Former Woodbridge School pupils have stepped back in time for a special reunion at the school decades after leaving.
The 80 alumni, known as Old Woodbridgians, travelled far and wide to return to their secondary school for the memorable event.
Among the former students in attendance was 83-year-old Major Nigel Lewis OBE who arrived on a helicopter.
Many of the Old Woodbridgians were returning to the school for the first time since leaving between the 1930s and 1970s. Jack Seagers, aged 101, was the oldest pupil at the reunion, having left the school in 1934.
The group enjoyed reminiscing of days gone by during a tour of the school’s new and original buildings and modern facilities, as well as marvelling at the modern ‘home comforts’ in the boarding house where many of the former pupils had lived over the years.
The Old Woodbridgians enjoyed lunch at the school and a talk on the history of the school’s Combined Cadet Force, given by local cultural historian and former Woodbridge School English teacher, Mark Mitchels.
The school’s chamber orchestra also played a special rendition of the original school song which the former pupils enjoyed singing along to.
Melanie Chew, development director at the Seckford Foundation, organised the reunion for the Old Woodbridgians.
Ms Chew said: “We were thrilled to have such a terrific response to this special event and we loved hearing the fond school memories of our alumni.
“The history of the school is so important to us, so it was fantastic to capture these memories and hear stories of our school from years gone by.”Read More
The new brand was launched at Woodbridge On Show II on Saturday 6 April, with local community groups and residents introduced to the brand by Head of Care Sarah Kopferschmitt. The stand featured artefacts from the Seckford Care archives reflecting the deep history of the organisation including pharmacy records from 1862.
Seckford Care encompasses the delivery of care, support and/or accommodation to older people, whether this is independent living within the Seckford Almshouses, Residential Care in Jubilee House, Extra Sheltered Care at The Terrace, as well as the Seckford Day Club and services we deliver to members of the wider community.
Head of Care Sarah Kopferschmitt said: “It was a pleasure to launch Seckford Care at Woodbridge On Show II and share our wonderful work with the community organisations of Woodbridge.”
The new logo imagery is taken from the Seckford Coat of Arms with each meaning taken into consideration. The black dot salt & pepper pots are called ‘ermines’ and associated with royalty and nobility, however the other key message for Seckford Care, is that they also symbolise dignity – which is a hugely important value, promoted by the service.
The shells are called ‘escallops’ and these are associated with travel and pilgrimages. These featured on Thomas Seckford’s original coat of arms. Woodbridge town has incorporated them in recognition of his origins and support of the town.
The Tudor Rose implies the historic roots of the organisation and highlights the length of the tradition at Seckford Care, which harks back to the original almshouses that Thomas Seckford provided back in 1587.Read More
Representatives of Seckford Education Trust and Ixworth Free School officially opened the School’s new all-weather sports court on Friday 5 April.
The facility will expand upon the School’s sporting offer and cement the School as a central hub for community-based sport and recreational activity in the village, with the facility open for use by community groups and local primary schools.
Headteacher of Ixworth Free School Mark Barrow said: “I am pleased to have opened this wonderful new facility that will enhance sporting options for our students and local groups.
“It was fantastic to welcome members of the local community to see the court and to thank Garfield Weston Foundation whose grant made this possible.”
Mr Barrow unveiled a plaque acknowledging the support provided by the Garfield Weston Foundation through a £65,000 from their 60th Anniversary Fund.Read More
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