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.
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.”
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.
West Buckland has a long and enviable tradition of excellence in drama and this was emphasised with the recent release of the results from the Vanguard exams that some our pupils took part in earlier in the year.
Formerly The Poetry Vanguard, the exams are designed to encourage the love of Poetry and the Spoken Word, and students can choose to be examined on a number of subjects ranging from Poetry and Prose and Shakespeare Solo to Bible Reading and Spoken Word.
Pupils from West Buckland performed extremely well in the recent exams with Daisy Cotton and Loveday Williams achieving outstanding Honours results, which means that they achieved 90% or more.
In addition, Flora Boyles and Amelie Preston achieved Distinctions, with scores of 85%.