UCTC newsletter March 2016

Uckfield Community Technology College, Downsview Crescent, Uckfield TN22 3DJ

GET CREATIVE, GET CONNECTED, GET CODING. The micro:bit is a handheld, fully programmable computer being given free to every Year 7 or equivalent child across the UK. It’s 70 times smaller and 18 times faster than the original BBC Micro computers used in schools in the early 1980s. This little device has an awful lot of features, like 25 red LED lights that can flash messages. There are two programmable buttons that can be used to control games or pause and skip songs on a playlist. Your BBC micro:bit can detect motion and tell you which direction you’re heading in, and it can use a low energy Bluetooth connection to interact with other devices and the Internet – clever!

01825 764844 www.uctc.org.uk

BBC micro:bit launched at UCTC And we were filmed by the BBC for the six o’clock news!

10 am Tuesday 22nd March 2016 and the BBC microbit lands at UCTC! We








Department; we have been anticipating this moment for quite some time and we simply couldn’t wait to get them into the hands of our brilliant, creative year 7 students.

Armed with just the BBC Microbits and their chromebooks





(https://www.microbit.co.uk), a class of year 7 students opened the Microbit








programming interface and simply started to code.

Barely half an hour later and we had a room humming with learning and excitement. The BBC Microbits 25 LED screens across the whole room flashing with mini games including Rock-Paper- Scissors, Flappy birds and Catch the drop; all making great use of the two programmable buttons.Crocodile clips and leads were linked to the microbit output pins and students were talking to each other in morse code between two microbits. The Microbit and the students’ smartphones were connected together via Bluetooth and a student was coding a pedometer using the Microbit’s built in accelerometer.

Micro:bit at UCTC

We were are delighted that the BBC chose us as one of their South East launch schools for the Microbit. Our Computer Science teacher Rebecca Turner was featured on the Neil Pringle BBC Radio Sussex Breakfast Show on the 22nd March 2016 and our students featured on the BBC South East Evening News later on launch day.

The UK currently faces a significant skills shortage in the technology sector and here at UCTC we are determined to ensure our students have the skills required to thrive in all sectors. We have for several years been developing our Computer Science qualification offering here at UCTC and we have built a Computing curriculum at Key stage 3 which prepares students for the rigour of our challenging Computer Science qualifications at both GCSE and A Level. Additionally, since Septmenber 2015 we have been the Computing Hub school for East Sussex, bringing together primary and secondary teachers and leaders of computer science education to collaborate in our shared vision for Outstanding Computer Science education for all students.

This is just the start of our Microbit adventure- so much more coming to all of our year 7 students soon.

First Democracy Awards at Houses of Parliament Following the success of the local Big Vote initiative, which encouraged students in schools across East Sussex to take part in local political activities and an election, successful students and other school representatives had a day at the Houses of Parliament recently.

Ella Roizer, who was elected to represent UCTC and Elizabeth Beer were invited by local MP Nus Ghani to attend the First Democracy Awards, where lively questions were answered by the MP and by representatives of the local authority and youth democracy organisations. This was followed by the awards themselves, and the event took place in a real committee room inside the Palace of Westminster.

On arrival they were treated to a fantastic tour of the buildings, including the original Westminster Hall, which is over 1000 years old, and had an opportunity to enter and find out about the House of Lords and many other historic areas of the Houses of Parliament. Later, Ella asked a question during the main session and then received the award on behalf of UCTC.

Amsterdam Art Trip 2016 At 6am on Friday 12th Feb the very bleary travellers met at school, loaded the coach and started the 10 hour journey to Amsterdam. The cross channel ferry was a welcome break, with copious amounts of coffee, croissant and toblerone (from duty free). We continued on across France and Belgium (all very flat) arriving at our hostel mid afternoon. Amsterdam was

Amsterdam 2016

bustling, bicycles and canals at every turn. We found our rooms, dumped our stuff and went out to meet our evening tour guides.

The Art Department recently took 28 students and 4 members of staff on an adventure abroad, hoping to start an annual tradition of visiting great works of art around the World.

We found out about the laws of the city, historical buildings, cafe culture and the fascinating ‘red light’ district. We were taken across bridges, explored alley ways and were safely delivered back to the hostel for a well earned hot meal and early night.

Saturday was packed full of culture. Everybody went to the Stedelijk, Amsterdam’s museum of Modern Art where we saw some famous Pop Art


many funky pieces by less known artists. The group then split, some went to Van Gogh -

Originally planning to go to Paris, a late change of venue proved to be one of our most successful decisions ever made...





lifetime collection, minus the Sunflowers which was out for restoration, and Starry Night which we discovered is now in Paris( note to go visit). Some went to Foam, an Internationally renowned



Photography. We all met again for lunch, which resulted in hilarious stories of pancakes, Wagamamas and waffles - not all on the same plate! A three-way split for the afternoon found more students at Foam, some visiting the Rijksmuseum and most going to Anne Frank’s House. After a lengthy

queue including chips and hot chocolate, all said the experience had been very moving. Dinner was followed by an evening cruise to top off the sightseeing and history.

Sunday it snowed! We rejoined the coach and travelled for 90 minutes out of the city, in the snow. Destination Kroller Muller Sculpture Park. Aim - to cycle around the park, get some fresh air and see some beautiful sculpture en route. We were greeted by 100’s of white bikes, ‘Dutch’, meaning to brake you pedal backwards! 2 non cyclists quickly learned, Brownie never found a bike that fitted properly and left on a kids bmx, and Mr Winslade just had to wheelie his way off into the distance. Groups of students went off in all directions, some to return in 30 mins and some several hours later - the staff?...found a lovely little log cabin with the most wonderful hot chocolate. We thought we’d been cycling for miles, but it took us all of 10 mins to get back! Still snowing we walked around the galleries, found some lunch and then returned to Amsterdam for our evening out. Iceskating...in the snow! All in all a really memorable day topped off with 32 mugs of hot chocolate.

Monday fun-day We packed, boarded the coach and went to Amsterdam Dungeons. What an experience! Mr Winslade had the jitters just entering the lift, Brownie didn’t even enter, offering to accompany a few of the girls shopping. Miss Jennings had already bailed out returning to a museum for a slightly more cultured morning. However we all had our photos taken with the ‘executioner’ and entered at our peril! Hilarious! Ghosts, demon Dr’s, witches burned at the stake ( myself) and students put on trial for deserting pirate ships. We did all escape with our lives and happily entered the daylight after 2 hours and did what tourists do best - shopping! Souvenirs and pressies purchased we started our journey home. We all agreed that we had had a wonderful few days, even the staff wanted to stay longer. Roll on Amsterdam 2017!

World Wide Quiz UCTC recently entered the Sussex round of the World Wise Quiz. This is a nationally organised competition run by the Geographical Association. We had two teams of three year 11 students up against 17 teams from a variety of local schools.

Although we didn't win the competition this year, our students were a credit to their year group and to the college and were polite, enthusiastic and good humoured throughout. Students involved were Benedict Smith, Livvy Logan, Chloe Marriott, Michael Taylor, Fraser Munn and Matt Walkington.

Regional Masterchef Carys Roberts competed in the regional Masterchef competition in Maidstone against 5 other chefs from Sussex and Surrey who had also been successful at the last district round. She cooked with passion and made her 3 signature dishes with noticeable improvements over the previous stage of the competition. With a new set of chefs whites provided by the Rotary club and up against some very strong competition, her food was produced to a very high standard using a range of skills learnt at the college. And although she was not the winner on the day she should be proud of her accomplishment of getting so far in the competition. Well done Carys.

India Trip 2016 Images Report follows on next page

India Trip 2016 report To say we were excited is probably not true. After 2 years of making plans, getting jabs, buying very useful things that were never used, meeting parents and talking endlessly about what it was going to be like, to say we were just excited doesn't cover it. A trip to India. We were all going to India. A random group of students, teachers (and a wife) were going to ride on Elephants, see the Taj Mahal, travel overnight on trains and stay in Indian 5* hotels. There were many emotions and feelings running high as we boarded the coach and set off on our adventure. When one imagines India, sees images or tv programmes the over-riding impression is of colour and busy-ness. Nothing can quite prepare you for the scale of the place. Everything, except the people, is huge or amazingly over the top. Nothing is done in moderation and it constantly surprises you. A 200 strong wedding party in the middle of the road, why not?! New Delhi was our first stop, here we saw the wonder of the electricity cables, intertwined around trees or buildings. We started to see the organised chaos of the traffic and its inhabitants who live among the network of islands created by the roads and bridges. We saw the rubbish. We saw cows happily wandering around. We smelt New Delhi. Travelling to India must always be a shock, even for seasoned travellers. A myriad of emotions are felt within the blink of an eye, and so the coach journey to Jaipur came as a welcome relief from the staring eyes that usually greeted our arrival anywhere. We sat cocooned in our air conditioned, safely anti-bacterial environment and watched with wide childlike eyes as the wonder of everyday India passed us by. The mountains that greeted our arrival gave a hint at the beauty of the day to follow. We woke to monkeys playing by the swimming pool and the sun peeping over the valley. On the other side of the hotel a glimpse of the walls winding their way up the mountains surrounding the long since left inhabitants of the Amber fort. One perceives the enormous gentle beauty of the inconceivably large creatures that were to take us up towards the fort. Bumpy and lumbering were the realities of the Elephant ride. Mrs Isley was not sure about the whole thing really, a smooth ride it was not! But the view, was entrancing. The view of the mountainscape was beautiful, the view of the students, laughing, giggling and helping each other was quite something else to behold. I say a random group of us as that's what we felt like to start with, some of us knew each other from one lesson or another but as a group we didn't really know each other that well. School trips are usually filled with friendship problems. Not true on this one. We laughed together, cried a bit, held a tissue for each other, shared the same really stinky loo with the local pigeons and waded with bare feet through the strange and wonderful Mosque kitchen. We bonded. We watched each other experience the raw emotions that India threw at us. We helped each other and we shouted to “Dad” for more money. We all knew it would be a trip of a lifetime. I'm not sure any of us realised how much the sun rise on the Ganges, the mayhem of Varanassi or the breathtaking wonder of the Taj would get into our psyche. India was wonderful. Taking such a fantastic group of students away made the trip quite stunning. We will never forget it.

Megan’s Balmy record! On February 23, 2016 Guinness World Records, the global authority on record-breaking achievement, accepted an application from Megan Jade Baker in year 9 at UCTC. On 23 March 2016, we put her hugecollection on display in the Reading Room here at the College. By 16:00 the Reading room was a buzz with staff and students looking through Megan’s collection. The soundtrack was one of amazement at not only the size of Megan's collection but the huge range of shapes, sizes and flavours she has gathered. Hopefully ,very soon, UCTC will have it’s very own Guinness World Record holder. Currently the largest collection of lip balms is 553 and is owned by Jace Hoffman (USA) of Marietta, Georgia, USA, as verified on 29 November 2015. However, after only starting the collection 21 months ago with the Cherry Chapstick and the Palmers Cocoa Butter lip balm, Uckfields own Megan Baker amassed an amazing


1061 unique lip balms as of March 23rd 2016. Megan's record number of lip balms are all different and does not count duplicates. If we were to include these it is estimated that the collection would go up to 1170.

Rebecca Turner, Director of Year 9 said “When I asked Megan when she would stop collecting the balms, the shock was clear, Megan intends for this collection to continue growing for a very long time.”

Megan has an extensive variety in her collection collected a large range of lips balms from around Phoebe Trotter, representing

the world including some from Egypt, Mauritius

Superdrug in Uckfield, who

and New York. As much as Megan loves every

witnessed the record, together with

balm in her collection, and tries to use them all

Megan and some of her collection.

on a regular basis, her top three are currently: Revo, Baby lips and Chapstick, with the Revo

Melon Beauty

360 topping her list. So what's next for Megan's collection? Top of her list is to grow her Revos section as well as the American and Limited Edition Baby Lips. Based on this young lady’s excitement and determination, we are sure this is not the last of Megan and her ‘Balmy’ Collection.

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS is the universally recognized global authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, over 132 million copies – and 3 million ebooks – have been sold in 20 languages, in more than 100 countries. Since then, the internationally renowned brand is also available across a number of platforms.

World Book Day (and week) celebrations Students at Uckfield Community Technology College have taken part in a week long series of activities and events centred around World Book Day. Visiting authors Jenny McLachlan, Helen Dennis and Andrea Kerr spoke to groups of students and signed copies of their books, as did illustrator Jane Hissey. Students were enthralled by storyteller Sue Knight telling tales of smugglers, world war two, and Chaucer's Canterbury tales...

Week long activities

Deputy Principal Geoff Evans said "It was a really exciting week for students with so many different things going on every day. At it's heart was our belief in the importance of books and reading - so we extended World Book day to World Book Week!"

UCTC Term/INSET Dates - January 2016 to July 2017 TERM



Term 3

Tuesday 5 January 2016

Friday 12 February 2016

February holiday

Monday 15 February 2016

Friday 19 February 2016

Term 4

Monday 22 February 2016

Thursday 24 March 2016

Spring holiday

Friday 25 March 2016

Friday 8 April 2016

Term 5

Monday 11 April 2016

Friday 27 May 2016


29 April 2016

May holiday

Monday 30 May 2016

Friday 3 June 2016

School Term 6

Monday 6 June 2016

Friday 22 July 2016




Summer Holiday

Monday 25 July 2016

Friday 2 September 2016


Monday 5 September 2016

Term 1

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Friday 21 October 2016

Autumn holiday

Monday 24 October 2016

Friday 28 October 2016

Term 2

Monday 31 October 2016

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Christmas holiday

Thursday 22 December 2016

Monday 2 January 2017

Term 3

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Friday 10 February 2017

February holiday

Monday 13 February 2017

Friday 17 February 2017

Term 4

Monday 20 February 2017

Friday 31 March 2017

Spring holiday

Monday 3 April 2017

Mon 17 April 2017

Term 5

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Friday 26 May 2017

May holiday

Monday 29 May 2017

Friday 2 June 2017

Term 6

Monday 5 June 2017

Friday 21 July 2017

January 2016 to July 2017 INSET days: Friday 29th April 2016 subsequent INSET days - dates to be confirmed

Edited and produced by Geoff Evans, Deputy Principal and Roger Ward, Communications Officer, UCTC

Uckfield Community Technology College, Downsview Crescent, Uckfield TN22 3DJ

01825 764844 www.uctc.org.uk

March 2016 newsletter.pdf

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