30 Shiphay Lane, Torquay TQ2 7DY
T: 01803 653756

Sixth Form Absence: 01803 653 761

South West Secondary
School of the Year 2019

30 Shiphay Lane, Torquay TQ2 7DY
T: 01803 653756
Sixth Form Absence Line: 01803 653 761

South West Secondary School of the Year 2019

Another year of exceptional A Level Results

Dr Nick Smith, Headteacher, once again saw students and teachers achieve nothing less than excellent results. A highly impressive 41% of all A level grades were awarded at A* or A, and half the students received three A Levels with grades A*-B. 

Dr Smith  commented,  ‘In recent years, the school has been nationally recognized for its results and you could take this success for granted, but our teachers never do – they realize that these results are what matters to our students and I am very glad to say that it matters to them too.’

A beaming Head of Careers, Mr Gordon Neighbour, confirmed that the overwhelming majority of students got into the universities of their choice. He also reflected on the growing rise of apprenticeships saying, ‘This is the first year when we have seen so many of our very brightest students go into degree apprenticeships; students are really attracted by the idea of being employed and earning a salary whilst studying for a degree and we are keen to support them in this’. An example are two lead members of the Head-Girl team, Alexandra Wright and Victoria Haigney, who whilst in the Sixth-Form led the students in raising a record £16,000 for Operation Imprezza (a charity supporting equal access education in Western Kenya). Such energy and drive has led to both being offered highly prestigious and competitive apprenticeship with leading national accountancy firms. 

Director of Sixth Form, Ms Emma Browne, paid tribute to the approach of all the students in the ‘Class of 2019’ saying “We are pleased for all who achieved what they needed whether it be the medical students, all of whom got places, or those following their own personal academic interests”. As a Head of Politics, she is particularly pleased for Ella Sheffield, the first of her family to go to university and an active political campaigner for a change in society, who achieved 3 A* grades and has a place to read Politics and International Relations at Bristol University.

Ms Browne also commented that it was wonderful to see so many female students pursuing Maths at university. Ellie White, for example, is using her two A*s and an A grade to read Mathematics at Bath University, whilst Ivy Calascione more than justified her decision to return to the school in the early part of Year 12 by achieving three A* grades, allowing her to read Maths at Warwick University.   Ms Browne added that statistics always hide the real stories behind the results, saying that ‘some of our students had to cope with immense personal issues during these two years and so I am particularly pleased for them.’

Met Gala 2019

We came up with the idea to create a charity fashion show here at Torquay Girls a couple of weeks after the 2019 Met Gala.

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute in New York City and marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute's annual fashion exhibit. Its purpose is to celebrate the fashion industry; its past, present and future, and it is well known as “fashion’s biggest night out”; being responsible for multiple daring and iconic looks, conceptualised, created and modelled by a team of designers and their celebrity. Each year has a new theme, focused on a different aspect of the industry.

We noticed how popular it was with all the girls here, who spent the next day pouring over this year’s looks admiring all the pieces. We saw the concept of hosting a mini met gala at school as a great opportunity to appreciate style and art but also to raise awareness about the importance of combatting the “fast fashion” industry, which is one of the largest polluter to the planet. We found it important that in such a crucial time for Global Warming, in which our generation was quite significantly involved, that we offered support for the cause. By creating the theme “The Green Carpet”, we hoped to achieve this goal.

We proposed the Met Gala as a competition; giving all the years the chance to create a look that encompassed the idea of “green fashion” in a way that was creative and eye catching. We were really surprised and happy to have had up to 40 applicants across the year groups and houses walk the carpet for a supportive audience that filled the old hall.

The looks were all so different and so amazing, ranging from plastic bag ball gowns to reworked outfits from charity shop items. We were lucky to have three great judges; Mrs Harrington, Mrs Cole and Mrs Beard to help decide the most impressive pieces. We were also lucky to have two amazing presenters, Head and Deputy Head Girl Alice McNaughton and Sophie Chamberlain to introduce each look and keep the atmosphere fun and interesting. It was also nice to see some of the teaching staff walking the runway and the head girl team wearing beautiful handmade gowns made by none other than Mrs Omanyo, founder and director of Imprezza Academy.

Along with the main attraction of the catwalk, we were also able to offer a selection of blue zone snacks and drinks supplied by the heads of houses. The audience also had a chance to take a picture in our eco themed photo booth.

At the close of the event, which took place on the lunchtime of 20th June, we were left with three winners, Poppy Webb, Candela Ferrer and Grace Turner and Mia Choules. They all stood out to the judges not only in the way their outfits looked, but also in the imagination behind them and their enthusiasm in displaying them to the audience. Special mention also goes to Grace White, Matilda Manley and Polly Dyke, whose pieces were exceptional also.

We are happy to have raised through ticket and refreshment sales a good amount of money, which will go to Point Blue Conservation Science, a California, based, non-profit organisation that aims to conserve birds, other wildlife and ecosystems across global coastlines through science, partnerships and outreach.​

We’d just like to thank everyone who helped contribute to the event, the contestants, the audience, the Met Gala Team composed of the heads of houses and other students who without we would not have been able to create such an enjoyable event. We hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did!

London visit for A Level Students

Last week forty Year 12 History & Politics students visited London where they spent two days visiting historical landmarks including a tour of Parliament and a meeting with our local MP Kevin Foster.



Geography Fieldworkers brave the elements...

Y12 Geographers are in Pembrokeshire learning skills for their coursework. It was a bit blowy on the beach but they did excellent beach profiles. Mrs Grigg, Head of Geography, said "They are a fantastic bunch of girls who are enthusiastic and full of cheer even when the weather has let us down!". Good work everyone!

750 Years of Service

Yesterday we celebrated the contribution of our longstanding staff in a Significant Service afternoon. Staff who had served the school for fifteen years or more were treated to a range of performances by the students: a haunting version of the school song by the Close Harmony choir, four songs from the recent sell out school musical 'We Will Rock You', and a public speaking performance on homelessness by a Year 11 student.

This was followed by a ceremony in which the staff's contribution and longevity were celebrated. Forty-eight staff have served the school for more than fifteen years with the longest serving member of staff being Julia Neal, a former History teacher of 38 years.

They were each given a celebratory mug and then Ms Neal opened  the curtain on a new display cabinet in the Archive Corridor celebrating their significant service. This was followed by afternoon tea and a lot of catching up.

The combined service of the staff in the group photo is 750 years!


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