Saturday 16 June saw our Mock Trial team arriving, somewhat bleary-eyed, at school at 6.30am ready for the drive up to Nottingham Magistrates’ Court for the National Final. The drive up to the Midlands was rather subdued, due to a mixture of nerves and tiredness. Upon arrival, bags were checked, photos were taken and we were directed to our Holding Area in the incredibly impressive Courthouse.
428 schools had entered the competition and there were only 16 teams left – quite an achievement. We were up against a school from Scunthorpe in Court 12 first and it was our Defence Team in action first. The case was an unusual one as it is set in the future, in July 2012, and related to Olympic Tickets and their resale.
Both our Defence lawyers, Dylan Kelly and Thomas Jarvis, performed excellently, keeping calm under pressure and ensuring that the points that they wished to make were made. Our Defence witnesses, the only Year 8s on our team, Sunita and Sarita Mehta, also performed very well, creating convincing characters and giving clear, believable accounts of the events that had occurred. Olly Brown, our Usher, ensured proceedings went smoothly and our Magistrates, Ben Nunes, Alex Lazarou and Cherry Hla, assured us that they expressed themselves eloquently in the retiring room. Ms Knowles and I were very proud of the children and confident that they had performed to the best of their ability.
Refreshments were served and then it was time for our Prosecution Team to perform in Court 2, this time against a school from Suffolk. Once again all the team did themselves proud. Kevin Tailor was as confident as ever, obliterating the opposition as only Kevin can. Edward was similarly ruthless, although in a very different way, and our Prosecution witnesses Louis McManus and James Roberts were calm, controlled and did not allow themselves to become flustered during cross-examination. Our Legal Adviser Eleanor Williamson was similarly successful in her role and, once again, Ms Knowles and I were beaming at the end of the trial.
Lunch followed and the tension started to build as everyone waited for the result. Shortly after 2.30 it was announced and, for the second year running, King Edward VI Handsworth School from Birmingham were the winners. Our pupils were despondent but a combination of my shop-bought doughnuts and Ms Knowles’ home-made cake cheered the pupils up before we made the journey home. I must, once again, congratulate all the pupils for all their hard work. I have really enjoyed working with them and have seen them grow in confidence throughout the last six months. They all did their very best at every stage of the competition and I hope they will remember this experience for the rest of their lives. It has been a real pleasure working with them all.
Young Writers’ Express Yourself competition
Earlier this year pupils from our Year 9 entered the competition above and I am delighted to say that five of the pupils, Eleanor Crookes, Jamie Boarder, Dillan Dhanak, Sarah Crookes and Andrei Thira, have had their work selected to be published in an Anthology which will be held at the British Library as well as other libraries across the country. The school will receive a copy and these pupils have received certificates as recognition of their achievement.
To quote from the letter received from Young Writers: ‘Express Yourself has been a great success and we have received thousands of entries from all over the UK and overseas. Work has been selected for publication based on perception, imagination, expression and creative use of language. This is a great achievement for you and your pupils to be proud of.’
Last Saturday, 23rd and this coming Saturday 30th June, will see 25 pupils from Bushey Meads getting involved in Masterclasses run by a company called GIFT specialising in providing enrichment activities for G and T pupils. The classes that ran on the 23rd were ‘Murder Most Foul’ and ‘Flying Serpents’ and demand has been so great for ‘Murder Most Foul’ that a second date had to be added, the 30th. The classes are designed to stretch and challenge our highest performing students. Pupils from outside Bushey Meads will also be attending so we hope they will also enjoy the opportunity to have fun, make new friends and develop their problem-solving skills. I am looking forward to seeing the pupils in action on both of these days and will be reporting on their progress in a future Newsletter article.