The end of the summer term and our 40th Birthday celebrations is fast approaching and as always our pupils across both sites are incredibly busy.
The summer term provides us with lots of opportunities for delivering our extensive co-curricular curriculum. All too often, learning has to take place within the confines of a classroom, however this term allows us much more freedom to concentrate on pupils’ personal skills and help them to foster all round development. I am a great advocate of creating opportunities for all round development outside of the classroom and can see immeasurable benefits of helping youngsters strengthen their self-confidence; encourage a sense of responsibility and help them to realise that application and commitment will ultimately realise progress and success. Opportunities outside of the classroom offer real choice and real independence, the chance to do things just because you can, and the chance to make mistakes and to self-correct. It is one of the few times throughout the year where no judgment or grade is attributed to the pupils’ activities – a really special time for all.
Our Infant and Junior School pupils have been very industrious. The whole school walked, jogged or ran through Aldford last month and managed to raise over £350 for Cancer Research UK – a special cause to many of us. Infant 1 pupils explored the flora and fauna of Bodnant Gardens, as part of their science topic ‘plants’ and discovered what life was like in and around Beeston Castle.
Our Foundation pupils enjoyed the historic sights of Chester, whilst learning about different types of transport and Years 3,4 and 5 pupils had lots of outdoor adventures whilst on their residential trip to Glaramara.
Infant 2 pupils have had a busy time too, they visited Chester Zoo, listened to the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, went to Manchester Airport and are now getting ready to spend a night away from home at Tattenhall as they get ready to transition from Infant 2 to Junior 3.
The new Infant block at the Infant and Junior School is having the final touches added to it in readiness for us moving in over the summer holidays in time for the beginning of the new academic year. It will be opened officially by His Grace, the Duke of Westminster in October which will be a very proud moment in the history of Abbey Gate College. The pupils are busily collecting items to encase in a time capsule to further cement this as a special time.
Activities Week at the Senior School was another success, with pupils engaging in all sorts of different trips and activities. I spent a wonderful three days with our Year 8 pupils engaged in all sorts of water sports activities in Tewkesbury. For once the weather was kind allowing full access to all timetabled events.
Year 10 pupils attended a workshop at the Museum of Science and Industry, learning about state-of-the art materials and then were tasked with designing a space suit. Year 7s went on a Bushcraft residential trip and then onto Techniquest, (a science based activity day), where they built and let off rockets. Many of our Year 9 pupils started their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh training and no doubt learnt quickly what they should not pack in their rucksacks next time!
On a more sombre note – one year on from the Manchester Arena terror attack, Lower Sixth pupil, Charlotte Gardner talked about surviving the attack in Cosmopolitan UK magazine and how she had been left with PTSD – if you follow the link https://goo.gl/t52iH9 you can read about her horrific experience. From this terrifying experience, Charlotte, along with her dad Sean, who was also caught up in the event, have set up a new charity, the Trauma Response Network (TRN). This charity is a not-for-profit service which provides free therapy and support to people affected by a mass trauma event which happened in the preceding 90 days. The charity’s aim is to provide immediate first aid for people with mental health injuries in the same way that ambulances and hospitals support people with physical wounds. We are delighted to adopt TRN as our whole school charity for the academic year 2018-2019. This follows on from the extensive ‘mental health’ work we have been teaching and discussing with all of our pupils this year. You can read more about the charity at www.traumaresponsenetwork.org
At the end of the school year it is always sad to say goodbye to long serving staff. We say a huge thank you to Mrs Steph Kay who is retiring this year after working for us for 24 years. A stalwart of the Maths department where many Further Mathematicians have passed through her very talented and safe pair of hands. Mrs Kay has also been instrumental in setting up our internal applications systems and thanks to her talents, reports, are now accessible from the VLE. We wish her a happy retirement knowing that she is looking forward to spending some quality time with her grandchildren.
The wonderful Mrs Judith Gallagher, the Deputy Head of the Infant and Junior School is retiring from teaching, having served Abbey Gate College for the last 22 years. Mrs Gallagher’s passion for Maths and Science is legendary and she has inspired hundreds of pupils to explore the subjects with passion and pride. We wish her every happiness with her family and hope that she finally gets the time to do all of the things she wants to do – we send her off with love and gratitude for everything she has done here.
Geography, PSHEE and the Debating Society will not be the same without the effervescent enthusiasm of Mrs Rafela Fitzhugh. She leaves us after nine years to move back to London. We wish her and her lovely family every success and happiness.
Finally, we say goodbye to one of our newer members of staff, Miss Clare Duckers, who has spent the last two years teaching Maths with us. The call of the international school has beckoned her to Panama, where I know she is going to be a favourite with the pupils as she was here. We wish her well and pack her off with lots of sunscreen.
All that remains for me to say is thank you for another wonderful year. Thank you to the staff across both sites at Saighton and Aldford; to the pupils who make every day special, to the Governors who give up their time so freely and bring so much expertise to the table and to you our parents for your loyal support and for understanding what makes us so special and so successful.
Wishing you all a wonderful summer.
Published: Thursday, 13th December 2018