Big Spell:  this term, John Hanson will compete in their very own spelling bee during tutor time!

Pupils will learn a range of skills to help them learn spellings from tricky and confusing homophones to more complex and unusual subject specific vocabulary to help support their development at Key Stage 4 and in preparation for further education and employment.

At the culmination of this learning, all pupils will be challenged to take part in a spelling bee competition with rewarding prizes going to the individuals and tutor groups that get the highest score.

Big Speak: students will hone their Speaking & Listening skills through discussion based tasks in tutor time, later this year,  that will help develop their learning in lessons.  This will link to global issues and our work in PSHE lessons including British Values and Citizenship.


On Friday 14th, January pupils from the Andover area were invited to Harrow Way School to take part in the annual Rotary Youth Speaks Competition, and for Year 8 students Ellen Stamper, Oskar Ciesieczuk, and Jess McInnes it was their first foray into public speaking.

The standard was as high as ever, with teams from Test Valley, Harrow Way, Rookwood and John Hanson schools competing to go through to the next round of the public speaking competition organised by the Rotary Club.

The presentations produced some thought-provoking and entertaining subjects to be aired in the auditorium of Harrow Way, and proved to be well researched and presented with enthusiasm and conviction.

Subjects ranged from the role of the media, hobbies, curiosity and the widely debated question: are books better than films?

While all the main speakers did their teams proud, we were particularly proud of Oskar Ciesieczuk, who captivated the audience with his natural, easy and confident delivery.

Without referring to notes he used humour to good effect as he built a strong rapport with the listeners while investigating how well the film versions of our favourite reads translate onto the silver screen.  His conclusion was that, whilst big blockbusting films play an important part in encouraging many people to pick up a book, the books are always better!

Jess McInnes, our Proposer of the Vote of Thanks, however, was a staunch advocate of films – despite Oskar’s interesting arguments.  Jess’ knowledge and passion for the subject allowed her to remark upon Oskar’s ideas in a clear, concise and controlled manner which earned her the award for ‘Best Proposer of the Vote of Thanks.’

Finally, we send special congratulations to Ellen Stamper, Chair Person of the John Hanson team whose enthralling, engaging and enthusiastic speeches headed up a very talented team.

PIC3Unfortunately, the John Hanson team were bested by their peers from Rookwood. However, Miss Hookey, English Teacher and Literacy Coordinator, said “We are so proud of the hard work, commitment and dedication that Ellen, Oskar and Jess put in to preparing for the Youth Speaks Competition, and I look forward to working with them in preparation for next year’s competition.”

PIC4Big Write: following last summers hugely successful ‘Victorious’ writing competition, the Big Write will return this spring/summer.  Last year, students competed to win prizes such as: trips to Parliament, vouchers, signed books and exclusive access to the Lynx helicopter training facility at Middle Wallop, as well as all going to the London Science museum for a private screening in the IMAX theatre.

In order to run such a prestigious writing competition, we need your help! Literacy co-ordinators: Beth Hookey and Anna Hall, are keen to hear from local businesses who like to get involved by either judging or donating a prize

To get in contact with us please email on:

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the following people, who without their generous support last years Big Write wouldn’t have been such a success:

Our judges: Bryan Beggs, Charlotte Bullimore, Gill Coward, Juliana Farha, Cathy Hookey, Helen Jackman, Sarah Kitching, Tracey Preston,  Ben Tallon, John Taylor and Judi Weston.

Our sponsors: Adecco, Andover Frames , Be Wiser Insurance, Finkley Down Farm, The Hawk Conservancy, Just Bikes, Sainsbury’s, Science Museum (London), Tesco, Thruxton Race Track, Waterstones, as well as our Governor’s David Weston, Ian Morrison and Sara Falk.

PIC5On Friday 15th of January, JHCS hosted the first stage of the Little Big Write competition.  We welcomed  Balksbury Year 6 pupils, who were utterly brilliant.  Pupils experienced a  creative writing session where they worked alongside some John Hanson Year  7.  The mix of pupils was fantastic and the shared writing activities produced some truly wonderful story openings.   Our Balksbury friends planned  ideas for writing based upon the theme of Victory.  Back at  Balksbury, the Year 6 pupils are writing  a short (350 words) story. This story will be entered in to the Little Big Write and winners will be judged during their return visit on 29th January.  We are ooking forward to seeing the Year 6 back at JHCS and reading all their entries for this year’s Little Big Write.

A flavour of what the Year 6 writers wrote:

Mark and Harry

Isabelle lifted the heavy, dark, mysterious chest to discover a glowing pit.
Jumping back with shock, Isabelle curiously peered down to the unknown. Heart
racing, she closed her eyes and leaped…A swirling sensation surrounded her
body, enclosing her in sparkly dust. What would she find and, more importantly,
would she survive?

Libby, Jade, Ellie

As dark as Hell, ash clouds filled the air with a smoky atmosphere.

The volcano erupted like a tsunami of lava, smashing into the city of trees
below. The rumble of the volcano’s anger got so loud that it shot lava all over
our town. Boom and a monster’s arm came out the ground. Worryingly, she opened
the box with a petrified, frightened and fearful face. Scared, worried and
fearful, we ran away from the volcano, about to spew its contents on the land

Ruby, Georgia

The howling wind blushed against their faces as they continued with the
treacherous journey. They had to keep going. Shielding their eyes from the
golden sand, they picked-up pace as they could hear a loud trembling sound
behind them. They knew what it was but they daren’t turn back.

Ed, Sky, Ben

As she opened the webbed box, the light blinded her. She was shocked as to how
deep the chest was, full of gold, until she realised it was just her wonderful
imagination. It was unfortunate as she got so excited. She thought she was in
for a treat. She laid back in disappointment.

Alex, Bertie, Megan

Over there. It was glistening through the trees. I slowly shuffled towards it.
I knelt down, wondering what on earth could shine so bright. I opened it and

George, Joe

Crawling cautiously out of the tent, the man was petrified; he stood as still
as a tree. Roarrr! What was that? The lion gritted his teeth. He was angry,
aggravated and vicious!

Ani, Leyanna

The contents of the chest shined as bright as the sun. Excitedly, she unlocked
the lid, opened it and, inside, found a majestic, flying unicorn. Peering into
the glistening chest, the girl gazed into the sparkling eyes of the unicorn.
Gracefully, the marvellous unicorn fluttered its wings. She stared in

Phoebe, Shannon, Sophie

Opening the case had brought back so many memories; I felt as if I was home
again. I had been in the dark so long, the light seemed comforting. As I opened
it once more, the birds stopped their merry song and the atmosphere suddenly
felt tense and strange. I froze in shock…

PIC6Big Read: in the autumn  term KS3 were involved in reading challenges across their tutor sessions.

In the summer term last year, our new Year 7s were given a free copy of The Jungle book to read at home over the summer ready for exciting cross-curricular links in Humanities, Science, Languages, Creative and Performing Arts, Technology and English lessons.

Whilst Year 8 chose their own adventure, Year 9 delved  into murder mystery.

Staff were also getting involved in the Big Read and were snapped reading their favourite books from our Learning Resource Centre; can you guess who is who and win the prize? Deadline for entries: 23rd October

Winners of the competition:  Seren and Mason from year 8!

Spot the staff competition

Other literacy initiatives currently happening at JHCS:

  • All year 7 and 10 students were tested for their reading and spelling ages at the beginning of the academic year, to enable class teachers to tailor their literacy support within their classroom

wildernWe are working with Wildern School, in Hedge End, on developing extended writing opportunities across the curriculum in both schools.

  • Mrs Hall is about to embark on an ETC Alliance/ HIAS collaboration on improving progress in spelling.

At John Hanson, we aim to encourage students to develop a love of reading and an appreciation for literature. As such, we host several special events during the year, after school, for pupils in all year groups to help foster an enjoyment and enthusiasm for reading.  Moreover, these events encourage students to work in collaborative groups to develop their literacy skills through various themed activities.

Year 7 – Harry Potter Book Night

In celebration of the International Harry Potter Book Night Year 7 pupils are invited to attend an evening of wizarding fun, frolics and Chocolate Frogs!  Moreover, the event will encourage students to work in collaborative groups to develop their literacy skills through various Harry Potter themed activities.

railhead                  Year 8 – Railhead by Philip Reeve Book Night

After taking a break from science fiction to write ‘Goblins’, ‘Here Lies booksArthur’ and ‘No Such Ting as Dragons’ to name a few, Phillip Reeve, author of the award winning Mortal Engines series, returns with a new sci-fi adventure – ‘Railhead’.  Pupils in Year 8 are invited to jump on board for a night of fun exploring this exciting new text.

Year 9 – Divergent by Veronica Roth Book Nightdivergent

In celebration of the success of the ‘Divergent Trilogy’ by Veronica Roth, we will be hosting a Divergent Book Night.  All Year 9 pupils are invited to attend an evening of ‘Faction’ related fun!

Year 10 – Murder Mysteries Night

Coming Soon!

Year 11 – 16 Books to Read Before You’re 16

How many of the BBC’s Top 100 Books have you read?  Well, we’ve whittled it down to the top 16 and challenge our more mature students to attempt to read them all before they’re 16! The evenings evens aim to introduce students to a range literature from the 20th and 21st centuries covering a range of diverse, inspiring and sometimes controversial topics.  It is hoped that the evening will foster a love of reading in our students and an engagement with literature as an alternative view of the world in which we live.  Moreover, the event will mark the beginning of a special reading challenge: each pupil will be loaned a copy of a book from our list and encouraged to work collaboratively with other members of the group to swap and share books on the list throughout the academic year.

Many thanks to all our supporters and sponsors that donated books to this cause.


Literacy Posters







You can view the Literacy Mats here:



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