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Denmark Road High School

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In January 2007, Mrs Sawicka took up her post.


In September 2008 we celebrated the successes of our students at Prize-giving which was a wonderful occasion, made even more momentous by our speaker Mr Rob Rees, the Cotswold Chef, and by Elin White’s outstanding violin solo.

Over the summer holidays there was the customary hectic activity around the site when the maintenance team undertook several projects. It amazed me how quickly and efficiently they worked on redecorating the stairwells in the main building. This was a huge job, but it has significantly improved how the main building looks. The Art department has been particularly helpful in replacing all the old art work with current students’ work. We have also replaced the flooring in the back stairwell of the Humanities block and replaced the roof over the Design and Technology room.  Over the October break we are planning to put in security doors to the dining hall, the back of the Humanities block and also to the Science area. This is the first phase of making the site more secure as we are most conscious of the fact that we have a very open site.

At the start of the term we welcomed a number of new colleagues:

Mr Bush, as Curriculum Director for Mathematics, Psychology and Business,

Mr Colvin to teach Biology,

Miss Pearcey and Ms Camp to teach English,

Miss Bennett to teach Art Textiles,

Mrs Wynn-Williams who joined the Food Technology Department and

Mrs Biles the PE department.

Mrs Boyce (Mrs Hayward) joined us as Office Manager from August 2008.

The first term has included many events which have taken place in School. The Welcome/ Information evenings for Years 10, 11 and 12 were very well received by both students and parents/carers alike. We held a Freshers’ Fair on 17 September, advertising all the extra-curricular activities offered in School.

The variety of clubs and activities offered means that there is something for everyone to do. A whole school photograph was taken at the end of September.  It is an awe-inspiring experience when one sees the whole school in front of one’s eyes in a confined space. The Open Days at School were a great success as our students are such wonderful ambassadors for the High School. Thank you to all the parents/carers who made this possible.  The French exchange to Geneva was a great success; we have also hosted the Spanish exchange students and our students are in Spain.

Year 11 had a very successful, if poignant, visit to the Somme battlefields. All of these things have only been possible because of the dedication and care shown by all the staff at the High School, so I must end by thanking both the teaching and support staff for their commitment to the school and the students.  Finally, I would like to thank the Parents’ Association for helping us to finance the new chairs for the hall.  They are certainly more aesthetic and far more comfortable!

In September DEAL (Discover, Explore and Learn), the new bespoke Year 7 curriculum was introduced.

The Autumn Fayre this year organised by the Parents’ Association was a great success. The organisation of this event was superb. We were able to use the gym for the first time for the event as the Parents’ Association kindly invested in a tarpaulin for the school so that the floor would not get damaged. There were some lovely Christmas gifts to buy and the students excelled themselves in finding a variety of ways to raise money. Smoothies were a firm favourite as well as the food served by the dining hall staff. It is just a pity that more parents/ carers did not support this event. It is important for all parents/carers to remember that any money raised goes directly into school to benefit all students. The Parents’ Association raised £1,500.

I would also like parents/carers to support our dining hall facilities, especially during the cold winter months by enabling your daughter/son to have their lunches using this facility. The catering staff have worked tirelessly to provide a varied menu to cater for all tastes within the new Healthy Schools regulations. Thank you to all those students who were positive about the service provided when we had a visitor in school from the Healthy Schools team who interviewed students, at random, about the provision of food.

The Languages Day was again a great event enjoyed by students from all years. The students’ performances in different languages were a great success. Congratulations to the Languages Faculty for organising such a successful event.

Mrs Sawicka had the privilege to attend the Gloucestershire Sports’ Awards 2008 event at Cheltenham racecourse. There were not many student nominees in any category.  However, students from the High School for Girls were nominated in 3 categories. It was a very proud moment when Annelies Willerton was announced winner in both Rookie Coach of the Year and Junior Official of the Year and Kate Bace as Junior Volunteer of the Year.  Congratulations go to both girls for their superb achievements. It is fantastic that girls not only excel academically but also in the sporting field.

Farewells to Staff

July 2009


Mrs Christine MacLaren came to the High School for Girls in September 1983 (from Churchdown School where she was described as a ‘good and well-organised teacher’) to replace Mrs Banwell.  In September 1986 Mrs MacLaren became Head of Geography.  She has worked tirelessly to engage students in the subject, not only through her depth of knowledge, but also with her passion for the subject. Mrs MacLaren has been very giving of her time in taking part in ski trips and through organising field trips to places like Cardiff Bay, Iceland, Italy and Disneyland, Paris.  These trips have been a wonderful experience for students which I am certain that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Mrs MacLaren was also in her time an international lacrosse player. 

Mrs Banwell and Mrs MacLaren at Eurodisney

Mrs Jane Banwell started work at the High School for Girls in September 1980 as a Geography mistress.  She came to the High School from Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and stayed with us until April 1983 when she left to look after her elder son, Thomas.  Mrs Banwell then returned in 1986 to  the  part-time  position  of  Geography  teacher, becoming a full-time member of staff in 1996. For a time Mrs Banwell was also Assistant Examinations Officer.  In 2005 Mrs Banwell returned to part-time work again.   It’s true to say the Geography Department will no longer be the same!

Mrs Vickie Manning joined the staff initially in a part-time capacity at a time when the Design and Technology Department was growing rapidly, in September 1993.  Mrs Manning was part of the team that transformed this area into a high performing, dynamic department.  She is an energetic teacher who has a commitment to high standards and has a real passion for her subject.  

Mrs Gerda Iles What can I say?  She has worked tirelessly for the staff and students for 46 years as a cleaner and midday supervisor.  This is a fantastic commitment and she will be greatly missed.  I believe that she even once managed to catch a burglar!  I certainly will remember her for her kindness and good will.  Nothing has been too much trouble for her.  

Mrs Mavis Hill has worked for the school as a Catering Assistant since 1997 and has been employed directly by the school since 2007 when we took catering in-house.  She has always provided ‘service with a smile’ in the Dining Hall.

Miss Grace Ogilvie came to the school in April 2005 as a part-time teacher of History from Marling School in Stroud.  We have been very grateful to Miss Ogilvie in her versatility during her time here, as she has been not only a teacher but also a Learning Support Worker, Faculty Technician and the key member of staff concerned with reporting. Most people come to the High School to do one job, it is rare that we find someone who can be so flexible.  The school is also grateful to Miss Ogilvie for her work with the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme.  The Award is highly successful at the High School at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and it is the dedication of staff like Miss Ogilvie that enables so many students to take part in the Award.

Mrs Jo Tetley joined the High School staff in June 2003 as a Student and Family Support Worker working one day a week.  She has provided an invaluable service to both the students and parents during her time here.  As a result of re-structuring we are now adopting a new pastoral structure and we have just appointed a Student Development Officer who will take over this role.  We are grateful for everything that Mrs Tetley has done for the students and parents/carers and wish her every success in her future work. 


Ms Annie Picthall joined the High School for Girls in September 2005 as KS4 Director from St Peter’s High School and Sixth Form College.  Ms Picthall has worked extremely well with the Assistant Head, Student Support, the Year 10 and 11 Form Tutors and with the Director of Post 16.  She has always had the students’ best interests at heart and has not been afraid to tackle even the most difficult problems.  Ms Picthall is a true professional who has deservedly been promoted to the post of Assistant Head at Hanley Castle School in Worcestershire.  We wish her well in her new role.

Pastures New

Mrs Rachel Smith was appointed to the post of Head of Music in September 2000.  In her time at the school Music has continued to develop.  She has been proactive in not only teaching GCSE and A Level Music, but has also enabled students to enjoy music both in lessons and in extracurricular activities.  The orchestra led by Mrs Smith certainly made Prizegiving a more prestigious occasion.

Mrs Mel Andrews  joined the school in January 2003 as a teacher of Textiles/Art.  During her time at the school Art Textiles has gone from strength to strength.  The work produced by the students has been of a very high standard indeed and has been displayed in the AS and A Level Art exhibitions for all to admire (some examples of which are on page 16 of this newsletter).  Mrs Andrews has certainly inspired the students within the creative subjects. Both Mrs Smith and Mrs Andrews leave the High School for Girls to look after their children.  They will be missed by staff and students alike.  We wish them well in their new roles.

Mr Ian Hunter came to the school as a newly qualified teacher in September 2004.  He came to the school with a wealth of experience as he had lived in Martinique, Cuba and Brazil.  He is an excellent linguist as he is not only able to speak French and Spanish but also Portuguese and Russian.  As a result of his expertise we have been able to offer the more unusual languages in Sixth Form enrichment and in extra-curricular clubs.  He became Head of French in January 2007 and has been proactive in using new technologies within the Modern Languages faculty.  Mr Hunter’s wanderlust has returned and he has recently accepted a job in Hong Kong.  He will be missed by both the students and staff alike.  

Miss Laura Pearcey and Miss Rosalind Camp both came to the High School for Girls on temporary, one year contracts in September 2008.  Both teachers have been hugely supportive of the English Department and the school.  We are delighted with the work that they have done over the last year.   Miss Camp has also been responsible for ensuring that all the reports go out on time. Miss Pearcey leaves to take up an English post at Bassaleg Comprehensive School, Newport, whilst Miss Camp has got a job as an English teacher at Farmor’s School in Fairford. 

Mrs Beth Wynn Williams began work at the High School in September 2008 as a part-time teacher within the Food Technology department.   Mrs Williams has been a very approachable and energetic teacher with a good sense of humour.  Her subject knowledge and enthusiasm for Food Technology have been ably passed on to our students. We are sorry that we cannot offer permanent contracts to such valuable staff and wish to thank the staff for their valuable contributions to the school.

Sixth Form visit to Chepstow Castle with Mr Hathaway and Mr Kennedy

Take a look at the 2008 newsletters here


D of E Gold 2009