Recycling champions

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Chilworth school celebrate being recycling champions

More than 11 tonnes of clothes and shoes were collected by schools across Surrey as part of The Salvation Army’s county-wide recycling competition.

And the winning school amassing 0.3 tonnes was Chilworth C of E Infant School who were awarded a trophy and certificate to honour their achievement.

The Recycle with Michael initiative aimed to divert thousands of tonnes of textiles from landfill and generate funds for The Salvation Army to help vulnerable people across the UK.

Chilworth C of E was one of 27 schools in Surrey which took part and gathered the largest donation of goods – worked out as the highest ratio of weight to pupils – of all the schools which took part in the region.

The school was visited by the scheme’s mascot Michael who met pupils and Year 1 teacher, Katie Porter and handed out the prizes.

The Recycle with Michael scheme aims to educate young people about the importance of recycling in a fun and engaging way and there are lots of free downloadable teaching materials available online.

Head of corporate partnershiops at Salvation Army Trading Company Td, Kirk Bradley congratulated Chilworth C of E Infant School on their efforts.

He said: “We were overwhelmed by the school’s response to the campaign and the dedication of pupils and staff in promoting and acting on the recycling message.

“Our van was full to the brim on collection day thanks to all the donations. Participation in the competition across the whole county has been amazing.

“We hope this is the start of a determined drive to give unwanted items a new lease of life – turning clothes, shoes and textiles into funds for local schools as well as for our charitable work.”

For more information and to get involved, visit www.recyclewithmichael.co.uk

Big pedal

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Don’t be surprised if on your way to work or school this morning you see many more children than usual on their bikes, scooters or just walking. 

Today, Monday 25th March, marks the start of the largest inter-school cycling challenge inspiring pupils, parents and staff to choose human power rather than motor power for their journey to school.

The Sustrans Big Pedal, will run (why not give that a try too) from today until Friday, 5th April, and for the first time walking will be counted as well as cycling and scooting.

Primary and secondary schools will battle it out daily to see which one can get more of their pupils, staff and parents using human power – the school’s best five days will determine the final position.

Aside from the obvious health and environmental benefits of cycling, walking or scooting to school, there are also daily prize draws for rewards if more than 15% of your school cycle, walk or scoot on each day of the 10-day challenge. Prizes include scooters from lead sponsor Micro Scooters, Goodordering school bags, Frog bikes and cycle and scooter racks from Broxap.

There’s also the chance to be superhero for the day using your human power with the fancy dress day to celebrate the finale of the Big Pedal – encourage everyone at school (teachers too!) to dress up for the day and decorate your scooter too with a “bling your ride” session. Why not make it a fundraising event too? All money raised for Sustrans helps enable thousands of children to cycle, walk and scoot every day, aiding every one to enjoy a healthier, happier and safer journey to school.

Find out more at www.sustrans.org.uk 

Make sure, if you are on your bike or even your scooter, you’re wearing a helmet. Find out more and about a great charity promoting just this.

Study Skills

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Parents help is at hand to get your child though their exams 

If like many parents you have a child about to take their GCSEs or A levels, you’ll know what a stressful time it can be for the whole family, so how about some help? 

Study Skills Academy is holding two parent workshops over the next few days to help you support your child as much as possible and help you all get through it as easily as possible. 

The academy can offer guidance and practical advice on simple strategies to support your child and get you all though the experience in one piece! 

They will look at a variety of topics including:

Understanding the teenage brain

Managing screens and sleep

Revision strategies to use and how you can help

How to make a revision plan and stick to it

Managing stress levels for all 

Their workshop is Monday, 1st April, 7.30pm to 9pm at The Cholsey Pavilion and cost just £10.

To book and for more information go to Study Skills

Education guide: Winter 2019

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School days are the happiest days of your life, right? Check out our education guide and find out how you can make them really top class including information on bird watching, how to choose the right school for you, adult education and work experience.

FLYING HIGH

As we enter a new year, Karen Neville teams up with the RSPB to encourage you and the schoolchildren in your family to spot local birds in your garden.

A staggering 6,764,475 birds were spotted during last year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, thanks in no small part to the thousands of schoolchildren who joined in. Youngsters spotted robins, starlings and blue tits among the millions recorded for the annual count.

And now it’s time to do it all over again to see which ones are thriving and which ones need your help to survive.

The house sparrow was the most common bird again in 2018, happy in both urban and suburban areas. Other birds flying high in the surveys included the goldfinch, long-tailed and coal tit while robins were down, largely due to the mild winter which made food more widely available in the countryside meaning the red-breasted bird didn’t have such a need to visit our gardens.

The birdwatch is 40 years old this year and has grown hugely since youngsters were given the opportunity to get involved in a simple winter activity.

From counting the birds in your garden to determine which are the UK’s top 10 most common species, the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch has become one of the most participated in nature events across the country, enjoyed by young and old.

Only a few hundred children were expected to take part when it started in 1979, but thanks to Blue Peter, more than 34,000 surveys were completed and results gathered.

Now schools turn their classes into conservation zones and help track the ups and downs in bird numbers through a variety of fun activities before, during and after the Big Schools Birdwatch which helps youngsters develop an interest in wildlife and the world around them.

Simple survey sheets are a great way to get started, helping you to count the birds with colourful worksheets designed for three age groups – five to seven years, seven to 11 and 11 to 14-year-olds. Focussing on the most common birds likely to be seen, youngsters are invited to record how many of each one they see and to draw any not included as well as recording any unusual features noticed.

Why not feed the birds as you record them and perhaps even entice a few more into your garden or school grounds? The RSPB has a range of recipe ideas that you can make too – pastry maggots, pine cone lardy seed feeders and a suet and nut log are just some of the tasty treats to encourage feathered friends to feel at home!

Games are also a great way for pupils to learn about the birds around them and recognise them as they take part in the count – try matching pairs of pictures with a fun memory game or how about a “top trumps” game comparing your favourite feathered facts?

However you enjoy the Big Schools Birdwatch, your help is essential to ensure the birds in our gardens and school grounds are protected. The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place from 26th to 28th January and you can submit your findings until Friday, 22nd February.

  To take part visit www.rspb.org.uk 

HAPPY FAMILIES

Choosing a school or nursery for your child can be a case of heart versus head…

At The Royal School, we understand choosing the right school for your child will be one of the most important decisions you ever make.

It is a decision that you will take with your head, having completed all the necessary research, but we know that you will really take it with your heart, based on your knowledge of your child and of his or her particular needs at any given time in their education.

There are many factors that a parent needs to consider. When seeking a nursery for your two-year-old, questions around sleep routines, food, toilet training and managing tears and tantrums will be high on the agenda. When seeking a primary or prep school, you will have questions about curriculum, homework, pupil-teacher ratio, friendships, lunches and wrap around care.

When it comes to selecting a senior school, considerations relating to the curriculum, examination results, behaviour management, ethos, class size, extra-curricular provision and the school environment will be on your mind. And when you are looking for a sixth form, you will want to know about university destinations, examination success, opportunities for the development of life skills and careers education. The list goes on…

Here in the south east, parents are blessed with a wide range of excellent schools and nurseries from which to choose and the choice can sometimes feel rather overwhelming, especially when friends and family also add their opinion into the mix. In the end, the decision is easier than you would think. Take time to visit the schools and nurseries in the area. Look beyond the first impression of bricks and mortar – is there a purposeful buzz of activity? Do the children or young people look happy and engaged? Do the teachers appear passionate about their subject? Is the head teacher approachable?

Choosing a school or nursery is rather like choosing a family home; it can all seem incredibly complicated, but ultimately, it is the one that has the right feel that will be the right choice. This is very personal; one size does not fit all!

By Mrs A Lynch, principal of The Royal School and Mrs K Daunter, head of the Junior School.

ADULT LEARNING

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Here are some reasons why learning in later life is beneficial!

Yes, young brains are most adept at learning languages and skills, but the benefits of taking up a new skill after school age are many!

For those who are recently retired or considering a career change, a lack of direction can be demoralising. Embarking on an adult learning course and picking up new skills can be incredibly rewarding, and fun too.

Signing up to a new course, trying out a new sport, learning a new language or experimenting with a new instrument can boost . It’s important to step outside of your comfort zone from time to time and apply yourself to something completely new. Lifelong learning helps you to continually grow and develop as a person and it’s good for your mental ability if you’re always putting your mind to something new.

Adult education courses significantly benefit learners, a survey by the Workers’ Educational Association suggests. According to the survey of 2,000 adult learners, education boosts confidence about finding employment and benefits local communities.

Of course, we’re constantly told that physical exercise is important for keeping our bodies in good condition, but it’s just as important to keep your mind active, too. Taking in new information helps to stimulate your mind, and studies have proven that this can help to reduce a person’s risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

You’re never too old to learn, and with advances in technology making e-learning more accessible than ever, there are no excuses for not giving it a go.

   Visit www.wea.org.uk for more ideas and check out the University of the Third Age.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Don’t be shy of taking your first step into the workplace!

Work experience can be a daunting prospect when you’re in Year 10 and more interested in playing on the X-Box or the latest gossip. But it’s more important than just a week off lessons…

It’s a great way to find out whether a certain type of career is for you. You’ll get the chance to learn new skills, make contacts and experience what it’s like working a whole day.

But where do you begin? A good place to start is follow your passions. Try to do something you’re interested in – if, for example, you love animals, contact any zoos or animal sanctuaries. If being on stage or behind the scenes is your thing, try local theatres.

Once you have a general idea start checking out the businesses and companies in your area as well as speaking to your school careers adviser.

And don’t be disheartened if places you contact aren’t able to help; there are plenty of options. Some companies offer structured placements but competition can be tough so make sure you know what you want and how to ‘sell’ yourself. Many places will expect you to complete an application form too so double check your spelling and grammar when doing so.

Having gained a place, hopefully with your chosen employer, put your nerves aside – a tricky one – and remember to make contact ahead of your placement to confirm details such as times, dress code, what to wear etc and a bit of research on them doesn’t do any harm, either.

You’re now ready for your first proper day at work – make the most of it, you never know where it could lead…