Thursday 24 August

Great GCSE Results

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Pupils at West Buckland School have delivered an excellent set of provisional GCSE results.  The 2017 results featured newly reformed and more rigorous GCSE examinations, with English Language, English Literature and mathematics marked on a new numerical grading scale of 9-1, with the highest entries awarded a 9.  A key aspect of the new grading system are the two levels of passes that have been introduced by the Department for Education, with  a "standard pass" at grade 4 and a "strong pass" at grade 5.

In the core English and mathematics subjects, an impressive 88.1% of West Buckland pupils achieved a strong pass of 5 or higher.  Results in mathematics were excellent, with over 65% of pupils achieving the top 9-7 grades (equivalent to A*/A).

In the subjects marked on the conventional A* to G scale, 60.3% of exams were awarded the top A* and A grades, 85.6% of entries were passed at A* to B with an overall pass rate at A* to C of 95.2%. 

There were some notable individual achievements, including Ayaka Watanabe who secured five A* grades, two A grades plus 8, 7 and 8 in the English and maths subjects.  Kian Hayles-Cotton also achieved five A*s, two As and 6, 7, 8 whilst Patrick Colville, Tom Dewhurst, John Skinner and Timothy Peng each achieved the top 9 grade in mathematics and between them secured a string of top A* and A grades. 

West Buckland Headmaster Phillip Stapleton says: “GCSEs are a crucial qualification and I am delighted such a large proportion of our Year 11s secured strong passes in English and maths.   Our teachers have worked hard to understand the new specifications and these results will stand our pupils in good stead for the next stage of their education, giving them a wide array of options and opportunities to apply to the best universities.

“It is also pleasing to see so many students receiving excellent grades in subjects across the curriculum.  There have been some wonderful performances with over 80% of grades in Art marked at A* or A; in Chemistry and Physics over 90% scored A*-B and in Music and History 100% of our students gained a B grade or higher.

“These truly excellent results are a testament to our pupils’ hard work and of course the support of families and teachers.  We work hard to provide an education that prepares young people to be curious.  Our small class sizes and nurturing environment gives a personalised education that enables them to achieve to the best of their ability.

“The Year 11s are to be congratulated: I am pleased for all those who have realised or achieved beyond their expectations.”


Tuesday 22 August

Brian Aldiss (39-43F)

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Vice-President Brian Aldiss, the day after celebrating his 92nd birthday.

Brian was in Fortescue House from 1939-1943 and it was here that he discovered and nurtured his passion for writing.  A prolific writer and brilliant inspiration in the genre of science fiction, Brian remained, throughout his life, an active supporter of West Buckland School and a note of his last year at the school concluded: ‘I doubt if any of us who shared that particular Sixth will ever forget how much we laughed then.’ 

Brian and his family have remained close to the school ever since and we will find a suitable way to remember him later in the term.

Please see below a press release produced by his family:

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Brian Wilson Aldiss O.B.E. author, artist and poet, at his home in Oxford in the early hours of Saturday 19th August 2017, aged 92.

Author of British science fiction classics Non-stop, Hothouse and Greybeard, Aldiss's writing spanned genres and generations, bridging the gap between classic 'science fiction' and contemporary literature with his Helliconia Trilogy and Thomas Squire Quartet. Aldiss was also an entertaining memoirist, notably basing his Horatio Stubbs saga on his wartime adventures in Burma and the Far East, as well as the autobiography The Twinkling of an Eye.

A friend and drinking companion of Kingsley Amis and correspondent with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldiss was a founding member of the Groucho Club in London and a judge on the 1981 Booker Prize. Awarded the Hugo Award for Science Fiction in 1962 and the Nebula Award in 1965, Aldiss's writings were well received by the critics and earned a strong following in the United States and in Britain as well as being widely translated into foreign languages.  In later years his cultured world view and enduring curiosity found expression in the novels Harm and The Finches of Mars, dealing with the contradictions of the war against terror and the logistical difficulties of accommodating different terrestrial belief systems in space.

Among his considerable body of short fiction are the ‘Supertoys’ stories, adapted for film as A.I., on which Aldiss collaborated with Stanley Kubrick for over a decade before its completion by Steven Spielberg. His novel Frankenstein Unbound was made for screen by Roger Corman.

In 2000 Brian Aldiss was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Reading and received the title of Grandmaster from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for services to Literature with the O.B.E. in the 2005 Birthday Honours list.

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Our Sixth Formers have delivered another excellent set of provisional A-level results which will see the majority of students progressing to their chosen universities.

The results achieved this summer see 70% of A-levels passed at the top A* to B grades with 40.6% of all entries marked at the highest A* and A grades.  Amongst the overall excellent school performance have been some outstanding individual achievements.

Tom Perry, David Davies and Lucy Friend achieved excellent results, being awarded A* grades in all three of their subjects.  This ensures that Tom will take his place at St Peter’s College, Oxford, to study Physics, whilst David and Lucy will be going to Imperial College and University of Bath to read Maths with Computer Science and Education with Psychology, respectively.

Owen Zhou studied four A-level subjects and recorded two A* grades and two A grades, whilst  Katie Hevingham, Mary Bradshaw and Matt Gentle put in excellent performances to secure two A*s and an A grade each.  Owen will go on to study Maths at the University of Warwick whilst Katie, Mary and Matt will take places at Birmingham, Durham and Lancaster universities.

There were strong results across the curriculum, with more than 50% of all exam entries in Maths, Art and Design, Chemistry, French, Spanish, Geography and Religious Studies being awarded the highest A* and A grades.  Students studying Further Mathematics achieved outstanding results with almost 80% gaining an A* or A grade and this comes at a time when the school looks to make further investment in this important and core subject.

Headmaster, Phillip Stapleton says:

“We pride ourselves on offering an education that prepares young people for success in a varied future.  For all our leavers these results represent the start of that journey and I am sure that the confidence developed through an education that stretches beyond the curriculum will set them apart.

I have no doubt that some of these fine results are the product of the commitment and curiosity shown by students, modelled by staff and supported by parents.  We are fortunate that our small class sizes enable a personalised education, which is better able to support individual learning needs.

We are very proud of them all and while I shout collective praise it is the students who should be congratulated.  Many have achieved or exceeded their expectations, which puts them in a strong position as they move towards their futures beyond school.”


henry cooper isfa news

It's been a busy summer for Year 9 Henry Cooper who, earlier in the year was selected for the U13 England ISFA squad (Independent School Football Association).

He is in action here playing in a recent football tournament at Oakham School, where the team played a number of professional associations from England, Scotland and the USA before narrowly losing in the final against Dunfermline Athletic.