Recent News

Awards Night

Pride was the theme of Leek High School’s annual awards ceremony which took place at the Springfield Road school last week.

Headteacher Phill Evans spoke of the persistence, resilience, inquisitive nature, high expectations and determination to follow their dreams of the sixth formers and Key Stage 4 students who stepped forward to receive certificates from him.

Mr Evans said: “Success is not the absence of failure. It is persistence through failure. It is about keeping going when things don’t work out, overcoming the unexpected and being adaptable.

“The message tonight is well done to you all. We are proud of all you have done and we are looking forward to what you are going to do next.”

Among the many awards presented last Wednesday was an award for Achievement against the Odds in memory of Matthew Beardmore, an unforgettable former student who died in a road accident. This was presented to Drew Pitts.

Students Peter Knight and Andrew Hambleton were each presented with The Headteacher’s Special Award for their outstanding academic achievement in Maths. Teacher Matt Goodwin said: “In Year 8 these two each achieved an A* at GCSE, in Year 9 they gained Distinctions in Further Maths and, already, in Year 10 they have finished half their A level work and are looking to sit the exam early in Year 11. The pair have entered many competitions and achieved success and I am very honoured to teach them.”

Surprise award of the night went to retiring teacher Miss Ann Burnett who has served Leek High for 40 years in the Food Technology Department. Presenting her with flowers, Mr Evans said: “She has my thanks and the thanks of every student who has been fortunate enough to be in her classroom. It is a rare honour to serve with such a dedicated professional.”

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Colwyn Bay Promenade site visit

This spring VolkerStevin took part in Open Doors 2017, inviting members of the public to visit the Colwyn Bay Promenade construction site, where Conwy Council have decided to take radical action to replace the town’s ageing sea defences.

Open Doors is an initiative delivered by Build UK to show young people the fantastic range of careers in the construction industry.

At the time of the event, the project had used approximately 4,500m3 of concrete and 900 tonnes of sheet piling as part of a £4.8 million scheme to improve defences and public access to Colwyn Bay’s promenade.

During the Open Doors event, one of the tours was attended by a group of BTEC students from Leek High School, which is a specialist technology school. One of the teachers in the group commented: “It’s great to get the kids out on site to see and feel it – better than me jabbering on in the classroom!”

The students were shown VolkerStevin’s work on the promenade, which is due to be completed in June this year, which included improved sea defences, a new pedestrian promenade, new public realm and a cycle route along the town’s seafront.

As well as inviting school groups to attend Open Doors, VolkerStevin has also visited schools in the local area to promote its work on the seafront project and to outline the different career opportunities that construction can offer. The business has also worked with the local job centre to recruit people from the town to work on site.

James Elliott, site agent for VolkerStevin said: “The Open Doors initiative provided a great platform to promote both the civil engineering industry and the diverse career paths that are available. From a personal perspective it was a great experience to share my knowledge with a potential next generation of civil engineers.”

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Burns’ Night

Students at Leek High School got a taste of Scottish culture last week when they swapped their school dinner for haggis, neeps and tatties to celebrate Burns’ Night.

The school’s Head of Year 9, Geography teacher Gary Bartram, who hails from Dundee, organised the tasty treat for 120 year 9 students, donning his kilt for the special occasion and piping the haggis into the school hall in traditional style. He said: “Many of the students have been trying to get me to wear my kilt to school for a while now. I thought there could be no better occasion than a Burns’ supper and January 25 gave us the chance to get involved in a social event that most teenagers have never experienced before.

“Every single student in Year 9 contributed to the event and they got a chance to learn more about the Scottish culture, geography and the poetry of Rabbie Burns. We were joined by geography students from Years 10 and 13 and I hope it proved a memorable occasion for them all.”

Mr Bartram didn’t have to go north of the Border to source his haggis as Meakin’s Butchers in Leek rose to the challenge. And the students’ verdict? “It tasted much better than I expected,” was A level student Matt Shea’s comment.

Year 10 student Morgan Heath said: “I think haggis is really nice but I am used to eating it as my mum is Scottish and we have it every year on Burns’ Night.”

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Presentation Evening

Presentation evening 2017 1Teenagers returned to Leek High School for an evening of canapés and catching up when they were presented with their GCSE and A level certificates last Thursday.

The end of the festive break saw the sixth form of 2016 reunited as they celebrated their exam success and compared notes on university and working life. And successful GCSE students joined them to receive their exam certificates from headteacher Phill Evans.

Inspired by the words of American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Mr Evans told the group: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Presentation evening 3He said that the evening was all about celebrating achievement, adding: “It’s great to see so many young people coming back to Leek High to tell us how they are doing and you are all a great example of what can be achieved through hard work and effort.

“As teachers, it’s a real privilege for us to help you on your journey in life and tonight is a great opportunity for us all to catch up with old friends and to share achievements and progress. Well done to you all and welcome back.”

Mr Evans thanked Leek High’s head of Food Technology, Ann Burnett and the students in Year 10 who had worked hard to create the spread of home-made canapes enjoyed at the celebration event.

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HPA 2016

HPA 2016 Brindley house gangsters GimpYoung entertainers took to the stage at Leek High School to show off their talents in their annual House Performing Arts contest.

The end of year show saw singers, musicians, dancers and actors battle it out for top spot with both Brough and Brindley houses giving it their all to wow the audience of parents and friends and the judging panel. And it was a close fought contest with Brough managing to hold on to their winners’ title from last year.

Joe Mudd, one of the comperes from rival house Brindley, said: “We all enjoyed ourselves and had a laugh and I think the annual contest is just great for bringing everyone at Leek High together across all year groups.”

Judge Caroline Wallett, a teacher at Churnet View Middle School, said: “It was a pleasure to see the talent possessed by all who participated in HPA this year.

“Both houses had assets but it was the sense of team work and enthusiasm by Brough which made them our overall winners. It was a very enjoyable evening and I’m already looking forward to next year’s performance.”

HPA 2016 Brindley house dancersHPA 2016 Olivia Vigrass and Aimee BirchHPA 2016 Brough house dancers

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Children in Need

Three popular members of staff at Leek High School faced a charity gunging on Friday to raise over £200 for Children in Need.

English teacher Louise Hine, History teacher Richard Mace and PE teacher Matt Broad suffered two bucketfuls each of a gloopy mixture of flour, water and cornflakes in the school yard after students voted the member of staff they would most like to see gunged.

LEEK HIGH GUNGING 10The charity escapade proved a popular stunt among students, particularly Shannon Frodsham, Lottie Moss, Ellie Yates, Kay Sheldon, Mia Lloyd and Florence Knight who performed the honours with the loaded buckets. It was less popular with the teaching staff, 17 of whom bought themselves out of the voting procedure with a charity donation.

Headteacher Phill Evans said: “When the event was approved by me, one of the conditions I imposed was that my name was not to appear on the voting list.”

Louise Hine told the students: “You are all in detention for the rest of your lives and I am thinking of handing in my notice after this.”

Richard Mace said: “I get up every morning and work incredibly hard for these young people and all they want to do is throw stuff over my head.”

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careers 2016 Dart TrainingRepresentatives from local companies, the Armed Forces and training providers converged on Leek High School last Thursday for an evening of careers information and advice.

Teenagers and their parents from both Leek High School and Westwood College were able to meet the experts and find out more about their options post 16 with apprenticeships high on the agenda now that all young people must stay in education or training until the age of 18.

A dog called Marv attracted a steady stream of visitors to the Dart Training stand where his owner, Anne Morgan, explained about the work-based learning opportunities on offer through Dart, a subsidiary of Reaseheath College in Nantwich. Ann said: “We are specialists in land-based education and already work with Leek High with students interested in farming. 98% of our apprentices find full-time employment on finishing their courses and I like to bring Marv along to events because he has a great empathy with young people and always gets people talking. I find that a lot of young teenagers really have no idea of what they want to do on leaving school.”

Martec Training representative Philip Mayer talked about apprenticeship opportunities in motor vehicle mechanics and repairs as well as hospitality and catering. The Newcastle-under-Lyme based training provider works closely with local hotels and garages and has a training base offering experience working with the latest hybrid and electric vehicles as well as spray painting and body repairs.

Careers 2016 BLCAltrad Belle in Sheen had several representatives at the event and work closely with Leek High to offer apprenticeships in business as well as engineering. And Leek United Building Society’s HR Adviser Nicola Plant and HR Assistant Charlotte Wood explained that the local finance provider offers apprenticeships in IT and Human Resources as well as in Finance.

Buxton & Leek College, Newcastle under Lyme College and Stoke-on-Trent College all had representatives on hand to discuss the range of courses on offer. And the new Leek Federation Sixth Form was represented by Sam Wallinger from Westwood College and Katie Ackerley from Leek High who informed visitors about the wider range of options available now that the two campuses are working together.

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Black Umfolosi

Black UmfolosiTeenagers at Leek High School found they’d got rhythm when a group of black Southern African dancers took over their school hall last week.

The enthusiasm of the visiting artists, Black Umfolosi, proved infectious and the world-famous group had every student up on their feet singing and dancing in traditional South African style.

The group, from Zimbabwe, formed in 1982 when a group of school friends got together naming themselves after the Umfolosi Omnyama River in South Africa to where their ancestors can be traced. They have since toured the world many times and performed at prestigious events including the Commonwealth Games in Canada. They have also appeared on TV shows including Blue Peter, the Generation Game and Jools Holland.

Last week was Leek’s turn to experience their gumboot dancing and acapella music as they ran workshops at Leek High as well as Westwood College and Churnet View Middle School. Leek High teacher Sarah Mercer said: “The students have had an amazing day. The singing and dancing is so very different to what they are used to. They don’t normally get the chance to experience other cultures and they have been so wowed by the group that they’ve been high fiving them around the school!”

Dancer Thomeki Dubi said he and his fellow artists had been equally impressed by Leek and the Staffordshire Moorlands. The group took up residence at The Roaches Tearooms during their stay and Thomeki said: “We are staying in an amazing place with mountains and we think it’s very beautiful, clean and refreshing. We’ve had a great time at Leek High and Westwood College and are finishing our week with a workshop and final performance at Churnet View Middle School.”

Thomeki told Leek High students that the traditional dances were created by men working in oppressive conditions in the mines of South Africa who made up the routines to entertain themselves and lighten their mood.
Student Joseph Belfield, 15, said: “I was a bit worried about taking part in this because I am not the best dancer but I feel like I did well.”

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GCSE Results 2016

It was congratulations all round at Leek High School on Thursday where students picking up their GCSE results achieved some of the highest possible recognition.

GCSE 2016 - Mat Goodwin, Peter Knight and Andrew HambletonExtremely rare A* Distinctions went to Peter Knight from Ipstones and Andrew Hambleton from Winkhill who sat their Additional Maths GCSEs early at the tender age of 14 having already achieved top grades in Maths GCSE last summer. The pair are now due to start on the A level course with aim of passing that before they are old enough to enter the school’s sixth form.
Both boys attributed their success to `hard work` and hours of study with an after school maths club run by teacher Mat Goodwin helping them achieve their best. Mr Goodwin said: “They are both very good independent learners and look set to be our stars of the future.”

Girls too produced some brilliant results, particularly Laura Kirkham, aged 16, from Newtown, Longnor who gained 10 A*s and 2 As having already gained an A* in her Maths GCSE last summer. She said: “I feel very relieved today. I’ve worked very hard to get these results and had no life for quite a while. Now I’m looking forward to another 12 days off until I start work again in the sixth form.”

GCSE 2016 - groupEloise Baker, 16, from Elkstones also expressed relief after picking up 7 As and 4 Bs. She said: “I’ve been really stressed for ages as I need these results. I want to go to Uni to study Medicine and I know you need top grades.”

For parents Jenny and William Hurst, from Pilsbury near Hartington, results day at Leek High was the last after more than a decade. They accompanied younger son, Alex, who was picking up his GCSEs before leaving the school to pursue a career as a professional footballer.

Youngest of four children, Alex, 16, had his talent on the pitch spotted by a soccer scout and enjoyed a spell at Everton. Now he’s been taken on by Crewe Alexandra on an apprenticeship which will see him study for a BTEC in Sports Science at Reasheath College in Nantwich.

Alex was pleased to pick up seven good GCSE passes after taking a lot of time out of school for training and was grateful that Leek High could timetable his lessons around this. Dad William Hurst, a governor at the Leek Federation, and mum Jenny, have been accompanying their children to results days for 14 years, since eldest daughter, Lucy, collected her GCSE results in 2002, followed by Phillipa, then James.

GCSE 2016 - Laura KirkhamHeadteacher Phill Evans said: “Our students, their families, and staff should all be very proud of these achievements. Many of the class of 2016 are staying on in the Sixth Form where they can certainly look forward to even greater success in the future.

“It has been particularly pleasing that the proportion of students making expected or better progress in the core subjects of English and Maths was once again in line with national averages.

“Very well done and congratulations to everyone.”

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A Level Results 2016

A teenager who missed several weeks of school after the sudden death of his father was among those celebrating top A level results at Leek High School on Thursday.

Alevels 2016 groupAaron Drummond, 19, from Leek succeeded against the odds to achieve a place at Nottingham University to study for a Masters degree in Computer Science. After picking up a Grade A pass in Maths and B grades in Further Maths and Physics, Aaron revealed: “I had been predicted A* grades but, after my dad died in November, I found it really hard to concentrate. I couldn’t be in school because I had to sort stuff out like emptying his house and I missed several weeks of my course. But I worked really hard to catch up and am just happy to get my place at Uni now.”

Supporting Aaron through his grief was girlfriend Courtney Long, a fellow sixth former at Leek High, who also picked up passes in English and IT. She re-took her Maths GCSE, with coaching from Aaron, and is awaiting that result next Thursday before finding out if she has secured a place at Nottingham Trent University to study English.

Alevels 2016 Jess Staples and Jan LargeAnother high achiever was Billy Goldstraw from Cauldon Lowe who was accompanied by mum, Paula Randle, to pick up his A in Maths, A in his Extended Project in Biology, and B grades in Biology and History which have secured him a place at Keele University to study Biology. He said: “I have always loved biology and had some really inspiring teachers. Now I’d like to be one myself. I think Leek High has a great sixth form where small classes make sure everyone gets individual attention.”

Billy’s mum, Paula, said: “Billy deserves his success. He had no sleep last night because he was so nervous and I’ve not seen him for a year because he’s spent so much time in his bedroom studying.”

Ipstones brothers Lucien and Marius Dobel-Ober each picked up a set of top grades – Marius getting As in all four of his AS levels including Maths, Further Maths, Physics and French and Lucien getting an A in French, B in Biology and C in Chemistry. Both are planning to study at universities in France where they will have to pay minimal tuition fees owing to their French citizenship.

A levels 2016 - Billy Goldstraw and mumAlso celebrating was Ruby Harrison from Leek who secured a place at Liverpool’s John Moores University to study Applied Psychology after gaining a B in Psychology, Distinction* in Sport and D in History. She said: “We are eating out tonight and dad will be paying.”

AS students also achieved great results with Cai Markham gaining A grades in Maths and Further Maths and scoring 100% in two of his units. He is aiming for a place either at Oxford or at an American university. Jack Flower, who got an A in Maths and Bs in Biology and Chemistry at AS is looking closer to home with his sights set on Biomedical Science at Keele.

Headteacher Phill Evans said: “We are delighted to see the hard work and determination of our students pay off with such excellent results.

“Particularly strong subject performance was seen in English Literature at A level and in Maths both at AS and A level with most students studying these subjects gaining at least a grade C.

“Results for vocational qualifications were equally outstanding with 100% of students who studied BTEC sport gaining a Distinction or Distinction* – the equivalent of A or A* at A level – and 90% of those who studied vocational Information Technology gaining Distinction or Distinction* grades.

“Congratulations to them all.”

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