Students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College visited the seat of the British Government and walked the corridors of power on a visit to Westminster during which they learnt about democracy and voting.

Thirty students from Year 7 and Year 8 travelled to London where they visited Parliament’s Education Centre and took part in an engaging, and interactive, workshop which taught them about democracy, representation and voting. The students also had opportunity to tour the Parliament building during which they viewed live debates, from the public gallery, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

While in the capital city the students took the opportunity to take in some of the city’s sights, and also visited the Imperial War Museum’s Churchill War Rooms which were used as the Government’s base in the Second World War.

Achievement Leader, Dan Phelan, said “The students really enjoyed seeing the debates taking place and by chance education funding was the topic being debated in the House of Commons. Afterwards it was great to hear the students asking questions about the workings of Parliament and seeing them engage in the democracy workshop.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “Trips such as this bring our work around British Values to life. Many young people, indeed many adults, do not understand the workings of Parliament, therefore opportunities such as this give our students an insight and greater understanding.”

Students and staff from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College came together on Friday 9th November for the school’s annual remembrance assembly, to mark 100 years since the First World War ended in 1918.

During two special assemblies, students watched, listened and reflected as their peers performed moving pieces of drama, music and dance in honour of those who have given their lives for freedom. During the assembly, the students watched as Terry Aspland, standard bearer from a local branch of the Royal British Legion, lowered the standard as the last post was played, before hearing the school’s headteacher read the exhortation, taken from Laurence Binyon's poem “For the Fallen”.

In addition, as part of the school’s remembrance activities the students also spent time learning about different types of ‘Tommies’ who served in the First World War, including; child soldiers, colonial troops, those conscripted and those who volunteered to serve in pals battalions.

The students also engaged with the names of 1015 soldiers, whose details were downloaded from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website and who are recorded as having died 100 years ago, to the day, on 9th November, 1918. The names of these people are displayed in the school reception area and are over looked by four silhouettes from the ‘There But Not There’ project. To take part in the project the school received an award from Armistice and Armed Forces Communities programme, which makes awards to bring communities together to remember; and to think about the Armed Forces today

Dan Phelan, Achievement Leader, said “As a school we have just over 1000 students and on the day of our remembrance assemblies, one hundred years ago, just over 1000 people died. As a school we have remembered these people along with the millions of other who have lost their live in conflict.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “We are proud to continue the tradition of holding a remembrance assembly which gives our students the opportunity to reflect and remember the price which has been paid for our freedom. Seeing the wonderful work our students have produced makes me feel very proud.”

At The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College a number of students have been appointed to serve as Anti-Bullying Ambassadors and will help fellow students overcome any issues they may face.

As part of the programme, twelve Year 10 students have completed The Diana Award Anti-Bullying training and now run regular lunchtime support session where they speak to and help other students who may be experiencing issues whether they be inside or outside of school. During Anti-Bullying Week 2018, which commenced on Monday 12th November, the students also delivered sessions across the school to promote friendship and well-being.

The Diana Award's Anti-Bullying Campaign, involves a number of different projects aimed at reducing bullying in schools. One of the main projects is the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme which, since being set up in 2011, has worked in over 3000 schools and has trained over 24,000 young people across the UK to lead on anti-bullying campaigns in their schools.

Maths Teacher, Jon Patton, who leads the ambassadors, said, “Sometimes young people will feel uncomfortable talking to an adult about certain issues and that’s when our ambassadors fulfil an important role. All the students who have been appointed applied for the role and have shown maturity, understanding and respect throughout the training process.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “It is important that all of our students feel safe and confident when at school. As a school we have a well established support network, and now that these students have been trained we have an extra layer of support which will benefit our students.”

Students hear about opportunities with local football academy

Students at The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College have recently had opportunity to hear about opportunities at Rugby Town FC’s recently established football academy.

Rugby Town FC’s academy manager and head coach, Liam O’Neill, visited with his assistant manager Will Grocott to speak to 35 students who all expressed an interest in pursuing football as a post-16 option.

During the talk Liam O’Neill, who playing as a pro and semi-pro enjoyed spells at Mansfield Town, Cheltenham Town, Banbury United, Evesham United Blackburn Rover’s youth team and Republic of Ireland U18s, told the students that club has a clear pathway to progress from the academy all the way to the first team. He also explained that students taken on by the academy would have opportunity to gain nationally recognised qualifications whilst full-time with the team’s senior squad.

PE teacher Craig Hartfield, who organised the talk said “We are really grateful to Liam and Will who gave up their time to come and speak to the students about this opportunity. It was also good to hear that a couple of our ex-students who are already with the academy are doing well.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said, “Our students are lucky that they have a wide range of post-16 options available to them once they leave our school after sitting their GCSE exams. For some of our students being able to play football and gaining qualifications is an excellent pathway.”

Rugby Town FC’s academy are holding trials for Year 11 students during half term on Thursday 1 November at the club’s Butlin Road ground.