A wonderful time was had by all at the Sixth Form Winter Ball 2016. Please see below for our gallery of photos.
Sixth Form examination results achieved by students at The Cotswold School this summer have once again been outstanding. 68.4% of all A Level grades have been awarded A*, A or B, which maintains the very strong performance seen in 2014 and 2015.
In 2016 there has been an impressive increase in the proportion of A*s at A Level, with 15% of grades being at this top mark. 36% of A Level grades are at A* or A, while the proportion of grades at A*-C is 88%. Nineteen of the one hundred and sixteen Cotswold School students achieved three or more A*s or As, with three students achieving an impressive four A*s. On average each student gained 365 UCAS points. (SCROLL DOWN FOR IMAGE GALLERY)
Mr Morgan commented:
“Our A level results in 2015 were, without doubt, a big factor in The Cotswold School being named The Sunday Times’ Comprehensive School of the Year 2015/16. It is therefore hugely gratifying to see superb A*-A grade, A*-B grade and A*-C grade figures maintained again this year. What is more, our dedicated, talented staff and students have built upon that success yet further: there has been a significant increase in the number of A*s achieved this year with a 5% increase (to 15%). Without doubt this is a clear indication of The Cotswold School’s absolute focus on excellence. We are thrilled for our five Oxbridge candidates who have been successful and the fantastic number of Cotswold students who have gained places at the country’s leading Russell Group universities.”
Head of Sixth Form, Mr White, added:
“It’s great to see such pleasure on the faces of the students, parents and teachers on Results Day. They’ve worked extremely hard for these outstanding grades: every Cotswold student has passed all of their examinations and they have secured far more A*s than ever before in the school’s history. But it’s the individual stories behind the results that make this job so rewarding: students don’t achieve high grades without having to overcome plenty of challenges along the way. These young people can now look forward to beginning their university courses and careers. The Cotswold School has given them a superb educational start in life.”
Some of the individual highlights are:
Adam Ellison – who gained four A* grades at A Level History, English Literature, Religious Studies and General Studies. In all four of these subjects he scored over 95%. Adam also achieved an A in his Extended Project, to add to his triumphs in regional inter-school debating competitions. He is now going on to read History and Politics at Oxford University.
Jossy Munro – achieved four A* grades, in English Literature, French, Spanish and the Extended Project Qualification, to add to the A grades in AS Level Chemistry and Critical Thinking that she gained last year. This is just reward for the superb commitment and effort she has applied to her studies throughout her time in The Cotswold School. Having recently returned from a month-long expedition to Borneo, Jossy will now take up her place at Oxford University to read French and Spanish.
Henry Yates – achieved a spectacular 790 UCAS points and will now take a gap year prior to studying for a degree in Natural Sciences. Henry has been an excellent Deputy Head Boy over the past year, and, amongst his many pursuits, Henry has played a key role in the musical life of the school. Henry’s examination results included A* grades in A Level Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry and the Extended Project, an A in A Level Physics and grades A and B in AS Level Critical Thinking and Economics respectively.
Alistair Wilson – who has won a place at Cambridge University to read Natural Sciences, having gained A*s in A Level Biology and Chemistry, an A grade in A Level Mathematics and a grade A at AS Level Geography. Alistair is also an exceptional oboist, who is looking forward to continuing his commitment to orchestral music alongside his academic studies.
Alice Gee – achieved A*s in both English Literature and the Extended Project, and A grades in both History and Religious Studies. Alice was our Deputy Head Girl, a role which she carried out with aplomb, and she now takes her talents to Cambridge University where she will be reading for a degree in English.
Beth O’Brien – who has been our fantastic Head Girl this past year, achieved an A* in both A Level Biology and Mathematics, an A in Chemistry and an A in AS Level French. Beth has won a place at The University of Sheffield where she will be drilling down for a degree in Dentistry.
Charles Gregory – achieved two A*s and an A, in A Level Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics respectively. Charles will now take his talents to The University of Southampton to study for a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Ellie Horton – achieved a double distinction star in her Cambridge Technical Diploma in Health and Social Care and grades A and B in her A Levels in Psychology and History. Ellie will now study Psychology at the University of Cardiff.
Nina Meyrick – achieved A*s in A Levels Psychology and Drama & Theatre Studies and a B in A Level History. A major contributor to our school concerts and productions, Nina is looking forward to reading for a degree in Social Anthropology at The University of Manchester.
WARMEST CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OUR STUDENTS. We look forward to hearing all that you achieve in the future and wish you continued success and much happiness in your lives after The Cotswold School.
Lord Tyler spoke to our sixth formers and selected Year 10 students about the work and role of the House of Lords. An extensive Question and Answer session then followed during which students posed numerous questions on various aspects of life at Westminster, centralised government, the media and most particularly: questions regarding the European Union in light of the up-coming referendum.
Mr Phil White, Head of Cotswold School’s Sixth Form, thanked Lord Tyler for taking the time to visit the school and sharing his extensive knowledge and experience gained during his career in the Commons and in the Lords.
Lord Tyler ended his talk with some advice: ‘While politics and the political process will frustrate you, I urge you to remember Edmund Burke’s words: ‘The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is to do nothing.’ When we do nothing, when we stop voting and stop being engaged in politics, extremists will take power.’
Lord Tyler said of the Cotswold students: ‘They have been fantastic. It just goes to show what I have always maintained: 16 and 17 years olds are better informed and more engaged in politics and the world around them than I ever was and indeed more engaged than a lot of 60 and 70 year olds.’
Mrs Jennifer Tupper, Teacher of History arranged Lord Tyler’s visit through the Lord Speaker’s “Peers in Schools” programme. ‘This was an excellent opportunity for our students to further their interest in politics and see the significance of parliamentary processes,’ said Mrs Tupper. ‘Lord Tyler was impressed by our students’ pressing questions covering parliament and current issues that are affecting them.’
Miss Maguire, Teacher of English, explains: ‘In AS level literature we study a unit called ‘Aspects of Tragedy’ in which our students explore and consider if the texts are indeed tragedies based on what they understand tragedies to be. They have to examine and discuss whether or not conventions of tragedies are being deployed. The genre of tragedy originated in ancient Greece and Professor Hall’s knowledge on ancient Greek theatre and tragedies is, quite simply, unparalleled.’
An authority on her subject, renowned lecturer and author, Professor Hall’s lecture greatly enhanced the knowledge of our students, and the many staff who also chose to attend!’
‘Part of what’s assessed at AS level is how well students explore and debate,’ adds Miss Maguire. ‘To do this well, they need to have a thorough understanding of a range of perspectives. Professor Hall’s lecture was, therefore, enormously valuable in helping their understanding. Furthermore, most of our AS level students will go to university, some even to study literature, so this was a fantastic opportunity to be able to introduce them to this standard of lecture early on – not just to challenge themselves in their AS level studies but just for the wider experience of what it’s like to listen, at length, to a lecture and have to digest it in a manner that’s useful to them.’
Miss Maguire, the English Department and students of both The Cotswold School and Tewkesbury School (whom we invited to join us) were extremely grateful to Professor Hall for giving up her time to visit our school and deliver such an engaging lecture.
We are delighted to announce that over the last half term The Cotswold School has received an award, a new school status and has also been selected to be listed in the renowned Good Schools Guide.
The Good Schools Guide has been described as one of ‘Britain’s leading guides to schools’ and as ‘one of the best aids for parents… informative and witty’ (Financial Times) A school cannot pay to be reviewed by The Guide, the idea being that the publication can maintain its outspoken-ness and impartiality. Started in 1986, The Good Schools Guide was the preserve of the independent and public school sector but over the years, certain outstanding state and comprehensive schools have been selected by the Guide to be inspected and receive their frank – and often irreverent – treatment. We were therefore delighted to receive news that The Cotswold School was selected for inspection and review. We greatly look forward to sharing The Good Schools Guide’s review of our school with you when it becomes public.
Mr Morgan was delighted to then receive a letter from Sam Gyimah MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Childcare and Education to congratulate the school on winning a local award in the Pupil Premium Awards 2016. The letter explained: ‘the reason you have been selected is that you are one of the most improved schools in the country in terms of the attainment and value added progress of disadvantaged pupils since 2012.’
Mr Morgan said ‘I was particularly pleased with this award as it is just recognition for a fantastic team of staff who do so much to make sure every Cotswold School student gets the best possible chances in life through a wonderful education, rich with opportunities for all.’
Mr Gyimah went on to congratulate Mr Morgan, the staff, governors, parents and pupils for their hard work and success and urged the school to share their achievements with other schools so that ‘they can learn from your strengths and experience.’
Quickly following Mr Gyimah’s encouragement to share our strengths, came the welcome news that The Cotswold School has, in fact, been named a National Teaching School designated by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.
Mr Ben Edwards, who managed the rigorous application process and oversees our new status as a Teaching School said: ‘Teaching School status is a reflection of the quality of teaching and learning in the school and our capability to support and make a substantial input to our partner schools in the local community and region. We have joined a partnership of around 15 schools, both primary and secondary, and we will be working together for training, sharing best practice and collaboration projects. We will also be looking to train more teachers via the Schools Direct approach, offering the opportunity to
train specifically at The Cotswold School.’
Mr Edwards continues ‘It is a status that enables us to move even further in developing the quality of the teaching in the school and our partner schools. The opportunities it presents will ultimately improve the education and learning in the Cotswolds. It is also an important status that reflects how well we have done in recent years and credits our achievements to date.’
‘This new status reflects the excellence in teaching and learning at our school. It is also evidence of our track record of valued outreach work and our capability to extend this further,’ said Mr Morgan. ‘While there are other Teaching Schools in Cheltenham, Gloucester and Stroud (many of which are grammar schools), the North Cotswolds is an area of real need. Our teaching school partnership will help boost the quality of provision in the Cotswolds for the long term future. We are very grateful to Mr Edwards for his hard work in putting the successful Teaching School application together and to all our talented staff for their dedication to their work and their commitment to all our young people.’
Congratulations to our Year 12 Cryptography Team ‘The Grizzly Armadillos’, who came 2nd in the National Cipher Challenge, beating off more than 600 competitors and receiving The IBM prize of £800 for runner-up team!
The National Cipher Challenge is run by the University of Southampton and is sponsored by GCHQ, IBM, Trinity College, Netcraft and BCS. This year saw 610 entries predominantly from the UK, but also some entries from China, Japan, Turkey and the UAE.
The team, made up of team captain, Alex Barter along with Toby Abrey, Charlie Beadle and Sam Fearn are extremely pleased with their 2nd place prize. However they are not resting on their laurels and will be entering the competition again next year with first place on their minds!
This is the third year that Alex and Toby have participated in the competition, rising through the ranks and only being pipped at the post by the winning team by a mere 1hr and 5 minutes. They have spent the past two years analysing the challenges and learning a variety of different ciphers. Alex has created specialised software that decrypts many and various ciphers in order to reduce the time they have to spend decrypting a cipher by hand.
“The team have done very well and it goes to show that determination and hard work pays off!” – Mrs Ashworth.
For more information about the National Cipher Challenge, please CLICK HERE
We were delighted to be invited by Inside Government – an organisation that holds conferences on subjects and issues affecting the private, public and voluntary sectors – to speak to educationists on the topic of e-safety.
The only student speaker present, Alice spoke eloquently and passionately about our school’s e-safety campaign and the necessity for all to engage in e-safety education and monitoring both in and out of school.
Alice Gee: Queens College, Cambridge to read: English;
Adam Ellison: Magdalen College, Oxford to read History and Politics;
Josceline Munro: St Peter’s College, Oxford to read French and Spanish;
Alistair Wilson: Trinity Hall, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences.
Congratulations to Ben Darwent too, who, after his gap year, has also received an offer from Queen’s College, Oxford to read Mathematics and Philosophy.
When it came time to select a Sixth Form for his final years of secondary education Alistair Wilson looked at two other high achieving Sixth Forms in the area but chose The Cotswold School above the rest. He explains why: ‘both of (the other Sixth Forms) are regarded highly as top achieving Sixth Forms but they didn’t have the character of The Cotswold School. Here I feel I am treated fairly by teachers and students, with mutual respect. We are given freedoms that I did not observe in other schools I visited and the exam results speak for themselves!’
Adam Ellison, one of the school’s outstanding debaters, said that The Cotswold School provides the right environment for ‘enjoyable learning’, adding: ‘the resources and support available are fantastic, the teachers are passionate about their subjects and are always willing to help… the environment is positive, supportive and friendly.’
Alice and Josceline wholeheartedly agree. ‘There is huge motivation and support from the staff to fulfil your potential. Hard work definitely goes hand in hand with fun, and there is a true sense of community, ’ commented Josceline, ‘There are plenty of opportunities both subject-based and socially, making the Sixth Form such a lively place of study!’
On Monday 29th February, Dr Guy Sutton from University of Nottingham Medical School, ran a ‘Brain Day’ workshop for Y13 Psychology and Biology students as well as a dozen Y12 and Y11 Biologists.
Dr Sutton took students around and beyond A Level psychology and biology material and into degree-level concepts and research. In a fast-paced tutorial, he introduced students to the very latest studies in neuroscience, providing an insight into what is current and exciting in brain research.
The workshop consisted of three sessions:
The first was the ‘Working Brain’ – looking at basic brain anatomy, nerve cells and the synapse, brain scanning and brain stimulation. He also touched on the effects of cannabis on the brain and provided answers to questions such as ‘Is there a criminal brain’?
The second session was the ‘Dissected Brain’ where a sheep brain was dissected whilst Dr Sutton directed students through the brain anatomy as brain regions were passed to them (wearing rubber gloves!). The incredible similarity between a sheep brain and a human brain were pondered!
And the final session focused on ‘The Shattered Mind’, looking at the causes and treatment of schizophrenia. Students absolutely loved the day, and Dr Sutton was an incredibly inspirational and passionate tutor whose enthusiasm for the brain and all its wonders was simply contagious.
A fantastic day!
-Mrs Petersen, Social Sciences
The 2016 Cotswold School production of ‘Oliver!’ played four performances from 3rd – 6th February with a cast, crew and band of around 100 pupils from Years 7 to 13.
With the role of Oliver Twist shared between two talented Year 7s, the whole cast came together to bring Victorian London to The Cotswold School. The band, made up of pupils as young as Year 7, were expertly led by Ms Buckley and Miss Thomas to bring Lionel Bart’s wonderful music to life. The technical and backstage crew worked hard to make the whole production run smoothly.
Taking part in a school production is a big commitment but I am sure all the pupils involved will agree that it is totally worth all the hard work. You get a huge sense of achievement to have worked together to create a 2 hour show of outstanding quality. We have had some fantastic feedback from parents, governors and members of the public who enjoyed the show and commented on the incredible skill and enthusiasm shown by the students. I am also grateful for the hard work of parents who spent a lot of time transporting pupils to and from rehearsals and to all the staff who helped out backstage and front of house on the performance nights.
There were many absolutely wonderful performances and special mention should be given to Ophelia Holston and Oliver Billing (Oliver – Year 7), Charlotte Crouch (Fagin – Year 12), Amy Whitehill (Nancy – Year 12), Sam Pout (Mr Bumble – Year 12), Lucy Pomeroy (Artful Dodger – Year 8) to name just a few. Fagin’s Gang, from Years 7 to 9 were worryingly convincing petty criminals and the hugely versatile chorus and supporting roles brought the whole production together and ensured that there was never a dull moment or a wrong note in the whole show. We aim for a very high standard and all the pupils worked together to ensure that the production looked and sounded as professional as possible.
We believe that school is about so much more than lessons and homework. Our aim as a school is to provide pupils with a wide range of opportunities and exciting and memorable experiences. During a school production we work as a team, make new friends and learn a range of skills that we do not encounter in the usual curriculum. Why not come along and take part next year? Who knows what you might end up doing?!
Miss Monk – Show Director & Head of Drama Department