I‘m typing this month‘s dispatch having just returned to my office from the school gym where the first GCSE exam of the summer is about to start.
I left our Year 11 students sitting nervously in rows, poised to open their English papers in what will be the beginning of the end; for some, a very different future awaits them on the other side of the summer holidays – the world of work, apprenticeships, or college courses; whilst many others are destined for the sixth form here at Wensleydale.
As I walked up and down lines of exam desks, I wasn‘t sure who was more nervous: the students who had two tough hours ahead of them in which to prove they‘ve listened and learned; or the teachers standing at the edges of the room who‘ve worked hard to prepare their classes for this day.
I often write about extra-curricular activities and about the school‘s achievements in the community, whilst the bread-and-butter work of the school is taken for granted. But being in that exam room just now has reminded me how lucky we are here at Wensleydale to have a group of hard-working, conscientious students and a team of committed, skilled teachers and teaching assistants. As a result of this, we are hopeful of breaking all previous records this summer in terms of exam performance and we wish our students well.
Two post-16 students from Wensleydale picked up top awards at the International Chemistry Olympiad in April. 2604 students competed in the competition and only 7% of those students achieved the Gold Certificate: a student from our Year 13 was one of them. He achieved a creditable score of 40 out of 55. Another one of our students got a Silver Certificate and scored an impressive 35 out of 55, placing him in the top 23% of competitors.
Both students sat a 2 hour theory paper in February to compete in the Olympiad.
Another proud achievement to report this month: our Head of Modern Foreign Languages ran the London Marathon to raise money for Cancer Research UK and collected over £200. She finished the race in 3 hours 55 minutes and 56 seconds which is an impressive time although she modestly informs me that she passed the finish line behind a banana and a giant Lucozade bottle, and only marginally ahead of a flower pot.
Finally, I have two upcoming events to make you aware of:
On June 24th the school is holding its annual Presentation Evening to honour and reward the achievements of last year‘s Year 11. David Hartley from the Hawes Creamery will be presenting the trophies and awards and the school‘s staff band is re-forming by popular demand to entertain the audience.
On July 9th we are running a summer fair on the school fields. This is a community event and everyone is welcome. It will be a great opportunity for local people to see our school farm and to get involved. We‘re also hoping to open our climbing wall to the public; and to have a skateboard park, a demonstration of Zumba dancing, a vintage fair ground, a farmers‘ market, a brass band, a football tournament for pri-mary school children, an ice cream van and cake stall, and a BBQ! We hope to run a number of competitions, to have a dog show, a geese dog trial and a pig-handling competition. If you‘d like to get involved – or have suggestions about other events we could run – please contact us. We hope you will be able to support us.