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A Year 10 student from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College is appealing for football shirts, shorts and boots which will be donated to a charity and sent to children in Africa.  

Apollo House student, Lily Saunders was inspired after hearing about the work of charity Boots2Africa while at Ipswich Town FC’s Portman Road, where she has been a season ticket holder for a number of years.

The charity recognises that millions of children across Africa do not have shoes and that thousands of children die needlessly because of illness caused from foot infections. Boots2Africa collects, transports and distributes donated boots, kits and accessories to Africa's children and young adults.

In 2018, the charity sent over 5,000 pairs of boots and around 16,000 items of football kit to benefit young people in 11 African countries.

Football mad Lily, who counts Ipswich’s shot-stopper Harry Wright as her favourite player, regularly plays in goal for Leicestershire side, East Goscote United Girls FC. As part of her appeal Lily asked her own team, along with a number of local clubs, if they will support her collection. The Avon Valley School’s PE department have also set up a collection box so that her classmates can donate and support her appeal.

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said: “This is a tremendous example of how kind and thoughtful our students are. Lily has gone out of her way to support Boots2Africa after learning about their work. Not only has Lily donated her own items but she is now inspiring others to donate theirs.”

More information about Boots2Africa can be found on their website: http://www.boots2africa.co.uk/home.html

Before Christmas the kind hearted, and generous, students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College collected and donated over 300kg of food as part of an appeal to support Rugby Food Bank.

The food bank based on Newbold Road opened in 2012 and is part of The Trussell Trust’s network of food banks. The trust supports more than 1,200 food bank centres in the UK which provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in times of crisis. Between April 2018 and March 2019, food banks in the trust’s network provided a record 1.6 million food supplies to people in crisis, a 19% increase on the previous year.

Prior to the appeal’s launch representatives from Rugby Food Bank delivered assemblies explaining what the food bank does, how it supports people in the local area and which items can be donated. During a two-week long collection period students brought in hundreds of items range from pasta and beans to shortbread and shower gel.

Two Year 7 students went the extra mile to support people in need. Apollo House’s Amelia Ray-Chaudhuri brought in fours carrier bags totaling 62 items. Whereas, Lili Oliver a Year 7 student, belonging to Fortune House, brought in several boxes laden with food after designing a poster which was displayed at DHL in Northampton where her mum works. After seeing the poster her mum’s colleagues at DHL donated food which was added to the school’s bumper collection.

Impressed with the Year 7 students’ initiative and effort, the school contacted the Trussell Trust whose CEO, Emma Revie, wrote to the girls and sent them a special ‘thank you’ certificate which was presented to Lili and Amelia in their House assembly upon their return to school.

Alison Davies, Headteacher commented “Once again our students have shown their kind, and generous, nature and have donated a huge quantity of food that will have been put to good use by Rugby Food Bank to help people in need from within the local area. I am grateful to the food bank’s staff for visiting our students to tell them about the valuable work that they do, and I am grateful to all the parents and families who’ve supported this initiative.”

Miss Davies added, “It was really nice for the girls to receive a letter and certificate recognising their extra effort from the Trust’s chief executive;I hope they are very proud.”

For further information, or to arrange a photo opportunity please contact Fiona Perks, Headteacher’s PA on 01788 542355 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

A former student from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College, who now treads the boards in a top West End show, recently revisited his old school to inspire students and pass on some top acting tips to the school’s GCSE drama students.

Emile Ruddock left The Avon Valley School in 2009 and followed his dream to become an actor. He now features as a member of the principle cast in West End production Hamilton and is currently playing Hercules Mulligan and James Maddison in the show.

After completing his GCSE exams at The Avon Valley School, Emile went on to study performing arts, dance, media and English language at Stratford-upon-Avon College before moving to London to gain work experience and make contacts within the industry. One of his first opportunity was performing in the open ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Emile was also a semi-finalist in Sky One’s ‘Got To Dance’ with the tap dancing troupe The Pulse Collective, before being involved in a number of stage shows.

During his visit to his old school Emile delivered an assembly in which he explained his journey from drama lessons at the school to the stages of the West End telling the students that it is import to “never give up on your dreams”. Emile also took time out to watch GCSE practical exam rehearsals before speaking to the students and passing on tips and advice.

Emile said “Some of my first performances were on stage at Avon Valley and the local theatre and it is great to be back. It really was a pleasure to see the students rehearsing for their exams and to speak in an assembly about my career to date. It’s really encouraging to see the students’ passion and enthusiasm for acting and I wish them all the best for their assessment.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “It was lovely to welcome Emile back to the school and to hear about his success. The performing arts are a huge, and proud, part of our school ethos, history and traditions, and it is wonderful for our current students to see and hear about a former student’s success. We are very grateful to Emile for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit us and work with our drama students; we hope to see him again soon.”

The musical Hamilton, in which Emile stars, opened in London in December 2017, at the refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre. The show follows the remarkable life story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, who rose to power after beginning life in poverty. The production is set against the backdrop of the American War of Independence.

Once again this year kind students from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College have shown their generous nature by creating gift boxes which will be sent to disadvantaged youngsters many miles away.

Year 7 students from the school’s four Houses, Apollo, Fortune, Garrick and Phoenix, brought in items such as toys, toiletries, school equipment and other goodies for the boxes which will be sent to disadvantaged children across the globe.

In total seventy filled boxes were collected by a representative from Samaritan’s Purse the organisation behind Operation Christmas Child an initiative which has sent millions of boxes to children is 130 countries since beginning back in 1990. 

Year 7 Transition Leader, Alison Bearpark, said “It was been wonderful to see our students taking part in this project by bringing in items which made up these shoe boxes. I am really impressed, and pleased, that we managed to create 70 boxes which will make a difference to 70 disadvantaged children.”

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “This is the first in a number of charitable activities we have organised during the Christmas period and I am really proud of our new year 7 students for the way they’ve taken to this project. I am also grateful to all the parents, and the staff, who have supported this initiative, helping to make it a success.” 

More information Operation Christmas Child can be found here

The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College’s PE department have recently expanded the sports available to their student by adding a popular European sport onto the curriculum.

In May 2019, Dan Payne the school’s faculty leader for PE visited Spain through the Erasmus project, which allows schools to collaborate with European partners, during the visit Mr Payne was introduced to handball and after returning from the visit the sport was added to the school’s curriculum. Since then the school have forged links with Coventry Sharks, a local handball club, and have played a part in setting up a youth team which encourages players from across the district to take up the sport.

Handball is a team sport, that is particularly popular in Germany, France, Spain, and the Nordic countries, in which two teams of seven players pass a ball using their hands with the aim of throwing it into the goal of the other team.

To help ensure the new sport is successful PE teachers from The Avon Valley School have received expert advice through CPD sessions ran by Boris Bailleul and Miłosz Pospiech who both play and coach at Coventry Sharks.

Students at the school have also received expert coaching in lessons from Caroline Theill who plays competitive handball in Denmark for AGF Haandball, a club who are based in Aarhus and compete in the Danish women's 1st Division.

In addition, the school’s first ever handball kit, designed and made by Webb Ellis who are based on St Matthew’s Street, Rugby, was recently received and unveiled and is now used for the school’s handball fixtures.

PE faculty leader, Dan Payne, said “Seeing how popular handball is in Spanish schools inspired me to introduce the sport at The Avon Valley School, since doing so the uptake has been excellent and the students have enjoyed learning a new sport. We’re also very excited to be working closely with Coventry Sharks who are working with us to set up a youth team which I’m hoping some of our students will be a part of.

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “This is a great example of how working in collaboration with other schools can benefit out students. The PE department have done a great job introducing handball to the curriculum and to our students and I am grateful to everyone who has offered their support to our school.”

Students and staff from The Avon Valley School and Performing Arts College came together on Friday 8th November for the school’s annual remembrance assembly.

During two special assemblies, students watched, listened and reflected as their peers performed moving pieces of drama, music and dance to honour the memory of those who have given their lives for freedom. Once again this year the assembly’s special guest was Terry Aspland, a veteran who served with the 4th Royal Tank Regiment, and has previously been the standard bearer for the Newbold–on-Avon branch of the Royal British Legion.

In addition, as part of the remembrance activities the school’s students also spent time learning about the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who honour the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, ensuing they will never be forgotten. The students also learnt about the grave of the Unknown Warrior who is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Alison Davies, Headteacher, said “Our remembrance assemblies are a long standing tradition that we are very proud to continue. It is very important for that our students have opportunity to reflect on the sacrifice made by so many so we are able to live freely. Our students’ performances were excellent and all involved should be very proud of themselves.

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