Principal’s Blog – 26th February 2016

Daniel Britton is elected to the Youth Parliament

Landslide victory

In an earlier blog I informed you that Daniel Britton, a student in Year 8, had put himself forward as a candidate in the elections for the Youth Parliament. I am delighted to tell you that Daniel has been elected as a Member of the Youth Parliament with a massive landslide victory, polling a huge 2,391 votes compared to the 660 of the second placed candidate. The UK Youth Parliament provides opportunities for 11-18 year olds to use their elected voice to bring about social change through meaningful representation and campaigning. During their term of office, MYPs work with their MPs, decision makers, councillors and local youth groups on the issues of greatest concern to their constituents and we look forward to Daniel making a difference in our area. Well done Daniel, you have made us proud!

Walking, talking mocks!

Under this government the terminal GCSE examination has become even more important and it is vital that Year 11 students know what to do in order to achieve in the summer 2016 examinations. All students have recently gone through a mock examination period and are currently being debriefed. On Monday February 29th the English team will be taking students though a ‘walking, talking mock’. In this, students will sit in the hall at exam desks and go through an examination paper with the staff highlighting what the questions require and common pitfalls in a live question and answer session. The aim of this is to support student understanding of the questions and to increase their confidence when it comes the actual examination. Maths will be following suit in March. We will then have a second pre-public mock examination period in April 2016 to see if there have been lessons learned. GCSE examinations are now even more high stakes than ever and we are doing everything that we can to help our young people get the grades that they deserve. Sessions aimed at helping Year 11 parents support the revision process will begin in April – watch out for the dates.

Leap Year

This year is a leap year which means that we get an extra day and February 29th is a leap day. A leap year happens about every four years and people born on this day are called leaplings. Outside of leap years, February 29th is not on the calendar forcing leaplings to celebrate their birthdays on either February 28th or March 1st. The reason we do this is down to the solar system’s disparity with the Gregorian calendar. A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. So leap seconds – and leap years – are added as means of keeping our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth and its seasons. Technically, a leap year does not occur every four years. There’s a leap year every year that is divisible by four, except for years that are both divisible by 100 and not divisible by 400. The added rule about centuries (versus just every four years) was an additional fix to make up for the fact that an extra day every four years is too much of a correction as leap years only happen 97 years out of every 400. The maths has worked ever since the system was devised in 1582 but it will need to be rethought in about 10,000 years’ time! So, leaplings enjoy your actual birthday and the rest of you the extra day – who knows some of you might be proposed to by your girlfriends!

Ray Henshaw