On 15 January 2018 all Year 7 students were provided with the opportunity to attend a road safety session funded by Safer Roads Yorkshire and delivered by the Riot Act. The Riot Act have over six years’ experience in the education sector and their innovative projects are designed to engage with young people and deliver powerful messages. The team used theatre production and role plays in order to raise students’ awareness about road safety.
Throughout the production there were several pertinent messages that were shared with students with the aim of increasing road safety awareness and ultimately focusing upon the safety of students within our community.
“I loved the show because it was entertaining and it taught me the importance of being safe on the road.” Sarah Ibrahim 7AB
“The show was humorous but also had very important messages. It explained the importance of road safety in a way that we could relate to!” Rumaysah Farooq 7JSM
The last week of term brings excitement every year, students and staff have worked hard for months and finally the week arrives in which the hard work pays off! Students have finished their final performance of ‘Robin Hood the Pantomime’, and this year we saw the biggest audiences ever! With 117 audience members on Monday and 134 on Tuesday, the pressure was definitely on but the students involved produced a performance they should be very proud of. This year we had 58 students involved in making the production a success, and this included performers, technicians, stagehands and for the first time, a live band! For a smaller school, it is so impressive to have this number of students sign up to be involved; it truly demonstrates the curiosity and zest of our students here at Batley Grammar School.
This year saw the arrival of our new teacher in charge of music, Mr Kirsfelds. From our initial discussion back in July, Mr Kirsfelds seemed enthusiastic to introduce live music into our production, a challenge that was incredibly daunting but certainly lifted the performance to a new level. The addition of live music did involve more work and rehearsal time for all involved, but it was definitely the right decision and we took the creative risk no matter how daunting it initially seemed! Mr Kirsfelds conducted extra rehearsals with his first school band, and spent many hours scoring music and creating the school’s first ‘Sound Cloud’ webpage in order for students to continue to rehearse at home. We would all like to thank him for this innovative approach was greatly appreciated.
One of the most memorable comments from the last night’s performance was the appreciation of casting, with all students shining in their given character roles. This is a huge relief to hear as, year on year, casting these productions becomes more challenging as students gain in confidence and their characterisation ability. Miss Parkes would like to thank every student involved in the production. The high level of energy and excitement on stage was really noticeable and such a delight to see.
There was additional support from a number of staff and students: in the school band, artistic input, technical support, costume development and production. We are also really appreciative of the support from the members of the Parents’ Association both in terms of their fabulous refreshments and their supportive and positive comments about the production. The audiences of family, friends, students and staff were particularly encouraging on the nights, clearly demonstrating their enjoyment and appreciation of this huge team effort. Very well done to all!
For the second year in succession Ben Hunter in Year 9 has supported a close family friend, Joseph Mayman, who was diagnosed with advanced Neuroblastoma in 2012. Ben has come up with a number of fund raising ideas over the past couple of years and at the end of last Summer Term he wanted to have his head shaved and be sponsored by his friends to do this. The money raised would go to Candlelighters; the Yorkshire based charity that supports families facing children’s cancer.
On the last day of the school year Ben and his friends assembled in the Old Library for the head shave to be done. It was Ben’s Mum who did the deed and the money raised took Ben’s overall total to well past £1500.
Sadly, Joseph passed away with his family at his side on Wednesday 12th July 2017, the same day that Ben had his head shaved. Joseph’s family and friends were devastated and his Mum tweeted: “We’re absolutely devastated that our wonderful, beautiful, brave, funny Joseph passed away early this morning.” NHS bosses in Leeds also said that Joseph’s story and bravery inspired many people to donate vital blood to help others fighting similar conditions.
Although Joe’s story is a very sad one, we can gain inspiration from him and those around him. Ben intends to continue raising funds for Candlelighters and, when he does, we might consider how we would like to give our support.