Headteacher’s Blog – Fri 10th December 2021

Blog – Fri 10th December 2021 

 

Key Dates 

  • Thursday 16th December:  school closes for the Christmas holidays at 3.05pm 
  • Tuesday 4th January: Covid testing on site.  Please confirm your child will attend school for a test using this link https://forms.office.com/r/fYyA2xCEcP  Students will remain at home on this day and will come into school for the Covid test and return home again. 
  • Wednesday 5th January: all students return to school when it will be week 1 on the school timetable. 

 

Carol Service 

Thank you to all those students, families and staff who supported the school carol service at St John’s College Chapel on Thursday. It was a lovely start to the festive season and the students gave excellent musical performances.  

 

Reading Christmas Tree 

The school library has a twinkling reading Christmas tree. Students are encouraged to visit the tree and hang on suggestions for good reads as well as reading what other students have recommended.  

 

Debate Club 

Debate Club had another election hustings debate this week, which included six students standing as “Mr Men/Little Miss” candidates.   

Good arguments were heard all round and the winner (by a very large margin) was Mr Snooty. 

 

Book Clubs and Recommendations: Happy holiday reading! 

The two school book clubs (Years 7-8 Monday break in the library, Years 9-11 on Teams) are doing well, full of friendly chat and book recommendations. We are always open for new members to join in to read with us, and there are no deadlines and no minimum commitment. 

Also, if you’re stuck for last minute gift ideas, why not try this website: 

https://schoolreadinglist.co.uk/category/secondary-ks3-ks4-reading-lists/ 

This is a frequently updated list which shows the latest book recommendations for students, and represent a modern, diverse range of books which are appropriate for each key stage. Many of these titles are already in the school library; however, as you know, students also enjoy having books of their own. Why not have a look through the list and perhaps select a book for ‘Santa’ to bring? The site is linked to Amazon; however, you do not have to purchase books from the site – it is just a great way of looking at the different titles and genres available to students. 

We know Christmas time is very busy, but there is nothing like making time to enjoy doing some reading (and getting a break from screens). 

Year 9-11 book clubbers are still welcome to come to borrow a copy of “Great Expectations” from A11 for reading over the holidays. 

 

Year 9 GCSE Pathways 

As students approach the end of their first term in Year 9, we start to look ahead to their transition to Key Stage 4 study from next September. The Year 9 Pathways process runs from this week through to February half term, and is designed to ensure all students receive plenty of support and advice as they make choices regarding their GCSE courses of study. We look forward to working with students throughout this exciting time to ensure the decisions they make are right for them. This week we sent home the Pathways booklet, alongside a video explaining the process in full. 

You can find all this information here: https://chestertoncc.org/information/options-information/ 

We would advise students and parents to spend some time over the coming weeks watching the video and reading through the Pathways booklet, to ensure students come back to school in the New Year fully informed about the process ahead of them. If you have any queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Mrs Evans-Ali. 

 

Staff News 

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Baywood (Head of Hill House/Science teacher and Head of English) who welcomed a baby boy into their now family of three. We are thrilled for them. 

 

Festive Calendar 

The festive calendar is in full swing: this week’s activities have included hunting for wrapped gifts around the school site and looking out for staff wearing festive socks in exchange for prizes. Thank you to Mrs Butler for organising the calendar and to the PTA for sponsoring it. 

 

Christmas Lunch 

On Wednesday 15th December Chef Norman and his team are looking forward to serving students and staff Christmas lunch with crackers, mince pies and all the trimmings. There is no need to book in advance: students can purchase lunch that day in the same way as other days. 

 

Bikeability 2021 

More than 40 Year 7 and 8 students endured the cold weather this week to complete the level 3 Bikeability course. 

It was all worthwhile, as the course leaders were able to cover theory and practical challenges, relative to the local roads and junctions.  Hopefully we now have more than 40 safer cyclists! 

If you would like to find out more about bikeability courses in Cambridge, please click on the link: https://outspokentraining.co.uk/ 

 

District Schools Cross Country 

Forty athletes from Chesterton competed in the annual district schools cross country event this week.  As you’d expect, the course was challenging, with a fantastic variety of terrain to challenge runners from over 20 local schools. We’re pleased to say that many of our runners are in contention to qualify for the district team, which will compete in the county event in January – to be confirmed by the organiser, early next week.  Watch this space! 

Rowing success 

Congratulations to some students from Chesterton who have excelled recently, as part of the Rob Roy Junior Rowing Club.  The successes below are a testament to hard work, and a number of hours of training.   Our ‘Try Rowing’ programme has also played a role, by identifying students with potential, and linking them with the Rob Roy squad. 

  • At the very competitive Hampton Head races last weekend, Prune and Eloise finished 2nd out of 34 top class competitors, having also finished 5th at the National Championships in the summer. 
  • Lara and Martha won their first race in the Cambridge Winter Head. 

We’re already looking forward to finding the class of 2022 from Year 9! 

 

Drama News 

This has been a very busy term for Drama students at Chesterton and we are delighted to share some of the highlights so far. These include projects in school and outside of school. 

Congratulations to Harry in Year 10 and Emilia in Year 11 for their sterling performances in ‘Elsinore’ produced by Corkscrew Theatre Company. They showed just how powerful a young actor can be alongside adults with more experience, and they played the roles of soldiers with total commitment and subtle detail. Chesterton has long had a warm association with Lesley Ford who produced this show, and her company’s next offering will be ‘Father Frost’ which can be seen over the Christmas holiday at the Town and Gown Theatre in Cambridge.  

Meanwhile, good luck to Mabel in Year 8 and Laurie in Year 7 who are also performing alongside adult actors in Cambridge Theatre Company’s forthcoming production of ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat’ which is due to be staged between the end of term and Christmas at the Leys Theatre in Cambridge. This musical has so much to offer its audiences, and CTC are well known for their high production values.  

All four students have gained so much from these external projects and it’s always lovely to support them! Please let us know if there are more shout-outs to be made for thespians in our school! 

At Chesterton this term, Stagecoach (led by Angharad Walter) have set up in the Atrium Theatre every Wednesday 5 – 8pm, and have been teaching and developing performance skills to children and young people in the local area, ending the sessions with a showcase of pieces from the differently aged groups. Ms Marston has seen a lot of Stagecoach Cambridge’s work – both locally and in the West End – and she highly recommends this training if you are interested in widening your knowledge and techniques in dance and MT singing, as well as in acting.  

If you want to know more about how you might join Stagecoach at Chesterton, please contact Angharad on . She has been really impressed by the students who have already joined from our feeder primary schools and from Chesterton itself. It would be fantastic to see more of you take up the chance to extend the performing arts provision you already receive, gain more variety and build more friendships from this Company as well as make the most of our ‘amazing’ facilities at school, as Angharad describes them! Perhaps something for 2022… 

GCSE Drama: Year 10 Drama students are immersed in the creative process for a forthcoming production of ‘1984’, a dramatisation of the novel by George Orwell, due to be performed on 28th February and 1st March 2022 in the Atrium Theatre. More information about this will follow, but suffice to say that there is immense talent and exhilarating intensity already apparent in the work created. It’s all credit to the Year 10 ensemble that they have elected to take on such an ambitious set text for their GCSE Drama, following in the footsteps of the Year 11 ensemble who were able to produce a radio play of ‘1984’ in the third lockdown last year. It’s fascinating to encounter the differences between a radio performance and a staged production of this visceral, prescient text.  

Meanwhile, Year 11 students are very excited to be preparing for a Showcase of dramatic extracts to be staged as their Component 2 examination in the first week of February. This promises to be a very special event indeed, particularly considering how long this Cohort has waited to perform the work of professional playwrights in front of an audience. Watch this space… 

Our Drama clubs have proved a great success this term, with around 150 students taking parts, and several parents kindly expressing in emails how much their children have enjoyed being part of them. Sam Plumb’s improvisation troupe have grown leaps and bounds in strength, skill and character and it’s hilarious and uplifting to watch them work every Tuesday; the Friday Drama club in the first half-term developed such a strong company spirit and brought newcomers in Year 7 together with Year 8 veteran actors. 

Wednesday’s Musical Theatre Club are going to be presenting a showcase of songs in a rescheduled slot in the New Year (to be confirmed once Covid regs are in place) and have meanwhile become such a tight unit. Meanwhile, a wide range of off-stage talents from sound designers to stage managers are emerging from the newly established Tech Club which has taken on a life of its own, particularly with the help of parents like Sierra Collier who is teaching the participants so much about how to be creative in designing a set with recycled materials. Keep coming everyone! 

Perhaps most pressingly, Chesterton Youth Theatre is very proud to present its student and staff pantomime ‘Dick Whittington and his Cat!’ This spectacular production will take to the stage in the Atrium Theatre on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th December at 7.30pm. 

There is a different principal cast on both nights, maximising opportunities for the incredible range of actors we have at Chesterton to be in the spotlight and take lead roles in the storytelling. Having said that, what’s most important in this project is the sense of togetherness and ensemble spirit that it has instilled in the company, which includes over 75 students from Year 7 right through to Year 11, and in the team of teachers involved too! We very much hope that it will bring joy and laughter, inspiration and magic to the eyes and ears, hearts and souls of all who see it (oh yes it will!). Whilst our audience is restricted to 50 per cent capacity due to Covid, there are a few remaining tickets for the Show, so if you are interested in seeing it, please email Mr Cooper (who plays the Dame!) on , stating your requests for ticket numbers and the night you wish to see it. He will do his best to provide you with tickets, though they are almost sold-out (families have been given priority booking) so you will need to do this fast!  

For those who are unable to see ‘Dick Whittington’ live, please be reassured that it will still be possible for you to watch the filmed recording of the production, which will be professionally edited and sent as a YouTube link soon after to those involved, and after Christmas to anyone else who requests this link. We will provide more information about the film in the New year (unfortunately it will not be possible to live stream the performance).  

We’re meanwhile hugely grateful to everyone involved in the production for giving so much energy and positivity at this time of year, and whilst so many challenges are facing us with the pandemic. We’re also proud to have taken careful measures to ensure that the production’s fulfilment and hopeful success is balanced with concerns for safety and protection from Covid. We can’t wait to bring this witty script (written collaboratively by the Drama Department and a group of students in Year 9) to life in what promises to be dazzling, daft and delightful to behold. 

In total contrast, there will be a performance entitled ‘YoHo’ on Thursday 16th December in the Drama Studio at Chesterton at 4.30pm. This is a piece devised by an ensemble of Year 9 performers who have been exploring the theme of homelessness in lesson this term, and have wanted to take this work a step further so that it can have a wider impact. The piece lasts around 20–30 minutes, and includes a range of techniques from dancedrama to monologues to rap. It will give this year group a much-deserved opportunity to perform to a small audience and we hope that the audience will feel inspired and compelled to make donations which will be sent directly to Centrepoint, the charity dedicated to providing the young homeless community in the UK with practical and emotional support.  

If you would like to attend please email  and we will aim to accommodate you in a Covid-safe way. Ms Marston is really proud of the students participating for giving up their time to express their feelings and develop art that fights for such an important cause. Thank you for this courage and commitment. 

Indeed, thank you everyone for reading all about Drama this term. Previous blogs have referenced the BBC TV project and Renaissance London Pageant which have also been moments of pride for Chesterton Youth Theatre this term.  

It’s also important to acknowledge the terrific assessments many students are performing in class on ‘Character and Conflict’ (Year 7), ‘Dramatic Devices’ (Year 8) and ‘Issue-based Drama’ (Year 9): it’s a treat for Drama teachers and peers to see this work, and we know that there are parents out there who would be very proud to see how much confidence, craft and generosity of spirit their children show in these lesson-based performances.  

We hope 2022 will prove to be a very exciting year, with auditions for ‘Les Miserables’ coming up as our next major project (more info about this will arrive separately). Bring it on! 

 

Inter-house ABP Leaderboard 

  • 1st Place Robinson:  4,773 ABPs 
  • 2nd Place Equiano:  4,689 ABPs 
  • 3rd Place Fawcett:  4,541 ABPs 
  • 4th Place Cavendish:  4,518 ABPs 
  • 5th Place Hill:  4,484 ABPs 

Total: 23,005 ABPs 

Senior Maths Challenge 

Thirty-nine students from Years 9-11 recently took part in the UKMT Senior Maths challenge. The Senior challenge is a sister challenge to the Junior and Intermediate challenges, but is primarily targeted at students studying sixth form mathematics. 

The students did amazingly, with 5 gold awards, 19 silver awards and 9 bronze awards achieved.  

The Gold Award students (Devadath, Miranda, Julia, Oliver and Tadhg) all qualified for the next round of the challenge, with four of them qualifying for the Senior Kangaroo and one (Julia) gaining entry to the Senior Maths Olympiad, a 3½- hour maths challenge designed for elite sixth form students. All have sat the next round of the challenge this week – we wish them the best of luck with the results. 

Congratulations to our other silver and bronze achievers. 

 

Equiano House 

First of all we would like to thank all of the Equiano students and parents who have donated items to Jimmy’s Night Shelter this week; please do keep the donations coming in for such a good cause. This week our Year 7 students visited the Cambridge Arts Theatre to watch an Aladdin performance. We were extremely proud of our students who represented Chesterton well and enjoyed the pantomime.  

Students also took part in a multi-faith assembly and learned about politics and democracy in PSHE.  

Our Year 11 students got to take part in Enrichment this week which involved sporting and craft activities as well as a cinema afternoon.  

We would like to say well done to Equiano 4 who are still in the lead with the most Above and Beyond Points. 

 

Cavendish House 

Festive cheer continued to be spread this week with the whole school taking part in Christmas Jumper Day to raise money for Save the Children; it was great to see so many fantastic jumpers and people getting into the festive spirit.  

Year 11 took part in their Enrichment day at the start of the week which involved several fun activities including Christmas crafts, 5-a-side football, Bingo and a cinema experience. 

Year 7 headed to thepPantomime on Monday to watch Aladdin at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Staff involved with the event were very pleased with the conduct of Cavendish students – we hope you enjoyed the experience!  

Donations for Jimmy’s are still welcome; thank you to all students and families for their donations so far.   

This year, the annual Festive Fair run by our PTCA is taking place on Thursday 16th December in The Atrium Theatre. If you are willing to volunteer to run a game, or man a stall then get in touch with Ms Bigglestone and sign up!  

As we head closer to the end of term the Cavendish team would like to say a huge well done for the continued hard work and positive attitude of our students. We are so impressed with your achievements this term and are looking forward to this continuing in the new year. 

 

Hill House 

Firstly, we would like to congratulate Mr and Mrs Baywood who have just welcomed young Tommy into the world on Saturday morning. Continuing this exciting news, many Hill students are taking part in an advent calendar series of fun challenges – including raffles with Christmas socks, sweets in form times and even a Christmas jumper day this Friday the 10th of December! Students and staff remembered to wear their best (or worst!) jumper this Friday.  

Competitions continue in S3 on Wednesdays and Hill students have been the biggest competitors so great work being involved and winning some ABPs for Hill House. Keep it up next week for the rock, paper, scissors tournament!  

We would like to congratulate the following Year 8 Hill students for continuing to go above and beyond: Maja, Eva, Saima, Ionathan, Julian and Gabrielle. Well done! 

 

Fawcett House 

It has been a busy week at CCC! Our Year 7s made a special trip to town to watch the Aladdin pantomime at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Year 7s and 8s had an assembly about the upcoming Multi-Faith Celebration at Great St Mary’s and many students took part in the Bikeability training course.  

The overall mood within the House village is one of joy and excitement, which creates an awesome atmosphere to finish a term. As the festive period has really started, Fawcett students continue to donate so generously towards the Jimmy’s homeless shelter organisation – they will certainly make many people happy this Christmas. In addition, it was lovely to see so many Fawcett students involved in the St Johns Carol Service on Thursday evening and the Christmas Jumper Day on Friday.  

As we round off a hugely successful term for Fawcett, we continue to urge you to keep achieving those ABPs. Lots to look forward to next week as term comes to a close on Thursday!  

 

 

Robinson House 

Hello Robinson House, we hope you are all well. Here is your weekly roundup.  

We are in first place on the House points competition with 4977 points which is 87 points ahead of second place Fawcett. Keep those Above and Beyond Points rolling in!  

In form time this week we have completed an array of Christmas-related tasks getting us into a festive mood. And year 7s enjoyed a trip to the pantomime.  

Finally, please join us in wishing Anita, Ronnie, Polly, Mehmet and Yuxian a very happy birthday this week. Remember to nip into the Robinson office on the B corridor for a small treat.  

Have a lovely weekend! 

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