What are the Guilds?
A ‘Guild’ is what other schools might call a ‘House’. The purpose in every school that has such a system is always the same: to foster a collegiate sense of belonging, purpose and competition within the school.
At Bennett, we took the decision that the Guilds would be strictly extra-curricular, meaning that this would act as a powerful motivator for participation and personal achievement beyond the academic curriculum in areas as diverse as sports, music, debating, charity work/volunteering, personal goals and challenges, competitive entries of many kinds and acts of significant generosity and kindness. However, the emphasis is upon each student to step forward and take up the opportunities that present themselves. Involving yourself is a decision and a proactive one. This should challenge students to reflect upon what more they can do, to better themselves and the world around them, when there is no one telling them that they must: each student should choose to play their part.
A guide for the awarding of guild points can be found here.
How does it work?
There are three areas of activity in which students can gain rewards, called ‘guild points.’ These points are usually awarded by the form tutor. This will often require the student to let the form tutor know what they have been doing.
For instance, unless you tell your tutor that you played for the school last night in rugby or netball or football, your tutor will not know, and you will lose your reward. Therefore, the onus is upon the student coming forward and taking ownership of their own rewards.
The three areas are as follows:
The guild points that students receive for these deeds accumulate over their school careers. That means that their actions in Y7 count towards their recognition a number of years later with half and full Guild Colours.
What are ‘Guild Colours’?
Put simply, the ‘colour’ is the name for the award that recognises the students’ achievements over the course of several years. To win one’s ‘colours’ means one is amongst the most proactive and enterprising members of the guild.
Half-colours are recognised with a certificate. Full colours are recognised with a badge unique to the Guild.
How are these determined?
The thresholds are based on the top proportions of students’ achievements higher up the school. This threshold is likely to move in coming years due to the disruption caused by the public health crisis, which has denied our students of most of the opportunities they would normally have had, especially in sport, but once the situation stabilises will return to a fixed norm.
When will my child receive their colours?
Half colours and full colours will be awarded in assembly. Students are eligible to be awarded half colours from Y9 upwards and full colours from Y10 upwards. This includes the VI Form.
Co-curricular activities have a central place at Bennett and yet when it comes to DofE, it is so embedded that it is regarded as part of our curriculum provision for students here. We want every student from every walk of life to participate in the Bronze programme and receive the benefit of some formative experiences, especially in the expedition which promotes knowledge of survival, camp craft, map reading, project and team management. At the same time students develop character in being determined to achieve the goals they have set and accommodating enough in the first place to be able to work with others towards this. Students who are able to undertake these opportunities have been shown to experience better mental health and have more enacted models to draw upon when challenges come in life: ‘When I was really tired and hungry and we still had two miles to go, I knew I would get there if I just keep going, one step at a time.’ In this way, students are more rounded, but also more ready for their studies too, complimenting what they set out to achieve in their subjects.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is also a programme which promotes and celebrates other co-curricular activities: maintaining a physical sport or activity; keeping up a skill; volunteering to help others and look to use all of their skills and knowledge to build one another up and make for a better world. It is no surprise that employers value the award, but also that there is a specific category for it on a students’ UCAS application form for higher education destinations. We hope that you will make the most of all the opportunities in the Duke of Edinburgh award.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is accessible to all students in year 9 to start the award scheme at the bronze level, to year 10 and year 11 students for the silver award and to all students over the age of 16 for the gold award. We particularly welcome students as direct entrant’s to the gold level of the award, especially those new to Bennett in the 6th form.
Not for nothing is chess known as the game of kings.
An increasing body of research shows that playing chess can help to improve creativity and problem solving skills, as well as memory, in children of all ages and backgrounds. Studies from such diverse school systems as Germany and the USA show that playing chess can help to not only improve grades and achievement in maths, but can also contribute towards improved reading. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that the thinking skills required in tabletop board games such as chess are almost identical to the elements of computational thinking found in Computer Science. It is with this in mind that, since September 2013, we have been teaching chess to our entire Year 7 cohort, as part of their Mathematics curriculum. Many of our students have had some experience of chess at primary school, but for some this has been their first experience and they have taken to it with great enthusiasm.
Chess lessons are scheduled roughly once every four weeks; for students who wish to practise more or get further advice and tactical tips, there is a Chess Club which runs for all year groups in the LRC every Friday lunchtime. There are opportunities for competition throughout the year, which are further detailed below.
We were also fortunate enough in October 2015 to be invited by the Tunbridge Wells Chess Club to send three of our students to participate in a simultaneous chess match with 30 students from other local schools, all pitting their wits against the noted Grandmaster John Emms. Although they were all defeated, our three student representatives all acquitted themselves admirably
The story was repeated again in October 2016, this time with three new students. All played valiantly in eventual defeats, although this time one gave the Grandmaster enough of a headache to be deemed worthy of a prize!
At Bennett we believe strongly in developing the whole person, body and mind. We strongly believe in the positive benefits of exercise, both for developing co-ordination, a healthy body, an active and enquiring mind and teamwork skills. Studies have linked physical activity and good aerobic fitness with good school grades. In an increasingly pressured academic environment, we understand the importance of being able to let off steam, and have developed a comprehensive and varied range of extra-curricular activities to suit all aptitudes and interests.
For those interested in highly competitive sports, we have our elite teams of rugby and netball, under the guidance of our dedicated coaches, Mr Ben Martin (Rugby) and Mrs Kate Watts (Netball). All students in years 7 and 8 have opportunities to take part in trials for these teams. Students are then grouped into our rugby and netball academies, these students train several times a week and play to a high level locally, as do our older students who continue to play throughout their school careers. Our football is also of the highest standard, with teams in each year group.
For those who prefer more recreational sport, there is table tennis club, and basketball club. To simply keep fit, students can try out our well-equipped fitness suite or combine fitness with fun by getting involved in our rowing club intra school league. For those with a more aesthetic focus there are our trampoline club, gymnastics club and dance club. There is a chance for students to perform at our annual dance show in February. Our programme is growing all the time, as we introduce new opportunities, and as the seasons change so does the programme; from football and rugby to cricket, tennis and rounders, there is always something active and exciting going on at break and at lunch.
We also offer all students the chance to compete in the inter guild competition that runs throughout the year, culminating in the year’s finale at our annual sports day. We are also keen to develop our students in the areas of leadership and coaching and volunteering for sport at all levels. There are various opportunities for students from writing team match reports, to acting as line judges, score keepers or assistant coaches for younger year groups.
Sport is high on our list of priorities. Under constant review on our School Improvement Plan, we are always seeking new opportunities to get our students active and involved, and working to improve and develop our facilities. Please review what we have to offer; we are interested in your feedback, and if you would be interested in helping out as a volunteer with one of our activities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Bennett Music Academy provides outstanding opportunities for all students to learn to play an instrument, to sing and/or perform, under the artistic direction and leadership of the Director of Music. Teaching staff are all currently working professional musicians, both nationally and some internationally and who have a passion for teaching.
Bennett Music Academy fees for all instrumental/vocal lessons are fixed at £180 per term for ten, 30 minute lessons.
Please click here for an application form for music lessons
(Students who take GCSE or A Level examinations during the Summer term will still be eligiable for music lessons throughout the exam period. Mesaures are taken to ensure that dates and times of lessons are suitable for the student. Continuing music lessons during the exam season is truly beneficial, providing students with a different enviornment from revision, generating rest and relaxation during a seemingly stressful period.)
Music bursaries are also available – Click Here to find out more
Tuition offered includes: Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Saxophone, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, Recorder, Percussion (+ drum kit), Piano, Organ, Guitar (acoustic and/or rock), and singing.
(All lesson times are rotated weekly, to faciliate curriculum time.)
We will teach and coach to outstanding, ensuring that all students experience excellence, quality and innovative music making, providing continual performance platform opportunities for everyone to achieve.
Please use the links on the left.