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John Taylor High School News
February 2005

Page last update on 06 August 2007

Website www.johntaylor.staffs.sch.uk

Email: office@johntaylor.staffs.sch.uk

If your child is absent through sickness or Hospital / Dentist / Doctor's Appointment Tel 01283 239370

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50th Anniversary Celebrations
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Top in Area for Value Added
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Revision Skills on Valentine's Day
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Cambridge Places
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Help Us to Help You!
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Your Views on JT
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Rise and Shine!
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"Little Shop of Horrors"
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Survivors, Liberation, and Rebuilding Lives
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Getting Involved
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Future Chef
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EpiPens/Inhalers
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NO MP3 PLAYERS PLEASE
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Non-Uniform Days
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£1500 for Tsunami Appeal
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Body Pump Marathon raises extra cash for Tsunami Appeal
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WANTED: Dirty Cars and Loose Change!!!
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Travel Plan
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SAM Learning
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A VCE Science Students find out about the Taste and Smell of Beer
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US Sports Scholarship
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Badminton Racket
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On the Piste
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Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre
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Dates for your Diary
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News from Barton Youth Club
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PTA Summer Ball Friday 8th July
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Assistant Lunchtime Supervisors required
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50-50 Club

50th Anniversary Celebrations

Friday 21st September

Radio 4's "Any Questions" live recording with David Dimbleby and guests from 7.15pm in the hall. Tickets free

Saturday 22nd September

Afternoon Open Day and REUNION! (12-4pm)  

The afternoon session is open to anyone and is both an open day for current parents and children and a reunion for past students and staff, including:

bulletMeet your old mates: Classrooms will be dedicated to particular year groups, with displays of old photographs and copies of both an updated history of the school from 1985 written specially for the occasion by Graham Joiner and Gerald Carey's original 1957-1997 short history.
bulletArt exhibition: Open each evening from Wednesday to Friday as well as the Saturday afternoon. Some eminent professional artists, as well as students, are exhibiting and work will be for sale. If you want to contribute, contact Miss Evans, Head of Art, at school Plus the 5 wall hangings specially commissioned from the Yoxall Crafts Guild,
bulletSchool tours of your old classrooms as well as the new facilities - and some live lessons to show you how things have changed.
bulletSports and games, music (including a brass band and a fairground organ as well as school performers) and dance.
bulletFood: BBQ, tea, coffee, soft drinks, cakes, ice cream, strawberry teas.
bulletChildren's Fun: Children's entertainer, a coconut shy, a bowling alley, a fire engine, inflatable sumo wrestling, bingo, a fire engine, a pony and trap and a steam train - as well as our own circus skills troupe.
bulletCraft stalls: Lots already booked! Contact Mr Averis at school plus second hand books, plants (send both in) and commemorative souvenirs.

Evening Party on the Playing Fields (7-11. 30pm)

Great bands, bars, hog roast, dancing and fireworks!
Well over 100 tickets already sold!
£10.00 or £30.00 for a family (2 adults and under 18's)

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Top in Area for Value Added

In the new government "league tables" published a couple of weeks ago; our value-added score was the best in East Staffordshire and the 5th best in the county for non-selective schools. It was significantly better than that of any of our neighbouring schools. The most important table was the measure of progress from Key Stage 2 to GCSEs. This judges how much improvement students have made from when they entered the school in Year 7, 5 years ago, to their GCSEs. Our score was 1007.4, with 1000 being the national average and 988.2 the LEA average. The reason this appears so good compared with the A*-C% is that it uses the average point score per pupil (capped at their best 8 subjects, so it is not biased towards schools that enter more subjects). The average point score values all results, from A* to G, rather than just Cs and above, and is a much fairer measure. Improvement from KS3 to KS4 for the same year group was just under 1000, that is, about average compared with improvement nationally. In other words, because we did particularly well with them from Y7 to Y9, as measured by their SATs, it was tougher to add further value in KS4. It is all getting very complicated, isn't it? Let's just say that we appear to be doing quite well, but still not as well as we believe we can do.

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Revision Skills on Valentine's Day

On Monday February 14th, the first day of the half-term holidays, Year 11 students will be back in school preparing for their GCSE exams. We have bought in a team of experts to work with them on revision skills such as memory techniques, note-taking skills etc. The idea is to give them a good start on their GCSE exam preparation without taking up lesson time. If it is successful, we will consider repeating it in future years. If your children are in Year 11, make sure they are there for a prompt 9am start.

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Cambridge Places

Two students have been offered places at Cambridge this year: Lilly Joiner, who hopes to read Law, and Thomas Morris, who will study Natural Sciences. Both will have to get straight A grades. Several others were interviewed but narrowly missed out. Nevertheless, we do all that we can to prepare sixth-formers for university entrance, wherever they want to go. We believe that all students should be aiming for university and most will take up a place when they leave us at 18. Others may get there a little later, perhaps on new vocational courses or foundation degrees, but we want all of our students to aim high and become life­long learners.

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Help Us to Help You!

Please reply to the letters we send to you asking why your child has been absent. It is very expensive to have to send reminders. Better still; use the telephone absence line on 239370.

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Your Views on JT

Governors are exploring ways of finding out parental views on John Taylor as a way of looking to see how we can improve. A small working group is putting together a questionnaire which we may well attach to the next newsletter for you to return. We are also exploring ways of finding out more about what students' concerns are. Although we have a very active School Council system, we are planning to use a questionnaire designed by Keele University so that everyone can have a say. If we use this every year, we will be able to see whether things are improving and what is changing.

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Rise and Shine!

A pilot scheme is now running in Year 9 to try to make youngsters more careful about their general appearance. Form tutors all have shoe cleaning equipment to help smarten up muddy or scuffed shoes. A reminder to all parents, that extremes of fashion (including hairstyles) are not acceptable. Should you be in any doubt, please check with your child's Head of Year.

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"Little Shop of Horrors"

Staff and pupils have been busy for months rehearsing for the annual school musical, the big West End hit show "Little Shop of Horrors". It is playing from Tuesday 8th to Friday 11th of March. To order your tickets please complete the slip on the back page of JTY News. It should be a wonderful night out. Don't miss it.

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Survivors, Liberation, and Rebuilding Lives

In October 2004, we were lucky enough to be picked as the two representatives from our school to participate in the Holocaust Educational Trust's, 'Lessons from Auschwitz' course. The course involved a pre-visit seminar in London, a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, and a post-visit seminar at the Imperial War Museum in London. On October 19th 2004, we flew to Poland with the rest of our group, some HET representatives and a BBC film crew. It was an extremely long day. We left at 4am and arrived back at our hotel at 11 pm the same day. However it was a brilliant experience. I think we both agreed that it is impossible to fully understand what happened during the Holocaust until you actually visit, and this is something that not everybody wants to do. We also had the privilege of meeting Holocaust survivor, Kitty Hart-Moxon, at the pre-visit seminar and spent our visit to Auschwitz-­Birkenau with other survivors, making the visit even more special. We recently did our presentation for this year's Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks 60 years since the liberation of the camps. We have led assemblies for Yr1l and the Sixth Form, as well as putting up displays so that everybody can hopefully learn a lot more about what happened. The entire experience has been unforgettable. We were allowed to fulfil our ambition to learn more about the Holocaust and it has been a fantastic experience for us both.

Harriette Spencer (Y13) & Nicola Mailer (Y13)

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Getting Involved

Coming out soon is a DVD produced by the DfES aimed at parents of children in Key Stage 3. The title is "Getting Involved- 10 Top Tips" and it is presented by James Nesbitt. You can get a FREE copy by ringing 0845 6022260, quoting reference DfES 0725 -2004 G DVD, or visit their website  www.parentscentre.gov.uk . This website is a useful source of support, information and advice for all parents and carers who want to help their child to learn. Some useful booklets can be ordered free of charge or downloaded directly from the site.

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Future Chef

Congratulations to Philip Bennett in Year 10 who was one of 8 regional finalists in the Future Chef competition held at the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies in January. His meal of salmon, crushed potatoes with fennel and a tomato and black olive jus followed by raspberry crumble with vanilla anglaise, gained him third position in the competition. His trophy is on display at the front of school. Philip, who won a night's stay at the Malmaison Hotel in Birmingham, said "It has been a fantastic experience and one that I would recommend to anyone wanting to go into cuisine. I owe my success to the support of Mathew Davies, the head chef at the Moat House in Acton Trussell and also to Mrs Harrison at school. I would like to thank them both."

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EpiPens/Inhalers

Does your son/daughter have an EpiPen or inhaler at school? Mrs Woodcock currently has a quantity of out-of-date medication in school and requests that pupils with EpiPens or inhalers call in to see her at the Medical Room as soon as possible. Checks can then be made and new medication requested from you where necessary. It is vital that such medication is kept up to date in case it is needed in an emergency.

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NO MP3 PLAYERS PLEASE

Please do not let your children bring in to school MP3 or mini disc players. They are a temptation to thieves-we cannot be responsible for them if lost! The same applies to any other valuable items (like mobile telephones).

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Non-Uniform Days

Each year the School Council organises 3 non-uniform days. The first, back in the autumn raised £ 1200 for AIDS research. The next is on 10th February and is raising money for the British Heart Foundation. The causes chosen are decided completely by the School Council after listening to suggestions from individual students and then voting - an example of democracy in action.

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£1500 for Tsunami Appeal

As always, our students responded magnificently to the Tsunami disaster appeal, raising £ 1500* in the first 2 weeks of term. The School Council met on the very first day and hastily organised a variety of activities, ranging from a "wear a hat day" to "a bring and buy sale and auction". It was great fun and all in a good cause. We are also asking people to donate old mobile phones in aid of the appeal. If you have one you don't need, please send it in before 28th February.

* As at 28th January this has risen to £1900 with the promise of more to come!

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Body Pump Marathon raises extra cash for Tsunami Appeal

Mrs Mercer (Science Department) would like to thank all staff and pupils in her Tutor group (9Ga2) for sponsoring her in the marathon Body Pump on Sunday 16 January at Living Well Club in Burton on Trent in aid of the Disasters Emergency Committee fund for victims of the tsunami. Over £ 140 was raised by staff and pupils for this appeal.

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WANTED: Dirty Cars and Loose Change!!!

On Saturday 26th February from 9­ -12noon the Cubs, Scouts and Explorers will be raising money in Barton for the Tsunami Appeal. The scouts will be washing cars in the Shoulder of Mutton car park for a minimum donation of £3 and the Cubs are aiming to lay a mile of money along Main Street. Gather up your loose change and bring it along on the Saturday morning. There will be a bucket for donations outside the Post Office and the Cubs will then lay it out for you.

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Travel Plan

We are currently working with the county to put together a travel plan designed to make travel to school safer and to look for more environmentally friendly and healthier alternatives to buses and cars. A census has already been completed and is being analysed. If the plan is successful, we may be awarded a £ 1 0,000 grant to implement it. We are also working with the bus companies to check how many students are using their services in the hope that we can reduce the number of buses we need. This might also reduce the time students have to wait for buses at the end of the day.

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SAM Learning

The school has recently purchased SAM Learning. This is an Internet based revision programme that pupils from all year groups can use. During the term, pupils in years 11, 12 and 13 have seen a demonstration showing how the programme can be best used. SAM Learning covers 16 GCSE subjects and covers all tiers of entry. 10 hours of usage will help boost pupil performance in exams this summer! It is planned to demonstrate use to year 9 pupils before the SAT exams in May. SAM Learning can be reached through the school website: www.johntaylor.staffs.sch.uk - follow the 'Web Links' icon.

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A VCE Science Students find out about the Taste and Smell of Beer

Mrs Linda Hawkins came into school to talk to the Year 12 students about how she uses Science in her job as a quality assurance taster for Coors beers. She explained how she was part of a team who test the smell and taste of the beer and how the team are tested every day to check that their abilities are up to standard. She showed us a beer flavour-wheel and how every beer has a profile. She produced the four basic tastes of sweet, salty, sour and bitter for the students to taste and then produced various smells for them to describe. Finally she produced from her big red bag a variety of lagers and beers to taste and smell. She tutored us through the various descriptors for their tastes and smells which we all did in the name of science. A most enjoyable practical lesson was had by all!

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US Sports Scholarship

Year 13 student, Terry Topham, has won a scholarship at a top New York College. Terry will be studying Business and Economics at Manhattan College for 3 years from September following being head hunted by their athletics scouts. Manhattan is also a top sports college and gives scholarships to young athletes from around the world so that they can represent it in track and field. Terry is a talented 10,000m runner for Burton and has had many successes at local, regional and even national level in the event. He is currently sponsored by the giant sports equipment supplier, Puma. He trains at 6a.m. most mornings before coming to school and hopes to run the London Marathon next year. He also does a lot of work to promote the benefits of sport to young people, including giving talks and helping to organise events. We wish Terry luck, both in his exams this summer and in the States.

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Badminton Racket

Inspired by our performance in a Staffordshire Schools' Badminton Teachers' Workshop at the end of the summer term, the P .E. teachers have been putting a lot of work into the teaching of this sport. Several extra curricular clubs for all abilities and ages have sprung up and with the extra bonus of some coaching from Mr. Norris, the father of Robert and Anthony, a great deal of enjoyment is being had. Mr. Thompson continues to organise his Year 9 club on a Friday night where it is more of a question of who does not go rather than who does. Teams have been competing very successfully in local and county competitions and still to come are the Midlands Schools Championships at the end of February. Many of the pupils are also members of badminton clubs outside school. All in all the sport is beginning to regain some of the status that it had when Tracey Hallam, the British Women's Singles Champion and Olympic quarter finalist in Athens was a pupil here.

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On the Piste

If it is February half-term, then you can bet there is a skiing holiday going somewhere and this year is no exception. A party of seventy pupils and eight staff are travelling back to Pila in Italy with 'Interski' for eight days from 12th-21st February. An interesting group of mainly Year 12 and Year 8 pupils, where most of the Year 12s are beginners and a large number of the Year 8s are experienced skiers, will be staying in the Hotel Au Coin Vert, a three-star Italian hotel. With four hours of instruction each day, entertainment planned for every evening, the loveliest group of students you could wish for and snow falling as I write, another sensational week is in prospect!

Mr Evans

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Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre

The Y11 Religious Studies GCSE groups recently visited the above to learn more about the holocaust and to reflect on the millions of innocent people who died as a result of the prejudice. We had a chance to look around the garden. Its rural setting added to the whole peaceful aura, helping us to truly appreciate what it must have been like for those who were persecuted simply for their beliefs. The pile of stones commemorating the 1,500,000 Jewish children who died was especially moving. The garden deserved a lot more attention than we were able to give it. The museum provided an insight into the history behind the holocaust and the reasons it occurred. A short, graphic and highly impacting video about the recent genocide in Rwanda was shown; we were shocked that such atrocities are still occurring today. The final part of the day was a first hand account of what it was like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany by Bob Norton, who was a child at the time. This added to the effectiveness of the experience and brought to life some of the events we had read about. He answered our many questions, giving us more than just a text book to learn from. The trip was highly worthwhile and gave a tasteful, informative and thought provoking insight into the persecution of the Jews. I would recommend a visit.

Y11 pupil

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Dates for your Diary

Thur 10 Feb

4.30-7.30pm

Y11 parents' evening

Tues 22 Mar

4.30-7.30pm

Y11 parents' evening

Fri 11 Feb

 

Staff training day-school CLOSED to students

Man 14 Feb to
Fri 18 Feb

 

Half Term

Man 14 Feb

9.00am-3.00pm

Y11 revision skills day in school

Wed 23 Feb

 

PT A meeting (forthcoming meetings 26 Apr + 7 June)

Wed 2 Ma

 

Y13 parents' evening

Tues 8 Mar to
Fri 11 Mar

 

School Musical, “Little Shop of Horrors”

Tues 15 Mar

7.30pm

Y12 higher education evening

Thur 17 Mar

 

Y9 parents' evening

Wed 23 Mar

7.30pm

Musical Recital

Thur 24 Mar

 

Last day of Spring Term

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News from Barton Youth Club

Last year we have had a graffiti artist in and he has shown the group the artistic side of graffiti. We organised a team to be entered into a district 5-a-side football competition. We lost but you can't win them all and it was good fun! A group got a team together and ran in the Les Lester Fun Run and raised lots of money for a good cause. Forthcoming events include first aid training, a residential and lots more. At the Youth Club we have a main hall where we play badminton, volleyball, basketball and uni hockey. We have a members' committee which enables us to make decisions with the youth workers and plan trips and activities. We also do accreditation for projects, learn new skills and have new experiences. The accreditations that the Youth Service use are Passport to Success, Youth Achievement Aware, Duke of Edinburgh Award and Millennium Award. The Youth Club is open as follows: Tuesday (Y8s) 6.30-9.00pm and Thursday (Y9+) 6.30-9.00pm.  New members are always welcome. Everyone at Youth Club.

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PTA Summer Ball Friday 8th July

Reception Drink # 3-Course Meal # Bar # Live Music and Disco Black Tie # £25.00 per head. Contact Kathryn Buckman on: 01 283 790878. It was a fantastic evening last year and we raised £3,000 for the school.

We will need Raffle/Auction prizes-if you can provide a prize or a promise it can be sent or brought into school, or contact Kathryn Buckman on the above number. Please give us your support by coming to the ball or by providing a prize. The recent Quiz Night was a most enjoyable evening. Congratulations to the winning team, 'The Borcetshire Blues' and to 'Them Thar Hills', who came first in the family team category. The amount raised is still to be confirmed - hopefully around £500.

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Assistant Lunchtime Supervisors required

12.55-1.55pm Monday to Friday Term time only, part time would be considered. Would suit active retired persons (male / female). £7.27 per session (pay rise pending). For further information, please contact Miss G Yeomans (Bursar) ­ Telephone 01283 239300.

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50-50 Club

Winners for

December:

 

 

 

1st

167

Gill Bullock

 

£57.00

2nd

190

Petra Cleary

 

£30.00

3rd

70

S Roberts

 

£18.00

4th

120

Clare Macare

 

£12.00

Winners for

January:

 

 

 

1st

15

J Maloney

 

£60.00

2nd

279

J Cannon

 

£31.00

3rd

16

J Tulitt

 

£18.00

4th

254

R Gallimore

 

£12.00

Why not join now and make the prizes and contribution to funds even bigger?

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