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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.

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Pupils at West Buckland are going to be enjoying a busy term of visits from some of the country’s top creative writers.

Last week,  Year 10 students were thoroughly entertained by former stand-up comedian turned writer for TV, radio and magazines, Dave Smith (photographed), who came to talk to the group ahead of their Field Day trip to Buckfast Abbey tomorrow, to inspire them to produce a piece of creative writing about their experience.

Next Wednesday children’s author Christopher Edge is coming to talk to the whole of Year 7 as part of the Appledore Book Festival Schools Programme.  Also next week, the author Gill Lewis will be coming in to do a creative writing workshop with some Year 8 students. 

These are fantastic opportunities for our pupils to hear first-hand from some of our most creative and successful writers.

Tuesday 03 October

Good Weekend of Hockey

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The U12A and B hockey teams showed huge promise with convincing wins over Wellington last weekend as part of a very busy weekend of fixtures.

The U12As had a convincing win of 5-1 with notable performances from Bethany Gay and Mimi Heath who scored 4!

The U12Bs also enjoyed a convincing win and the girl's worked hard to play as a team both in defence and attack.

The U13A and Bs had very close and exciting matches, with the As hanging on for a 4-4 draw, while the Bs came back from two goals down to win 4-2, showing a lot of grit and determination.

There were also wins for the U15s and 2nd XI, but the 1st XI suffered a defeat at the hands of a very well organised Wellington team.

More photos are available on our Facebook