About Victoria

Director at Guide to independent Schools Ltd

King’s Ely community raises a whopping  £34,000 for good causes 

CRUK Cheque Presentation October 2019

A FEAST of fundraising initiatives has resulted in students, staff, families and friends of King’s Ely topping up a total of £34,000 for the school’s charities of the year.

Over the last 12 months, the King’s Ely community has been doing all sorts of weird and wonderful things to raise money for the school’s two chosen charities for 2018/19 – Cancer Research UK and the Wildlife Trust charity.

An incredible £34,000 has been raised – £10,000 of which is from a Charity Ball organised by a group of King’s Ely parents and which took place in Ely Cathedral’s Lady Chapel in June.

The rest of the funds – one of the highest totals to date – were raised in a whole host of ways, including non-uniform days, cake sales, sponsored challenges, King’s Ely Junior’s Soapbox Race and the inaugural King’s Ely Colour Dash, to name just a few.

Heidi Connell, senior local fundraising manager for Cancer Research UK, attended the school’s Michaelmas Mid Term Service at the Cathedral on October 18thto receive a cheque for £17,685. The Wildlife Trust charity will be receiving their £17,000 soon.

Mrs Connell said she was “overwhelmed” by the amount raised and said every penny will go towards funding vital research at the Cancer Research UK Cambridge Institute – the charity’s hub closest to King’s Ely.

She said: “The King’s Ely community has fundraised tirelessly over the last 12 months and this amazing contribution will enable Cancer Research UK to carry out more research in the labs, which in turn means better education around prevention and better treatments for those who are sadly diagnosed with cancer. All the money donated by the school will stay local and go directly to our Cambridge Institute. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the overwhelming amount raised and for helping Cancer Research UK work towards their ambition of wanting three in four people to survive cancer by 2034.”

King’s Ely is well-known for its community spirit and fundraising work. Just a couple of days prior to the cheque presentation to Cancer Research UK, a team of Sixth Form girls organised a special green-themed non-uniform day, which raised around £1,000 for Greenpeace UK.

The week previously, the King’s Ely community came together to donate a huge number of items to Ely Foodbank as part of the school’s and the Cathedral’s Harvest Festival celebrations.

The school will be supporting numerous charities this coming academic year, including East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH), the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the Pidley Mountain Rescue Team.

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Brentwood School Student Among Essay Writing Elite

Kimberley Shaw

The New College of the Humanities announced the winners of their 2019 NCH London Essay Competition at a special award ceremony in London and Brentwood School Sixth Former Kimberley Shaw was among the winners.

The College received 3,600 entries into this year’s essay competition and 17-year-old Kimberley was awarded Third Prize with her submission centred on the Law question ‘Was the EU Commission correct to fine Google for abuse of a strong market position in online markets?’

Professor A C Grayling, Master of the College, alongside the College’s academic faculty and students, hosted the award ceremony, held in Bedford Square Gardens. One hundred and fiftyhighly commended high school essay writers and their guests enjoyed theVIP event.

 Prizes were awardedin all the seven major subjects taught at undergraduate level at the College. In each category, the First prize was £1,000, the first runner-up was £500, the second runner-up was £250, and a third runner up was awardeda £40 voucher. Everyone who was highly commended received a £20 voucher.

Professor Grayling said:“The College received 3,600 entries into this year’s essay competition, and 150 students were shortlisted and invited to this award ceremony. To be in the top 4% of essayists is exceptional. Every individual who has been shortlisted deserves to be very proud of their academic achievement.”

Now in its third year, the NCH London Essay Competition was foundedto inspire and encourage students from around the world who are in their penultimate year of secondary education and have a passion for the humanities and social sciences, to pursue their interest in these subjects and to further develop their critical thinking and writing skills.

Chaired by Professor Grayling, former Man Booker Prize Chair of Judges, the judging panel comprised academic members of each subject faculty and high-performing third-year undergraduate students.

Kimberley had to juggle her essay research with School coursework and a busy co-curricularprogramme. She explained: “Given that I had no prior subject knowledge, I knew this was going to be a research heavy essay andspent most of my time carrying out research.

“Due to this, I ended up starting to actually write my essay on the Sunday and finished it on the Thursday – the dayit wasdue. In hindsight, I would have spaced it out a little bit more but I guess it ended up fine!”

As well as boosting her CV, the competition gave Kimberley an insight intoacademic study at degree level. “I also wanted to see whether I was good enough to write anessay that would be recognised by not only my teachers but academics from another institution.

“I chose the Law question becauseI had gained an interest in monopolies from my study of Economics. Additionally, I found the international aspect of the question appealing.”

Mayor Enjoys Prestigious Academic Awards Ceremony At LVS Ascot

The Mayor of Bracknell Forest, Councillor Pauline McKenzie, enjoyed a prestigious day honouring the academic achievements of students at independent school LVS Ascot on Thursday 4th July. She was part of the Platform Party, joined by LVS Ascot Principal Christine Cunniffe and Chairman of the Governing Body Anita Adams amongst others, who witnessed a host of students receiving recognition for their effort and performance across the academic year.

The Mayor thanked everyone for the warm reception she received and sent her congratulations to all the students who received recognition for their achievements, saying: “It was such a pleasure to witness their joy, and so well deserved. The school has created a warm, friendly, family culture and the speeches were excellent and heartfelt”.

One of the highlights of the event was the leaving speeches of the outgoing Head Boy, Head Girl and Head of Boarding which were highly emotional. Head Girl Megan Du Toit said: “To the future Head Girls sitting in this hall today, believe in yourselves – don’t let anyone doubt you or tell you differently. Strive towards your goal and most of all, be yourselves”.

Subject prizes were presented to each year group from Year 7 to Year 13, and being an all ability school with individual development being of crucial importance too, effort prizes were awarded for the different houses in each year group. There were also outstanding academic achievement awards for years 7, 8 and 9, won by Harrison Thomas, Angelina Yu and Charlotte Reid respectively. All three had progressed from the LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School which gave them an excellent grounding, and they have capitalised on that to flourish in the senior school.

William Brooke won the Year 9 awards for Chemistry and Music and also the Cecilia Smiga Memorial Award, in memory of the school’s former Director of Music who passed away in 2013. William’s mother Vicky said of the way the school has helped him develop: “William has developed hugely with his music here. He is taking piano tuition from the Director of Music Mr Bryant, and has been given lots of opportunities to play at school events. His confidence now to just get up and perform at school events in front of hundreds of people is amazing – it is a real gift to give that to a child at such a young age”.

LVS Ascot’s Infant & Junior School had their moment to shine on Wednesday 3rd July when Celebration Day took place to mark the development and progress of the 214 pupils from Reception class to Year 6. One of the highlights of the ceremony was the Infant & Junior School prefect team and Head Boy and Head Girl for 2019/20 being announced, which was a closely guarded secret and surprised Year 5 pupils Harvey Humphrey and Chloe Celi respectively. The youngest pupils at the school were also recognised, receiving their Reception Certificates on stage in front of their proud parents, before all pupils then performed song and dance routines for their families at a special celebration barbecue in the school’s leafy grounds.

You can watch a short highlights film of President’s Day, including a brief introduction from the Mayor, here, or use the following embed code to embed the video into your story:

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The next LVS Ascot open day is due to be held on Saturday 21st September and places can be booked on the school website.

Record 21 Scholarships and Awards for  Highfield and Brookham Children

19 pupils from Highfield and Brookham School have been awarded a total of 21 scholarships and awards to their chosen senior schools this academic year, setting a new school record.

The 21 scholarships and awards achieved, including five Year 6 11+ awards, are to a huge range of senior schools including, but not limited to: Canford, Gordonstoun, Seaford, Cranleigh, Portsmouth Grammar School, Charterhouse, King’s Canterbury, Wellington, and Harrow and range from the academic to the arts, including the school’s first ever dance scholarship. Additionally, all children sitting academic scholarship received Common Entrance exemption to top schools such as Winchester, Marlborough and Cheltenham Ladies’College, to name but three.

The scholarship programme at Highfield and Brookham, which has a fantastic record of success, is unique in that the school takes children with a wide range of ability and really seeks to get the very best from each individual. The fact that 19 children (just under a third of the year group) have been awarded some type of scholarship is testament to this.

All those sitting academic scholarship embark upon a journey, which at times is hard, challenging, stressful and full of joy, sometimes all at the same time. These children are constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible for their age. The most important thing is that every single one of the academic scholars grows intellectually and emotionally. They leave the programme more confident, resilient and ready to take on any challenge that awaits them at senior school.

Phillip Evitt, Headmaster, says “We are committed to supporting and promoting the interests of candidates for academic scholarships and other open awards available to pupils at their chosen senior schools. The 76 scholarships and awards won by Highfieldians over the past five years reflect the breadth and range of our pupils’ strengths and provide a strong endorsement of the quality of teaching and learning at the school. Our Head of Scholars, Jane Hamilton, has worked tirelessly to achieve a fantastic record number of scholarships this year and the way she brought the academic scholarship group together to work as a team was quite something.”

To find out more about scholarships and awards, please visit highfieldschool.org.uk/highfield-ages-8-to-13-/after-highfield.

Bolton Junior Boys’ Charity Fancy Dress Fun Run

The annual fancy dress charity fun run saw 200 Junior Boys aged 7-11 from Bolton School dress up in a wide range of colourful costumes to run around the sports field. This year’s chosen charities were Macmillan Cancer Support, Make a Wish UK and the RSPCA.

Deputy Head Mr Fergus Morris, dressed as Gandalf for the occasion, said: “This is always one of the most hotly anticipated events in the Park Road calendar – it gives the boys a chance to have a bit of fun and to burn off some energy after a week of exams whilst gently reminding them of the need to help charities and those less fortunate than themselves.”

Working in tag pairs, the boys completed as many laps as they could, encouraged by parents and family and accompanied by members of the teaching staff. The annual event raises in the region of £7,000-£10,000 per annum. As ever, there was a good range of colourful costumes on display – a particular theme this year was, given their reunion tour, the Spice Girls – particularly amongst members of staff! There were the perennial favourites – footballers and superheroes such as Batman, Captain America, Superman and Spiderman as well as Harry Potter, Dennis the Menace, Mario, Robin Hood and sumo wrestlers – and they were joined by a range of foods including pizza slices, bananas, a peach and a fried egg! Given former pupil Sir Ian McKellen was in town over the weekend, it was fitting that there were several Gandalfs and teacher Mr Winstanley, who has just been selected for the GB water polo squad, dressed in a diving costume!

Hit band, The Tailormade, visit King’s Ely to share their skills with young musicians 

MUSICIANS from King’s Ely were in their element when The Tailormade–crowned the ‘Best buskers in London’ by former London Mayor Boris Johnson – paid them a visit.

The hit band worked withYear 9 students who are studying GCSE Music next year, Year 10 GCSE Music students and Year 12 ALevel Music students. The focus of the day was song-writing and they explored the various different levels to writing a great song; themes, lyrics,structure, melody and harmony. Students split up into threegroups and worked together to create a song from scratch. The end result was really special and culminated in a performance off all the songs.

‘The Tailormade’are an energetic mix of threeyoung singer/songwriters. Their friendship formed first then their passion for Music led to them towards creating a new vibrant British sound. The band hassupported the likes of Blue, Rebecca Ferguson, CeeLoGreen, Lemar, Will Young and Busted – performing to over 20,000 people at Pride in London’s Trafalgar Square, as well as being invited to perform at The Brit Awards last year.

They recently released their debut EP “Thoughts, Fears and Beers” at London’s O2 Academy. Their debut EP charted at No.5 in the Itunescharts and they recently sold out the O2 Islington Academy 2.

Music is the beating heart of King’s Ely and is the reason why the school came into existence in the first place. Over a third of students learna musical instrument or receive vocal tuition and the quality, range and variety of ensembles all attest to the school’s musical pedigree. The school calendar is jam-packed with student-led and professional concerts, workshops and masterclasses, all of which, together with the excellence of the school’s cathedral choirs, highlight how music is the soul of the King’s Ely community and testify to its inclusivity.

FARNBOROUGH HILL UNVEILS THEIR NEW UNIFORM

Farnborough Hill is a forward-thinking, dynamic School which seeks excellence in the education of young women: it is a place where girls thrive, are nurtured and allowed to develop their individual character before launching into the world as agents of change.

The green striped blazer and six-gore skirt has been the subject of negative comments for some time: the girls, the parental body and the public have all expressed dislike for the look. The parental survey of 2016 reinforced that it was time for the uniform to change.

School blazer promised to deliver a ‘fabulous’ new uniform. Heritage and quality were at the forefront of the designers’ minds, while the pupils stressed the importance of Farnborough Hill remaining a green school; the purple was also crucial to them.

Deputy Head Girl, Sophie, was involved throughout the process, ‘Trying to create something that’s inclusive and will suit everyone is not an easy task, but I think with this new uniform it has been achieved.’

Teacher Katriona Pengelly commented, ‘It was an absolute pleasure to work alongside the School Council and other members of staff on the uniform project. It really was lovely to see girls of different year groups work so well together to represent their peers. They certainly weren’t shy about voicing their opinions but every opinion mattered. The result is a fantastic new uniform tailored to the needs of a Farnborough Hill girl.’

The tweed blazer has threads of both purple and green woven throughout, with the soft moleskin collar matching the navy skirt. A smart pale purple three-quarter sleeve shirt completes the look, with a sage jumper trimmed with a navy neckline. The uniform will be worn with black shoes and either black tights or black ankle socks. The sports kit uses brighter tones of green and cerise on a navy background to ensure the girls are distinctive and vibrant among their competitors.

The feedback following the launch has been brilliant: the smart blending of heritage tweed with a crisp, modern shirt has proven extremely popular with the girls.

Sister Elizabeth McCormack commented, ‘I am delighted to see that the new school uniform maintains the balance between tradition and change. It is very attractive, modern and distinctive and I am sure the pupils will enjoy wearing it.’

This project has been collaborative, imaginative and exciting. It has given Farnborough Hill the opportunity to reflect on what makes it most special, allowing the School to rejoice in its heritage and look to the future with confidence.

US Ambassador presents plaque to commemorate 6888th Battalion

The US Ambassador presented a blue plaque to King Edward’s School, Birmingham on Monday, 13 May 2019 to commemorate a US Army battalion that was stationed at the school during the Second World War.

Ambassador Johnson visited the school to officially presentthe plaque and view the site wherethe 6888thCentral Postal Directory Battalion, an all-female African-American unit, had been based.

Known as the Six Triple Eight, the battalion comprised 855 women from the Women’s Army Corps and was the only all-black female battalion to serve in Europe during the Second World War. They were sent to Birmingham in February 1945 to clear the backlog of mail in the European Theatre, which was reported by Army officials to be damaging morale.

It was estimated that the backlog would take six months to clear but the women cleared it in three, working 24-hours a day, seven days a week in three sets of eight-hour shifts andprocessingan average of 65,000 pieces of mail per shift.By the end of the war, they had cleared over 17 million pieces of backlogged mail, ensuring the troops stayed in touch with their loved ones back home.

Keith Phillips, Acting Chief Master of King Edward’s School, said:“It was a great honour to receive this plaque from the Ambassador and for the school to be able to rememberthe importantrole in the war effort that the Six Triple Eight played.

“During the Second World War, the temporary buildings that were on the school site at the time were used by a number of different troops, although none perhaps of such significanceboth racially and culturallyas the Six Triple Eight. I hope that we will be able to further honour the service of these women at an event to unveil the plaque later in the year.”

The Ambassador’s visit to the school preceded a premiere screening of a documentary film about the Six Triple Eight, whichtook place in Birmingham Council House on the same day.The film’s producers also accompanied the Ambassador to the school

North West School Commits To Whole-School Campaign to Support ‘Wellbeing’ and Positive Mental Health

Chester-based independent school Abbey Gate College has successfully trained 84% of its staff (teaching and support staff) in the internationally accredited adult two-day Mental Health First Aid course (by MHFA England), and half day ‘Mental Health Aware’ course. The MHFA England training raises employee awareness of mental ill health conditions and teaches practical skills to spot triggers and symptoms. Those trained have a better understanding of where to find information and professional support and have more confidence in helping individuals (pupils and staff) experiencing mental ill-health, in addition to promoting every opportunity for positive mental wellbeing. 

As part of a whole school, holistic wellbeing strategy, the College are committed to actively promoting good mental, emotional and physical wellbeing ultimately to empower all pupils and staff to thrive and to be the best version of themselves. The staff also have expertise in identifying mental health issues amongst its pupils and staff to provide early intervention.

In addition to the MHFA England training, staff at the College through a Whole School Staff Wellbeing Day and Teacher Twilights have been offered health checks, wellbeing and lifestyle workshops, reflexology sessions, mindfulness workshops, Pilates and Clubbercise classes to reinforce the holistic health opportunities available to them and for staff to learn more about complementary therapies to support physical health, mental health and emotional wellbeing. Evidence shows that complementary therapies and exercise help stress recovery, rest and reflection all of which can strengthen resilience.

The College which has approximately 500 pupils and 100 staff are working on embedding a culture with an ethos where positive mental health is regarded as the responsibility of all. Sixth Form pupils and parents at the College have been given the opportunity to attend the MHFA England ‘Mental Health Aware’ course with positive feedback. The joined up approach is aimed to pass on knowledge and support to pupils at the College.

The co-educational school, which celebrated 40 years in 2018, plans to have an annual ‘Wellbeing Day’ (for both pupils and staff) with the normal timetable being replaced with a day filled with positive talks and activities themed around wellbeing and positive mental health. These activities focus on students building self-awareness and empowering them to recognise when it is typical for their feelings and emotions to change and encourage them to feel confident in accessing support either in or outside of school.

The activities on the two Pupil Wellbeing Days already rolled out by the College varied from year group to year group, with the Infant and Junior classes taking part in singing sessions, basic yoga and first aid awareness, and the Senior School students looking at alcohol awareness, mental health first aid and time management.

Headmistress Mrs Tracy Pollard said: “We know from vital research that 75% of mental health issues start before the child turns 18 so it’s crucial that we give them all the skills we can to recognise how they’re feeling and how best to deal with it in a way that suits them; we know that what suits one child doesn’t necessarily work with another so we’re committed to complete transparency in school when it comes to discussing mental health challenges. Building self-awareness and resilience in our young people is vital to thrive in modern life.  

“Pupil and Staff wellbeing is on our agenda for the long-term commitment to this campaign; as a school we know there has never been so much pressure on teachers to deliver and the strains many feel they are under. Productivity and consistency in staff is vital for pupils’ learning so it’s in everyone’s best interest that staff feel well either physically or mentally to do the best job that they can.

“Providing a supportive work environment is paramount in helping staff ultimately be the best version of themselves, this can only have a positive outcome for the pupils at the College.”

Lord Browne of Madingley Guest of Honour at King’s Ely Senior Prizegiving

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJOHN Browne, Lord Browne of Madingley, took a step back in time by returning to King’s Ely to beGuest of Honour at Senior Prizegiving.

Lord Browne, best known for his role as the Chief Executive of the energy company BP from 1995 to 2007, is an Old Elean(former King’s Ely student) and was among hundreds of students, staff, parents, dignitaries and friends of the school who came together for the service in Ely Cathedral on May 3rd.

The service, which is one of the highlights of the school calendar, is an annual celebration of students’ academic achievements and outstanding successes in everyday school life, such as music, art, drama and sport.

Academic Prizes are awarded to several students in each year group; there are awards for Most Improved Students and those who have provided an Outstanding Contribution to School Life. There are also King’s Scholar and Queen’s Scholar Prizes, Prefect Awards, King’s Ely International Scholar Prizes and PotticaryMedals for the Heads of School; which went to Felix Hawes and Maria Campbell this year. The new Heads of School for 2019/2020, Sol Boon and Lottie Wilkinson, were also formally announced during the service.

Long-standing awards and medals which celebrate historical achievements at King’s Ely, such as the Bennett Prize, DimmockReading Prize, Shepherd Cup and Winkfield Cup, to name just a few, are also presented at Prizegiving, which is followed by a service of thanksgiving. Senior Prizegivingwas even more poignant this year as it was the last one for King’s Ely’sPrincipal, Sue Freestone, before she retires in August after 15 years at the helm.

Lord Browne is a former President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and since 2001,has been a crossbench member of the House of Lords. He has also been Chairman of Tate Galleries, a Trustee of the British Museum,a former Partner of RiverstoneLLC, which is co-owner of Cuadrillaresources, and a former Non-Executive Director of Apaxand Goldman Sachs. Lord Brownereceived his undergraduate education at the University of Cambridge and later attended Stanford University.