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A group of year 10 students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College have recently had opportunity to visit a manufacturing company who have a warrant to craft furniture for Her Majesty the Queen.

During a visit to NEJ Stevenson’s headquarters in Church Lawford, a group of Year 10 design technology students got to see the results of the intricate work completed by the company’s master craftsmen, whose workmanship can be seen in Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace. The students also got to meet staff who fulfil a variety of roles and tour the company’s manufacturing facilities seeing the machines and employees in action.

The prestigious company, who see beauty and possibilities in every piece of wood, were founded 35 years ago by managing director Neil Stevenson. Since then the company has flourished, and is able to deliver many diverse commissions, from elaborate mantelpieces, breath-taking libraries, grand wine cellars and soaring staircases, to presentation boxes and cabinets of major historical importance for great houses and palaces.

During the visit the students saw first-hand how wood can be prepared, treated, and crafted using a range of skills and machines; at the end of their visit the students were presented with a crafted piece depicting the school’s shield.

Careers Leader, Lisa Owen, said “Visiting NEJ Stevenson has been a brilliant opportunity for our students to see where their qualification in design technology might take them. Being able to see the craftsmanship involved in making pieces of furniture worth tens of thousands of pounds has really inspired our students and a number of them now want to pursue this type of career.”

Headteacher, Alison Davies, said “As a school we commit a significant amount of time and energy into our careers education programme and we are very grateful to NEJ Stevenson for allowing our students to visit their facilities and see the world of work for themselves. We are delighted with the shield presented to us by the company and this will soon be displayed within the school.”


Year 11’s GCSE exams begin in earnest on Monday 13 May, a date which is rapidly approaching.

In order to support our Year 11 students with their exam preparations we have re-launched our ‘GCSE Revision Schedule’ which now includes extra sessions. Pleasingly, many of our students already regularly engage with, and have benefited from, the sessions offered by each subject area.

Where possible please support and encourage your child to engage with revision activities both at school and at home. If you have any queries, please contact your child’s Achievement Leader. 

To download the schedule click here


A Year 11 student from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College has recently been invited to join a national guitar ensemble, following the successful completion of the audition process.

Garrick House student, Faye Hollingworth has recently been invited to join the National Youth Guitar Ensemble (NYGE) which gives aspiring and gifted classical guitarists the opportunity to be inspired, and to be trained, by world-class tutors.

Faye’s auditions took place in London and Birmingham and consisted of a solo audition where Faye was given a quick study piece with 20 minutes to prepare before performing in front of the audition panel. She was then asked to play a solo piece of her own choice equivalent to the minimum standard of Grade 5 or above. This was followed by an interview to find out more about Faye’s interest in music and passion for the guitar.

The second part of the process was an Ensemble audition with other applicants attending auditions on that day. Faye was sent a piece of music in advance of the auditions to prepare and was given a second piece during the ensemble audition. This was the main focus of the day, to assess how well Faye can perform as part of the ensemble and respond to the NYGE Musical Director’s coaching.

Faye was really nervous before the auditions, but ended up really enjoying the whole experience.

At school Faye studies both GCSE Music and Music Technology and she learns classical guitar with Steve George from Warwickshire Music Service. Faye is about to take her grade 7 contemporary guitar exam. She plays in the County Guitar Ensemble and the Warwickshire Youth Jazz Orchestra. She can also often be found playing gigs in the Rugby area with Stan Bryan. Faye’s future ambition is to study guitar at a Conservatoire.

Alison Davies, headteacher said, “Faye is a wonderful example of a student who embodies our performing arts ethos, and it is lovely to her about her success. Faye is a very talented guitarist who has a bright future ahead of her.”


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