Since opening in September 2013, Lime Tree Primary School, part of the GLF schools group, has been based in temporary premises at Alexander Road in Reigate. However, work has now begun at the new permanent site, on Battlebridge Lane, Merstham.
From the start of the 2015 autumn term, the newly-established Nursery and Reception classes will be based at the new site, with Years One and Two to follow in January 2016.
Deputy Head Teacher Claire Williamson said the new building was a major development in the school’s brief history. “Seeing the start of the build has been a momentous and exciting occasion for Lime Tree School,” she explained. “The energy, vision and enthusiasm of so many people connected with Lime Tree and the GLF School family has been rewarded in seeing the building start.”
“It has been wonderful experience for the children in the School Council to witness the very beginnings of the build and for everybody to celebrate at school during a special assembly involving balloons and lots of cake!”
Pupils from Glyn School in Ewell found themselves close to the action in one of the most high-profile court cases of the year recently on an outing to the Supreme Court in Westminster.
Demand to go on the trip was so high, with nearly 50 applicants, that the trip had to be made over two visits, and in the course of their tour round the Parliament Square offices, pupils got to look in on proceedings in the inquiry into the death of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinienko.
“At Glyn we teach Law A Level, so this wasn’t just a fun day out, it was a deeply practical part of the pupils’ study, which is why so many of them were so keen to come,” explained trip organiser Sophie Walmsley, the school’s head of Law.
“They also had a chance to take part in a mock trial in one of the appeal courts, with the group taking all the roles, and where necessary they even dressed up in the proper gowns and wigs – the surroundings made the subject come alive in a way you can never hope
to equal in a classroom.”
After the mock trial, other highlights of the trip included sitting in on real proceedings in the Royal Court of Justice and also a hearing involving five Supreme Court Justices discussing the Human Rights Act.
“This was an amazing opportunity for the students and I know they really enjoyed it,” Ms Walmsley added. “It would be wonderful to think that one day, some of them might even find themselves working there in legal capacities.”
Pupils at Windmill Primary School in Wokingham will never again have an excuse to complain that they are bored following a remarkable fundraising effort by the school’s parents.
Having only been open four terms, Windmill has a small student body, but already the Friends of Windmill Primary School (FOWP) have banded together to raise £1000 - £500 of which was donated by local firm TaxCalc, Acorah Software Products Ltd - specifically to be spent on books for the school library.
“We’re all readers ourselves, and we want to pass that love of books on to our children, so we decided the library was the project we wanted to focus on,” said parent and fundraiser Lynne Simmonds. “Of course the library already has the essentials, but we wanted to build
on it and make it into a really lovely facility. £1000 was always our long-term goal, but we never thought we’d reach it so early.”
The fact the school has only been open such a short time makes the industry of the Friends all the more impressive, but Mrs Simmonds said the fact they were building a new school community from scratch gave them an extra incentive. “Windmill’s such a special place, it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to establish a new school family and it shows in how much work people have put in with the Friends,” she explained.
“We’re a small group but we’re always open to new members joining us and bringing in fresh ideas. It’s hugely rewarding, and it’s not often you get the opportunity to build a community like this, but the success of this fundraising scheme proves just what a good start we’ve made.”
Adults in picture (left to right): Karen Esson (FOWP), James Baston (FOWP), Lynne Simmonds (FOWP) and Mrs Homer (Executive Head Teacher, Windmill Primary).
Half-term may have been time off for pupils at Cuddington Croft, but for a group of hardy volunteers, that was when the work started as they gave up their free time for the school’s very own DIY SOS.
The primary school in Cheam has just had a new library built, and before half-term an appeal was put out in the school newsletter for people willing to give up their time to help get it closer to completion by decorating it during the mid-term break.
“It was a wonderful effort,” said head teacher Scott Maclean. “On Saturday morning, we took delivery of huge shipment of boxes of fixtures and fittings – there were 155 from Ikea alone, as well as other suppliers. Fortunately our appeal for helpers had been a great
success, and we had members of staff, parents and even one former pupil who turned up and spent the whole day working incredibly hard, so that in just over six hours, we’d managed to put everything together and have it in place.”
The next step is to get the shelving attached to the walls of the new building, and once that is done safely, then the school can begin the process of transporting the books from the old building to the brand new facility.
“We’re all extremely excited about it,” said Mr Maclean. “The library project has been part of school life for quite a while now – the PTA have made a great contribution towards fitting it out, and the pupils have been able to watch it go up over the last few months. Now, we’re close to being able to actually use it. It’s going to be a wonderful addition to the school and will really enrich the children’s learning experience.”
Not many classrooms play host to a gymnast, a free-runner, a Thai boxer, a snowboarder and an author in the same day, but that’s what happened recently at Hillcroft School in Caterham – and they were all the same person.
Marcus Alexander, whose Keeper of the Realms books are published by Puffin, is just about as far from the stereotypes of a children’s author as it is possible to get, and his high-adrenalin lifestyle and remarkable tales of his travels around the world – as well as those he has written – had his audience spellbound.
“Marcus was extremely enthusiastic about writing, and the children were fascinated by his stories of all the places he’d been and amazing experiences he’d had,” said Year Six class teacher Ali Short, who oversaw his visit. “As well as that, we had a practical writing exercise where he set up the context of Keeper of the Realms books and then encouraged the children to write their own version – they came up with some wonderfully creative pieces.”
Since his visit, the author has kept contact with the school, tweeting messages of encouragement to the pupils he met to help them stay engaged with reading and writing – not that they needed much help after having such a dynamic visitor.
“Meeting Marcus and hearing his stories has had a great impact on the pupils,” said Mrs Short. “He’s such an energetic character, with such a love of words, that it’s hard for them not to get caught up in it. It’ll be great to keep that enthusiasm alive in the classroom.”
Pupils at the Glyn School in Ewell have won praise from the Department for Education for their outstanding exam results – for the third year running.
Minister of State for Schools David Laws MP sent a letter to the school’s executive head teacher Jon Chaloner titled ‘Your Excellent 2014 Key Stage 4 Results’, praising the school for its high percentage of pupils achieving five or more A*-C grades at GCSE subjects including English and Maths.
It is the third year in a row that Glyn School has received a government letter of commendation, and the consistency of that performance means Glyn is now ranked the 59th ranked non-selective school in the whole of England.
“The success of our students is obviously what teaching is all about, and their results bear out how successful they have been, so to receive external recognition like this is just the icing on the cake,” said Mr Chaloner.
“They’ve worked so hard, they deserve all the success and praise that they receive, and it’s also a huge credit to the dedication and hard work of the staff that teach them. To receive a letter like this three years in a row shows the consistency of their efforts in encouraging
and inspiring the pupils to be the best they can. Of course the challenge now is to keep these levels up four years in a row, but I’m confident it’s one that the staff and pupils will be up to.”
Families are being given the chance to have a free photo shoot by a professional photographer in the Vancouver Quarter ahead of Mother’s Day.
The pop up studio will be situated next to Costa Coffee and opposite Wilkinson on New Conduit Street and will run from 11am to 4pm on Saturday, March 7.
People are being encouraged to book a slot on the Vancouver Quarter’s website to avoid disappointment. Participants will be able to download their pictures from the shopping centre’s website and have photos printed in time for Mother’s Day.
“Following the success of our free Valentine’s photo shoot, we felt it would be brilliant to be able to offer families a chance to get together to celebrate their bond ahead of Mother’s Day,” Abbie Panks, centre manager, said. “It’s another great opportunity for people to have their photo taken for free. Snappy Snaps is also offering a special discount on all prints if you show your Vancouver Quarter Discount Card.”
To discover more visit www.vancouverquarter.com
Parents at Springfield Primary School in Sunbury have been finding themselves being the
ones with homework to do after the school launched a 10-week Parenting Programme for the parents and carers of pupils.
In just its first few weeks, the Parenting Puzzle course has already had 11 people sign up to take part in a course of talks and social activities to help people master the often challenging task of parenting, share ideas and pick up tips in an informal, social environment.
The course is being run by the school’s Family Support Worker Carol Sewell, and she said the way there had been such a strong response so quickly showed what a valuable role the classes were playing.
“This is such a good idea, so it’s wonderful to see so many people wanting to come forward and be part of it,” she explained. “It’s all done in a very friendly, informal way, with socialising playing a big part, and that makes it a very effective way of communicating and picking up new ideas from one another about the job they’re doing as parents and carers, and ways to do it even more effectively and successfully. It’s very easy to feel on your
own and isolated when you’ve got young children to deal with, so these classes provide a great forum for people to come together and learn from one another, as well as from us, and to go away feeling more informed and confident – and also feeling that they’ve had a good time.”
Anyone interested in joining the course, which is free of charge, can obtain more information from the school office.
The Enchanted Forest-themed library at Cordwalles School has been a big hit with pupils since it opened, but recently it won praise from a very different quarter after it was featured on the education section of the Guardian newspaper's website, in a photo gallery of inspirational school libraries around the world.
Subtitled 'a look at inventive spaces to get children excited about books', the school's astroturfed library, complete with fairy toadstool-type seating, was featured alongside pictures of radical modern architecture and designs from as far away as Los Angeles and Melbourne. The room was described as: 'having a magical feel, with a working water feature and birdsong sound effects'.
Head teacher Daryl Power said he was thrilled at such an acknowledgement for the efforts the school had made to inspire children's desire to learn. "We put a lot of effort into giving the school a makeover last year, so to be recognised in this way is a wonderful surprise and something in which everyone associated with the school should take huge pride," he said.
"A national newspaper has looked all around the world for the most inspiring designs, and one of them is in our school - that's a huge honour, and has put Cordwalles on the map in a spectacular way. Since the article, we have been contacted by schools and children’s organisations from around the country asking how we transformed our library and it is so exciting to think we might be having an impact in other children’s lives"
"I hope it sends out the message that education isn't just about books and lessons, it's about stimulating children's brains in any way you can. That's certainly what we're trying to do here, and it's a great feeling to know that it's been acknowledged."
Students at Glyn School in Ewell were paying particular attention to the weather forecast and warnings of severe wintry weather conditions recently as they had a week of events to raise funds and provide practical assistance for London’s street sleepers and homeless population.
Students in Abbey, Merton and Tudor Houses helped the work of Hammersmith-based charity St Mungo’s Broadway through fund-raising events such as a charity hat day, running a lunchtime soup kitchen, setting up a Just Giving page accessible through the school website, and collecting unwanted warm clothing which was donated to the charity to help its work.
“There’s always a surge of interest in charities around Christmas so it’s very easy to overlook the fact that these problems exist at other times too,” said Head of School, Mr Keary.
“That’s why we were so keen to do this specific project at this time of year - to make the students realise that – and the enthusiasm and genuine interest and concern they’ve shown in St Mungo’s and its work is wonderful.
"Awareness of social issues and encouraging students to care about the community they live in is a big part of our role as educators, so I’m really proud of the fact that they’ve responded so well and also helped make a big difference to the lives of those vulnerable people who need our help the most.”
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