Teachers thrilled to be appointed Specialist Leaders of Education (11.07.14)

Ang and LisaSidmouth College has recently been accepted to be part of the Jurassic Coast Teaching Schools Alliance. The Alliance consists of 24 partner schools across Devon and Dorset and its focus is on Teaching and Learning and providing schools with the opportunity to collaborate in developing leadership skills, classroom techniques and strategies that will ultimately have a positive impact on student progress.

One of the roles of the Alliance is to develop leaders within schools to ensure they have the skills to lead their own teams and improve practice within their own schools. This is achieved by sending Specialist Leaders of Education (SLE) into schools with the focus on developing leadership capacity. Two candidates from Sidmouth, Angela Lucas (Head of English) and Lisa Whitworth (Personal Development Coordinator and subject leader for Health & Social Care), have just been appointed to be two of fourteen SLE’s across the partnership.  They will now be deployed in schools to work with colleagues in a way that improves student outcomes. Both staff went through a rigorous selection process before being accepted to the role.

Vice Principal, Jim Ingham-Hill, said, ” Angela and Lisa deserve this recognition. They are experts within their subject areas and will be outstanding in developing the leadership of other colleagues within the Alliance. As a College, we are excited by the opportunities that membership of the Jurassic Coast Alliance will bring. Working cohesively with other schools to develop Teaching and Learning is an exciting initiative and one we are looking forward to immensely.”


Students to read winning poems in Armed Forces Day service (27.06.14)

The English Department have announced the winners of their recent World War I Poetry competition.  Organised in conjunction with the Sidmouth branch of the Royal British Legion, the competition required students in any year group to write a poem from a child’s point of view on the eve of 4th August 1914 when Britain declared war upon Germany.

Ten Gifted and Talented students in Years 7 and 8 were involved in a two hour session with Mrs Dudman last Friday where they learnt about the outbreak of the war and the impact that it had on people. The students had the opportunity to read the war declaration that was published in The Daily Mail, as well as look at copies of comics published in 1914 and recruitment posters of the era.  They then wrote their entries for the competition.  Other students in Years 7-12 also spent time in their English lessons preparing to write entries over the course of the week.

Mrs Dudman and Mrs Fossey judged the entries on Tuesday and, after much deliberation, decided on two winners: Lauren Brewster (8JF) and Thomas Varley (7KHB) (pictured above), whose entries are illustrated below. As a reward for their efforts, Thomas and Lauren have been invited by the Royal British Legion to read their poems as part of the Armed Forces Day service on Ham Green this Saturday.  They will also be awarded a prize each by the Royal British Legion for their work.

Three other students, Lucy Cullimore (10RAC), Libby Dean (7KHB) and Joel Henderson (7KHB) were all highly commended and will be awarded a runners-up prize in assemblies next week.

Mrs Dudman said: “We were really impressed with the quality of the entries to the competition – particularly from students in Year 7.  The students captured the atmosphere well and wrote with real empathy and compassion.  We are extremely proud of Thomas and Lauren and look forward to hearing them read their poems on Saturday.”

My Hero

I see tears streaming down Mother’s face,
while Father cradles her in his arms.
He forces a smile at me,
but it comes off as a grimace,
reflecting the pain within his breaking heart.

I feel shut-out,
as whispers pass through the air around me.
I feel tears welling up in my eyes,
and I choke on my own sobs.
My ragged hair falls into my eyes
but Father is no longer there to wipe it away.

My protector,
my hero,

I hear the door click behind him,
shutting out the world and leaving me feeling scared,

I take my brother’s clammy hand and hold him close.
It seems like he is the only one left in the world…

Mother comes back
but her arms don’t comfort me like Father’s do.
She feels too fragile,
like she will shatter any minute.
Her cheek is damp against my own
and she doesn’t tell the stories like Father does.

My heart pines for him.
I sense something is wrong.
I don’t know where he is
or if he will ever return.

Lauren Brewster 8JF


Red and Grey (Part 1)

The celebration’s like New Year.
The beautiful bunting,
soon to be viciously torn down,
by the hail of bullets
into the blackness.

Worse on the battlefields,
in the rat infested trenches.
No king and country to look towards,
just the sound of bullets
to guide you to the enemy when it begins.

The gruesome gas forcing you
to watch your friends and family
take their final gasp.
The cheer at the start.
The scream at the end.

One battle after another.
Listening to the growling guns
and the screams like birdsong.
Wading through the sea of bodies…
only to find more.

But when the bell rings
to secure the end.
it’s joy, happiness and freedom
and you always lose track
of the red and grey.

Thomas Varley 7KHB


Year 9 students celebrate success (20.06.14)

On Thursday evening, the College Hall was filled with around 150 parents, students, staff and community members as we celebrated our Year 9 Awards Evening.   The evening began with well-received solo musical performances by Jake Evans on the accordion and Reuben Raffell on the saxophone, followed by the presentation of Subject Prizes for Achievement, Progress and Merit. Kaya Oatley then sang a beautiful cover of ‘Feeling Good’ before the presentation of the tutor awards and a series of special cups, shields and trophies.

DSC_1329Head of Year 9, Mrs Stephens, said, “I would like to thank the support of the Year 9 team of Tutors throughout the year and on the night as they have been amazing.  I am immensely proud of my Year Group and it was fantastic to see so many students and parents present to celebrate what has been a exceptional year of achievements.  We have so much to celebrate in Year 9 and I am looking forward to the future to see what KS4 and beyond brings to this talented and motivated group of pupils. I would also like to thank the SCA for providing refreshments, Mr Patrick for organising the trophies and our amazing support staff for their help behind the scenes in ensuring the evening was such a success.”


Western Environmental Shield: Ben Ardley, Emily Cross, Amy Cozens

Governors’ Progress Cup: Isabelle Reed, Ethan Mead

Cope Cup for Overall Contribution to Year Group: Alastair Papworth

Keast Cup for Achievement: Alice Neumegen

Tutor Group Prizes (for exceptional behaviour and attitude that is consistently demonstrated within the year group): Emily Cross, Ben Cousins, Alice Dell, Emily Cole, Jasmine Cunliffe-Bond, Cameron Retter, Evie Seller, Joel Badcock, Jake Latham, Christopher Adams.

Merit Certificates:

Robyn Hansford (Food), Todd Whitrow (Resistant Materials), Jessica Phillips (Graphics), Isabella Sawyers (Textiles), Archie Bagwell (PE Boys), Bryony Monaghan (PE Girls), William Grief (History), DSC_1352Alex-Faye Brigden (Geography), Jacob Evans (RE), Sam Laurenti (Science), Emily Cross (Spanish), Madeleine Todd (French), Piers Beckman-Findlay (English), Alice Dell (Mathematics), Rory Morgan (Art), Joel Badcock (Computer Studies), Amberlie Hellier (Drama), Lucy Scrivens (Music).


Achievement Certificates:

Katie West (Food), Edward Jones (Resistant Materials), Ruth Renshaw (Graphics), Rhiannon Tavender (Textiles), Oliver Jarrett (PE Boys), Emily Vicary (PE Girls), Charley Gardiner (History), Tilly Wardrop (Geography), Matthew Skelding (RE), Oliver Newton (Science), Oliver Turton (Spanish), Drew Burnham (French), Connie Champain (English), Isabelle Reed (Mathematics), Bethany Collins (Art), Ruth Renshaw (Computer Studies), Sam Hunt (Drama), Ben Ardley (Music).


Progress Certificates:

Joanna Ryder (Food), Billy Dowling (Resistant Materials), Elizabeth Rudgard (Graphics), Hannah Hosking (Textiles), Jacob Fisher (PE Boys), Jodie Platt (PE Girls), Poppy Langley (History), Shalom Solman (Geography), Aiden Waldron (RE), Natalya Mitchell (Science), Alice Neumegen (Spanish), Tobi Pugsley (French), Tom Woodruff (English), Robert Watchman (Mathematics), Sophie Crisp (Art), Chris Ward (Computer Studies), Emily Cole (Drama), Reuben Raffell (Music).


‘Old School Days’ dementia event a roaring success…(13.06.14)

DSC_1241Mrs Whitworth’s Year 10 Health & Social Care students hosted an ‘Old School Days’ intergenerational event at the College on Tuesday. Attended by about 25 members of the Sid Valley Memory Café  and the wider community, as well as Matt Woodley from Radio Devon, the morning was a roaring success.

Plied with tea and cake (baked by the students), the visitors were all very keen to share their memories of their school days with the students. Several people even brought along old school reports and other kit, including an old tennis racket.

The students were able to listen to some fantastic stories about schooling in the past and demonstrated empathy and compassion in all their conversations. All of the students from the group are trained dementia friends and have already visited the Sid Valley Memory Café to spend time with dementia sufferers. Over the last six months they have grown hugely in confidence and are now really skilled at supporting dementia sufferers and their careers in this environment. We are hoping to continue our partnership with the memory cafe, the students have visited the cafe twice now and we are working on a project for next year which will see more students involved.

Mrs Whitworth and her students would like to thank Angela Thomson and Rachel Johnstone, the two wonderful volunteers who make the Memory Café happen and have given the students so much support. Also big thanks to members of the SCA who provided and served tea and coffee.  SCA Chair, Anne Bishop, said, “It was our pleasure to be able to help at such an inspiring session bringing our community and the pupils of college together!”

Participating student, Lettie Cunningham, summed up the event: “Everybody commented on how it was a very good event and that we should do it again. We all found it very interesting learning about the differences between how people learned in the old days compared to now and we could see how much the visitors were enjoying talking about memories from their childhood school days.  They were amazed when we showed them our interactive whiteboard! It was a great event and we would love to do it again.”

Meanwhile, Angela Thomson, a volunteer at the Memory Café said, “On behalf of our members I would like to thank you for the brilliant old school session you held yesterday. As always the students showed compassion and consideration to our visitors. I heard so many positive comments, not only about the pleasure of reminiscing about all the school history,  pictures and toys,  but the opportunity given to express their own stories and the satisfaction that gave.
The chance to find old books, write again on the slates and smell that carbolic soap certainly brought back lots of memories. I think the students were surprised to see the old school reports with the one word comments. It was  interesting to hear the discussions taking place between the generations. The conversation and laughter was nonstop, and it was evident to everyone what how successful the morning was. We were quite amazed at the modern technology and at least one lady is keen to have some lessons on IT from your students! Thank you also to the SCA for the wonderful refreshments and to the girls who made the excellent cakes, all delicious! We are already looking forward to our next venture with the College and hope to see the students at Memory Café next term.”


Girls’ Year 10 football teams showing great promise…(06.06.14)

Girls football team 1Sixteen Year 10 girls travelled to Feniton on Wednesday for their first taste of competitive football. They were divided into two equal ability teams for the tournament which was attended by teams from seven other schools and colleges across Devon.

Team 1 (pictured right) was represented by Issy Slater-Marston, Vicky Wyant, Tessa Mitchell, Amber Welsh, Lucy Jenkins, Sophie Gilbert, Georgia Ruse and Elsie Hughes. The girls showed some great teamwork, putting into practice the skills they have been learning during the Friday after-school coaching sessions.  Their results were as follows:

St James 1-0 win; Bideford (eventual finalists) 0-3 loss;  King Edward V1 1-1 draw; Ivybridge 0-2 loss; Newton Abbot 3-0 win; St James 0-2 loss (having hit the crossbar three times and spent most of the time in St James’ half).

Meanwhile, Team 2 (pictured left) was represented by Chloe Towers, Megan Cuerden, Erin Watts, Leah Hawkins, Louise Bond, Lydia Hunt, Imogen Todd and Emma Horrell.  Again, the girls put in a good performance with all of their matches ending in very close results:

St James 0-0 draw; Ivybridge (eventual winners) 0-2 loss; Dawlish 0-0 draw; King Edward V1 0-1 loss; Chumleigh 0-0 draw (a great result given that Chumleigh had won every other game!).

The girls’ football club is still running on Fridays after school and is proving very successful. This is an excellent starting point for any of the established football clubs in the area to pick up a ready made U16 girls’ football team to enter into district competitions next year. The girls are extremely keen for any volunteers to come forward.Girls football team 2


Exmoor Challenge success…(09.05.14)

Exmoor Challenge 2It seems a long time ago since our students took part in their first Exmoor Challenge training walk on a wet and blustery day in March but last Saturday 3rd May was the day of the event itself and, fortunately, the weather couldn’t have been better.

This year, the College had four teams entered for the Challenge; three teams entered for the 16 mile walk in the 5½ hour time category and, for the first time ever, one Senior team entered into the 4 hours 50mins time category, no mean feat. As usual, penalty points would be incurred for arriving too early or too late at check points and students were also required to answer questions about map readings and local knowledge en route. New for this year, an extra checkpoint was added by the organisers just before the event, with a penalty of 20 penalty points for teams who missed it.

Once again, we are grateful to Mrs Vaughan, who has supported our participating students throughout their training programme. Here, one of those students, Chloe Towers, reports…

“The annual Exmoor Challenge took place on Saturday 3rd May.  There were over 150 teams taking part in the 16 mile challenge, all aiming to complete it in a set time depending on their age. The weather was cool and dry, perfect conditions for the event.

I was a member of the senior team and we had a great start and were well within time when, unexpectedly, we came across a junior team from Tiverton High School who were struggling with a team member who was sick. We alerted the rangers and then decided we should give the remaining students our support so we walked with to allow them to complete the walk and cross the line within their time limits. As a result, our own final score was affected slightly but it was worth it to know we had done the right thing.

We all really enjoyed the day and I would like to thank Mrs Vaughan for her continued support and commitment to this challenge each year and for giving up her Sundays to complete the training required for us all to get through it!”

Commenting on the day, Mrs Vaughan said, “This year’s challenge once again proved to be enjoyable, hard work and challenging for all those who took part. The teams have learnt to support one another, develop their leadership skills and  enjoy the pleasure of walking! The Exmoor Challenge provides a great foundation for those interested in taking on the Ten Tors Challenge and, hopefully, many of them will go on to do Ten Tors in the next few years.

I would like to say how proud I am of all our children who took part (listed below). They all put in a lot of training, walking over 70 miles in six weekends as well as taking part in the College’s 20km sponsored walk. I would especially like to congratulate the members of the senior team who forwent any hopes of coming in the top three when they stopped to help a distressed Year 7 team from another school. Sensibly, they used their whistle to summon help and then waited for the rangers to come to them before taking it upon themselves to walk with the remaining two Year 7 students so that they could complete the course.

Of course, the walks could not happen without the fantastic support we receive from parents and, for this, I am very grateful. I would also like to specially mention Mr and Mrs Towers who have given me so much support throughout the years  and help  on the day as well as the walks.”


Sponsored Walk 2014 (25.04.14)

DSC_1075Despite a poor forecast at the beginning of the week, the weather (thankfully) held out for our whole school Sponsored Walk today. Spirits were high as each year group set off to tackle the 20km challenge and this year’s ‘wear it red’ theme, in support of Devon Air Ambulance, created quite a spectacle as students and staff walked along the sea front, up Peak Hill and through Colaton Raleigh.

First back, in an amazing time of just 1 hour and 58 minutes (smashing the previous walk’s record of 2 hours and 50 minutes) was Year 13 student Ben West. Meanwhile, Year 8 student Paige Kubaczka was the individual who secured the most sponsors (28), Year 10 student Lettie Cunningham raised the most individual sponsorship (£122.02), and Mr Webster’s tutor group, 8JW, raised the highest collective tutor group sponsorship (£797.74). Overall, if all pledged sponsorship monies are collected, the walk will have raised a whopping £11,194.29, a percentage of which will be donated to Devon Air Ambulance. Congratulations to all involved, including sponsors, walkers, organisers and supporters. This was a fantastic team effort. More photos will appear on our Facebook page next week…JW Sidmth-Sposord-Walk-14-04

New Vice Principal joins the College (24.04.14)

Martyn DudleyWe are delighted to welcome Martyn Dudley, our final Vice Principal appointment, this term. Martyn will work alongside existing Vice Principals Jim Ingham-Hill and Matt White to complete the Senior Leadership team. Here, Martyn introduces himself:

“This academic year has been a true adventure for me. I left The Taunton Academy, where I was Assistant Principal, last October on a career break to spend six months travelling through South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. This was a fantastic trip, exploring the varied cultures along the journey and, naturally, embarking on a number of great experiences. Opportunities like this remind me how fortunate we are living in such a developed country; our connections to the rest of the world and how we can all learn to make a difference in our own way. There were far too many highlights, but sunrise at the temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, and again at 4100m atop Borneo’s Mt Kinabalu are two fond memories.

I have been teaching for 14 years and have worked at a range of schools, starting my career teaching PE in an 11-16 community school in Stroud, Gloucestershire, before taking up my first leadership role as Head of PE at a middle school in Crewkerne, Somerset. From there, I moved to Ladymead Community School in Taunton as Head of PE and remained there for eight years, becoming Assistant Principal. I was part of the leadership team as Ladymead gained Academy status and became the Taunton Academy 11-18. As Assistant Principal at the Taunton Academy I had responsibility for curriculum, achievement and progress, and assessment reporting and recording.

In my new post at Sidmouth College I will have a similar focus and  responsibilities and will look to provide every young person with the opportunity to succeed. I am highly driven, with high expectations of both others and myself, and will be working in partnership with others to ensure student achievement and progress is of the highest standard. It is my aim to provide all young people with a range of exciting opportunities and experiences, in and out of the classroom, that can help prepare them for later life. As the education system is currently undergoing a period of change, I hope to be able to facilitate a stable and secure environment for learning within the College.

Naturally as a PE teacher I have a wide interest in sports, particularly outdoor pursuits and long distance running, as well as cricket when the weather permits (don’t mention the 2013/14 Ashes Test, although Boxing Day at the MCG was one to remember nonetheless). I am thrilled to be starting out at Sidmouth College and looking forward to continuing my adventure working with you all as I begin my role as Vice Principal.”Martyn on tour



Fantastic End to netball season…(04.04.14)

On 1st April, our Year 7 netball team travelled to King’s school to take part in their last friendly. For Hannah Rudgard, Lauren Coleridge and Emily Price, it was their first competitive netball game. In our recent tournament the girls had lost 1-2 to King’s in a tightly contested match and they were set on putting the record straight. The match started closely with a level score of 4-4 at half time but, in the third quarter, the Sidmouth girls stepped up the pressure and scored three goals with no reply from King’s. Adamant for revenge for their previous narrow defeat, the girls played some outstanding netball leaving the final score 10-8 to Sidmouth.

9 10 11 v's kingsOn the same night a team made up of Evie Morgan (Year 11), Frankie King-Keast, Aimee Vine and Lillian Caldwell (Year 10), and Emily Dawkins, Robyn Hansford and Bryony Monaghan (Year 9), also travelled to King’s to take on their Year 10/11 team. Realising that the majority of King’s team were Year 11 players, the girls were a little anxious. Nevertheless, the score at the end of half-time was 8-7. The girls then decided to try out a few new positions, and with great success as they dominated King’s in every third of the court. Some fantastic defending by Emily Dawkins and Frankie King-Keast, and outstanding shooting by Bryony Monaghan and Aimee Vine, saw Sidmouth stroll to a comprehensive 22–7 win. We are very much looking forward to next year with such depth in netball starting to come through thanks to Mrs Humphries’ specialist coaching.


Dementia Friends put learning into practice (20.03.14)

s4A group of Health & Social Care students from Sidmouth College, who recently trained to become ‘Dementia Friends’, visited the Sid Valley Memory Café with Mrs Whitworth on Wednesday. The visit allowed them to put their learning into practice by taking part in reminiscence sessions and intergenerational activities with people with dementia and their carers.

Here, one of our student Dementia Friends, Freya Busby, reports…

“On Wednesday, a group of Health and Social pupils who had trained as Dementia Friends went to the Memory Café in Sidmouth to put our new found skills into practice and see how people with dementia cope.

There were tables with games on and other activities, including a card-making activity with the idea that finished cards could be sold when finished. Each of us sat with one of the elderly people and spent time chatting to them and helping them with their activities. The lady I was talking to explained how she could remember the war like it was yesterday but could not remember what day of the week it was. She told me how she travelled the world with no money in a campervan then, not long after, gave birth to her first child. When the war broke out she was living in Sidmouth. The stories she told were fascinating.

We found it hard to be with someone who remembers who you are one minute and then forgets who you are the next, but we really loved being there and their company was wonderful. Some people bonded straight away and it felt good to have made a difference to them. It was really emotional to hear some of their stories. One women got evacuated from her parents during the war and was reunited with her mum six years later but her dad did not return. 

It was a lovely experience and we are looking forward to visiting again. It’s really nice to know that dementia sufferers have a place to go where their needs are understood and they can find a friendly face to talk to.”

Sid Valley Memory Cafe is a popular meeting place for people with memory problems and their carers.  Operating on a ‘drop-in’ basis, it gives participants the chance to exchange experiences and receive practical information and emotional support. The session was supported by volunteer Dementia Champion, Rachel Johnstone, and Sid Valley Memory Café Coordinator, Angela Thompson.

Commenting on the students’ visit, Rachel said, “We so appreciate this visit.  I passionately believe that the students are key to reducing all the stigma that surrounds dementia – and isolates so many people from their community when they get a diagnosis.  I can’t tell you how it felt to see the students interacting – with empathy, interest and humour – and treating the people with dementia as ‘people they genuinely wanted to get to know better’.  There didn’t appear to be any barriers in the way at all – and I was just so impressed by the maturity of all the students, and how they just ‘fitted in’.  One of the members, Judith, whose dementia is in the moderate to advanced stages usually gets very agitated when her husband (her carer) isn’t around but was holding one of the girl’s hands during the card-making session.  Wherever I looked, the girls were talking, laughing and interacting.  I hope that some of the students will be inspired to investigate careers working with older people because they are all naturals!”

Health and Social Care teacher, Mrs Whitworth, said, “This was a hugely rewarding visit for both our students and the dementia sufferers and their carers and I’m incredibly proud of the empathy and care shown by my students. We hope this will form the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Sid Valley Memory Café and have already planned a second visit on 2nd April.  I’m also planning to invite dementia sufferers and their carers to an event at the College in the summer, where they will have the opportunity to reminisce about their own school days.”