Our first month back in school after the summer holidays and what a fantastic start to the new academic year! We are finally back in more normal circumstances with the removal of year group zones and students being able to move around the building. They are now experiencing all of their lessons in different rooms which doesn't sound exciting but has created a real buzz in the school with lots of smiling faces. There is a great feeling of positivity and happiness about the school that is palpable, as this feels more like the 'everyday' that both staff and students have been waiting for.
This month has been jam packed with lots going on and September's Ribston Roar definitely showcases the myriad of different activities in school. We have welcomed new staff and our Year 7 cohort, as well as the new Year 12 students into our Sixth Form. They have settled in well and are already part of the Ribston family. You can read about all of this below, enjoy!
Our 100th intake, the new Year 7s, were the first students to experience Ribston Ready Summer Camp at the end of August and what a successful event it was!
Students were immersed in Ribston life from the outset, working together on challenges, getting their bearings on the school site, experiencing classes in many subjects and enjoying workshops such as drama and karate.
During the afternoon of day four, their families were invited into school to enjoy a school fete which comprised numerous stands the students had created themselves, devising the activities and rewards in small groups. Following this activity, students were able to take their families on a tour of the school site, sharing their newfound knowledge of the facilities and introducing the teaching team.
Over the course of the week, we saw shy and reserved students blossom into confident young women, excited for their life ahead at Ribston Hall.
Ella Bloxham said "I have loved summer school, it has been a great way to meet and bond with new people and get to know the way around the school."
Well done Year 7 for embracing your new school life with such vigour and enthusiasm.
Year 12 team building day
Year 12 took part in a fun day of team building activities to help them settle into Sixth Form life and to work with their new peer group. We have had a number of students join us from other schools so are new to Ribston Hall, making this activity particularly rewarding for them.
The challenges were designed to encourage students to take ownership of their learning, use critical thinking to develop ideas, use their social skills to motivate and communicate with their teammates, and evaluate their performance after each activity. Great work Year 12!
Celebration of Success for last year's Year 11
We held a Celebration of Success Awards Ceremony for last year's Year 11 students and their parents last week. With over 40 students receiving awards for Highest Attainment, Passion and Enthusiasm and Most Improved Student across every GCSE subject, it was great to see so many students' efforts rewarded. In addition, a number of Academic Achievement Awards were presented with the Headteacher's Awards for Outstanding GCSE results given to Rita Soltysiak. Amber Meredith-Wilks, Molly Neill and Abigail Dermody delivered outstanding musical performances.
It was particularly nice to see our students and their families together again in the hall - the first time we've had such an event in school since the Covid-19 pandemic begun.
Well done to our Year 12 students who displayed enormous determination and outstanding achievements given their tricky GCSE journey.
Croft Farm fun in the sun
It was great to see our usual September residential return to Year 7's calendar this year after last year's Year 7 having to wait until the summer term to experience the joys of Croft Farm.
The students took part in one day of activities on the water - including sailing, canoeing, windsurfing and paddle-boarding - and another day on dry land, enjoying archery, karting and much more. Following a disco and some late night fun, we can imagine they all slept very well the night they returned home!
Meet the team
Our new Science teacher, Mr Rouffet, joined us at the start of term and is happily settled into Ribston life already.
We found out a little more about him in a brief interview:
What subject do you teach? Science and A-level Biology.
What did you do before you joined Ribston Hall? Teacher of Science at St Peter’s High school.
What were your first impressions of Ribston Hall? Incredibly friendly atmosphere, really well-behaved students and a sense of absolute shock at how massive the grounds are!
Can you tell us any interesting fun facts or anecdotes about you? I have broken 12 bones in my body. The majority of these occurred between 1-16 years of age. In fact, on my return to England from France at the age of 12, I broke my left arm after falling off a big ball while rolling down the Quantock hills. This was swiftly accompanied by a broken right collar bone as my friend (who also went over the ball) proceeded to fall on top of me with an all mighty “tharump”. The resulting cast and strap gave me an appearance of a tea pot for that whole summer.
What's your best memory from your own time at school? I lived in the south of France for 3 years as a child and have a distinct memory of a school trip organised to a botanical site in the Basses Cevennes. Oddly, they have one of Europe’s largest bamboo forests and were a centre of excellent for Bee studies. The guide who showed us around was super passionate about both subjects and, while I didn’t become as enthusiastic about bamboo, this was a defining point at which I decided I wanted to be a Scientist.
What's your number one piece of wisdom to pass onto your students? Always review your notes at the end of the day. Regular consolidation and review is often underrated and underused by students and yet has a massive impact on progress. Doing this each day will ensure you are primed for the next lesson and give you a chance to check for any content you don’t understand or need to clarify with your teacher.
Thanks Mr Rouffet, great to have you on board!
Miss Danks, the Ultra Marathon runner!
If you think PE lessons involve a bit much running at times, spare a thought for the runners in the Saints Way Challenge; 28.5 miles of varied terrain across Cornwall from Padstow to Fowey with 3 timed check points and just 10.5 hours to complete it.
Miss Danks took part during the first week of term and set off running as the sun rose at 6.30am one Sunday morning — it was her first time completing a marathon distance and ultra-marathon. She got to all 3 check points ahead of the cut-off time and somehow finished looking as fresh as a daisy!
Well done Miss Danks, a true marathon effort!
Exploring the new science building
Our Ribston Hall landscape is changing rapidly at the moment with the ongoing build of the new science facility. We're now only about six months away from our students and teachers being able to enjoy our new science labs - exciting times ahead this academic year! Our Science teachers took a walk around the building site last week and can not wait to move into their new space.
Duke of Edinburgh students take on the River Wye
Our Gold and Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award students took part in a canoeing expedition last month. Here's a summary of events from Grace Cooper in Year 12, who is one of our students going for gold.
On the 30th August, a group of my friends and I set out on the River Wye with 3 canoes, a handful of paddles and enough food and clothes to last us for a week. When we arrived at the launch site on day 1, the weather was overcast but warm enough to wear shorts, the perfect conditions for canoeing.
Those of us that did silver DofE last year were ecstatic as the conditions we paddled in then were extremely rainy and windy. We packed our kit into dry bags, placed them in the canoes and set off downstream. Our instructor showed us the correct rowing technique and how to turn properly; he also showed us how to go down the white-water parts of the river, navigating around the shallow rocks.
Although we knew how to steer, the first few days were spent laughing in overhanging willow trees and stuck on almost invisible rocks in the middle of the river. By day 3 or 4, handling the canoes had become much easier and avoiding trees was like second nature. Our spirits were high and each morning we were itching to get on the water and start making our way to the next destination.
Some of the campsites we visited had facilities like warm showers which made us feel like we were staying in 5-star accommodation. On the other hand, some days all we had was a messy portaloo and a drinking water tap. As you can imagine, by the end of the expedition, all of our arms ached and we were all longing for any kind of food that wasn’t boil in the bag rice. On the last day, when we saw our instructor on the riverbank, waving his arms in the air franticly, a unanimous sigh of relief swept across us all as we drifted to where water met land bearing proud smiles.
The best part of the expedition for me was being able to make friends with people who, outside of DofE, I would most likely never have spoken to. I believe my teamwork skills and social skills have improved by a great amount and I recommend every young person to sign up for DofE as it really is a once in a lifetime experience that will help you grow as a person and to gain skills that will be valuable in later life.
Shooting for England Novas by Alice Holder, Year 10
I have been in the England netball county academy for a year now. As the season started up again, I was invited to trial for the England Nova squad, and on the 10th September I attended the first trial at Wycliff School. The 2-hour session consisted of warming up and drills; they wanted to see what skills we have and our general netball knowledge. On the second week of trials, I played lots of matches against the members who were already in Nova and we were put in different positions around the court. The competition was stiff as there were 15 trialists and only 8 spaces were up for grabs, there were all ages ranging from year 10 to year 13. So, once the session ended, I waited in anticipation and on the Saturday, I got an email saying I got in!
Emily makes the national Waterpolo team!
Emily Mason in Year 10 has been selected as one of the goalkeepers for the England u17 waterpolo team, having trained with the National Waterpolo Academy. She also trains with the South West squad and her local team, Cheltenham Swimming and Water Polo club.
Between the 6th and 10th October, she will be part of the u17 squad competing in the EU Nations Tournament in Brno in the Czech Republic. She is really looking forward to this exciting opportunity! Good luck Emily!
Future fashion designers?
Two students in Year 10 GCSE Textiles have been busy this summer creating fantastic fashion and textile pieces at home. Well done Tabby and Eve – amazing efforts.
Eve Fisher-Hull has been exploring embroidery, including the use of purl.
Tabitha Riley has been exploring fashion garment construction.
Molly swings into the county team again!
Molly Douglas (10R) has been called up to the Gloucestershire County U18 Girls’ Golf Team for their match against Oxfordshire Girls at Bristol & Clifton Golf Club on 26th September.
Molly has played a few friendlies for the Girls’ County team before, including against the County Veterans at Minchinhampton Old Golf Club at the beginning of September (where she won her match). This will be her first full team match representing the County at U18 level.
Her Girls’ County call-up tops off a successful season, having won the Gloucestershire County Ladies Division 2 Championships, with best gross and best net, as well as the Lilley Brook Girls’ Junior Open and the Brickhampton Court Golf Club’s Ladies’ Nett Championship.
Good luck Molly and play well!
Rosa's exceptional artwork
Rosa Jolly in year 9 has produced some exceptional artwork using coloured pencils. Here are a few examples of her work, which she completed in her own time. What a talent, Rosa!
Musical excellence in external exams
Evie Rushton (10R) and Eliana Blaxill (10S) achieved fantastic results in the external graded music exam by Trinity College London. Thanks to the excellent teaching by Mrs. Field, our peripatetic singing teacher, and not to mention the dedication and musical talent from Evie and Eliana, Evie achieved a DISTINCTION in the Grade 6 exam, an award which is given to the very highest level of performance. Eliana achieved a MERIT in the Grade 5 exam, which is the second highest level. Eliana had never taken a music exam before, and she acquired a Merit on her first try! We are extremely proud of both Evie and Eliana. Well done!
All that glitters is not gold
After unprecedented delays, the Year 11 Drama students will be finally performing their Component 1 practicals for their exam in a couple of weeks time. This unit of work is an exciting and challenging opportunity for students, working collaboratively in groups they are required to devise from a stimulus in order to create an original piece of drama. It provides students the opportunity to stretch the limits of their creativity and imagination, while exploring a theme or topic of interest to them and their intended audience.
The students have worked extremely hard and shown great resilience in difficult times when rehearsals have been disrupted. They have even found innovative ways to rehearse remotely! It will be wonderful and a great achievement to see the final creations showcased on stage.
A special mention goes to Kiara Baber, who tirelessly worked as costume designer for her group as well as performing. She has successfully transformed bedsheets into hospital gowns, painstakingly applying each dot with a marker pen! Well done Kiara!
Well done and a huge good luck to all Year 11 Drama students!
U16 hockey Team take the Tier 3 County victory!
Congratulations to our U16 Hockey Team who beat Denmark Road 2-0 in the final to take the Tier 3 County Championship victory!
They're now looking forward to playing in the South West Regional final at Clifton College in Bristol in November.
What an amazing result ladies, we are all so proud of your achievement!
U16 Netball Team beat the rain and the competition!
Our U16 Netball Team deserve the biggest congratulations after being outside for five hours playing in the County Tournament in torrential rain and reaching the final in such awful conditions!
They beat Denmark Road in the quarter-final and Balcarras School in the Semi-final to earn a place in the final against Dean Close School.
Unfortunately, rain did eventually stop the tournament and the team didn’t get to play in the final they fought so hard to reach. Hopefully it’ll be rearranged very soon as the team were so excited to get so far in the competition.
They earned a place in the regional heats for getting to the final, so they're now looking forward to that competition too — well done ladies!
Erin scores a great result with the county team
Erin Bates in Year 10 has earned a place on the County U15 Development Squad for Rugby following an assessment with GRFU.
She will take part in her first session at Cheltenham North RFC in November.