News from The Kings of Wessex Academy

Academy Awards at Kings

15th September, 2017 by Jude Owens

Last Thursday (14 September 2017) there were celebrations afoot at the Kings of Wessex Academy to start the new term with the 41st Annual Awards evening to celebrate the academic year 2016-2017.

The packed audience of student award winners, parents, staff, governors, and friends of Kings, including local MP James Heappey, clapped and smiled as over 300 awards were presented for academic high achievement at GCSE, AS Level, and A Level; as well as Subject, Star and Tutor Awards; Outstanding Progress from Key Stage 2 to 4; 100% attendance and Work Experience placements. Over 50 awards were Special Awards for contribution to the life of Kings, many of which are legacies from friends of the Academy, including the Andy Hitt Geography Award, remembering the former Teacher of Geography and Year Leader who sadly died in 2008.

This year’s Community Awards were presented firstly, to Bev Hearn, former Headteacher of Weare First School from 1967 to 1997, and one of the founders of the Cheddar Valley Schools system, and who remains as interested and passionate about education 50 years on. The second Community Award was presented to Jim Reeve, Church Warden of St Andrew’s Church, who oversees the arrangements in church for the many services and visits throughout the year. Mr Reeve received the award on behalf of the church who are keen to strengthen relationships with the Academy.

On behalf of the Trust, the Chair for the evening and Wessex Learning Trust Foundation Director John Angle, welcomed new Executive Headteacher Gavin Ball to Kings and his first Awards Evening. Mr Ball spoke warmly and shared his pride for his new position, and recognised he had big boots to fill in those of his predecessor Chris Richardson, and thanked him for all his hard work to make last year (and the previous nearly 22!) so successful. Mr Ball declared teaching to be the best job in the world, and told the audience he cannot wait to get to school in the morning and is ready for the challenges ahead to build on the many achievements at Kings in order to take it forward to the next stage.

Mr Ball praised students for their excellent exam results in the summer, and acknowledged he is competitive too and wants Kings’ students to be the best. But he also understood there is more to schooling than top exam results, and expressed his wish to develop the whole child to be equipped for our globally competitive world, and encouraged students to take part in trips, visits and other life-enhancing opportunities.

Deputy Headteachers Jason Edwards and Gemma Hunt, who also joined Kings this September, compèred the ceremony, and musical interludes were provided by the Brass Band of the Cheddar Valley Music Club with a stirring performance of ‘Nobility of Youth from Voices of Youth’ by Edward Gregson, conducted by Anne Higgs. The second musical interlude was a beautiful rendition of “Evermore”, from the magical film “Beauty and the Beast”, by Tim Rice and Alan Menken, performed by Lower School students Amy Anderson, Amelia Ford, Marishelle Harris, Abbie Jamieson, and Sam Kail-Dyke.

This year’s Head Boy and Girl, Archit Singhal and Florence Rice, ended proceedings with the vote of thanks, and celebrated their fellow students and thanked parents and staff and absolutely everyone in the Academy for their support and encouragement, and wished the outgoing Year 13’s every success, and advised them to use their newfound freedom well.

Closing the evening, Mr Ball thanked Cheddar Valley School Headteacher colleagues for attending, and commended the tier system that sees young people progress through their education so happily with the joy of seeing them grow. Mr Ball also thanked the dedicated, hard-working staff, parents, Trust, Governing Body, and PTA for all their support. He finally thanked Caretakers Phil Morgan and Ralph Tupper, IT Technicians Chris Oakley and Bob Chadderton, Administration Manager Michelle Buffham, and his PA Jude Owens, for all their work behind the success to ensure the evening went so smoothly. But above all, Mr Ball praised the students and shared Rev. Angle’s feeling of the “aura of well-being” during the evening.