The Ecclesbourne School Easter Newsletter 2013

 The Ecclesbourne School Newsletter, Easter 2013




Message from the Head Teacher


As I write this year’s Easter Newsletter snow is thick on the ground in Duffield. Our students coming in from outlying villages are passing snow drift sculptures that – while beautiful – would not look out of place in a David Attenborough documentary about Emperor penguins. This time last year our newsletter began with ‘The daffodils are brightening the hedgerows and the blossom is beginning to dust the cherry trees here at school and there is a real spring in our step as we go into the Easter holiday this year.’ What a difference a year makes.


It is our intention wherever possible to continue to open as normal during periods of inclement weather. We take our responsibilities to educate and care for young people seriously, and are aware of the impact on parents and carers if the school is closed at short notice. So it is with some relief – and pride in the superb and sensible conduct of our students – that we are able to say that we kept the school open throughout one of the coldest, snowiest spring terms any of us can remember. Thanks go to all of our parents and carers for helping us to ensure students arrived at school and home safely.


While the website and email system of notification worked well again this year we will be investing in a new text messaging service to be used for significant events and emergencies and this will further improve school to home communication. It will have the added benefit of enabling us to provide first day absence text messages when students do not arrive in school in the morning.

This time last year we were waiting to hear whether our bid to the Academies Capital Maintenance Fund had been successful. A year on we have been able to make great strides with our major building project on the back of a successful bid for over £1.6 million. The Sports Hall is now a major Duffield landmark and due for completion – sub-zero temperatures permitting – around the end of June.  During the Easter holiday, and then through the later part of the summer term after the examinations and throughout the summer, the second part of the build project is due to begin. This will involve a radical improvement of our facilities for dining, drama and music. A new Refectory will be created from the Gym and Concert Hall. Students are taking part in a competition to name the new facilities. I hope that they come up with a good name or it may yet have to be ‘SnackNamara’s’! It is our intention to conduct a thorough review of catering at this time with a view to providing a much improved service and we will be seeking your views in the summer term. From September we will be operating a new cashless payments system across school so that parents are able to pay for school meals, trips and other expenses online. There will be further communication setting out how this is to work next term and there will also be opportunities for parents to come into school and hear a presentation on the new ‘Parent Pay’ system.

In Music there will be six new practice rooms and an additional classroom and recording studio. In Drama the teaching rooms will be upgraded and moved to the area behind the stage. Finally, in the autumn term the second kitchen will be converted to provide an additional Science Lab to accommodate expanding numbers in Science. There is a great deal to be done in the coming months to ensure that the School is ready for the commencement of the autumn term and I know you will all work with us as we find ways to accommodate builders on site.

This term’s newsletter is, as ever, crammed with incident and achievement. In the last week alone we have enjoyed a superlative Spring Concert, the festival of fundraising that is the biennial ‘Comic Relief’ Mufti day and the Sixth Form Spoken English Final, won this year by the very impressive Simon Marshall. Read on and you will see I have barely scratched the surface.

Finally, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Minister for Schools, David Laws,  has written to congratulate our students and staff on their performance at GCSE in 2012. The Ecclesbourne School was placed in the top 100 non-selective schools in the country for GCSE performance. This school is about so much more than public examinations – as this newsletter amply demonstrates – however, ensuring our students are well placed to go on and succeed in whatever path they choose after they leave us is central to everything we do and this recognition of our students
achievement is welcome.

I wish you a happy and healthy Easter holiday and look forward to seeing you all in the new term.



Sports Hall Development Update


The first visit by PE staff to see the new Sports Hall took place in March.


The first visit by PE staff to see the new sports hall took place in March.


The view from inside


Students interested in how their new sports hall is being developed are having the opportunity to visit the works site to gain an understanding of how it is constructed


Spring in a Pint Pot Fund-raiser


Our green fingered Enhanced Learning gardeners came up with the fabulous idea of raising money for Red Nose Day and gardening projects by making some attractive spring planters in time for Mothers’ Day .
They set about collecting some recycled plastic pint pots then armed themselves with trowels and strong gloves to create their beautiful arrangements. These went on sale in the school with Reception kindly marketing a sample. The gardeners raised an amazing £25 to be split between Red Nose Day and for the purchase of geranium plants for future gardening projects.


The Comenius Project



In July last year we were successful in our bid to co-ordinate an international project with four partner schools across Europe.
Our “Comenius” project- which is centred around the UK’s and our partner schools’ countries’ UNESCO sites- giving students an insight into the culture and heritage of Europe- is now in full swing and we were lucky enough to be able to host our partners at Ecclesbourne from the 25th-27th January. Our partner schools, from Poland, Slovakia, Turkey and Austria loved their visit and all commented on how great the students at Ecclesbourne were.
Well done especially to our year 8 Comenius group who worked so hard to make our partners feel welcome- the cakes for the tea party in particular were excellent! Our two trips to visit the UNESCO sites in Bath and London were a great success- congratulations Team UNESCO- we look forward to seeing our partners again on our visit to Poland in May!



Olympic Basketball Player working in school


A Sky Sports Living project is up and running in school encouraging more students to take part in physical activity. The project will work with a number of Year 9 and 10 students and will be based around the game ‘Dodgeball’.


The Great Britain Olympic Basketball team captain Drew Sullivan will be the groups mentor for the project. Drew visited the group in March and spoke about his life experiences, involvement in sport and his representation for Great Britain during last summer’s Olympics.


The group will learn and take part in various Dodgeball drills and games over a 6 week period and will then work with one of our local primary schools where they will run a Dodgeball tournament.Drew visited the group in March and spoke about his life experiences, involvement in sport and his representation for Great Britain during last summer’s Olympics.When their training is completed the group will work with one of our local Primary Schools where they will run a Dodgeball tournament.

Drew also lead a practical Basketball session with a group of Year 10 pupils as part of their curriculum lesson during his visit. This was a great experience for some of our keen sports students and Basketball enthusiasts.


Sporting Successes



Ecclesbourne's Under 14 Netball squad qualified to represent Derbyshire in the East Midlands Netball Tournament held in Nottingham on Saturday 9th February 2012. The girls played against teams from Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. They won two and lost two of their group games and narrowly missed out on going through to the semi-finals. The standard of netball was extremely high and it was a fantastic opportunity for our students to play at such a high level. The girls would like to thank the PSFA for supporting the purchase of new kit for the event and Graffix for the printing of the shirts.



Derbyshire Schools Cross Country Championships
Congratulations to Laura Bailey, Hannah Davey, Alex Kiltie, Polly Edwards, Beth Gosling, Danielle Booth, Lara Wisdish, Fergus Hernon, Aaron Reeves, Jamie Clarke, Tom Williamson and Alex Knibbs who were all selected to run for Amber Valley in the County Championships. Laura Bailey and Dannielle Booth have qualified to represent Derbyshire in the National championships in March and we wish them good luck for that event.
(Pictured are Alex Kiltie, Laura Bailey and Hannah Davey from the Junior girls team.)


Year 9 Mock Trial Competition



On Saturday 16th March, a group of fourteen Year 9 students from Ecclesbourne School competed in the regional heats of the Mock Trial competition organised by the Citizenship Foundation.  In the wonderful setting of Derby Magistrates’ Court, Ecclesbourne were matched up against Rushcliffe School in Round 1 and Eastwood Comprehensive School in Round 2.  All of our students acquitted themselves magnificently well and we won the verdicts on both rounds.  The winner of the four-school regional heat was announced by Derbyshire’s High Sheriff, Mr. Alan Woods and Swanwick Hall emerged victorious.  Mrs Carol Burtoft, from Derby Magistrates Court, revealed to Mr Mason that it was extremely close between Swanwick and Ecclesbourne and she stressed how proud our students should feel in putting up such a strong performance.
Mr Mason said, “The whole event has been a wonderful opportunity for our students to develop their public-speaking skills and pit their wits against other schools.  The case really captured the students’ imaginations and they all performed admirably on the day.  The moment in which the winning school was announced was tinged with collective disappointment and I really felt for my team who probably deserved a more favourable result.  Nevertheless, every student accepted the decision with good grace and we would obviously like to extend our congratulations to Swanwick and wish them well in the next round of the competition.  I was immensely proud of each and every student throughout the day and I was also tremendously impressed with the support offered by parents too.  Who knows, perhaps the experience will help to inspire our students into entering the legal profession one day in the future!  It was a pleasure to support the team and every student should feel really pleased with their contribution.”
The students involved (in alphabetical order) were:
Maisie Clarke; Lauren Davidson; Hannah Edwards; Mabel Edwards;  Megan Hulme; Finlay Johnson; Muriel McCracken; Dan Nandwani; Harry Orr; Leah Pilling; Tom Preston; Finn Sharp; Alex Slade-Walker; Tom Stone



Year 7 Study Skills Day



Year 7 students had a morning off timetable, focusing on Presentation Skills, Group Work and Collaboration and Revision Skills.
The feedback was very positive and there were some lovely presentations on the day, as well as very captive thinking when approaching both Group Work and Revision.
Well done year 7!



Travel and Tourism Field Trip to Center Parcs March 2013


Nineteen students from Years 12 and 13 spent a week in Center Parcs acting as mystery shoppers and interviewing other visitors as part of their course work.   They were given a talk on how Center Parcs assesses its customer service by the general manager of the Parc.  Part of the brief was to experience and assess the facilities available.  This they did with vim and vigour.  The whole trip was a great success and students collected all the information they needed to address the requirements of the course.


Our most recently appointed Governors



Heather Dixon   [Appointed]                                    Joanne Fishwick [Parent]


Bill Bailey  [Parent]


Year 7 Trip to see Alice in Wonderland


The annual English theatre trip with Year 7 took place at the Lichfield Garrick with a production of ‘Alice in Wonderland’.  Every student went on to write a review of the show and they were all set the task of creating a small 3D model in which to present their review.

This important event in the Yr 7 calender has yet again produced some stunning results, with two students from each form selected as winners to receive a prize. 

Pictured are from left to right [top row]  Will Pierrepont, Archie Playdon, Jack Winterburn, Ellie Carrol  [front row] Katie Franklin, Ellie Harris, Rachel Whetton, Daisy Chell.



Some of the 3D models produced. 





More models are displayed in the cabinet outside Reception.


Year 8 Maths History Play 


On Monday 4th March all of Year 8 watched a play put on by 'two way productions' about the history of Maths. They were taken back in time to the beginning of formal mathematical notation with the Egyptians. Some students were able to dress as Egyptians (pictured) and demonstrate to the rest of the year how fractions were developed 3000 years ago. The play continued to span time, right  up to Charles Babbage and the first computer.
The Maths Faculty would like to thank the PSFA whose fundraising allowed us to put on this production.


Congratulations to Nadine Shipley, one of our Assistant Cooks, who has been awarded Student of the Month for her catering studies at Derby College.

Nadine has successfully gained NVQ Level 1 Food Preparation and Cooking; NVQ Level 2 Professional Cookery; NVQ Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership and NVQ Level 2 Customer Service. She is currently studying for her Healthy Eating certificate.



The Ecclesbourne School Leadership Academy staged the Annual Year 7 Dodgeball Tournament in the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday lunchtime before Easter half term.
Five Year 7 forms competed in the tournament with each tutor group entering two teams.
The Leadership Academy managed the event to a professional standard by setting up the equipment, organising and managing the teams, timekeeping and officiating the matches.
The majority of students who took part in the event had played Dodgeball when they were at primary school and, because of this, the standard of games were at a very high level.
The event was a huge success with nearly 90 students taking part in extra-curricular activities and the experience the Leaders gained will help them in future tournaments and events.


Munich Immersion Trip


We had an early start for the beginning of the trip as we left school at 3am on Saturday 16th and made it just in time to Birmingham airport. After a two hour flight, we landed in Munich and took the S-Bahn to the central station where we met our lovely host families.

On Sunday we took a trip to the beautiful Schloß Neuschwanstein, in the Bavarian mountains. After stuffing ourselves with Bratwursts and Pretzels, we walked up to the castle. It was absolutely beautiful, made only better by the knee-deep snow making everything look like something from a fairytale!


Monday was our first morning at the DID language school, and after a test (we thought we were getting away from them!) we were sorted into classes. After a morning of school we met the Ecclesbourne teachers, who put us into teams and sent us on a treasure hunt around Munich old town! The winners of the treasure hunt were ‘Die Winners’ (what an original team name!), and on the way home they all received a prize. We made a quick visit to the Allianz arena, home of FC Bayern Munich and TSV 1860 Munich, much to the joy of the boys on the trip! We then returned to our host families for the evening.
Tuesday morning meant more lessons in the language school, followed by an afternoon visit to Dachau Concentration Camp, a moving but interesting experience which really brought the horrors of the second world war home.



On Wednesday we made the 3 hour journey to Salzburg in Austria. After seeing some amazing views, and having a quick explore of Mozart’s birth town, we travelled via funicular railway up to the fortress. We looked round the fortress and once again saw some spectacular views, before engaging in a mass snowball fight! Great photo where Ryan pulled the head of a nearby snowman to join the Ecclesbourne group!



Thursday morning was once again spent in the language school. In the afternoon we visited the Munich Olympic Stadium.  During the tour we saw the stadium, the players’ changing rooms, and played on a giant football table. When we went up the Olympic Tower, we saw some spectacular views across the city, and listened to music on an old juke box in the Rock museum!   Afterwards, we made our way to BMW World, where we were able to sit in some very swanky cars, race on virtual motorbikes and see what we could be buying when we pass our driving tests!!



It was with some sadness that we turned up to the language school on Friday for our last day of the trip. The afternoon consisted of shopping in Marienplatz, and then returning to our homes to fetch our suitcases and say thank you to our wonderful hosts. The flight home was smooth and we arrived in England earlier than scheduled! Awards and prizes were handed out by the teachers on the bus to all the pupils for making the trip so enjoyable.
A big thank you to Mrs DelGaudio, Mr DelGaudio, Miss Softley and Mr Partridge, without whom the trip could not have gone ahead, and it would not have been nearly as enjoyable without them.
Tschüs for now!

Alex Smiith, Year 13


Year 9 Hindu Temple Visit


Hi, I’m Tom Stone and recently, I have been to the Hindu Temple with the rest of Year 9. I’m going to tell you about my experience.
When you arrive in the car park, you’ll be overwhelmed by the building’s power. It stands high above Leicester,  gleaming white and gold with a dome shaped roof and massive pillars at the entrance that are painted with such great detail.
When you walk through the colossal glass doors nothing changes. It is still painted gold and white and is so spacious. The thing that first caught my eye was the tapestry that takes up the whole wall, it was amazing!  Around the temple are lots and lots of doves which symbolize peace, purity and innocence, which exactly sums up the temple.
Visiting the Hindu Temple is an experience never to be forgotten. It is so welcoming, with scented candles everywhere.  The whole place is peaceful and respectful, a place where you can look around with a smile on your face and be comfy yet still learn about Hinduism.  I imagined it to be a different world and it was in one respect. A different world from the outside traffic chaos and life’s worries but yet it still felt like home.


Tonight I'm Going To Be ....


One of the biggest events in the Music Department calendar is ‘Stars In Your Eyes’. It’s the X Factor of Ecclesbourne, with Mr Ingram the Maths teacher as our very own Simon Cowell!  The whole school buzzes with gossip of who’s auditioning, and which teachers will form the judging panel.

There is always tremendous competition between the acts, as we eye up our rivals in the waiting room. And then your name is called and it’s the moment you’ve prepared so hard for... You’re met with four smiling faces- that ease your nerves momentarily, then you’re off.  It’s then down to the judges to make the dreaded decision.

This year the talent was endless, and acts in the line-up included Pixie Lott, Tears for Fears, Amy Winehouse and my very own group Take That!
400 tickets were sold, the girls stepped into their heels and the lights were rigged. I’m sure our fellow performers and audience alike can vouch for the fact the whole evening was a TRIUMPH...

The winner this year was Helen Simms as Rita Ora, and for now she holds the title... until Stars in Your Eyes 2014!

Max Raynor (Year10)


Staff in the Spotlight


Geraldine Cawley

Clerk to Governors and Office Team Leader


I first started working for Ecclesbourne School in September 1998 as a part-time Clerk in the General Office.  I never dreamt I would work in a school—those jobs seemed few and far between—but it suited me well as my boys, at that time, were still at school.  I then went on to work full-time and became first aid trained.  I suppose this is the nearest I would ever get to a gypsy’s prediction many years ago - when she said I would be a nurse or a teacher.  [I never did believe her!].

I then progressed to Office Team Leader following  re-organisation of the General Office before eventually settling into my current role as Office Team Leader/Clerk to Governors and Senior First Aid Officer.

My role as Clerk to Governors is a very busy one which I thoroughly enjoy [that doesn’t mean I dislike the others any less!] and also includes Admissions, so many of you may have spoken to me on the phone but not actually met me, or know what I look like.


February saw the Year 10 Business Studies students travelled to Birmingham to visit the Jaguar plant in Castle Bromwich.


February saw the year 10 Business studies students travelling to Birmingham to look at the Jaguar plant in Castle Bromwich. The maker of all Jaguar cars worldwide this modern factory helps put theory in to practice. Students were able to see not only the flow production methods and robotics in the factory but also understand how lean production and modern stock control methods help the company to be competitive and efficient.

Students experienced a tour of the factory as well as team exercises used in Jaguar interviews and computer robot programming exercises. The excellent tour guides were able to answer the many questions asked by our students and share their knowledge of how location and investment help Jaguar remain ahead of the market in quality and sales.

Well done to our students for posing some difficult questions and ensuring the guides also enjoyed their days, commenting on how knowledgeable and interested Ecclesbourne students were, with an invitation to return next year.





The PSFA; Parents, Staff and Friends Association of Ecclesbourne School work together throughout the year to support School events and activities, and to arrange fund raising and social events.  A regular team of dedicated volunteers give their time to organise and run these events; 2012 ended with a highly successful Christmas shopping evening and two Christmas concerts which raised a total of nearly £2000.
Rags to Riches is a regular event, a skip is made available at the school entrance for an hour in the morning and accepts any unwanted fabric based items, typically raising between £200 and £300, it’s a great way of having a clear out and supporting the school.  The next Rags to Riches is booked for 20th September so please try and remember to save any suitable unwanted items and bring them along at the start of school.  On the same theme, the school is organising a Rust to Riches collection on Friday 26th April, so please bring along ‘any old iron’ between 8am and 9am !.
Parents’ evenings are another school activity that the PSFA routinely support; the two cheerful volunteers that you’ll find sitting at the reception table every evening are there to manage the parent signing in and to help everyone locate the right classroom.  If you have some time between appointments please take the opportunity to have a look at the PSFA notice board next to the table, where you’ll find details of future events and pictures from various previous events.
The Quiz and Chips night on the 8th March was yet again another great social event; with 23 eight person teams competing for the top spot; our resident quiz master Ben Walton travelled down from Leeds to deliver his usual eclectic mix of questions.  A mid-quiz break provided the opportunity for mass consumption of fish and chips collected from Town Street Fish Bar.  As always the team of PSFA volunteers worked hard to organise the event, delivering the interval food and hosting a well stocked bar to help the evening flow well.


Monies raised through PSFA events and activities are all spent by the school for the benefit of your children; some examples of recently funded items are: Year 8 Maths drama event; new tents and stoves for the Duke of Edinburgh Expedition; Food Technology chopping boards and racks; netball sports kit and saddle cloths for the equestrian team. 


Most importantly, many thanks to all the parents, relatives, teachers etc who have come along to our events; without your support and generosity we would not be able to help the school as much as we do.
If you’re interested in getting involved with the PSFA in any way we’d be very pleased to hear from you; contact details are on the Ecclesbourne School website; or come along to one of our regular PSFA meetings, again details of meeting dates are on the website.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re keen to actively participate on the PSFA committee or just help for an hour or two at an event each year.  Your support would be very welcome and it will help ensure that the Ecclesbourne PSFA can continue to be successful going forward.
Happy Easter


Fund Raising Events


Comic relief was a fantastic success here at Ecclesbourne with cakes galore and an excellent Year 8 evening event.

The total amount raised to date is £3433.17.


The Student Bake In




Year 13 students had a baking session to fulfil orders placed to a variety of cakes.


The Staff Bake Off





Our brand new sports complex, due to open in summer 2013, will include a sports hall, teaching room, fitness suite and dance studio which allows us the opportunity to take our sport provision to the next level.  We invite applications for the post of Sport Development Manager.
The successful candidate will be responsible for the strategic development and efficient day to day management of the new Sports Complex and will be committed to enhancing and developing our provision through curriculum, lunchtime and out of school hours learning programmes with the aim of engaging our students and community in sport and healthy lifestyles.
You will have proven successful experience in the management of sport and activity and improving the health and well-being of young people through the development and implementation of sport programmes. You will have strong management and organisational skills and will be entrepreneurial, resourceful and energetic in seeking income and completing bids to access funding for specific programmes to enhance and develop the provision of sport and our facilities. You will be responsible for developing our successful range of intra and inter-school sport whilst building on our established links with primary schools and the community.
In return we offer 33 days paid holiday per year (including statutory and concessionary days) rising to 37 after five years, immediate membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme, excellent  opportunities for professional development and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.  Continuity of service recognised for local government employees. This is a full-time, 52 weeks per year position. Core hours will total 37 hours per week which will consist of daytime, evenings, weekends and school holiday periods.  Scale 5: Point 22 to 25 (£19621 to £21519) starting at Point 22.
Applications for this vacancy should take the form of a completed application form (a curriculum vitae will not be  accepted) and letter (no more than two A4 typed sides) which outlines how your previous experience has prepared you for the post and what  particular skills you will bring to it. 

Full details and an application pack are available on the School website.

For further information please contact Tina Spencer-Keyse,
Human Resources Manager/Personal Assistant to the Head Teacher
by email at 

Our school is committed to safeguarding and all employees will be
criminal records checked with the Disclosure and Barring Service. 

(The principle of the Single Status Agreement is the development of a single pay and grading structure and of core terms and conditions of employment for all Local Government Services employees to address inequalities in pay and conditions.)


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