BBC School Report

Is School too Easy?

by Emma

"State schools should operate 10-hour days" The latest notion to come from the lips of one Michael Gove, and rest within the ears of teachers and students alike. Gove seems to be digging himself an ever increasing deep hole in the eyes of those currently in education. Both teachers and students squirm at night, amidst their ever growing papers and mocks, repeatedly begging: "why? Why? WHY?!" The answer is simple: in the eyes of Michael Gove, school is too easy.

These days students endure six hours a day coupled with extra homework, revision, after school sessions, extra-curricular activities (because Universities are exceedingly in need of such activity) already, there's all of this weighing on the minds of hundreds of children across the country. However, Mr Gove's reasoning for such lengthening of the school day is to "allow time for structured homework sessions, which will be particularly helpful for those children who come from homes where it's difficult to secure the peace and quiet necessary for hard study."[Sky News] in fairness, it all appears reasonable and even understandably necessary; the extra time would indeed be helpful. As a sixth form student, I'm constantly a victim of time and would welcome, with outstretched arms, the opportunity for more time in the school day. The idea of having more time actively working and less time contemplating over the work strangely excites me (you can tell it's exam season) Nevertheless, it can't be denied that extra hours would have a devastating effect on the students of the UK, so we asked the pupils of Rushcliffe School what they thought of school being too easy.

Academic vs. Arts

By Charlotte

Extra-curricular arts activity not only develops creative skills but boosts confidence and can provide exciting opportunities to socialise with peers. Although schools have to focus mostly on the academic results, some schools like to offer performing arts within the normal day to day life. Rushcliffe School is a prime example of this, with musicals, dance festivals, talent competitions and in school performances.

Most recently the pupils performed in the musical Fame. The cast gave us a roller coaster ride through the dreams and disappointments, pleasure, pain, discovery and loss of the star-struck pupils from auditions to celebrations as we followed their journey into the limelight and their graduation. Romances and friendships develop as the students encounter and deal with racism, sexism, drugs, and illiteracy, all issues as relevant as ever to young people. We were treated to non-stop, high energy routines and the simple but effective back drop of New York and the lighting added to the atmosphere. The musicians played, as ever, with great confidence, the well-known numbers and provided the accompaniment to some wonderfully moving singing.

As well as this musical, Rushcliffe gives all types of arts a chance to 'shine brightly', as they also host an annual, now legendary, dance festival, entitled Springboard. This year was the 20th consecutive year of this exceptional display of talent by Rushcliffe students, with both gymnastics and dance performances. When interviewed, Modern/Ballet dancer Lottie, 14, said that "Springboard gives the opportunity for aspiring performers to have the experience of performing and could be a stepping stone for the future". Springboard also invited feeder primary schools to participate in the event and they did not disappoint, therefore giving perhaps future students from Lady Bay, Pierrepont Gamston, Edwalton and St.Peter's a chance to see what Rushcliffe is like.

“Springboard gives the opportunity for aspiring performers to have the experience of performing and could be a stepping stone for the future”

However with so much emphasis placed upon a student's academic achievement, the question is often asked whether the arts justify for a place in the daily curriculum. Arts teachers believe that arts help the creative minds of students and help them to have critical thinking skills that translate across the curriculum and theoretically impact the all-important test scores; scores that measure how well schools perform. In other words, they believe arts are important to education, but what do you think?

PGL Water sports Trip

By Finnuala Y8

canoeingNext year, a group of 44 students from Year 8 and 9 will be leaving school during the summer term, to take part in a school trip to France. A great opportunity, the trip will be based in the Ardéche gorge, and by the Mediterranean. 
Hosted by PGL, (a well-known centre of children’s adventure trips and outdoor experiences), the trip will include a three-day canoeing trip starting from Vallon-Pont-d’Arc, and hopefully featuring white-water adventure; also, on the beaches of the Mediterranean, the chance to try out a range of other water sports. For the students, this should be a great experience to remember.
Although this is one of the first trips to PGL for Rushcliffe, other schools have often participated in similar holidays; as seen on video interviews, they have viewed it as a fantastic opportunity, and a great chance to try out new sports – “…and I would definitely do it again!”
Unfortunately, a limited amount of pupils have been able to secure a place; the announcing of this trip was met with great enthusiasm! This was a huge contrast to the attempt at the trip two years ago, when no one was interested despite the exciting prospect. 
For the pupils going, the trip is a great chance to experience different sports and cultures. Not only this, but they hopefully will really enjoy it using the opportunity to make new friends and develop teamwork skills. Hopefully in future years the trip will be a success again.

Sochi 2014

By Kiran

On the 7th February the Sochi winter Olympics started with a bang with an explosive opening ceremony. Billions of people across the world tuned in to watch the games or witnessed it in person. These games in Russia held 15 games, some of which people had never heard of such as Luge. Luge is one of the most dangerous sports which involves sliding at high speed across artificial ice. Other well-known sports in the games included ice-hockey, curling and snowboarding. 88 countries across the world participated in the games with only 26 countries winning medals. The Russian Federation won the most number of medals with a total of 33 medals. Norway came second with 26 medals and Canada came third with 25 medals. The winter games lasted 17 days from the 7th February to 23rd February. These games inspired many people worldwide to try new sports.

These winter games in Russia were so popular due to the success of the London summer Olympics in 2012. Many British athletes have now become more well-known after competing in the winter games, such as Jenny Jones (Snowboarding). London 2012 really inspired many Britons, in leadership, teamwork and taking part in new things or things they are passionate about. The 2012 summer Olympics and the 2014 Sochi games inspired many students at our school to take part in sporting activities in and out of school where they can show leadership, team work and sportsmanship.

The Sochi winter Olympics was not just a great experience for athletes to be part of and express their passions in winter sports, but it was also to reflect and inspire on following dreams, working hard, having the great qualities of being part of a team, perseverance and determination.
We talked to one of our own Olympic hopefuls, Ellie Downie about her inspirations.

Like Talking a Different Language

By Charlotte

One in four young people in developing countries are unable to read a sentence, according to a report, which warns that poor quality education has left a "legacy of illiteracy" more widespread than previously believed.
Maybe this is why Rushcliffe has established a link with a school in Guatemala 'Fundación Educando a los Niños' that provides education and food for some of the poorest children in the area of Jocotenango.

Research published by Unesco, the UN's educational, scientific and cultural body, suggests that 175 million young people lack even basic literacy skills. "Access [to education] is not the only crisis – poor quality is holding back learning even for those who make it to school," said Unesco director-general, Irina Bokova. An estimated 250 million children are not learning basic reading and maths skills, according to the report, even though half of them have spent at least four years in school. This "global learning crisis" costs developing countries billions of dollars a year in wasted education funding, it warns. "Many developing countries have rapidly increased their teacher numbers by hiring people without training. This may help get more children into school but it puts education quality in jeopardy", warns the report.

However, even developed countries' education systems are also failing minorities, says the report, sparked widespread debate about illiteracy and innumeracy among young people and adults in rich countries. A failure to sustain post-16 education and deep-rooted problems of poverty and social inequality were blamed by some commentators for England's poor showing in the rankings.

Education for The Children works to support some of the poorest communities in Guatemala, providing children and young adults with the education, food, health care and social services they need to thrive in school and beyond. For most families in the surrounding Jocotenango area, sending their children to school is an inconceivable cost: although access to public education is free, essentials such as books, materials, and school uniforms cost much more than the average family can afford. Many of the students are first-generation learners – if it wasn't for EFTC, the children are likely to end up joining the 35% of Guatemalan youngsters who form part of the country's labour force. The foundation identifies children with no access to education and gives them a place in their ´School of Hope´, working with each one to help them succeed. EFTC gives them a better start in life, and doesn't stop supporting them until they are in employment.

In 2013, EFTC launched its Bilingual Programme. Students at the school now receive classes in English for half of the school day and Spanish during the other half. Intensive English classes are also provided to the young adults who receive a scholarship through EFTC to attend College and University in pursuit of their dreams. Many of our students are first generation learners, working hard to lift their families out of this cycle of poverty. This new programme offers not only the students at 'The School of Hope' an opportunity to learn an essential language but the same education is offered to Rushcliffe School as the Head of Spanish Eva Vicente explains, "

Rushcliffe's Hands for Peace project

Remembering the Holocaust

By Sarah and Charlie Yr10

Rushcliffe's Hands for Peace project remembers not just the tragedy of the holocaust but the individual lives that were lost during the genocide. The main objective for the memorial is to raise awareness of the holocaust and the impact racism has not just on society but also on the world.

People often hear about statistics of the holocaust, for example the murder of 6 million Jews, however many people nowadays fail to understand the reality that every number is actually a person with a story.

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From Rushcliffe two students got the opportunity to visit Auschwitz and Chloe Worts shared her experiences "Although we were aware of the events during the holocaust, going to Auschwitz emphasized the scale of horror, the total loss of individuality of the victims and the normalization of evil."

Simon Winston, a holocaust survivor, explained to the Year 11's that even though this is an amazing world that is full of humans of different race, colour, beliefs and lifestyles, we still allow one person to discriminate against others and create inequality within society. The project that Simon closely works with 'Lessons from Auschwitz' tries to prevent the scale of murder and inequality from repeating however genocide sadly still occur in our modern day world.

Chloe explains what the memorial represents: "Our wall is inspired by the artist, Piet Mondrian, who used primary colours and geometric lines to create his paintings. We used this linear structure to represent the barracks in an ariel view of Auschwitz, but also to symbolize the train lines coming from all different directions and bring people from different parts of the world to Auschwitz."

The Hands for Peace project symbolizes the importance of individuality and spreads this important message throughout the school.

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