On Tuesday 6th December a large number of Test Valley School’s pupils and staff participated in the school’s annual Concert held at St Peters Church in Stockbridge.
The pupils had worked hard rehearsing a varied selection of seasonal music and readings, including the school choir of 50 pupils, the orchestra, a staff choir and a number of smaller instrumental ensembles and vocal soloists. The concert was very well-attended with standing room only remaining. It was led and conducted by Grace Leyman (Music Subject Leader), who said she was “delighted with the commitment, effort and enthusiasm shown by all pupils involved, working together to produce a thoroughly festive, quality performance”.
The evening was introduced by the Reverend Jonathan Watkins who also gave an address and led the prayers later in the service. Highlights included the candlelit opening to ‘Once in Royal David’s City, led by soloist Sarah Brett; a beautiful tear-inducing rendition of ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ by Sophie Yates, with choir backing; and the ever popular finale to the concert in which all participants took part in Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’ led by soloist Freya Cavill. Other notable highlights were a jazz-influenced cover of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ performed by GCSE musicians Josh Toze (alto sax) and Felix Hammer (cornet) and an energetic rendition of Natalie Sleeth’s ‘Jazz Gloria’ by the school choir.
The audience participated enthusiastically in the selection of traditional Carols, accompanied by the church organist Dawn Williams and the school orchestra. All proceeds from the evening are being donated to Test Valley School’s chosen Christmas charity Save The Children.
Christmas can be a very exciting time of year: spending time with family and friends, giving and receiving presents, singing carols, decorating the house, and eating lots of food. During the month of December we at Test Valley decided to think about those who are not as fortunate as others.
We used the idea of a ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ to place items into a hamper each day to donate to the Andover Food Bank before the end of term. We wanted to help ensure we could make Christmas for someone a happier one. Each tutor group took part in the ‘Reverse Advent Calendar’ and donated generously.
We filled 15 boxes with food and other essential items, indeed the boxes were over flowing. On delivery the volunteers working at the food bank were extremely grateful. We are extremely proud of the pupils and staff for contributing towards the hampers and making a difference to others’ Christmas.
A large gathering of pupils from Years 7 & 8 returned to school on the evening of Friday 9th December wearing their Christmas jumpers to attend a social evening watching films. Pizzas and a tuck shop interval ensured the evening went along well, with particular thanks to the support of FOTVS* who organised the event.
(*Friends of Test Valley School).
The annual Test Valley Christmas gig was held on Friday 9th December for staff and pupils to enjoy. There were a number of acts from pupils across the year groups including a performance by the school choir and a surprise visit from Father Christmas! Pupils kindly offered their time to sell cakes on the stall and the proceeds all went to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Year 9 pupils had the opportunity to go to Winchester Christmas Market and ice skating rink on the evening of Wednesday 14th December.
After spending time browsing the market the group headed for the ice rink. The ability level of the group ranged from total beginners to those who looked like they were born to ice skate and whizzed around others demonstrating their skills. By the end of the evening even our novice skaters had made it around the rink without holding on to the rail, often assisted by the more experienced. The evening was rounded off with a final opportunity to grab a hot chocolate before heading back to school.
Year 11 GCSE History group visited the British Library in London to attend a workshop on ‘Mapping the 20th Century’.
This was a challenging and intensive look at the way maps have been used in times of war and peace during the past century. The group were introduced to maps that had been used in the planning of both world wars, and were also introduced to many other types of maps including 3D maps, but also some interesting examples such as maps used in propaganda by Germany, Japan and Britain during the war. In the morning they arrived at the Treasures Gallery which had a large amount of original manuscripts. These included two of the original copies of the Bible (the third is with the Pope in the Vatican). Other artefacts that they saw were letters from famous people like Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII and Lord Nelson. They also saw original sketches from Leonardo Da Vinci which were simply eye opening.
The last day of the Autumn Term was full of fun and festivities for pupils across the year groups.
After a quiet morning finishing any outstanding work or projects, the Christmas activities began. There was an abundance of choice for pupils to choose from: they could either dance the afternoon away in the school disco, sit quietly and enjoy a film or, if in Years 10 and 11, take part in a number of out of school activities including ice-skating, bowling or Laser quest. Whatever they chose to take part in, it was guaranteed fun for all.
We are grateful to and thank all staff for their hard work to organise and run these activities and proud of our pupils’ conduct, making the last day of term a wonderful way to finish another very busy term at our school.