Daisy the Donkey goes down a storm at King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery

CHILDREN at King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery had a very special visitor as part of their Easter preparations in the form of an adorable donkey called Daisy!

Liz Wright, a Welfare Adviser from the Donkey Sanctuary, popped into school with Daisy, one of her rescue donkeys, for a special outdoor worship themed around Easter. Pupils and staff joined in on a Palm Procession around the spacious school garden, led by Liz and Daisy of course.

The children sang ‘Hosanna’ to welcome Jesus and re-enacted what happened on the first Palm Sunday. Each pupil received a Palm Cross to take home with them to remind them of the Easter message of hope, and of course cooed over Daisy, who was quite happy grazing away, before they returned to their classrooms!

Head of King’s Ely Acremont, Faye Fenton-Stone, said: “It was a real joy to welcome Liz and Daisy to take part in our Palm Procession. Both teachers and pupils commented on how much everyone enjoyed the community feel to our worship, and that a strong memory had been created for us all. At King’s Ely Acremont and Nursery, learning comes in many shapes and sizes; often the best moments are spontaneous, collaborative and active. The values of experience and togetherness have certainly enriched our children’s learning adventure.”


Brentwood Cadets Show Their Mettle

26thMarch 2019: Congratulations to Royal Navy Cadets, CPO Cameron Lindsay and CPO Jack Warman, who took on the challenge of the Royal Marines Commando ‘Look at Life Course’…. and survived!

The week-long course, at Lympstone’s Commando Training Centre in Devon, is billed as ‘the hardest course a cadet can attempt and gave both boys a great insight into life as a Marine.

Despite the very rigorous physical challenges, including taking on the infamous endurance course, both boys thoroughly enjoyed the experience. So much so that Cameron is giving some very serious thought to a career in the Royal Marines.

Read his account here:

“Jack and I decided to do the course as we needed to do a residential for our Gold DofE and, after looking online, we found this course which was described as ‘the hardest course a cadet can attempt’. We decided to do it, especially because we would not be able to do it once we have left school, due to it not being open to the public.

“We travelled down to Lympstone Commando, in Exeter, the base at which they train all of the Royal Marines. We were issued our kit and shown to our rooms ‘grotts’. Of the 27 people on the course, 24 were all aspiring marines who had been entered on the course by their recruitment officer.

“We completed the four main parts of the Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC) and these included:

  • The endurance course, which is a 2-mile obstacle course involving black out tunnels, wading through lakes and the infamous sheep dip (a submerged underwater tunnel filled with freezing rainwater)

  • The PRMC fitness test: A bleep test where the pass mark is 10.5 (I scored 11.6; Jack scored 11.1); Press up test; Sit up test and Pull up test

  • The 3-mile run, the first 1.5 miles is done as a squad in 12 minutes and the last 1.5 miles is done as an individual best effort where the pass time is 10 minutes 30 seconds (I passed and took 10:21)

  • The famous ‘bottom field’ assault course, which is a mile-long assault course with obstacles including a 7ft wall, 5ft wall, monkey bars over water, tunnels, a 12ft wall and many more. (Pass time is 4 minutes, Jack scored 4:15; I scored 4:16)

  • We also attempted the regain tank, which is a tank of cold water, with ropes over it. We had to crawl out on the rope, and attempt to hang down with our arms extended and then proceed to get back on the rope

  • We also spent a day in the field, and learnt how to erect bivvys(tents) and ate rations before getting a lesson on Camo, concealment and stalking.

The course was a great experience for both of us and although it was one of the hardest things we have done, we both enjoyed it and made some great friends. It has also resulted in me wanting to sign up to the marines after I finish my university degree.”

Professor Lord Robert Winston hosts annual King’s Ely Osmond Lecture

Lord Winston Visit March 2019KING’S Ely was delighted to welcome British professor and television presenter, Professor Lord Robert Winston, into school to talk to excited students and staff.

Lord Winston hosted the school’s Osmond Lecture on March 15th, an annual event established and endowed by the Old Eleans’ Club to commemorate the career of Leonard Osmond, who was a Science teacher at King’s Ely from 1930 to 1972.

Lord Winston,who is a British professor, medical doctor, scientist, television presenter and Labour Peer, spoke to students, staff, families and friends of King’s Ely about ‘Why Bother with Science?’

The riveting lecture was the perfect way to conclude King’s Ely’s Science Week celebrations, which involved some of the school’s youngest pupils in King’s Ely Acremont right the way to students in the Sixth Form.

At King’s Ely Acremont, children learnt all about ‘reducing, recycling and reusing’, including upcycling old milk bottles into Elmer-inspired elephants and thinking about what issues dropping litter can cause. ‘Zoe Zinc’ from Mad Science Cambridge also visited the young scientists for a day filled with chemical reaction fun and hands on workshops.

At King’s Ely Junior, highlights included fascinating heart and lung dissections, and investigations into human-powered electricity and recycled art. Students also took part in an intriguing project called ‘Waste of a Week’, where they collected all of the non-edible dry classroom waste from King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior during the course of Science Week. The bagged rubbish was placed in a compound close to the Science Block at King’s Ely Senior and throughout the week, students investigated it from Biological, Chemical and Physical perspectives within their Science lessons.

MSJ Celebrates Women in Music

MSJ_Women_in_Music_concertTalented musicians at Malvern St James Girls’ School have recently been celebrating the work of women composers. A concert, called ‘Women in Music’, was held at the School with the aim of putting women composers in the spotlight and shining a light on the extraordinary and powerful music that they created.

We are all familiar with the names Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, but how many of us have heard of Dring, Chaminade and Beach? Talented, innovative and yet little known, they are among a group of women whose work still continues to be overshadowed by male composers, even today.

The concert programme included both vocal and instrumental music, with pieces by Hildegard von Bingen, Clara Schumann, Madeleine Dring, Cécile Chaminade, Ethel Smyth, Amy Beach, Betty Roe, Elizabeth Maconchy, Kate Bush and Carole King.

The evening was rounded off with a powerful performance of Ethel Smyth’s March of the Women, which became the official song of the Women’s Social and Political Union as well asthe anthem for the women’s suffrage movement in the UK and abroad after it was written in1910.

Mrs Olivera Raraty, MSJ’s Headmistress said, “The concert was a great success and we’rethrilled to have been able to showcase the work of so many women composers to both ourgirls and those who came to the concert. It’s so important that the work of these women isn’t forgotten and that we celebrate and promote female talent and role models.”

‘Women in Music’ was such a success that the Music Department is now planning more concerts as part of a series focussing on women composers.

A group of musicians from MSJ will be heading to Budapest on a Music Tour in the Summer, where their repertoire will feature some of the works of these great women composers.

VICTORIAN DAY at Farlington

Farlington School’s Prep 6 travelled back in time to 1852 to experience a day in a typical Victorian schoolroom. The pupils, aged ten and eleven, spent the day in Victorian dress and a classroom transformed into the bland Victorian style, discovering what it was like to be a Victorian school child.

Miss Welsh and Mr Absalom ruled the class with rods of iron (or should we say bamboo!) The children were expected to sit through lessons in silence and only speak when spoken to. They covered subjects such as British History, by chanting dates; maths with pounds, shillings, pennies and farthings and how to write perfect copperplate handwriting. They read from a Victorian reading book, commenting on the morals gained from them and they learnt a poem to recite at the end of the day. Lunch consisted of pasties, sandwiches, fruit and biscuits and at break they were able to roll hoops, skip together and play a game of marbles or hopscotch.

This hands-on historical experience fits into the history curriculum which is currently focusing on the Victorian era. Pupils learn about Victorian domestic life, the contrasting lifestyles of the rich and poor, the growth of urbanisation and the achievements of the era. This will be explored further when Prep 6 goes on their residential trip to the Isle of Wight at the end of the summer term and visits Osborne House.

Going Green at Warwick School!


Left to right: Seb, Tom, Tom, Alfie, Dan, Kai, Charlie, Will (all Year 11)

Warwick School has very recently embarked on a massive ‘eco’ project to reduce landfill and encourage recycling best practice.

Headed up by the Green Team (a group of students and staff), ‘single use plastic boycott’ has been launched at an assembly.  A video clip of ‘Blue Planet’ showing the amount of litter, mainly plastic, found on beaches and how wildlife, especially birds, are killed due to this litter, was incredibly thought-provoking.

The new implementations are now in full swing with packed lunch packaging changed to paper bags and sandwiches wrapped in paper rather than film. The students are all being encouraged to remember to bring in their own reusable water bottles from home each day.  Single use pudding pots have gone and been replaced with reusable ones, as have single use soup cups which have been replaced with ceramic bowls/cups.  Polystyrene containers for salads and jacket potatoes have been replaced with compostable containers. This has been rolled out into the staff room too, where ceramic cups will now be used.

Warwick School has been recognised as a Recycling Collection Point by Walkers Crisps, who will collect directly when 400+ bags have been collected.  Boys have been asked to use the crisp recycling boxes in each department, where they can recycle not only Walkers crisp packets but any foil-lined crisp packet, any brand!

The pupils have also been challenged with influencing the ‘single use plastic boycott’ at home by taking their own bags to the supermarket, choosing loose fruit and vegetables (rather than pre-packed), buying cans not bottles, using reusable water bottles and bringing crisp packets in from home to be recycled.

Go Green!!!



IMG_9882Lewis Hatchett, a former Sussex county cricketer, provided an inspiring Vive Lecture to our senior pupils about how to achieve your goals against the odds, through hard work and determination.

Lewis, 29, had a goal from a young age of becoming a professional cricketer, in spite of his disability. He was born with Poland Syndrome which, for him, meant that he was born without two ribs or any chest muscle on the right hand side of his body. His dad asked whether he would be able to play sport and the doctors told his father that he would struggle. This did not deter Lewis: from a young age he decided that he would achieve his dream and, at the age of 20, he did this by signing a contract with Sussex. However, his journey to this point was not a straightforward one. He was not going to let his body fail him and chose to get physically fit. He had a Kevlar chest protector custom-made to protect his right lung. He had to overcome injury, a broken back which put him out of the game for two years, as well as being told that he was not quite as talented as some of his peers.

On his return, he continued to strive for his dream by, in his words, ‘being a pest’ and contacting head coaches so that he could be in the changing rooms of the senior teams as a water carrier and general helper, whilst all the time learning from the best. He also asked constantly of the people he admired what he needed to do to achieve his goal. He worked harder than his peers at the list he was given to make sure that he was good enough until he had eventually ticked all of the boxes on the list. He developed an inner self-belief that he knew he was good enough, but that he had to find opportunities to show the coaches that he was. He eventually got the break he had been waiting for when one of the coaches said that he had a month to prove himself by standing in for an injured bowler. After this, he received a three-year contract to play professional cricket, which he did for six years until he was dealt a cruel blow. He broke his back again and at the age of 26 had to retire from his beloved game of cricket.

He felt lost and disappointed that he had had his dream taken away, but his message is “Don’t give up; there is always a different path that you can take in life to fulfil dreams that may be different to those you originally envisaged for yourself. You must focus on what ‘you have’ rather than on what ’you don’t have’. Visualise your future and you will achieve it!”

Lewis is now a yoga teacher and has set up a business, ‘Sport-Yogi’, to focus on the strength of body and mind. He believes in the message that you have the power to delete and remove negativity in your life, which includes any social media posts or people that you follow that make you have negative thoughts about yourself. The message that he would like to share is that social media should give you three things: inspiration, information and entertainment. If they do none of these, you should remove them from your life.

Remember ‘visualise the future’ that you want and you will achieve!

Talents and courage shine during annual King’s Ely Senior Music Festival 

  • Images by King’s Ely Sixth Form student Lisa Lyu

HUNDREDS of people packed into Ely Cathedral for King’s Ely Senior’s eagerly-anticipated Music Festival Finalists’ Concert.

King’s Ely Senior and International students battled it out in a series of fiercely-contested heats held in school over a three-week period. As ever, the quality and variety of the students’ performances were outstanding, but the entries were whittled down to Intermediate Finalists and Senior Finalists, all of whom performed in the spine-tingling final in the splendour of the cathedral’s south transept.

The final was adjudicated by Professor Mark Wildman, Head of Vocal Studies at London’s Royal Academy of Music.

Intermediate Instrumentalist of the Year went to Year 10 student James Wilkinson (Trombone), who also won Intermediate Musician of the Year. Emmanuelle Yembe, who is in Year 13,was crowned Senior Vocalistof the Year for the second year running.

Elizabeth Thomson, who is in Year 10, won Intermediate Vocalist and the Senior Instrumentalist trophy went to Lisa Lyu (Piano), who is Year 12.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “Every year I am awed by the quality and sophistication of the performances with which our young musicians delight us. They are each winners in their own classes and each of them deserve our respect and congratulations.”

Music is the beating heart of King’s Ely and isthe reason why the school came into existence in the first place. Over a third ofstudents learna musical instrument or receive vocal tuition and the quality,range and variety of ensembles all attest tothe 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 cathedralchoirs, highlight how music is the soul of the King’s Ely community and testify to its inclusivity.

Infant & Junior Pupils Enjoy Special Learning Power Week,  Powered By Parents! LVS Ascot

Pupils as young as four enjoyed a special themed timetable as parents and teachers came together to inspire them at LVS Ascot’s Learning Power Weekfrom Monday 11thto Friday 15thFebruary. The event allowed Infant & Junior pupils to enjoy parent-led sessions across a range of talks and activities as they work towards a unique diploma.

Fascinating talks and demonstrations from parentsincluded Louise Holmes, whose daughter Holly is in Year 4, who is part of the Berkshire Lowland Search and Rescue Team. She brought in two dogscalled Risk and Diesel to demonstrate, by hiding away pupilsin the school playground,how the dogs track missing people and alert the team when found. Further parent career talks from jewellery designer Mrs Andrews and Mrs Southamfrom Cisco IT were followed by pilot Mr Jenner who captivated hisyoungaudience with details of flying planes and how to forge a career in the aviation industry.

Learning Power Week helped pupils build towards their LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School Diploma, whichis broken down into five pairs of values that are instilled in pupils over their time at the independent, all ability school. A special focus each day on a different set of values helped all pupils from Reception class to Year 6 achieve that. On Mondayrisk-taking and resilience weredemonstrated through science experiments and public auditions for the school’s Young Musician of the Year, whilst on Tuesday forest school in LVS Ascot’s 25-acre grounds allowed pupils to show collaboration and self-confidence. A session on Wednesday with LVS Ascot’s senior school Outdoor Pursuits teacher Tim Wyndham-Smith, including students leading each other blindfolded through an obstacle course,developed initiative and independence skills, whilst curiosity and creativity were demonstrated and practiced on Thursday during a poetry festival and dance competition.

The week ended with sessions on empathy and reflection, with a range of mindfulness activities, perfectly rounding off an exciting and engaging week that brought parents and teachers’ expertise together to advance pupils’ knowledge.

Head of LVS Ascot Infant & Junior School RachaelCox said:“Our diploma is a very unique and rewarding wayfor young pupilsto develop key skills, and Learning Power Week helped them work towards the diploma in a really engaging way. All our pupils learned a lot of new things, worked together and had fun along the way which fits perfectly with our ethos”.

Manchester Grammar School – Holocaust Memorial Day

PUPILS at The Manchester Grammar School (MGS) were privileged to hear from three survivors of the Holocaust on Monday (14 January 2018).

Ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day later this month, Ruth Lachs and her husband Werner, of Prestwich, and Itzik Alteman, from Whitefield, spoke to Year 9 pupils about how they survived the Holocaust, and the importance of educating future generations about those horrific events so they are never forgotten.

Itzik has only recently been able to tell his story of how he survived four concentration camps, so heart-breaking are his memories of what he endured.

In an emotional speech to the boys, Itzik told how he is the sole survivor of his family, having seen his mother, sister and brother – and later, his father – taken away to be killed, and to this day he does not know where their remains are or if there are any, or the dates they died.

He spoke about the brutal conditions inside the camps and how he was forced onto a death march – aged just 13-years-old – just two days before his concentration camp was liberated by the Russian army. Itzik survivedfreezing, snowy conditions,and Nazi guards who would shoot dead any Jews who could not keep up, and was justone of only a few hundred people out of the 6,000 who started the march who lived.

In an incredible act of bravery, Itzik, 90,also showed boys the infamous tattoo on his arm from the Birkenaucamp, and told the audience why he is now telling his story.

He said: “For a long time I could only talk to other survivors. It was too raw, and myself and the other survivors could only talk to each other. We as survivors formed an unbreakable bond, having survived the worst example of what human beings are capable of.

“But now, as I am getting older, I want younger generations to hear about the atrocities we went through,and to impress upon them the need to make sure it never happens again, and to fight prejudiceand hatred.”

Like Anne Frank, Ruth, 82,is known as one of the ‘hidden children of the Holocaust’ and, as a young child, spent the majority of the war in hiding and forced to disguise her identity, including being hidden away in the sandpit of an Amsterdam nursery.

Her husband Warner, now 92,was forced to flee Germany after the events of Kristallnachtin 1938, and it was not until the 1990s that he discovered he and his family were granted visas to leave Germany for Britain thanks to the heroic actions of M16 agent, Frank Foley. Foleyworked in the British Passport Office,and was so moved by the atrocities inflicted upon the Jews that he rubber-stamped thousands of visa requests and forged passports, enabling Jews to escape Germany.

Ruth’sstory is also an incredible tale of bravery and survival. She and her parents emigrated to Amsterdam after the traumatic events of Kristallnacht, but after the Germans invaded Holland, her father was forced to take drastic action, hiding her in the family attic.

As conditions for Jews worsened and became more perilous, her parents sent Ruth – then aged just six – to live with a Dutch couple who offered her sanctuary, where she had no choice but to change her identity to that of a non-Jewish orphan so the Nazis would not discover she was Jewish.

In 1943, when someone tipped-off the Nazis that the couple were harbouring Jewish children, she was taken to achildren’s centre where a nursery nurse kept her Jewish identity hidden, and during which time she had to hide in a sandpit when the SS called toround-up the children. Anon-Jewish student from the underground movement opposed to the Nazisthensmuggled her on a train to a Christian family in Limburg, where she took refuge.

When she was hospitalised with polio, the doctor who treated her also kept her Jewish identity a secret, and was once again rescued by the underground movement who took her to a home for mentally and physically handicapped children in Amsterdam,where the matron hid in the Jewish children in a separate ward.

After the war ended, her parents were traced through the Red Cross and they were reunited when Ruth was nine. She moved to Manchester in 1962 where she met Werner, and the couple have been married for more than 55 years.

Ruth’s son later attended The Manchester Grammar School.

She said: “I often think: ‘Where would I have been?’ without the bravery of those people in the face of terror. Thanks to all the people who helped me, I stand here today a wife, a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother. My family are the legacy of all those – some of whom lost their lives –whose chose todo good when surrounded by evil.

“I speak about my experiences to impress upon young people the need to be good, not extreme or bad or violent.”

Dan Farr, a teacher at The Manchester Grammar School, said: “Our boys wereincredibly privileged to hear from Ruth, Werner and Itzik, and I want to pass on my sincere thanks to them for speaking so powerfully, and for reliving such a traumatic time in their lives.

“We must never forget what happened during the Holocaust, and we must never let it happen again, so it is so important for younger generations to hear first-hand the experiences of survivors like Ruth, Werner and Itzik, so that not only are their stories never forgotten, but to inspire future generations to prevent it from happening again.”