John O’Gaunt School Summer Update 2018

Latest news from John O’Gaunt School

Work Shadowing for Years 8 and 9

All Year 8 and Year 9 Students had two days out of school 28th and 29th June for a ‘Work Shadowing’ placement with either parents/close friends. It was a fantastic opportunity for them to become familiar with the workplace and learn outside of the classroom environment.

Work Experience

Year 10 enjoyed a week of Work Experience (25th-29th June). They have been well prepared, having created a CV and covering letter, practice interview with local businesses and practice telephone interviews. Students went as far afield as London, but also worked locally in Theale, Hungerford, Newbury, Swindon and Thatcham. Students are very keen to show off their newfound skills. Most students report back that they are extremely tired after each day, as these are working days, not a school day! Not all schools offer work experience to students so we are delighted that our students have this opportunity.

UK Maths Challenge

JOG students in Year 7 and 8 achieved a number of awards in this year’s UK Junior Maths Challenge, with one gold, four silver and seven bronze awards. Congratulations to Gold award winner – Helen Gray; Silver award winners – Phoebe Digweed, Tayla Smyth, Victoria Jaworska and Jonathan Kelly; Bronze award winners – Owen Allsop, Jack Faulkner, Isis Rota, Lucy Hammond, Madison Lewis, Summer Hyde and Rosie Gregory. Fantastic achievement – well done!

Congratulations also to the Year 10 and 11 students who took part in the Intermediate Maths Challenge and achieved certificates – Matthew Morecroft (Silver), Alfie Cox, Caitlyn Digweed and Naya Rota (Bronze).


Year 8 are moving to the end of their Key Stage 3 with a transition project about biomimicry, and Year 8 Discover have just completed a fascinating depth assessment with Mrs Kirwan looking at bone strength and prosthetic limbs.

Year 9 have been looking at radiation and the effects of the Chernobyl disaster. We have been exploring the significance of the half life of radioactive material, and how different types of radiation have different levels of  ionisation.

Year 10 have been throwing themselves into their mock exams with a good attendance at intervention for science and we have had really positive learning conversations about flight paths which I mentioned in a previous newsletter.

In Science club, Mrs Simpson and her band of merry scientists have been continuing to develop their natural curiosity by building and programming robots. They have conducted a mini-robot wars in the outside classroom and worked to make improvements on the standard models that they had – learning and having fun at the same time.


A Masterpiece of Malfunction! On Tuesday 12th June, 47 students in Years 7-10 travelled to The Wyvern Theatre in Swindon to watch the multi award-winning touring production of “The Play that Goes Wrong”, created by Mischief Theatre Company. Everything that could possibly go wrong for the fictitious Cornley Players quite simply does, and leaves the audience in tears of laughter. Whether it was the collapsing set or actors being knocked unconscious, the Murder at Haversham Manor had the audience in hysterical laughter….

“It was really funny and you could tell it was really hard to make things go wrong on purpose. They made it look so shocking despite the fact it was brilliantly choreographed and well rehearsed. I loved it!” – Rosie Gregory, Year 7
“My favourite character was the murder victim himself. He never quite managed to die!”  – Aaron Smith, Year 7.
“I didn’t just find it funny but I also loved the melodrama of the play. I wasn’t expecting the ending – that was a surprise. I really want to see another show.” – Abriana McDonald, Year 7

Student Leaders

Four students have become the latest set of inspirational senior student leaders, after record numbers of ambitious students applied. The four successful students (Head Girl Angel Tregunna-Bainbridge, Deputy Head Girl Harry Steel, Head Boy Matthew Morecroft, and Deputy Head Boy Ben Price) were selected to become John O’ Gaunt Senior Student Leaders after a very thorough process, which involved a written application, a presentation and an interview with the senior leadership.

Library News
John O’Gaunt students Evie Chester, Rosie Chester (Inkpen Primary), Ceara Fowkes and Molly Rixon with Geraldine

It’s officially midsummer, so do keep your Random Acts of Wildness for 30 Days Wild coming in! Our Library wallchart is filling up nicely.

On Wednesday evening, we were invited to the wonderful, Award-winning Hungerford Bookshop to see locally based author Geraldine McCaughrean receive her Award for Independent Bookshop Week’s Children’s Book of the Year. Her winning book, Where the World Ends is a riveting read (again one for older readers) about nine young boys who find themselves abandoned on a St Kilda sea stac in 1727 to go ‘fowling’. Geraldine says ‘they are the sort of boys who eat puffins like packets of crisps.’ No sooner had we accepted the invite from Emma at the Bookshop, we heard the incredible news that Geraldine’s book had also won the prestigious, famous Carnegie Medal – and 30 years after she’d won it with her first book! What a scoop!

Geraldine has been called ‘one of our greatest living children’s authors’ and has also won the Whitbread/Costa Award three times. She chatted to us and then showed us her actual Carnegie Medal and, let me tell you, it GLOWED. Carnegie Medals are rarer than Olympic Gold Medals. Many of our students sent their best wishes and congratulations to Geraldine via us, as they remembered her visiting their schools, or Newbury Library or reading many of her other books. She will now, no doubt, be off on a whirlwind International Tour and we wish her well – and will bask in the glow of having seen her, her two Awards and the glow of that medal, first.
Mrs Chester, John O’Gaunt Librarian (

Colour Run

The PSA’s Colour Run in aid of the Music Department on Saturday 12th May was a huge success:

Year 11 Leaving Day

After working hard for their GCSEs and an intense period of exams, Year 11 enjoyed an afternoon of activities on their official leaving day Friday 15 June which included: shirt signing; dressing as movie characters and meeting other students on the field; a BBQ lunch (with ice lollies); staff awards; and student awards. The day was finished with an 11 minute movie of photos from the students from the five years they have been at JOG. We wish them well in their post 16 choices.


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