Scrubs help

Round & About


Ready, steady, sew!

Volunteers are using their love of sewing to help make scrubs for health care workers

There’s no end of people putting their skills to use during the coronavirus crisis and that includes those handy with a sewing machine who have been making scrubs for health care workers.

Madeleine Steele, pictured, is just one who has been helping. She set up the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub from her home in Crowmarsh making garments and masks for the NHS and people working in social care.

She said: “It was a Facebook post on Easter Monday that I saw about people making scrubs and I thought that’s a great idea, I’ll see if I can join in. There weren’t any other ScrubHubs in our area so I called my old school friend and asked her if she wanted to set it up with me.”

The South Oxfordshire and Berkshire Scrub Hub is a network of volunteers operating in Abingdon, Didcot, Wallingford, Henley, Reading, Caversham, Woodley, Earley, Winnersh, Wokingham and Tilehurst.

Their aim is to plug the gap as an emergency helping hand by supporting our health care professionals without scrubs during the current crisis.
The volunteer network ‘who love to sew’ is operating all over the country answering calls from workers through their networks and communities. The scrubs are made to order by experienced volunteers, working safely within the guidelines of the lock down, often with donated materials.

To find out more visit

If you are member of the public and you’d like to sponsor their efforts visit the GoFundMe page.

Donations will help support the NHS Practitioners health service who care for and support the mental well being of NHS workers, who are doing such a selfless job during this time.

Facing the challenge

Local schools are supporting NHS frontline workers in the battle against coronavirus
with the production of face shields and protective screens

PPE – before the coronavirus most of us would not have heard of this or indeed be aware of its importance – now we hear of the need for it on a daily basis.

Schools across Berkshire have been working to produce face shields and screens for use in GP practices and hospitals.

One project was the brainchild of Leighton Park School’s Head of Design and Technology, Mark Smith who began making the protective wear in the Reading school’s workshop with an original target of 200.

Mark said: “We are fortunate at Leighton Park to have access to tools and resources that can make a difference and keep our keyworkers safe: I just had to do something.”

Using the laser cutter to create re-usable plastic headbands he then attached disposable A4 PVC sheets donated by Reading-based stationery suppliers Frasers Office Supplies.

A plea for additional laser cutters was met by other schools in the area and there is now a network of manufacturers involved including the University of Reading, Neal’s Export Packaging Ltd, in Silchester, and rLAB, a community workshop space.

School partners include Denefield School, Edgbarrow School, Prospect School, Reading Blue Coats, Shiplake College, Holme Grange School, The Forest School, Brackenhale School, Waingels College, The Bulmershe School, Luckley House, Warriner School, Little Heath, Ranelagh and St Joseph’s College.

Since starting production on April 2nd they have supplied more than 80 organisations with shields.

The Oratory school near Woodcote has also risen to the challenge to help the local community after it was approached by Dr Amanda Gemmill, a GP and the school’s Head of PSHE. She asked the Design LabOratory to construct protective screens for the Goring and Woodcote surgeries to offer protection to reception staff.

The Design LabOratory began with three polycarbonate screens which were installed on a Saturday to ensure the surgery was not disrupted.

Word of the screens spread and Strawberry Hill Medical Centre in Newbury put in a request which required more material and a more robust construction. They have since made screens for surgeries in Woodcote, Goring, Newbury, Henley, Wokingham and Abingdon with orders from two practices in Oxford.

The Design LabOratory is now producing face shields with the use of 3D printers and has delivered to medical practices in Woodcote and Goring, to Marcham Road Surgery in Abingdon, Sue Ryder in Nettlebed and Townlands Hospital in Henley.

Working together

Buckinghamshire schools come together to make PPE for healthcare workers

Schools and colleges across the county have been playing their part to support the NHS and other local health services to help keep frontline staff safe. Using their 3D printers they have created safety visors for the NHS and donated PPE equipment to support healthcare staff.

Thanks to the fantastic work of schools from all parts of the county, hundreds of visors have been produced and distributed to frontline healthcare professionals. Many local businesses played their part too, donating items such as lab coats, goggles and gloves, after hearing about the work schools were doing from parents or teachers.

Many schools across the county, including Buckingham School, Stowe School, Westbury School, Sir Thomas Fremantle School, Holmer Green School, Sir William Borlase’s School, Wycombe Grammar School, Wycombe High School, Highworth Combined School and Sir William Ramsay School have also produced (using their 3D printers) or donated essential PPE equipment such as goggles and lab coats.

Buckinghamshire UTC has also donated 30 protective goggles and their Principal Sarah Valentine personally bought six lab coats from Amazon for delivery to Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Cllr Anita Cranmer, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, said: “I’m hugely impressed by the time, effort and heart that our education community has put into creating and donating PPE for our healthcare workers.

“This is a fantastic example of how Buckinghamshire is coming together and a tribute to our hardworking and dedicated healthcare workers who are helping to keep us all safe during these challenging times. Another amazing initiative that shows just how #ProudofBucks we are.”

In addition, Aylesbury High School, The Grange School in Aylesbury, Beachborough School at Westbury, and the University of Buckingham have also got involved in the production and donation of PPE to local NHS trusts.

Vince Murray, Headteacher of The Grange School, said: “As a school we were more than willing to respond to the call for PPE equipment through the collection of goggles and laboratory coats. It was also lovely to see some of our students making ‘scrub bags’ for the NHS, alongside their teacher (Miss Friend) while they were in school.

“We see ourselves as a community school. We were only too happy to contribute, in a small way, to maintaining the safety of other key workers looking after those in our hospitals, and providing essential care for others at a time when they need it most.”

Scrubs help

Round & About


Sew essential

Mel Downing is one of a consortium of local curtain makers who came together to make scrubs for healthcare workers

At the end of March we were aware there was a real shortage of scrubs – all healthcare workers were going to need them and due to the contagious nature of Covid-19 would need several sets each and wash bags for them to be put in once taken off and laundered.

A consortium of local curtain makers set up a Justgiving page to raise money to buy rolls of washable polycotton, within days we had raised a few thousand. The total now is more than £15,000.

I have run Melanie Downing Interiors, a busy curtain design company for 25 years and one of my blind makers Julie Knaggs had trained as a pattern cutter. We decided the best way forward was to bulk cut the fabric and then hand out kits for people to sew depending on their skills.

This saved us so much time and also very little wasted fabric. It was really important we sent out beautifully made scrubs that were made to last. We created a Facebook page and very quickly had an army of more than 80 volunteers from curtain makers, dress makers, costume makers, and even a tutu maker.

Local hubs were established in Farnham, Guildford, Haslemere, Petersfield, Petworth and Godalming to try and reduce journeys and volunteer drivers co-ordinated delivery and collection.

Realising the phenomenal demand we also enlisted the help of Mint Velvet who delivered 800 sets to Royal Surrey County Hospital, Guildford, for us.
We have supplied more than 2,500 sets to The Royal Surrey, Frimley Park, Basingstoke Hospital and Hospice, Haslemere, Petworth, Milford and Alton Community Hospitals, Phyllis Tuckwell, Marie Curie, Macmillan, Meath Home, Ticehurst Care Home, Aldershot Community team and numerous GP surgeries as well as several private requests.

It has been an incredible logistical challenge to achieve so much in such a short space of time but worth it to know it is being used.

There are so many talented people in the area and the team spirit has just been such a positive experience. I feel lucky to have been able to use my business experience and skills to co-ordinate such an important project with the help of so many really amazing people.

We are now starting to make masks which will be distributed primarily via local food banks and hope these will be sent out with a wash bag and soap stressing the importance of continued hand washing.

Most of the professional seamstresses in the team are currently unable to work due to restrictions re visiting people’s homes but hoping we can soon get back to work!

Contact Mel Downing – 01428 713868; Coleen Smart – 01483 577168; Caroline Lockie – Sewn – 01483 425577; Jo Martin –; Julie Knaggs –

Stitches in time

A teacher has set up a volunteer sewing group to make scrubs for health care workers

Sewing enthusiasts have been taking to their machines to answer the call for scrubs, masks, scrub bags and gowns to help support front line workers.

Head of Design & Technology at Glebelands School in Cranleigh, Tamsin Mitchell (pictured), heard local frontline workers were faced with a drastic shortage of scrubs, masks, and similar equipment, and decided to pitch in.

Having seen a Facebook post from a nurse who works for Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, she contacted her to see if there was anything she could sew to help.

“She wanted scrubs bags, so people can change at hospital and take their uniform home in the bag and pop it straight in the wash. I went online to see if I could get more people on board, and I found a national group called For the Love of Scrubs. They had subpages for local areas, and there wasn’t one for Cranleigh. So I volunteered.”

Tamsin formed NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking to mobilise local sewing enthusiasts including Glebelands pupils. The group already has more than 65 members, who have together produced items for St Joseph’s Specialist School and College and more than half a dozen other local organisations, including care homes and medical practices.

Tamsin said: “It’s a real community effort. Everyone is stepping up to the plate and helping each other. In a time of need, it’s the practical and creative skills that make a difference.”

Anyone in need of items or wanting to join the group should contact Tamsin through the NHS Sewing Cranleigh and Dorking group on Facebook.

Supporting Surrey SAR

The science department at King Edward’s Witley donates PPE to Surrey Search & Rescue

In 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.King Edward’s Witley has delivered much-needed supplies of personal protective equipment in response to an urgent appeal from Surrey Search & Rescue.

Woking-based charity, Surrey SAR – a voluntary specialist search team – posted a request on Facebook for vital supplies of PPE to protect their responders as they help Surrey Police and the county council at this time, checking on the welfare of vulnerable members of the community.

King Edward’s science department technician, Alison Hill sourced, sterilised and packed boxes of protective goggles and disposable gloves which were given to the charity.

Head of Science, Jim Culbert said they were delighted to be able to support Surrey SAR: “This is an amazing organisation. During the current coronavirus pandemic, Surrey Search & Rescue is playing a pivotal role in checking on the welfare of those who are deemed particularly susceptible to the virus, ensuring they remain well and lending a caring and sympathetic ear when people need it most.”

Surrey SAR assists the emergency services in the search for missing vulnerable adults and children. Volunteers, assisted by search dogs and drones, deliver an on-call response service 24 hours a day across Surrey and surrounding areas, when the emergency services need their specialist skills.

On average 2,100 people go missing in Surrey each year and as such Surrey SAR is one of the busiest search & rescue teams in the UK. The charity, which was formed in 2010, relies solely on donations to purchase vital lifesaving equipment and provide training for its team.

You can donate or read more about Surrey Search and Rescue here.

Wildlife Trusts online

Round & About


The Wildlife Trusts have created wonderful online nature activities to encourage everyone to tune in to wildlife at home this spring – and to help people find solace in nature during tough times

Spot bees, butterflies, bats and birds during your permitted local walk, keep children entertained with nature-themed crafts, or tune in to look at fabulous wildlife footage and photos! 

The Wildlife Trusts are also offering plenty of practical outdoor advice to inspire us to do more for wildlife in gardens, balconies or window boxes. 

Tune in at The Wildlife Trusts launched a weekly wildlife programme on YouTube last week for kids and parents. A new video will be uploaded to Wildlife Watch UK every Wednesday at 10am. The channel will feature wildlife experts, home-school help and seasonal species to spot at 

Future videos will include:

• How to build a pond

• Be a garden scientist  – exploring your garden wildlife

• How to identify insects in your garden

• How to make a bug hotel

• What is marine pollution?

• Why birds sing and how to recognise their songs.

Wildlife Trusts across the UK are providing new ways of helping us feel more connected to the wider world and each other, via their online and social channels.

Wildlife experts who are usually leading school visits, events or talking to visitors on reserves have had to down tools and work from home – and so they can now be found online leading wildlife-spotting tours through their gardens, blogging about the life cycle of oil beetles or sharing heart-warming sounds of a dawn chorus on a sunny April morning.

For example:

Follow over 20 webcams from nests and locations around the UK and watch puffins in Alderney, peregrines in Nottingham, bats in Essex and ospreys on their nests

Join Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust’s mini-beast expert Ben Keywood talk about frogspawn and springtime insects from his own garden. Help the Wildlife Trust record sightings of wildlife and follow their advice for helping in your garden.

Daily wildlife diaries from Sussex Wildlife Trust’s Michael Blencowe who talks about the wildlife in his gorgeous garden.

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is advising people about feeding birds, watching wildlife in the garden and learning how to identify it.

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is producing a series of videos called Bringing Nature to You. Join education officer Susan Symmonds and hear about the life cycle of an oil beetle.

Go to Surrey Wildlife Trust’s website where you’ll find spotter sheets and activities to help identify local wildlife.

Sign up for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust’s Wild at Home ideas for regular activities and inspiration to help people stay connected with wildlife.

Keep an eye out for #EverydayWildlife across social media, an outlet to share local wildlife, big, small, grand or often overlooked.

Get guidance on how to create a butterfly haven in our Wild About Gardens campaign with the RHS, by downloading a handy booklet full of inspiration.

Leanne Manchester, wildlife gardener and digital communications manager at The Wildlife Trusts, says: “More people than ever are tuning into our wildlife webcams – more than double the figure for this time last year – and we’re seeing people have a lot of fun wildlife-watching in their gardens.

“Spring has arrived in splendid colour and sound, and over the past few days, hundreds of people have told us that they’ve spotted their first butterflies. These are joyful moments that people hold dear at this difficult time.

“Everyone can share and follow on social media using #EverydayWildlife – swapping such experiences can be a lovely way of keeping in touch.

“Do keep an eye on our channels in the coming weeks – we’ve got lots of lovely ideas and activities to help you stay connected to nature and still feel the health benefits of being outside in your garden or neighbourhood.”

Home schooling

Round & About


Youngsters at home? Don’t panic. Liz Nicholls gathers great educational ideas with the help of Lucy Spencer

When the government announced school was out for the foreseeable, my 11-year-old did a little victory dance. It was a bright moment amid a bleak week, but I was soon chastised when I mentioned this, cheerfully, to a family member who fumed ‘’That’s very irresponsible of you – how are you going to make sure she covers the curriculum?’’

Having been hothoused in an uncaring academic grammar school, I’ve yoyoed and am especially lax in my approach to fixed learning. So it was lovely to hear calming words from Lucy Spencer, a private tutor who lives in Sunninghill and works with Education Boutique.

“Home ed may seem daunting but the beauty is your children will have time to realise you don’t only learn English in English lessons but that all sorts of activities help children to develop and grow in confidence. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves. Build a routine around your personal situation. You don’t have to emulate school at home.

“The government may be in the process of getting clear guidance about all of these changes but, as teachers, we thrive in situations where people need our help. The whole teaching and tutoring community are coming together and are ready to support every family. It looks like we’re entering a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you include outdoor fresh air time and consider doing some physical exercise as a family first thing to get up and ready for the day!”

Lucy recommends aiming for an activity that can feed into learning for the whole day. Baking, for example: your child can start the day reading recipe books then select a recipe based on checking ingredients, weigh them out, possibly scale the recipe, time the cooking and can even create imaginary packaging and a menu or business plan for how they could sell their creations.

“I’ve been home educating the children of other for years, from my nextdoor neighbour to celebrities. I understand how daunting it may seem – everyone feels the same. Smile, be positive and create your own unique curriculum and style – it’s not all about worksheets.”


Visit for ideas to support common themes children love, including Minecraft, Pokemon, Lego etc.

Visit and for lots of free learning resources for all ages

Carol Vorderman has live maths fun at 10am daily at and check out for English fun at 11am.

History with Dan Snow is free for 30 days at

For geography check out lovely Steve Backshall on Twitter & there’s tons of science fun with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince & guests at

Education guide: Winter 2020

Round & About


Welcome to the first education extra of 2020, we had an impressive array of entries for our story writing competition and they all prove what a talented bunch you are! Congratulations to our two winners and thanks to all who entered. Reading and writing are very good for your mental health and as more schools are focussing on pupils’ overall wellbeing we look at the importance of that and what is being done to improve this as Children’s Mental Health Week will be encouraging you to ‘Find Your Brave’


Wellbeing is becoming as much a part of the curriculum as maths and English. Find out how it can help you and your school

Superheroes would probably feature highly for most children if they were asked who they thought was brave. However, bravery comes in all shapes and sizes as this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is out to prove.

The week from 3rd to 9th February invites schools, youth groups, organisations and individuals to take part with one goal to “Find Your Brave”.

Bravery is about so much more than just fighting evil villains, it can be about fighting your own enemies, sharing worries and not being afraid to ask for help. Perhaps you want to try something new or push yourself outside your comfort zone, build your self confidence, improve your self-esteem and feel good about yourself.

Children’s mental health charity Place2Be which provides counselling and mental health support and training in schools, says bravery is all about finding positive ways to deal with things that may be difficult, overcoming physical and mental challenges and looking after yourself. They believe that children should not have to face mental health problems alone.

Place2Be launched the first Children’s Mental Health Week in 2015 to highlight the importance of children and young people’s mental health. Now in its sixth year, they hope to encourage more people than ever to get involved and spread the word. about the importance of caring for your mental health.

Last year, Place2Be worked with 639 schools in England, Scotland and Wales, reaching 364,080 children and young people. In the same year, more than 300 schools took part in Mental Health Champions programmes, equipping school leaders, teachers and staff with the skills and confidence to support pupils’ mental health. Over 1,600 child counsellors took part in training on various levels, building an ever-growing number who specialise in working with children and young people.

The Mental Health Foundation offers The 5 Ways to Wellbeing, a set of actions which have been proven to improve wellbeing, offering a starting point for schools.


Get to know your classmates, it’s a great support network, get together over activities or just tea and a chat.

Get active

Exercise can be good for your mind as well as your body, whether you cycle, dance, run, swim, jump or walk, it’s a great way to deal with negative thoughts and feelings.

Be mindful

Take time to check in with your thoughts and feelings, you may notice things you’ve missed, try a yoga session or mindfulness, breathing techniques can be a real help especially at exam time.

Keep learning

Lifelong learning is the way to keep the brain healthy, the sense of achievement from learning something new can be great for your mood, or try a quiz or a new skill.

Give to others

Helping others can help reduce your own stress, improve your own emotional wellbeing and even benefit your physical health.

• To find out more about how these charities can help you or your school, visit and


New headmaster of Barfield School in Farnham, Andrew Boyle talks about the importance of pastoral care for pupils

As a new Headmaster, my first half of term has been spent carefully observing and evaluating the many strengths of Barfield School, while also looking for those areas where a fresh pair of eyes might make a difference. One aspect of school life which works beautifully here is the understanding of what outstanding pastoral care looks like.

With research showing that mental health issues are becoming apparent earlier and earlier in children’s lives, is it any wonder that some parents are putting more emphasis on finding a school which places a higher priority on pastoral care and wellbeing?

From your first telephone conversation with the Admissions Registrar, you are immediately making judgements as to the ethos and values of the school and rightly so! However, it is my belief that pastoral care is best measured by ‘that feeling’ you get when you walk in through the front door for the first time.

The cornerstone of a culture of warmth, support and family comes from the people. There is simply no substitute for great staff and certainly no shortcut in the relationships they build with your children. Trust your first impressions, but if you are not sure, take a few moments to look around at the children, as they are always the best ambassadors of a school and its beliefs.

Outstanding pastoral care is not just the responsibility of the named Deputy Head or a policy document to which you refer to when something goes wrong, but it is in fact a commitment from top to bottom, with the understanding that everyone has a significant role to play. Cliche or not, happy children are going to make the most progress and will fulfil their potential in all aspects of school life.

I do not have the pleasure of having children yet, but when I do, top of my wish list will be to watch them skip into school every day, safe in the knowledge that when they do hit a road bump, the people around them know them inside and out.


Our younger readers have proved to be a very talented imaginative bunch if the entries for our short story competition are anything to go by. We received a great variety of stories demonstrating there could well be some future David Walliams’ and J K Rowling’s out there. Well done to all who took part, here are the winning entries…

Keep Dreaming by Bethan Hopton

Bethan’s entry charmed us for the way she showed how small random acts of kindness can make all the difference, often in the most unexpected ways and how dreams can come true

Sam was cycling down a hill when all of a sudden…”STOP”. He looked behind him and saw an elderly man next to a road. “Little boy” he croaked “can you be a dear and help me across the road?” Sam flinched at the world little but he couldn’t help stopping his bike and going over to help the man.

He checked the road to see if there was any traffic. He was used to checking the road as he was twelve. He went out on his own all the time!
They walked across the road really slowly because it took ages for Sam to walk whilst carrying all of the man’s heavy bags. Sam checked his watch. He had been helping the man for almost five minutes and they were barely quarter of the way across the road!

Sam sighed as he thought of the football match he had intended to watch when he got home from school. It would be starting any minute!
“Did you have a good day at school?” the man asked in a suspiciously high voice. ”I guess,” murmured Sam.

Eventually, they got to the end of the road. “Bye,” Sam said and began to climb onto his bike. “Bye,” the old man called after him.
When he got home, Sam slumped onto the sofa and switched on the television. He groaned as he looked at the time. He had missed a whole half an hour of the game.

“Mum” he called ”can I have a drink?” ”Sure” she answered.
The next day at school started normally. Sam met his friends outside the gates and cast a cheeky grin at Ffion, his girlfriend who was standing outside the assembly hall when he got in.

Everybody was sat down when the head teacher entered. ”So,” she said, “we have a special guest today and I’ll let them introduce themselves.” She walked off the stage and an elderly man walked on. Sam instantly realised that the man was the same man that he had helped yesterday and smiled at him. “Hello,” the man said, peeling off a mask, “I am Harry Kane.”

Sam stared at Harry and gasped. He recognised him! “You will be pleased to know that I have chosen Sam Jeffers to be my mascot at our next game because of his kindness to elderlies. I disguised myself as an elderly man yesterday, waiting for someone to help me. Many people ignored me but Sam helped me even though he didn’t seem to particularly want to.”

Beeep! Sam’s alarm clock was beeping. ”Are you awake?” his mum called from downstairs. “Yes” Sam shouted back. He quickly got changed in the uniform that Harry had told him to wear and jumped in the car. They got to the stadium early so that Harry could go over things with him. Sam gasped “It’s amazing!” “I know” whispered Harry “Good luck!”

Turning over a new leaf by Elijah Mayers

Elijah’s use of description, painting pictures through words made it easy to visualise the story he was telling and again showed the value of being kind and thinking of others

Sam was cycling down the hill when all of a sudden, his mother appeared by the roadside with her hands firmly placed on her hips. He knew straight away that something was very wrong. Sam got off the bike and walked sheepishly with his head down towards his mum.

Sam’s mother Simone was a stout overweight woman who always wore clothes two sizes too small. Her face was as round and pale as the moon. Her eyes were cold and blue like the sea. Her black hair was long and thin like liquorice running down to her waist. Simone in her high-pitched voice shrieked at Sam to “Get in the house!!!”.

Sam made his way into the house and went straight into the living-room. The house was a mess and Dad lay spread out on the sofa fast asleep. Sam’s dad was a skinny man with a potbelly who loved to wear string-vests. He had thick Ginger hair covering his entire body, making him look like an orangutan. As he slept, Sam’s dad snored. In fact, he snored so loudly that the glass of water on the table next to him shook and eventually fell on the floor.

Ever since Sam’s dad had been sacked for stealing a pair of pink pyjamas from the warehouse where he worked, all he did was lay around the house snoring like a tractor.

Simone soon followed Sam into the living-room and scream at him “What have you done!!!”. Simone went on to explain that the Headmaster’s office had called her, and they wanted a meeting tomorrow.

“I can’t miss work and your dad is useless, so your grandad will have to go with you,” Simone yelled. A wave of fear spread over Sam and that night, he had a horrible nightmare about being told off by the Headmaster.

The next day, the doorbell rang as Sam was getting dressed for school. It was his grandad Jonas wearing a bright green suit and a blue tie shimmering in the sun. Sam sighed and let him in.

Later at school, the Headmaster’s secretary told them to wait in the Headmaster’s office. Sam was so worried that he started to feel nauseous. A moment later, a tall skinny man entered the room and introduced himself as Mr Pearce the Headmaster.

Mr Pearce explained that in the past, Sam had been in trouble a lot of times for bullying. Sam was known for Kicking, punching and pushing the smaller pupils in the school. Recently, Sam has changed his behaviour and now actually helps the other pupils when they hurt themselves. Mr Pearce went on to say how pleased he was that Sam had turned over a new leaf and made himself a better person. Sam nearly fell off his chair when Mr Pearce told him they had awarded him a commendation.

When Sam got home, he showed Simone the commendation and she was so pleased that she nearly fainted. From that day on, Sam’s mum stopped shrieking at him and started praising him instead.


Pupils at Longacre School can enjoy a welcoming environment to talk in The Bear Hut

Schools are putting more emphasis now on pupils’ mindfulness and mental health, making sure their overall needs are addressed.

One of those which has been working to help children is Longacre School in Shamley Green which has opened a new wellbeing space.
The ‘Bear Hut’, so called after the bear that features in the school’s logo, opened at the start of the September term and is already proving popular.

Funded by Longacre PTA, the Bear Hut provides a safe, quiet, welcoming environment where children can be listened to. It will be used as a space for counselling, speech therapy and occupational therapy with individual children and small groups. Mindfulness Club and art therapy will also take place inside the hut.

The Bear Hut is the brainchild of Longacre’s Head of Art and Head of Years 5 & 6, Tara Pandey. She said: “Research has shown 70% of children and young people who have experienced a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age and that children and young people who experience mental illness are more likely than other people to experience mental illness in adulthood.*

“Creating the right environment for children is about creating the right physical environment as well as the right emotional environment.”
She said she expects it to be used as a place for teachers to meet parents and children together to talk through any issues and to offer reassurance or just share their day.
*according to research by Young Minds


Honey Bees Day Care, Farnham has some advice to develop your child’s healthy eating habits

How your child eats today can have a huge impact on their health, food preferences and dietary habits. The earlier you begin teaching them healthy eating patterns, the more likely they’ll be to take these good habits with them into adolescence and adulthood.
Healthy eating can stabilise children’s energy, balance their moods and prevent illnesses. A balanced diet will also ensure your child gets the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients for growth and mental development.To get all these nutrients, it is important your littles ones start experimenting with a wide variety of foods from an early age – fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, lean meat, oily fish, nuts, seeds and whole grains such as brown rice and bread.
A great way to get your children to experiment with food is to make it fun:

• get creative in the kitchen and let your child try different flavours and textures of food

• try and put different colours of food on the plate so they get a variety of nutrients, turn it inot a game with the colours

• get them involved in the weekly food shop, learn about where different foods come from

If they won’t try different foods, don’t worry: the majority of children go through phases with their eating, and habits will often change over time.

• Day care and forest school, Honey Bees, based in Bentley, near Farnham offers a full curriculum to get the most out of any child’s time in their care, including gymnastics, yoga and French


The Lime Tree Nursery in Alton is celebrating its top class report

A homely setting and an environment in which children flourish are just two of the reasons why Lime Tree Nursery in Alton has been rated outstanding.

The recent inspection revealed four areas in which Lime Tree was outstanding citing the “rich and stimulating activities” which support development and commented on the “exciting opportunities that skilfully prepares them for their future successes”.

There was also praise for the qualified and experienced staff, with the report saying: “They are always engaging with the children and make this a wonderful environment for the children to flourish.”

The report continues to say: “Children learn impressive new skills during forest school sessions, including how to use tools safely and how to cook food on open fires. The well-resourced outdoor area provides the children with various opportunities for exploration, risk taking and challenge.”

Relationships with parents were also highlighted. The report said: “They liken the nursery to a family and are delighted with their extremely supportive care.”

Lime Tree Children’s Day Nursery is set in a home from home, with an enclosed garden, full of nature to explore and with direct access to Anstey Park. Open for 51 weeks, from 8am – 6pm, taking children from birth to school age.

The nursery also welcomes children back during the school holidays for their first year of school, making the transition to school from nursery much easier.


Find out how ARCh can help

Reading for pleasure can increase self-esteem, reduce symptoms of depression, help build better relationships and reduce anxiety and stress. When immersing yourself in a good book, you can be swept away to a happy world, away from any dilemmas or stresses. Certain books can also help you realise you are not alone, which is often a focus for the healing process; recognising others may be going through similar struggles.

But what happens if you can’t read well? Assisted Reading for Children Oxfordshire (ARCh) has over 300 volunteers visiting primary schools twice a week to read with three children for 30 minutes each. Each volunteer has a box of books and games to engage with each child and they endeavour to find the right book to inspire a love of reading. An ARCh session focuses on the child improving their reading skills, but it’s about so much more; it’s about a special relationship helping that child gain confidence and knowing it’s OK to make mistakes.
The children and their adult volunteers benefit from the connection between reading and mental wellbeing. People who read into old age can reduce memory decline and have fewer physical signs of dementia. By sharing the magic of reading with a child, the volunteers can gain empathy and perspective at a time when their own connections may have reduced and a sense of loneliness may have crept in.

• To share the magic of reading and enhance your wellbeing in 2020 visit or call 01869 320380 to find out more. Happy reading!


Former head Gerald Vinestock has useful advice before you head off to a school open day

It’s easy enough to mock open days, but parents can find them useful. It’s important first to realise the school is selling itself and parents are potential customers; parents should forget their own schooldays terror of visits to the Head and ask the questions that matter.

If your Ermintrude is a budding Mozart, don’t reveal that until you have the answer to the question, ‘How important is music in the school?’ You are much more likely to get the answer you need than if you start by revealing that Ermintrude passed Grade 6 clarinet at the age of three.
Keep questions neutral therefore, but make sure you do ask them.

You may be shown round by a pupil – that is a good sign of the school’s confidence in its children – and you will be able to gauge a lot about the relationship between pupils and staff as you go round. You will pick up, even on an open day, something of the atmosphere of the school. That matters even more than exam results, though you should ask about these and where pupils go after leaving.

Classrooms are revealing and you should look at what’s on the walls, but remember that a rather untidy piece of writing pinned up prominently may reveal that here is a teacher who really cares: that particular piece of writing may mark a huge step forward for the pupil, whose confidence has now been boosted by public display of this work.

A visit on an open day can be helpful, but if you are close to choosing a school, a second visit on a normal school day will be even more helpful to enable you to gauge the atmosphere. Not all schools can cope with such individual visits, but it is worth asking, it will be easier to assess what the school is really like on a normal day and to ascertain whether this will be the right place for Ermintrude or Wilfred. Much more important than what gossip may say is whether you feel the school is right for your child. If you have met caring staff and happy children that matters more than local tittle-tattle when you come to make a very important decision.

The most important thing to remember is that however impressive and daunting the Head may be, ask the questions that are important for you and keep them neutral!

Gerald Vinestock was Northern Regional Director for the Independent Schools Information Service (Now ISC). He has recently had published Crib and the Labours of Hercules a children’s book available locally at Blackwell’s. Read more from Gerald Vinestock at


Berkshire schools encouraged to enter conservation awards

School children in Berkshire are being invited to do their bit for the environment by taking part in the 2020 Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards in honour of a pioneering campaigner.

The awards are promoted by CPRE Berkshire and recognise the two best school projects promoting environmental conservation with prizes of £1,000 and £500 on offer.

CPRE Berkshire branch secretary Gloria Keene said they were encouraged by young people’s desire to change their local environment.
She said: “By promoting this award scheme throughout the county, we hope that we can help school children feel that they can really make a difference, particularly when news about the climate change emergency might feel overwhelming.

“We believe local action can bring big changes and look forward to hearing about pupils, teachers and parents working together on what we know will be some fantastic projects.”

Past examples of projects include tree planting and waste recycling, partnerships with organisations in towns and villages, promoting organic and local food, creating and developing school gardens and creating and maintaining wildlife friendly community areas.

The award reflects the work of Dorothy Morley who died in 1995 and was a strong campaigner on environmental issues. In addition to the £1,000 first prize and £500 for the runner up, all shortlisted schools are invited to display information about their project at CPRE Berkshire’s July presentation event.

The deadline for schools to register their interest is 31st January. For more information contact Gloria on 0118 930 6756 or email [email protected]

Sir William Perkin’s School fair

Round & About


There are so many Christmas fairs to choose from at the moment but if you’re out Surrey way then you should definitely put this one in your diary.

Sir William Perkins’s School in Chertsey will open its doors to the local community for its annual Christmas Fair on Saturday, 23rd November.

Soak up the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas during the afternoon as you stroll around the market stalls stocking up on gifts, crafts, artisan food and drink (don’t forget to bring your own bags).

There will be live music playing while you shop and a luxury raffle will take place at the end of the afternoon where you can win the chance to have a go at winning a cookery course, gym membership, a brand new iPad mini or a family photoshoot. There will also be luxury gift hampers filled with some amazing prizes so try your luck.

If you get hungry then Olu will be serving his famous bbq along with mulled wine and mince pies. Hot waffles on a stick with toppings and other goodies will be available to buy as well to keep your tummies feeling good.

The main attraction this year is Bubble Zorbing which is great fun for kids and adults alike. Blow off some steam and climb inside a harnessed bubble to safely crash, bump and tumble about and have a laugh with your friends and family. The costs just £3 per go or £8 for three goes in advance, you can purchase tickets for the bubble zorbing via [email protected]

The family friendly event is open to all from 11.30am to 3.30pm and entry is free so go along and have a great afternoon at the school in Guildford Road.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes at Cranford House

Round & About


Junior pupils at a South Oxfordshire school have been exploring polar ice caps, arid deserts and yawning caves thanks to an exciting project focused on exploration and the environment.

And now they can look forward to sharing their hard work with none other than the world’s greatest living explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Cranford House, a small independent school in South Oxfordshire, has been running the inspiring project in parallel with several local primary schools whose Years 5 and 6 pupils will also be there on the day to meet the great man himself. As well as enjoying the chance to discuss their work on exploration and climate change with Sir Ranulph, they will also hear him speak of his experiences of life in some of the world’s most extreme places.

Among his many achievements, Sir Ranulph Fiennes successfully climbed Mount Everest, becoming the first person ever to have climbed Everest and crossed both polar ice-caps. He is also the only man alive to have travelled around the planet’s Circumpolar surface.

His latest challenge will see him attempting to become the first person to have crossed both polar ice caps and climbed the highest mountain on every continent. His expedition will raise funds for the Marie Curie charity and Cranford House is proud to be backing his expedition fundraising.

Cranford House’s pupils’ focus on exploration will culminate in a spectacular community event on the morning of Saturday 9th November with balloon rides, climbing walls, viking longships and desert dunes all on offer, and all free of charge.

The school has a history of attracting luminaries from the world of science and literature and Sir Ranulph joins the likes of recent visitors such as astronaut Helen Sharman OBE, and author Marcus Sedgwick in meeting and inspiring pupils.

Find out more

Downland Dance open day

Round & About


Have you or your little ones ever wanted to be a ballet dancer? Downland Dance are giving you the opportunity to try out a ballet class for FREE during their open day on Saturday, 2nd November.

During the half-term open day, prospective students are invited to attend a FREE ballet class at one of the studios in Abingdon or Didcot. Meet the teachers to learn more about the different classes offered, and ask any questions you may have. You can sign up for sessions for girls and boys aged 3 to 6 or for the Adult Beginners class (Didcot only).

The free open day classes for boys and girls aged 3-6 are at West Wing Studio, Coxeter House, Abingdon and Didcot Girls School, Manor Crescent from 9am to 9.45am. There is also an adult beginners class (ages 14 upwards) from 10am to 11am in Didcot.

Downland Dance was founded in 1977 and offers a range of ballet classes for children and adults and whether you want to take it for fun and exercise or with a view to taking Royal Academy of Dance ballet and character exams, it’s a great way to improve your body and mind.

Dance can have a positive lasting effect on your co-ordination, fitness and flexibility; enhance your energy levels, confidence and self-confidence; improve posture to help reduce aches and pains; build strength, stamina nad agility and increase general physical and mental wellness.

Open day places are limited so don’t delay, if you are interested go the website and complete the register form. If you have any questions email [email protected]

And if you miss out on this chance to dance, there is another open day planned for Saturday, 22nd February.

First aid in schools

Round & About


After 10 years of campaigning by the British Red Cross, school children across England will learn lifesaving skills as part of the school curriculum from next year.

Pupils in state-funded schools will learn first aid from September 2020. Primary children will be taught basic first aid such as how to call the emergency services or how to help someone with a head injury while secondary pupils will learn lifesaving skills such as helping someone who is having a cardiac arrest.

Research by the British Red Cross found that nine out of 10 children agreed knowing first aid skills would make them feel more confident to help in a first aid emergency and that it was one of the most important lessons they could learn at school.

Another study revealed up to 59 per cent of deaths from injuries could be prevented if first aid had been given before medical services arrived.

One of those who has been championing the campaign is Marina Fogle, co-founder of the Bump Class and host of The ParentHood podcast. She is married to British Red Cross ambassador and adventurer Ben Fogle.

She said: “I’m delighted that first aid lessons are now part of the national curriculum. So many women I know, especially those weaning their babies, are terrified of the possibility of their child choking.

“You never know how you might act in an emergency, but children learning first aid could make all the difference if one of their younger siblings were choking at home.

“Now we have to make sure school children in the rest of the country – outside England – get the same chance to learn how to save a life.”

The British Red Cross is also relaunching its first aid mobile app so everyone can have lifesaving skills at their fingertips.

Teachers wishing to sign up to receive free British Red Cross resources that will support them to teach first aid can do so at

Find out more

For more information about a range of first aid tips

Education guide: Autumn 2019

Round & About


With the new school term upon us our education guide this month is full of features focussing on life inside and outside the classroom including our short story writing competition. Children, get your thinking caps on and put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and send us 500 words for your chance to win and have your story published in January


Calling all children aged seven to 13! Write us a short story for the chance to be one of our competition winners

You don’t need to be a child to love Roald Dahl’s fantastic stories or those of latter-day children’s favourite David Walliams… but have you got what it takes to be the next Roald or David or JK Rowling yourself?

Well, we are challenging you to have a go at writing your own story in 500 words. Your story can be about anyone or anything, past, present or future, it can make us laugh, cry or leave us thinking; let your imagination run riot and entertain us!


The Woodland Trust’s free trees for school scheme aims to get children ‘doing their bit’ for the planet

Mixing maths with mud and tree planting with poetry has proved to be a great way to get children excited about the natural environment.

The Woodland Trust’s free trees for schools scheme combines learning with the opportunity to green up school grounds and online
curriculum-linked resources for teachers offer support lesson plans.

Research on behalf of the Woodland Trust found that primary age children who planted trees felt as if they were “doing their bit” to help the environment and remember it for years after.

The Woodland Trust’s schools and community engagement manager Karen Letten said: “We want to see trees becoming a key component of a teacher’s toolkit.

“Planting trees and creating woodland is a great way to connect children with nature. It engages them with the environment, educates them on the care and maintenance of trees and the benefits they bring and provides a stimulating topic that can be linked to many subjects in the school curriculum.

“Mixing maths with mud and planting with poetry is highly recommended!”

The trust’s dedicated educational website Tree Tools for Schools has a wealth of teaching resources and ideas, all fronted by Keith, a giant oak leaf.

There’s an interactive planning tool so children can plot their new woodland, games, quizzes and printable worksheets, all aimed at making lesson planning a doddle. There’s also a section on after care including a simulation showing how the trees will grow over 10 years and the management they will need each season.

Teachers can search the website by key stage or subject, making it easy to teach children about the multiple benefits trees provide for people, wildlife and the environment.

Since the Woodland Trust launched its free trees for schools initiative in 2004, more than five million saplings have been sent out.
There’s a variety of packs to choose from ranging in size from 15 saplings to 420, all containing a mix of native broadleaved trees that are UK sourced and grown to reduce the risk of disease.

A large scale Natural Connections study carried out in 2016 found children who experienced outdoor learning were more engaged, happier and healthier while teachers said outdoor learning had a positive impact on their teaching practice and increased their job satisfaction.

   For more information and to get your free trees, visit


Offering a transformational opportunity to your child at Prior’s Field, Godalming

The opportunity to educate a child, to the best of their abilities, is the ambition of every parent. In the current economic climate, the Independent school sector has never been more aware of the challenge of affordability. The demand for fee assistance and means-tested bursaries has risen considerably and widening access and social mobility was a founding remit of Independent schools’ charitable status and why they were formerly known as public schools.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love

Our school motto quoted above encapsulates our ethos. Philanthropy was very much at the heart of the vision of Julia Huxley, a pioneer of progressive academic education for women, who founded our school in 1902. Julia had a distinctive family pedigree (the granddaughter of Dr Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby; niece of Mathew Arnold, the poet and mother to Aldous Huxley, author of ‘A Brave New World’).

They mean what they say about nurturing talent (Good Schools Guide)

Our scholarships and bursary programme signposts the value we place on nurturing individuals to become the best possible version of themselves. The type and number of bursaries and scholarships we offer will vary dependent on the talent each year, be it creative, sporting or academic. Means tested bursaries are available at all main entry points and we work with many feeder schools in the maintained sector to encourage applications from a broad cohort. There are always far more girls seeking bursary help than we can accommodate but we aim to award where we see potential and eagerness to learn and know the opportunity will be truly transformational.

Transformational fully funded Sixth Form awards

Through the school’s own charity, a limited number of Foundation Awards are offered to pupils wishing to enter Sixth Form who have been significantly disadvantaged by life circumstances. Fully-funded Sixth Form places allow girls to continue their education with the support of our boarding community. It is an enormous privilege to watch the transformational impact of a bursary. Bursaries are a springboard from which we hope to see girls engage fully, inspiring others and giving something back to the school.

Come and Visit

As one our bursary girls said as she left last year: “Being at Prior’s Field for the Sixth Form changed my life and I want to help other girls to have the same fantastic opportunity”. Come and find out more at our next Open Day on Saturday 5th October from 10am – 1pm.

   Call 01483 813402 to book your place or find out more at


Head of Pre-Prep at Westbourne House School Caroline Oglethorpe has some advice on how to give your child sports confidence

As parents, we often worry about our children when they don’t seem to be progressing quite as fast as their peers. Sometimes, when raising children in exactly the same way, it can seem baffling that one of our offspring seems naturally sporty and is riding a bike at three and a half, when the other can’t seem to do it even aged seven. Or perhaps you have a child that seems to hang back while others are playing football.

You know they want to join in but they just don’t have the confidence.

It is good to remember that development in sports is similar to how one might learn to read. Everyone learns at a slightly different pace and this is partly to do with each child’s own physical development, and also where the child is on their sports learning curve.

We support our children at Westbourne House by creating many different opportunities each week to practise and by modelling the skills ourselves in playtimes and lessons. And keeping it fun is hugely important. Ultimately, it is about encouraging children to develop a lifelong love of being active. To this end, we also introduce them to a wide range of sports including kayaking, orienteering, swimming, climbing, dance and ball sports.

You can give your child a huge helping hand by having fun practising sports skills together and you may wish to try the game ideas below from our Head of Sport. The sports confidence your child will gain will enable them to do their best and join in happily when the time comes.

1. Blow up a balloon or two and play a game of keep the balloon up in the air.

2. With any round ball, play ‘happy feet’. You start with a foot on top of the ball, and then hop to replace it with the other foot.

3. Show your child how to make a cup with two hands, as if you were collecting water from a tap. This is the correct way to catch. Start close together and when the ball is caught, take a small step backwards.

4. Make a target out of an open box or saucepan on the floor. How many times you can get balls or paired socks into the target?

   Westbourne House has an open morning on Saturday 28th September. Book your place at


You can learn as much outside the classroom as you can inside at Under The Canopy Forest School

Learning isn’t just about what goes on in the classroom, Under The Canopy Forest School allows children to learn outside the classroom among nature.

It aims to encourage time spent away from technology and to increase learning and creativity for all. The Forest School approach is more child-led and aims to improve social skills, self-confidence, the development of language, communication and motor skills and to create a better knowledge of the environment.

Children are given freedom to direct their own learning and get involved in a certain amount of “risky play”. Among the activities children can get involved in are building and cooking on a fire, building dens and shelters, hunting for minbeasts, climbing trees and creating a bug hotel, hedgehog shelter and nature art.

The Forest School takes place in a woodland environment near Gerrards Cross and encompasses a woodland, dell and meadow with an array of flora, fauna and wildlife.

In addition to the Forest School, there are family sessions, stay and play for children and their carers, a holiday club, twilight forest school under the canopy, as well as the opportunity to have a child’s party, bespoke events and courses for schools and nurseries as well as events for adults.

   To find out more about all the activities on offer visit


An independent education can be for everyone with fee assistance

Independent schools believe having a broad social mix of pupils more appropriately reflects our society and is one of the reasons why many have made funding available for families on lower incomes.

Across all Independent Schools Council (ISC) schools, one third of pupils receive some form of fee assistance.

If you are thinking about an independent school for your child but deterred by the cost, a bursary could well be the answer.
But why should you consider an independent school for your child in the first place?

They tend to have smaller class sizes, excellent exam results and a good record of entry to leading universities.

Many give over a significant amount of time to cultural activities and offer a wide variety of sporting opportunities and some will specialise in these areas.

The pupil to teacher ratio also means independent schools can offer a good level of pastoral care and for that of those with special educational needs.

Look at various schools’ websites and visit as soon as possible to find the one that is right for your child’s needs.

Perhaps your child would benefit from boarding – this is a great option if you live further away. Your child will have the chance to enjoy a wider range of activities. Some schools offer weekly boarding whereby your child will go home at the weekend.

“Will my child fit in?” is a common question when it comes to choosing an independent school, but the inclusive environments full of children from diverse backgrounds means the answer to that is yes!

Look at the fee assistance schemes on offer. Bursaries are means tested and offer a great way for children from hard-working families to be able to afford the fees.

Parents or guardians must complete a declaration to establish if the student meets the criteria, the school will then look at what is realistic for each family to afford and sets a fee accordingly.

Some schools will contribute to extras such as uniforms, books and trips.

Almost 45,000 pupils are on means-tested assistance at ISC schools of which there are 1,385 across the country to choose from.

Some schools also offer scholarships for pupils who are strong academically, musically or excel in sport or art.

   For more information about fee assistance visit


Jo Carroll has the answers when it comes to revision – how long for, when to start and how to improve recall

Then I worked in Sixth Form I saw some revision that lacked focus and planning: students staring at textbooks, mind maps produced for one topic and the rest neglected or endless highlighting until books were full of neon.

I worked with these students to organise their study and give structure and purpose to revision. Each student worked in a unique way and needed tailored support, from this grew my business: Study Mentors – a bespoke study support service. As every student is individual, so are their ways of learning, organising and scheduling study and this is where Study Mentors can make the difference.

I work with students who are preparing for GCSEs, A levels, Common Entrance or those searching for a study system that works for public exams. I explore three strands of study:
• Organisation: are students ready to study with organised subject files and a clear knowledge of all subject topics and the examination process;
• Study Methods: do students know what to do when they start and, if not, we explore and experiment with study and revision techniques;
• Timetables: students reflect on which days and times they work best, think about dedicating parts of their day to study and together we plan specific tasks for specific times using timetables.

I check in regularly with students to promote the mentoring and involve parents in all communications so they can provide support too.

   Contact Jo: [email protected] or call 07906 610202.


CJA Educational Consultancy helps parents find the right school for their child and situation

Over the past 10 years competition for places from nursery to sixth form has become something many parents face in London. Depending on whether you live in the correct catchment and there is a good local school, or decide to choose an independent school, there are different entry routes.

Nursery entrance depends on where you live and availability. Some schools have feeder nurseries and may require an entrance assessment for Reception. Many independent schools set entrance requirements from age 7. Maintained schools often focus on English, maths and/or verbal and non-verbal reasoning.

It is always worth considering schools on the outskirts of London, perhaps less well known and it’s worth considering if boarding is an option?

CJA Educational Consultancy can support parents all the way through education, completing projective reports and researching relevant options depending on where a client lives or plans to live.CJA Educational Consultancy’s top tips:

• Register your child for schools well in advance
• Visit nurseries and schools more than once
• Read Ofsted and ISI reports
• Listen to advice given by your current school
• Ask other parents with older children

   For more information visit


Caversham’s Thameside Primary School honoured with Inside Out award

Happy children learn better – that’s the straightforward belief of innovative educational charity Inside Out.

The programme is designed to improve the wellbeing of primary school children, inspiring them to be happy inside and out and the charity has just handed out its first award to recognise one school’s exceptional commitment to the happiness and wellbeing of its pupils.

Thameside Primary School in Caversham has put this at the heart of its school life and has deservedly been honoured with the award.

Thameside Primary School headteacher Sophie Greenaway said they were incredibly proud to have been given the accolade. She said: “We have seen tangible benefits on the wellbeing, health and learning of our children. The award means a lot of to the whole school community. I am so pleased that Inside Out is now at the heart of our school curriculum.”

The charity is responding to the growing children’s mental health crisis by helping other schools in the Reading and Oxford area to make these practices part of everyday school life.


Choosing the best school for your child will involve talking to friends, searching online, hunting out reviews, checking fees…

Brigid Meadows, Headteacher at Our Lady’s Abingdon Junior School (OLA)suggests the most important people to hear from are the parents of the children already in the school. This is what ours are saying:

“OLA is a wonderful, nurturing school, full of happy children. It’s been delightful to see our shy daughter thrive and develop a love for learning.” – Nursery Parent

“OLA’s greatest asset is not just the education provided (which is fabulous) but the community that has been created around the school.” – Reception Parent

“Oxfordshire offers many excellent junior schools, but OLA stood out for its supportive and family atmosphere, its stress-free approach to learning, and the broad smiles of its pupils.” – Year 3 Parent
The next opportunity for you to find out more about our school for yourself is our open morning on Saturday, 12th October, 10am to 12.30pm.

If you are interested in your son or daughter attending OLA Junior Shool but are concerned about managing financially, OLA offers bursaries to help. These are awarded to pupils likely to gain most from an OLA education and who will contribute fully to the school. There is a range of possibilities to suit a variety of circumstances.

   Details and an application form are available on our website


Newbury College helps you discover the options available to 16 year olds

Some young people may choose to stay at school, but did you know they could earn UCAS points in vocational courses, in the same way as an A Level? One in four students studying a BTEC Level 3 qualification goes on to university, with others gaining employment in their chosen career, but there are other options

Apprenticeships provide an ideal step into a career as well as an opportunity to upskill in an existing career combining work and study. A modern-day apprenticeship can provide up to Master’s Degree qualification without the need to study full-time at university and with significantly less debt.

The government and the employer pay for training costs, and local learning means there are no relocation or accommodation costs. Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of professions, from traditional areas such as engineering, mechanics and health care to accountancy, business administration, and leadership and management. .

The Newbury College website contains information on the progression routes and earning potential of many popular career choices. This is part of the College’s focus on ‘careers not courses’, an initiative which paves the way to the new T Level qualifications, by providing students with employer-led curriculum and meaningful industry placements.

   Search to discover how they are changing education.


Kickstart your creative future with a 2-year degree or 1-year diploma

SAE is one of the world’s leading creative media institutions, building on a proud tradition of exceptional post-secondary education spanning 50+ campuses in 25+ countries.

SAE Oxford delivers industry-focused 2-year creative media degrees and 1-year diplomas in Game Art and Animation, Audio Production, Digital Film Production, and subject to demand from January 2020 Games Programming, Music Business and Web Development.

Studying for a 2-year degree at SAE Oxford on the well-located Littlemore campus saves students money, time and also gives them more teaching time than other 3-year courses. Small classes mean students benefit from one-to-one support and flourish under professionals’ guidance. Industry experts give talks to students in the SAE Extra masterclasses sharing tips and tricks.

Many graduates have gone on to great success in the world of gaming, audio and film with some gaining national and international recognition.

   To find out if SAE could be the right move for you, apply today at