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.
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.