Nepal write-up

Nepal 2018: a ‘true adventure’ in every sense

Our year 10s have returned safely from their two-week journey to Nepal. Friday saw emotional reunions with parents, the students tired and inspired in equal measure. The car journeys home were full of the experiences the students had just left behind.

The fortnight began with a flight into Kathmandu followed by a long coach journey to Pokhara. Though only 200km, this journey took 11 hours; the adventure had begun. An even more exciting bus journey followed to the start of the trek in Gilung. Here the coach climbed about 1000 metres on a dirt track barely wider than the vehicle itself. The students stayed in the homes of the villagers in ‘homestays’. The village Mothers’ Group then prepared a meal over a small open fire for all 22 in the party. The following day saw an 11-hour trek in temperatures north of 30 degrees. This challenged the mettle of all involved, and the encouragement and support the students gave each other was noteworthy. At the end of this day-trek, the group arrived at the village of Singdi where they spent five nights under canvas.

At Singdi, students worked with the local school, painting some classrooms, laying out a new science lab (in a room with no electricity), lining out the soccer pitch and new volleyball court, and best of all teaching the students English. These students were on holiday for the Nepalese New Year, but nonetheless came up to the school each day to take part in the lessons, and play sport with our students. A highlight was undoubtedly when the local villagers put on a cultural display for Sackville (as well as killing a goat for the evneing meal), and gave our students a tour of their own homes. The unbounded happiness of the local students was striking.

An emotional farewell after the project led to the final four-days of the trek. The first day saw torrential rain – and leeches!

As the group passed through some stunning scenery in the foothills of the Himalayas, the high tops came into view. The Annapurnas and Manaslu were both clearly visible. Each evening students stayed in ‘homestays’ again. Often the food was cooked by the porters who travelled with the group. On the last night of the trek, the group were invited into the houses of several families in the village and ate the food the locals had prepared over open fires. There is no gas and little electricity in the more remote Nepalese villages.

The journey back to Kathmandu was delightfully punctuated with a two-hour white water rafting expedition. A day sight-seeing and buying souvenirs followed. As the flight left Kathmandu for Delhi, the team were treated to unbroken views of the high Himalayas, and were able to reflect on a fortnight which had given them a year’s worth of new experiences.

We would like to thank Emma Mitchell from True Adventure for leading the trip, and particularly Mr Johnson and Miss Garrison for accompanying the team.

Sports awards

Billy Vunipola honours our sporting stars

We were delighted to welcome Billy Vunipola to Sackville as guest-of-honour to our Sports Awards Evening. A record number of parents and students were there to greet him, as he arrived in an improbably small VW Polo.

He talked about his career and what inspired him to get into rugby, and answered questions from the students. He revealed that his father had been the strictest coach to both him and his brother, often making the boys run home from a match when they had not played well! Billy also stayed behind at the end to sign a large number of autographs. 

Most importantly for the students who received awards there was a handshake and a good wish. This year there was also a special new award in honour of former student Matt Cox. This award went to George Cave for his contributions to Sackville cricket over his seven years at the school.

We would like to thank all of the students and parents who supported us last night, and the PE staff for organising an evening that will live long in the memories of those who were there. And of course we would like to express our gratitude to Billy Vunipola himself, who so willingly sprinkled his stardust to make the evening so exceptional.

Year 13 drama

A2 drama students sign off in style

Earlier performances by this group of young people led us to expect a lot, but our A2 students’ devised pieces surpassed even our high expectations. The first, inspired by the high school shooting written about by Bob Geldof in I dont Like Mondays, explored similarities between that tragedy and the gruesome acts of Jack the Ripper in the nineteenth century and the Yorkshire Ripper 100 years later. The young schoolgirl was presented as someone provoked beyond endurance. In the end, the audience were invited to act as jury at her trial.

This was followed by a dystopian view of the future in which a citizen’s worth was measured by the quality of their social media interactions. The power a high rating conferred on people in the end led them to lose their moral compass, another twist on the way power corrupts.

As these students leave school this summer we hope they will find time to continue performing. We are going to miss them!


More fantastic trampolining news

We have just heard the results of the National Trampolining Finals. You may remember we had three students taking part.

Oscar Morgan has come fifth in his first ever final in the U14 Intermediate Group.

Jordi Crowther came second (repeating last year’s achievement) in the U19 Intermediate Group, whilst her sister Heidi Crowther, in her first year competing in the U19 Elite category, became National Champion, beating the field by two clear points. Truly inspiring performances – well done!

Nepal 2018

Team Nepal 2018

Team Nepal 2018 depart for their two-week trip on Thursday 29th March. Spending some time in Kathmandu and Pokhara first, the students then walk into their project in Singdi where they will spend five days working with the Pahar Trust, which seeks to develop schools in western Nepal. 

After the project, the team trek through the hills for four days, staying at tea houses and hoping to get a view of the Annapurna Sanctuary.

A day’s R and R back in Kathmandu precedes the flight home.

You can follow the team’s exploits on Twitter at @Sackville_EG and on Instagram @sackvillegeography. You can also track the team on satellite here!

Reading Week kicks off with a bang

Reading Week kicks off with a bang

Reading Week has truly kicked off with a bang (and many somersaults) this year, in the shape of author and motivational speaker Marcus Alexander.

Marcus enjoyed spending an action-packed day with students from years 7, 8 and 9, affirming the importance of reading, promoting creative writing skills, and showcasing both his popular range of fantasy books – the ‘Keeper of the Realms’ series – and his amazing acrobatic skills!

After providing two talks for years 7 and 8 earlier in the day, Marcus was then positively mobbed by students seeking selfies and autographs in the LRC at lunchtime. 

During two creative writing workshops with a small group of students, Marcus encouraged these budding writers to work on their characterisation skills and write an action-packed chase sequence for one of his characters from the ‘Keeper of the Realms’ series. Using a parkour performance from Marcus as a stimulus, year 8 Charlie Snashfold wrote the outstanding piece below. Well done to Charlie and all our other top writers!

The Chase

The wind slashed at his face and grabbed at his clothes as he ran for his life. Jensen de Willow was on the run once again. His blood ferociously coursed through his veins as he dodged in between the confused civilians, sending a few tumbling as he passed. Smells of delicious food flooded his nostrils and reminded him of home and what he was fighting for. Flashes of jewellery and delicious exotic meats mixed with produce from Ghalgron rushed past him. He spared a glance back at his enemy, who was making ground with each step. The bison like creature pounded its hooves on the cobble and stared down Jensen with fiery orange eyes. Its veins pulsed madly beneath the coal black fur. As the bridge came into sight, the colossal hellion bellowed a sound so chilling and painful that it could only be described as hellish. Panicked, Jensen fumbled for his notorious thorn gun, and shot wildly as he made one final dash for the bridge. Cobble changed to wood, and sounds of rushing water filled his large, pointy ears. A gap in the bridge slowly formed. He faltered, hesitated, and finally jumped.


‘One Man Two Guvnors’ a hilarious success

Sackville’s annual school show took a new direction this year, as our sixth form presented an extremely funny performance of ‘One Man, Two Guvnors‘. This play by Richard Bean is an English adaptation of Servant of Two Masters a 1743 Commedia dell’arte style comedy play by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni.

Francis Henshall spends the first act in a state of such extreme hunger that he is driven to take on two jobs in order to earn enough to ‘eat every day’. Unfortunately for Francis, his intellectual powers are no match for his appetite, and he proceeds through act one in a state of increasing confusion as he tries to keep from each of his ‘guvnors’ that he is also working for someone else.

The second act sees him finally having eaten, but now pursuing love in an equally farcical manner.

Dan Wheate, playing Francis, held centre stage with perfect comic timing. He was supported by superb performances from the rest of the cast, many veterans of several Sackville shows. 

There was also audience involvement, with Dan at one point seeking the muscular help of Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher Julian Grant and Neil Feist to move a particularly heavy trunk.

A hugely enjoyable evening, and a fitting final performance of many of our year 13s.


Crest Award

The ‘two Lukes’ making a noise at the Big Bang in Birmingham

Luke Davison and Luke Waddell are currently representing Sackville in the National Finals of the Big Bang UK Young Scientist and Engineers Competition, held as part of the Big Bang Fair at the NEC.

They earned a place after claiming the runners up prize at the regional event in June. The two year 10 boys are being judged on their project “investigating resonance and its implications” by a panel of expert judges, along with around 200 other entries.

They will also meet science and engineering professionals from major UK and global organisations. Best of luck, boys!

Modelling rainfall with Play-Doh

Modelling rainfall with Play-Doh

Year 7 geography students have been busy studying the weather this half term – and there has been plenty of it! Mrs Tingley has encouraged them to understand the three different types of rainfall by modelling them with Play-Doh. Those rainfall types are relief, convection and frontal. Well done year 7s!

Photography trip and sports leaders

Back to business at Sackville

Last week thankfully saw the school return to normality after the excitement and disruption of the snow week. On Tuesday the year 12 geography field trip returned after three hectic days in Wales. 

On Wednesday, our photography students were out and about in London, as Mrs Buckley writes.

‘Despite a rainy start, the annual sixth form Photography trip to London provided much material for the upcoming exams. After shooting around the Shard, Borough Market and the Thames, the group made an in depth study of work by internationally renowned photographer Andreas Gursky. Students maintained their energy levels well into the afternoon and completed the Sackville Photographers’ Quiz around Tate Modern. If you saw a masked young man standing in the skater park under the Southbank centre on a Wednesday, that was Elliott Beatty modelling for a shoot!’

Thursday saw our excellent year 10 sports leaders spent the day leading County finals sports hall athletics finals. They worked really hard in both the primary event in the morning and the secondary event in the afternoon. They showed real maturity and professionalism, gaining special mention from the county organiser. Well done!