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Principal's Newsletter

July 2018

Dear Parents and Carers

As the academic year draws to a close and we look towards the summer holidays can I thank all our parents, carers and the wider Ripley family for your support of our school this year. As you know, this has been my first year as Principal and it is safe to say that time has flown! It certainly does not seem like a year. Can I wish you all a safe, enjoyable and restful summer and may God continue to bless our school.

End of Term Services

We finish our term on Friday 20 July and as always, pupils will be attending services across the city:

  • Year 7 will be at St Thomas’; pupils should come to school as normal. They will walk to church with tutors.
  • Year 8 will remain in school for a service in the chapel.
  • Years 9 and 10 will be will be at The Priory; pupils should be at the Priory by 8.45am. Stagecoach and other bus providers will be contacted to ask if they will drop off pupils at China Street.
  • Year 12 will be at St Paul’s, Scotforth. Students should come to school as normal. They will walk to church with tutors.

End of Term Buses

  • The following buses will be available outside school at 12.25pm – 935, 500, 501, 502, 503, 567, 487 and the 581 across the road.
  • Pupils travelling on the 55A, 55B and 80 should go to the bus station.
  • Pupils going to Garstang, Catterall and services beyond should go to Scotforth Road.

The new term begins on Tuesday 4 September for Years 7 and 12, and Wednesday 5 September for other year groups.

Car Parking

Could I please remind parents and those picking up children that the front car park near the lodge must not be used to drop off in the morning or pick up at the end of the school day. As parents will appreciate, with over 1700 pupils entering and exiting the site, it is not safe for cars to be moving around.


As is always the case at this time of year we say goodbye to a number of staff.

  • Mrs Ortega (Spanish) and Miss Marsden (History) leave us at the end of their temporary contracts
  • Miss Teder (Health and Social Care/Psychology) leaves us to relocate to Yorkshire
  • Mrs Pyle (Maths) leaves us for a career in the primary sector
  • Mrs Whyte (English) leaves us to relocate to Barrow
  • Miss Thexton (Physics) leaves us to relocate to Thailand
  • Miss Burtonwood (Music) leaves us for a promoted post as Head of Music
  • Mr Douglas (Technology) leaves us to relocate with his family to Thailand

We wish all the best to staff retiring at the end of this academic year and thank them for their long and distinguished service to Ripley: Mr Crashley (Technology), Mme Carassik (MFL) and Mrs Ballard (RE).

Our four Ripley Scholars leave us also: Adam Robinson (Chaplaincy), Vicky Knipe (D of E), Anna Watson (Learning Support) and India Harding (Music/Performing Arts).

In September we will be welcoming the following new members of staff:

  • Miss Bradshaw (Geography)
  • Dr Rogan (English)
  • Mrs Robb (RE)
  • Miss Montgomery (Maths)
  • Miss Huddart (MFL)
  • Mr Scott (Technology)
  • Dr Allcock (Music)
  • Mrs Inglis (English)
  • Mrs Marsh (Sociology)
  • Mr Wilson (PE/Assistant Principal)
  • Miss Leak (English)
  • Mrs Beeden (Maths)

Additionally, we will have three new Ripley Scholars: Ellie Consadine (Chaplaincy), Alex Peters (Music) and Matthew Park (D of E).

Archbishop of York Young Leaders Award

During the past academic year pupils in Year 7 have been working towards their Archbishop of York Young Leaders Award. The award, which has been running for 7 years, encourages young people to “Be the change they want to see” through reflecting on the lives of people, both past and present, whose faith has driven to achieve change in the world. They have also studied the place of community within society and explored Jesus’ teaching on how to live in community. The final part of the project is to organise and carry out some action which makes a difference to the pupils’ local and school community.

Some pupils organised sponsored events or sales to raise money for charity; others worked with members of their family or neighbours to improve the local environment; a number spent time with an elderly relative or neighbour, just talking or doing household chores. Each year it is humbling to see the range of activities pupils carry out and everyone in the year group is involved!

The whole year group took part in the annual Scruffy-mufti day at the end of June and each form went to work on a different project in the Lancaster area. One form went “balsam bashing” to improve the biodiversity along Burrow Beck. Other forms were helping in Scotch Quarry community garden, Williamson Park, Winchester Road Wetlands Reserve, Lancaster Boys’ and Girls’ Club and many of the churchyards in the area. One form walked to the Loyne School and helped with cleaning and tidying there as well as playing with the younger children. One pupil commented “I didn’t know volunteering could be so much fun”.

The culmination of the year came on Friday 13th July when Year 7 pupils were presented with their certificates and badges by the Archbishop of York, the Most Reverend John Sentamu, during the annual Founders’ Day service in Ripley Chapel.

Dr Sentamu said: “I’m delighted to these students today who have worked very hard on their Young Leaders Award at Key Stage 3. I’m really pleased that they have come to discover that true leadership begins through serving others. Congratulations Ripley St Thomas – and keep up the good work”.

It seems very fitting that as we reflect on the generosity of the school’s benefactors, Thomas and Julia Ripley, we should be recognising the service of today’s young people.

Year 7 English London Trip

In June, 100 students in Year 7 spent two days in London, exploring some of the world's most influential pieces of literature. The trip started in Watford at the Warner Brothers Studios with a tour of The Making of Harry Potter. Students were able to explore the iconic settings of Harry Potter including the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts itself. Throughout the tour, students learned about the process of turning novel into film - whilst snapping selfies with props!

No English trip would have been complete without a visit to Shakespeare's Globe. Students were given a presentation on sword fighting in Shakespeare's plays, learning about the different weaponry used in Elizabethan England and how fighting scenes are choreographed for the stage today. Finally, students were dazzled by a performance of Wicked and were left feeling as though they were defying gravity!

Year 9 and 10 English Literature Macbeth Trip

On Monday 18th June, members of the English Department took a group of Year 9 and 10 pupils to Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon for an overnight visit. The first day allowed students to visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Here they were able to discover what was happening during the time of Shakespeare’s writing, as well as being able to look around where he used to live. On the Monday evening students were lucky enough to go to The Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre in order to watch Christopher Eccleston star as Macbeth. Before returning home on the Tuesday, students were given a tour around the theatre and had the fantastic opportunity to take part in a Macbeth workshop. The workshop allowed them to act as directors and experiment with different ways of performing the play. Students and teachers alike had a great time and left with even more appreciation and respect for this excellent Shakespeare text!

Normandy Trip

Year 8 pupils who went on the trip to Normandy in June saw the places and artefacts that are discussed in History made real. They particularly enjoyed seeing the Bayeux Tapestry and the architecture of Bayeux Cathedral, something that is discussed in depth at GCSE. One of the most emotional aspects of the trip was the visit to the War Cemetery at Normandy. The cemetery at Bayeux is the last resting place for thousands of Allied and German soldiers who died in the days before and after the start of Operation Overlord - the Allied invasion of Europe. It was clear that the pupils made an emotional connection with the sacrifice that these young men from both sides made.

Geography fieldwork

Year 8 River Wyre Fieldtrip

The recent good weather arrived just in time to coincide with the annual Year 8 fieldtrip to the River Wyre. All of the Year 8 Geography groups have enjoyed carrying out fieldwork along the River Wyre in the Forest of Bowland. This was used to help the students bring to life all the background work done in class and get real world experience of how a river works, even if the river levels were a bit lower than previous years!

Year 10 fieldwork in Cleveleys

The sun stayed around for long enough to mean all our fieldwork this year stayed rain free and the Year 10 Geographers saw plenty of sun in Cleveleys. Despite the very hot weather our GCSE groups did a fantastic job at collecting data for their Coastal and Urban topic. 

Part of the day was spent exploring the town of Cleveleys collecting a range of data that will help the students to identify any areas of inequality. The rest of the day was spent on Cleveleys beach giving the students the opportunity to study and explore the coastal processes at work in the area and the job that the newly renovated sea defences are doing.

Year 12 Residential Fieldtrip to Blencathra

Year 12 have recently attended a residential fieldtrip to collect data for their A Level Independent Investigations. We arrived at Blencathra at lunchtime on Monday and spent the week exploring the varied landscapes of Cumbria and the Lake District. Time was spent in the town of Keswick giving the students an opportunity to learn about the economic changes and the social inequalities that exist there as well as gaining an insight into the impact of Storm Desmond along the River Greta.

The group also visited the coastal town of Silloth. Here they investigated the sea defences and the coastal processes affecting the area.

Ag & Hort - LEAF Education Innovation School of the Year competition 2018

We are delighted to announce that Ripley (and specifically the farm) was awarded the Runners’ Up prize in the LEAF Innovation School of the Year competition recently. This is awarded for schools that excel in food, farming and the environment. Mrs Price and pupils attended the awards ceremony in North Wales.

Year 12 Meet Artist Tracy Levine

On the 13th of July our year 12 Art students visited Arnside where they met the artist Tracy Levine. Tracy has her own studio where she is able to work on her paintings and printmaking. Her studio is also a commercial space where paintings are on display. Students learnt how a modern artist can successfully make their Art practice into a viable business. They also made connections to the work they are currently doing in class, such as mark-making and experimental techniques. Tracy uses a range of mixed media in her work, combining different methods and approaches when making her beautiful work.


In June, Year 7 students were wowed by the spectacular experiments put on by the Science Department, with this year's theme: Life's a Beach! These fantastic activities included: students creating their own fire extinguisher to put out some beach flames, creating their own electromagnet to hunt out beach treasure, testing the forces of nature by trying to balance a seagull, cloning (yes, cloning!) a selection of plants, and last but by no means least, making beach-themed slime! All the students were brilliant at participating and their enthusiasm and excitement made the whole event a roaring success.

On Monday 2nd July, we held our annual Springboard Science event. Each year we select a number of promising young scientists from years 7 and 10 to be involved in a scheme whereby they are mentored by a number of year 12 and 13 students to stretch and challenge them above and beyond the curriculum. At the end of the year we hold an event to celebrate their success. This year we had a number of presentations from the students involving explosions, flame tests and even live heart dissections. It was a fantastic event enjoyed by all those who attended. Well done to all the students who presented and thank you to all the sixth form students involved in mentoring our younger students!

This term a number of our year 10 students undertook the national ‘Biology Challenge’ in which they are tested on their biological knowledge and compete against others across the country. We were very successful this year with many students achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold awards.

Well done to all those that took part!


During the summer term, Year 9 pupils have been studying Christian Practices in RE. With a focus on Mission and Evangelism, we decided to invite Sportsreach in to school to work with our year 9 classes.

SportsReach is an interdenominational ministry which uses sport, especially soccer and netball, as a means to reach people of all ages with the life changing reality of a personal relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sue Marsden, along with her twin daughters (former Ripley pupils), visited us to talk about the work of Sportsreach in the UK and across the world. It was important for our GCSE pupils to see Mission and Evangelism in action.

STEM interns

In June we welcomed our STEM interns to Ripley for 4 weeks. This is one of the government's initiatives to recruit more Maths and Physics undergraduates into teaching, where students in their second year at university are paid to work in schools and get a flavour of teaching as a career. We had three interns at Ripley in Maths and Physics and they delivered a Maths and Science Blast event for year 8 pupils, enabling them to have fun and learn about science and maths through exciting activities. We are hoping they will be inspired to apply to train with our SCITT programme next year! (

Great British Plastics Challenge

We welcomed Tim Farron MP, formerly leader of the Liberal Democrat party to school recently. Tim gave a most thought-provoking and interesting talk to sixth formers and Year 9 pupils as part of the Great British Plastics Challenge. As a school, we are doing all we can to eliminate single-use plastic and reduce our carbon footprint.

M Wood