18th May 2017 issue 10
Message from the headteacher
Dear Parents/Carers and Students
So it has started – the 2017 exam season that runs until the end of June for GCSE and A Level. For Year 11 their last day in formal lessons was last Friday. Gone are the days when we send students on study leave and only re-appear for exams. We have a well-targeted programme of revision right up to every exam. Following an informal assembly and communal (bring-your-own-and-share) lunch on Friday our Year 11s set about almost three hours of revision in preparation for their RE (philosophy & ethics) exam on Monday. Good preparation and a good start to exams. We wish all our Year 11s the very best.
Outside school the manifestos for the General Election have been published. Please do scrutinise carefully the prospective party education policies. Back in March we wrote to our local MPs concerning the disastrous school funding and proposals for a new formula that would make schools such as Willink worse off still! Last week I welcomed Lynne Doherty, West Berkshire Council’s education lead, to Willink and discussed with her the increasing financial plight of many schools within the authority. The recently published Institute of Fiscal Studies report shows the scale of the problem. What will really make an impact on the Treasury is parents, staff and governors putting pressure on and asking awkward questions of their parliamentary candidates – telling the story about the impact of funding reductions – the unpalatable decisions that every education leader is now having to consider regarding staffing, the curriculum, resourcing, quality of accommodation and cuts to services and agencies such as mental health.
News from the history department
Year 7 students have been working hard learning about the best ways to build castles. They have been looking at strengths and weaknesses in castle design and learning how to attack enemy castles. Part of this project saw students building their own castles. Below are comments from students from 7L about the project.
Georgia 7L: his castle project was an opportunity to show imagination and creativity. Either drawing or making the castle everyone had a chance to show their ideas. As well as the model we could explain our ideas and reason why we made it.
A student in 7L: The castles were all really good. There were two castles that people drew or build. Some of them are really detailed because they wrote about their castle.
Rory Williams 7L : Over the course of the castle project we have learnt many aspects of topic, for instance why certain castles consisted of concrete structure and defence systems.
Layla Stuart 7L: In our History class we had been set a homework project on our term topic, castles. Our task was to either draw a castle or build a castle. Once we had finished our project we had to explain about what the castles were made of and why we chose those materials, the features of the castle and why you chose those features. The point of this project was to see if we could build or draw our own strong powerful castle with all the correct features and materials. As a result of this project we are now all clear of what a strong, powerful castle is.
A student from 7L: Building the castle was very awesome. I liked seeing all the other peoples’ castles from my class mates in the lesson.
KEY Diary Dates
26th May Yr10 Trip to Oxford
26th May End of Term
04th June Y9 Black forest Trip Departs
05th June: Start of Term
08th June: Black forest Trip returns
10th June: PTA Car Boot Sale 9-12am
Please return all your Sainsburys vouchers by the end of term (26th May) so we can order as much equipment as possible
Badger Drama on the footie pitch!
Staff had to go to the rescue of a badger caught in a football goal net on Three Fields on Monday morning following a call from a member of the public. It was clear that the poor creature had been there for some time; she was completely tangled and very distressed.
The RSPCA was called and an officer came out and managed to free her. It turned out that the badger was a nursing female so the story had a happy ending with a mummy being able to be reunited with her babies!
World Champion Cheerleaders
A number of Willink students have recently achieved world-class success by competing with their cheerleading team, The Crimson Heat Tigers, at the Varsity World Summit in Florida on 6th and 7th May. The 25-strong team (eight of whom attend the Willink) beat teams from all over the world including the States to win the prestigious World Champion title. Congratulations to all the team but particularly our students!
Year 12 Geography trip to London
Part two of the geography A-level course focused on Human Geography, with an exciting to trip to London to observe and consider the places, spaces and the diversity of London as a city. There has been major redevelopment in London over the past century, but as we went to different sites it was clear that change has happened over varying time periods and for different individual reasons. It was a great opportunity to put class work into action and context in this fascinating topic.
For example we visited the Greenwich Peninsula, home to the O2 arena—part of a much larger entertainment district. This area used to be dominated by gasworks, but towards the end of the 20th Century industries had left the area, leaving behind a contaminated wasteland. This space has changed hugely since then through the impact of public and private investment. It was interesting to see the changes with new modern state of the art buildings and the O2 itself, it promotes a rich variety of culture and art which represents the area and gives the Peninsula a new identity. Although a few hundred metres south evidence can be still seen of primary industries that once dominated the area. It shows the power of direct investment as one place can excel while others are left behind.
Another great Geography trip—many thanks to Mr Burgess and Mrs Hiscock.
his issue’s profiled former student is that of Jonathan Webster who attended The Willink School from 1990—1996. Now working in archaeology, Jonathan has some very positive thoughts for you if you are worried about your exams and exam results.
What are you doing now?
I am an archaeological fieldwork manager.
Why did you choose this career?
In all honesty, it was a mistake! I took a small course whilst trying to learn about something completely different. I enjoyed that course, the detective work, the combination of physical and mental exercise. I decided to learn more at university and it went from there. There was no plan, it was all fairly organic.
How did you get there?
Winchester University, then working as a field archaeologist for a number of commercial archaeological units rising from a basic excavator to running excavations on site and then leading and managing projects from an office.
Special highlights along the way?
Working for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission helping to find and identify individuals lost in conflict. Leading archaeological excavations on the Cabot Circus Development in Bristol.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The subject is so vast that you will never know more than a fraction of a percent. It means that you are always learning, always seeing new things. It’s diverse, spanning the whole of human activity! Finally, I enjoy teaching about the subject and seeing others become enthused.
What makes you proud?
My kids. Seeing others become enthused. Helping to find, identify and give names to individuals lost in conflict.
Special memories of The Willink
Teachers: Mrs Downey and Mr Rigden. They changed my life and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Friends: I still have a couple of friends from that time now, despite us all bomb-bursting across the country.
How has The Willink influenced your life?
I’m not sure I can say that the school influenced my life although without a doubt a couple of the teachers did. They helped to show me that it doesn’t matter how you feel about yourself or the grades you get. If you want to change and you want something enough then you can do it.
This Much I Know …
As mentioned above grades don’t mean everything. I failed my GCSE’s and I was happy to give up on myself and head into a generic job I would have probably hated. I didn’t think myself smart or able to do anything special. But, with help, I was shown that everyone has intelligence, if you have passion you can achieve. If you want to do something then forget the doubts and do it. It may take you longer, it will be hard work, but you can do it. The only thing that limits you is yourself. Don’t listen to what is ‘popular’ or ‘mainstream’ - do what YOU want to do.