The first informal lunchtime concert of this academic year, was held yesterday in the recital room and was, as always, a delightful mixture of music styles and instruments, played by students of all ages in the senior school.

The aim of the concerts is to give students of all abilities the chance to practice playing in front of an audience, in a relaxed environment, to get them prepared for larger school concerts.

The programme included two performances on the harp, by Year 7 Flo Kent and Year 10 Sophie Hide, whilst Year 12 Tom Barker sang a delightful rendition of Some Enchanted Evening.  The concert was rounded off with a stunning performance of Partita No.2 by Bach, performed by German student Victor Schmidt.

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West Buckland were able to field a very strong and talented junior girls and boys team to the English Schools Cross Country regional event last Wednesday, held at Downside School.

The team pf Bethany Gay, Daisy Cotton, Flora Boyles, Erin Huxley, George Thomas, Edward Broggio, Stan Kift and George Nickel managed a very creditable third place behind Millfield and Lewiston schools.

Team manager, Mr Minns reports back that at the time of writing the team are still waiting to see if they have qualified to the next round in Dorset, however he is quietly confident…..!

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We were delighted to hear the news that Dave Webb, Caretaker at West Buckland, is to be recognised with a special award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the House of Lords, honouring his dedication to protecting otters and publicising their plight.

Dave admitted that his passion for British wildlife began as a child when, after being bullied at school, he would play truant and seek solace with nature in the woods near his home. A chance encounter with an otter in a local river inspired him to read up on this enigmatic animal and this in turn led him to a lifetime’s dedication to helping protect the species.

Working actively to protect otters for more than 40 years, Dave is the founder of registered charity the UK Wild Otter Trust which works with the angling community and fishing industry to dispel myths about the otter being a pest to fish and tries to stop cruelty and persecution of the otter. Dave works hard to educate river users, commercial fisheries and the general public about the importance of the otter to the river eco-system.

In recent years Dave has successfully secured the UK’s first humane trapping licence for otters from Natural England, enabling him and other members of the UK Wild Otter Trust to humanely trap and move otters when absolutely necessary to another area of river.

Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton, said, “We are obviously absolutely delighted that a lifetime of dedication to otters and other British wildlife, is being honoured in this way.  Dave has selflessly devoted his time and energies into protection, welfare and education and we applaud his invaluable work.”

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The weather was absolutely perfect for this year’s Field Day, when the whole of the Senior School is involved in activities and trips that aim to broaden their education and inspire curiosity, thought and creativity.

Whilst the Year 9 pupils were involved in an exciting outdoor education camp, based at the army camp in Okehampton, either with CCF or Duke of Edinburgh, the Year 8s took a trip to the coast and Exmoor Zoo and the Year 7s enjoyed themselves at Skern Lodge.  The Year 10s enjoyed a trip to the beautiful Buckfast Abbey, where they were subsequently asked to produce a piece of creative writing about the experience.  They also visited the Dart Rock Climbing Centre.

For the older year groups, Field Day offers the students an opportunity to take part in some interesting and important Enrichment and PHSE events.  The Year 13s looked at UCAS and the university application process, whilst the Year 12s, after a morning of talks, were able to take part in a ballroom dancing lesson!

We are extremely grateful to our staff for organising and co-ordinating what is a very complex and varied schedule of activities.