In January 2019, the BSA launched its ON BOARD Community Action Programme to highlight work in the community by boarding schools. The aim is to increase support for local communities from boarding schools and to highlight this to external stakeholders, including the Government and parents.
To participate in the programme, BSA member schools must:
Carry out some sort of community-based action at least once a term, involving (but not exclusively) boarding pupils
Let the BSA know about the activity and agree to be promoted as a BSA ON BOARD partner school.
In return, the BSA will:
Send partner schools a signed certificate to display
Include the school’s name, and details of its community work, on the BSA website
Promote BSA ON BOARD partner schools via social media and the media, and to the national Government in their area.
Examples of community-based activity
There are many ways schools can support their local community, including:
Visiting elderly people
Supporting disabled people
Many schools already have community action programmes so would be eligible to become ON BOARD partners. However, the BSA would expect any participating partner to increase their community action work as well.
Schools interested in becoming ON BOARD partner schools should contact the BSA Team via firstname.lastname@example.org
RNIB Aysgarth to Aysgarth Walk
On Sunday 19th May, the pupils of Aysgarth School, their families, friends and staff undertook a sponsored walk in aid of RNIB. The walk took place over the 16 miles from Aysgarth Falls, where the School was founded, to Newton-le-Willows, the current site of Aysgarth School. Over 370 walkers took part in the event, with younger children joining the route at either the 10 mile or 5 mile points.
The pupils were inspired to take on this challenge by fellow pupil Archie Hare (aged 10), who is visually impaired. Archie addressed the school in assembly and explained about the importance of the work that RNIB carries out and how the charity had supported him. Archie walked the full 16 miles, with his fellow classmates walking part of the course using blindfolds in an effort to raise awareness and to experience just an element of what Archie experiences daily.
There was an incredible atmosphere on the day; the school community came together to support each other through the challenge, culminating in the assembled crowds cheering Archie through the last stretch of his walk as he arrived back at school.
The event has now raised in excess of £36,000 with Archie has himself raising over £14,000.
Badminton School Science Outreach Team’s Summer of Science
Badminton School have celebrated a distinguished summer of Science this year with their Science Outreach Team invited to present at national and international festivals throughout the summer months.
Whilst many schoolchildren were taking time off from school activities, the Science team at Badminton School travelled the UK and Europe promoting ‘Girls in STEM’ with their dramatic science demonstrations. Invited to present alongside CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, the schoolgirls aged 17 to 18 took to the stage at ‘Colours of Ostrava’ festival in the Czech Republic, impressing the audience with their selfchoreographed demonstrations using liquid nitrogen and superconductors in “Physics in the Freezer”.
Closer to home, the Team presented at Bluedot Festival, situated at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Jodrell Bank alongside the National Space Centre and Jodrell Bank’s own Discovery Centre. The Festival took place under the Grade 1 listed Lovell Telescope on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission: the first to take astronauts to the Moon.
The girls caught the attention of Professor Jim Al-Khalili, BBC Click’s Spencer Kelly and frontman and activist Peter Gabriel at WOMAD Festival a week later with their interactive shows “The Compressed Guide to the Atmosphere” and “The Mysterious Realm of Superconductors”. On the very same stage, Roger Jones of both Lancaster University and CERN presented later that day. Last on the schedule of events was Green Man Festival in Wales. Placed as the first science engagement in the music festival’s Omni Tent programme this year, the girls shone and kicked off day two of the Festival’s science programme to a triumphant start.
Georgina, part of the Outreach Team, has said that participating has “lead me to consider using Physics in my future career” as the Team continues to demonstrate such “advanced level of scientific knowledge [that] the majority of universities do not even cover until at least second year, if at all!”. Georgina continued to say her confidence in “presenting to all sorts of audiences” has continued to grow and is thrilled at the “brilliant opportunities” the programme has given her.
Headmistress at Badminton, Mrs Tear said: “Our Science Outreach Team never fail to impress me with their adaptability of communication and enthusiasm for science. Their presence at such large festivals this summer is only part of their programme of events; their professional and passionate presentations continue when they visit local primary schools, giving children of all ages and genders a magical and inspiring insight into science”.
Badminton School raises £2,500 for local charity Caring in Bristol on Friday 15 September
Badminton School raises £2,500 for local charity Caring in Bristol On Friday 15th September, two of Badminton School’s recent Upper Sixth Leavers were proud to present local charity ‘Caring in Bristol’ with a cheque for £2,500. The money was raised at the school Summer Ball in July and will help keep their 365 shelter open for a month.
Caring in Bristol is a local charity working to deliver support to homeless and vulnerable people in Bristol, 365 days a year. Their projects include their 365 shelter which provides fifteen rough sleepers with a safe alternative to a night on the street, Bristol Nightstop which involves the recruitment of hosts for young and vulnerable people facing homelessness and Caring at Christmas where their 800 volunteers help to provide shelter, food and clothing for people in need over the festive period.
Rebecca Tear, Headmistress at Badminton School, commented: “We are very pleased to be able to make a difference for some of those in need in Bristol. At Badminton we support a wide range of charities both national and international, however it’s always great to work with one so close to home because for our students it has real meaning and context and helps them see the importance of undertaking such fundraising”.
For many years, the Year 7 and Year 8 pupils at Dunhurst school – day pupils and boarders – have taken part in ‘Community Service’ and volunteered, for one term each year, to help in the community. The community-based action, pre-Covid, included:
Block 1 and 2 pupils (Year 7 and 8) went to this local special needs school every Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by the Dunhurst Head of Community Service, to assist the class teachers.
Miranda says “I worked with a class who were about the same age as the Group 3s. The number of children in the class can vary but there is usually no more than 10. There are always four adults and sometimes more as well.
During the time that we went to the class, on a Wednesday afternoon, I helped with their cooking lesson!
This was really fun and they made things like minced pies, biscuits and all sorts of sweet treats!”
Pupils volunteered to help in the classrooms of our local primary school on a Wednesday afternoon.
On the Bedales grounds, we also have a nursery, and they had room for a couple of pupils to help look after the babies and toddlers on a Wednesday afternoon. One of the volunteers in 2019 told me they started at the nursery when they were a baby!
Dunannie is the Bedales pre-prep school, and the Dunhurst pupils volunteered to help once a week at morning break or lunchtime, on the playground. Their role was to interact and play with the children, to perhaps help and support children who were alone, and to be excellent role models showing kindness to the younger pupils.
Since Covid, the Community Service programme has been severely restricted.
However, some service has still been possible.
Petersfield Memorial Garden
In 2020, NHS staff started the Petersfield Memorial Garden as a reflective and relaxing space for all hospital staff to recharge their batteries (see first picture below). Some Dunhurst Block 2 pupils, including boarders, painted these beautiful planters as part of their community-based service (see 2nd picture below) and donated them to this special garden.
Volunteering hours in the local community
At Berkhamsted, boarders are given the opportunity of volunteering in their local community. The school has partnerships with several different charity shops, Cancer Research, Keech and Barnardo’s, and students also volunteer by providing support at a local school and at a nearby Hospice.
This is a great, ongoing, community programme that encourages boarders to give back.
Community Outreach at Blundell’s was formally recognised this year with the appointment of the Director of Community Partnerships. This SLT role indicates our commitment to Social Responsibility, the importance and significant impact that ‘community’ plays and the positive benefits it brings to all those involved. A Blundell’s Community Partnerships Team was formed at the start of the year with pupils from Year 9 to 13 volunteering to lead and run the various projects outlined below:
Tiverton Town Council and local Community
Senior pupils (with those from Tiverton High School), attend Town Council Meetings (via Zoom) to outline our community initiatives and our future plans.
A Local Community Loyalty Card, launched in the autumn, will promote local independent traders in Tiverton and encourage their use by our school community.
Pupils have; slept rough for a night for local a Homeless Charity, fundraised for CHAT, Force, Down Syndrome causes and we are looking forward to getting back into the various Residential Homes that we support.
Music and Art partnerships have made a good start with Tiverton High School. A Community Netball Club has been established with 70 girls attending an Easter Netball Camp. A member of our PE staff runs a weekly sports session for Culm Valley Primary Schools and our termly, Tidcombe Primary School Partnership with Year 5 focusing on Science and sport hosted by our senior teams is due to start in the autumn. ACE Tiverton, have brought pupils for Forest School activities in our woodland.
An Engagement and Enrichment website was created to support the whole family by encouraging everyone to take part in activities and challenges focusing on Family Engagement, Exercise and Wellbeing, Cultural and Charity, and Life Skills. It was instrumental in keeping wellbeing and mental health top of the list.
Science goggles, gloves and 3D printed visors were given away. A Veg box scheme supplied 528 boxes to local communities and shielding individuals whilst supporting our local food suppliers and raising an additional £1700 for CHAT.
Our Remembrance and Carol Services were recorded, along with a virtual Speech Day that were shared with all our communities across the World.
The Blundell’s Garden.
Our ‘Grow Your Own’ videos recorded during lockdown received over a thousand hits and were shared with the South West Hospiscare Charity in support of their virtual Open Gardens. The focus brought to the garden and the vital role it plays in our mental health and wellbeing was incredible. A Garden Café has been the perfect venue for a socially distanced get together with friends. It has hosted everyone from Community Groups to Year 13 for a Cocktail Evening. We have entered the Britain in Bloom Competition with Tiverton again this year which includes our volunteering in a local hospice garden. We are looking forward to welcoming the wider community into the Garden as soon as restrictions allow and are planning to be part of the National Open Gardens in the future.
On Sunday 9th June, sixty students and staff from the boarding community at Campbell College took part in the recent March for Men, in Belfast. March for Men is a UK wide initiative raising awareness and funds for Prostate Cancer. This is an ideal event for the boys to participate in for multiple reasons: it supports research into an issue of men’s health; it raises awareness of that issue within a male boarding community; and it encourages the boys to contribute to a charitable cause. The event is now firmly part of our charitable calendar as this is the second year that the boarders have participated. Our involvement has helped to foster and develop a sense of our place within the community, an increased awareness of the issue – as well as helping the boys to work up an appetite for Sunday brunch!
Mr John Rea, Assistant Head of Junior Boarding (Assistant Head of Boarding, Key Stage 3)
DLD COLLEGE LONDON
DLD/NHS Rainbow Project
A week into lockdown the remaining 23 boarding students at DLD College London painted huge posters thanking the NHS for their hard work, these were displayed in the College windows opposite St Thomas’ Hospital. A few days later we were contacted by a doctor from the Nightingale Hospital who reached out and asked if we could display some of the pictures which had been sent to them in their thousands from the children of the UK and they were unable to display in/at the hospital. As a boarding community we responded to the request from one community to another. Staff and boarders opened envelopes containing the posters, laminated them and then displayed them over the college windows.
To date, over 4000 pieces of children’s artwork have been displayed. The response from the healthcare workers at St Thomas’ has been overwhelming; we have had many messages of thanks saying how much joy and appreciation the display has brought to the staff. The project has gained international attention, featuring in worldwide press and on BBC London News.
DLD charity partnership with Oasis Global
“We are thrilled to be able to partner with DLD in this local community – a diverse, bustling and brilliant community which is rich in arts, culture and education, as well as facing huge challenges on our doorstep, with our Foodbank increasing its output by 50% in 2019, compared to 2018. It is fantastic to have DLD engaged in supporting projects across our community – providing new opportunities, eye opening and character building experiences for students, as well as connecting them to their local community, and supporting those in need, whilst at school.”
Steve Chalke MBE, Founder and Leader, Oasis Global
DLD College London actively participates in several community events and charitable activities in the local Waterloo area. Some of these activities this year have included:
Meeting with Oasis Waterloo on the campaign for the purchase of the Kennington Road Police Station as a community asset
Collection of a trolley of food for Waterloo Food Bank
Bake sale for Waterloo Food Bank
Spending a day assisting with the set up of the Oasis Farm Waterloo Christmas Fayre
Clothing and shoe donations to the ‘Gift of Love’ charity
Movember, raised £915
Attendance at the Waterloo Community Iftar
Fundraising for Evelina Children’s Hospital, £6,500 raised in the last four years
Macmillan Coffee morning, raised £572
Donations of clothes, shoes, cakes and food…
Oasis Christmas Fayre
On Saturday 5th October Dover College organised their very own Beach Clean event. The community event took place in Deal and Walmer just minutes away from the College with the aim of helping the environment and the immediate local area around the College.
DUKE OF YORK'S ROYAL MILITARY SCHOOL
This term, students from DOYRMS will be doing the following charitable and community work:
A walk along the White Cliffs of Dover to carry out a litter pick
Singing at the Christmas light switch on in Dover, followed by attending a local care home to sing for the elderly residents.
One of our boarders is undertaking a fundraising glowstick walk for Autism NI.
Dukies conquer stormy Irish Sea in three-day charity row
To row across the Irish sea is already a Viking-like expedition. When combined with a wrathful storm, enormous waves and a series of unfortunate events, it seems all the more unachievable. Thus when Felix, a current Dukie who is a quadriplegic and has been in a wheelchair since birth, embarked upon this mighty charity row from Rock (Cornwall) across the Irish Sea to Cork, his endurance and character were sure to be tested. Felix, 17, his father and two other team members rowed a herculean distance of 194 nautical miles (223 land miles) in just three days and nights.
Felix and his father, former student Simon Daglish, raised a staggering £11,551.25 which they donated in a 50/50 split to The Dukies’ Foundation and the charity Walking with the Wounded.
After a year’s training in the Duke of York’s Royal Military School extensive sporting facilities, Felix felt determined and ready to face the challenge ahead. Yet his initial expectations were far from the reality that awaited him out on those choppy waters. Opting to have no support boat and a team of just two handlers on shore, the confident rowers set off on July 22 after a delightful family barbecue, filled with optimism and excitement.
Shortly after their happy send off, raging storms broke out, the wind whistled and rain whipped down on the team. The all too important Auto-Navigation system broke, to which Felix responded ‘Absolute Class, I Know’. This complicated matters, especially with the storm working hard to make life difficult for the resilient rowers. Using their initiative and quick thinking they came up with a system, each member would complete one hour of rowing, one hour of steering and one hour of sleeping in rotation.
The boost in efficiency they had hoped for was not so easily realised, although they were back on track and no longer rowing in large circles, which was definitely a bonus. The next hurdle they faced was the ‘near impossible’ sleeping conditions. With only a thin gym mat on which to sleep and little to no protection from the gale force winds, stamina was being driven down by the testing conditions. In addition, their only sustenance was protein bars and energy gels, as Felix says: “It’s obviously impossible to cook in a storm on a row boat”.
After three gruelling days they arrived in Cork at 10:30pm to the sound of a single person applauding from the dock: their handler. Though Felix says it was a tad ‘anticlimactic’, the true sense of pride came later after they’d enjoyed a well-earned kip. Yet despite his disabilities, Felix’s pride lay not in his incredible completion of the expedition, but rather in realising just how much had been raised, as many donations were made while they toiled away at sea. He valued the charitable donations of his supporters as far more important than the significance of his own achievement.
Felix’s motivation came in two distinct forms that supported him at different times. First and foremost, his desire to contribute to charity as is tradition in the Daglish household, with both his father and brother completing other grand charity challenges and raising a great deal of money collectively. His father actually completed the same row when he was Felix’s age and, to repeat history, the pair elected to do it together. The second was the sense of team spirit which Felix believes is rooted both in his experience of Dukie life in the boarding house, and in the powerful sense of ‘responsibility, belonging and unity’ he felt as part of the team during the three days.
Finally, Felix comments that irrespective of the additional physical challenges he faces, this will be the first of many great expeditions which he will embark upon in the near future to raise money for charity, and he encourages everyone to get involved in any way possible as ‘there is no better feeling’.
1,600 Dulwich College boys, volunteer on School Service Day
Friday 21 June marked to the day the 400th anniversary of the foundation of Dulwich College. To mark this special occasion, every pupil took part in School Service Day – charity fundraising activities or volunteer work in the local community.
In Years 10 and 12, over 400 pupils were involved in a dozen long-standing volunteering projects including working with Dulwich Wood and Judith Kerr local primary schools; King’s College Hospital, West Norwood Cemetery, The Elms Care Home and City Heights E-ACT Academy, the College’s educational partnership school. There was also a team of rowers picking up litter along the towpath at Chiswick Eyot; a variety of bands busking outside the Dulwich Picture Gallery and a group of over 70 boys gardening in Dulwich Park.
Special mention should go to the 52 Foodbank volunteers, who collected almost 1.5 tonnes of supplies for the Brixton and West Norwood Foodbank, weighing, dating and sorting it in record time.
Year 7 pupils had a sponsored football tournament and the boys in Year 8 undertook a sponsored charity initiative of rowing, swimming and running for their Shackleton Endurance Challenge.
Year 9 pupils raised funds for Save the Children through their sponsored walks, the eight-mile routes spelling out “DULWICH COLLEGE 400th!” on a map. Particularly noteworthy were form group 9N, who filled several dustbin bags of rubbish en route.
Ongoing community involvement
Dulwich College boarders are involved as mentors in our Saturday Science School which runs for two terms (c. 10 weeks) every academic year. The Saturday Science School, is a programme offering enrichment science tuition to 60 Year 6 primary schools. The Saturday Science School programme is mutually beneficial both to the mentors and the mentees themselves.
Throughout the academic year, Dulwich College pupils, including boarders, take part in our weekly Community Action programme which comprises 230+ volunteer pupils across 17 projects supported by over 20 members of staff.
Our commitment to future work is a part of our ethos, and following on from last year’s School Service Day which involved almost 1,600 pupils in charity fundraising activities or volunteer work in the local community, to mark our 400th Anniversary, we have committed to including School Service Day every year.
FORRES SANDLE MANOR
After being inspired by Anna McNuff’s epic ‘BAREFOOT BRITAIN’ challenge, FSM’s Girl Guides presented a splendid assembly to the whole school. GRIT (Guts, Resilience, Integrity and Tenacity) was a key focus and children were encouraged to take on their own challenges.
Following FSM Guides’ inspirational assembly, the Humphreys boys headed to the south coast to join Anna Mcnuff for her Poole to Lymington leg of her epic Barefoot Britain run. Halloween outfits were donned and the boys ran alongside Anna, merrily chatting away all the way to Boscombe pier. Eight miles was a long way for Jack’s little legs but the final two were run barefoot in solidarity with Anna and her cause. Well done Anna. The end is in sight now and all of FSM is sending you the best. Go the skeleton crew!!!
GIGGLESWICK IN THE COMMUNITY
Charitable work, fundraising and community service are key elements to life for boarders at Giggleswick School. The leading northern co-ed boarding school has a range of long-established initiatives which pupils enjoy year after year.
One of the most popular is Gigg2Gigg. This bi-annual fundraiser makes the most of the school’s location in the Yorkshire Dales, on the doorstep of some of the finest outdoor landscapes in the country.
Gigg2Gigg is a 56km circular walk from the school’s doorstep which takes in the three highest peaks in Yorkshire – Penyghent, Whernside and Ingleborough. This is not just any Three Peaks challenge, but a gruelling 16 hours of continuous walking with a total ascent of over 1,600 metres to test the limits of even the most experienced walkers. Said headmaster Mark Turnbull: “This is a genuinely tough challenge for all concerned and it has been wonderful to see so many of our pupils keen to take part. This year over £5000 was raised for Ananda Marga Orphanage.”
This contributes to the £15000 which the school and all pupils raise annually on average for good causes. Initiatives are varied, such as an annual Race For Life for Cancer Research UK, fundraising dinners and balls and bake sales. Charities to have benefited in the past include: Teenage Cancer Trust, Oxfam, Northwest Air Ambulance, Leeds Hospital Cancer Care and ShelterBox.
The school also has a Service at School (S@S) scheme which aims to provide a range of opportunities for Giggleswick students to volunteer and help within the local community. This year students have continued to work in the local charity shops in and around Settle, the nearest town to Giggleswick, as well as helping at a local nursing home.
Settle Library faced funding cuts recently and Giggleswick pupils stepped in to help a community effort to support the facility. The library is now staffed mainly by local volunteers; two sixth form students have joined the team and they have been kept busy helping out at this vital local resource.
S@S co-ordinator and school chaplain, the Rev Alex Ladds, said: “Service to the local community is the primary focus of S@S, but the extra benefit to the students from being part of the S@S is the valuable life experience and skills that they gain, as well as the sense of satisfaction from a job well done.”
2019-20 is the Year of Community at Headington School so students will be busy throughout the year working on community involvement and charitable endeavours.
Girls at Headington have been working on decorating Harvest collection boxes and donating foodstuffs as part of their support of their local Community Emergency Foodbank.
Image from @HSO_Activities via Twitter.
Recently, Headington girls had a stall at the ‘Healthfest’ festival at Warneford hospital. At the stall the girls will demonstrate how to make bird feeders and bug hotels, they will speak about the health benefits of being active outdoors. The theme for the festival is ‘Living Well Through Activity’.
The local community link with Warneford hospital is long standing. Groups of girls volunteer there as part of their DofE award; helping tidy the grounds, water plants and maintain the allotment there.
Teacher’s gruelling running challenge raises thousands of pounds for charity
A TEACHER at King’s Ely has raised more than £3,500 for a charity close to his heart by completing a 250-kilometre running challenge.
Nick Williams, who is Head of Economics and a Business Studies Teacher at King’s Ely Senior, set himself the challenge of running 5 kilometres for fifty consecutive days to not only increase his fitness levels, but to also raise as much money as he could for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Nick’s father, Tudor, was diagnosed with Dementia five years ago, something which Nick says has had a heart-breaking impact on his family. Father-of-two Nick, who lives near Bury St Edmunds, finished his fiftieth 5 kilometre run on May 16th and says he is overwhelmed to have raised £3,536 in donations. He said: “When I started my challenge, I had no idea how physically and emotionally challenging it would be. The huge positives have been the tremendous support I have received from people. Support ranging from ‘well done, keep going’ to people talking intimately about their family and their experience of Dementia/Alzheimer’s. “On a personal front, I have become far fitter and have lost 10 kilograms in weight. The runs have also given me that rare thing of I-time, which has been great to help me recalibrate my thoughts and feelings of the past year! Covid-19 has been tough on everyone. We have all lost valuable time with friends and family. I will freely admit that during my time running I have had happy thoughts being outside appreciating the beautiful countryside to thoughts of anger, sadness and loss of the last good year with my father. This experience has been incredibly meditative and one which I am incredibly thankful for.
“The hardest part physically was day 40 when my hamstring tore! The level 3 tear prevented me from running for four days. I walked/hobbled 5 kilometres determined not to give up. The last six days I could only run at a very moderate pace. As the sponsorship built up, I felt more determined than ever to complete the challenge. I ran the last 500 metres with my five-year-old daughter, Ellie. This was a very special moment for me and my family! I had a lovely socially distanced party with my neighbours and felt proud of what I had achieved.
“Thank you for all your very generous sponsorship and support for the Alzheimer’s Society. My original target was £1,000 so to have raised this incredible sum of money is very humbling. People keep asking me will I keep running – answer definitely. People ask would I do it again – answer definitely. Who knows, maybe next year I will do seventy-five 5-kilometre runs consecutively!”
King’s Ely pupil’s cheese jokes make Norfolk care home residents smile!
A CARING King’s Ely pupil has come up with a brie-lliant idea to help spread positivity in her local community.
Willow, who is in Year 3 at King’s Ely Junior, decided she wanted to do something to bring cheer to residents at Terrington Lodge Care Home in Norfolk, which is near where she lives. Willow received a cheese advent calendar for Christmas instead of the usual chocolate one and thought what better way to make the residents smile than by writing letters to them along with some really grate (!) cheese jokes.
In her letter to one resident, Willow wrote: “I wanted to do something nice for people who might not be able to get out and about so easily at the moment, and to try and make them laugh. I love cheese jokes and I hope you like yours! As you can see, you can tear your joke off and share it with others where you live so you can all make each other laugh. I will not brie-lieve it if you don’t smile at these jokes! I wish you all a happy cheese-tastic time this week.”
Willow enjoyed delivering her letters and jokes to the care home so much that she is planning to hand-write and deliver (socially distanced of course) different themed jokes to the residents each week until lockdown eases.
Victoria Harrison, Deputy Home Manager at Terrington Lodge, said: “The residents here very much enjoyed hearing Willow’s cheese jokes! It was a lovely gesture by Willow, which both the staff and residents found very thoughtful.”
King’s Ely students record beautiful virtual tribute to NHS workers
Musicians from King’s Ely have joined forces (virtually!) to record a song in honour of the work being carried out by NHS and frontline workers.
Around 60 pupils from King’s Ely Junior and King’s Ely Senior feature in the recording of ‘Like A Rainbow Shining’, a song written by British composer, Will Todd. Students recorded themselves or got a family member to record them singing at home and their audios and videos were then put together by King’s Ely’s Director of Music, Neil Porter-Thaw.
King’s Ely will be releasing three versions of the song – one starring members of King’s Ely Senior’s Chapel Choir, which can be seen here: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/428153568, one featuring King’s Ely Junior’s Chamber Choir and Choristers, which can be seen here: HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/430378355 and then a version with all pupils involved.
Mr Porter-Thaw said: “It has been so difficult for us all not to be making music together in person. Simply nothing can replace live rehearsals, but we have continued our rehearsals virtually and the attendance from students has been excellent. In both King’s Ely Junior and Senior, we sing quite a bit of Will Todd’s music, whether on tour or in Ely’s wonderful Cathedral, so when I heard about Will’s latest composition, I jumped at the chance of working with our students on a recording to add our support to the courageous work the NHS are doing. The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I have to say that I wasn’t quite prepared for the hours of work it takes to mix and edit around 60 pupils’ work! I am ever so grateful to a member of staff’s daughter, Caroline Hill, for her amazing offer to help with the video editing.”
Will says he wrote the “song of hope” after taking inspiration from the trend of painting/drawing rainbows and putting them up in windows as a sign of a hopeful future.
Speaking about the project, he said: “I am so thrilled that King’s Ely has enjoyed working on my song, Like A Rainbow Shining, and that students have been able to connect as a virtual choir in these difficult times. It’s a great performance. Best wishes to you all. Keep singing and shining!”
King’s Ely has raised hundreds of pounds for NHS Charities Together since lockdown started – mainly by members of staff paying a small donation in order to take part in virtual quizzes with each other. Anyone who listens to the song and enjoys it is invited to make a small donation in honour of the incredible work being carried out by NHS and frontline staff here: HTTPS://BIT.LY/37NGIX2
King’s Ely student’s ‘Two Point Six Challenge’ in aid of DofE award
KING’S Ely Sixth Form student Molly Whymark has raised almost £600 for a cause close to her heart by putting her best foot forward during lockdown.
Molly, 17, decided to complete a ‘Two Point Six Challenge’, not only to raise funds for The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award, but to also try and make the most of the lockdown restrictions, which, at the time, included only an hour of outdoor exercise each day.
The Two Point Six Challenge is a fundraising initiative spearheaded last month by the organisers of the London Marathon to raise funds for UK charities in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the huge number of fundraising events which have had to be cancelled.
Molly, who lives in Ely and who is a DofE Award Ambassador for Central England, decided to walk 2.6km every day for two weeks and six days. She completed her challenge on May 13th and, thanks to lots of generous donations, has raised £590 for the charity.
Speaking about her challenge, Molly said: “Walking for half an hour or so each day was not only great fun, but also a simple way to support a fantastic cause – my dogs enjoyed it too! I am so pleased with the amount I have raised; everyone has been so generous. With this money, The DofE Award will be able to support a further twenty Gold Awards.”
Molly added: “One statistic that stands out to me about The DofE Award is that out of the 280,000 participants each year, 68,000 of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It takes up to £29 to start someone’s DofE journey. I have learnt so much already and I am continuing to learn from taking part in The DofE Award. Even though my DofE journey is coming to an end shortly, I can’t wait to see more people starting their journey soon with everyone’s help.”
Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership brings second Innovation Day to King’s Ely
KING’S Ely was delighted to welcome pupils and staff from four of its partner schools along to an action-packed Innovation Day.
The day, which oozed creativity and entrepreneurial skills, involved dozens of Key Stage 2 pupils from King’s Ely Junior, Isle of Ely Primary School, Mepal and Witcham Primary School, Robert Arkenstall Primary School and Ely St Mary’s Junior School, all of which are members of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership.
The Innovation Day, entitled ‘What’s your mission?’, took place at King’s Ely’s Old Palace and was delivered by Lucy Etchegoyen and Veera Bukshi, both Technology Consultants at global firm, Accenture UK, and Andrew Moss, who is a King’s Ely parent and Managing Director of Horizon Retail Marketing Solutions.
Celia Etchegoyen, Director of Outreach at King’s Ely, said: “Pupils were introduced to design thinking and learnt about the theory behind methodology. They were shown how it has been used by different companies to create new interesting products and experiences. The ideation part of the day was designed to create a response to the mission and included a brainstorming session, concept poster creation and sketches of their ideas.
“The collaborative element of the day saw pupils working together in small groups to each come up with an idea for a sustainable company with a clear mission. At the end of the day, each group pitched their ideas to a panel of judges. Very many thanks to Accenture UK and Horizon Retail Marketing Solutions for driving this initiative and to Andrew who sourced ex-display items of electronic equipment from Dixons to give to each student as a gift. These certainly went down a storm! It was fantastic to see the students respond so well. Lucy, Veera and Andrew together delivered an inspiring and innovative day to raise the aspirations of young people in East Cambridgeshire.”
The Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership has been formed to bring together school headteachers, education professionals and young people from across Cambridgeshire. King’s Ely, Ely College and Littleport and East Cambridgeshire Academy joined forces to set up the organisation last autumn, but since then more than a dozen other local primary and secondary schools, from both the independent and state sectors, have come on board.
The aim of the partnership is to work together for the mutual benefit of all pupils, and to provide opportunities for students from schools within the partnership to gain access to a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), Arts, Sport and Enrichment activities.
Mental health charity receives bumper cheque from King’s Ely community
KING’S Ely has raised more than £1,800 for a charity which supports local people who are struggling with their mental health.
The substantial sum was raised through the ‘Memory Baubles Ely’ initiative, which was spearheaded by King’s Ely’s long-serving Head Receptionist, Rosie Holliday, in the run up to Christmas. Rosie launched the initiative to raise funds and awareness for Talking FreELY, a non-profit organisation which encourages open discussion about mental health in the Ely area.
The campaign saw people from across the local area paying a small donation to have the names of their loved ones – be that friends, family members, pets etc – written on festive baubles, which were then hung on the large Christmas tree outside the school’s Old Palace during the festive season.
Anthony Sigrist, founder of Talking FreELY, visited King’s Ely to receive a cheque for £1,896 from Rosie on behalf of the school community. He said: “With mental health struggles estimated to affect one in four adults every single year, the work we do has never been more important. Lots of organisations are encouraging people to have a conversation about mental health but Talking FreELY are taking things a step further by making them happen. We currently rely on public support and are overwhelmed by how much Rosie and King’s Ely have raised for us. Thank you to everyone involved, this will certainly help us to continue Talking FreELY!”
Rosie, who has worked at King’s Ely for 38 years and is also Honorary Secretary to the Old Eleans’ Club, added: “Thank you so much to everyone who supported the Memory Baubles Ely initiative. I originally hoped to raise £1,000 for the charity but to have raised just under £2,000 is fantastic.”
More than 70 teddy bears and soft toys were donated to The Teddy Trust by generous King’s Ely Junior pupils, families and staff during the festive period.
Sisters Aoife and Odhrán, pictured, who are both pupils at King’s Ely Junior, organised the collection for the charity, which collects unwanted teddies and cuddly toys and sends them to underprivileged children living in countries such as Syria, Malawi and Kurdistan.
Thanks to Aoife and Odhrán’s collection, King’s Ely Junior donated an impressive 74 teddy bears – well done everyone!
Twelve Charitable Days of Christmas
Boxes and boxes of edible goodies have been donated to Ely Foodbank in time for Christmas thanks to community-spirited King’s Ely students, families and members of staff.
The ‘Twelve Charitable Days of Christmas’ initiative was spearheaded by King’s Ely Junior and pupils in each of the school’s Houses were encouraged to bring in three different items of food and/or drink which could then be donated to the local foodbank.
From Christmas puddings to stuffing mix and tins of custard to jars of pickles, the King’s Ely community went all out to support the campaign, resulting in dozens of boxes being filled with festive goodies.
Ashley Handscomb, Manager of Ely Foodbank, visted King’s Ely Junior on December 6th to collect the boxes, which will be sorted by the foodbank’s team of volunteers and distributed to local people in need during the Christmas period.
Ashley said: “I’m overwhelmed by the amount of food and drink items donated by King’s Ely Junior and would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported the collection. Demand at Ely Foodbank and at foodbanks across the UK has never been higher, so donations like this really do go a long way to helping those in need.”
Ely Foodbank was launched in 2012 by local churches working in partnership with a diverse range of organisations and members of the public across the city. Today, it has grown to support people in need across East Cambridgeshire and Fenland.
King’s Ely community raises a whopping £34,000 for good causes
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 18th to receive a cheque for £17,685. The Wildlife Trust charity will be receiving their £17,000 soon.
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.
King’s Ely Junior pupils send Postcards of Kindness to care home residents
Year 7 and 8 pupils at King’s Ely Junior have been supporting the wonderful ‘Postcards of Kindness’ initiative, spearheaded by national care home provider, Your Health Group. The campaign was launched in 2018 and has grown rapidly to the point that more than 1,200 residential and care homes are now involved.
Speaking about the campaign, the charity said: “We want to combat loneliness and isolation across the country and remind our residents that there is always somebody thinking of them, regardless of where in the world the postcards have come from.”
King’s Ely Junior pupils have loved writing and sending their postcards and have been delighted to receive some back!
King’s Ely Sixth Formers get their hands dirty in support of local primary school
Thirteen Sixth Formers were part of a green-fingered team from King’s Ely who removed a huge area of weeds and prepared the soil ready for Isle of Ely Primary School pupils and staff to start planting their new garden.
The Sixth Form students were accompanied by Chris Youngs and Will Temple, who are members of the King’s Ely Garden and Grounds Team; Jane Halls, Sixth Form Supervisor at King’s Ely; and Celia Etchegoyen, King’s Ely’s Director of Outreach.
The volunteering was organised under the umbrella of the Cambridgeshire Educational Partnership, of which both King’s Ely and Isle of Ely Primary School are members. The partnership was launched in May this year to bring together school headteachers, education professionals and young people from across Cambridgeshire.
Its aim is to work together for the mutual benefit of all pupils, in both independent and state schools, and to provide opportunities for students from schools within the partnership to gain access to a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), MFL (Modern Foreign Languages), Arts, Sport and Enrichment activities.
The partnership also aims to create opportunities for collaboration and dissemination of good practice within the teaching community, to develop, support and retain the best teachers in our schools, and to raise the aspirations and accelerate the progress of our young people.
Leweston Fashion Show 2020 welcomes primary school students
On 31 January, Leweston held its biennial fashion show showcasing work from all ages and stages of the School. This year we were delighted to welcome pupils from our own Prep and local Primary School, Preston Primary, to a special afternoon performance. Throughout the afternoon, the School ran a sale of pre-loved clothes to raise money for local Marie Curie nurses.
Leweston Prep donate to the Dorchester coat bank
A big thank you and well done to all of our Prep pupils and their families for donating their old coats for the Dorchester coat bank. We will be placing some chocolate coins into every pocket to spread a little joy before they go to be distributed to local families in need. Charitable giving and supporting the local and wider communities lies at the heart of Leweston’s ethos and so this was an incredibly important programme to be a part of in the lead up to the colder weather.
Year 7 and 8 raise money for Sherborne Care Home at ‘A Christmas Carol’
Year 7 and 8 students welcomed family and friends to their production of A Christmas Carol in December and after only a few weeks of rehearsals, they put on a spectacular performance of the festive story.
The pupils also chose to hold a charity raffle to raise funds for The Hayes Residential Home in Sherborne. A massive thank you to all of the businesses who donated splendid raffle prizes. The hamper included prizes from Yankee Candle, Margaret Balfour, The Circus, Susie Watson, and many more. Thank you to everyone who supported Year 7 and 8 on the night and to everyone who purchased a raffle ticket, helping us to raise an impressive £469.30.
Community Christmas Tea Party
Year 12 students hosted Leweston’s annual Community Christmas Tea Party, with a ‘Winter Wonderland’ theme, as part of their Community Service programme. The students welcomed residents and staff from Abbey View and Eastbury House in Sherborne, and also all four Sisters of Christian Instruction from St Antony’s Convent in Sherborne.
Members of Schola and Dr Milestone entertained with a selection of beautiful, festive music. A highlight of the event was the presentation of a Christmas hamper by Year 12 students to the Sisters, full of goodies contributed by the entire year group.
Students visit Leweston’s sister school in Nepal
Year 10 and 11 students visited our sister school, Jana Jyoti in Nepal in October where they learnt about developments there since our relationship began over thirty years ago. Pupils at the school gave the Leweston team a warm welcome. The trip was a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand where the money raised from Leweston’s tuck shop is going and the affect it is having on so many lives.
This year money from tuck shop has funded one of the students from Jana Jyoti through their university course.
Leweston’s Montacute Park Run take-over
Leweston had a fantastic morning at the Yeovil Montacute Parkrun celebrating the BSA National Boarding Day. It was great to see so many day and boarding pupils, parents and staff running, walking and volunteering. Thank you to Yeovil Montacute Parkrun for having us. The full results list can be found on the OFFICIAL PARKRUN WEBSITE.
Our ethos in the boarding house at Liverpool College is “We learn by living together”. One way in which we are able to promote and achieve this is through our efforts to empowers students to make a difference through our charity and community action work. As a team we try to create a positive impact in our local community and our remarkable young people are active in deciding what projects we undertake.
One of the remarkable initiatives undertaken by the students is their collaboration with the renowned charity organization, Dogs Trust. Recognizing the plight of abandoned and neglected dogs, the school has forged a bond with this esteemed organization. The students regularly volunteer their time at the local Dogs Trust shelter, assisting with dog walking, grooming, and providing much-needed love and attention to the canines in need as well as spending their time raising money to the cause. Not only does this partnership benefit the animals, but it also teaches the students the values of empathy, responsibility, and animal welfare.
Another vital aspect of the school’s community-focused efforts involves supporting local food banks. With an understanding that many individuals and families within their community struggle to meet their basic nutritional needs, the students take part in our annual shop for the food bank. This activity teaches our young people important skills like budgeting. In teams they are given a specific amount of money with the goal of getting the most items/ best value for money of essential items.
This has been our first year partnering with Vinny’s Kitchen and we have plans to expand our involvement. This remarkable charity not only provides an opportunity for the students to showcase their culinary skills but also serves as a hub for nourishing and connecting with the local community. Under the guidance of our fabulous local chef, the students prepare nutritious vegan meals using surplus food donations from local businesses and members of the community. These delicious meals are then distributed to individuals in need, fostering a sense of togetherness and promoting healthy eating habits. occasionally brought to the boarding house for our Head of Boarding and House Parent to sample.
100 Miles in May
Our most recent charity activity has been walking 100 miles each for Cancer Research. We are asking our boarders to aim for 7,000 steps per day and we will be keeping track of everyone’s progress to see who our winner and how many steps we reach collectively.
Charity Round-up Autumn Term 2022
This has been an exceptional term for pupil led charity initiatives, raising an amazing £30,000 for many important causes.
In the first half of term, Turner House’s ‘Dawn Till Dusk’ charity football day raised £5,000 for UKtoUkraine – money that will equip schools in the Donbas region with diesel generators and computers. £550 was raised for Mind by the wearing of green ribbons on World Mental Health Day; Barton Hill continued their annual support for Marie Curie’s Great Daffodil Appeal at the House Shout raising £100; and the stunning rocking chair made by Will S was auctioned for £775 with the proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
After half-term, the College was a-buzz with the return of ‘Assassins’, a charity fundraising game that has been, until COVID, an annual tradition. Its return raised £1,120 for the Royal British Legion and special thanks must go to the Charity Committee who took on the task of organising the game. Also, during Remembrance, C3 and Mill Mead completed their traditional 5km Poppy Run raising a further £2,855 for the Royal British Legion.
The exhilarating performances of Godspell in November inspired an audience collection of £300 for Amnesty International.
Further fundraising took place to support those displaced by the war in Ukraine. Over a 12-hour period, 75 pupils and 20 members of Common Room cycled non-stop the cumulative distance of 2,823 kilometers, further than Marlborough to Kiev, and raised £4,063 in the process for the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal.
Pupils and staff also came together to raise money for Movember, totaling £3,605 from donations and a Mega Sale.
New Court sourced and sold unique Marlborough PJ bottoms and raised £2,411.60 for Breast Cancer UK. C3 and Mill Mead held a charity breakfast in House raising £645 for the Youth Centre in Marlborough, a project they support annually.
In the final weeks of term, our Christmas events provided a perfect opportunity for generously thinking of others. Christmas jumper day raised over £100 for the Oscar Foundation and Charlie K and Turner raised £336 for Operation Smile from the Shell Dance and a Christmas bake sale.
We are enormously grateful to everyone who contributed to the retiring collections at our Christmas Carol Services. These raised an incredible £8,283.79, the largest total ever, which means that the four charities being supported, The Amber Trust, Bowel Cancer UK, The Major of Marlborough’s Charities and the Oscar Foundation, will each receive £2,070.
These are superb charity initiatives and we extend our congratulations and thanks to everyone who led activities, participated in them or supported and gave money. Marlborough has a rich philanthropic tradition and we are proud that a sense of giving and of looking to make a difference is so strongly felt by our whole community.
Millfield Prep Pupil Receives Fundraising Praise From the Prime Minister
Millfield Prep pupil Alfie McAnespie has been honoured to receive a letter from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, to thank him for his fundraising work for charity Help For Heroes.
Alfie, whose dad works in the military, was dubbed the ‘Pint Sized Hero’ when he became the charity’s youngest fundraiser at the age of 16 months, taking part in a sponsored 1-mile unaided walk with his nursery. Since then, the now 12-year-old Alfie who is in Year 8 at Millfield Prep School, has been involved in a number of fundraising initiatives, to raise money for Help For Heroes, who work to support active duty military personnel, war veterans and other high-risk frontline professionals.
“He is always thinking of other people”, said Alfie’s mum Anja, “Always trying to find new ways that he can help to make people’s lives better. For his ninth birthday, instead of asking for gifts, Alfie asked for money to donate to Help For Heroes and was able to present them with £200 as a result”.
Alfie was inspired by meeting Scottish war hero Sergeant Stuart Pearson, who lost his leg in Afghanistan and was immortalised in the film Kajaki, to climb one of the country’s highest peaks, Mount Snowdon. The climb aimed to raise money for a new specialist wheelchair for former paratrooper and Invictus athlete John Prosser, who Alfie had seen struggling to get in and out of the swimming pool without a wheelchair. As a result, an eight-year-old Alfie climbed Mount Snowdon in 2016, followed by Ben Nevis the following year and finally Scarfell Pike, accompanied for the climbs by Coronation Street star Anthony Cotton. Alfie and Anthony also appeared on Lorraine Kelly’s breakfast show to promote their challenge, helping Alfie to raise thousands of pounds for the charity. Prince Harry thanked Alfie for his fundraising efforts, which enabled John Prosser to compete in the Invictus Games, saying “I take my hat off to you, young man”.
Alfie says, “Seeing these soldiers whom I have helped in the past win gold medals is amazing”.
Alfie joined Millfield Prep in Year 7 and enjoys studying his favourite subjects History, Maths and English and playing Rugby and Cricket.
Millfield Prep Musicians Send Virtual Concert to Local Care Homes
Millfield Prep School musicians have performed and sent a virtual concert to ten care homes in the local area.
Musicians at Millfield Prep in Glastonbury recorded a concert especially for residents in care who have been missing family and friends due to the current restrictions. There was a mixture of instrumental and vocal pieces with a total of 14 performances being sent out on a DVD.
Millfield Prep visits Brunel Care Home in Glastonbury on an annual basis in normal times, and have also visited the residential community at Anchor Hanover in Shepton Mallet, a favourite date in the diary for both residents and the pupils who get to perform.
Alongside Brunel Care and Anchor Hanover in Shepton, the DVDs were sent to residents in Anchor Hanover communities in Castle Cary, Wells and Street, Cyder Barn in West Pennard, St Celia Care Home in Shepton Mallet, Pondsmead in Oakhill and MHA Torrwood in Wells.
Director of Music Elly Sturges formulated the idea which she hopes to continue in the future, she says “Sadly, circumstances this year have prevented us visiting care homes and performing in person as we would usually, however we all believe that music has the power to unite us as well as bring joy. We were determined not to let the residents down and we felt that a recorded concert could provide enjoyment and entertainment, albeit remotely. We have had a lovely card from Brunel Care in Glastonbury signed by all the residents, and I am told that the Anchor Hanover groups are in the process of passing our DVD around to their residents. We sincerely hope they enjoy watching the pupils’ performances and look forward to resuming our visits as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Millfield Pre-Prep Children Raise Over £1,000 for Cancer Research
Pre-School children from Millfield Pre-Prep have raised over £1,000 for Cancer Research UK by participating in their Jumping in Puddles Challenge.
The 2 to 4-year-olds took part in the national Cancer Research UK challenge, by jumping up and down in muddy puddles. Parents, friends, and members of the Millfield community donated money towards to cause, raising a total of £1,050 for the charity.
The Jumping in Puddles for Cancer Challenge has so far raised £47,920 for Cancer Research UK.
Head of Millfield Pre-Prep Mike Jory says, “The children and staff had a super time, splashing and stomping in muddy puddles, enjoying soaking themselves and those around them, raising an amazing amount of money for an amazing charity.”
Millfield Prep Riders Raise £550 for Children In Need
Millfield Prep Equestrian hosted an internal showjumping competition for riders this week, to raise money for Children in Need.
Pupils from Year 2 in Pre-Prep up to Year 8 in the Prep School took part, with a total of 26 riders competing in fancy dress costumes and fun onesies.
Riders competed in six different classes, with heights from one metre to 40cm, with the winners being presented with rosettes.
In total, the competition raised £550.00 for Children in Need.
Millfield Prep’s Director of Equestrian, Hayley Newman, says, “It was a really fun event and all of the children enjoyed it tremendously. It was fantastic to give them the opportunity to compete and raise money for a brilliant cause.”
PRIOR'S FIELD SCHOOL
It started in 2016 when the Boarders Committee identified that they did not feel part of the local community outside school, and asked if I could help them a way to reach out and support the community around school. They were particularly keen to find older people who might be lonely and be able to add some enrichment to their lives. Given the aspects of safeguarding on for both groups, no easy task!
However, through connections I was put in touch with Primetime, a group for any retired people based in our nearest town of Godalming. In reality a large number of those who attend live by themselves and are far beyond retirement age. The group provides activities and companionship. In an area where many were professionals, and family have moved away, the relationship with Prior’s Field fills a void and the group members very much enjoy the interactions with young people, who can help them navigate the modern world.
Our first visit was in 2016, to meet the group, have tea and start initial chats.
Almost 7 years later this has become a strong, continued part of being a boarder at Prior’s Field.
These are a selection of the annual interactions with Primetime:
Every term there is a different event offered for the Primetime group, and boarders also attend some of the group’s events to help serve refreshments and talk to the members.
The group come to our termly school productions and are hosted by boarders
The Boarding community make and write Christmas/seasonal cards to every member of Primetime
Boarders attend the Primetime Carol Service, and serve refreshments, washup and help tidy
The boarders host a Spring Sunday lunch. We run a transport bus to collect/ return Primetime members from their homes – Sixth form boarders help escort this. They join boarders for a family style Sunday lunch, play games and have informal performances
In the Summer term the boarders arrange a Summer Tea and concert in our grounds – performing music, drama or dance pieces for the group and serving cream tea.
In all these opportunities the boarders interact with the group members, sharing about their lives in and out of school. The events always a full of chat, laughs and our bond with Primetime has grown over the years. Many of the boarders get to know the members, and of course sadly, sometimes we do not see members again. During covid when we could not meet in person the boarder’s produced a ‘Boarders News’ that we were able to send to all the group members so they could keep up with what the boarders were doing during lock down.
I also have to acknowledge the benefits for the boarders. Hosting events and looking after others gives many of them opportunities to build confidence and learn new skills – learning to carve a chicken at Sunday lunch being a lasting memory! Many of our boarders might not see older family members term to term, and find that they enjoy being able to give some companionship, and enjoyment to the group.
Other local community work:
For the past 18 years ( with a break during COVID) the boarding community have sung carols in our local town of Godalming either at Waitrose. This is not a trained choir, but a voluntary group of boarders who enjoy singing and want to share some festive cheer whilst raising money for charity. The Boarders Committee vote on the charity of choice, and often this event support Help for Heroes. It is eagerly anticipated and this year had a definite continental flavour with our Spanish boarders teaching some festive songs.
Since 2016 the boarders have donated to a local scheme run by Busbridge Church, that provides hampers for those locally who may find the festive period a challenge – financially or for health reasons. The boarders decided to collect donations through a Reverse Advent calendar scheme so that over the first weeks of December they collected items of food, crackers, decorations, Christmas gifts that are then made into hampers and delivered locally. Staff help deliver the hampers once term has finished.
Promotion of charitable activities
Reading School promotes the involvement of pupils and staff in the wider community, including:
Community Service Programme, which helps sixth form students to find regular volunteering placements wiith local charities and primary schools
Hosting the Primary Academy supports academically gifted Year 5 pupils from six local primary school students, to try new subjects and to improve thinking and communication skills, and to raise their expectations and ambitions
Sharing local history with local Primary school (November 2019)
As part of our community outreach programme, five of our M5 History pupils visited Year 3 and 4 children at Sherborne Primary School last week to help them discover more about the local history of Sherborne.
The children will be recording their sentences about our local history in December for Taff’s show on Abbey 101 Radio with help from their SG mentors. The visit to Sherborne Primary School was supported by U6 student Annabelle Martin who has her own slot on Abbey 101 on Sunday afternoon.
Visiting and bringing music to the elderly (November 2019)
Musical students from Sherborne Girls have taken their instruments to residents at Leigh to spend time with residents and perform a musical programme including the Beatles, Mendelssohn and Scarlatti. A lovely time was had by all and the girls look forward to visiting again!
Local litter picking (October 2019)
As part of our commitment to Sherborne’s litter pick campaign, 12 L5 girls have taken on the responsibility for keeping Bradford Road clear of litter. The girls who are doing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh volunteering started the job by visiting Bradford Road, Oxley car park, Richmond Gardens, and the path behind Sherborne Prep School.
This activity will take place weekly for the entire academic year supervised by Georgie and Aggie who are doing their Gold DofE volunteering. Great excitement was had as they found an unopened bottle of wine and 15 HP sauce sachets!
Sherborne Girls, The Gryphon and Sherborne School are thrilled to announce their participation in a new conservation and rewilding initiative for schools launched by the conservation charity, Operation Future Hope (OFH).
The OFH Conservation School Award Scheme will see considerable areas of ‘rewilding’ across each of the three school sites and will support the reintroduction, and protection, of flora and fauna within the schools’ grounds. Rewilding will help to restore and rejuvenate biodiversity within each campus with a vision to develop a sustainable and regenerative culture at each of the three schools.
Lesley Malpas, ecologist and founder of Operation Future Hope, explained:
“The aim of the award is twofold: to educate and raise awareness amongst young people of the devastating decline of nature and wildlife at a global scale, and to inspire and enable pupils to get involved in conservation locally; at every stage of the process, in a practical and meaningful way.”
“In the UK we have seen a 75% decline in insect populations, a 97% loss of wildflower meadow habitat and across Europe a staggering 420 million birds have been lost from the countryside. Informing our children about ecological decline is essential if we are to fully prepare them for the future. Through rewilding we can give young people hope, an opportunity to turn this story around, help save our endangered species and reverse wildlife decline.”
Dr Ruth Sullivan, Headmistress of Sherborne Girls, added:
“Working with nature brings first-hand understanding of our connection with and dependence on ecosystem services and the need for us to care for the natural world; a message which is at the heart of the OFH Conservation School Award. We hope that this project really does sow the seeds of conservation and inspires the girls to take action – instilling a belief that stays with them always. I firmly believe it will bring huge physical and mental wellbeing benefits for us all on so many levels.”
Initial ground work started over the Easter holidays at Sherborne Girls and there are already visible changes to some of the boundary areas where a wildflower meadow is being created to provide vital habitat for bees, butterflies and other pollinators. An orchard is being added and a new conservation hedge is due to be planted in the autumn to enrich the existing hedgerow for birds, small mammals, reptiles and insects. There are also plans for a ‘nature walk’ which will flow through the wildflower meadow, created by habitat creation specialist Andrew George, with the aim of providing a place for pupils to be in and amongst nature – the design will transform areas which were previously simply amenity grass into a diverse and rich habitat for wildlife.
Sherborne Girls has been instrumental in encouraging other schools in town, including Sherborne School, to join the OFH initiative which encourages independent schools to nominate and sponsor a local state school to participate. Sherborne Girls is delighted to be working alongside Mrs Nicki Edwards, Headmistress at The Gryphon School, making it a truly collaborative and synchronised approach to re-wilding from the three senior schools in town.
Big Sleep Out for the Alabare charity (March 2019)
Determined to highlight and support the plight of the homeless, Sherborne Girls gave its full backing to a group of 11 sixth formers who took part in the Alabare ‘Big Sleep’ charity event at Salisbury Cathedral on Friday 8 March.
The students, along with School Chaplain Revd Katie Windle and Sixth Form Tutor Jennifer Nelson, braved the chilly March weather to link up with other young people to sleep outside in the open cloisters at the Cathedral. Whilst the girls know that this will provide them with just a taste of what it’s really like to sleep rough across Wiltshire and Dorset, the experience has made them even more determined to support the Alabare charity and to make a difference to the homeless cause, today and in the future.
“As a school community, we always look for ways to make a difference, and by joining in with, and supporting the fantastic work done by Alabare, we sincerely hope that practical help can be targeted at those young people who need it most. Well done to all involved as the group managed to raise £2800 for the charity.” (Jenny Nelson)
EdClub: donating time and money to Huruma slum, Nairobi (November 2018)
As a result of a TED talk in 2013, EdClub was created by a group of students. They set up a pilot project in Huruma slum, Nairobi forming an educational link with children in the surrounding slums. This programme has now spread to a number of independent schools including Sherborne Girls.
U6 student Rosie Hudson spearheaded the EdClub Movement 18 months ago ensuring that six mentors joined the initiative. The girls skyped students in Huruma weekly giving support with school subjects including English, Maths and Science.
In January 2018 devastation struck the Huruma slum when 12 homes were destroyed in a fire. With support from the school, Rosie and her team of mentors made it their mission to raise funds for EdClub to rebuild the homes. A sign honouring Sherborne Girls’ donation was erected in Huruma by a family who lost their home in the fire.
In 2019, six mentors have signed up for the programme and will continue the work of the previous cohort.
SHERBORNE PREP SCHOOL
Bringing the youngest and oldest members of the community together
The School’s Pre-Prep led by Head of Pre-Prep Heidi Berry are linked with Eastbury House and Trinity Manor Care homes. Prior to Covid-19, pupils and staff visited regularly however despite the adversity and challenges the pandemic has brought pupils have sent letters, Christmas cards and gifts and also shared its nativity plays with the care homes by sending a link.
Inspired by a Channel 4 documentary, Sherborne Pre-Prep have recently formed a link with Eastbury House Care Home to explore what the youngest and the oldest members of our community can offer each other for mutual benefit. In a recent visit to Eastbury House, the Year 2 children took some favourite activities with them to share. They also interviewed some of the residents to find out what they played with when they were at school. The children shared their favourite games and the residents had plenty of time for them and were good listeners. The dexterity required for some of the games was equally challenging to both ages! The children asked the residents about toys they had enjoyed as children. Opinions were divided as to whether toys today are better or not. There was certainly a feeling that children are very lucky today to have so much on offer to them, although some felt that having less made them appreciate what they did have so much more. An impromptu piano recital ensued when the children saw the beautiful piano in the lounge. The children have been invited to sing carols next time, which we will all enjoy, and we have invited the residents to watch our Nativity Play. The atmosphere was noisy but happy, with residents engaged in conversation with the children. It is so much more meaningful for a child to hear first-hand what toys were available many years ago, than to hear it from a teacher in the classroom, and we are grateful to Eastbury House for allowing us to visit.
The Lent Term will see a continuation of the relationship with plans already in place to send residents links to music concerts and Y2 poetry recitals. The year 2 pupils very much enjoyed their regular visits and whilst the pandemic has prevented Sherborne Prep from extending the programme further they are hopeful that the sunflower competition at Trinity manor can happen this summer which will see their Reception children attend.
Sherborne Community Kitchen links
The Prep maintains a continued close link with the Community Kitchen, running regular Community Action mornings and cake sales making gifts and raising funds for the charity. The senior children spend time in the Kitchen on the special weekday lunches. The children help take orders, serve food, and clean up. They also spend much valued time talking with the members of the local community during this time.
Acts of kindness
Our Deputy Head (Pastoral), Annie Gent runs a weekly a community action club as one of the School’s Saturday activity programmes, to discuss ways we feel would benefit our community the most. Each week pupils take on a challenge using acts of kindness and generosity that will improve not just our school but Sherborne town. Litter picking is a firm favourite with the children with individuals and small groups choosing to use their break times through the week to clear up their local community.
There is always a focus for our termly Community Action mornings. The children give back to their local community through gift making and raising funds. The children have chosen to learn more about plastic pollution and are using recycled plastic to create large works of art to encourage people to think how we can look after our environment and be thoughtful in the way we use different materials to help look after our planet.
Staff contributed to create Christmas gifts to the Rendezvous, a charity in Sherborne which helps young people aged 13-25 to improve their lives by providing emotional wellbeing and mental health support.
They were set a ‘New Year Challenge’ which was to do something they had never done before or to think of others.
One pupil said:
‘I did a litter pick with my mum and my brother as we had noticed that the lanes by our farm had got really messy. We collected one full bag of rubbish – cans, plastic bottles, crisps packets and junk food wrappers which sadly people had thrown out of their car windows into the verges. We came home and put it into the recycling. I enjoyed doing this because it helps the environment and felt a good thing to do.’
Our pupils used their artistic skills to create these wonderful cards for the Sherborne Community Kitchen charity. The charity set-up an appeal for Valentines Day to deliver a Valentines Day gift to those most in need in our community. Waitrose contributed daffodils and a local Sherborne Independent market seller made cakes and Sherborne Prep made cards to create a lovely gift. The Sherborne Community Kitchen volunteers distributed them and we were proud to support the charity.
March litter picking
At break time on March 15, children at Sherborne Prep decided to go litter picking!
Operation Red Dragon
Operation Red Dragon came to a close this morning after travelling an exhausting 32, 400 miles around the world, in just four months! Pupils, parents and staff have cycled, walked, run, swum, skied and rowed non-stop to propel ‘Dewi’ home to Sherborne. He arrived home today under the wing of Samuel H who joined the Headmaster in donning retro pink 80’s attire for a live presentation assembly. As cameraman Mr. Thomas followed around an excited ‘pink double act’, all classes were visited and certificates were awarded. At the end of the morning Mr. Folland’s expression summed up Operation Red Dragon – utterly exhausting, an incredible achievement and a wonderful way to celebrate our unique, supportive School community. We are absolutely delighted that this remarkable challenge has raised over £700 for SHERBORNE COMMUNITY KITCHEN and would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to parent Mr. Fisher for his seamless organisation of this superb event. Our JustGiving page is still open for donations if you’d like to support: HTTPS://WWW.JUSTGIVING.COM/FUNDRAISING/OPREDDRAGON Do enjoy this video HTTPS://VIMEO.COM/527841618/76F22FC149
Turi Children’s Project Talent Show
Enormous fun was had by all last night as The Green Charity Evening raised a substantial sum of money towards the TURI CHILDREN’S PROJECT in Kenya. Two hours of entertainment featured solo and group musical items, comedy, drama and dance, before a large audience in the Big School Room. After an impassioned talk about the charity’s work, an auction raised further awareness and money for this wonderful charity.
The Big Sleepout
“It’s been an experience I couldn’t have imagined before taking part.”
“I learned so much about how easy it is to become homeless.”
“It was amazing to think that 55,000 others were also sleeping out like us tonight.”
These were just three of the responses from the nearly 40 boys who took part in our inaugural Big Sleepout – a little iteration of the World’s Biggest Sleepout which took place on a mild but extremely blustery Saturday 7 December. By any measure it was an extraordinary gathering of different sections of the school community, united in hearing more about the issue of homelessness and experiencing for one night what it is to sleep outdoors with only the most primitive of shelters.
The cloisters certainly buzzed with excitement as we gathered for the event. There was a great sense of expectation of being able to do just a little to educate ourselves more and to share in an event which was replete with meaning.
In between were readings from the lived experience of homeless people, the fits and starts of attempts at sleep, the almost inevitable fun and camaraderie and moments of profound reflection and frankly gratitude that when all was done we could return to our homes in peace and to the comforts we so enjoy and perhaps often take somewhat for granted.
Rewilding – The Conservation School Award
As part of OPERATION FUTURE HOPE, a charity we are working with closely to involve pupils across the area in the regeneration and conservation of nature, hundreds of new hedge plants were planted recently. Members of the School’s Environmental Action Group helped with the work which aims to improve the variation of rewilded land on the edges of the games fields.
Shrewsbury School students create a mural at a local care home
Shrewsbury School Concert Party
A group of volunteer musicians take live music performances to parts of the community that would otherwise have little or no access to live music performance. This is usually to Carehomes, Primary Schools, hospitals etc.
Between seven and 16 students are involved with ‘Concert Party’ on a weekly basic on Thursday afternoonrs. Pupils are usually from 5th and 6th form and the group usually perform in front of audience of between 15 and 40. This is the fourth year of this activity and it proves a popular activity for the students, as well as their grateful audiences!
Age UK Tea Party for the Elderly
On Field Day, once a term, Shrewsbury School hosts a tea party for the local elderly to help reduce loneliness. The tea party, complete with student provided entertainment, tea and cakes also made by pupils, welcomes local elderly people through Age UK.
In 2014, Shrewsbury School set up Volunteering as an activity choice for pupils. Each Thursday afternoon, students register and then head out to get involved in their local community, volunteering in several sectors – charity shops, primary schools, food banks, nurseries and secondary state schools.
ST EDMUND’S, CANTERBURY
As part of the annual St Edmund’s Day celebratory activities, Junior pupils ran a Soup Kitchen, making soup and bread for the charity Catching Lives, a local charity caring for the homeless in East Kent.
St Leonards School, St Andrews
Community is at the heart of all that we do at St Leonards, whether our school community, local community or the wider world beyond. Every year, our pupils participate in multiple activities and volunteering opportunities, sharing their skills, raising funds, building relationships and caring for our planet.
St Leonards is an all-through International Baccalaureate World School, and community action is a core part of the curriculum. In addition to regular partnership initiatives and events, our pupils themselves lead projects throughout the year, coming up with a concept and working hard to make a difference in the world.
Primary Schools Swimming Initiative
Now in its sixth year, St Leonards offers free six-week blocks of swimming lessons to pupils from local state primary schools, who otherwise would have limited access to a pool and instruction. We welcome around 100 pupils in Years 4-6 each year, from complete beginners to confident swimmers, to ensure as many young people in and around the town of St Andrews have the opportunity to learn this core life skill.
Community Youth Rugby Partnership
Since 2017, St Leonards has partnered with Madras Rugby Club to deliver a youth rugby partnership, opening up the game to as many young people as possible. Squads train both at St Leonards and at the Club, using our specialist coaches and ex-professionals, as well as Club coaches and parent volunteers.
Through the partnership, the School has been able to jointly fund a new position – North East Fife Rugby Development Officer – to spearhead accessibility in the sport and launch new girls’ rugby initiatives both at St Leonards and beyond.
Music for All
The Music School at St Leonards is home to around 20 visiting instrumental and vocal tutors, and in order to widen access to music in the community, members of the public are encouraged to attend lessons with us outside of school hours. They have access to the Music School practice facilities, as well as loan instruments if required.
Our boarders participated in the Big Boarding Beach Clean during the Spring Term 2023, making the short walk from the school grounds down to the East Sands beach in St Andrews, where they set about collecting five large sacks of litter and plastics washed up by the tide.
This is one of many beach cleans undertaken by our pupils. We have a Beach Club, too, with members making the most of the shoreline for games and activities, but always doing their bit for the environment, animals and those who use the beach alongside them, by weaving regular clean-ups into their programme.
Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
Students in the Sixth Form must complete actions that are creative, active and show service to the community, in order to complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma or Career-related Programme. Further down the School, the Year 9 pupils also complete a Community Project as part of the IB Middle Years Programme.
So many fantastic ideas stem from these projects each year. Last term alone we had a pupil collecting old tools and sewing machines to send to underdeveloped countries with the aim of opening up skills and capabilities in communities there. Another pupil has reached out to local families and nurseries to collect unwanted picture books, for donation to Ukrainian refugee families in Scotland.
We have also collaborated on bake sales, awareness days, one pupils has fundraised to rebuild a nearby Men’s Shed, and collectively the boarders and day pupils have swum a nautical mile for the RNLI and completed a fun run, raising funds towards a new lifeboat station at Anstruther.
Ukraine Appeal 2022
The School Hall at St Leonards was filled with donations collected by the school community at the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in March 2022. Led by parent volunteers and supported by staff and pupils, food, clothes, nappies, hygiene products and more were collected, before one parent set off by car
and trailer, driving from St Leonards across Europe to Ukraine to deliver them to those who needed them most.
Meanwhile, one of our pupils featured in the news for camping out in his garden for weeks to raise
awareness of the struggles faced by Ukrainian refugees.
Feeding Communities – Beyond Education: Being Human
During the pandemic, St Leonards participated in the Thomas Franks Feeding Communities project, led by our on-site catering team. This involved cooking, packing and delivering over 8,500 fresh meals to those in need, including 200 Christmas dinners with all the trimmings for isolated members of the community. They were delivered by the team along with volunteers from the British Red Cross.
In November 2022, St Leonards was named one of the top ten fundraising schools in the UK for its Movember campaign, which saw older students and staff growing out facial hair to raise money and awareness for men’s health.
ST MARY'S SHAFTESBURY
Christmas shoe box packing
On Thursday evening, the Chaplaincy Team delivered Christmas shoe boxes, for vulnerable families in Southeast Europe. It was a great experience to see the commitment of the volunteers and getting the chance to support them. The boxes will lighten up many children’s eyes and bring much joy. Thanks to generous donations, an impressive amount of 92 shoe boxes were put together!
Swimmers take on Solent to raise £8,000 for charity
Students at Taunton School recently took on the tough challenge of swimming across the Solent to the Isle of Wight.
Just before half term ten students completed an epic 5km swim across The Solent battling cold water, chop and a biting northerly wind. They have raised nearly £8000 for Aspire, the spinal injury charity.
The ten swimmers, ranging in age from 12 through to 16, plus two members of staff, swam the stretch of water from Fort Gilkicker to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. A well-recognised open water swim, this stretch of water is a considerable challenge. As the crow flies it is a 5km swim (the swimmer’s half marathon) but the challenge of this stretch of water from tides, swell and wind – not to mention ferries, hovercraft, pleasure boats and marine life – make it more a cross country half marathon in the sleet and snow.
Student leads national mental health campaign
Rights advocate and Sixth Former Bethan Collier led the national ‘Our Minds Our Future’ campaign recently, which launched on International Human Rights Day.
For the last year, Bethan Collier (Year 13 BTEC student) has been working as a rights advocate for Make Our Rights Reality, a national youth rights project movement for young people.
Her campaign focus has been around mental health, and on International Human Rights day, the school supported Bethan with the launch of the national campaign, ‘Our Minds Our Future’, led by young people fighting for improved access to mental health care for 16-25 year-olds.
She called upon the support of her peers to raise awareness of the campaign by holding up meaningful statements and having their photo taken, then posting on social media with the hashtag, #MyRightsMyMind.
Taunton School hosts inspiring Science event for girls
Taunton School recently hosted the annual ‘Skirting Science’ event, aimed at encouraging girls to get interested in STEM. It was a resounding success with over 230 Year 9 girls from local Somerset schools in attendance.
The 13- and 14-year-old girls had the opportunity to take part in some fascinating workshops, including “Space Detectives” by Institute of Physics, Forensics with UWE Bristol and “Can you Build a Leg” Prosthetics with North Bristol NHS Trust. The event, which was hosted in Taunton School Science labs, was organised by the Soroptimist International Taunton charity and has been growing in popularity since it started four years ago.
Many local schools took part including Huish Episcopi Academy, Court Fields School, Holyrood Academy, Chilton Trinity, Bishop Fox’s, Castle School, Bridgwater College Academy, Kingsmead, Heathfield and Taunton School.
There were 16 organisations at the science event, each running their own inspiring workshop. Organisations who took part included The UK Hydrographic Office, Rolls Royce, Plymouth University, The Met Office, The University of Bristol, The Institute of Physics and UWE.
Community outreach and engagement is central to a Tonbridge education. We ensure that boys are connected in a meaningful way to the world, developing a strong sense of belonging to, and serving, their local and wider communities, and becoming well-rounded, outward-looking and compassionate young men. Our aim is that they leave the school expecting to continue to make a positive contribution to their global and local communities.
Primary Schools: We have strong partnerships with ten local primary schools. Year 9 boys run a ‘book buddies’ scheme, working with pupils to develop a love of reading. Our Learning Strategies Department trains mentors who support children with SEND issues on a one-to-one basis. Our popular Science for Schools programme offers inspirational, hands-on experiments for children in our Science Centre, aiming to inspire a love of practical-based science before their move to secondary school.
Our Tonbridge Community Action programme sees over 120 boys volunteering each week, helping with classroom mentoring and after-school clubs in languages, art drama and sport. Boys also support local special schools, assisting autistic children with swimming and football.
The highlight of the Primary Schools partnerships is our annual Giving Day, when all boys and over 150 staff from across the school give back to our local community. On-site, Tonbridge’s campus welcomes around 700 children, from 15 local primary schools, hosted by our Year 9 students. Our guests enjoy a fun, varied day with over 30 sporting, academic and artistic activities on offer, which are run by our Year 12 students, and which in 2022 culminated in a Colour Run for all.
During Giving Day, there are also 12 off-site projects taking place, one for each House, with all Year 10 and 11 boys and staff putting in a hard day’s work as they ‘give back’ to the local community by creating gardens and raised beds, digging ponds, building forest school shelters, installing bird boxes or running primary school sports festivals or family fun days for local charities supporting those with learning disabilities.
Partner schools can use our facilities for free or for reduced rates throughout the year, and we host many school theatre performances, sports days and swimming lessons. Free tickets are offered for many arts events.
Secondary schools: Our partnership with the Marsh Academy (a senior school based in New Romney, Kent) sees us sharing facilities for academic sessions, as well as sports coaching and the annual ‘Marshterchef’ cookery competition.
Using a Scanning Electron Microscope, on loan from the Natural History Museum, the School has run a number of interactive online workshops, assisting 1,200 students in the UK to carry out advanced, independent research.
Community Groups: We partner with Senior Citizens groups for regular weekly visits, afternoon tea concerts and stage an annual Community Concert for over 200 senior citizens.
Our Shop and Share initiative, run with the local foodbank, includes monthly collections, cookery courses, a Christmas fresh fruit and veg market and an Easter lunch.
Refugee and Asylum Seeker support
Due to Kent’s geographical location, we are often the first port of arrival for people who seek asylum in the UK. For over six years we have worked with Kent County Council to offer support for the Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children in their care. These young men, aged 16-18 years, have arrived in the UK on their own, with no adult, and are supported in KCC centres for 4+ weeks until a more permanent accommodation can be found, which can be anywhere in the country, and their asylum application is assessed. We host these young men on our site for weekly sport sessions, as well as several full days every year for a wider fun day of sport, art and communication with our students. The aim of these sessions is to make them feel welcomed to the UK, often after very traumatic journeys, and to have a positive experience with youngsters their own age from the UK. Our students in turn learn to see beyond the negative press stories sadly often associated with such asylum seekers, to better understand the complex issues around migration, and to seek a compassionate response to others.
In addition, we have been hosting regular Ukrainian Welcome Evenings since May 2022: these popular events bring together hundreds of guests including host families, their guests and local services, and we are also designing programmes for ongoing support. In addition we offer Sports Centre use and discounted Holiday Club places for Ukrainian families.
Our partnership with primary schools has a real impact on both our students and local pupils. Our weekly Tonbridge Community Action (TCA) programme, which sees our boys volunteering in various schools, has a far-reaching effect. Primary schools are asked what support or activity they would like throughout the academic year and our students, with the support of our staff, then take on this task. This means we can make a targeted impact on each school based on their needs.
In most cases we are either providing an activity which the school simply cannot provide without additional support, or we are supporting students to fulfil their potential.
The support we give to our partner schools through use of our facilities allows the pupils to experience subjects and activities that they may not have access to otherwise. For example, we teach cooking skills in our Cookery Classroom, we put on a Year 6 show in the School Theatre, and host various sports days using our Sports and Leisure Centre.
The Science for Schools programme introduces the children to the world of practical science and gets them excited about the subject before they head to secondary school. Primary schools are often limited in how much experimental science they are able to offer, either due to lack of suitable safe facilities, equipment or teacher training, and are delighted when their pupils can be inspired by working in a full size science laboratory. We understand that the girls, in particular, are enthused at this crucial age, opening up the possibility that they might go on to enjoy STEM subjects at secondary school.
The Mentoring scheme sees our boys working with pupils from Royal Rise Primary School each week.
Schools report improved behaviour in their pupils who have engaged with these programmes, as well as improved attainment academically. Many also report improvements in attendance as many of their pupils, particularly the boys, so enjoy the interactions that they prioritise coming to school on the days they know our students will be visiting. Our students have also passed on several safeguarding disclosures which children have shared with them and they were able to pass onto our Designated Safeguarding Lead who could liaise with the relevant DSL in the primary school as appropriate. We understand that this may be because the children do not have a suitable figure they feel they can talk to but feel comfortable doing so to our older boys.
Primary Schools provide feedback on individual students, and comments have included:
“Very good with some of our really challenging families and has built up a rapport with some of the younger children who seek him out.
“Delighted with impact of café and boys’ contribution. Competition went down well and they have engaged in providing their thoughts and materials about books
“Interacts well with the children- shares knowledge about computing with the staff and children with confidence and consideration. Children are always delighted to see him in the classroom.
“Engages with the training with vigour and enthusiasm, encourages children to participate and further their skills. Models exemplary manners and behaviour on and off the pitch. Inspires the children to persevere.
These partnership activities have a lasting impact on our own students and add tremendous value to the boys’ all-round Tonbridge education. Working with pupils from other schools, and from differing backgrounds, helps enhance their communication and leadership skills, as well as helping to develop their sense of empathy and understanding of others.
We have worked closely with our partners Tonbridge Welcome Refugees (TWR) since the outbreak of the Ukrainian war, and this has allowed our response to be agile and proactive. In the last 12 months we have gone from hosting social and information evenings for hosts and guests to running weekly conversational English groups and homework clubs, hosted by our students. The impact of these events has been manifold: from bringing people together at a time when connecting with other people going through the same experience was very important, to providing conversational English classes to help people with gaining work.
With our partnerships with Sustain (a community food bank) and FEAST (Families Eating and Sharing Together) we have created Shop & Share, which started as a food donation collection and has now turned into a Fruit and Vegetable Christmas market, cookery sessions and Easter events. At the Christmas event, families invited by FEAST and Sustain could pick up all their fruit and vegetables for £1, children could make a present for their parents and families could win vouchers for the local butcher and visit the café. The impact for the families was immediate and the feedback on the day, and by email post-event, was lovely.
This is one of the messages we received.
“Good morning, I would just like to say again how amazing what you do is, for families that struggle this time of year, we’ll all year, coming to your fruit and veg day was the biggest help anyone could ever give.
It touched my heart how kind you all are, my husband even got a new coat and myself got a fluffy tracksuit, both of which will make a huge difference in these next cold months.
The smiles and kindness was overwhelming and what you do, spending your time making sure no one goes without is amazing.
Thank you for the bottom of my heart.
Your organisation shows the true meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you all. And thank you xx”
Over a quarter or our academic staff and students are involved with weekly community initiatives throughout the academic year, and there is an expectation that all students will be involved in weekly volunteering initiatives of some point during their time in the school. These include Tonbridge Community Action (TCA), Science for Schools and the Mentoring programme.
All of our Year 9 students (approx. 150) take part in activities including reading with primary school students and hosting concerts for local elderly residents. There are at least six sessions over the year.
Giving Day is the day in the Summer Term when all students, all academic staff and many support staff come together to run a wide range of on-site and off-site activities throughout the day.
Tonbridge boys are gaining new perspectives on teaching and learning by taking part in the School’s Learning Mentor Programme.
Each year, around 80 boys volunteer to become mentors in a scheme which has now been running successfully at the School for more than a decade.
First Years (Year 9) commence their training by working with expert staff in the Learning Strategies Department: the boys sacrifice some spare time, such as their Monday lunchbreaks, in order to be fully immersed in the programme.
Led by Hayley McLintock, Head of Learning Strategies, the training includes developing mentors’ numeracy, literacy and communication skills, as well as broadening their understanding of how to support neurodiverse pupils in their learning.
Later in the First Year, and throughout the Second Year (Year 10), the mentors host weekly visits from children at nearby Royal Rise Primary School (in Tonbridge, Kent). Boys help with teaching pupils who have either learning or pastoral needs, working with them on a one-to-one basis, with a staff member close at hand to lend advice if required.
As well as supporting key areas of the primary curriculum, the mentors also take part in enrichment activities with the pupils. These include visits to the Barton Science Centre, a music-into-literacy session in the School Chapel, an outdoor performance poetry workshop featuring primary pupils’ original Haiku poetry, and an end-of-year rounders tournament complete with ice creams and prizes.
The mentoring adds real value both to the boys’ all-round education here at Tonbridge, and to the visiting pupils’ learning experiences, and very quickly strong bonds are formed.
The boys show great dedication in their roles as mentors, and we believe this project has a very positive impact in our community.
Sarah Griggs, Head of School for Royal Rise: “Tonbridge’s programme has played a vital role in helping is achieve our recent ‘Good’ Ofsted report. Its staff and boys have always supported us, giving the children opportunities beyond those we could provide purely on our own.”
In addition to enabling our boys and staff to give their time to support our local community, we are also aware that charitable fundraising is an important way to support a wider range of local and international causes. Throughout any school year, our boys, staff and parents raise well in excess of £100,000 for charities through whole School events such as Pink Day (supporting Breast Cancer Kent), sponsored sporting challenges, concerts and social entrepreneur projects.
Each year our Year 9s sleep ‘rough’ in the Quad in a ‘Novi Sleepout’ event, raising funds for the charity and also increasing awareness of the social issues the lead to homelessness. A ten-year link with Porchlight, a Kent-based homelessness charity, has raised over £100,000, making Tonbridge its largest individual donor.
Child Action Lanka (CAL) has been our international partner charity since 2016, working to provide education, nutrition and health care to the most vulnerable children in Sri Lanka. We have run five trips involving our students in the work of CAL and, during the Covid period, we maintained links via remote learning and ongoing fundraising. A School trip to Child Action Lanka is planned for July 2024.
Our fundraising activities extend to our ‘Old Tonbridgians’ and others associated with the School. Through our Tonbridge Society, Tonbridge’s second Giving Day in June 2022 raised in excess of £509,000, surpassing the £422,000 raised during the inaugural event, in support of our Foundation Award bursary scheme. Many hundreds of people across the School community worked together to help support Tonbridge’s mission of doubling its number of Foundation Award recipients by 2028, enabling a greater number of bright, able boys to attend Tonbridge and benefit from the world-class educational experience we provides.
TUDOR HALL SCHOOL
Students at Tudor Hall School will be spending half term on trips spanning three different continents to do charity and volunteer work!