Archive for February, 2016

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First Oxbridge offer for Abbeywood Post-16

Posted on Monday 15th February 2016 at 10:08 pm by SH (Editor)

Ethan Martin, the first-ever student at Abbeywood Community School to receive an offer of a place a Oxbridge.

Stoke Gifford’s Abbeywood Community School is celebrating the first-ever offer of an Oxbridge place to one of its Post-16 students. The news represents another important milestone in the school’s improvement journey, which began three years ago when Abbeywood became part of the Olympus Academy Trust following a disappointing Ofsted inspection in December 2011.

Ethan Martin joined the school (then known as Filton High) as a Year 7 student in 2009 and experienced the move into new premises a year later when successor school Abbeywood opened its doors on an adjacent site in September 2010.

Currently studying for A-levels in Maths, Computer Science, Physics and Further Maths, Ethan was encouraged by his teachers to apply for a place at Oxford or Cambridge on the basis of his excellent AS-level results (AAABB) and predicted A-level grades.

Having made an ‘open’ application to Oxford, meaning that he didn’t apply to a specific college, he says he was surprised but delighted to be called to attend a total of six interviews at three different colleges over the space of three days last November. Admitting to being very nervous for his first interview, Ethan says he performed well in the remaining ones and came away feeling “happy, but not overly confident”.

He was delighted to receive the news, on 6th January, that he has been offered a place to read Mathematics and Computer Science at St Catherine’s College, subject to achieving one A* and two A grades in his forthcoming A-level examinations. Ethan says he realises he will need to work hard in the coming months, but feels the target grades he has been set are “achievable”.

Explaining his choice of university course, Ethan says he has always been interested in maths and developed his interest in computing whilst at Abbeywood. Having learnt to code in the ‘Scratch’ visual programming language, he found himself “doing much more than asked”, leading him to consider programming as a future career.

More: Staff praised for assistance with university applications »

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Thousands sign petition to keep local parkrun

Posted on Friday 12th February 2016 at 9:03 pm by SH (Editor)

Little Stoke Parkrun trial event on 22nd August 2012.

More than 7,000 people have signed an online petition to persuade Stoke Gifford Parish Council to allow the hugely popular Little Stoke parkrun to continue at Little Stoke Park after its future was threatened by a council decision to levy a charge of £1 per runner.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

Hundreds of participants

The Little Stoke event began in November 2012, with support from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC), and has seen its number of participants grow from fewer than a hundred per week during its first six months to an average of 235 per week in 2015, with some runs attracting in excess of 300.

It is delivered entirely by local volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of their time over the course of a year.

A founding principle of the global parkrun organisation is that events should be inclusive and have no barriers to participation, which local organisers say rules out any compulsory charge being made on participants and any handling of money by parkrun volunteers.

A parish council meeting last October voted to delay the imposition of a charge for six months, to allow time for other revenue raising avenues to be explored, but on 22nd January local parkrun organisers reported in an email to participants that they had been informed that the council had indicated it now planned to make a decision on “whether or not to withdraw permission” for the local adult parkrun at a meeting of Full Council on 9th February.

An online petition was started, which attracted 5,000 signatures in the first 48-hours, and runners were encouraged to write letters to the local media (the Bradley Stoke Journal has so far received 27 emails on the matter, read one here).

Organisers added: “We remain hopeful that the parish council will accept our argument that Little Stoke parkrun imposes little cost and brings substantial benefits to the community, and is deserving of their continued support.”

More: South Gloucestershire Council called in to help with talks »

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