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What We Did This Summer

Pupils share their enrichment experiences.

At Cirencester Deer Park School we encourage our pupils to challenge themselves to achieve more and we are pleased to be able to support them in their endeavours. We do this in a variety of ways:

  • We signpost relevant and rich experiences which complement our pupils’ interests and take them beyond their comfort zones;
  • We facilitate active participation in term and holiday time;
  • We support our pupils who are members of external clubs and organisations, including those promoting citizenship, the Arts, STEM and entrepreneurship.

Individual pupils’ engagement in these extra-curricular enrichment activities develops their resilience. Such activities help our pupils become more resourceful and independent as learners and develops the skills and aptitudes they will need when they leave school.

This summer some of our pupils took part in the following programmes (click on the blue bars to read their stories):

Cyber Security with GCHQ

Athena and Becky (current Year 11)

national cyber security centreFollowing participation in the CyberFirst Girls competition earlier this year, Athena and Becky, who are both studying GCSE Computer Studies, took part in a residential cyber security course (15-18 August 2017) during the summer holidays at Royal Holloway, University of London. 'CyberFirst Defenders' was designed by cyber security experts from the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ) and the course was delivered by training partner QA and the national education charity, The Smallpeice Trust. The days consisted of lectures including guest speakers and lab sessions to practically illustrate what had been mentioned in the lectures.

Athena commented that she had learnt more about the industry, including potential jobs and skills. “I am more aware of the skills I have and what I to offer.” She gained tips on her future and how to get into cyber security, as well as improving her knowledge of cyber security. Future courses were also signposted. At the end of the course the participants were given a login to a similar system to iDeer where they can access further resources and contact the trainers with any questions.

Becky said: “Each day we did a topic and had lectures about that specific topic. The knowledge we gained in the lectures was then applied in practical lab sessions. There were guest speakers who gave us an insight into cyber security careers. Now I have more knowledge about cyber security and the jobs that are available in this area. I am also more aware of how to be more secure. It was lovely to mix with other people from around the country and I made a new friend who I am still in contact with. It was a really good course and well worth going on.”

BAE Systems Engineering Experience  

Leif (current Year 9)

smallpeice trustFor three days this summer (17-19 July 2017) I was at Lancaster University, staying in student accommodation. Each day we had  a lecture about subjects we would need to know about to complete our project. My team had four of us and our team leader who was an undergraduate working with the Smallpeice Trust. We had help from BAE Systems Engineering staff too. Lots of the Smallpeice Trust Team Leaders had been on these courses when they were our age and had decided to go into engineering as a career.

We had a project brief given to us on the first day. The project was a situation which was life threatening, where egg-people on an island were being flooded and we had to design and make a vehicle to save as many of them as possible, as quickly as we could. We came up with designs, scale drawings, and wrote equipment lists as well as a plan. My role was head engineer and vehicle driver. We were only given the chassis of a remote control car and built everything up from there. Our team leader gave us innovations to try and helped with the technical bits. On the second evening we had a posh dinner and a disco.

On the final day our parents watched the rescues, as all 12 teams tried to save their egg-people without smashing them (raw eggs make a mess when flung at high speed!). BAE had made a course we had to go round in the test warehouse, which had bridges, tunnels, obstacles and tight corners. Each team was timed and given points for the number of rescued egg-people and how well the vehicles went over the terrain. We came 4th. Because we went so fast over the finish line, a few egg-people had their heads chopped off by the barrier behind it.

It was a fantastic opportunity and I learnt loads about design from BAE, with lots of support from the staff at Smallpeice Trust.

National Youth Music Theatre

Olly (current Year 10)

national youth music theatreOlly made a mark in Year 7 by winning the Key Stage 3 ‘Outstanding Performance’ title at our 2014 Talent Show, a mere 3 months into life at Deer Park, with his rendition of ‘Electricity’ from ‘Billy Elliot, The Musical’. He was part of our 2015 production of 'Footloose' and is busy rehearsing for 'Legally Blonde, Jr' which will be on stage in February 2018. Now in Year 10 and studying GCSE Drama, Olly has spent his second summer working in London with the National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT).

This year's production, ‘Imaginary’, with music by Stuart Matthew Price and from the book by Timothy Knapman, was performed at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Other Palace Theatre, London this August. The cast, crew and creative team, including set designer Matt Kinley, whose work consists of the like of the Broadway production of ‘Miss Saigon’, worked tirelessly to produce this amazingly fun and family friendly show about the joys of childhood and the loss of imagination that eleven year olds can face when moving schools. Under the direction of Shaun Kerrison, with the choreography of Anthony Whiteman and the musical direction of Charlie Ingles, this wonderful cast ranging from 11 to 20 performed night after night, with two matinees after only two weeks and two days of rehearsals, gaining 5* reviews and a complete set of standing ovations with audience members and visitors including Michael Gibson (ex NYMT company member aka King George in the West End production of Hamilton) and Arlene Phillips.

"My time with the NYMT has been incredibly rewarding and a great opportunity to socialise and work with some like-minded people. I have made some life-long friends and will definitely keep in touch over the years!"

Extract from review: As mentioned the entire cast is so talented but I would also like to mention Oliver (playing Oogie) is an imaginary character who Milo (Tom Price) meets in the second half. The character helps us understand the link between the ‘worlds’ and also what happens to the imaginary friends under the rule of Big Brenda (Toby Turpin). He has a great voice and characterisation, You really feel for these ‘imaginary friends’ who have been ‘lost’ and his string voice and slight accent makes an excellent character. The audience clearly felt for him as he waited for the phone to ring! Brilliant.

Velkommen til Norgesskolen

Clara (current Year 8)

norway flagBefore the summer holidays, I missed a week of school to go to summer school in Norway to learn about Norwegian language and culture. I wanted to go because my mum is Norwegian (which means I am half Norwegian) and I have a lot of family there.

The summer school was 2 and half weeks long and I stayed at the school every night. The school was called Norgesskolen which means ‘Norway school’. We had 4 hours of lessons each day, and we also had loads of different fun activities, some would take up the whole day and we would always do an activity in the evening. The days out included climbing and camping; after camping I had 65 mosquito bites!!

We celebrated Norwegian Christmas and Norwegian National Day which is 17 May. When we celebrated 17 May we had waffles and ice cream and hot dogs, we also got to go down to the river and have swim. For Christmas we celebrated with a Norwegian Christmas dinner and we had a disco.

I had an amazing time at Norgesskolen and hope I will get the chance to go back another year. The best part of my time there was to meet so many new friends. In total there were 96 children (aged 8-18) from 28 different countries taking part.

Pennsylvania School of Global Entrepreneurship

Gemma and Matthew (Class of 2017)

Lehigh University PennsylvaniaTwo of our Class of 2017, who took their GCSEs this summer (including NCFE Level 2 Business & Enterprise), applied for and were accepted on a business-oriented month at University in the USA. Gemma shares her story below:

I was very privileged to attend the Pennsylvania School for Global Entrepreneurship (PSGE) at Lehigh University during the month of July 2017. Just a few hours after prom, my family took me to the airport, waved goodbye and my one month incredible adventure began. When I arrived at Newark Airport later on that day, I was kindly greeted by one of the mentors who took me to the beautiful Lehigh University which was my home for the month. After getting some well needed rest, I met most of the 25 International students the following morning before our opening ceremony where we met the 50 American students. We all participated in icebreaker activities where I began to form my first friendships. On 4th July, Independence Day, we became closer as a group as we spent the afternoon playing sports, socialising, having a BBQ and watching the fireworks in the evening. Unluckily for my team, I wasn’t too good at playing volleyball.

Many evenings were dedicated to project work. My team was working with a local company called CT Global Solutions, which works with other companies to help them make the most profit as possible by analysing their data for them. Our project was to target millennials and address their banking wants and needs. We surveyed over 100 millennials about their use of channels and products that their banks offer them, then we made a 5 minute video which included their opinions about banking. Every Wednesday afternoon, we visited the company site and met with the CEO and 2 other employees where we talked about our progress. We had to write a report using the data we had found and had to provide recommendations to the company about how they could aid banks in accommodating millennials banking needs. In the last week at PSGE, we gave a presentation about our project and results to the rest of the students and the company. CT then used our data, report and video in an event the following day. We received great feedback from our company as well as companies who attend the event. As a team we felt very pleased that our hard work and effort had paid off. During our project, all 6 students and our amazing mentor got on really well with each other which really helped us complete the project to an “excellent” standard.

During the day from Monday to Friday, we had classes and lectures presented by a range of professors, entrepreneurs and inspirational speakers. The core courses were attended by everyone and included courses such as Understanding the Marketplace, Introduction to Accounting and How to write a Marketing/Business Plan. We also had 3 focus courses that we could pick depending on our areas of interest. My focus courses were Assertive Expression, MicroFinance and Win-Win Negotiation. I thoroughly enjoyed these courses as well as most of the core courses. The speakers were engaging and interesting and it was useful to get a taste of university lectures.

Along with our project work and classes, there were many social activities and trips we attended as a group. On the first weekend, we went to Dutch Springs and participated in team building activities to make us stronger as a group. Later we had an afternoon full of fun at the inflatable water park. On the Sunday we had mostly a free day for us to reflect on the first week and to chill with friends. On Friday 14 July, we visited the Capitol building in Harrisburg and my team and I presented a pitch about how our project will benefit the community. When we returned to Lehigh, we had the option to go shopping, ice skating or the cinema. Many of us choose ice skating and we ended up all doing the conga around the ice rink (until we fell over that is). Saturday 15th was our Community Service Day when me and 29 other students went to the Common Grounds Farm and Retreat. There were many jobs to be done there such as gardening, painting, making beds and moving wood. After a full day of hard work, we had some time to sunbathe before returning to Lehigh for the PSGE Talent Show. There were so many fantastic acts and everyone was so talented, whether it be at music, martial arts, singing, dancing, magic or even “how to be Russian”.

Friday 21 July was the day everyone had been waiting for: NYC! Although we boarded the bus at 6:30am extremely tired, we were very excited about the day ahead. New York is a city I have always wanted to visit and when I finally arrived I was overwhelmed. Our first stop was the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. Being there was very emotional and talking to a man who lost his son in the attack was heart-breaking, we were all left speechless. After finding our way back through the crowded streets, we boarded the coach again where it took us to the United Nations. We toured round the building where we were shown the different rooms and were told more about what actually happens at the UN. After a delicious meal at Planet Hollywood, we had free time to shop and sightsee in the ‘Big Apple’. On the next day, we went to Dorney Park which was full of thrilling and exhilarating rides.

Throughout the month we had many activities in the evenings apart from project work, some of which were classed as "mandatory fun". These activities included 'capture the flag', sports competitions, a karaoke evening, a party with some students from another summer programme, a final leaving party and a leaving dinner with our project group and company.

At first the 76 students were all strangers, starting a month-long journey together, and not knowing that we would all end up meaning so much to each other. I am sure that the friendships I have made will last forever and I will never forget my PSGE family. The closing ceremony was the hardest night by far, when the American students left and the International students were leaving the following day. After a night of hugging, crying and goodbyes, just a few of the PSGE students returned for one final night at Lehigh.

I have booked a flight to Helsinki, Finland in October where I will be reunited with 2 of my closest friends from PSGE. I miss everyone like crazy, however we are planning a reunion for everyone to meet up again. July 2017 was the best month and I am so grateful that Cirencester Deer Park School gave me this once in a lifetime opportunity.

My Summer’s Winter

Jasper (current Year 11)

cardrona alpine resort NZI left the UK in early August, heading to Wanaka, a small town on South Island, New Zealand, where I have spent most of my life. I was off to start my ski training at the Cardrona Alpine Resort. My training started as soon as I arrived.

Getting back into things after 4 months off snow took a week or so. Not long after I arrived was the Continental Cup, which was my first ever Federation of International Skiing (FIS) competition in Slopestyle and my first time competing for GB. I landed my run in training, but unfortunately crashed both runs in the competition itself.

I was coached 2 days a week but was skiing 3 or 4 more days on top of that. It was hard work and most days I would be getting up early and driving 40 minutes to the top of Cardrona mountain to meet my ski coach and train from 8am to about 2pm, depending on the weather. On days when the weather was not so good, we worked on rails, trying to get more technical and learn new tricks.

There are things I do to help improve my skiing when I am off snow, such as going to the gym, which helps prevent injury, and trampolining to improve my tricks on skis. But I did have some downtime to do fun and relaxing things with my friends, such as motorbiking, skateboarding, going on adventures or, my favourite, catching up on school work. Days off snow also allowed my body to heal a bit.

Now back in the UK, I am looking forward to competing this winter in Europe.

PSGE Lehigh University Pennsylvannia July 2017
PSGE at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania
Imaginary 2017 Konrad Bartelski
Imaginary in London
Photo © Konrad Bartelski 2017
Summer 2017 Norway
Jasper slopestyle New Zealand Summer 2017
Slopestyle in New Zealand