Charters News

No.15 22th September 1999

Message From The Headteacher
Dear Parents and Friends

I would like to take this opportunity of welcoming all our new parents and pupils to Charters School. I am sure that, like me, you all feel privileged to be part of this excellent school. At Charters we seek to promote a positive ethos which encourages excellence in all areas. This was certainly exemplified in this summer�s examination results. Once again Charters School pupils achieved truly outstanding results at both Advanced Level and GCSE. Our Year 13 students did extremely well. The average A-level points per student went up again to 16.6 and for those students who did 2 A-levels or more, their average point score was up to 18.7. At GNVQ the results were once again exemplary. These Advanced Level results puts Charters School in the top 200 state schools in the country. I would like to congratulate all the students and their teachers on their achievements and wish them every success in their future university courses or employment.

At GCSE the results this year were absolutely outstanding. Yet again, our results have improved year on year. In 1998 68% of our students achieved 5 or more results at grades A* - C. This year, 76% of Year 11 students achieved these higher grades. We are also delighted to say that 99.6% of all exams taken at GCSE achieved a grade from A*-G. We were particularly pleased this year that 50% of the grades at GCSE were at the highest grades of A*, A or B. Many people deserve credit for these fantastic results. First and foremost, the students themselves have worked hard and deserve much credit, but I would also like to pay tribute to all the staff who have supported and worked hard with this group of students. The results place Charters as one of the best performing comprehensive schools in the whole country. I am extremely proud of all the students, and the staff, for these achievements and I am sure you will want to join with me in offering them our warmest congratulations.

We will all be rising to the challenge of trying to maintain these superb results this year. Your support is vitally needed in this area. It is important to maintain excellent attendance and punctuality and to ensure that no holidays are taken during term time. The support of parents with homework and coursework is also vital to success. I am sure I can rely on your co-operation in all these areas so that we can continue to work together to ensure that Charters School remains at the very top of the league.

Best wishes to you all.

School Coaches Mr K Cattran : Transport Liaison

From Monday 20th September 1999, coach passes will be checked on a regular basis. Pupils must only travel on the coach for which they have a valid pass. On local bus service vehicles, pupils will be charged the appropriate fare if they do not produce their coach pass. Pupils cannot travel on school coaches without their valid pass. A charge will be made to replace lost passes.

Late Bus Service
Please note that coach passes will not be accepted on the late bus. Any pupil wishing to use the service will be charged the appropriate fare.
Fargo Service
To Bracknell
Departing 15.45 (�1.50)

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday
To all Bracknell stops
Departing 16.15 (�1.50)

White Bus Service
Each day except Friday
To Fernbank Road routes
Departing 16.15
Charge: Standard Fares

Fernhill Service
Each day except Friday
To Bracknell Bus Station
Departing between 16.30 & 16.45
Charge: Standard Fares

Spotlight on the English Faculty - Mr A Osmond, Head of English

There has been an exceptionally wide range of activities organised by the English Faculty during the last year, some of which are represented in this special section of Charters News. We have organised many theatre visits and entered teams for public speaking competitions and mock trials. The poet, Jane Draycott has taken a series of workshops with the creative writing group and a group of Year 12 students has visited Tirabad to work at drama-based approaches to Ibsen and Shakespeare. In the last part of the academic year, we ran a successful Book Cup Competition to encourage reading in Year 7. There was also an exciting visit from a university theatre group which performed "The Arabian Nights" to a rapt audience of all our Year 9 pupils. The play was produced by Tom Cocklin who also acted in it - it was a fitting end to an eventful year.

Jane Draycott�s Poetry Residency at Charters School - Mrs E Owen

In 1999 The Poetry Society designated Charters School a Poetry Place. Sian Hughes of the Poetry Society commented that this was a great honour, which reflected all the excellent poetry writing and events that have been produced at Charters School over the last few years. Together with the Poetry Place Plaque, we were presented with a cheque to pay for a poet to work in school. We were very fortunate to be able to persuade Jane Draycott, a very successful poet to take on the residency.

We enjoyed a most successful series of workshops with Jane, during her residency at the school. She joined our Creative Writing Club, which meets after school on Wednesday afternoons. 12 pupils were involved. We were fortunate to work with her for the whole of the Spring Term. The sessions were supposed to be from 3pm to 4.30pm. However, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we were often there until 5.00pm.

Members of the Creative Writing Club range from pupils in Years 7 to 13, which has proved, over the years, to be very successful: the younger pupils gain from working with the older ones and soon learn to be very confident in their writing and their views. Many pupils have gone through from Year 7 to 13, which has been extremely rewarding. Jane enjoyed working with the wide age range. The students gained tremendously from Jane�s ability to stimulate, encourage and then give the most apt suggestions when they returned with their offerings to the next session. Jane�s activities were varied, using word stimuli, pictures and sound tracks.

The highlights of the residency was the C.D., �Talking on Air�, which Jane produced of the pupils reading some of their poems and talking about their writing. We enjoyed the actual recording and we are delighted with the final product, which has been greeted with much acclaim. Poems from the C.D. are included in the anthology. Some of the poems in the anthology were written after Jane�s residency, though still very much under her influence.

Many thanks to the Poetry Society for the Poetry Place Grant. We will continue to gain from it for many years to come. A special thank you goes to Jane Draycott for fitting us into her very busy schedule and for being a delight to work with.

Poetry Prizes in 1999
Holly Hopkins was awarded the first prize in the Berkshire Poetry Prize in the Under 18 category. This was a national poetry competition. Holly Hopkins and Rita Dey were highly commended in the Poetry Society�s Young Poets� Competition.

Mock Trial 10A - Joe Sherlock

Several months ago two Charters pupils were in court, both charged with theft. Their chances of being acquitted lay in the hands of four very inexperienced lawyers who were also from Charters school. Thankfully this was a mock-trial.The Mock Trial Competition was organised by the Citizens Foundation and has been entered by teams from Charters for two years now. It is basically a chance for students to go to a real court, with real life magistrates, and perform a court case. The case, or rather the details of it, were pre-determined, but what the actors portraying the lawyers and witnesses say is up to them. The first time that Charters entered there was a Year 8 and a Year 9 team. The cases were as close to what would probably happen as possible, although there were certain things which were unlikely. Because the people writing the cases did not know what sex the actors would be, they had to make all the names used androgynous. Because of this, the names used were often repeated or strong nick-names were made up for the characters. The competition was organised very well over a national scale. The fact that the trials took place in an actual courtroom with actual magistrates was very good. It was very enjoyable to do.

Handling the News - Mr D Gillman

"Sam as an editor was good. He gave lots of good ideas. I have learned that it is hard working under pressure. It is important to keep a good relationship with your team-mates because you will need their help." - Iestyn Morris
This quotation gives an idea of Handling the News from a student�s perspective. In July, all Year 10 pupils were taken off timetable for the day to experience the pressures of working to a deadline to produce the front page of a newspaper. The news stories were based on a sequence of fictional news bulletins which were flashed electronically around the school computer network to the workbases of the various groups. It was a non-curricular event and the pupils had to use many different skills during the day: researching and interviewing; word-processing and desk top publishing; translating foreign languages; news reports; writing, editing and proof-reading stories in the style of particular newspapers and, crucially, as Iestyn�s comment reveals, the values of working together as a team, contributing and collaborating to achieve a collective goal.

Arabian Nights - Sam Woodward 10E

On the 15th July this year, ex-Charters student Thomas Cocklin brought his performing arts drama group down to the school. The group performed a play called "Arabian Nights", a play featuring many great stories originating from the middle-east or thereabouts. At the start, the group set cushions in designated places in a circle in the centre of the hall. After a few moments of meditation and humming, the group proceeded to act out the play.
The whole thing was performed in a dimly lit room, with windows and doors blacked-out to give a much needed atmosphere. The eerie silence, apart from the soft humming, was the perfect build-up to the main story about how one very powerful king ordered all women to be executed, following his wife�s infidelity. But one day, one of the women shortly to be executed began to tell fantastic stories that astonished and entranced the king. The group then acted out these very popular and well-known stories. The costume designs were impeccable, entirely appropriate to the story. The blend of colours made the costumes look convincingly Arabian. Few props were used, so much was left to the quality of the acting, which was superbly done. The lack of props and make-up left the imagination to create the image, rather like a book.

English Department�s Trip to Tirabad - Sarah Hayward Yr 13

Last March, eighteen lower sixth English Literature students, with Mrs Howell and Mrs Johnson, embarked on a four day course in Tirabad to study part of two examination drama texts, "Hamlet" and "A Doll�s House". Tirabad is normally associated with outdoor pursuits holidays, so neither us nor the Tirabad staff knew what to expect. Whilst we were there we had a chance to explore the texts practically, something which we rarely have the opportunity to do in our English lessons. We looked at ways of presenting different scenes and interpretations of characters, including perhaps the most well known of Shakespearean speeches "To be or not to be, that is the question". Although we worked most of the time we were there, it didn�t really seem like work.

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