29/04/2013

What a Winning Week!

Where to start!
 
What about the future? 
 
On Tuesday we learnt that a team of three of our Year 9 students -  Lucas Voss, Amy Hardiman and Aimee Dyson - have won through to the national final of the 2013 TeenTech Awards. TeenTech is a brilliant competition, promoted by TV and Radio presenter and great friend of Park House, Maggie Philbin.  It is initially organised on a regional basis and involves students working in small groups to come up with creative, technology-focused ideas to make life easier, simpler or better.  The team came up with the concept of a new app for use in supermarkets which can control spending habits and monitor the nutritional value of the products being potentially purchased.  This inspired idea within the 'Future of Food' category clearly captured the judges' collective imagination and the have now been selected to present their project at The Royal Society in London on 24th June. What an outstanding achievement!  We now wish Lucas, Amy and Aimee every success in that national final in just under two months' time. 
 
So Lucas, Amy and Aimee were our first winners of the week.  We only needed to wait a day for the second when our team won the Berkshire Heat of the Kielder Challenge at Black Park in Slough. This is a competition which challenges students' teamworking, planning, communication and problem-solving and evaluative skills in an outdoor and adventurous activity setting.  Many congratulations must therefore go to the team comprised of Michael Thompson, Austin Jones, Robert Neary, Katie Higgs, Ryan Smith, Owen Wolley, Kaitlin Blanchard and Tara Wellman.  I'm very proud of them - and our outstanding team of Sport Leaders, Annabel Chaffey, Selina Jones, Abbie Breach and Hobbie Steggall who supported the teams from The Castle and Brookfields Special Schools.
 
Good, as well as bad, things can also apparently come in threes as on Thursday we appropriately celebrated a 'hat trick' of winners when our Year 10 boys lifted the trophy as winners of the West Berkshire Cup for the second year in succession.  This is of course the squad coached by Mr 'Sir' John Cook that recently toured Dublin - a fantastic tour and experience that was the subject of an earlier blog just after Easter.  They clearly are a fantastic team, bolstered by the unique experience of touring together, and worked brilliantly for one another - and their proud manager - to secure the 1-0 win over St. Bart's in what was a thrilling encounter.
 
The only irony - and disappointment - for me was that I missed the last, nail-biting minutes of the game due to having to present to a group of primary school colleagues on the recent, very encouraging announcement of £150m investment into PE in the primary sector.  Regular readers of this blog may recall my musings on the future of school sport and the 2012 Legacy in an early February entry.  Since that entry, there has been a House of Commons Education Select Committee Inquiry on this very subject.  I submitted evidence, which was this week published on the House of Commons website. For those interested in the ideas put forward the link to the House of Commons site is as follows:
 
http://data.parliament.uk/written evidence/WrittenEvidence.svc/EvidencePdf/499
 
So, on the theme of a fantastic winning week for our students, I can only hope that this also 'scores a point' in relation to the sorts of actions which will secure more widely the sort of outstanding activity that characterises Park House-led practice in the local area.

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