Category: Education

March 29th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE students of East Grinstead Drama Academy kept the audience spellbound during their annual showcase at the Hawth on 20 March with a journey which included a musical tribute to Cilla Black, a depiction of the struggles faced by Syrian refugees, dance extravaganzas, musical theatre classics and modern pop hits.

It was the diversity of the drama, dance and singing pieces which really stood out this year, showing the versatility of the students aged from 5 to 19.

“The opening number was a powerful depiction of the refugee crisis which has obviously touched the hearts of the students; the subject was handled with sensitivity and feeling and the whole academy took a part,” said Tanya Botting.

The first act continued with energetic musical theatre numbers from Matilda and Rock of Ages. The Ariel Othellos took the audience through a humorous drama piece, telling the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood; meanwhile the older students choose the story of the Suffragettes for their drama performance.

“The whole school closed the first act with an uplifting tribute to Cilla Black, taking us through Cilla’s life from her early days in Liverpool to TV fame with Blind Date.”

The second act opened with a high octane dance performance Stomp vs Tap. With duelling drums and rousing backing music, the whole company performed a complex dance routine full of energy and verve which really raised the roof.

Musical theatre numbers from Aladdin, Little Shop of Horrors and Jekyll and Hyde gave each age group the chance to shine before the finale of Steal Your Rock had everyone out of their seats with an upbeat end to a true celebration of the students’ achievements.

For more information on Ariel’s East Grinstead Academy, which takes place every Saturday at the Jubilee Community Centre call 01444 250407 or visit

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March 26th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

Imberhorne 0 

Warden Park  1

IMBERHORNE’S U15 (Year 10) football team, reached the final of the District Cup for the second year running on 23 March, but sadly lost to Warden Park by one goal.

Unfortunately after dominating large periods of the game the team lost to a stunning 25 yard, 86th minute goal, from Warden Park in what team manager Mr Collyer described as “one of the best games you will see at school level”.

“The boys were disappointed not to lift the cup, but are a huge credit to the school,” he said.


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March 24th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

SIR Nicholas Soames has welcomed the announcement of a consultation on new national Fair Funding Formula for Schools which comes in the wake of months of lobbying by local MPs including direct meetings with the Prime Minister and Chancellor.

For historic reasons West Sussex is one of the worst funded areas in the country – receiving some £80m less over the last five years than other counties – a situation local MPs have been determined to change.

East Grinstead’s MP Nicholas Soames, said “This was a Conservative Manifesto commitment which we have pushed hard to see honoured rapidly. I was delighted by the announcement which should result in Fairer Funding for our schools.”

While the news on the Fair Funding Formula is positive, MPs are less sanguine about securing additional funds to “bridge” the gap between now and the introduction of the new formula from 2017.

The urgency of the introduction of the new formula for counties such as West Sussex will be addressed in the Consultation, but MPs had hoped that more funds could be made available immediately: given cost pressures this now seems unlikely.

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March 24th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE Meads celebrated its 25 years in Mill Way with a special assembly and lunch today for past members of the staff, governors and ‘Friends’ of the school. Among the visitors was former headteacher Mike Smith who oversaw the move from the school’s previous site which is now home to Chequer Mead theatre.

Photo: Giving their Silver anniversary the thumbs are (l – r rear) Governor Deb Matthews, Chairman of Governors Susan Smith, headteacher Rhona Perry, co-chair of the schools ‘Friends’ Christine Sharp, and former headteacher Mike Smith.

The pupils in the front and middle are joined by teacher Sara Smith (far right) who was herself a pupil at the school under the headship of Mike Smith.


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March 9th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

ST Peter’s has marked Fairtrade Fortnight with a Fairtrade breakfast for 78 pupils. Town Mayor Dick Sweatman helped serve the meal which was followed by an assembly with Laura Jane Loftus, a former pupil and now with the Fairtrade Foundation.

Years 5 and 6 took part in workshops, and at the end of school a Fairtrade stall raised £150. 

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March 8th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

IMBERHORNE school celebrated World Book Day last week with a passion to inspire pupils with a lifelong love of reading.

At Key Stage 3 the activities began early with a reading breakfast in the library. The invitation was to bring a book, enjoy reading and grab a pastry and juice, an event many of the younger students at Lower school were delighted to attend.

Meanwhile Year 7 were treated to visits from three World Book Day authors who ran lively and engaging workshops.

John Byrne, Jane McLoughlin and Robert Rigby then stayed on for book signings during the lunch period as the students proudly bought books from the writers and cartoonist who had been inspiring them during the day.

“Year 9 students were equally enthusiastic after their workshops, and comments like ‘that was cool’ were overheard afterwards,” said Paula Hattam.

All year groups at KS3 were able to take part in a competition throughout the day to guess the fictional characters that staff had dressed as.

The winners of the best dressed characters were a ghostly Mrs Moore as Miss Havisham from Great Expectations and a commanding Mrs Flin as Ms Trunchball, of Matilda.


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March 3rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE first of your Book Day photos has arrived in the form of War Horse and The Invisible Man as interpreted by Max and Ollie Donfrancesco age 11 and eight from Dane hill Primary School.

If you have more, whizz them over to

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February 25th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

SACKVILLE sixth formers have been praised for administering first aid to an elderly man who slipped and fell in Warburton Close earlier today.

Resident Liz Rushton, of Rockdene Close, was so impressed with the youngsters she emailed head teacher Julian Grant to tell him they are a credit to the school.

“Just now, an elderly man fell at the entrance to Warburton Close and had injured his head badly,” said Liz.

“We stopped to help and whilst waiting for an ambulance to arrive, two of your sixth formers who were passing said they were trained in first aid, and were so professional and friendly in providing assistance.

“I don’t know if you have students of the week, or such like, but they certainly deserve some form of recognition. Your school nurse also came over to see if she could help.”

“As a retired college principal I know a good, well-run educational establishment when I see one.”

Mr Grant said he was delighted to hear how well pupils had behaved and is tracking down the two responsible to congratulate them.

“Once again I feel very proud of the responsible behaviour of Sackville students. These two sixth formers are a credit to the school and I am really impressed by their mature, calm and skillful response to this situation.”

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February 24th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

Above: The girls are only too willing to run to fundraise for charity too – here they were about to set off in the school’s Race For Life event last year.

Cb-oNcpWAAEtfN4TWINS Olivia and Sophie Dowle, who are Year 11 pupils at Worth school, have been selected for the 2016 English Schools Cross Country Championships which will take place on 5 March at Wollaton Park, Nottingham.

Olivia and Sophie have previously represented Sussex schools in inter-county events, but this is their first Sussex selection at the nationals.

“Their selection for the Championships reflects their achievements in inter-county matches but clearly Olivia and Sophie have worked extremely hard over the long-term to reach this level and are regular competitors in cross-country,” said a school spokesman.

Joining Worth in mid-2013 as day pupils, Olivia and Sophie arrived at Worth with a clear enthusiasm for competing in the sport.

At school in France prior to moving to the UK, they were part of the 2013 team which represented Ile de France at the Cross Country nationals at Caen.

Able sportswomen, both have represented Sussex Schools in the 2015 Heptathlon, Olivia represented Sussex for 1500 Steeple Chase and Sophie for the 800m.  Both were also asked to represent Surrey County at the inter-counties, Olivia for Pole Vault and Sophie for 800m.


Posted in Education, EGo Buzz, News, Sport

February 21st, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE Copthorne Youth Football Club will be running its first ever Soccer School in conjunction with Core Football Coaching during the Easter break.  

The camp will run for 3 days from Wednesday 30 March until Friday 1 April and is open to all children up to U13. 

A special discounted rate of £16 per child per day or £40 if you book all three days will be available to Club members and guests.  

The day will start at 9am and finish at 3pm and will be taking place at the King Georges Field.

To book please email

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February 17th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline
imgres-1-1THE choir from Worth Abbey school is to sing for the Pope at a Papal Mass in St Peter’s Square on 24 April.
The historic “first” for a British choir has come about through former Worth pupil Mark Spyropoulos, who last year became the first full-time English singer to be a member of the Papal choir since the Reformation.
Mark, who studied at Worth under head of music Michael Oakley between 1991 and 1999, recently returned to his old school to give a choral masterclass – and the good news that he had won the Worth choir the privilege of joining him in Rome to sing for the Pope.
Top: Mark with the Worth choir and meeting Pope Francis

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February 13th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

Our_House (26)Above: the orchestra takes a bow

Review of Our House at Sackville School

WHEN Sackville head Julian Grant stood up and declared himself “the proudest head teacher in the world” at the end of last night’s performance of Our House, no-one in the equally proud family audience had any reason to doubt him.

The school’s production was, quite simply, stonkingly good.

Our House, billed as A London Love Story, is a morality tale set to the music and lyrics of Madness.

The plot follows the life of Joe Casey and the consequences of a decision he makes, aged 16, to do the right thing and hand himself into the police after a teenage prank, or the wrong thing and flee the scene of the crime.

Thereafter the story splits into two and over the next seven years we see the fall-out of that split-second decision: one path means a criminal record, life as a social outcast and loss of the girl he loves: the other path leads to marriage but ultimate tragedy as Joe’s past misdeeds and descent into criminality inevitably catch up with him.

9bfa7138-9fc5-4651-8dc0-85af58eaa2eaOllie Akehurst and Nicole de Barra both put in mature performances as Joe’s parents. Nicole’s vocals were warm and confident, and she exuded both humour and heartbreak as the mother desperate to see her son make good.

Ollie was also excellent as Joe’s dad.

His early death at the beginning of the show left him a spectral onlooker commentating with a real sense of humanity at crucial points in the plot. Willing his son to do the right thing, but unable to intervene in his fate, Ollie’s performance drew the two story lines together and he had the right physical presence for the role.

Both Joes were also well cast. Matt Abel brought out the vulnerability which Bad Joe kept hidden behind his tough-guy exterior and had a sweet timbre to his voice which drew sympathy for him even when his choices were so obviously wrong.

And Rhys Harmour was equally impressive as Good Joe – handsome and with a good voice, he made for an appealing and credible hero, even when the world was exacting too hard a price for his teenage escapade.

On Friday night Sarah, Joe’s girlfriend, was played by Ella Scott, a role she had shared through the run with Grace de Souza.

Ella, who looks a little like a young Sandy Shaw, was excellent in a role which demanded not only a great voice, but some real acting ability as she played through the different paths life took her with each of her Joes.

Our_House (41)And she was particularly good in the final scene which saw her on the one hand realise that the man she had married was a loser, and on the other a joyous bride who had found the love of her life against all the odds.

The darker themes of the plot were nicely contrasted by the comic elements provided by Joe and Sarah’s trio of friends.

Joe’s mates were the hilarious Henry Lagrange as Emmo, Jack Chartlon Nevitt as Crusher and Juno Phitidis, who absolutely captured the matey-but-gormless trio.

And equally impressive were ‘the girls’ played by Megan Parsons, Tia Bertlett and Olivia Ody. Their comic timing was spot-on and their differences in size made for some lovely moments of physical comedy.

Reecey, the villain of the piece, was in the assured hands of Alex Mustard.

He started the evening a thug, full of swaggering menace, but by the end of the show his beaten-up appearance made it clear he wasn’t quite the hard man he thought he was, and his performance brought out the pathetic element behind the loser’s bluster.

Cel Steptoe as the land-grabbing – and secretary grabbing – Mr Pressman was hilarious. His camel coat and lap-cat screamed ‘villain’ and his sneering interchanges with Miss-on-the-make Hope Fuller were a joy.

But Our House is a real ensemble piece and it was clear that the hours and hours of after-school and weekend rehearsals had been time very well spent indeed.

The foot-stomping tunes lend themselves to some great dances moves and the entire support cast threw themselves into some impressive and step-perfect numbers with a confidence and brio that had the audience tapping along.

There were some lovely vignettes too, not least from Hooray Henry Callum played by Tom Axtell.

But what went on on-stage was only half the story – the other half was the superb musical support from the orchestra under Mr Heatley.

Sackville is blessed not only with terrifically talented musicians amongst its pupils, but also several adults who support the orchestra, and it was lovely to see such a diverse group coming together to create a great show.

Special thanks were paid to Anna Cooper who arranged all the show’s music for strings, and also to Edina Barczi-Bennett who had travelled from Eastern Europe to there.

And I don’t know who Mr Forsyth is, but his dad plays great trumpet.

But any school production is about more than “just” the show – it is also about showcasing the whole ethos of the school, and the spirit of excellence in this instance went right down even to the ushering done by some of the very youngest pupils who were confident, polite and clear in seating a large crowd of adults.

On this showing, the whole Sackville community can be as proud of itself as its headmaster so obviously is – and may I express my own thanks for being invited along.

It was a real pleasure.

Geraldine Durrant 





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February 10th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

SIR Nicholas Soames joined MPs and head teachers from across West Sussex, and West Sussex County Council, at a meeting with Education Minister Sam Gyimah at Parliament on Monday, in the latest in a series of meetings MPs have held with Ministers.

It was interventions from West Sussex MPs that helped ensure the Conservative commitment to reviewing the school funding formula is being implemented with a consultation on the new system imminent.

This was however the first occasion on which school heads were able to emphasise directly to the Minister how vital they believe it is that fairer funding is implemented and that either the changes take place with the minimum of delay or interim funding is established to bridge to the new formula.

Jules White, Head Teacher of Tanbridge House School, Horsham said: “We were pleased to have the opportunity to state the case for a much improved long term funding formula. To that end, we were able to echo the long held views of school leaders and local MPs that any formula must provide a much fairer deal for every pupil in West Sussex. The Minister confirmed that a consultation will be launched very soon on a new formula which should be fairer and more transparent for every child in England. This should greatly help every child in West Sussex.

“We also raised the key point relating to substantial interim funding for West Sussex schools. In particular, our concerns relating to staffing levels and the need to be able to invest adequately in bare essentials such as books, equipment and computers were made.

“We also made powerful points relating to some brand new cost pressures that are linked to unfunded pension and national insurance contributions. These have pushed all of our budgets to breaking point.

“During the meeting local MPs also made a concerted effort on our behalf and we are, again, grateful for their input. The final outcome of the meeting is, however, uncertain. We are pleased that the Minister agreed to consider our request for interim funding in more detail, but no final decision was made.”

After the meeting Sir Nicholas tweeted “Useful meeting between the Education Minister, Heads and local MPs on future funding and serious transition issues. Powerful casework to do.”

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February 5th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

SACKVILLE’S Year 10 students have enjoyed a webcast of The Cosmic Classroom from the International Space Station with Sussex astronaut Tim Peake.

The lesson was an hour long and Tim taught students about microgravity, the physiological effects of space flight and what space food really smells and tastes like.

He also demonstrated dissolving fizzing vitamin tablet in a floating sphere of water.

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Lashing rain saw the Sackville underpass flooded, so pupils were escorted over the road by teachers in High Vis Jackets
January 28th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE subway next to Sackville school school was flooded in the 36 hours up to lunchtime today, forcing teachers to don hi-vis  jackets to escort students safely across the across the road at the start and end of school.

Head teacher Julian Grant said that with the A22 a barrierbetween the school and the route home for the majority of students, either on foot or catching buses, the staff had no option but to make sure they were able to cross safely.

“With 1600 students it was quite an operation,” he said, ” and I would like to thank the many motorists who waited patiently, the staff who helped and, of course, the students who were fantastic.”

The water was cleared at lunchtime today and, weather permitting, all should be well tomorrow.

Photo: Staff  pictured above are, l – r,  Julian Grant, Adrian De Souza and Paul Street. Students are Jorden Hicks and Elise Flude.


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January 28th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

SAINSBURY’S  popular Active Kids promotion is back at its East Grinstead store until 3 May with collectible vouchers which local schools, groups and clubs use to exchange for sports and cooking equipment, and experiences.

Customers receive one voucher for every £10 they spend in supermarkets and one voucher for every £5 they spend in convenience stores.

Over the years the scheme has grown and expanded to help inspire healthy eating for children and includes items of cooking equipment to get them involved. There is also a range of free Cooking and Nutrition Toolkits, endorsed by the British Nutrition Foundation, which are available to teachers to help children learn about a balanced diet.

This year the scheme has a new strand to it, the Taste Buddies Challenge, which has been introduced to help parents try new foods with their children. Over 50% of children are more likely to try new foods when they help cook it themselves, and exclusive recipes  for parents to cook and try at home with their kids, have been created and are available on the Active Kids website.

Marco Sarro, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s East Grinstead, said: “The Active Kids scheme is a brilliant way for our colleagues to support schools, groups and clubs in our local area. We love visiting local organisations and seeing the benefits the equipment and experiences have brought to the children. This year there’s a lot to be excited about and my colleagues are looking forward to supporting the scheme.”

For more information on the Active Kids scheme and this year’s Paralympic Challenge please visit



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January 27th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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January 27th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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January 27th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

Above:The watchtower at Birkenau, taken by Henry Grub

TODAY is the UK’s Holocaust Memorial Day, and to commemorate it Imberhorne School has conducted an education project to teach its students the lessons that can be learned from the Holocaust.

In November, two students, Henry Grub and Niamh Herrett in Year 13, visited Poland as part of the Lessons from Auschwitz (LFA) programme they are taking part in, run by the Holocaust Educational Trust.

They visited the Polish town of Oświęcim, which the Nazis renamed in WWII to a more German-sounding Auschwitz.

After visiting the largely intact Auschwitz I, they moved onto Auschwitz II, better known as Birkenau, the infamous death camp.

Birkenau is a large site, but is now mostly empty, as the Nazis demolished many of the buildings.

IMG_2758Walking down the railway tracks, they had a ceremony by candlelight conducted by a London Rabbi, who spoke about the ethical issues facing the world today. The candles were then dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and left on the railway tracks in the dark.

As part of their LFA project, the pair then had to produce a “Next Steps” campaign, to disseminate the knowledge and lessons they had learned from their visit, and two seminars in London.

Henry and Niamh are currently delivering assemblies to all 1600 students at Imberhorne. They are visiting Meridian FM at 18:15 today to discuss their message with the whole East Grinstead community, and have also written an article for the school newspaper.

And in December, Bergen-Belsen survivor Professor Löb visited the school to give his testimony to Year 12s.

This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day is Don’t stand by.

“The Holocaust can teach us  profound lessons today, for it is actions of ordinary people which can help to ensure an event like this never occurs again,” said Henry.

Niamh explained: “Auschwitz teaches us to challenge acts of prejudice or discrimination, in wider society and in our local communities.

“We must also promote tolerance of others by recognising the role every member plays in the town. We should learn to say ‘I disagree’ with what we are exposed to – by accepting intolerance, it will grow, just like it did in the 30s before WW2.”

Henry added: “We can be involved in the democratic process of the UK and we should exercise this, because we need to ensure that we influence the government’s role in global events. It must not be forgotten the Nazis started out life as an ordinary political party but, because they were not held to account by the public, they worked their way into a position of ultimate power.

“By making sure we engage in our democracy, we keep it as a democracy – and keep it free and fair for the generations which will come after us.”

George Santayana once said Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

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REIS20150813A Ian Stratton East Grinstead.
A-level results day at Imberhorne School, East Grinstead 
Picture Shows:
Students at the school

January 26th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

Photos: great results mean more students than ever have taken up university places

IMBERHORNE has cause to celebrate this month’s performance tables as results show a record year for  A level results, improvements in all areas and the largest number of students taking up university places as a consequence.

In Key Stage 4, the new accountability measure called Progress 8 captures the progress students of all abilities make from entering the school to the end of Year 11 in eight different subjects, said spokesman Paula Hattam.

“We are pleased to say that our Progress 8 score is very good.  Progress in the EBacc subjects, Science, the Humanities and Languages is judged to be exceptional.  We are delighted, and would like to take this opportunity to once again congratulate students for their hard work and commitment.

“Performance tables have, in recent years, become increasingly difficult to interpret because of new ‘first entry’ rules and the discounting of some qualifications.  Whilst ALL results count for students only some are included in performance tables.  We draw conclusions about our performance from BEST entry data rather than first entry data.”

Photos Ian Stratton


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January 26th, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

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January 23rd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

A party of Sackville’s business and German students have visited Berlin, where they made a trip to see the Bundestag, the German Parliament building, and saw the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

During their visit some of the youngsters did work experience in placements  ranging from a Gymnasium (a secondary school) to a pharmaceutical factory.

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January 22nd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

THE GCSE league tables published yesterday put Sackville in the county’s ‘top ten’ schools for the excellence of its results.

Sackville was ranked ninth in the county with 72% of its pupils achieving 5 A*-C grades in their GCSEs, including English and Maths.

Headteacher Julian Grant said  “I am extremely proud of the Sackville community in this fantastic achievement. Students, teachers, support staff, parents and governors are all to be congratulated on their fine, dedicated work.

“Performance tables give parents a wealth of information and need to be handled with caution, but it’s great to see both secondary schools in the town achieving above average results in key areas. Well done East Grinstead!”



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January 22nd, 2016 by eastgrinsteadonline

TOM Newman, Tom Clare and Harry Shorland, who are all Year 11 pupils at Imberhorne, have received invitations to attend the Dallas Cup Football Tour in America in March as part of their involvement with the Kinetic Football Foundation.

The Kinetic Foundation is focused on helping young people through providing support and activities which develop their skills and capabilities to enable them to integrate into society as independent, mature and responsible individuals.

Meanwhile Year 13 students Henry Grub and Niamh Herrett also have something to celebrate, after receiving offers from the University of Oxford to commence undergraduate degrees in September.

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