Abbey Gate College


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  • Category: Pre-Preparatory / Preparatory / Senior / Sixth Form
  • Pupils: Co-Education
  • Type: Day
  • Religious Affiliation: Non-Denominational
  • Roll: 280 (Boys) 205 (Girls)
  • Age Range: 4 - 18 years
  • Founded: 1977

General Information

Abbey Gate College is the longest running, independent, co-educational school for pupils aged 4 to 18 based in the Chester area.

At Abbey Gate College, our children are at the heart of everything we do.  We believe education is about inspiring a love of learning and building self-esteem to ensure they fulfil their academic and personal potential. Our teachers nurture their personalities, curiosities, skills and imagination to guarantee our children leave Abbey Gate College as confident, articulate and happy high achievers with an enthusiasm for whatever career path they chose.

At the Senior School, strong A level and GCSE results set our students on the road to success however, education is far greater than simply achieving super examination results; at Abbey Gate College the journey itself is of equal importance, providing a stimulating experience, widening opportunities and providing an education for life.  Extra-curricular activities enable all pupils to fully develop their talents outside of the classroom and the thriving Music, Drama and Sports Departments combine with Science clubs, The Young Engineers’ club and Young Enterprise groups, to name but a few, in providing the children with an all-round education.

In summary, Abbey Gate College is a successful and happy school, committed to maintaining traditional standards and high educational ideals. To fully understand what makes Abbey Gate College such a special place to be educated, please make an appointment to speak with the Headmistress, Mrs Tracy Pollard, the pupils and staff.  We look forward to welcoming you soon and providing you with a personalised tour of the stunning buildings, grounds and our excellent facilities – both at the Senior School at Saighton Grange and at the Infant and Junior School in the picturesque village of Aldford, which is the home of the Infant and Junior Schools.


The College emphasises the importance of building self-esteem and a love of learning in a friendly and caring environment and the extra-curricular program provides opportunities for pupils to experience challenge and the pursuit of excellence. The music department is renowned for the quality of its choral singing, with strong links to Chester Cathedral. Drama, sport and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme are thriving and outdoor adventures and leadership courses help children to build confidence and teamwork. Science Clubs, Young Engineers Club and Young Enterprise groups also add to the diversity of activities on offer. Pupils at the College undertake numerous educational visits and recent foreign trips include: Year 6 to France, Hockey and Football trips to Barcelona, Geography Department to Switzerland and Iceland and the History Department to Krakow, Auschwitz and the 1st World War Battlefields of Northern Europe.  Gifted and Talented pupils have their own program called ‘Invictus’ and the Debating Club continue to get to grips with the ‘topics of the day’


Purpose built facilities house all the subject departments and recent investment has been considerable at both Senior and Junior sites. There have been positive developments in teaching and learning with increased ICT provision and individualised monitoring of each pupil’s progress. These improvements, along with the dedication of the staff, have had a positive impact on academic performance, as shown by the strong results at GCSE and A level.

Investment has also been made in sports facilities with a new Sports & Teaching Pavilion completed in 2016 and an all-weather pitch opened in 2018. The idyllic village location of the Junior School at Aldford boasts extensive playing fields, purpose-built shaded area and an ecology park. The Infants and Juniors also share use of the extensive facilities at the Senior School.

Entrance Requirements

Entrance examination or informal assessment according to age.


Academic, Sports and Music. Some bursaries are available. Details are available from Mrs S Boyd, Registrar on 01244 564 170

Open Days

Please contact our Registrar on 01244 564170 or to arrange a visit or to attend one of our events below.

2018. Infant & Junior School: Sat. 19th May, 9.30am-12pm; Mon. 4th June, 1.45pm-3.15pm and Sat. 29th September, 9.30am-12pm.

Senior School: Sat. 22nd September, 9am-12pm.

Sixth Form - Please contact us if you are interested in joining our Sixth Form in September 2018.


2017/2018. Senior School: £4136 per term. Infant and Junior Department: £ 2884 per term.


ISI Inspection 2014

School Contact Details

Headteacher: Mrs Tracy Pollard

Contact for enquiries: Mrs S Boyd, Admissions Officer,

Abbey Gate College
Saighton Grange

[t]: 01244 332077
[f]: 01244 335510

Location Description

Situated in a beautiful village location on the south eastern outskirts of the cathedral city of Chester. Between A55 and A41 and within easy reach of M6 and M56.

To send an email to the school please fill in your details below and add a short message. If you are requesting a prospectus to be sent to you please include your postal address.

School News

Abbey Gate College independent day school Cheshire

For the second year in a row Abbey Gate College has been placed top of the Department of Education Performance Tables in Cheshire West and

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Chester for Pupil Progress at A level.

These tables include all state-maintained and independent schools in the area and the outstanding 0.3 progress score places Abbey Gate College in the ‘well above average’ category – the only school to achieve this in the Cheshire West and Chester area, and in the top 5% of schools and colleges in England.

The figures indicate how much progress pupils who studied A levels at Abbey Gate College made between the end of their GCSEs and the end of their A levels, compared to similar students across England.

The scores are calculated by comparing the A level results of pupils at the College with students in schools across England who started with similar results at the end of their GCSEs.

Measuring Pupil Progress provides a clear indicator of how much value a school adds to its pupils during their time in the Sixth Form.

A level results in 2017 saw 90% of students at Abbey Gate College obtain a grade A*-C, an increase of 7% from 2016.

Headmistress, Tracy Pollard said: “I am thrilled and delighted that for the second year in a row our A level students have secured the ‘top spot’ in the DfE’s Performance Tables for Pupil Progress at A level in Cheshire West and Chester. The students’ determined effort, combined with excellent teaching by highly qualified and passionate staff has demonstrated once again just how committed we are in nurturing our students to help them reach their academic potential.”



Abbey Gate College independent day school Cheshire

Abbey Gate College welcomed former Premier League and England footballer, Michael Owen on Friday to formally open the school’s much anticipated, state-of-the-art all-weather pitch.

Special guest

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and patron of the fundraising committee, Michael Owen unveiled the new facility alongside Headmistress, Tracy Pollard and Chair to the Governors, Felicity Taylor as part of the school’s vision to provide outstanding sporting opportunities for everyone, today and for many generations to come.

Following the ribbon cutting and speeches pupils watched from the spectator area as Michael Owen concluded the ceremony by scoring three goals from the centre of the pitch, much to the delight of the crowd.

In the evening, celebrations continued with invited guests watching from the Sports & Teaching Pavilion as the floodlights were switched on in dramatic sequence to reveal the new facility. The evening included an impressive display of skills from Chester Hockey Club, led by England and Great Britain co-captain, Phil Roper and pupils from Abbey Gate College.

Headmistress, Tracy Pollard said: “I believe passionately that sport has a place in every pupil’s life. We have to nurture the health and well-being of our youngsters by creating opportunities which allow them to be active in ways that they enjoy and in which they can be successful.

“I am thrilled and delighted that as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations we are able to open our state-of-the-art all-weather pitch, for the use of our current and future pupils but also for the benefit of the wider community. We are proud to be able to provide top class facilities for use by our local community.”

The full size, floodlit all-weather pitch is the best national standard hockey facility in the North West. It is also suitable for playing tennis, football training and a variety of skills-based activities.

The multi-purpose surface will significantly increase the amount of time pupils will be able to take part in sport, practise their skills and participate in competitive fixtures. It will give pupils the opportunity to fulfil their potential, including those who aspire to compete at an elite level.

The ambitious project, made possible through fundraising, grants and donations, stemmed from a desire and vision to extend the provision of sport for all age groups, all year round and to create a culture of being active, healthy and happy.

As well as the current pupils, the local community are also invited to make use of the new facility.



Abbey Gate College independent school Cheshire

Abbey Gate College, in Chester are all geared up to start playing Futsal after receiving a free starter pack – news that has delighted Michael

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Skubala, England Futsal Head Coach.

The pack contains Futsal foldaway goals and special futsal balls and bibs, which will allow regular provision of Futsal to develop passing skills with the low bouncing ball making passing and control are a key element of sessions as they are a vital component of the game today.

The starter packs are designed to adapt existing sports halls, playgrounds and other hard surface facilities to make them Futsal-ready. The packs came courtesy of a £300,000 Futsal scheme, which is funded by The FA and delivered by the Football Foundation.

Futsal is a five-a-side game, normally played on a flat indoor pitch with hockey-sized goals and a size four ball with a reduced bounce. The exciting, fast-paced game is played across the world and is officially recognised by both UEFA and FIFA.

Regarded as an important and growing game, it is hoped that the provision of equipment and courses will lead to the development of more Futsal players, leagues, competitions and facilities across the country.

The nature of the game places a large emphasis on technical skill and ability in situations of high pressure, and is subsequently an excellent breeding ground for football competencies that can be translated into the 11-a-side format of the game.

As well as delivering the Futsal scheme, the Football Foundation delivers Grow the Game and also the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund on behalf of the Premier League, The FA and the Government, through Sport England. Since 2000, the Foundation has supported over 15,000 grassroots projects worth more than £1.4bn.

Michael Skubala, England Futsal Head Coach, said: “A big well done to Abbey Gate College for securing a Futsal starter pack – they have a bright future ahead of them now! We want to get more people playing the sport for the love of it and who knows; perhaps we’ll see some future international players unearthed as a result. Futsal is growing all the time and The FA, with the help of the Football Foundation, is dedicated to increasing its importance and popularity further For All.”

Chris Cutler, Head of PE at Abbey Gate College, said: “The Futsal starter pack has already allowed Chester FC U18 girls to come and practice on a weekly basis and we are looking to develop this relationship to bring high quality competition to both boys and girls of all ages. The Futsal starter pack will be a massive boost in providing superior delivery of these sessions and we would like to thank The FA and Football Foundation for the original investment to hopefully help produce players of the future.”

For details on hiring the Sports Hall please contact, call 01244 332077 or visit

Abbey Gate College Independent Cheshire Abbey Gate College Infant and Junior School Welcomes Duke of Westminster for Ground-breaking Ceremony Marking Start of New Development

Independent school Abbey Gate College Infant and Junior School recently welcomed the Duke of Westminster to mark the start of construction of their new Foundation

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and Infant class building.

The co-educational school, based in the village of Aldford just outside Chester, prides itself on small class sizes and providing the best quality of education. The Duke of Westminster was accompanied by Trustees of the Grosvenor Estate and members of the Eaton Estate staff who will be working with the College to bring this exciting project to fruition in the coming months. The Head mistress of the Infant and Junior School, Mrs Marie Hickey, was presented with an engraved spade by the Duke of Westminster to mark the special occasion.

The new building will provide three spacious classrooms, two with covered outdoor areas as well as a larger library and space for learning enrichment and pastoral care. The development will also mean space in the main building is created to expand on current facilities such as a dedicated art and design studio, music area, science lab and a more expansive library space.

The Duke of Westminster said: “This has been a project close to my heart and we have spent a lot of time developing a plan which is suitable for the children and the teachers but which will also stand the test of time.

“The school is at the centre of the community in Aldford and it’s important we continue to build on what we have and invest in the current and future generations. It’s an exciting time in the village with the development of the school and the village shop and I look forward to seeing the project complete.”

The development will be made with welsh blue slate, Oak from the Eaton Estate and artisan brick from a local manufacturer, to help ensure it is in keeping with the character and heritage of the village. The new building will exceed minimum building regulations and has been designed to minimise heat loss and be energy efficient.

Marie Hickey, Headteacher, said: “We are committed to showing our children have every opportunity to reach their potential, have new experiences and most importantly become responsible adults who take their place in society. This building will provide us with the platform to take learning from the classroom into the outdoors to contribute to the children’s learning and enhance the experiences we already provide in our existing building.”

Abbey Gate College Independent Cheshire Abbey Gate College Pupils Cycle from Chester to London in 18 Hours Raising over £2,500 for Young Minds charity

Two pupils from independent school Abbey Gate College recently completed a cycle ride from Chester to London and raised over £2,500.

Their journey started at the

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Senior School in Saighton and came to an end at the Young Minds headquarters in central London just 18 hours after setting off.

All the donations will go to Young Minds.

Upper Sixth students Tom White and Ben Hall (along with PE teacher Dan Rowett, Ben’s dad Richard and keen cyclist Phil Faulder) decided to tackle the 200-mile cycle after Tom’s grandpa passed away leaving Tom his push bike.

The Chester-based school supports Young Minds as its charity of the year and Tom and Ben were both inspired by the work they do for young people’s mental health and wanted to contribute.

Tom said: “We think the work that Young Minds does is fantastic and when my grandad passed leaving me his pushbike I decided to do something positive. We’re thrilled to have raised so much money for the charity.”

The team trained for three months and hope to take on a new challenge next year and cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

You can still donate at

Abbey Gate College independent day school Cheshire

Abbey Gate College in Saighton near Chester has enjoyed another very successful year of GCSE results.

The co-educational independent school for children aged 4 to 18

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years is celebrating pupils achieving A* and A grades across most subjects.

92% of results were A* to C.

Amongst the highest achievers was Harry Tomlins who achieved 10 GCSEs in total. This included gaining the highest grade possible (9) in the reformed Maths syllabus, (which is equivalent to an A**), seven A*s and two 8s.

Luke Burnett gained one grade 9 in Maths, six A*s, one A, and excellent passes in both English Language and English Literature and Heather Churchill-Evans obtained four A*s, two As and three 7s.

Felix Gideonse also did exceptionally well achieving a grade 9 for Maths, four A*s and three As. Harry Hook’s grades included three A*s, three As and a 7 in Maths. Abigail Rimmer’s achievements included three A*s, an 8 in Maths and English Literature, two As and a B. Connor Gration’s grades included two A*s and four As.

The majority of pupils will continue their studies at the College and will be aiming to emulate the recent success of the College Sixth Form students at A level.

Headmistress Tracy Pollard said: “I am delighted that the hard work and dedication of our pupils has paid dividends in terms of the results they have received today. Many are celebrating top honours in what we know to have been very tough examinations this year. Our aim is for all our children to reach their academic and personal potential and these pupils should be incredibly proud of all that they have achieved.

“Thank you to the teaching staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure that the pupils sitting the new reformed examinations gained the results they deserved.

“I congratulate all our Year 11 pupils on their achievements and wish them the very best for their future.”

Abbey Gate College independent school Cheshire

Independent school Abbey Gate College is celebrating another fantastic year of A Level results.

Students from the Chester based school are celebrating after 64% of them

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achieved grades A* to B in their chosen subjects, with almost half of all students achieving A* to B in all their chosen subjects.

The co-educational College announced a 100% pass rate for all 40 students.

Notable successes include James Ayshford who will now study Geography at St Andrews University. Oscar Patton will read English and History at York University, and Toby Stanford will study Music at Manchester University. All three students achieved straight A* grades in all subjects.

Zoe Green and Sophie Bell also excelled in their chosen subjects, with Zoe going on to do a degree level apprenticeship with KPMG based at Birmingham University after earning two A*s and one A, and Sophie achieved one A* and two As, enabling her to go on to study Psychology at Leeds University from September.

Andrew Ayshford acquired one A* and two As and will study International Disaster Management and Humanitarian Response at Manchester University from September 2018. Sarah Brattel achieved three As and will read Biology at York University.

Headmistress Mrs Tracy Pollard said: “As a school, we are extremely proud of the results the students have achieved again this year at A Level.

“Every student has worked incredibly hard and their results are a credit to their determination and dedication to their studies. The unswerving commitment from the teaching staff has again been outstanding and they have worked tirelessly to ensure all students achieved their personal best.”



Abbey Gate College Independent Cheshire Celebrates 40 Years with Special Gala Concert

On Tuesday 4 July, Chester based independent school Abbey Gate College hosted a special Gala Concert as it marked its 40 years anniversary.

As part of

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the concert, 75 past choir members joined the current choir producing a spectacular sound of 140 voices. The concert was directed by Mr Stewart Smith who is retiring after 39 and a half years as Director of Music. During this time, he has led a thriving music department with many of his former pupils progressing to careers in opera, music production and cathedral music.

At the concert, the audience also enjoyed performances from the Infant and Junior School choir, instrumentalists, and vocalists.

The choir has sung in most English cathedrals including London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, where they will return to in April 2018. The choir has also toured to various locations including France, Belgium (Menin Gate), St Mark’s Venice, Germany, Italy, Holland, Denmark and the west and east coast of the USA on two occasions.

The concert also welcomed the new Head of Music, James Andrews who, as well as being a former pupil of the College, is an ex-Head Chorister of Chester Cathedral and a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatoire. He begins his post in September 2017. For videos of the night’s performances go to the Abbey Gate College YouTube channel.

Abbey Gate College Independent Cheshire Sports Awards

Independent school Abbey Gate College recently welcomed back a former pupil to host the annual Sport Awards to recognise pupils who have made a contribution

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to sport at the school.

Alex Schwarz (now 29 and plays professional Rugby Union with RGC in North Wales) spent time speaking to all the award winners at the co-educational school, as well as running a rugby session for pupils.

The evening at the Chester based school consisted of 108 different awards across all sport categories, including acknowledgment to those who excel at activities outside of curriculum sport as well as noting “elite excellence” for those competing at county and national level.

The awards were a testament to the ability and mindset of the pupils who have the motivation, drive and desire to challenge themselves, along with the backing of strong parental support and aided by the on-going provision at the College.

The main awards on the evening for ‘Overall Contribution to School Sport’ were won by Alexander Stewart and Keira Meadows (Year 7), Matty Bailey and Ffion Schofield (Year 8), Jack Tomlins and Annabel Smith (Year 9) and Seb Middleton and Amelia Percival (Year 10).

Other awards included ‘Team of the Year’, which was won by the school’s highly successful Year 7 seven and five a side football teams, and ‘Coaches of the Year’, which saw Lower Sixth students Wilf Smith and Dan Roberts being acknowledged for their contribution.

Abbey Gate College Independent Cheshire Amazon Young Storyteller Project

During the spring term, Abbey Gate College pupils became published authors through the Amazon Young Storyteller project.

The project is a collaboration between Amazon and the

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National Literacy Trust, offering primary and secondary students in the UK the opportunity to have their work published.

The Abbey Gate College book, which has pieces from pupils from both the Infant and Junior School and the Senior School, is an anthology of short stories and poetry and is available in paperback and Kindle versions. There is a range of imaginative stories in the book, from those about dragons and princesses, to space travel and life in the future, as well as dinosaurs.

Teacher Zoe Leonard, who led the project at the Chester based independent school, said: “This project has been extremely successful amongst our pupils; it has motivated more of them to write, and improved their confidence. We look forward to publishing more creative writing in the future in our ‘second edition’!”. You can purchase a copy of the book at, by searching for the book’s author: ‘Abbey Gate College Pupils’. A hard copy costs £9.99 and the Kindle edition is £4.99.

Abbey Gate College independent school Cheshire


On the evening of 21st April, students from independent school Abbey Gate College enjoyed a night at the Upper School Ball.

The event, held at the

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Queens Hotel in Chester city centre, had an Alice in Wonderland theme and was organised by members of the Sixth Form.

Members of the Upper Sixth who have applied to university had reason to celebrate with many receiving good news about their next step in education. All 35 students who have made university applications have received one or more offers and 23 received offers from all those universities to which they applied. 32 students received offers from four or more universities.

Seven students have accepted unconditional University offers and another eight unconditional offers were made.


Abbey Gate College independent day school Cheshire

On Friday 29th January Abbey Gate College welcomed four sporting superstars to launch the next phase of the major developments to the sports provision at the

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senior school site in Saighton.

Former England footballer Michael Owen, who is patron of the fundraising committee, was accompanied by Britain’s greatest ever female gymnast Beth Tweddle, Phil Roper who is a member of the GB Hockey Team and Andrew Small who achieved a bronze medal in the T33 100m sprint in Rio 2016.

Guests at the event heard Headmistress, Mrs Tracy Pollard, outline the sporting vision of the College and launch the next phase of the fund-raising efforts.  Mrs Pollard made reference to the benefits that sport can bring to students of all levels of ability and said: “Today marks an important point in our journey at Abbey Gate College in creating even better sporting facilities for the benefit of all our pupils, from the very youngest in Foundation Stage to the oldest in the Sixth Form.

“Our desire and vision is to extend the provision of sport for all age groups, all year round and to create a culture of being active, healthy and happy”.

After opening a new teaching and sports pavilion in June 2016, that comprises of a classroom/gym space, kitchen, changing facilities and state of the art gym, the College’s development committee are now aiming to raise funds to build an all-weather playing surface that will benefit all students at the College, as well as members of the local community.

The College boasts a number of alumni who have gone on to play sport at the highest levels, including football, sailing, equestrian, triathlon, rugby, rowing and netball. At the event the College staff, students and alumni present mixed with the guests and discussed how College had provided opportunities for students to develop as elite sports men and women and how the new pitch would help students who have similar ambitions.

Abbey Gate College celebrates its 40th anniversary from September 2017, and as the longest running co-educational independent school in the Chester area, it continues to make significant financial investment so all students to achieve their full potential.

If you would like to find out more about the fund-raising activities of the development committee or how you might contribute towards building these fantastic new facilities for the students and the local community, then please contact the Head’s PA Mrs Katie Simons .

Abbey Gate College independent day school Cheshire

Performance tables released by the Department for Education placed Abbey Gate College at the top of the table for Pupil Progress at A-level for all schools and

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colleges in Cheshire West and Chester, both state-maintained and independent.

The Pupil Progress result achieved in 2016 by Abbey Gate College not only placed the school top of all schools in the area, but placed the co-educational school second in the North West, and within the top 2% of all schools and colleges in England.

Measuring Pupil Progress is important as it is the clearest indicator of how much value a school adds to its pupils during their time in the Sixth Form.

Following GCSE results, a pupil’s expected A-level grades are determined. The actual grades achieved by pupils in their A-level exams at the end of the Upper Sixth are then compared to these initial expected grades, and the Pupil Progress is calculated as the difference between the two.

The Pupil Progress Score for Abbey Gate College was an outstanding 0.46, which effectively means that on average pupils achieved half a grade higher in their final A-level exams, than their initial predictions upon entering the Sixth Form.

A level students in 2016 at Abbey Gate College achieved the best results since 2011, with 69% obtaining a grade A* to B, a rise of 7.5% from 2015.

Amongst those celebrating the results were twins Tom and Catherine Reid, who obtained three A*s and two A* and one A respectively. The twins will both be attending Oxford University, Tom to read Mathematics and Catherine to read French and German.

Other notable successes were Henry Meadows obtaining A* and three As who will be attending Bath University from September, Douglas Connor-Webb achieving two A*s and an A to study Social Sciences at Durham University, Patrick Regan with one A* and three As going on to study Physics at Sheffield University, as well as Tom Gideonse who obtained one A* and two As who will be reading Mathematics at Bristol University.

Headmistress Mrs Tracy Pollard said: “We are delighted by the recent findings and the high pupil progress statistics. These results are a testament to the staff and are indicative of our high levels of teaching. Abbey Gate College is committed to identifying the strengths and areas of improvement of each child and nurturing them to enable them to reach their full academic and personal potential.”

Every year, Abbey Gate College nominate a charity that becomes the focus of its fundraising for the year and 2 years ago pupils at the

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College began raising money for Swazaid.  Via a number of events the College raised over £7000 and last month Deputy Head Mr David Meadows, Vice Chair of Governors Mrs Maria Heywood and Geography teacher and Bronze Duke of Edinburgh coordinator Mrs Sarah Parker travelled to Swaziland to discover how money raised had been spent and secondly to formalize a partnership between Milinzini High School and the College.

The first few days were spent getting used to the sights, sounds and environment around Mbabane, the capital city, before driving to the South of the country to meet up with staff and pupils from the High School.  The school is located at the top of a mountain, 1400m above sea level, and at the end of a long road.  The money raised by the College was actually used to fund a project to make the road safer and smoother for traffic as well as pedestrians, thus allowing not only traffic to move to and from the village but enabling the pupils an easier walk to school – some of whom walk for several hours to get to and from school.

Staff from the College were able to spend time visiting homesteads in the community where the children live, to assess the impact of the refurbished road and Sarah Parker comments “It was a truly humbling experience as we were invited into peoples’ homes and listened to their stories. All the locals were delighted with the road, women said they could now get their children to the clinic for vaccinations and checkups and many were sowing more crops as they will be able to get their produce to markets. Emergency hospital visits were now possible; we heard the tragic story of a Community Elders daughter who died in childbirth as she could not get to hospital. They were so grateful for the new road that the women in one homestead even gave us a live chicken! What little they have they share”.  The College also donated one of its football kits so that pupils at the school could compete against other schools in the area and as the picture shows the boys could not wait to try on the kit.

Staff were also able to accompany the pupils on a 2 day fieldtrip, funded by the Mbabane Rotary Club; most of the children had never been off the mountain so for them to visit the Swaziland Parliament, a shopping mall and an airport was literally a trip of a lifetime!

The College is looking forward to the next stage of the partnership, learning from each other, exchanging ideas and experiences whilst hopefully enabling some of our students to have the opportunity to experience Swaziland in the future.




A teenage soldier who was turned into a human fireball in a petrol bomb attack in Iraq has battled back to fitness to complete a

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staggering 126 marathons and was the guest of honour at the remembrance service at Abbey Gate College on the 11th November.  The moving service included 2 pieces of music from the College’s Concert Band (Contakion for the Dead and O God our help in ages past), a solo performance of Pie Jesu from Sixth Form student Ruby Hart and the last post and Reveille were played by Year 10 pupil Max Conyers.  The main part of the service was delivered by Karl Hinett who provided a short recollection of his story and the realities of war; following which he spent time with pupils across a number of year groups in History and PSHE lessons talking in more depth about his experiences.

Karl is pictured with the Heads of School (Joe Nicholson and Georgie Hook) and Deputy Heads of School (Will Stuart and Sophie Jones) ahead of the poppy wreath being placed at the war memorial in Saighton village.

Private Karl Hinett, from Dudley, West Midlands, was only 18 when he almost died during an operation in Iraq in 2005. He was inside a Warrior tank which was attacked by rioters during a raid on a jail in Basra, Iraq to free two undercover soldiers. An image of him rolling down the front of the tank covered in flames as he escaped from the tank made headlines around the world.

While the other four soldiers in the tank escaped serious injury, Private Hinett received 37 per cent burns. He underwent five years of gruelling skin grafts and operations at Selly Oak Hospital – now replaced by the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.  After being discharged from hospital he set himself the challenge of running an astonishing 200 marathons by the time he turns 30. He kicked off with the London Marathon in 2007, and after running 126 marathons in seven years, including events in Helsinki, Miami and Tokyo, he looks to be right on for his target.

Karl, 27, has already covered more than 6,650 miles across six continents, including marathons at both the North and South Pole. He has already raised over £50,000 for the burns unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in the process. He has also had attempted to climb Mount Everest with other wounded servicemen, training with Prince Harry who has become a true ambassador for wounded servicemen and women – though the mission had to be called off due to avalanche risks.

Karl comments,

“It’s really important that we mark the beginning of the First World War and take time to remember the millions of lives sacrificed during world conflicts. For many young people, it’s difficult to comprehend what war is like. Schools teach it in history lessons but for most of the school kids that I go in and talk to, the 1st and 2nd World Wars are several generations ago and sometimes hard to connect with.”

“The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts mean something to them – they’ve happened in their lifetimes and many of them know of someone who has served out in Iraq. But I also want to share a story of hope and triumph. I absolutely loved my job in the army and was devastated to have to leave. However, I feel incredibly lucky that I made it out of Iraq alive. My injuries have spurred me on to do something with my life that will make a difference. If I can inspire the kids that I talk to really follow their passion and not fear what others think of them, then I’m happy. I used to be really self-conscious about my scarring, but then I found a purpose and, although I hate it, I have a talent for running. Although I do sometimes wonder why I do it, running for The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, without whom I would not be here, spurs me on. I owe them my life and through my marathons, I hope I’m helping other people who need their incredible care and skill to get their lives back on track too.”

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