June 2017: Wordsmiths win £200 for school

WORD wizards from Haslingden High School’s Year 7 are the third best in the country.

They took part in a literacy competition ‘Word Mania’ where they were given a grid of 15 letters and had to create as many words of any length within three minutes.

The online challenge pitted school against school through an app and Year 7, 8 and 9 at Haslingden High School competed.

Top of the class was Charlotte Clements, 12, who got the most words out of the selection of letters.

She said: “This is a game that we play on our iPads in our spare time and sometimes in lessons. It helps you with your English and is a bit like a wordsearch, the faster you type correct words and the longer they are the more points you get.”

Rebecca Ormerod, 12, said the game had improved her spelling. She said: “When I would have a spelling test at primary school I would get 3/10 but now I have improved and I am getting 10/10.

“We compete in different age groups and for us we were against other Year 7s across the country.”

The wordsmiths won the school a trophy and £200.

Kalan Uddin, 12, said: “It is a simple game but when you play it draws you in and you want to beat your friends’ scores.”

June 2017: Team and individuals win in triathlon challenge

TRIATHLETES from Haslingden High School emerged victorious when the Year 8 team won their heat and three pupils also gained individual titles.

At Marl Pits, students from Years 7-10 competed against other Rossendale schools and the Year 8 team of Beth Macdonald, Emily Nuttall and Eilidh Aindow were victorious while Year 7 Charlotte Mounfield and Year 8s Beth Hartwell and Max Constant, all won.

They had to swim eight lengths of Marl Pits, complete 10 laps of a cycling course and then run five laps of the running track.

Beth Macdonald was only asked to join the team at the last minute and she was asked to complete the running stage.

Beth Hartwell said: “I liked the riding stage because I found it good fun and there was a really hard corner to get round, but I didn’t fall off.”

June 2017: Regional swimmers show their support for injured friend

TWO swimmers competing in the North West Regional Swimming Championships dedicated their efforts to their friend who was injured in the Manchester Arena attack.

Emblazoned across the backs of Mia Smith and Beth Hartwell from Haslingden High School was, ‘Get Well Soon Amy x x’.

Their friend Amy Barlow, 12, received injuries when a suicide bomber blew himself up at the end of the Ariana Grande concert. Amy, who required surgery for her injuries, is now back home and back at school on half-days.

She is a member of the swimming club Pioneer 79 based in Accrington where Mia, 11, from Helmshore, and Beth, 13, from Norden, both train for nine hours every week. The club has so far raised more than £1,000 for their appeal #swimforamy.

Mia’s mum Gill said: “Mia visited Amy twice on the children’s ward at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and went along after the regionals, at her mum’s request, to show Amy the medal she won.”

Mia said: “Amy is my best friend. Knowing that we were swimming for Amy made us want to swim even faster. Amy has been told that she can go back to swimming, but she is waiting for her wounds to heal.

“Competing in the regionals was a bit scary because it was really busy.”

At the Manchester Aquatic Centre, Mia competed in the 11-12 age group after qualifying for seven events. She went on to make three regional finals, all in breaststroke.

In 100m she was third in the North West, in 50m she was fourth, missing bronze by 0.2 of a second, and she was sixth in 200m.

Mia is now the 25th best breaststroke swimmer in the country for her age.

Beth said: “I was competing in the under 13s; I got personal bests and came in the top 10 in most of the heats.”

Reece Griffiths, 13, from Edenfield, was competing for the first time in the regionals and managed to get into two reserve finals.

Three swimmers, Mia, Caitlin Woodend, 12, and Emily Nuttall, 13, also competed in the Preston Gala

Caitlin, from Helmshore, swam in five events and achieved four personal best times and silver medals in 100m and 50m backstroke.

Emily got personal best times in all her swims Mia swam in four events and got a silver in 200m butterfly.

June 2017: Daisy rides her way into European team

HORSERIDER Daisy Cook has been picked as the England North representative for mounted games and will be riding in a European team.

In August she will not just be competing in the mounted games event in Scotland, but she will also be two show jumping classes at the Scope Festival in Oswestry.

Daisy, 12, a Year 7 student at Haslingden High School said: “I went to the Mounted Games Association British individual championships at Uttoxeter in Staffordshire and competed on my pony Anya.

“On the first day we had two sessions and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped but I got into the semi-final and I was 19th. Then on the next day I got loads of points and I got into the top seven and into the final.

“In the final I was up against people who were on the English and the Welsh teams and I finished fifth.

“I felt really happy because my pony had never competed in an individual event before so it was new to her.”

Daisy lives in Waterfoot where she keeps pony Anya who is 14, whom she has had for about a year and Elin Mai, who is 11 and she has had for nearly two-and-a-half years.

Daisy said: “I have been riding for about nine years and it is good because you get to meet lots of different people and you make new friends.

“I like being able to do mounted games and also show jumping because it means I get to do different things and I learn different skills.”

June 2017: CRICKETERS from Haslingden High School are the third best in Lancashire.

They won the Rossendale heat when they knocked for six teams from Alder Grange School and All Saints.

They then competed in Longridge against the best from the other boroughs and in their first three matches they won two and narrowly lost to Ormskirk, the eventual winners, 61-69.

In the semi-final they played Blessed Trinity from Burnley but lost by just five runs leaving the Haslingden team in third place.

Lucy Valentine, 13, said: “It was hard because they were the best teams from each of the different areas.”

The cricketers will be in action again at the Youth Games in Blackpool in July.

June 2017: Labour landslide in school election

A HIGH school’s mock-election went against the local trend by returning a Labour candidate with a landslide victory.

The Haslingden High School candidates were: Tarek Ahmed, Labour; Hannah Crook, Green; Katie Griffin, Liberal Democrat and Mia Halstead, Conservative.

The whole school got to experience polling day as the Sixth Form Theatre became a polling station with each student being given polling card to exchange for a ballot paper on the day.

They went into specially constructed booths to vote in secrecy before posting their ballot paper in a very authentic looking ballot box.

Tarek won with 817 votes, Mia was second with 238, then Katie 80 votes and finally Hannah with 47.

Both Tarek and Mia have been bitten by the politics bug and have now expressed an interest in getting to know more about the local political scene.

Head of Humanities Karen Powell, who was also returning officer to announce the result, said: “When you are voting for the first time it can be a daunting experience, but the whole process is such an important part of our democracy.

“In the debates we held the students asked good questions and we had a really good Sixth Form turnout. Overall around 90 per cent of students voted and we only had 36 spoilt ballots.

“I think a lot of young people felt the Brexit decision was made by the older generation, but it is their future that will be affected. They felt that the change was brought about by a generation who will not be influenced by it.”

Mia, 14, said: “I didn’t expect to get that many votes because people were telling me how they were going to vote Labour so I was pleased to get the support I did.

“Students in Year 9 are now starting to make their own decisions.”

Katie will be 18 in January and so next May’s local elections will be her first opportunity to vote.

She said: “Lowering the voting age should be considered, however some people will still be in school and some will just go off what their parents think.

“I followed social media on election day and so many young people were talking about how they had voted for Labour.”

Triumphant Tarek, 15, said: “When Hyndburn and Haslingden MP Graham Jones came round our house leafleting on election day I told him that I had won a landslide in the school election.

“When I got in from the Mosque at midnight, I managed to get some sleep between 1am and 2.30am, but then I just couldn’t stop watching the election outcome on TV until 6.30am.”

June 2017: Pendle climb for the Manchester attack victims

OUR Deputy Headteacher has enlisted the help of his running club to remember the victims of the Manchester attack by climbing Pendle Hill.

Haslingden High School’s Deputy Headteacher Russell Clarke is also a member of Clayton Harriers and he is planning the marathon climb from Friday June 9 starting at 4pm to Sunday June 11 finishing at 5.30pm.

He said: “We had 32 of our students who attended the Ariana Grande Concert at Manchester Arena on the Monday.

“My role in school is care, guidance and support and it has been an unimaginably difficult week for the students and their families as we have tried to support them in any way we can.

“What happened has affected individuals in many different ways and we hope that the money raised can help them through this traumatic time.

“This is our way of playing a small part in raising money for support for those who attended the concert and for their families.

“All money raised will go directly to the We Heart Manchester Fund and we hope it is used to help anyone who needs support, now or in the future.”

Already he has had eight volunteers who will be climbing the hill 22 times each and he is looking for more people to get involved.

Mr Clarke said: “I was going to run 22 miles for 22 days, I have done the London Marathon three times, completed a 63 mile ultra, the Yorkshire three peaks and part of a group of 6 that currently hold the team record for the national three peaks and felt that it was something I could do.

“With the help of an experienced fell runner and event organiser Garry Wilkinson the event it evolved and became 22 climbs of Pendle Hill; I did a practice and managed three consecutive climbs in two hours.

“Garry suggested getting sponsorship from businesses of £100 a leg and we are inviting everyone to get involved, runners, families and anyone who want to help raise money.

“Monday’s incident has affected so many people, from school children to grandparents and those from all walks of life.

“It has been amazing to see the united response from the local, national and global community and this is our way of showing our support.”

All participants will be responsible for themselves as there are no marshals. Each leg will begin from the Pendle Inn in Barley, BB12 9JX. The publicans have very kindly offered their support and their car park will be the base.

To get involved please like the Facebook page We Heart MCR Pendle 22 Challenge


June 2017: Who will win our own mini General Election?

ELECTION fever is gripping a Rossendale high school with four candidates battling it out for the popular student vote.

Haslingden High School will be holding a mock election to mirror the General Election and on the day – June 8 – a polling station will open at the school and all students will get the chance to experience casting their vote into the ballot box.

Candidates are: Tarek Ahmed, Labour; Hannah Crook, Green; Katie Griffin. Liberal Democrat; Mia Halstead, Conservative.

They are already on the campaign trail posting information around school to garner support and all the candidates have addressed student assemblies.

Hannah, 16 from Year 12, chose to support the Green Party because she believes their policies are the only sustainable ones.

She said: “The only party with future plans longer than five years are the Greens.

“Students should vote for us because we care about our future, we are not just for the rich, not just about getting back at the rich and not just talking about Brexit.”

In the blue corner is Mia, 14 from Year 9, who said her party was tackling the deficit and was making the right moves to fix the debt left by the previous government.

She said: “We are trying to welcome people into this country who want to help our society and work towards the good of the community and the country.

“We are fixing this country and by extension we are helping people and those that want to succeed in our society.”

In the red corner is Year 10 student Tarek, 15, who admitted he was a Corbynite first and foremost.

He said: “I am not all out Labour but I support Jeremy Corbyn, because he is more of a person than a politician and that is what we need in Downing Street, someone who speaks for the working classes.

“Vote Labour because we represent the millions, not just the millionaires.”

After half term the students will begin campaigning in earnest before Thursday’s election.

June 2017: Triple success for school footballers

FOOTBALLERS at Haslingden High School have enjoyed triple success with the girls, boys and staff teams all celebrating.

For the first time ever a team from the school – the U14s girls – won the football County Cup coming away with a shield and a medal each.

In the final, played at AFC Darwen, the side took on Archbishop Temple School from Preston.

Ellie Chattwood, 14, said: “At half time they were 2:1 up and we were all really panicked, a lot of us were losing hope and everybody was scared about what might happen.”

However team captain Beth Macdonald, 13, had clawed a goal back and knew how to motivate the side and told them all not to give up.

Once back on the pitch for the second 35 minutes Beth showed her prowess scoring a further three goals before a free kick gave Abby Clarke, 12, the chance to make it 5:2.

Lucy Valentine. 13, said: “The goals Beth scored were all from quite a distance and were really good. Then Abby scored another in the last 10 minutes.”

Beth said: “When they were 2:1 up, I turned to Lucy and said, ‘We are not losing this.’

“On a couple of occasions they came close to scoring, but our goalkeeper Jane Finlay, 13, made some amazing saves and kept them from scoring a lot more.”

The girls were not the only successful team at Haslingden High School. The Year 10 boys won the Rossendale Cup beating Whitworth Community High School 2:1 with goals from Isaac O’Neill and Joe Bedlow and the staff team matched that score line to defeat Derby High School in Bury.


June 2017: Ella scoops silver in hammer

ATHLETE Ella Hall won two medals in the Greater Manchester Athletics County Championship at Longford Stadium, Trafford.

The Year 8 student at Haslingden High School has been a member of Bury Athletics Club since she was nine and competed in the hammer, shot put and relay.

Ella, 13, from Edenfield, said: “I only took up the hammer about six months ago, before that I would compete in the pentathlon and mostly sprinting. In the final I managed to throw the hammer 17m 49cm, which got me a silver medal in the U15s.

“I also came fourth in the U15s shot final, but had been in third place until the last competitor managed to throw just 6cm further than I had done.

“There were hundreds of people competing.”

As a team, Ella helped Bury Athletics Club to third in the 4x100m relay.

She said: “One of my cousins was attending the athletics club and I wasn’t a member of any clubs so decided to give it a go and have not looked back.

“I train two to three times a week and I enjoy it because it is a bit of fun and social.”