The Latest News From UK Schools This Month – May 2024

By Anoop Bhuller

6 hours ago

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All the latest UK news from schools this month, May 2024, from school musicals to leadership changes and new developments.

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Talented Dance Pupil Receives Lots of School Offers

Wells Cathedral School Upper Sixth pupil Alfie has been offered a place at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance from September 2024.

Wells Cathedral Dance pupil, Alfie – Latest School News May 2024

Dance pupil, Alfie (photographed by Maple & Fleur Photography)

Alfie has specialised in dance for two years at Wells Cathedral. His Dance Teacher Miss Louise Cannon said: ‘He has worked so hard and is seen training whenever he has spare time in between studying for his A-levels.’

He also received offers from multiple other dance institutions including the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Trinity Laban Conservatoire and The Place.

Alfie commented: ‘I was over the moon as this was not only my top choice, but just over a year ago when I started, it never seemed like a possibility.’

New Life at Priory Farm

The Priory Farm at St Augustine’s Priory has new life as the lambs enjoy the sunshine, new baby guinea pigs have arrived and chicks are hatching.

Baby guinea pig pup at Priory Farm

Baby guinea pig pup at Priory Farm

More guinea pig pups and lambs are still expected. The Farm is currently home to chickens, ducks, guinea pigs, sheep and three pygmy goats.

Free AI Event For Schools This May

On the 24th May 2024, the first AMCIS AI webinar series in collaboration with Marketing Advisers for Schools is taking place from 12-1pm.

The series includes four free online seminars that explore AI and its impact on schools, education and society. 

This first event will feature Tech and AI speaker Michael Bhaskar, who is co-author of The Coming Wave: AI, Power and the 21st Century’s Greatest Dilemma.

International Chair Advisor, Dr Helen Wright will chair the conversation alongside guest panellists, which will delve into the potential impact of AI on the current generation of pupils.

You can sign up here.

The Beacon Wins At The Rotary Technology Tournament

Pupils at The Beacon Independent Prep School won the Foundation category of the Rotary Technology Tournament. This marks the second year the school has won in a row.

The Rotary tournament is designed to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, testing their STEM skills.

Twelve students from Years 5-8 entered the tournament in small teams, competing against 12 other schools. The tournament was judged by Rotary members and guests who have a background in technology, design and engineering.

The task this year was based on a scenario – provisions needed to be delivered to a village after heavy floods that destroyed all the roads. The only way out was to use a cable that was suspended across the river. Each team had to design and build a gondola that could be sent across the river and drop the provisions on the other side.

Students Scoop 1st Place in Schools Air Race Challenge

Eight students at St Margaret’s School for Girls in Aberdeen have gained drone licences after participating in daily flying lessons. 

The students competed against nineteen Scottish schools in the Schools Air Race Challenge run by the Aerospace Kinross and were crowned gold winners after winning 1st place. 

The students had to fly drones around an indoor obstacle course designed by students themselves that replicate landmarks such as Ben Nevis. 

In preparation, the students learnt about the principles of flight, engineering, forces and data organisation in physics. Speakers such as former Chinook pilot, Mr Peter Winn and former RAF Air Traffic Control Officer, Mrs Mel Binfield also visited the school.

Mr Winn speaking with students

Former Chinook pilot, Mr Peter Winn speaking with students

Primary 7 Teacher, Mrs O’Neill, said: ‘The competition is a fantastic opportunity to empower girls with career aspirations in aeronautics; an industry where women are significantly under-represented, with few holding the most senior positions and each pupil taking part will be eligible for a Young STEM Leader Award for successful completion of the programme.’

ISI Name Two Significant Strengths of St Catherine’s Bramley

At their recent ISI Inspection, St Catherine’s School in Bramley, were identified as having two ‘Significant Strengths’. 

They were noticed for their extensive and enriching extra-curricular programme. As well as their comprehensive, inspiring and highly successful career programme and alumnae network. 

Both the Prep and Senior Schools offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities to all students. Their parent and alumnae community also share ‘Careers Ideas’ with Year 5 and 6 students and offer networking advice. 

You can read the full report here.

Students Raise Awareness For Water Scarcity

More than 10,000 students in Globeducate schools took part in activities for Eco-Week.

This year, the main theme was water. Activities included a silent march to raise awareness for water scarcity, a whole-school vegetable harvest, installation of a watering system designed by students, making seed bombs to grow wild flowers and making pledges for water conservation. 

Students taking part in activities for Eco-Week

Students taking part in activities for Eco-Week

Education Director Monica Fontán, who works closely with Eco-Schools coordinators across the group, said: ‘By fostering a culture of environmental responsibility and innovation, we are equipping our students with the skills and knowledge they need to address the pressing challenges facing our planet.’

Cricket Star Returns To Tonbridge

England and Kent cricket star Zak Crawley returned to his former school, Tonbridge

He spent the an afternoon watching the school cricket team at net practise, talking to the boys and signing lots of t-shirts, bats and caps.

Zak Crawley, England cricket star with Tonbridge pupils

Zak Crawley, England cricket star with Tonbridge pupils

Zak spoke at the school’s EM Forster Theatre about the technique and temperament needed to succeed in cricket before answering questions from the audience.

When asked about his approach to batting, he said he watches former players such as Viv Richards and Ricky Ponting. ‘I try and take a little bit from players like this and I’ve always loved those guys who played the game properly, with a bit of flair.’

Ryde Sports Coach Aiming For Paris Olympics 2024

Former pupil at Ryde School and now their Sports Coach, Nicky Percy, is aiming for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

He managed a throw of 67.73 metres in Oklahoma last month, a distance that should qualify him for the Olympic Games. 

It has always been Nick’s dream to compete in the Olympics and he has never given up striving for this goal.

Taunton Pupil Wins Citizen Award

A student at Taunton School has been awarded the Rotary Club’s Youngest Citizen Award.

Anthony Knight was chosen for his outstanding contribution to helping those affected by war, raising more than £13,500 for the SEC Ukraine Appeal and UNICEF.

Anthony Knight with his award

Anthony Knight with his award

He has also spent two years performing violin in churchers and hotels across the UK and Europe to raise money. 

Anthony commented: ‘I hope my story will inspire other young people to use their talents to make the world a better place.’

The Beacon School Enrichment Programme

In 2023 The Beacon Upper School launched an Enrichment Programme, which has been running successfully since.

The programme offers an introduction to essential topics outside of the curriculum for boys in Year 7 and 8. 

Workshops discuss personal finance, Women’s History Month, current affairs, team-building, careers and prospective jobs.

St Swithun’s 140th Birthday Lunch

St Swithun’s School continued to celebrate its 140th anniversary with a vibrant birthday lunch and party.

St Swithun's School cutting their 140th birthday cake

St Swithun’s School cutting their 140th birthday cake

The lunch was followed by the school dance in Harvey Hall, with a unique fancy dress theme, ‘Through the Ages, 1884-2024’, which encouraged senior school attendees to don attire representing various eras spanning the school’s 140-year history.

Headmistress Jane Gandee, said: ‘The entire day reminded us of why we are proud to be at St Swithun’s as our school community celebrated our rich heritage and our pioneering and philanthropic ethos.’

Pupils Learn About Fast Fashion

Pupils at Highfield & Brookham learned about the environmental effects of modern fashion production on the earth.

The children were tasked with delving into fashion brand sustainability and researching the life cycles of plastics.

Highfield and Brookham pupils learning about fast fashion

Highfield and Brookham pupils learning about fast fashion

Head of Highfield & Brookham, Suzannah Cryer said: ‘The way the children set about their environmental task on Earth Day was amazing and gives a tremendous amount of hope for the future.’

Felsted School Raises Funds For Transformational Bursaries

Felsted School has raised over £115,000 for transformational bursaries during its first Giving Day.

The Giving Day included 36 hours of activities, events and challenges. All donations will support an additional 10 Sixth Form boarders every year.

Felsted pupils raised funds with a bake sale

Felsted pupils raised funds with a bake sale

Felsted’s Director of Development, Kate Love, said: ‘From hula-hooping to bake sales, our pupils, staff, family and friends needed very little encouragement to enter into the spirit of Giving Day.’

Pupils Wins Royal Ascot Fashion Design Competition

A Lower Sixth student at St George’s Ascot has won the Royal Ascot Fashion Design Competition. 

Felicitas will have her design manufactured by LK Bennett to wear at Royal Ascot and has been offered work experience at the company. 

Lower Sixth pupil, Felicitas

Lower Sixth pupil, Felicitas

The LK Bennett creative team said Felicitas’ design was ‘really lovely, and nice to have trousers as they are much more relevant to what’s happening in fashion. The vibrant green is very much in tune with LKB’s best selling colour. It will look wonderful at Royal Ascot!’.

New Developments

Headington School Opens New Boatclub

Headington School has opened a dedicated boatclub on the River Thames in Long Wittenham. It was officially opened by Olympic silver medallist and former pupil, Katie Greves who cut the ribbon on the new facility.

The boatclub will be a place for rowers at the school to grow their skills. 

Headington School Boatclub

Headington School Boatclub

Headington School has produced 120 GB rowers and have won numerous medals at the National Schools’ Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta. 

Head Rowing Coach Ryan Demaine said: ‘We are incredibly excited about the opportunities it will give us to add to Oxfordshire’s rich and well-established rowing community as we inspire, nurture and develop future generations of rowers.’

The King’s School Opens Science Centre

The King’s School Canterbury has opened a new Science Centre. Former pupil and Eminent plant biologist Professor Sarah Gurr opened the new building. More than 100 members of the local and King’s School community attended the opening. 

The building offers six laboratories for physics, a science auditorium with a capacity of 140 people and other science-related facilities.

The building will also be available for use by the local community. King’s run Family Science Days and workshops for all local pupils and teachers.

Head of King’s School, Jude Lowson, said: ‘We are deeply indebted to the many donors whose contributions made this building possible – their generosity has underscored our ambition to provide the very best facilities for our pupils and to be able to share these with our local community.’

Charitable Trusts Merger Announced

On 1 July 2024, the two charitable trusts that own Sherborne Girls, Sherborne School and associated schools will be merged into one charity called Sherborne Schools Group. 

The schools (Sherborne School, Sherborne Girls, Sherborne Prep and Hanford) will continue as their own entities and with their own names, identities and ethos. The merger will allow for more exciting opportunities for pupils and staff to collaborate, share facilities and resources. 

The merged group will also include Sherborne Schools Worldwide, a joint venture set up by Sherborne School and Sherborne Girls in 2017 to create Sherborne-branded schools around the world. 

Every school will continue to offer enhanced educational opportunities, a supportive environment and exceptional pastoral care.

Chair of Governors at Sherborne School, David Leakey, said: ’Joining forces with the Sherborne Girls group reflects the schools’ commitment to innovation and collaboration. It will allow for greater educational and financial agility and resilience, as well as create exciting opportunities for growth and development.’

New Leadership

The Leys Appoints New Head

The Leys have appointed Dr Clare Ives as the new Head, succeeding Martin Priestly.

Dr Ives is currently Senior Deputy Head at Sevenoaks School. She also has experience working as a Boarding Housemistress and as the former Head of History at Canford School.

Dr Clare Ives

Dr Clare Ives

She commented: ‘As a bursary recipient, and first-generation University student, I am passionate about the transformative power of great education and I am excited to lead a school which is values driven and which cares so deeply about the holistic experience of every pupil both at school and beyond.’