Category Archives: Education

SHARE YOUR MEMORIES OF PINKERY

For nearly 50 years, generations of schoolchildren from Somerset, Devon and further afield have been coming for residential stays at the Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning, high on Exmoor. To mark the occasion and celebrate World Outdoor Learning Day Exmoor National Park Authority – who welcome around 2,000 children a year to the Centre – recently asked people to share old photos and memories from their stay to form part of an exhibition later in the year.

John Fletcher is deputy head of Heathfield Community School, in Taunton, which has been sending  Year 7 students for residentials at the Pinkery Centre for 40 years. He said: “Our students say time again that the most important and memorable experience they had of school was Pinkery. What they learn can’t be captured by league tables or exam results and we’re delighted to have so far been able to support 15,000 students to visit. I‘m sure many will take this opportunity to share memories in celebration of this special place and the lifelong lessons it helps to make.”

Pinkery was converted into an outdoor centre in 1969, having previously been an isolated hill farm for more than a century. Arthur Philips, the Centre’s first warden, recalls: “The building had been vacant for years and there were sheep living in it. I got together some volunteers, who all gave up their weekends and camped throughout the winter while the work was going on.

“It took about six months but we made it homely enough and when those first groups came, some of the farm buildings were still in use for storing hay and shearing sheep, so that become part of the lessons. There was time for studying the geology and wildlife, helping with conservation or maintenance work, and also outdoor pursuits like map reading, climbing and canoeing. My favourite was taking groups out over the moor on horseback. They’d spend 20 minutes grooming and helping tack up and then we’d be off. The impact it had on the youngsters was quite amazing.”

Situated in open moorland at 400 metres above sea-level and in the heart of Exmoor’s International Dark Sky Reserve, staying at the Centre remains a truly off-grid experience enjoyed by thousands of schoolchildren every year. Management was transferred to Exmoor National Park Authority 25 years ago in 1994, with major investment to modernise the building over the years, including the addition of a spring-fed water supply, wind turbine, cutting-edge photovoltaic roof and a new wing opened by Sir Ranulph Fiennes in 1995.

Dave Huxtable, who now runs the centre on behalf of Exmoor National Park, said: “Gaining confidence in the outdoors and connecting with nature encourages learning right across the curriculum and is crucial to inspire the next generation to love and care for our precious landscapes. There’s always one or two kids that aren’t sure at first, but by the end they’re usually the ones having the time of their lives. It’s a very special place and we’d love to have an exhibition celebrating all of the memories Pinkery has made.”

Send in your photos and memories of Pinkery to pinkery@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk or share them on social media using #Pinkery50th.

PHOTO: The first school group arriving in the spring of 1971.

FUNDING BOOST FOR URBAN SCHOOLS VISITING EXMOOR

Three urban schools will receive fully funded residential trips to Exmoor National Park as part of a new programme by UK National Parks and Forest Holidays that will help connect over 20,000 young people nationally with nature.

Over the next five years, ‘National Parks Futures’ aims to help tackle one of the major barriers to many schools visiting National Parks – the cost of travel.

To launch the new programme, Forest Holiday’s Projects Director, Dan Parish, joined Exmoor National Park staff at the Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning last month, along with 30 students from Yeo Valley Primary School, on their first ever National Park experience. The year-5s enjoyed a day out in the sunshine exploring the high moors to collect minibeasts and rocks for further investigation under the microscope, as well as honing their team-building skills through an orienteering challenge.

Thanks to Forest Holiday’s involvement, the school did not have to pay for travel and they are set to return for a fully funded residential stay later in the year.

Exmoor National Park is one of three of the UK’s 15 National Parks awarded a £5,000 grant this year, along with the Cairngorms and South Downs National Parks. Overall, the scheme will deliver at least 15 flagship education projects, reaching 5,000 young people, as well as covering the travel costs of an estimated 15,000 National Park visits for young people.

The aim is to inspire the next generation to care for and protect our precious National Parks, as well as improving their well-being through time spent in nature.

Sarah Bryan, Chief Executive Officer of Exmoor National Park Authority, said: “We’re delighted that Forest Holidays is supporting our work providing opportunities for young people from a wide range of backgrounds to visit Exmoor, be inspired by, and learn about its amazing landscapes, wildlife and heritage. This funding will enable us to offer a full residential experience at our Pinkery Centre for Outdoor Learning to young people from schools from more urban settings who have not visited before, and we are really looking forward to welcoming them.”

Dan Parish, Projects Director of Forest Holidays, said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with the UK National Parks to help more young people experience and enjoy the UK’s special landscapes. We work in rural communities and understand one of the main barriers for schools is the cost of travel. Through this project we hope to open up opportunities for young people to spend time in nature and experience the benefits of outdoor learning.”

Cat Hawkins, Chair of National Parks Partnerships, said: “Connecting young people with nature takes time, expertise and funding. Forest Holidays’ long-term commitment to ‘National Parks Futures’ will enable thousands of young people to experience learning in amazing natural settings. Forest Holidays share our ambition to improve lives through connecting to nature, and thanks to them, ‘National Parks Futures’ will help to inspire the next generation to love and care for our precious landscapes.”

WEST BUCKLAND SHORTLISTED FOR BOARDING SCHOOL OF THE YEAR

West Buckland School, in North Devon, has been shortlisted for Boarding School of the Year, in the TES Independent Schools Awards 2019.

In recent years the school has seen investment into its facilities to the tune of £14million, including the building of a state-of-the-art Sixth Form boarding house and study centre, both of which were specifically designed to ease the transition between school and a more independent living regime found at university.

The Sixth Form boarding house consists of 70 beautiful single en suite bedrooms and light, spacious social and breakout areas, as well as kitchen facilities, available to both day and boarding students. It is not surprising that, in only its third year, and with A-level results in 2018 being the highest for ten years, at 78% grade A* to A, the boarding house in the Sixth Form is at full capacity, with beds for September 2019 filling fast.

In addition, the school offers a very attractive 4-night weekly boarding offer which has become extremely popular with local students. Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, is delighted with the TES recognition. “West Buckland is all about delivering an innovative and personalised education. Set amid the beautiful and peaceful Devon hills, our Sixth Form boarding facilities represent a gold standard that inspires and delivers on our aim to produce young men and women with the capacity to face exciting futures. The perfect blend of structure and independence is not only reflected in the popularity of our boarding offer but, more importantly, in the impact on pupil outcomes.”

FOUR NFU BURSARIES UP FOR GRABS FOR AGRICULTURE STUDENTS

A-level students who have just finished their exams may be able to get financial support to study for agricultural degrees at university thanks to NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary Scheme.

Leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is offering financial support to four students starting undergraduate courses in agriculture in autumn 2018. The bursaries will provide £3,000 per student to help with tuition or living costs for the duration of their studies.

NFU Mutual, which provides insurance for 75% of the UK’s farmers, will also support the successful students with work experience, networking and assistance with course projects.

NFU Mutual’s Charlie Yorke, who co-ordinates the award scheme, said: “We’re an insurer with over a century’s experience protecting the countryside. As part of our support for the farming community we want to help encourage students who have the potential to become agriculture’s future leaders.

“In recent years, affordable education for young people and their ability to play a greater role in agricultural businesses have emerged as large concerns for farming families. The award aims to make a positive contribution in this area.

“This is the fourth year NFU Mutual has offered the award, and it’s been great to see how previous award winners have used the bursary, such as to fund extra courses which have increased their skills base and made them more employable.”

Stefan Marks, a BSc Agriculture student at Reading University, originally from Cornwall, is currently in the third year of the scheme, having been awarded NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary in 2016.

Stefan explained: “Having grown up on the family farm, I’ve always had an interest in agriculture, particularly looking at the way technology and science can ensure sustainable and efficient farming systems.

“The bursary money has enabled me to have some financial security and has allowed me to invest in travel to different enterprises to thereby broaden my understanding of the industry and diverse farming systems. It has also been valuable in ensuring I have textbooks and other resources to aid my studies.

“I am in the process of doing my dissertation focusing on the concept of soil health and Mesofauna populations and, whilst at university, I have explored a particular interest in hydroponics. After I graduate, I intend use this knowledge to work within the agricultural industry.”

Stefan added: “I’d really encourage anyone interested in agriculture to apply for the bursary. It gave me confidence in my studies knowing that someone thought I had potential and my interests were relevant. This really encouraged me to make the most of my course and the opportunities it offers.

“Not only does NFU Mutual offer the financial support, but I’ve had contact from them encouraging me to get involved and providing me with vital industry contacts. It has been so helpful and I’m really grateful for the support.”

William Harvey is also studying for a BSc in Agriculture at Reading University. Going into his second year in September 2018, he was also selected for NFU Mutual’s Undergraduate Bursary Scheme.

“I come from a dairy farm near Newton Abbot in Devon and so have always had a passion for the industry. I’m studying a broad spectrum of agriculture and currently deciding what I want to specialise in for my final year,” William explained.

“The scheme has been a huge help for me and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone looking to go into the industry. The grant has allowed me to focus on my studies without worrying about financial issues and really made sure I make the most of my degree.”

The closing date for applications is 31 October 2018. For more information visit: www.nfumutual.co.uk/undergrad.

 

NEW SCHOOL PLAN APPROVED FOR TIVERTON

The future of Tiverton’s Eastern Urban Extension (EUE) has been given a welcome boost this month, with planning approval being granted for a new school.

Devon County Council has approved plans for a 420-place primary school and 70-place nursery on land to the east of Tiverton near to Post Hill.

The new school forms part of the Tiverton EUE Masterplan which also identifies land for a community centre and local shops, which will be situated alongside the school as part of a new neighbourhood area. Also included in the Tiverton EUE is the development of up to 2,000 new homes and employment land.

Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration at Mid Devon District Council, Cllr Richard Chesterton, said: “Tiverton’s EUE is needed to ensure the future vitality of Mid Devon. However, we know there is no point building more and more homes without the necessary infrastructure and community amenities to support this additional housing. This is why we have already seen the successful completion of phase one of the new A361 junction and now we have approval for a new school. It is an exciting time for the town and this development and push for growth will ensure families and businesses will see Tiverton as an attractive and prosperous place to be.”

Full details of the planning application, which is conditional, can be accessed at www.planning.devon.gov.uk and using application number DCC/4070/2018.

KING’S HALL CELEBRATE OPENING OF STATE-OF-THE-ART SCIENCE LABS

Staff and pupils at King’s Hall School recently opened their brand-new science labs with a special celebration.

Built by Qube Construct, the £1 million facility boasts state-of-the-art apparatus, with pupils having access to equipment including a Van de Graaff generator, multimeters and circuit equipment.

To conclude the school’s annual Arts Week, Headmaster Justin Chippendale, and Governors, Vice-Custos Roger Mott and Revd Canon Linda Barley, were in attendance to celebrate the outstanding facility.

Also present was King’s Chaplain, Father Mark, who blessed the new block, as per school tradition.

To commemorate the opening, pupils took part in a plasma workshop run by the Bristol-based Science Boffins, who officially opened the centre with a ribbon-burning ceremony.

Head of Science at King’s Hall, Joe Hayden said: “We are privileged to have such an incredible building. The facilities are truly remarkable and it makes not only our science lessons captivating, but also running our Saturday STEM Club a real joy.”

He added: “The new faculty is a fantastic space and I feel great excitement at the possibilities for future developments and the amazing educational benefits the pupils will receive.”

KING’S PUPILS ENRICH BIODIVERSITY OF SCHOOL GROUNDS

As part of the school’s sustainability strategy, sixteen green-fingered pupils from King’s College spent the afternoon planting trees around the school grounds.

The day began with a tree planting demonstration by groundsman, Nick Radford, who taught the pupils how to cut the turf into a T shape, before planting the trees in the soil. In pairs, the team planted over 30 trees, including cherry, silver birch, rowan, hawthorn, oak and field maple.

The trees were kindly donated to King’s Schools by The Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. The charity receives funding from organisations such as DEFRA and Sainsbury’s, and aims to provide schoolchildren with the opportunity to plant trees. This is part of a nationwide project to extend the number of trees and woodland areas to create new spaces for wildlife.

Christina French, Head of the King’s Sustainability Strategy, said: “We are so thankful to the Woodland Trust for giving the pupils the opportunity to plants trees and enrich the biodiversity of the school. This is certainly in keeping with the school’s sustainability ethos, which takes a very student-led approach.”

RECYCLE FOR MID DEVON: PRIMARY SCHOOL DRAWING COMPETITION

Winning entries will have a lorry named after them with their artwork displayed on the vehicle.

Mid Devon District Council is running another exciting competition for all Mid Devon primary school children. They would like children of primary school age to enter a drawing which shows what Mid Devon District Council collects as part of its kerbside blue food caddy collection and/or its subscription-based garden waste collection.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Clive Eginton, said: “We have six new lorries that need names and some lovely artwork. All the lorries have a split body where food and garden waste is collected and stored separately. The drawings should give a positive message to inspire people to recycle their food and garden waste. Food waste sent to landfill doesn’t harmlessly breakdown and as it rots it releases methane – a harmful greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Food waste collected from your blue caddy is processed into energy and fertiliser. Garden waste is made into compost which is excellent to mix with soil to grow fruit and vegetables.”

The drawings need to be A4 in size and landscape, using paint, crayon, chalk or any other type of drawing material, but not photographs, sorry. They can be done in school or at home but schools may wish to submit more than one entry. However, only one entry per pupil will be accepted and  the decision of the judges will be final.

Other than these rules, pupils can use their imagination, so let the creative juices flow! Good luck!!

The competition entry closing date is midnight on Tuesday 8 May 2018 and winning pupils will be notified by Friday 18 May 2018.

All entries must be posted or delivered to:

Mid Devon District Council
Street Scene Services – Recycling Competition
Phoenix House
Phoenix Lane
Tiverton
Devon
EX16 6PP

See the website for full terms and conditions: www.middevon.gov.uk/media/345268/recycling-drawing-comp-2018-tcs.pdf

ENGLAND CRICKETER JOS BUTTLER OPENS KING’S NEW SPORTS FACILITY

King’s College recently welcomed back former pupil Jos Buttler as he officially opened the schools’ new sports facility, the Sports Performance and Cricket Centre (SPCC).

Friends, parents, benefactors, pupils and staff gathered to celebrate as this much-anticipated facility was officially opened by Jos. Following the unveiling, Jos then demonstrated some of his world-famous cricket strokes in a masterclass with pupils and King’s Director of Sport, Phil Lewis.

Pupils were challenged to bowl at the England player, with the chance to win a coveted Millichamp & Hall cricket bat if they got him out. It was Fifth Form pupil and Somerset girls’ cricket player Alice Dymond who successfully got one past the international cricket star.

Taking part in a Q&A session afterwards in the school theatre with guests and pupils, including a number of promising young players, Jos talked about what life is like as a first-class cricketer. The England star rounded off his visit by meeting some of the pupils, signing autographs and posing for selfies.

Having joined King’s when he was 13 years old, Jos started his career with Somerset County Cricket Club before joining Lancashire. Remembering his time at King’s fondly, he said: “I first came to King’s as part of the cricket festivals that are held at the school every year. My parents, also having looked at other schools, thought that King’s had a great ‘feel’, a real sense of community. This I remember most of all – the feeling of belonging, especially to my house, Tuckwell. I made many life-long friendships at King’s.

“Attending a school that suddenly enabled me to play and practice several times per week was amazing. I always had the determination to become a professional cricketer, but having access to such a fantastic sports programme and being mentored by such positive and supportive people as Dennis Breakwell, was a massive bonus.”

In offering guidance to young players, he added: “It’s important to enjoy the game. Yes, there are times when your performance is not so great. Then there are the celebrations. The key is to remain balanced throughout the highs and lows, and to always remember, there’ll always be another game!”

Of the new sports centre, he added: “This is a fantastic facility. To anyone serious about their cricket, make sure you’re demanding to use it, to make full use of it!”

Commenting on the day, Phil Lewis said: “It is always such a pleasure to see Jos back at King’s and his visit will be an inspiration to the next generation of young players at the school. The Sports Performance and Cricket Centre is a fantastic addition to the school. It will enable us to run an even more challenging cricket programme for our pupils but also to incorporate a number of different sports and training sessions. With underfloor heating, retractable side panels and a brilliant lighting system, it is an inspirational facility and one we know will engage our pupils even more. We are very, very lucky.”

Director of Development, Julian Mack added: “The SPCC is a monument to the power of philanthropy. We are hugely grateful to our generous benefactors who have made it possible. It will be enjoyed for many years to come by King’s girls and boys.”

WEST SOMERSET SCHOOLS: BAKE-OFF WINNERS CROWNED

West Somerset Schools’ Bake-Off came to the crunch with the final of the competition after weeks of floury fun. Crowned worthy winners were: Amy Wickens and Alexis Kemp from Old Cleeve Church of England First School.

Dan Perry from Old Cleeve School said, “I am over the moon that Old Cleeve are the inaugural winners of this fantastic competition and the children’s success is in no small measure to their own hard work and dedication.”

More than 1,000 pupils from six schools in the West Somerset Academies Trust took part with a series of heats – around 40 sessions in all since the Bake-Off was launched in the New Year. The schools that took part were: St Peter’s, Old Cleeve and Danesfield in Williton; and in Minehead: St Michael’s, Minehead First and Minehead Middle.

Finalists from the heats were invited to join a Masterclass hosted by professional chefs so they could get the best possible advice before putting on their aprons for the final.

Judges on the day were: Paul Rushforth (West Somerset Academies Trust), Emma Kelly (Butlins), Cllr Andrew Hadley (West Somerset Council), Ann Wells (Brooks Food Processing Equipment) and Phil David, Steven Franks and Diane Franks (Arthur David) – they represented businesses and partners that contributed significantly to the project.

One of the Judges, Ann Wells from Brooks Food Processing Equipment, said, “It was fabulous to be involved in this competition, anything that encourages local children to get involved with projects showcasing their skills and talents away from the classroom and textbooks has got to be a good thing.”

Werner Hartholt, Development Chef at Butlin’s, and Paul Ruttledge, Head Chef at The Beach Hotel along with the class teachers Lindsay Everett (Danesfield Middle), Sarah Mills and Veronica Curtis (Minehead Middle) have mentored the youngsters and supported them through the early rounds of the competition.

Werner Hartholt Butlins Development Chef said: “The way the students applied themselves was commendable, they all worked hard and were engaged, they really showed how different ages and abilities can work together and really achieve something special. It was a pleasure to be part of it and I would like to thank all those involved for making it possible.”

A number of local businesses have been supporting the event including Brook Food Processing Equipment and Arthur David, who have covered the costs of ingredients, baking equipment, and competition prizes.

“This has been a fantastic project that has involved a huge amount of organisation behind the scenes. Congratulations to everyone involved – the children, our partners and, of course, the winners,” said Cllr Andrew Hadley, West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for regeneration and economic growth.

“I hope that it inspires our children and forges new relationships between schools in the Trust and between pupils in the groups from year 4 to year 8; this is so important in a rural area like West Somerset.”

The project got under way this year thanks to hard work and inspiration from a partnership involving West Somerset Academies Trust, West Coast 360, Butlins, The Beach Hotel, West Somerset Council, Jobcentre Plus, and West Somerset College.