Thomas Alleyne's High School
Weekly News Roundup

Week Commencing- 27th April 2015

Headteacher's Blog

With just 8 days left before the GCSE RE examination, which every student in our school will be sitting, I am pleased that the vast majority of students are preparing themselves well for these examinations. Sixth form students completed their art examination this week and it is clear that they realise the importance of performing to the best of their ability. Looking at the work they have completed it was, as usual, impressive and the atmosphere in the Art GCSE exams showed just have determined students were. This was not without a feeling of apprehension (on the part of both staff and students) however and we had a lot of students on site before 7.45 on the day of their exam. Once their art examinations are over it is important that students bring revision materials to their art lessons as the art course is now completed.

We have now had over 13,850 podcasts streamed or downloaded from GCSEpod and are pleased that students have said these have been helpful to support their class notes. Last week I was asked by a student, who is currently in Year 12, whether there is a version for post 16 students. Unfortunately, as yet, this is not available for us. One area  that we wish to work on further is all students reaching the highest standards in terms of making notes in class. That may be in their exercise books or in folders; in classwork or for homework. Some Year 11 students have found going back to their notes more difficult than it should be. Year 9 and 10 students can take heed from year 11, in that it makes your job of revision much harder if your notes and essays are not presented and filed well. Even when your son or daughter is in Year 12 or 13 please continue to ask to see their school work and support them in ensuring it is well organised and all pieces are completed.

On Friday  we have the Local Authority visit as they are monitoring our progress since the last inspection. During this year we have been working, with the support of our governing body, through our Post Ofsted plan: securing the stability and quality of teaching within the English team; further improving the quality of marking using our SWANS marking (strengths , weaknesses, action, next steps); addressing punctuality and attendance; supporting our students who are pupil premium and ensuring that we track student progress and intervene when they need additional help. Our one to one tutors in English and Maths have had a significant impact and our holiday and weekend classes have been well attended. However we are very aware that there is still much work which we want to do. We have high expectations of our students and of ourselves.

This week I have met with a team of people from a charity called Coaching For Success. In my previous schools their work with young people and adults has been powerful. We launched the programme last year at Thomas Alleyne’s and students who completed the course are currently completing their GCSES. Only this week one of our staff described the training they received as ‘life changing.’ Sometimes as adults we do not get the same opportunities as young people to focus on our own learning and I know how much impact good quality training or coaching can have on the quality of the education we offer our students. We are thrilled to be able to run this programme again for about 25 of our students in Year 10. If you would like to read more details about the company please click on the link below

At my student voice meeting this week student spoke passionately and intelligently with me about the quality of the education they receive at our school. They were unanimous in saying that work on the whole was well marked and spoke of their form tutor with real conviction. When I asked if they would get support if they had any problems in school they left me in no doubt that their form tutor would deal with it. They raised concerns about the quality of our toilet facilities but recognised that a lot of work has been done during Easter to improve the building. This is work which can easily go unnoticed. Whilst our students were completing revision classes the site team managed: the painting of the English and Geography corridors and the sports hall and changing rooms; the replacement of the gates by rural science and fencing near the JCB classrooms to improve security; and the refurbishment of the Pavillion which should be reopened to students next week. We hope to have our new Bike shed in place in memory of Mrs McLeod next week.

Finally for this week as usual it was one of our young people who has inspired me. She raised over £250.00 for charity simply through sponsorship. So this bank holiday weekend I will be baking for my son’s school in hope of raising money to support his school. The aim is to make 500 servings - if i was looking for something different to do from my usual day job then this is perfect! I just hope they turn out as well as some of the cakes I have bought in school at recent charity events. I hope you had a lovely Bank holiday too.

Environmental News

A great crested newt has been found in the pond on the TAHS conservation area. This surprising, but very welcome, discovery was caught by a year ten student, Ben Tunstall whilst sampling fresh water invertebrates during a lesson on indicator species. Ben was unaware of the importance of his discovery until Mrs North turned the ugly creature over to reveal the characteristic orange underbelly. It was a juvenile, which suggests that there is a breeding population within the pond. These are a protected species and the school will have to apply for a licence from Natural England if they wish to handle these rare individuals in the future.

Environmental Studies visit to Chartley Moss

Having been warned by the warden from Natural England of the very real danger of sinking through the peat into the 12m deep acidic, anoxic lake beneath our 6 intrepid students made their way gingerly over the floating peat bog. After listening to how Chartley SAC, the best example of a lowland floating peat bog in Europe, formed we managed to make the entire raft of peat, including the small trees supported by it, move by jumping up and down. We then walked or rather waded over to Creatures pool where we learnt how the unique habitat is one of only five sites in the UK where the white faced darter dragon fly is found. The visit was not only a memorable experience it has helped to prepare us for our forthcoming exam.

Dig For Victory Garden

As part of this years Midlands in Bloom competition, year nine students have taken up the challenge to design and plant a Dig for Victory garden on the school farm. This interdepartmental project involves students researching the topic during their history lessons and then putting their plans into action by growing the vegetables. Enthusiastic year nine students have been giving up their lunchtimes to dig over the plot and have made a start this week by planting shallots and potatoes.

Science Day at Middle Schools

As part of the transition programme members of the science department from Thomas Alleyne's High School, together with Graeme Jones from Keele University visited Windsor Park and Ryecroft middle schools for a 'Make it Molecular' session. Y8 students had great fun making molecular models of some well known chemicals such as caffeine and aspirin as well as some more unusual ones such as butyric acid (the smell of vomit!). This activity helped bring to life concepts they had been learning about in their science lessons. See photos from the email. Blooming Success on the school farm ELBS students were lucky enough to take part in a hanging basket work shop this week, when Simon Hinks from East Staffordshire Borough council came into school to demonstrate how they produce their magnificent floral displays. As well as thoroughly enjoying themselves, the students produced some beautiful baskets and tubs which will soon be on display around the school grounds

Piglets for Sale

We have also got 11 gorgeous landrace x pietrain piglets for sale. They will make fantastic meat pigs or will be great to breed from. £45 each, a bargain considering the great shape they are all showing! If interested please email:

We will also be sending 2 of the finished pigs to Sargeants the butchers next week, so we will soon be selling joints of our lovely pork from our well looked after pigs! If you are interested please get in contact with Rosie or Justine North (head of ELBS).

Science News

This week’s Science Students of the Week selected by Mr Milward are:

Jay Nevin and Sara Coxon in Year 9

Beth Walton and Ryan Krajewski in Year 10

Lucy Ormiston-Lee and Megan Jones in Year 11

This week we have nominations from Mr Gilson for Environmental Land Based Science Students of the Week:

Emily Beech and Codi Swinson in Year 10

Morgan Beesley and Sam Wilkinson in Year 11

Very well done to all!

GCSE Pod Login

1. open internet browser and go to

2. PC in school go to the shortcuts folder on desktop and select shortcut

3. Frog via the link on the iPhone

4. From school website click on the banner on top website home page

5. Download the Apple iPhone app from the app store

Year 11 Information

Y11 Study Leave and Celebration Day.

Y11 are required to attend school for all their lessons up until the May half term holiday. After that time they are only required in school for examinations or to attend revision and warm up sessions. The Y11 Celebration Day will be held on Friday 26th June. This is the earliest date it could be calendared after the exams.

PTA Picture Quiz

The PTA have organised a picture quiz for the summer term. Quiz sheets cost £1.00 each and will be available from the Main School Office from Tuesday 5.5.15. The prize for the winning entry is 4 tickets to Alton Towers theme park. Closing date is 3.30 pm on 15.7.15. All proceeds towards the replacement of student lockers.

The quiz is open to all.

News from Art

This week has seen the Art GCSE's and Short Course 10 hour controlled Assessments (exams) take place. Over 75 of our talented students have been busy working on a variety of sculptures, paintings and mixed media pieces on themes such as food, spirals, water, rituals etc. This work was started way back in February and represents 40% of their grade. A lot of hours have gone into these, with many of the most successful students making good use of the Art club after school and lunchtimes to get additional work and refinements done. A huge "well done!" to all the students involved. Y11 Art students will now be expected to come to art lessons as normal with their own revision materials for other subjects.

This week has also seen the start of the year 13 Fine Art and Photography exams, students here have their exams over the next few weeks and have to complete 15 hours controlled Assessment(exam0 to conclude their A levels. This requires a lot of focus and drive to resolve the exam themes which have again had diverse range such as 'particular place', 'fields and gardens', 'architectural forms' etc. Again many of our most successful 6th formers have made very good use of their non-contact time and art club to refine their work. Y13Art & Photography students will now be expected to come to lessons as normal with their own revision materials for other subjects.

The Applied Art and Design students are also nearing the end of their course (deadline 9am on Tues 5th May), and the Y13 Double Applied students will busy getting ready for the visiting examiner as well as their annual exhibition in June. We will post further details about the exhibition in the next blog- The students themselves will be designing the tickets and posters for this event- so look out for them. It is a great evening that celebrates the best of the Art department and is heavily attended by many visitors including local colleges and universities representatives each year

French Revision

French revision leading up tp the exam on Tuesday 12th May is on on Fridays at 3.05, all in room 10.

Sports News

This week saw 350 Year 1 and 2 pupils come to TAHS for a multiskills festival. The morning was a huge success, with the pupils experiencing a variety of sessions, including football, parachute games and domes and dishes. For the event to run smoothly 96 Year 9 pupils created and ran the sessions, encouraged the younger pupils and took them on many toilet trips! All pupils enjoyed themselves and one school emailed to say that our pupils "were all very polite and extremely helpful " and that "they are a credit to the school". Well done to all involved.

U15 Girls County Cup Final

The U15 girls were defeated by Kingsmead in the County Cup Final at Stafford Town on Tuesday. The team battled well and had some good spells of possession but unfortunately failed to score. Sophie Howe hit the cross bar and Alisha Hudson had a shot well saved, both of these players have been asked to attend County Trials.(i'll text you picture)Rounders Vs JCB AcademyA mixture of Y11 boy and girls beat JCB Academy 26-9 on Wednesday. It was an excellent batting display with every player scoring points and some fine fielding. Well played Eleanor Geofferson, Sofie Hughes, Imogen Greensill, Megan Gardiner, Sopie Rock, Molly Jordan, Charlie Bagnall, Alex Rock, Will Whitehurst, Fraiser Snowden, Morgan Beesley

Fixtures next week

Tuesday Yr 9 & 10 Girls Rounders Vs Paget (A)

Wednesday Yr 9 & 10 Athletics meet at Denstone

School Games Trampoline competition

Year 10 boys Rounders Tournament

Thursday - U16 Girls Football Vs Westwood (A)

The school riding team won the East Staffs Riding competition for the second year running, beating John Taylor and Abbotsholme.

Well done to all who took part

Tutor2u Workshops

Here are some photos from the tutor2u economics workshops at Salford quays today. Lots of great Economics revision!

Tackk App

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