World War 1 Battlefields Trip: Day 1

Our party of 30 History students arrived safely in Ypres yesterday following a midnight departure from Winsford and a short ferry crossing from Dover to Calais. Accompanied by Mrs Warrender, Mr McGarrigle and Mr Rawson, the students spent their first day settling into accommodation before visiting the awe-inspiring Menin Gate in the historic setting of Ypres.

The Menin Gate is one of the most visited war memorials in Western Europe. In World War 1, there was no gate like the current memorial at the western end of Ypres. Instead the men who marched to the front to fight in the Battles of Ypres passed through a gap in the town’s old ramparts and crossed a small stretch of water.

Many thousands of men passed over this bridge – many to their deaths – that it was felt appropriate that after the war a splendid monument should be built to commemorate those who died in battle but had no final resting place. Sir Reginald Blomfield designed the Menin Gate and after his design was approved by the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission). Work was begun in June 1921 with a grant of £150,000 from the British government. It was finished in July 1927.

The land around Ypres is dotted with many cemeteries but these are invariably for those who were killed but were identified and then buried with a headstone named accordingly.

The Menin Gate is for those men whose bodies were never found, all 54,896  men who died between 1914 and 1917 and who have no known grave.

The poet Siegfried Sassoon wrote about the ‘gate’ that soldiers went through at Ypres in one of his poems:

“Who will remember, passing through this gate,
The unheroic Dead who fed the guns?”

Sassoon referred to the Menin Gate as “a sepulchre of crime”.

At the inauguration ceremony on July 24th 1927, the buglers of the Somerset Light Infantry sounded the ‘Last Post’. Since then the ‘Last Post’ has been played each night at 8pm. This simple ceremony is done by buglers from the Ypres Fire Brigade. The only time this was not done was during the German occupation of Belgium in World War Two. It was restarted the very night that the Germans left Ypres.

94.3% attendance!

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Well done to all students, staff and parents who have worked together to help the Academy achieve their best ever attendance rate – 94.3%.

We have met our challenging Governing Body target and beaten last year’s national average figure.

Attendance has risen by 5% since we became an Academy and the figure speaks volumes for the quality learning community we have built.

Well done to all.

Autism Awareness Day

Words by Kristin Latham, our tenacious, enterprising and committed Year 13 student who organised our Autism Awareness Day from start to finish.

“When doing autism awareness I wanted to show the Academy that no matter what problem a person has its okay to be different, to be unique. I wanted to do this through a ‘Onesie’ Wednesday, a national awareness day. I wanted our Academy to be a part of it.

Organising this event was an amazing experience, as I worked closely with members of staff and students with autism. I am so happy that it was a success and that we managed to raise so much awareness and money. Without the help of other Sixth Form students: Manya Peacock, Siobhon Morton, Sam Ware and our Year 7 students Liam Taylor, Daniel Clarke and Connor Anderson, who helped with the fundraising, we certainly wouldn’t have done so well.

I would also like to thank the Academy for giving me this opportunity to work with the members of staff and students. I loved planning, organising and running the event and I hope, after I leave the Sixth Form, that more events like this take place. I am proud of what I have achieved, raising £340 for the National Autistic Society”.

Easter Study School for Year 11 Examination Students



All Year 11 students and parents can find details of the Academy’s Easter Study School below.

Please do everything in your powers to attend.

Every second of learning counts and these extra sessions could well make the difference when the examinations start in earnest soon after the Easter break.

For any further information, please contact Mr D Christian, Vice Principal, on 01606 592300.

All sessions run between 10am and 2pm.

Monday 7 April

ICT for Mrs Fleetwood, Miss Edwards and Mrs Blears’ Year 11 examination groups.

Tuesday 8 April

Maths with Mrs Porritt, Mr Tomlinson, Mrs Keegan, Mr Henderson, Mr Curtis, Mr Wright and Mr Christian.

Wednesday 9 April

Art with Mrs Lockhart

Dance with Mrs Wilkinson

Drama with Mrs Bugg and Mr Taylor-Edwards

Music with Mr Bancroft

PE/Sport with Mr Hunt

Textiles with Mrs Day

Photogrpahy with Mr Lawson

Thursday 10 April

Food & Nutrition with Mrs Charity

Computer Science with Mr Peacock

Friday 11 April

Science with Mr Vanezis, Mr Clarke, Mr Lewis and Mr Pendlebury

Tuesday 15 April

Geography with Mrs Barnett

History with Mrs Cooper and Mr McGarrigle

RE with Mrs Warrender

Wednesday 16 April

Construction with Mr Devine

Product Design with Mrs Harris

Business Studies with Mrs Edwards

Engineering with Mr Hall

Spanish with Mr Gough

Psychology with Mrs Hanson-Isasi

Thursday 17 April

English with Mr Cartwright, Mrs Lea, Mrs Falconer, Mrs Rees, Mrs Aird, Mrs Jones and Mr Baillie



The Winsford Academy is teaming up with local author, filmmaker, and scriptwriter, and now playwright, Alan Fleet, to produce a stage version of his novel, Woollyback.

A cast of 18 actors, young and old, from the Cheshire/North West region is being sought to perform in a stage adaptation of the novel, Woollyback, which is due to be performed at the Academy’s theatre in October 2014. Any local actors, directors or sound/lighting technicians who would like to be part of the production team are invited to an open call out at The Winsford Academy at 7:30pm on Thursday 1st May when the cast and wider production team will be assembled.

 Woollyback was acknowledged nationally when it was selected and sponsored by the UK Film Council for a tutored adaptation at the prestigious Bournemouth Film School and went on to be a finalist in the UK screenplay competition at the London Independent Film Festival.

Of his play, Alan Fleet describes it as:

“’Romeo and Juliet’ played out across two generations of Winsford, the older Over and Wharton generation and the younger ‘Woollyback’ and ‘Scouser’ generation, both of which latter terms were highly offensive at the time, but now give the story a particular resonance.

‘Woollyback’ tells the story of an estranged son’s return to his father’s deathbed and their last night together. It is a night where both men finally tell their own stories of love tainted by misunderstanding. The son remembers open-air swimming baths, girlfriends and hope, whilst the father is at odds with his violent past. In their lives both experienced prejudice for their choice of women who would be their wives, and yet it was ultimately those choices that led to their estrangement.

The father needs help to die, but can the son forgive? When the final part of their story is revealed, will they remember a time when they were close?”

On the partnership with Alan Fleet, the Academy’s Principal, Andy Taylor-Edwards added:

“I can think of no better venue for the first performances to be held than in the outstanding theatre at the Winsford Academy; how apt that a story of old Winsford should be told in perhaps the newest of Winsford’s buildings. However, people should not think that this is a tale of yesterday, far from it; at the heart of the story is a controversial issue. The story will make you laugh and it will make you cry”.

 Like all good writing, Alan Fleet hopes the play will stir reflection in actors and the audience: “I hope ‘Woollyback’ will make people realise how much better it is to accept change rather than fight against it. In life, change is the only constant”.

In addition to the play, Alan Fleet is also looking into the possibility of filming a documentary of the staging of Woollyback from inception to first performance with a view to entering the documentary category at film festivals. 


Alan Fleet: Brief Biography

Alan was educated at Winsford High Street County Primary School; Winsford Verdin Grammar School; Mid-Cheshire College of F.E.; and Manchester University. He trained as a marine geophysicist and has travelled extensively but, apart from three years away at university, he have always lived in Cheshire.

Alan began writing in the mid-nineties and it was his third novel, Woollyback, which was the first to be published in July 2000.