Tavistock College won 450 trees for the College and the community after entering a competition by the Woodland Trust, showing that we can provide an environmentally friendly and sustainable legacy for the pupils and people of Tavistock within a Co-operative Trust.
Representatives from some of the local feeder primary schools came to plant a tree in the school grounds with the help of some of the sixth formers, ensuring the legacy of a green future is in place.
A mixture of trees from Elder, Willow, Cherry, Silver Birch and Crab Apples were planted and will now be supported in their growth by different classes within the College.
The weather was mild and dry, albeit muddy, but after the tree planting, tummy’s were warmed by hot chocolate and lunch in the geography department. Everyone was left smiling after a wonderful celebration of the environment.
Tavistock College recently hosted two exciting events to stretch the design and technology skills of fifty talented year 5 and 6 students from its local feeder primary schools. The Solar Speed Challenge days gave students the opportunity to develop their team working skills while creating, exhibiting and racing solar powered vehicles.
Students arrived at the college and were teamed up with children from other schools in teams of five. Each team was also assigned a team leader from the college’s ‘talented’ product designer list. The team leaders who displayed remarkable leadership skills were linked to each team in order to stretch their team’s capabilities and bring all students together. Each of the Y5 and 6 students selected a specific role ranging from ‘Solar Engineer’ to Graphic Designer’ and ‘Manufacturer’ and they concentrated on this particular element of the design and their team’s performance. The teams gelled immediately and by lunchtime the solar races were pushing engineering boundaries and were both looking superb and race ready.
In the afternoon it was show time, the teams moved to the hall and arranged a trade fair style display ready for the hordes of visitors who were on their way. Students had been informed that amongst the visiting parents there were some mystery ‘Dragons’. These ‘Dragons’; Dr Lee Davis, a mechanical engineering lecturer from Plymouth University, Emma and Neal Taynton Young from Fireproof (a design and marketing company), Governors Dr Pete Rodgers and Mr Larcombe-Williams and Mike Harper from the Chamber of Commerce all enetred into the spirit of the presentation and hid themselves well in the crowd. When "revealed" they spoke with enthusiasm about all the vehicles and praised the teams on their presentations. The Dragons were particularly important people to impress because the competition was won on votes from the visitors and each Dragon had the power of a vote worth ten times that of the other visitors. Visitors and dragons arrived and the students spoke with passion and expertise about their wonderful creations. They discussed with visitors why key decisions around materials and design were made and delivered exceptional explanations of their work. Two formal races demonstrated how effective the young engineers had been with all the cars functioning really well racing across the floor. The climax of the event was when the Dragons were revealed to the students and the results of the voting was revealed. The Dragons, visiting parents and staff were all delighted by the individual successes of the students and the wonderful team working skills that had come together.
The college is now a Solar School and will shortly be in a position to seek support from the community in the erection of solar panels on specific rooves in the College. The aim is not only to save money on energy bills, but to allow students to become more aware and involved in sustainability projects and energy use.
Sixth Form Geography students visited the Met Office in Exeter recently to contextualise the real world learning element of their extreme weather unit. The day included a workshop led by a senior researcher on climate change and how the Met Office data finds its way on to our television screens. This was particularly interesting in light of the recent St Jude's storm which hit the UK with 97 mph winds. We then had a comprehensive tour of the site which included a sneaky look at their 'super computers' and the huge array of weathering stations and monitoring equipment on the site. The day finished with an impromptu talk from Ben Rich; an ex Tavistock College student who now presents the weather for the BBC in the Midlands region. He provided a fascinating insight into the career paths possible and how succeeding at Tavistock College has helped him to achieve his perfect job in television.
"I have had a great day at the Met Office. It really opened my eyes to weather forecasting and I am hoping to apply for a work placement there at the end of the year". Dan, Year 12.
"I found the trip to the Met Office very interesting and learnt many new things such as how lightening, rainfall and air clarity are measured. I also experienced what the Met Office is like to work for which was beneficial to me because I am now considering different work positions that I hadn't thought of before". Maddy Cinnamond, Year 12.
A group of Business Studies students are participating in the Peter Jones Tycoon in Schools competition. This is a national competition which involves students writing a business plan for a mini enterprise. If the business plan is successful the students are given a loan to help them set up and run their enterprise.
Three teams of students from Tavistock College were provided with funding and are currently running their enterprises.
All students are thoroughly enjoying the opportunity to demonstrate the theory learnt in lessons in a real life situation.
At 11am on 7th of November Year 9 students from Tavistock College bowed their heads in silence to remember those who had died in conflict and those who had been injured in wars. Guests, including the Mayors of Tavistock and West Devon, Councillors, College Governors and Trustees as well as many parents and visitors, joined students at this very special Service in St Eustachius Church.
The service was solemn and moving with a range of readings by College students. The College Head Girl, Flo Rodgers, explained the background to the First World War, and the Head Boy Calum Ross read the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ by John McCrae. Army and air force cadets formed a guard of honour at the church door and marched up the aisle behind standard bearer Mrs Maureen Wilkinson from the Royal British Legion while a Year 9 cadet laid a wreath with the appropriate decorum and ceremony. The Roll of Honour, giving the names of those students of the College who died in the First and Second World Wars was read by the Deputy Head Boy and Girl, while the tribute was paid by Jamie Brown, a sixth form cadet. The final readings, a message of peace read in three languages, French, Spanish and Japanese, was given by Year 9 students Jess Davis, Molly Bolding and Rebecca Banks, and a Buddhist poem looking to the future, read by Sofia d'Alessio, commemorated the fact that peoples from across the whole world, of all faiths, were affected by war.
On Tuesday 22nd and Wednesday 23rd October, Tavistock College were honoured to welcome Sophia and Ross from the famous Matthew Bourne ‘New Adventures’ dance company. Over the two days they held workshops for pupils who either study dance GCSE, Performance A Level or just have a passion for dance. The workshops consisted of developing dance technique, learning repertoire from Bourne’s famous production ‘Swan Lake’ and choreographing their own work in the style of Matthew Bourne. The students also attended a performance of ‘Swan Lake’ at the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The reactions to the whole experience were overwhelming.
“ I loved it; I really enjoyed the whole experience. I loved seeing the show and also learning and performing the repertoire.” “Very inspirational, great experience to see what it would be like in a dance company, loved every minute of it”.
The pupils who participated were excellent and displayed fantastic determination and professionalism. They are a great asset to Tavistock College. Many thanks to Matthew Bourne, Ross and Sophia for giving Tavistock this unique opportunity. Also Thank you to the staff at the college for their support.
Jess Giles- Dance Teacher, Tavistock College
Students, parents and staff are celebrating today after Japanese Teacher Crispin Chambers was announced Secondary Teacher of the Year at the Pearsons Teaching Awards Ceremony last night.
Often called the ‘Oscars for Teachers’, the awards recognise individual contributions to scholarship and learning, with winners receiving a gold Plato - the ultimate symbol of excellence in education.
Crispin Chambers was nominated by headteacher Helen Salmon who said he ‘lives and breathes’ teaching; ‘He is a natural and picks up every nuance in a classroom.’ He has established a highly effect department within the MFL faculty and ‘constantly finds new ways to present his subject in ways that fascinate and enthuse young people’.
She said: ‘He is extraordinary. He has great humility – he is truly in it for the students. I am very proud to have a teacher of this calibre in our school.’
The Japanese Embassy describes his ‘great effect’ on young people and the Japan Foundation says he is ‘a trailblazer’ for the language, having helped to train many of the staff now teaching Japanese in around 300 schools in the UK.
Crispin Chambers is a pioneer for Japanese teaching beyond Tavistock, helping to train many teachers since he studied at Nottingham University 18 years ago. He acts as a mentor to student teachers from Nottingham and Plymouth universities and has specifically helped five other schools set up Japanese departments.
The UK judges were touched by the genuine affection for Crispin Chambers, expressed by students, parents and colleagues. They ‘cannot speak highly enough of him’ and believe he will always ‘go the extra 1000 miles’ for them.
Numerous people gave evidence during the judging visits - including the mayor of Tavistock who believes that a statue should be erected in the town to recognise and thank this exemplary teacher.
The head of sixth form said: 'He is inspirational, phenomenal, full of energy that he invests totally in the pupils. He's in love with his subject.’ When he asked students to e-mail him about Crispin, he received over 200 e-mails about what made him so special.
A senior leader at the school said: 'I feel the special buzz that indicates high engagement, enjoyment and rapid progress (of students). Crispin is unique; what he does is original.’
Crispin Chambers’ results are outstanding - at GCSE more than half of students consistently achieve an A or A* and more than 80 per cent achieve grades A*- C. He runs a calligraphy club after school to foster Japanese writing.
From next September all primary schools In England will have to teach at least one modern foreign language and Tavistock’s 16 feeder primaries are already at an advantage since Mr Chambers visits them in his AST role.
One primary head said: ‘Crispin has given Japanese lessons which have inspired our children to learn about other cultures and languages. In this monocultural community he is vitally important.’
The annual Japanese exchange is described as 'life changing'. Twenty Year 11 and Year 13 students go to Tokyo and live with host families for part of the fortnight. They then act as hosts and interpreters when Japanese students pay a return visit to Tavistock.
One parent said: ‘The exchange is a magical experience for the students. They rise to meet his incredibly high expectations.’ Another said: ‘Our children learn so much from the Japanese students whose behaviour is impeccable. They come back different people and grow so much.’
Parents said Mr Chambers had changed the perspective of the town: ‘He has taken Tavistock global and introduced students to the world.’
A representative from the Japanese Embassy said: ‘Crispin promotes mutual understanding and friendships. He has had a great effect on the students’ future. Due to him the number of Japanese speakers in the UK has increased immeasurably.’
Crispin leads on professional development across all subjects and gives ‘top quality feedback’. One teacher said: ‘The guy is legendary in teaching. The improvements he made in my marking was overnight.’
A teacher born in Japan who was trained by Crispin said: ‘He developed my strengths and spotted my weaknesses. With his help I got my first job in teaching (in the UK). Crispin is the seed for Japanese teaching and through his guidance I have blossomed.’
Since winning his award in the South West this summer Crispin’s message board on the Teaching Awards website has had more than 80 postings – possibly a record!
‘Congratulations Chambers Sensei!’ writes former student David Roden. ‘You completely deserve this recognition…Without you and the rest of the Japanese department, I probably would not be living and studying in Tokyo right now. Your passion for Japanese was addictive, and you were always so easy to learn from.’
A television programme showing the ceremony and the award winners at work in their classrooms, will be broadcast in an hour-long programme called “Britain’s Classroom Heroes” on Sunday 27 October on BBC2 at 17.30 hrs.
Following the sell-out success of ‘Oh What A Lovely War’ Tavistock College’s Creative Arts Faculty are busy putting together their next Senior College Production. Rehearsals have already started for the December production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream whilst the Art and DT teams are busy with the design side of things already. The cast has a range of actors from Year 9 - 13 who are all looking forward to performing their contemporary version of the Shakespearean classic in December. Phoebe Adams, Year 13 and Deputy Head Girl (Hippolyta) said “I am so excited to be given the chance to be involved in a Shakespearean play as I have never had the opportunity before, and I feel that it will support my transition to drama school next year”.
The play is being directed and produced by professional director Natasha Buckley and Head of Creative Arts at the College, Eva Pearson. This is a great opportunity for the cast to work in a professional model and give them an insight to working as a real performance company. Natasha Buckley said “It is a great privilege to return to the college to work on this production. My role is an envious one as the quality of support from Mrs Salmon, Eva Pearson's Faculty and the whole college is unparalleled elsewhere. Add to this the exceptional skills and talent displayed by the student body, makes this work exciting, dynamic and innovative. I feel very, very lucky to be involved, this Dream will be like no other!”
The teaching team have made sure that students not only have the chance to be on stage but also work across the art forms in dance and music or be backstage. Tegan Cunningham, Year 13, will take on the role of Assistant Director/producer, Art club students are already busy making the props, whilst aspiring set and costume designers are working to produce sketches of the set and various character outfits. The show will be run front of house and technically by students under the expert tuition of Richard Tucker, Performing Arts Technician.
Natasha has been working hard on transforming the script into a contemporary Shakespeare piece yet still keeping in the beautiful Old English that everyone associates with Shakespeare. The show is going to be performed in Tavistock College 12, 13, 14 December where the audience will be invited in to the magical world of spirits and sprites, mechanicals and the mortals where the world as we know it will be turned on its head.
The production team are looking for fake Christmas trees of all sizes to dress the set. If you have one you no longer require and would like to donate it to the production please contact Richard Tucker on 01822 614231 ex 288 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
13 local primary schools from the Tavistock Area Learning Community took part in the Tavistock College Primary Maths Challenge on Thursday 10th October 2013. Teams of 4 pupils competed against each other in 4 exciting rounds testing their mathematical, communication and teamwork skills. The four rounds were; A speed maths round, a logic round, a cross number round and a group challenge.
The competition was very close with the unprecedented outcome of a tie for first place. Overall gold medal winners were St. Peters C. of E. Junior School and St. Andrews C. of E. Primary School. The Bronze medal winners were Whitchurch Community Primary School.
Tavistock College and Tamar Grow Local are working together to produce local food and drink with a difference this autumn. The orchard at the college, stocked with old Tamar Valley varieties of apples, was planted 5 years ago with the help of the then year 7 students and supportive parents and governors. The planting was done during a day devoted to learning about the Tamar valley and a time capsule was buried for future generations. This year the trees produced the first crop of apples which were picked by year 11 students on the Land Based Studies course. The apples will now be made into juice and returned for the college students to drink, an initiative enthusiastically supported by the students and staff.
Two of the students who originally planted the trees are shown with Simon Platten, Project Manager for Tamar Grow Local. Simon commented: 'We are thrilled to be helping the college with the juicing of their apples. This year's apple crops have been fantastic in the Tamar Valley and it is brilliant that staff and students will be able to celebrate their first harvest by raising a glass of their own juice!
Recently Tamar Grow Local became a partner in the new wide ranging cooperative trust which includes the college and local primary schools. Helen Salmon, Tavistock College Principal, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Tamar Grow Local and I feel the scope for projects about food and horticulture is huge. They will also be able to work closely with primary schools in the trust.’
Tavistock College have been developing links with the Theatre Royal Plymouth for a number of years and this year have had some fantastic opportunities for students to work with professionals in the Arts. Last week 58 students went to see an evening production of Warhorse and the following day Performance Studies A level students were invited to an Open Rehearsal matinee. Students were delighted to see the magnificent show from different angles and were amazed by the hard work and skill displayed by the cast across acting, singing and puppetry. The range of skills and hard work was further explored when Danny Dalton (from the original West End cast) came to the college to work with staff and a group of students (past and present) studying Drama GCSE / Performance Studies A level on the techniques and methods used to create the horse and its movement by the puppeteers.
Joe Way, Year 12 said that he ‘Very much enjoyed the workshop, learning how the professionals had worked and rehearsed to create the horses and then trying to do it ourselves’. Danny was also able to give students insight into the working life of an actor and some handy hints for getting into Drama School and beyond.
Later in the term Dance and Performance students will be working with Matthew Bourne’s Dance Company as he begins his tour of Swan Lake in Plymouth. The college would like to thank Fran King and The National Theatre for making these projects possible.
The Inclusion department hosted the Year 6 SEN open evening on Monday 16th September. The evening was a great success with parents visiting the College for the first time in preparation for the upcoming transition. It was the perfect opportunity to introduce key members of staff to parents. Parents obviously find the transition process daunting and hosting an informal evening helps reduce any anxieties.
Present at the evening where; Mr J Mifsud (SENCo), Mrs J Edwards (Assistant SENCo), Mr A Jerrett (Transition Officer), Mrs N Sheehan (Lead Communication and Interaction TA), Miss S Biggs ( Lead Physical and Sensory TA) and SEN administrator Mr G Young. Parents undertook a tour of the New look Inclusion Hub and Study Centre and took part in Q & A session.
The College SEN department will be hosting more of these evenings for year 4 and year 5 parents as it is an opportunity to show case the Inclusive provision and practise currently being offered at Tavistock College.
The Tavistock Townscape Heritage Partnership has won a significant lottery grant with priority areas for improvement being the Guildhall car park, the area around the pannier market and Bank Square. It is aimed at improving the Public Realm; defined as the area between buildings that is used and seen by the public. This can include the materials used, street furniture and the overall land use. Four of our Year 11 students were invited to participate in the stakeholder workshops to represent the views of Tavistock College. They were invited to reflect on how they felt about the Public Realm in Tavistock, how various spaces were used and importantly how they could be improved.
Phil Ruse a geography teacher at the college said "It was great to have student representation in this process and this will continue to the next stage when the design company presents a series of options for development and visions as to how the grant money may be spent."
Jack Morewood 11DA added it was "an interesting experience. I really enjoyed having a say in the future of the town and felt that it was a brilliant way to apply a number of skills learnt at the College to a real life project”.
Once again we are celebrating the successes of our students. As with A levels, achievement of the most able is particularly strong with 26% of our students gaining 3 or more A* A grades and 48% of all students gaining at least one A*/A grade. There were some stunning individual results. This comes at a time when the pass rate is down nationally for the higher grades. This suggests that we are bucking this trend. Notable successes include: Holly Gibbs – 9A*s and 4 As, Guy Williams - 9A*s and 4 As, Emily Spry - 7A*s, 4As and 1B, Joe Way - 7A*s, 4As and 1B, Lizzie Jones – 6A*s and 6As, Josh Towl – 6A*s, 4As and 2Bs, Jed Coiley – 6A*s and 6As, James Brown – 5A*s, 7As and 1B, Ellie Johnston – 6A*s, 4As and 1B, Tara Twine – 5A*s, 6As and 2Bs and Tanya Wylie – 3A*s, 7As and 3Bs.
The overall pass rate for 5+ A* - C is very high at 79%. This is nearly 30% up on 3 years ago. We have also seen a considerable rise in the higher grades in Languages with 65% of all students achieving a grade C or better in a foreign language. This has led to an increase in our EBACC measure to 35% (the EBACC is a certificate for students who attain a grade C or higher in English, Maths, Double or Triple Science, a foreign language and either Geography or History) . This puts us amongst the highest performers in Devon on this measure. We have also seen a 30% increase in our PE results bringing them to 90% C or better. 99% of all students achieved at least 1A*-C Grade and over 90% of all students achieved at least 3 A*-C Grades. This is excellent.
For many students we have also narrowed the gap and ensured that those from disadvantaged backgrounds do as well as possible. We have also enabled all students to achieve with a 98% pass rate for gaining 5 or more qualifications and almost a 100% gaining at least 1 qualification. This is particularly impressive as 3 years ago many students left with no qualifications at all. This allows youngsters to progress into apprenticeships and work based learning. We have also gained some stunning results for our vocational BTEC qualifications. Although many of these don’t contribute to league table success, they have enabled many students to succeed and to progress to higher level courses in areas such as Child Care and Construction.
The complexities of the exam system and the sheer number of changes year on year make it hard to make valid comparisons with previous years. There is no doubt that the constant changes are taking their toll. Michael Gove has complained today about schools achieving good results by entering students for multiple exam boards and sitting the exam 3 and in some cases 4 times. I am pleased to say that our achievements are not based on such practices. We have not repeatedly entered students into subjects and we also stuck with the same exam board and didn’t do the IGCSE qualifications, which some schools regard as an easy option. We have so many students who have done well and we know that they can progress into our thriving Sixth form. I am very proud of their achievements, which are down to their hard work, good teaching and parental support.
The Science project fair was a great success, with a vast array of different scientific investigations that had been carried out, were demonstrated and explained in great detail. There was a periodic table made of cake, quicksand, boats, a volcano, popcorn and even a working prototype of an artificial heart! The field was incredibly tough, but the judges decisions were unanimous:
The Artificial Heart project - Tom Norgate
Cake Periodic Table project - Laura and Lauren Year 7
Volcano project - Nicole Beer, Will Gardner and Ellen Abel
Popcorn mobile phone project - Blake Riley, Charlotte Dymond and Hannah Stacy
The prizes were announced by Helen Salmon and she explained about how impressed she was with the scientific talent and understating of all of those involved and is looking forward to having a similar event next year.
‘Outrageous!’ ‘Hilarious’, ‘I cried laughing’ were just some of the responses from our Year 7, Year 8 students and staff to the ‘Extravaganza!’ performance by Exeter based performance group Le Navet Bete. Over their two day visit they entertained and enthralled both year groups and worked with 150 students in specialist workshops looking at clowning skills and Commedia dell’arte.
Quotes from the students included
“It made sense of what we had been doing in class and it was really good to spend a long time looking at the skills”
“They were so funny and easy to work with, it’s definitely made me want to do this stuff!”
“I was really embarrassed at the beginning but they made it so much fun I got up and had a go”
“The show is a mix of circus skills, commedia dell’arte, mime, slapstick and British variety show with a touch of farce and acrobatics thrown in!”
Tavistock Dance Academy have been creating a Justin Timberlake Medley dance after school. They have choreographed along with the help of Miss Giles. The girls were invited to perform at Meavy Primary School to open their school summer fair. The girls performed amazingly well and everyone at Meavy said how fantastic they were. Well Done to Rachel, Elouise, Kyla, Alyssa, Ellesse, Elysia, Amber, Becky, Edith Sacha and Sabrina.
The Year 9 G&T group went to see the law in action at Plymouth Magistrates' Court recently as part of their provision directed at raising career aspirations. They were welcomed to court by local magistrates and saw a wide range of cases ranging from arson to theft to assault.
Several of the cases were dealt with by videolink with Exeter prison, which surprised many of the students, while some of the defendants were brought into the dock from the cells below. Anna Powell, one of the students, said that the atmosphere then got very tense and it was quite scary to be so close to criminals (already convicted of other offences). Nicole Beer, another student, commented on how interesting it was to see a translator brought into court to assist in a trial, while several students were shocked and surprised at the severity of the fines meted out to speeding motorists - the highest fine was £1000, but there were several other very high fines.
The students were impeccably behaved throughout and certainly learnt a lot from the experience. Helen Harris, Head of Law, commented: 'It was a real pleasure to take these students to see how the courts work, as well as introducing them to the range of careers in the legal world. They saw a district judge, barristers, solicitors, probation officers and court translators at work and were encouraged to set their sights high when choosing their own career paths.'
Tavistock College welcomed its new year 6 intake to a taster day on July 9th. The sun shone as the excited students met their new tutors and members of their tutor groups. The day was filled with team building activities, orienteering and an Athletics session led by the PE department with help from the very professional Year 9 sports leaders.
Before going home the new students watched a film, made in the day, in which they were the stars.....Taster day 2013!
The College looks forward to welcoming them all again in September!
After hearing an inspiring talk from Ann Mitchell, former Head of Lamerton Primary school, year 7 students at Tavistock College have risen to the challenge of supporting her and her volunteering project. Mrs Mitchell is leaving Tavistock in August to spend two years in Nepal, volunteering with VSO on a project aimed at encouraging local communities to send girls to school.
Year 7 students from the College are also joined in fund raising efforts by many local primary schools.
At the College the students have made many plans: they have held a 7 a side football tournament at lunchtimes, a “Book and Bake” in which they sold old books and the scrumptious cakes donated by many families, they have organised a Mufti day and will, as a whole year group, walk 10 k on Monday to Magpie Bridge and back, over the beautiful Gem Bridge. Those who wish to are being sponsored, again for the VSO
We hope to reach our target of £750 by the end of term and look forward to communicating with Mrs Mitchell, while she is in Nepal, via E mail.