To celebrate World Book Day and promote reading and wellbeing, we ran a range of activities on the day in our on-line lessons and over the course of the week.
Students in year 7 enjoyed taking part in the official World Book Day Author and Illustrator Academy, looking at the book ‘Protect the Planet’ with Jess French. They learned all about how to be an ‘Earth Warrior’. Jess French shared tips on easy, everyday changes that students in year 7 could make to help protect the planet. They also explored why ‘kindness is key’ and how they could make a real difference with simple solutions!
Students in year 8 engaged in lessons that linked to the Rights and Respecting Schools Award that we are currently working towards at PGHS. World Book Day links directly to the right to have access to information, the right to education and the right to have access to rest, play, culture and arts. Students in year 8 explored the ideas behind these rights and then went on to explore characters in their favourite books and whether these characters got to enjoy their rights.
Students in year 9 further built on their learning from the Autumn term and the genre of Murder Mystery. They enjoyed exploring the opening of ‘Kill Joy’ by Holly Jackson – her prequel to ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’. This lesson was about engaging in reading for pleasure and exploring a text to make predictions.
As well as individual lessons to celebrate World Book Day, we ran a staff and student competition, where they had to guess which staff members were hiding behind a book and which ‘shelfie’ belonged to which member of staff. Our staff team produced some brilliant pictures with clues for us all to decipher. Over 400 of our students took part in the competition and there was a winner for each year group and an overall staff winner.
Year 7 – Amy M
Year 8 – Adanna A
Year 9 – Isabella W
Year 10 – Laura G
Year 11 – Sana M
Staff – Mr Bretherton (1st place); Miss Wignall (2nd place); Miss Garlick (3rd place)
It wasn’t all work and no play during lockdown for those of us who were still attending school. We were lucky enough to be visited by Archie the therapy dog! On quite a few occasions, he came to stay with us for an hour or so and we could take him for walks around school, play ball on the netball courts or he could just chill with us whilst we were working – although not much work got done whilst Archie was around!
Archie can be regularly seen around school. He visits from another school, thanks to Mr Ramsdale!
Everyone immediately feels relaxed when Archie is around and I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t stop to say hello when he is with us – he really is a miracle worker!
Extra-curricular activities are at the heart and soul of the Performance, Sport and Health Faculty. Not organising clubs at lunch time or after school, playing matches and entering competitions against other schools has been frustrating for us all. With COVID cases and the infection rate decreasing and as the vaccine programme continues, I can announce that after Easter, the PGHS extra-curricular programme is back! The Performance, Sport and Health Faculty are excited to welcome back our students once again to develop sporting skills, tactics and most importantly have fun. The extra-curricular programme will still have some COVID restrictions to continue to supress the virus further. Each year group will have their own night to prevent mixing between different year groups apart from Y10 and Y11, where teachers will ensure social distancing is adhered to. The changing rooms will continue to be closed and so students should bring their trainers and some plain, dark-coloured tracksuit bottoms if they wish. Students will have an option of sports upon their arrival to ensure the girls can experience a wide range of activities.
Mrs Naylor Curriculum Leader for the Sports, Performance and Health Department
On Wellbeing day, the Performance, Sport and Health faculty launched the ‘PGHS road to Tokyo’. I can confirm that in only one month, the PGHS community has walked, run or cycled 1433.64 miles! This is a fantastic achievement so far! With 4 months to go, we have 4425.36 miles left to cover. Don’t forget, if you are out for your daily exercise with family or friends, track the distance you’ve travelled using the forms link on your class charts.
Students in Year 7 have been learning all about the ‘Instruments of the Orchestra’ and have completed some fantastic work over lockdown. Since being back in school, they have been learning how to conduct in 2, 3 and 4 time. We hope to have inspired some future conductors!
Year 8 Music
Year 8 have completed their work on ‘Musicals’ by listening to songs from a range of musicals, including ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Wicked’, ‘Mamma Mia’, ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Shrek’. We are very much looking forward to a time when we can go to the theatre again and can’t wait for our trip to see ‘The Lion King’ which has now been put back to 2022.
Year 9 Music
‘Discover! Creative Careers’ week took place from 1st-5th March during which students in Year 9, investigated the potential creative careers available to them. Discover! Creative Careers exists to inform and inspire young people about careers in the creative industries. It aims to showcase creative careers unknown to many and to explain what skills and qualifications they need to succeed in those careers when they leave school. To find out more, visit https://discovercreative.careers/#/ and ask your daughter which career she investigated.
We are thrilled that so many students have taken up the opportunity to continue with music tuition in these difficult times. I know the Peripatetic staff have been delighted to see the girls back having lessons in person again. If you would like your daughter to have music tuition, please complete the online form using the link below and we will organise these for you. Girls can have lessons on Brass, Woodwind or String instruments, Guitar, Keyboard, Piano, Drum kit or singing. Lessons are currently provided on an individual basis for 15 minutes and cost £72 per term. Students eligible for Free School Meals are able to have tuition in one instrument/voice for free. If students need to loan an instrument, we can usually organise this for you – please just ask.
What a busy term it has been for all in the MFL department! We have been learning all about the French and German Easter celebrations in our lessons. It is always so useful and interesting for students to find out about some of the traditions and customs that take place. To help us in German, we have watched a video from Germany that introduced us to different Easter traditions. We learned some important vocabulary and we also got creative, making Easter decorations.
Easter (Ostern) in Germany is the time for coloured eggs, chocolate bunnies, bonfires and spring cleaning. Ostereier (Easter eggs) are very common and many families will blow and decorate eggs. These eggs are hidden on Easter Sunday and children will hunt for them. Some families will also have a tree branch, which is used for hanging the eggs from. Furthermore, the Easter bunny (Osterhase) will deliver chocolate eggs to the children as well. Over the Easter weekend there will be bonfires lit (Osterfeuer), and it is traditional to have a Spring clean on Easter Monday. Traditional food for Easter Sunday would most likely be lamb. At the start of Lent, many Germans celebrate Karneval, or Fasching, which is basically a big party or parade through the streets. Cologne (Köln) has probably the most famous one and we have learnt about these in our lessons this last week.
In year 7, we have created German Easter cards using the language we have learned in our lessons. Some of these Easter cards will be heading to Germany to our pen-pals!
In year 8, we have followed the German tradition of decorating eggs. Once decorated, the eggs are hung on trees just like the eggs that our year 8s created have been. How good do they look?
Our year 9 German classes have worked together to create colourful bunting, which we can use to decorate our classrooms. The girls have used German language, drawn wonderful pictures and used bright colours to make the most beautiful bunting.
Mrs Gill and Miss Gelder
Year 8 Snakes and Ladders with an Easter Theme
In the Modern Foreign Languages Department, we are always trying to find ways to practise and remember the language that we have already learnt in class.
This term, Year 8 have focussed on the topic of ‘food’ and 8H and 8G were tasked with designing a revision game of Snakes and Ladders to help us revise the language which we have learnt during lockdown and the more recent language learnt on our return to school.
As it is nearly Easter, our games have a Spring or Easter theme to them. We are looking forward to playing the games with our families during the Easter Holidays.
Don’t worry, parents and carers, there is an answer sheet included on the back of the game! However, you forfeit a turn if you ask to look at it!
Year 8 Wer Kann? Der Kann? Germany’s answer to the Great British Bake Off!
Mrs Williams’ Year 8 classes have taken their baking skills one step further. For homework, they have had the choice of making one of 3 dishes by following a German recipe. Take a look at some of the delicious results. Mmmmm! Sehr lecker.
Year 8 French Pen Pals
In recent weeks, Y8 French have been working on the topic of ‘school’ and are now busy writing a school brochure to be sent to our French pen pals. They will include descriptions of their school day, uniform, subjects, timetable and their ideal school. We should receive something similar from France, so watch this space!
Year 7 German Pen Pals
Some Y7 pupils had volunteered to get an extra German pen pal and they have been busy writing to them. They designed an Easter card and wrote about how we celebrate Easter in the UK. We are looking forward to receiving cards soon.
As the Maths department now have access to www.HegartyMaths.com, here are some handy guides to help you understand the website better so you are able to use the features to its full potential.
Logging in to Hegarty Maths
Below are the steps for logging into Hegarty Maths:
Resetting your Hegarty Maths password.
Remembering your password can sometimes be an issue if you are very forgetful. However, resetting your password is very straight forward.
Accessing your Hegarty Maths tasks
Look at the following to get your head around Hegarty Maths and to get to know how to get the best out of it. This also shows you where to find your homework and how to try it again if you want to improve on a previous score.
Using the virtual keyboard
Some key skills in Mathematics require you to input the answer in using correct notation. This is where the virtual keyboard makes things easier – from multiplication signs to fractions.
With the addition of Hegarty Maths to the Maths department, we are handing out rewards to those showing maximum effort into furthering their understanding. Below are the top 3 pupils for each year. Well done! You will be receiving a certificate in recognition of your achievements.
Cryptography is the study of hiding information and has links within mathematics.
The Roman Empire used a method of transpositions. This is where they swap one letter for another letter in a consistent way so that the message can be read (decrypted) by the receiver. For example, I could change each letter in a message with the letter before it in the alphabet.
Being able to relay messages from one another whilst keeping the message secret, gave certain countries an advantage over their neighbouring countries. During the second world war, the Nazis invented an enigma machine that had a total of 158,962,555,217,826,360,000 different settings (one hundred and fifty-eight quintillion)! Being able to decrypt these messages was critical for having success in the war.
Today, we use encryption every time we open the internet. We can send messages to one another without the messages being intercepted. The processs that encrypts information on the internet is called ‘Public Key Cryptography’ and was only created in the year 1970. They used the idea that if I multiply two prime numbers together, the product will only have 4 factors (one each of the two prime numbers and the product of the primes). Therefore, there are only two numbers smaller than the product that can divde it. For example, 17×19=323. The only numbers that can divide this number to leave an integer are 17 and 19. The reason this encryption works, is because of how difficult it is to find large prime numbers. The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS) has discovered the largest known prime number, 277,232,917-1, having 23,249,425 digits.
By the time you read this newsletter, school will have been fully open for a whole 3 weeks! Of course, many students will have attended every day throughout lockdown and all students will have been studying, whether at home or at school. It has been a very strange time and I think we are all relieved to see the light at the end of the tunnel! All things considered, I find it remarkable that we have been able to change our ways of working so rapidly and so drastically. In the hope that we do emerge next term, we need to look back and reflect on how much we have achieved in such incredible circumstances. We have now undergone four consecutive school terms of disruption, meaning over half a school year of partial school closures! Two cohorts of year 11 students have had disrupted GCSEs and weeks of uncertainty. We need to move forward now and be kind to ourselves and others for all we have been through.
Governors have listened to feedback during this time and supported school leaders in amending ways of working where possible. We have ensured all statutory responsibilities are covered, have reviewed risk assessments and looked carefully at the ways in which the curriculum delivery has been amended to take into account the variety of methods in use. We know that students will not have worked at the same pace as each other and that many will have suffered through working on their own. It will take a while to overcome some of the issues but this term, we were keen to see all students settle into school routines again as effectively as possible. I have been proud to see how smoothly the return in June 2020, September 2020 and in March this year has gone and, on behalf of the governing board, would like to thank all the students, staff and volunteers who made the testing process run effectively also. To be used as an example of good practice more than once for the BBC, is praise indeed.
Next term, as lockdown eases and we hopefully emerge to a ‘new’ normal, governors will be looking forward to a term of ‘healing’ where staff and students start to address gaps in learning but also where we all take time to review our own mental health. The role of the governing board is to support and to challenge and we will continue to do both, but we should all – staff, parents, students and governors – remember what a challenging this year this has been and how much support we all need to move forward. Let’s look forward to a more settled summer term, a way out of lockdown and better weather, which will prepare us all for a more positive way ahead.