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Issue No. 75 [Back Issues]
20th December 2005

This Week - [Snowy Rose Racism Harms Catford - Christmas Carnival]
[The John Kyrle High School Page - Shopmobility]
[Christmas at School - Rugby]
[More Christmas Topical Photography]
[The Ross-in-Bling Awards 2005]
[Classified] [What's On?] [A to Z Site Map]

JKHS Annual Prize Giving

John Kyrle High School's Sixth Prize Giving took place on Thursday, 15th December at which Dame Janet Trotter, Vice-chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire was an honoured guest.

During his prize giving speech, Mr Griffiths explained how the year 2004-05 had been one of an incredibly high level of success for the school and its students.

'It is this success we are here to celebrate tonight. Individual achievements in examinations, sport, music, drama awards for contributions to team success and active participation in the wider community. Every student here is to be congratulated for their contribution and achievement.'

Nigel Griffiths can be seen below, presenting his 'Headteacher's Award' to Alaina Sonn. A group of students can also be seen, proudly displaying their well deserved awards.

If you would like to view all presentation photographs taken during the Prize Giving evening, please click here. Nigel Griffiths' speech is reproduced in full below.

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Ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests and, most importantly, students, I am delighted to stand here and present my 6th Prize Giving speech which I first began in December 2000.

The year 2004-05 was one of incredibly high level of success for the school and our students. It is this success we are here to celebrate tonight: individual achievements in examinations, sport, music, drama; awards for contributions to team success and active participation in the wider community.

Every student here is to be congratulated for their contribution and achievement.

The year was not without tragedy. A school of this size will, at times have to face loss, but I feel we endured almost more than we could bear this year. In my reference to both Stephen Sherwood and Matthew Beddard I want to highlight their individual bravery and that of their families in bearing their loss. Stephen's parents and sister are here tonight but Matt's folks are unable to make it although they did join us for Year 9 SATs award in the summer and have remained in close contact with the school.

Stephen Sherwood who was a student here from 1992-97, fulfilled his ambition of joining the army. And it was whilst serving in the forces that he made the greatest sacrifice of a soldier. He was killed on active duty in the Northern Afghanistan city of Mazar-e-Sharif in October His loss was felt deeply in this community, in his own regiment Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry. General Sir Peter de la Billier, the school patron, paid tribute to Stephen here when he opened the sixth form centre jut after the Armistice Service he had attended in London where the nation pays its own tribute to fallen servicemen and women. Stephen had left the school before I joined but in speaking to people who knew him I get the picture of a pleasant, personable, popular young man who was a very keen sportsman. His is a great loss to all of us.

Matthew Beddard was a student I knew very well in his time here from Year 7 to Year 9. We all saw Matthew show remarkable bravery in his fight against an illness which attacked his brain and nervous system. Throughout it all he fought back bravely and won many victories until the final defeat in February of this year when he died peacefully at home aged 14. Matthew always wanted to maintain a normal life. He attended school until the end. Many of us attended his moving funeral and his loss continues to be felt very deeply here.

The school has to move on from these losses but Stephen and Matthew and their families join us on this journey in our thoughts and prayers.

Our honoured guest ,Dame Janet Trotter, has the pleasure of awarding all of our prizes tonight but I hope she will allow me to award one special prize. I have to select the winner of the Headteacher's prize and this year gave it not a moment's thought in deciding to award it to Alaina Sonn.

Alaina joined us in Year 7 and is now at the end of her first term in Year 9. Alaina has cerebral palsy and is the first student with a wheelchair in the school. Because Alaina was joining us we had lots of money to build lifts and improve wheelchair access which will benefit future students and visitors to the school.

In addition to receiving my award tonight Alaina, and she doesn't know this yet, has become the second John Kyrle student to receive the prestigious Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Young People. Alain receives a medal and a certificate which reads - in recognition of your qualities which have made a real difference to your school.

Alaina, your happy smiling face is an inspiration to us all. When we began to plan your joining the school we wondered how we'd cope with you - now I wonder how we'd cope without you. Please accept your award from me and the Princess of Wales Memorial Trust - in recognition of your qualities which have made a real difference to our school.

We have continued to share our successes with the local press who are very supportive of us. Indeed Mr. Vinall and I are becoming the Ant and Dec of the local media - very popular and in absolutely everything!

Headlines involving students and staff here tonight have included:

  • Duncan Alston, top performing science student in the UK.
  • U15 county cricket champions, Outstanding Ofsted report.
  • 750 000 Sixth Form centre opened.
  • British School Council Award recognizing International Links, including Uganda.
  • Record examination results at all levels, with value added figures placing us well into the top 20% of school nationally.
  • Victory in UK Maths Challenge Award.
  • Huge numbers gaining success in Duke of Edinburgh Award.
  • Standing ovations for Guys and Dolls musical.
  • International sporting honours in fencing for Daniel Robinson and Amy Yates in Karate.

Our students are our greatest assets. I want to give them one piece of advice:

In the future I don't want you to aim for success. You've achieved success with us. Now your words and actions should make a difference and you should aim and strive for significance. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a former American President: "Imagine mighty things, even though there is a risk of failure, rather than be amongst those grey souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

You will agree that we have had a great deal to celebrate this year and that is down to the endeavour, dedication and team work of students, staff, governors and parents. I would also like to commend the local community, many of whom are represented here tonight, for their support: Herefordshire Council, the Local Authority, the Learning and Skills Council, church groups, primary school partners, volunteer groups and those from local businesses.

In 2000 I was very proud to have gained the headship of this school. Five years on I am even more proud to be associated with the school community both as its Headteacher and now as a parent of a student at John Kyrle.

I look forward to hearing of the continued high achievements of the students here tonight and I commend them to you.

Nigel Griffiths

JKHS Speech Competitions

This year has seen the beginning of school-wide speech competitions and on Friday it was the turn of Year 7 to test their rhetorical skills. For three weeks the students have been researching, planning, writing and rehearsing their speeches during their English lessons. Two finalists from each tutor group then performed their speeches to the whole year group in a special end of term final.

The speeches ranged from impassioned pleas for an end to animal cruelty and fox-hunting to enthusiastic lessons in fishing, mountain-biking and taekwondo. Guest judges Trixie Williams, Head of Year 7 and Robin Ancrum, a school governor, selected three prize winners including the first place winner Rosie Lindley whose speech on the dangers of bullying met with prolonged applause from the audience.

The standard of speaking was very high and was remarked upon by Mr Ancrum who praised the skills and courage of the finalists.

Pictured below: the fourteen speech finalists alongside judges Trixie Williams and Robin Ancrum.

Photo supplied. Prints not available.

Ofsted Survey Grades John Kyrle High School and Sixth Form Centre as 'Outstanding'!

Following a two day Ofsted visit by one of her Majesty's Inspectorate, John Kyrle has been given the highest possible grading for its work with different groups of learners.

Brian Cartwright, HMI, spent two days at the school meeting with pupils and staff, reviewing students' work and also observing lessons with the Headteacher and Deputy Heads.

In a letter to the school Mr Cartwright praised a number of aspects including leadership, the inclusion of all students, the school's leadership team's accurate judgements on the quality of teaching through observations and assessment practices, particularly in Technology, Geography and Art.

Mr Cartwright said all teaching was at least good and included some excellent lessons which ensure that students thrive. He wrote, "Students, particularly the most able, enjoy these active and demanding lessons."

Headteacher, Nigel Griffiths said he was very pleased with the outcome and especially the comments on the involvement of all students, high quality teaching and the school's successful monitoring of progress. Leadership was described as "principled" and Mr Griffiths said this reflected the team ethos of the school involving teachers, support staff and governors.

The new Ofsted programme puts the views of students as one of the key determinants of school success. Mr Cartwright has written to every student he met during his visit. In his letter he says how impressed he is with their enthusiasm for the school and their good relationships with teachers.

The school will now be drawing up an action plan to focus upon the feedback and especially how the assessment procedures graded as excellent in Technology can be shared with other subjects.

Nigel Griffiths said that the importance of caring for individuals and providing a high quality learning environment were the signature features of the school. He said, "My vision for John Kyrle is to move from Good to Great and this praise from Ofsted shows we are progressing well on this journey.

Photo supplied. Prints not available.

Topical Photography

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Above: Shopmobility in action at Ross Market during their first week of operation.

Below: A group of eight JKHS students are involving themselves with a programme called 'Young Enterprise'. This is a programme which is run all over the country. The students have formed a company called, 'Evolution'. Evolution is a real company and as a way to make money they hope to sell old photos from their school days.

After the school reunion in the summer, the Company found out that students from past years were sad that they had not bought photos from their school days. Some of Evolution's directors looked into the idea further and found out that it would be good to sell the old school photos.

If you have a photograph you could lend Evolution for copying, it would be very much appreciated. If you would like to buy a photo, Evolution can be contacted by email at: The group have also come up with the idea of showing films in John Kyrle's main hall. They hope to get this project up and running by early next year.

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