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

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 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.

St Swithun’s impact on Winchester’s economy

St SwithunsSt Swithun’s school contributed £12.6m towards Winchester’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the last financial year, according to a report carried out by Oxford Economics for the Independent Schools Council (ISC). This represented 0.26% of the city’s total GDP. St Swithun’semploys 310 staff, supporting 550 jobs in the UK economy directly or via its UK-based supply chain. It supports 0.36% of all jobs in Winchester either directly or via its supply chain.

The total contribution of St Swithun’s to the national economy was £23.1m. In addition, the total savings generated for the UK taxpayer, as a result of attendance at St Swithun’sby the 615 pupils who would otherwise take up a free UK state school place was £3.8m.

Arguably of more importance, during the 2018/19 academic year, St Swithun’swill have delivered130 hours of enrichment activities to 560 local primary school children. In addition,it is on course to provide 35 hours of free swimming pool access including tuition and transport, saving each participating primary school an average of £3,000and ensuring their pupils can swim 25m. In addition, the school provides 20 hours of holiday activity sessions for more than 30 children.

Approximately 150 people from the local Winchester area regularly attend the St Swithun’sSpeakers’ Programme which features academics, politicians, philanthropists, adventurers, scientists and the media.

Headmistress Jane Gandee said: St Swithun’sis proud of its heritage as a Winchester institution, having been founded by local philanthropist Anna Bramston in 1884. It occupied buildings in the city centre until the 1930s and played a key role in Winchester’s war effort. Our links with the local community remain strong with pupils visiting local nursing homes and cooking for the Winchester Nightshelteron a regular basis. In June,our year 11 pupils will return to the Unit 12 local community centre, following our partnership with them during the launch phase last year. Our pupils will help to create an outdoor education space, tackle refurbishment and maintenance work and hold a Unit 12 Open Day event for the WinnallCommunity.

Memorial Service held at MGS to celebrate the life of Yousef Makki

Family and friends of Yousef Makkigathered at The Manchester Grammar School to pay tribute to a much-loved young man.

A Memorial Service was held on 27 April 2019, in honour of Yousef, who was tragically lost his life on 2 March.

A tree in Yousef’s memory was planted in the School’s grounds by family and friends, before a moving ceremony, during which Yousef’s mum Debbie, the Head of LadybarnPrimary School where Yousef previously attended, his closest friends, his young nephew, his boxing coach and two of the teachers at MGS who knew him best paid tribute to him, sharing stories and anecdotes about Yousef’s life and how much he meant to them.

The ceremony was interspersed with video clips and photograph from Yousef’s life, as well as his favourite pieces of music.

That was followed by a two-minute silence, before balloons were released into the air in Yousef’s memory.

High Master at MGS, Dr Martin Boulton, said: “Yousef was a dearly loved young man, and an incredibly bright pupil.

“The Memorial Service was about paying tribute to Yousef and remembering all that he had achieved in his life. It was so moving to hear from his family and his closest friends – the people knew him best – about what a caring young man he was, who would have done anything for his friends and family, and touched so many people’s lives.”