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Polwhele House wins first prize at Rotary Youth Speaks Competition
Polwhele House brought home first prize at this year’s Rotary Youth Speaks Competition. The competition was held at Truro High School on the 26th of January.
Seven teams from the Truro area took part this year; we were lucky to have Tansy Spokes, Bertie Tillyard and Oliver Thorpe representing Polwhele House.
The annual event, which has been a staple of the Polwhele House events calendar for the past few years, is based on presentation and persuasive speaking skills. Pupils stand before a full audience and a judging panel to deliver a powerful speech on a chosen topic.
Each team comprised a chairperson who spoke up to 90 seconds, followed by the speaker, who spoke up to four minutes. Finally there was a question from the Rotary Club and response from the speaker, and the vote of thanks for up to 90 seconds.
The Polwhele team delivered a speech on the subject ‘Are rules made to be broken?’ The teamwork between Tansy, Bertie and Oliver was flawless, and their delivery of the speech, written by Mr Caddy and Miss Topsey, was exceptional. After all of the schools and teams had delivered their presentations, the pupils waited patiently for the judges to deliberate and deliver individual feedback.
Our team received strong personal feedback, and it was announced that they had won the competition, bringing the prize shield home to Polwhele House for the first time in our Youth Speaks history.
Football, Spock and space: Pupils fly through a time warp to 1966
This week pupils are staging the summer production ‘1966' to mark the end of summer term. ‘1966’ celebrates the 50th anniversary of two seemingly unrelated events; England’s 1966 World Cup victory and the television premier of Star Trek.
The action packed musical production transcends time and space as an elaborate plot unfolds when Star Trek’s Klingons and Romulans travel back in time to sabotage the 1966 world cup.
The crew of the USS Enterprise follows them back through the space-time continuum to help Elf Ramsey and the England players complete one of the greatest achievements in English sport. This leads to Mr Spock having to take on the role of Pickles – the dog who found the stolen trophy – and Scotty – the proud Scotsman – finds himself having to help the England squad, much to his shame.
Head of English and Drama, Mr Caddy, has written the original script for this year’s production.
Mr Caddy said:
“The beauty of writing an original script is that we can create parts to suit our children rather than trying to fit our pupils to a pre-existing production. We often look to history and popular culture to inspire exciting original stories where the pupils’ talents and individuality can shine.”
Our school productions created are often inspired by unique pop-culture fusions, with some of our stage highlights from previous years including James Bond: The Musical, Which Doctor?, The Sampsons, and The Sound of Muesli.
We have a strong focus on music at Polwhele House, so the performance would not be complete without its fair share of musical numbers.
Mr Caddy has also written new lyrics for songs that were originally hits in 1966 from artists including the Beatles, Cilla Black, The Who and The Kinks, and Head of Music, Mr Hawker, has taught the songs to the cast, choir and band.
The entire prep school is involved in the production with the oldest students from year seven and eight taking the leads, and plenty of supporting roles for the younger children. Other pupils feature in the chorus and band, or are getting technical behind the scenes in charge of lighting and sound.
Headmaster Mr McCullough said:
“It is vitally important to us that the children play their part in the creation of our school productions as we want to celebrate and showcase their talents. At Polwhele House we recognise that all children are individuals and it is often through the arts that their hidden talents are discovered. Our children love discovering new concepts and ideas through the platforms of music, drama and art.”
The first performances took place on July 6th and 7th, and were a huge success. The final performance is tonight with a 7pm kick off. Break a leg!
New Head of Riding Takes the Reins
We would like to give a warm welcome to our new Head of Riding, Mr. McCullock. He will be responsible for all riding instruction to pupils, care and maintenance of our ponies and riding facilities, and discovering the equestrian stars of tomorrow.
Mr. McCullock is thrilled with his new role with our school, saying:
“I have always been passionate about horses and their welfare. It’s particularly rewarding to pass on my own knowledge and to watch the students of Polwhele House develop into young equestrians. I’ve witnessed first-hand how much it can build confidence and help children develop into respectable young people.”
Mr. McCullock has big plans for our riding school and equestrian scholarship programme, saying:
“From September I will be actively developing the Equestrian Scholar programme by providing pupils with a broad range of equestrian knowledge, partaking in competitions, rallies and possible off site trips to visit equestrian experts. I am looking forward to helping Polwhele House stables develop and gain approval from the British Horse Society. In the long term I would love to get Pony Club accreditation.”
For those interested, we offer equestrian scholarships annually from September of each year. Scholarship benefits include a bursary toward fees at Polwhele House, free riding lessons and a significant role in our riding community. More information is available here.
Mr. McCullock has recently relocated to Hayle, Cornwall, and is a qualified British Horse Society (BHSAI) and UK Coaching (UKCC) Level 2 instructor. He joins us from London where he worked with vulnerable young people as the yard manager at a non-profit organisation in the heart of the city called Ebony Horse Club.
Mr McCullough, Headmaster, commented:
“Kyle is an excellent addition to our staff team and will encourage and support our young riders throughout their education at Polwhele House.”
Polwhele House Pupil is a National Swimming Champion
One of our very own pupils, Vivienne Carveth, was crowned a national swimming champion last week when she represented the South West at the Independent Schools Association’s National Swimming Championship 2016.
The event was held at the London Aquatics Centre, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on the 23rd of January. Two Polwhele pupils took part in the event, Vivienne, a year 8 pupil, and Olivia Penna, year 6, with Vivienne announced as the ISA’s National Champion for the 50m girls’ breaststroke.
The national swimming competition was the culmination of seven Area Galas, whereby the finalist in each area race qualified for the ISA National Finals. Vivienne and Olivia were two of the few students from the South West to compete in the national championship.
Vivienne took home a number of awards, including being crowned the ISA National Champion for 50m girls’ breaststroke, winning bronze in the 50m girls’ butterfly, team silver in medley relay and team bronze in the freestyle relay.
Vivienne began swimming during her weekly swimming lessons at Polwhele House and has been a member of Truro City swimming club in recent years.
Vivienne says she is “very pleased to have won and is looking forward to taking part in more regional and national competitions over the coming years.”
The race gave our talented swimmers an invaluable opportunity to swim at the Olympic Pool, with nearly 2000 spectators in the stands to support family and friends.
The competition produced an exceptional level of swimming with a total of 19 national records being broken over the course of the day.
Mr McCullough said, “Vivienne came away with the medals, but in true Polwhele House spirit both girls contributed to the success of the day in and out of the pool, and brought great credit upon the school and the region - we are incredibly proud.”
Mr McCullough continued, “At Polwhele House we fully appreciate the greater benefits derived from sport, such as teamwork, sportsmanship, and camaraderie. All of our children participate in PE, games sessions and swimming lessons with many other sporting activities on offer after school, and we ensure that all of our prep school pupils are given regular opportunities to represent our school at sport.”
The Polwhele House Society Raises £1,000 for Truro Charity
We’re pleased to share that our parents’ association, The Polwhele House Society, has raised £1,000 for homelessness charity, Truro Homeless Action Group (THAG), just in time for Christmas.
The Polwhele House Society (PHSoc) meet regularly at the school and run a hugely successful calendar of events including Christmas bazaars, Easter egg hunts, discos, cocktail nights and casino evenings to raise funds for our local community.
This year, the PHSoc has chosen THAG as the recipient of their fundraising; the organisation works tirelessly to offer Truro’s homeless a cooked breakfast, a cup of tea, and a friendly chat - every morning of the week and every day of the year.
Representing PHSoc, Dina Croft is pleased to be able to help, saying:
“The Polwhele House Society is keen to convey a feeling of community which extends beyond just parents, pupils and teachers of Polwhele House. We enjoy holding events throughout the year in order to raise money for the benefit of the school and the local community, especially our Polwhele House Society Ball which was really well attended.
“THAG was a cause we were particularly pleased to contribute to and are delighted to be able to present them with a cheque for £1,000. These results were achieved thanks to generous ongoing support for the Polwhele House Society - we hope this will continue in the future.”
Michaela McConville, Chair of Truro Homeless Action Group explained how the donation will benefit them this year:
“We are delighted to have been the recipient of funds from the Polwhele House Society this year. The winter months are hardest for those struggling, especially during the festive season. This year, as always we are holding a Christmas Day and a Boxing Day Lunch, the donation has helped immensely with our Thermal Thursdays – where we supply winter clothing, sleeping bags, flasks, waterproofs, coats, etc, to our guests; along with Christmas food supplies and the upkeep of the hall which we use every day – the donation could not have come at a better time.”
Community spirit is at the heart of our ethos here at Polwhele House, and it is a big part of our curriculum and learning environment.
Mr McCullough, said:
“Community is a huge part of life here at Polwhele House and the children regularly take part in events such as the Truro City of Lights festivities and visit Truro Day Centre to sing to the elderly every year. We also teach the children about various roles within the community through events like our ‘People Who Help Us Day’, making this an important feature of their learning experiences. We are glad to extend this through our Polwhele House Society and the events they run, resulting in a fantastic contribution to this worthy cause.”
Click here for more info on the Polwhele House Society - http://www.polwhelehouse.co.uk/news/ph-society
Winning is an exact science for Polwhele House pupil
William Orwin, a year 3 pupil at Polwhele House in Truro, has been awarded first prize in the junior category of the 2015 Bill Bryson Prize for Science Communication.
The Bill Bryson Prize is a creative science communication competition and is open to students around the world from ages 5–18.
The awards are organised by the Royal Society of Chemistry and are judged by an esteemed panel including Bill Bryson, Robert Parker (CEO of the Royal Society of Chemistry), Gill Reid (Professor of Chemistry at the University of Southampton), Paul MacLellan (Deputy Editor of Education in Chemistry) and Ben Valsler (Digital Editor of Chemistry World).
For his entry, William created his own episode of ‘science news’ – a news bulletin written, directed and starring William, which outlined some of history’s most important scientific discoveries made by chance.
Mr Main, head of Science at Polwhele House, is delighted with William’s success in these international awards, saying:
“It is fantastic to see our pupils garner such a passion for science, and the time, effort, and detail put into William’s entry shows his love of the subject. For William to be recognized by such eminent professionals at this stage is wonderful, and I hope it will inspire him to achieve more success in the future. Having had two runners up entries in the past three years, it is pleasing to go one step further this year which, I believe, demonstrates the strength and depth of science at Polwhele House.”
William attended a special prize-giving ceremony at Burlington House, London where Bill and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s President Dominic Tildesley presented him with his prizes.
Bill Bryson said of the awards:
“It’s a very exciting initiative and I think it’s a wonderful way of allowing kids to express themselves in imaginative and creative ways, in ways the national curriculum doesn’t always allow them to do. There were loads and loads of entries and I think it’s safe to say that this was the highest level of quality that we’ve had in all ten years – it does seem to get better and better and the kids just get more and more imaginative and clever and entertaining and enthusiastic each year.”
Carrie Boyce, Outreach Executive at the Royal Society of Chemistry, commented on William’s outstanding entry:
“This year we received over 500 entries to the competition, over three categories ages 5–11, 12–14 and 15–18. William’s really stood out to us as he included such a lot of detailed accurate content, alongside great storytelling and humour. Not only that, he created the entire piece by himself and starred as all the roles! He should be very proud of himself for receiving the top prize in what was a very high standard of competition.”
Mr McCullough, Headmaster at Polwhele House said:
“We always encourage our pupils to follow their passions at Polwhele House and are glad to support them in all areas of interest, inside and outside of the curriculum. We are delighted with William’s success and hope he enjoys his well-deserved prizes.”
William’s prize consists of £400 and a copy of Bill Bryson’s book ‘A Really Short History of Nearly Everything’.
William commented that he is “very excited to have won and hopes to enter again next year.”
Polwhele House is Alive with the Sound of Music
Some of our pupils have been learning their ‘Do, Re, Mi’ instead of their ‘A, B, Cs’ over the last few months, for this year’s school production of ‘The Sound of Muesli’.
Celebrating 50 years since the release of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, The Sound of Music, we have produced our own take on the hit stage show, telling the story of playful nun Maria and the Von Trapp family.
In our production, Maria has auditioned for a part in the stage version of Sister Act, but after failing to get a part in the show she manages to get a job as governess to the Von Trapp family of seven children with the help of her friend, Niklaus, the lonely goatherd.
Despite some resistance from the older children, Maria soon wins the affection of the Von Trapp family and even manages to cope with Gretl’s rather large pet mice.
But villain Major Vettel and his sidekicks, corporals Rosberg and Schumacher, are trying to get hold of the Von Trapp secret recipe for Muesli; recognising the wonderful medicinal properties of the breakfast cereal they hope it could help the Nazis win the war.
With an array of memorable characters such a ‘Uncle’ Max Detweiller, Sister Whoopi, Sister Claudia, Sister Angela and the Mother Abbess helping Maria, Captain Von Trapp and the children, this hilarious tale is full of hijinks and unforgettable moments.
Author of the production and Head of English and Drama at Polwhele House, Mr Caddy thoroughly enjoyed working on the production with the children, saying:
“The children have excelled themselves during this production of ‘The Sound of Muesli’. At Polwhele House we are proud of the fact that our pupils get the chance to perform regularly - whether it be traditional pieces during lessons or popular culture through our end of year productions. They have all grown in confidence throughout this process and should be proud of the final outcome.”
As Polwhele House is the choir school for Truro Cathedral’s boy choristers, the production wouldn’t be complete without some musical performances, with numbers such as ‘The Hills are Alive (with the sound of muesli)’, ‘Eight Dull Mice’, ‘My Favourite Powers’, ‘Dough Ray Me’, ‘Slime in the Fountain’, ‘So long, Farewell’ and ‘How Do You Solve a Bad Case of Pneumonia?’ arranged by Director of Music, Nick Hawker.
Mr McCullough was delighted with the production, saying:
“The annual school production is an opportunity to showcase all of the children’s talents in performing arts. Many of our children take part in extracurricular activities like drama during the school year – so it fantastic that Mr Caddy, Mr Hawker and the children have created such an entertaining and enjoyable piece to celebrate their hard work.”
World Champion Training For Pupils At Polwhele House
Polwhele House was thrilled to host three time Olympic medalist Mary King MBE for a special riding clinic on Monday 23rd March.
We invited the champion sportswoman to give a riding clinic to some of the pupils, allowing Mary to impart specialist advice and expertise.
Mary King is one of our most successful equestrians and has represented Great Britain at six Olympics from 1992 to 2012, winning bronze and silver medals - Mary and team GB won silver at London 2012. She has also won two World Championship gold medals alongside one team bronze and four team gold medals at the European Eventing Championships.
King was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to equestrianism.
Mrs Lyall, our Riding Instructor, was delighted with the visit. “Mary is one of the most successful event riders in the history of the sport so to be able to have her deliver a riding clinic was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils. Despite being slightly star struck, the children loved it, learned lots and will never forget this experience. It was such an honour to have her here at school."
Polwhele House is the only school in Cornwall to have riding facilities on site. We offer riding lessons to all our pupils from Nursery up to Year 8, and hold many riding events and competitions including dressage, show jumping and beach rides.
The riding clinic involved two 45-minute sessions with three riders in each one. They were put through their paces by Mary on both the flat and over jumps. The spectators, including parents, friends and other pupils, were able to watch and also learn from Mary's skill and expertise.
Mr McCullough, was thrilled to be able to host the event, saying:
“We are fortunate to have such excellent equestrian facilities at Polwhele House and hosting a riding clinic with Mary King is just another way we can enhance children’s opportunities in this area.
“Alongside regular events and lessons, we have also recently launched our new equestrian scholarships, meaning we can provide opportunities and development for talented young riders in Cornwall.”
Further information about our riding facilities, plus our new Equestrian Scholarships, can be found on our Riding pages.
New Scholarships For Talented Horse Riders
We are very excited to launch a new scholarship programme here at Polwhele House this month – our Equestrian Scholarship.
We hope the new scholarship will enable talented young riders in Cornwall to develop their skills and make the most of further opportunities whilst studying with us. We are currently the only school in Cornwall to have riding facilities on site and this new venture offers a unique opportunity to combine both education and equestrian activities for keen riders in the South West.
Looking forward to welcoming the first batch of scholars, our headmaster Mr McCullough commented about the new scholarships, saying: “As well as being the established choir school of Cornwall, educating the choristers at Truro Cathedral, we are equally proud to be an equestrian school, offering our pupils a broad range of riding experiences. We are very excited to be offering new equestrian scholarships in order to provide opportunities and development for talented young riders in Cornwall.”
Mrs Lyall, our Riding Instructor also added:
“The riding here at school is very popular and children of all ages from the youngest ones in the nursery class right through to those at the top of the school have lessons and take part in many fun riding events. The more advanced riders also take part in competitions and riding clinics and to be able to expand this side of the riding school for both existing and new pupils through the introduction of scholarships is very exciting.”
The riding clinics that we run here at Polwhele House give riders the chance to be taught by expert and professional riders such as GB Modern Pentathlete and British Tetrathlon Champion Chris Harris.
Also, later this term, three-time Olympic medallist Mary King MBE will be visiting us for a clinic. Mrs Lyall is thrilled: “Having Mary King visit Polwhele House for a riding clinic is such an honour. Mary is one of the most successful three-day event riders in the history of the sport. Her amazing career includes winning six World and European gold medals and the title of British Champion a record four times. Having a riding lesson with her is something our pupils will never forget.”
We will be offering the equestrian scholarships annually from September of each year. Children currently in Years 5, 6 and 7 are eligible to apply and will be required to attend an interview with the Headmaster and be tested on their riding and academic ability. Mr McCullough and Mrs Lyall are happy to meet candidates and their parents at any time of year to offer them a tour of the school and informal advice.
Appointments can be made or application forms requested by contacting Polwhele House School Secretary on 01872 27301101872 273011 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information is available on the Riding page of our website.
A Flying Visit For Polwhele House
Our pupils were thrilled to receive a very special ‘flying’ visit from the Royal Navy’s Search and Rescue Sea King helicopter last Tuesday.
The visit was linked to our ‘People Who Help Us’ day, which we held on Friday 19th September as a chance for our Pre-Prep students to learn about members of the community who provide help to others. Both the Pre-Prep and Prep pupils were able to explore and learn about the role of the helicopter and its crew when it landed on the school’s tennis courts.
Some of our other helpful visitors included representatives from the RNLI, a local GP, a vet, a dentist and a Police Community Support Officer.
Each gave talks which outlined their roles in the surrounding area and the way in which their jobs can have an impact on the lives of those within the community, with many demonstrating their specialist equipment for the children to see and handle.
The day was arranged by Mrs McCullough, our Year 2 teacher. She was thrilled with how the day went, saying:
“It is fantastic that our pupils will get the chance to learn about the role of these community services through the ‘People Who Help Us’ day, as it is really important that they are recognised and appreciated. We feel that even our very youngest children should be aware of the people in our community ‘who help us’, as well as the services they might potentially encounter in our coastal community.”
Four out of the six visitors are parents of pupils at Polwhele House, with another visit facilitated by a parent, meaning that the event was a real community effort, coming together for the benefit of the children. We are keen to connect with our wider community at Polwhele House and our pupils regularly visit Truro Day Centre and sing to the elderly every year, as well as participating in the City of Lights festivities.
Polwhele House is also the choir school for Truro Cathedral’s choristers, meaning that we have close links with the county’s cathedral. The choristers at Polwhele House occasionally take part in ‘outreach’ events where they go out to other schools to promote singing.
Mr McCullough was delighted with the event and was pleased to see pupils interacting with members of the community, saying:
“We want to connect with our local community in order to enhance our children’s understanding of the world around them. We are keen to continue with events like the ‘People Who Help Us’ day in order to strengthen this link.”
New School Year, New Staff at Polwhele House
This month, staff and pupils of Polwhele House are welcoming two new staff members to the team - Helen McCullough and Angela Heyes.
Helen McCullough has joined us as a Year 2 teacher in the pre-prep department. She has over 10 years of experience in the classroom and, amongst other things, she was a deputy head of a 120-strong pre-prep department at Foremarke Hall Preparatory School in the Midlands, as well as acting deputy head at Polwhele House.
Helen is keen to make an impact straight away with a sculpture project within the walled garden; one inspired by nature which will involve the pre-prep children. She said: “I am looking to set up a project that brings the whole pre-prep together, but particularly one that encompasses the gardens. Polwhele House is extremely lucky to possess such fantastic grounds and ones that provide invaluable space for the children to connect with nature.”
The sculpture will be completed during the Michaelmas term adding to a range of attractions within the grounds here at Polwhele House, including a walled garden, a secret garden, a fifteen acre wood and other wonderful play and investigation spaces.
The second new staff member to join the Polwhele House team is Angela Heyes who has been appointed to the position of Bursar.
“I am thrilled to be joining a school which has such a fantastic reputation. The facilities, combined with the high quality of teaching, make Polwhele House second to none in the county. I have been working as a Management Consultant in London for the last 7 years, with 8 years in finance prior to that, so I am excited at the prospect of returning to Cornwall, having grown up here. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone at the school, and begin to carve out a career for myself here.”
Alongside these two new faces we have has also said a fond farewell to longstanding team members Debs Mackay, who has been at the school for 16 years as Bursar and Dorinda Charnaud, who spent 28 years at Polwhele as a teacher in pre-prep – both retired this summer.
Mr McCullough had this to say about the two new staff members:
“We are extremely thankful to Debs and Dorinda for all the time they have given to the school over the years. I know they will both be greatly missed by staff and pupils alike.
“Whilst saying goodbye to old friends, we are pleased to welcome two new staff members this term. Helen and Angela both strongly believe in the ethos of Polwhele House, which is extremely important to me, and I am excited about the new skills they bring to the team.”