Taunton School is a leading independent school for boys and girls aged 0 to 18 years, located in Somerset, in the South West of England. Taunton School offer boarders and day pupils an opportunity to live a full and forward-looking school life.
Taunton School has a total of 524 pupils, with 262 pupils in the Sixth Form.
School teacher sets 3D printers to work making visors for NHS staff
Taunton School’s Head of Design & Technology, Glyn Bough, has risen to the challenge to support the NHS by using school devices to make specialist PPE equipment.
Having been made aware of the need to supply medical visors, Glyn set the school 3D printers to work 24/7 making essential visor clip components. He has been working with manufacturers to determine design specifications, and once made they will be shipped to Dulwich College London who are centrally locating them to attach to the face shields.
In addition, Taunton School has also donated all spare safety glasses, goggles and gloves to Musgrove Park Hospital.
Upon hearing about Glyn’s work with 3D printers via social media, local firm Taylor Wimpey have offered their own 3D printer as an additional resource for Taunton School to use for this important project.
The first batch of visor components will be sent off this Friday.
Glyn said: “There is a movement within the Design and Technology Departments across the country to help with the Covid-19 pandemic. And, having come from a family that have worked for the NHS for many years I felt we need help in any way we can. We have the machines, and we have the material; so why not? We will make as many as we can. We are also utilising our laser cutting facilities to make alternative versions of visors.”
Headmaster Lee Glaser said “This is a great example of community spirit and initiative during these testing times. I’m grateful to Glyn and to all who are making the difference.”
BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform teacher's composition
Zachary Reading, Coordinator of Instrumental Music, recently had the honour of hearing his own composition being played at a special BBC Concert.
The concert was performed by a full orchestra at the Wales Millennium Centre in front of a packed audience, including 17 Taunton School students and staff.
In the autumn of 2019 the BBC welcomed applications to submit an orchestral composition. Of 44 entries, Zachary’s was just one of 8 selected to be played at a special concert in March.
Zachary’s work was called ‘The Evening Strait: Concert Prelude’. He said:
“During my time at University, I had the pleasure of hearing the BBC National Orchestra of Wales perform often. To now hear them perform a piece I’d written was both humbling and incredibly surreal. The BBC National Orchestra of Wales is one of the best orchestras in the country so it was certainly an honour to have been selected and it made it all the more special to share the experience with a handful of our talented students.”
The BBC hope to play the full concert recording in their schedule soon. A short extract of the performance can be heard at soundcloud.com/zach-reading/the-evening-strait-bbc-now-excerpt. In the meantime, Zachary continues to support the talented musicians at Taunton School inspiring them to be ambitious in their musical endeavours.
Taunton School sees impressive 60 students selected for cricket pathways
A massive 60 students from Taunton School have been selected in the latest round of County and District cricket pathways – a record breaking year once again.
Both boys and girls ranging from 9 to 18 years have been selected for county, district, academy and international squads, including Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and as far as Hong Kong.
Director of Cricket Pete Sanderson said: “These students are a credit to how sports players can mix their academic studies with still developing their sporting skills. I’m extremely proud to see so many students getting recognised for their talent. They have all worked extremely hard in their different groups and individual sessions that the school runs throughout the winter.”
Coaching sessions at Taunton School are delivered by Director of Cricket Pete Sanderson (ECB LV 4 Coach), Head of Cricket Development Marcus Trescothick (ECB LV 4 and England Coach) and Tomos Fowler (ECB LV 3 coach).
Pete Sanderson added: “The basis of the sessions in the early part of the winter is preparing players for their county pathway sessions with an emphasis on batting development, experimentation or modifying weaknesses.”
Of the 60 students, 15 girls have been selected. Students Anna Parkinson and Joleigh Roberts are both part of the Somerset Women’s squad. Pete Sanderson commented: “Both Anna and Joleigh are genuine all-rounders and both could fulfil their dreams of playing for England.” He added: “It’s great to see so many girls getting involved in cricket. We have strong links with the Somerset Women’s Team and this is an area which is growing in strength every year.”
One of the school’s most promising players is Year 13 student Conway Gilbert, who was selected to tour with Somerset County Cricket Club full team in Abu Dhabi after impressing coaches on the Somerset Academy. Unfortunately due to the coronavirus outbreak, the trip was cancelled, but Conway will still get the opportunity to train with the team this year, and continues to be part of the County Academy.
Somerset’s Director of Cricket Andy Hurry commented: "This would have been great opportunity for Conway to gain an insight into the professional environment and to benchmark his progress. We have been excited by how he has developed this winter with the academy programme.”
Chris Hunkin, Cornwall’s Performance Director who has worked with Conway for several years said “We were delighted to hear the news that Conway had been selected for the Somerset CCC 1st team squad on their pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi. Conway had always shown a high level of ability and since his move to Somerset and Taunton School this was developed more and more. We are very proud with Conway’s development as a true Cornishman.”
Taunton School students steal the show at Festival of the Arts
Taunton School students Daisy Hickson and Hetty Christopher have been crowned Young Musician and Junior Musician of the Year at the Taunton Festival of the Arts. It is the first time in the competition’s long history that a school has had winners in
Daisy Hickson, who is 15-years-old, wowed the judges with her stunning performances on clarinet. She played the technically demanding “Dance Preludes” by Lutoslawski and “Viktor’s Tale” by John Williams, securing 1st place as Taunton Young Musician of the Year.
In the Junior Musician category (for 13 years and under), Year 9 student Hetty Christopher topped the leaderboard with her incredible performances of “Legende” by Enescu and Arutiunian’s “Concert Scherzo”.
No other school has had students in both categories claiming first place in this competition, which is recognised as the only major music competition in the South West.
A number of students from Taunton School entered the competition and a notable mention must also be made to Year 11 student George Knowles who claimed fourth place (highly commended) for his tuba solo in a very high standard category.
Taunton School’s Director of Music, Mark Cracknell, commented: "I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of Hetty and Daisy to their musical pursuits has been recognised by the Taunton Young Musician Competition. We are very proud of all our music scholars, all of whom are making excellent progress and taking advantage of the many opportunities available through the Taunton School Music Department. We pride ourselves on aiming for the highest musical standards for all pupils, whilst encouraging everyone to participate and gain an experience of the wonderful positive power of music. Having the winners of both the Senior and Junior competitions shows the strength and quality of the musical provision here."
Five applicants from Taunton School, including two who left in the summer, have been successful with their Oxbridge applications.
Ellie-May Vohra, who secured straight A grades in the summer will be going to Corpus Christi, Oxford, to read Classics. Other successful Oxford applicants include current 6th form students Jack Kerslake ,who has an Open offer (A, A, A) to read History, Paddy Doherty who needs A*, A*, A to read Engineering at St Anne’s, and IB student, Julian Müller, who requires 39 points (including Higher Level grades 7,6,6) to pursue PPE at Magdalen.
Jack, aged 18 from Taunton who joined Taunton School in Year 7 said “I’ve been very well-supported in my application to Oxford by my teacher Mr Chatterton. I have always enjoyed studying History and it is the obvious choice for me to continue at degree.”
Julian, who is 18-years-old from Germany decided he wanted to study in the UK and joined Taunton School in Year 12. “I’m delighted to have received an offer from Oxford. I’m very interested in Politics, Philosophy and Economics and feel that gaining a degree in this area opens many doors to potential careers.”
Paddy, aged 18 from the Wiveliscombe area joined Taunton School at just four-years-old in the Pre-Prep school. He said: “I chose to apply for Engineering as it’s an area which I’m really interested in. I’d like to pursue a career in this field in the future.”
Once again, the number of applications has risen to an all-time high this year and competition has never been fiercer. For an essentially non-selective school to receive five offers in any one year is a notable achievement and testimony to the hard work of the candidates concerned and the unstinting support and expertise of their teachers.
Headmaster Lee Glaser said: “I am extremely proud of these students and of the staff who have supported them in achieving their ambitions. It is our job to help all of our students to fulfil their potential”.
Students are supported by Taunton School staff throughout the rigorously competitive process of application, entrance tests and interviews.
The Taunton School Under 14 Netball team have been crowned Champions at the Regional Finals earning a place in the National Schools Netball Finals in March.
Taunton School were the only school in the South West region who were represented in each age group at the recent Regional Schools Netball Finals in Bournemouth. The U19 team had a successful tournament claiming the Bronze medal after a very close competition.
The U14 topped their age group and now progress to the National Finals as one of only 18 teams in the country over nine regions. They hope to continue their winning streak after being crowned County Champions in October and now Regional Champions.
Lisa Manley, Head of Netball at Taunton School said “I’m proud of all of our students for giving it their all in this tough competition. The U19 team were unlucky this time, but they are a young side and will get another chance next year. The U14 squad played phenomenally well and are looking very strong for the Nationals.”
The National Schools Netball Finals take place at Welwyn Garden City on 14th March.
17-year-old Hanna represents Youth Parliament at House of Commons
Taunton School sixth form student Hanna Wittek has recently visited the House of Commons to deliver a campaign speech on behalf of the Youth Parliament.
As Member of Youth Parliament (MYP) for Somerset, Hanna recently received the opportunity to go to the House of Commons to debate the top five issues that over 800,000 young people voted for nationwide in the Make your Mark youth vote this year.
Earlier this year Hanna was elected to represent the South West as a debate lead. Hanna commented: “I spoke at the dispatch box for three minutes on a campaign that I was most passionate about. This to me was certainly speaking on hate crime. My speech was prepared and I think it went really well!”
The two national campaigns which were democratically elected by the MYPs were “Protect the Environment” and “End Knife Crime” which were also the two topics that were the most voted for in Taunton School. The other issues in the top five were “Mental Health”, “Tackle Hate Crime” and “Curriculum for Life”.
Before Hanna spoke in the chamber she had the chance to meet recently elected Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle. Hanna said “We had a sophisticated conversation with him about Youth Parliament and how significant youth voice is especially in such a time of uncertainty.”
Hanna, who is studying A Levels at Taunton School has her sights set on being an MP in the future. Hanna said: “I’m really keen on law and politics and initially I wanted to become a family barrister. Having worked with the Youth Parliament has made me realise that I can really make a difference by becoming an MP and having a voice in parliament. I hope to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Cambridge when I finish my studies at Taunton School.”
Hanna added: “Last year, the support in the chamber from the staff and members was amazing. Jeremy Corbyn made a statement about what a great job the Youth Parliament are doing and Theresa May sent us a letter of support. This year the atmosphere was astonishing and so inspiring to many others.”
On the recent events in politics Hanna comments: “At such a confusing and tense time I am keen to advocate what the Youth Parliament have done to include youth voice in modern politics. It has never been more important and I’m delighted to have had this fantastic opportunity.”
Taunton School Headmaster Mr Lee Glaser said: “We are very proud of Hanna. She has only been with us for one term and has already made her mark. She has a very bright future ahead of her.”
Hanna Wittek is listed as one of the top “Make Your Mark” champions nationally by the UK Youth Parliament, for giving a voice to 3,616 young people in Somerset.
Actor Edward Bluemel makes opening night of The 39 Steps at Taunton School
Killing Eve star Edward Bluemel paid a visit to his old school to meet with drama students ahead of their opening night of their senior school production of ‘The 39 Steps’.
Edward Bluemel, who left Taunton School in 2011, has had leading roles in theatre, film and television. He is best known for his role as Hugo in the award winning series, Killing Eve, Marcus in Sky’s A Discovery of Witches and Toby in ITV’s World-War Two period drama, The Halcyon. He has also starred in various theatre productions, notably Love in Idleness, alongside established actors Eve Best and Anthony Head and Touch at the Soho Theatre.
Having taken part in many performances at Taunton School as a student himself, Edward took time to give a workshop to a number of keen drama students and also a unique insight into his journey into the world of acting. He said “I started to take acting seriously in Year 10 or 11 and finding out more about it. Before then I’d always loved it but hadn’t thought about taking it further.” The Taunton School students were delighted to learn of Edward’s experiences of auditions he has undertaken and fascinated to learn about how demanding a process it can be.
The School’s production of The 39 Steps ran for three consecutive ‘sold out’ nights with the 59-strong cast performing from 4-6th December. It followed the story of Richard Hannay - a man on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit. The performance was a funny, dynamic and quirky take on a classic adventure novel and was clearly enjoyed by the packed audience.
Edward attended Taunton School from Pre-Prep right through to the Senior School in 2011. He went on to attend a RADA Foundation Course in Acting and achieved a BA Hons in Acting from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
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