Tavistock college was very proud to open their doors on 13th June to a celebration evening of the action research work currently being undertaken by some of their staff. Staff, parents, governors and members of the wider community gathered to hear staff share their work to date on educational research and the impacts it has had on them as professionals. We were joined by headteacher John Perry and three staff members from Fowey Community College who were also happy to share the research they had been undertaking.
The evening was a great success and a real buzz for all involved. We look forward to hearing the conclusions and recommendations from all staff research late September and using this to feed into wider school improvement.
We are extremely pleased to report that Year 10 Business Studies students at Tavistock College have won both first and second place in a competition organised by the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). This is a national competition for which the students had to design a new car with the focus on brand, product and promotion.
Members of the winning team, named Team Regent were Jack Morewood, James Kerswill, Hardy Hopkinson, Alfie Beattie, Joe Sellars and Isaac Hammond. Their luxury car which had the tag line “The Gent is Back” was a premium car designed to appeal to the wealthy male market. Their design included the use of technology to create a multimedia experience and gadgets such as a built in suit carrier and champagne chiller to ensure it appealed to their target audience.
Second place was won by Team Echo who designed an environmentally friendly hybrid for the modern woman. The judges were impressed with the unique range of gadgets included in this design especially the talking mirror!
The whole experience helped develop the students understanding of product design and allowed them to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they had learnt during their Business Studies lessons. The winning team are now looking forward to their visit the Land Rover Heritage Museum and a 4X4 experience.
Through May and June four Y10 Resistant Materials students have been stretching their engineering skills by designing and constructing a Soapbox Derby Racer, ready for the big race day at the Buckland Village Summer Fair. Sam Rodgers, Will Dax, Joe Jordan and Josh Blake spent every lunch and break time as well as time after school to prepare the cart. They really wanted to focus on the aerodynamics and the completed cart really demonstrated this.
The carts were lined up in the village for their pre-race inspection the evening before the event and the judges went to work scrutinising the designs, inspecting the wide variety of steering mechanisms and breaking systems. There were six entries in all and a great deal of variety in design approach was evident. Our students were delighted when their vehicle was named as the ‘Best Engineered Cart’! Sam happily collected the medal that he later mounted on the cart ready for the main event.
The race day arrived and the lads were so proud of what they had achieved. They wheeled their cart to the start line at the top of the Buckland Monachorum main street and for those of you who know it, this is one steep hill! The first run was to be driven by Mr Keegan who decided it was only right that a test dummy should be used first. Mr Keegan and Mr Deeves helped the students build the cart at school in the design and technology block. On the countdown of three the cart was released and quickly built speed. With the driving position only 5cm off the ground, the ride felt fast and smooth. The street was lined all the way down with spectators cheering the shark themed cart and driver on. At the bottom of the course after an eye watering decent the cart came to a nice controlled skidding stop with the breaks proving really effective.
Josh Blake drove as our under 17s entry, Josh had to make his decent after watching some pretty nasty crashes from some of the earlier descents, including his own brother Jason whose cart flipped twice in one run! Josh kept his head though and made a smooth run with a fast time and the crowd went wild as he flew under the chequered flag. We were so close to getting a spot on the podium but unfortunately our impressive time fell slightly short.
The cart mounted video camera captured some brilliant footage and will help a new group of students next year to develop an even faster cart. Overall, the event and the build up to it were both inspiring and motivating, the students and other youngsters at the event now have an even stronger passion for design and technology.
View both runs at http://bit.ly/13XJm81
Congratulations to six of our Year 8 and 9 students who received the award for the most innovative design at this year’s EDT Go4SET project which took place on Friday, 10th May.
Sponsored by Babcock Marine, the team worked closely with teacher, Mr Alex Jackson and Babcock mentors Mr Alex Hook and Miss Jen Walker to ‘move’ Tavistock College to an island of their choice and ‘transform’ it so that it was still a fully functioning school. To do this, the team had to research the College’s needs, adapt existing solutions to island life and ultimately ensure that the College still functioned and worked in the ways it needed to.
The students researched, planned, designed, discussed, wrote, read and modelled, and finally came up with a finished proposal: a school placed on the island Gili Trawangan in Indonesia, powered by a wind/wave generator and heated by a geothermal system that doubled as a desalination plant for fresh water, while also supplying power to the school.
The Judges were really impressed with their finished report and even want to use it as a model of good practice for next year!
Congratulations to Mr Crispin Chambers for winning the South West Regional Pearson Teaching Award for Teacher of the Year in a Secondary School. Crispin, a Japanese teacher at the College, was recently surprised in a morning assembly when presented with the award.
"The whole college community feels so proud of the achievement of Crispin Chambers. He is an inspirational teacher who can create magic in his classroom. Many of our young people learn Japanese and some go on to work and study in Japan. Like all great teachers Crispin changes lives. He is the teacher that the students never forget and for all the right reasons. In spite of this incredible skill and passion, Crispin has a humility and kindness which is also recognised by all who know him. Tavistock College is only one of 5 comprehensive schools in the country to offer Japanese teaching. We all hope that he will progress to the National final of the Teaching awards." Mrs Helen Salmon
Anna Mills, Head of the Modern Language faculty added "As a faculty we are hugely proud of Mr Chambers and this award which is so richly deserved. He is a truly outstanding teacher and has made a real, significant and lasting impact on the lives and future aspirations of thousands of young people. Many have gone on to study Japanese at University and are keen to live there in the future. Perhaps his greatest legacy is that students of all ages and abilities have had a wonderfully positive experience of learning another language and discovering a new and exciting culture which is different from their own. His passion for Japanese and his unwavering commitment to teaching and learning have had a very positive impact upon our whole faculty and Tavistock College as a whole. A brilliant accolade for a brilliant teacher!"
The 2013 Ten Tors and Jubilee Challenge events were held on Dartmoor last weekend in what can only be described as difficult and challenging conditions! The four Jubilee Challenge students completed route 1 in four and a half hours, a tremendous effort in the conditions with two students being pushed along the route, in special all terrain wheel chair buggies, for the last leg, wrapped in foil against the cold and wet.
Catch their interview on Spotlight at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-22493333
The 45 team featured in the news clip, all completed the challenge, even managing to cross the finish line at Okehampton camp wearing pink tutus! A fantastic effort.
The 35 mile Team finished just before 45 team, a brilliant effort, minus one team member who had to come off the moor due to injury on Saturday evening.
The 55 mile Team despite a supreme effort in extreme conditions, were forced to retire on Sunday late afternoon after a severe time delay waiting to cross dangerously swollen rivers, heroically taking time to rescue a member from another team who was stuck up to her shoulders in a swollen river and the fallout of two of their team members due to injury.
Congratulations and well done to everyone who took part.
Thank you to all the Team managers who have given their time over the last five months training the teams and to the numerous parents, friends and colleagues who offered help and support, without you this event wouldn’t happen.
Gerry Woodcock, former Head of Sixth Form at Tavistock College, came into college recently with a collection of photographs of the college dating from the 1920s, for the online digital archive. These will be available for everyone to see shortly when the archive is up and running. We are all really grateful to Gerry for his help in this – he was also able to name many of people shown in some of our old photos. After half term there will be a drop in day when members of the public will be invited in to see if they can name some more of the past students and staff shown in the photos.
Gerry Woodcock is well known for his series on the history of Tavistock and his collection of photographs features the development of the college buildings, various drama productions, sports teams and whole school photographs.
Sadly the weekend trip to Hull to attend the Rotary Youth Speaks Final did not lead to trophies.
Our Senior team of Joe Way, Jed Coiley and Flo Rodgers were exceptional, as always. As Regional (Southern) Champions they delivered a stunning speech on Genetic Medicine and the Master of Ceremonies commented “brilliant” afterwards. Their timing was perfect; the main speaker has to speak for 6 minutes and is allowed to go over or under time by only 15 seconds, or penalties are awarded. Joe spoke for exactly 6 minutes…..
There were 7 in the Senior Final, drawn from as far apart as Devon and Scotland. Opposition included a group from an Oratory Society in Oxford who spoke about “jealousy” and a team from Glasgow who spoke about “cheating.”
A team from Brentwood School became national champions with a speech called “Bringing up children without cutlery.” This was a cleverly written speech about the fact that, at 17, the main speaker had not been allowed to buy plastic cutlery from a supermarket in order to eat a take away ice cream. She argued the point that age restrictions are not consistent. For example, she argued that at 17 she can learn to drive a car which is potentially far more dangerous in her hands than a plastic spoon. Finally, she spoke about the age of consent to marry and therefore possibly have children, concluding that it would be hard to bring up children if not allowed to buy cutlery! It was well delivered and we congratulate them.
Of course, we are full of pride for our team and we wish to thank everyone who helped with Youth Speaks this year. To reach the National Final was an extraordinary achievement and many did think we should have won.
The trip to Hull was great fun and we managed to squeeze in a quiz in the coach and drive over the famous Humber Bridge. Although so far North, the weather was warm and sunny and we rehearsed in the Hotel garden before eating dinner near the Minster in Beverley. A beautiful town.
The Rotary Club of Tavistock and the District Rotary Club sponsored the group financially and we thank them. Also, the Trustees of the College supported us, enabling us to meet the costs of travel.
Mrs Salmon made the journey to Hull to support us as did Emma Dobson, the Youth Affairs Officer from the local Rotary club.
To everyone, parents, students and the many teams from the College who entered Youth Speaks this year, we would like to say thank you. It has again been an eventful, successful and fun Youth Speaks season full of success at every level and in every round.
We look forward to next year, to lunch times of script writing, rehearsing and hot chocolate and to trips to far away towns to compete. Well done to everyone from the whole College who entered Youth Speaks 2013. See you all next year……start planning!!
In May the Technology Faculty held its annual celebration event, Product of The Year 2013. The event was attended by several hundred parents and inspired students who all came along to see and vote for their favourites in the exhibition. The hall was full with 72 competition entries spanning categories from Product Design through to Textiles and Fashion, Food Technology and more. The products looked fantastic and students presented them with professionalism and passion. The exhibition was also a competition and visitors eagerly filled out their voting cards selecting their favourite from the nine different categories on show. The most awe inspiring category was probably the Key stage 5 group who had created contemporary lighting and a range of other products that were both beautifully made and very innovative in their design. Visitors and students were also given the opportunity to try their hand at controlling and building robots, using augmented reality and using Computer aided Design in the event’s ‘Tech Zone’. The College’s Jazz Band and solo musician Tei Daratsa added some fantastic performances making the evening thoroughly enjoyable for all. Local businesses joined the event by setting up craft stands and selling their creations and this added a really nice community feel to the evening.
Tension was high as approximately two thousand votes were counted from the two hundred voters and the winners were revealed. Winners received trophies as well as a toppling pile of prizes generously donated by local businesses including; Towls of Tavistock, The Technology Company, ‘Book Stop’ in Tavistock, WH Smith, Brigid Foley, Inthetreehouse.co.uk, Orchard studios, Encore, Past and Present, By Lisabellah and others. Mr Pete Keegan presented the awards alongside College Principal Mrs Helen Salmon. Mr Keegan commented “We were delighted by the reaction of all those who visited the event, the hall was buzzing with enthusiasm and pride and people seemed genuinely impressed at the quality of the products on show and the achievements of the students. The level of suspense was fantastic when the winners were being revealed. We thoroughly enjoyed this celebration and were so happy to see the inspired and proud faces of the students”
Parent Chris Williams added “ I was very impressed by the whole event. Not only by the brilliant design of products and how well finished they were but by the confidence of each designer as they came to life and enthused about their products. The only thing was it was very difficult to choose a favourite among so many excellent designs!”
The winners were:
Rebecca Dickson, winner of the Year 10 Resistant Material category said “I was so proud to be the winner of my category given the stiff competition. It had taken me a long time to perfect my MP3 docking station product so it was very rewarding to win. I was also really surprised by the quality of the work, not only in my category but across the whole event, it was really inspiring.”
Overall Product of the Year 2013 went to Roger Blandford aged 18, with his sycamore display cabinet which was inspired by undulating sand dunes.
There was a wonderful buzz at the event and students were brimming with pride as they left. We are very proud of the achievements of our students and cannot wait to celebrate in a similar fashion at the event next summer, where students will now have even more ambition to succeed in Technology subjects.
A group of 12 gifted and talented students from year 9 attended a Science day at Peninsula Medical school, looking at the work done by research scientists. The fantastic day gave them the opportunity to do actual research experiments under the supervision of Doctors, Professors and PHD students.
The students extracted DNA from a banana, split cells using highly technical equipment, including, fume cabinets and centrifuges, then learnt about how genetics and the manipulation of the genome can help people who are unwell. This last session included seeing larvae which glowed bright green due to a protein taken from jellyfish being added to their DNA! This amazing technique has revolutionised neuroscience……..to see it in action was a privilege for all of us.
The College is hugely grateful to Peninsula medical School for this opportunity and also because they have agreed to take some of the group back next year, for their week’s work experience when they will again be able to work with research scientists in the laboratories.
It was an inspirational day.
On Saturday, 23rd March Tavistock College’s senior team of Flo Rodgers (chairperson) Joe Way (main speaker) and Jed Coiley (proposer of vote of thanks) came first in the Regional Final of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition to gain a place in the final to be held at the University of Hull on April 28th.
The judges felt that the standard of the competition had never been higher; all teams were accomplished, measured speakers. The Tavistock team impressed the judges with their ability to tackle the complex, scientific subject of “Genetic medicine” and make it accessible to all and interesting to all. The team’s use of humour meant that their delivery was warm and engaging. Jed Coiley also won the individual prize of Best Proposer of a Vote of Thanks.
Youth Speaks is open to all students at the College and many teams are entered, every year. They write their own speeches and practise at lunchtimes. Their success is proof of their commitment and dedication.
Freya Cambers was also a part of this success as she stood in for Flo at the District Final, when Flo was not available.
This engaging trio, who are all good friends and very interested in Science are deserving Regional Champions and we wish them the very best for the National Final.
About 60 people, comprising of students and their parents from years 10 to 12 came to hear Sam Turner, the schools liaison officer from Downing College, Cambridge on Thursday.
Sam spoke to the group about University in general, the life of an undergraduate, funding and tuition fees and specifically how to apply to Oxford or Cambridge University. He stressed the need for students to be “passionate” about their subject and how this must be demonstrated in the personal statement and at interview.
Sam answered everyone’s questions and told students and parents that he is happy to be rung, e mailed or “followed” on Twitter. He will help any student with their concerns over application to Cambridge.
We were thrilled to see such a turn out as it shows how many students are aspiring to the very best Universities and courses.
March saw the launch of the new Tavistock College Robotics Club, a group of students (and some staff) interested in learning how to program robots to perform a series of activities and tasks. We are very lucky to have 4 Lego Mindstorms robots to work with and once students have learned the basics of programming they are working on a series of 6 introductory challenges involving basic movement and the use of sensors to create line followers and robots that can detect and avoid obstacles.
The response from students has been great and already we have moved from Wednesday lunchtimes to having the robots available on Tuesdays and Thursdays in IT1. Three of our members have already completed the first set of challenges and received their Junior Roboticist Certificates.
Any new students considering GCSE Computing next year or generally interesting in robots or programming are welcome to join and we recommend they have a look at the video tutorials available at http://www.stemcentric.com to give them a head start.
As part of Apprenticeship Week, 10 Students from Years 10, 11, and 13 interested in finding out about apprenticeships, attended the recent Devon County Apprenticships, Skills and Employment Event at Sandy Park in Exeter.
Students were able to talk to many different apprenticeship and Further Education providers, learn about the wide variety and level of apprenticeships on offer in the County and talk to employers and young people already undertaking an apprenticeship. There were also able to get involved in interactive displays and demonstrations.
It was a busy afternoon, students gathered lots of information and left feeling they had received some valuable careers advice and contacts to prepare for their future in the world of work.
“I found out more about the apprenticeship I am interested in”
“I found out information about possible options other than university”
“I found it very interesting and helpful and have learnt a lot from today”
“Although I didn’t find what I was looking for, I was definitely guided in the right direction to go on and find out more about what interests me”
The students where a credit to Tavistock College, smart in their college uniform or business attire, engaging politely with employers and further education providers.
Cathy Sharp CIAG coordinator
Year 5 pupils from TALC primary schools and gifted Year 8 cooks from Tavistock College spent a day working with a visiting professional chef, Chris Chappell in a ‘Master Chef’ event run by the Tavistock Area Learning Community.
Organised by Angela O’Shea, Head of Whitchurch Primary School, the event involved Year 5 pupils from fifteen different primary schools, supported by Year 8 students from Tavistock College being shown and then taught how to bake chocolate brownies. The demonstration and training was provided by Chris who runs the kitchens at Okehampton Battle Camp. Chris then judged the final products but everyone was a winner and enjoyed the spoils.
Comments from the pupils involved included:
“I wish I could do this every day!” and “Mmmmmmmmmm.. it was great!”
When deciding to use the national business competition run by coca cola enterprises to enhance the Year 10 business studies curriculum we had no idea just how successful our students would become. Students were asked to develop a new health drink for Coca Cola whilst considering issues such as sustainability. All ideas were presented and the winning drink “Coclea” which is a health drink made from coconut water and cranberry juice targeted at the female market was entered into the competition.
The students creativity and well thought out brand image resulted is Tavistock College being selected to attend the regional final at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol. This involved competing against 7 other schools from the South West to devise a promotional campaign for Special Olympics Great Britain. As well as coming up with the campaign ideas the students produced a billboard poster, radio advertisement and spent time developing the budget. The students amazing ideas were then presented to a panel of judges and the other competing schools. This was followed by much tension whilst the judges decided on the winner. To our delight we emerged victorious and progressed to the national finals in London.
The whole experience of the national finals was amazing. The students had the opportunity to spend the night in a London hotel, have dinner at the Hard Rock Café and see the West Show “Wicked” before attending the competition which was held at Wembley Stadium.
The national final was incredible, there were 76 students participating from 52,000 entries, and Tavistock College students demonstrated a real flair for business and enterprise. The final challenges involved them producing a market stall of their Coclea health drink and pitching their idea to a panel of judges – including Nick Hewer from the Apprentice. They also further developed and presented the Special Olympics Great Britain campaign to an audience of the judging panel, Coca Cola employees and the other competing schools.
Although we not lucky enough to win the students were a credit to the school and should be extremely proud of what they achieved. They were a delight to be with the whole time we were in London.
Students involved are – Weng Vooi, Lauren Emony, Hannah Kingman, Bunty Gibbons, Daisy Pask, Jack Morewood, Hardy Hopkinson and Joe Sellars
Five Year 7 students, each with a parent or grandparent, have spent two school days working with a professional film maker creating their very own animated motion pictures. The College was fortunate to be able to host the Devon Family Learning Team who funded and facilitated this event.
Students had two days to come up with an idea, story board and then create and record an animated film. Ideas ranged from creation stories to space odysseys and there was a huge array of creative talent.
The films are also available on YouTube and we are looking for opportunities to enter them into amateur film making competitions.
Comments from the accompanying adults included:
"This was a fantastic course. All the people involved were very helpful. We learnt loads and enjoyed ourselves at the same time. Thank you!"
"It was most enjoyable watching our efforts. Harry would like to do more at home."
"We enjoyed it! Excellent help from tutors"
"A very interesting and enjoyable course. Nice to be able to work and learn with my son in his environment. Very supportive and helpful tutors."
"Very enjoyable, learnt lots!"
"Really good course. Enjoyed it all!"
The week beginning Monday March 4th was a busy one for some of our students. We were thrilled to have the time of Alan Wroath, Governor of the College, Classics teacher and former Principal of Launceston College, to teach two sessions last week to some of our able gifted and talented students in Year 8. He held a fast paced Latin workshop for those who specifically chose to extend their knowledge of Latin. He also led a session on Greek, in which students learnt the Greek alphabet.
On Thursday Year 7 Able Gifted and Talented students had a wonderful visit to Exeter University. They were hosted by the Astrophysics department who took them on a tour of their buildings and laboratories, where they looked at incredibly valuable lasers and watched experiments with liquid nitrogen. They were then treated to a lecture from Dr Nathan Mayne, who fascinated all of us with his presentation about his work on the discovery of exoplanets and the chances of life beyond our solar system.
Students then were given a tour of the University by undergraduates. It was a wonderful insight into University life and astrophysics in particular and we are grateful to Exeter University for all their time.
On Friday the same group of Year 7s spent the night in College! They worked with a local astronomer, learning about life in the space station and the exploration of Mars. Although we were ready with enormous telescopes to view Jupiter, Saturn and the visiting comet, the skies were cloudy all night….so we might have to repeat the exercise on a cloudless night!
The group had great fun, building rockets and their own space stations and presenting their amazing projects which included a presentation on the phases of the moon, illustrated by the eating of jaffa cakes! Little sleep was had, but a great deal of fun.
Thursday February 28th 2013
Now that Oxford University is placing greater emphasis on providing more information to prospective Oxbridge candidates Exeter College arranged an invaluable Taster Day for ten of our Year 10 students to experience life in the College as well as meet undergraduates. Mr Chambers and Mrs Clark escorted the group leaving Tavistock College at 6.45am. We arrived at 11.15 to be greeted by Mr Walters, Exeter College schools liaison officer. The students had an opportunity to find out about the different courses available at Oxford and ask questions relating to bursaries and the entrance interview. Before lunch they talked to current undergraduates who took them on a tour of the College. After lunch they took part in an academic research activity and were then treated to a wonderful tour of Hertford College by former student Jack Shepherd who is in his final year studying Physics. Jack made us feel at home and has inspired some of our students to return and study in Oxford. Throughout the day the students acquitted themselves in exemplary fashion and were praised by the organisers and the undergraduates.
Tavistock College recently welcomed Lord Teverson to speak to students about his work in the House of Lords. This was part of the Lord Speaker’s Peers in Schools programme and Lord Teverson was able to speak on a wide range of issues, from climate change to energy supply, as well as explaining to students the role that the Lords play in a parliamentary democracy.
Sixth form students from Law, Geography, History and Business Studies (the Humanities faculty) were able to ask searching questions relating to many of the key issues of today, and year 10 and year 9 classes attended the event as well. It was a really interesting morning that succeeded in throwing a new light on the work of an old institution, and Lord Teverson was able to compare and contrast the work of the Lords with that of the Commons and of the European Parliament. The vote of thanks was given by Robin Lewis, from the A level Law class.
Principal of Tavistock College, Helen Salmon commented "The peers in schools programme is a very helpful programme which enables young people to learn about how our democracy works. This fits in with our broader citizenship work and links with our local MP Geoffrey Cox."