place for information on Ross-on-Wye and the Wye Valley
FROM ROSS-ON-WYE AND AROUND THE REGION
JOHN KYRLE HIGH SCHOOL - A SCHOOL TO BE PROUD OF
Darnley, the Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire was the Guest
Speaker at the annual John Kyrle High School Prize Giving
Evening last week and the Main Hall was packed with people
applauding the achievements of students of the school. During
the evening, Lady Darnley made a special presentation of
a tree to Mrs. Joyce Thomas, MBE-DL in recognition of her
hard work, having served the school as a governor for over
Teacher, Nigel Griffiths is rightly proud of his school
and in his speech paid tribute to the effort of parents,
staff and students, which has made the school what it is
today. In his speech, Mr. Griffiths said,
guest Lady Darnley, Mr Mayor, staff, governors, supporters
of the school, parents and, most importantly, students,
I am delighted to stand here and present some thoughts at
Prize Giving looking back upon an outstanding year in John
Kyrle’s history. I want to begin, however, by reflecting
upon the sadness we all felt at the loss of Josh Davies.
the summer, Josh a member of our sixth form, lost his brave
battle against the brain tumour that had developed so suddenly.
Josh was an admirable and brave young man. I am very pleased
that his family has agreed we name one of tonight’s awards
in his honour and later Josh’s parents will present the
first Josh Davies Memorial Prize for Year 12 Geology. The
strength of our community is clear, especially at times
of loss. We issued a whole school questionnaire – The Education
Perceptions Monitor - this year and I am delighted to say
that once again students placed Community Spirit as the
key strength of the school.
statistic tells a story. We gained 60% % 5 A*-C including
Maths and English – the gold standard. This was our best
performance ever. Every pass grade tells a story of the
interaction between a student and his or her home life.
Parental support is vital for our success. It tells a story
of students’ interaction with each other. We have improved
attendance at school from well below the national average
to well above the national average – we want students to
enjoy school. We tell them that we want only three things
for them – to be happy healthy and successful.
statistic that tells a story is our 55% A-B grades at A
Level. This means that students gained the University of
their First Choice; five into Oxford and Cambridge, and
large numbers in every major university across the country.
I am delighted to see so many of them back here tonight
and later Mr Vinall will give details of their success and
progress. The statistics overlie the true story of the success
of this school. School effectiveness is not about leadership,
it’s not even about schools; it’s about classrooms and the
relationships in them between teachers and students. This
is what we succeed at and it is this that fuels the data.
of the students with their prizes.
of our success is literally beyond measure. We have fantastic
individuals in this school, some of which have very interesting
stories to tell such as joining us from another country.
Some of the stories are closer to home and this year I am
delighted to say that once again the school has earned a
National Diana Award for one of our students here tonight
for her inspiration, her compassion and her and contribution
to her family and the school community. Tonight’s winner
of the Diana Award, Samantha Burford is a credit to her
family and her school. She is a caring, family member, a
considerate friend and someone focused on her studies with
successes in the academic year 08-09 include the setting
up of an Extended Services and Student Intervention Centres
to be opened by the Minister of State before Christmas and
on Monday, Clive and Sylvia Richards opened our £250,000
Music Technology Suite. Our ongoing excellence in music,
drama and sport has seen wonderful concerts, Macbeth and
victory on the sports field.
unique measure of school success we use is opportunities
for foreign travel. As I stand here tonight, there is a
school trip en route to Aachen to see a German Christmas
market. There are students here tonight who have been on
or are planning the latest school trips to Paris, Betzdorf,
Conde, Spain, skiing to Austria, a food technology trip
to Northern Italy; an RE trip to Rome; Moscow, New York,
Uganda, South Africa and Canada. In all of these places
they have been and will continue to be excellent ambassadors
for their families, their communities and their school.
My thanks to my staff and Governors who give up their time
accompanying students on trips. In this litigious age where
students taking risks is considered too much for many schools
with many schools abandoning trips we buck the trend by
regard to our success, I would like to commend the local
community for their support, many of whom are here tonight:
church groups, primary school partners, the local media,
volunteer groups and those from local businesses. We would
be unable to do what we do without your ongoing support.
This evening is the culmination of a lot of work, a lot
of sweat, a lot of tears, and a lot of money because none
of you were beyond bribery from us or your parents. … But
we are not finished. This is not final.
next stage for you, the next chapter in the story is that
you become the leaders of the future: Student leaders at
school; Leaders in industry; in the arts; in the private
sector; in education; in health; the military and in Government.
And so, future leaders and decisions makers and current
Prize winners for the academic year 08-09 everyone involved
in this outstanding, specialist, technology, modern foreign
languages and applied learning college commends you. Thank
Paul Deneen, Joyce Thomas MBE with Lady Darnley, Karen Frost - Chair
of Governors and head teacher, Nigel Griffiths.
of individual presentations:
who attended the event will have probably noticed that Alan
photographed the prize presentations throughout. Rather
than publish them all here as this would be extremely time
consuming, he will be giving the photos to the school on
a disc after the Christmas holiday. The school can then
distribute them to those who require copies.
NON-STOP VEHICLE DAMAGES WALL AT ST OWEN'S CROSS
Police are appealing for information after substantial damage
was caused to a wall and crash barrier in the village of
St Owens Cross near Ross on Wye. The collision occurred
when an unknown vehicle collided with a crash barrier and
wall at the entrance to a private property a few hundred
metres north of the St Owens Cross crossroads on the A4137
between 10pm on Sunday 20th and 7.30am on Monday, 21st December
vehicle responsible did not stop at the scene.
at the collision site was a small piece of bodywork that
was dark metallic blue in colour, together with a broken
orange flashing beacon cover and a Hella-make spotlight
Mike Edwards, who is investigating the collision, said,
'Judging by the amount of damage to the wall and crash barrier,
the vehicle responsible must have been pretty badly bashed-up
as well. I would like to hear from anyone whose neighbour
has a dark blue metallic vehicle which has recently acquired
crash damage and lost part of an orange beacon and Hella
with information should contact PC Mike Edwards at Ross
Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call the free Crimestoppers
line anonymously on 0800 555111.
PLEASE DON'T FORGET DES OVER THE FESTIVE PERIOD
Christmas is almost upon us, with many getting into the
spirit of the season already
buying lots of presents, decorating trees and imbibing large
quantities of 'Christmas' spirit. It's the fun season and
a time for families and friends to spend time together to
this in mind, you would do well to remember to take Des
with you when you go to a party or out on the town with
your friends. Des,
your designated sober driver will ensure that you all arrive
home safely after the get together and in return, you could
volunteer to be Des next time.
take a chance on drinking and driving over the holiday period
(or any other time). You could end up with more than just
a ruined Christmas.
VERNON COAKER MP OPENS NEW CENTRE AT JOHN KYRLE HIGH SCHOOL
Coaker, MP, Minister of State for Schools and Learners in
the Department for Children, Schools and Families, visited
John Kyrle High School to open the new Extended Services
and Student Learning Centres. Extended Services operate
on behalf of all schools in the Ross Partnership and provide
access to varied activities, such as summer school, parenting
support and community access to facilities. The
Student Centre will engage students in their learning when
required and give access to specialist support such as mentors,
Teaching Assistants or medical support.
Kyrle Headteacher, Nigel Griffiths, said he was delighted
that the Minister could find the time to join the school
in opening these excellent facilities which will benefit
students, parents and carers. He paid tribute to Herefordshire
Council who had worked with the school to access the funding
for the projects which included the buildings and specialist
staff to run them. The school has run competitions for the
naming of the new facilities and the Extended Services Centre
will be known as the Wye Pod and the Student Centre as the
Griffiths added, 'The impact of the Specialist Schools'
programme and community outreach has made a huge difference
as far as the John Kyrle, partner primary school and the
local community has been concerned. We are most grateful
to the DCSF for their continued support of these important
Coaker praised the school for its results, its innovation
and its Ofsted grading of 'Outstanding'. He said it is a
characteristic of excellent schools, such as John Kyrle,
that they relentlessly focus upon further improvement and
the development of Extended Services and the Student Learning
Centres are examples of this. Having had a full tour of
John Kyrle including the new £250 000 Music Technology Suite,
Mr Coaker said he had been impressed with the learning atmosphere
across the school and how friendly and approachable he found
both students and staff.
Frost, Chair of Governors, in thanking the Minister for
his visit, was delighted that he has agreed to become a
'Friend of the school.'
Vernon Coaker MP shakes head teacher, Nigel Griffiths' hand after
unveiling the plaque (below) to open the new facility.
'DON'T SKATE ON THIN ICE' SAY POLICE
Herefordshire Police have issued a seasonal warning to youngsters
to keep away from frozen lakes and ponds for fear of thin
ice. Police had received several calls about youngsters
skating on the Belmont Lakes, fishing pools off Haywood
Lane, Belmont, during the day. When the police arrived the
youngsters had gone but officers have expressed concern
as lakes and pools are dangerous to walk or skate on when
Nick Semper, in charge of local policing in Hereford City
and its environs, said, 'Though the temperatures have been
subzero for some days now and the water surface appears
frozen, we urge youngsters not to venture onto the ice,
which can crack quickly and without warning. Young people
may not appreciate the dangers. A child may be able to swim
but if they fall through and under the ice, they can become
trapped and unable to break through to the air. This is
when tragedies occur.
stay away and have fun elsewhere, where there is no risk.'
ROSS SCOUT GROUP OUT IN FORCE
you were out doing your supermarket shop in Ross on Saturday
12th December, then it would have been hard to miss members
of the Ross Scout Group who were out in force, helping busy
shoppers pack their bags at both Morrisons and Sainsbury's.
Beaver Scouts, Cub Scouts, Scouts and Explorer Scouts of
Ross, who together make up the Ross on Wye Scout Group,
raised a fantastic total of £741 and would like to say a
huge 'thank you' to the people of Ross for their generosity.
These valuable funds will go towards making some essential
improvements to the Scout and Guide Headquarters in Ross,
as well as helping fund outings for the young people. Everybody
at Ross Scout Group would also like to thank the staff at
both Sainsbury's and Morrisons for their support this year.
Scout Group is a thriving community with over 65 young people
regularly attending and enjoying the various activities.
If you are interested in supporting any of these sections
either as an adult leader, committee member or as a young
leader (16 - 24) then please contact David Bennett on 01989
Alternatively, log in to www.scouts.org.uk, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or phone 0845 300 1818 for further information.
SCHOOLS CHALLENGED TO GO CAR FREE
An environmental gauntlet has been thrown down to schools,
challenging them to come up with innovative ways to go car
free, while also potentially winning some great prizes.
The most innovative and successful school in Herefordshire
will win £100 for their school and a chance to win the top
prize of £500 for the best school campaign in the West Midlands.
schools all over the West Midlands are being asked to take
part in the Car Free Challenge, encouraging more students
and teachers to walk, cycle, or use public transport to
get to school. The challenge highlights alternatives to
using the car, while also helping students to become healthier,
and making the roads less congested and safer. By
2050 almost 60 per cent of the population could be obese,
with nearly 30 per cent of two to 15 year olds currently
being classed as overweight or obese. Walking or cycling
to and from school provides an easy, daily opportunity for
exercise and gets students outdoors and more active. With
the ever increasing petrol price, walking to school will
also help parents save money. Reducing car use will also
reduce school carbon emissions, 16 per cent of which result
from school travel and transport.
Brian Wilcox said, 'This is a great campaign that not only
helps the environment by reducing the number of cars on
the road and combats the increasingly growing obesity problem,
it also motivates students to become creative and organized
about a real life issue that has to be tackled.'
challenge, which is due to take place between 26th April
and 7th May 2010 is for student groups who will need to
be as innovative as possible to encourage people to go car
free for the two week period. An awards event will be held
next autumn to award the winners and the winning campaign
will be turned into a new campaign for all secondary schools.
schools wishing to take part in the Car Free Challenge should
visit the website: www.schooltravelwise.org.uk/carfreechallenge
for further information.
TOP ROSS CUB SCORES A DOUBLE
receives his award from Akela, Robin Shaw.
Tuesday saw The Ross-on-Wye Cub Scout pack’s annual end
of year Concert. The Cubs performed sketches they had been
practising in the weeks before and two Cubs, Matthew Shaw
and Lewis Fletcher, played solos on their violins. This
was preceded by a slide show of pictures of the year’s activities.
After the refreshments, laid on by assistant leader Tina,
had been consumed, the Top Cub of the year was announced.
The Top Cub trophy was awarded to Cameron Terry. This is
the first time ever that a Cub has won the trophy two years
also holds the record for the number of Cub meetings he
has attended. Last year he attended every meeting and this
year only missed one due to illness.
year the Cubs are looking forward to lots of exciting activities
which, of course, will include a camp as well as indoor
and outdoor activities with many chances to earn badges.
you would like to be part of our thriving Scout group, as
a leader or helper, please contact Akela, Robin Shaw on
POLICE SEEK OWNER OF SEIZED COPPER CABLING
Police are appealing for information after Ross officers
arrested two men in possession of a van load of copper cabling
which they could not account for.
1.56am on Saturday, 12th December, two officers stopped
a white Transit van which was travelling south on the A40
at Goodrich near Ross. The two male occupants were subsequently
on suspicion of theft after a load of copper cabling and
a bicycle were found in the rear of the vehicle, for which
they could give no satisfactory explanation. They are currently
on police bail whilst further enquiries are made.
trawl of police records reveals no theft in the county for
these items. Police believe the items to have been recently
stolen from a building site or similar as the cabling was
covered in mud, as were the men arrested. Police believe
there is a strong possibility that the theft has not been
reported to police.
would urge anyone who has recently lost an amount of copper
cabling from their site to contact PC Mike Evans at Ross
Police Station on 0300 333 3000 or call the free Crimestoppers
line on 0800 555111.
HIGHWAYS TEAM KEEPS HEREFORDSHIRE TRAFFIC MOVING
Council and their service delivery partners Amey have been
working hard during the recent spell of bad weather to keep
the county's roads clear of ice and snow. The county's fleet
of 18 gritters has salted roads on both primary and secondary
gritting routes during the recent cold snap. The county
has 3,291km of roads with 963kmn being priority gritting
routes while 684km are secondary routes. Roadside grit heaps
and bins are also provided where requested by parish councils
to provide cover on minor roads which might not otherwise
leaflet has been produced detailing the winter gritting
routes which can be downloaded in .PDF format from the council's
website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk Leaflets for the major
towns have also been made available in individual, more
detailed files, which are also available on the website.
Councillor Brian Wilcox said, 'Even though many people are
now enjoying a much deserved Christmas break, it is still
crucial that the county's roads are kept open as this helps
to ensure the safety of commuters, people out shopping and
those who are travelling to visit relatives. We will continue
to keep a close eye on weather forecasts and ensure the
appropriate action is taken to minimize the risk to the
travelling public and keep the county's roads open throughout
the winter period.'
Brian Wilcox with the team who are keeping the roads clear.
BEING A VOLUNTEER OPENED DOORS FOR SUSAN
Full time mum of four, Susan Smithies from Llangrove, Ross-on-Wye
her foot firmly back on the career ladder thanks to a volunteering
scheme at Goodrich Castle, which is managed by English Heritage.
aged 47, decided to take the plunge and go back to work
after 16 years of raising her four children. Her opportunity
came when English Heritage introduced an innovative approach
to childrens' educational activities at Goodrich, its Interactive
Susan, volunteering provided the perfect step to move back
into full time work. Now, two years on from joining the
team as a Discovery Visit volunteer, she works full time
at the castle as the catering supervisor. She said, 'It
gave me so much more confidence and renewed my grasp of
the work environment.'
success of the interactive visits means that the castle
is now looking for more volunteers like Susan, who could
benefit from the many opportunities volunteering offers,
whilst giving something back to the community. Kate Davies
of English Heritage explained, 'Since 2007, the interactive
Discovery Visits have been a tremendous success. However,
that in turn has created a demand for more great volunteers
to get involved.'
for school children from Key Stages 1, 2 and 3, the Discovery
Visits are led by enthusiastic volunteers who engage in
role play and tours to illustrate the area's rich, medieval
history. For Susan, volunteering to lead Discovery Visits
meant she could draw on her experience as a mum. 'I was
looking at ways of getting back into work,' she said. 'But
I wasn't sure how I would find it after 16 years of domesticity
as a full time mum! I wanted something which eased me back
into working life gently, but didn't require a huge commitment
of time, and of course, involved working with kids, an area
I was more than familiar with.'
you are interested in joining Goodrich as a Discovery Visit
volunteer, please visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/educationvolunteering.
Volunteers are required to cover three-hour slots during
term times, particularly during the busiest months of May,
June, July, September and October.
YOU CAN RECYCLE OVER CHRISTMAS
Humble of EnviroAbiltiy with Ruth Meeke of Alupro.
is supporting recycling scheme ‘Recycle for Africa’, which
promises to grow a fruit tree in Malawi for every tonne
of aluminium foil recycled over the next year. EnviroAbility
provides employment opportunities for disadvantaged people
and the group collects, sorts and bales the aluminium foil
and sells it to help fund their community work.
Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organization (Alupro) predicts
that the sales of aluminium cans will increase by over 20%
over the Christmas period, meaning more available to recycle!
EnviroAbility will accept your aluminium foil in their marked
container outside the old Coal yard in Station Approach,
near Morrison's. The foil container is next to the distinctive
large yellow textile bank and a book bank. Please feel free
to drop off your clean foil, textiles and books at this
site. Alternatively, you can drop your foil at the Book
Swap-shop in Cantilupe Road near Ross Library. (Please note
that the shop will be closed between 24th December and 4th
January). Foil can also be dropped off at the St Owens Centre
in Symonds Street, Hereford. Alternatively call EnviroAbility
on: 01989 763388. Each piece of aluminium foil will count
towards growing fruit trees in Malawi, helping tackle deforestation.
You will also be helping support EnviroAbility as they sell
on the aluminium, which helps to maintain their projects.
All aluminium foil such as takeaway and ready meal containers,
pie cases, dairy lidding and wrapping foil can be recycled.
The foil needs to be clean, but please watch out for packaging
such as crisp packets, which are shiny but made out of plastic
and not aluminium. If you are not sure, you can do the simple
scrunch test – if it springs back when it is scrunched,
it cannot be recycled.
are big environmental benefits as aluminium can be recycled
again and again with no loss of quality, saving over 95%
of the energy used to make it from raw material. So when
you are eating your mince pies, tucking into chocolate or
having a drink, just remember to recycle the aluminium foil
packaging and any beverages that are canned in aluminium
by giving it to EnviroAbility and you will be not only helping
your local environment, but supporting two worthy causes.
JESSE WELCOMES SHADOW TOURISM MINISTER TO HEREFORD
Local Conservative candidate Jesse Norman welcomed Shadow
Tourism Minister, Tobias Ellwood to Hereford last week and
highlighted the huge tourism potential of the county.
Ellwood addressed a board meeting of Visit Herefordshire,
the joint venture which manages tourism across Herefordshire,
at the Left Bank. In his remarks he stressed how important
it was for central and local government to take tourism
more seriously, as a strategic priority. The tourism sector,
worth £114 billion a year, was responsible for some 8% of
UK GDP and employed over two million people. But there had
not been a tourism act in this country for over 40 years,
who ran the countywide 'Support Our Small Shops' campaign
this year, commented afterwards on the visit. He said, 'I
am delighted to bring Tobias, who is a good friend and supporter,
to Herefordshire so he can see the county and its huge potential
for himself. Herefordshire could be a particular beneficiary
of a greater national focus on tourism, given its beautiful
landscape, traditions and heritage. But we need to take
tourism far more seriously. That means getting rid of burdensome
taxes and regulations that make it so hard to run small
tourism businesses. And it means a more strategic approach
to public investment. For example, the Wye Valley basin
is crying out for more sensitive, strategic and ecologically
SARAH CARR OPENS TEMPORARY ICE RINK IN HEREFORD
Carr with city Deputy Mayor Anna Toon and ESG Chair, Ted Willmott.
and South Herefordshire’s prospective Liberal Democrat MP
Sarah Carr was on hand to open a temporary mini ice rink
in Hereford on Friday 18th December. The ice rink, sponsored
by the Edgar Street Grid Company and local businesses members
of the Hereford City Centre Forum is raising funds for the
mayoral charities, the Noah’s Ark Trust and the Little Princess
Sarah said, 'I am absolutely delighted that we have an ice
rink in Hereford this Christmas. It was great fun to open
and I’m glad I didn't slip over! I have been calling on
the Edgar Street Grid company to include more leisure facilities
in the 100 acre regeneration site which includes the cattle
hope that following the success of this mini ice rink, which
was immediately packed with children, we will get an even
bigger and better ice rink in High Town, Hereford next Christmas
and that the ESG company will also consider a permanent
ice rink as part of their plans for the future of Hereford!
am sure that an ice rink in Hereford would be very popular.
As a child I used to go ice-skating at the nearest ice rinks
in Telford and Cardiff, so to have one here would be fantastic.
Not only is ice skating great fun, but fantastic for health
and fitness as well.'
Carr is a member of the Facebook group 'Hereford needs an
ice rink who agrees?' which currently has 1694 members.