18th December Issue 4

Headteacher's News

As we head into the Christmas break, there are a few highlights which I would like to let you know about.

Regarding Year 7 numbers for September 2016, I am delighted to say that they are very positive indeed, indicating that by then we will be close to being full. This is really encouraging.

The Sixth Form Open Evening was held on 13th November. We are delighted that there has been a very large upturn in applications, 122. There has been a huge amount of work by all staff involved, particularly Miss Witts here at Mangotsfield, which has gone into shaping the curriculum offer for what will be a fully integrated Sixth Form experience across two schools. You might also know that the Sixth Form Block received a much-needed facelift over the October holiday. The next phase of this is to complete the work in the classroom spaces there, including the creation of a new opening into the Learning Resource Centre.

On uniform, we consulted with major stakeholders and the overall picture from the questionnaires is that all groups recognised the need for change, to a look which is smarter and which creates a better image in the community. It is important to involve our students, clearly. We have held a democratic process by which students were shown two possible choices for a new school logo (see results below). The students will also be shown some uniform choices in the new term in assemblies. We will then publicise more information, in January.

We are also now signed up to a Sky Sports’ initiative called ‘Living for Sport’. It is designed to inspire and progress young people’s development through the power of sport. It is proven to boost confidence, change behaviours, increase attendance and improve life skills.

All Year 9s attended the Ambitions careers event at UWE with over 100 exhibitors. Each student had the chance to meet with 5 industry sectors to discuss career possibilities and routes into industry and useful subjects.

At the time of writing, we are reviewing our practice with a view to introducing a new curriculum for September 2016. It is a complex process and not one we wish to rush. It is essential that it accelerates progress for students and offers a wide and varied choice of options.

Well done to Year 11 who have just finished their mock exams. We were really pleased with the maturity of their approach. We will now ensure that we go through the papers after Christmas in a consistent way which allows them to target areas of improvement. Students received a mock examination results on the last day of term, detailing results against their target. There will be a further round of mocks in February.

Lastly, I am delighted that Mr Taylor will be stepping up as Acting Head of Year 7 in Miss Vincent’s absence. He will run the year group and help us with some pastoral changes in term 6 ready for a new system next year.

May I take this opportunity to wish you and your families a very restful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Mr. Spence

New School Logo

I am delighted that we have a new logo. We held a vote in school between two possible new designs, and students voted in mocked-up booths, at the end of an assembly on voting systems and the voting process.

I feel that the new logo provides continuity with the old logo, is fresh and modern, as well as striking. The tree is indicative of our semi-rural community and is a fitting metaphor for how we want students to grow and develop as people in their time with us.

Our aspiration is to have some larger representations of the logo visible around school.

VIVO-SQUAD Has Arrived!

Friday lunchtime saw the arrival of some strangely clad beings - the Vivo-Squad had arrived. They spent 45 minutes giving out Vivo awards for positive social time behaviour. About a thousand Vivos were awarded to students, who had simply to write their name on the back of the card to claim their reward.

On the Playground...

Accelerated Reader

Word Millionaires

Congratulations to our first Year 7 'Word Millionaires' Michael McIntyre-Nash and Omer Attia. The boys were invited to the Head's office to be presented with their certificates. This is the first year that boys have been our first millionaires - so come on girls, you need to catch up!

Reading Challenge Winners

Congratulations to 7.3 for winning this term's Year 7 Reading Challenge. The target was to be the first Year 7 tutor group to read 2 million words with every student passing a quiz within their reading level.

7.3 excelled themselves by reading over 4 million words. An amazing result.

Mrs. Wells

In the Classroom

On their recent visits to D&T, Drama and Science, the Senior Leadership Team were impressed by the engagement shown by students in various activities. Soldering in D&T, making articulated insects from aluminium and students experimenting with melting points in Science.

Science News

Fun Physics Roadshow

Dr. Lawrence Cattermole, from the Institute of Physics, visited last week to deliver a 'Fun Physics' Christmas Roadshow to Year 7 students.

The roadshow started with an amazing video of Jeb Corliss using a wingsuit ( Dr. Cattermole talked about air pressure and used various ingenious pieces of equipment, including a fog machine, to demonstrate the shape that the air takes on when forced through different sizes of tube. He started with a 'Pringles' tube, then a purpose-built air blaster (about the size of a wastepaper basket) and finally a dustbin. The fog rings these created were amazing and the students had great fun trying to touch them.

The second experiment demonstrated refraction using cooking oil and a test tube. Dr. Cattermole explained how some scientists have based an idea of a cloaking device on the apparent disappearance of the test tube when immersed in the oil.

Students also learned about the proportional sizes of the planets in our galaxy. Compared to the sun the earth is approximately the size of a small pea.

They were also told that, if the number of stars in the Milky Way were divided by the number of people on Earth, there would be approximately 14 stars per person.

After school, staff had the opportunity to see Dr. Cattermole in action when he delivered a workshop for teachers who teach about energy.

Space Patch

Students counted down to 'Blast Off' this week when astronaut Tim Peake took off for the International Space Station in the Russian built Soyuz rocket. Students have the opportunity to win a 'Space Patch' - all they have to do is follow the instructions in the flyer below. Good Luck!
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World Challenge

Forest of Dean Training Expedition

The wettest and most miserable weekend in November saw us travelling to Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean, so we could prepare, learn and experience certain elements of the expedition we'll undertake in Borneo.

Arriving on Saturday morning and meeting the students from Fairfax School in Sutton Coalfield, and our World Challenge trainer and leader, with whom we'll be travelling next summer, we began our challenges.

In howling winds and bitter cold, we erected our tents, giving us shelter for our kit and slight respite from the weather. Being prepared early was one of our main training goals, as in Borneo it can be dark by mid afternoon, meaning all jobs must be done while daylight is available.

Laden down with our backpacks we then trekked through the sodden forest, learning important rules and tips en route for when we're away in the depths of the Borneo jungle. Stopping in various coppices and under terrible weather conditions, we were shown how to use various team items we'll be taking with us, like storm shelters and throwlines - items we'd never used before.

Every team member was allocated a rôle during the weekend and on returning to the camp the cooking team started preparing our meal, not helped by the bitter cold, biting wind and horizontal rain. The pasta meal they produced was delicious and much better than everyone expected.

Settling into our tents for the night we then experienced a rather windy, cold and stormy night, pitched on top of a hill at Holly Barn!

Waking early to more rain on the Sunday morning, the cooking team eventually got started on our breakfast - hot and warming porridge, which was most welcome. Other team members prepared our lunch and took down the tents ready for packing away for our trek.

Again we experienced a cold, damp trek through the forest, stopping once more to learn survival techniques in preparation for our travels. We were shown how to use hammocks similar to the ones we will be taking and using in Borneo next year, as well as discussing scenarios and safety precautions in a foreign country where our equipment and belongings would be very valuable to others.

It was a very rainy weekend, but the team worked well together considering this was only the third time we have all met. Borneo will be a challenge in the heat and humidity, but certainly the training weekend prepared us for what's ahead and we're all looking forward to the challenges Borneo will bring.

Sam Redfern

(We have no photographs of the weekend as no mobile phones or cameras were allowed - there will be no phone signals in the rainforest! - Ed.)

P. T. A.

Come and Join us...

The Parent Teacher Association committee is very keen to hear from any parents who are interested in joining the committee. The core purpose is to support school events, help run new ones and at the same raise money for school projects. If interested, please email
Julie Scull,

English for Speakers of Other Languages

ESOL for Families

If English is not your first language, then this FREE course is for you.

Would you like to improve your spoken and written English? Our small class is an opportunity for adults to learn in a relaxed atmosphere and meet other parents.

Classes focus on spoken and written English, helping you to develop your English language skills, understand the English school system and increase your confidence in English for everyday life.

We will be meeting on Wednesday mornings from 9.30 am to 11.30 am at Mangotsfield School, starting on 13th January 2016.

Contact Mrs. Poole in the Inclusion Base at Mangotsfield School on 01454 862700 or E-mail your details to

Exam Certificates

Summer 2015 exam certificates are now available to collect from the school reception office between 9.00 am and 3.30 pm.

Music Notes

Christmas Concert

Musical talent from across the school made this year's Christmas concert an evening to remember.

Opening with the Band playing 'White Christmas', the concert followed a programme of solo and duet performances on guitar, saxophone, voice, violin and piano. There was also a group performance of themes from 'Les Miserables' arranged by Year 10 GCSE music student Freya Sage. The Singers, with two acapella songs, and the Band playing Entrance of the Sirdar (I.Ivanov) concluded the first half of the evening.

After a break for refreshments and a raffle, the second half began with the Band playing a selection of pieces by Peter Warlock. This was followed by African Djembe drums, the flute group, more from the Singers, the Year 11 rock group and 'O Come All Ye Faithful' sung with the audience. The evening finished with the singers and musicians singing Slade's 'Merry Christmas Everybody'.

Sincere thanks to those who entertained us so well and to Ms. Borowski and Mrs. West for their dedication and hard work.

Congratulations to Rohan Thomas (11.6) who has recently passed Grade 4 Acoustic Guitar with distinction and a Grade 5 with distinction in Musical Theatre (singing).

Ms. Borowski

Sports Update

Sports Council Leadership Training - Silver Ambassadors

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On Friday 4th December, five of our Year 8 Sports Council members attended Silver Ambassadors Training at The Grange. It was a great morning where the students developed their leaderships skills – tried new sports, organised intra-competitions and met with Miss O’ Donnell, our School Sports Co-ordinator, to discuss the sports events they will organise for Year 7 and 8 students next year.

Next on the agenda for the Sports Council is a Year 7 Boys Dodgeball Competition in January. We also hope to invite all of our local secondary schools to a Year7 Dodgeball Tournament on 3rd February to play against our winners!

On 22nd January our students will run Year 5/6 leadership training for up to 14 local primary schools at The Grange.

As you can see by the remarks from our students they really enjoyed their training:

Louis - "Today was fun because we worked as a team and tried new sports"

Hollie - "learnt new skills and had fun. Bacon sandwich was nice as well....."

Charlie - " good experience, worked on leadership and teamwork"

Sports Council in picture - Bryony Higgs, Hollie Clark, Charlie Hill, Louis Short and Will Warman.

Miss O'Donnell

Year 9 Football

Last 16 heartbreak

The boys played Ivybridge Community College in the last 16 in the national knockout. It was a great game of football; the home side started the brighter, taking an early 2-0 lead inside the first 15 minutes. Ryley Towler gave us hope when he got one back just before the half, from a free kick which took a deflection on the way through. In the second half we dominated most of the possession and almost levelled on several occasions, but it was the home side again who made it 3-1 with 15 minutes left. Oli Hulbert demonstrated the fight in the team by scoring a 35 yard screamer to make the last 10 minutes very interesting. But the home side held out for a deserved win in a what was a superbly spirited performance from Mangotsfield.

The team; Aidan Connelly, Lewis Paterson, Joel Vadhyanath, Josh Parish, Luke Bailey, Harry Simons, Marshall Bamford, Ryley Towler, Max Williams, Bailey Sloper, Oli Hulbert and subs: Oli Louch, Archie Kenway, Joe Beardwell and J'ai Mcleod- all deserve congratulations on having progressed so far in the competition.

Mr. Hawkins

Table Tennis

Mangotsfield entered two teams for the qualifying tournament that leads to Wesport's Winter games, to be held at Filton's WISE campus in January. We took a seasoned A team and also a B team containing keen yet less experienced players.

The event was held at Hanham Woods Academy and the other teams were Hanham, John Cabot and Downend School. Mangotsfield made a strong start, beating the main competition, Hanham. However, we dropped some points against an excellent player from Cabot which evened the scores up between the top 3 teams: Mango-A, Hanham and Cabot.

However.... Mango-A had an unexpected problem - the Mango-B team! They faced off and it was an epic match. Although the A team won overall, the B team took some precious points off them, pushing the A team down to 3rd place. In the end, Hanham won the event by 1 point, with Mango-A and Cabot drawing for second place. There was a second place play-off which Mango-A won easily and as the second placed team, they have earned their place in the winter games. Watch this space to see how they fare!

Mr. Eadie

Work Experience

Year 10 Work Experience Week is 13th – 17th June 2016. This is an exciting opportunity for students to obtain experience in the workplace, build their skills and gain an employer reference for the future. Information, example application letter and advice for students are all available on the school network.

Miss Phillips is your contact at school. Ensure you apply early to secure placements.

Staff News

We say 'Goodbye and Thank You' to the following members of staff, who are off to pastures new:

Linzi James - Modern Foreign Languages/PDC

Gareth John - Law/PDC

Ruth Riggs - Teaching Assistant

and 'Hello and Welcome' to:

Naomi Clipston – PE

Mary-Jane Wilshire – Geography

Clare Hambley – MFL

Matthew Glover – ICT Technician

William Duffet - Teacher of Law/History

Contact e-mail addresses

To ensure your emails get quickly to the right member of staff, and to respond to parental feedback, we have created the following dedicated e-mail addresses:

E-mails to any of these accounts will be directed immediately to the department concerned who will reply via that e-mail address. If you know the name of the teacher you wish to contact, please add it to the subject line to ensure a prompt reply.

Thank you.

Lunchbreak Supervisors

If you would like to join our team of Lunchbreak Supervisors, please contact the HR office on 01454-862740 for further details.


Friday 18th December: Last day of Term 2, school closes at 12.45 pm

Monday 4th January: INSET Day

Tuesday 5th January: School re-opens for all students, Week B

King's College Cambridge 2008 #3 Sussex Carol arr. Philip Ledger

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year