more items on Sports Peeps, Performing Peeps and Young Peeps pages. Children in Need photos are in album in Gallery 2017
Nailsea School GCSE results up 10 per cent
It was big beams and a great buzz at Nailsea School on Thursday morning for its best ever GCSE results for nearly a decade.
With nearly three quarters of the students getting above average grades at English and maths it was the best set of exam results since pupils moved to the multi-million building in 2008-9.
Seventy four per cent of pupils gained Grade 4 or higher in English and maths, 52 per cent got Grade 5 or higher, 19 per cent got Grade 7 or higher and 10 per cent achieved Grade 8 or higher.
Head teacher Dee Elliot said: “This year has been one of huge change with a new examination system deliberately designed to be tougher.
“The fact that our school has had a fourth successive yearly increase in the core subject measure, with a 10 per cent improvement on 2016 is phenomenal.
“Breaking into the 70 per cent is a significant milestone for Nailsea School to have achieved.”
This year a new system for grading GCSE results is being used for the first time with the old A* to G grades being replaced with numbers from 9 to 1.
The first courses to use the new marking system are GCSE maths, English literature and English language exams taken this summer.
Next year this grading scheme will be extended to include GCSE science exams.
The new grading system scores pupils from 1 to 9, with Grade 9 being the highest mark and Grade 1 the lowest.
The Government predicts that a pupil who scored a C previously will receive a Grade 4 this year.
To get a level 9 is harder than getting an A*, meaning far fewer students will get the top mark.
Mrs Elliot added: “Today is a day for the students themselves who are rightly celebrating achievements at all levels.
“We work hard at Nailsea School to raise the aspirations and self-belief of all of our students so that they feel they can push themselves to do better than they think is possible.
“Today has demonstrated that this is the case.
“I am thrilled that the hard work of staff and students and the support of parents has culminated in these results today.
“I wish all students the best of luck in whatever the next stage of their education, employment or training is.
“Our 6th form curriculum means that we can offer any student a KS5 pathway, irrespective of GCSE results.
“It will be great to see more than 100 of the students returning to Year 12 at Nailsea in September.”
The new grading is only being rolled out in England with other countries in the UK sticking with the old A-G grading.
The young people getting their exam results at Nailsea School also collected the 2017 leavers Year Book which produced another round of big smiles.
Nationally it is reported the proportion of pupils achieving good GCSE passes in England has fallen this year, amid a blizzard of changes in exams and gradings, including the new nine-point scale in the key subjects of English and maths. There were weaker results in history, maths and geography than last year, but the picture was complicated by changing patterns of entries and some substantial increases in numbers taking the tests as schools adjusted to the new process. Overall, the proportion of students gaining at least a C, or a 4 under the new system, in England fell slightly, from 66.5% to 66.1%, but representatives of the examination boards said that in many subjects the results of older and younger pupils were affecting the national picture, reports Richard Adams and Sally Weale, for the Guardian newspaper.
Backwell School smashes GCSE benchmark
As changes to the GCSEs examinations and the new grading system for English and maths begins, Backwell School students continue to celebrate excellent GCSE results.
Eighty two per cent of students achieved a standard pass - Grade 4 or above - in both English and maths, while 66 per cent received a Grade 5 or higher in both subjects.
Overall 78 per cent of students achieved five A*-C grades including English and maths.
Forty five per cent of students achieved the very challenging combination of higher passes which earns them the English Baccalaureate.
Twenty seven of the new Grade 9 scores were received by Backwell students, who continue to reach the very highest levels of achievement.
One example of such excellence was Jemma Mayler, pictured top right, who achieved the highest grades available to her in every subject with nine A*s and three Grade 9s in English language, English literature and maths, and even found time to take an additional subject gaining an A* at A-level in creative writing.
Jemma couldn’t believe her results when she received them this morning.
She said: "It is all very surreal but it is also really affirming that all the hard work does pay off."
Jemma will be returning to Backwell sixth form in September working towards studying law at university.
Head teacher Jon Nunes said “I am extremely proud of the hard work and determination of our students.
"They have made fantastic progress during their five years with us, a great example being Proby Koskandawala.
"Proby’s final GCSE results were a collective 20 grades higher than expected – meaning that she averaged over two grades higher per subject than her targets – a truly incredible achievement.”
"We would like to congratulate our Year 11 students for all their achievements, both in and out of the classroom."
Backwell School key statistics
82% of students achieved Grade 4 in English and maths
66% of students achieved Grade 5 in English and maths
45% of students achieved the English Baccalaureate
78% of students achieved 5 A*-C grades including English and maths at Grade 4 or above
Our brilliant A-level year
It was mostly tears of joy and big smiles at Nailsea and Backwell secondary schools on Thursday, August 17, when students came to collect their A-level results.
Many already knew if the university of their choice was offering them a place after early morning emails.
And early morning it was at Backwell School as the doors opened at 8am for the young people to collect their envelopes.
Backwell School sixth formers were soon celebrating another excellent set of A-level results.
More than half of all exam entries were graded A* to B, with an impressive overall pass rate of 99.2 per cent.
Every single student achieved qualifications, with no fewer than 29 students achieving grades equivalent to AAA or higher.
Three students - Alice Griffiths, Jasmine Thomas and Alex Walder - gained at least three A* grades.
Also celebrating was head girl, Issie Dowse, who got the three A grades in chemistry, maths and biology she needs to go to veterinary school at Liverpool.
She said: “I have wanted to be a vet since I was 10 years old, and I am so excited to begin my training.”
Deputy head girl Jasmine Thomas is taking a gap year before heading off to Cambridge to read medicine.
And many other students at the village comprehensive are now looking forward to exciting future plans.
These include Katie Galbraith, who in December produced the sixth form production of Hairspray, which raised more than £4,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
She is heading to Essex University to further her knowledge of stage and production management, having easily surpassed their entry requirement of CDD with her results of ACC grades.
Outgoing head of sixth form, teacher Toby Rome, said: “I am incredibly proud of this group of students, who have not only achieved academic success, but also grown in so many other ways during the past two years.
“There are of course outstanding straight A* students, but these results also contain countless stories of individual successes against adversity.
“As a year group they have coped brilliantly with the disruption of ongoing changes to the structure of A-levels, and have consistently impressed me with their determination, good humour and thoughtfulness.”
An hour later and Nailsea School was ready to hand out its results.
On hand was head teacher Dee Elliot and head of sixth form Jon Reddiford.
Mrs Elliot said: “Year 13 students at Nailsea School are celebrating another year of superb A-level results, which are up for the third year in a row.
“The number of top grades were up as well with a quarter of A* or A grades being awarded.
“Following on from such great results students have been able to secure places on highly competitive courses at the most sought-after institutions.”
School president Josh Hayler is off to Oxford University to read music along with fellow straight A students Laura Packham and Alice Vaughan-Williams.
Laura will be reading Spanish and linguistics while for Alice Vaughan-Williams it will be maths.
The school maths results were outstanding.
Mrs Elliot added that in addition to this, other students have plans to take gaps years to travel before starting their university courses, joining the world of work or signing for apprenticeships.
Musical Anna Richardson who successfully completed A-levels in fine art and history is starting a song writing course while an ecstatic Charlotte Bray was over-the-moon to make the grade for a nursing degree.
Mr Reddiford said: "We are delighted and immensely proud of what our students have accomplished.
“Congratulations must also go to their teachers and parents for supporting students on achieving these fantastic results.”
After collecting their results many of the Nailsea and Backwell soon-to-be undergraduates headed for Wetherspoons at Nailsea for a well deserved celebratory breakfast.
College class success
Some North Somerset students including those from Nailsea and nearby decided to catch the special college bus and taken their further education qualifications at Weston-super-Mare.
And for many it is the right choice as A-level students at Weston College celebrated phenomenal results this year.
A total of 438 students took their A-levels this year with a pass rate of 99 per cent maintaining the outstanding pass rates the college has enjoyed year-on- year and showing the dedication of both staff and students to continually achieve.
There was more cause for celebration, with 49 per cent of students achieving the top grades of A*-B, and 80 per cent achieving A*-C.
Among the many success stories this year was Steven Eveleigh, who has achieved three A* grades in maths, law and geography and is its top performing student.
He has been offered a place at the University of Bath to read economics in September.
He said: “I’m so relieved to have gotten my results.
"I’ve loved my time at Weston College, and have met so many new people and have had some really amazing experiences.
"It’s definitely something I would do again.”
Katie Handley was also collecting her results today, and with be progressing to Bangor University for English literature with creative writing course.
Katie achieved two Bs in English literature and English language as well as media studies and communications.
She has described her experience at the college as 'so amazing'.
Katie said: “The teachers really helped me.
"I was worried in my first year, but because of the support I got I improved so much and that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my teachers.”
Weston College group chief executive and principal Dr Paul Phillips said: "Once again our students have proved how they can go above and beyond, and our lecturers have shown that they can create a learning environment in which our students can thrive.
“Our results reflect our high standards of teaching and our commitment to our learners.
"We are proud to be one of the top performing colleges in the country and our continued successes are a promise that all future learners will get the
very best education from us.
“Our students achieve results well above national and international norms.”
Sport personality 2017
It was a glittering evening at Cadbury House when hundreds of sporting stars from Nailsea Schoop got to meet rugby ace Tom Varndell at its presentation evening.
There were lots of individual winners in a variety of disciplines but the overall winners were Jack and Hannah who got to go home with the shields.
Hannah is a county football player.
Rugby ace at premier school sports event
Nailsea School has secured a top signing for its annual sports personality presentation evening.
Guest speaker Tom Varndell is the inspirational English rugby union footballer who plays wing for newly promoted Aviva Premiership club Bristol Rugby.
Varndell also has caps for England and England Sevens as well as having represented other Aviva Premiership sides Leicester Tigers and Wasps.
He is currently the leading try scorer in the Aviva Premiership.
The event on Tuesday, July 18, is at Cadbury House Hotel.
The PE department at Nailsea School benefits from top of the range sport and dance facilities including:
a dance studio with sprung floor, mirrored wall, dance bar, retractable seating and full sound system;
sports hall including four full sized badminton/netball/volleyball courts/Indoor hockey pitch;
all weather pitch – the only one of its kind in the country, with underfloor drainage and full floodlighting;
Two multi-use games areas, housing six fenced in netball courts; and
sports pitch and playing fields at Golden Valley.
Find 41 scarecrows
A Superheroes Scarecrow Trail around Nailsea, raising funds for Golden Valley Primary School, is on Saturday and Sunday, July 15-16.
This year the annual PTA event is being organised by mum Franny Rutherford with a team of helpers.
Maps at £2 to find the 41 scarecrows are on sale at town centre outlets Coates House and the Royal Mail Delivery Centre or any Golden Valley School Association committee members.
The weekend trail runs from 9am to 8pm each day and as well as quessing who the hero is they is an opportunity to choose your favourite scarecrow.
The Scarecrow is a character in the fictional Land of Oz created by American author L Frank Baum and illustrator WW Denslow.
In his first appearance, the Scarecrow reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one.
Happy 40th birthday Golden Valley
Golden Valley Primary School opened in Nailsea 40 years ago and all week it celebrated its four decades by invited parents, pupils and staff past and present to a series of assemblies and special exhibitions.
The Nailsea Park school actual 40th birthday was September 2016, the 13th to be exact.
But due to major building works last September the celebration was delayed until Saturday afternoon, July 1, 2017.
There was an exhibition of photographs and exercise books.
The carefully handwritten original class register of just over 100 pupils included details of their addresses, dates of birth, date of entry and where they were from plus their dates of leaving and destination.
Nailsea town and district councillor Jan Barber has been a school governor for 33 years.
She said: “It was all quite nostalgic for me as my younger daughter Fiona was number 70 in the register.
“The school has only had three headteachers, Richard Brock, Alan Shaw and Kevin Lynch which quite an achievement.
“Previous heads, Richard and Alan had taken assemblies during the week running up to Saturday and both were present at the event able to reflect on their experiences and relate various anecdotes to accompany the slide show featuring the original photographs.
“Two of the original five teachers were present, Angela Bellamy and Carol Langford.
Also several past teachers including Carys Legg, Wendy Davey and Rosemary Grainger, other staff members and a host of past pupils and their parents.
“We were able to see round the school and the various changes which have been made.
“The afternoon was rounded off with scones, cream and jam plus drinks in the new kitchen area.
“Altogether a most enjoyable occasion which certainly stirred many memories.
Leading up to the open day children have been doing various ‘history’ projects about the 1970s which made some former pupils feel quite ancient!
Another former parent David Britton went along and took lots of modern day photos.
He said: “Both our children went to Golden Valley, Simon started in 1977 and Sarah in 1979.
“Sarah came with me to the 40th anniversary open day, it was fine weather so we took a short cut across the Scotch Horn playing field through the Nailsea carnival fair crowds, we arrived at the school at about 2.30 just in time for a slide show of past old photos about Golden Valley school.
“We were in quite a crowded main hall where present head teacher Mr Lynch gave a humorous commentary about the photos assisted by previous heads – Mr Brock and Mr Shaw.
“We had a great time looking at loads of old photos and having a look around the school, I had to put a photo in of the excellent LS Lowry paintings the children had done and were displayed on the wall of one corridor.”
Felicity Brock, who is a former secondary school geography teacher, said: Golden Valley school opened early September 1976 but they could not have the party last September as the school was shrouded in scaffolding.
“Mr Lynch opened the proceedings on Saturday with a slide show of photos over the years, starting with a very young, looking Richard Brock, complete with flares, showing the way in.
“There were 101 pupils on roll covering all ages.
“After the slide show and commentary by Mr Lynch, Mr Shaw and Richard said a few words and then everyone started to mingle.
“The Hall had been laid out with displays of photos – events, teams, classes and staff.
“It was very interesting to see the changes in fashion!
“Richard had also taken a selection of mainly art work from the time he was there.
“Ex pupils enjoyed finding any they had produced.
“House captains and other pupils were on hand to give guided tours of the school.
“Richard and I found it fascinating to see the changes to the building we knew and were impressed with the additions and adaptations.
“Ex members of staff from the early days who attended were Mrs Bellamy, Mrs Langford, Mrs Thomas and Mrs Warry.
“There were other staff from the later years present as well but we only knew former deputy head teacher Jo Hopkinson.
“Richard was somewhat taken aback by the number of ex pupils and parents who wanted to speak to him.
“Among them was Jenny Nelms who had run the ballet school our daughters Debbie and Anne attended.
“The event started at 2pm and wound up at 4.30.
“Throughout the afternoon refreshments were on hand in the new studio area which were very welcome as the weather was so kind.
“Towards the end the huge birthday cake was cut.
“It was a lovely afternoon.
“In the week running up to the party first Richard and then Mr Shaw went in to the school and gave talks about their time in the school to all the pupils.”
School art exhibition makes big impression
From Picasso to Kandinsky, from in-your-face artwork to examples of modern finesse the annual art exhibition at Nailsea School was a masterpiece of creativity.
On show was work by Year 11 and 13 students plus KS3 projects and is was a jaw-dropping show of talent that could grace many a professional gallery.
Using all mediums of expression from oils to charcoal, digital to clay, wow,wow, wow.
Well done young people - excellent.
End of term, end of year, end of schooldays
more prom photos in Gallery 2017 click HERE
Juniors have a senior musical moment
Pupils from a North Somerset school performed a special concert for residents at Abbots Leigh Nursing Home, including songs from the musicals and traditional classics.
The junior choir, made up of children aged seven to 11-years from Fairfield School at Backwell, performed a programme of memorable favourites including We’ll Meet Again and Run Rabbit Run by Dame Vera Lynn, popular songs from the musicals including Let’s Go Fly a Kite and traditional pieces like Lord Of The Dance.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton, said: “The children performed to an exceptionally high standard and were praised for the quality of their voices.
“The song choices were perfect and the residents sang along with the choir, which was lovely. Everyone, young and old, thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.”
For more information visit http://fairfield.school/
We're all going on a summer holiday
Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage at Fairfield School, Backwell, performed a special summer concert for parents and teachers.
The pupils in Lambs aged two to three; nursery aged three to four; and reception aged four to five, dressed up as bus, car and train drivers and holidaymakers to put on the show all relating to the whole school topic of journeys.
Singing songs around this theme, the children delighted the audience at the North Somerset independent school.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton said: “The children sang beautifully and enthusiastically and the concert was enjoyed by all!
“Everyone enjoyed the theme of Journeys as we prepare for the upcoming summer holidays ahead!”
Fairfield School is an independent co-educational school for children aged 2 to 11.
Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 22 at Fairfield School, with many much smaller and there is a very wide range of clubs and activities, sport, music and drama to cater for the interests of all pupils.
Fairfield is historically a PNEU School, which means it is affiliated to the Parents’ National Education Union.
There are PNEU schools throughout the UK and the world.
For more information click HERE.visit
What not to wear to school today
While some schools are being sticklers for rules insisting pupils wear their blazers in this heatwave – and being rewarded for their stupidity by being feature on the Mail Online - others like Nailsea School has a sensible (sun)hat on saying students can wear shorts and T-shirts while the soaring summer temperatures persist.
On Friday, June 23, however, the Mizzymead Road comprehensive has another fundraising non-uniform day and a different dress code is in place.
Nailsea School headteacher Dee Elliot said: “Due to the weather conditions of this week students will be able to wear PE kit as school uniform for Wednesday and Thursday, June 21-22.
“Students have the option of wearing school PE kit which must include appropriate shorts and approved school PE tops.
“If students do not feel comfortable wearing this then students can remain in normal uniform.
“It would be advisory that students also prepare for these days by using sun cream with appropriate factor level and ensuring students have a water bottle.
“A gentle reminder that the Friday will also be a non-uniform day to support the Grenfell tower charity.
“Students should consider the temperature when selecting the clothes for Friday.”
Nailsea School students, and staff can pay £1 to dress ‘green’ and raise money for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.
However, a note of caution as Mrs Elliot has put a ban on ‘onesies, morph suits’ or any clothing considered inappropriate.
Green For Grenfell is supported by church schools in London and is part of a wider campaign launched by the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund on behalf of residents of Grenfell Tower.
The Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund was set up in 2010 to help grassroots charities tackling poverty, inequality and exclusion across the capital.
Since its launch in 2010, the Dispossessed Fund has raised £18.02 million from the public, business, government, Comic Relief and the Big Lottery.
This is the most money ever raised by a newspaper campaign outside of war or natural disaster.
So far it has distributed £11.96 million in 1,117 grants, helping more than 150,000 people across the capital.
STOP PRESS: On another note – who likes the new Backwell School uniform? Not as nice as St Trinians? The white polo shirts with curling collars seem to be 50 shades of grey after a few washes and ill-matched with tartan skirts #saynotouniformsdesignedbyteachers perhaps?
Fairfield pupil's have got talent
Teachers and pupils were treated to an afternoon of entertainment at Fairfield School’s for a talent show.
Pupils in Years 3-6 pulled out all the stops for Fairfield’s Got Talent, showcasing their skills in singing, dancing, magic, comedy, piano playing and puppetry.
Organised by the School Council at the Backwell school, the performance event was a roaring success with children praised for their confidence and professionalism on stage.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton said: “We’ve always known our lovely pupils are immensely talented but to see some of them up on stage doing a fantastic job of their chosen skill, was a proud moment for teachers.
“Their enthusiasm and confidence was a joy to behold and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
"We just hope they remember us when they’ve made the big time!”
Fairfield School is an independent co-educational school for children aged two to 11 years.
Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 22 at Fairfield School, with many much smaller and there is a very wide range of clubs and activities, sport, music and drama to cater for the interests of all pupils.
Fairfield is historically a PNEU School, which means it is affiliated to the Parents’ National Education Union. There are PNEU schools throughout the UK and the world.
For more information click HERE.
And the winners are...
Backwell School held a mock general election - here are its results.
Meanwhile at Nailsea School there were elections for the role of presidents and the head boys and girls of each house.
The following students were elected:
School president - Pedro Malheiros
Vice presidents - Charlie Cayzer and Jack Carlton
Head boy/girl Dragon House - Sam Bell and Annabelle Hanley
Deputy head boy/girl Dragon House - Lorenzo Milleri and Ellie Lloyd-Jones
Head boy/girl Griffin House - Charlie Williams and MacKenzie Edgell-Port
Deputy head boy/girl Dragon House - Sam Henley and Molly Draper
Head boy/girl Phoenix House - Ace Chandler and Grace Cook
Deputy head boy/girl Phoenix House - Jack Bidgood and Emily Napier
Head boy/girl Unicorn House - Finn Stephens and Mollie Pearce
Deputy head boy/girl Unicorn House - Dan Hardwell and Rachel Hill
To read Nailsea School summer bulletin with important term dates click HERE.
One 'giant leap’ for Nailsea physics teacher
Nailsea School physics teacher Tom Pearson has headed off to a brave new world this week with a very special invitation to the Space and Rocket Centre at Alabama in the US.
The comprehensive school science teacher was selected from hundreds of applicants to take part in a course specifically designed to inspire teachers and ignite a passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) learning in the class room.
Teachers from all around the world are invited to apply for the course in space science where, attendees have the opportunity to learn about living and working in microgravity, the international space station, rocketry, astronomy and astrophysics.
Mr Pearson is undergoing astronaut-style training sessions as well as space science related workshops that can be brought back into the classroom.
He was accepted onto the course in early January and has received a full scholarship which covers all his costs including flights, accommodation, the training course, tour of NASA and flight suit.
Space and Rocket Centre chief exectuive officer Deborah Barnhart hopes the experience will 'power up your classroom, reinforce the relationship of STEM education to workforce development and to prepare the next generation to lead us into the future'.
The course is a week and a half long.
Mr Pearson returns to Nailsea School in a fortnight when he has promised to share the experience with his students, fuelling their lessons with space-camp inspiration - including the possibility of learning about how to land a shuttle on the moon.
Headteacher Dee Elliott said: "We are very proud of Mr Pearson for following his ambition and are looking forward to his return, when he can share with the school this exceptional experience – which I am sure both staff and students will find truly aspirational.”
Golden Valley's 40th
Golden Valley Primary School at Nailsea is 40-years-old.
To celebrate its ruby anniversary the school is inviting pupils, teachers, parents, governors, PTA people and anyone else associated with the school past and present to join its celebrations on Saturday afternoon, July 1.
The event is from 2-4pm and all headteachers from Richard Brock to Alan Shaw and the present incumbent Kevin Lynch will be in attendance.
Only three head teachers in four decades is quite an acheivement.
Mr Brock opened the school and is known for his love of Morris dancing, Mr Shaw hails from Yorkshire and saw the school grow and Mr Lynch oversaw the huge extension and playing field fencing project.
Its latest Ofsted rates the school 'outstanding'.
Current house captains will give tours of the school and there will be an opportunity to view the school log books, look at displays and photographs from the archives.
Mr Lynch said: "The GVSA will be there to serve refreshments and hopefully the weather will be nice for us to enjoy the grounds too.
"We would also love to hear memories of your time at GV from any ex-pupils so that we can share them in assembly with the children in the week leading up to the weekend celebrations.
"If you would like to share some thoughts please email them through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SCHOOLS OUT: Those crazy, lazy days of summer await because many of these Year 13 students celebrating the end of their formal schooling will be back after half term to take A-levels. The bouncy castle and fancy dress is a long established last day tradition at Nailsea School before the world of paid work or further education follows
Nailsea School sending support to Manchester
The Manchester Evening News led the way and now nearly £2 million has been donated for those affected by the Arena bombing.
Several crowdfunding campaigns have been set up to raise funds for the families and loved ones of the victims of the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena on Monday evening when 22 people - including children - were killed in an explosion that tore through fans leaving an Ariana Grande pop concert.
Dozens more were injured.
Following the horrific events Nailsea School staff were provided with information about how to support any students asking questions or feeling particularly affected.
The attack was discussed in school as it was obvious it had really resonated among the students who had identified with both the circumstances and the victims.
Two Year 10 students, Molly Draper and Rachel Hill felt strongly that they wanted to help and approached staff with their ideas.
Staff were more than happy to support the girls who were instrumental in organising a fundraising event including a massive cake sale on Friday, May 26.
More than £750 was raised and all the money will be given to support the families of those who have been directly affected in Manchester.
Head teacher Dee Elliott said: “Yet again, I have been overwhelmed by the spirit of the students at Nailsea and feel safe in the knowledge that the young people in our community will leave our doors and do their very best to make the world a better place.”
To give visit the crowdfunding page by clicking HERE.
Meet the midwife and more...
A new style of careers event was trialled at Nailsea School this term where students took part in a speed-dating style set-up.
Meet The Medics was an opportunity for students from all age groups to interview professionals from the medical sector.
The school worked with Tyntesfield Medical Group to organise the event and were extremely grateful to the surgery, Boots Opticians and also to a number of parents from the medical profession that got involved.
Experts included GPs, nurses, health visitors, opticians, medical students, radiographer, physiotherapist, phlebotomist, ward manager, midwife, clinical managers and more.
Both the medics and the students expressed how much they had enjoyed the career session and the experts appreciated the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience to help the students.
One medic said: "Students were really focussed, interested and asked some great questions.“
A nurse said: “My job is hard work particularly with all the cut backs and it feels so good to be able to help young people gather ideas in this way.”
Staff remarked how the atmosphere in the school atrium as students made their way around the room was really warm and engaging.
With many of the students asking for further events in this style there are now plans to repeat with other sectors including environment/conservation, creative arts and the leisure industries.
The events team will ask students to vote for their preferences but anyone from the community who is interested in getting involved please contact eents officer Annette Mrs Watts by email on email@example.com.
Musical recital at Nailsea School
Nailsea School music department hosted a fabulous night of entertainment with its Music Recital concert.
Students many having achieved Grade 8 with distinction of their musical instrument of choice performed a variety of classical pieces.
The talent at Nailsea School goes from strength to strength as new members take up the baton.
During the years sixth formers Alice Vaughan-Williams and Laura Packham have performed outstanding flute duets and trios.
On this occasion they opened the show with the Trio Of The Young Ishmaelites from l'enfance du Christ Op 25 by Berlioz and the audience were not disappointed.
The audience were treated to musical pieces by a range of performers and styles.
Sisters Abby Capern (Year 10) and Sophie Capern (Year 8) sang Someone Like You and the Letter.
Head of music Lynda Perkins said: "Their songs were heartfelt and their voices blended with musical vocal harmonies.”
Sam Schaefer playing the piano performed his AS recital pieces, entertaining the audience with pieces by Bach, Berkely and Joplin.
Meanwhile Velsemoy's Song by Halvorsen was performed by celloist Ellie Lloyd-Jone.
Mrs Perkin said Sam’s pieces were played with ‘pizazz’ and that Ellie’s rendition showed ‘great skill’.
Nocturno by Strauss was played on the French horn by Katherine Dumbell - a difficult piece.
Later Lydia Moore gave a stylish performance of a piece by Purcell on her trombone.
Pianist Joshua Hayler impressed the audience with his rendition of Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata.
Mrs Perkins said: “Josh, showed excellent technical ability and mastered the music with ease.”
The recital was brought to a close by flautists Alice Vaughan-Williams and Laura Packham who played Caliente by Callende.
Mrs Perkins added: “The recital has been an overwhelming success with brilliant contributions from all of our participants – I am extremely proud of the quality of their performances.”
Some of the music department’s stalwart members leave Nailsea School this summer, and three of them, Alice, Joshua and Laura head off to Oxford University.
This recital proves there are further significant contributions to be made from the next pool of talent at Nailsea School.
Backwell School in national dance off
Backwell School Year 7 Dance Club has made it through to the national grand final of the Great Big Dance Off.
The troupe of 22 students competed in the regional finals at St Georges on Thursday, April 28.
The students have worked extremely hard, just one lunchtime a week, to make their performance piece so impressive.
Having also performed in assemblies and in the North Somerset Dance Festival the same week they thoroughly deserve the opportunity to compete against schools around the country.
Their performance, to Waka Waka by Shakira, meant the group won their KS3 category meaning they secured their place in the final on Monday, July 3, at Wellingborough.
Maths teacher Megan Hayward, who is the dance club coach and choreographer, said: "The dedication and commitment the girls have shown is fantastic.
"They have all worked incredibly hard and have been rewarded - well done girls.
"We are all looking forward to the final stage of the competition.”
The team are already practicing for the grand final and the school (and Nailsea People) is wishing them the best of luck.
The Great Big Dance Off is a popular national dance competition open to schools all across England and Wales.
It is the only national dance competition aimed solely at schools.
Its vision is to create an exciting competition bringing together children of all ages and abilities where the emphasis is on having a good time.
Each school can enter as many teams as it likes.
Whatever preferred style of dancing, or level of experience it looks for imagination, dedication and teamwork which the Backwell School team proved they had in buckets.
First class first aid
Ten Nailsea School sixth form students have succcessfully completed an emergency first aid at work training course.
They learned how to deal with burns, choking and how to use a defibrillator as well as managing patients coping with seizures, shock and bleeding as well as other emergency skills.
As part of the course, students practised the resuscitation technique (CPR) on a Resusci- Anne doll.
The training was given undertaken by in-house expert Chris Perry who trained to teach the course in 2016.
Students were invited to attend the course on a voluntary basis during the Easter holiday as an opportunity to help expand their CV.
Operations manager Mr Perry said “I am impressed by the commitment of the students, first aid training is a very useful skill, not only in the workplace but wherever a situation might occur.”
Nailsea School students stand together at Westminster
Nailsea School student council experienced a thought provoking trip to London this week taking in the London Eye, a boat trip along the Thames and the Palace of Westminster.
Nailsea School was one of the first groups to visit Parliament following the horrific attack last week.
A number of parliamentary workers expressed their appreciation that Nailsea’s trip had continued as planned following the many cancellations they had received since the attack.
Many of the students expressed determination that they would not be deterred from visiting London despite the unsettling events just days before.
It was clear security had been heightened and flowers and tributes were a very poignant reminder of the recent terrible events.
Nailsea School staff were proud students responded with typical maturity and sensitivity particularly when in the vicinity of Parliament and the parliamentary staff were clearly very thankful of the support.
Students had the fantastic opportunity of seeing live debates in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords as part of their tour of the historic buildings.
This was followed up with a workshop where the students were set a number of challenges to focus their learning on democracy and how laws are made.
Students split into two sides, each with a Leader, and set about proposing a bill. One of the head boys, Ben, acted as Speaker to call for 'order' and manage the debate as students lobbied for a change in the funding of higher education.
After Ben added up the 'ayes' to the right and 'nos' to the left students were interested to find out the House of Commons at exactly the same time had also experienced a division and members were voting in exactly the same way.
Events officer Annette Watts, said “The trip is an amazing behind the scenes chance to witness first-hand the parliamentary system at work.
"The parliamentary guides and workshops are outstanding and students learn in a very practical way.
"Given that the student ages range from 11 to 18 students work together very well and everyone learnt new facts about democracy and the complex, rigorous systems used in government.”
POLICE SESSIONS: Young people at Nailsea School listened and learned about the dangers of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) and the psychedelic drug ASB from police community beat and response officers in an awareness session at the Mizzymead Road campus this week.
Nailsea School Red Nose Day 2017
FILM FUN: Schools just wanna have fun while raising monies for Comic Relief. At Nailsea School it was the staff who wore regulation uniform to raise funds and paid the penalty for the many violations including coloured hair extensions, high definition eyebrows and the cardinal sin of sporting trainers. The clothes swap saw students wearing something red or mufti outifts. It was the student council which set the fundraising policy and imposed on-the-spot fines for any deviants.There was also a cake sale and two Year 11 students took part in a sponsored leg waxing during break time. A lip synching battle between teachers the day before Red Nose Day saw teachers go head to head in a dramatic battle of mime. A BBC cameraman filmed the event and it is hoped clips will be broadcast during the live televised programme. Other schools Comic Relief Day fundraisers included at Grove junior and Hannah More infant schools on Friday a non uniform day with the younger children manning a secondhand book stall at Whiteoak Way. St Francis RC Primary School at Station Road sold out of red noses days before the big event. For a donation of £1 the children added a red T-shirt, socks or ribbon to their school uniform. Primary aged children at Kingshill Church School, at Pound Lane, paid £1 to come to school dressed in red and Backwell School students ditched the tartan skirts and polo shirts for a non-uniform day on Friday for for Comic Relief.
Nailsea School life of Pi
Students across Nailsea School were invited by the maths department to celebrate Pi day this week.
The day which is celebrated around the globe was established in the US in 1988.
March 14 was chosen because of its significance in relation to the number of Pi - 3.14.
A number of challenges were set around the school including Guess The Pi – a catchphrase game.
where illustrations represent a commonly used term – for example Pumpkin Pie.
Pictures of the ‘dingbats’ were dotted around the school for students to take part in a Pi treasure trail.
A competition was also held at lunchtime with students being challenged to remember the most
digits of Pi, competitors were awarded for their efforts with a delicious pie!
A quiz was also available for students to take part in – with more pies for prizes!
Maths teacher Bethan Plaw helped organized the day.
She said:"Pi day is a great excuse to celebrate maths.
"This year it has been bigger and better than ever.
"It's been so lovely to see so many students enjoying themselves doing the various Pi activities".
The finale of the day included an after school masterclass in Pi for some of the schools 'more able and talented' students from Years 7-9.
School holiday dates 2018-19
Term dates for the 2018-19 school year are now under review and anyone with an interest in children and young people’s education is invited to have their say.
Every year North Somerset Council discusses the proposed term and holiday dates for the school year due to start in just under two years’ time.
North Somerset executive member with responsibility for children and young people and Nailsea district councillor Jan Barber said: "Parents, carers, teachers, support staff, governors, head teachers and anyone with an interest in our children and young people’s education are invited to have their say.
“Although some schools are permitted to set their own term dates, many have asked the council to continue to suggest dates to provide a basis for school level decisions.”
The dates being proposed for 2018-19 are based on a calendar of 195 days, which allows for staff development days to be set within term time, and are as follows:
Term 1: Monday to Friday, September 3-October 26, 2018 (40 days)
Term 2: Monday to Friday, November 5-December 21 2018 (35 days)
Term 3: Monday to Friday, January 7-February 15, 2019 (30 days)
Term 4: Monday to Friday, February 25-April 5, 2019 (30 days)
Term 5 Tuesday to Friday, April 23-May 24, 2019 (23 days)
Term 6 Monday to Tuesday, June 3-July 23, 2019 (37 days)
Comments on the proposed dates should be made on the council’s website by clicking HERE.
All comments and suggestions must be submitted by Friday, April 7, this year.
NEXT CHAPTER: To add your images to this gallery email to firstname.lastname@example.org - thanks
Stacking up school numbers
Backwell School will be full up this September and Nailsea School will only have two spare spaces for children moving up from primary education.
But most North Somerset children moving from primary to secondary school this September are going to their first choice school.
Local authority figures released on Wednesday, March 1, show it is only the Weston-super-Mare schools with lots of unallocated places although St Katherine's (31) and Clevedon (21) school still have space.
Gordano is the largest school in the area and it has only one space.
While Nailsea, which has the most modern building and state-of-the-art facilities is among the smaller community secondaries, it has room to expand should the proposed hundreds of new homes get built int he town.
School budgets are based on being paid a set amount for each pupil by the local authority with add-ons for students with 'additional needs' .
Schools nearer London and in areas of social deprivation get more.
Currently the figure varies from just over £4,000 in Wokingham, Berkshire, to just under £7,000 in the London borough of Tower Hamlets.
There are, however, other sources of income for schools including post-16, high need, early years and pupil premium funding.
Could 11+ exam return?
Secondary head teachers in North Somerset have written to Prime Minister Theresa May, urging her to reconsider proposals for new grammar schools, writes Judith Burns for the BBC.
North Somerset is one of only six areas identified by one think tank as likely to benefit from selection - to read full report click HERE.
This could see the return of the dreaded 11+ exam.
The original secondary modern school at Backwell was founded by Somerset County Council in 1954.
Nailsea School opened as a grammar school in 1959 with just 90 pupils.
Both became comprehensive schools in the 1970s when the tripartite education system was abolished in the area.
Pictured top is Nailsea School Year 11 photocall.
This is the old fifth form and pupils will either be going on to do A-levels in the sixth form, taking up an apprenticeship or joining a college course after the summer break which seems a long way away.
Ready, steady cook
The heat was on for eight students completing for the title of Nailsea School Young Chef Of The Year.
The event was supported by Nailsea and Backwell Rotary Club and was the first time the competition had been held at the Mizzymead Road campus.
The young chefs had to cook a two-course meal, consisting of lasagna as a main course followed by a cheesecake.
The ingredients of the lasagna were the same, but the cheesecake all had the same basic recipe but students were encouraged to be innovative with their choice of biscuit base, and the flavourings added to the cheesecake filling.
A range of culinary delights were created including a zesty lemon and lime cheesecake accompanied by hand made star biscuits made by Mia Birdseye.
The ingredients were funded by the Rotary Club whose nominated taste tester was Peter Hoare.
Mr Hoare and headteacher Dee Elliott judged the entries on their presentation and on their taste while scores were also given by teacher Catherine Hounsell for their work in the kitchen including good practice and technique.
Mr Hoare presented the awards of £30 and a winner’s apron for first prize, £20 for second prize and £10 for third prize.
The award winners were thrilled with their prizes and those that took part really enjoyed the experience.
The competition is part of a national scheme run by the Rotary Club, this year’s competition was a pilot for Nailsea School.
Mrs Elliot said: The standard of the entries was extremely high, both in terms of presentation and in the taste.
“A superb effort by all.”
And the title went to Year 8 student Shaza Lee, with Year 10 student Mateusz Wlodarczyk second and in third place Year 7 Matthew Galpin.
FAMOUS FIVE: Nailsea School maths teacher Beth Plaw and some superfit sixth formers ran the Weston Christmas Cracker 10K and raised £200 in sponsorship for Weston Hospice and the school PTA. Organised by Weston Athletic Club runners are actively encouraged to wear fancy dress or at the very least one piece of tinsel - many dress up as Santa Claus ho ho ho
Winning with reflective images
Young photograpers from Nailsea School took part in the annual competition run by Nailsea & Backwell Rotary Club.
Students across the year groups submitted images on the theme Reflections and ponds, rivers and boats featured in many of the entries.
Three prizes were given in the two categories Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 and 5.
The work is on display in the art department foyer.
Oliver Sparks who was the winner in the KS3 category received a £25 Amazon voucher.
Second place went to Harry Tiernan who got a £15 voucher and Sim Samra came third winning a £10 voucher.
In the second KS4 and KS5 category first prize went to Chelsie Brain, second prize to Laura Smith and third place to Kelly Doody.
Top in tables
A North Somerset school has been named as one of the top 100 independent preparatory schools in a feature in the Sunday Times.
Fairfield School at Backwell was ranked at number 67 in a list of schools ranked for SATs (Standard Attainments Tests).
The national newspaper produced the rankings by adding three English scores for reading, grammar and writing, to the maths result from Key Stage 2 Sats in 2015.
Headmistress Lesley Barton said: “It is fantastic to get national recognition in this way for all the hard work of the children and staff in our small school.
"We believe that at the heart of our success is the secure, happy and vibrant environment that we have created for our children.
“It was pleasing to see that our school ranks with some of the best in the country and is the leading school in this region.”
Fairfield School was ranked above Clifton College in Bristol, which was 95th and Red Maids’ Junior School in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, which was 100th.
Zippy fundraising challenge
Looking for a challenge and wanting to help a charity too?
On Sunday, November 20, to mark the end of National Anti-bullying Week and to raise funds for Wellspring Counselling people from Nailsea are signed up for a sponsored zip wire challege.
The wire is one of the UK's longest zip wires and is at The National Diving & Activity Centre at Chepstow.
The wire is 700 metres long, 70 metres high and will reach speeds up to 40 miles per hour.
It you would like to join in this amazing feat to sign up and get sponsor forms call Wellspring Counselling on 01275 810879 or email: email@example.com.
Wellspring is a small local charity that provides affordable counselling for adults and free counselling for 11-18 year olds in North Somerset.
PRETTY IN PINK: Nailsea School has four houses which take it in turn to hold an annual charity day. This month it was the turnof Dragon Hous and students chose to support BUST, Clic Sargent and Weston Hospicare with a mufti day and cake bake. Dragon House joint head Jeff Morris was sponsored to were a pink tutu and the grand total topped £1,160. Well done everyone.
Backwell Schools’ GCSE students are celebrating another great set of results.
Despite pundits warning of doom and gloom the North Somerset 2016 results for two local schools are brilliant - see Nailsea School below.
Seventy-six per cent of the Backwell School year group achieved at least A*-C grades in English and maths, and 74 per cent of students achieved five grades A*-C including English and maths.
Thirty-five students gained eight or more A* or A grades, among them: Huw Evans 12A*, 1A; Luke Barrett and Tom Slade 11A*, 2A; Esther Leong and Will Cattermole 9A*, 2A and Sophie Ettle 9A*, 3A.
In Attainment 8, one of the government’s new measures this year, students have done superbly well.
Head teacher Julian Baldwin said: “We are so proud of these young people.
“Not only have they have worked really hard in and out of the classroom, but they have contributed so much to school life during the past five years.
“They are a credit to the school and themselves in so many ways.
“As a comprehensive school we are celebrating every single student who has achieved their best.
“Students such as Justine Segar, Anna Bassett and Sara Flower – the progress that they have made since joining Backwell School has been immense.”
Huw Evans, who achieved 12 A* and an A said: “I am so shocked, but I am so happy.
“To work really hard, it sometimes felt like this day would never come, and to do so well is just amazing.”
Backwell School head teacher Julian Baldwin isleaving at the end of the term. He is taking retirement and won't see the introduction of a new uniform for September which includes polo shirts for all and pleated knee-length blue/black tartan skirts for the girls. Despite advertising twice governors failed to appoint a successor for the £80K pa job so decided to give deputy head Jon Nunes an interim post for the next academy year. Backwell has more than 1,700 children on roll with hundreds bused in from other North Somerset villages or walking from Nailsea.
PHOTO: Top is the successful GCSE year group jumping for joy and from left is Esther Leong, Justine Segar and Huw Evans. The top chart shows pupils whose results are 'outstanding' and below are the pupils who have made 'outstanding' progress since joining the secondary school.
Images © Backwell School
Aspire, Believe, Succeed
Nailsea School GCSE success
Nailsea School staff and Year 11 students are celebrating another very successful year in the GCSE results.
For the third year in a row the number of students achieving the 5A*-C including English and mathematics has improved, this year to 65 per cent, well above the national average and a further indication that the school is continuing each year to make improvements.
The school has now seen an 18 per cent rise is results in the past three years.
The most pleasing aspect of this year’s results is the positive value added, meaning that the school has delivered significant progress for the students.
Head teacher Chris Wade, paid tribute to the efforts of the students.
He said: "This year I have been so proud of the commitment and hard work that our Year 11s put in.
"The maturity and work ethic they displayed has really paid off with some outstanding results.
"The dedication and tenacity of our teaching staff has also helped make such a difference.
"We are proud to have a can do and positive culture in the school which really supports the students to push themselves.
"To improve our results each year is great, but there is still much to do and I expect to see these results continue to rise in the future.
"All the students deserve recognition for their individual results, at whatever grade, particularly if they achieved better than expected.”
Among the results were some fantastic individual performances with Jasmine Wood achieving 12A*, Fin Elskamp 7A*and 5A, Sam Schaeffer 7A* and 4A, Natalia Jarvis 7A* and 2A, Cat Coates with 5A* and 5A, Meg Walker with 3A* and 8A and
Charlie Cayzer with 3A* and 7A.
Mr Wade added: "Whether they are staying on to the Sixth Form, moving on to another educational setting, or entering the world of work, the staff at Nailsea School wish every Year 11 the very best for the future."
Images © Nailsea School
Nailsea School 99%+ pass rate
Staff and Sixth Form students at Nailsea School are delighted with the A-level results this year, which were even better than last year.
Head teacher Chris Wade who leaves the school at the end of October said “In a time of great change in the A-level syllabus I am so pleased that the hard work and dedication of our staff and students has resulted in such improvement in every measure.
“I am so proud of the achievements of all our students whatever their final grade and to have an overall pass rate of more than 99 per cent is fantastic.
With nearly a quarter of results being at A* or A and half the results being at A* to B the outcomes are a demonstration that Nailsea School is continuing to provide an outstanding education for its post 16 learners.
The percentage of students achieving A*-C is 72 per cent which is up on last year’s results by over 10 per cent and A*-D was 90 per cent up by more than eight per cent.
School presidents Alex George and Ann Dumbell did exceptionally well with results of A*A*A and AAAC respectively.
Other stand out students were Emma Sudol, with A*AA, Katie Smith with AAAA, Archie Bailey with A*AB; Georgia Clarke with A*AC; and Hannah Barratt, Chloe Camsell and Jess Simmons, all achieving AAB.
Mr Wade added: “With the anxious wait finally over Nailsea students can now prepare for the next step on their journey, whether that is university, apprenticeships or employment.
“Staff at Nailsea wish all leaving Year 13s the best of luck for the future.”
Backwell best ever A-levels
Backwell School sixth formers are celebrating the schools best ever A-level results.
A third of all exam entries were graded A* and A and more than 60 per cent achieved A*, A or B (an increase of eight per cent).
Equally teachers are thrilled with the 99.2 per cent pass rate.
Retiring head teacher Julian Baldwin said “Our students have achieved a fantastic set of results.
“Backwell has a large comprehensive Sixth Form and we are proud that all students do really well here.
“This is a group of tremendously talented and positive young people who thoroughly deserve their success.
“They have worked so hard and achieved so much.
“I am delighted for every single one of them”
No less than 28 students gained at least three A and A* grades and six students Jonathan Peel, Ben Curnow, Tom Linden, Ethan Cross, Tom Wilkins and Dan Wagner achieved 3A* grades or more.
Among the happy students is head boy Tom Linden who achieved three A*s, one A and a distinction in AEA maths.
He said: “I was nervous on my way in, but I am thrilled with my results.
“Backwell has prepared me in every way to achieve my high aiming goals.
“I am delighted with my results and excited for the future.”
Tom is heading to Worcester College at Oxford University to read maths.
Year 6 pupils from Fairfield School in Backwell celebrated the end of term with a special enactment of The Tempest.
All Year 6 students took part in the performance which was produced for teachers, friends, family and younger pupils and was followed by a special Leavers’ Supper and assembly.
The performance was part of a programme of leavers’ activities, which also included a special residential trip, arranged for the students to mark the move from primary school up to senior school.
The children were all praised for their confidence and professionalism on stage with musicians, actors and singers taking part.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton said: “The Tempest performance was truly fantastic and we saw some genuinely remarkable talent on stage.
"The acting was brilliant and the music was excellent; teachers and parents alike thought the standard was first class.
“I was really impressed with the understanding of the Shakespearean language which was displayed and the way the children used team work to ensure swift and seamless management of the set and props.
“They have been rehearsing throughout the summer term and it was a wonderful way for the children to say farewell to the school and for us to say farewell to them.
"It is always a sad time when we bid farewell to the children at the end of Year 6, some of whom have been with us since they were three years old, but at the same time it is so rewarding to see them leave us as well-rounded individuals ready for the next step in their education.”
Fairfield School is an independent co-educational school for primary aged children and from September is will be welcoming children aged from two years in its nursery.
'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep,' William Shakespeare, The Tempest
SCHOOL REUNION: Proving you are never too old to learn will the next Nailsea School reunion remember to take the group photograph at the beginning of the evening before nearly everyone is 'bladdered'. This is the class of '86 celebrating its 30th anniversary. Old boy Matthew Carey organised the event at Scotch Horn and his sister-in-law Mel took the photos. Now most of the class are 40-something successes who all went to the 'old' school at Mizzymead Rise when Dr Trevor White - affectionately know as 'Tammy'' - was head teacher. It was full to capacity and had pupils going to appeal to get in. It also had the best science results in the district and some very radical teachers. Planning a reunion? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHOTOS: © Melanie Carey
Can you help Ravenswood?
Volunteers are being sought to help with a project to improve the exterior of a Nailsea
Work is due to start during the school holidays to re-clad the exterior of the Ravenswood
School at Pound Lane.
The existing cladding on the building, which was built in the 1970s, now needs to be replaced due to its age and condition.
The work was identified as part of a major charity makeover of the school 's primary department- supported by hundreds of volunteers from the community and businesses - last year.
The UPVC cladding will be replaced with a timber, more durable cladding.
Leaders at the school are now appealing for volunteers to help them take down the canopies outside the classrooms to allow the cladding work to go ahead.
Volunteers - preferably with carpentry skills - are also needed to help re-erect the canopies once the cladding is in place.
General labourers are also needed.
The work is due to take place in August.
Anyone who can help should contact Andy Thatcher at email@example.com or call 0789 992 7710.
CLASSICAL MUSIC: Singers from Backwell School choir performed in the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall at the weekend. They sang one of the most famous melodies of the Gregorian Chant, Dies Irae ung Dies Irae by Verdi which is now live on iPlayer
Backwell record breakers
Three long standingrecords were broken at Backwell School during Sports Day at the end of term.
Claire Hall nee Richards set the Year 8 Girls 100m, 200m and high jump record as a student back in
These records have remained unbeaten until this summer when Rosie Hall and Stella Rhodes,
representing Mendip House, broke them.
Rosie Hall, broke both the 100m and 200m Year 8 Girls records and Stella Rhodes cleared an
impressive 1.51m to set a new Year 8 girls high jump record.
Stella was surprised to have broken the record.
She said: “It was so noisy in the hall with people cheering me on that I missed the announcement.
People started running up to me telling me I had broken the record – I couldn’t believe it.”
Backwell School managed to get in touch with Mrs Hall, whose two children were also previous
students at the school, to inform her of the girls’ achievements.
Mrs Hall used to compete in a number of sports when she was a student and still holds a few school records which she set when she was in Year 7 in 1978.
Rosie and Stella were invited to meet Claire to talk about their achievements.
Both girls agreed it was an amazing experience to meet Mrs Hall and discuss athletics.
Claire said: "It was a pleasure to meet Rosie and Stella, and I hope to return to celebrate future broken records.”
Rosie said: "It didn’t feel real when I was told I had a new record - 37 years is a very long time, but I hope I keep my record longer than that!”
Rosie beat the 200m record by more than a second in a time of 26.63s.
Both Rosie and Stella compete outside of school in a number of athletic disciplines and have bright
sporting futures ahead of them.
Mendip House head Martin Sills is delighted at the girl’s achievements and is hoping their sporting prowess contributes to a Mendip win in future years.
Sports Day this year was won by Sedgemoor House.
Pictured from left are Stella, Claire and Rosie.
Nailsea School 2016
In record breaking temperatures Nailsea School sports teams congregated at Cadbury House hotel to learn who would be crowned male and female sports personality of the year.
Joined by Bristol Rugby player Nick Carpenter, the event included a quiz, a meal and a question and answer session from the professional sportsman as well as the prize giving ceremony.
The celebrations were hosted by the Nailsea School PE department and the invited teams spanning across the year groups were awarded three awards ‘players player’, ‘managers player’ and ‘most improved player’.
The event recognises the hard work, focus and dedication of the students throughout the year.
The students’ behaviour was impeccable and the table who applauded the speeches and winners the most enthusiastically were given the accolade of ‘buffet priority’ or first in queue!
Bristol Rugby Centre, Nick Carpenter took questions from the floor and he talked about how he achieved his aspirations, the sacrifices he would make and how we would continually go the extra mile in terms of his training – always doing just a little bit more than his competitors.
Poignantly when asked ‘what was the best rugby match he’d played?’ he referred to a game from his school years at Clevedon in Year 9 when he scored six tries.
The crowd were amazed with this reply considering how many games he’d now played on the national stage.
PE teacher Daniel Van Grudgings said “Many students will not realise the positive benefits that being part of a school team will have on their lives, the camaraderie and excitement that comes with competition.
This event celebrates those friendships and achievements and the great sporting qualities of our pupils”
The Year 11 winners were selected by student and teacher vote.
The winners of Sport Personality 2016 were sportsman Joe Collins and sportswoman Megan Walker.
The evening was a huge success and those in attendance are to be congratulated.
Dozen+ teachers including head leave Nailsea School
In a surprise move it has been announced after only three years head teacher Chris Wade is to leave Nailsea School.
Just days from the end of term governors informed parents and pupils that from Thursday, September 1, newly married deputy head Dee Elliiot nee Heal wil be in charge.
Mrs Elliott came to Nailsea two years ago from Downend School.
As Miss Heal she was specifically tasked with raising the quality of teaching and learning across the school and has had a major impact on delivering improved progress and attainment results across the board.
This resulted in last year’s 'good' judgement of the school from OfSTED and official recognition by the DfE following last year's results that Nailsea School is one of the top 100 improving schools in the country.
The May 2015 inspection which recorded 1,009 children on roll, reported: "The headteacher has brought about significant improvements in the school’s culture and ethos. He has succeeded in raising the expectations and ambition of students, staff and parents and carers. He has focused strongly on improving the quality of teaching and improving behaviour and attitudes to learning."
Miss Heal, a history teacher, said “It’s an exciting time for Nailsea School.
"I’m looking forward to taking up the new post and continuing to raise standards and expectations”
Miss Heal is getting married over the summer, and will return to school in September as Mrs Elliott.
She will be taking over from Mr Wade, who has been appointed chief executive of the Inspirational Futures Trust, the academy chain that includes the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC), Herons' Moor Primary, St Katherine's Secondary, Crockerne Church of England Primary and a new free school opening in Bristol in September, the Bristol Futures Academy.
Mr Wade will oversee the changes during Term 1 of the new academic year at Nailsea School to ensure a smooth hand-over.
In a statement governors said: "Mr Wade has done a fantastic job here at Nailsea during the past three years and we are proud to have supported him in developing the skills and abilities that have enabled him to move on to such a prestigious position in our local community.
"His success reflects what we aim at for our whole school community; Aspire, Believe, Succeed."
Although very popular Mr Wade failed to get approval for a proposed new school unform which included an expensive blazer edged with coloured ribbon.
More than a dozen teachers are leaving Nailsea School, which because of an ageing town is suffering from falling rolls this month - full details are including in the Nailsea School Term 6 newsletter which is linked to the image below.
Among those going are deputy head teacher Stephen Richards who has taught at the Mizzymead Road school for nearly 40 years.
Backwell School head teacher Julian Baldwin is also leaving at the end of the term. He is taking retirement and won't see the introduction of a new uniform for September which includes polo shirts for all and pleated knee-length blue/black tartan skirts for the girls. Despite advertising twice governors failed to appoint a successor for the £80K pa job so decided to give deputy head Jon Nunes an interim post for the next academy year. Backwell has more than 1,700 children on roll with hundreds bused in from other North Somerset villages or walking from Nailsea.
Some had hoped Nailsea and Backwell secondary schools could have appointed Mr Wade as a 'super head' for both schools and although preliminary talks were held the idea came to nothing.
NUT one day of action
A 24 hours strike by teachers to protests about perceived funding cuts disrupted lessons at some North Somerset schools on Monday giving many children an extra day off.
Action by the National Union of Teachers affected classes at Backwell School; Golden Valley Primary School, Nailsea; and Wraxall CofE Primary School.
Nailsea School was open for lessons but the NUT mounted an early morning picket outside the Mizzymead Road campus.
Nailsea School maths marvels
Nailsea School term dates
Dates for your school timetable and Nailsea School has inset days for next school year.
Thursday to Friday, September 1-October 21, 2016
Inset Days – Thursday and Friday, September 1-2
Monday to Friday, October 31-December 16, 2016
Inset Day – Friday, November 25
Tuesday to Friday, January 3-February 10
Inset Day – Friday, February 10
Monday to Friday, February 20-April 7, 2017
Monday to Friday, April 24-May 26, 2017
Monday to Friday, June 5-July 21, 2017
Inset Day – Monday, June 26
Royal celebrations at Backwell school
Pupils from Fairfield School at Backwell enjoyed a special Teddy Bears’ Picnic to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Children in Year 5 at the school organised a morning of activities to celebrate, including pin the tail on the teddy, how many gummy bears in the jar, a treasure hunt, teddy racing and throw the teddy in the bucket.
There was also a raffle to win a Paddington Bear and so far £250 has been raised for Action Medical Research.
The picnic was followed in the afternoon by a special Royal Variety Show which saw 14 acts perform everything from comedy, flute recital, poetry, dance, singing, acting, diablo and karate.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton said: “We enjoyed a really lovely day to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, starting with a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and ending with a sensational Royal Variety performance.
“I was delighted by the wonderful performance; all the children showed confidence and great talent and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the show.
“Year 5 also did a great job of organising activities for the picnic. It was lovely to be able to celebrate a national occasion with the whole school.”
Fairfield School is an independent co-educational school for children aged 3 to 11.
Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 22 at Fairfield School, with many much smaller and there is a very wide range of clubs and activities, sport, music and drama to excite the interest of pupils.
Fairfield is historically a PNEU School, which means it is affiliated to the Parents’ National Education Union.
There are PNEU schools throughout the UK and the world.
A day at big school
Nailsea School played host to hundreds of primary children this week at a 'taster day'.
More than 200 pupils aged nine upwards registered for the Aspire Day.
This included a series of workshops from printmaking, clay modelling, problem solving and design technology to core subjects like English, science and languages.
Grove Junior, Kingshill Church and Golden Valley primary schools and Wraxall Church of England village school were among those who attended.
All the children were assigned to groups led by current Nailsea School students who welcomed the newcomers and happily answered questions about life at the Mizzymead Road campus which was rebuilt in 2009 at a cost more than £32 million.
Nailsea School transition manager Sylvie Lloyd coordinated the event.
She said: “It was really great to see so many happy faces enjoying their time at Nailsea School.
"When the students arrived at 9am some of their faces looked a little apprehensive but within half an hour they were much more relaxed and by the end of morning break they looked quite at home.
"These events really help to bridge the gap between primary and secondary school."
The Year 5 primary pupils got to use the science labs and the design technology facilities as well as the student café at break time.
Golden Valley pupil Hannah said: “I think today has shown me what Nailsea School will be like and that you can learn in a fun way.”
Nailsea School director of learning and achievement Justin Clayton-Jones said: “It’s really important to Nailsea School that students feel as confident as possible when they arrive at secondary school and the Aspire Day helps us to maintain excellent relationships with our local primaries.”
Nailsea School girls were first time winners in an accredited industry project working with Airbus.
A dozen ‘able and talented’ youngsters were chosen to take part in the initiative designed to inspire engineers of tomorrow.
The scheme gives young people aged 11-19 at least 20 hours’ experience of industry and the opportunity to develop employability skills and gain insight into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) study pathways.
The 10-week 2016 programme involved an Airbus employee coming to the Mizzymead campus to act as planning and research mentor leading to the creation of a display and model fpr a presentation to industry experts.
Nailsea School technology head Natasha Allright said: “The five minute presentation was in a very corporate setting, the industry experts treated the girls as professional candidates, so there was a huge amount of pressure on the team.
“It was an experience that none of them would have encountered previously; I’m really impressed that they didn’t buckle under the pressure and kept a professional and mature head throughout.”
Nailsea School team won the Pupils’ Choice award for their display and model while Badminton School was the overall winner.
Year 13 student Lili said: "Brilliant, I really enjoyed it, I loved learning new skills and meeting new people.”
Year 8 student Amy said: "I enjoyed working with Airbus, it was a new experience that was really fun. I would love to do it again.”
The team all receive the Industrial Cadet Level One bronze certificate.
Airbus is part of the multinational civil aviation company with its HQ at Blagnac, France.
Airbus employs 63,000 people at 16 sites in four countries France, Germany, Spain and in the UK at Filton, Bristol.
Core activities at Filton include the design, engineering and support for Airbus wings, fuel systems and landing gear integration.
The Bristol workforce also work on systems, structures, and aerodynamics research, development and test facilities.
It was cheers at Nailsea School PTA for a hugely successful wine tasting evening called Pour My Bluff.
More than 50 competitors listened to the three wine 'experts' giving their views on the wines being tasted and then used their own knowledge/judgement/guesswork to determine what the wine really was.
After a close competition and nail-biting tie break, Karen Farrell was the overall winner.
Huge thanks to Ms Hitchings, Mr Copleston and Mrs Shoesmith for being our highly entertaining 'experts' and to Josh Hayler for his amazing piano playing at the start and during the interval.
Final reckoning has yet to be done but approximately £250 was raised which will be spent on projects nominated by both staff and students at the school.
The next PTA fundraisers is the summer draw with lots of lovely prizes.
Weston College puppy minding students
A guide dog which has been sponsored by Weston College visited one of its campuses to meet students.
Moodle, the 10-month- old black labrador, visited Knightstone Campus in Weston-super-Mare, on Wednesday.
The pup proved popular with students, who were quick to volunteer to help a vital part of his training process – getting him used to crowds.
Volunteer puppy walker, Isabelle Matthews, was on hand to speak with the students about guide dogs.
Isabelle will look after Moodle until he is 13 months old, when he will then be sent to be harness and road trained.
She said: “I got Moodle when he was six weeks old.
"My role is trying to socialise him, taking him on trains and buses, to shops and cafés, just getting him used to all the places he will go once he is a fully-trained guide dog.”
The college which has thousands of students from across North Somerset has sponsored Moodle throughout his training process and it has received updates of his progress and training every three months.
Students Union president Abi Farrant, aged 20, said: “It’s so good to see him as he grows.
"He’s so well behaved for a 10-month- old dog.
“Seeing him go from a tiny little puppy to a much bigger dog has been fantastic.”
South West multi-skills festival hosted by Fairfield
One hundred and sixty nine infants from independent schools gathered at Fairfield School in Backwell for the first ever South West Multi-Skills Festival, which saw a range of activities taking place over the course of a day.
Organised by Fairfield head of PE, Vicky Townsend, and attended by schools from the (South West) Independent Schools Association, the event included 12 activities such as tri-golf, rugby, football, bean bag throwing, curling and aiming for targets.
Teams from different schools took part, gaining points from each activity.
All children were awarded medals and prizes were given to teams for fair play, teamwork and honesty.
Fairfield School headmistress Lesley Barton said: “We were delighted to host the South West Multi-Skills Festival at our school and thoroughly enjoyed welcoming other schools from across the region.
“The festival was a wonderful day for the pupils, teachers and parents who joined us and all the children had a great time taking part in the activities and competing with other schools.
“Events like this don’t take place for infants very often but it’s great when they do. Instilling a love for physical exercise as well as enjoyment of competitive sport is really important.
“Well done to all the children who took part and particularly MrsTownsend, who organised the event.”
Fairfield School is an independent co-educational school for children aged two to 11.
Class sizes are limited at Fairfield School and there is a very wide range of clubs and activities, sport, music and drama to excite the interest of pupils.
Fairfield is historically a PNEU School, which means it is affiliated to the Parents’ National Education Union.
There are PNEU schools throughout the UK and the world.
School council visit House of Commons
Nailsea School students went to London and although they didn't see the Queen their visit took in the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
The students made up of members of the School Council saw democracy in action, as they watched Home Secretary Theresa May present to Parliament.
After the tour of Westminster the group were challenged by taking part in workshops to focus their learning on how people can affect change.
The Year 7-13 pupils discussed the suffragette movement and considered whether breaking the law was a necessary step in advancing a cause.
Working in groups, students were then tested to design their own campaign for change and chose subjects including the EU and Brexit, changes to examination grading, the curriculum in comparison to European schools and the rising price of chocolate.
School president Alex George said: “It was amazing to witness first-hand the parliamentary system at work in such a magnificent, historically fascinating building.
"It is essential that young people are educated about how their country and their future is governed, so that they know how to get involved and how to create meaningful change.
"This trip, including the excellent workshops led by the tour guides, was incredibly beneficial as well as enjoyable” Parliamentary workers complimented the students stating they were impressed with their work and made a point of commenting on how well the different age groups integrated.
Director of Learning and Achievement Mr Copleston said: “Nailsea School students are often encouraged to work together and break down the boundaries between year groups which provides an opportunity to learn from their peers.
"The Student Council demonstrated a mature approach in tackling some complex issues and we observed some insightful opinions.
"This trip will have taught students that there are a number of ways to get their voice heard and we look forward to seeing the results of this on return to school.”
Their trip to parliament was followed by a walk along the Southbank and a trip to the London Eye, where they took in other sights that the capital had to offer.
Police dogs at school
Children at Kingshill Primary School at Nailsea, were given ‘paws for thought’ when they received a visit from some four-legged members of Avon & Somerset Constabulary.
PC Jon Norton and PC Marcus Claridge accompanied by PD King, PD Chief, PD Rufus and trainee PD Gunnar, one of our new puppies, visited the children to talk to them about the role of dogs within the police and what they do.
The children learned how police dogs not only stop and detain criminals but can also search for items such as drugs, stolen property and weapons in addition to finding missing and injured people.
PD King then conducted a search for head teacher, Jan Thomson, who was hiding out of sight.
It was trainee PD Gunnar’s first school visit and his handler, PC Jon Norton, was very pleased with his performance.
He said: “It was Gunnar’s first visit to a school, which can be a little daunting to a pup’ but it’s all really good experience.
“He has to learn to get used to different noises, smells, situations and of course…little people.
“He did really well and the children loved him.
“He celebrated his first birthday on April 13 and he starts his basic training course in September, so this was a good experience for him and will definitely help in preparation for that course.
“Gunnar is Nordic for brave warrior so he has to live up to his name.”
PCs Claridge and Norton explained the difference between ‘general purpose’ GP dogs – which are normally either German Shepherds or Malinoise or Belgian Shepherds and ‘sniffer’ dogs.
The sniffer dogs in Avon and Somerset are a variety of breeds including spaniels, labradors and Staffordshire bull terriers.
They are used to search for drugs, cash, property, weapons and explosives; with the role of the GP dogs to stop and detain criminals and search for missing people.
Mrs Thomson said: “We had an amazing day with Jon, Marcus and their wonderful dogs.
“They were both amazing and it was such a valuable experience for the children.
“They talked to the different year groups age appropriately so they understood what work they do and all the kids (and adults) were fascinated!
“They gave us an in-depth look at what amazing work these two PCs and their dogs do and it was a real eye opener at how amazing their work is.
“It was such a valuable experience for everyone and something I feel all schools should experience, we can’t recommend them highly enough!”
PC Norton added: “We like to take every opportunity possible to talk to children.
“We want them to know that we are approachable and they can turn to us if they need us. It’s good to show the different departments within the police and how we all work together to help vulnerable people and catch those who don’t behave!
“The dogs love coming to work.
“They do everything for their reward, which is a ball in most cases or some kind of toy.
“Meeting and greeting people, doing visits such as this, it’s all part and parcel of their job and they love it.”
If you would like to learn more about our Dog Section, or keep up-to-date with what they are doing, you can follow them on Twitter @ASPoliceDogs.
University seaside pavilion
Weston College Group has received confirmation of funding to create a law and professional services academy and university centre at Weston-super- Mare.
The development, with funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, will be housed within the Winter Gardens Pavilion and former Arosfa Hotel, and is part of the College’s plan to create a ‘learning village’ model in Weston.
This will help to address identified local skills gaps as well as further raising the already high standards of education across North Somerset and the south west by ensuring that there is outstanding provision at every step of a learner’s academic journey.
North Somerset councillors agreed to transfer the Winter Gardens to Weston Colleg as part of the council's continued support and match funding for the delivery of the new Academy.
With a new lease of life this landmark seafront building will bring significant numbers of new students to the town.
It will play a key role in bold plans for a prosperous, modern and vibrant town centre, in which learning plays a pivotal part.
Work will begin on refurbishing and redeveloping the 1920s pavilion after its transfer today, and will be undertaken by Midas Group, who has previously worked with the college to create its award-winning South West Skills Campus.
The iconic ballroom at the Winter Gardens will be restored to its former glory, protecting and enhancing this prominent facility for community use.
To further enhance the educational concept, the College also announced the creation of the ‘Weston College Academy’, based at the new college building in the Junction 21 Enterprise Zone, which will open in July 2016.
This will be a federation of Weston College sixth form and the North Somerset Enterprise and Technology College (NSETC).
The new academy will enable 14-19 year olds to study GCSEs and A-levels in a brand new and specially designed sixth form centre, and will retain the science, technology, engineering and maths focus of the NSETC.
Students currently at Weston College sixth form will benefit from an expanded curriculum and the dedicated sports facilities at the new building.
Weston College principal and chief executive Dr Paul Phillips said: “We identified in the area a real need to offer the widest possible range of learning opportunities, not only at the further and higher education levels but across the whole education sector.
“What is needed is outstanding provision for all ages.
"We want to ensure that from the moment children reach school age, they are given the best opportunities to learn and progress through providing the outstanding teaching and support that they need to be successful.”
North Somerset Council leader Nigel Ashton said “The development of the college’s new facility at the Winter Gardens marks a significant step forward in our shared ambitions for the town, attracting more people to come to Weston to study, as well as providing an improved facility for the local community.
“Together with other developments currently under way, including Dolphin Square and the council’s recent purchase of the police station and former magistrates court, it will act as a catalyst for further investment, which is excellent news for Weston.”
LEP chief executive Barbara Davies said: “We are delighted to support this initiative which is fully in keeping with the LEP’s drive to improve skills provision in the West of England.”
PHOTO: Dr Phillips and Cllr Ashton outside Winter Gardens
Space at all Nailsea schools
Only 15 small children will be starting at Kingshill, the CofE church school at Nailsea, this September although it has room for 30.
Parents of 2,384 children applied for North Somerset primary school places for September 2016.
And 2,108 got their first choice preferences.
But what the statistics did show is that throughout the district number of children starting school is continuing to fall unlike the urban trend nationally.
Not one school in North Somerset is oversubscribed.
Last year applications for reception places numbered 2,463.
Nailsea’s most popular school Golden Valley primary which is on the edge of the large Trendlewood housing estates still has spaces.
The Nailsea Park school along with Hannah More Infant, at Whiteoak Way, both have room for more children.
Golden Valley has 53 new children starting in September although it has room for 60.
And Hannah More has 49 children starting although it also has room for 60.
The village schools at Tickenham and Wraxall both filled its 15 spaces by giving a place to one child as a second or third choice.
And the 30 places at St Francis RC Primary School were all filled although it does attract children from a wider catchment area.
Golden Valley headteacher Kevin Lynch said: “There are years when the demand for places has been very high, and others, like this year, where demand in Nailsea is lower than expected.
“It is always hard to predict.”
Nailsea Town Council chairman David Packham said: “For Nailsea parents it is very pleasing to see that more than 88 per cent have been able to send their children to their first choice school.
“Given that there are still spare places in the Nailsea schools one must ask the question why the remaining 12 per cent did not get their first choice of school as well.
“Nailsea has an allocation of 917 new homes to be built during the next 10 years and from these statistics it can be seen that there are spaces for the first children who will arrive in their new homes here in the town.
“This gives North Somerset Council time to consider the expansion that may be required in the primary sector to meet the demand over the full ten year period.
With many parents in North Somerset not getting their first choice of primary schools Lesley Barton headmistress of Fairfield School at Backwell says parents should consider the private option.
She said: “It’s an anxious time for parents who discover their child will not be able to attend the school of their choice and are therefore faced with the appeals procedure.
“Parents are always concerned about how their child will cope with school and want the best for them and the first years at school are so important in laying the foundations for education.
“There are other options for those not given their first choice. Fairfield School charges tuition fees and provides a secure, happy and purposeful environment where every pupil is treated as an individual. It gives parents real peace of mind and ensures that children get
the best start in education they can possibly have.
“For upper nursery - children aged three and four, reception and Year 1 and Year 2 parents pay £2,480 per term, which for many is no more than they have been paying for nursery provision.
“It is an option that many parents should consider.”
Throughout North Somerset only 73 applicants representing 3.06 per cent did not receive any of their preferences and they have been offered the nearest school with a space - last year this was 111 applicants – 4.5 per cent.
There have been increases in admission levels at Flax Bourton Primary (15 to 30), Winford Primary (20 to 30) and Yeo Moor Primary in Clevedon (60 to 90) to manage demand in those areas.
North Somerset Council executive member for children and young people’s services Colin Hall who is the ward councillor for Walton St Mary said: “I am really pleased that 97 per cent of applicants have received one of their preferences.”
More than half a million families nationwide discovered which primary schools their children will attend this week and early indications are of wide variations.
It comes days after council leaders said two in five local authorities would have too few places by 2016.
Pressure is growing, particularly in schools on London's fringes and in cities such as Leicester, Nottingham, Reading and Peterborough.
A booming birth-rate partly caused by immigration and by families moving specifically to be near popular schools is blamed at putting pressure on schools in Greater London and in cities such as Leicester, Nottingham, Reading and Peterborough.
To read the full breakdown document click HERE.
It is nearly exam time and Nailsea School is doing all it can to help students revise.
Pictured are young people from Year 11 at an ‘art catch up’ Saturday and other after-school and weekend sessions in a variety of subjects have been timetabled.
A specialist revision programme has been put together by deputy head Dee Heal and learning and achievement director Trudi Jones tailored to individual needs.
And nearly all the parents and students who attended a study technique presentation said they found it ‘very useful’.
A bespoke revision programme designed by Ms Jones has been rolled out to help students to plan their studies, access resources and not feel overwhelmed by the task before them.
Ms Jones said: “We understand that students are dealing with a huge amount of pressure regarding their exams, and we recognise that a lot of learning needs to take place outside of school hours.
“We’re doing all we can to help students manage their progress step –by-step, so that they can walk into their exams feeling confident.”
Nailsea students also have access to GCSE Pod.
This is a free learning app with loads of resources for them to download.
The materials include videos as well as professional high quality podcasts which they can listen to and watch that directly relate to their programme of study.
Nailsea School has consistently improved its GCSE exam results year on year since 2013.
The teenagers already have their exam timetables and the schedules runs throughout May-June with reulsts mid-August.
Have we got news for you
More than 30,000 students nationwide took part in BBC News School Report 2016 including Nailsea School.
A team of Year 9 teenaged newshounds from the North Somerset comprehensive took part in the 10th annual news day.
Some schools even made the 6 o’clock news with reports like the one from Northumberland Church of England Academy on ‘how much sleep do teenagers need?’ and Sutton Community Academy on whether a cadet force at school is a worthwhile activity.
Internationally young reporters in the Middle East, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and India also took part with students in Jerusalem reporting on peace efforts.
Closer to home eight Nailsea School 13-14 year olds filed stories about global warming and asked whether sixth formers should vote in the EU referendum.
They explored the dangers of online gaming and interviewed Wild Place operations head Nigel Simpson about endangered species.
The subject chosen by Nailsea School reflected their personal interests.
Nailsea students Luke, Louis and Ben explored how much students know about global warming, its effects and how to slow it.
Louis and Emma interviewed sixth formers to find out whether they think the voting age should be lowered for the EU referendum.
And Emily and Laura did the face-to-face interview with Mr Simpson while Sydney investigated the dangers and benefits of online gaming.
Emma said: “Sixth formers have strong views and opinions and this is a great opportunity to record what they actually think and report on it.
“They have been really helpful and keen to find out what we are doing.”
English teacher Ms Parker led the students throughout the day.
She said: “It can be an intense day as lots of research and planning needs to happen before students can start interviewing.
“I’m impressed at the attitude of the Year 9s who have worked hard to successfully meet the deadlines and gather some really interesting stories.”
Students worked to real deadlines and their online reports were available to a national audience via links on the BBC website.
Behind the scenes using lesson plans and BBC website materials teachers helped develop their students' journalistic skills so they could report on the stories that matter to them and make their voices heard.
After four different practice news days the project culminated on School Report News Day on Thursday, March 10.
Pupils 'posh' school dining
High achieving pupils at Nailsea School were invited to celebrate their success with a congratulatory meal at a High Street restaurant.
Sixty students accompanied by school staff attended the event and enjoyed a variety of curries, rice, onion bhajis and naan bread.
Pupils at Nailsea School are encouraged to develop their learning, creative and social skills through a House-point led rewards scheme.
The rewards can be earned with good behaviour, effort, attendance, achievement and good citizenship.
Each term those with the most points from each house have the opportunity of receiving a reward.
As well as ‘earning while learning’, weekly challenges led by different subject areas are set for teams to take part in.
The rewards event was supported by the Indian restaurant Posh Spice, and students were invited to a sit-down banquet courtesy of the company.
The top three students from Griffin, Unicorn, Dragon and Phoenix houses were selected from Year 7-11.
Each term, the pupils have an equal chance of competing and this term’s award will have an Easter theme.
Phoenix House head Domanic Graffagnino sai: “The rewards events are really enthusiastically received by the children, the house-point scheme really encourages a great team ethic, and a good attitude to life and learning.
"Posh Spice’s hospitality was exemplary and the food was out of this world.”
Falling rolls for September
Despite being in the top 100 state schools in the country Nailsea School will see its lowest intake in years in September 2016.
And there are two main reasons:
the town is shrinking and growing old with an ageing population, it has dip from an all time hight of 20,000 to 15,630 at the last count; and
Backwell School just down the road is attracting children from a wider and wider catchment area
Secondary school place allocations in North Somerset were announced this week with by North Somerset Council.
Nearly 91 per cent (90.88 per cent) of applicants got their first choice with 98.43 per cent receiving one of their three preferences.
Only 34 students out of 2,159 students have not been offered any of their preferences.
There were 2,474 school places available across North Somerset and 2,159 on time applications were made.
All families who applied for their first geographical area school have been allocated a place there, unless they have received a higher preference school place.
These statistics are based on families being able to make three preferences, and these preferences are treated equally.
North Somerset Council executive member for children and young people’s services Colin Hall, Conservative councillor for Clevedon Walton, said: “I am delighted that such a high percentage of our parents received their first preference school and the vast majority of those applying received one of their three preferences.
"This is great news and I would like to thank our school’s admission team for all their hard work in processing these applications so efficiently.”
But four North Somerset schools failed to meet their quotas and have unfilled pupil places.
These are Clevedon with an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report along with Hans Price Academy at Weston-super-Mare, Nailsea and St Kats which all have ‘’good with outstanding features’ ratings.
Some feel it less intimidating for an 11-year-old to start at a small secondary school especially at a £32 million new build like Nailsea but there are implications for the teaching staff and it could limit the number of A-level courses on offer.
Many schools in similar situations nationwide are exploring multi-academy trust status and merging.
Popular head teacher Julian Baldwin is due to retired this summer at Backwell School after 10 years in situ.
Nailsea School statement
Recent figures from North Somerset Council show that Nailsea School was one of the four secondary schools in North Somerset that still has places for 2016 intake.
The age of the North Somerset population is older than the national average with 21per cent of its population being recorded as 65+ years in the 2011 census.
Nailsea Town Council recognises that Nailsea has a dwindling population and that many of its inhabitants are older residents.
Nailsea School which was judged as good in all areas by Ofsted in May 2015, is suffering from a lack of student numbers.
This is due to a demographic dip in the town.
Each year the pool of Year 6 pupils in the catchment area is decreasing, with less pupils moving to the secondary school causing the overall number of pupils on roll to dip.
Nailsea School has just been recognised by the government as one of the top 100 non-selective state schools in the country.
The school which was built in 2009 has fantastic facilities, great staff and better than the national average exam results.
The school has much to offer and the progress it is making is being acknowledged.
Head teacher Chris Wade said: "The pupils who do decide to attend Nailsea School will receive the best education possible, supported by staff who really know them and understand how to get the best out of them.
"We might not be the biggest school, but we aspire to be the best."
And Nailsea School has received congratulations from the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, who wrote to officially recognise the school’s excellent improvement in GCSE results during the past three years.
Complimenting staff for their hard work and professionalism Mr Gibb said: “Nailsea School is one of the top 100 non-selective state-funded schools in England that shows the greatest sustained improvement in the percentage of students achieving five or more A*-C grades including English and mathematics.”
Mr Gibb said this gives Nailsea School students in the best possible position for success in further education and future employment.
Mr Wade added: "We are delighted that Nailsea School has been recognised for the hard work and determination of both staff and students during the past three years.
"Receiving this outstanding recognition from the Department of Education is further testament to how our improving standards are making a positive impact on our high standard of GCSE results.
"For students joining us in September it is fantastic news to know that they will be joining one of the highest performing schools in the area.”
HEAD PEEPS: Head teacher Chris Wade with head boys and girls representing the four houses at school - Dragon, Griffin, Phoenix and Unicorn
Big bang theory test
It was an explosive night at Nailsea School for an annual science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) evening on Thursday.
There were some controlled big bangs in the science lab, flashes of light, lots of smoke and then the fire alarm system went off.
Lucky it was quickly deactivated and the fog and the funny smell didn't linger too long!
Industry leaders Airbus and Dyson set up stalls and there was a giant utopia maths game and think inside the box challenges.
Other experiments during the chemistry demonstration included giving a group of children a mild electric shock but they all left centre stage laughting and more importantly unharmed.
Head teacher Chris Wade was presented with a engagement badge for the schools work promoting STEM.
Technology curriculum leader Natasha Allright put together the well attended showcase which the young people described as 'brilliant and good fun'.
To see more photo click the slideshow right.
Golden opportunity to be a school governor
Golden Valley Primary School at Nailsea Park is looking for members of the community who may be considering working in the capacity of school governor.
Being a governor is incredibly rewarding – you have a chance to work corporately as a ‘critical friend’ to support and challenge the head teacher and school to achieve the very best education for the children and to set the strategic direction for the school.
It involves attending full governing body meetings every term - six times a year - and the meetings of one sub-committee; governors are also invited to observe first-hand children’s school experiences by visiting the school ‘at work’.
You may have personal skills that you feel would benefit the governing body, and at this time we are particularly looking for people who have some experience through their work or training of building design/managing buildings or in working as a solicitor or with a legal background.
However, above all else, having enthusiasm and commitment are ultimately highly sought after attributes!
Please be aware that all meetings take place on Thursdays with start times alternating between 4-6pm.
Attendance at meetings is vitally important in undertaking your role as a governor.
If anybody is interested in discussing what is involved in greater detail, please email the head teacher at or chair of governors at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Extra hours at Rainbow
The Rainbow Pre-School at Backwell is staying open until 3pm every afternoon.
Parents had asked for the extended hours.
Children, aged from two years and six months up to four years old take part in activities and learning at the pre-school, based at Backwell Youth Club building, Rodney Road, which is run by local women Elizabeth Braywood and Sandie Simms.
Sandi said: “We have opened from 9am to 3pm on Fridays for a long time and it has always been our most popular day.
"Parents have been asking us to open until 3pm on other days and we are now pleased to be able to accommodate children for that extra time, which will give many parents more flexibility in when they are able to give their children the experience of pre-school.
“It works particularly well for those with older children as they can now collect from us and then go straight to local schools to collect an older child.
"We are always listening to parents and trying to introduce a pre-school that helps them and their children.
"We have a few spaces left from Mondays to Thursdays for new children, but Fridays are currently full.”
The Rainbow Pre-School organises a whole range of exciting indoor and outdoor activities including visits to the park and play area on its doorstep.
Parents should call 0796 041 5222 or email to made arrangements or discuss their children’s needs.
SCHOOLS OUT: Monday to Friday, February 15-19 half term - click HERE to go to the What's On page for ideas of what to do and where to go
Nailsea School is hosting its annual STEM evening on Thursday, February 25.
The event which explores the STEM subjects – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths is open to all, and will appeal particularly to students from Key Stages 3 and 4.
Visitors will be able to meet industry experts and learn about the diversity of careers within this rapidly growing sector.
The government is particularly keen to encourage students to follow a STEM pathway and has targeted this area as a growth industry for the whole of the UK.
The evening will include:
live laboratory show;
hands-on activities; and
industry experts to talk about career options including a spokesperson from Dyson and GE Oil and Gas.
Technology curriculum leader Natasha Allright said: "There’s a lot to get excited in the STEM industries, and this event will help to showcase some of those exciting opportunities; at Nailsea School we are passionate about ensuring that all of our learners can be involved in these industries.”
Nailsea primary schools and community groups have been invited and there is a 'think inside the box' challenge where children are invited to fit as many objects as possible into a matchbox.
The box with the most objects will be awarded a gift voucher on the night.
Details of the competition can be found on the school website.
The STEM evening opens its doors from 6pm to 8pm, all members of the community are welcome to attend the event.
Water company funds new pond
Kingshill Church School at Nailsea has won a £250 Wessex Watermark Award to repair its school pond.
The school is the first Watermark Award of 2016.
Wessex Water education officer Sue Goodland visted the Pound Lane school this week to present their Watermark Award and to meet pupils and staff.
She said: “The Watermarks have encouraged outdoor classrooms, wildlife and science gardens and on Thursday, January 14, I was at Kingshill Church School with a cheque to help them re-build their school pond.
“More schools than ever are bringing the local environment into their school curriculum and this often means additional expense to adapt a school yard or play area.
"I am delighted to be here today to give Kingshill Church School their Watermark Award so that they can repair their pond.
Head teacher Jan Thomson said: “We want to establish a wildflower area to attract butterflies, bees and insects.
“Our plan is to transform the inner courtyard which has become very overgrown and clear the pond which is strangled by bamboo.
"Once the pond is cleared we will plant the area with insect loving plants.
"We are delighted to begin our New Year term with this Wessex Watermark Award.”
The Watermark Award provides funds for environmental projects within the Wessex Water area.
Now in its twenty-third year, it has supported more than 900 environmental initiatives.
Organised by The Conservation Foundation, all projects are judged by a panel chaired by its president - David Bellamy the well-known botanist, conservationist and author.
St Francis' pupils at parliament
Children from St Francis' Catholic Primary School went to London to see the Houses of Parliament.
Thetrip was organised for the nine to 10-year-old pupils from the Year 5 class at the Station Road, Nailsea school.
Head teacher Caroline Hostein said: "We went as part of the Parliament Education Service programme which subsidises school trips to the Palace of Westminster and Parliament.
"It was great day - and very well organised.
"We were taken on a tour of the Palace of Westminster and sat in the public gallery of the House of Commons.
"When we arrived chanellor George Osborne was at the dispatch box so the children could see Parliament in action.
"We had an excellent workshop on elections and voting and at the end our North Somerset MP Liam Fox joined us for half an hour and talked to the children about their constituency, his job as an MP, and democracy.
"It was a really good day and one which we hope to repeat.
"All our children enjoyed it and are busy preparing Monday's assembly for the rest of the school to tell them about the day."
Our young Parliamentarians
More than 50 children from Golden Valley Primary School wanted to go on the trip to London.
So it was names in the hat and the lucky 21 Year 6 pupils went on a visit to the Houses of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster in London.
There was a tour of the palace followed by an educational workshop, after which the children met North Somerset MP, Dr Liam Fox, for a question and answer session.
The children, staff and Dr Fox all enjoyed themselves.
The young people thought the visit was excellent and wished there had been more time to explore the palace as the hour disappeared in a flash.
When they got back to the Nailsea Park school after a very long day which started catching a coach at 6.30am the children wrote their first thoughts in the comment boxes about the memorable outing.
I was surprised to learn that the Queen has a secret toilet behind the panelling in the Robing room.
I was fascinated by the Queen’s Robing room because it contained a throne that only the King or Queen is allowed to sit on. Surprisingly, the last Queen to sit there was Queen Victoria.
I was amazed at how elaborate the Lords’ Chamber was and how bland the Common’s Chamber was in comparison. I really liked how you could go anywhere from the central lobby.
I was fascinated by how much gold was in the House of Lords. It was all real as well!
I really enjoyed visiting the Houses of Parliament because it was amazing. I was surprised that there are 650 Members of Parliament who work there and that the building has 1,100 rooms.
I was interested in the fact that everything discussed in the House of Lords and the House of Commons is recorded in journals.
I was fascinated to learn about the many traditions dating back over hundreds of years. Also, I liked the House of Commons as I have seen it on TV before; it was very exciting seeing it for real.
I was fascinated to learn about the many traditions dating back over hundreds of years. Also, I liked the House of Commons as I have seen it on TV before; it was very exciting seeing it for real.
I really enjoyed watching the video about the Suffragettes and how they protested about women not being allowed to vote.
I liked it when we went into the Queen’s robing room and we learned that on the opening of Parliament every year, she wears a cloak which is nearly as long as the room and it takes four page boys to carry it!
I learnt that the House of Lords is red because it is a more expensive colour dye than green which is the colour for the House of Commons.
I enjoyed speaking to Dr Liam Fox about his childhood and his life now.
I was fascinated when we were told there was a fire a few hundred years ago that destroyed everything except one huge hall.
I liked it when we met Dr Liam Fox who is the MP for Nailsea and the surrounding areas. We asked him questions like: What do you have to do to become an MP?
It was very interesting looking at the portraits and statues of the Prime Ministers.
I found it interesting to hear that the Speaker of the House of Commons would lower a curtain and take a bucket from under his chair to go to the loo. All the MPs would stamp their feet so they didn’t know what he was doing!
I loved walking round the Houses of Parliament, but my favourite thing was looking around the House of Lords and seeing the Queen’s throne which is covered in a thin layer of gold.
I liked when I saw where the Queen sits when she goes into the House of Lords.