Physics women

No girls studying physics A level? Not at Sackville!

Today’s news on the BBC website is that in nearly half of all schools no girls go on to study A level physics. Not at Sackville we are extremely glad to say. Here are some of our female physics A level students.

We are also very proud of our young women who go on to the challenge of physics at university. Last year’s top performer Ciara Nightingale is soon to return to enthuse current students with her tales of studying astrophysics at Bath University.

Katie Offler

Miss Offler is a winner in the Sussex Teacher of the Year Awards

We are delighted to announce that Katie Offler has been selected as a winner in the Sussex Newspapers ‘Teacher of the Year‘ awards.

These awards, presented at a grand ceremony in Brighton in June, recognise outstanding contributions by staff in Sussex schools, and are based on nominations from students, parents and colleagues.

Katie is celebrating her win by quietly preparing her students for their GCSE, A level  and BTEC exams this week in her usual quiet and determined way!

Y13 PA

Powerful final performance from this special group of year 13 students

Our year 13 performing arts students have signed off in some style. Their final piece portrayed the struggles of a young woman facing the challenges of growing up with the usual twenty-first century pressures, but exacerbated by her schizophrenia.

Each of the students took a turn to act the central character, as she struggled with her inner demons and the unsympathetic attitudes of some of those around her. Clever use of sound and music, all chosen and arranged by the students, built an intimidating and claustrophobic atmosphere which drew the audience into the inner turmoil of the main character.

Pictured here are Amy Collins, Imogen Fraser, Tia Bartlett, Catherine Belcher and Megan Parsons.

For these students the performance marks their final contribution to the performing arts at Sackville, and the end of an involvement that for some of them goes back seven years.

We are going to miss them!


Year 10 Duke of Edinburgh

A cool Duke of Edinburgh expedition for year 10

Six intrepid teams of year 10s completed their practice Duke of Edinburgh’s expedition over the weekend of 28-29 April. By 10.30 on Saturday the teams were deep in the heart of the South Downs National Park, making progress over the whaleback humps of the downs to the Cuckmere Valley beyond.

On Saturday each team had a teacher accompanying them, to help them learn the gentle arts of navigation. Or to allow the group to get lost, depending on the attitude of the leader! Arrival at the campsite at Wick Street Farm was quickly followed by making camp and cooking dinner. A brisk and very fresh wind made the evening and night a cold one.

An early reveille from Mr Langford on Sunday morning ensured that the teams had departed by shortly after 8am, this time making their ways unaccompanied back towards the coast. Despite navigational difficulties where footpath signs seemed to have been removed, the groups completed day two in around the six hours specified. Some tired students gladly jumped into the minivans for the journey home, glad to relax but very pleased in the knowledge that they had risen to the challenge of the weekend magnificently.

Special thanks to Mrs Rawsthorne and Mr Langford for piloting D of E this year, and to Mr Langford for running the weekend so effectively.

SSAT Leading Edge

Sackville School has been recognised for its excellence by becoming a member of the SSAT Leading Edge network, a national group of exclusively high-performing secondary and special schools. Leading Edge supports schools in collaborating to raise achievement, develop innovative new ideas and share practical strategies within the network and across the school system to benefit all students.

SSAT’s Chief Executive Sue Williamson said ‘We are delighted to welcome Sackville School to our Leading Edge network. It is a credit to the hard work of all of their staff and students that they have been recognised as high-performing and we look forward to working with them.

Easter Sports News

More sports success for Sackville students

It may have been the holidays, but there is no rest for our elite sportspeople.

First up, Heidi Crowther continues her purple patch on the trampoline. On April 7th she achieved a silver medal in the English Championships at Gillingham, and then with her Sky High training partner Luca, she achieved the gold medal in the synchro event. This means she has qualified for the English Final in Sheffield in October.

Meanwhile Callum Stone has won the Brighton Mini-Mile for a third time, in a time of 4:56. He has two more years to win the event again, and so beat the record of Olympian Charlie Grice.

Finally Joe Sheridan has been on tour of South Africa with the Surrey County Cricket Club U16 Academy Squad. Based in the beautiful city of Capetown, the team played teams several years older than themselves but still managed to hold their own. They did not resort to ball tampering, unlike the visiting senior Australian side, whose demolition at the hands of the South Africans Joe was able to witness in the final day of the Capetown test.

Well done to these students on these remarkable achievements.

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!