Journalist and Former Cabinet Minister, Michael Portillo Visits Dauntsey’s

portillo audienceDauntsey’s has recently welcomed journalist, TV presenter and former cabinet minister, Michael Portillo, as part of the School’s Mercers’ Lecture series.  Michael presented his lecture to an audience of 900 pupils, staff and members of the local community, talking about his life in politics and, more recently, in the media.

Born to a Spanish civil war refugee and a Scottish mother, Michael gained fame at an early age as the face of Ribena. After studying history at Cambridge, he entered politics in 1984, serving in Margaret Thatcher’s government.   

Michael held a variety of ministerial positions and was seen by many as the natural successor to Thatcher until a shock result in the 1997 election saw him voted out of office in what is now known as the ‘Portillo Moment’.  Michael gave many entertaining insights to his time in cabinet and enlightening behind-the-scenes tales of the Iron Lady herself. 

Since leaving politics, Michael has reinvented himself as a media presence both in political discussion programmes and documentaries.  The audience was fascinated as he related stories of how chance encounters, along with his passion for steam trains, fuelled his second career in television.

Before the public lecture, Michael spoke to a small group of Sixth Formers about his working life and answered their questions with great enthusiasm.

Megan, a Sixth Former from Dauntsey’s who attended both the lecture and the informal group discussion said:

“From his flamboyant dress sense to his bewitching descriptions, Michael held the audience spellbound both at our Sixth Form discussion and during the evening lecture as he gave us a colourful and very entertaining review of his life. 

“We would like to thank Michael for one of the most charismatic and amusing lectures we have had the pleasure of listening to.”

College U13 Boys’ Hockey Team Crowned County Champions

hires_3566x2728Bishop’s Stortford College U13 boys’ hockey team have been crowned County Champions.

The Bishop’s Stortford College U13 boys’ hockey team have been crowned County Champions at the U13 County Finals held at Oaklands College, St Albans, for the 8th time in the last 10 years.

Having won all of their group matches against Haileybury, Merchant Taylors’, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Hitchin Boys’ School the College team cruised through to the semi-finals at the top of their group.

Facing St Alban’s in the semis, the game ended with a 1-1 draw, despite the College team dominating the match play. This resulted in a set of penalty strokes to decide the winners; the College boys held their nerve with two great saves from goalkeeper Ollie F and advanced to the final.

Up against Hitchin Boys’ School once again, the boys had saved their best until last and gave an outstanding performance on the pitch. Two goals from Finn B and another from Paddy A-L saw the team emerge with a decisive win of 3-0 and being crowned County Champions.

Nick Prowse, the team’s coach, commented, “All the boys should be incredibly proud of themselves for an excellent display of hockey. Special mention must go to Miles L-T who captained the team superbly, was a real driving force in midfield and was awarded Player of the Tournament by the Officials.”

The College would like to extend its congratulations to the whole team, Ollie F, Ethan B, Felix R-D, Miles L-T, Cam W, Finn B, Fred B, Paddy A-L, Jake B and George L on this fantastic achievement and wishes them the best of luck in the East Finals in March.

DofE Awards aplenty for dedicated King’s Ely students

Silver DofE achievers January 2020

MORE than forty King’s Ely students have been presented with Bronze and Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award badges.

A total of thirty King’s Ely Senior students have received their Bronze badges and twelve have achieved their Silver DofE, eleven of whom are now working towards their Gold awards.

King’s Ely’s latest Silver award achievers are: Thomas Biggs, Benjamin Biggs, Oscar Hills, Oliver Johnson, Thomas Kim, Matthew Larmour, Jennifer Liu, Alexander Scarborough, Molly van Poortvliet, Eleanor Wallace, Molly Whymark and Natalie Youssef.

The school’s latest Bronze Award achievers are Amelia Shaw, Eliza Iles, Sam Barber, Joshua Isaacs, Isabella Boutwood, Abhishek Kale, William Buckingham, Alexander Loke-Hassell, Henry Bullivant, Peter Lonsdale, Holly Burke, James Lott, George Collier, Eleanor MacGillivray, Miya Cundy, Sandra Massoud, Molly Egan, Edward Pepper, Charlotte Ellis, Laurence Ray, Joel Ezana, Alexander Scarborough, Harriet Froud, William Senior, Richard Garrard, James Spofforth, Emma Garrett, Alice Wallace, Tessa Hawes and Emily Williams.

Former King’s Ely students (Old Eleans), Ed Chittenden and Rebecca Garrett, also achieved their Gold DofE awards recently.

King’s Ely offers students the chance to undertake their DofE Award at all three levels as part of the school’s outdoor education programme, Ely Scheme. While most independent schools have an outdoor pursuits programme, the Ely Scheme is both unique and central to the whole King’s Ely experience, as young people from Year 9 upwards are given tangible opportunities to push themselves to achieve beyond anything they ever thought possible.

The aim is to develop each individual student through outdoor education and adventurous activity, concentrating on eight major elements: personal skills; self-confidence; teamwork; leadership skills; social and environmental awareness; problem solving; ability to cope with difficult situations and healthy respect for nature and the outdoors.

LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School Spreads Christmas Cheer Amongst Elderly

Pupils as young as four combined to spread Christmas cheer within the Bracknell Forest 
community last week as LVS Ascot’s Infant & Junior School laid on lunch and a special 
Nativity performance for some of the area’s elderly. Members of Warfield Church’s Autumn 
Club, a group for older members of the congregation, were special guests at the school on 
Tuesday 10th December. 
 
The LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School’s nativity play is one of the highlights of the school’s 
Christmas celebrations, and Warfield Church’s Autumn Club enjoyed this year’s premiere 
before proud parents packed into the school the following day to enjoy the show. Over 30 
members of the church enjoyed a lunch at LVS Ascot served by the Infant & Junior 
School’s Year 6 ambassadors and prefect team. The pupils also chatted to their older 
counterparts and made them feel welcome at a fun social occasion to get them in to the 
Christmas spirit.  
 
It was then the turn of the infants in Reception class, Year 1 and Year 2 to entertain their 
visitors with this year’s Nativity play ‘Hey Ewe’, an inclusive event which allowed every 
pupil in those years to have their moment in the spotlight. All pupils at the school are 
studying for their Infant & Junior School Diploma, learning about a number of LVS 
Learning Values and Skills, and clearly demonstrating on this occasion creativity, 
resilience, collaboration and self-confidence. 
 
that LVS Ascot stands for, it is a time for each child to shine by themselves and pull 
together as part of a team”.  
 
Parent Andy Collins said: “It was outstanding and put the hairs up on the back of my neck. 
My son Arthur was a sheep and my daughter Ruby a narrator. Their self-confidence was 
plain to see todayIt made me so proud to watch it with my father”. 
 
You can watch and embed a short highlights film from the LVS Ascot Nativity, including 
parent and teacher reaction, here: bit.ly/Nativity19Highlights  
 
Further LVS Ascot Christmas community celebrations included a church service at Holy 
Garrison Church in Windsor and carol singing at Savill Garden’s café in Windsor Great 
Park. 

Dauntsey’s December production of In The Heights is a hit

A cast of 160 pupils, supported by more than 30 technical crew and band members, have delighted sell-out audiences with a challenging, energetic and exciting production of In the Heights.

From the writer of Hamilton and Disney’s Moana, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical tells the story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighbourhood.

The show received standing ovations from audiences totalling some 3,000 who watched performances over the five-night run. The cast was made up of pupils from years 7 to 13 and, for some, it was their stage debut.

As always, the School’s hi-tech sound and light system brought the musical to life in spectacular fashion, and the band performed the extraordinarily challenging score with great skill, energy and enthusiasm.

Chris Walker, Director of Drama, said;

In The Heights is a show about community. The fast-paced rap, sharp dialogue and belting songs fused with Latin rhythms and culture make for a show that lives long in the memory.

“Our young cast, dancers, musicians, stage team and technical crew have worked intensely for 10 short weeks to make this a simply extraordinary experience for audiences and pupils.

“Dauntsey’s has once again raised the bar for what is possible for school productions. Taking on this hugely complex show was a mountain to climb and the young people and staff truly scaled the peak. Our show was as close as possible to the West End production.

“We were fortunate to have the wisdom and guidance of Jimmy Norden (who played drums, in the original West End cast) and Cleve September (original West End cast member of In The Heights and Hamilton) to help the pupils achieve excellent results.

“It was a truly special show and an unforgettable experience.”

Audience reviews include:

“Mind-blowingly good by an enormous cast and orchestra!  Such a depth of singing, acting & dancing talent. Spontaneous and fully deserved standing ovation.”

“If In The Heights is a contemporary call for community, the cast, band, crew, and production team showed just how Dauntsey’s is every bit one quite brilliant community!”

The December production has become a musical tradition for Dauntsey’s and In the Heights follows spellbinding shows including Our House, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia and Billy Elliot.

King’s Ely Rugby squad enjoys unbeaten season – and makes school history!

1st XV Rugby SquadKING’S Ely’s 1st XV Rugby team has made school history by winning every 
single match they played this season.   
 
The squad won all eleven of their games this season, putting them at the top of the UK Schools Rugby League and making them winners of the East Anglia Independent Schools 1st XV Rugby Trophy. 
 
Captain of the 1st XVs Callum Hall scored 114 points, winger Arthur Plews achieved 17 tries and Vice Captains Solomon Boon and Tom Henderson contributed significantly. Highlights of the season include a double victory against Wisbech Grammar School, a magnificent 33-22 victory against Wellingborough School and beating Culford School at home. 
 
The 1st XV team and several other King’s Ely Rugby boys also enjoyed a hugely successful tour to Paris in October, which saw them win all four games against some top French club sides. 
 
The school’s Under 15A Rugby side also enjoyed a successful season, finishing unbeaten except from one game which ended 24-24 against Gresham’s School. 
 
Director of Sport at King’s Ely, Jim Thompson, described this year’s Rugby season as “very 
memorable”. Speaking about the 1st XV’s success, he said: “What the boys have achieved is incredible and they are now the most successful 1st XV King’s Ely Rugby team in the school’s history. The main reasons for their unbeaten success are the standards and expectations they set for themselves. They set high standards at training, they pushed themselves to improve, they were hardworking and there are no egos. Most 
importantly of all is that they always enjoyed it and had fun. Everyone has played their part in what has been a hugely enjoyable and very memorable season. They have been a joy to coach and should all be very proud of 
what they have achieved.” 
 
At King’s Ely, we are passionate about sport and firmly believe that all students should enjoy a wide a range of sporting experiences, whilst at the same time making the most of opportunities to excel. We also support our students in sports they pursue outside school, with many going on to represent their counties, regions, and, in some cases, their country. 

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.

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.