I love sitting down to catch up on all the things that have been going on in school as a sum up of the month. Every month is as exciting and wide-ranging as the one before, with so many activities going on both inside and out of the classroom.
There is lots of valued student voice evidenced through the sharing of personal views, opinions and interests this month. There have also been many opportunities to explore how subjects can support further study and careers in the future through visitors across departments, trips and visits, seminars and competitions. There includes a piece on apprenticeships that introduces the school's new site apprentice, Gina Zimbalatti.
Enjoy the read.
Mrs Sarah Colombini
Students from across the school have taken part in GirlsGetSET, an initiative run by GE Aviation, to encourage and inspire more women to enter careers within the Science, Engineering and Technology fields.
Within a live virtual session with GE Aviation, the students were challenged to build towers from just two marshmallows and 20 pieces of spaghetti! As well as students aiming to build the tallest tower, the towers also needed to be able to hold a pen. Well done to all who took part, there was some excellent planning and consideration from all groups.
Writing to the Bristol Mayor
Our Year 8 History students have been studying African Kingdoms, Slavery and its legacy, specifically statues. The students were tasked with writing letters to the Bristol Mayor, Mr Marvin Rees, outlining their feelings on the future of the Edward Colston status, which was removed unofficially in June 2020, leading to widespread media coverage. Mrs Johnstone chose two letters to be sent to Mr Rees, who has kindly agreed to provide feedback on the students' letters.
Mr Rees has been discussing with the local what should be done with the statue since it was removed from its plinth.
All 120 letters our students wrote were brilliant, but Annie Nielsen and Sarah Ibe (both from 8.3) were the ones which were chosen to be sent to Mr Rees.
Their letters were powerful, emotive, and very persuasive.
These letters have been sent and their contents taken into consideration when a decision is made on the future of the Colston statue.
We look forward to hearing Mr Rees' feedback when Mrs Johnstone receives it.
The last dissection club of the term for Years 10-13 involved locusts - one of the trickiest creatures to tackle given their tiny size. There were plenty of enthusiastic students keen to explore them - well done to all for maintaining such steady hands!
Highly Sprung Drama Workshop
Year 9 Drama students participated in an exciting physical theatre workshop led by practitioner Mark Worth from Highly Sprung Theatre Company.
Highly Sprung create outdoor and indoor performances that tell stories through movement, gesture and dance, inspired by humanity, science, and the complex world around us. Their latest production “CastAway” was a stunning outdoor performance that explored the impact of today’s throwaway society on Britain’s waterways. The all-female cast immersed audiences in an underwater world where performers, using a unique gyroscopic flying machine, would dive, twist and float over 26 feet in the air to delight, inspire and captivate the audience.
Year 9 students were delighted with an amusing and rigorous workshop, teaching them new techniques on how to perform using controlled movement and improvisation. Students pushed themselves out of their comfort zones, learning lifts and various push and pull techniques. The ethos of the workshop was students needed to learn to fail in order to achieve, to let down their guards and believe in how the impossible is indeed possible.
Abhiya Arun (9-HWi) had this to say:
Highly Sprung gave us a wonderful insight into drama as a whole. They listed to us, not only the key elements we have to remember when in the spotlight, but also how to dare to use our imagination. We did many activities, from clapping in a circle with rules applied, to making sticky shapes and ensemble work. Not only were these activities fun it was also useful, for example, the clapping activity taught us to focus, just like how you would focus in acting with your lines. This experience didn't just give me an insight into Drama but it also engaged me to socialise with people I didn't know and to improvise with them. On the whole, I definitely believe that this workshop was useful and I'm more confident in taking GCSE drama! Thank you to the staff and Highly Sprung for this amazing experience!
A huge well done to all the students who participated, they were wonderful ambassadors for the Drama department and performed with confidence.
Child Mental Health Week
During February, we supported Child Mental Health Week, with this year's theme of 'Growing Together'. Students were encouraged to consider how they've grown and how they can help others to do so.
We reminded our student body of the support services available in school and those provided by third parties.
In school, we have a large Wellbeing team, including a dedicated member of the team for each Key Stage group, a School Counsellor and a team of Peer Mentors.
We have access to some excellent outside support services too, many of which can be found via the new Gloucestershire NHS Support Finder tool, www.onyourmind.glos.nhs.uk. Another useful place to go for support is Young Minds, www.youngminds.org.uk
Our Peer Mentors appear in the below image with Mrs Brewster, our Wellbeing Lead and School Counsellor. For more information on Peer Mentors, please see the dedicated page on our website. If you're a student and you'd like to be connected to a Peer Mentor, please speak to your Form Tutor, Head of Year or a member of the Wellbeing team.
We hold regular lunchtime 'Careers Conversations' sessions in the Library, with visitors talking to our students about their area of expertise, as well as holding an open question and answer session for students.
This month, we welcomed Solicitor Catherine Crampton, who is also a senior lecturer at the University of Gloucestershire, to discuss a legal career with students. It was a popular session with many students eager to learn more about opportunities in law.
Polishing Business Exam Skills
Our Year 13 A-level Business Studies students joined an exam skills workshop at Bourneside School in Cheltenham, hosted by Helen Coupland and Carlos Mencattelli from Time2Resources.
As a leading provider of conferences and resources for Business, Economic and IT students and teachers, they shared some useful knowledge and skills for our students ahead of their A-level exams.
The first meeting of the Ribston Hall Historical Society has taken place this month.
Set up by Year 13 students, Monica Kang, Alice Limbrick, Lucy Lord and Hannah Lockwood, the club explores areas of History not necessarily covered by the curriculum.
A fantastic 35 students attended the first session on Ancient Egypt.
Brothers' Grimm Tale Artwork
Our Year 9 Art students were tasked with creating a 3D Book Nook scene to sit on a bookshelf, based on a Brothers' Grimm tale. The mini worlds are excellent examples of the students' creativity and skills; a few of them are pictured here. Well done all, these are incredible!
Vegan cookery from Viva
Our GCSE Food students had a visit from Maryanne at Viva, the Vegan charity, to discuss the reasons why people choose a vegan diet and lifestyle. She held an interactive session with students where they conducted a sensory analysis of vegan products in comparison to their usual products, including cheeses, yoghurts, pasties and chocolate. Students prepared a vegetable chilli using soya mince and discussed the benefits of meat alternatives.
Oxford University Computing challenge
10 students in years 7,8 and 9 took part in the Oxford University Computing Challenge in their own time over the week of Feb 7th to 11th. This is an invitation challenge which aims to encourage students who have achieved a top 10% score in the UK Bebras Challenge to develop their skills further and produce programmed solutions to computational thinking problems.
Final results are not yet out, but Georgie Abbey got the highest provisional score with Delilah close second. Iulia achieved the same score as Chloe-Eloise and Angela despite only having half an hour doing the questions.
Well done to all for taking part - Iulia Barbulescu, Chloe-Eloise Goodenough, Angela Harber, Georgie Abbey, Heather Aylward, Amy Blanch, Nina Drozd, Delilah Fernandes, Juliette Mawby, Seren Williams
For students who have taken part in Bebras and/or OUCC, you can receive information about Oxford University outreach activities. These focus on stimulating students’ interests and giving them a taste of the university experience. Register at: https://oxford.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/bebras2022 . If you are not sure if your student has taken part, please email Mrs Coverdale (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Blind Date with a Book
Our library Valentine's initiative attracted a flurry of new borrowers, eager to embrace a blind date with a book. Over 50 books were taken out by breaktime, all wrapped in brown paper so nobody could judge them by their cover! It was great to see so many students and staff exploring different genres of literature.
Scholastic will be in school 23rd-29th March hosting a book fair so please do come along to the library and take a look at what's on offer.
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps
On Wednesday 16th February, 50 GCSE and A Level Drama students travelled to the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon to see a spectacular production of Much Ado About Nothing. Students and staff were delighted to be on a theatre trip once again and excited to be experiencing the RSC iconic theatre. We were thrilled to find our seats to be the second and third row of the thrust stage, up close to the action on stage.
It was a spectacular production which was set in a high-concept Messina inspired by Afrofuturism and sci-fi world. The audience were wowed by golden fountains, silver frocks, stupendous white afros and glittery silver boots! The music, composed by Mobo award-nominated Femi Temowo, transported the audience from Afrobeat to soul and reggae. Amongst other modern approaches, gender roles were also switched making it a female dominant production.
Students thoroughly enjoyed the trip and spent a small fortune in the gift shop! They will now be working hard in creating revision notes based on the production as part of their Live Theatre Evaluation for their written exams.
My thanks and appreciation go to Ms Lewis and Mrs A Barnett who joined us on the trip.
Well done to Aryama Bharti in Year 9 who did this work in her own time. Mr Collins is so impressed with the work and said "Such detail, precision and impact due to very confident tonal skills. Very well done Aryama, keep up the fab work!"
Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week with our Apprentice
We support students to be who they want to be. As our Sixth Form students form firmer ideas of their next steps beyond formal school education, one of the options we discuss with them is Apprenticeships. Embarking on an Apprenticeship is an effective way of learning new skills in a workplace environment, while studying for a relevant qualification. During National Apprenticeship Week, we have discussed with all students the benefits of such programmes.
A member of our Site team, Gina Zimbalatti, works at Ribston Hall on an Apprenticeship basis, working with us four days a week, then attending Gloucestershire College one day a week to gain a qualification in Property Maintenance.
We asked Gina a few questions about her experience of being an Apprentice at Ribston Hall High School.
What attracted you to an apprenticeship?
The variety of tasks as well as gaining skills and experience. I'll also get my Level Two Property Maintenance Operative qualification in two years. It's also good to go into an area of work that seems to be dominated by men and prove to yourself you can do it!
What do you enjoy about working at Ribston Hall?
Every day is different - I love the variety and I love the Site team.
What are you learning at college?
The first six weeks are plumbing, then electrics, woodwork and plastering. I'm hoping to cover roofing too. The team from the college will come into work to observe me carrying out tasks too.
What's your advice for our students?
You can be anything you want to be. Be more confident.
Thank you to Gina - it's great to have her on board!
Well done to all who earned house points in February. Congratulations to ROMANS who are still in the lead!