Last week we celebrated our Annual Rewards Evening and were delighted to have Ms Dorothy Thornhill, Mayor of Watford, as our guest speaker, along with Local Councillors and Governors in attendance.
As always, it is a wonderful evening enjoyed by all who attend and many proud parents/carers along with staff enjoyed witnessing the students being awarded for their hard work and dedication to their learning.
Whilst writing my speech for the evening, I was reminded as to how many opportunities, beyond the everyday job of ensuring progress and engagement within the classroom, our staff provide for our students. Below is some of what we have offered and it is excellent to know that our students have grasped these opportunities and flourished because of them. I hope you enjoy reading what we have offered as much as I was when I recalled what many have experienced:
Our school year starts well before September with our summer schools that support the transition for our new yr 7s. It is always pleasing to see how well our new recruits settle into their learning and how quickly they thrive. Our Open Evening is known to be one of the best in the local area and always sets a high standard for others to follow, with daily, packed school tours for prospective parents, until November. Bushey Meads is always oversubscribed and the first choice for many.
We have always been very proud of our work with our physically impaired students and this year is no exception, they again represented Bushey Meads at the National Junior Games at Stoke Mandeville. A week long affair in which they gained many medals and as many friends. The care, love and attention shown to our Base students, by their staff during that residential trip, run by Mrs Day, is worthy of praise. Indeed, our Base students were privileged to be in the presence of HRH Princess Anne recently, when she visited a narrow-boat reconfigured to support a physically impaired crew and upon which our students had travelled. She was very interested and engaged with our students and was presented with a posy by Lee Keogh. We are often heralded as the National Pan Disability Boccia Champions and our Base students rose to the challenge by reaching the Southern playoffs….Like Andy Murray, we are back in training and have already started this by representing Hertsmere at the Hertfordshire Youth Games.
Ms Fricker has been very busy with her field trips, this year, thus ensuring her students gained the required experiences to support their studies. Year 9 visited Brighton in support of their Geography. Yr 10 worked on their coursework in Weymouth, whilst Yr 12 visited Juniper Hall for their beach combing.
Our Maths staff held Autumn Saturday classes to support GCSE revision. Alongside this, they ensure our junior and senior students enter the maths team challenge where our students constantly fare very well against grammar and independent schools.
We are still very proud of our technology status and even though no longer funded by the school, our staff as part of their promotion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) within school have worked innovatively with KS5, our Yr 11s and external IT businesses to provide real-world experiences within the classroom. The Yr 9 STEM day promoted the concept of team innovation. In March this year Ms Heartfield enabled our KS 3 and 4 to participate in ” an hour of code”. A worldwide initiative to encourage everyone to get involved in computer science. Bushey Meads students contributed to the many millions of lines of code written around the world and thoroughly enjoyed designing and creating new apps to rival angry birds and Temple run! We are sure we have some budding Sheryl Sandbergs or Mark zuckerbergs
Business Studies, with Mrs Pinkus, held Enterprise and KPMG events for our KS4 to experience the business environment to gain an insight into the skills need to be employable young men and women of the future.
It wasn’t long before our yr 7s experienced their first trip, organised by Mr Newbold, as they visited St Albans and its wonderful history as part of integrated Humanities. Our wonderful librarians, Mrs Castle and Mrs Harbin, ensure our students meet living authors by them visiting our school, or us visiting them and adults and children alike are enthralled as the authors cast spells around us with their words. The impact on our students motivation to write after this, is worthy of note
Our science staff have ensured that these subjects, sometimes seen as the hard subjects hold exciting and meaningful trips, with A level students visiting the Institute of Education for Physics in Action lectures. Some Yr 11s took part in the “Experimental challenge” set by Oxford University in the Physics Olympiads. Mr Pimenteo has just run a physics trip to Cerne. I wonder if they will discovered a little more about the atom.It is the commitment of these trips and support from parents that enables our students to believe in their dreams and we hope to make them a reality.
Not to be outdone, by Physics, Ms Greenwood ensured our Year 12 and 13 Biologists participated in the British Biology Olympiad. we did better than ever this year 6 of our students achieving commended status or higher. Navi Ponrajah achieved a Bronze award having been awarded this at the ceremony at the Royal Society of Biology on the 26th June.
Building on that success the Year 9 and 10 pupils took part in the Biology challenge. They competed against some of the top schools in the country and again this year we did better than ever. A total of 43 students achieved commended status. three achieved Gold putting them among the top 5% of all competitors. four achieved Silver and were among the top 10%.
Ms Greenwood also supported our Yr 11 students to gain summer school places at the School of Biosciences at The University of Nottingham. Their pathway already set for success
As always our tireless PE staff ensure our students gain an all round experience of activities regardless of the weather. Their support of our students in their after school and Saturday practices and fixtures means that all students who wish to participate, can participate and are supported to achieve their best in the variety of clubs and team events that they provide.. This also includes a GCSE PE trip to Cornwall where experiences that work towards GCSE results are had and our students find new depths to their courage and tenacity in ensuring their success. Mr Cartledge leads a committed team of staff – through whose encouragement has helped Dominic Ashwell win the Hertfordshire County Athletics Championships Under 17 100m Final in a new County record and personal best of 10.78 seconds. In doing this he broke a record that had stood for 31 years – an amazing feat considering he was running against students in the year above ! He now goes on to represent Hertfordshire in the National Championships in Birmingham on the weekend of 11/12 July. We wish him every luck. Move over Hussain Bolt.
There are many events held after school and during our long winter months, after dark. These extended school events, run by Mrs McManus, and are for our parents and students to join together to work together as a family and they prove very popular and successful. It is lovely to see the community working together.
We are in our second year of presenting our termly young chefs course where after 10 weeks of learning how to cook, our TEN young chefs provide very proud parents and invited guests with a 3 course meal. It is a highlight at the end of every term and one we eagerly await. I have to acknowledge that this could not take place without the support of ABM, our caterers, who freely give of their time and expertise. We will see the new Jamie Oliver rise from the kitchen, I am sure.
Our Drama and English staff, continuing the theme of real-world experiences ensure our students track the plays/literature they are studying by experiencing the production both in local and London’s theatres. Late nights included for Mr Knowles and staff, but the learning continues.
As a school, we appreciate the experiences of external providers and Yr 11, 12 and 13 had the pleasure of learning from motivational speakers. One of our speakers had attempted to row across the Atlantic and used this as a backdrop to preparing for our learning, exams and success. (we will have him back here as our guest of honour if he makes it)
Mrs Pinkus and Mrs Lawrence run our lunch time Debating Society, and are preparing our students for Debating Matters and the Hertfordshire debating competition at the House of Commons . Mrs Pinkus also ensured our Yr 12s attended the ‘battle of dangerous ideas’ debate – I am not sure what dangerous ideas were voted for, as of yet!. Our students would not be as confident nor as successful at debating if it wasn’t for the debating club that is provided for our students, where staff and students keenly debate and vote on current hot topics.
We also have a very successful group of students who won their regional heat of ‘the magistrates court mock trial’ which found them journeying north for the final. They didn’t win, but neither have they lost with the richness gained from these experiences. This, I am sure has planted a seed of a future in Law and thanks to Mrs Knowles, Mrs Bailey and Ms Booth for helping this to happen. Our A level Law students will be learning more about life in court as they visit the Old Bailey, next week.
We achieved our Healthy School’s status, thanks to Mr Cartledge driving this on behalf of the school and I am sure that you are aware of the marvellous work that our PE staff do to keep our children (and staff) fit and healthy. There is nothing more enjoyable than our whole school events where children and staff dress up, keep fit and raise money or participate in athletics events, training and fixtures.
The success of our students is down to many things, the work of you as parents and your commitment to your child and school. The students for their commitment and promise to work for us both and our staff to provide the best of opportunities.
Our Drama and Music staff certainly do this with Mr Knowles, Mrs Lavelle, Ms Wright and Mr Futerill, running the auditions for our many and varied entertainment evenings, including supporting a Holocaust memorial event. These have presented some of our most memorable evenings and indeed some talent for the Broadway stage. If you have had the pleasure of watching our school productions, enjoying our Christmas and Summer entertainment (mainly run by our students), you will see the opportunities provided for all to participate. It’s hard to believe we will soon be starting our auditions for the next production in September. And only last night a group of students, with Mr Knowles won the Crime Prevention Drama Competition at the Maltings Art Theatre.
Planning for the future is essential and some of our KS4 students visited the Oxbridge and Russell Group Student Conference at the Oval, to help them prepare for their future, some of our Yr 10 visited the Herts Open Day at Balliol College, Oxford Universityand our Yr 12 Politics visited the Houses of Parliament, The Supreme Court and Whitehall to help with their studies. We eagerly await for them to become our MPs of the future and ensure our safe retirement!
I cannot forget our annual ski-trip, which I am sure will also remain in the memories of every student who participated. Always a sigh of relief when our skiers return home intact and thanks to Mr Besisira and staff for their Feb half term away with the children.
Mr Chalkley takes some hardy speed-merchants to the british schools karting championships, with heats during the evenings and the finals at a weekend. We did not bring back any trophies, but we did imprint the idea of a future in formula one racing on some of the young minds. Move over Lewis Hamilton.
Mr Chalkley also took Y8, Y9 & Y10 to the Rotary Problem Solving Challenge, which we won. The team built a mechanical arm to move ‘radioactive’ material (in reality a tennis ball). Excellent designing, making and teamwork and engineers of the future. He is also taking students to participate in the Big Bang Science and Technology Fair. The opportunities are endless.
Mr Varsani and Mr Davidson took our Y7, Y8, Y9 maths masterclass students to the LSE where they completed more maths’ challenges and found out about university life. We now know where all these young learners are heading!
Our Yr 8 linguists enjoyed a brilliant week run by Ms Levy in France and Belgium, immersing themselves within the language and culture and it brought home the importance and opportunities of having a second language. Ms Dawson and Ms Reid hosted our french mini-olympics with our primary colleagues next week, where all students were actively learning french throughout the day. Many of our staff and students work with our primary colleagues when they visit the schools to work with the younger children. Our BTEC music students perform to the students at Meadow Wood, thanks for Mrs Lavelle – a treat for them all.
Alongside this, we also hosted for the second time Heads from Nepal who linked with the British Council come to Britain to learn about our education system. They quickly learn to love BMS.
I hope this snapshot of our lives at BMS has helped you to place us all into its context. It has been a great year and we have many more to look forward to.
Ms H Morawska