Ingestre Hall Residential Experience
The excitement was palpable as we stepped off the bus at Ingestre Hall (and that's just the staff!) The Hall – an imposing Jacobean mansion – was to be our home for the week, complete with enormous gold-framed paintings and 27 acres of Capability Brown landscaped gardens. As residential experiences go, this was quite different from your average trip!
Fifty-five year 6 children quickly settled into their dorms and got stuck into their first workshop, which was either dance, drama, music or art. The practitioners, who were so friendly and welcoming, quickly put the children at ease and allowed their creative talents to shine through. We all thought it was going to be a case of straightforward activities taking place (that was until we came across an abandoned caravan in the woods). It provoked lots of discussion and the staff at Ingestre decided to take the children back to the caravan later that evening to see what all the fuss was about. None of us expected to be greeted by a strangely attired, travelling storyteller called Clara who invited each of the groups into her caravan. The inside was covered from top to bottom with books, scrolls and maps and beautiful fairy lights were strung inside, creating a cosy and welcoming environment. Clara told each of the groups a wonderful tale of adventure and intrigue and we all came away feeling as if something magical had taken place.
The rest of the week was based on our visit to the storyteller and the staff at Ingestre, led by the children's ideas and suggestions, created a piece that was presented to parents on our final day. Each and every child contributed to a fantastic showcasing of their talents, which made all of the teachers from Windsor extremely proud. Seeing children blossom over the course of a few days is nothing short of magical and all of the children who went have benefited enormously from the experience. We just hope that we can take a little of the magic back to Windsor and, who knows, Clara may well pay a visit to us in the future!
Entrust poetry competition
During their English lessons in the summer term, children took part in a county-wide poetry competition on the theme of adventurers and explorers. We were delighted that one of our students was chosen as one of the finalists with his poem entitled ‘The Oceans’. He won a highly commended award at the Entrust poetry competition. Top 5 out of 500 entries. He said, “It was a great event and I was very happy to win an award, the new headquarters were really cool too!”
I used to sail the ocean blue,
Corals, fish and otters too.
The fateful day was soon to come,
My end of travelling and drinking rum.
I set sail from the bustling docks,
Away from the boats and jagged rocks.
I reached the sea and stood in awe,
Watching the waves and the puffins caw.
The fateful hour was soon to come,
Birds were quiet and I was glum.
Rain came pelting down on me,
The land was gone – not a single tree.
A storm was upon me – huge and flashing,
It wouldn't be soon before my boat was crashing.
It tipped me into the freezing sea,
The waves crashing on top of me.
My times were over – my galleon spent,
The ship was ruined, its mast was bent.
I was covered by water – freezing and blue,
The ocean was sleeping – It buried me too.
Inspiring posters in the English corridor reminding us how much we love reading.
World Book Day
Windsor Park Middle School, English Department hosted a fun packed schedule of World Book Day events that were enthusing, fun, inspiring and most of all encouraging young people to gain a love for "reading for pleasure"!
Head of English, Mrs Rushton-Plant said, 'It was an excellent day and a real opportunity to raise the profile of reading across the whole school. Students had a great time exploring different approaches to this year's theme, across all of their different subject areas. It was also great for the students to meet another author, this year."
In true World Book Day spirit both staff and children alike dressed in their favourite book character costumes. Everyone was given the theme of the storybook "Funny Bones" to consider for their horror fancy dress costumes.
Acclaimed author, Harriet Goodwin, was invited into school and ran creative writing workshops for students and spoke about her work during a special assembly. Commenting on her day's experiences she said, "I have hugely enjoyed my day at Windsor Park Middle School. The students I worked with were, without exception, bright, responsive and engaged throughout. In the five years I have now gone into schools to do creative writing workshops and presentations, I have rarely met such a great bunch of students."
Key Stage 2 SAT results
Students and staff at Windsor Park Middle School in Uttoxeter are celebrating their excellent Mathematics Key Stage 2 SAT results; 93% of all students achieved the national target of level 4 and above; and 37% achieved level 5 and above. This is in addition to the English results where 97% of students achieved Level 4 and above.
Mr Thomas, Head of Mathematics, said "The results from our year 6 students are excellent, they reflect the hard work and effort that the students put into the tests with the support of staff and parents. This year our most able were entered for the higher level 6 paper and we are proud to report that 10 students achieved a level 6 – Rohan Boparon, Samuel Broome, Adam Butterworth, Callum Dreher, Chloe Lovatt, Alicia Lyon, Matthew Payne, Alice Radley, Gabriel Udall and Shani Wright. Of these students, three also achieved level 6 on the Spelling Punctuation and Grammar test: Chloe Lovatt, Alicia Lyon and Alice Radley."
Mrs Rushton-Plant, Head of English, was full of praise for the hard work shown by all students this year. "The results for reading are up by 10% on 2013 for level 4+ and at level 5 there has also been an increase from 45% to 68%. Writing is now teacher assessed and is showing an upward trend; with 100% of students making expected progress in writing. We are really proud of all of the efforts made by this year's students and with their patience whilst we have waited for their results."
Mr Slack, Headteacher, said "We are delighted to be able to report that every child has made excellent progress. The results in Reading, Writing and Maths are well above national averages, and will rank amongst the best in Staffordshire. These are the best results Windsor Park has ever achieved."
Spelling Bee Inter-house Competition
Each half term at Windsor Park Middle School, a department is chosen to hold an inter-house championship. The very first term of this academic year marked the English department's chance to hold the contest - a whole school Spelling Bee!
On Thursday 23rd October, the cream of Windsor Park's spelling crop were nominated to take part! Both Key Stages were split into different tournaments in order to make sure they were tested accordingly. Each form group collectively nominated both a KS2 and a KS3 student to compete in the tournament to represent their house.
The KS2 tournament was held first, with Adam Mathews, Alex Pope, Joe Wilcox, Reuben Hamnett, Todd Butler, Ruben Punchard, Ben Salt, Alfie Clowes, Duncan Craven, Lucy Sutton and Lily Pashby competing. Some examples of the trickier vocabulary from this tournament were words such as 'reminiscent', 'disillusioned', 'politician' and 'spectacular' to name just a few!
The KS3 tournament took place straight afterwards with Chloe Lovatt, James Bown, Elliot Jones, Tom Page, Korben Brookes, Chloe Gaskell, Kieran Coates, Michael Leason, Ben Careless and Paul Chirimangombe taking part. Some examples of the KS3 vocabulary were words such as 'catastrophe', 'belligerent', 'malevolent' and 'pneumatic'. Kieran Coates, Year Eight, said that 'it was rock hard but was an interesting challenge to take part in!'
Everybody tried very hard, with some fantastic scores being collated together however, Tutbury proved victorious in both KS2 and KS3 tournaments! Ben Salt of KS2 said 'I have always enjoyed spelling and I can't believe that Tutbury won!'
Visit to National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas
Year 8 students from Windsor Park Middle School made a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire. The students have read books linked to World War 1 ("Private Peaceful" and "War Horse" by Michael Morpurgo) and are currently studying war poetry. Some of the students had also recently attended a performance of 'War Horse' in Stoke-on-Trent. A spokesperson from the English Department said, "These activities have been undertaken to enhance the curriculum and to bring an added experience to their studies. At the Arboretum the pupils were given a guided tour of some of the key monuments; read poems and letters relating to the war; learned about the significance of the poppy; and finished with an act of remembrance. This visit will be followed up in the work undertaken on war poetry."
Students in year 7 from Windsor Park Middle School have this term worked hard on a poetry unit of work. This led to a number of students submitting entries for the poetry competition organised by Thomas Alleyne's High School. The results of which were announced at the Poetry Café "Spooktacular" event held at the school. Students from the Uttoxeter Pyramid attended the event which included readings and performances of poems. Alice Radley, Shani Wright and Chloe Lovatt won prizes in the Middle School section of the competition. Chloe, along with friends Jemima Pope and Abbie Hulbert, gave a performance of the poem written by Shani and Chloe.
It was a very enjoyable evening which put everyone in the mood to celebrate Halloween.
This is Shani's and Chloe's poem:
Alone on the mountain…
Out on the pitch-black mountains,
A woman was trudging through the snow,
Watching all the water fountains,
Of the beautiful city below!
"What sight could beat this?"
She sang to the night,
Then she heard a faint hiss,
And reached for her light,
As she struggled with gear,
She had a strange feeling,
"What's that I hear?
It sounds so appealing!"
She scrambled towards it,
(A hooded silhouette),
He pointed to a pit,
"I have all you want to get!"
Strange eyes suddenly gleamed,
She was trapped within a dome,
"Who's there?" she screamed,
She wished of being home!
The dome was a prison,
Without a window or a door,
"The sun has always risen,
But it will not anymore!"
The night faded away
It was like a horrible nightmare
The mysterious creature had won today
The dome was a monsters lair!
"The moon is disappearing"
She exclaimed with some hope
But when she heard the cloaked men sneering
She just could not cope!
Then she heard a cold, shrill voice
"You'll never get away!"
She knew what would be their choice
For they made a flashing ray…
The moon began to sink,
And the sun began to rise,
The dome was turning pink,
And burning through her eyes!
The moon was slowly dying
"Freedom maybe! At last!" she lied
The dome was actually disintegrating
"It's taking my feet as well!" she cried
For Christmas what a horrible shock,
She was never, ever seen again
The only thing left was her pink, frilly frock
Keep clear of strange hooded men!
Visit by author Guy Bass
Last week, Windsor Park Middle School enjoyed a fantastic afternoon with acclaimed children's author Guy Bass. As the children headed into the hall to await their exciting session with the Stitch Head author, Ms Rebecca Perks, Curriculum Area Supervisor for English managed to ask him a few questions about his work.
How long have you loved to write?
For as long as I can remember. As soon as I could pick up a pen, I knew that I loved to write. My brother and I were constantly writing funny stories and comic strips at home as children.
Were there any genres of text which particularly influenced your writing as a child?
Comic books were really influential to me whilst growing up. I loved the creativity of them and the way the language is manipulated on the page.
Were there many Creative Writing clubs at school when you were growing up?
Unfortunately not many. I remember at Primary School there was lots of emphasis placed upon writing creatively, however there were never any specific clubs where we were encouraged to write. Most of my extended writing was always done at home. Having an English teacher as a parent certainly helped!
How did you find the publishing process of your first book?
It was actually a lot easier than I imagined it would be. I was involved with a theatre company previously and would write plays which led me into writing full time. It was then that I sent a manuscript off to a publisher and eventually my first book was published!
At the end of the fun filled session the children thanked Guy for coming into Windsor Park to talk to them all about his work. They very much look forward to welcoming him back!
Uttoxeter Rotary Members visit Windsor Park Middle School
Mr J T Davies and Mr Mark Rogers of Uttoxeter Rotary Club very kindly came to visit Windsor Park Middle School to present to each student in year 6 with a copy of The Usborne Illustrated English Dictionary. Mr Davies explained to children about the work that the Uttoxeter Rotary Club gets involved with overseas and also locally within the Uttoxeter area. Students were given an opportunity to ask questions. Anton said "I enjoyed listening to what the Uttoxeter Rotary Club do."
Then the students were individually presented with their dictionaries – these were received with grateful thanks. Emily said "It is very kind of the Rotary Club to give us all a dictionary. I will enjoy looking through and using it during lessons at school and at home."
Year 6 Trip to Shakespeare's Birthplace Trust Centre
The whole of year 6 spent the day at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Centre in Stratford, for a day of drama workshops and a presentation on costume and make-up.
The workshops were based on the play "Midsummer Night's Dream" and culminated in a performance of a scene from the play.
The children were entertained to a presentation on costume and make-up by Brenda Leedham an experienced RSC Make-up Artist, who has worked with many well-known actors, including David Tennant.
Year 6 student Chloe said, "It was a really an interesting day. I learnt a lot about drama, acting, costumes, make-up and how action stunts are put together."
Students were given a fabulous insight into theatre costume and the tricks of the make-up department in creating special effects.
Mr P J Cubitt, Drama Workshop Leader at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust said, "What a class, full of enthusiasm and concentration over the whole day. High standards and great fun."
An excellent day was had by children and staff alike.
Rotary Youth Speaks – Public Speaking event
Three pupils from Windsor Park Middle School – Callum P, Ciaran S and Charlie U took part in this year's annual Rotary Youth Speaks – Public Speaking event. The three year 8 pupils each had to write a five minute speech on a topic of their choice to deliver to an audience of Rotarians, parents and teachers. The pupils, all boys, wrote and rehearsed their speeches during the last few weeks, attending after-school practices in the later stages. The speeches were judged on content and delivery.
Charlie said, "Everyone was very friendly, which put me at ease. Overall, the whole event was an enjoyable experience, which will enable me to use the skills I have learnt later on in my life."
The pupils and titles of their speeches are as follows: Callum – "Video Violence"; Ciaran – "Is there anything out there?" and Charlie "Virtual Education."
English Teacher, Mrs Upton said, "Although none of the three Windsor Park competitors were successful this year, the event provided excellent practice and experience of giving presentations to an audience – a skill increasingly relevant in the workplace – and each pupil did themselves and the school proud."
Mr E L Preston, Past President of the Uttoxeter Rotary Club commented "All performed extremely well and the diction was clear and precise. Well done to all who participated."
World Book Day 2014
Windsor Park Middle School, English Department hosted a fun packed schedule of events that were enthusing, fun, inspiring and most of all encouraging young people to gain a love for "reading for pleasure"!
In true World Book Day spirit both staff and pupils alike dressed in their favourite book character costumes. Pupils were also given the topic "The Plague" to consider for their costume. The idea came after the confirmation that acclaimed author, Sue Nicholls, accepted the invite to spend the day talking to pupils, book signing and speaking about her newly published book "All Fall Down".
Pupils meet author Cathy Cassidy
Pupils were given the opportunity to meet author Cathy Cassidy at The Garrick Theatre, Lichfield as she travelled the country inspiring young people with her work. A year 8 pupil when asked what they liked about seeing Cathy Cassidy, they said "As I'm an aspiring author, it was inspirational to meet Cathy herself (as I'm a fan of her books). She explained about her writing process and about herself in general which definitely gave me inspiration and overall was a phenomenal day!"