Jul 6

Students evidence they have qualities Mayor looks for in city leaders

As previously reported we have had two teams of students taking part in Bristol’s Community-Apprentice this year. This inter-school competition is a bit like The Apprentice on television.  Young people have to develop, and crucially demonstrate, skills and personal qualities whilst managing their own projects. In this case, however, young people compete to benefit the community, rather than make the most profit.

Our teams have worked really hard since September researching problems, identifying an issue, planning what to do about it and overcoming a range of problems to make it happen. On Thursday 29 June the Mayor invited all 21 teams taking part across Bristol to City Hall to celebrate their graduation from the programme. Collectively this year the teams have volunteered over 7,000 hours to help their communities. Addressing the students in our Boardroom Final film Mayor Marvin Rees said (watch the full video here:


“The good news is that you have all achieved… You have all demonstrated the kinds of qualities I look for in city leaders, the kind of people I want working alongside me”


Envision team photos


Taking action to benefit others
Team The Future reached over 600 students with their interactive quiz on money management and Team X + Y delivered a campaign using posters, merchandise and social media to raise awareness of sexual harassment. You can watch a short three minute film about their projects here and here

Due to their outstanding skills development on the programme The Future beat four other nominees to win the award for Communication at the Graduation event. Team X + Y were nominated for the Resilience and Problem Solving Award.


Evidencing employability skills
The teams have been supported by mentors from Clarke Willmott and their Envision Co-ordinator to develop the confidence and competencies they need to succeed in life over the course of the programme. Envision asked all the young Community-Apprentices on the programme to tell them how they felt they had develop, these were the results:


* 98% feel more confident as a result of being on the programme  

* 96% feel that they are better communicators  

* 95% feel that they have become better at team working  

* 94% say that they feel able to demonstrate the skills that employers are looking for  

* 96% intend to put Envision on their CV or UCAS form  

* 97% now believe that their actions can make a difference

Each student who graduated received a personalised reference written by their business mentors detailing the skills they had developed on the programme. Kate Gould from Clarke Willmott said:


The students really benefitted from the programme, they grew in confidence and having this experience to talk about at interviews/ application will be a definite advantage for them in the future.


Here is a set of images from the Graduation event:




Dec 14

Students earn praise from business leaders and Mayor in the Dragons' Den

Our students earned praise from Bristol’s business leaders at the Community-Apprentice Pitching Challenge. As previously reported in our news pages on November 2 we have two teams taking part in the Community-Apprentice competition this year, which is running in ten schools across the city. Loosely based on the popular TV series, The Apprentice, Community-Apprentice is an inter-school competition which requires young people to develop and, crucially, demonstrate the competencies most valued by employers whilst managing their own projects. In this case students compete not to see who can make the most money, but who can make the biggest positive impact on their community.

Turning ideas into action

Over the past few weeks the teams have been coming up with ideas and developing them into a practical plan for their social action projects. They have set a clear goal, identified relevant activities, allocated responsibilities, set deadlines, identified resources, and produced a budget.

Team X + Y are planning to tackle the stigma around sexual harassment by delivering workshops on the issue and running poster and social media campaigns. The Future are planning to raise the aspirations of and develop life skills in young people through peer education.  

Pitch perfect


On Wednesday 7th December our teams pitched their ideas to a panel of ‘Dragons’ - made up of local business leaders -  for funding to help implement their plans and feedback to improve the impact of their projects.


Tom Prince, a ‘Dragon’ and the Widening Participation and Undergraduate Recruitment Officer team at the University of Bristol said,


I thoroughly enjoyed my role as a ‘Dragon’, the students were brilliant - it's clear that they and the mentors have worked incredibly hard and it was genuinely impressive to see them all present with such confidence and professionalism.


The event was held in the impressive surroundings of The Bristol Hotel and kindly sponsored by Great Western Railway. Twenty teams from schools across the city pitched in front of each other as well as the panel, giving students the opportunity to watch others to learn what makes a successful pitch, whilst gaining experience and confidence to develop their own communication skills.


Community-Apprentice has recently been recognised by the Department of Education as an effective model for employer engagement, students are mentored by volunteers from local businesses throughout the programme to support their development. Our teams were mentored by volunteers from Clarke Willmott in preparation for the pitch and on the day itself. One of the students at the event said,


today I have learnt to be more confident whilst doing public speeches and I’d like to thank our business mentors for giving us helpful advice and supporting us throughout our project so far.

The event was opened by a message from Mayor Marvin Rees who acts as the kinder version of Lord Sugar for the programme. Addressing  the students the Mayor thanked them for,


tackling issues close to my heart and absolutely critical for the city’s future” and pledged his support for their participation in the programme saying “I and other people in Bristol are determined to offer you the platform you need to grow into the fullness of your potential.


Envision team photo 1


Envision team photo 2


Eleanor Lloyd


Nov 19

Envision Update: Students Plan Positive Change with Help from Local Law Firm


Envision Logos


The youth empowerment charity Envision run a 10 month programme called Community Apprentice, which encourages young people to engage in the issues they see in their community and to make a difference to them through their own social action projects, whilst gaining key employability skills at the same time. It’s a competition across Bristol, where teams from 10 schools compete to make the biggest social impact and best develop their skills.


An impressive 28 students from SMRT Sixth Form have decided that they want to make a difference to their communities and are choosing to do so by tackling the issues of mental health and homelessness.

The Sixth Form students have been getting support and encouragement from their team coaches from the law firm Clarke Wilmott who have been helping the students shape their projects and develop their skills whilst also planning for the pitching event in December. This is when all of the teams from across the competition come together to pitch in front of local business people and community leaders for money to help them execute their project.

The team coaching sessions have been a real success, with students and coaches learning a lot about each other, taking part in team building exercises and really honing in on how the students can develop their employability skills.

The teams’ projects are taking an exciting shape and their ideas are really flowing, watch this space for more updates on the teams and their achievements.

To find out more about Envision and Community Apprentice please go to


Sep 11

Exam results - excellent again!

We are really pleased with our students that they have worked hard and achieved such great results. We are particularly proud of those who have achieved against the odds.



We have secured a rise on last year's results of 3% with 73% of students getting five A*-C including English and Maths. An amazing third of the grades achieved were A* or A, with 60% of the grades being B or above. This is our best result in four years despite the bar being raised yet again! We are particularly pleased that many students have done so well in maths with 80% of students getting A*-C grades and 53% getting a B, A or A* grade!


I am delighted for our students that these great grades open the doors to further study in school, college or through apprenticeships. They have had a great attitude to their studies and made good use of all the extra revision sessions and support that generous staff have put on for them, it is a real team effort of students, parents, teachers and support staff and we are really proud of everyone's contribution.



We are delighted with the A level results this year at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple School. The A level pass rate is 99.3% with 64% of grades being B and above.  This equals our best ever set of results






Students have followed their passions and studied a wide range of subjects with us. The courses they are going on to at university are as varied as Medieval and Modern Languages at Cambridge, Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Manchester, medicine at Cardiff, Physics at Southampton and Animal Behaviour at Plymouth. We also have two students with places at prestigious American universities, one of them following in Hilary Clinton’s footsteps. What has impressed us is how well students have researched their options and really thought about what they want to study at university or what they want to do when they leave school. They have shown a maturity, thoughtfulness and intelligence in their decision making that reflects them taking full responsibility for their futures. I am inspired by the way our students have made the most of all the learning opportunities on offer to them and by the way the staff have supported them through any difficulties. 

exam results


Kyiah and Nell


The wonderful results are a credit to the hardworking students, the inspirational teachers, caring support staff and nervous parents! For many of the students at Redcliffe sixth form we are building on GCSE results the students achieved in other schools. I am proud of our whole school community and the wider Bristol educational community. Our young people have really made us proud!


Mrs Gilpin




Mar 25

My time in Ikoba

Tim Moller, SMRT Gap Year student, is spending two months at Ikoba School. This is his account and reflection on his experience.

“Ikoba!” the girls sing rambunctiously, “Ikoba’s moving forward day by day! Glory be to God.” The sound at a few minutes to eight in the morning of the assembled students of Ikoba Girls’ Secondary School chanting their school anthem never fails to ensure I am awake as it wafts serenely down the slope that leads from the school building to the bungalow that has been my home for the last six weeks. That, and the bird (genus: species unknown) that sounds like Mr. Punch – he of the warbling “that’s the way to do it” - are a welcome accompaniment to my African mornings.Picture1


I am teaching at Ikoba School up until Easter, my plan then being to travel independently down the African continent towards South Africa. I have been teaching English, ICT (to both the students and staff!) and also a splash of Mathematics, as well as helping the Reverend Fred learn some more of the tunes for the ubiquitous “Hymns for today’s church” hymnal. Fred approached me very early on in my stay asking if I would preach on Easter Sunday, and took the early notice as an advantage to begin preparing. Combined with this, I have had a personal project to continue the teaching of Chess, which was introduced by one of our fellow travellers in the Bristol-Masindi partnership, and part of this involves visiting her partner school once a week and playing with them too.

I treat my domestic existence as a sort of elongated DofE expedition. My morning Weetabix and coffee is taken with powder milk, and anything remotely sweet is secured by copious numbers of elastic bands in food bags to stop the ants from setting up an independent country inside. Taking inspiration from the resourcefulness I have seen in students at the school, I quickly divided an old water bottle in two, the bottom half serving as a tooth-mug and the top as a cup to allow me to scoop water up and throw over myself when I take a “shower”. I say “shower” because the process is one of standing in an open concrete block with a basin of (hopefully) warm water. The water temperature depends on whether there is power to allow me to use an electric hotplate on loan from the Science department, if not I “do as the locals do” and use cold, which is okay in the evening when the concrete is still hot from a day of exposure in the sun, but is positively chill-making if tried in the opening hours of Picture2the day.

Here the dry season is extending indefinitely, but should have ended in the first weeks of March. We had an incredible hail storm on Saint David’s Day but other than that the country is dry with bush fires beginning to eat up the crops, the red Ugandan earth being bleached pale by the unconcerned and uncaring sun and the school running out of water. The situation is recursive:there is increasingly less electricity to power the pump at the village well to the school entirely because there is less water to power the dams to generate the electricity. The line of multi-coloured jerricans stretched along 20 meters of bumpy ground next to the tank in the hope that we will get water soon reminds me of the colourful houses of Totterdown or Clifton Wood in Bristol leering precariously up on their respective hills, but that is me making light of the situation. The near-drought means that most mornings the girls set out early (5am, but they’re awake anyway) for the nocturnal trip to the village well. My first action each day is to tentatively hit the light switch as the barometer of whether we have power. That I and the other members of staff have electricity in our houses at all puts us in the top 1% of the population living in the Bunyoro kingdom. I know I speak on behalf of all the staff that live on the school site when I say that I am so thankful to Saint Mary Redcliffe and Temple School for providing the funds to enable this project to be completed in this last year. 

My neighbours are in charge of teaching me the Runyoro language. Currently my favourite sentence is: “Tugende Hakiyembe” [to-gen-day hack-ee-em-bay] (which means “we go under the mango-tree”). Just as I am enjoying my forays in the local lingo, I take great delight in learning bits of “Uglish” or the very idiomatic Ugandan-English. One of my favourites is the use of the adjective “dirty” as a sort of Victorian-English verb, “Will it not dirten you?” I have been asked, when I offered to throw about the dust covered netball for Senior One’s PE lesson. Along with “taking” tea and “sloping down” the hill when I return home in the evening, I have adopted “dirten” into the Moller-lexicon.Picture3

Uganda and Ugandans never fail to surprise and delight me. I would like to make three observations. First, that women and men alike think nothing of taking me by the hand affectionately as we walk along. Secondly, in Ugandan churches part of the offertory giving invariably includes banana plants and sugar cane and maize and eggs and beans and live chickens (you get the idea) to be auctioned off to increase the collection. In one rural church (where the service was conducted entirely in Runyoro) I was asked to start off the selling. Finally Ugandans have an exceptional memory for faces and events; one Saturday in Masindi town I found a man coming up to me excitedly recounting that we met at Saint Mary Redcliffe in 2013, and asking how is Ikoba and “by the way” how is my hat after it was carried off by the wind into the Nile a couple of weeks ago? It transpired he was a teacher from another school in the wider Bristol-Masindi Schools’ Partnership. His memory was humbling but also quite discerning, he is representative in that the whole of Masindi seems to know of my existence!

Staying on the school site has allowed me to witness the beautiful daily ritual of “Prayers,” sung after Evening Prep at 10pm every night. This is a joyful and near raucous celebration of God. The chorus, whose varying melodic lines weave in and out of one another with characteristic ease, is amplified to a heavenly height by the corrugated iron roof over its head. Tables turn into makeshift drums, and the chink of the joining screws rattling as the wood is rhythmically beaten has become the eponymous sound of the service. All wrapped up in a concise 25 minutes (a novelty for African church - the Sunday I turned auctioneer the service ran to 4 hours), the girls subdue their singing for a personal confession which they all murmur together first as a quiet whisper, with the volume slowly building until it is like a raging hornet’s nest ready to explode, the sound ricocheting off the roof and bouncing back down to them, each girl caught up in her own lamentations but equally racing to be the girl to choose the final hymn by finishing first. She starts singing, and they all eventually join in, before The Grace is said and they all retire to their dorms for the night.

For me Prayers is certainly the most enjoyable part of day with the assuring regularity of this daily worship creating a feeling of comfort that I can best compare to that of the daily English Evensong. If I don’t join them I sit on my veranda to watch and listen to the silhouetted figures joyously affirming their faith. Prayers finishes a day that begins with the anthems for School, Country and the East African Community. While everything between it and Prayers doesn’t always run to time (except my lessons, I am meticulously Swiss in my teaching time-keeping) the day at least always begins and ends on time, which by African standards is something!

I have been so incredibly happy Picture4during my time at Ikoba School. It occurred to me back on Ash Wednesday that when I preach in the school service on Easter Sunday I will have spent the whole of Lent living here, and on first observation one could argue that what I have given up for Lent is the Western Way of Life. I don’t myself like the image of penance and denying oneself which the phrase “giving up” implies. On the contrary I have been given such an incredible opportunity to be part of a community whose live is extraordinarily different to my own. This, I have revelled, nae even thrived, in, even if I do insist on taking Weetabix for breakfast!