• The Ilfracombe Academy

High Drama, Circus Skills and Sport Relief - Letter from the Headteacher

Dear Parents and Carers,

Another week goes by and we all continue to look at the developing humanitarian situation in Ukraine. We all hope that as many people can make it to safety as soon as possible. We are also in awe of how they are doing everything they can to defend their country and way of life under such aggression from Russia. As you know, our school community donated three trailer loads of emergency goods that are now on their way across Europe – we hope it makes a difference.

Please see below for details of life at the academy this week as well as important information.

Drama Trip to New York

"The show must go one"

After two and a half years of planning, two postponements, six student replacements, three Covid lockdowns, remote learning, two vaccines and a whole lot of ever-changing travel regulations, The Ilfracombe Academy finally managed to get twelve students, two staff and one very helpful parent out to 'The Big Apple' New York City this March. This is a trip the Drama Department have run several times (both prior to my arrival at Ilfracombe nine years ago and also more recently in 2018), but never has there been so much planning and patience in the build-up.

The students jumped the first hurdle with nerve racking pre-flight Covid testing at the Barnstaple Travel Clinic one day prior to departure - first box ticked. After a midnight pick up and a five-hour journey to Heathrow, the extensive document checking began. Despite one lost phone, a few tears and some panicked phone calls, second box ticked, we were on our way. Thanks to Virgin Atlantic for their extensive film selection that guaranteed at least a few hours of peace and quiet.

New York is an incredible city and our students really did experience 'life in all its fullness' in every possible way. From the hustle and bustle of Times Square; the diversity of the culture, the history, the arts, the architecture and of course the food; we did it all! Students showed incredible empathy as we visited the 911 memorial museum; a sense of curiosity at the American National History Museum and a sense of awe at the views from the top of the Rockefeller Centre, Brooklyn Bridge, and the Staten Island Ferry.

There was plenty of time for shopping, (never has the 'Build a Bear' franchise had so many dollars thrown at it), and lots of burgers, corn dogs, pizza slices and New York cheesecake consumed. Not to worry though - this food was soon burnt off with, on average, about 10-15k of walking per day. Lots of blisters and lots of aching bones but so many amazing sights taken in along the way. The students (and staff) really have lived 'The American Dream'!

Finally, the purpose of the trip - the theater (sp: theatre..... If you can forgive me for being American for a moment). We were very fortunate to take part in a workshop at the Ripley Grier studios where students got to work with one of the professional cast of Chicago. Students were put through their paces as they learnt a significant section of both the vocal and the professional choreography for 'All That Jazz' which we were then able to recognise when watching the show at the Ambassador Theatre the next day. Of course, this also gave a few students the perfect opportunity to become ultimate 'fan girls' and call out the actor's name whenever he entered the stage.... Which in fairness he seemed to enjoy by returning the whoops and cheers with nods and appreciative (and somewhat comedic) gestures in our general direction! We were even able to meet our new actor friend after the show at the stage door where he chatted to us and posed for some photos.

I want to thank my fellow staff members for their invaluable support in planning and actioning this trip, but most importantly thank the students for their impeccable behaviour, maturity and sense of humour. They were a great group, always supporting each other and doing everything they could to make the most of the experience. They really did themselves and The Ilfracombe Academy proud.

Here's to the next one... in a couple of years... after I recover!

Mr Richard Vale

Final Reminder - Romeo & Juliet Reminder - 24th and 25th March

As you know, due to storm Eunice safety concerns, Stage Right's performance of Romeo & Juliet has now been re-arranged to 24th & 25th March. The performance takes place at 6pm in St Christopher's Hall and all originally purchased tickets will carry over. There are still some tickets available on the door and you can ring the office to reserve these (£12 for adults and £6 for students). We are performing the unabridged, full Shakespeare text and the lead roles range from Year 9-13. The students have worked incredibly hard throughout a rehearsal process highly affected by Covid-19 and they are all really proud of what they have achieved. For updates and information please contact Mr Vale or follow Stage Right on socials (FB & Instagram). We look forward to the students showcasing their amazing talents again and urge anyone to purchase a ticket if they haven’t already done so.

World Book Day 2022 – Welcome to the Circus!

After having to shelve plans for World Book Day for two years, Mrs Lamerton was determined that this year would be an absolute extravaganza. She was not wrong! The library was turned into a circus big top. We had a storytelling tent; hook-a-book; the Ferris wheel of fortune; a lucky dip and book hoop-la. Not only this but on Thursday Y11 were invited to pie the character Monkey from the children’s book ‘Monkey Puzzle’. Thanks to Mr Cochrane for being such a good sport. On Friday we had circus skills in the activities studios. Many Y11 students seem to have found their calling – especially Ocean W and his plate spinning prowess.

The Art department worked with Y7 and Y8 to produce amazing artwork based on the novel ‘The Night Circus’ and many staff decorated their doors with their favourite novel and read at the beginning of each lesson to share their love of reading.

To top it off, we had John Townsend, renowned children’s author giving a talk to a selection of our students and reading some of their work.

Well done to Mrs Lamerton, Mrs Cook and the team of KS3 library ambassadors for putting on what was definitely the Greatest (Book) Show on Earth!

Sports Relief

Mrs Hill has a number of activities planned throughout the week and we are all looking forward to having some fun and raising some money for good causes. Along with a number of other schools we have decided that staff and students should wear Blue and Yellow rather than the traditional Red to give a visual support for the people of Ukraine. Please see the planed schedule of activities below.

Year 8 Rugby – West Buckland 7s tournament

The Year 8 rugby squad travelled to West Buckland to play in the all-day 7s competition including 11 other North Devon schools.

The boys were a credit to the school and should be very proud of not only their performances but the way they represented the school throughout the day was exemplary.

The team were put in a group with Holsworthy and Kingsley and came away unbeaten with 4 straight wins (played each team twice). Tries were shared around the team with Harley M, Sid M, Angus AS, Samson H, Ollie P all chipping in with captain Sam K leading the way as top try scorer and generally showing excellent leadership throughout the day.

Topping the group was a great achievement and meant that the team were put into the ‘Champions League’ against other pool winners – West Buckland, South Molton and Park School. All very tough, athletic and experience opposition. The boys pushed every team close losing by one try against Park and South Molton and two tries vs a very strong West Buckland. The boys’ commitment and sheer physical bravery was amazing to see.

The team should be proud of their performances at this event. To finish 4th out of 12 schools in North Devon is a great achievement. 10/12 boys are still in Year 7 and many only started rugby in September. The boys’ commitment to Thursday after school training has been the foundation of this improvement and success. If they keep this going, there is huge potential in the future.

Mr L Milton

We hope that everyone has a nice weekend with their family and friends.

Yours Sincerely

Steve Rogers


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