Year 007 – A double agent’s account of the first year
By Becky Woods, 8E
I’m not going to lie, that first day can be awkward, confusing and above all really scary! It can also be surreal, exciting and extremely fun! I know – I was in your shoes one year ago. My feet are probably a little bigger than yours, but you get my point.
I’ll tell you straight, the first week or so is a time of feeling slightly out of your depth and getting lost, being told to go the wrong way (take my advice, try to only ask nice looking girls for directions). But as it goes on, it becomes a time of making new friends and discovering favourite subjects you didn’t even know you loved! You’ll have a blazer, which is probably a new experience for you, and you’ll get loads of new books, so be sure to get a big school bag! Honestly year 7 is as scary as everyone says it is – for about a week at the most. It really isn’t that bad! Miss Masterson is and will be a fantastic head of year and I promise you’ll find a subject that you like, even if you just like it a little bit. Pinkie swear. And yes, you do get to set stuff on fire in science. The other subjects are pretty cool too, although you might like some more than others.
Nobody understands more than I do about having the carpet pulled from under your feet. Even now I get lost in the hallways and forget a book or two. But don’t worry, you’ll be an expert by the end of the first week or so. The tweaks and traumas of secondary school never stop surprising me. There are still aspects of academic life I haven’t got used to or even experienced yet. But I’ve survived so far and so will you.
Having said that, it’s all fantastic. The West Bridgford School never ceases to amaze me. Some days it’s one of the best things in your life, some days it’s more of a challenge. But this is a brilliant school and you’ll make new friends and learn heaps. Good luck, and see you in September!
It has been a very busy year for Year 7 with lots to celebrate. We started with the team building visits to Lea Green Activity Centre in Derbyshire. Over the four wettest days in October, two Year 7 tutor groups per day defied the torrential rain to successfully tackle an outdoor assault course, outdoor den building and scaling the cave. The tutors and I were thrilled to see the camaraderie and goodwill shown by all pupils to their peers; their behaviour and conduct was impeccable. Sadly the same could not be said for their mud entrenched clothing at the end of each day!
Our Welcome Concert at the end of October was a huge success. A special mention needs to go to our fourteen fabulous soloists who braved the bright lights and gave an excellent performance; Lucy Roadknight, Daniel Maughan, Rachel Feinstein, Luca Marshall, Haniah Raza, Bethany Buah, Filip Trenkic, Mia Coss, Anna Sosin, Grace Campbell, Luke Pike, Zack Schofield, Katherine Liu and Anton Stoger.
Tutor groups 7E & 7F gave a wonderful performance of Vois Sur Ton Chemin under the guidance of Mr Mills and Mr Dyer and also need to be commended for their extra special performance. The year group as a whole sang beautifully. Clearly, we have an exceptionally talented year group and this bodes very well for our talent show next year.
Our chosen year group charity was Children in Need and we were delighted to have collected nearly £300 at the end of the Welcome Concert evening towards this very worthwhile cause. Non uniform day in November was our next chance to shine. Year 7 advertised this event to the whole school in a week of assemblies and asked for everyone to wear something spotty on the day in support of Children in Need. Our break time cake sale was huge; Mrs Clarke’s office was jammed with cakes donated by Year 7. The total amount raised on non-uniform day was £1800, a truly phenomenal amount of money! We ran competitions and sold wrist bands to maximise our fundraising – it was a real team effort.
We ended the winter term with our first Celebration Assembly of the year. Olympic Gold Medallist Etienne Stott was our guest speaker and gave a very inspiring speech to the year group about trying your best and working towards achieving your potential. The focus of our assembly was a celebration of effort; awards were given to those who had made an exceptional start to their time here at West Bridgford School by trying their best and going above and beyond what is expected of them.
In January we had our first ever Parent’s Evening, this was a tremendous success. Lots of happy parents and guardians received excellent feedback about their children. In February we hosted the Talent Show on the last day before half term. Mrs Clarke and I were overwhelmed by the volume and quality of auditions from all sorts of talented people in the year group. The final list of ten acts was very carefully considered and quite difficult to narrow down. A special mention needs to go to Yuvraj Rathor in 7A who ended the show by playing the Harmonium whilst singing a song in Punjabi; he brought the house down.
We have also had phenomenal sporting success in the year group. In March, our Year 7 girls received gold medals after their triumphant win in the Central Venue Netball Tournament. Hot on the heels of this success, the Year 7 boy’s football team reached the National Quarter Finals. Their final game against Thomas Telford School was played at home and we had fantastic support from the year group and family members on the side lines.
In April, we had a small group of talented individuals who passed an extensive round of auditions to be part of Bridgstock; our annual whole school music show which is run by students in Years 12 & 13. Well done to Lukasz Bialeck in 7D, Jacob Careless in 7D, Charlotte Hoyle in 7D and Zack Schofield in 7F for two nights of fabulous performances to a sold out crowd in the Theatre.
As a year group we have been raising lots of money for charity. Each of the eight tutor groups chose a charity to fundraise for during the course of their time in Year 7. 7C got going with this quite early on in the year with a very clever idea of collecting loose change from pupils in the year group. The other tutor groups have kept themselves busy with hosting assemblies and various fundraising events for their individual charities.
We finished the year with our Celebration Assembly. This time the focus was on academic achievement and there were a whole host of prizes for pupils who have gone that extra mile in terms of both academic work and getting involved in year group activities. We invited a fireman to come in as our guest speaker. Unfortunately for us, duty called and it was up to Ms Masterson to step in with some words of wisdom. As an English teacher, the only fires I have fought have been metaphorical – not quite as impressive!
I am very proud of the new Year 8; they have had an excellent first year at secondary school. Mrs Clarke and I are very much looking forward to welcoming the new year group in September and doing it all again.
Stepping into the marquee that housed the event was akin to walking onto the set of Baz Luhrman’s recent lavish adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” – both stylish and sophisticated (despite Mr Deans’ many turns on the dance floor) and with a wonderfully celebratory atmosphere that meant everybody felt welcomed and included. The NUS Committee (Naomi McFadden, Safa Sharif, Lauren Kay, Kate Hughes, Alicia Cox and Vijith Gnanakumaran) did a tremendous job and continued to be “on duty” over the course of the evening, making sure that everything ran smoothly as well as welcoming staff to the event. At the Awards Ceremony, Sam Coffey excelled as the gregarious host whose witty repartee kept the audience entertained throughout. It seemed entirely fitting that such a well-heeled occasion included an award for the Best Dressed Student (appropriately won by the permanently debonair Matt Blainey).
As an introduction to West Bridgford School’s Year 13 Proms, this one will take some beating. It revealed so much about the school, the Sixth Form and this particular set of students – their appreciation of each other’s talents, their joie de vivre and, perhaps most poignantly of all, their reflective nature. As the festivities wound down, many students were noticeably reluctant to leave, recognising that this had been a special culmination to a very special experience at the West Bridgford School. To them all, I extend my thanks for their warm welcome to me and my very best wishes for the future. I know that they will be a credit wherever they go as they have been a credit to the school for so long.