The Latest News From UK Schools This Month - February 2024
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The Latest News From UK Schools This Month – February 2024

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All the latest UK school news this month, February 2024, from fundraiser events to student achievements and new developments.

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Events

‘Re-Prom’ Fashion Fundraiser Event

Head Girl at The Queen’s School, Natasha, has set up a charity fashion event to sell pre-loved Prom dresses.

The event is taking place on Friday 1 March, 6.30pm to 9pm, at the school on City Walls Road, Chester.

All the money raised will be donated to Evie’s Gift, a charity that supports the families of critically ill children.

Natasha said: ‘Evie started school with me, but her life was cruelly cut short after suffering from a brain tumour, aged just 13. Evie’s Gift was set up in her name, to help families of critically ill children, and I am proud to be raising money for this great cause. Every penny raised from this event will go to Evie’s Gift.’

Tickets can be purchased here, if you can’t make the event but would like to support the cause you can donate on JustGiving.

Read It Forward

Bookshop.org has launched a new charitable initiative, Read It Forward, in collaboration with BookTrust, to encourage children to get reading.

Ten percent of every children’s book sold in February will be donated to the charity and support independent bookshops.

Lizzie Catford, Director of Children’s Books at BookTrust, said: ‘This collaboration not only supports independent bookshops, vital pillars of our literary community, but also contributes directly to our mission of fostering a love of reading among children, particularly those facing challenges. At BookTrust, we believe in the transformative power of shared reading, and the funds raised through this initiative will support our vital work across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.’

Legally Blonde Musical Production

Roedean School completed their first production of 2024, with a musical performance of Legally Blonde.

The show featured Spice Girl hits, lots of singing, dancing and some beautifully designed costumes.

Director Sue Woodbridge said: ‘This has definitely been one of the most enjoyable productions to direct at Roedean as it has so many roles to offer the students, the music is exciting, the dancing exhilarating and every performer has mirrored the energy of the main character as she is a symbol of relentless optimism. I have been impressed with how supportive the students have been, helping each other to learn intricate choreography and harmonies while forging new friendships from year 9 to year 13.’

Six Star Returns To School

Star of the West End show Six the Musical, Annabel Marlow, has returned to her former school Queen Anne’s Caversham to judge the Inter-Charter Drama Competition.

Annabel Marlow pictured with Head of Drama, Rhodri Punter

Annabel Marlow pictured with Head of Drama, Rhodri Punter

Annabel trained at LAMDA and the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama after leaving Queen Anne’s. 

She has recently finished two-months of playing the lead role in The Wizard of Oz.

While judging the competition she was impressed by how all the performances showed creativity. She commented: ‘I was amazed by the standard of what I saw! I loved my time at Queen Anne’s and all the opportunities that are on offer in the Performing Arts; it was an honour to be invited back to school’.

Children’s Author Inspires St Swithun’s Pupils

Children’s books author, Jenny McLachlan, visited St Swithun’s Prep School for an exciting all-day event.

Jenny McLachlan interacting with Prep School Students

Jenny McLachlan interacting with Prep School Students

Jenny McLachlan is known for her books The Land of Roar and Return to Roar.

The pupils listened to Jenny talk about her personal creative process and inspired them to explore their own writing style. Pupils also got a chance to get their books signed.

Head of Prep, Liz Norris, said: ‘Her visit enhanced our literacy initiatives and provided a memorable and enriching experience for our students.’

Jenny commented: ‘I had a wonderful visit – one of my favourites. What a special school St Swithun’s is. It was lovely to see how much time the teachers spend making sure the girls learn, have fun, and are happy.’

‘Smoothie Lab’ Programme

London’s Museum of Brands is partnering with innocent Drinks to create an educational programme for young adults to learn the key skills of product development.

 Smoothie Lab workshop graphic

Smoothie Lab workshop

The programme, named ‘Smoothie Lab’, will be taught to around 1250 secondary schools and colleges in the UK.

Helen Whitby, Head of Nutrition at innocent drinks, said: ‘We’re on a mission to make sure more people can enjoy the delicious goodness of fruit and veg, and our new partnership with the Museum of Brands on the Smoothie Lab programme is a brilliant way to do that.

‘Giving an insight into the different factors that go into creating our little drinks could spark some big career dreams, and we hope it will inspire the next generation of budding food scientists and nutritionists.’

Marking Children’s Mental Health Week

Northampton GDST School marked Mental Health week by offering a range of wellbeing activities to their Junior and Senior Pupils.

Northampton High celebrated Children’s Mental Health week with a series of wellbeing activities across their Junior and Senior School

Northampton High celebrated Children’s Mental Health week with a series of wellbeing activities across their Junior and Senior School

This year’s theme for Mental Health week was ‘My Voice Matters’. 

The week started with a Senior assembly by the school’s Wellbeing Practitioner, Mrs Sarah Giordano, who shared resources from Place2Be – a children’s mental health charity. 

The Junior school assembly was led by ‘Mrs G’ and the School Nurse, Mrs Dunkley, who spoke about why we need to fuel our bodies correctly. 

Later in the week, members from local mental health charity Lowdown, shared resources about their services including counselling and wellbeing groups.

Pupils had the opportunity to share their own thoughts by posting on a ‘Wellbeing Wall of Hearts’, writing down short messages on post-it notes.   

Mrs Giordano commented: ‘In today’s fast paced and ever changing world, our students need to feel that their voice matters and that they will be heard, non-judgmentally and with acceptance. Our most precious moments are when we hear students sharing wellbeing tips with friends as they embed these strategies into their own healthy habit formation and help to create a wider culture of personal growth and self-discovery.’

St Peter’s York Pupil To Embark On 275 Mile Journey

An Upper Sixth pupil at St Peter’s York, Lauren, is set to take on a 275 mile journey from Leeds to Edinburgh in 7 days. 

Lauren will run 4 ultra marathons and cycle 168 miles to raise money for MND, raising awareness for the Doddie Weir Foundation and Rob Burrow Centre for MND.

Starting at Headingley Stadium, Lauren aims to make it to Murrayfield Stadium by day seven.

Members of staff, including the Head of Sport, Chris McTurk, and Pastoral Deputy Head, Tracey Mounter will also be taking part in the challenge.

Lauren has received an incredible amount of support from the community at St Peter’s School and has also received messages from England Football Manager Gareth Southgate, MND Campaigner Kevin Sinfield, Former Scotland Rugby Union Player Scott Hastings, just to name a few.

If you would like to support Lauren’s cause, you can donate on GoFundMe.

ACS International School Egham Hosts Destination Imagination

ACS International School Egham hosted a STEAM competition, Destination Imagination, which includes 15 teams of students from all three UK ACS International Schools – Egham, Cobham and Hillingdon.

Pupils participating in Destination Imagination

Pupils participating in Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination tests teams’ ability to problem solve and come up with unique solutions that allows their self-expression to grow, while sharing knowledge as a team and working together.  

The top scoring teams have the chance to progress to the next round of the tournament at the Global Finals in May.

John Mendenhall, Science Teacher at ACS International School Egham, said: ‘Destination Imagination was a resounding success, thanks to the support of the ACS Egham community. We’re so happy to be able to provide children with the opportunity to supplement their education in engaging and fun ways.’

Creative Media Skills Institute Workshop

Students of ACS International School Hillingdon’s Digital Arts and Expressive Arts courses attended a four-day visual effects workshop run by Creative Media Skills Institute.

Creative Media Skills Workshop

Visual effects workshop

Students participated in a digital mapping and modelling workshop as part of the school’s International Baccalaureate’s Career-related Programme.

During the workshop, students learned how visual effects are applied to objects that appear on screen. 

Fleeta Chew Siegel, Visual effects, Animation and Game Design teacher at ACS Hillingdon, said: ‘During the interactive workshop, our students gained a wider understanding of the latest technologies used in the film and gaming industries and how they are integrated. The workshop also contributes towards our students’ ongoing work portfolio, which is essential in documenting their progress and accelerating their learning.’

Remembering His Majesty King Constantine II of the Hellenes

Pupils at St George’s Windsor who are part of the choristers of St George’s Chapel sang at the Thanksgiving Service for the Life of His Majesty King Constantine II of the Hellenes. 

Choristers of St George’s Chapel

Choristers of St George’s Chapel

The service was attended by Her Majesty The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

The service was of particular significance to St George’s School Windsor Castle thanks to the school’s membership of Round Square, a network of over 250 schools in 50 countries which share a commitment to character education and experiential learning. This is  built around six ideals drawn from the theories of the educationalist Kurt Hahn: International Understanding, Democracy, Environmental Stewardship, Adventure, Leadership and Service.

His Majesty King Constantine chaired the first meeting of the seven schools that would form the Round Square movement, named after the building at Gordonstoun where the first conference took place in 1967. For half a century, His close involvement continued, first as Chair, and later as President of Round Square, and over that time, countless students have participated in international conferences, service projects, exchange visits, classroom collaborations and other activities which St George’s School Windsor Castle continue to benefit from today.

Picture of The Month: Zoolab Visits St George’s Edinburgh

Pupils from St George’s School in Edinburgh had a visit from Zoolab, which included interacting with insects and snakes.

Primary 2 is currently doing a project called ‘Rainforests’ where they learn about exotic animals, indigenous people, and issues around sustainability. Meanwhile, the primary 4 students are exploring vertebrates and invertebrates.

Pupil looking at a bug

St George’s School pupil looking closely at a bug

Pupils holding a snake

Pupils holding a snake

Pupil Achievements

Millfield Pupils Accepted Into Cambridge

Three pupils from Millfield School in Somerset have been accepted to study at the University of Cambridge. 

Pippa, Olivia and Hugo

Pippa, Olivia and Hugo

Upper Sixth students, Pippa Charleson, Olivia Sparks and Hugo Yasumato got offers for Japanese at Downing College, Classics at Sidney Sussex College and Archaeology at Trinity College.

This is the highest number of offers to Oxbridge to date, with two other students having already secured offers to Oxford University. 

Head of Futures, Jonathan Santry, said: ‘Cambridge is generally regarded as the toughest university  to get into in the UK. Pippa, Hugo and Olivia have battled against the odds to work through the rigorous application process to earn these fantastic offers. They all took early ownership of their  applications, researching what was required for their course, seeking out support where needed and  working hard throughout.’

Seasonal Spectacular Art Exhibition

Pennthorpe Schools’ Seasonal Spectacular Art Exhibition is showing at John Lewis Horsham from 11 February to 17 February. 

Pennthorpe pupils creating artwork for the exhibition

Pennthorpe pupils creating artwork for the exhibition

The exhibition showcases the work of pupils from Reception to Year 8, led by Mrs Rachel Shadlock, Head of Art & Design.

Inspired by the vibrant colours, textures, lifeform and transformations that define the seasons, the installations in store will comprise of sculptures, collages and ceramics.

Mrs Shadlock said: ‘This exhibition not only showcases the immense creativity of our students but also invites viewers to experience the beauty and wonder of the seasons through the eyes of our young artists.’

Charlie South, Events & Marketing, John Lewis Horsham, commented: ‘It’s a great opportunity for the children’s work to be viewed by a broader audience and we hope that our customers enjoy seeing something different in store that enhances their shopping experience.’

KPS Pupils Achieves Highest Mark In The World For Cambridge IGCSE

Year 11 pupil and Head of School at Kensington Park School, Giulia, has been awarded the highest mark in the world for Cambridge IGCSE Italian. 

The IGSCE is recognised by leading universities worldwide and equips learners with the knowledge and skills to thrive outside of the classroom.

British Education Awards 2024: Outstanding Student

Last year’s head girl at Moreton Hall, Tarryn Stanhope, has won the Outstanding Student award at the British Education Awards 2024.

Tarryn Stanhope at the British Education Awards 2024

Tarryn Stanhope at the British Education Awards 2024

This follows her five A* grades that she achieved in her A-levels last summer. Tarryn is now a first year Economics student at Durham University.

Amin Babor Chowdhury from the British Education Awards commented: ‘Tarryn’s achievements in academia are remarkable and her dedication to her school and the study of economics is outstanding.’

Tarryn said: ‘If it weren’t for the holistic, enthusiastic and unordinary education I received at school, I don’t think I ever would have immersed myself into such a wide array of activities – and it’s not only because so many of the opportunities given to me were only available uniquely at Moreton.’

RHS Pupil Accepted Into Yale University

Academic and sailing scholar at Royal Hospital School, Audrey Foley, has been offered early acceptance by Yale University to join their sailing team.

Audrey Foley with Mr Simon Lockyer (Headmaster), Mrs Megan Price (acting Head of Sixth Form), Mr Ed Sibson (Director of Sailing) and Mr Connor Line (Sailing Instructor).

Audrey Foley with Mr Simon Lockyer (Headmaster), Mrs Megan Price (acting Head of Sixth Form), Mr Ed Sibson (Director of Sailing) and Mr Connor Line (Sailing Instructor).

Audrey will start her studies in Economics and Mathematics in September, becoming the first pupil from RHS to study at Yale.

Audrey said: ‘I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and I am really excited for what the future may hold. Yale has always been one of my top choices for university because of its esteemed academics and its renowned sailing program.’

‘I am excited to compete with some of the best sailors in the nation. Becoming an All-American sailor in college, which is the recognition of excellence in academics and sailing, would be amazing.’

Her parents commented: ‘When Audrey first came to us two years ago with the idea of attending RHS we were not sure what to make of it. Two years later we are thrilled she made the choice!’

Royal Hospital School Sailing Victories

Over the past 18 months, Royal Hospital School has taken an incredible 12 trophies in sailing competitions.

RHS U19's Women's Team

RHS U19’s Women’s Team

Three of their major victories include:

At the RYA Under 19 Women’s Team Racing National Championship pupils won the silver league and got the Under 19 trophy.

Pupils won the RYA Youth National Team Racing Championship 2023. The purple team, led by Sarah D, won eight of their nine races on day one and four of their five races on day two.

At the BSDRA – British School Team Racing National Champions, pupils took home The Rondar Shield for the first time in its 34 year history.

ACS Hillingdon Student Finishes Mars Wrigley Internship

Grade 12 student and Deputy Head Girl at ACS International School Hillingdon, Yasmine A, has finished a two-month internship with manufacturing company, Mars Wrigley. 

Mars Wrigley produces brands such as Mars, Pedigree, Ben’s Original and Extra Gum.

Yasmine shadowed a senior member of the team, learnt about business planning and marketing, and was invited to one of the European factories in the Netherlands for two days. 

She commented: ‘During my time at Mars Wrigley, I learnt valuable skills about business and operations, which I will take with me to university and into my future career. A highlight for me was exploring AI in the supply chain and building a presentation to showcase to the team.’

New Leadership

Mayfield Appoints New Headmistress

Mayfield School has announced that Deborah Bligh will be Headmistress from April 1.

She is currently Senior Deputy Head at the school and has an MA in Educational Leadership. 

Deborah Bligh said: ‘As a lifelong learner I passionately believe in the highest academic standards and being ambitious for every girl. I intend to maintain and build upon the rich tradition of the school and prepare, as our foundress said, ‘every girl to meet the needs of the age’.’

Chair of Governors, Lady Davies of Stamford, said: ‘Having already proved her leadership qualities as Senior Deputy Head since joining in September, she will, I’m sure, prove to be an inspirational Headmistress in the years to come.’

Dauntsey’s School Appoints New Head

Mr John Davies, Senior Deputy Head and Vice Principal at Kingswood School Bath has been named the new Head of Dauntsey’s School. He will leave Kingswood at the end of the academic year.

Mr John Davies

Mr John Davies

Mr John Davies commented: ‘Whilst I am hugely excited to take up my new position as Head of Dauntsey’s, I am also sad to be leaving the Kingswood community, which has been my home and family for the last seven years.’

Headmaster and Principal of the Kingswood Foundation, Mr Andrew Gordon-Brown, said: ‘John’s are big shoes to fill but I anticipate a very strong field as we set about finding a worthy successor, with recruitment beginning this term.’

HMC Chair 2025-26 Is Named

Philip Britton, Head of Foundation at Bolton School has been named as the 2025-26 HMC Chair. The HMC is an association of heads of the world’s leading schools.

Philip Britton

Philip Britton

Mr Britton said: ‘I look forward to working with the Board and Council, as well as all the colleagues who work for HMC, on all that they do for us to support our work as members in schools. One of the great strengths of HMC is the variety of schools in membership, each with a distinctive history and purpose, but collectively just focused on doing our best to give our pupils a great start in life.’

New Head At Taunton Prep School

Taunton Prep School has appointed Ed Burnett as their new Headmaster.

Ed Burnett, Head of Taunton Prep School

Ed Burnett, Head of Taunton Prep School

Mr Burnett joined the school in 2015 and worked as Senior Deputy Head. In his new role, he will be responsible for more than 500 children across the Nursery, Pre-Prep and Prep sections of the school. 

He commented: ‘The school’s values and commitment to each individual child and the desire to offer such a broad educational experience sit well with me.’

New Developments

Westminster Under School To Become Co-educational 

From 2026 girls will be introduced to all years at Westminster Under School, as well as opening a new pre-prep.

  • 2026: Girls and boys will join a brand new pre-prep in Reception year at Westminster Under School
  • 2026: Girls will also join boys at Westminster Under School in Years 3 and 7
  • 2028: Girls will join boys in Westminster School’s Year 9 Fifth Form
Westminster Under School

Westminster Under School

  • Registration for boys and girls at 4+ opens in September 2024, for September 2026 entry to Westminster Under School.
  • Registration for girls at 7+, and 11+ opens in September 2024, for September 2026 entry to Westminster Under School.
  • Registration for girls at 13+ opens in September 2024, for September 2028 entry to Westminster School.

To accommodate the growing number of students, the school has purchased two new buildings, Chapter House and 11 Tufton Street.

Cheltenham College To Open School In Malaysia

Cheltenham College International is opening its third partner International School in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, in partnership with Edumaax Sdn Bhd, this year.

It will be a day school for boys and girls aged 4-18 years old, welcoming pupils in September 2024. The qualifications will be based on the IGCSE and A-level curriculums.

Cheltenham College has links with Malaysia going back over 50 years and Edumaax has a legacy of operating successful schools in Malaysia.

Nicola Huggett, Head, commented: ‘We are looking forward to working alongside staff in KL to develop the highest quality education and pastoral care for their pupils’.