The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture

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The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
The Blue Coat School
Proud to be part of The Cranmer Education Trust

Easter Newsletter – March, 2017

                                                  Ski Trip to Madonna

Year 7B Netball Team
Oldham Schools’ Rally

     Faith ~ Vision ~ Nurture
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Dear Parents, Guardians and Carers,

I hope you enjoy our spring newsletter. It includes updates and stories of what our young people
have been doing from subject departments across the school, including all the extra-curricular work in
music, art and drama especially, and reports from all of the year groups about how the community of
the school develops and strengthens. There are accounts of the ski trip and the America trip; next
term we’ll have reports on the Paris trip, the Battlefields visits for all of Year 8, and the visit to
Auschwitz by Philosophy and Ethics students. We’ll also have a full report on our first Futures
Exhibition, which was very well attended by pupils and parents, and from which we’ve had excellent
feedback already.

School News this Term
As parents of students in Upper School are very aware, there is a huge amount of change going
through the system nationally in curriculum, assessment and changing accountability measures for
schools. We have been preparing for this so none of it is unexpected, but it does still make different
demands on pupils and their teachers. The first, most obvious change is the move to a 9 – 1 scale at
GCSE, instead of A*- G, which will be introduced in English and Maths this year, and to most of the
curriculum in 2018, with the remaining subjects following in 2019.

Similarly, the former AS and A2 system is being replaced by a linear system, where students take all
of their public exams at the end of Year 13. The curricula are new, and in many ways more

The changing requirements at GCSE have affected what we teach at Key Stage 3, as have the
changes to the Key Stage 2 curriculum that pupils learn in primary.

What all of this means is that we have made planned changes to our curriculum structure, with young
people now making their option choices for GCSE at the end of Year 8. And in Sixth Form, we have
moved to a 3 A-Level and Futures programme, to ensure depth of study, high grades, and a relevant
breadth that will give our students the edge when it comes to applications for the most competitive
universities/higher apprenticeships.

Through all of this our students – your sons and daughters – are doing really well. You can read
about their successes and activities in this newsletter. Two particular triumphs have been 6 students
gaining Oxbridge places for 2017, and our Head Boy, Tim Winter, gaining an advanced
apprenticeship with Rolls Royce and being selected for their nuclear programme.
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Staffing Update
Our student leaders have had a busy term interviewing staff for senior posts. Candidates always say
that this is the most nerve-wracking aspect of the whole process. Facing 50 – 60 well-prepared,
highly professional young people assessing everything from credibility to approachability to presence
to ethical commitment is daunting. The students cut to the chase.

We are delighted that, following a national recruitment campaign, led by professional headhunters,
our Deputy Mr Higgins emerged as the best candidate for Blue Coat. He will take over as
Headteacher of Blue Coat in September, 2017 when I take on the role of CEO for our Trust (the
Cranmer Education Trust) full time. What is really good for school is that we are working together on
the transition, so it will be seamless; and I will continue to work for Blue Coat, within the Trust, to
support Mr Higgins.

Mrs Anderson, Deputy Head, is moving to St. James’s CofE School in Bolton; we have therefore
appointed two Deputy Headteachers, Miss Ash, currently Assistant Head at Blue Coat, and Mr
Anderson, currently Assistant Head at Saddleworth. Mr Anderson himself started his teaching career
at Blue Coat, and knows – and loves – our school. So with our Director of Sixth Form, Mrs Tipler, and
Business Manager Mrs Duncan, we have a full team in place to take the school forward, supported by
our Assistant Headteachers, senior support staff, and middle leadership across the school. It has
been busy, but very calm and purposeful, thanks to the help of our students.

We are losing two important members of staff at Easter, and I know you will want to wish them well.
Miss Rourke, who works in our Pastoral Support Services, has secured a deserved promotion to
Pastoral Manager in Bury. Mrs Darne, Director of Learning for Year 9, is leaving to take on full-time
fostering. She has been at Blue Coat for 30 years. Everyone has their favourite Mrs Darne story –
mine includes her parking the Paris trip’s bus on the Arc de Triomphe and arguing with the French
police whilst students nipped out for photos; and her single-handed apprehension of two intruders
who broke in on the last day of school term when pupils had gone and staff were in a meeting. (She
is a black belt in Jujitsu). Everyone recognises Mrs Darne’s rapid progression around the site, in
vertiginously high heels, and her absolute refusal to allow any young person (or member of staff) to
be any less than they can be. And, along the way, her unfailing generosity of spirit and kindness to
students and colleagues alike.

We are delighted that Mrs Coleman has been appointed, against a national field, to succeed Mrs
Darne. She will take up post on 1st May, and in the intervening two weeks, Mrs Smith will oversee
Year 9.
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Could I also ask you to remember in your thoughts and prayers members of our school community
who have experiences serious illness, especially Mrs Gartside, who has been off for most of the year,
but should be back in September; Mrs English who should be back in June/July; and Mrs Beale who
will be off for the summer term. These things are part of life, and cannot be predicted, and when
emergencies happen, staff and students together have to step up to meet the challenge. We also ask
for parents’ understanding whilst we put arrangements in place.

Could I also ask you to remember the family of the Director of Schools for Oldham, Caroline Sutton,
who died suddenly last week.

Our SIAMS Inspection
We were delighted to be judged to be ‘outstanding’ in all four categories of the Statutory Inspection of
Anglican and Methodist schools. The report came too late for the Christmas newsletter, but you can
find it on our website using the link:

A New School
Those of you with younger children may be in the admissions round for September, 2017. Some of
you may be experiencing the impact of the pressure on school places in Oldham. The increase in
primary number is now working its way through to secondary, and there simply are not enough school
places for all the children. This is only going to get worse. Even with the planned expansion of some
schools, there will still be a serious place shortage.

This is the main reason why we are submitted a bid to the Department for Education to open a new
secondary – a Blue Coat II. The Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Education are both
very supportive. You can find more details on our Trust website ( It
will be a Church of England school, with both faith-based places, and non-faith places, and following
very helpful feedback from local church groups, we will be widening the definition of Christians
beyond membership of Churches Together.

We have to work to government programmes and deadlines, so I can’t say when it could happen (we
are hoping for 2019) or where it might be, which is difficult when we can see the need building up.

But can I ask this of our parents and carers:

You have entrusted your children into our care. The parent survey shows that for the overwhelming
part, you are very happy with the provision your children receive. When the bid process finally starts
– keep an eye on our website – can you give us your support? Can you sign up your interest on the
Cranmer Education website, all to add a bit of leverage to our submission? Possibly it wouldn’t affect
your choice, but in the interests of all children in Oldham schools, we have to grow the capacity, and
this route now is the only way that can be done.

Please think about it, and help us try to achieve this.

We wish all our families a happy and peaceful Easter, with hope for and faith in the future of all our
young people.

Yours sincerely,

The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
The curriculum, learning
and achievement
For very young children, there's a very fine line between magic and science and in the Blue Coat
Science department we're quite happy with that. Bearing that in mind, we invited two groups of
students from a local primary school (East Crompton St. George's) to spend a day with us exploring
how science works. First a group of 30 Year 4 students looked at chemical reactions, specifically of a
brightly-coloured and possibly quite dangerous variety (like any good performers, we know what our
audience wants). Cue gasps of awe, expressions of wonder and lots of excited kids (and their very
happy teachers). We then followed that up with Year 6 students who explored how electrical circuits
work, designing the kinds of circuits that we see in a house. Once again, their enthusiasm was
infectious. Although collectively the Science department shares over 150 years of teaching
experience, still nothing pleases us more than seeing young folks genuinely excited by what we do.
Special thanks to Dr. Higginson and Mr. Haygarth for doing such a great job of organising these

At the other end of the spectrum, the Chemistry department continues to go from strength to
strength in the Chemistry Olympiad. This year, 23 of our students competed in this national
celebration of what makes Chemistry the coolest science (don't tell Dr. Lawson or Dr. Guittierez-Sosa)
and we achieved our best ever results with 4 Silver Awards and 8 Bronze Awards (3 of which were for
Year 12 students). We also fielded a very large team in the Cambridge Chemistry Challenge, with 20
Year 12 students testing their mettle against other schools in the country. Thanks to Dr. Silversides
for putting in many hours with our students to give them these opportunities.

The Physics department has also celebrated success this term. Seven students competed in the AS
Physics Olympiad. Results are pending but we are optimistic. 11 students competed in the GCSE
Physics Olympiad, with four achieving a Bronze award and one student (Archie Taylor) achieving a
Gold. Well done Archie.

Espionage and Intrigue in the World of Nuclear Physics
When the spooks of MI5 discovered that there had been a
British spy in the Atomic Bomb Manhattan Project, at first they
couldn’t decide if it was Rudolf Peierls, the father of the bomb,
or Klaus Fuchs, his colleague. What information did Klaus
Fuchs pass to the USSR? What evidence was there? Why did
he do it, and why did he confess? And why, soon after Fuchs’
arrest, did his colleague Bruno Pontecorvo defect to the
USSR? Well, Year 11 students had the opportunity to attend a
lecture on this intriguing topic at Manchester Conference
Centre, which was led by Professor Frank Close.

Phoebe Oladode stated: “I loved the talk. It was fascinating and it didn’t just focus on the Physics
aspects, but historical aspects. I would definitely recommend it to others. The talk was about nuclear
Physics fission and fusion, and also the creation of the first nuclear bomb, and the mystery around
Bruno Pontecorvo’s life after 1950”. Ethan Curley went on to say, “It gave an insight into more
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
complex Physics ideas. The talk was engaging and informative as it incorporated both Physics and

The Physics department is looking forward to its 2017 trip to Geneva to see the Large Hadron
Collider. The 2016 trip was a great success, with a very large number of students looking to continue
their Physics students at degree level. Watch this space for more news on this year's trip.

Religious Studies
Starting ‘A’ Level with Dr Peter Vardy
On Tuesday 7th February, 21 of our Year 12 students
attended an intensive full day lecture given by the
philosophers Dr Peter Vardy and Dr David Webster in
Manchester. The event was designed to enrich and extend
student thinking based on the content of the new A Level
Specification, and brought 6th form students together from
across the North West.

Students learnt more about the Cosmological, Teleological and Ontological Arguments for the
existence of God, considered the problem of evil and suffering for God’s existence, and found out
more about the ethical theory of Natural Law. They also took part in a debate entitled ‘This house
sees legalising euthanasia as the most loving response to suffering.’ It was great to see some of our
students articulating their opinions and engaging in this relevant debate.

Students really enjoyed the day and came away with more confidence and ideas for developing their
‘A’ Level study skills.

RS Immersion Days
Year 10 students recently took part in an RS
immersion day to learn about the Five Pillars of Islam.
The day consisted of five one hour sessions learning
about Shahadah, Salah, Sawm, Zakah and Hajj and
how these effect the lives of Sunni Muslims today.

As part of these sessions, there were fun activities
such as ‘air Wudu’ performed by Mr Rahman as well
as practising exam technique to get students ready for
the exam. Caroline Philips in 10RW said that she
found the day to be ‘informative and now feels
confident when faced with exam questions on the Five
Pillars of Islam’.

In addition, she stated that ‘immersion days were useful as they allowed teachers to teach lots of
information and for things to be discussed that teachers and students might not have time to discuss
otherwise’. Well Done Year 10 for working hard on these days!

Year 8 extension to learning opportunity - Ally Conference on prejudice and discrimination
On Tuesday 21st February, 10 Year 8 students were selected to attend the Ally conference at Oldham
Coliseum Theatre, as a reward for high achievement and in preparation for studying the Holocaust in
Year 9. The conference involved students from several schools across Oldham, with the aim of
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
reducing discrimination in Oldham by raising awareness of hatred and promoting understanding of our

The students listened to Oldham Youth
Councillors’ experiences of visiting
Auschwitz and Birkenau and watched a
performance by Oldham Theatre
Workshop called Nadzeija (hope)
developed in Poland and performed in
Krakow and the Centre for Dialogue and
Prayer in Oswiecim. They also watched
several short films by Oldham Youth
Council which highlighted the different
types of discrimination faced in Oldham
and heard the story of Gulwali Passarley,
an Afghan political refugee who came to
Britain and lived in Bolton. The students
then put all their learning into practice and
worked in groups with those from other
schools to plan ways in which they could
combat discrimination.

Our students thoroughly enjoyed the conference and produced some excellent, thought-provoking

On Friday 31st March the Religious Studies Department is
taking 40 Year 12 and 13 students to Krakow to visit a
variety of places linked to their Philosophical and Ethical
studies. As part of the A level course students learn about
the Problem of Evil and look at philosophical issues
surrounding the idea of evil in a world created by God. One
major example of evil that students refer to when studying
this course is the Holocaust and the horrors that humans
endured. This trip provides our students with the
opportunity to experience some of these issues first hand
through visiting the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration
camp and through meeting and talking to a survivor of the
Holocaust. As well as this, our students will also visit
Oscar Schindler’s factory and learn about some of the
brave resistors and rescuers who risked their lives during
this act of evil.

This experience will be invaluable and one that our
students will not forget. The newsletter later on in the year
will provide an update on the experiences of our students
and what it has meant to them to be involved in such a trip.

Coming soon…
Nick Worthington, a Year 12 RS students, has been awarded a place to attend a
Masterclass in Theology, Religion and Philosophy at Corpus Christi College,
Oxford University. This will be a great opportunity for challenge and learning about
life and study at University. He’ll tell us more about it in the next newsletter!
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Year 8 groups in Art having been working on theme of RS, in particular the Easter Story and the

Some students have looked at the work of Stephen B Whatley who is known as the praying artist. He
paints to earn a living, using an Expressionist style but he is motivated by his wish to share the love of
God. He is a great admirer of St Faustina and has taken as a motto something said to her in one of
her visions, which Stephen paraphrases beautifully: “Anything you do that is not in My name means
nothing to Me”.

Other Year 8 students have looked at the Stations of the Cross as painted by Norman Adams, a
member of the Royal Academy. These works are one of the great ecclesiastical commissions in our
country and can be seen at St. Mary's, The Hidden Gem, Manchester.

There is in these canvasses, an expression of compassion intensely felt, which communicates to us
immediately. Gentleness, terror, pain and suffering, within a frame of deep understanding and
sympathy, distinguish these works.

The work of Chinese Christian artist He Qi has also inspired students. He believes it is important to
develop Christian art, as a work of visual art can convey a powerful and complex message very
quickly and effectively to busy people. Our lives are very busy these days, making money and doing
other things so an image can have a powerful and immediate effect. Year 8 students completed
sections of images in oil pastels before putting them together in groups.
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Students then looked at the Bible Journaling work of Roben Marie Smith, combining text and image.

For homework, students made Christian themed miniature collages which were then sealed inside
teabags with melted wax.
The Blue Coat School - Faith Vision Nurture
Students were also ambitious with a 3D Challenge homework. Some based their work on Kelly Rae
Robert’s figurines, whilst others focused on colourful crosses or three dimensional letters.

Finally, some prayer flag style bunting was made using images created by the students, transferred
onto fabric. The students have really enjoyed creating their masterpieces!
Sixth form Fine Artists enjoyed a day's life drawing workshop with world renowned artist Mark
Demsteader who is famous for his ethereal portraits of super models and most famously actress
Emma Watson. Mark spent time telling the story of how he became one of the UK's most recognised
and celebrated portrait artists before leading a life drawing workshop where students got to try out his
traditional oil paint and pastel techniques.

Bridal footwear designer and past pupil Charlotte Mills approached the art department with a
competition to find her next potential apprentice and also offered the prize of a pair of her beautiful
shoes with the challenge of designing a modern day glass slipper. More news to follow in the summer
on the winner!!

CAS Hub Launch Meeting
In January, Mr Mkandawire held the launch meeting of the Computing at School. This is just one of
the ways we support other schools in the area by being lead school for the Oldham area and beyond.

At the meeting, training was given to teachers within the greater Manchester area to help teachers
with the changes in the computer science curriculum. Practical workshops along with presentations
were delivered on the topics of cyber security and searching and sorting algorithms, along with
providing quality resources for teachers to take away and use in their own lessons.
Below, Mr Mkandawire is pictured demonstrating searching and sorting algorithms using a large pile
of unmatched socks.

Homework Club
Our popular lunchtime homework club is well attended as always. As well as offering subject specific
advice and help, we usually assist with other subjects too. It runs every lunchtime except Friday in
GT11 from 1.30-2.00pm. Our homework club is not just for our subject, we offer specific IT help along
with all other subjects’ homework.

Cryptographic challenge
See if you can break the code below to reveal the secret message.

Answers should be sent, via email, to by the end of April

The winner will be selected, at random, from the correct entries. The
winner will receive a small Easter related prize!

Year 7 anti-bullying poster competition.
This year as part of the bullying, cyber bullying and staying safe online
curriculum, a year wide poster competition was held to summarise the key
points learnt. The pupils had to follow certain criteria to be in with a
chance of winning. Out of the 250+ entries, picking the winner and two
runners up was a mammoth task. It was decided, independently, that
Rahiha Zafar of 7BH was the overall winner with Ryan Thomas and
Joseph Davies coming in second and third place respectively. Below is the
winning poster. Well done Rabiha!
Media Studies Does Countdown
On Monday 6th March, A Level Media students were
given the chance to be part of the audience for
‘Countdown’. They were visiting the studios at Media
City, Salford, where the ever-popular Channel 4 quiz
show is filmed.

Staff at Media City warmly welcomed the group and
several presenters took time to talk to the students about
life in the media industry. After the end of filming
‘Countdown’, the stars of the show Nick Hewer, Rachel
Riley, Susie Dent stayed behind to have their
photographs taken with the students.

Media students, Seamus Toal and Abbie Ravening
commented, “Being able to visit and witness an actual TV
studio today was an fantastic experience.”

The production crew provided all of the students with
pens and pads so they could play along with the
contestants during the filming of two episodes of the
popular show. All in all, it was a superb trip and a great
insight for the students into daily life on a TV set. We are
thoroughly looking forward to returning with the Year 11
Media Studies students in May.

Extra-Curricular Music
We are gearing up for our annual Easter Concert where over 150 pupils will perform in the school hall
on Thursday 30th March. This concert has been revamped to celebrate the achievements and
contributions of the Year 11 and Year 13 students – a celebration of all the musical achievements of
our leavers as soloists and in small ensembles. Our Year 13 music students, Ben Hartnell-Booth,
Emily Crichton, Kathryn Eato, Jacob Gill, Jessica Ross and Richard Blythe have planned the concert,
prepared a running order, approached pupils to perform solos and designed a concert programme
which will be used on the evening to accompany the music. The skills that the pupils are learning from
this responsibility are invaluable for their future studies, and the ‘leavers’ can organise their own final
farewell to the department and have a real sense of achievement at the end of the evening. We are
really looking forward to seeing what they have to offer.

The concert will feature the Blue Coat School Performers of the Year and Musician of the Year
awards. Pupils have been voting in the following categories – Brass Player of the Year, Percussionist
of the Year, Jazz Performer of the Year, String Player of the Year, Chorister of the Year and the
overall Musician of the Year. Last year’s winner of the Musician of the Year, Sam Noden, has been
asked to return from the Royal Northern College of Music to be our Guest of Honour, and to present
the awards to this year’s winners. Pupils have been asked to think about the overall contribution the
nominees have made to school ensembles and the music department in general. We will announce
the results on the evening of the concert and they will be published in the next newsletter. Something
to watch out for!

National Festival of Music for Youth
On Saturday 4th March the music department again took 2 ensembles to perform at the regional
auditions of the National Festival of Music for Youth at Rochdale Town Hall. Fresh from the success
of the Royal Albert Hall performance, The Senior Choir, and the Brass Band performed to 2
adjudicators, including modern and classical works by Passereau, Gjello and Keith Churchill, whilst
the Brass Band performed an eclectic mix of works by Alan Fernie, Simon Dobson and the Beatles.
Both groups performed extremely well with rave reviews from both adjudicators and there were
several glowing reports from members of the audience as well. It was a fantastic experience and we
should find out our fate sometime in April. We hope to emulate last year’s success of the Senior
Choir, and who know……maybe another performance at the Royal Albert Hall!

Year 11 Performance evening
On Wednesday 11th January, our Year 11 musicians performed in the school hall to parents and
friends as part of their GCSE Music exam. The performance element consists of 2 live pieces of
music which constitute 40% of the final mark so it really is very important that the pupils are as well
prepared for this as possible. It was a lovely evening and the pupils performed very well indeed. Many
parents and staff attended and the comments about the performances were fantastic. All performers
performed very well and it gave them a real sense of achievement to perform in the hall as it was the
first time for some of them. The pupils were Isabel Andrewes, Courtney Blanchard, Rhiannon
Bradbury-Wild, Luca Clark, Joao Faulkner, Krystal Goodall, Anastasia Hartnell-Booth, Bethany
Hickson, Cyrhas Marshall, Charlotte Norman, Pheobe Olabode, Edward Rawson, Oliver Robinson,
Alfie Shuttleworth, Amber Wildhood-Gill and Timothy Young.
BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award 2017
On February 11th, 6th form student Adam Neild was
chosen to perform in the semi-final of the BBC Radio 2
Brass Award 2017. The semi-final took place on the in
the Philharmonic Studio at BBC Media City, home of the
BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Adam was accompanied
by the currect North West Area Champions, Foden’s
Band with renowned conductor Michael Fowles.

The competition was open to brass players between 16
and 21 and for residents within the UK, the Isle of Man or
the Channel Islands and Adam was chosen from
hundreds of recorded entries along with 7 other young
brass players.

Adam played an original work for cornet by the conductor
and composer, Howard Snell, entitled ‘Fantasy for
Cornet’ Although Adam was not one of the final four to
be chosen to take part in the final, it was a fantastic
achievement to get to the last 8 and we are extremely
proud of his efforts.

National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain
Many of our pupils have been very busy over the past few weeks with their participation in the
regional qualifiers of the National Brass Band Championships held in Bradford and Blackpool. Many
of our musicians were performing with local bands such as Dobcross Youth, Stalybridge Old, Oldham
(Lees), Lees, Hawk Green, Uppermill, Delph and Fairey. The pupils gave some fantastic
performances and were credited with excellent comments from the adjuicators, in the national band
press and on social media.
It’s been a very busy but exciting time in History during the first half of the academic year. Courses
are in full swing, and we have lots to celebrate!

Our KS3 students have been continuing with their new topics which prepare them well for the new
GCSE. They have been continuing to learn a range of key skills directly linked to the new GCSE
examination, and whilst this has been challenging for students, it is clear that they are progressing
well and developing new levels of confidence. The most recent assessments on the whole have been
very successful, and the assessments demonstrate the importance of effective revision at home.

We have also launched our first very “eggciting” Easter competition for KS3.
Students have to design a “good egg” from history i.e. use their creativity to
turn a hard-boiled egg into a historical figure. Deadline is Thursday 30 th April,
prize for the winner. We “shell” look forward to seeing what “good eggs” the
students bring in!

Year 7 have spent some time investigating crime and punishment in the Middle
Ages, and how changes in authority led to huge changes in crime and
punishment; even taking a fallen branch from a forest was considered a crime
in Norman England! Students have now begun to look at the role Henry VIII
played in changing the religion of England and the impact that this had on
people’s lives. The use of Bloodle to set all Year 7 homework has been
welcomed by students and a big well done to many students producing
fantastic pieces of work at home.

Year 8 have been studying attitudes towards women in the 20th century and in particular why women
eventually gained the vote in 1918. They have particularly enjoyed the debate on whether the
Suffragists or the Suffragette campaigning was more effective in securing the vote. Students have just
started their new and very popular topic on 1920s USA. They will be learning about why the 1920s
was a time of prosperity, before considering whether prosperity was available to all. Over the coming
weeks they will be asked to produce a research project on the Harlem Renaissance, which gives
students the opportunity to show off their research skills and individuality!

Year 8 students are about to embark on the options process for choosing some of their GCSE
subjects. Students will have the opportunity within their history lessons to ask questions, as well as
attend a drop in session at lunch time where they can find out more information. As a taster, students
are encouraged to visit the school website and watch the amazing Mr Brough deliver a brief options
presentation on behalf of the history department – you may need some sunglasses for his tie.

Year 9 have been exceptional in their attitude and approach to their GCSE studies. They have worked
extremely hard learning some difficult content and key skills linked to their Paper 3 examination on
Weimar Germany. They are about to take a break from this to begin their study of Crime and
Punishment across a 1000 year period, focusing on change and continuity over time, and the reasons
for this.

Years 9 and 10 have both visited London in the last couple of months, with tours including the ‘Clink’
prison museum and an extremely popular guided tour around Whitechapel where the Jack the Ripper
murders took place; luckily the weather was on our side, and students were a real asset to the school.
This trip will now officially become a Y9 GCSE History trip – so Year 8’s opting for history GCSE,
watch this space!!
Year 10 are about to start their learning for their new historical environment study on Whitechapel.
This is a brand new element to the GCSE where students are given the opportunity to really consider
the range of historical evidence available at the time and analyse it in its context to develop a deeper
understanding of the period. This aspect of the Crime and Punishment study will introduce students to
new types of questions where they will take on the role of a historian and really consider the utility of
evidence for specific enquiries.

Year 11 mocks in history were very successful, many students performed well, and this has fed well
into our intervention programme every Wednesday lunchtime. Students have finished their lessons on
controlled assessment and have just begun their Paper 2 study on life in Nazi Germany, before
finishing with the Vietnam War and the role of the USA. Revision should be well underway for summer
exams; all past papers are on Bloodle and students are encouraged to complete these and hand
them into their class teachers for marking and feedback.

Key Stage Five
Students in Y12 and 13 have just entered their mock fortnight. Y12 students are on course for a timely
finish in their key content for Units 1 and 2, and revision taking place for mock exams should now
continue until their AS examinations in May. Students are working extremely hard, but should
remember that their fantastic GCSE grades came as a result of a clear revision timetable and a range
of revision strategies to cover both content and skills. Students can attend drop in sessions at lunch
for any support or 1:1 meetings on exam practice.

Our Year 13s are now on countdown to their final examinations before embarking on the next stage in
their lives. Coursework in history is now complete and these lessons will now be used for compulsory
revision of the units studied in Y12. However, students need to ensure that they dedicate enough time
at home for the intense revision needed for the summer examinations. We wish Year 13 lots of luck
over the next few months, and our doors are always open for support.

Finally, 55 sixth form students and 7 staff have recently come back from their
tour of the USA. Whilst this wasn’t a curriculum trip, the itinerary included clear
links to the A Level history study of the USA and students visited some
fantastic places, which included a walking tour of Washington DC, the
Constitution Centre in Philadelphia, and Ellis Island which historically saw
1000s of immigrants enter the USA. Students were outstanding ambassadors
for the school throughout the whole trip, and we look forward to offering this trip
again for February 2019. A massive thank you to the amazing team of staff
who gave up their half term so the trip could run!
Government & Politics
Many A2 and AS politics student took part in the school trip to America during the February half term.
Students were fascinated to witness the historical and political landmarks we visited in Washington
D.C. In particular, many found it very interesting for comparative purposes to learn about the vast
democratic differences between the US and the UK, including the clear separation of powers and
how, for example, the President does not sit in the legislature unless personally invited.

Many A2 sociology students also took part and saw first-hand the work
of Martin Luther King Jr, and especially on his use of religion to bring
about social change in America, ending segregation in the South.

The experiences the students took part in were invaluable both for
their academic studies but also their personal development in
becoming much more aware of modern history and key political
developments, particularly with us being so close to the White House
and its new occupant, the 45th President of the USA, Donald. J.

Early on in the Year 12 course, Mrs Hargreaves took Year 12 and 13 students to the Royal Exchange
to see A Streetcar Named Desire. It was an excellent performance with Maxine Peake as Blanche
DuBois and will be invaluable for the exams in May and June. A further theatre trip to Bolton Octagon
at the end of March should be equally as enjoyable.

Following discussions between Mrs Hargreaves and Alasdair Glynn, Year 13
Literature student, Blue Coat Staff and Students Book Club was established. It was
agreed that novels had to be challenging and amongst the choices have been A
Hundred Years of Solitude, Goodbye to Berlin, The Virgin Suicides and The Comfort
of Strangers. There have been some enlightening discussions about the novels in
MM03, all led by Alasdair, who has been offered a place at Cambridge University to
read Literature.

Mrs Hargreaves has organised networking meetings for teachers offering Literature and
Language/Literature A Levels with Eduqas examination board. Staff from schools in Bolton and
Tameside have attended and are sharing resources. This should lead to even better results for our

On Saturday the 21st of January 2017, Miss Wild and
Miss Spragg took 30 Year 11 and Year 10 pupils all the
way to the Playhouse theatre in London to see an
incredible performance of An Inspector Calls.

The pupils were outstanding - an absolute credit to the
school. For some pupils it was their first time in a
theatre, which made the trip extra special!

Despite being a very long day, everyone enjoyed
themselves thoroughly seeing the sights and sounds of
our capital city and experiencing an out-of-this-world
production of this popular text! A huge thanks to all the
pupils for their exemplary participation!
Miss Rothwell arranged for the Manchester Actos Company to visit our year 10 students and perform
an adaptation of The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. After the performance, the students
were given the opportunity to ask the actors questions to help develop their understanding of the
characters and themes in the novel.

All the students enjoyed the performance and raved about how helpful it was to see the characters
and plot come to life.

Beth Underdown
Ex-pupil and now published author Beth Underdown recently visited school to lead a master-class in
creative writing for our ‘A’ level English students, who have to submit coursework for their studies with
a creative writing element. The session was very instructive, focusing as it did on characterisation.
Beth passed round a handbag from which the students had to take items; a character was built from
these items – who would carry a bag like this and what could we say about this person from the items
in it? It was a very interesting approach to writing characters. Beth then read from her upcoming novel
which is about the witch-finder Matthews Hopkins and narrated by his sister. Beth’s great-uncle David
Underdown was a historian who specialised in this particular period of history and Beth’s novel keeps
up the family interest. The novel dealt with the theme of complicity and blame, and the role of
associates and bystanders when cruel and vicious events take place. Beth was very pleased with the
sessions as she wanted to give something back to her old school; her novel will be dedicated to the
late Kath Boardman, who was once Head of English at Blue Coat and Beth’s inspirational English

What amazing and talented students we have in Drama. During this busy term we have put on superb
productions, had successful moderations and hosted visiting companies/practitioners.

February’s GCSE showcase was a real celebration of our talented students’ abilities as they explored
the often gritty, realistic and hard hitting subject matter that is Verbatim Theatre. This year had an
added dimension- our New Year 9 GCSE students had their debut showcase performance and
tackled the mature and sensitive subjects of drunk driving and eating disorders respectively. Too
much Punch for Judy and Hard to Swallow both written by Mark Wheeler provided an explosive
start to the evening.

Year 10’s showcase explored Missing Dan Nolan and Frank and Ferdinand (a modern day Pied
Piper story by Samuel Adamson).
Miss Smith’s Year 11 students performed their own versions of Blackout by Davey Anderson,
securing A*/A’s in their moderation.

#YOLO - National Theatre Connections
This Year’s National Theatre Connections performance was exceptional.

#YOLO by Matthew Bulgo
‘How am I supposed to deal with... that... with the idea of... when I haven't dealt with
life yet?!’ It's A-level results day and Jack has it all in front of him. After a summer of
love and laughter with his mates, he's off to university. He can't wait for 'Freshers’
Week' and all the adventures that will follow. Life is just beginning and it couldn't be
better. But when Jack gets blind-sided by a revelation about his health, he gets
propelled into an adult world before he's had a chance to enjoy his youth. Will Jack
be able to become an adult in time to save himself?

Students’ stunning performance was rated highly by the National Theatre director
Alex Thorpe who waxed lyrical about the “outstanding abilities of all the cast”.

Now we are all back in the rehearsal room preparing for the transfer to perform again
at the Manchester Festival.

Boys’ PE
The U14 Year 9 boys have made it through to the semi-final of the Boundary Park Play-Off Finals.
They have beaten teams from around the borough to top their respective group, hopefully with a
chance to represent our school in the final in May. In addition to this, they are having a fantastic cup
campaign and are currently well positioned in the quarter final stage. A Year 9 league and cup double
could be on the horizon.

The extra-curricular clubs again this term have been really well attended. Highlights have been the
development of volleyball and the well-attended table tennis club. It has been fantastic to see so
many of our KS4 GCSE students present at these clubs and being role models for students lower
down the school. They are great ambassadors of the subject and have a very positive influence on
others to take part in sport. They have again demonstrated how PE and Sport should look at the Blue
Coat School through reinforcing the key messages; competitive, challenging, and fun!

Year 7 chase the double as Boundary Park Final awaits!
The Year 7 boys football team continued their successful season with a 4 -1 victory against North
Chadderton, in the play-off semi-final of the OSFA league.

The fixture took place earlier this month down at the Chadderton Hall Park venue and saw a crowd of
around 50 come along to watch and support their schools. Our boys were taking on a very good
North Chadderton team who had made the last 16 of this year’s English schools’ competition and
were likely to be our biggest test of the season.

The game began at a frantic pace with us surviving an early onslaught from the opposition, who were
keen to grab an early goal. Luke Southerington was a towering presence in goal and helped steady
the ship during them first few minutes. Blue Coat soon grew into the game and showed a hunger and
enthusiasm that simply could not be matched. Our team tactic of "hunting in packs" whilst not in
possession worked to perfection as we took a commanding 3-0 lead into the half time break. Mworina
Doro scored a beautiful long range effort before Mason Cosford and Aaron Atkinson finished off two
wonderfully worked team goals.
North Chadderton didn't let their heads drop and fought back well in the second half, scoring early on
and making a real fight of it. Man of the match Aaron Atkinson had other ideas though showing his
class by grabbing a hold of the game, controlling possession and weaving his way in and out of North
Chadderton's bamboozled defence. The only way to stop him? A cynical foul late on in the game
briefly shook the forward. After dusting himself down he finished the tie with another great team goal,
this time a swift counter attack from one box to the other.

The team were fantastic and saved their best performance of the season for the biggest occasion,
which says a lot about their character.

We now play the final against Failsworth on the 3rd of May at the home of Oldham Athletic - Boundary
Park. A quarter final against Oasis Academy in the OSFA Cup means there is still plenty to play for in
what could be an amazing first season for the schools newest Blues!

Cross Country
December saw us host the annual Cross Country competition up on Oldham Edge where each
secondary school from the borough brought their finest runners to compete in the prestigious event.

Cold and rainy conditions couldn't dampen what was a really successful day.

Year 7
Our Year 7 boys and girls both finished in first position.

Lucy Aplin was the stand out runner for the Year 7 girls earning a second place finish in a fiercely
contested race.

The Year 7 boys dominated their race with all five runners finishing in the top twelve. Aaron Atkinson
(1st) and Henry Rutter (2nd) swept aside their competition to make it an all Blue Coat affair whilst they
jousted for the top honours. Four of the team were chosen to represent Oldham in the Greater
Manchester competition: Aaron Atkinson, Henry Rutter, Cameron Hacking and Matthew Jones.

Aaron Atkinson finished 3rd in this competition and with a field of 70 boys which is a tremendous

Year 9
The Year 9 boys event was also dominated by Blue Coat with Oliver Patrick (1st) and Jacob Wood-
Doyle (2nd) battling all the way to the finishing line in what was a nail biting finish. Both boys were
invited to race at county level.
Year 10
Sophie Andrew ran away comfortable winner in the Year 10 girls event and also went on to represent
Oldham at county level.

Swimming Gala
This year’s swimming Gala was held on 8th March and brought together the best swimmers from
around Oldham. Held at the recently refurbished OCL sport centre, Blue Coat was well represented
both in the water and in the stands.

Our Year 7, 8, 10/11 boys all won Gold in their respective squadron relays, with the Year 7 and 10/11
both setting new records in the process.

Please follow our PE twitter account for regular updates and information: @BCOldhamPE

Girls’ PE
The girls team had a great swimming gala this year. Despite the late time of the event, the
atmosphere was electric with the amount of team sprit – we definitely had the loudest supporters! All
swimmers should be very proud of themselves for representing the school in such a positive
manner… and for finishing 3rd overall – a great result!

It has been an amazing term at Blue Coat for our key stage 3 netball teams. After a brilliant display at
an U14 national schools tournament, our U14 netballers have gone from strength to strength in their
U14 county league, narrowly missing out on finals and winning 3 out of 5 county matches, winning
their final match with an amazing score line of 57-15. All but 2 of the squad are playing either 1 or 2
years above their age group so next year they will be a force to be reckoned with.

The U13 county league team have also had a brilliant campaign, winning all of their matches and
securing a place in the finials to be played 27th March. Good luck girls!

Our Year 8s have had a successful campaign in the Oldham schools league, playing the whole
season undefeated. They have also been finalists in both the Oldham schools netball rally and U13
county tournament. In a county tournament against some hard competition, the squad narrowly
missed out being champions losing only in the final in extra time.

Year 7s have dominated this season, being crowned both year 7 Oldham schools league champions
as well as U12 county tournament champions, fighting off some hard competition in both campaigns,
but coming out on top with 100% win rate. They have also reached the finals of the Oldham schools
netball rally, only missing out by 1 defeat, the first of their season. What an amazing season they
have had!

All the girls in the Key Stage 3 squads have shown amazing dedication and
determination, with squad members coming to train before and after school. The
future of netball at Blue Coat definitely looks bright and we look forward to next
season and another brilliant season of netball at Blue Coat.
Stop Press!
The Year 7 ‘B’ netball team were undefeated in the Oldham Schools League and are
Oldham Schools rally champions. Congratulations!

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths

Engineering Education Scheme
The Year 12 EES students completed a successful 3-day residential
at the University of Liverpool, supported by engineers from
Innovative Technology. They made good progress towards
completing their project, aiming for their Celebration and
Assessment day in April, and also presented their work to the other
schools involved. The students also took part in a series of lectures
led by staff from the schools of Electrical and Mechanical
Engineering at the University.

On Thursday 2nd of March, 12 Year 8 students attended the launch of the annual Go4SET event at
The University of Manchester.

They spent the day learning about the scheme and taking part in engineering activities to develop the
problem solving and team working skills. They were tasked with making a model rollercoaster that
would transport a marble in the longest time possible and building a balloon chair to hold the weight of
one member of the team!
During the day they were challenged to communicate without speaking to each other and via the use
of writing only – a challenge! They met their company mentors from Innovative Technology who will
be working alongside each team during the 10 week programme, guiding them through the design
tasks and report writing.

Their projects focus on efficient energy use in school.

In early June students will return to the University to present their work to industry specialists.

Step DAY
On March 2nd the Blue Coat School hosted the third and final inset day of the year for students at Blue
Coat, Crompton House and Calder High, working towards the Sixth Term Examination Paper, in
preparation for applying to one of the most prestigious universities in the UK.

Students and staff worked on some incredibly challenging Sixth Term examination questions in
preparation for the exam. The students showed great resilience, grit and determination and were a
credit to themselves.

STEP Mathematics is a well-established mathematics examination (3 hours in length) designed to test
candidates on questions that are similar in style to undergraduate mathematics. It is used by the
University of Cambridge as the basis for conditional offers. Other universities sometimes ask
candidates to take STEP as part of their offer. There are also a number of candidates who sit STEP
papers as a challenge
We have students taking the STEP 1 exam and STEP 2 exam in this summer.
The Liverpool Hope Maths challenge with parents
Miss Talbot and Mrs Rutherford led a year 7 challenge evening
for both students and their parents on 6th February, focusing on
problem solving skills and logical thinking. It was to launch the
Liverpool Hope Maths Challenge Competition in which students
have to answer several problem solving, mathematically based
questions, which encourage them to think outside of the box.
Approximately twenty five entries were posted from our school
and we are awaiting the results.

The Year 7 & 8 intervention parents evening
Parents of students in Years 7 & 8 were invited to an evening where we launched support programs
using the latest ICT packages. Parents and students had the opportunity to try the packages and
complete the mathematics together. Both evenings were well attended and great feedback from

Year 7 News
For the past term, Year 7s have been heavily involved in many and varied fundraising activities in
support of Dr Kershaw’s. The Year 7 landing has seen countless lunchtime activities, organised and
delivered by groups of Year 7 students. There have been bake sales, sweet sales, guess-the-sweets-
in-the-jar activities, various pick and mix sales. At least ten different fundraising activities have taken
place, including Year 7s very own Pool competition. A sponsored run on Oldham Edge is also in the
pipeline for after the Easter Holidays.

 In total, the Year 7 fundraisers have raised in excess of £600.00, a fantastic effort in such a short
space of time. Well done to all the Year 7s who organised and supported these events, being
generous with both their time and their money. Year 7s have often sacrificed their own lunchtimes to
set up, deliver and then clear up after these fundraising events. A special mention must go to
Constance Phythian and Lucy Shaw in R7, who acting individually, both raised over £40.00 each for
Dr Kershaw’s outside of school.

Year 8 - A Person Centred Year Group
Year 8 is going person centred!
Over the last half term, we’ve been busy with the ‘Options’ process. For many of our young people
this will be their first experience of making a decision that will, in some way, shape their lives. That
can be daunting but it should also be exciting as our young people understand that they are able to
take more control over the key decisions. We understand how important it is for them to share their
own views on what’s best for them and we want all of our Year 8s to feel that we recognise their
individuality and their opinions.

In light of this, Director of Learning Mr Kelly and the SENDCo, Mrs Thompson-Boyle, launched our
Year 8: Person Centred Year Group initiative. This is a collaborative approach between the young
person, home and school and means putting the person at the centre of all that we do. It is not about
giving people whatever they want but is, however, about sharing power and responsibility by making
the young person an equal partner in any planning or decision making.

Our launch assembly took place on March 17th and had a real celebratory feel about it as we shared
with our pupils three things their families liked and admired about them. What they didn’t know is that
their families had been secretly sending these in during the weeks leading up to the assembly and we
had had an overwhelming response. Following this, Year 8 spent one of their communion slots
creating their One Page Profile. A One Page Profile is the foundation of personalisation. It includes
important information about a person on a single sheet of paper under three simple headings: what
people like and admire about me, what’s important to me and how best to support me. Although very
simple, these profiles help us to support our young people by building better understanding and
therefore relationships with them. It allows us to truly understand what really matters to the person in
their life and these profiles will be shared with their classroom teachers so that they are able to
understand the young people in front of them on a deeper and more personalised level.

Why are we doing this? Well firstly, Blue Coat is all about community and communities work better
when there is an understanding and recognition of all the individuals who contribute towards it.
Secondly, there is mounting evidence that being person-centred can make a difference and that
person-centred ways usually improves outcomes. By considering people’s aspirations, likes, dislikes,
values, family situations and lifestyles means we can work together to develop appropriate solutions.

We will keep you updated with our person-centred progress.

Year 9
The Accelerated Learning Programme: 13th, 20th, 23rd and 29th March 2017
The Accelerated Learning Programme, as delivered by Karim Al- Abbas of Enlighten Education, is
being introduced to the current Year 9, via the introductory session for all of the Year group and a
further 3 longer sessions. The objective is to enable students to maximise memory skills and enhance
students’ potential to be more effective with private study and revision, in the run up to the exams.

The Final final Blackpool trip
To mark Mrs Darne’s departure from school, it was agreed to bring forward the annual trip to
Blackpool, which is a stress busting social event, which aims to boost self-confidence and build
independence and team work skills. 125 students and 10 members of staff, including the new DOL for
Y9, Miss Coleman will be hitting the rollercoasters and having fun together.

Fundraising for the NSPCC
During the Communion Form Time slots, Year 9 students have been researching the work of the
NSPCC, to raise awareness around school. Mrs Darne is hoping to raise funds for this important
charity, which is the only charity actively working to put an end to child abuse. Students will be taking
part in the charity’s ‘Board Game’ session, to raise much needed funds and in the last week of term,
PE staff have organised a charity staff versus students football and netball matches as part of the

Year 10
Junior Leadership Team:
The Year 10 JLT led and delivered an extensive Pupil Voice activity,
to both their peers in Year 10, and to Year 7 students. The team
showed excellent maturity and composure leading the hour long
session, and recorded a great deal of valuable, quality feedback from
students that will help us to improve our pastoral provision within
school. Tutors who observed the sessions were full of praise for the
JLT members, who led their peers excellently. Other projects
underway include improving the display within the social area,
planning for an enrichment activity in the summer, and notably the development of a peer support
system for younger students who may be facing difficulties, worries or anxieties in school. This has
involved the team canvassing opinion from Directors of Learning and raising awareness among Year
7 form groups through a poster and presentation campaign. The group now have permission to set up
a "drop in centre" next term, for students wishing to talk through worries with peers.

Futures Exhibition:
Year 10 have been planning this week for their involvement in the Future Exhibition held in school on
the 28th March. This is an exciting opportunity for Year 10 to begin formulating their initial plans for
post-16 and beyond. Companies and institutions represented include the BBC, Ernst-Young
Accountants, the Army and Fire Service, ALDI Supermarket and the Skills Company (Apprenticeships
and Traineeships in Greater Manchester). Universities include, Durham, Leeds, Lancaster, Liverpool,
Sheffield, Manchester, Manchester Met and Salford.

Year 10 have spent time preparing for the exhibition. This has included a mid-year review of their
current progress and projected outcomes at the end of Year 11, research about post-16 options and
the companies and organisations at the exhibition, and the production of a plan of action for the day
itself, which will outline the companies they wish to visit, and the information they need to acquire.

There will also be a structured follow up for each student comprising of the production of an action
plan, a review with their form tutor, and a careers interview with Steph Murray, our Carers Guidance
Officer as they decide on their "next steps" as they move into Year 11.

Destiny Children:
As mentioned in the previous request for newsletter items, H10 have followed up their month’s work
on Global Goals for sustainable development by accepting one challenge to sponsor a child through
school. After research the form decided on Destiny Children. The details of the charity are below:

Destiny Children

       Location - Destiny Garden School - a kindergarten & primary school in one of the
        poorest suburbs of Mombasa, Kenya
       Cost of sponsorship: £10 per month
       How is my money spent? - Sponsorship provides free education, a nutritious meal,
        health & welfare and social & life skills to disadvantaged children who would not
        otherwise receive an education. 100% of all sponsor funds, including Gift Aid, go to the
       What H10 will get - Twice yearly updates from the school plus a letter from the child,
        updated photos and their teacher's annual report. The opportunity to write to your
        child. The opportunity to visit the school or volunteer there, from a week to longer

All the students have donated or raised £10 which gives two years sponsorship. The
child they have sponsored is called Mark Otieno (see photograph and below) who will
also leave school in 2018. We will be having a visit from one of the directors of the
charity later in the year.

Interests: Mark’s favourite sport is football, and he also likes playing other ball games.
At home he helps his parents with the housework. His favourite colour is green.

Family: Mark lives at home in Grantoy Village with his parents and two brothers, both
of whom attend Destiny Garden School; Jacob in Class 8 and Emmanuel in Class 3.
Both his mother and father are unemployed and the family struggle to make a living.
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