This month has brought us the most amazing news, with confirmation on the Friday before Half Term that we have been the successful in gaining funding for new Science Laboratories.
The £1.5m project which has been given the go ahead will enable the construction of a new specialist six-lab science block at the school. The funding has been received in response to the schools ongoing commitment to widening access for disadvantaged students from the local area to access a grammar school education. We are very excited as this will increase the opportunities for all students within our school and our primary partners to access science teaching that promotes curiosity, deep learning and a passion for STEM in high-quality science laboratories. This is important to provide a better platform to promote STEM and encourage more women to work in these industries in the future. We will keep you informed as we progress towards building the laboratories and when work will start on school site.
Barbados Netball Tour 2020
On Friday the 14th of February, we all gathered at school at 6:30am to travel by coach to Gatwick airport. Once we got there, we went through baggage control and airport security before having a long shop throughout the airport’s shops. Our flight was at 1:05pm and the flight there was approximately 9 hours. We were kindly welcomed by the wonderful hot weather. After going through the airport we travelled to our lovely Butterfly beach hotel where we were given our rooms and ate some dinner.
The following day was an early start, a wakeup at 6:00am! This was to play our first netball match at 7:00am. As we arrived to the court, we were all amazed as we saw monkeys swinging across the trees and other animals roaming the streets. The match was hard but fun with much success totalling 2 wins and one unfortunate loss. After this, we travelled back to our hotel where we chilled by the beach and pool for the rest of the day. We went to Ostin's Fish Fry in the evening for our dinner where many of us tried new foods.
On Sunday, we woke up and got ready for our brilliant beach safari. We gathered outside and sorted into 4 groups for our jeeps. We had an excellent rocky, but beautiful ride,stopping at viewpoints and a lovely lunch in a restaurant by a jungle. On this ride we saw a variety of animals and some famous parts of Barbados around the island. When we arrived back at the hotel we went to a local ‘Chefettes’ where we all had a dinner for the night.
Monday we got up and chilled by the beach and pool for the beginning of the morning before getting ready for our second match of the tour. This match started at 2:00pm so our team had the harsh heat and sun fighting against them. Everyone played well and the A team even won their match! Later that evening, we went to a Chinese restaurant opposite our hotel where we had some delicious food.
The next day was the ‘Boatyard’ day in Carlisle Bay. This was a day on the beach but also in the ocean where we went on inflatables such as a trampoline and a slide. There was also a rope swing and a diving board to jump off. We all had a go and enjoyed testing our fears. There were some jewellery shops and some people even got their har braided. We enjoyed some food before returning back to the hotel in the late afternoon. When we got back, most of us were quite tired so we had dinner at the hotel restaurant.
On Wednesday we had a lie in and calm morning by the pool before leaving for our third netball match against the Queens school, little did we know it would start raining and our match would be cancelled! Instead of playing in the heavy rain we all gathered back onto the coach and went shopping instead. We saw some very traditional shops and had some time to buy some souvenirs and clothes, everybody was so lovely. We then later drove back to our hotel to go to our favourite Chinese restaurant across the road again.
Thursday, we woke up early all very excited and ready for the day ahead. We were looking forward to the catamaran and swimming with turtle’s- it was a surreal experience! It was so sunny and hot and the ocean was nice and calm. As we set sail we travelled; we were served drinks and then later stopped to swim with turtles. Our instructors led us the right way to see the turtles and we saw them by using the snorkels and life jackets provided.
We also saw sting rays and multiple types of fish. After this, we travelled to two ship wrecks that had been purposely placed underwater for tourists to look at. These ship wrecks were swarmed with various, colourful fish all swimming around us. Our instructor threw food a few times at the fish causing them to all come higher to the surface so they were all round us. As well as this, we got to watch our instructor swim around the shipwreck throughout the little spaces and doors it had inside of it.
We then got back on the boat and set sail again. We were served dinner and travelled to a lovely local beach where we swam in the water for a while and jumped of the boat. It was great fun and we all enjoyed it so much. We then came back to the docks where we went to the gift shop and all bought little souvenirs. We travelled back on the long coach journey to then later have food again at the hotel restaurant.
We were all very sad to wake up on Friday and realise we were going back home that day, but we had a full day before we left of chilling by the pool, eating ice creams and enjoying our last day together in Barbados. When it was 5:00pm we all awaited outside the hotel for our coach to take us to the airport. Our coach was quite late (as there was an accident on the roads) so we all rushed on the coach to the airport. We quickly went through baggage and security before having just a little bit of time to get some last-minute souvenirs and shopping before boarding the plane. We boarded at gate 13 and all got on the plan and sat in our seats waiting to leave. It was a night flight so we all slept before arriving back in England on Saturday morning. Once we collected our bags and suitcases we travelled back to school ready to see our families again. When we arrived all our families were waiting for us and we were very excited to see them again.
Although we were tired we all already missing Barbados and all the fun adventures we had together. It was the best week filled with amazing opportunities and experiences and amazing memories we will never forget. We all wish it wasn’t over and that we could do it all again. We would have never had so much fun if it wasn’t for the teachers and it would never have been as good without them.
Katie Rowley and Margo Bochniak
Children’s Mental Health Week
February saw a very important date in our Wellbeing calendar – Children’s Mental Health Week, which is supported by the charity, Place2Be. The theme this year, was #FINDYOURBRAVE
Mental health problems affect about 1 in 10 children and young people. They include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder, and are often a direct response to what is happening in their lives.
Here at Ribston Hall, we recognise that children’s mental health is just as important as their physical and emotional health. Our students were invited to take part in a daily challenge, they watched videos of celebrities who 'found their brave' and overcame obstacles they never thought they would. Most importantly, our mental health was discussed.
Our young people were encouraged to have group discussions around what good mental health looks like, how to help keep well mentally, where to go and who to talk to, if they did feel their mental health was suffering.
The Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing page of our website offers help and advice to all young people and their parents, with an excellent directory of where to go for help. If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, please do not hesitate to contact the Pastoral Team at Ribston for support.
Please see below a piece written by one of our Mental Health Ambassadors about the week in her words.
This February, Ribston's Wellbeing topic was Children's Mental Health.
Struggling with poor mental health, then opening up about it can be very hard. Here at Ribston, we support whoever, in whatever situation.
February was packed with many things to do. For example, in tutor time, we watched a video about Stormzy opening up about depression. This was very inspiring because you don't usually see the background of celebrities (you don't see the bit of the iceberg that's below the water).
At our age some students experience bullying because of the way they look. This shouldn't be happening, and comments about your body can sometimes be very hurtful. If this is happening to you, remember that you are not alone- talk to a friend, an adult you trust, or the Well-being team, who are always on hand to help you.
We also watched a clip of Keala Settle singing 'This Is Me', a song all about not listening to what other people say.
Suffering from Mental health problems in children can have one of the most disastrous effects- it can impact on grades and on friendships. Our school offers many opportunities to help people struggling with their mental health but they might not be using these to their optimum. Sometimes students feel like they don't want to open up, but Ribston is a happy, friendly school and we respect everyone's emotions. Please do remember that we can help!
The Wellbeing team has come up with so much over the past few weeks to support us. Please do come talk to us if you are feeling stressed, and look out for students wearing the new Wellbeing Ambassador badges!
Blanka Gradziel Wellbeing Ambassador 7.5
Little Princess Trust
On the 24th of February, Amber Meredith-Wilks, 10S, had a haircut. In itself not that remarkable, however Amber has donated her hair to the Little Princess Trust. The Little Princess Trust provides free real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions.
This is the second time Amber has donated her hair to the Trust. Amber had to have a 30cm length cut-off in order for the Little Princess Trust to use her hair. In addition to donating her hair, Amber has also raised over £80 for the Trust to help with the cost of making the wigs.
More information about the work of the Little Princess Trust may be found at their website.
Little Princess Trust provide real hair wigs to children and young people with hair loss.
We marked National Apprenticeship week with a range of activities throughout the school. We ran screenings of apprentices discussing their experiences of working for national companies; showed students short films discussing uni versus apprenticeships; dispelled some of the myths around them and invited in three former students who went on to study apprenticeships to hear their story.
It is important that our current students realise that apprenticeships aren’t about “making the tea” or an “easy option” or “only those who don’t pass GCSEs or A Levels”. They are challenging, relevant and offer so much more now in terms of progression from Year 11 onwards. We have seen a rise in Higher & Degree level apprenticeships available both nationally AND locally and are keen to ensure that our students are keeping an open mind when thinking about their future options, particularly given the costs involved in higher education.
If you need any information about apprenticeship levels, I am more than happy to help.
Ms Haines, Careers Adviser
Students were challenged to read for a minimum of 15 minutes a day throughout January. They were entered into a draw for each week they completed in full.
Whilst recording minutes read was optional, most students chose to do this, totalling up a MASSIVE 33,009 minutes of reading through the month. Special mentions must go to Jessica Stokes-Richardson (over 59 hours of reading) and Darcy Clark (38 hours of reading).
The winners of the Red January Reading Challenge, drawn at random, were:
Week 1: Seren Williams
Week 2: Lorelei Lloyd
Week 3: Poppy Smith
Week 4: Toni-Ann Burford
Thank you to everyone that took part and supported the challenge. Let’s do it again next year!
Ms Haines, Librarian
U13 Rugby Team
We are so proud of our U13 Rugby team who showed grit and determination in their first contact rugby tournament this term. We saw some awesome tackles and superb ball handling and as a result, came out as County Champions after 6 fixtures! There were some injuries along the way but the girls conducted themselves with true Ribston Spirit and did not give up, fighting to the bitter end and scoring 7 tries to 0 in our final match. This fantastic achievement was a result of the student’s hard work and commitment to training at lunchtimes and after school with Mrs Pitman. Thanks again to Mr Jordan who gave up 2 evenings to help train the girls.
Evie Warwick was top try scorer with Evie Parker, Bea Jordan, Sophie Fudge, Myrto Barling, Charlotte Berry and Katie Baldwin also crossing the line for at least one try. Our other players were instrumental in ensuring the win for Ribston too – Isabelle Clark, Eloise Bulpin, Erin Bates, Heather Alyward, Becky Chisholme and Sienna Zecca. Congratulations to all of you!
U15 Lady Taverners Indoor Cricket Tournament
The U15 Cricket Team travelled to Newent Community School for the Lady Taverners Indoor Cricket Competition. We played both Newent Community School and Denmark Road High School. Unfortunately, we narrowly missed out on getting through to the next round after a closely fought match against Denmark Road. Congratulation to all students involved!
Calton Primary School have continued to enjoy their PE sessions run by our fantastic Year 10 Leaders this term. When asked by our Leaders whether they were ready to play Benchball, Year 4 responded with a very loud and comical ‘we were born ready’, complete with the kissing of their biceps and a growl – brilliant!
St Pauls Primary School have been enjoying a two-week enrichment programme where Year 5 and 6 have been looking at Local, National and International communities. Their ‘local’ programme involves building their community in Lego, visiting Gloucester Library, installing art outside their school to highlight road safety and pollution, to name but a few.
Most importantly, St Pauls Primary School wanted to engage with us, as one of their local feeder Secondary Schools. Of course, we jumped at the opportunity to forge greater links with them so we set up an afternoon of fun. This is what they reported on their school website following a successful afternoon with us.
Building Community Relationships: Visit to Ribston Hall High School
On Wednesday 12th February, Phase 3 accepted an invitation from Ribston Hall High School to attend a multi-sports day. Year 5 and 6 enjoyed several matches of bench netball and bench ball, coached expertly by Year 10 students (including the familiar face of a former St Paul’s pupil). Our pupils learned new skills and demonstrated their understanding of our value ‘Respect’ by playing fairly and showing great teamwork. They spent the whole day running, jumping, shooting and shouting encouragement before cheering on the newly-formed mixed sixth form team in their first match against St Peter’s High School.
This was a fantastic visit and one which paves the way for greater links in the future.
Katharine Pitman, PE Teacher and Primary Partnership Co-ordinator
Forthcoming Events - March
World Book Day
Book Fair 6th – 11th March.
We are delighted to be able to offer this fantastic signed Gloucester Rugby Shirt (size medium) as a raffle prize. The money raised will benefit our students within the PE department.
Raffle tickets are £1 each. Please bring money in to the PE department in exchange for your ticket/s. The winning ticket will be drawn the week commencing 30th March.