School News and Head's Blog

187 Blog Posts found - Showing 127-135

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Posted on: 10/05/2019

Key To Success - Head's Blog

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-48190126 It was with a sense of pride that I read this BBC article, entitled 'Well trained nursery staff key to good care'.  As all of our parents who have had children go through our Kindergarten and Early Years (Nursery and Reception) know, we have superb adult to child ratios to ensure that your children are exceptionally well cared for, but the high ratios also give our staff the opportunity to have those 1-1 conversations with your children to enrich their spoken word and develop their thinking and learning skills. "A better staff-to-child ratio leads to improvements in quality but staff qualifications and training is the most important factor.” Our staff ratios are excellent throughout the school and our staffing levels are exceptional form Ducklings to Year 6. It goes without saying that our staff are very well qualified but it is the dedication and commitment of the staff to ongoing professional development which is one of the most important factors at St. Helen’s College. This week, for example, while Year 1 - Year 6 teachers were meeting with parents for our parent conferences, the EYFS team were taking part in their own learning workshop, using the 10 squares to develop maths activities for the children.   There is a saying that every day is learning opportunity, but that is pertinent not only to the children but also the staff; it is always refreshing as I visit the many classrooms to overhear and see teachers sharing ideas and good practice with each other. Throughout the academic year our staff are highly invested in and supported to enable them to keep learning to improve the outcomes for our pupils. Not only do we invest in our staff, but it is the partnership we have with you as our parent body which is so important in ensuring that you are all able to support your children’s learning at home. Last year we ran very successful reading workshops and e-safety sessions and this term we have already had a superb evening for parents of our younger pupils on supporting phonics and early maths skills. Later in the summer we will be meeting with many of you for Information Evenings as we lead up to the transition of the children through the school, which I trust you will find interesting and informative, and for September we have arranged for an external speaker to hold a workshop for parents and staff, ‘Enabling parents to bring out the best in their children’, which we are very much looking forward to. Details on how to book tickets for this event will be published next half term. This week I have toured many potential candidates for the current positions which we have available at St. Helen’s College and I have to admit they everyone has been in awe of our school, the children, the staff and the sense of collaboration which we have with our parent body.  We truly are remarkable and I am confident that our new staff who we hope to appoint very soon will only add to the quality of what we offer here! Have a wonderful weekend! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 3/05/2019

Creativity: The Key To Unlock Limitless Potential by Mr. Tovell

    This week we have a Guest Blog from Mr. Tovell, Year 4 Class Teacher. In the most watched TED talk of all time, educationalist Sir Ken Robinson FRSA claimed that “schools kill creativity”, arguing that “we don’t grow into creativity, we grow out of it. Or rather we get educated out of it”. Whilst this may be the case in many schools, it is my fervent belief that this is not something which is occurring at St. Helen’s College. In fact, creativity is one of our St. Helen’s College learning strategies which means  that, not only do St. Helen’s College students understand what it is to be creative, they are also given opportunities to be creative across the curriculum. It is my position that creativity (meaning original thought and ideas) is one of the greatest effectors of change in terms of how we perceive the world or live our lives. Indeed, with a truly creative mind, does potential not become limitless? As the title of this blog suggests, it is my belief that imagination and creativity are skills which must be developed in all learners and across the curriculum. Obvious examples are in fiction writing and art; however, creativity is also a key component for problem solving in mathematics when considering how to ‘break in’ to the problem or when solving disputes with peers. With this in mind, I was thrilled when I was asked to organise Wednesday’s  Project Day for Years 4 and 6 in collaboration with the IDEAS Bus team. Following a short assembly, the children completed a carousel of activities in small groups, before volunteers showcased their learning in a closing assembly. Activities included a visit to the IDEAS Bus, which had advanced technology on board including a 3D printer, becoming young entrepreneurs who had to pitch for finance for their original idea and a Virtual Reality Workshop. The overarching theme was for pupils to be as creative as possible - something I am pleased to report they did with great success. One of the challenges facing young learners when asked to be creative is the fear of judgement from their peers. As a result, children can be reluctant to ‘have a go’ and just say whatever comes to mind, which is why I was so pleased to see students supporting one another, helping them to build upon initial ideas and recognising that many great ideas are born out of less great ones and that you cannot build upon an idea you have not had. The whole day was a celebration of the wonderful, creative children we have at St. Helen’s College and reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of such a special community. I will leave you with the thoughts of one of the most creative people ever to grace our earth: Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere - Albert Einstein I could not have put it better myself!  Mr. Tovell
Posted on: 26/04/2019

SHC - Head's Blog

    As we enter our final term of this academic year I would like to share with our community the key messages and the focus of our staff training on Tuesday and Wednesday. It seems most apt that we have just celebrated a very special Christian festival, the sadness of Jesus being crucified on the cross but the joy of his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Like many religious leaders, Jesus was one of the greatest teachers and the character traits and values which he embodied are replicated across many faiths. It is important that we remind ourselves of our school motto: Excellentiam e concordia     Our Latin motto means excellence through working together in harmony/unity of purpose.  When it was recreated by our students, using the acronym SHC for St. Helen’s College, the pupils’ interpretation was: Strive for excellence   Help others achieve   Care for each other In my welcome back to all of our staff in their different roles, I reminded everyone of what our motto means to us all: colleagues to colleagues, staff to pupils and staff to parents. So, as parents, what does our school motto mean to you all: parents to parents, parents to children, parents to staff? If we can all strive for excellence each and every day, help others achieve and care for each other, what great models we will all be for the children in our care. The first assemblies of the term for the children also focussed on our motto and we outlined the school values which will be a focus this term: Courtesy Forgiveness Determination Self-discipline Gratitude Honesty Staff training is always focussed on how to get the best out of your children, keeping your children safe, ensuring that all staff are up to speed on all aspects of Health and Safety and termly safeguarding updates. Mrs. Cargill led us all in a most informative but entertaining session, which put Sue Barker to shame, as the two team captains Mrs. Haar and Mr. McLaughlin led the staff in ‘A Question of Health and Safety’. The key areas covered in the numerous rounds of questioning and scenarios were Fire Safety, Electrical Safety and Asbestos Awareness. Who knew that Health and Safety, a very serious but vital part of any organisation’s legislative duty, could be so interesting and fun (although I have heard the Mr. Crehan’s ladder training was also up there in the entertainment stakes)! Our school fire wardens were also put through their paces in a six hour intensive training session - but we are hoping that they will never have to utilise these skills either in the workplace or at home. Ms Gilham made a very pertinent point that it is not until you go through such training that you reflect on the practices and procedures we have in place on our own homes. Do you know your fire escape routes to exit your homes and do you have a plan? Do you keep a set of keys in a convenient place if you need to evacuate your house? Mrs. Hunt led the staff through another session on Safeguarding - the welfare of every child is paramount and, through working closely with Children’s Services, we ensure that we are supporting you in your roles as parents to allow your children to flourish in every aspect. This term we have a very exciting programme of residential visits and Miss Walker’s update in her role as Educational Visits Coordinator was very well received. You can be assured that, whether your children are embarking upon a residential trip or a day trip, the staff are all highly skilled and incredibly competent in their roles looking after the needs of your children and keeping them safe throughout the trips. Our school behaviour management and supervision systems were also revisited and we discussed the importance of consistency of approach from all and the high expectations we have from all children. I would ask of you all as parents to remind your children, as I will be doing in assemblies, that regardless of what adult is supervising in school whether this is in the playground, classroom, refectory, etc. that their responses and the level of respect to all adults is appropriate. To settle the children around the school we use a ‘hands up’ approach instead of using voices and this works well. However, children being children, they often need frequent reminders of the expectations and to understand the meaning of being calm and quiet to enable them to continue with their school day. We are all very much looking forward to this busy and exciting term ahead and we will all work together, home and school,  to give the children a memorable summer term. Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 22/03/2019

Social Media by Mr. Lewis

Let's get straight to the point. Children of primary school age should not be using apps such as Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook. If they have these accounts, they have been untruthful about their age and are breaking the terms of use agreement that they have entered into. This is not a good start to their online lives.  The age restrictions on apps and games are in place for good reason. We have a programme of education on keeping safe online that runs throughout the children's time at St. Helen's College. Our Year 5 children build their own websites on internet safety issues. We constantly remind them about keeping safe and about proper use of the internet but these are young children who are finding out how to interact with others. it is a necessary part of growing up to establish boundaries, fall out with friends and find ways of resolving differences. Even the most pleasant and sensible child will react badly to disputes and differences with their friends. In the playground, they will immediately see the effect of their behaviour and they will have an opportunity to make amends or walk away from the situation. Minor disputes can be kept private and quickly resolved and forgotten.  The online world is not so forgiving. It is a public place. When a thoughtless comment or inappropriate image is published it is not easily withdrawn and can be rapidly shared with people who were not the intended audience.  We interpret facial expressions, body language and tone of voice very well but the internet does not convey the same subtlety and a comment made in jest can be easily misconstrued. Online disagreements can quickly escalate and comments that are made cannot be easily withdrawn. Whilst apps such as Facetime and Skype provide valuable means of communications when used in a family setting, children's use of unmonitored Whatsapp groups has no such benefits. Schools can help to educate children but it is our job as parents to set a good example, guide them, set boundaries and monitor their activity.  Whilst our children are finding their way in the real world and making necessary mistakes on the way, I urge you to discuss online etiquette and safety with your children and to remove access to apps and games that have age restrictions that they do not meet. Net Aware from the NSPCC has a guide to parents on children's use of social media.  Mr. Lewis
Posted on: 15/03/2019

Lent - Head's Blog

    Lent is upon us once again – the time of year when we remember the sacrifices made by Jesus during his forty days in the wilderness, leading up to the great sacrifice of his life. Traditionally, Christians give up something for Lent and I’m sure many parents have already started a period of abstinence. Perhaps you are giving up chocolate, sweets or alcohol for this forty day period.   I would like to encourage a new tradition for the children of St. Helen’s College. Rather than encourage our children to deprive themselves of something, I would like to suggest that, for Lent this year, they take up something new, or expand on a talent or interest they already enjoy. Last week we celebrated World Book Day at school and it was magical, as ever, to see the children immersed in stories. We had a visit from The Book Bus on Monday, authors visited the school to share their experiences as writers and their stories, many classes heard traditional and modern tales and poetry read by visiting readers; Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Crehan and I had the most wonderful time over at Lower School, and, throughout the school, there were lively discussions of favourite books. (My favourite is still Enid Blyton's ‘The Faraway Tree’). Perhaps Lent is the perfect time to build upon this by taking up a new reading habit. If your child does not already read for a set period of time before bed, now would be the perfect time to add this to your daily routine. For our youngest children, this will mean sitting with parents, grandparents, older siblings or other adults to listen to stories and look at words and pictures together. Rhyming books are, of course, particularly good for children of this age and don’t worry if you don’t currently have many at home. Not only are the school and local libraries full of lovely children’s books for your children to borrow, but young children thrive on repetition and absolutely love to hear the same book several times over. There is comfort in familiarity, especially when a young child is tired, just before bed. As your child grows older and moves through the Lower School, you should choose slightly longer stories/rhyming tales to read with them, introducing longer, traditional tales such as fairy tales, Aesop’s Fables, Winnie the Pooh stories and poems, Roald Dahl stories and poems and more. Once the children are old enough for chapter books or longer stories which can be split up across several days, there are so many beautiful, classic tales to share with them: The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island… the list really is endless. If you are not sure which books are appropriate for your child, do ask your class teacher or contact Mr. McLaughlin, our Head of English. If you already have a well-established reading routine at bedtime – and we know that many of you already do – then why not add in some reading at another time of day? Lent is the perfect time to make a promise to reduce screen time by 15 minutes a day, and increase reading time by 15 minutes. Perhaps, as you’re cooking dinner, your children could sit at the table 15 minutes early and read a book aloud to you, or you could listen to an audio book together and then discuss it during your meal. Reading is at the heart of everything in education, as self-sacrifice is at the heart of everything in Christianity. So I do hope that you will take the opportunity of Lent to increase your child’s reading time. Perhaps, when Lent ends and Easter is here, you might consider buying them a new book instead of (or even as well as!) an Easter egg, to reward them for forty days of wonderful reading and to inspire them for the following forty days and beyond!  Although we are almost halfway through Lent, there is no time like the present to foster a love of reading!
Posted on: 8/03/2019

Motivation and Mandarin

Reading the Head’s blog last week on the value of learning modern languages, and on the great work going on at St. Helen’s College in this area, reminded me how times have changed – for the better! At secondary school I studied French and German to ‘O’ Level. It was a struggle! I wasn’t particularly motivated, the teachers (none were native speakers) were extraordinarily unimaginative in their methods, and the focus was too much on grammar and textbooks and too little on conversation. We did visit Germany and Austria for a week but were left to our own devices (don’t ask!) and, apart from an idyllic lakeside lunch, my memories are mostly of Pepsi and chips, being bored, and the music of Simon and Garfunkel (the only cassette tape owned by the coach driver). Nevertheless, I achieved good ‘O’ Level grades, have reasonable conversational French and (somewhat to my surprise) was recently complimented on my German when helping a confused couple to understand a ferry timetable. I felt very proud. I didn’t enjoy studying these languages and struggled terribly with learning vocabulary, so it came as something of a surprise to my family (and, if I am honest, to me) when I decided eighteen months ago that I was going to learn Mandarin. This was not a random choice – my son is married to a Singaporean of Chinese ethnicity, and my grandson Teddy is going to be bilingual in English and Mandarin. Not really knowing where to start, I downloaded the app Hello Chinese and set to work on lesson 1. It is a really terrific learning tool which takes the complete beginner to a reasonable conversational standard, with each topic introducing new vocabulary, grammatical structures and common phrases. It uses a wide variety of excellent methods, including recording and playback, games, video, letter formation and flash cards and I can access it easily on my smart phone. Shortly after starting work on the app, I was introduced to a Chinese class by a St. Helen’s College parent. The class was well ahead of me, which provided a spur to encourage me to work hard and catch up, and I am now about to enrol on a more advanced class at the School of Oriental and African Studies. My aim is to try to keep pace with my grandson who, at just 2 years and 4 months, already has a high degree of fluency in Mandarin.  So why is my experience of learning Mandarin so much more positive today than that of my schoolboy French and German lessons? On reflection, I think that there are four reasons, all of which are interlinked. Motivation In contrast to my schooldays, I am hugely motivated to learn Mandarin. I hear it spoken at home every day and want to understand and join in the conversations. I want it to be a shared experience with my grandson, and I want to get over my long-held belief that I am not good at language learning. Knowing how to learn Over many years of learning, both informally and through academic courses, I have learned which learning strategies work best for me. I try to study a little each day, regularly consolidate my knowledge, ask myself and answer questions, keep a pack of flashcards in my pocket at all times and practise speaking as much as I can. Quality of teaching The Hello Chinese app is an excellent, interactive and adaptive virtual teacher, but I also have a super class teacher at my Saturday Chinese class. Always warm and encouraging, she provides the right level of challenge for our (admittedly rather laid back) class, and, as a native speaker who has lived in China, immerses us not only in language but in the culture of the country. Peer support My Chinese school co-students are remarkably friendly and supportive. The help which we give each other, and the fun which we have together, have created a sense of shared endeavour and mutual support. Language learning is very popular at St. Helen’s College, and the children make excellent progress in their fluency in Spanish, French and Latin. This is not surprising, given that my four factors are all in place. They have a thirst for knowledge and are hugely motivated to succeed. Through discussions about metacognition, and reflecting on and discussing their progress with their teachers, they understand how best to learn. They have inspiring teachers who create wonderful lessons to challenge and support them in their learning and they support each other through the joy of learning and the shared enthusiasm which arises from it. These four factors are interwoven, and the latter three all impact positively on the first, motivation. Motivation is critical to learning: without motivation learning is limited and dry, whereas the motivated learner is unstoppable. Teaching is both a science and an art, and the artistry of the brilliant teacher, parent or grandparent has a lot to do with motivating children. I am very mindful of this with Teddy, and am so enjoying helping him to discover the wonderful world of knowledge. Mr. Crehan
Posted on: 1/03/2019

Love of Language Learning - Head's Blog

The BBC reported this week that foreign language learning is at its lowest level in UK secondary schools since the turn of the millennium, with their analysis showing frankly alarming drops of between 30% and 50% since 2013 in the numbers of children taking GCSE language courses in some areas of England. A separate survey of UK secondary schools suggests that a third have dropped at least one language from their GCSE options. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-47334374 https://schoolsweek.co.uk/a-third-of-state-schools-no-longer-teach-languages-in-year-9/ To those of us who believe passionately in the advantages of learning languages, this is concerning news indeed, especially as business organisations have expressed concern at the lack of language skills in the UK. Matthew Fell, Chief UK Policy Director for business group the CBI, said: "Employer demand for French, German and Spanish skills has significantly increased over the last few years. The decline in language learning in schools must be reversed, or else the UK will be less competitive globally and young people less prepared for the modern world. As well as speaking a foreign language, increasing young people's cultural awareness and their ability to work with people from around the world is just as important." Mr. Fell makes important points: in a global marketplace and with Brexit imminent, the ability of the UK’s future leaders in all sectors to communicate effectively with their counterparts across the world is likely to be crucial. For the next generation, being able to speak languages other than English can surely only assist with this. Moreover, there is undeniable merit in learning languages for their own sake. As a school teaching three languages, we see daily that language learning helps to instil, even in the very young, discipline, perseverance, the development of ‘an ear’ for meaning and expression, the ability to choose the correct word, phrase or tone to convey meaning and emotion, listening skills, grammatical knowledge and skills, conversational/interview skills, an appreciation of the subtleties of communication, and tolerance and respect for other languages and cultures. So it is clear to us that the teaching of languages imparts the all important ‘soft skills’ often mentioned by employers as being of equal importance with examination results and acquired knowledge. For its survey, the BBC attempted to contact every one of the almost 4,000 mainstream secondary schools in the UK, and more than half - 2,048 - responded. Of the schools which replied, most said the perception of languages as a difficult subject was the main reason behind a drop in the number of pupils studying for exams, with pupils believing it would be harder for them to achieve a top GCSE grade in a language than in other subjects. This is deeply worrying, but hardly surprising when you consider that, nationwide, many pupils transfer at 11+ into their senior school with very little, if any, experience of learning languages at primary level. We are very proud that this is not the case for St. Helen’s College children, where language learning is given a high priority. Our pupils learn Spanish from the age of 2, French from the age of 8 and Latin from the age of 9. Every child aged between 6 and 10 also takes part, every year, in the U-Talk National Languages competition, through which they have the opportunity to learn (for fun) three further languages each year - one European, one Asian and one African - and to enjoy competing online against pupils from across the United Kingdom. St. Helen’s College pupils learn about French, Spanish and Roman culture, develop relationships with French pen pals and spend a full week immersed in French language and culture during their Year 6 languages trip to the Chateau de la Baudonniere in Normandy, where they also have the chance to visit a French school and meet with their pen pals. Our languages curriculum therefore gives pupils the opportunity to gain a solid grounding in grammar and vocabulary. St. Helen’s College children reach a good level in two of the most widely spoken languages, French and Spanish, and relish their introduction to several other languages. During their time with us, children become able to identify similarities and differences in languages and cultures; they also develop a love of languages and a willingness to ‘have a go’ at learning pretty much any new language which comes along. This week, observing Spanish lessons in Reception, it has been impressive to see the children’s confidence at the age of 4 and 5, as they are immersed in the language, learning numbers and actions through song. This foundation, laid during the children's earliest years with us, is built upon over the years to develop into a strong linguistic interest, confidence and skill set by the time they reach Year 6. There is no doubt that St. Helen’s College children love their language learning and leave us with an excellent grounding in this area. They are well equipped to tackle - and hopefully to excel at - languages at GCSE and A level in their senior school of choice. In England, Ministers say that they are taking steps to reverse the nationwide decline in language learning and this is, in our view, absolutely essential. The government reportedly has a £2.5m plan which aims to increase the take-up of modern foreign languages at GCSE and A-level through new centres of excellence. Let us hope that this plan is successful but, whether it is or not, at least we know that St. Helen’s College children will be ready, willing and able to take full advantage of language learning at senior school and throughout their lives, since they have been lucky enough to attend a linguistic centre of excellence in their youngest years!
Posted on: 15/02/2019

Working At St. Helen's College - Head's Blog

    Working in the independent sector is a privilege for many teachers and support staff. Here at St. Helen’s College we have an incredibly supportive parent body, pupils who are eager to learn and it is the journey which home and school take together which ensures that we get the best from each child. This may not always be the picture some schools are facing. For those of you who have been keeping an eye on the education news, it can often be quite a depressing read; teacher recruitment and retention sits high on the agenda. Damian Hinds, education secretary, said: “I think teachers work too many hours – aggravated by unnecessary tasks like excessive marking and data entry, spending more than half their time on non-teaching tasks.” I make it my job to keep in touch with what is going on in the maintained sector and regularly meet up and interact with colleagues from both the independent and maintained sector.  On a Sunday evening I regularly contribute to an online discussions platform, ‘SLTChat’, which is both enlightening and refreshing as I am able to reflect on the good practice happening at our school.   At St. Helen’s College we have an incredibly dedicated staff who all work for the common interest in giving your children the most interesting experiences in our  curriculum. We use smart assessment methods which are effective and involve the pupils in the process and our data is used effectively to plan the next steps for the children’s learning.   Parents from Year 1 upwards will have received the children’s Learning Logs this week as part of our reporting process. These Learning Logs were noted in our last school inspection as an exceptional aspect of our teaching and learning process and the inspectors were showing so much interest in these that I have become very protective of these unique logs as they are totally bespoke for our school, being the brainchild of Mr. Lewis. The subject leaders have ownership of their subject logs and work closely with the class teachers to ensure that each statement is appropriate for the children but that pupils will all be stretched and challenged, often aspiring to targets in the year above or adapting to targets which still need to be consolidated from the previous year.  The pupils take ownership of their learning and visit these logs often to reflect on their progress and set their targets. For our younger pupils from Ducklings to Reception their learning is tracked and monitored via our online platform ‘Tapestry’ which I know that all the parents also have access to. This assists us in building up the profile of the children’s progress and development as they work within the Early Years Framework. Our staff have the freedom to be creative with our curriculum and have the time to research and plan for inspirational lessons to engage your children.   We have not felt the backlash of teacher recruitment which many schools face and it is with confidence and pride that we have a very low turnover of staff here at St. Helen’s College.  When teachers do decide to move on to pastures new or retire (sadly we will bid Mrs. Stark farewell in due course), we are inundated with applications from ambitious and inspiring teachers and other staff  who would like to join our team to make their contributions to your children’s learning. To say that that I am proud of our school is an understatement.  As we approach the mid-year point in our school calendar, I can hardly believe that we have already completed a term and a half of the 2018 - 2019 academic year.  Enjoy the half term break with your children. Continue to enrich their learning - talk to them about the world around them, play games and puzzles, read books together, visit interesting places! Happy Half Term! Mrs. Drummond
Posted on: 8/02/2019

Antarctica by Mrs. McLaughlin

This week we have a guest blog from Mrs. McLaughlin, who has been inspiring the children at Upper School with assemblies about her journeys in Antarctica. On Monday I had the opportunity to lead the Middle School and Upper School assemblies. When I am given such opportunities I like to share my life experiences with the children: having written a book, explored Antarctica with Sir Robert Swan, trekked the Amazon Rainforest and the Himalayan range, hiked Mt Fuji in Japan and volunteered in Palestine, there is something there that intrigues everyone.   On Monday, I chose to inspire the children (and staff) with my Antarctica story. It seemed apt with the children having had a snow day on the Friday and temperatures in other parts of the world sinking to lows never experienced before. I showed the children videos and pictures of my trip and talked about what it was like to visit one of the coldest, loneliest and driest places on Earth. The children were in awe! I started by telling the children that I had watched a video that Sir Robert Swan had shown the children at the school I was working in at the time, and it was this video, showing the beauty and wonder of Antarctica, that made me determined to visit. I shared this video with the children and they seemed to be just as inspired as I was.   As I continued to show the children videos and pictures, I could see their eyes widen with excitement. The story of my friend Jemima the penguin and the leopard seal was one of the stories that intrigued them most. After telling my story of perseverance, co-operation, respect and fairness - just some of the values we teach here at school - I went on to explain the real reason I visited Antarctica. It was to make a difference, however small. It was to make small changes in my lifestyle and to inspire others to do the same, so that the world could be a much nicer place to live in. I shared some eye-opening facts about climate change with the children and asked them what they felt was the number one threat to our planet. I got so many fantastic answers: pollution, noise, humans, artificial intelligence and more. The children were surprised but quickly realised the truth when I told them Sir Robert Swan’s most famous quote: ‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’ This alone inspired me to do more and I know that it got the children thinking too. Since the assembly, the children have asked me a whole host of questions and have carried out research about Antarctica independently of their own accord. As a school, we continue to work closely with our Eco Reps to make a big impact in small ways. This includes taking part in 'Waste Week' and 'Switch Off Fortnight', ensuring that electricity is used efficiently, growing our own vegetables and monitoring food waste. Last year we achieved the Eco Schools Silver award and we are now striving for the prestigious ‘Green Flag’ award. If there is a final message I can leave you with, it is this: ‘The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.’ - Sir Robert Swan OBE Mrs. McLaughlin

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