Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Whitley Hosts Year 8 Japan Day

Written by Abigail Rodgers - Year 8 Student Reporter

Konnichiwa from Whitley Academy!

Welcome to this news article all about the Japan Day that took place on Friday 20th of May 2016.

It was a special day for all of us, the Year 8 students. Many teachers, led by Mr Purslow, the Head of MFL Department, organised Japan Day activities in which we discovered many things about Japanese life. Our very interesting lessons included Japanese Culture, Drama, Arts, Fashion, Fashion and General Knowledge.

For your information, our school has built up a special link with our partner school Kamokita in Hiroshima, Japan. It is a senior secondary school with around 150 students. In March this year, two students and a teacher from Kamokita School stayed with our students for two weeks. It was a very interesting time!

Back to our very special Japan Day…
These are some of the amazing facts we now know about Japan:

The Japanese name for Japan is ‘Nihon’ or ‘Nippon’ which means ‘sun origin’. I hope you know the flag of Japan has a red circle in the middle against a white background – a land of the rising sun! Wow!

Japan is a world leader in robotics. Some of the most well-known companies in the world are Toyota, Canon, Panasonic, Toshiba and Sharp.

Sumo is a national sport in Japan.

Some world-famous dishes from Japan include sushi and sashimi.

The traditional outfit is kimono. The kimonos were introduced towards the end of the 8th century and women used to wear…. 25 layers of a kimono!!! Today’s special kimonos are made usually of silk and can cost up to £60,000! Such an expensive outfit!

Manga, a style of cartoons, originated from Japan.

Overall we had a very interesting day, I hope the teachers do lessons like today’s more often!

Thank you for reading and Say┼Źnara!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The Trip into a Life-Story Worth 100 Years

Written by Amy Pitham and Jason Oulds - Year 7 Student Reporters

On Friday the 6th of May, students from Year 7 got to go to the Roald Dahl Museum (in Great Missenden Buckinghamshire). It was such a nice Friday with lots of sunshine and cool breezes of fresh air.

Just before 7:30am, we were all inside the school Reception waiting for the journey ahead. You could sense the excitement around all of us. It was full of laughter and loud voices.

7:40am – After the register was finished, we all walked to the school gate waiting for the coach. It was a beautiful double-decker Thandi coach. You would easily know which part of the bus most of us wanted to sit – obviously it was the upper deck!

More than two hours later (which felt like forever), we arrived at the stunning village of Great Missenden. It looked like a chocolate box hidden behind some beech woods. There was lots of green grass around the village. We started talking about why Roald Dahl spent the rest of his life in this Great Missenden village. Later on we learnt that Roald Dahl moved to the village in 1954 and lived here till his death in 1990 and that most of his much-loved books were set around the Great Missenden village.

As there were 60 of us, we were divided into morning and afternoon groups. The morning group started with the workshop run by the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre staff whilst the afternoon group embarked on the self-guided tour around the village trail.


We were led into Miss Honey's Classroom and Helen from the Museum talked to us about Roald Dahl’s life.

Do you know that:
  • Roald Dahl’s parents were Norwegian and when he was a child, he spoke Norwegian at home with his parents and three sisters?
  • His teachers didn't think he was very good at writing when he was at school, but Roald Dahl excelled at sport?
Then we went to the Story Centre where we could see a replica of his Writing Hut. It got a replica of his desk and a big brown armchair with holes so that he could sit comfortably to write his books. He hurt his back whilst serving as a plane pilot in Libya in 1940, during the 2nd World War.

By the side of his armchair you could see a big ball made from old tin foil which came off chocolate bars that he ate as a kid - he must have loved chocolate a lot J. We were told that it was this ball that inspired Roald Dahl to write the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Then Helen showed us the yellow American pencils that Roald Dahl used to write his amazing books. The pencils were Dixon Ticonderoga. Wow!

We also had time to spend in the two very nice galleries: Boy and Solo. In the Boy gallery we learnt more facts about Roald Dahl's childhood, his love of chocolate and his schoolboy mischiefs. You could find the mouse in the gobstopper jar and the giant doors looked and smelled like chocolate. We were told Roald Dahl liked chocolate and his boarding school was close to the chocolate factory and they used to send in chocolate for pupils to taste. Roald Dahl sent letters to his mum saying he missed her very very much. We could see a display of one of his letters to his Mum. How amazing!

In the Solo gallery you could see the real Roald Dahl's Writing Hut and marvel at his collection of quirky stuffs . There was a Gladiator cockpit where you could find out about his RAF experiences.

Do you know that:
  • Roald Dahl was about 6’6″ tall (200 cm).
  • He wrote everyday from 10 am to 12 noon and then from 4 pm to 6pm?
  • He often based his characters on people he had met in real life. For example, the grandmother in The Witches was inspired by his own mother, Sofie.


We started walking around the village with a visit to the Great Missenden Library where Matilda (of course from the book Matilda) often visited while her mum went to Aylesbury to play bingo. It was a small library but very well-looked after and still open to the public.

We stopped over the Post Office and learnt some facts that linked to Roald Dahl’s life: he used to receive around 4000 letters a week from the postmen.

We walked by the Red Pump garage, the Crown House (in the book BFG) on our way to the Church of St Peter and St Paul. It was a very nice walk with some hilly roads leading to the Church. It was on these roads that Roald Dahl used to walk by when he was alive. We then learnt that the Church was dated back in the 12th century! Wow!

After a short stay in the Church, we went to see Roald Dahl’s grave. You could see a big tree with wooden benches around the tree. At first we were all confused, but then we saw it had the names of his children and grandchildren, we understood the message. As we walked up the hill you could hear the sound of the birds tweeting and the cars ran past on the busy road. We did have a try stepping on the BFG. It was really cool!

Do you know that:
  • Roald Dahl’s birthday, 13th September, is celebrated every year in public libraries and schools as Roald Dahl Day?
  • In 1971, a real Willy Wonka wrote to Roald Dahl. He was a postman.

This year is a special year for his family because it is his 100th birthday as he was born on 13th September 1916. He died on the 23rd November 1990 at the age of 74. All his books were published and selling well. He must have lived a very good life.

2:30 pm we all headed back to the coach feeling tired but extremely happy. Well, we thought we were going to the coach. We saw a funfair and we were allowed to go to the park and got to play for 10 minutes and leave on a super high note. The zip line was popular as everyone was queuing up to go and have a go but many also tried going on one of the small rocking motorbikes and got down the thin slide. There was entertainment everywhere which included a massive four-person swing.

But alas, every good thing must come to an end and soon we were heading back home.

A smile… a joke… a trip: the best things in life all in one place.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Our Online Uniform Shop Is Now Available

We're pleased to announce the launch of our online uniform shop.

Please use this link: Enter Uniform Shop

Once you have placed your order you will receive a confirmation email from Parent Pay, and then the school will contact you to let you know when the uniform is ready for collection (which we estimate to be within two working days of placing your order).

Uniform can also be purchased from Andy Blair's shop at 88-90 Barkers Butts Lane, Coundon, Coventry, CV6 1DY.

The school office is open for uniform sales from 8th August to 2nd September 2016, between 10.00am to 14.00pm, Monday to Friday. (Excluding bank holidays).

We respectfully ask that you check your child's size before purchasing garments online. However, should you order the wrong size, the garment should be returned to school with tags still intact, for an exchange.

Note: If purchased from Andy Blair then you should deal with them directly.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Platform Whitley and Three Quarters - Harry Potter Studio Tour

Written by Duncan Van Top, Year 7 Student Reporter

Friday 29th April 2016, was a Friday with a difference. 90 students of Year 8 (and 6 of us the Year 7 student reporters), went to the magical world of Harry Potter. Just for your information there were quite a number of BIG Harry Potter fans in our school; therefore the pressure to get a trip ticket before it ran out was quite high.

The trip date is finally here!

7:30am - Everyone was ready in reception waiting to get started. Outside the weather was very nice, dry and cool! It was the end of April anyway! Everyone was pumped up and ready to begin their exploration mission. We, the Year 7 student reporters, went to the Learning Resource Centre to collect the cameras and soon returned to reception.

7:45am - We were off to Harry Potter World in 2 different Johnsons coaches. We were a big group of 90 students and 8 teachers. That was a lot. Two hours later we reached paradise and were ready to discover the magic behind the magic.

We were lead into a room where the start of the Harry Potter book series, and of course the films, was unfolded to us. We watched a short documentary about the Harry Potter film series and a quick glance at J.K Rowling's life.

J.K Rowling, her real name is Joanne Rowling, but she changed it to a new pen name J.K Rowling to make it sound more masculine and it had a better chance to be accepted by publishers. We then learned that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone had been written in Edinburgh cafes while Joanne Rowling was struggling with life in terms of money! Wow!

It was after many attempts that Joanne Rowling first book was accepted and.... when it was published, it was like wildfire and soon a film producer wanted to make the first Harry Potter film.
It was amazing! When the film was finished, the screen moved up to reveal the great door that lead into the Great Hall and two of our lucky Year 8 students got to open it.

The magical magnificence of the doors was completely obliterated at the site of the magnificently unique Hall that had emerged from absolutely nowhere. Later on we learned that the Great Hall was built for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 2000, and was used as a key set for six more films. Wow!

All the emblems and costumes of each of the house teams were placed either side of the Hall including the costumes of Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger and, of course, Harry Potter.

Once we left the Great Hall, we found ourselves wandering around backstage in places of pure imagination…

First we saw many, many models of Hogwarts in miniature and soon stumbled across an ice palace and a chocolate buffet (not edible as I would’ve snuck through and eat it.) There were structures of swans and other creatures - all made of fake chocolate.

Next I visited the gates, which were unsurprisingly enormous, and soon found my way to the Boys’ dormitory. I found Harry’s bed and also a golden snitch (There were golden snitches hidden everywhere.) Ron’s bed had a knitted blanket on it and all the other beds had suitcases under with initials. Harry Potter, H.P and Ron R.W.

If you were there you wouldn’t believe how many props there were and how much detail was put into each and every one of them, from enormous knight suits to leaning books somehow defying the laws of physics.

Next was the Gryffindor lounge, and there were paintings, a sofa, more paintings, and even a golden snitch –if you can believe that. A look around lead me to the large, grandfather clock bell which got going like a pendulum…back and forth, back and forth.

I couldn’t believe it when I found Dumbledore’s office, which was structurally possible despite how unstable it might appear. Harry’s Headmaster’s office was made of three levels, all circular and got smaller every time. I also saw the telescope and the fire phoenix and it was great.

The broomstick scenes were surprisingly simple to make and were very cleverly displayed. They would sit on a broom, which would be held up by an arm which was green and on a moving machine. If there were two people together they would be carried on two stools.

Afterwards we visited the train, a.k.a Hogwarts Express. We got to get onto the train. How amazing the compartments inside the train were! We then went to platform Nine and Three Quarters (so now you know why the title of this article is “Platform Whitley and Three Quarters”).

We all sat down for a quick lunch as we wanted to discover the displays outside the canteen. The canteen was called the Studio Tour's Backlot, where you can buy Butterbeer!

Outside in the open you could see the 22-foot tall Knight Bus, the number 4 Privet Drive house front. For your information, this house was the quiet, suburban home of the Dursleys, the relatives who raised Harry Potter after his parents' unexpected deaths. Many people walked onto the Hogwarts Bridge and posed for photos. The photos looked stunning.

We also went to different Departments that had helped to make the Harry Potter films: the Creature Effects, the Art or the Prop. You could just stay there for hours.

Diagon Alley is actually a fictional high-street located in London. It was a cobbled wizarding street with a shopping area. You could see the fronts of many shops like Flourish & Blotts (sells magical books), or Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour.

Towards the end of the tour we stopped by the breathtaking model of Hogwarts castle which was used for exterior shots of the magical school. We discovered some very interesting facts such as the Castle model was built by a team of 40 artists. It was perfectly hand-sculpted to scale, and the landscape is inspired by the Highlands of Scotland.

That was the end of the trip. Well not till a visit to the expensive Studio gift shop. Personally, I thought some items were overprice but that didn’t stop me from buying a mug which made footsteps appear when hot!

That was it for now.
See you in our next trip report!