News Archive - 4


Just twenty four hours after performing at the Victoria Hall on Friday evening, our Smithills musicians and Musical Director Mr Wormald were once again giving another high profile concert in public for charity. On Saturday evening, October 15th, having spent the whole day bag packing in Morrison’s Atlas Mills store to raise money for band funds, our Senior Brass Band performed its annual full concert on behalf of the RNLI at Trinity Church in Farnworth, led for the very first time by new Principal Cornet player Phoebe Matthews.


Smithills musicians and Mr Wormald have helped to raise over £300,000 for the RNLI and Bolton Hospice over the past three decades and Saturday evening’s concert was all the more remarkable because it was sandwiched in between two, full days (Saturday and Sunday) of bag packing at the Morrison’s store.


The concert featured many of Mr Wormald's brand new arrangements for the Senior Brass Band played in public for the first time, ranging from the Cornet solo I See The Light performed to perfection by Phoebe Matthews and the march Under The Double Eagle, to Livin’ On A Prayer and equally excellent solos performed by Caitlin Stranks (Principal Euphonium) who played The Mission and Lee Hemmings (Principal E Flat Bass) who played The Bare Necessities from Disney’s Jungle Book.


As always, the Smithills RNLI concert featured the hymn tunes Melita and Deep Harmony and the superb evening included Bohemian Rhapsody, Mr Blue Sky and MacArthur Park.



At the Victoria Hall on Friday evening, October 14th, our combined Senior Big Band and Community Big Band, together with Musical Director Mr Wormald, stunned the audience at the Rotary Gala Concert with a superb, professionally played set to open the Andy Prior evening.


The combined Smithills bands’ performance opened with Birdland, featuring the ever-superb Robert Gliddon on Drums, and included many items from their large and eclectic repertoires, ranging from Stardust (featuring superb Lead Trumpeter Lilly Taylor) and Michael Buble’s arrangement of Feeling Good to Moonlight Serenade and In The Mood from the Glenn Miller library.


However, the main highlight of the Smithills set was when the star of the evening, Andy Prior, appeared on stage with Smithills having already agreed to perform I’ve Got You Under My Skin with our musicians; the arrangement being the iconic chart made for Frank Sinatra by Nelson Riddle.


Mr Prior said he was so completely blown away and stunned by the standard of the Smithills musicians that he immediately offered his time and services free of charge any time Smithills want him to come into school and rehearse with our Big Bands.


Many thousands of pounds were raised for Rotary charities at the Gala Concert which was sponsored by Radcliffe Road Toyota Cars.


Based in Preston, the Band of The King’s Division was the British Army’s first of three, full time professional brass band to be formed, as recently as in April 2014. After many months of liaising with Smithills Musical Director Mr Wormald, on Wednesday October 12th, the King’s Division Band spent a whole day in Smithills, rehearsing with our Senior Brass Band in the morning and performing a stunning joint concert to an audience of 220 feeder primary school pupils in the afternoon.


With a number of senior Smithills musicians considering a possible future career as a brass band musician within the British forces, the King’s Division day was the perfect opportunity to sit with, play alongside, talk to, learn from and observe the current brass band musicians in the King’s Band. A great day was enjoyed by everyone, with the music played ranging from a ceremonial fanfare and The Incredibles to Mr Blue Sky and 42nd Street arranged by Mr Wormald.


As if a very busy day wasn’t complicated enough, long-time friends of Smithills School Senior Brass Band and Mr Wormald, the Forre Musikkorps Band from Norway, also came to Smithills for the afternoon, to have lunch with Smithills and King’s Division band members, watch the concert and then spend an hour with the Smithills players in the bandroom afterwards. The Forre Band has visited Smithills on two previous occasions to perform joint concerts with our Senior Brass Band, the most recent of which was exactly four years ago, in the school hall in October 2012. They Norwegians are currently on tour again in the northwest of England and in addition to visiting Smithills School and Alton Towers, they are giving concerts in Boarshurst, Saddleworth and the Oldham locality.


At midnight on Tuesday 23rd September, 40 excited pupils and four tired members of staff set off for Paris. Lots of singing made the journey to Dover go quickly, followed by a smooth ferry crossing to Calais where we were pleased to find some much needed sunshine. After checking into our hotel, we ventured to the Disney Village to buy Mickey Mouse ears and soak up the Disney atmosphere.


Our first full day was spent in the centre of Paris. Mr Hindley led the way up the 4,000 steps (ok, maybe there were 100!) to the sacré coeur. Breath taking views from the top and lots of selfies taken!  The Eiffel Tower and a trip along the Seine were next on the agenda. A lovely afternoon was topped off with a trip to The Louvre in search of the famous Mona Lisa.


Day two: Disneyland! Lots of characters to meet, rides to enjoy and fun to be had. Very definitely a day to remember! Mrs Pacer and Mrs Moult were by far the bravest members of the group as they fearlessly took on rollercoasters such as Space Mountain and Rock n Rollercoaster. Planet Hollywood was the ideal restaurant to finish our day in; burgers and ice cream sundaes were soon finished off!


A wonderful trip with pupils who were complimented on their behaviour by both the coach drivers and hotel manager, 'c'etait super!'


Year 10 Conference: Friday 23rd September 2016


Year 10 students took part in their #How Employable Am I conference this week to support them with the schools Work Experience programme and developing knowledge about employability.


Having completed a week-long of activities in their Session zero ‘Preparing4Work’, Year 10 Students were ready to start the process.


At the start of the day students used the ‘U-Explore Start’ online careers resources to explore employment opportunities of interest to them, and then looked in more detail at their own skills set, qualities and work preferences so they could select appropriate work placements. Hopefully this will also inspire them to develop and plan for their own future aspirations.  


Students watched a fantastic performance from the theatre company 2Engage where they learned about the importance of work experience and what to consider when making choices for work experience. The performance also taught students about planning for their futures and showed them about progression routes available within further and higher education. Students were able to understand the benefits of going onto university and the affordability for all.


Throughout the day students searched for work experience placements using the Tailored Education website and then completed and submitted application forms. They also learned how to communicate effectively when speaking over the telephone to arrange a meeting with an employer or when in an interview situation.


We look forward to our Year 10 students embarking on this year’s Work Experience programme commencing Monday 20th March -24th March 2016.  


Year 10 Good2Great Pupils attended a residential at Cambridge University 15 and 16 September. Pupils had the opportunity to meet with undergraduates and professors taking part in lectures and seminars. This enrichment activity was designed for pupils to experience a Russell Group University and allow them to see what choices are available to them once they leave college. We were immersed in the University experience by staying overnight in the halls at St. John’s College, taking part in a debating activity and the evening’s activities included punting. Pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience and were provided with the necessary information and guidance required to apply and compete for the top Universities (Russell Group). The outcome increased motivation to achieve top GCSE grades and ensure appropriate choices are made at A Level for progression to University.


AYF Ugandan Choir: Visit to Smithills on Wednesday 20th July 2016


We are extremely grateful that the AYF Ugandan choir were able to fit Smithills School into their busy schedule and come to work with our students this week.


The group performed a range of songs for students and staff and encouraged everyone to join in singing and dancing. They told stories about life in Ugandan, shared some of their own experiences and provided opportunities for students to ask many questions throughout the day. Lizy Oakes and the performing arts team in particular welcomed the group and joined in the dancing with great enthusiasm!


Each member of the group spoke of the jobs they were taking time out from in Uganda so they could come to England and deliver concerts and workshops.  They all had exciting occupations including; a University lecturer, Barclays bank investigator, head teacher and music teacher, wedding organiser and sound technician.


It was a fabulous day and it was great to hear about why they had each chosen to join the choir and how they all felt part of the AYF family. They have all been involved within a much larger AYF team for many years in which they have toured schools and churches in different parts of Uganda and many countries abroad, to share their love for God, bring a Christian message and be inspiring to people everywhere.


The AYF have over 50 members, 12 of whom were due to arrive in England at the start of July. They were reduced to a smaller team this summer due to unexpected delays with visas. However despite this initial set back they came together as a group and choir, each with their own skills and experiences to continue to work with the people of Bolton.


Thank you for visiting Smithills School and spending time working with our students.


Operation Smithills Elite

Employability Skills event delivered by The Army Careers Team (Bolton)

Friday 8th July 2016


Operation Smithills Elite took place at Smithills on Friday 8th July 2016. This involved a group of Year 9 students who were given and mission to work as a team to recover top secret papers that were strewn across a helicopter crash site!


The Smithills students accepted the mission and first set about learning some basic first aid skills so they could administer this on arrival at the crash scene. They also learned how to lift and carry equipment safely so protecting themselves from injury.


Throughout the morning students worked hard to recover the injured casualties and recover the top secret documents, saving them from getting into the wrong hands. They were aware they were up against an active local armed group moving towards the crash site in an attempt to recover the important papers for themselves.


Students had to encounter a series of obstacles along the way including; a minefield; respond to warnings of ‘grenades’ ; they also had to collect vital equipment that they could use to help the causalities upon arrival at the crash site and carry it with them.  Each member of the team took on the role of the team leader and students used a whole range of employability skills throughout the day.


  • Team work

  • Communication

  • Listening skills

  • Problem solving

  • Time management

  • Leadership skills

  • Thinking skills

  • Organisation

  • Decision making

  • Negotiation

  • Reasoning skills


On completion of their mission students then worked on a ‘Lost at Sea’ task in which they worked through a scenario where they had to use their reasoning skills and communication skills to persuade their team members which items were most useful to recover from a fire damaged yacht. Given a specific time scale to work with students successfully identified the key items and would have survived at Sea.


Well done to all involved and special thanks to the Army staff delivering this session, Sergeant Sean Bowman and his team.


Students now have more appreciation of their individual strengths, given their responses to the different situations they encountered and now understand the transferable skills that all employers are looking for whatever occupation they aspire to for their future. It was  an excellent event!

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