Saxmundham Free School was one of two schools that shared the top honours in this year’s Dora Love Prize – an annual competition which aims to make sure the dreadful atrocities suffered by millions because of genocide and persecution are never forgotten, and that students develop a sense of personal responsibility for the world we live in today.
Saxmundham Free School in Suffolk and Colchester Royal Grammar in Essex were joint winners and were presented with their prize – £250 for each school – by Holocaust survivor, and competition Patron, Frank Bright.
For their entry, students from Saxmundham Free School designed a board game which could be played in two ways, contrasting the journey of a modern day refugee to the UK with that of someone from the Kindertransport in 1938. The students used the game to help deliver sessions about refugees on the theme ‘Torn Form Home’ when visiting primary schools. The board game has been seen by the National Migration Museum in London and will form part of their exhibition and will be used with groups of visiting schools.
Saxmundham Free School also developed a website and used Instragram to spread the message about the importance of tolerance in today’s society. The entry from Saxmundham Free School contained a song inspired by the experiences of children taken on the Kindertransport, pieces of art and a poem that was performed along with the song in the final of the event at the University of Essex.
Dora Love, who lived in Colchester until her death in 2011, was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who spent much of her life raising awareness of the dangers of intolerance and discrimination.
The Dora Love Prize, set up in 2012 by Emeritus Professor of history Rainer Schulze, continues her work and is awarded each year to the best school project that links learning about the Holocaust with the world we live in today. It is open to schools in Essex and Suffolk.
Professor Schulze said: “All projects submitted to the Dora Love Prize were of such a high standard that our panel of judges found it really difficult to decide on a winner. In my view, all projects are winners: all schools shared their projects in their school assemblies, with local primary schools and other groups in their community – doing exactly what the Dora Love Prize is about: standing up against discrimination and hatred, speaking out and working for a world where everyone is accepted and respected as a fellow human being.”
This year’s competition attracted entries from schools across East Anglia – with many of the high schools working with their feeder primary schools on projects to remember the Holocaust and involve more students.
Frank has been Patron of the competition since it was set up and has given talks to pupils about his life and warn of the dangers of discrimination and hatred which persist in today’s society. As a young boy Frank (now 90) was sent to Auschwitz, where both of his parents were killed in the gas chambers, leaving him an orphan. He came to Britain after his liberation, and he featured in the BBC 2 documentary The Last Survivors, screened on Holocaust Memorial Day – Sunday 27 January.Read More
The Seckford Education Trust is the only multi-academy trust (MAT) in Suffolk – and one of only two in the East of England – to have been ranked as one of the country’s best-performing MATs for GCSE results, new figures show.
The best- and worst-performing MATs across England have been revealed in the Department for Education’s (DfE) 2018 MAT performance tables, which ranks chains based on their Progress 8 scores and other metrics recorded in last year’s GCSEs.
The Seckford Education Trust, which runs Beccles Free School, Ixworth Free School and Saxmundham Free School, was the only Suffolk-based MAT ranked in the ‘Above Average’ category, with a Progress 8 score of 0.23 – meaning students exceeded their potential and predicted GCSE grades. The Suffolk average was 0.08 and the England state-funded average was -0.02.
Seckford Education Trust was ranked the 13th best in the ‘Above Average’ category – and 16th overall out of 85 MATs nationally. Cambridge-based The Cam Academy Trust (0.46) was the only other East of England representative in the category.
James Wellesley-Wesley, Chair of Seckford Education Trust, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the hard work of our fantastic students, parents and staff have been recognised by another strong set of results, which demonstrate the added value that we promise to provide to all our young people.
“Being ranked as one of England’s top 20 performing MATs for GCSE results is testament to the Trust’s expert teaching and belief in every student, as well as our partnership with parents and the wider communities which we serve.
“We are committed to ensuring all our students enjoy a rich, stimulating and friendly environment at our schools and progress to the next stage of their lives full of confidence and with an all-round education.”
The 2018 MAT performance tables ranks MATs which have at least three schools which have been with them for at least three years.
To find out more about the Seckford Education Trust, visit https://www.sffst.org.uk.Read More
Supporting young people in rural Suffolk is the focus of a careers mentoring programme, recently set up by the Woodbridge-based Seckford Foundation to run alongside their wellbeing mentoring programme. This careers mentoring focuses on skills and routes into the workplace whilst boosting the young person’s confidence when seeking employment.
Both programmes follow a tried and tested structure which includes plenty of resources and support for mentors together with a clear start and finish point for mentees so they can actually see how far they have progressed, what they have achieved and what their next step might be.
Could you listen?
Due to the success of the mentoring programmes, Seckford Foundation is now searching for further volunteer mentors to join the team. It is a mutually rewarding programme for both mentor and mentee, often with tangible results being quickly achieved. No previous mentoring experience is needed as training and development is ongoing. All that is needed is some life experience, a non-judgemental attitude, a good listening ear and a desire to make a positive difference to someone’s life.
Both mentoring programmes are funded jointly by the Seckford Foundation, The Prince’s Countryside Fund and Salvation Army, and they are available to young people aged 25 and under to access for free.
Could you be the difference a young person needs?
To find out more, please visit https://seckfordspringboard.org.uk/can-we-help-you/mentoring/ call 01394 615199 / 07831120873 or email firstname.lastname@example.orgRead More
On Saturday 19 January students from Beccles Free School were invited to be flag wavers at the European Champions Cup game between Saracens and Glasgow Warriors at Allianz Park in London.
Before the game 15 students went onto the pitch to be the flag wavers before kick-off and welcomed the players as they ran onto the pitch. The students then watched the game in the stands.
The match was significant – it was the final round of the groups stages, deciding which team would come out on top and have a favourable home draw in the knockout stages. It was a tough fought game with final score of 38-19 to Saracens.
Layla, a Year 7 student said “I found the trip very exciting, even though it was freezing. Waving the flag for Saracens was really fun. We had to practice doing it before the game, with rolling the flag up and to hold the straps.
The game was very eventful, everyone was roaring with excitement. The Glasgow Warriors played great, the Saracens won with flying colours.”
The trip was part of an effort at Beccles Free School to promote participation in a wide range of sports including rugby. Providing these excellent opportunities give students positive experiences in being involved in sporting activities.
David Lees, Head teacher said “Our students had a fantastic time at the European Champions Cup and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be flag wavers at Allianz Park in London.”Read More
My first term at Ixworth
Hello, my name is Hannah and I am 11 years old and I joined Ixworth Free School in September 2018, I am in year 7.
I have absolutely loved my first term at Ixworth free School; it has been the greatest experience of my life so far. I never would have thought that I would be so happy at senior school. All of the teachers are so supportive and lovely. I have many new lessons, such as DT, Philosophy and Ethics, French, Drama and Enrichment where I have tried Football, Rugby, Team building and my favourite Debating. When it was raining the field was soaking wet we couldn’t have Enrichment that week, so we had a big general knowledge quiz, in the new hall which I thoroughly enjoyed. When I go into school each day I feel so excited for the day to start. Mr Barrow knows all of our names, and if we do special work, we get invited to sign his special book the “Headteacher’s Book”, which I have done twice. When I first started in September, I was very nervous, maybe up until half-term. Now I feel a lot more confident. I think this is because the teachers look after us very well and support us in everything we do. Mr Budden is my form tutor, I am 7X. We have lots of fun in tutor time, watch Newsround and play games. Mr Budden is always available to us if we need to talk or tell him anything.
Even in the short time I have been at Ixworth, there have already been lots of opportunities to do exciting things in addition to the normal lessons. Early in October, I took part in the “Book Mastermind” competition. I didn’t get to round 2, but it was very enjoyable. I will definitely have another try next year. In History we made Roman shields and then did a re-enactment of a Roman battle. The Library is open for us each lunch time, and I go in there most days to read, play chess or a game with some friends. Some lunchtimes I play table tennis, which is great fun!
I have made new friends which I am very happy about as I was very worried that I wouldn’t and be lonely.
I love the uniform, it is very smart and comfortable and I feel proud and confident in it.
The Restaurant food is absolutely gorgeous and I have tried lots of new things. We have “Kitchens of the Globe” and that is when foods from all around the world are cooked. We have had one this term and that was Greek food, beef kebab with rice, it was lovely.
Another thing I absolutely love are the amazing exercise books, I have never seen anything like it. They have a lovely photo on the front cover that describes the lesson, for example for Maths it is a protractor and a compass with squared paper underneath. French has the Eiffel Tower, English has a close up of a golden fountain pen. Inside the books have lots of information about what things we will be learning over the five years of senior school.
I am having a wonderful first term and look forward to the next fourteen terms ahead of me!
Hannah, Year 7Read More
Students at Ixworth Free School have enjoyed an inspiring, action-packed day with Paralympic swimmer Ryan Crouch, who competed in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, and elite deaf football player Fil Kamps who competed in the World Cup and 2017 Deaflympics. The athletes’ visit on December 6 was followed by the School’s annual Achievement Evening, where Ryan Crouch also attended as guest speaker and presented awards to students.
The athletes held a whole-school assembly where they shared their exceptional journeys into sport, inspiring students with stories of determination, strength, and resilience, before hosting a series of fitness sessions with students in Years 7 to 10.
Students of all ages were then presented with certificates and awards by Ryan Crouch at the School’s annual Achievement Evening, which recognised individual achievements in academic subjects, GCSE progress, overcoming adversity and contributions to the local community.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at Ixworth Free School, said: “We would like to thank Ryan and Fil for both taking the time to visit Ixworth Free School, it has been a fantastic day full of celebration and inspiration for students in all years. It was wonderful to hear stories of great determination and success from the athletes, followed by students celebrating their own successes at our Achievement Evening.”
The athletes’ visit was arranged by Inspired Through Sport who raise money for schools to invest in sport, and support aspiring young athletes on their Olympic and Paralympic journeys. Visit www.inspiredthroughsport.co.uk to find out more.Read More
Ixworth Free School has secured funding for improvements to its sports courts from the Garfield Weston Foundation. A grant of £65,000 will contribute towards the costs of transforming our current sports area into a secure an all-weather court.
The ambitious project will see the current tarmac playground replaced with a multi-sport, all weather, synthetic play area, with Dulok fencing and floodlighting. The new court will increase the School’s capacity to provide high-quality sport and exercise delivery to its students.
The new court will allow the School to drive ahead with its plan to become a central hub for community-based sport and recreational activity, with the facilities open to local community groups and primary schools.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher of Ixworth Free School said: “We want to truly support our local community here at Ixworth and beyond, and these new sports facilities will help us to do that. It is a very exciting development for all local people!”Read More
It was an exciting start of term at Ixworth Free School as Matt Hancock, Member of Parliament for West Suffolk and Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, visited students on Friday 7 September. Mr Hancock enjoyed a tour of the school before meeting students and holding a Q&A session with Year 10 and 11 students, who quizzed the Minister on topics including Artificial Intelligence and Brexit.
In January 2018, figures released by the Department for Education showed Ixworth Free School, which opened in 2014, is one of the top performing schools in Suffolk for student progress, and in the top 10% of schools nationally.
Matt Hancock MP said: “I had a great visit to Ixworth Free School and it was fantastic to see the school doing so well under the leadership of Headteacher Mark Barrow. Ixworth Free School’s results have been impressive and to be in the top 10% of schools nationally for student progress, is testament to the hard work and dedication of both the staff and the pupils. I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the school and especially liked meeting the Years 10 and 11 pupils. We had an excellent Q&A session – they kept me on my toes.”
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at Ixworth Free School, said: “Thank you to Matt Hancock for taking the time to visit our school; students enjoyed meeting their local MP and learning more about his roles in government. It was also a fantastic opportunity to share the School’s successes and positive outcomes, including this year’s GCSE results, all of which have been achieved since Mr Hancock’s last visit in 2015.”Read More
All three schools in the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust have been celebrating their 2018 GCSE results today.
James Wellesley Wesley, Chair of Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, said: “We are delighted to see students at all three schools achieve strong performances across the range of subjects but particularly so in traditional academic subjects. English, maths and science had particularly impressive results. We are also confident that, at each of our schools, above average progress was made by our disadvantaged students as well as by high, middle and low ability groups. We congratulate all of our students and wish them every success for the future.”
Beccles Free School
Out of 51 students, 67% achieved at least a Grade 4 in English and maths.
David Lees, Headteacher at Beccles Free School, said: “Congratulations to our students on another year of excellent progress and strong achievements in core academic subjects, which has produced our best ever set of GCSE results. Having joined as Headteacher at Beccles Free School earlier this year, I’m delighted that our strategy for continued improvement has delivered such fantastic outcomes. Our hard-working students, committed staff and supportive parents should be very proud of these achievements and deserve to celebrate their success.”
Seren Saunders is especially happy with her GCSE results, achieving a number of high grades despite battling cystic fibrosis. Seren achieved six GCSEs at grade 7 or higher, with grade 8 in history, English literature and drama. Seren achieved two grades higher than she was expected to achieve when she joined Beccles Free School.
Seren said: “I’m really pleased, I was convinced I hadn’t passed anything, but I actually did really well. The teachers have been amazing at Beccles Free School, I missed some school time because of my illness but everyone has been so supportive. I’m now looking forward to studying French, English literature and drama at East Norfolk Sixth Form College from September.”
Twins Mia and Callum Hopson from Southwold are both over the moon with their GCSE results, achieving top grades in their favourite science subjects. Both are heading to Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form to study maths, chemistry and biology at A-Level from September.
Mia said: “I’m so happy with my results, Callum and I both revised really hard and we’re pleased that we’ve both done so well. I’m over the moon that I got two grade 9s in English language and PE, as well as grade 8 in biology and grade 7 in chemistry as I want to study science at sixth form.”
Head Boy Samuel Florido flew to Belgium on GCSE results day but he still had time to celebrate his excellent grades, including two grade 9s in English and maths, six grade 8s and a grade 7. Among his academic achievements at Beccles Free School, Samuel is also proud to have been captain of the RoboCup team which achieved World Championship victory in 2016.
Ixworth Free School
Out of 37 students, 62% achieved at least a grade 4 in English and maths.
Mark Barrow, Headteacher at Ixworth Free School, said: “It is great to see that students of all abilities have achieved beyond target. They should be extremely proud of their hard work, particularly in traditional academic subjects such as triple science where all candidates achieved a grade 7 or above. I’d like to congratulate our students, teachers and parents for their dedication and commitment. The results are evidence once again of our ability to tailor support and challenge every student. We wish our students every success as they move on to the next stage of their education in a position of great strength.”
High-flyer Maddie Coombes is dreaming of becoming a globe-trotting travel writer or journalist after achieving a superb set of GCSE results. The Ixworth Free School student, from Bardwell, achieved five grade 9 results, including double science, as well as three grade 8s and a grade 7. Maddie is heading to Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, one of the top sixth forms in the country.
“I can’t believe these results are mine,” she said after an emotional revealing of her results in front of proud mother Suzanne.
“All my hard work has paid off – I’ve been revising since Year 9. Ixworth Free School has been absolutely great with their support, I went to every revision class during the holidays and weekends. I revised so hard and gave up socialising and not getting distracted by social media. In my future career I can see myself travelling around the world and writing about historic places, or perhaps being a journalist as I’ve always been interested in that.”
Her tearful mother Suzanne added: “I’m so proud of Maddie. She worked so hard, but you never know how it’s going to go on exam day.”
A dream career in science is now a huge step closer for Ixworth Free School student Ed Harley. The 16-year-old, from Great Barton, achieved three grade 9s in chemistry, physics and history, as well as three grade 8s, three grade 5s, an A* and an A.
Ed said: “I’m over the moon with my results. It’s much better than what I expected. The support from Ixworth Free School was amazing, all of us really reaped the benefits of the extra revision and study sessions.
“The government has done a lot to promote STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths), it’s so important to encourage more people into STEM careers. I’ve always had a natural interest in STEM subjects and it is definitely a future career option for me.”
Ed was awarded a scholarship at Woodbridge School to study maths, further maths, physics, and chemistry.
Ixworth Free School’s top performer, Lizi Bolton, achieved an exceptional six grade 9s, one grade 8 and an A* grade. Lizi is also heading to Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge to study maths, further maths, physics and chemistry at A-Level.
Saxmundham Free School
Out of 59 students, 63% achieved at least a Grade 4 in English and maths.
David Lees, Headteacher at Saxmundham Free School, said: “It has been another year of fantastic progress for our Year 11 students, who should be very proud of themselves. The
achievement in traditional academic subjects is a reflection of our students’ hard work, the commitment of our teachers and support of our parents. We’re pleased that our students leave us as well-rounded, resilient individuals who are ready to move on to their next step in education.”
Lauren Child, previous Head Girl at Saxmundham Free School, is particularly pleased with her results, as she is one step closer to achieving her dream career of becoming a doctor. Lauren achieved 10 GCSEs at grades 7 and above – including a grade 9 in geography and grade 8 in English, maths, biology and history. Lauren also completed her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award at the school.
Lauren said: “I’m really happy with my results, especially my grade 9 in geography which I didn’t expect. I’m now looking forward to studying chemistry, biology, maths and French at Woodbridge School Sixth Form. I’ve always wanted to be a doctor so I’m aiming to study medicine at university after A-Levels.”
16-year-old Jamie Roberts is celebrating his GCSEs after scoring a top grade 9 in English alongside five grade 8s and two grade 7s. Jamie’s progress at Saxmundham Free School meant he achieved three grades higher than expected when he joined in Year 7. Jamie has been awarded a bursary placement at Woodbridge School where he will be studying biology, chemistry, physics and classics at A-Level. Aside from academic subjects, Jamie achieved the rank of Lance Corporal at the school’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF).
Jamie said: “I’m very surprised with my results, they’re even better than I could have hoped. I’ve really enjoyed Saxmundham Free School, particularly the CCF, and now I’m looking forward to working hard at sixth-form to achieve the best grades I can at A-Level.”
Twins Maddy and Evie Salter are both delighted with their results – achieving 20 GCSEs between them at grade 4 and above. Maddy is especially proud of her grade 9 in English language and grade 8 in music – she’s heading to Suffolk One to follow a career as a musician by studying music, music performance and film at A-Level.
Maddy said: “I play guitar, bass, drums, piano and ukulele so I’m over the moon that I have grades to follow my passion for music at college.”
Her twin sister Evie is thrilled with her two grade 7s in English language and literature. Evie is off to Farlingaye High School to study art, PE, French and sociology, with the dream of becoming fluent in French, or following her love of dance and ballet.Read More
The Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust (the Trust), which runs Beccles, Saxmundham and Ixworth Free Schools, is celebrating its Progress 8 performance table positions with all three schools in the top 10 out of 92 secondary schools in Suffolk for the progress all students have made since age 11. The league table position follows the release of provisional Progress 8 performance data today (12 October 2017) by the Department for Education.
Saxmundham Free School is fifth in the league table with a Progress 8 score of 0.48, whilst Beccles Free School is joint sixth with a score of 0.46, and Ixworth Free School is eighth with a score of 0.45. All students at the Trust’s three schools progressed to achieve half a grade higher than was predicted at age 11 in every GCSE subject.
Saxmundham Free School did particularly well with 89% of students achieving a good pass in English, and 73% achieving a good pass in maths. Following remarks 45% of students achieved a strong pass in English and maths.
Ixworth Free School’s first set of GCSE results this year resulted in third place position in the league table for students who achieved the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Ixworth Free School is also fifth in the table for its Attainment 8 score of 50.5, which shows how well students have performed across eight key GCSE subjects including English and maths.
The Progress 8 measure shows how much progress a Year 11 GCSE student has made since the start of secondary school and is designed to ensure schools are pushing each student to reach their individual potential.
The Trust has a strong curriculum focus on maths and English, with students achieving approximately one whole grade higher than expected in English at Saxmundham and Beccles Free Schools. This is the first year where students have spent five full years of secondary education at Saxmundham and Beccles Free Schools since they opened in 2012, and the first year that Ixworth Free School students have received GCSE results since opening in 2014.
Graham Watson of the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust said: “We are incredibly proud to see that students across all three schools in the Trust have made fantastic progress during their time at our schools, and we expect our Progress 8 scores to rise further when the validated data is released in January. We are thrilled to be in the top 10 for student progress amongst schools across the county, especially since this is the first year where we are seeing results from students who joined Saxmundham and Beccles Free Schools in Year 7.
“The Progress 8 scores are testament to our strength of teaching in key subjects like maths and English, our small and friendly school environments, and the variety of enrichment opportunities available for all students. Our ethos at the Trust is to equip students with the widest range of skills needed to prepare them for life beyond school, so we are delighted to see that all our Year 11 leavers this year have gone on to their chosen college, sixth-form or an Apprenticeship.
“We believe Progress 8 is the fairest measure when comparing schools, and it should be a key consideration for parents when choosing a school for their children.”
The results published today by the Department for Education are un-validated because they haven’t taken into account any GCSE papers which schools sent back for remarking. The official tables will be published in January 2018.
For more information about the Seckford Foundation Free Schools Trust, visit www.sffst.org.uk.Read More