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Issue  209,  6 September 2019


Welcome back to all our existing students and staff and welcome to everyone who is new to our school community.  We've had a frenetic week re-establishing routines, getting to know new students and staff and getting systems up and running. Thank you to all of you who have shown patience with us - we are getting there!

Below there are a few reminders to help you and your child get into the swing of things - extracted from Mr Moreton's letter to parents sent earlier this week.  As for the newsletter this week, because we have only just started the term, we don't have all of our usual the variety of stories and notices. Instead, you will find this issue almost entirely dedicated to the Rumble Museum and Classics Centre Activities, run by the ever-tireless Dr Lorna Robinson. With activities right up until the end of last term, a Summer School, a Sci-Fi writing competition (running now  - see below), the new Pop-up Museum Cafe (in St Alban's Hall, East Oxford) on Saturdays) and the Iris Festival of the Future already planned for 25 March, Cheney is incredibly lucky to play host to these amazing, unique institutions.  Please encourage your child to find out more about what the Classics Centre and Rumble Museum have to offer, and please keep an eye out (here and on social media) for the many public events available to you and your family to get involved with.

To find out more check out: for museum


Congratulations to all students who received exam results in the summer. Thanks to our staff community who put in many hours to support students through their exams in May and June and over the summer break post-exam results. You can see results day photos on our Facebook page and GCSE and A-Level result summaries here.

Save the Date...
  • Our school calendar and individual ‘key dates’ by year group pages on our website are now up-to-date for the coming school year. They are updated regularly, so please check them as the year progresses.
  • The term dates for the year are available here.
  • Please click here to be reminded of our uniform guidelines - students not following our uniform policy will receive the appropriate sanction in line with our respect for learning policy.
  • If you haven’t already done so, please log on to our Parent Portal. This is a great place to keep up-to-date with your child’s school life including their school reports, attendance, any detentions, achievement points and daily timetable. If you need support with logging on or have any issues using the portal, please contact
  • Our Whole School Open Evening is on Thursday 26 September. Students will be finishing at 1.05pm to allow staff to set up the school. School will start at the slightly later time of 9.00am on Friday 27 September. Gates will be open from 8.00am as normal.
  • We have a new Student News, which is now accessible to students and parents/carers from home. This has daily messages and important information as well as opportunities for students and will also be shared with students every day in Tutor Time. The Student Zone can be found here.
  • Please remember that homework is set using  Show My Homework. The link is on the homepage of the website and allows you to see what homework your son/daughter has been given so you can support them and make sure they are meeting deadlines. New students will be given a letter with personalised log-ons for them and for their parents/carers.
  • Every student should be coming to school with their reading book and equipment every day.  
  • In the interest of road safety and the environment, please try to avoid dropping off/picking up your son/daughter by car at the beginning and end of the school day. If there is no alternative, please ensure you are parking and picking up in a safe place for you and those around you.


Last July, twenty-two Year 7s took part in our Imagined Planets Day. 
Students arrived to find four different group tables, each one named after a different science fiction author, with a booklet outlining the task for the day, and some of the materials displayed on the tables.
Arthur C Clarke-award winning author, Chris Beckett, began the day with a detailed and fascinating introduction to his novel Dark Eden, which is set on a sunless planet on which a small group of humans crash landed many years ago. He spoke about how he went about creating the planet - how the first idea came from the screen of his Amstrad computer which had a black screen with bright green lettering. This gave him the idea of a planet where the light came from the living things on it rather than the sun.
He explained how it was only after he thought of the idea of a sunless planet that he discovered that such things did exist, called "rogue planets". He set about designing the life on the planet, and came up with the idea of tree-like organisms which emitted heat and light, because they tapped into the hot core of the planet - so their sap was boiling hot. These were called "redlantern, white lantern and yellowlantern trees". The creatures all had a similar body map, of six limbs, and blackish blood, and big, flat eyes. Creatures were bioluminescent. They were often named after creatures on earth, even though they were actually quite different, as he this is what settlers had often done historically when they encountered new species. 
He talked about the importance of being disciplined in creating the worlds and story lines, and how the name of the planet itself was also important. His planet had been called "Eden", because the story line had echoes of the story of Eden from the Bible - although in the Bible story, humans were exiled from Eden, whereas in this story, they were trapped on it. He talked of how names can help make connections and carry connotations for readers.
The talk was very inspiring, and the Year 7s straight away started coming up with initial ideas for planets and story lines. With the arrival of Sixth Form helpers, as well as very kind support from Oxford University student Tamsin Morton, the groups started shaping their ideas into a coherent concept. Once their ideas were in place, they had large display boards, and model planets and moons to decorate! Chris circulated to see how their plans were developing, and answer any questions. 
By 2pm, after a mere four hours of hard creative work, the groups were ready to present. "Le Guin" table came up with a concept of a divided planet, with electricity in its core, and different groups of people who were in conflict with each other, as well as creatures who fed off the energy produced by conflict. "Asimov" table's idea involved a planet where moons regularly crashed into its surface, and this had created different regions in the planet. "H.G. Wells" table had a planet called "Evolv" that was also divided, and they came up with a carefully thought-out ecology. The final table - "Bradbury" - had a complex storyline of internecine warfare, and a region where acid rain had fallen on the planet and caused some of its population to become mutated. 
The presentations were detailed and well-delivered, with each person in the group participating, and the display boards and planets were stunning. Chris gave some thoughtful and encouraging feedback to every group, before awarding "Asimov" as the runners-up, and "Le Guin" as the winners! 
After school, parents, siblings, and students from other year groups came to enjoy seeing the displays, and Chris delivered an equally fascinating community talk to parents and students, which revisited some of the themes of the morning talk, but also explored the definition and importance of science fiction as a genre which is always open to the new, and exploring our concepts of what life is, what human beings are, and what society should or could be like. 
Congratulations to all the 7s for their fabulous work, and a very big thank you to Katja, Yasmeen, Tamsin and Isobel for assisting the groups so well. Thank you finally to Chris Beckett for inspiring talks and spending the whole day with us. 
Dr Lorna Robinson

Traffic Alert 20 September

The University of Oxford Undergraduate Open Days will take place on Friday 20 September. This event is aimed at prospective undergraduate students and their families.  About 10,000 visitors are expected and so the traffic is likely to be heavy. The University’s Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach office has been working closely with the local councils and transport providers to try to minimise disruption to locals and commuters. Additional buses will be put onto the Park & Ride services, but there may still be delays so you may wish to advise your employees to allow extra time to get to work. If you would like to find out more about any potential disruptions, please see Oxfordshire County Council’s live travel information. If you have any queries, please contact


Proud to be Unique

The Rumble Museum at Cheney is a unique partnership between an educational charity and a school. The Iris Project, a charity which promotes learning about the ancient world, is working with Cheney School to grow a museum within a school. We are working within the Arts Council Museum Accreditation Scheme

Rose of Resistance

We try to keep an eye on the wealth of opportunities to learn on offer in our city; students learning about Germany in History GCSE, and Sixth Formers, may be interested in this project about German resistance to Nazism:

Mr Gimson, Teacher of History

Summer School

Ancient Monsters take over at Iris Classics Summer School
On the mornings of 27, 28 and 29 August, the Iris Classics Centre at Cheney ran its fifth annual summer school! This year, it was themed on Classical Monsters, and featured a range of mythical monsters and activities alongside introductions to Latin and ancient Greek for fifty 7 to 14 year olds.
Day one was themed on the story of Ladon, a snake who guards the golden apple tree in the garden of the Hesperides (nymphs of the evening). Students were able to make mosaics, decorate apple trees, and explore this fascinating myth through art and craft. On day two, students found themselves en route to the Underworld, and were able to make some obols (ancient Greek coins) to pay Charon, the ferryman, and explore a range of classical myths set in the land of the dead, from Tantalus to Orpheus. Day three was themed on the story of Odysseus and the Cyclops, and students could use a bow and arrow to shoot a giant eye, have eyes face-painted onto their foreheads, and decorate Greek pots with the story. It was also the day of the much-awaited costume competition and an incredibly creative range of costumes were on display, from Medusas and Sirens, and from Charybdis to Cerberus!
Refreshments included lyre, cyclops and snake cakes, pomegranate seeds, golden apples, and cheese from the Cyclops' cave, amongst many other things.
Alongside these themed activities each day, students learned ancient Greek or Latin through an exciting range of materials prepared by their four teachers, Thomas, Leo, Tarika and Michael, with very helpful assistants, George, Sif and Hannah. Roman plays, Latin Bingo, and Greek Monster Snap were just some of the activities as part of the lively and informative lessons!
We are very grateful to everyone who came and took part, and especially to all our teachers and helpers who gave their time this summer to plan and run exciting lessons.

Dr Lorna Robinson

Parentalk: Change of Start Date

Dear Parents and Carers,

Parenting Course starting in October

You are warmly invited to Parentalk: a six-week course on parenting teenagers on Tuesday evenings, starting in October 2019 at Cheney School. We have 50 places on the course so do get in touch if you would like to come!

The course has been run at Cheney and in other schools in and around Oxford for the last 4 years and we are delighted to be offering it again in Cheney School for Cheney parents in the autumn. Feedback from previous Parentalk Courses in Oxford includes:

‘It’s revolutionised my approach to my teenager’

‘A great opportunity to think about the issues and to get together with other parents to discuss. Felt very supportive and good fun. Great tea and cake too!’

‘Absolutely fantastic! I have found it really helpful as well as being really enjoyable.’

Parenting has ups and downs for all of us. Parentalk is not just for people with problems – it provides valuable insights for anyone navigating the teenage years, as well as for parents from Years 7 and 8. It uses DVD presentations and group discussion and is suitable for all mums, dads and carers, whether parenting together, alone or in a step family. It is organised by parents using the popular Parentalk resources from Care for the Family.

Please be aware that there has been a change to the start date, it will now start on 15 October and will run on these dates now 15, 22 Oct and 5, 12, 19 and 26 November.

There are no sessions during half term. Each evening looks at a different topic so don't worry if you can't make every week.

The course fee is £10 per family, payable on the first evening.
To book, please email with the following information*:

• Number of places required
• Names of participants
• Ages and School Year of children (as of September 2019)

We look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes from the Cheney Parentalk Team
Alison White, Chris Band, Liam Cuttell

*We will only use this information and contact you in relation to the Parentalk
Course being run at Cheney School in October/November 2019.
*We will not pass on your email address to any other group or organization.

Second Hand September

Second Hand September is a campaign encouraging people to avoid buying new clothing for the entire 30 days of the month.

The campaign, organised by Oxfam, aims to raise awareness of the environmental impact of fashion.

Currently, almost 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon emissions are produced by the fashion industry and 11 million items of clothing are sent to landfill every week in the UK. Throwaway fashion is putting increasing pressure on our planet and its people - it’s unsustainable. Now that the school uniform is sorted, there's something you can do to help: Join Second Hand September and pledge to say no to new clothes for 30 days.

It's not the only campaign asking for people to stop buying new clothing. Extinction Rebellion recently asked its followers to boycott fashion for a year, and requested that London fashion week be cancelled.

Please also remember that our PTA, Cheney Friends, sell pre-loved uniform at Parents' Evenings and that we always welcome donations of clean uniform items in good condition, which we can store on the premises until our next sale.

Please be aware that the cost of a hot meal from the canteen has increased this year from £1.80 to £2.00. This increase is as a result of rising prices from our suppliers - we have held of raising our prices for seven years! 


  Pastoral Leader
Year 7   Mr Haines,, 01865 755279    
Year 8 Mr Fieldwick,, 01865 755256
Year 9 Ms Blair,, 01865 755202
Year 10 Ms O'Donnell,, 01865 755272    
Year 11 Miss Clear,, 01865 755 238
Pastoral Assistant  Ms Giles,, 01865 755 253
Year 12 and 13



Sixth Form Team (absence),,

01865 755306

Ms Warbrick,, 01865 755306
Ms Hackett,, 01856 759277


The latest Cheney Friends meeting minutes are now on the website.

Sci-Fi Writing Competition

The Rumble Museum, in association with the Arthur C. Clarke Award, is delighted to announce a national science fiction competition for young people who would like to see their ideas turned into a short story by a professional science fiction author!  

Over the next year, our “Future Season” is exploring how the world is changing in exciting, frightening and often unexpected ways, through technology, environmental change, and new ideas about how society should evolve. Science fiction authors have always challenged our perspectives on politics, gender, environment, technology and ethics, and we are looking for a new generation to bring their ideas about the future to the table!

To enter, please submit an outline and opening lines for a science fiction short story. We would like to see a description of the world or society your story is set in, an outline of the main characters and plot, and first 350 words or first page.

Make sure you include the following:

A description of your setting – is it set on a different planet? If so, describe the planet’s appearance, and characteristics (e.g. does it orbit a sun, does it have moons, what is the landscape like, does it have cities, towns or other settlements). If it is on earth, how is life on earth different? Is it set in the near or distant future or present time?

An outline of your plot – what are the key events that you want to happen in the story?

Characters – a description of the key characters who feature in the plot. Are they humans? If not, how are they different from humans? 

Anyone under the age of 16 can apply. Submissions should be sent electronically to with the title “Rumble Museum Science Fiction Competition”, and with your full name and age in the email.

The deadline for entries is October 31st 2019. Six winning entries will be chosen, and the authors will then write six short stories, one based on each of the entries. One overall winner will receive a trophy, and two runners-up will receive book tokens. These six completed short stories will be published in an anthology.

Winners will be invited to an awards ceremony, and to exhibit their ideas, at our Iris Festival of the Future on 25th March, 2020, at Cheney School.

If you have any questions about the competition, please get in touch. Full terms and conditions can be found on our website at

Mrs Fenton's Book of the Week

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

This is pure science fiction with a bit of a romantic twist. I originally listened to this book on audio and the story had me totally hooked. It tells the story of the gradual destruction of a planet in the year 2575 through the war between two mega corporations. Ezra and Kady have to make their escape on the evacuating fleet and the ship’s protection is gradually failing. Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth and there’s only one person she can talk to – Ezra who is on another ship. The story is told through dialogue, email extracts, transcripts and prose; this takes a bit of getting used to but once you’re into the swing of things, it is a fabulous read with a great twist at the end.

This is the first in a trilogy of books – probably suitable for year 8/9 and above due to the complexity of the presentation of the text. Highly recommended.

Community Events
Keep an eye on our social media for more updates and news.

W/C 9 September
Wednesday 11 September
Y8 Youlbury Information Evening, 6.30-7.30
Thursday 12 September
New Y7 and Y12 Parents Meet the Tutor Evening
W/C 16  September
Monday 16 -  Wednesday 18 September
Y8 Youlbury Camp
Wednesday 18 September
German Exchange Information Evening 4.45, Assembly Hall
Thursday 19 September
Y9 Positively Mad Session
Friday 20 September
Y11 Positively Mad Session
Saturday 21- Sunday 22 
Y10 DofE Bronze Practice
If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help.
Kind Regards
Cheney Communications
Copyright © 2019 Cheney School, All rights reserved.

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