Newsletter - St Gabriel`s
Summer Term 2009
St G a br iel‘ s, S an dle ford Pr ior y, New bu ry , Berk sh ire R G2 0 9BD T el: 0 16 3 5 5 5 56 8 0 Fax : 01 63 5 3 73 5 1
Email :info @stg abr iel s.co .uk www .stga br iel s. co. uk
What a summer!
For the first time in many years we have at last been able
to enjoy to the full our Summer Term events. From a
splendid Summer Fete, Romeo & Juliet ‗alfresco‘ to sports
days and swimming galas, it was so good to see you all and
I thank you for taking the time to support your daughter in
her end of year activities.
I write following my family‘s ‗traditional‘ visit together to
the new Harry Potter film; apparently it appears that some
things will never change!
However, at this time of year we invariably do see much
change as we offer retiring and leaving staff our best
wishes. I thank all my colleagues who leave us this summer
for bringing so much to our school and for all they have
done for the girls.
We also have to ‗let go‘ of Year 13! They have given so
much to our community during their time with us and I look
forward to informing you of their examination results and
destinations later this summer.
You have heard me say on many occasions that at
St Gabriel‘s we agree with the view that:
“The greatest thing a girl can do in this world is to
make the most possible out of the stuff that has been
given to her. This is success, and there is no other.”
This is certainly true for our Sixth Form leavers! They have
indeed made the very best possible use of every
opportunity afforded to them and we wish all our students
well with their studies at university.
Judging by the quality of our Junior Speeches and Prize
Giving and the end of year reports, St Gabriel‘s future of
excellence is safe for many years to come. I congratulated
the girls at the end of term for their admirable attitude to
all they do and the excellent levels of behaviour
manifested throughout the year. Going far beyond the call
of duty, doing more than others expect, striving for and
maintaining the highest standards is what excellence at
St Gabriel‘s is all about. Excellence for our girls really
does mean that they do their very best in everything, in
It is with particular pleasure, therefore, that I ask you to
read on and take a snapshot view of your daughter‘s
individual and collective successes and the activities the
girls have enjoyed over the last few months.
As I now continue to mourn the loss of my idol Headmaster,
Dumbledore, I wish you all a refreshing summer break with
From Nursery to University
I joined St Gabriel‘s in 1995; a tiny
reception class of eight girls and five
boys, little did I know back then that
this new school would become my home
for the next 14 years.
I will always treasure the memories I
have of St Gabriel‘s, and the
friendships I‘ve made along the way.
The ‗good times‘ are too many to list,
but a handful would include: summer
on the field, the many school trips, the dance shows, and a
Sixth Form career consisting of tray cakes from Tesco, large
mugs of tea, and a Puzzler magazine.
The ‗bad times‘ are definitely more few and far between,
but would consist of: my combination of braces and tragic
hair aged 10-13; the time my skirt fell off in the dance
show and I was left on stage in a leotard; in Iceland, seeing
teachers naked at the Blue Lagoon (mentally scarred is the
term…) and setting fire to my bed with a hair dryer.
Finally, those three awful, awful days in Buxton, on a
World Challenge training expedition, where Claire and I got
simultaneous nose bleeds because it was so cold.
The opportunities I have been given at St Gabriel‘s are
endless. Over the years I think I‘ve done every extracurricular activity under the sun: I was a member of sports
teams; sang in the school choirs; learned to play piano, and
more importantly the recorder; became a yellow belt in
thai-kick-jitsu (which sounds really good but is actually only
the first level), and finally climbed mountains in Costa
Leaving school is always difficult, but I know it will be
especially difficult to leave St Gabriel‘s – the place, the
people, and the memories - and I can only thank everyone
who has contributed to what has not only been an
education, but an incredible experience. I‘m still in denial
of the fact I have to leave school,
and I‘m sure I‘m not independent,
mature, or brave enough to leave my
friends, Mrs Reseigh, and school
lunches, but I can assure you I will
be back to visit soon!
Head Girl 2008-2009
Puzzle Challenge Day
Following the success of the first Puzzle Challenge Day two
years ago, we were delighted to invite back the Happy Puzzle
Company for their new programme of challenges. All pupils
in Years 1 to 6 took part and experienced a range of problem
solving activities, from the more traditional jigsaw type
puzzles to bouncing light off mirrors to make it illuminate a
target. All of the children agreed that the sessions were full
of fun and exciting, ensuring that they worked as a team and
certainly forcing them to think creatively.
Once again, Lee, from Living Science, visited along with some of his animals. As
well as bringing some of our ‗old favourites,‘ we were introduced to several new
creatures, including a monitor lizard. The children in Pre-Prep were enthralled by
the many facts they learned, such as that the white markings on a skunk‘s back
turn orange if they eat too many carrots and snakes ‗smell‘ with their tongues! As
always, we were impressed by the willingness of the children to touch some of the
less appealing visitors — giant cockroaches, millipedes and snakes. However, we
can‘t help ourselves, Lola the skunk is everyone‘s favourite! We hope to invite
Living Science back again next year and eagerly anticipate Lee‘s selection of
Art Club continues to go from strength to strength. In the Spring
Term, Year 1 tried their hand at silk painting. In addition to
producing their own pictures on the theme of ‗Spring,‘ they
designed and painted a wonderful class piece full of butterflies
This term, we have been able to take advantage of the good
weather and do some sketching in the grounds. The children
found it extremely amusing to be asked to draw things without
looking at their piece of paper or to draw with the opposite hand
to that which they use for writing. In addition to developing
their sketching skills, the children have been introduced to
drawing in perspective, creating landscapes in pastels and
looking at work by Matisse, prior to designing their own piece in
his style. We would like to thank Mrs Moorcroft, who never fails
to fill us with enthusiasm and inspiration for this subject.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
This term, Years 1 & 2 enjoyed a trip to the Sir Harold Hillier
Gardens in Romsey. Once again, we were extremely lucky with the
weather and were able to make full use of the beautiful grounds for
our activities. Year 2 spent their day looking at 3D art in the
garden. There are many different sculptures in the arboretum
which provided inspiration for their own work once back at school.
The girls had great fun weaving with natural materials and looking
at different textures. Year 1 based their day around the topic
‗Colour and Light.‘ One of the things they learnt is that bees see
things in UV light, which is similar to looking through a magenta
coloured filter. The flowers certainly look different when viewed in
It all began with a message from Princess Pandora.
„Help! I‟ve been taken by a dreadful dragon. Can a
brave knight save me?‟
Parts of the message were missing. The children then
spent a week of huge excitement and anticipation.
They discovered clues in the playground – a party
handbag, a feather stole, a gold shoe, a ruby jewel
and the missing parts to the message.
Year 2 were convinced a dragon had been spotted in
our new castle playground area. Even burn marks from
its fiery breath had been found!
The Early Years constructed a large 3D model of a
castle complete with portcullis and bridge from junk
material. Songs about princesses were sung, castle stories enjoyed and
princess hats designed.
Year 1 & 2 used specially shaped castle books to fill with information
from the internet. Mrs Bindloss Gibb and Mrs Markides dressed up as
squires and invited the children to ask questions about their roles in the
castle. Beautiful beaded jewellery and bejewelled headdresses were
fashioned in anticipation of Princess Pandora‘s return.
On the last day of the week, the children were taken outside to the
playground. Suddenly, a princess appeared on our castle battlements!
We had to check whether it really was Princess Pandora. Did she have
the matching shoe? Luckily she did and she generously shared some
sweets with the children for helping her to find her way back to safety.
A banquet to celebrate finalised this special week.
Finkley Down Farm
On Tuesday, 2 June, the Early Years children and staff enjoyed
a visit to Finkley Down Farm. The weather was very kind to us
and the children had the opportunity to handle a variety of
small animals, including rabbits, mice , chicks and some even
stroked a rat! A few children were brave enough to attempt
to milk a cow (a model one!) and feed some very greedy
goats. For some the highlight was eating their picnic lunches
and afterwards they were eager to try out the wonderful play
equipment. After a very full and exciting day we arrived back
at school tired but extremely happy!
As part of the Year 1 Geography topic, we visited Newbury to locate the
local landmarks. Despite the disruption of the many road works in the
vicinity, we did manage to walk around our route, passing the Corn
Exchange, St Nicolas‘ Church, The Clock Tower and Victoria Park, to name
but a few. As the photograph shows, we even managed to fit in a quick
visit to the café in Weaver‘s Walk for a well deserved drink and sit down.
History Off The Page
Year 1 & 2 had a very exciting day when Peter, from 'History Off the Page,' came to visit. The theme of the day was life
in a medieval castle and all the girls and staff entered into the spirit
by dressing up in appropriate clothing.
The girls were given information about life in a medieval castle and
they learnt about the different jobs that people did. It was
explained to them that unfortunately, at the present time, the castle
was under siege but that our soldiers were doing a wonderful job at
defending our position.
Years 1 & 2 were then put to work in the castle‘s Great Hall making
candles, soap balls, scent bags to ward off the plague and gargoyles
to protect the castle from evil spirits. The girls also had to make
their own ink so that they could write messages to the king who was
away fighting a battle. During the morning a number of girls worked
for the wise woman and made traditional remedies for various
ailments. The wise woman and her workers were also a great
source of gossip!
During break time, the girls remained in character and tales of enemy soldiers were rife!
Just before lunch we received the wonderful news that our castle was safe and the enemy soldiers had retreated.
To celebrate, a feast was held during the afternoon and the girls took on a number of different roles. A group of
girls became the servitors, bringing food and drink to everyone. Another group took on the role of the entertainers,
performing a variety of jokes, some juggling and some acrobatics. Six Year 2 girls performed the play 'St George and
the Dragon,' which was accompanied by a very enthusiastic audience! The final group of girls became the knights
and entertained the crowd with a tournament on horseback!
It was a wonderful day and all the girls and staff entered into
the spirit and took their role playing very seriously!
I enjoyed candle making because I liked how you dipped it in
the wax - Inisa
I liked being a knight. When I was jousting I won the
tournament - Millie
I liked making a soap ball. We had to roll up soap flakes and
put lavender and roses in it to make it smell nice - Annabel
I enjoyed making scent balls. Now I won't get the plague! Elizabeth
Head of Junior Department
I am extremely excited about my move to St Gabriel‘s in
September and look forward to working with pupils, staff
and families here.
For most of my life, I have lived in Newbury and so have a
sound knowledge of all that our community has to offer,
and aim to strengthen and develop some of the Junior
School‘s links here.
On a more personal level, family life is hugely important
to me and I enjoy spending as much time as I can in the
great outdoors – with or without my children. I recently
took up golf, but don‘t think that Tiger Woods need be too
concerned just yet!
Head of Junior Department
My sister was a pupil at St Gabriel‘s and I have existing
connections with some current parents and pupils.
I graduated, with an honours degree, from Wolverhampton
University and then worked in the City for five years
before making a career change and studying teacher
training at Roehampton Institute of Education in West
London. My current role is as Deputy Headteacher at
Speenhamland Primary School, where I also run the
popular Dragon Club and stand as a Governor. In addition,
I sit on the Early Years & Childcare Funding Panel with
West Berkshire and have recently been invited to join the
Shadow Governing Body at the Winchcombe School.
Junior Technology Day
With the sun shining and high expectations of designing
and making a fun filled project, Years 3 to 6 enjoyed a
successful Junior Technology Day in June.
For Years 5 & 6 the brief was to design and manufacture
a buggy propelled by compressed air. Working in House
teams (the Junior Technology House Cup was at stake!)
the designs and plans were drawn up before the buggies
were created, with points being awarded for quality of
design and final aesthetics. Then, it was off to the
Sports Hall to race the buggies, with more points
awarded for the distance travelled.
A wide range of designs was created and once loading
began we found some extremely stable structures had
been produced, with bridges holding a weight ranging
from 300g to almost 4kg!
The afternoon session brought an exciting and nail-biting
bridge building challenge for Years 3 & 4. Using a
selection of Balsa wood strips, they designed and
created a free standing structure that was to be loaded
at a central point until the structure failed.
Year 5: French Trip
On 18 May, Year 5 went to France for a week, staying at
Chateau Beaumont in the Mayenne region. We had to get
up at 4.30am and be at school by 4.50am. I was really
On our arrival at Chateau Beaumont we were told which
dorm we were in. I was in Napoleon along with Lucy,
Lauren, Chelsea, Lauren, Eleanor, Lucy , Olivia, Madeline
The next day, we went to a market and I bought a
beeswax candle, a crêpe and some ass milk soap. We had
activities in the afternoon – team games, French role play
and ‗nightlive,‘ an obstacle course which you do
The following morning we went to a bakery; we made
some croissants and ate pain au chocolats. We stopped at
a park to have lunch. In the afternoon we visited a goat
farm and fed the goats, tried some cheese and asked
On the last day, we went to Mont St Michel before getting
the ferry back to England. We arrived at school at
10.30pm. I was very happy to see my mum.
Maddy Ashman’s Diary: Thursday, 21 May
(My Favourite Day)
Today we did fencing, team games, ICT and visited a
castle. The castle had lots of history and was very well
built. It was so old that we were not able to see some
parts of it. We did a worksheet and took loads of photos.
One of the towers looked like Hogwarts!!!
At 2.15pm we did games. Fencing was first, it was really
fun and we dressed up in baggy clothes. The helmet
looked like a bee hive! We learned some simple positions
and then had a match with a partner. I was with Esther
and won 5-1! Then we did ICT. We had to write about the
trip in French. This was followed by team games, some
with parachutes and others with balls. With the balls we
played bowls. We had to get our ball closest to the small
orange ball. Charlotte and I, Team Trois, won the game
with 3 points — yeh!
P.S. We had a picnic lunch at a park with deer and
strange breeds of birds. For dinner we had garlic bread
for the starter, pasta for the main course and chocolate
mousse for dessert. Mmm!
IT WAS A BRILLIANT WEEK!
By Jemima Croggon
Year 4: Fashion Day
On Tuesday, 30 June, a fashion expert talked to Year 4
about different fashion trends since World War 2. There
were a number of activities during the day including
exploring how what we wear communicates information
about us to other people and looking at our own favourite
clothes and explaining why we like them and how we feel
when we are wearing them.
We looked at different fashion trends through the
decades since World War 2, and what the economic and
social factors were that affected them.
In the afternoon,
the girls had a go
at being fashion
for their Barbies.
This year‘s EuroTalk Junior Language Challenge began in
April with 16 students studying Greek. Four girls achieved
gold certificates and six won places in the semi-finals.
Gold Certificates: Jemima Croggon, Polina Parr, Anisha
Malli and Abigail Brindley
Silver Certificates: Micaela Graterol-Munoz, Camila
Bronze Certificate: Emma Hodgson
The following girls have gained the Gold Award in the
English Schools‘ Athletic Association Indoor Award
Scheme for Keystage 2:
Aimee Handscombe, Emily Tulloch, Georgia Forsyth,
Laura Beardmore-Gray, Eloise Reayer, Emma Lynch,
Lauren Wall, Milly Holmes and Eleanor Hannan.
The postponement of our trip to Sulgrave Manor, due to the snow in February,
meant that it finally took place on 23 April, Shakespeare‘s birthday and the 500th
anniversary of Henry VIII‘s coronation — a truly Tudor day!
The trip really brought Year 5‘s Tudor project to life. We dressed up as Tudor
boys and girls, and spent time in the Great Hall, kitchen and bedchamber,
learning how people lived their lives 500 years ago. Beautiful spring weather
enabled us to enjoy the grounds too. We visited the blacksmith, learned 16th
Century dances on the lawn and ate our ‗Tudor‘ lunch in the courtyard. A session
of role play helped to fix the stories of the six wives firmly in our memories.
―The best bit was going to the bedchamber and finding out that they sometimes
hung babies up on a hook on
the wall to keep them away
from rats. I learnt that I would
not like to have lived in Tudor
times!‖ Olivia Astley
―I loved dressing up as a Tudor
boy even though I thought the
breeches were a bit itchy.‖
― I thought it was the best trip
ever and I would like to do it again sometime.‖ Natalie Harrison
On Tuesday, 24 February, Year 6 had a Victorian Day. We
were all wearing our Victorian-style clothes. Some were
poor and dirty but others were dressed in their Victorian
finery! We walked into the Theatre, which had been set up
as a Victorian classroom, all of the rich boys sat at the
front which I found unfair because I was a girl and had to
sit further back!
Soon after we looked at, and sketched, some Victorian
artefacts and then we rehearsed some period
entertainment, which we performed to the rest of the
group. Some told jokes, some gave gymnastic displays,
others did dancing and there was one very amusing
The Victorian teacher came in and told us to sit down and
then we commenced lessons. The ―3R‘s‖ were quite easy
especially the ‗arithmetic, for example, sums were like
3+5. The teacher was very strict compared to our normal
teachers and after lunch she got extremely cross with
Aggie and Noella for apparently saying ―bad words.‖ They
had to have their mouths washed out with carbolic soap.
Just as we thought the day was over it was time for
―Drill.‖ This was similar to modern day PE, although it was
taught by someone from the Army and was very tiring, as
we found out! We did endless star jumps and skipping.
The Victorian experience was fun for a day but I think I‘ll
stick with education in 2009!!
On 18 May, after what seemed like a lifetime of waiting, everyone in
Year 6 went to Mill-on-the Brue. It was so much fun and all the
activities, from canoeing to the Burma Bridge, were great. Everything
was designed to push us just out of our comfort zone and taught us to
work with and trust our friends. We went rafting, and our raft was
really good. We were all so proud that it floated, but just when we
were getting off, Hannah stepped on to the bank and the raft tipped
my way and I fell in head-first, the river was FREEZING!
The massive zip wire was what we were all looking forward to. When
you stepped off the platform you felt like you were flying. We also
went on High All Aboard, where
you had to climb up a pole that
was really high, and then stand
on a platform no wider than
half a desk; the rest of your
group climbed up and then you
had to lean back while holding
on to each other‘s hands. We
certainly learnt to trust each other up on that platform!
We also went on the trapeze, where you had to climb a pole and then jump onto
a trapeze, unfortunately I missed, I think I must have had my eyes closed!
I really loved my trip to Mill-on-the Brue and hope that the year 5‘s will enjoy it
as much as we did.
Year 6: Netball
Through their hard work and determination the Year 6 netball team have turned
themselves around in one season, from winning very few matches at the start of the
year to becoming runners up in both the Newbury League and Newbury Tournament.
The pinnacle of their season has to be their victory over the National IAPS champions,
Millfield — St Gabriel‘s were the only team in the whole of this nationwide
tournament to beat them, quite a result girls!
Newbury Netball Trials
Every Wednesday, under the expert guidance of
Mrs Fowler, the girls have been training hard to build up
their stamina and endurance. In November, at the West
Berkshire cross-country event, from a field of over 200
runners, Alisha Reayer was placed second; the team of
Alisha, Rebecca Luff, Jemima Croggon, Laura BeardmoreGray, Gemma Wotherspoon and Emma Lynch came a
Congratulations to the following girls, who have been
selected to go for further trials for the Newbury Netball
team: Emma Lynch, Georgia Forsyth, Emily Tulloch,
Brooklyn Spearing, Eloise Weeks, Lucy Bell, Laura
This term, two teams took part in the first Newbury
Athletics Club relay event at Crookham Common, having
to do a traditional relay with batons for the first time. In
total, 20 schools took part and St Gabriel‘s was the only
one that managed to get two places in the final.
Good luck for your second trial in September!
Newbury Netball Team Awards
Congratulations to Georgia Forsyth, who has been
awarded the Manager‘s Player of the Year, and Brooklyn
Spearing, Most Improved Player of the Year at Newbury
Netball this season.
Ready Steady Cook!
On May 20, Pippa Froud and I were given the exciting opportunity to
participate in St Gabriel‘s first Ready Steady Cook! competition.
Mrs Porter was in the Year 8 team and, as
she is a vegetarian, we decided to make
vegetable Balti curry, pilau rice and spicy
Bombay potato. The Year 7 team
consisted of Alicia Baines, Claudia Burton
and Mr Berry. They chose to cook a
chicken and tomato pasta dish. We had
just 20 minutes to cook our healthy and
delicious dishes and the time passed in a
flash! We just finished in time to present
the food beautifully.
Then it was time for the vote! It was an extremely close call, with the Year 7 team
winning by just two votes.
It was a great experience and we learnt so much about how to cook a healthy meal,
from fresh ingredients, in just a few minutes.
Bryony Bedingham 8T
Ugly Kneecaps and £10 Notes
Year 8 had a residential science and activities trip over the July 4 weekend,
where they looked into the ecology of rock pools, the formation of fossils
in the Oxford Clay layer of the strata at Osmington Bay, and learned about
beach formation and how to measure a beach profile. They also abseiled,
climbed, shot arrows (at a target not each other!) and survived!
Some very tired girls said they all had a
great time and that it was one of the
best trips! The disco was a highlight of
the weekend, as ever, and it didn‘t even
rain….except for a little bit, just so that
those who did not bring waterproofs
were found out! Thank you Year 8 for a great trip!
Mrs Gillow, Party Leader
The Latin for Ugly Kneecap is Patella vulgaris…..otherwise know as limpets!
If you look at a ten pound note, you will see several Ammonites ―fossils‖ near
On Friday, 3 July, we performed Ashunputtel (Cinderella)
in our Year 9 German class. We all put in our ideas and
made it comical, so that our Spanish classmates could
follow the story without understanding a word of German!
Performing Cinderella has really helped our German
speaking and we enjoyed it hugely.
Charlotte Rigby & Sarah Warwick
Maria’s Fashion Fix
Meanwhile, Set 1 & 2 Spanish competed against each
other in a St Gabriel‘s version of Gok‘s Fashion Fix. Set 1
represented Designer, with a fabulous collection of
glamorous clothing for both sportswear and summerwear.
Set 2 represented High Street, with beautifully selected
summer and sports clothing.
The event kicked off with Maria introducing the fashion
show in perfect Spanish, Inez Sayer provided up-beat
music and Mrs Rumbol took runway photo‘s.
The audience, Set 3 Spanish
and the German set, chose
High Street to win
summerwear and Designer to
win sportswear. The
competition was very close
and the winners were chosen
by a vote using coloured
card, allowing it to be
exactly like the fabulous
Channel 4 show!
Splashing About in Rivers
On Tuesday, 27 January, the Year 10 Geography group went to Nettlecombe with Mrs Willetts and Mrs Nairne. We
packed the minibus with our suitcases but, as we don‘t travel light, they didn‘t fit in and we had to have some of our
bags on our laps. We took a mid-morning break at a service station and managed to connect to the internet to catch up
on any gossip that we might have missed in the first hour of school. On our arrival at Nettlecombe, we changed into our
new best friends: waterproof trousers and matching cagoules, bobble hats and wellies, and
began our trek to the River Doniford for our first day of physical geography.
The following day, we made our way up to the source of the River Holford. The bus had to
climb a very steep hill to get to the source and, even with Mrs Nairne accelerating as hard as
possible, it would not move! We ended up having to get out of the bus and walking up! The
rest of the day was spent measuring different sections of the river. When we got back in the
evening we were very happy to change into our comfortable clothes and slippers, only to find
we still had two hours of lessons to come!
On Thursday, we went to Porlock Bay, where we were given our measuring equipment. Our
first task was to measure around 30 pebbles and record the gradient of the beach. We then
drove to Hurlstone Point to measure more pebbles.
On our last day, we set off for Minehead to study the land uses of the tourist town. After we
had finished our tasks for the day we were allowed to hit the shops! As our exciting trip had
come to an end; we said goodbye to our tutor and set off on our long journey home.
Georgia Benney, Hettie Freeland & Louise Dodd
(Note from Mrs Willetts – don‘t let this outline fool you – they all worked hard, quite hard anyway, and learned a lot).
Years 9 & 10: History and German Trip to Berlin
Germany is a country with a unique atmosphere and people. On 16 May, a group of Year 9 and 10 girls studying History
and German embarked on a trip to remember. We visited a diverse and fascinating collection of sites, such as
museums, Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg gate, the TV Tower and Berlin Cathedral. Catering both for History and
German, this visit proved to be exciting and informative, whilst not too academic due to the frequent stops for pretzels,
and activities like bowling and, of course, shopping!
Over the week, we learned a lot about what it would have been like to live in
Berlin for many different people through the ages. The Holocaust Museum
showed us the racism and discrimination the Jews faced even before the Nazi
regime. We visited many other museums but I think that the Checkpoint Charlie
Museum was the best because we got to see the different ways that people tried
to escape from East Berlin. Some were quite imaginative and ingenious, such as
being carried in two suitcases joined together or in a hollowed-out car seat.
We would like to thank Mr Lewis and Mrs Forsgren for organising the trip. They
were brilliant, not despairing or becoming angry despite locking keys inside our
rooms at midnight, complaining about the heat, exhaustion and the state of our
Millie Wright & Lucy Meredith
Duke of Edinburgh
Our experience on the Duke of Edinburgh Award has been challenging but
worthwhile. We did our practice expedition in the Forest of Dean and our
assessed expedition in the New Forest. Most of us found our time in the
New Forest much more enjoyable as there were fewer hills to climb and we
had learned a lot from the practice expedition. In addition, as a group, we
had improved our skills in cooking, setting up tents and map reading. One
of the highlights of the expedition was the many well-deserved breaks we
had, as endless paths and heavy rucksacks tired us greatly. We were
motivated by some gentle rivalry with the other Duke of Edinburgh group,
our main focus being to arrive at the destination before they did. During
the expedition there were, inevitably, some low points, however, these
were balanced out at the end of the day by our great achievement.
Susannah Montgomery and Kiran Bhusate
Graduate Fashion Week
On Thursday, 11 June, Year 12 Textile students travelled
to Earls Court to visit an exhibition organised by
Graduate Fashion Week and River Island. This was a
fantastic opportunity to meet students from universities
from around the country, who were promoting their
various courses related to the fashion industry, such as
fashion design and illustration, textiles, marketing,
journalism, media and promotion and product design and
packaging. We were able to see the work of the
graduates, talk to Course Leaders, and to pick up
literature and information on the various courses and
worked out well in the end thanks to Mrs Vines‘ quick
During the afternoon we experienced a real catwalk,
presenting this year‘s graduates‘ final pieces. We found
the whole event to be inspirational and interesting!
The highlight of the day was attending the careers clinic.
Here we were given the opportunity to ask questions to
professionals in the business, including Jeff Banks, the
Creative Director of Harper‘s Bazaar and the Managing
Director of River Island. It was both educational and
entertaining; it gave us a real insight into the industry.
We had to make alterative arrangements to get there due
to the Tube strike, which caused a dilemma but it all
We would highly recommend this trip and would like to
thank Mrs Vines for organising a fantastic day out!
Year 12: Geography Trip to
aim was to investigate local amenities, rates of crime and
types of housing. We discovered our map reading skills
were a bit rusty!
In March, four intrepid and enthusiastic AS Geography
students set off to Pembrokeshire, South Wales,
accompanied by a group from Mary Hare School and armed
with a never ending supply of Jo‘s legendary chocolate
brownies. We stayed at Orielton; an educational centre,
where we spent the mornings and evenings in lessons
learning about the day ahead and reflecting on what we
had found out. Our first mission was to identify and
memorise the menu for the week, and luckily there was
plenty to go around.
By the end of the trip we had picked up many useful
phrases in sign language and luckily the minibus was able
to withstand our vast quantities of luggage. Thank you to
Mrs Willetts who arranged the trip, but who unfortunately
narrowly missed out on winning the final game of table
football against Mary Hare‘s Mr Askew. However, we are
sure that this was a fixed result and the re-match will
During the week we combined our ever expanding
knowledge of the subject with the new techniques we were
acquiring in order to carry out a number of investigations.
On our first day, while taking on the extremes of Mother
Nature, we carried out tests on the River Afon Syfynwy,
including collecting data on river profile and load. Even
though the industrial strength waterproof trousers looked
fetching, in reality, they were unable to withstand the
raging wind and rain of the Welsh weather.
On the trip, we looked at the formation of sand dunes and
the different types of vegetation that grow in that
environment. We also visited Haverfordwest (birth place of
actor Rhys Ifans), which is the county town of
Pembrokeshire and a very popular tourist destination. Our
The Geography Crew, Abigail Oakton, Hannah Mackay,
Jo Weeks, Helen Butt
World Challenge Update
With the trip to Namibia now only one year away, the World Challenge team
have made an excellent start to raising the money they need to go on the
trip. With each girl needing to raise £3,625, numerous fundraising events
have taken place. Georgie Watts organised an extremely successful Murder
Mystery Night and raffle in May, raising over £1,000 towards her trip.
Hannah Mackay organised a Black Tie Ball with a raffle and auction. The
night was a huge hit and raised over £3,000!
The Summer Fete provided the perfect opportunity for the team to get
started on raising money for its group fund. Amy Talbot ran the Grannies‘
Attic stall because she had lots of items at home that she wanted to sell,
but until the day we didn‘t realise exactly how much she had! Along with
this, the team ran a sweet stall and car washing.
Although very tempted to eat the sweets, we packaged and sold over 150 bags.
Catherine Harvey and Bethany Sidey helped wash a lot of cars, although spirits
were low when we found the fifth car covered in bugs. Extra special attention
was given to Mr Jones‘ car! Amy Talbot, Lucy Varman, Georgie Watts, Jenna
Sabine, Bethan Rudgley and Hannah Mackay worked together all week to
prepare their stall for the fete, producing a very medieval-looking castle and
bunting, which won the £50 prize for the best decorated stall. In total, the
fete raised over £200 for the team fund.
As well as the fete, many of the team have been raising money through work,
babysitting and various other activities, so we are well on track for raising the
full amount and making our trip to Namibia very successful.
In addition to fund raising, the team has to attend a training weekend in Buxton in October. Although Buxton‘s climate
isn‘t that similar to Namibia‘s, we are all very much looking forward to a wet weekend in October!
Well done to the whole team at the fete and keep up all the hard work, it is paying off!!
Girl’s Outreach @ IBM
Earlier this term, St Gabriel's Year 12 students were invited
to a Girls' Outreach event at IBM. Although I have never
studied Business Studies, I have always been interested in
pursuing a legal career and was encouraged by Mrs Lyons,
Mr Jones and Mrs Sams to take up this opportunity to
experience a hugely successful corporate business.
Whilst there, we were made to feel very welcome by
friendly staff, including the Managing Director of IBM UK
Limited. We were given the opportunity to talk to
specialists in each department, who explained to us what
was involved in their jobs and gave us information on their
backgrounds. I was particularly interested in the Sales and
Marketing department, an area that I had never before
considered as a possible career. Since I showed interest
Swings & Smiles Charity Ball
This year‘s Sixth Form Charity Ball was held on Saturday,
21 March. Our theme was Bond, James Bond. The men
looked great in their suits; some went the extra mile and
came as other characters from the films and many just
had toy guns — well, boys will be boys, or should I say
fathers will be fathers! — whilst the girls looked fabulous in
their dresses. The night would not have looked so fantastic
had it not been for those who had set up beforehand and,
on behalf of all the Lower Sixth, I would like to say an
extra big thank you to those teachers who gave up their
during the talks and asked the staff about their careers at
IBM, I was lucky enough to be contacted by one of the
senior executives who offered me the chance to experience
a few days in the legal department at IBM in London, as
well as some time in Sales and Marketing.
Although I was a little doubtful about how useful I would
find the Outreach event, it turned out to be a brilliant
experience for me, and even more so because of the
exciting opportunity to visit for a second time which I had
not expected to be offered!
It is very inspiring to see that large corporations such as
IBM encourage women to apply for top positions in the
business world and make it possible to break the 'glass
ceiling' that Mr Jones so often says we should aim to do!
weekend to help us set up, put finishing touches together
and clear up afterwards; it was greatly appreciated. Also, I
wish to thank everybody who donated prizes, bought
tickets, bid on items, bought raffle tickets or reassured us
when we thought we would fail. Not to mention the office
staff, who helped us sort out our bank account and printed
all the tickets! Without these wonderful people we would
not have been able to raise the magnificent total of £9,094
for the deserving charity, Swings and Smiles. So to finish,
thank you again and to any year 11‘s reading this good luck
at trying to top us!
Sixth Form Induction Day
On Monday, 29 June, the new cohort of Sixth Formers began their Induction Week
with a day of team building exercises run by Take Footsteps. Take Footsteps is an
organisation that specialises in leadership and team building skills for young people.
On a beautiful sunny day in the school
grounds, the girls worked together in small
teams to complete a range of problem-solving
exercises, team challenges and adventurous
activities, including how to pass each member
of the team through a giant spider‘s web
without touching the web at all! Each activity is designed to focus on a variety of
life-skills such as communication, self-awareness, leadership, teamwork and
Everyone had great fun and hopefully learned some skills to help see them through
the next stage of their school life.
Congratulations to Chameleon, this year‘s Young Enterprise company,
for winning two prestigious prizes in the local area competition — Best
Trade Stand and the Award for Innovation. The Year 12 company
directors have worked together as an excellent team throughout the
year to achieve this outstanding level of success.
Can You Help?
Young Enterprise Business Advisor Needed
Over the last few years, Young Enterprise has seen groups of Year 12
students set up their own very successful businesses. To support them
in doing this we are looking for a Business Advisor who would, ideally,
need to attend weekly meetings with the girls at lunchtime. Anybody
with some business experience in any functional area would be most
welcome! If you are interested, please contact Petra Lyons
News From the Library
The summer term began with some excellent news, Emily Dillon, Year 7, had been chosen as the
Key Stage 3 winner of the Berkshire Education Library Service ‗Design a Book Cover‘ competition.
Emily and her family attended a presentation at the Education Library Service offices in Reading,
where prizes of book tokens and books were awarded. Many congratulations to Emily – her book
cover was chosen from over 900 entries!
It’s Murder In Our Library!
The first ‗Murder in the Library‘ quiz took place this term. The appearance of the silhouette of a
‗body‘ on the library floor caused a good deal of curiosity! The girls were given three sets of
clues, which took them on a hunt through the library shelves for subjects as diverse as local
history, capital cities, the periodic table and even the original ‗Body in the library‘ author,
Agatha Christie. Mr Edwards kindly agreed to be the victim, Miss Slack was a wonderfully unexpected murderer and the
‗body‘ was designed by Olivia Langford-Thomas in Year 9. Thanks to everyone involved – we hope to set up another
crime scene next year!
Many thanks to my student librarians for all their hard work this term: Alice, Megan, Jenny, Clare, Adrienne and Kate.
Your cheerfulness, enthusiasm and willingness to help has been much appreciated.
Creation of Angelis and AV8 Dance Company
At the start of the school year auditions were held for girls who wished to be part of two new dance companies. Entry to
Angelis, for girls in Year 9 upwards, was by audition only. AV8 became the senior dance company, led by the Dance
Captain, Amy Keenan, for girls in Year 11 upwards, who showed commitment, passion and ability in dance.
On Friday, 13 March, Angelis performed for the first time at Lift Off at South Hill Park, Bracknell. The group performed,
Host, which was choreographed by Amy Keenan, a beautiful, lyrical piece which was spectacular to watch. They also
perform the piece at the St Gabriel‘s dance show alongside their second piece, Ni-Ten, which was choreographed by
Hannah Spiers. Ni-Ten is the exact opposite in style to Host and sees the girls move energetically across the space to
loud, aggressive music. Finally the group performed at Quantum Leap VI at the Corn Exchange.
Class Moves, The Point Theatre, Eastleigh
On Saturday, 20 June, the AV8 Dance Company were given the opportunity to show their piece, Vex‘d, to a packed
audience at Class Moves — this was the first opportunity the group had had to perform in a professional environment.
Led and choreographed by Amy Keenan, they did a superb job at creating a fantastic piece which was high impact from
start to finish! The costumes were amazing and truly made the work stand out from the rest – well done!
PALS Dance Workshops
The PALS dance workshops enabled girls from St Gabriel‘s to work closely with the children in PALS to create a piece for
the dance show. Each week, short contact-based sections of movement were put together and then choreographed into
a group piece. We are looking forward to working with PALS again next year!
Dance in a Day
On Thursday, 18 June, 31 girls from local primary schools came to St Gabriel‘s to work with Hannah Spiers and Laura
Kelleher to create a piece for the dance show. It was the first time many of the girls had performed in a professional
environment and they were superb! Together, we devised a fabulous piece of dance based upon the musical ‗West Side
Story‘ and the idea of gang culture.
St Gabriel’s Dance Show – ‘Angelis’
On Wednesday, 24 June, St Gabriel‘s students from Year 3 upwards took
over the Corn Exchange for what was an awesome dance show, which we
should all be proud of!
From ‗The Lion King‘ to a ‗Dad Dance,‘ Angelis kept everyone in the
audience smiling and tapping their feet along to the beat from start to
finish. The Finale was captivating and fun — we all enjoyed it a bit too
enthusiastically! The dance show overall was inspiring and amazing,
thanks to the choreographed pieces by Miss Kelleher, Miss Spiers, Amy
Keenan and the dancers.
We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped to make the dance show such a triumph! Our special
thanks to Lindsey and Sophie and everyone else that helped in the wings; Mrs Jones, Mrs Atkins and everyone who
helped create and coordinate the costumes, and to Mrs Chicken for her amazing organising! Angelis would not have
been possible without Miss Kelleher and Miss Spiers, and all their hard work choreographing and teaching the dances as
well as controlling us throughout the rehearsals and the show.
Georgia Robertson, Amy Fitzpatrick & Vikkie Rigby
MUSIC & SCIENCE OVERVIEWS
Appearances by the Mini Angels, Little Angels and Fallen Angels at the Oxford Music Festival meant a busy start to the
Spring Term with many extra rehearsals preceding the performances. However, an early morning trip up the A34 was
well worth it — all the choirs sang well and benefitted from the performing experience.
The Spring Concert for the Senior School was full of variety. As well as various ensembles, the Oval Orchestra was on
sparkling form with a rendition of Pirates of the Caribbean. The Fallen Angels gave a warm and lyrical performance of
the Water is Wide and finished the first half with a toe tapping gospel arrangement of Get Happy! One of the highlights
of the evening was the performance of some of the GCSE compositions. Louise Unsworth‘s haunting Elegy for Strings
proved deeply moving for many, whilst Sophie Cooke‘s idiomatic piece, A Gypsy‘s Tale, was full of colour and energy.
One of the highlights of the year was the final Informal Lunchtime Concert for the Junior School, with many beautiful
and well crafted performances. The Junior String Quartet (Emily
Meredith, Eloise Weeks, Aggie Bebbington on violins and Emma
Hodgson, cello) concluded the concert with an excellent performance
In May, Year 8 went to London to see a performance of Joseph at the
Adelphi Theatre. Excitement grew as it was realised that Gareth
Gates would be appearing in the title role. The musical proved a most
fruitful topic that has subsequently been explored during the term‘s
Finally, the Year 10 GCSE Music girls, Miss Aston and myself had an end
of term celebratory trip to Oxford:
‗The GCSE students went to see the Bate Collection of Instruments at the Faculty of Music. It was great to see how
musical instruments have evolved over the years and we had the opportunity to play on a piano that Haydn used. After
that there was time to do some shopping in the Oxford Covered Market.
Evensong at Christ Church Cathedral followed. It was due to start at 6pm, but as the chimes of the nearby clock tower
died away we were told that the service runs according to Oxford time, which is in fact five minutes slower than GMT!
The music was beautiful to listen to and enchanting to watch.
Finally we had supper at Pizza Express where we had a chance to say goodbye to Mrs Chappell and Miss Aston and wish
them all the best for the future. Back on the bus some confessions were made and Mrs Chappell finally understood why
we were always late for Friday lessons and why the biscuits disappeared on a Friday!‘
Charity Rankin & Daisy Smeddle
This term saw the launch of an exciting new Science Club run by some very dedicated and
extremely enthusiastic A level students. We have had an enormous amount of interest from
the younger girls and after the ―Walking on Custard‖ experiment there has been no stopping
them. Designing and launching your own rocket fuelled by sweets and cola was also a big hit
as was making plastic.
Forensic Science @ Bristol
One of the Science Department‘s visits this year was
a Year 9 Challenge and Extension trip to @ Bristol.
The activities at the Centre were designed to
stimulate and challenge the more able girls by asking
them to take part in advanced thinking and practical
skills, such as DNA fingerprinting and chromatography
techniques. The girls also had an opportunity to look
round the various exhibitions at the centre.
Explore-At-Bristol is a 21st Century science centre, combining the best of handson activities with the very latest multi-media techniques. Science is brought
alive through stunning visuals and over 170 interactive experiences.
The girls spent time researching how their brain functions. This part of the exhibition allowed the girls to immerse
themselves in a stunning sensory experience. They also found out how space research affects their everyday life, from
cordless drills and ear thermometers to space food in their breakfast!
CLUBS & ACTIVITIES
St Gabriel’s Equestrian Team
The girls in the St Gabriel‘s Equestrian Team have had a good year competing against 17 other local schools in the
Inter-School Show Jumping Competition. The girls competing at 2‘6‖ had the most success overall, winning the
challenge shield jointly with Stonar. The other teams all made a great contribution, giving us sufficient points to tie
for the Overall Challenge Shield with St Bartholomew‘s.
We currently have a strong team of girls, ranging from our youngest member in
Year 5 all the way through the school to the Sixth Form, we are, however,
always looking for new riders. If you would like to join the team, please
contact any of the Equestrian Prefects, Sophie Veal, Jenny Bracey, Chloe Veal,
Becky Weeks, Hannah Bown or Mrs Porter.
Our next event is at Newbury Show in September. Please contact one of the
girls if you would like to compete or just come along and give us your support.
John Laing Sailing Trip
On 18—21 May, 11 St Gabriel‘s students and Mrs Chicken sailed to Poole on a
boat called the John Laing, part of the Ocean Youth Sailing Trust, which is an
organisation that encourages young people to sail. The students, ranging from
Year 7 to Year 10, learned the basic skills needed to earn a Starter Sailing
The staff on board were extremely friendly, encouraging and helpful. We all
had a turn at the helm which was great fun, but slightly daunting being in
charge of such a large boat. Over the three days we sailed from Southampton
to Poole and back, which is an 83 mile return voyage. It was a great
achievement and we all felt tired by the end.
It was a fantastic weekend and everybody learned a lot about sailing — I would
recommend the trip to everyone!
Ski Trip: Courmayer, Italy
32 keen skiers and four members of staff went off on the first Saturday of the Easter holidays to get some great spring
skiing in! There was plenty of snow, but also plenty of slush! For the beginners, that made for a softer landing when
the inevitable happened, although those that had skied before knew that the slush was slowing them down! Except
for Miss Veasey! She enjoyed it so much that she kept trying to go faster and faster. Meanwhile, Mrs Chicken did her
best at getting that basic snowplough stop perfected! Miss Smith was kept quite busy with several trips to the medical
centre for various twisted knees and ankles, happily none too serious!
If you are interested in joining next year‘s trip to Pila, Italy (2—10 January, 2010), please email Mrs Gillow,
[email protected], and she will let you know if there are places still available!
British Schoolgirl Races: 24 – 28 January 2009
This year was the first year that St Gabriel‘s was represented at the British School Girls‘ Ski
Races in the resort of Flaine, France. The St Gabriel‘s Team consisted of Alice Davies,
Camilla Perrett, and Lottie and Imogen Hobby. On the Sunday, all girls had race training in
the resort, followed by the giant slalom race on Monday and the slalom race on Tuesday.
There was also a school ―ski off‖ parallel slalom, where St Gabriel‘s skied against Downe
House. The competition was tough, however we still managed to finish and were awarded a
very respectable place for our efforts.
The school hopes to be part of British School Girls‘ Races 2010, which will take place
between 23—27 January in Flaine. If you are a good skier and keen to race, please contact
Please check the school calendar for dry slope skiing dates, which will run approximately once
a month, and the school Ski Swop Shop.
….. AND FINALLY
European Gymnastics Champions 2009
On 13 June 2009, Holly Hall captained the Junior
Pinewood Team Gym in the European Team Gymnastics
Championship in Cesenatico, Italy. Fifteen teams from
several European countries, including Sweden, Finland,
Spain, Italy, Portugal, The Czech Republic and Latvia,
along with three teams from the UK, competed for the
title of European Team Gym Champions.
Team Gymnastics is a discipline where teams of
between 6 and 12 gymnasts perform in three separate
disciplines: Floor, Trampette and Tumble. These
synchronised events depend on teamwork, fluidity and
technical expertise to score points on a system based
on the difficulty and execution of each move. For
instance a wobble on landing from any one of the
gymnasts on any move can cost 0.1 of a point –
Pinewood won the championships from the reigning
British Champions, Portsmouth, by 0.1 of a point!
How close is that?
On Saturday, 13 June, Nicola Brown
played in the finals of the Berkshire
County Schools Year 8 & Under Tennis
Tournament. Having won the semi finals
4-1, 4-0 she went on to the finals, where
she beat a player from Kendrick School
4-0, 4-2. Nicola was awarded a trophy
to commemorate her win.
Junior Mathematics Challenge
Congratulations to all the Year 7 & 8 girls who took part in the UKMT
Junior Mathematics Challenge earlier this term. Well done to the
following girls who were all awarded certificates:
Gold and Best in School: Ellie Oretti
Silver: Jasmine Curtis, Jenny Bracey, Natalie Sirs, Katherine Alexander,
Lily Erskine, Ellie Armstrong, Imogen Hobby, Haply May Eyres.
Bronze: Ellie Russell, Holly Jones, Hannah Griffiths, Ambreen Bhusate,
Zoe Franklin, Charlotte Corne, Nicola Osborne, Catherine Cue, Freia
Adams-Tee, Gabby Coe, Olivia Lines, Harriet Lupton, Meg Pragnell,
Megan Kerrigan, Kate Gridley, Alice Watson-Smith, Jessica Wotherspoon.
Another Chinese Success!
Over the past two years, Kiran Bhusate in
Year 11 has been learning Mandarin
Chinese with Spring, for one hour per
week. We are delighted to report that
Kiran has just passed her Asset Languages
Grade 3 Listening and Speaking
examination. This is the top grade you can
achieve at Breakthrough Level, so well
Earlier this year, Lottie and Becky Adams competed as individual
skaters in the Bracknell Dance Competition, winning Bronze and Gold
Medals, respectively. Their synchronized skating team from Bracknell
also took part in the British Synchro Skating Championships, where they
achieved Silver Medal position.
Recently, Poppy Martin was awarded the Berkshire Under 12 Girls
Hockey ‗Players‘ Player of the Year‘.
Freya Whitford and Bianca Rodriguez have also played hockey for
Berkshire this season.
Earlier in July, Claire Wood represented the South-West of England in a
Basketball Tournament in Gniezno Poland.
Read more at www.assetlanguages.org.uk
The School Shop will be open on Thursday, 3 September, from 12.00 to 4.00pm for all your last minute uniform needs.