Ni Hao Parkside
Pupils at Parkside Academy have been given the opportunity to learn Mandarin. Mrs Lane, who is originally from China, will be coming into Parkside Academy every week to deliver lessons teaching the pupils about the language and culture of China.
David Cameron said recently “By the time the children born today leave school, China is set to be the world’s largest economy. So it’s time to look beyond the traditional focus on French and German and get many more children learning Mandarin”.
Pupils found their first lesson very interesting and learned about the characters and how to pronounce words using varying tones. They were shocked to find out that you need to know over 2000 characters to speak Mandarin fluently.
Bulb Planting in our Community
A group of Year 11 pupils took part in a project to brighten up the Aged Miners Bungalows on Hall Lane. Students worked in partnership with Year 3 children from St Stephen’s CE Primary to plant spring bulbs in planters which were given out to all twenty seven residents. Funding from Greater Willington Town Council and Durham County Councillors, Joe Buckham and Olwyn Gunn, paid for the crocus and snowdrop bulbs and children had great fund learning how to plant and nurture them.
Councillor Buckham said “It’s been a great to deliver something that encourages children to think about looking after where they live and how they can make it better. Our younger residents are proud of what they’ve achieved and we are looking forward to seeing the end results which should have a big impact on Willington in the spring”.
In September a group of pupils went to The Lake District in Cumbria for vital team building activities. All pupils are part of an expedition to South Africa in the Summer of 2015 and we used the weekend to climb England’s highest peak Scarfell. It was a fantastic weekend and our entire group successfully achieved their goal in reaching the summit in a fast time. We also spent time discussing and undertaking activities that will prepare them for their adventures in South Africa.
We are Proud of Our British Heritage
Parkside Academy Year 10 pupil, Luke King travelled to the Tower of London with his Cadet group last weekend and was involved in the making and planting of the Poppies.
The Tower of London’s poppy installation covers an area equivalent to 16 football pitches and includes almost 1 million hand made poppies. 90 tonnes of steel was used to creat the stems of the poppies, which vary in length from 1m to 50cm.
Luke was very honoured to be amongst the teams of volunteers involved in the assembly of each flower and was even invited to Downing Street.
Remembering The Fallen in WW1
Mr Harrison and Mrs Walker accompanied 12 year 10 pupils to the Somme area of France for the next part of their Comenius project commemorating 100 years since the outbreak of the Great War and leading up to the anniversary of the battle of the Somme. They stayed in a small hotel in the town of Péronne and spent long but interesting days working with the pupils from the school in Roisel. This included spending a day in school, working together at the local museum and in the archives on a variety of activities, visiting Amiens and its famous cathedral and completing a tour of the Battlefields.
As an act of remembrance to the many soldiers who lost their lives in the war and especially the 2 soldiers from Willington who the pupils had researched and who died in the battle of the Somme, a wreath was laid at Thiepval war memorial. The final day was spent at an air show where the group were entertained by the French equivalent of the Red Arrows. The best part was the strong friendships which were built up between les Français and les Anglais and the group are really looking forward to seeing them again in February when they will visit Durham.
Mark Taylor from the Durham Pals gave a workshop to our pupils on the first day of school as part of the Somme group’s enquiry day, whereby they used primary sources supplied by County hall archive service to investigate the lives of 2 local soldiers.
Learning About Democracy in Great Britain Today
Mr Davies and the school council representatives (Corin Brennan, James Facey and Head Girl Sarah Bunton) met with our local MP Pat Glass. The meeting was held at Wolsingham Community College and was focused around the local schools recent achievements and an insight into the running of parliament. Pat discussed current issues in parliament such as the school day, proposed changes to exams and also MP pay rises. Each school was given a chance to discuss their views on these political matters and provide their thoughts and views. The main talking point though was about our upcoming trip to London to see the House of Commons which will take place on July 2nd.
During May half-term, 37 year 9 and 10 GCSE Geography and History students visited the Bay of Naples in Italy for an action packed educational field study.
Pupils visited geographical landscapes such as Mount Vesuvius, walking up to the crater, and Solfatara volcanic fields, and the historical sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum. We took a tour of the labyrinth of underground tunnels deep below the streets of Naples, and sampled pizza and ice-cream during a stop at the coastal town of Sorrento.
Year 9 pupil Amy Craig said “It was the trip of a lifetime and I really enjoyed it, especially walking up to and seeing the crater of Mount Vesuvius”.
Life at Oxford University
8 Students from Parkside Academy stayed at St John’s College, Cambridge University from Wednesday 4 September to Friday 6 September. They joined pupils from five other schools in County Durham. The students were given an introduction to undergraduate life at Cambridge University through a combination of academic and social activities.
On the first evening pupils were given a guided tour of the city. The following day, students had the opportunity to hear about the different courses available at Cambridge and to attend a series of sample lectures covering topics from mimicry in butterflies to the Achaemenid Empire. In the afternoon pupils visited either the Fitzwilliam Museum or the newly-refurbishment Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, afterwards they had a trip to the cinema.
The visit was rounded off with a spot of punting on Friday morning, followed by a tour of either Jesus or King’s College. The trip was designed to show the pupils what it would be like to live and study at one of the country’s top universities.
Books for Africa
At Parkside Academy we have resources to use in lessons to make the lessons dynamic, exciting and varied for pupils. However, many students in Africa are not as lucky as us and cannot afford basic equipment needed for learning.
We decided to make a change and give pupils in Africa a gift to make their education and learning better. Mr Thornton and geography pupils travelled in our school minibus stuffed full of surplus Geography text books.
We took them to a charity based in Sunderland called ‘Book Aid for Africa’, where they will be packed up and sent to Nigeria, before being redistributed among schools in the country.
On the 27th January 2014, 20 pupils visited Durham Cathedral to take part in a range of activities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. Pupils were involved in a number of workshops throughout the morning which allowed them to further their knowledge on various aspects of the Holocaust including stereotypes of people involved.
During the afternoon session, pupils were fortunate to hear from a survivor of the Holocaust who retold her story of fleeing Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport and leaving her parents behind. This was a memorable day which will benefit the pupils enormously when they come to study the Holocaust in their GCSE course.