The recent 'end of term' letter has recently been issued - you can view Mr Ellery's letter here. Thank you for this last academic year!
I couldn’t have been more proud of the students and staff or more impressed with the way they showcased their work. We showed off our Hair & Beauty, Motor Vehicle and Agricultural Engineering, Construction, including Dry Stone Walling and our links with Tanzania where students, last year spent two weeks in Morogoro Hospital as Gap Medics. His Royal Highness also met some of our students, one studying to be a Norland Nanny, an award winning Sheepdog and her owner, Cumbria’s top Holstein judge and the county’s top Cumberland U12 Wrestler. The tour then made its way through the waiting crowds with His Royal Highness stopping to talk to many of our students before entering Fred’s Bar to meet Co-Head Prefects, Catering staff and their students and to see a small display of Art and Design Technology work. In Cumberland Hall The Prince of Wales was treated to a stunning display by some of our award winning Cheerleaders and the cast of Joseph performing one of the numbers from their recent sell-out performance of Joseph & his amazing Technicoloured Dreamcoat.
After a few words to the assembled Year 11 students His Royal Highness unveiled a slate plaque commemorating his visit before signing the visitor’s book. Finally The Prince was presented with a spectacular acrylic painting of Craig Farm, Garrigill done by ex-student Cathy Beaumont.
His Royal Highness departed to the cheers of students and staff after what was a wonderful hour and a quarter. He left the school in great shape and we will remember this event for many years to come.
At Easter our Year 11 and Year 13 students did an extra 500 pupil days in school to improve their examination chances and the programme of intervention activities will continue for the remaining weeks before exams. We are hopeful that results will be, as usual excellent as a consequence.
The Easter Holidays also brought the annual Lambing time up at the Pattinson home and so far we have delivered 26 healthy young lambs with another 6 Ewes still to decide when to produce. Although the mathematics of Tupping should deliver the new-born in the Easter Holidays sheep are a law unto themselves and the last ones to deliver will no doubt decide on some unearthly hour on a school day to get started.
With little more than a month to go before the exam season swings into full speed school feels like a very busy place. I wish all of our students the very best of luck in their preparations and I hope they all get the questions they would prefer in the programme of examinations to follow.
Welcome back to the second half of our Autumn Term – week 8 of the “new” academic year.
This week, at Year 7 settling-in parents’ evening, I was asked how things were going in the school. I didn’t have to think about my reply for long because it’s very clear to me that, although the school continues day by day and week by week to fine-tune its practice to become better, it’s at the changeover from one academic year to another that the biggest surge forward seems to occur. I suppose results over the summer, the culmination and reward for a year’s hard work, coupled with the arrival of a new set of Year 7 students and arrivals in Year 12 mean that all the improvement and fresh enthusiasm re-define the school once more.
…and, of course, it’s been Prize Day! At the end of last half term, on Thursday 22nd October, we held the fourth of our new-style Prize Days with guest Georgia May Foote, star of Strictly Come Dancing and Coronation Street. Once again, the event created a huge amount of interest with Border TV and BBC Radio Cumbria both covering the whole event. Our performers were mind-blowingly good, with the Year 10 drama group performing a brilliantly good physical theatre representation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky. Our dancers performed Top Hats, a superb 1930s tap dance routine; the cheerleaders once again showed why they are in the top few schools nationally and our Big Band created a real stir with Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk and Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer. Mr Smith’s Year 9 gifted and talented artists created a superb art installation, which was produced in the school colours and derived from images of the physical structures around the UCC site.
The event was concluded with warm congratulations and thanks from Head Boy Chris Martin and Head Girl Alicia Brittle. Following Prize Day, the school Twitter feed has been full of “it was amazing”, “bucket-loads of talent”, “It’s all Hannah’s talked about…”, “UCC is a wonderful school”, “Fantastic Prize Day celebrations”, “Great afternoon – well done”, and – from Georgia herself – it was “What a beautiful place Ullswater CC is. Met some inspirational people today. Well done to all of you and thanks for having me”.
Huge thanks to our sponsors and to all the staff and students who made it such a special occasion.
The new half term has got off to a great start. Plenty of interest in our new “print solution”, which will, hopefully, reduce waste and contribute positively to our environment.
Congratulation too to our cross-country teams, who competed in a major competition just before the half term holiday. They boys came 7th out of 30 schools and the girls came 2nd, with Martha Richards coming 2nd overall in the girls’ race. Brilliant performance! Both Martha and Beccy Stamper will now go on to run for the County team.
Here we are in week 3 of the new term already – it’s hard to believe that the autumn term is already well under way.
Our Year 7 students – all 254 of them – have made a great start and the new Year 12s have settled into the demands of A level study with confident ease. This year we have 16 extra-catchment students in Year 12, some of whom travel great distances to and from school each day.
Last week we held our annual open evenings to showcase the work of the school; to launch our beautiful new prospectus and the introductory film, now in pride of place on the website; and to begin the induction of next year’s intake. Many thanks to my Head Boy and Head Girl, Chris Martin and Alicia Brittle, for their brilliant contributions, and to all the staff and students for their work in departments and on tours during each event.
It was great to hear from one of our ex-students, Czarek Flak, this week. Czarek is currently studying Fine Arts at Kendal College and so successful has he been there that he’s beginning an open exhibition at the Josephina de Vasconcellos gallery on 26 September 2015 and hoping to progress on to the Royal College of Art in London next academic year.
All of the usual extra-curricular events have got under way again this term so there’s plenty for students to get involved with both inside and outside school. Last weekend, 51 students and almost as many staff headed for the Lake District to begin their Duke of Edinburgh award training.
Prize Day too is approaching rapidly and our guest this year will set the pulses of our students racing. A Coronation Street star and celebrity dancer, our visitor should allow the school to celebrate the achievements of 130 students on the big day with dance, music, drama and plenty more to wow the audience of over 2000 guests.
A big thank you to the Inner Wheel for inviting me to talk to the group on Thursday 3rd September 2015 about progress at UCC, and to the Penrith & District Gardener’s Allotment Holders for allowing me to open their 73rd annual produce show. On a more agricultural note, this season’s lambs head off to the auction mart tomorrow to continue their development elsewhere in the country. The 32 lambs, some of whom featured in the April/May blog, have grown considerably and will hopefully do well at Lazonby tomorrow.
Half term went in the blink of an eye for everyone involved with UCC I suspect.
School was open for the entire 5 days of the holidays with Art and English GCSE revision classes running. Over 100 students reaped the benefit of the extra help and, despite the interruption of the well-earned break the time spent on extra classes will pay dividends in the summer.
Of course, half of the school was on tour elsewhere during the week too – either in mainland Europe or the capital city.
The Art Department set off, on the Tuesday before half term, on their annual artistic pilgrimage – via Eurostar – to Paris, where students visited the Musée Picasso, Musée de l’Orangerie, Sacre Coeur and Montmartre, the Galeries Lafayette, the Pompidou Centre, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, the Musée de la Mode et du Textiles, the Musée Rodin, the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Eiffel Tower, before setting off back to Penrith via the Gare du Nord and St Pancras.
At 2.45 a.m. on Saturday 14 February, 20 Year 10 and 11 students set off on the long journey by air to Berlin with members of the History Department. The visit included the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, the Holocaust Memorial, a concentration camp, a nuclear bunker, Check Point Charlie and variety of other exhibitions. They sampled local delicacies such as currywurst and pretzels as well as a wide variety of German pastries. They returned to the UK and Penrith via the Berlin Zoo, which – judging by the number of Twitter messages – was clearly a high point for students.
On Wednesday 18 and Thursday 19 February, French teacher Miss Dale set off with nine Year 12 and 13 A-level French students to Paris. The visit included staying with Parisian families – a daunting experience because there was no escape from speaking French. During the trip they visited the Champs Elysees, climbed the Eiffel Tower, braved the top of the Tour Montparnasse and visited the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay. All students had a fantastic time, and improved their French too.
On Monday 16 February, Mr Bryant organised a Music Department tour to the capital city London, Fifty-three students and 6 staff performed in “the Actors’ Church”, Covent Garden and the Abbey Centre in Paddington. The trip also included ice-skating and bowling, as well as taking in the West End production of Wicked, a trip on the Thames and the London Eye. There was also the opportunity for a talent contest and the chance to celebrate the contributions of a number of Year 11 and 13 students who leave the department and the school after several years involvement with this fabulous department. Plans are now in progress for a trip to Paris in 2016.
As we return to school, you’d think things would settle down to a more predictable pattern – far from it. We had a visit by Jan Renou, the North of England Schools’ Commissioner, on Monday 23 February. She told me how impressed she was with what she managed, in her brief visit, to see of UCC and commented in particular on the warm relationships and total commitment by pupils she saw here.
Coming shortly – on 26 and 27 February 2015 – Physics staff are taking 17 sixth form students on a visit to CERN in Geneva, the home of the large hadron collider. A marvellous opportunity to see the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator – most recently in the news for shedding further light on the properties of the Higgs Boson.
As for Headteachers – what do they spend their time doing during half term holidays? Well this time I had 18 tonnes of manure to spread –by fork – to get ready for the new growing season! At least that’s a change from the normal term-time activities.
Huge thanks to all those students and family members who supported UCC through the sale of raffle tickets in out Autumn Draw last term. The prize draw took place on Wednesday 17 December 2015 at the closing night of our school production, ‘Animal Farm’. The winners of the top four cash prizes were as follows:
£500 Mr M King
£250 Miss L Lancaster
£150 Mr J Rankin
£100 Mr A Sokotowski
There were 40 other prize winners alongside these and most of the additional prizes were sponsored by community groups, businesses and friends of the school, for which we were very grateful.
A grand total of £4700 was raised from the draw and, once prize money and Tanzania trip sales were deducted this leaves £2900 for International Links and for the School Social Spaces project. £1450 is therefore available for each project.
The School Council is going to help decide on the areas around school that would benefit from some outdoor seating. Mr Hutchinson and the Construction groups have also offered to help with the School Social Spaces project and British Gypsum has kindly suggested they buy one or two benches for the project. Thank you everyone for supporting this fundraising project.
In other news, on Saturday 17 January 2015 18 students represented UCC at the County cross-country championships on a very cold and wet Kirby Stephen cross-country course! All the athletes ran superbly in very difficult conditions and two outstanding performances on the day earned selection to the Cumbrian Cross-country team: James Salt in Year 8 won the junior boys’ event (which is a combination of students in Years 8 and 9 ) and Mia Sullivan-Simpson came 5th in the minor girls’ race (for Year 7 girls). They will compete in the North-East counties event next month.
Also of note were the performances of Rhys Preston and Joe Newby, who finished 15th and 16th, respectively, in the junior boys’ event and so are reserves for next month’s fixture.
It’s not every day that Ullswater Community College gets to showcase its work at Clarence House, the London home of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales but, on Wednesday 19th November 2014, I had the pleasure of showing a file starring our students in in vocational subjects to introduce a discussion about what constitutes meaningful and relevant vocational education.
The film showcased work in Motor Vehicle Engineering, Hair & Beauty, Professional Catering, Construction and Environment & Land Based courses. Students and staff starring in the film included Jessica Gardham, who introduced the Applied Learning Centre; Liam Braithwaite, who was shown working on a Massey Ferguson 35X tractor; Ethan Swann, who explained why the Hair & Beauty course was key to his future career and motivated him to improve in his maths and English GCSEs; William Garbarino-Danson, who was seen preparing food in his Professional Catering course; Zach Walsh, who demonstrated his skills in bricklaying and urged policy makers to protect the practical skills in danger of being swamped by too much paper work; and Bobby Atkinson, Leon Askins, Rebecca Ellwood, Megan Harrison, Alex Kay and Ben McGuffog, who were seen working on their small animal care and arable studies in preparation for careers in agriculture and veterinary science.
The Prince of Wales expressed his keen interest and encouragement for the development of vocational education in order that the country’s economic stability and social cohesion are well supported by a knowledgeable, skilled and reliable workforce, as well as ensuring that traditional crafts in a variety of areas continue to thrive.
The seminar was attended by 30 representatives from diverse organisations, including the Prince’s Charities as well as a select group of experts, business leaders, policy makers and practitioners from across the country, including Nicky Morgan, the Secretary of State for Education; ex. Secretary of State for Education, Lord Baker; Lord David Sainsbury, ex. Chairman of Sainsbury’s; Sir Mike Thomlinson CBE, ex. Chief Inspector of Schools and Chair of the Working Group on 14–19 Reform as well as representatives from the National Health Service, Royal Horticultural Society, Royal Academy of Engineering and the Duchy of Cornwall.
I was hugely proud of the students at UCC who appeared in the film and of those staff of the Learning Resource Centre in the school who produced the film in such a short period of time for this event. Those present at the seminar were delighted to see Ullswater students working in vocational areas and thought it was a fantastic stimulus for their discussions. It was the first time I have given a presentation to such an eminent group; people who have responsibility for ensuring that vocational education continues to thrive in the country’s schools. It was also the first time I have had to give a presentation in the Heir to the Throne’s private sitting room with members of The Irish Guards patrolling outside, drill sergeants barking orders to the ceremonial troops in The Mall and horse-drawn carriages passing the windows.
In discussions after the event, Prince Charles told me that he had heard a great deal about the successful work of the school and that he hoped to visit to Ullswater Community College in the spring to see for himself the excellent work in the school’s vocational subjects.
This has been a super week as staff and students returned to school after the 6-week summer break. Of course, the news over the summer has been excellent and this helps everyone to feel positive and optimistic about the new academic year too.
Mr Jackson, our new Head of Sixth Form, said to me at the end of students’ first day back “you’ve got a very tidy school” and what he meant by this was that on the basis of that day students looked, acted and thought appropriately about themselves.
The new Year 7 is 25 students larger than the Local Authority projected at 221 students and our new Year 12 makes this the biggest Sixth Form UCC has ever had at 263 students.
We hope this academic year develops as successfully as the last one and I wish all students an enjoyable and successful term.
The Open Evenings for Year 6 pupils will be held in school on 16th and 17th September 2014 at 6.30 p.m. These are always hugely popular, with over 500 visitors attending on average each year.
We will also follow up these Open Evenings with opportunities to visit the school during the day when normal classes are in session. Group visits will be available from 9.15 a.m. in the week beginning 6th October 2014; individual tours are available in the weeks commencing 22nd and 29th September 2014. Please contact us to book your own personal tour.
Prize Day is on Thursday October 23rd 2014. Watch this space for my announcement of the identity of our VIP celebrity this year.
For the first time this year, to raise funds for improvement to the social spaces around the school to improve the quality of life for pupils, we are holding an Autumn Grand Draw. Tickets will be available through students shortly and we have a large number of exciting prizes, many of them donated by generous friends of UCC to support this project.
Please do all you can to raise as much money as possible to provide benches, etc. for pupils to use at breaks and lunchtimes in what is at present a very cramped and utilitarian environment around the school site.
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.
It’s been a busy term, but a productive one.
On 27 March 2014, the Year 8 U13 Rugby team beat QES Kirkby Lonsdale 28:12 to progress to the county cup final. The whole squad played very well but Jamie Fawcett, Alex Verrall and Ronan Erasmus were superb. Aidan Young also led very well, as did Captain, Billy Waistell.
The U13s played Keswick in the final of the Cumbria County Rugby Cup at Penrith RUFC on 2 April 2014. Ullswater won 38:0 in a thrilling game in which Captain Billy Waistell scored four tries. Jamie Fawcett and Dylan Cowperthwaite were also outstanding in a team that commanded all aspects of play to make them this year’s county champions.
The U15 team lost 32:7 to an enormous St Benedicts’ squad, despite showing proficient ball skills. The team played well and the result means that they finish as this year’s county runners up.
On Thursday 27 March the Music Department under the direction of Head of Department Steven Bryant
thrilled a packed audience in Cumberland Hall with a magical ‘Night at the Movies’. This was simply the best music event I have had the privilege to attend and soloists Helen Southernwood, Beth Robinson, Emily Richardson, Rebecca
Kirkby, Joshua Jackson and Megan Harrison were superb, as was Henry Jennings, the ‘film director’ who compered the evening. The various ensemble pieces were outstanding and the orchestra of over 60 students and staff performed ‘Pearl & Dean Asteroid’, ‘Skyfall’, ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Final Countdown’ brilliantly. This fabulous evening set new standards for school music productions.
On 1 April Mrs Ivinson held this year’s Year 10 Mock Interview day with all students taking part and a fantastic number of local employers and supporters of the school acting as interviewers. The students had been well prepared and, despite their nerves, performed superbly. There were lots of very positive comments from employers at the end of the process and the experience will stand students in good stead for the next occasion when the interviews for jobs or
university/college places will be ‘for real’.
Events still to come next term include the UCC Dance Show ‘Musical Madness’, which takes place on Thursday 8 and Friday 9 May 2014.Our Dance Shows are always breath taking so I can’t wait for this!
Last Thursday we distributed our latest edition of sUCCess magazine. Every time our Learning Resource Team, under the direction of Michelle Lewin, produces another edition it is better than the last. I hope all students and their parents enjoy reading the wide range of articles in this edition. Further copies are available from the school or in Booths, Penrith.
Finally I hope all students, parents and staff enjoy a very relaxing Easter Holiday. For my part, it’s lambing time so I
shall exchange my school suit for wellies and Flexothane over-trousers and hope that the process is without too much stress. I have the telephone numbers of a number of more experienced students should I need a bit of advice and guidance with a difficult delivery in the early hours of the morning!
This week in school…
…24 of our cheerleaders left school to go to their Cheer Camp for the weekend, accompanied by Mrs Keen, Mrs Castle and sixth former Shannon Twiddy. They are preparing for the upcoming National Cheerleading competition, where previous UCC teams have achieved so much.
…13 mathematicians in Years 9, 10 and 11 achieved national acclaim in the recent UK Intermediate Maths Challenge with top prize “gold awards” going to Jason Smith-Raynes and Liam Bentley.
…After winning the area finals, UCC’s Key Stage 3 Badminton Team represented Cumbria in the North West Regional Badminton finals in Liverpool last weekend. Alice Christie (Year 7) won 3 out of the 4 singles matches she played and the whole team performed strongly against independent schools with competitors 2 years older than themselves. The team consisted of Yasmin Bowness, Alice Christie, Ellen Robinson, Tara Simpson-Sullivan and Isla Souter.
… Year 11 student Jodie Talbot and Year 12 James Bowness have once again been selected to represent Cumbria in the Harrods Inter-Counties Badminton tournament at Nottingham University.
…In the re-run of the President’s Cup the UCC team, in which several of the UCC were 2 years younger than their competitors, lost to QEGS 40:7. They played with great character and determination.
…On Thursday lunchtime I attended orchestra rehearsals and was blown away by the enthusiasm and talent on display. With over 35 students and staff playing “The Great Escape” and other pieces, the quality of
playing made the hairs on the back of my head stand on end.
Next week – Thursday27 March 2014 – we have “A Night at the Movies” hosted by the Music
Department, which promises to be a knock-out evening with over 60 musicians performing live!
…Last week our Year 11 students were involved in two afternoon “learn how to revise” sessions organised and run by Mr Ellery, Mr Jackson, Mr Moss and Mrs Cooper. This week, Year 11s undertake final mock examinations in maths, English and science in preparation for GCSEs in a few weeks’ time.
…On the home front, I’m happy to announce that Mr Pattinson Junior recognised the work pressures I was under and completed the ploughing last Saturday. What with only 3 weeks until lambing, 7½ weeks until GCSE and A levels start and so many great things happening at school, what else could he do?
Having said our goodbyes to the Ofsted team who visited UCC on Thursday 13th and Friday 14th February 2014 we might expect the pace of life in the school to ease up a bit. That’s certainly not been the case. At half term, Peter Lee took 31 students and staff to the Italian Alps ski-ing and half of Year 11 were in the school doing additional lessons to prepare for their exams.
Since the beginning of term we’ve seen Key Stage 3 students dominating the County Badminton scene with Yasmin Bowness, Alice Christy, Ellen Robinson, Tara Simpson-Sullivan and Isla Souter achieving success in the Center Parcs Badminton competition. This superb victory takes them to the North West finals in Liverpool on 14 March 2014.
Year 9 students under Mr Kent’s supervision created a strong impression on Friday 28 February 2014 in their “Penrith Futures” presentation to Eden District councillors in the Methodist Church. The task was to look carefully at the way in which Penrith provided for its young people and the students made a series of fascinating points and responded to a range of probing questions from their audience. I was impressed with the confident and self-assured way they dealt with this task. The students involved were Rachel Glendinning, Jacob Hulme, Lauren-Ann Oates, Caitlin Poulson, Oliver Raine, Elizabeth Seaton and Mollie Slattery.
On Friday 7th March we are raising funds for Ataxia UK with a non-uniform day. The £1 donations will go to this charity at the request of the Year 8 organisers: Poppy Dixon, Edie Fairlamb, Beth Morton, Chelsea Twiddy, Sally Waistell and Beth Walsh. We hope to raise at least £1100 for this worthy cause.
I hope the recent improvement in weather will at long last allow the school fields to dry out. I’ve still got my potato and carrot field to plough and before too long we’ll be lambing again. We’ve a busy spring ahead of us and another examination season to look forward to.
As the Autumn Term draws to a close and the Christmas holidays rapidly approach, I think we can be pleased with
another term’s work in the school. We have enjoyed a wide range of sporting successes, ranging from horse show-jumping through trail running, gymnastics, football, rugby, hockey and cross-country running. We’ve seen dance shows and drama events, musical performances, art displays and cookery competitions. We also held the second of our ‘new-style’ Prize Days with a VIP guest from the world of TV – Hollyoaks.
We finish term with our school pantomime on Wednesday 11th, Friday 13th and Saturday 14th December, carol concerts in St Andrew’s Parish Church on Monday 9th and Tuesday 10th December and, of course, our own school carol services in the Methodist Church on the last day of term – Wednesday 18th December 2013.
At the end of this long, busy and highly productive term, I feel very proud of what our staff and students have achieved. All students in Years 9 and 11 have completed formal examinations and await results early in the New Year. The pupils’ approach to all examinations has been exemplary.
Attendance in the school continues to show a very positive upward trend. Comparisons with the same period last year
shows an overall increase of 0.5% to 94.9%.
There will be some staff changes at the beginning of next term. Mrs Jane Reardon leaves us after 6 years teaching in
the Drama Department. We wish her every happiness in her life after UCC.
Arrangements for the final day of term (Wednesday 18 December) will be as follows: buses will leave school at 3.15
p.m. – after the afternoon carol service – and the school day will end at 3.15p.m. Students who live in town can go home directly after the afternoon carol service. Students who catch the Patterdale bus service will attend the morning
carol service and will be able to catch their bus at lunchtime. Those students who catch the service bus to Shap will not be able to leave school at 3.15 p.m as the bus will be running at its normal time of 4.00 p.m. These students will
be supervised in the Cumberland Hall if necessary, or parents can make their own arrangements to collect them. Please note that the bus companies have raised their level of scrutiny of bus passes recently. All pupils should ensure that they carry and present their bus pass on each journey.
Finally, let me thank all of you – students, parents, staff and governors – for your hard work and support over the last 12 months and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a productive New Year.
The new term (for all pupils and staff) starts on Monday 6th January 2014.
Congratulations to all members of UCC for their efforts to raise funds for the Philippines appeals. The Sixth Form “dress as a friend” event as well as numerous cake sales, collections and the “bleep test” event raised £517.95. A further £54.23 was raised at the same time for Children in Need.
Our Year 10 Rugby team beat Cockermouth by 19:24 in the NatWest National Cup on Friday 22 November. Man of the match was Ethan Swann, with Alex Fawcett also playing phenomenally well in defence. The team is now through to the 5th round, playing Bolton School at UCC in December.
Our Year 7/8 gymnasts have also been competing in the Novice County Schools Competition. UCC took three squads. Our A team won Team Gold and the B team won Team Bronze. Overall, individual gold went to Lucy Monk
and Sophie Hunter won silver. A fabulous achievement for all UCC competitors.
Our Prize Day review film will soon be released for a premiere showing in assemblies; it will then be available on the website for anybody who would like to have another look at our spectacular Prize Day ceremony.
It’s three weeks since Prize Day but I’m still thrilled with the whole event.
I was overwhelmed with the quality of dance, acrobatics, music and drama. The opening sequence complete with Video introductions from The Muppets and the Rob Norbury (Hollyoaks) Showreel really set the tone of the event and our pupils lapped up the quality, excitement and pace of the event. Our prize winners were justifiably stars in their own rights – parents were quite entitled to be very proud indeed as were all colleagues and teachers of the school.
What a great day! Huge thanks to all involved and especially to sponsors for their support for prizes.
Our Year 11 parents evening last night was a real pleasure too. Students and staff are working so hard to outperform last year’s new record and things look very good for an even better set of results next summer.
On Friday 18 October our Year 7 Cross-country Team competed at the County Championships at QEGS. There were over 21 boys’ teams and 19 girls’ teams competing. Our girls’ team finished in a very respectable 11th place with some good individual performances… and the boys’ team won. James Salt came 2nd, Luke Hunter 3rd and Joe Newby 12th. All three of these now qualify to run for Cumbria in the County Championships in November.
On Tuesday 12 November our U15 Rugby team played away at St Bees School. UCC won 38 : 14 against a strong St Bees. Ethan Swan scored a hat trick and Nathan Hamilton was named ‘man of the match’ in what wa a fabulous UCC performance.
We are, of course, expecting Ofsted as part of a Local Authority review of Secondary Education. We are grateful to students and parents for completing our annual survey to support inspection and set the agenda for the coming 12 months.
It won’t be long till Christmas – our pantomime rehearsals are well under way and occasional Christmas choral pieces drift down Westmorland corridor from the Music Department.
Good luck to Year 11 in your forthcoming Mock Exams (25th November).
Since the beginning of term, we’ve admitted more than 20 new students from other secondary schools and the mood around school is upbeat and purposeful. We aim to do even better at GCSE and A level once again this year.
We have nine new members of staff, who will add their energies and enthusiasm to the task of continuous improvement and we look forward to seeing them all develop as teachers over the next 12 months.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, 17 and 18 September, we will hold our annual Year 6 Open Evenings, which
provide opportunities for prospective students to the school to have a look around; all are welcome. The evening starts at 6 p.m. in Westmorland Hall.
Finally, thanks to all parents who used the school shop to equip their sons/daughters for the new academic year. We aim to provide high-quality uniform at low prices as a service to UCC students.
Year 11, 12 and 13 students can now relax and enjoy the summer weather because exams are, for them, now complete. Year 11 students should achieve a new school record this year, with 95.8% of the year group looking likely to achieve 5+ A*-C grades, up from 95.5% last year. The headline figure of 5+ A*-C E/m results is also likely to be well up on last year’s figures, with over 60% of the year group looking to be on course for this achievement. Well done to all those students who have completed their exams after so much hard work and revision. Other year groups are also now completing their exams so good luck to them too. Our Cheerleaders were away last weekend at the National Cheerleading Championships. The two squads competed against the best cheerleaders in the country and finished in second place in every class. Congratulations on an outstanding result!
Last Friday evening we all enjoyed our Year 13 Leavers’ Ball at The George Hotel. As usual this was a glitzy evening with everyone dressed to kill. Congratulations to all those who attended what was a super evening.
On Saturday 6th June, 18 athletes from UCC represented Eden District at the Interdistrict Event at the Sheepmount, Carlisle. Of these:
· Rachel Byers won the long jump with a jump of 5.05 metres
· Robbie Hebson was 2ndin the javelin with a throw of 44 metres
· Liam Bentley was 3rdin the discus with a throw of 27 metres
All three were then selected to represent Cumbria at the Intercounties Event at Middlesborough on 15th June. Mr Greenwood also received the following message after the event:
“I am part of the Cumbria Schools Athletics Association executive committee and on Saturday I was involved in a situation that restored my faith in human nature. Invariably at this event there are errors by some of the schools who don’t select the right athletes for events, and this is sometimes a real problem for us as sometimes these athletes are good enough to have the potential to go to Nationals. At Saturday’s event I was recording the results for selection to the next round (NE Match – Middlesbrough 15th June) – by right the 1st- and 2nd-placed athletes go through to try and gain an entry standard for Nationals and represent the county. At the same time I was being made aware that a very good shot putter had entered as a guest as her school had missed her out! This would have caused a bit of an upset if she hadn’t been able to go. Your pupil Megan Wilson (Year 11) had clearly picked up on what was going and very selflessly offered to drop out even though she was available for the Intercounties Match. She knew she probably wouldn’t get entry standard and wasn’t available for Nationals, and so said to me that she would much rather someone who had a real chance should go and she would happily give up her place! I regularly see girls in athletics and sometimes their behaviour and attitude towards other athletes concerns me but this very generous gesture restored my faith and I felt that I must contact Megan’s school and tell them about it. You must be pleased that she represented her school on the day in the event but also in such a very positive and generous way. Please pass on my grateful thanks again to Megan and wish her well in her continued education. I’m confident with values like hers she will do very well in life.”
Two of the school’s athletics teams are also competing in the regional rounds of the TSB Athletics competitions on Thursday this week. The intermediate boys and the junior girls have qualified for this after superb performances in the first round of athletics meetings. Coming up in the near future, two arts events: the annual Art exhibition takes place this Wednesday evening, 26th June, in the Pig Pen, and the summer production of “The 39 Steps, an evening of Dance, Drama, Music and Art” takes place on Tuesday 2nd and Thursday 4th July in Cumberland Hall.
Our School Shop now has a range of uniform supplies for students joining the school in September and anyone looking to renew their kit. A brochure of all the available items, including sports’ kit and blazers, is available – together with the price list – on the school website.
The summer term is well under way and the Easter holidays feel like a distant memory. The new term has certainly got off to a busy start. Last week 56 of our Year 11 students received examination results from an early try at GSCE Maths. They must have been well taught and done some good Christmas revision because 52 out of the 56 passed with the top grade possible ‘C’. This places the students and the school in a very strong position for results in the summer. We confidently expect to break new records in the 5+ A* - C English and Maths category because of the superb work being done in both Maths and English. Congratulations to Miss John and Mrs Rutherford for their excellent work with the 2 groups who scored so well in their Maths exam. We are busy with interviews for the handful of positions we have for September. Last week we interviewed for English and Geography and all that remains now are internal adverts for responsibilities of one kind or another. On Friday we were visited by Two Four Broadcasting who are interested in producing a series which will include UCC. Two Four Broadcasting produced “Educating Essex” and James Nesbitt’s “Ireland” and the new project will take a look at what schools do to improve pupil attendance. So far our attendance team have contributed to a pilot film to gauge the interest from TV companies, so who knows where this will take our school. Lambing’s almost over. The new guinea pigs are installed in Cumberland quad’s menagerie and we are 5 days away from the next clutch of new ducklings in Rural Science.
We were all delighted to welcome John Hurt, Great Britain’s most celebrated and consistently brilliant actor from stage, the big screen and TV to UCC on Thursday 21 February. John Hurt was simply the most thrilling, talented and inspiring guest we could have wished for to launch our annual Branch Out competition, an event that encourages students to read books and to write their review on what they’ve read. With a CV that is longer than anyone’s GCSE English coursework, John Hurt has received two Academy Award nominations, a Golden Globe Award and four BAFTA awards, the fourth being a Lifetime Achievement award. The afternoon of his visit was, therefore, a real treat. Year 10 students who arrived early into Cumberland Hall to secure a good seat welcomed our visitor with characteristic warmth and enthusiasm. Some students were sending messages of appreciation on Twitter before, during and after the event. What they didn’t know was that we had an extra visitor on the day, in addition to John and his wife Anwen. This extra visitor was the president of the John Hurt Fan Club so their Twitter messages were being received by the lady three rows in front. What’s more she showed me them all after the ceremony was over! As John Hurt was leaving he said to me ‘You’re a lucky man being Headteacher to so many wonderful students…’ and he’s right, the students were delightful and showed their appreciation in their applause and their conversation with our guest throughout the event. Non-uniform day The non-uniform day on Friday 8 February raise funds for a range of overseas development projects involving our students. The event raised £1006.19, which will now be divided up between the three main project areas, one for a Taiwan visit, one for Tanzania and the other for two year-long development visits to Uganda and Ghana. Photographic exhibition 2013 is the 60 anniversary of Moor House being declared a National Nature Reserve and to celebrate this milestone, our Year 8 Extra Art students were asked to take part in a photography project earlier this school year. This was a unique opportunity for our students to visit a National Nature Reserve and look at it from an artistic/photographer’s viewpoint. They were accompanied and ‘coached’ by a professional photographer, as well as a member of Natural England staff and each student took photographs at landscape and macro scale. Our students braved the Arctic conditions and captured some wonderful shots of wildlife and the environment on the fells. After editing, eight photographs were selected and exhibited at a scientific seminar ‘Research at Moor House NNR past, present and future’ at Lancaster University held in early February. On Thursday 21 February these students exhibited their terrific photographs in an exhibition in The Pig Pen. National School Badminton Championships On Thursday 7 February, four of our students took part in qualifying matches against Caldew, Cockermouth, Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and William Howard School. Amy Hullock, Charlotte Cousin, Yasmin Bowness and Jodie Talbot won all their games (20 in total) but two. Naturally, with so many comprehensive victories behind them, they are now going to compete in the Regional Badminton competition in St Helen’s, where they will represent Cumbria.