John O’Gaunt School News

It’s been a busy term at John O’Gaunt – here are a few snippets of some of the things we’ve been up to outside the classroom.

Commonwealth Day

Our local community has always been central to our school. We were proud to take part in Raising the Flag in Hungerford on Commonwealth Day.

Outstanding sporting achievements

Being a small rural school is no barrier to our ambitions, aims and results – in fact, it seems to inspire us to greater heights. John O’Gaunt School regularly beats other schools twice, three and four times its size.

Not only that, our students are becoming renowned for their politeness, fairness, having respect for other teams and showing great team spirit and camaraderie. Some recent highlights include Year 11 & Year 10 boys in the District Cup Final, Year 9 Girls winning the Netball League (for the second year running) and a legendary performance and huge congratulations to our U15 Rugby Girls, who tackled other teams off the park at the Berkshire School Games Winter Festival.  They beat Windsor girls in the 3rd/4th play-off to finish 3rd place in the rugby festival held at Bisham Abbey this week. They only lost one game all day, to Maiden Earley who were the eventual competition winners. The girls’ commitment as a team was admirable and there were some great displays of tackling and running with the ball. Go Jog!

Preparation for life: work experience & real-life interviews

The School Library became an interview room recently and the nerves – and quiet confidence – from our smartly dressed Year 10’s was palpable: they took it very seriously. The interviews are in preparation for work – and life – experience and were preceeded by creating CVs, filling in applications and team-building exercises.

Head of ICT, Work Related Learning and Enterprise, Deborah Arden-Hunt said: “It was a wonderful day and employers were saying they would employ our students already. “The feedback was extremely useful, both to students and to the employers and they were impressed by the calibre of the students, the intelligent use of questioning techniques and answers, and their polite and interested manner.”


Students attended a workshop in their own time, prompted by a recent visit by inspirational founder and Chief Executive of the charity Ghana ATE (and former teacher), Sarah Gardner. Students wrote letters to their peers in schools in Ghana, sharing what they have in common as young people and exploring what is different about our countries, education and culture. They were joined by pupils from Hungerford and Shalbourne Primary Schools. Our students mingled, made them feel welcome and at ease, with the caring attitude they are known for.

Japanese lessons at JOG

22 students from our local primary schools have enjoyed Japanese taster lessons with our Head of Languages, Ms McCabe. It was a thrill it was to see them so engaged in a language which is so tricky to learn, but they did a fantastic job. Well done to everyone (Min’na ni umaku itta みんなにうまくいった)

We will also be running music and science tasters for Year 5 students, so watch this space for more news on that!

JOG bands rock out

A wealth of local talent was displayed recently at Hogan’s Music Showcase in Newbury’s Ace Space. The only two bands to perform were both from Hungerford’s Hogan’s Youth Academy – and music students at John O’Gaunt. The Lightning Strikes and Pope rocked the joint with guitars, passion, clarity and great big smiles – and were followed with a cries of ‘more’ and the compere’s comment ‘Hungerford Talent! Who knew? What a wonderful surprise!’

Hungerford Music Centre

Berkshire Maestros, our local Music Hub, launched a new project at JOG, hosting Hungerford Music Centre. The aim is to raise the profile of music making in Hungerford by offering opportunities for students of all ages (JOG students and as well as feeder primary students) to come and play music together in an ensemble setting.

World Book Day

We turned this into a whole week of celebrations at John O’Gaunt, with Writes of Passage, Book Spine Poetry, Bookish Quizzes and a very inventive whole-school dress-up-as-a-book-character day. What a great celebration of literacy and literature!

Berkshire Book Awards Pen2Page event and author visit

John O’Gaunt School was thrilled to co-host the big live reveal of the Berkshire Book Award short list, 2017 earlier this year.

Supporting young people to take part in the Award is one way in which the school encourages students to read more, improving their educational opportunities and encouraging social responsibility by giving them a major say in running the Award.

Before the shortlisted books were announced, students were very excited to welcome Author Jo Cotterill to speak.

Jo was funny, honest and highly engaging about the ups and downs of the writing process, as well as where she gets her inspiration and the hard graft that comes from writing a book, working with editors and getting it published. She read a moving extract from A Library of Lemons (and was subsequently delighted to hear it had been shortlisted).

After almost 800 votes, the six shortlisted books were announced, in suspenseful X Factor style.

There were cheers and some groans as favourite books were chosen – or just missed out, but all agreed the list was a good mix of reads across the spectrum of taste, appeal and genre – well done to our young voters!

Voting is now open on the six shortlisted books which can be viewed here. The winning title will be announced on 3 May, 2017.





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