Matt Rieley

This week we learned with enormous sadness of the passing of Matt Rieley. For three years Matt fought a determined battle against cancer, maintaining a level of cheerfulness and humour that made him an inspiration to everyone who met him. This picture captures the essence of Matt’s spirit and joie de vivre.

Matt stayed on after leaving school as part of the site team. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him, and he simply ignored any pain or discomfort he was in.

Throughout his time at Sackville Matt was an integral part of the technical crew which supported every show and performance we put on. During the performance of ‘Our House’ in the spring he was delighted to be able to come on stage dressed as a skeleton.

Matt’s easy-going and gregarious personality meant he had a wide circle of friends. The depth of affection felt for him is evident from the comments being left on his Facebook page.

Our community is immeasurably diminished with his passing. Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family. 

This  Mousetrap deserves to run and run!

Year 12 and 13 BTEC Performing Arts presented their final assessed piece of the year on May 10th – an abridged version of Agatha Christie’s long running masterpiece, The Mousetrap. And this one deserves to run and run too! The cast drew in the audience as if on a West End stage, and generated a palpable atmosphere of suspense.

We expect some very high marks of course. For Emmy, Cailean, Rhian, Hannah, Zohar, Alice, Ethan and Hope this was their last show of many at Sackville. For these year 13s we say thanks for all the indelible memories. To the whole cast and crew, we express our appreciation of a great show. Well done!

The clouds part just in time for the transit of Mercury

We were worried that the nice weather might have broken too soon, and although the clouds did roll in we still managed to observe the start of the transit of Mercury until around 1.45pm.

Over 50 students were able to see the tiny planet race across the surface of the Sun. What amazed them most was just how small it looked, and if this 4900km planet was 58 million km away from the Sun and STILL looked this tiny, the Sun must be HUGE. This is clear in the photo and provides a real sense of scale to our solar system. It was great to share this with students as the next time it will be this good is in 2049 – another teacher will have to run the session then!

The sun shines on year 10 Duke of Edinburgh students

The hottest weekend of the year so far was the occasion for the year 10 practice expedition for the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award.

Their route started in Bishopstone, outside Seaford, and led them up, along and over the South Downs to a campsite at Raylands Farm. Perfect weather allowed them to enjoy a fine sunset on Saturday and an early dawn on Sunday. Tea and breakfast were cooked on their Trangia stoves – you can never get enough food on an expedition.

Sunday saw them rise with the mercury up onto the Downs and down again to the welcome sight of the school vans ready to take them home.

Well done to the students and thanks to all those teachers who give up time to make it happen.

Sackville wins two awards from the School, Students and Teachers Network

We are delighted to announce that Sackville has two new awards from the School, Students and Teachers Network, the SSAT. The first is for being in the top 20% of schools for attainment at GCSE, and the second being for being in the top 20% of schools student progress at GCSE. In fact, we were in the top 12% of schools for student progress at GCSE. As a result of these awards, we have been invited by the SSAT to be a leading edge school.

It is very pleasing to have the hard work of our school community acknowledged by a body as well-respected as the SSAT. With the work our year 11 students and the school staff are putting in, we hope 2016 results will be even better!

These awards come at the same time as analysis from Oxford Analytics which confirms our student progress at A level is once again significantly above the national average.

Year 13 drama students sign off with astonishing view of a dystopian future

Year 13 drama students exceeded even the high standards set last year when they performed Romeo and Juliet. For A2, students have to devise, direct and perform their own play. Theirs was an intense and action packed 30 minutes of theatre set in a dystopian near-future in which people are controlled by technology through their mobile devices. If the audience reaction is a guide, these students should be getting high marks come the summer.

Last year our A2 drama results were the seventh best in the country given the students’ starting points, and it looks like they might well be again.

Young scientists build bridges with chocolate

The Year 7 Science Club has been hard at work looking at the physics of bridges – using bars of chocolate! First they looked at the mass that a single bar of chocolate could support. Then a box girder was made with four bars, and they tested to see if it could take four times the mass. The single bar had broken with a mass of 367 grammes, whilst the box girder didn’t fail until a mass of in excess of 2,500 grammes was loaded upon it – far more than four times what one bar could hold.

Students discussed the reasons why the box girder was so much stronger – and then they ate the chocolate!

Who knows, in seven years’ time some of these students might be studying civil engineering at university (then they’ll know it’s all down to the second moment of area!).

Silver Duke of Edinburgh Weekend

Our year 12 Duke of Edinburgh students must have looked at Friday’s weather forecast with some trepidation. The predicted heavy showers arrived just as they were leaving school. This was real rain (the underpass flooded again) and it didn’t really stop till they reached their campsite at Broadstone Warren.

Pitching tents in the rain is never fun, but this group were still smiling long after it got dark as they set about lighting their Trangias and cooking a meal. At least the inside of the tents were dry.

The weather improved by breakfast time on Saturday, but shortly after departure showers set in and the students’ waterproof clothing was once again tested.

The groups, navigated across Ashdown Forest during the showers, and are camping tonight at Ashdown School in Crowborough. Luckily there is a gazebo there under which the teams can cook their second evening meal.

A cold night meant sleep was difficult and the students awoke to a sharp frost. Sleep had been further punctuated by a police helicopter in the small hours.

All of this (apart perhaps from the nocturnal helicopter) is perfect preparation for their assessed expedition in July in the New Forest. The real expedition will include an additional night’s camp in the wild.

Sackville U16 win the Newman Memorial Cup

In their last game together the Sackville U16 rugby team won a sportingly contested fixture against Imberhorne to capture the Newman Memorial Cup. Both teams played in a friendly yet competitive way as befits the fixture. This time Sackville ran out winners – a fitting finale for a group of boys who have been a credit to Sackville throughout their rugby careers at school. We hope they continue to play as they get older as the boys have real talent.

More rugby news …

Congratulations to former student Jamie Ure, who has been selected again to play rugby for Scotland U19s. Second row Jamie who finished sixth form at Sackville in the summer of 2015, plays for Worthing RFC. This picture, from the Littlehampton Gazette, shows Jamie scoring for Worthing earlier this year.

For the PE staff at Sackville seeing Jamie drive for the line was a familiar experience. Well done Jamie!

Christopher Cooney was also a promising rugby player a few years before Jamie. One day on leaving the rugby pitch he reported a loss of feeling in his leg. Tragically this turned out to be the result of an inoperable brain tumour. Chris sadly passed away in 2012, in touching distance of achieving his ambition of getting to medical school.

Overlooking the rugby pitches at school which he had graced so often we planted a willow (his favourite tree) in his memory. We also play a memorial game each year against Imberhorne School for the Chris Cooney Cup.

This year it was something of a one-sided affair, with Imberhorne running out victors by 55 points. The margin would not have been so large in Chris’ playing days! Well done to Imberhorne for the victory and to both teams for marking once again the memory of the remarkable young man.

Year 7s are District Football Champions!

Congratulations to our year 7 boys who have beaten Warden Park 4-1 in the final of the District Cup, with goals from Ben Aubrey (3) and Joe Sheridan.

Sackville restricted Warden Park to just a few shots on goal throughout the match. A disciplined performance from all players started with a well marshalled defence led by Captain Joe Sheridan. The midfield was dominated by hat-trick hero and man of the match Ben Aubrey, who was a constant threat with surging runs, terrier like tackling and clinical finishing. Oliver Ally delivered telling crosses and in particular corners for Ben to finish off. At half time the match was finely balanced at 1-1.

Charlie Stone’s introduction just after half time saw him fizz around the Warden Park defence, never giving them a moment on the ball. This lifted the team to the next level and the second half was a fairly one sided affair. Congratulations to all boys that have been involved in the squad this season. To achieve a record of played 15 and won 14 is truly outstanding. As Mr Carrick leaves us for pastures new, what a lovely way to send him off.


 Term dates 2016-17

You can find our term dates for next academic year, 2016-7, here. Please note that next year the holiday dates for Sackville and other West Sussex schools are not always the same as those for Surrey, East Sussex and Kent.


For any child protection and safeguarding enquiries contact Mr D Hayden. You can view the safeguarding policy here.


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