- Happy Easter from the team at JTFS
- Outdoor Learning - We Need Your Help!
- Pluto continues his training
- Kindness rocks @ JTFS
- World Book Day 2019
- Full "STEAM" Ahead at JTFS
- Easter Poll
- Who wants a Piece of Pi? JTFS celebrates PI Day 2019
- Artwork Gallery
- What will you take part in next term?
- Noughts & Crosses – Review
- District Cup Football Final
- The Power of the Team
- STEAM Day- A Student's Perspective
- Rocket Race Car Day
- Skellig Trip: Nottingham Playhouse
- Guest Lecture by Professor Evans
After a long and busy term, the Easter holiday is nearly upon us. We have achieved a significant amount over the last 3 months for both the students and staff.
There has been a real focus on STEAM this term; developing knowledge, skills and understanding in science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. Students have had lots of fun with eating insects, building rocket fuelled cars and seeing how the physics of hot and cold influences our daily lives.
Another milestone for us has been the recruitment of staff for September 2019. With over 200 applications for teaching and support staff we have appointed very talented people to join our team and we look forward to welcoming them to JTFS.
Next term we will be starting our transition programme for our new cohort of students with plenty of opportunities for them to get to know us and see how we enable everyone in our community to succeed and thrive.
We hope that you have a great holiday - from all of us at John Taylor Free School.
We are developing our outdoor learning programme at John Taylor Free School to include our garden, nature/wildlife studies and bush craft and survival techniques. We really need your support to get started with this exciting new curriculum development.
If you have any of the following supplies that you would be happy to donate to the school to help us on our way with our new venture, we would be very grateful:
- Wellies - variety of children's sizes
- Garden aprons
- Gardening gloves (range of sizes)
- Garden hoes
- Weeding forks
- Hand trowels
- Large plastic garden waste tubs
- Pruning Shears
- Pruning saws
- Garden brooms
- Ratchet anvil loppers
- Watering cans
- Plant guides
- Plant ties
- Plant pots
- Seeding trays
If you are a tree surgeon or know of somebody who might be willing to donate large logs for outdoor seating, wood chippings/bark, please do let us know. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs Ceney (email@example.com).
Thank you once again for your support.
Pluto is nearly 7 months old now and he has continued his training to become the JTFS School Dog. He has been on the door to welcome students in the morning and is greeted with a smile by everyone!
In canine club, students have been learning how to train him, feed him and look after his well being too. We always manage a walk with him around the school site. To begin with the training has been on walking to heel, using the "sit and stay" command and more recently, the emergency "stop" which is a verbal and hand signal. This is aimed at protecting Pluto from any potentially dangerous situation and he must learn to stop and sit immediately on hearing or seeing this command.
Pluto has also be going to reading and maths intervention and sitting with the students as they develop their literacy and numeracy skills. As he is still young, he doesn't stay for long but this will gradually increase over time.
We make sure that Pluto gets plenty of fresh air and exercise whilst at school as well as the walks he enjoys at home. He has a quiet place to rest and always has a drink and treats available.
He is a very welcome addition to our school and we look forward to seeing him grow with us.
A mystery person has been painting and hiding "kindness stones" around our school. People find the stones, it has a kindness message on it and then they re-hide for someone else to find.
It has been a great way to share a smile around our school community - thank you to whoever has taken the time to do this!
On the 7th March, schools across the country celebrated World Book Day. Some went to school dressed up as their favourite book characters, some hosted competitions, but at JTFS, we did both. We had three competitions going on over the week:
- < Design a bookmark competition
- < Teachers’ favourite book hunt
- < Create a book cover on your tutor room door
In the design a bookmark competition, students had to design a bookmark based on the theme of this year’s World Book Day: Reading is Power. Students could draw a scene from a book that has inspired them, or they could draw what the phrase ‘Reading is Power’ means to them.
In the teacher’s favourite book hunt competition, each teacher wore a badge with their favourite book on it. Students had to copy down the name and author of each teacher’s favourite book.
In the tutor room door competition, each tutor group decided on a book cover to recreate on their tutor room door. Almost all of the tutor groups chose a different book, and designs varied from Roald Dahl to Agatha Christie!
Also, on World Book Day, everyone (including the teachers) came to school dressed up as their favourite book character. It was a great day, and it was amazing to see all of the different book characters people chose to dress up as!
Overall, it was a great week of book-themed activities to celebrate World Book Day and promote reading.
It has been a busy and successful term of STEAM at John Taylor Free School for our students. The aim of running STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) activities is to enable students to consider how the subjects work together and open their eyes to potential career paths for the future.
Harper Adams - Food for the future
The term began in January with a visit from Harper Adams University. Harper Adams are the leading specialist university in the UK tackling the future development of our planet's food production, processing, animal sciences, engineering, land management and sustainable business.
The students were challenged to see whether protein obtained from insects could replace the protein that we traditionally get from meat. Insects are more sustainable to produce as they require significantly less feed to produce the same volume of protein. Students were given the opportunity to taste the insects and then use their STRIPE skills to investigate whether this was a viable solution.
The Big Bang @ John Taylor
In February, John Taylor Free School hosted our first Big Bang event. The event, sponsored by Cameron Homes, was an opportunity to engage our students, and students from other schools in the local area with career ideas in STEAM subjects.
750 students from across 9 different schools attended the event and were given the opportunity to attend a theatre talk, workshops and visit our interactive exhibition space. They were also given the opportunity to enter a competition to design a sustainable outside space at the JTFS.
The theatre talk, delivered by Simon Watt, ( best known as a presenter on the BAFTA winning documentary series Inside Nature’s Giants and the Channel 4 special The Elephant: Life After Death) engaged the students with the possibility that one day we could use genetics to create super humans.
Workshops were run on a variety of STEAM subjects including a planetarium, Drone flying, where students had to code the drone to run secret missions, STEAM in films, woodland survival and the importance of renewable energy, amongst others.
Students were also able to question adults within our exhibition space about potential careers and observe technology for the future. Exhibitors included Birmingham City University, Burton Albion, Copeland Wedge Associated, Dyson, Harper Adams University, JCB, Tablet Academy – Virtual Reality and Robotics, Rolls Royce, Rotary International, Siemens, Wolverhampton University and Coventry University.
The students gained a lot from this experience, A range of comments included the below.
- ‘There was loads to do and i tried new things and new challenges’
- ‘We had a lot of opportunities to do different activities with other school students’
- ‘You could really see how the STEAM subjects worked together’
We are very grateful to Cameron Homes for sponsoring the event.
Professor David Evans – The Physics of Hot and Cold
In March, students were very lucky to receive a visit from Professor David Evans, Professor in High Energy Physics, from the University of Birmingham.
Professor Evans is on the management board of a group of 1800 scientists who lead high level research projects at the particle accelerator – Large Hadron Collider - at CERN.
Professor Evans brought along some liquid nitrogen to demonstrate to our students how hot and cold is relative and to provide some physics demonstration to the students we simply could not provide in school ourselves. One of the most interesting demonstrations was when a blown up balloon was placed in the liquid Nitrogen. This changed the state of the air inside to a liquid and shrunk the balloon, when lifted out of the liquid nitrogen, the air then converted back into a gas and the students witnessed the re-inflation of the balloon.
Students were left in awe of the physics and all wanted to assist in the demonstrations. Thanks again to Professor Evans for donating his time to visit JTFS, we feel that establishing links to universities and businesses is crucial to enable our students to have the best opportunities when they finish school.
Race to the Line – A STEAM day of rocket powered cars
Also in March our students took part in the Race to the Line Challenge. Race to the line is a national competition ran by the RAF, Royal Navy and the Learning Partnership.
The Race For The Line competition objective was simple: Student teams were challenged to design and make the fastest rocket powered car they can to compete with their designs across multiple stages in a national competition.
Every team’s car used the same size rocket motor and competed over the same track distance. The winning teams on race days will have the cars that have the most efficient aerodynamics, have lower mass and that have safe, well designed wheels that reduce friction and can survive the forces of a high speed run.
We complemented this activity by running a series of workshops in the morning in Science, Maths, Art and DT, followed by the rocket powered race in the afternoon. In Science, students investigated the impact of friction on speed, in Art they looked at car designs and how they could portray speed in a picture. In maths, students engaged with distance time graphs and how to analyse journeys and in DT they put the finishing touches to their vehicles. Congratulations to the winning teams who will be competing regionally now with other schools in the area.
Students comments after the event were as follows
- ‘I really enjoyed the day as you could clearly see how the morning activities complemented the race in the afternoon’
- It was great to see how maths and art can be related to the rocket powered cars.
We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run so many exciting projects for our students this term.
If any parents have any contacts in STEAM related industries and are willing to become involved in any way with the school, then please contact the Lead Teacher for STEAM at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We would love to hear from you.
How will you be spending Easter?
Poll is closed
On Thursday 14th March students and staff at JTFS celebrated “Pi Day”.
The aim of the day was to promote a positive attitude towards number. Students had the opportunity to work with number in a plethora of situations and competitions, including estimating how many phone calls home Mrs Barnby made last week (answer: 12) and how many bricks it took to build JTFS (answer: 99000).
There was a variety of events that took place. In the number hunt, students had to answer mathematical questions and then search to find the matching room in the school building, where there lay a clue. Competition was fierce, with the winning prizes going to Serena Pettingale and Elizabeth Rae.
This year saw the first ever JTFS Pi Day Memory record being set by Israt, who memorized a staggering 43 digits, that’s 3.1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 693 (wow!). With second place going to Sam Jackson with 33 digits and third place to Daniel Hughes with 27 digits. We look forward to seeing if someone manages to beat the record next year!
It was fantastic to see so many students keen to succeed and thrive with number, and having a team of staff who value the importance of embedding numeracy across the curriculum.
Students have been learning about the impact of plastics on our seas and rivers in Art this term. Inspired by artists such as Richard and Judith Lang, Alvaro Arpa and Pam Longobardi, they have created their own pieces of artwork.
Summer Term Enrichment Programme
Enrichment is an important part of our curriculum. It enables everyone to try out new activites or get involved in something outside of their comfort zone. All students must take part in at least 1 enrichment activity during the week. There are so many to choose from next term - so students may want to choose more than 1!
Earlier this month, around 20 pupils from John Taylor Free School had the opportunity to see a performance of Noughts and Crosses at Derby Theatre. Wow! What a performance – all the students that attended this theatre trip were incredibly vocal about its brilliance.
The story, which explores themes of authority and prejudice, followed the blossoming romance between Sephy (a cross) and Callum (a nought). Despite falling for one another, their relationship is a forbidden one as they are caught between an overbearing and violent cross government and a nought resistance movement which seeks to claw back power for itself using subversive tactics to win a guerilla war.
From the moment we took our seats, looking at how the stage was set, curiosity took hold of me as my imagination explored and blossomed with the thought of what was to come. The storyline hooked me in within the first few seconds of it starting. It was an absolute emotional rollercoaster from start to finish. From being filled to the brim with happiness and excitement, to hiding behind the seat in front of me, nervous to look at what was happening. Through every step of the way, I felt and understood their emotions.
Throughout the performance we became attached to the characters and felt the emotions that each of them were going through, living the lives they were, as if we were them. This left us rooting for them to fulfil their aims, and at times even getting angry when some of the characters had been injured or hurt by someone, both emotionally and physically. When the characters did what we all hoped they would I was overjoyed but, unfortunately, not everything was as it seemed.
To conclude this review, I would say that it is an amazing play and I would suggest this production is not one to be missed by anyone.
Match Report: JTFS 2 - JTHS 3
Nerves were bouncing all around Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium before the District Cup final as the JTFS boys received an inspirational speech from manager Mr Vardy. This was to be first ever JTMAT derby between the Free School and the High School.
With the talk over, the game began. Strong and ready, the boys of JTFS pushed forward but JTHS scored early on making the score 1-0 only minutes into the game. As the game went on there was a lot of back and forth with the ball and by half time it was still 1-0 to JTHS. There was still everything to play for!
The boys kept their heads and their spirits high which was vital as Harvey scored to level the score at 1-1. The game continued and JTHS went back ahead to make it 2-1 to JTHS but, with only 5 minutes left, Bonser levelled once again to bring the score to 2-2. This meant that they had to head into extra time.
This period of the game was very even but the tie was settled through great play by JTHS which saw the ball hit the cross-bar and appeared to bounce onto the line. Controversially, the linesman awarded the goal handing JTHS the cup. The JTFS boys can be very proud of their efforts though in their first ever season and they showed great sportsmanship. The final score was JTHS 3 JTFS 2.
Squad: Thomas, Theo, John, Zac, Harry, Jamey, Connor, Louis, Muhammad, Caleb, Damian
"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." Henry Ford
This is the quote I used when on interview for my job as Head of School. It is one that sticks with me because of the emphasis of working together as a team. We are currently in the process of recruiting for our next group of staff to join our team and it has made me very reflective on what the word actually means.
It is a very unusual position to be in. We need to more than double our staff numbers for September 2019 and this has made me look carefully at the strengths of the current team and what we would ideally like to achieve from this recruitment round in order to complement and strengthen the group of people we already have. We are fortunate enough to have an incredibly strong team of people here at JTFS. When they were appointed, I emphasised the need for flexibility and to be prepared to roll sleeves up and get the job done, whatever it may be. The staff here have demonstrated that time and time again. From induction to open evening, to recruitment events, sporting fixtures, evening trips to the theatre, our enrichment programme; these are just some of the examples of where the staff have gone above and beyond for our students ; because they want to and because they are role modelling for our young people the notion of 'above and beyond'
Our restaurant staff from Mellor's Catering are very much part of our staff team playing a really important role in keeping us healthy and well fed. Our cleaning team from Chartwells work closely with us to make sure that our beautiful building is ready every day for us to learn effectively; We make no distinction between teaching and support staff we are all here for the same purpose and that is to provide a fabulous learning environment for our young people.
With such a small team, any slight change can make a significant difference; a colleague who is poorly or a child who needs the one to one attention from a member of staff for a period of time; these issues (and more) have presented themselves to us over the last 6 months and our team of staff and students is stronger for it.
We also develop our students ability to work as part of a team throughout our STRIPE curriculum. We talk to students all the time about the importance of working together, to know when to lead and when to be led. The Student Learning Conference last week was a clear example of where the students acted effectively as part of a team. It was not just group work where they independently worked on a project and happened to be in a group to deliver it. This was genuine team work. They had to collaborate, share ideas, challenge each other, listen to understand and most importantly reflect on their own learning journey. I was incredibly proud to see how confident and articulate the students are becoming about their academic progress and also their learning behaviours. As part of World Book Day, students worked in their tutor groups to decorate a door to represent their favourite book; there was a team prize for the fancy dress competition as well as individual awards reflecting our desire to encourage and support students working together to achieve success.
Respectful relationships are at the heart of our school community. Every time we have visitors to John Taylor Free School, they always comment on the atmosphere here being one of happiness, trust and respect. In my view, that demonstrates the quality of the teamwork we have here our staff and students have come together from a range of backgrounds and over the last 6 months we have demonstrated time and time again that working together enables everyone to succeed and thrive.
During the morning sessions, students made a visit to either Mrs Ceney’s room or the theatre, where they were met by some lecturers from Harper Adams University in Shropshire.
We were taught that our current food sources of dairy and large mammals won’t be very effective in the future and people will go hungry. Instead, they suggested that a viable solution would be to eat bugs as these are rich in nutrients and also do not have such a big impact upon the planet. One of the lecturers claimed that “we are not trying to get rid of the current process, but suggesting insects as a backup.”
When we get to the stage where we have reached the Earth's maximum capacity it will be harder to supply food. This experience gave us some great ideas as to how we can make sure that we have enough food for everyone in the future.
This was a day designed to bring together all of our subjects in a rocket fuelled race car! In Art we were given the challenge to draw images to represent speed and movement, we were also asked to design and create logos to decorate our cars. We discussed the importance of Art in the race car world, from advertising to race car design. In Science we performed some friction experiments to understand how the surface would impact the speed of our cars. In DT we added finishing touches to our previously made cars such as using sandpaper to smooth the edges and make them more aerodynamic. This would hopefully enable us to with the race. Finally, we had a Maths lesson to understand which mathematical formula we should use to calculate the speed that our cars in the race.
We then ended the day with a rocket fuelled race and a review of the day. The winners were car 38 (Adam, Jason, Falaq and Sherena), car 44 (Violette and Francesca) and car 55 (Daisy, Mia and Hafsa).
It was a fantastic day and not one that I'll forget in a hurry!
Skellig is a mythical theatre production staring a young boy named Michael who moves in to a new house; the mother and father are expecting a baby and were preparing for its birth. However, the baby was born too soon and the environment was not safe for a newborn. Before they even name the baby, it becomes sick and needs medical help with her heart. The father assured Michael that it was just routine and changes the subject to the fact that they’re knocking down the garage for extra room. However, Michael is curious and one-night creeps out of bed, comes down the stairs and opens the garage door to find something he was least expecting.
What appeared to be an elderly man was lying on the floor and suddenly woke up to see Michael shining a torch in his face. Over time (of course not telling his parents) Michael looks after the man and listens to his many requests.
Michael meets his next-door neighbour whilst in his garden, he did not recognise her though. She turned out to be home-schooled and taught Michael everything there was to now about the world around them. However, Michael’s newborn sister was rushed into hospital while he was at school one day and suddenly everything seemed stressful for him.
And then, as all the stress was happening, he decided that he and the girl (Mina) would venture into the garage to see the man. He was still there, and the girl was shocked. Over time the man seems to get better and after few days he stands up and the two children notice something. The poor old man was not old and seemed very young and weirdest of all… He had wings. Mina and Michael remember that the garage will be knocked down soon and because the man seemed to be in good health, they took him to a secret, abandoned house at the end of the road. There they learn that the man is an angel and just as the children ask his name and just as the interval is about to start, he remarks “My name is Skellig.”
The interval started and the suspense was killing the audience.
The interval ended and picked up with Michael at school. His two friends were teasing him for hanging out with a girl telling him he liked her multiple times as the scene went on. Later, in the plot Michael pleads for Skellig to help his sister and when Skellig tries to say no Michael storms of remarking that he hates Skellig.
The next night Michael felt bad, so he went back to the secret house but Skellig was gone. And then Michael’s dad calls. “Michael. It’s your sister” said the father. “she’s recovered and your mum has an amazing story to tell you.” Michael was filled with joy and ran back home as fast as he could to see the baby in his moms’ arms and his dad smiling with joy. “It was amazing” the mother said “it was a man. He was stood at her cot and I wanted to scream but I couldn’t. he took her out and stared at her and I fell back to sleep. In the morning she was in amazing health. I don’t know what happened that night, but it was truly magical.” Michael knew that Skellig was there and saved the baby and forgave him.
Overall, I give the production a 4 ½ stars out of 5 review as there were constant cliff-hangers and an amazing set and everybody had a perfect role and stuck to it throughout the play.
The Physics of Hot and Cold
On 21 March, the entire school made their way to the theatre where a presentation was held by Professor David Evans from the University of Birmingham. He was explaining to us about the physics of hot and cold temperatures.
At the front of the theatre he had an array of items on a table as well as a canister of liquid nitrogen. We were then educated on heat energy and kinetic energy and informed how cold decreases resistance of electrons running through a current. He explained that we are using this information to create things such as the great hadron collider.
Next we heard about how physics laboratories are the coldest and hottest places on the planet, if not the galaxy! This was very surprising to us.
The assembly was then finished off with another liquid nitrogen test where a balloon was placed into the liquid and we watched it expand as the air inside of turned in to a gas.
It was an amazing lecture and it was great to hear from a real life university professor! Thank you Professor Evans for making physics so exciting.