of the enrichment activities over the past two weeks, including the trip to Montpellier for our GCSE French students, the Big Bang event in Birmingham and the STEM workshops, together with the theatre trip to London for our year 3-6 pupils to see The Prince of Egypt.  Many of the activities will be rearranged once we have a clearer picture of how long we are going to be influenced by the threat of the coronavirus.   

Some enrichment activities did go ahead, such as the senior theatre trip to watch ‘Everybody’s talking about Jamie’ and the product design pupils visited Ikea to get some design inspiration.  Thank you to all the staff involved in these trips. 

As I write, the St Andrew’s and Rushmoor drama students that are taking their GCSE examinations this year are preparing to welcome the visiting examiner to watch their devised piece.  Good luck to them all.  

During this difficult period, showing consideration towards the more vulnerable members of our society has become even more important. Rushmoor School and St Andrew’s School have shown their support for two very worthwhile projects: Postcards of Kindness and Bedford Foodbank.  

Postcards of Kindness is an Age UK initiative that asks people to write and send postcards to elderly people. While this is a small gesture, the results bring a great deal of joy among the older people who receive them. As the Government are imminently considering asking people over 70 to self-isolate, this initiative has become even more essential in an effort to combat loneliness and isolation.  

Foodbanks across the country have seen a drastic reduction in contributions and desperately need help to restock so they can continue to help the most needy families in our locality. We have been very touched by the donations that have come in by parents.  

As the late Princess Diana once said; ‘Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.’   

Junior School Stars of the Week                  

St Andrew’s School  

Friday 13 March 2020

Reception – Veer Mills

Year 1 – Oliver Barber

Year 2 – Max Hendry

Year 3/4 – Carmen Forton

Year 5 – Deborah Nyamtowo  

Friday 20 March 2020

Reception – Harris Pacuka

Year 1 – Scarlett Rook

Year 2 – Elijah Masih

Year 3/4 – Lucia Wildman

Year 5 – Vinaya Patel  

Rushmoor School    

Friday 13 March 2020

Reception – Jesse Bates

1ET – Eliza-Priya Dass

2KGL – Vaishnavi Naganaboina

3JM – Ava Georgiou

3ST – Jack Saunders

4ET – Kieran Kali-Rai

4ZL – Henry Svensden

5CR – Jamie Marshall

5HT – Oliver Elphick  

Friday 20 March 2020

Reception – Eloise Perry

1ET – Arthur Lees

2KGL – Whole Class

3JM –  Whole Class

3ST – Sebastian Thomas

4ET – Whole Class

4ZL – Whole Class

5CR – Miles Morris and Callum Scobie

5HT – Whole Class      

Principal’s Award:  

Arbaab for chemistry. Farell Kotecha for English. Alex Timpau-Rat for saving Miss Robson with technical issues in the classroom!    

The Rushmoor Parent Council Meeting with Mr Evans took place last week and was a really positive meeting focusing on the transition to the new site and the present situation with learning and individual progress at the school.  

You have all received communication from the school about the coronavirus situation and we will continually update you as the situation changes.  I thank you for your patience and understanding at this time, but if you have any concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.  

Kind regards,

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal  

Principal's Blog - Friday 6th March 2020

Over the half-term break, some of our governors and I met with our team of advisors concerning matters relating to the new build, including going through the offers we have received for our two existing sites.  The meetings were productive and we are moving ahead well.  As you have been previously informed, we will have plans available to view at the Open Morning, so please do come along if you are free.  Please also remember that all pupils are expected to attend the Open Morning and if this presents a problem please inform us beforehand.  Our pupils are our best advertisement, so we really need their support on Saturday.  

Over half-term I also started working on next year’s timetable; September might seem a long way off yet, but as both year 9 girls and boys have now had their option evenings, these form the basis of the way we begin to structure the timetable, which will take shape between now and April.  I hope that the pupils found the option evening useful, but please do contact us if you have any queries.   

As a school teacher my life has been mapped out by the school year, we do the same type of thing every year, such as timetable allocations, reports, etc.  Each year at this stage I start to think about the looming formal examinations beginning in May, which is just 7 weeks away! Therefore, I have to once again repeat my advice that it is vitally important that our GCSE and A-level students have a good revision timetable now in place - and stick to it!  Over the coming weeks teachers will be offering booster sessions before and after school and some during the Easter holiday period.  We encourage all pupils to make the most of these extra sessions.  The subject teachers will inform pupils of relevant dates.  The year 11 Head Boy and Head Girl teams have already started sorting out the Prom for the celebrations after the exams, which shows how quickly this year is moving!   

We had the year 10 consultation evening at St Andrew’s on Tuesday evening, which I hope was informative.  Year 11 pupils had the opportunity to attend a talk about apprenticeships as part of their careers programme, which I hope was also helpful.  I know that some of our sixth formers are applying for degree apprenticeships as an alternative to university, so having the opportunity to find out more about this type of career path should let our year 11 pupils begin to consider their own options.     

Our Education Committee, made up of staff and governors, met recently and were delighted to have pupil representatives from Rushmoor talking to them about their education and how they consider they learn best.  Allowing our pupils to have a voice at governor level is vitally important and meant that it was an interesting meeting, with valid points brought up by the pupil representatives that the governors and staff can consider.   

The pupils from both schools in years 9-11 heard how they did in the UKMT Intermediate Maths Challenge this week.  We are delighted to say that four of our students achieved certificates and one has got an invitation through to the next round, the Pink Kangaroo.  Luke Barton (year 11) achieved Gold (and is through to the next round), Olivier Gaillard (year 11) and George Clayton (Year 9) achieved silver and Michael Greatorex (year 10) achieved Bronze.  All the other students will receive Certificates of Participation.

This week has seen the Maths department at Rushmoor hold their House Challenge.  This year, the challenge was to learn the spellings of 24 mathematical words and was set to pupils in years 5 to 10 (different words for different year groups).  The total number of correct answers for each house go forward and we are in the process of collating the results.  At last count, Owen was leading with Randall and Richardson some way behind, but it is still early days and we will let you know the final outcome when all the results are in.  

World Book Day is another annual event that has crept up on us once again.  On Thursday pupils from the Junior Schools dressed up as a book character.  Our Senior pupils spent an enjoyable morning sharing books and reading to the younger children, including our Nursery and Pre-school classes.  The Book SwapShops which took place during morning break were also very successful.  We raised money in aid of the Hurpa School, our partner United World School in Nepal.  Thank you to all the staff involved in World Book Day events and also thank you to the parents who sorted out the costumes.

Mr Jones arranged for senior teachers to share their own reading experiences with their classes by writing a 'Writes of Passage'.  Pupils have also been completing them in class and sharing their favourite books with each other.  Mr Jones wanted to get across to pupils that World Book Day is about reading literally anything and everything.  Non-fiction and graphic novels are also hugely valuable as well as audiobooks and some podcasts!

Pupils from Rushmoor’s year 6 visited Rogan’s Book Shop at 26 Castle Lane, Bedford.  This has also become an annual tradition organised by Miss Kelly from the English Department.  The boys took part in an activity chatting all things bookish. They then had the opportunity to browse the shelves to purchase their own book.

The boys studying Drama at Rushmoor visited the Quarry Theatre to see Splendid Theatre Company’s production of Dr Faustus.  This is an Elizabethan tragedy by Christopher Marlowe written between 1589 and 1592.  The play’s tragic hero, Faustus, is a brilliant German scholar who feels he has reached the limits of divine academic learning, and devotes himself to the study of magic. He makes a pact signed in blood, with the evil spirit Mephistopheles, to sell his soul to the devil. In exchange for 24 years of service, Lucifer gives Faustus a life of pleasure, magical power and illicit knowledge of the secrets of the universe.    

The junior pupils at Rushmoor got really involved with their assembly on Pancake Day, learning all about the real reasons for using up the milk, sugar and eggs and why Lent is significant in the Christian calendar.  They all enjoyed trying to flip the pancakes and having a race.  

Sports News (please see our social media sites for full sports updates)  

As ever, the boys and girls have been busy when it comes to sport, with the year 6 girls in a County Netball Tournament this week and our year 9 girls in Nottingham for an ISA Netball Tournament.   Both schools have had pupils take part in cross-country events over the past two weeks, including the cross-country league held in Stagsden, the ISA Regional event hosted by us at Mowsbury Park and the cross-country relays at Rowney Warren.  Years 5 and 6 have played football fixtures against BMS and Bedford School, year 7 played against Daubeney, year 8 against Bedford School and year 9 against Quinton House.  Year 7 also took part in a 7-a-side football tournament at Biddenham.  Year 10s played in an ISA rugby 7s competition hosted by Maidenhead RFC.  Hockey matches have taken place against BMS and Bedford School and, finally, there has been a squash competition against BMS hosted by Towers Health and Racquets Club.  Well done to all the pupils who have participated and represented both schools well.  

EYFS News  

St Andrew’s Nursery children had a wonderful time on pancake day through many different activities, some as simple as the toddlers using lovely vanilla yellow play dough for role play, to the pre-school children having speedy pancake races! The children also enjoyed eating pancakes for snack and were let loose to choose their own toppings. The children have also been encouraged to make the most of the rainy weather and have had some fantastic play sessions in their forest school area including jumping in puddles.  

Rushmoor EYFS have had an exciting fortnight.  They came back from half term to discover a crime scene set up by the ‘Magical Detectives’.  The children have been helping the detectives by designing and making cameras.  They were learning to join different materials together and use a range of tools. 

EYFS children have also enjoyed their storytelling project, based around Julia Donaldson books.  This week their book of the week has been ‘Zog’ and they have been creating their own dragons.  The children designed their dragons, before making them using clay. They also worked in pairs and used wooden blocks, material and natural resources to create their dragon school, I might get get some ideas for the new school!  Reception pupils used their phonic knowledge to write labels for their school.  I look forward to seeing what the children create next week!

Junior School Stars of the Week

St Andrew’s School

Week ending 28 February:

Reception – Whole class

Year 1 – Isabella Ianiri

Year 2 – Fox Choy

Year 3/4- Clara Hendry

Year 5 – Betty Taylor  

Week ending 6 March:

Reception - Al-Akhire Babajide

Year 1 - Marciano Sansevero

Year 2 - Matilda D’Cruz

Year 3/4 - Grace Perry

Year 5 - Matilda Norman  

Rushmoor School

Week ending 28 February:

Reception – Florence Steed

1ET – Arthur Lees

2KGL – Ethen Canning

3JM – Sienna Nandha

3ST – Stephen Muniu

4ET – Hugo Auton

4ZL – Henry Svensden

5CR – Arman Treis

5HT – Cameron Venn  

Week ending 6 March:

Reception – Lyuben Savkov-Lin

1ET – Eliza Priya-Dass

2KGL – Tom Marshall

3JM – Tristan Price

3ST – Oliver Lees

4ET – Harry Clayton

4ZL – Aiya El-Koum

5CR – Ben Handscombe

5HT – Charlie Chamberlain      

Principal’s Awards

Endean Nahummah-Eli, year 11, for outstanding English Literature work completed during half term.

Danielle Kemp, year 11, for an excellent piece of creative writing.

Arman Treis and Alex Timpau-Rat for their half term homework on ‘Light’.

Megan Pyatt-Slade for her diagram of a flower.

Henry Svensden for his project on a Bearded Dragon.

Alessio Nandha for his literacy classwork.

Archie Fisher for his geography project on Japan.

Charlie Chamberlain for his improvement in literacy.

Nyah Wooding for her progress in numeracy.

Oliver Lees for his progress in swimming.

This week I have spent Wednesday and Thursday inspecting another school for the Independent Schools Inspectorate, on behalf of OfSTED.  It is always an interesting experience to take part in an inspection visit and see how other schools operate.  I consider it part of my continuing professional development and I often come away with ideas that I can cascade down to staff at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s, so it is a worthwhile experience and ensures that I am aware of all the current expectations from the ISI for Rushmoor and St Andrew’s.  

Tickets are still available for the Charity Ball and Auction being held on Friday 15th May at Pavenham Golf Club.  Tickets are £40 and you can buy individual tickets or a table of 10.  Please contact Gina Ciuro at gciuro@rushmoorschool.co.uk  

I look forward to chatting to you at tomorrow’s Open Morning if you are planning to come along to see the plans for the new site.   

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal  

Principal's Blog - Friday 14th February 2020

The past couple of weeks have been hectic, with so many extra activities taking place across the Alliance, such as the children attending the Young Voices Concert at the O2 and arriving back in Bedford close to midnight!  Even the teaching staff had extra tuition, with our staff meeting on Monday focusing on inventive ways to extend learning techniques for numeracy throughout the curriculum.   

Rushmoor School has been working with the National Citizenship Service (NCS) for a number of years, so we were delighted to receive their Gold Champion School Award.  This reflects the number of students we have encouraged to participate in this initiative.  NCS is for 16 and 17 year olds and is based around a week’s residential of outdoor pursuits, followed by a residential at a university, where the students have to fend for themselves, learning how to shop on a limited budget and cook.  They also learn first aid skills and during the third week take time to plan a charitable fundraising activity.  It is a great scheme and I would highly recommend it to our year 11 pupils to consider for this coming summer.  Many thanks to Mrs Barnes and Mrs Stott for arranging this annually.  

Last week the year 11 pupils were invited to attend taster sessions at our Sixth Form.  This gave them the opportunity to understand what each subject entails.  If you would like to find out more about the Sixth Form, please come to the Open Morning on Saturday 7th March from 10am to Midday.  

It was the turn of year 6 pupils from across the Alliance to have their consultation evenings.  It was nice to have the opportunity to chat with parents and their feedback was very positive; I hope the evenings were helpful. One thing I would like to clarify is that we have listened to feedback and we will be stopping the end of term rewards for a different system whereby pupils are rewarded for consistent hard work and exemplary behaviour. We hope parents will appreciate this change to create fairness for all pupils.  

A magic show was held last Friday for pupils in Reception to year 2, followed by a disco for pupils in years 3 to 5 and then another disco for pupils in year 8 and 9.  Thank you to all the staff and PTFA members who volunteered to supervise at these events.   

Three of our year 7 St Andrew’s pupils went to Stevenage on Monday 3 February to take part in the Youth Speaks Competition organised by the Rotary Club.  They performed their speeches extremely well, entertaining and engaging the audience. Well done to Isabelle Burt, Lily Eade and Jessica Serrell, and thank you to Mrs Lowe for preparing and accompanying them.  

Thank you also to Miss Bamber who took three Rushmoor year 10 students, Thomas, Ollie and Ben to the district senior semi-finals of the Rotary Club's Youth Speaks competition in Hatfield on Tuesday 11 February. The boys debated the divisive topic of flu vaccination and made clever links with current affairs. All three boys presented confidently and articulated their points with clarity - a fantastic experience in oracy. The idea of the competition is to develop public speaking abilities and perform, persuade and entertain the audience with wit and knowledge of a topic.   

St Andrew’s School has been hosting a Scholastic Book Fair where pupils were able to browse and purchase books.  The girls thoroughly enjoyed having the book fair in school.  

Mrs Bradshaw will be running the London Marathon on 26 April, and is fund-raising for the mental health charity Mind, who offer fantastic support for children, young people and adults who are struggling with their mental health.  This is a personal challenge for Mrs Bradshaw who has never run anything like this distance before.  Today, there has been an assembly to talk about the work of Mind and a mufti day to raise a donation towards this worthwhile charity.  Thank you all for your support.  

On Tuesday 4 February, year 8 from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s visited the National Space Centre in Leicester.  The day began by the 'Astronaut' planetarium show and after lunch they were able to see the exhibits, such as rockets and capsules from previous space missions before the "It IS rocket science" show. Students were taught about the history of rockets and how Newton's laws apply to rocket science.  I hear it was an excellent trip with what will be our first 'joint' GCSE cohort in the new school.  

Reception children from St Andrew’s and Rushmoor had a wonderful day at Thrift Farm in Royston. They were so lucky to visit the lambing sheds in time to see a lamb being born. It was a fantastic experience for the children, who also met the sheep dog called Kip!    

As mentioned previously, a group of pupils from years 5 and 6 went along to the O2 Arena on 5 February to take part in the Young Voices 2020 Concert.  They sang as part of a choir made up of thousands of other children. The idea for the concert is to encourage self-belief, self-motivation, confidence, and ability to communicate as part of a team.  It was a wonderful opportunity for those involved and the culmination of a lot of hard work from Mr Day, Mrs Shackleton and our pupils, so a big thank you to them all.  Also, thank you to the parents who went along to support them.       

Sport (please see social media for more detailed information)

There have been a number of football fixtures over the past couple of weeks.  Our year 5 and 6 football teams showed good determination and attitude in their fixture at Milton Keynes Prep.  Year 7 footballers enjoyed their first league match with a hard fought win at Lincroft School, the team played excellently together which bodes well for the rest of the campaign. The year 7 team then followed on with a game against Pitsford School.  Year 9 played their first game of the season against Biddenham School.  Finally, year 10 footballers took on Quinton House School.  Well done to all the boys who have represented the school at football, great effort shown – keep up the good work!  

Years 6 and 8 have played hockey against BMS over the past fortnight, playing some tough matches, but working well as a team and showing good commitment. Well done to all involved. The year 8 team also attended the county tournament this week playing against some high quality teams.  

Pupils from years 5 and 6 across the alliance teamed up for a Badminton Competition recently, they played well and had some good results – great effort shown!  

We have also taken both our Yr9 and Yr10 teams to the County Rugby 7s events this week, the teams both played well in tough conditions. The Yr10s played particularly well losing out in a hard fought semi-final to Samuel Whitbread A.  

We had a selection of runners competing for North Bedfordshire in this week’s county x-country. All four students ran excellently with three top 10 finishes. Congratulations to Oscar Smith, Harvey Creasey, Tom Bailey and Evie Maddison on making the county event.  

Junior School Stars of the Week      

St Andrew’s School  

Week ending: 7 February

Reception – Veer Mills

Year 1 – Oliver Barber

Year 2 – Elijah Masih

Year 3/4 – Maddie Enright

Year 5 – Charlotte Allen    

Week ending: 14 February

Reception - Whole Class

Year 1 - William Woodrow

Year 2 - Khushi Masih

Year 3/4 - Ruby Parrish

Year 5 - Darcie Chiesa      

Rushmoor School  

Week ending: 7 February

1ET – Tom Hall

2KGL – Beatrice O’Connor

3JM – Lilia-Diya Dass

3ST – Henry Wooddisse

4ET – Hugo Auton

4ZL – Olivia Crabtree

5CR – Y5 and Mr Day!

5HT – Ethan Watson  

Week ending: 14 February

Reception – Matheus Costa-Hale

1TS – Henry Kotecha

2KGL – Charlie Benson

3JM – Lawrence Johnson

3ST – Alessio Nandha

4ET – Jae Sunda

4ZL – Noah Wetherell

5CR – Leonard Owino

5HT – Angelos Angelopoulos      

Principal’s Awards  

To Lorna Whitehead in year 10 for making significant improvement in English Language.  

To Amy Parrish in year 6 for great effort in her studies.  

Amelia Gleeson in Year 4 for outstanding effort in story writing.  

Henry Wooddisse for his fantastic maths work.    

Oliver Frame for his achievements in swimming.  He won numerous medals at the Bedfordshire County Championships, well done Oliver!  

Congratulations to Charles Grimes, from the sixth form, who has qualified to attend a week course this half term with the CCF.  He will be attending a Senior Cadet Instructors Course in a residential course held at Beckingham Training Camp, Lincoln.

Last weekend, our CCF Navy section visited and stayed aboard the HMS Bristol, a training warship in Portsmouth. They enjoyed mountain biking and visited the dockyards of Portsmouth to further their naval knowledge.

Health Clarke in Year 7 raised £250 for the Bedford Langar Project.  The Bedford Langar Project provide hot authentic Punjabi Curry meals for the Homeless, families, individuals and anyone in need.  Heath invited Mr Singh, from the charity, to speak in assembly about the work they do.  Heath then presented the cheque in front of the middle and senior school.  Well done Heath we are proud of the work you have done.  

OPEN MORNING    

We are looking forward to our Open Mornings on Saturday 7th March from 10am to Midday.  We are asking pupils across the Alliance to attend if they possibly can, either to run activities in subject departments or to act as guides.  In particular, we expect all Prefects to act as guides.   As we head into the half-term break, I would encourage our senior pupils to use their time wisely by doing some revision!  I will be joining some of our governors during the week to meet with our architects and builders in relation to the new build, so we keep moving forward with the project! 

I hope you have an enjoyable half-term.  

Kind regards  

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 31st January 2020

New build update

The Educational Strand Committee have met again to discuss the curriculum arrangements at the new school.  They will ensure that there is a smooth transition for all our pupils as we get used to our new premises.  They are also looking at new subjects that we may introduce and ways in which the outside space can be utilised to enhance the learning experience. 

There have been a number of meetings over the past few months regarding the branding of the school.  We are keen to share our ideas and we will invite parents to the launch of the new name, logo and branding shortly.

Our next Open Morning takes place on Saturday 7 March 2020 at 10.00 am to midday.  We will be at both school sites with plans for the new building to show to our current and prospective families.  I am sure it will be a busy morning, so prospective families should register now.  We would also be grateful if our current families could let us know if they are planning to come and look at the architect’s plans so we have an idea of numbers.  Email:  heads_pa@rushmoorschool.co.uk or sheaney@standrewsschoolbedford.com if you plan to come along as we would be delighted to see you.

There are many considerations with our move to the new site, one of the questions I have been asked is about the bus companies.  To reassure you, I have already met with them to discuss accommodating our move and they are very keen to support us, which should alleviate any parental concerns about transport. 

I am also busy liaising with sports and arts organisations about funding opportunities to secure the best facilities for our pupils; also ways in which we can help our local community in line with our charitable status.  Further details on the ideas I have in mind will be made available when we launch the new branding. 

I know that parents are excited about the new school and this was evident at the recent Parents’ Council Meeting.  Thank you to those who attended this; minutes of the meeting have been circulated to all with this blog.  Please do feel free to come along to the next meeting on Friday 13 March at 9.00am at Rushmoor School.

I was pleased to meet with the Head Teacher of Aldwickbury School recently when he visited Rushmoor.  I was particularly pleased to receive his feedback about how impressed he was with our pupils and the nurturing environment we provide, which was evident as he walked around the school.  

In relation to providing a nurturing and caring environment, we recently introduced Wellbeing Ambassadors, who are there to lend a guiding and supportive hand to other pupils.  I am pleased to report that this initiative is working really well and the Ambassadors are taking pride in their role.     

Noah Bradstreet from Year 8 was selected to be part of a Bedford Youth Cabinet.  I am delighted to report that he has attended the first meeting and was elected new Vice Chair!  Noah will now be involved in running the monthly meetings, representing the views and needs of all 11-18 year olds across Bedfordshire.   He will also help lead Pupil Voice program, working with local School Councils and get involved in the UK Youth Parliament. His first task will be to meet with our local Mayor to introduce himself and he is especially looking forward to attending the Houses of Parliament for a Commons Debate later this year.   

The Youth Cabinet represents young people whatever their background or circumstances. Members share ideas about what is most important to them and their future, receive training, hear each other’s concerns and plan campaigns. They are working on the campaigns voted for nationally as the things children and young people are most concerned about including climate change, curriculum for life and crime. By finding common ground, collaborating with community groups, police and local authorities, they are inspiring the adults that they work with across the country their energy, positivity and leadership. Well done Noah for representing the Alliance well. We are now looking for other pupils in both schools who may be interested in voicing their views more widely.  

Consultation Evenings continue to take place, with years 8, 11 and 13 at Rushmoor and year 8 at St Andrew’s.  For the senior pupils it was an opportunity to discuss mock results and preparations for this summer’s formal examinations.  Please do contact subject teachers should you require any further details following on from the consultation meetings.     

I would like to remind Year 11 pupils and parents of the A-level and Cam Tech taster sessions we are holding on Monday 3rd February from 4pm.  It is not too late to register, please email Miss Rayer at arayer@rushmoorschool.co.uk  

Fundraising  

United World Schools, January Update:

The term is very much up and running again at UWS Hurpa School.  After all their hard work at the end of last year which culminated in a period of exams, students at UWS Hurpa School have now received their results. Parents and the Education Officer Ashok are pleased with the school’s progress, which is testament to both the students’ willingness to learn and their teachers engaging lessons.  

January is the coldest time of year in Nepal, and students have been wrapping up warm in thick jumpers and hats. In spite of the cold, attendance remains high and students are working hard in what is the final term of the year. The cold weather has not put a stop to the hard work of the team at UWS Hurpa School, who continue to dedicate themselves to improving the school’s teaching capabilities. Ashok has been running teacher training courses, advancing from lower level guidance to training teachers up to Grade 5 - a good sign of continuous school improvement.  More broadly, the UWS Fellowship programme is running very successfully, and Fellows have been willing to take more and more responsibility in their schools and work increasingly closely with local government.    

Our UWS representative visited this morning to talk to our pupils about the Hurpa School.  Thank you to everyone who donated to our collections before Christmas, £548 has been raised so far, which has gone directly to benefiting Hurpa School.     

We were pleased to be able to support World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and raised an incredible £1,015 for their Australia Appeal by holding a mufti day and a cake sale.   Well done to Amelia, Lydia, Shiniece, Amy and Elyn from year 6 who presented an assembly on the bush fires and what we can do to help the Koalas and protect their habitat.     

There will be a Scholastic senior school book fair running from Wednesday 5 to Wednesday 12 February in room 2.  Books can be purchased during lunchtime and 4.00-5.00pm after school. The junior school book fair will take place during March.  

Trips  

Year 4 had a great time at Woburn Safari Park last week, prior to the beginning of their persuasive writing topic based around zoos and safari parks.  They had a great time driving round the park, with a particular highlight being the monkey enclosure (where they almost lost a wing mirror!).  They also attended a very informative workshop where a member of staff at Woburn talked to them about how they help endangered animals. It was a fun packed day as after lunch, they had time to explore the foot route and enjoyed observing animals including meerkats, seals, wallabies and many more!  I now look forward to seeing some of their persuasive writing.  

On 23 January a group of year 10 and year 11 students from Rushmoor and St Andrews went to the V&A in London. This was a valuable opportunity to complete primary research for their coursework and exam modules and an opportunity to see a world class collection of artefacts. Thanks to Miss Cripps, Mrs Turner and Mrs Wakeling who said they had a great day and that the students were well behaved on the coach journey and whilst in the museums.

Mrs Lowe took advantage of the lovely sunny weather on Wednesday and took the year 11 girls out for a breath of fresh air and a wellbeing walk around Bedford Park at break time before returning to their English studies.

Our GCSE and A-level drama students are at the theatre to see ‘Holes’ this afternoon to support their studies.  Thank you to Mrs Gittins for arranging the trip.

Sport (Full sports news is posted to our social media pages regularly)  

Our year 5 football team had their first fixture and put in a good performance. Well done to all involved!    

It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Rushmoor and St Andrew’s X-Country runners, we had some excellent individual performances at the recent Priory X-Country event with students battling the elements to run very well. Particular mention to Millie and Rosie from year 6 who finished 13th and14th respectively, and Demi in year 8 who came 19th.  

This week a select number of students entered the district x-country event at Sharnbrook, once again the students performed very well with Tom Fisher, Oscar Smith, Harvey Creasey and Tom Bailey all qualifying for the upcoming County X-Country event.  Well done to Evie Maddison who finished 4th and will represent North Bedfordshire at the County Cross Country on Wednesday 12th Feb.  All girls ran brilliantly and Ruby Ryall and Milly Perry just missed out by 2 places to qualify and Rosie Fisher-Lowe by 3 places. It's exciting to think what they could do next year!  

Last week our Year 8 and Year 7 students competed in the county finals for the Sports Hall Athletics, with only the top 8 schools in the county competing on the day the students had done amazingly well to reach the finals.  Both teams performed very well on the day with the Year 7 team coming away with the bronze medal in a very hard fought competition.  

Our Year 5 & 6 netball teams played in really exciting matches against BMS 'B'.  Both were end to end games with lots of shots for both teams.  The girls played with determination and commitment throughout.  Players of the Match were Deborah & Charlie for Year 5 and Millie & Amelia for Year 6.      

We are delighted that three of our pupils were able to compete in the Schools Gymnastics Competition held in Kingston, Milton Keynes -  Amelia, Sophie and Harry.  The girls won silver together and Amelia and Harry won gold together, which is wonderful – well done to all!   

Congratulations also to Amelia for her bronze medal in the Eastern Counties Championships.                  

Nursery News  

Staff in the toddler room have been heavily focused on building fine motor skills in order to help the children become more independent and confident.  Their favourite activities have been water spray bottles and hammer and nails.  Children are given simple boundaries when using these resources and they have quickly learnt how important these are for safety. The children have also learnt independence and perseverance from these activities and on a sunny day they made rainbows when using the water spray bottles.  

There has been a lot of excitement in Rushmoor EYFS this week; the children came into school to discover large footprints around the Nursery and Reception garden with keys next to the footprints.  I have got a poster up in my office that the children made asking if anyone knows who made the footprints.  The children have since received a letter from a Giant asking if they could help him find a home for the Minpin creatures.  I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next with the Giant!  

Junior School Stars of the Week

St Andrew’s School

Week ending 24 January:

Reception – Arabella Taylor

Year 1 – Isla Gleeson

Year 2 – Max Hendry

Year 3/4 – Amelia Gleeson

Year 5 – Lucia Trelevan  

Week ending 31 January:

Reception – Eloisa Di Stazio

Year 1 – Isabella Ianiri

Year 2 – Fox Choy

Year 3/4 – Grace Perry

Year 5 – Isabelle Child  

Rushmoor School

Week ending 24 January:

Reception – Whole Class

1ET – Medinah Shafi

2KGL – Erin Eaden

3JM – India Ward

3ST – Stephen Muniu

4ET – Billy Bell

4ZL – Farell Kotecha

5CR – Jack Allen

5ZL – Oscar Wood    

Week ending 31 January:

Reception – Eloise Perry

1ET – Eliza Priya-Dass

2KGL – Kieron Kirkham

3JM – Tara Adams

3ST – Jamie Buddle

4ET – Tanishk Barve

4ZL – Ruby Stoughton

5CR – Majus Hodges

5ZL – Charlie Chamberlain  

Principal’s Awards

Ruby Elliott Willey in year 5 for her excellent work in maths.

Oscar Wood for his English classwork.

Erin Eaden for getting all her maths questions correct.

Oscar O’Connor for his English work.

Personal Pursuits

Well done to Woody who has achieved excellent results in his grade 1 and grade 2 Rock Guitar exams. He took both exams on the same day, obtaining 89% in his grade 1 exam and 76% in his grade 2 exam. Excellent effort Woody.  

Well done to Nyah for getting a Distinction in her Primary Ballet exam recently.  

Kieron has been selected as the Year 2 'Phonics Leader' representative in KS1 to help with phonics across the Junior School. A fantastic achievement, well done Kieron!   

You will have received an email from the PTFA regarding the Auction of Promises being held on Friday 15 May 2020.  It includes a three course meal and entertainment, with a band and disco until late.  We are raising funds for a retractable seating area for a theatre in the new school, with a percentage of the money raised going to the UWS Hurpa School in Nepal in which we sponsor.   If you would like to reserve individual tickets or a table please email Gina Ciuro at gciuro@rushmoorschool.co.uk.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal  

Principal's Blog - Friday 17th January 2020

It was nice to welcome the staff and pupils back for the new term, and I hope everybody enjoyed the Christmas break.  Unfortunately, I have to start with some sad news about one of our governors, John Wilkinson, who passed away just before Christmas.   

John initially became involved with Rushmoor when his grandson joined the school.  Over the past 15 years, John attended countless governors’ meetings, school productions and events; providing support to the school community.  He headed up the sub-committee for marketing and was actively involved in our plans for the new site, having only recently attended the first of the rebranding meetings.   

I knew John away from the school environment and often saw him supporting his grandson playing for Bedford Junior Blues Rugby. It was always nice to chat to him and I value the support he gave to me personally and to the schools.   

The Governing Body and staff greatly appreciate John’s service over so many years and his commitment to the pupils at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s Schools.  We will sadly miss John and we send our condolences to his family.  Representatives from the school will be attending his funeral service next week.   

The Christmas holiday was a chance for the senior pupils at Rushmoor to do some revision as their mock examinations got underway at the start of this term. The senior girls at St Andrew’s took most of their mock examinations before the Christmas break.  Once the students have time to reflect on their mock examinations, I hope they will put together a sensible revision timetable to use between now and their final examination in the summer term.  The next six months will pass incredibly quickly and hard work is required to ensure they achieve their best.  There is no room for complacency, so revision should be carried out, little and often, in order to be prepared.   

We have also had formal examinations taking place for the Sixth Formers over the past fortnight, with the Business students (and ICT) taking some of their course examinations.  The Cambridge Technical courses spread the examinations over the two-year period, with examinations taken in year 12 in January and June and then in year 13 in January and June, these combine with coursework to provide an overall mark.  This type of course will be appealing to many of our students who may want to step away from the new style linear A-level.  Our Sixth Form Director, Mrs Beattie, would be happy to discuss the Cambridge Technical Courses with our year 11 students currently considering their next steps. Year 13 A level students have also been sitting their mocks during this period.  

There have been a number of consultation evenings already, with year 11’s at St Andrew’s taking place on 9 January, year 7’s on 14th and year 7’s at Rushmoor on 16th.  As always, I hope that these consultations proved helpful and I would remind parents that we have an open door policy so are pleased to discuss any concerns you may have at any time.  Please contact the subject teacher via their email address listed on our websites should the need arise.          

Rushmoor and St Andrew’s next performance for the middle and senior school will be ‘Guys and Dolls’.  There were a large number of pupils that came to the workshop on Monday and I’m sure they have been busy learning lines for the auditions this afternoon.  Information on performance dates and how to buy tickets will be sent nearer the time.    

We held Reception In Action mornings for our older nursery pupils at both St Andrew’s and Rushmoor, on 8 January and 15 January.  It was an opportunity for visitors to come and find out more about our unique ethos and see how well their child could enjoy our nurturing learning environment.  It also allowed our current nursery pupils, that are due to start Reception Class in September, to experience what their days will be like next year.   Thank you to all those involved in this initiative.   

The PTFA have arranged a magic show and disco for the pupils on Friday 7th February.  

Magic Show – Reception Class to Year 2 from 4-5pm at St Andrew’s School.

Disco Years 3, 4 and 5  from 5.30-7pm at Rushmoor School.  

Disco Years 8 and 9 from 7.30-9pm at Rushmoor School.  

Pupils are working hard towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards this term.  We are discussing the option of introducing Year 7 and 8 to the club early.  To find out more about Duke of Edinburgh please follow this link https://www.dofe.org/experience-list/   

On Wednesday, Mrs Crannis took a team of year 5 and 6 boys to Explore Learning in Sainsbury’s to take part in round 2 of the Explore Learning Mathematicians’ Award 2019/20.  The year 7 and 8 team then took part on Thursday.  

Both teams worked really well and enjoyed taking on the challenge, created by ‘nrichmaths’ especially for the competition.  Our school was one of 25,000 schools taking part nationally in the first round and we hope that we have done enough to be one of the 10 teams (5 Primary, 5 Secondary) that will go through to the final, to be held at the National History Museum in February.  

Whatever the outcome, the boys really benefited from working as part of a team and solving a problem requiring logic and mathematical thinking and we are extremely proud of them representing the school.

Sports News:  

The first football fixture of the term took place on 15 January away against Kings Ely School, with year 7/8 A, B and C teams taking part.  Well done to all our players. All three games were super competitive against tough opposition. We look forward to all the upcoming football fixtures this term.  

We also had our first x-country event of the new year; the well renowned Bedfordia event held at Lincroft School. We had teams from year 5/6, 7 and 8 taking part in an event that can attract over 150 runners per race. Special mention to Rushmoor’s George Matthews, Willoughby Creasey, Oscar Marsh and Hayden Hayhoe-Fisher who all ran well in their first event for the school.  The girls ran brilliantly with standout results from Amelia Perry finishing 28th and Rosie Fisher-Lowe and Demi Sunda both finishing 29th in their races.                          

I would like to wish Millie Perry, Sophie Weston and Harry Ridgeon luck at the British Schools Gymnastics Association, Eastern Region Schools Acrobatic, Tumbling and Disabilities Gymnastics Championships being held at Milton Keynes Gym Club on Sunday 26th January.  I look forward to hearing all about it.  

Vaccinations:

On 13 January year 9 boys had their DTP and Meningitis ACWY vaccinations.  The teenage booster is given as a single injection to boost your child’s protection against three separate diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and polio. It tops up the effect of the earlier baby and pre-school vaccinations against these diseases.   

The Meningitis vaccination was introduced to respond to an accelerating increase in cases of invasive meningococcal group W (MenW) disease. The vaccination of this age group will not just protect these young people but also help to protect children and adults across the population. It is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on vaccination. The reason the programme is mostly being offered in schools is because experience shows that this form of delivery is very effective at reaching the target population, ensuring good vaccine uptake.  

Nursery News  

Nursery have had a busy start to the term, welcoming new and existing families back and hearing about all the lovely things that the children have been doing during the holidays.  

Miss Niro and the Nursery staff have been reviewing the way they do things in accordance with responses of the children in each age group:  

The oldest babies and toddlers will be working on serving themselves during mealtimes, assisted only at key parts of the meal to encourage interest in a range of different foods. By introducing this, it enables children to have a sense of self within the group and confidence in making their own choices.  A special circle time has been formed each day for the oldest toddlers (wriggly Wrens) which will focus on the skills needed to effectively transition to pre-school. This will range from pouring their own drinks, putting on their coats, attempting zips and chopping their snack. During the circle times children will also be having short visits to the pre-school area with the support of a familiar practitioner to become used to the environment and new staff members.  The younger children of the group, during this time, will enjoy focused activities which promote fine motor skills (making small movements) in order to build up muscle strength in the hands/arms and develop hand-eye coordination.  

As a setting, Nursery have decided to continue meeting parents for a formal 2-year-old progress check. In preparation for this each parent will be given an ages & stages questionnaire to enable Nursery staff to really understand what behaviours and interests each child has at home. This will help to build up a crucial picture of each child's next steps at this important stage of their development. A 3-year-old progress check will also be held, with the parents, key worker and specialist health worker.  

Date for Diary: The next parents’ evening will be on Friday 28 February from 6.00pm-7.30pm. Slips will soon be sent home for parents to book their preferred time, although these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.    

I had the pleasure of spending time in Rushmoor Robins this week.  Every month, Rushmoor EYFS are surprised with a 'secret reader' who comes to read them a story.  It is usually a family member of one of the pupils so they were surprised to see me. I read the children Farmer Duck and Spot's Birthday Party, books I haven’t read since my children were young.      

Junior School News  

KS1 from both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s enjoyed a stunning start to their Fairy Tales & Fantasy topic. They ventured to Milton Keynes theatre to watch an exciting performance of Aladdin. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and have spent lots of time discussing the show on their return to school and writing reviews of the performance.  

"My favourite part was when they were singing." - Fox

"I thought the most exciting part was when the Genie came out of the lamp!" - Khushi

"My favourite character was Aladdin. The show was very good." - William

"The funniest part was when Wishee Washee put the ballet dress on." – Max

''My favourite part of Aladdin was when they flew over the audience in their magic carpet!'' Arthur

''The funniest part of the show was when Aladdin’s brother was locked in the cage!'' Tom

''The best part was when Washee broke the chair and his voice went all funny!'' Nyah

''I loved it when Aladdin and Jasmine danced, I wish I could dance like that!'' Madinah  

Junior School Stars of the Week  

St Andrew’s School

Week ending 10 January 2020:

Reception – Nari Molo

Year 1 – Liliana Sepede

Year 2 – Natilda D’Cruze

Year 3/4 – Lucia Wildman

Year 5 – Sophie Muwanga  

Week ending 17 January 2020:

Reception - Al-akhire 

Year 1 - Scarlett Rook

Year 2 - Khushi Masih

Year 3/4 - Isabella Diffey

Year 5 - Ayesha Alfaro

Week ending 17 January 2020:

Rushmoor School

Reception – Jesse Bates

1ET – Tom Hall

2KGL – Tom Marshall

3JM – Sam Burchell

3ST – Sebastian Thomas

4ET – Kieran Kali-Rai

4ZL – Errol Bogacki

5CR – Sam Moffat

5ZL – Jacob O’Neill  

Principal’s Awards  

Olivia Patel for kindness to her peers, whilst managing her own school and extra-curricular commitments with good cheer and dignity.  

Georgie Day for significant effort in English and English Literature.  

Ruby Stoughton for her holiday homework diary.  

Oliver Hurley, Eros Di Pace and Miles Folbigg for their science presentations.  

Crispin Djengiz for going over and above the brief for his maths holiday homework and produced an amazing picture demonstrating reflection and rotational symmetry.   

Alex Thomson for his English classwork.  

Angelos Angelopolous for being incredibly helpful at the year 4/5 Christmas Party.   

Tom Marshall for his maths classwork.    

The next Rushmoor Parent’s Council meeting will be on Friday 13th March from 9-10am.  If you would like to attend please email Mrs Philippa Abruzzese at pabruzzese@rushmoorschool.co.uk    

Kind regards  

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 13th December 2019

As I write this final blog of 2019, I am pleased to be able to look back on yet another successful term across the Alliance, particularly receiving the ISA’s Award for outstanding learning support. 

This term has been full of planning meetings for the new site, which are moving along at a rapid pace, and I will ensure that over the year regular updates are issued about developments.        

Christmas activities have been taking place in full force over the past fortnight, with wonderful Nativity performances from our junior pupils; they should be proud of themselves as I certainly am proud of them.  Thank you to everybody who came along to the performances to support the children.  A great deal of effort always goes into these productions, so thank you to the mums and dads who helped children learn their lines and provided costumes.  Thank you to all the staff who helped and special thanks to the Child family of Forge Photography for filming St Andrew’s production and Ieuan Daniel for filming Rushmoor’s performance.  

Christmas lunches have taken place at each school, together with the year 11s special Christmas lunch at the Tavistock Restaurant and the Sixth Form Christmas meal at The Harvester Restaurant.  Our pre-school and Reception children at St Andrew’s had their Christmas party on Tuesday and the junior pupils at Rushmoor had their parties on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th December.     

Our Choirs performed at the Christmas Tree Festival at St Paul’s Church in Bedford on Thursday 5th December and our thanks go to all the parents who went along to watch them.  The singers did a wonderful job entertaining us and my thanks to Mr Day and Mrs Shakleton for their musical expertise.  Each school also decorated a Christmas tree to help support this charitable event and my thanks to Mrs Bushell, Mrs Hope and Mrs Robinson for going along to decorate our trees.    The carol services at St Martin’s and St Andrew’s Church took place yesterday evening, which are always wonderful occasions, followed by social gatherings at each of the schools with mulled wine and mince pies.  Thank you to everybody who attended the concerts and I hope you enjoyed the carols.  Directly after the concert, St Andrew’s junior pupils and the girls from Rushmoor, were invited to a Christmas sleepover in Walmsley House, which always proves popular amongst the children.  Thank you to the staff who gave them this opportunity and I hope there was a little bit of sleep!     

I am currently accompanying some of the pupils on the ski trip to Les Menuires in France; we have also been taking part in Christmas themed activities to ensure they don’t miss out on any of the festive cheer.  We’ve had Christmas themed fancy dress worn on the slopes and Christmas carols sang in the snow.  Thank you to Mr Farnsworth and Mr Short for accompanying us on this trip.  I have been running the ski trip for 25+ years and I know that it isn’t the easiest decision to make to be away from home in the run up to Christmas, so I fully appreciate the staff who agree and allow this trip to continue year on year.  It is always a special trip because we allow parents to attend and this really does support our family inclusive ethos.  The final thank you must go to Madam Thiebeaux who has organised the trip superbly as usual.    

As part of our commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme, we volunteered to host a management meeting at St Andrew’s School for leaders from across the area.  I was delighted to receive such positive feedback from our visitors who commented about the lovely, caring educational environmental St Andrew’s provides and how well behaved, happy and kind to one another the pupils seemed to be.  That is exactly the type of feedback any Principal wants to hear.  

On Monday 2nd December our senior pupils from years 10, 12 and 13 studying art and photography went on a trip to London to visit various galleries, including the Tate Modern, The National Gallery and the National Portrait gallery.  The trip not only aims to allow students to discover artwork that relates to their own projects, but also encourages the development of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.  It was a long day, with a meal at Pizza Express to round it off before the journey back to Bedford for 9.00pm, but we hope that it has helped inspire our talented artists.  My thanks to Mrs Chaplin and Mrs Turner for arranging and attending the trip.  By the way, the long Christmas break is an excellent time to get those sketchbooks up-to-date!

The year 3 pupils from Rushmoor and the year 3 and 4 pupils from St Andrew’s went along to Stibbington Educational Centre on the 10th December to experience life as an evacuee, which will help embed their studies on life in World War Two.  They arrived at Nene Valley Railway Station where they re-enacted the role of evacuees, with a billeting officer giving them details of where they would be staying.  They completed identity cards and enjoyed a 1940s style lunch, followed by playing wartime games.  In the afternoon, the children experienced lessons in the period classroom, including a gas mask drill and writing postcards home to London.  Thank you to Mrs Mortensen, Mr Thomas and Mrs Camino, Mr Evans, Mrs Robinson and Mrs Van Der Sande for accompanying the children.

Rushmoor’s Got Talent was back again for another year and provided a great opportunity for the boys and girls to showcase their individuality.  Thank you to Mrs Gittins and the team of staff who helped put this event together.  The winner was Oliver Elphick who played the drums, congratulations Oliver!

The inspirational singer, Natasha, brought her ‘This is Namaste’ workshop to Years 9-11 at St Andrew’s with powerful message for the girls’ aspirations, careers and maintaining good mental health.  

On Tuesday morning a group girls from St Andrew’s went to see the Skating on Thin Ice exhibition at The Scott Polar Research Institute in the Polar Museum, Cambridge.  There were three pupils from Year 7, who are planning a speech on climate change for the next round of Youth Speaks, and our Year 10 drama students, who are preparing an examination piece on issues relate to the topic. The inspiring exhibition brimmed over with information aimed at raising awareness of the concerns surrounding climate change, all of which stimulated the girls’ thoughts and ideas for the tasks ahead of them.  

After reading 'Stone Cold' by Robert Swindells, Year 9 Rushmoor pupils decided that they would like to support a local homeless charity.  The story of 'Stone Cold' follows the plight of a young homeless boy and raises many concerns surrounding the issue.  A huge thank you to Year 9 and to parents who supported and so kindly donated.  The boxes of toiletries and food will be delivered to The Prebend Day Centre just before Christmas.    

In September, the Rushmoor English Department launched a reading challenge in conjunction with the library.  Boys across the school were challenged to read three books by Christmas in order to win merits and an edible reward.  In total, 85 boys took part across Years 6-10 and 255 books were read.  Reading is invaluable in the development of vocabulary, imagination and grammatical structures and we hope to see even more boys participate in the next competition.  

Sports News:

The St Andrew’s Hockey Club have had a well-attended term and they decided to get into the Christmas spirit for their last training session of the year, with festive attire being the order of the day.  A prize was awarded for the most innovative outfit, which went to Jessica Sohl.  Thank you to Miss Holyoak and Miss Ralph for organising this.  

Due to this term’s outside fixtures list having been completed, and with the weather becoming much colder, sports have moved inside and we were pleased to send various age groups to the Sports Hall Athletics Competition held at The Bunyan Centre on the 4th and 5th December.  Well done to all the girls and boys from across the Alliance who represented the schools superbly.   

I am also pleased that our year 10 and 11 boys took part in a basketball fixture against King’s Ely School on the 2nd December.  We enjoy being able to provide our pupils with many different sporting opportunities and with a mixture of competitors.  Kings Ely is a very prestigious school and proved strong opponents, which allows our team to strengthen their skills.  Well done to all those who participated.   

Well done to the pupils who took part in the ISA Swimming Gala at the Olympic Pool in London on Saturday 30th November.  What an amazing experience for you all.  It is always a great opportunity to compete at a national level and our team of swimmers put a great deal of effort into the occasion and we are immensely proud of them.  Thank you to all the parents who went along to support them and to Mrs Basset-Gilham and Mr Ferrer for accompanying them.   On

Monday 2nd December there was another swimming gala organised by the Local School Games, of which I am the vice chair. Shannon won her breaststroke heat and it was a photo finish in her front crawl heat, with second place going to Ruby in her breaststroke heat. Pollyanna won her breaststroke heat and Ruby was 2nd in her fly heat.  Well done to all the girls who took part. We were pleased to learn that our pupils who make up the Recruitz Skydiving Club have been nominated for ‘Bedford Team of the Year’ in Bedford Borough Council’s Sports Awards.  They had a great evening meeting other athletes from across the county.  Well done to George, Jorga , Zak and Jelena. 

Junior School Stars of the Week

St Andrew’s School 

Friday 6 December 2019

Reception – Harris Packuka

Year 1 – Liliana Sepede

Year 2 – Matthew Turpie

Year 3/4 – Whole Class

Year 5 – Shenay Muirhead-Stewart  

Friday 6 December 2019

Rushmoor School

Reception – Florence Steed

1ET – Henry Kotecha

2KGL – Megan Pyatt-Slade

3JM – Elle Nyoni

3ST – Alex Harrison

4ET – Bay Chater

4ZL – Ethan Ndokera

5CR – Whole class

5HT – Matthew Eaden    

Principal’s Awards  

Sophie Weston (Year 6), who stepped up to swim for the Yr8 relay team in the ISA National Swim Finals last Saturday.  

Alex Saint-White and Wolfie Millard for outstanding effort in chemistry.  

Vaishnavi Naganaboina for her fantastic maths work.  

Tom Barrett for getting 100% in his geography test.  

Miles Folbigg, Matthew Broadbent, Oliver Stock and Liam Kenna for going above and beyond in their maths homework.

I would like to say huge congratulations to Tiggy Willcocks from year 3 for receiving the silver medal for vault and floor and the gold medal for beam and bars in a recent competition. What a fantastic achievement!  

Also, well done to Ruby Stoughton who was delighted to receive her 400 metre swimming badge last weekend.  Well done Ruby – keep up the great effort!  

Our year 11 girls completed their mock examinations recently and the year 11 boys, together with our sixth form students have their mocks to look forward to on their return in January.    For those taking formal examinations in the summer, the next five to six months is going to fly by and they need to be prepared.  The Christmas holiday period is a great time to recharge their batteries, but it is also a time when they must revise.  I would urge them to use their time wisely, plan a sensible revision schedule and stick to it, little and often is the key.   

Date for your diary: 15th May 2020

We will be holding an Auction of Promises on Friday 15th May 2020 hosted by David Fletcher, an antiques expert who has appeared on the BBC.   The venue will be Pavenham Golf Club, with food and dancing, so please make a note in your diaries.  Tickets will be available from Gina and if you want to reserve some you can contact her on gciuro@rushmoorschool.co.uk.  Tickets are available individually or as a table of ten.  If you can provide any ‘promises’ for the auction, please do let us know.  Your support is greatly appreciated and all proceeds from the auction will benefit our pupils.  Our previous auctions have raised thousands of pounds and always prove to be a fun social event.   

All that remains for me to do is to wish all our pupils and their families a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.   

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 29th November 2019

Thank you to all the families who came along to the Alliance Christmas Fayre last weekend.  I hope all the younger pupils enjoyed Santa’s Grotto and all the Christmas themed activities.  We raised £2400, which will be put to good use across the Alliance, benefitting all our pupils.  A huge thank you must go to Gina Ciuro for her organisation of the fayre, together with the team of helpers who came along to set up on Friday afternoon, also those who gave up their time to organise all the games and tombola donations, as ever, your help is greatly appreciated.  My thanks also to the staff who ran the stalls, particularly Mr Thomas, Mr Short and Mr Morrish for being such good sports in the Santa pie throwing game!   I hope that the fayre has helped to put you in the Christmas spirit; with the Nativities taking place in the week ahead, there is plenty of festive cheer as you walk around the two schools.    

Following the Winter Fayre, a number of staff accompanied our pupils to the Women’s International Rugby Match held at Bedford Rugby Club on Goldington Road.  It proved to be a good afternoon of sport and a nice social occasion for the children who attended.   Thank you to my fellow staff members who accompanied the pupils.      

It was the turn of our year 10 pupils from both schools to have their consultation evenings over the past fortnight.  I attended both and was very pleased to hear the extremely positive comments from our families.

On Sunday 17 November, St Andrew’s School was a centre of industry as the committed year 11 girls were Walked and Talked through practice GCSE English Language papers.  It is often said that it is difficult to revise for English Language and so this style of revision session is offered to explore  both papers, step by step, with the main focus being on the language of the questions and how to plan answers. Tasks were completed under examination conditions, keeping to strict timings for each question, to practise time management.  My thanks to Mrs Lowe for organising and running this opportunity.

As I have recently stated, we have been focusing closely on our literacy policy over the past number of weeks.  To this end, members of the SLT are randomly sitting in on lessons to carry out observations.  I observed one of Mrs Kelly’s year 7 English lessons this week, where the children were working enthusiastically on poetry and I felt the lesson was excellent.  All staff across the Alliance had training on whole school literacy matters last Monday to ensure that all departments are fully aware of the strategies to develop literacy skills across all curriculum areas.        

As part of their literacy lessons our year 4 pupils study The Spiderwick Chronicles.  In the summer, the current year 5 pupils decided to actually make a film based on Spiderwick and last week we held a special showing of the final cut.  Pupils walked the red carpet and were interviewed like film stars.  Well done to all the pupils involved.  My thanks to Miss Thompson and Mr Halliday and special thanks to Mick Child from Forge Photography, for the hours of work involved in filming and editing the production.   

We are keen to promote public speaking amongst our pupils and encourage everybody to perform to an audience to help them develop this type of skill, which holds many benefits including improving self-esteem.  On 15 November, we were pleased to send members of our Public Speaking Club to Bedford School to debate against the motion 'Taxes should be raised in order to combat global warming and climate change.'

Ellery, Heath and William from year 7 received praise for their logical arguments, mature responses to difficult questions and overall concise and engaging delivery when debating against a year 8 team.  Well done to you all.   

Last Friday pupils from years 3 and 4 from across the Alliance joined together for a trip to Hazard Alley in Milton Keynes.  This is a safety centre that allows children to learn about potential dangers and how to respond sensibly to them.  It is always an enjoyable trip and a great learning experience for the children.  

On Friday last week, we hosted the ISA National Rugby Tournament at Bedford Ath for years 5, 6 and year 11.  Our year 11 team finished as runners up in the Plate competition in a very tight final.  After a really well fought contest, our year 5 rugby team just missed the top spot to finish as runners up in their age group.   Year 6 performed valiantly throughout the day, facing tough opponents, but never giving up.  All the pupils who took part in the tournament should be proud of themselves as they all did extremely well.  

Some of our pupils are going to compete at the ISA National Swimming Championships in London at the Olympic swimming pool on Saturday, we wish them all the best of luck. 

We like to offer a variety of sports to the pupils so they can find something they enjoy.  Raquet sports are amongst these, with tennis, squash and badminton on offer.  Well done to the boys who took part in the badminton fixture against Bedford Academy last week.  Good efforts by all. 

Our U14s netball team took part in the County Tournament on 20 November.  It was very competitive and the girls played well as a team, which is pleasing.   

Detailed sports news is available on our Twitter and FaceBook media sites.

On Wednesday afternoon, 20 Rushmoor boys from years 5-8 took part in the first round of the Explore Learning Young Mathematician’s Award, which was held at Rushmoor.  The boys were asked to solve a problem involving numbers of exhibits in the Natural History Museum, which is where the Grand Final will be held.  The boys were put in to groups and they really worked well on the question.  Some of the boys showed great communication and teamwork skills, which were important to the task.  The teachers from Explore Learning will suggest which pupils they think should make up the two teams for the next round, which will be held in January at their centre in Sainsbury’s and the teams will be announced before Christmas.  The boys all behaved really well and represented the school in a very mature and sensible way.  Well done to them all. 

On Thursday, a small team of 4 boys represented Rushmoor in the UKMT Senior Maths Team Challenge, held at Redborne School.  Leon Smith, Alex Brown (both year 13) and Luke Barton and Olivier Gaillard (both year 11) faced a number of challenges over the long afternoon.  It was a great experience for them and we are delighted to say that, although they didn't win, they came a credible 10th out of 20 teams.  We are extremely proud of them.  

Last week, a number of Year 10 boys visited Warwick University for an English study day. They heard from a range of expert and engaging speakers including Welsh poet, Owen Sheers. The boys explored ways to examine non-fiction texts, enhance their creative writing and left brimming with ideas. Not only this, but they left with a real insight into life on a university campus.   

The Year 11 Rushmoor Drama students took their Devised performance unit on Monday. The theme was 'disaster' and there were 2 pieces based on Chernobyl and 911. The pieces were brilliantly structured together and the boys really explored a range of skills with in the pieces. They should be proud of the professional and mature way they conducted themselves on exam day.  

Nursery and Junior School News  

What a wonderful time was had by both St Andrew’s owls and reception class had in the woods this week! The children took such care to find natural objects which matched to the colour charts and challenged themselves by using their gross motor skills and climbing/balancing on the fallen trees.    

Experiences such as this teach the children resilience and perseverance as they continue to keep trying at things that they may not succeed with the first time, this only magnifies the sense of pride and achievement they feel when they can do it on their own! The children also showed great delight in finding a Christmas tree in the woods and used objects that they found to decorate it and make it look lovely for the birds.  

Within the Robins class, they have been helping the children to learn about keeping healthy and as the children talked about how they kept clean at home, they told Mr Mac all about washing their hair, so there was only one thing to do….Mr Mac volunteered himself to be a client in their hairdressing salon and he had his hair washed! We value the importance of teaching children and helping them to grow up to become well rounded individuals; we also understand that the best way to encourage a child to remember key information is to make it fun!  

Rushmoor Robins had a special Christmas delivery today, they received a really exciting surprise.  The children received a big delivery box all the way from the North Pole! Inside the box they found a letter from Santa and their very own Elf called Max. Santa explained that Max will be staying with the children until the Christmas holidays and asked the children to help Max feel more at home by decorating the classroom for Christmas. Please keep a look out on our social media pages for what adventures they will discover with Max!  

Junior School Stars of the Week

St Andrew’s School

Week ending 22 November:

Reception Year 1 – Eloisa Di-Stazio

Year 2 – All of Year 2

Year 3/4 - Bronwyn Phillips & Perpetual Nyamtowo

Year 5 – Tilly Norman  

Week ending 29 November:

Reception – Al-Akhire Babaj

Year 1 – Oliver Barber

Year 2 – Matthew Turpie

Year 3/4 -  Emma Hindocha

Year 5 – Rosalia Hendry  

Rushmoor School 

Week ending 22 November:

Reception – Matheus Costa-Hale

1ET – Rahaf Adams

2KGL – Tom Marshall

3JM – Sebastian Rooke

3ST – 3ST

4ET – Billy Bell

4ZL – Ophelia Manser

5CR – Arthur Surridge

5RS – George Penlington  

Week ending 29 November:

Reception – Florence Steed

1ET – Eliza Burchell

2KGL –  Megan Pyatt-Slade

3JM –  Elle Nyoni

3ST – Alex Harrison

4ET – Bay Chater

4ZL – Ethan Ndokera

5CR – Preetish Kaushik

5RS – Edward Hall

Principal’s Awards

Tom Ulvert for his punctuation in English.  

Ben Howard for his help with peer mentoring.  

Oscar Wood for teaching Mrs Gilbert how to do origami.  

Well done to Ruby Stoughton who has recently joined Bedford Hockey Club and last Sunday she played in her first hockey tournament.  Her team finished in second place.  Hockey is a great sport, which I highly recommend, so I am delighted to see Ruby taking part.   

Well done to Ben Howard and his family who raised £2,000.06 for Great Ormond Street Hospital last Saturday.  They opened their house up to friends, family and people within their village, who came and supported and donated so generously.  Well done for raising so much for a wonderful charity, all though I was told that Ben avoided the washing up!    

As we are rapidly moving towards the end of 2019, plans are progressing with the new site.  If you follow us on FaceBook and Instagram you will have seen the update about the developments.  Meetings are taking place virtually every week to move the project forward.  As we move into the New Year things will start to progress more rapidly.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 15th November 2019

It was good to welcome back our pupils for the second half of the autumn term following our two-week break, which I hope was enjoyable for our families across the Alliance.  This half of term usually shoots by in a whirlwind of preparations for the – dare I say it – Christmas activities.  I know the junior pupils are already preparing for their nativity productions.  

Winners - National Award 2019

Outstanding Provision in Learning Support. Some children will thrive once they are given additional support and we are delighted that Rushmoor has been recognised by the ISA for our provision. The Award recognises how we can support each child’s needs, how we monitor progress and how we encourage all our staff to have an input into each child’s development.

Across our Alliance of Rushmoor and St Andrew’s Schools, we have always strived to provide the very best provision for those with particular learning needs and those who show a particular gift or talent, so to receive national recognition for our continued efforts is wonderful. The Award was presented by former Olympic athlete, Derek Redmond, at a ceremony held on 7 November 2019 in Yorkshire.

We were delighted to welcome back our former pupil, Matthew Cook, to Rushmoor School last week.  Matthew is a professional league rugby player with Castleford Tigers and he was keen to pass on his expertise to our year 11 boys and girls.   

It is always a great pleasure to welcome back former pupils as our alumni is important to us.  If you are a former pupil (or know somebody who is) who would like to get back in touch, please let the school office know.  We want to ensure that the history of the two schools forms part of our planning for the new school.  Whilst it might not be the same site in future, we will retain the ethos that Rushmoor and St Andrew’s have always had.   

In my last blog, I wrote about how we have been looking at the literacy skills across all the curriculum areas to update our whole school policy, and following on from that, the senior leadership team are now focusing on pupils’ attitude towards learning, ICT skills and communication skills, both written and verbal.  Attitude towards learning is an extremely important element in education, effort being the key to better attainment levels, so it is an area, to which we pay a lot of attention.     

Mrs Djukic recently attended a meeting hosted by Bedford Borough Learning Exchange, where the keynote speaker was Roy Leighton, an international speaker and activist for educational and social transformation.  Roy grew up in a working-class community with seven brothers and sisters, so knows the challenges faced by children in such circumstances and the importance of high expectations and aspirations, and the need for creative and compassionate approaches in the classroom.  Roy believes that a more considered and challenging approach to the curriculum and to personal and professional development can show benefits that stretch beyond exam results.  He embraces and confronts the challenges thrown up in the 21st century, believing there are many ways for us all to reach our true potential – a sentiment we have always shared at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s Schools.

Last Thursday, 7 November, was the sixth form consultation evening, which I hope was informative for parents and students who attended.  With our year 13 students having just over 5 months left before the start of the exam season, and with mocks in January, the observations and advice should help students to really focus on their goals.  Our year 13 students who are planning to apply for university places should now be working on their personal statements and UCAS application as the deadline is 15 January 2020.

Year 10 pupils at Rushmoor also had their consultation evening and, again, I hope parents and pupils found it informative.  Please do remember that we have an ‘open door policy’ so if you have any queries you can get in touch with the subject teacher at any stage throughout the year either by contacting them using email or by telephoning the school office.

Once again, as part of our careers programme, we held mock interviews for our year 11 pupils from both schools.  Thank you to all the parents and associates linked to the school who came along to help on the evening.  This type of role-play situation is of huge benefit as our senior pupils start to consider their futures and how they should conduct themselves in interview.  My thanks go to Mrs Johnson and Mrs Barnes for arranging the interviews and to all the volunteer parents and friends for helping on the evening.

Children in Need is always a great fundraising event at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s, but this year it was really extra special, with a flying visit from the fabulous Rickshaw Challenge team.  Thank you to all pupils and families that came and stayed late to meet Pudsey,

Matt Baker and the team, you all made it a wonderful atmosphere.  I’m proud to say that we raised £2000 for Children In Need! Matt Baker and all the inspirational riders have taken eight days to cycle 400 miles from Holyhead to London. Visiting Flash, the highest village in the UK, and tackling the steepest street in the world in Harlech, Wales… and they visited Rushmoor School along the way too, which was such an honour.  We are very proud to support this worthy cause and thank all the pupils for their enthusiasm and donations.  Thank you to our former pupil, Oliver Sadd, for acting as DJ and providing a disco in the playground.  Thank you to all the staff for arranging activities throughout the day.

On Monday 11 November, we had a meeting for parents and children who are attending the ski trip to Les Menuires next month.  This always proves to be a great trip, so if you are interested in attending next year, please contact the school office as places are going quickly.  Snow has already fallen in the Alps, so fingers crossed for some good skiing conditions this year.   

France was also the destination for our first residential food technology trip, which took place from 6 - 8 November.  The Alliance students in year 9 and 10 visited the Opal Coast region of France and the trip gave students a unique opportunity to observe and take part in traditional food production methods. They visited Boulangerie Le Fournil - a traditional family-owned bakery, where they watched a baker at work.  This was followed by the ‘Pain Show’ where they learned how to make speciality pancakes. They saw the traditional French patissiers working with marzipan.  They visited Bec-a-Suc Sweet Factory for a sweet making demonstration and tasting and P&J Calais for an interactive chocolate making workshop and tasting. Finally, they visited La Gaufre du Pays Flamand an old-fashioned waffle maker.  A great opportunity for all and thank you to Mrs Couzens for organising the trip and to Mrs Bradshaw, Miss Cripps, Mr Fryer and Mrs Andrews for accompanying them.    

Maths week England 11-16 November 2019

Our Mathematics Department are always keen to look at ways to encourage our pupils and we have signed up for the 2019 Maths Week initiative.  This is an organisation set up to share the joy of mathematics with everyone. They are providing resources and online competitions to help encourage children in mathematics.   

You can see on our social media pages what the pupils have been doing for maths week in all subjects, not just maths.  I hope you have had a go and some of the questions Mrs Crannis has put on, they are quite tricky!  

It was great to see Year 5 pupils at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s combining maths week and Children In Need yesterday.  They call it Pudsey maths!      

Maths in Action  

Thursday saw 12 Year 10 boys visit the University of Warwick for a Maths in Action day.  They were treated to a number of speakers, including James Grimes who talked about codes, codebreaking and the maths behind them, a session on probability and how sometimes things that you think are incredibly unlikely are, perhaps, not so unlikely after all.  There was also a brief talk to explain the 'Dark Web' and what it is exactly.  The afternoon was presented by two fairly well-known figures.  Bobby Seagull of University Challenge fame and also Monk and Seagull from BBC2, encouraged the boys to be proud of being mathematicians and gave an entertaining talk and finished with his 'maths rap' and the day finished with puzzle solving with Alex Bellos, puzzle writer for The Guardian and author of several books on puzzles and maths.  The boys even managed to get a quick photo with Bobby Seagull, before returning to school!    

Youth Speaks

Isabelle Burt, Lily Eade and Jessica Serrell represented St Andrew's School this week in the Youth Speaks competition organised by the Rotary Club.  Thomas Kilroy, Ben Wookey and Oliver Frame represented Rushmoor School at the event.  

The girls delivered speeches giving the reasons for and against the use of mobile phones in school. They wrote their and learned their speeches with enthusiasm, showing much commitment to practising both at home and in school. Their performance was of a very high standard.  

The boys debated the motion - This house believes we should vaccinate against the flu. Thomas argued for the motion. Ben argued against the motion and Ollie chaired the evening. The boys were superb, used quick wit and humour to engage the audience and were praised for their confident presentations.  

We are proud to say that both teams are going through to the District Semi-final in the New Year. 

Congratulations to Tegan Mabbit and Lily Eade, the winners of the KS2 and KS3 poetry competition at St Andrew’s, they will now be entered into the ISA poetry competition.                          

Sports Roundup

Huge congratulations to our year 7 rugby team who completed an unbeaten season in the local year 7 league.  Tremendous effort by all players!  

There have been a lot of rugby fixtures over the past two weeks, with matches for our year 5 boys against Bilton Grange and year 6 against Bedford School.  Year 3 took part in a tag-rugby festival at Akeley Wood School and were unbeaten during the day. The team were victorious over BMS and Warwick Schools! Year 8 played at a Rugby Sevens Tournament hosted by Mark Rutherford and year 9 went over to Samuel Whitbread School to take part in the rugby 10s tournament.   

Well done to the U13 hockey players who reached the finals in the Inter-Schools Hockey Competition on Monday – excellent effort by all players.   

Year 2 pupils from across the Alliance took part in a multi-sports event hosted by St Thomas More. Year 9s competed in the District Badminton Tournament.  Our year 7 and 8 girls played hockey against Goldington, year 10 and 11 went to Bedford Academy for netball and years 5 and 6 took part in a dodgeball event at the Bunyan Centre.  The U14 team played at the hockey tournament organised by the Independent Schools Association and the U15 netball team competed at the County tournament.  Well done to all the pupils who have represented the schools over the past couple of weeks.   

The Alliance swimming squad have been training hard this term and I’m pleased to say 8 boys and 5 girls have qualified to complete in the ISA Nationals at the London Olympic Pool on 30th November.  I wish them the best of luck!  

More detailed sports news is available on our Twitter and FaceBook pages.  

St Andrew’s pupils studying GCSE Drama visited The Place Theatre in Bedford last Thursday to watch a performance of ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’, which is a satirical attack on military incompetence during World War I, in particular, the disregard for human life. It also acts as a reminder of just how costly war can be to so many people. Presented in the form of a seaside entertainment of the period, ‘Oh! What a Lovely War’ expertly blends elements of live dance, song, music and sketches, which will help the pupils in their studies.  

The Year 11 GCSE girls had their practical Drama exam, all were fantastic performances by the girls to an audience of Year 7, 10 and 11 students.  

On Monday, pupils at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s lined up on the playground for 2 minute silence on Remembrance Day.  We remember those who lost their lives on active service in all conflicts; from the beginning of the First World War right up to the present day. We also remember all those who have served and their families.  

Nursery and Junior School News    

At St Andrew’s, the Pre-school children have been spending a lot of time outdoors making clay faces, bird feeders and mud pies.  The children in Owls have been using a bow saw and hand drill to make their own tree cookies.  

At Rushmoor, the children came into school to discover Robbie the Robot had one final challenge for them, before he had to be returned to the Science Lab. Robbie the Robot had heard loud banging and crashing sounds in the night and seen the bright colours in the sky and asked the children to explore colour mixing and see which colours they could make. It is great to see the children getting creative and enjoying making firework pictures using a range of techniques.

Junior School Stars of the Week  

Week ending 8 November:

St Andrew’s School   

Reception – Harris Pacuka Y

ear 1 – Isabella Ianiri

Year 2 – Fox Choy

Years 3/4 – Perpetual Nyamtowo

Year 5 – Mimi Gardner            

Week ending 15 November:

Reception – Veer Mills

Year 1 – Isla Gleeson

Year 2 – Khushi Masih

Year 3/4 – Bronwyn Phillips & Helen Weston

Year 5 – Elsie Francis      

Rushmoor School

Week ending 8 November:

Reception – Jesse Bates

1ET – Tom Hall

2KGL – Erin Eaden

3JM – Lawrence Johnson

3ST – Henry Wooddisse

4ET – Woody Brown

4ZL – Ruby Stoughton

5CR – Leonard Owino

5RS – Archie Fisher  

Week ending 15 November:

Reception – Eloise Perry

1ET – Arthur Lees

2KGL – Kieron Kirkham

3JM – Valentino Ianiri 3ST 

4ET – Kieran Kali-Rai

4ZL – Errol Bogacki

5CR – Sam Moffat

5RS – Oliver Elphick

Principal’s Awards

Tegan Mabbitt in year 6 for her excellent book review and poem about the First World War.

Evie Martin in year 3 for showing great resilience.

Cerys Holley who emptied her money box and gave £31.31 to Children In Need.

Murray Gates for working incredibly hard in school and at home, studying towards his Further Maths GCSE.  More importantly, he has been incredibly supportive of his peers, spending time helping them with their maths, and sharing his understanding of the work in his own time at lunchtime and at maths club.

Jack Allen, Miles Morris, Arman Treis, Alex Timpau-Rat, for their geography projects.

Kieron Kirkham for his hard work in literacy when writing his fireworks poem.

George Jackson for his comical story in English.  Teachers have compared it to work by David Walliams!

Beau Johnson for his creative poem in English.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal

Principal's Blog - Friday 18th October 2019

Art Success

In my last Blog I briefly mentioned our excellent results at the ISA London North Arts Competition, which were coming through to us from London on the Friday afternoon as the Blog was ready to be circulated.  I stated our sincere thanks to Mrs Chaplin and Mrs Turner for their hard work and commitment, which has allowed our pupils’ work to shine at the awards.  We are extremely proud of the pupils whose work was submitted.  The following pupils have their work going through to the national finals.  Well done to:-                                                                     

KS2 group – Scarlett Barber, Maddie Enright, Carmen Forton, Perpetual Nyamtowo, Bronwyn Phillips, Helen Weston, Charlotte Allen, Ruby Elliott-Willey, Elsie Francis, Amelia Gardener, Rosalia Hendry, Shenay Muirhead-Stewart, Matilda Norman, Deborah Nyamtowo, Florence Stott, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucia Treleven  

Ellie Stroud                                                      

Simeon Gay

Elsie Francis                                                     

Ben Stacey

Aimee Moliterno                                               

Alex Parsons

Amelia Perry                                                   

Thomas Tredray                                                                   

Henry Neal                                                                                       

Alex Steiner Martin  

Ieuan Daniel                                               

 

Special mentions to Samuel Moffat and Luke Smart for being selected to represent Rushmoor School’s Art Department at the competition this year.

Art education has come under political and curriculum pressure in recent years, but we have always believed in its value and agree with Art educationalists, and psychologists who claim that it has benefits that other school subjects do not.  Art allows children to explore, build on and record their own creative and imaginative ideas.  It allows them to express their feelings, concerns and ideas and can encourage children to think about and understand the world visually, instead of restricting learning to words and numbers. Visual thinking helps children learn in other subjects and improves observational skills.  Developing observational skills through art facilitates the child’s visual sensitivity to the world.  Children will learn problem-solving skills as they try to create a three-dimensional scene from the world on a two-dimensional page. With practice, children learn that concentration and persistence allow them to get closer to the pictures they are trying to achieve.  Art can help a child build up their confidence and self-esteem.

As an Alliance we believe in the importance of art across the curriculum areas, whether that is building a volcano model in geography, making a colour wheel in science to learn about the movement of light or actually sitting down to draw and paint in art itself.   Art education teaches a specific set of thinking skills and helps support a broad and balanced curriculum.  

Clapham Park New build

A brief update about the progress on the new site.  Plans have been moving forward over the past six weeks with members of the leadership team visiting other schools to help finalise our own design requirements with our chosen builders. Valuations have been carried out on the existing sites and a working committee has met regularly to discuss ideas from curriculum matters through to the designs for uniforms.  My thanks to the governors and staff who are enthusiastically moving this project forward.  The new school will again be on the agenda at the forthcoming Parents’ Council meetings at 8.45am on Wednesday 16 November at St Andrews and Friday 18 November at Rushmoor.

Curriculum

Our Education Committee has met over the past couple of weeks with one of the focuses being our Whole Alliance Literacy Policy.  We provide many literacy initiatives throughout the curriculum areas, from learning subject specific spellings, to reading award schemes.  Our emphasis has been, and always will be, to encourage a lifelong love of reading, whilst also encouraging the development of communication skills both verbally and in writing.  This encompasses everything from encouraging children to participate in stage productions and poetry competitions to debating clubs and public speaking competitions.  The idea is to build up literacy skills, using Standard English, which are required in the working world. 

Our year 11 girls at St Andrew's have been invited to attend a Walk and Talk session on Sunday 17 November to prepare them for an English Language mock GCSE.  Thank you to Mrs Lowe for organising this.

GCSE and A Level Drama pupils across the Alliance are working with internationally renowned theatre company Frantic Assembly in a four-hour workshop on Friday. With the focus on developing their physical theatre and ensemble skills, all are excited to learn from this innovative company whose sell-out shows have included 'Things I know to be True'.

October is Black History Month and we have celebrated it in both schools.  Black History Month was introduced in the 1980s to recognise the contributions that black people have made to this country over many generations.  The aim was to challenge racism and educate people about the British history not taught in schools. 

Throughout history, black people have always been present in the UK but there has been a lack of representation in the history books. Through role play, pupils were encouraged to consider what it feels like to be discriminated against as well as how unjust it felt to be the discriminator. Significant individuals and events from Black History past and present were brought to life and pupils explored the lives of inspirational people such as Mary Seacole and Rosa Parks.   

Year 11 students visited the Jaguar Land Rover plant as part of their Business Studies course.  Our thanks to Mr Child for helping with the transport on this occasion.  The visit was based around innovative, curriculum sessions in a real business environment.  Students benefit from seeing first hand all that is involved in creating a car and the business management that goes on around that creative process. 

Parental Consultations have taken place for Junior School pupils at both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s, together with year 11 pupils at Rushmoor.  I hope you found these to be helpful. It was pleasing to receive excellent feedback from a number of parents about the way in which our prefect teams at the consultations were helpful and conducted themselves superbly. 

Duke of Edinburgh Award

Our year 9 pupils had their chance to sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh Award, with an information evening held on Thursday to explain all the elements of the bronze section.  As I always stress, having the Duke of Edinburgh Award on your CV speaks volumes about the type of person you are.  Somebody who is committed and willing to help others.  If you are interested in signing up for the Award Scheme, please speak to Mr Morrish at Rushmoor and Mrs Andrews at St Andrew’s. 

I would like to thank the new Duke of Edinburgh ambassadors for stepping up to take on this role – Hanaadi Ghazzawi and Christabel Nyamtowo. I would also like to congratulate and thank the St Andrew’s library monitors for supporting the library and making it a lovely place for other pupils to use – Pollyanna Soderqvist, Laura Smith, Jessica Sohl, Riya Sangha, Eloise Howe, Katelyn Gostelow, Ada Padbury, Sabrina Jan, Phoebe Phillips, Poppy Corner, Saikeisha Camatchee, Imogen Taylor, Cerys Holley, Faiz Shah.  

CCF  

Last weekend 14 students from Year 9 to Year 12 across the alliance attended the New Entry Training Wing at Yardley Chase Cadet Training Centre, where our senior cadets took a responsibility role, taking control of the lessons and helping all the year 9s in their first camp.  They all took part in the activities and had lots of fun getting to know each other outside school.  If any Year 8 students are interested in joining CCF next year and want to find out more, please tell them to see Mr Ferrer.

Sport (Please see Twitter or FaceBook for full sports news)

Once again, there have been numerous rugby and netball fixtures over the past fortnight, which are detailed on our social media sites.  We have also had our pupils in years 5, 6, 7 and 8 taking part in the cross-country competition held at Box End in Kempston and our year 12 students playing at a golf competition in Stagsden.  Well done to everybody involved in sports fixtures and thank you to our dedicated sports staff across the Alliance who set up these opportunities for our pupils.

Nursery and Junior School News With a change in the weather recently, we certainly know we are now in autumn.  However, it brings so much to explore in nature and our EYFS pupils having been doing just this.  In St Andrew’s Nursery, the staff and children have been looking at the letter ‘I’ -  insects, Inuits and igloos and making ‘Toad IN the hole’!  In Pre-school they went for a walk in the woods and were looking at fungi, fairy rings and parasol toadstools.  

Rushmoor EYFS pupils went to Bedford Park today to see what signs of autumn they could find and to learn more about changes in the environment. The children took part in a Forest school activity and worked in small groups to create a home for a hedgehog. The children had to think about where they wanted to make their home and what resources from the forest floor they wanted to use.  It was lovely to hear all about their morning when I collected them from the park.  

This week, Rushmoor Reception class had a visit from their friends at St Andrew’s.  It was great seeing the children taking part in a range of busy fingers activities together and playing during outdoor and indoor play.  St Andrew’s kindly made biscuits to share with the children. They will be visiting each other regularly, all in preparation for when we are together in the new school.    

On Tuesday Reception children from both schools got together again for an autumn walk when they saw the beautiful colours and collected autumnal treasures.    

In our modern world of computers and Sat Navs children rarely get to see road maps, atlases and Ordinance Survey maps in their day to day lives.  However, the skills that traditional map reading gives our pupils is still vital to their understanding of physical geography and navigation.  Years 3 & 4 spent a very enjoyable lesson looking at local maps and identifying places they knew and also deciphering map symbols.     

Junior School Stars of the

Week ending 11 October:

St Andrew’s School

Reception – Nari Molo

Year 1 – Liliana Sepede

Year 2 – Matilda D’Cruze

Year 3/4 - Bronwyn Phillips

Year 5 – Florence Stott  

Week ending 18 October:

Reception – Veer Mills

Year 1 – whole class

Year 2 – Elijah Masih

Year 3/4 – Zara Griffiths

Year 5 – Elizabeth Taylor    

Week ending 11 October:

Rushmoor School Week 

Reception – Scarlett Muniu

1ET – Tom Hall

2KGL – Charlie Benson

3JM – Sebatian Rooke

3ST – Jamie Buddle

4ET – Danushka Gunasekara

4ZL – Ethan Ndokera

5CR – Callum Scobie

5HT – Alex Thomson  

Week ending 18 October:

Reception – Florence Steed

1ET – Eliza-Priya Dass

2KGL – Tom Marshall

3JM – Ava Georgiou

3ST – Josh Miller

4ET – Kieran Kali-Rai

4ZL – Aiya El-Koum

5CR – Leonard Owino

5HT – Charlie Chamberlain

Principal’s Awards

Matilda D’Cruze in year 2 for her fantastic piece of homework linked to the topic of Fire and Ice covered in creative curriculum.

To Shiniece Powell in year 6 for her poem “My Life Inspired by the Whale Shark” written on National Poetry Day.

Zac Myles for his model in art where he was asked to make something on the topic ‘Swift’.

Oliver Elphick for the model he made showing how day and night happens.

Matheus Costa-Hale for being kind and thoughtful.

The Rushmoor and St Andrew’s PTFA are looking for members from both schools.  If you would like to volunteer, please contact Gina Ciuro at gciuro@rushmoorschool.co.uk.  The next event is our Winter Fayre on Saturday 23 November.

I hope that all our pupils and their families have a lovely half-term.

Kind regards

I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH

Principal