Every child at Lime Tree Primary School in Reigate got to enjoy the feeling of being top of the class recently as the school passed its first Ofsted inspection with flying colours.
Lime Tree Primary was opened by the GLF schools in September 2013, and having had government inspectors pay their first visit in May of this year, it is now officially able to describe itself as being a good school with outstanding features.
“Schools are such organic, closely knit places that creating one from a blank canvas has been a really exciting challenge,” said head teacher Jo Newton, “so to be given so much official approval and encouragement for all the work that everyone has put in so far should
be a real source of pride for everyone associated with Lime Tree Primary School, be they staff, children or parents.”
The official government report noted Miss Newton’s ‘strong leadership and clear vision for the development of the school’, as well as recognising the strong support received by the GLF schools – but it was Lime Tree’s children who were the real stars of the show. Their
‘outstanding’ behaviour was commended, as was their ‘excellent attitudes to learning’ and their ‘thirst for knowledge in all that they do’, with the overall judgement that ‘pupils thoroughly enjoy school’.
The encouragement of the teaching staff was also highlighted, as was the satisfaction expressed by parents of children at Lime Tree Primary School.
“Two years is only a very early stage in the development of our school, but it’s hugely encouraging to know that so much of what we have done so far has been recognised,” added Miss Newton. “It’s a huge team effort, with everyone associated with the school playing their part, and it means we can move into the next chapter of the school’s
development, including moving to our new permanent Battlebridge Lane site, with a real spring in our step.”
Encouraging pupils to get up out of their seats and dance is not the sort of thing teachers usually get up to, but that was precisely what happened recently when pupils from Wheatfield and Windmill Primary Schools in Winnersh were paid a visit by a team of morris dancers.
The performers were the Shinfield Shambles who, despite their Berkshire name and roots, perform in the traditional Welsh style, and as one of the troupe members is a grandparent of a Windmill reception class pupil, they decided to pass on their age-old dance moves to the next generation at both schools.
“It was a totally novel experience for the children, and a chance to get out of the classroom on a wonderfully sunny day, so unsurprisingly it was one they absolutely love,” said Wheatfield assistant head teacher Tamara Brown.
“Reception and Year One pupils from Windmill were involved, along with Reception class from our school, and it was a wonderful day all round. Dance plays a role in the early years curriculum, as both PE and in imaginative studies, so this was a really colourful and enjoyable way to bring it to life – certainly a bit different to listening to recorded music indoors!
“The children watched some dances before learning about the costumes and the musical instruments involved, and then they learnt some simple steps themselves before performing some dances, which they found hugely enjoyable. Presenting activities in a fun way like this is often one of the most effective ways of learning - and at the same time the children are out in the sunshine and getting some exercise too.”
The old proverb may say ‘children should be seen but not heard’, but that could not have been farther from the truth at Danetree School in West Ewell recently, when pupils from Year 3 were given a masterclass in dance, rhythm and general noise-making by members of the internationally successful music and dance ensemble Stomp.
Performers from the group, who have had a show running in the West End for over 13 years and who featured in the London 2012 Olympic closing ceremony, took the students on a journey through making sound from everyday objects, and finding their inner rhythms and using them to make a performance piece.
“It was an amazing experience for the children – it’s not often they’re encouraged to make quite so much noise in the classroom,” said teacher Lucy Cudd, who organised the visit.
“Stomp are so energetic and their work is so infectious that within minutes, the children were totally absorbed in it. The performers began by demonstrating how they work and playing some games, before giving the children a series of coded percussive instructions on movements and sounds they wanted them to make.
“Later on, the group leader taught the children a basic Stomp routine, and then split them up into groups to work on pieces of their own, which they then performed to the rest of the group. I’ve never seen a classroom reaction quite like it!”
The lack of words and recognisable tuned notes means Stomp’s work is accessible to all, crossing any musical divides of genre or taste. Miss Cudd said these were the precise reasons that make it so accessible to children, and why it had, in every sense, become a
“Stomp’s all about rhythm, which everyone can relate to, even if it’s just from something as basic as the beating of their own heart,” she explained. “It’s a wonderful way of involving people in the study of music,because it’s so utterly unconventional, but at the same time,
“There’s so much music around children today, it’s very easy for them to take it for granted or only be interested in one particular genre. As educators, we have a responsibility to expand their horizons and present them with things they might never encounter – and it’s fair to say Stomp visiting the classroom was pretty much unlike anything any of them is likely to have experienced before."
School children are usually advised to steer well clear of building sites but a group of pupils from Wheatfield School in Winnersh were invited to come and have a closer look after entering a building site safety competition organised by the Considerate Constructors Scheme.
Their artwork, inspired by the popular children’s book Aliens Love Underpants, adorns the hoardings of construction company Castleoak’s new Abbeyfield care home project, close to the school on Woodward Close.
Scheme mascot Ivor Goodsite was on hand to welcome the Wheatfield pupils as they visited the site to see their artwork on the wall, whilst also being taught the important messages of site safety, and learning about the place of the new facility – a dementia care home – in their community.
“We had a fantastic visit to the site, and the children found the whole experience fascinating,” said Wheatfield’s head teacher Bev Homer. “We’re only a new school ourselves, so it’s very important to us that we establish a presence in the local community, and the opportunity to have a visit like this, and to add something to the neighbourhood, is very important. It’s also important for the children to have an awareness of older people, so we look forward to continuing to remain involved with Abbeyfield when it opens.
“As well as getting across the vital message about where is safe to go and where to stay clear of when building work is going on, the children learnt about the role Abbeyfield will play in the local community - and of course they were delighted to see their artwork on
display,” Mrs Homer added.
“Aliens love Underpants is always popular with children of this age, so we thought murals of it would raise a smile from other local residents who might not otherwise have heard of it. They’ve certainly seen it now, and I hope we’ve brightened up a few people’s trips to
work – I know it’s made the school run a lot more fun for the children.”
Pupils at Marden Lodge School in Caterham have found themselves having to welcome some unlikely yet strangely familiar-looking new students into the class room recently – their own parents.
The joint lessons for parents and pupils are part of the school’s teaching programme dedicated to online safety. Pupils already cover this both as part of their computing studies and also in specific classes – but as it is a topic where children’s knowledge can often outstrip that of the parents, the school decided it would be a good idea to encourage parents to come and learn as well.
“For children of this age, in this era, internet safety is a hugely important issue, so by definition it’s an issue for their families too, which is why we took this step,” said head teacher Kate Denby. “There have been lessons for parents in every age group across the
school, dealing with topics such as identifying technology in the home which has web access or can put us in touch with people outside the home, the dangers of online chat and simple safety rules.
“The school has strict guidelines which are for the children’s benefit, and so that they know what sort of things they should bring to the attention of teachers or parents,” Mrs Denby added. “These guidelines can be found on the school website, which is important as it means parents can access them too. It’s not about taking the fun out of using the internet, it’s about taking out the potential dangers, and in that sense we have a duty of care to the children’s families as well as to them, to make sure that everyone knows what is and what is not acceptable behaviour, and how to stay safe.”
A West Ham United footballing legend was the special guest at the King’s Lynn Irons Club’s end of season meal on Friday 12 June.
Brian Dear, who played for the Hammers in two spells between 1962 and 1971 and scored 39 goals in 82 appearances, was one of the first to arrive and last to leave the annual event, held this year at the Riverside Restaurant in Lynn.
He posed for pictures with members, signed West Ham programmes and recounted countless stories of his time playing for the East London club during a Q&A session, which included the club’s most famous night 50 years ago when they beat 1980 Munich in European Cup Winners Cup final at Wembley.
David Blackmore, media, publicity & communications officer at KLIC, said: “Having Brian as our VIP guest was another very special occasion in the history of the King’s Lynn Irons Club. I had the privilege of sitting with Brian and it was brilliant to hear the stories of his life with West Ham.
“What I liked most about Brian’s visit was that he made sure he went from table to table meeting all of our members, answering their questions but also getting to know a little bit about each and every one of us, which was a really nice touch and certainly impressed the members I spoke to afterwards.
“He also very kindly donated three framed photographs for our raffle, two of them were images of the European Cup Winners Cup team and the other was a rare picture of Bobby Moore meeting Muhammad Ali, or as he was then known Cassius Clay.
“All three raffle prizes proved very popular with our members as did the West Ham shirt Brian brought along with him that had been worn by Hammers defender Winston Reid last season. We auctioned this item following our raffle and the winning bid came from Joe Rudd.”
Born in the shadow of West Ham’s Boleyn Ground, Dear made his debut for the Hammers away at Wolverhampton Wanderers in August 1962. He then made the headlines in April 1965 when he scored five goals in just 20 minutes either side of half time against West Brom at Upton Park – a record he still holds today.
Nicknamed Stag, Dear played five games in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1965 and scored his first goal of the competition away to Lausanne in round three. He went onto score two more goals in the return leg against the Swiss club and one more in the semi-final win against Spanish side Real Zaragoza.
David, who also edits West Ham United monthly magazine Blowing Bubbles, added: “Brian was refreshingly honest during our Q&A session and we all really liked everything about him. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Brian for making so many KLIC members happy and for giving up his time to travel up from his home in Essex to be our guest.”
The attendance of Dear followed a guest appearance at the supporters’ clubs Christmas meal last year by his former teammate Ronnie Boyce, who played for the Hammers 342 times including the 1964 FA Cup Final win and the European Cup Winners Cup final the following year.
The King's Lynn Irons Club, one of the largest West Ham United supporters' clubs, aims is to give fans in the King's Lynn and surrounding area the opportunity to get tickets to watch West Ham United at home and away.
For more information about the club visit www.kingslynnirons.com. You can also follow them on Twitter @KingsLynnIrons.
Cordwalles Junior School in Camberley became a mini-Westminster for the day recently when the school hosted the summer meeting of the Surrey Heath Junior Council.
The group is an off-shoot of the Surrey Heath Youth Council, aimed at younger children. The Youth Council is run by the local borough council to encourage young people to air their views and contribute to the debate over decision making in the area, and has in the past counted as a contribution towards extra-curricular schemes such as the Duke of Edinburgh award.
Junior councillors from seven other schools in the area teamed up with their Cordwalles counterparts for a wide range of activities, including a workshop on developing resilience, a guided tour of the school by Cordwalles pupils, and transforming gazebos into storytelling dens as a collaborative activity.
The day ended with the council members working together to bring to life the story of a myth or legend, and presenting it to a class of Year Two pupils from two other local schools - Pine Ridge Infants and Lorraine.
“This was a superb day for the whole Cordwalles school,” said teacher Sam Alley Mohindra. “The children acted as great hosts, and everyone who came to take part, in whatever way, really took a lot from the experience. Being involved in schemes like this is a challenging
experience for the children as it involves activities they’re not used to in their everyday lives, but it was one that they really embraced and made the most of.
“The day was a great opportunity for Cordwalles to showcase its engaging and thematic curriculum, as well as a school to demonstrate the quality of hard working pupils it is producing. Being involved in the Junior Council is a different kind of educational experience for the children, and they’re already looking forward to the next meeting in the autumn, and the new opportunities that will present to them.”
Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City – watch and learn. Springfield Primary in Sunbury may not have the resources to match the country’s footballing giants, but its girls’ team showed the likes of Eden Hazard, Jack Wilshere and Sergio Aguero how it should be done this season after clinching a League and Cup double.
Having wrapped up the Spelthorne Girls' league title back in February, winning all their games and scoring 24 goals in the process without conceding once, the team, under the guidance of teacher Anna Wilson, faced a long wait for the chance to add to their title triumph in the Spelthorne Girls' Cup competition.
After victories over local rivals St Ignatius and Ashford C of E School – a 2-1 win which saw them concede their first goal - they won through to the final against Chennestone School, played at the neutral venue of Buckland School. And having already had to wait a long time to play the match in the first place, the season was then strung out to the very end when, having led twice through goals by striker Tilly, in the final minute Chennestone equalised to take the match to extra time.
The best chance of the additional 10 minutes fell to Chennestone, with defender Courtney’s vital tackle denying them the chance to score and resulting in her coming off injured, before the final drama of penalties. Keeper Lauren was the hero of the day, saving two spot-kicks before a decisive miss gave Springfield a dramatic 3-1 shoot-out win, and with it, the Cup to go alongside the league trophy.
“It’s been an amazing experience for the girls and I couldn’t be more proud of what they achieved,” said Ms Wilson. “They had to do it the hard way, so they deserve everything they’ve got. They’ve been so enthusiastic all year – it would have been so easy to think winning the league all those months ago was enough, and to have turned off, but they wanted so desperately to add the Cup as well, and that determination really showed as they were pushed to the limit and came up trumps.
"It’s been an absolute honour to work with these girls, and I couldn’t have asked for any more from them. If Roy Hodgson and the England team want any advice on how to win on penalties, I’m sure the girls would be happy to give them some tips!”
Politicians may be starting to draw up battle lines over the Great Britain EU membership referendum but at Whyteleafe School recently, it was a case of vive l’entente cordiale as the school paid host to 54 Year Six pupils from the École Ferdinand Buisson in the town of La Riche in the Loire Valley.
Over the last two years, pupils at the two schools have been in regular communication as penpals, and finally they had a chance to meet up when the French pupils visited the English school. Highlights of the day included the visitors sitting in on lessons, an assembly
with Whyteleafe children from all the year groups performing in French, a traditional English lunch of roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, sponge pudding and custard and perhaps most encouragingly for the future of cross-Channel relations, badminton and football matches – with England winning the latter 4-0.
“It was a hugely successful day, and educational on so many different levels,” said Fiona Sharp, the teacher who organised the event. “In a world of instant communication, the penpal scheme may seem old fashioned but I think it has much more depth and gives the children far more of an insight into people’s lives in other countries.
“We did a lot of studying about things to do with France before their arrival, but having so many of the French pupils come to our school has really brought the whole project to life for them in a way no amount of letters or classroom discussions can do,” she continued.
“Our children were really caught up by the whole project, and it showed with the amount of effort that they put into the assembly. I know our visitors really appreciated what was done for them, and it makes us all the more enthusiastic about maintaining the bonds between our schools for years to come.”
Hillcroft Primary School in Caterham can now proudly boast to be leading the way in all matters IT-related after member of staff Wendy MacLeod attained CAS (Computing at School) Master Teacher status in the subject.
The qualification, awarded under the governance of BCS, the IT industry’s chartered institute, means Hillcroft has been upgraded to being a lead school in the organisation’s Network of Excellence, and Mrs MacLeod is the first primary school teacher in the region to be granted the title.
“I was alerted to the scheme by the head, Stephanie Scutter, and because I’m so passionate about the subject, I was very keen to apply for it,” Mrs MacLeod explained. “Competition to get on the course was pretty fierce, with people applying from all over the country for just a handful of places, so to get on at all was quite an achievement."
Once accepted, it was an intensive regime, with the technique of passing the skills on to others playing a prominent role. “I had to complete 28 assignments during a five-day course at Greenwich University, and then attend a training day on how to organise and run
training sessions, which is one of the things that I will now be doing as part of Hillcroft’s lead school status,” Mrs MacLeod continued. “From September we’ll be running courses for teachers across East Surrey, putting into practice what I’ve learned, and also further
developing our own computing curriculum here at the school. It’s been a fantastic learning experience for me, and I’m really looking forward to helping others benefit from it as well."
Hillcroft’s exective head Ms Scutter was delighted with her colleague’s achievement, both on a personal level and for the school as a whole. “We’re thrilled with what Wendy’s managed to do,” she explained. “She certainly deserves the title for all the work she’s put in, and it’s wonderful that not only is the whole of Hillcroft benefiting, but also that, in future, other local schools will as well."
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