James McMillan

James McMillan

It is with the deepest sorrow that we share the news that James McMillan passed away late on Monday April 6th

James joined Sackville as a teacher of computer science in September 2013. His calm unflappable presence and his subject knowledge were key to his many students achieving success. James always made himself available outside lessons, and most evenings there were students in his room improving their skills in one of the several programming languages in which he was fluent.

James also got involved in the extra-curricular life of the school, most memorably on World Challenge trips. This picture, from 2017, shows James on the right during the trip to China, Vietnam and Laos.

James was planning the 2018 trip to Malawi when he was diagnosed with a very rare form cancer. Though he was not able to return to work, many of his colleagues continued to visit him on a regular basis, and were always struck by his concern for their welfare before his own. He truly cared about the life of the Sackville community, and asked regularly about how his classes were progressing. 

Throughout his illness, James displayed remarkable dignity and bravery, and even at the very end was able to share jokes with his visitors.

James will be missed by us all, and our thoughts are with his partner and family at this time.

A brave new world of remote learning

A brave new world of remote learning

Well done to all of our students who have made a strong start on our school closure ‘remote learning’ programme.

Work is being set for years 7-10 and year 12 to make sure they stay up to speed with their courses even though they are not at school.

We are busy surveying parents to see how this provision is working as we make the transition to fully home-based learning. Students are working very hard overall, but maybe the real heroes here are the parents and carers – keeping secondary school students interested is always a challenge!

Students, teachers and parents have all become very familiar with ‘Show my Homework’ and all of the other technologies that are signposted off it. It’s good to see pictures of students at work coming in. The whole Day family is at work in one of these photos (and only one is a Sackville student at present!). Adam in year 10 has a good workstation rigged up and is storming through the work set. Ciaran in year 9 has been cunningly set some food work by mum which has resulted in a splendid meal. Mia, also in year 9 has been busy honing her food and hospitality skills making Easter brownies. Food is a big theme in fact, with Wilfie, also in year 7, hard at work in the kitchen. Oh, and there is one of Mr Heatley doing a ‘heavy rock’ workout on the beach!

There’s loads going on and the only thing we can be sure of is that we are all learning together as we go now!

Farewell, but not goodbye, to year 11

Farewell, but not goodbye, to year 11

It wasn’t the way it was meant to be of course, but Friday March 20th was the last day of school for our year 11s – and indeed everyone else.

After two days to come to terms with the understandable decision to cancel GCSE exams in 2020, students were invited in for an impromptu ‘leavers’ lunch’, put together by our fantastic support staff, led by the amazing Jayne Palmer, our canteen manager, without whose drive and passion this could not have happened.

A highlight was the speech from the stage by year 11 student Thomas Lyons, in which he praised this fine group of young people. This was preceded by the reading of messages from Mr Millican, Head of Year, and Mr Jones, Pastoral Support Assistant, reproduced below.

It wasn’t quite a prom – when we come out the other side of all of this, organising one will be a priority task. Nonetheless, it was a fitting way to mark the end of GCSE year for these young people who have won so many admirers as the strange week unfolded. A group of people who, however disappointed they may be, know that in the end their sacrifices this summer will have saved lives.

So now stay safe, and heed the advice of all of those working in the NHS: keep your social distance and help slow the spread of the virus.

Mr Millican’s message

Apologies for not being there today, I am self-isolating but please spare a thought for my poor wife and child who are currently quarantined with me.

I feel sincerely sorry for you all at this unprecedented time, who on earth would ever have predicted that this would happen? You have worked so hard to put yourself in an excellent position for the summer and should feel proud of your hard work and dedication. 

I echo Mr de Souza’s comments from our last assembly – “you are our priority and we will do everything we possibly can to support you”. With this in mind I am currently working on re-arranging the prom.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you this year. You are an outstanding year group; full of fun, energy and a willingness to support each other unconditionally. I have no doubt you will take this current situation in your stride and come out stronger on the other side.

Look after yourselves and your families, keep in contact and I look forward to seeing you in school as soon as this situation rectifies itself and certainly in the Sixth Form.

Mr Jones had this to say

I am so upset that I cannot be there this morning to say farewell to my wonderful cohort.

I cannot believe where those five years have gone. Those annoying Year 7s have grown into fine young adults. I have a huge amount of pride in this group. They feel like they are all my children and I am distraught that this terrible disease has stopped their chance of showing the world how incredible they are.

This will not stop them though. They have been brilliantly educated at Sackville. They are determined and they will go on to make a huge impact in their own and other people’s lives.

Would you please, please pass on the message from me that they have been amazing during these five years? They have brought me an enormous amount of pride and I know they will achieve great things. I will see some of them again, I know, but please tell them to keep safe, keep studying and try not annoy your parents.

Thank you from a very emotional year assistant to my amazing cohort.

Birnam Wood has come to … Sackville!

Birnam Wood has come to … Sackville!

Shakespeare came alive on Wednesday March 11th as a The Sky Blue Theatre Company brought the Scottish Play to vivid life with a comical yet educational re-enactment invloving the students.

Using the costumes and the prompts provided by the company, students were able to see how the entire narrative develops.

After this, students were invited to direct key scenes of the play to show how Shakespeare’s real meanings could be delivered in subtly different ways.

After a gruelling two weeks of mocks, it was a refreshing way to approach the study of English literature.

True Adventure 2020 training weekend

Year 10 get ready for Indonesia 2020

Intrepid year 10 adventurers braved a cool and damp training day in Cocking with True Adventure in advance of their summer trip to Indonesia. The teams had to plan menus, cook meals and plan and execute a walk on the South Downs.

All of this is great preparation for the summer trip to Indonesia, though the weather there should be warmer (even if at times even wetter!)

Thanks to Mr Johnson and Ms Jeffcoat for accompanying the team.

World Book Day 2020

World Book Day 2020

How many characters from literature can you recognise here? In fact, how many of our English teachers can you recognise?

World Book Day was celebrated in style down in D block as it is every year.

Thank-you to our fantastic English teachers for doing that bit extra yet again, and as they scale the mountain of year 11 mock marking too. 

Ollie Tomkinson learns from the Stereophonics

Ollie Tomkinson learns from the Stereophonics

A keen drummer now learning the bass guitar, year 10 student Ollie Tomkinson was invited to attend the Stereophonics concert in Brighton this week by bass guitarist Richard Jones. Richard arranged for him to watch the sound check and then join him on stage to meet the band, and in particular Jamie Morrison the drummer.

Richard (pictured here) showed Ollie around the set and talked through how the sound and lighting equipment was arranged and set up before himself testing out Ollie’s bass guitar and signing it for him. Jamie then appeared with a set of sticks and invited Ollie to play his drums on stage.

Ollie then watched the show later that evening before meeting up with Richard again for a tour round the crew area, practice studio and band lounge.

An amazing experience!

Willkommen bei unseren Besuchern aus Mindelheim

Willkommen bei unseren Besuchern aus Mindelheim

Unless schoolboy German has let us down here … this should mean welcome to our visitors from Mindelheim, our twin town in Bavaria.

It was a genuine pleasure to entertain a large party of college students on Friday 28th February as part of their lightning visit to the UK. They were entertained to a traditional ‘full English’ breakfast, superbly prepared and served by Mrs Smeaton and her year 13 hospitality students.

The students talked of their excitement to visit East Grinstead and London over the next couple of days, as well as share information about their home town. There was even time for some gentle ribbing of Chelsea-supporting Mr Watson for his team’s recent performance against Bayern Munich.

The visitors were not afraid and pitch in to help Ms Burton and Grace Holmes with the washing up, as can be seen from the picture.

It’s gold again for Cecee

It’s gold again for Cecee

Our amazing year 10 champion kickboxer Cecee Cashman in year 10 took a weekend away from her studies at the end of February to travel to Dublin and collect yet another gold medal! This was at the WAKO Irish Open, the most prestigious tournament on the annual calendar. A win at this event is something special.

You can see how much this means to both her and her coach from the picture – even though she has so much gold on her trophy shelf already!

Well done once again Cecee.

Tilly narrowly misses the next round

Tilly narrowly misses the next round

Congratulations to Tilly Vickery in year 10, who narrowly missed qualifying for the next round of the Rotary Young Chef competition on Saturday 29th February.

Despite an imaginative oeuvre, which was commended by the judges, for a while at least Tilly will be back cooking in room A21.

Great effort Tilly, and congratulations to the winner, a student from Imberhorne.