Young Merton Together

Enjoy and achieve

Now that’s what I call music!

hillcross on the fieldhillcross dancingHillcross Primary School in Morden tells YMT about their exciting summer topic event:

Our Ethos at Hillcross is to support and challenge all children to become caring, collaborative, critical and creative learners. Each year we come together as a school family and focus on the same topic. This gives the whole community the opportunity to work in collaboration on a creative and inspiring theme. This year our topic, which was voted for by children, staff and parents was music. We developed a team of staff and children who planned, developed and led a launch, workshops and a finale.

To launch the topic the staff members all took part in a Lip Sync battle, to win points for the house teams. This was truly the highlight of some children’s year! Across the four weeks we have learnt to use Steel drums, play all genres of music, be part of a rock band, try our hand at being a D.J., perform beatboxing, use reclaimed materials and body percussion to perform and complete a family trip to see STOMP the musical.

Our finale then involved all parents coming to see our spectacular Music on the Field event (see image above left and right). Every year group performed a song, dance or musical piece to the school community. The sun shone and the children sparkled!

The parents loved the event, summed up in the comment ‘It was amazing!’ Zacks Mum (Year 2).

hillcross award winnerThe finale ended with our annual awards being given, this year entitled ‘The Hillcross Brits’. These awards recognise the achievement across the year of pupils and are voted for by the children.

One surprised award winner in Year 4 said ‘I was shocked and excited to win the award. I can’t believe my friends voted for me!’ (Layla H, see image left).

For more photos please check out our website: www.hillcross.merton.sch.uk

Merton’s success in the Stonewall Equality Index 2017

Merton, in its sixth year of completing the Stonewall Education Equality Index, has demonstrated its commitment to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) in our schools. We have now achieved the top position out of London local authorities, and are 13th overall out of the 39 local authorities taking part; this demonstrates a 6% rise in our score!

We have been congratulated by Stonewall on our outstanding result reflecting the incredible work being done to celebrate difference, prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools and supporting LGBT young people in our local community.

Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager at Stonewall, said: ‘We’ve seen outstanding work from all of those local authorities that have participated in this year’s Education Equality Index. Merton Council has made huge strides with its phenomenal initiatives and inspiring work with and for local young people, working to celebrate difference and challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.’

This year we have engaged in a range of successful activities which have been very well evaluated by participants including: LGBT+ Health and Wellbeing Conference; presentations and primary school workshops delivered by a student group at Ricards Lodge; and a new LGBT+ youth group in Morden funded by the Merton LGBT+ forum. The Ricards Lodge student group were also featured in a film presented at the Stonewall National Conference in Birmingham.

In order to build on everything we have achieved so far we will be following the recommendations set out in the Stonewall School Report 2017 which states:

  • The use of homophobic language has decreased, with 52 per cent of LGBT people hearing homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school, down from 68 per cent in 2012. 
  • Schools are much more likely to condemn homophobic and biphobic bullying than in previous years. This year seven in ten LGBT young people reported that their school says that homophobic and biphobic bullying is wrong, up from half in 2012 and just a quarter in 2007.

In Merton we continue to ensure that schools are aware of the importance of tackling HBT bullying and derogatory language.

However, while these improvements are encouraging, the report also reveals a much more distressing side to life for LGBT young people today. Rates of poor mental health are alarmingly high among LGBT young people: more than four in five trans young people (84 per cent) have self-harmed, as have three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who aren’t trans (61 per cent).

In Merton, we will continue to address the mental health needs of our LGBT+ young people in the coming year.

Read the full School Report (2017), and find out what you can do to have a positive impact on the lives of young LGBT people, by visiting www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport.

 

 

Merton School ‘outstanding,’ says Ofsted

RutlishRutlish School has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted making it one of the top performing schools in Merton. Head teacher Alex Williamson welcomed the news citing staff and pupils ongoing commitment to improvement. “It’s a fantastic achievement and a great reflection of everyone at the school. We have consistently maintained these high standards over a number of years and that is acknowledged by this report.”

Inspectors, who sat in on lessons, spoke to students and met with teaching staff, governors and the local authority, noted that GCSE results for every year since the previous inspection in 2013 exceeded the national average.

Pupils were praised for ‘excellent attitudes to learning’ and ‘impeccable manners’ under the ‘uncompromising leadership of the head teacher and his senior leaders.’

This was matched by school’s governors who impressed Ofsted with their commitment to the progress of all pupils including the disadvantaged and those with special educational needs and disabilities.

The school’s commitment to its 1,000 plus pupils who were described as ‘unfailingly polite and courteous’, included an enrichment programme preparing older pupils for apprenticeship, employment and university

Peter Norrie, Chair of Governors for Rutlish School,  said: “An Ofsted award of its highest possible outstanding judgement for Rutlish School reflects the enormous and continuing effort put in by our first class head teacher and his truly dedicated staff over a number of years.  

“Parents entrust the education of their sons to our excellent, non-selective, non-Academy, local authority comprehensive school, and I hope that they are as pleased and proud as we are on this resounding affirmation of the quality of education and pastoral care their boys receive.”

Cllr Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, Cabinet Member for Education, added: “Merton schools are amongst the best in the country with our secondary schools rated 10th nationally for Progress 8 last year.

“It is absolutely right that this is reflected in this excellent outcome for Rutlish School. My congratulations go to all staff and pupils and to the head teacher and the governors for this ‘outstanding‘ judgement.”    

Cricket Green Special School - an update

Cricket Green Special School (CGS) gives YMT an update on an eventful term

Changing Minds in Merton

New Wimbledon Theatre, which runs a year-round programme of educational work, ran a major 'Changing Minds in Merton' project in seven local schools as part of National Mental Health Awareness week, from May 11-28. The idea behind the project was to use the arts - theatre, dance, photography and film - to get young people talking more openly and honestly about teenage mental health.

The project culminated in an Open Day at New Wimbledon Theatre on July 4 where all the young participants came together to share their performances and have a borough-wide conversation about how young people can work together to end the stigma of mental illness. The young people from Cricket Green performed a highly moving piece and once again made us proud!

Summer Fair 2017

On July 1st CGS had its legendary summer fair! The weather was wonderful (for a change!) and the turnout was fab. We had Benjamina from the Great British Bake Off judging our Victoria Sponge Competition and really loved having her with us. A big thank you to all who donated items, helped set up and down, and man stalls, at this year’s Summer Fair... We managed to raise £2000!!! The money will be used to benefit the pupils of Cricket Green in a variety of ways.

Year 14 trip to Butlins

Our Year 14 students went on a Lifeskills Residential trip to Butlins in Bognor Regis. They stayed in self-catering apartments, bought and prepared their own food and were as independent as possible throughout the stay! They enjoyed many activities including swimming, water slides, a picnic on the beach, ‘Wittington Rocks’ show and the funfair. Everyone had a great time and the trip was a real success, with students and staff returning with big smiles on their faces! We love watching our pupils go from strength to strength.

Secondary Sports Day

On a warm summer's day CGS pupils from descended on the David Weir Centre in Sutton to battle out Senior Sports Day in the heat.

Yet again the rivalries were fierce yet the sportsmanship shone through as students from the upper school competed in nine different events to challenge their sporting progress. Events included throws jumps sprints and races. The Parents took on the teachers in the annual Tug-of-War cheered on by a split crowd of pupils. The Students took on the staff men and staff woman in the relay challenge of the year in the 400m relay dash. It was a fantastic day to be part of and all students behaved and took part to the best of their ability. 

For more information about CGS see the school webpages: www.cricketgreen.merton.sch.uk.

Malmesbury Primary School undertake an exciting Enterprise Week!

EE bakeryIn the first week of July, students from nursery to Year 6 at Malmesbury Primary School in Merton departed from their usual timetables to take on the role of young entrepreneurs working on a range of exciting projects.

Nursery and Reception took on the role of bakers (see image left) and set up their very own pop-up bakery - with highlights including hedgehog bites and star biscuits. Years 1 and 2 became charity workers and set up events to raise money for causes such as British Heart Foundation and WaterAid. EE healthy teethYears 3 and 4 took on the role of health professionals and campaigned to promote healthy lifestyles by setting up health-themed games and giving out leaflets and stickers (see image right). And, Years 5 and 6 became entrepreneurs and set up their own mini businesses providing specialist fun games for other children in the school.

The week’s challenges introduced students to concepts such as market research, advertising and profit-making, and provided a learning framework to nurture creative ideas as they progressed from the drawing board to reality. The week culminated in students setting up stalls at their summer fair where they were running their businesses or advocating their cause. Special guests of the day included parents, carers, local community members and representatives from a local charity.

These extended projects were designed by Enabling Enterprise’s team of teachers to develop students’ core transferrable skills in areas such as working in a team, sharing ideas and problem solving.

Malmesbury Primary have been working with Enabling Enterprise since 2014 to develop their students' enterprise skills. In this time students have been engaging in practical, real-world projects that provide invaluable opportunities for the development of skills that are integral to children’s future learning and their success beyond school.

Sarah Ritchie, Senior Associate at Enabling Enterprise said:

"This week has given students the chance to contribute to the wider community. They have applied skills such as teamwork and problem-solving to a range of challenges focused on helping others and raising awareness of important issues. Walking around the final celebration event, I was really impressed by students' confidence and enthusiasm."

Enabling Enterprise was founded by teachers in 2009, and now works with over 80,000 students nationally. A not-for-profit social enterprise, our vision is to ensure that, one day, every student will leave school with the skills, experiences and aspirations to succeed.

Our practical approach and its impact have been recognised by awards from Teach First and Education Investor who named us their “Partnership of the Year”. In 2015, we won the PwC Social Enterprise Social Impact Award and were highly commended in Social Enterprise UK's 2016 Social Impact Award.

To achieve our mission, we work with primary and secondary schools to build a high level of competence and confidence in eight vital enterprise skills: Being Creative, Problem Solving, Aiming High, Staying Positive, Listening & Understanding, Presenting, Working in a Team and Leading.

We work to achieve our mission in partnership with over 120 employers across a wide range of sectors and 270 schools to make enterprise a core part of the school curriculum.

 

New reading bus for Hollymount Primary School

reading busHollymount Primary opened their new 'reading bus' on Saturday 1 July 2017. The official opening of the new library was held as the school celebrated their 60th birthday at the annual summer fair, with one pupil from each year group cutting the ribbon.

The bus, painted bright blue to match the school colours, sits in the playground providing a fun and exciting environment to promote reading to pupils aged 4 to 11 years.

Eric, who is 6 and in Year 1 said:

“I like it that it's in a bus, that's really different.”

The 'reading bus' was the brainchild of headteacher Philippa Jackson, who explained: “Our school has expanded in recent years and although we have a wonderful new extension, the one thing we did wish for, a library, was not included in the final plans.”

Two parents procured the double decker bus from bus company London General. But while the bus had been offered for free, the school suddenly had a 13-metre-long vehicle on their hands and nowhere to put it. The site needed to be cleared and a concrete slab installed where it could safely stand. Luckily another parent, stepped in to store it for several months.

Ms Jackson explained she had been inspired by another school:

“A double decker bus seemed a unique way of providing a dedicated space for choosing and reading books and promoting reading for pleasure. It’s been a long road since the bus arrived on site in summer 2015 and we couldn’t have done it without many parents helping out at various stages and the funds raised by our wonderful PTA. Now that it is in use, the children are clearly delighted, as am I!”

With the help of local architect Peter Lindsay and others who gave their services for free (including a former pupil), the project was completed in the spring of 2017.

Hollymount's assistant head Irene Lindsay said:

“Reading is the most powerful tool available to inspire, motivate and develop the whole child. Reading for pleasure has been linked to a life-long love of learning and provides the child with skills, wellbeing and the chances to open doors and provide choices throughout life. This bus links pleasure and reading in a way that can only serve to encourage children to develop and pursue an interest in books for life - what more can we as educators want for our children?”

Pupils have already started using the bus and from September each class will have a weekly library visit.

The bus currently has 3,500 books and as they work to build their catalogue, the school has launched a project whereby a pupil or family can make a £10 pledge and in return a named bookplate will be placed in one of the books.

For more information about Hollymount Primary School see the school website.

 

Wheelie good news for scooter fans

Poplar scooter parkMerton is home to the UK’s first dedicated scooter track (See image (l-r): Poplar Primary School pupils Ethan Yadav, Taibah Sadikeen, Sadaf Assad and Douglas Powley with deputy mayor Judy Saunders).

The Grand Prix-style course weaves in and out of a landscaped corner of Mostyn Gardens adjacent to Poplar Primary School. The tarmac track, which includes chicanes, a pit stop, mock petrol pumps, road crossings and shop fronts, is open to 3-11 year-olds during the holidays and at weekends.

The school raised more than £60,000 through various fundraising events, grants and a crowdfunding campaign with contributors including Olympians Alistair and Jonny Brownlee.

The scooter park was the idea of head teacher Katharine Davies. She said: “We have created a unique area allowing children to play safely on their scooters in an imaginative and attractive environment.

“The children, families and community have been amazing in the support they have given to this project and we hope it will be enjoyed by many local families over the summer holidays and in the years to come.”

Deputy Mayor Judy Saunders bought the chequered flag down to officially open the track although the public won’t be allowed in until the start of the summer holidays.

Cllr Nick Draper, Cabinet Member for Community and Culture for Merton Council, added: “What a brilliant idea from the school.  We’re lucky to have great council officers too who helped on this and so many imaginative projects around Merton. My only regret is that I’m too old to scoot around it myself!”

Contributors to the scooter park included Merton Council. Suez Communities Trust and Andrews Property Group who presented a cheque for £10,000.

 

Singlegate School wins borough bowls competition

bowls competitionThe grandees of bowling passed some of their skills onto the younger generation in preparation for the annual Merton Schools Bowling Tournament held in June.

Merton Bowling Club was hosting the event for the third successive year and, together with clubs from Merton Park, Mitcham and Wimbledon Park, helped tutor the four participating schools.

Pupils for Benedict, Garfield, Joseph Hood and Singlegate primary schools each fielded ‘A’ and ‘B’ teams bowling it out over six games or ‘ends.’ The tournament, which is jointly sponsored by Merton Council, was set up to encourage more young people into the sport. The winners were Singlegate School coached by Merton Park Bowling Club (348 points), Jospeh Hood (247), Garfield (241) and Benedict (232).

Cllr Nick Draper said: “Congratulations to all the teams and the work of the clubs involved in coaching them. Bowls is a popular sport in the borough and this is a great way to introduce younger people to the game.”

An update on Merton school Ofsted inspections

Although it may be tempting fate to say so, Ofsted activity in Merton schools has seen a reduction this Summer term in comparison with the experiences of the eight schools that were inspected in the Spring term.

At the beginning of term Rutlish Schools (secondary) was inspected, and its report was finally published on the 19th June. The school received a much deserved judgement of outstanding, with the report identifying that ‘the uncompromising leadership of the headteacher and his senior leaders has created a culture which is highly aspirational’ and that ‘pupils have excellent attitudes to learning and are very proud of their school’ amongst many strengths.

Stanford has received a monitoring visit from an HMI, and the outcomes letter to the headteacher drew out how ‘high expectations set by staff and pupils’ positive attitudes to learning enable staff to challenge pupils’ understanding.’

Park School and Harris Primary Academy have very recently been inspected, and the reports are awaited.

Across the Borough 89% of schools continue to be judged to be good or better, which is in line with the national average, but below the average across London.

For more information on the Merton School Improvement Service contact the Head of Service Elizabeth.fitzpatrick@merton.gov.uk.

 

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