It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, life is never dull for a Headteacher. Although Years 11 and 13 have now completed the bulk of their exams and are beginning to enjoy their long break from school, the rest of the pupils ensure that life remains busy.
Last week we enjoyed the annual Art Exhibition, which was –as ever – sensational with hundreds of exhibits showcasing the work of GCSE and A-Level students in this exceptional department. There really was something for everyone with painting, film installations, textiles and ceramics on show. The turnout of parents was encouraging and it’s always great to see how many pupils past and present attend to be inspired or to remind themselves of their time working with the Art staff in years gone by.
Year 7 Parents’ Evening
Pupils in Year 7 had their Parents’ Evening on Thursday 26 June. The quality of their reports promised plenty of positive comments from their teachers. The turnout was excellent, with over 70% of parents attending with their sons or daughters. As the school continues to progress, it’s fantastic to hear the very complimentary feedback from the parents of all who attend.
Year 13 Leavers’ Ball
On Friday 27 June evening we enjoyed the main event of the year for Year 13 as students and staff dressed up in their finest for the Leavers’Ball at The George Hotel. With well over 120 in attendance it was lovely to be able to celebrate all that the students have done for the school and to wish them good luck as the exam markers process scripts ready for results day on 14th August. In between the Leavers’ Ball and results day, I’m sure that all students will enjoy a well-earned summer holiday to prepare for the next stage in their careers, whether that is at university or in employment. The evening also gave us all the chance to say one final farewell to Head of Sixth Form, Rob Dawson, who left earlier in the term to take up an Assistant Head’s position at QEGS. A massive thank you goes to Anna Burford for organising the evening, which was, as ever, splendid.
Some superb athletics performances saw the Eden District team win the inter-district county competition. This fully inclusive event saw able-bodied athletes compete alongside those with special needs. Ullswater can boast county champions in the following events:
· James Salt: County 1500 m runner with a time of 4 minutes 57seconds. A personal best and beating the school record for the 3rd time this year.
· Joe Newby: County 800 m champion with a personal best of 2 minutes 27 seconds.
· Luke Hunter: County High Jump Champion with a height of 1 m 34 cm, a personal best.
· Dan Dickinson: the second fastest 100 runner in the county.
· Ethan Brough: County Champion of the inclusive 100 m.
· Jonathan Eddington: County Champion of the inclusive javelin and shot putt events.
· Megan Fawcett: County Champion of the inclusive 100 m and the shot putt.
A superb team performance saw many Ullswater athletes picking up second, third and fourth placings to contribute to the team’s victory.
At 6 a.m. on Sunday 22nd June 2014, 32 of our students left UCC for the United Kingdom Cheeleaders’ Association Schools National Championships in the Manchester Velodrome. With thousands of onlookers in the audience, our students delivered a flawless routine to be crowned National Champions. We are hugely proud of our Cheerleading staff and students, who always inspire and impress. See them performing once more at the School Sports Day at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday 15th July 2014.
..and finally, a mystery. I make no apologies for the fact that, like many men of my age, I have developed a number of eccentricities, one of which is a passion for growing far too many tomatoes. Over the last week I have watched 6 tomatoes gradually ripening and tonight I set my mind to harvesting the first of this year’s crop…only to find that they had gone missing! I’ve asked around those most likely to have been tempted to help themselves but to no avail. Somewhere out there is a tomato thief and I’m not at all sure that it’s human. What sort of wild animal has the ability to neatly pick off these fruit and what’s the risk to the rest of the crop as they too become ripe? Will all my efforts in the greenhouse this year be in vain?
Week 34 of 39 was quite an exceptional one. We had our Year 8 parents’ evening on Wednesday evening, which was attended by 74% of Year 8 parents. Reports for the pupils were posted out at the beginning of the week and I know from the number of congratulatory letters I sent out that there was plenty to be pleased about at parents’ evening.
Friday saw the visit of the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Education, Chris Wormald, who had lunch at the school whilst being entertained by Megan Harrison, Josh Jackson and James Milne in a performance of Amy McDonald’s “Let’s Start a Band”. After lunch he saw the Year 12 Drama AS performance of “The London Bombings”, an event that has personal resonance for the Permanent Secretary, who employs over 2500 civil servants in London. A visit to the A-level Art exhibition (open to all on Wednesday 25 June 2014 at 6.30 p.m.) was followed by our Year 12 dance students’ performance of Bob Fosse’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” before a visit to Modern Foreign Languages,
where Year 7 students were teaching a selection of Year 6 pupils from Penruddock, Plumpton and North Lakes primary schools.
Chris Wormald expressed his admiration for all he had seen at UCC and wished the school well in its further
developments. See our interview at https://vimeo.com/98621454
Also on Friday 13 June 2014, our Year 11 students finally came to the end of examinations and enjoyed their leavers’ assembly, in which, as well as being shown images from the last 5 years, they also received leavers’ certificates written by form tutors.
On the sporting scene, a number of our students competed at the Sheepmount, Carlisle, last weekend and won places on the county team: congratulations to Jake Burrows in the triple jump, Rachel Byers in the long jump, Ellena Hayhurst in the high jump, Robbie Hebson in the javelin and Tara Simpson-Sullivan in the hammer. They will be competing at the inter-counties event in Durham on Saturday 21st June.
…And finally, a bit thank you to Joe Kidd, who left Year 11 last summer and who popped round on Friday evening to clip my sheep. They look much neater, having had a short back and sides and are enjoying the warm sunshine much more as a result.
It’s been a very busy start to the second half of the summer term. Once again, Year 11 students have spent the best part of their half-term holidays in school continuing to revise their maths and English for examinations in the near future. In total I think Year 11 students and staff must have completed over 100 extra days in school over the examination period as students drive their performance to the highest levels. We are looking forward to the end of exams and to some superb results in the summer holidays.
Year 10 students have also completed their examinations and we are looking forward to the results day on June 5th, when they will be able to see how much progress has been made this year.
Visits to our primary feeder schools, to meet Year 5 students considering their future choice of schools, are now almost complete. It’s been great meeting all of the young people across the Eden Valley and we wish them well in the difficult choices they will have to make in the autumn as they consider their future secondary school careers.
17 GCSE Health and Social Care students took part in an open day at the University of Cumbria on Wednesday 14th May. They had the opportunity to do some ’hands-on’ work including learning about aseptic techniques, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), recording vital signs and measuring blood glucose levels. This was an exciting opportunity to see what happens on health and social care courses at university and students were introduced through a case study to occupational therapy, working with children and families, physiotherapy, radiography as well as nursing
Ullswater athletics teams have also enjoyed considerable success in a variety of athletics competitions this year. The junior boys and the junior girls teams have qualified for the North-west Regional Finals in Stanley Park, Blackpool, where the junior boys are hoping to be the top school in Cumbria in their age group, having been narrowly beaten by Cockermouth in the qualifying rounds. In the process of this, James Salt a Year 7 pupil, broke the school 1500 m record with a time of 5 minutes and 7 seconds, beating Sam Dudson’s previous record by 4 seconds.
Ullswater athletes will also be competing in 28 different events on 14th June at the Sheepmount stadium in
Carlisle, when they represent Eden at the inter-district meeting. We are hoping that a number of them will progress to represent Cumbria if they perform well enough.
On the cricket front, despite the mixed weather the school teams are progressing well. Dan Morland, in Year 10, scored a century in a defeat of QEGS, in an exciting match where one of the QEGS pupils also scored a century!
Both the Year 7 and Year 9 teams are through to the quarter-final stage of their respective cups, the Year 7s winning a thrilling last round game against Queen Catherine school with Kyle Strand hitting a 4 off the second last ball to win
the game and Robbie O’Neill scoring an unbeaten 51 not out. The Year 7 team has also qualified for the county finals of the 8-a-side competition, having comprehensively won the Eden district tournament.
This week the tennis teams will be completing their final league games. The Year 10 boys are undefeated and are strong contenders to will win their league.
On Friday 13th June 2014, UCC welcomes Chris Wormald – the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Education – who has asked to see some of the work of our school. He’s here for lunch, which will give him a chance to meet many of our members of staff and new Head Girl, Maisy Ward, and Head Boy, Hal Atkinson, as well as seeing something of the work of our dance students, A-level artists, drama students, musicians and a class of Year 7 linguists teaching French to some of our Year 6 primary pupils.
On Monday 2nd June 2014 we finally saw the erection of our new polytunnel for the use of pupils on Environmental and Land-based GCSE courses. The new structure will give our students chance to grow a range of plants to support their studies in this important new GCSE course.
The half-term holidays gave me the chance to catch up with essential jobs on the land. With 36 lambs being born
this year there’s a real need to ensure a good supply of grass so I’ve been ‘fertilizer spreading’ in my time off! I’m sure I’ll feel the benefit of all the extra exercise and, hopefully, the sheep will be grateful for the extra grass later in the summer.