Year Five pupils from Warlingham Village school took a walk on the wild side recently when they attended an end-of-term outward bound course at the Grosvenor Hall centre in Kent.
Under the guidance of teacher Mark Tinsley and two other members of staff, the group of 28 pupils spent three days in the Kent countryside, taking on challenges such as rock climbing, building robots, studying wildlife and conditions in and around the local river, and team-building exercises involving stacking crates as high as possible and then climbing to the top.
“Although outward bound suggests just physical activities, the children dealt with all kinds of things on this trip,” said Mr Tinsley. “On the way to Grosvenor Hall, our first port of call was the Charles Dickens World exhibit in Chatham, where they got to learn about his life and the era he was working in.
"Once we got to our destination, they were thrown straight into the thick of things, taking on a whole host of new challenges, many of which were unfamiliar to them, so it was a real education in every sense of the word. The value of these kind of experiences is how new the projects are to almost everyone – it means no-one’s at an advantage, and everyone starts on an even footing.”
For those with any energy left, there was an orienteering word search challenge, before a thoroughly deserved pool party. “The feedback I’ve had from the children has been fantastic – clearly they had a wonderful time,” said Mr Tinsley. “They’ve said how this gave them the chance to have a go at activities they’d never tried before – and discover that they can do them. That’s exactly what we were hoping to get out of it.”
Pupils from Danetree Junior School in West Ewell took to the stage of the Epsom Playhouse this week to tell a paying audience how hard and miserable their lives are – as parents and teachers looked on proudly.
The reason for this is because the Danetree choir were singing ‘It’s a hard knock life’ from popular musical Annie, as they joined musicians and singers from other local schools performing at the annual Epsom and Ewell Schools’ Music Festival.
Under the instruction of Year Six teacher Mrs Chaffe, selected members of the school’s 40-strong choir took part in the performance, and the others, from all age groups at the school, will be given their chance during a busy schedule of performances throughout the academic year.
“The choir is something we’re really proud of here at the school,” said head teacher James Broad. “Encouraging performing activities is a character-building experience for the children and really boosts their confidence, so the opportunity to get up and sing at a venue like the Playhouse is not only a thrill for them, but has a really positive impact on their schooling too.”
The choir puts on a regular fund-raising Christmas carol service at Epsom’s Ashley Centre, raising money for local causes such as the Princess Alice Hospice and Epsom Hospital, and for anyone who enjoyed or missed their performance at the Playhouse, they can been seen in action again on 27 April, when they perform at the Dorking Halls as part of the Surrey Arts Music Festival.
Parents in Reigate and Banstead who have children going to secondary school in the next few years are being urged to give their backing to proposals by GLF Schools to open a new school in the borough.
Local primaries in the borough have already had to create additional capacity to deal with current numbers of pupils, so it is clear that the secondary school system will also have to be ready to accommodate those students in the coming years. That is why the Surrey-based academy group hopes to be given approval to open a new co-educational secondary school for children aged 11 to 16 in 2017.
GLF Schools is a multi-academy trust created in 2012 when Glyn School and Danetree Junior School formalised their partnership which began in 2010. Subsequently, GLF Schools has grown steadily and now includes 12 primary and secondary schools across Surrey and Berkshire, with plans for more schools to join, including Salfords Primary School in July 2015.
GLF Schools is experienced in setting up schools from scratch having opened two brand new primary schools in 2013, one in 2014 and a new primary school to be opened in Croydon in September 2015. GLF Schools is fully aware of the pressures for families’ school entry issues in Reigate and Banstead, having opened Lime Tree Primary School in conjunction with Surrey County Council in September 2013.
Lime Tree Primary is currently located at Alexander Road in Reigate, until its new purpose-built facilities on Battlebridge Lane in Merstham are completed by the end of this year. The working name of the new secondary school is Lime Tree High School to show that the new
school would be working alongside the GLF school in the area.
"GLF Schools’ structure means that each school has its own headteacher, governing body and control of its finances. Decisions are made by each school for each school whilst enjoying being part of a wider organisation,” Jon Chaloner, the Executive Headteacher of GLF Schools, said.
"This allows each school, from the most long-established to the newest, to learn from one another’s experiences and share ideas, whilst also running themselves and organising their children’s learning in the way most suited to their location and community needs.
"The process of applying to set up a new school via the government’s Free School programme means that the location would not be finalised until the bid is approved, but should our proposals be successful Lime Tree High School would, ideally, be located in an area equally accessible from Merstham, Redhill and Reigate.
"Secondary and special school headteachers in the area and officers at Surrey County Council have given their support to GLF’s proposals, but in order for the application to be successful we are now launching our plans to the wider public in order to prove that future local parents would support the introduction of a new secondary school in the area.
“Parents, especially but not exclusively, of children in Year 4 (2017 entry) and Year 3 (2018 entry) who are interested in the proposal and any other members of the community seeking further information are invited to visit www.limetreehighschool.org where they can register their interest and contact the GLF Schools team."
Children can decorate ceramic egg cups and wooden bird boxes as part of free activities being held in the Vancouver Quarter on Easter Saturday.
The shopping centre has teamed up with Paint Me Ceramics and Craft Studio to host the workshops on April 4 next to Costa Coffee and opposite Wilkinson on New Conduit Street.
There will be four egg cup decorating sessions, starting at 10.30am, 11.30am, 1pm 2pm, but centre manager Abbie Panks has stated that places need to be booked in advance as there are only limited places available.
“Our workshops on Easter Saturday will be ensure kids have a cracking time in the heart of King’s Lynn,” she said. “They are designed to bring some fun to the town centre but will also give parents some free activities to do with their children whilst also supporting the town centre.
“Please don’t delay in making your booking for the ceramic egg cup workshop as we anticipate these four sessions being fully booked up in the days leading up to Easter. No booking is needed for the wooden bird box workshop, which will run from 10.30am to 4pm, but there are only a limited number of boxes available so it’ll be first come, first served on the day.”
Budding Brian Coxes at Lime Tree Primary School in Reigate had a chance to show off their talents recently as the school organised a Science Night event for Year One pupils and parents.
More than 40 families came along to the hands-on event, organised by teacher Clare Barker, with the Year One classrooms being divided up into three themed areas – space, the dark room, and wonders of science – each hosting up to 10 experiments.
Topics up for investigation included finding out what solution an egg would float in, how to create different coloured lights and how to make a light bulb work in a circuit so that the children could send a light signal into space.
The climax of the show came when visitor Tom Holloway, science teacher from Hillcroft Primary School - another in the GLF schools group, of which Lime Tree is part – demonstrated how rockets work, and showed exactly how by letting some off.
“It was a wonderful success,” said Mrs Barker. “For an out-of-hours event in the evening, we had a really good turn-out and the children were really keen to get involved and show off to their parents what they’ve been learning. Making it so hands-on was obviously a big
attraction for the children, and we’ve had some really enthusiastic, appreciative feedback."
Unsurprisingly, it was the rockets that proved the star attraction. “You can never go far wrong with something like for keeping children entertained - and the great thing is that they learned something from it too,” said one satisfied parent.
Parents at Wheatfield Primary School in Winnersh can rest assured their children are receiving an all-round education in mind and body after a weekly Multi-Sport club was established – and promptly filled by eager would-be athletes.
The club takes place from 3.30-4.30pm each Wednesday and is overseen by Berkshire company Get Active Sports. So far 15 children from Sunflower Class have registered to take part and have had the chance to try their hands at dodge ball, football, tag rugby, hockey and basketball.
“Multi-Sport is a really welcome addition to what we can offer at the school,” said executive head teacher Bev Homer. “The coaches really inspire the children to want to get involved and try new things. Physical activity is obviously important and to be encouraged from the health and exercise point of view, but it’s also really good that they’re being offered the chance to try out new activities like hockey and tag rugby, which they’re less likely to have encountered at such a young age. That means everyone is starting on an equal footing, which can be a real help for children who are maybe less confident about
Wheatfield Primary has only been open since last September, so Mrs Homer admitted that introducing something like Multi Sports was a bit of an experiment – but fortunately one that has turned out to be a great success. “The response we’ve had so far shows that there’s a real appetite for these kind of activities in the school, so I hope it’s something we can continue with as we grow and expand in the future.”
Pupils at the Glyn School in Ewell are making an urgent plea for financial help after they were offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to South Africa to represent the United Kingdom – in an international robot building competition.
Members of the school Computing Clubs recently competed in the National Finals of the First Lego League, a competition which uses Lego-based robots to complete real engineering tasks. They finished fourth out of 200 schools, and as a result of that showing, the Glyn students became the only British team invited to compete in the South African Open championship. Although they have secured backing from various sources, including local engineering firm Atkins, the funding they have offered only covers four pupils – out of the original team of 10.
“To have done so well and got this far is amazing,” said Computer Club organiser Jane Harding. “It’s wonderful that people want to assist us - we had generous help from Reading IT company CGI when we went to the national finals - but the fact is we need significantly more financial help to take that next, huge step. As things stand, we can only take less than half the team who have worked so hard to reach this stage, which is absolutely agonising”.
To make things worse, the competition is at the beginning of May, so time is against them. “If there are any local technology businesses out there or well-wishers who can help in any way to give these incredibly hard working and talented students such a unique opportunity, we’d love to hear from you,” added Jane.
“They’re not just representing Glyn School – they’re representing the whole country – so any help you can give them is an investment in the future of British engineering. If you’re in any position to help us, please get in touch with the school. They’ve come so far – they just
need that bit of help so they can go even further, to South Africa”.
Anyone in a position to offer help can contact HARDINGJ@glynschool.org or the school on 020 8716 4949.
Pupils from Cuddington Croft school in Cheam enjoyed one of the most memorable nights of their lives recently as they took part in the Voice in a Million concert at Wembley Arena.
The 46 members of the school choir put in three months of rehearsing for their big moment, and they were not to be disappointed as they got to sing with 150 other school choirs from across the country in a concert organised by the Voice in a Million charity, which aims to raise awareness of the world’s forgotten children – by giving others a
voice on their behalf.
“It was an absolutely brilliant experience for the children and everyone involved – I couldn’t be more proud,” said teacher Caroline Davis, who runs the choir. “The way it’s set up is that the choirs take up all the usual arena seating, with the floor of the arena – where people usually stand – being devoted to seating for spectators, so you’re totally surrounded by the voices of the children. It’s an amazing experience.”
Whilst most of the children sang in the main arena choir, two lucky members of the Cuddington contingent – Harry Still and Ben Quigley - got to sing solos, accompanied by the smaller stage choir, after passing auditions. An already unforgettable day for the children and the many family members who went to watch them became even more
memorable when they were joined by X Factor judge Aleesha Dixon, and Britain’s Got Talent duo Bars and Melody, who sang with them.
“The children will remember this remarkable experience forever, and so will the family members who came along to watch them,” said Ms Davis. “But they put in so much hard work that they deserved every second of it.”
Parents at Warlingham Village School have shown that they are willing to dig deep for the benefit of their children after providing voluntary labour and funds for the Key Stage 1 garden area at the school.
Reception teacher Mrs Swallow proposed the idea of a garden to be maintained by the children, and the PTA got the funding drive under way by organising a cake sale amongst Reception and Year One pupils, which raised £185. After that initial success, they began to think about how they could bring the cost down by making some of the items themselves – and that was when community spirit took over.
“One of the dads, James Poole, is a carpenter,” said PTA member Mandy Lavine, “so he made three square planters on casters, which is similar to what was originally proposed, but done for free – and the cost of the materials was more than covered by the money we made from the cake sale. Now that’s done, the plan is for the children to decorate the
bare wood with hand prints, to put their mark on their garden, literally.”
With the hard graft having been put in during the winter, next term the PTA hopes to see that effort come into bloom. “There’s already an outing planned to a local garden centre, for the children to learn about the plants,” added Mandy. “I’ve suggested to the school that we might see if we can get them to donate something. Fingers crossed the children might come back from that trip with more than just memories of what the plants look like, and then they can enjoy that in the garden that together we and they have helped create.”
The spelling on the school badge may have said Whyte but that was just about the only thing that was not red last week as staff and pupils at Whyteleafe School entered into the spirit of Red Nose Day, raising a remarkable £1500 for Comic Relief with a packed programme of activities and events.
From cake sales to nail painting, via the school talent contest – with teachers renamed Simon, Louis Nicole and Tulisa for the afternoon – everyone did their bit to get into the spirit of the day and help raise a smile and funds for well-meaning causes.
Unsurprisingly, the vast array of cakes donated by staff and pupils were snapped up during break time, but the most popular and successful event of the day was the afternoon’s talent show.
With so many people having paid to enter, classes had to stage elimination rounds before the finalists stepped into the spotlight and performed in front of the whole school – and their families, who had made a donation for the chance to come along and see their big moment.
Joint winners were Cydney Biggle and Amy Collins, with the judges unable to separate their performances of songs by Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys. Runners-up were Year Four’s Rude Boys with Year Two dance troupe the Sparkle Sisters in third place.
Head teacher, Anthony Marsh, said it was a day for the whole school to be proud. “Red Nose Day is all about two things – having fun and raising money for a good cause – and the children have done both these things to a remarkable degree,” he said.
“A lot of people, especially school council members, put in a lot of effort to make this a success and it demonstrates what a great community Whyteleafe is to raise as much as we did. I’m extremely proud of every one of them, and the fantastic work they’ve done.”
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