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Julian Clary Visits Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School

Renowned comedian, presenter and author of The Bolds children’s book series, Julian Clary, visits Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School.

Bishop’s Stortford College welcomed renowned comedian, presenter and author of The Bolds children’s book series, Julian Clary to the Prep School on Friday 20th April. Inspired by his lifelong love of animals, The Bolds is a collection of fabulous stories centred on the idea of what would happen if animals pretended to be like humans.

Joined by pupils from local primary schools; Summercroft, Northgate, Windhill, Albury and St Michael’s, Julian kept everyone very amused whilst reading passages from his books and showcasing his talents as an illustrator. In an interactive session with the pupils he devised a creature which was part fox, part human but had crocodile’s feet and a dog’s tail! When it then came to naming this creature, everyone in the Prep School Hall decided ‘Bob’ was the best fit. The pupils even had a virtual visit from David Roberts, Julian Clary’s own illustrator, via a link on the screen who drew the new villain Mossy the Fox, whilst Julian read aloud from his new book, The Bolds in Trouble.

In the afternoon Julian hosted a very special Book Club for College pupils in Upper and Lower Shell where they discussed with Julian and shared their opinions of the books featured in the morning session. Pupils also recounted their favourite jokes with Julian and were particularly inspired by, and very much enjoyed Julian having a go at drawing himself (even though David Roberts was much better than him).

When a pupil asked, “If you had to get rid of one of the characters from the books who would it be?” Julian responded, “Well, Uncle Tony is getting on a bit…”

The College thanks Julian for coming in and spending a fantastic day with all the pupils.

New Hall School – Ben conquers the world!


Ben Hutton Penman world champion

Ben Hutton-Penman, a Year 10 student at New Hall School, Chelmsford, is celebrating winning the RS Feva World sailing Championships and being crowned World Champion! Ben, who already holds the title of National Champion, was also voted Yachts & Yachting National Youth Sailor of the Year recently.

Congratulations to Ben Hutton-Penman (Year 10), who, along with his crew, Abi, won the RS Feva World Championships in Clearwater, Florida, therefore becoming World Champion! This achievement adds to Ben’s existing title of National Champion.

After a nervous start to the event, Ben really took the races in his stride from the middle of the second day of sailing, as the breeze began to build and in the subsequent races, he scored five 1st and three 2nd places! Ben won the event by six points, entering the final day, which consisted of two races, knowing that he would finish 1st or 2nd overall.

Well done, Ben, on a truly phenomenal achievement!


Public Services And High-Flying Past Pupils Descend On LVS Ascot For Inspiring Careers Evening

A host of representatives from the public service sector joined forces at LVS Ascot last night as the independent school held an inspiring careers evening to educate students on the range of options available to them when considering further education. The evening finished on a high with two former students returning to also speak on stage about their professional development and how they transitioned from A levels to successful careers without opting for the traditional university route.

Speakers Nick Chubb and Alastair Bolton from the Merchant Navy, the Royal Air Force’s Tony Pickett, Thames Valley Police Sergeant Cassandra Oswald, Katie Humphrey from the NHS, and the Met Office’s Dr Lee Hawkness-Smith revealed the ways to access funded further education within their organisations through apprenticeship options that allows students to learn as they earn whilst developing careers. This was followed by an alternative viewpoint being pitched by Kally Tomkins from Royal Holloway University of London to give LVS Ascot students the opportunity to fully consider all options available to them. The evening was launched by keynote speaker Andy Gardner from the Central Careers Hub, who revealed research findings into the most effective ways for students to progress into careers and told the audience about the range of training options they could take up.

The final two speakers were former LVS Ascot students who were able to demonstrate that through training available to them on the job, they had successfully developed impressive careers without the need to go to university first. 22-year-old Ben Viney was at LVS Ascot for 14 years from Reception class to Year 13, and left to join leading construction company Laing O’Rourke where he was able to learn on the job and is now a planner on the Crossrail site at Liverpool Street Station.

He was followed on stage in the all-ability school’s theatre by Tom Slingsby, also 22, who was at LVS Ascot from 2007 to 2014 and whose training to become a pilot whilst studying led to him flying easyJet passengers by the time he reached 20 and completing a BSc Professional Aviation Pilot Practice degree.

The evening was devised by the school’s WOW (Women of Work) group, made up of Principal Christine Cunniffe and a host of professional mothers from the school who are creating innovative ways to use their experience to educate LVS Ascot students on career options.

LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe said: “As a school which focuses on inspiring young people to exceed their expectations and helping them grow as individuals, this was a highly successful event in showing students that there are lots of different routes they can take to the future, depending on their individual skills and ambitions, and helping them find the path that best suits them. I was incredibly proud to see two past pupils in Ben and Tom up on stage – prime examples of the types of students we have here and the character they leave with which allows them to go on to enjoy such successful careers”.

LVS Ascot – Key Advice Offered To Students Preparing For Exam Season

16.04.18. Dr Paul Hodges with former student and First Class Honours graduate Hattie Audaer who returned recently to talk to students about passing exams

Students around the country returned to school this week after the Easter break, with many preparing to undertake a crucial few months of exams that will help to decide their futures. Head of Sixth Form at independent all-ability school LVS Ascot in Berkshire, Dr Paul Hodges, has issued the following useful advice to all students heading into those important GCSE and A level exams:

Give yourself adequate time to prepare

It is so easy to keep putting off starting revision, and that only adds to your stress levels. Use an exam planner to give you a “to do” list for each subject and assign each task with a deadline to make sure you don’t run out of time.  Try working through the day in sessions of 45 minutes with a 15 minute rest break every hour.  Make sure you stop for lunch and reward a hard day of revision by relaxing before going to bed. Also make sure you have at least half a day off over the weekend so you don’t burn out.  An easy way of putting together a weekly study timetable is to mirror the lessons on your school timetable.

Practice exam papers

Go through past papers and identify where you lost marks. You should aim to complete at least five full practice papers for each subject.  Start by doing parts of a paper in timed chunks with the textbook to hand.  Later, challenge yourself to do past papers, without notes, in silence and within the time limit so that it feels like a proper examination.  It is a good idea to get these marked by a teacher who will be able to pinpoint any errors and give you tips to improve.

 Turn your phone off and go off-line

Avoid the constant distraction of social media during your revision sessions.  If you can’t bring yourself to leave your mobile alone then hand it over to a parent, lock it away or leave it in another room.  You can always catch up at lunchtime or in the evening when you have finished revising for the day.

Before the examination

Develop a routine to get all your exam equipment ready the night before and double check the date and the time of each exam.  This will help to reduce exam day stress by having one less thing to worry about. Make sure you stay calm and avoid people who will stress you out. Find a space where you can mentally prepare for the exam you are about to take.  Everyone has a different strategy so work out what is best for you.  Try to learn a breathing exercise that you can do in the exam room while you are waiting to start.

In the exam room

When you turn over the question paper take a minute to work out how much time you should spend on each section and jot it down.  Rationing your time in this way will make sure you get to the end of the exam with time to check your answers.  Use all of the time available in an exam – even if you think you have achieved 100%. Check your answers and check them again.  No one has ever found an extra mark that gave them a higher grade by staring at the ceiling!

Dr Hodges concludes: “There are a number of ways schools can boost the chances of students preparing for exams. LVS Ascot holds memory workshops led by Head of Psychology and former UK memory champion Mr Paterson to help improve students’ powers of recall, and has a Revision Hub Café where those facing exams can relax and talk through queries with a range of teachers in an informal setting. We also opened our new Sixth Form Centre in September, and more recently invited former pupil Hattie Audaer back to talk to share tips on how to pass exams with our students. But the key to success is often how students themselves approach exams, and following the tips above will help to ensure students around the country can happily say that they did all they could to prepare properly. Good luck to all Year 11 and Year 13 students heading in to a vital few months”.

King’s Barbers sing their way to victory!

King's Barbers WinnersTHE King’s Barbers are jubilant after winning this year’s National Youth a Cappella Competition.

 The all-boys a cappella group, who celebrated their 25th anniversary last year, discovered in February that they had qualified for the prestigious competition. Entries for the contest were submitted by video and judged by a panel to assess which groups should qualify.

 The King’s Barbers, along with their founder and coach, Peter North, travelled to the University of Birmingham for the fiercely-contested event on April 14th and sang their way to victory, being crowned UK Youth Champions.

 They sang Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, Bastille’s Pompeii, Some Nights by Fun, and Ricky Martin’s La Vida Loca, all of which were specially arranged by Mr North. It was the second time that the King’s Barbers had qualified for the competition but this is the first time they have won. They were runners-up last year.

 Mr North, who is also Head of Voice at King’s Ely, is understandably proud of the boys. He said: “The boys were a pleasure to be with and performed brilliantly in the competition. We took part in several workshops and also watched the University Final and Beat Box Sing Off. We had a good following of enthusiastic parents who were immensely proud of their sons. The judges described their performance as bold and the joy they have in their singing really shone through. The boys are overjoyed to have won and we couldn’t be more proud of them!”

 Members of the King’s Barbers are all former cathedral or college choir choristers and they sing everything from timeless classics to contemporary a cappella songs. The group was founded not only to keep boys singing through the voice-change, but also to introduce them to different performance styles. Former members have sung in some of the most important and successful groups in the a Cappella scene, including All the King’s Men and Out of the Blue.


Bishop’s Stortford Pupil Voice Network Launches

Pupil+Voice+Group+6-3-18Bishop’s Stortford College hosts 10 schools including 31 pupils and 11 teachers for the inaugural meeting of the Bishop’s Stortford Pupil Voice Network on Tuesday 6th March.

On Tuesday 6th March, 10 schools including 31 pupils and 11 teachers gathered at Bishop’s Stortford College for the inaugural meeting of the Bishop’s Stortford Pupil Voice Network (BSPVN).

School Council representatives from Bishop’s Stortford College Prep School, Hillmead Primary, Hockerill Anglo-European College, Little Hadham Primary, Manor Fields Primary, Northgate Primary, Rickling Green Primary, St Mary’s Primary Stansted and Thorley Hill Primary were all represented with apologies from Farnham Primary.

After an introduction from the College, everyone discussed the value of having a Pupil/School Council in their setting; from the perspective of pupils, teachers, governors and the wider community. Everyone agreed that by establishing a Council in a school all pupils learn valuable life skills such as: communication, negotiation, resilience and co-operation.

Councillor Diane Hollebon was than invited to talk to the Network about the work of the Town Council, and asked the School Councillors to take part in a research activity relating to the Bishop’s Stortford Town Carnival. Feedback on pupils’ views about the Carnival will be gathered by individual Pupil Councils and shared with the Town Council in the summer.

After a unanimous vote, all the pupil and staff delegates decided they would like to meet again to celebrate the value of the Pupil Voice in their local community and agreed to meet twice yearly with different schools hosting the meetings. Themes were also suggested for future Network meetings, including ‘How to manage disappointment’ and ‘How to prioritise your time and resources effectively’.

Following the vote, a logo competition was launched so the BSPVN will have a recognisable identity. Certificates of membership were then awarded to each school, as well as an ‘Album of Excellence’ – a collated set of reports from each School/Pupil Council.

Jane Towns, the teacher leading the project at the College said, “It was a fantastic day. Prep School Pupils at the College have long had a Pupil Council Voice but to share this with other local schools and discuss common issues was really exciting. We would welcome other local schools who wish to join the network.”

The results of the logo competition will be announced in June when the Network looks forward to meeting the Mayor at the Bishop’s Stortford Town Council Chambers.

A Lesson in Conflict Resolution

IMG_5737Sixth Form girls at Bolton School enjoyed an instructive PSE session on dealing with difficult situations and resolving disputes with former pupil Hannah Bradley (1999-2006) who is a Dispute Resolution Solicitor.

Hannah qualified as a solicitor in 2013 after studying at the University of Leeds and The University of Law. She spoke to the students about various methods for resolving disputes including negotiation (via letter, telephone or meeting), mediation, litigation, arbitration, adjudication and expert determination. When dealing with difficult situations, she said it is important not to “strike back” or respond reactively but to consider carefully each move you make and to work rationally, not emotionally. She told the girls to analyse the bigger picture and to focus on what you can control, rather than what you cannot; try not to focus on the difficult issues for too long, you can come back to these later.  Sixth Formers were told that you should know the strengths and weaknesses of your own argument whilst understanding the ‘pressure points’ of your opponent, be they financial, emotional or practical. They were told to always think creatively when looking for a solution and ask questions of your opponent to better understand their position rather than to antagonise. Hannah said you need to be able to listen carefully, to let things go and to look for a mutually satisfactory outcome, not a victory – try not to be too over ambitious. She told the girls to try and offer a solution that makes it easy for the opponent to say yes rather than no.

Having talked about several ‘negotiation zones’ – the aggressive zone, the assertive zone, the accommodating zone and the reasonable/acceptable conclusion zone – she then turned things over to the girls who were given a dispute to resolve. Sixth Formers acted on behalf of Director of ABC company, which had just paid £10,000 for new computer software which not only did not work but had damaged the computer system or for Company XYZ, who are being sued for damages. Other girls were given the role of mediators who had to help all parties reach an agreement.

Old Elean and goalkeeper Nick Pope called up to England squad

FORMER King’s Ely student (Old Elean) and Premier League goalkeeper Nick Pope has been called up to the England squad.

 Nick, who was a student at King’s Ely from 2000 to 2008, discovered on March 15th that he had been called up to the squad and to say that the school community is proud of his achievements would be an understatement.

 Nick started his career in Ipswich Town’s youth team and after being released aged 16 joined Bury Town. He signed for League One club Charlton Athletic in May 2011, before having loan spells with Harrow Borough, Welling United, Cambridge United, Aldershot Town, York City and Bury. Nick joined Premier League team Burnley in July 2016 and he has gone from strength to strength since.

 Nick’s mum, Bridget, who taught girls’ games at King’s Ely for more than 40 years, was in school invigilating an exam on the day the news was announced. Bridget, who lives in Wicken, near Ely, with her husband, David, said: “We are all over the moon for Nick and obviously we are extremely proud. It doesn’t feel real to be honest. There has been a lot of media attention saying that Nick should be called up to the England squad and obviously we have always wanted him to get that far but it’s one of those things that you don’t think will ever actually happen. He’s so chuffed and even more pleased that his teammate at Burnley, James Tarkowski, has been called up too as they are good friends. Nick’s passion for football was always very well supported by King’s Ely and I’d like to thank everyone here for that.”

 Nick, whose brother, Joshua, also attended King’s Ely, is one of four uncapped players to be named for England manager Gareth Southgate’s 27-man squad to face the Netherlands and Italy on March 23rd and 27th. Swansea defender Alfie Mawson and Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook were also included, as were Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck.

 Nick’s call-up is reward for his impressive displays since replacing the injured Tom Heaton at Burnley. The 25-year-old is one of four goalkeepers named in the squad, with West Ham’s Joe Hart also included alongside Jack Butland (Stoke) and Jordan Pickford (Everton).

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “It is wonderful to see Nick’s undoubted talent recognised but, even more than that, to know that his commitment and determination over the years is an inspiration to those who aspire to follow in his footsteps.”

Beat that, Team GB!


Skiers from New Hall School, Chelmsford, have returned triumphant from Pila, Italy, with record haul of 10 medals from the Artemis Inter-School Ski Challenge 2018.  As a new entrant to the race five years ago (when the school came last), New Hall School received a special commendation from judges for winning 3rd place out of 90 British schools.  To rapturous applause, judges said that this rate of advancement of a school ski team was “truly exceptional”.

Training on a 180m-long dry ski slope in Brentwood, New Hall ski team competed against schools from throughout the UK, including some that are internationally-based, with Alpine locations.  Channelling their inner Chemmy Alcott and Graham Bell, 36 New Hall students, aged 7-17, took part in demanding Slalom and Giant Slalom events across the two race days.

New Hall now has the largest school ski team among the British schools competing.  The sport has received significant investment in recent years and Principal, Mrs Jeffrey, accompanied the team to cheer them on to this most recent success.  Mrs Jeffrey said: “We are incredibly proud of the resilience and collaboration shown by our dedicated ski team.  All 36 of our skiers gave of their best.  To be awarded 3rd place out of 90 schools and to win 10 medals – the most ever – was a brilliant result.  It was a great reward for all their hard work and it was a joy to celebrate with the team.”

Gold and silver medal winner, Allegra Martin, recently returned to the slopes after a battle with cancer, conquered the Italian slopes, taking home a gold medal and two silvers, finishing as one of the top medal winners of the competition.  Prior to the competition, Allegra said: “I had cancer in February and was unwell for six months.  It was a difficult time for me.  To win three medals and to be part of the New Hall team winning 3rdplace overall, was very special.”

Other New Hall ski team success this year have included: winning 1st place overall at the British Independent Schools Ski Racing Indoor Championships at Hemel Hempstead; Lulu Brown (Year 3) becoming the U8 Girls champion and Alice McLeish (Year 12) becoming the U18 Ladies Champion at the Hemel Ski Race Club Championships; and, at the English Schools’ Ski Association (ESSkiA) National Finals, the U16 girls team coming 1st and the U14 girls team finishing 3rd.  New Hall ski team is now also competing in international competitions.

Alongside a successful academic programme, New Hall School provides excellent facilities and training for budding sports stars and fantastic music and performing arts provision.  The Catholic boarding and day school for students aged 3-18 has a distinctive ‘diamond model structure’ and a strong ethos of pastoral care, which supports students in their endeavours, allowing them to achieve success in a wide variety of fields.