School Log June 2014

As regular readers will know we are in the midst of planning our 25th anniversary celebrations.  You are all invited to come along and join in the fun during the afternoon and evening of Saturday 27th September.  The Takeley Sports and Social Club will be open for drinks (and comfort breaks!).There will be side stalls, food, live music and fun.  We hope it will be a real community celebration and look forward to seeing you there.

We like to keep ourselves busy,; this term has been no exception. Year 5 and 6 students visited the Houses of Parliaments, Year 10 Geography students went to Walton on the Naze to complete Geography field work, the upper juniors visited the Essex Schools Food and Farming Day at Writtle College, Year 9s took part in a sponsored walk to Hatfield Forest to raise awareness and money for Mercy Ships and Mad Science recently came in to run an assembly for us.

Looking forward, we have Sports Day, our Leavers Assembly, a trip to Boydells Farm, a trip to a Potter’s, and our  residential trip to Oakwood Youth Challenge Centre in Wokingham.

We do have spaces in certain year groups from September 2014. So if you would like to know more about our school, please look at our website our thriving Facebook Community or contact the office on 01279 871182.

School Log May 2014

As I sit down to write this, we have just had our Open Day. Last weekend we had our envisioning day and last night we had a quiz night. Our school truly involves the whole family! If you missed our open day, don’t worry, just get in touch.

This month we were able to send the proceeds of our Readathon to Stand By Me to help children in Nepal.

We had an international day organised by the pupils to celebrate the nations represented at our school. Pupils brought in representative foods and dressed up in the costumes and colours of their nation. So, I was impressed to register a Viking and be offered a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, be taught how to count in Chinese, eat Hungarian cake and enjoy Haggis. It was also a revelation how many traced family back to France and Germany and one to a Paraguayan indian. Madagascar was represented, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe as well as one child who claimed to be a descendant of the Finnish aristocracy. Once again we experienced extreme creativity.

I am sure you will join me in affirming all the youngster who are just about to do exams. Life is more important than exams. You are valued for who you are and loved by God. This is the most important thing. I pray that you will know peace and wisdom and be able to do your best.

Work hard and rest hard. Eat well and drink lots of water! Work smart and exercise. Be active in your learning and write stuff down.

You are more valuable than any exam certificate you will receive.

 

School Log April 2014

Year 9 Shadow Play

Year 9 Shadow Drama

At the time of writing the sun is shining, the sky is blue and we are enjoying some down time after what has been a very full half term. Our drop-in Open Afternoon on Wednesday 2nd April proved to be very popular with prospective families.  Don’t worry if you missed it, our next Open Day is on Saturday 10th May – 10 am until 1pm.  Alternatively, please telephone the school office to arrange a tour at a mutually convenient time.

The Eisteddfod Festival was amazing.  Congratulations to everybody involved in this festival of culture and to everybody who attended.  Well done to Year 9 for winning the Group Performance Section with an incredible shadow drama á la Attraction from Britain’s Got Talent.  Caroline from Year 7 was our overall winner and was crowned Bard.

The hard work truly paid off and we all felt very proud. Our Lower Juniors visited the Mayfield Farm Bakery, meeting the baker Nick Anderson and learning all about the history of the bakery, before trying their hand at some bread making.  Our Upper Juniors met with Chris Simons at the Broad Oak Farm Sausage Factory.  After an enlightening tour of the factory they came away with different sausages to cook and share in school.  Yum!

The Senior School were also busy during the term – Year 8 visited a teapot factory and made teapots; Year 10 visited the NEC Birmingham for The Big Bang Young Scientists and Engineering Fair; Year 10 and 11 French and History students enjoyed a long weekend in France and finally, at the end of the term, our Year 10 Spanish students had a week-long visit to Spain.

In the middle of it all, a surprise afternoon tea party was held to celebrate Emlyn and Sue’s 25th wedding anniversary.  Sneaky!

The Friends of The Christian School (Takeley) are holding a Quiz Night on Saturday 10th May.   Tickets cost £7 per person and include a chicken or fish and chip supper.  Bring your own drink and nibbles.  If you can get together a team of no more than 8 people and fancy testing your brain cells, please telephone the school office on 01279 871162 for a booking form and further information.

Headmaster’s Log January 2014

We hope everybody had a peaceful festive season.  As in many schools’ December is a busy month.

December started with our choir singing traditional carols at the Takeley Farmers’ Market; thank you to everybody who came along to support them and the market.  A team of parents and staff were kept extremely busy providing breakfasts from the kitchen and some of our students’ ran additional stalls.  There was a lovely atmosphere and we are incredibly proud of everybody who contributed in some way.

Monday 9th December was our Christmas Bazaar. Pupils are given the opportunity to buy gifts for 50p each and then take advantage of our free gift wrapping service.  Our wonderful volunteer parents wrapped 165 gifts – an incredible number of a school of our size.

Thank you to everybody who came to our Carol Service during the evening of the 13th December.  The touching service saw us enjoy readings from students throughout the school.  To finish off the evening mulled wine, hot chocolate and seasonal nibbles were served in the main school building.

Our infant and junior school decided to write their own nativity play.  Featuring Dr Who, as well as characters from Star Wars we learnt that although many try to save to the world, Jesus was born to be the one true Saviour.  In addition to writing it, the pupils made all the props (including a Tardis); their hard work and imagination made us all very proud when they performed it at our end of term Christmas Concert.

Our Christmas Concert is an opportunity to celebrate the musical talents some of our students have and in addition to the junior school play we saw a senior school play.  For two days the senior students had been in teams, practising the same play in preparation for auditions.  Everybody performed the play in front of a judging panel and the best of each character went forward to the final performance.  A truly entertaining afternoon was finished off with refreshments and home –made cakes.

Looking forward to 2014 we have a Bag2School collection booked for the 28th January.  The funds raised from this collection will go towards our 25th Anniversary celebrations.  Open to everybody and working with the Takeley Sports and Social Club we will be celebrating this special occasion on Saturday 27th September.  Please put the date in your diary.  If you would like to get involved with the planning, be a sponsor or just ensure you are kept up to date with the details, please email 25years@tcst.org.uk

This year’s Easter Extravaganza is our very own Christian School Eisteddfod.  The original Eisteddfod is an annual Welsh festival of literature, music and performance dating back to the 12th century.  We are holding our own school Eisteddfod in which pupils compete in a number of different categories including music, drama and dance, art, recitation and ‘other’ which covers everything from puppeteering and cake decorating to film making and stop-frame animation.

We will be holding auditions with performances taking place on the evenings of Wednesday 26th and Friday 28th March.  Tickets will go on sale shortly.

We have had great pleasure in welcoming more new pupils this term and some of our year groups are full.  If you are interested in the school, please don’t wait until our next Open Day; contact the school office on 01279 871182 to arrange a tour or look at the admissions page.

Headmaster’s Log May 2013

Our Open Morning was a great success with lots of interest; in particularly attracting the attention of younger pupils. We look forward to welcoming more new families to our school in the future. In the meantime we have had the pleasure of welcoming new pupils to our Junior School and Year 7 already.

We are a busy school; this month saw the Year 10 geography pupils experiencing a river themed field trip on the Chelmer for their GCSE and Years 7 to 9 enjoying a Geography field trip to Hatfield Forest.

The first GCSE exams are here. Watching our Year 11 pupils strive to do their best is an exciting yet nerve-wracking time. In such a small and nurturing school environment we can guide and support them every step of the way – all the way to the door of the exam room – and then again after the exam. We pray they all achieve their goals and commend them for the hard work they are putting into their studies.

Headmaster’s Log April 2013

When I wrote last we were looking forward to a number of events. And it has to be said that none disappointed. The seniors had a wonderful time at the Globe. It was a modern production of Romeo and Juliette and painfully cold but by all accounts enjoyed. The trip to Spain lived up to expectations and this year included colourful celebrations of Holy Week with men in pointy hats and statues being paraded through the streets. The juniors enjoyed their extravaganza at the Albert Hall and thank you Takeley Primary for you kind invitation to see Philip Ardagh.

But surely the highlight was the Esther production. Not only was the singing talent fantastic but the quality of the production was excellent and we have to thank Bishops Stortford High School for the loan of the lights and sound system. For those of you who saw it I wonder if you realised that the whole thing was written by members of the school using popular tunes and some tunes composed by the children. I think the quality was astonishing and what heartens me is that all the seniors were involved.

I have to report that the last week of term was very busy for a surprising reason; we had lots of potential new pupils visiting. On the 27th April we have an open day but a number of people seem to be jumping the gun. We still have places in Year 7 and we would love to see many more children able to attend our school so, if you would like to have a look around and a have a chat do come along.

Headmaster’s Log February 2013

Today, Shrove Tuesday, saw us all celebrating the eating of pancakes. This is an occasion when the whole school comes together. Our main school building is stuffed full of children and staff having fun.

The school has a house system where children gather together for one lunch a week and pray for one another and share across the age groups. At this time of the year we encourage each house to do as many new things as they can and challenge each other. Books are read, stories written, meals cooked, lengths swum and new after school activities tried. It is also the time of year when I gain more weight as I have to try and verify every cake and cheese scone my class cook!

I think I will have to dig out our healthy eating policy.

Despite our enjoyment of food, our children continue to excel in running. Khai won the Essex Schools Country race for Under 13 girls! She is the first person to win for North-West Essex, it seems. Khai pulled away as the race went on and she had a good lead by half way and won quite comfortably. Her time was more than a minute ahead of the second placed girl. She has now been selected along with the top 8 finishers to represent Essex on 16th March in Derby.

In the Essex Primary Cross Country Race at Hylands Park on 4th February, Lila, Millie, Grace, Nadia, Khai and Thomas all ran so well! We have two athletes from our school through to represent Essex in the South East England Inter Counties Cross Country Championships on Saturday 23rd March. Again this will be at Hylands Park, Chelmsford. Khai came 5th, whilst being really unwell, and Lila came 14th in her race.

This half term Our Year 10s and 11s are going to Northern France on a History and French trip. They are going to visit sites to do with the last World War.

We are planning for World Book Day and an Open Morning in April. Surprisingly we are continuing to get applications from local families even this late in the school year and are pleased to show families around our school at any time. Please take a look at our web site or make an appointment and pop in for a chat.

Headmaster’s Log January 2013

Well we are stuck into the new year and the Y11s are labouring at their GCSE Modules. This will be the last time this will happen as from now on there will be one examination date in May and June and no opportunity to sit early or retake. Just like the old days; yes but our exam culture has moved on so much. I think our children will need a lot of support and understanding to cope with this rapid change in the way things are done.
The holidays were a welcome break in the cycle of sickness and hopefully you have all had time to recuperate. Looking out at the ice and snow it is nice to see that the season has at last changed. Hopefully some of the nasties will be killed off! In such a small school we really notice when children are ill and absent.
This term we are looking forward to more endurance racing for Year 7 and 8, Bishop’s Stortford College’s Literary Festival and going tree planting with the Woodland Trust in the Jubilee Wood in Wethersfield. And of course there is Pancake day. We seem to remember St Pancake more than the season the day heralds and so this term we have been looking at the Ten Commandments and realising the importance of reflection and forgiveness. For some, it’s going to be a revelation to hear the story of Salvation for the first time.

Headmaster’s Log October 2012

We are well in to the Autumn term now and there is a definite chill in the air. Earlier this term we welcomed friends from Nyköping, Sweden. Nyköping is a town near Stockholm with an airport flown to by our favourite budget airline. In this town there just happens to be a Christian School similar to our own called “Fokusskolen”. For a number of years we have been in informal contact with one of the teachers at this school and as we wrote last year we decided to take the relationship further.

And so we were pleased to welcome a class from their school to spend the day with us. There was a morning of team building games, a whole school lunch and a chance for the Swedish students to share our playtimes and lessons. Friendships were quickly made and pen friends chosen. It was decided not to use email as we wanted to emphasise the specialness of a handwritten letter. Our next project will be to visit them!

This term also saw the start of endurance running training for the pupils. With two girls already excelling as long distance runners in their own rights, we look forward to our tiny school having success in regional schools’ competitions.

This is the time of year we give thanks for harvests. The juniors this term wrote and took an assembly focussing on the work of Harvest For the Hungry. Harvest for the Hungry are based in Chelmsford and send provision boxes to the needy in Eastern European countries. We sent our boxes to join with other schools throughout our region.

Headmaster’s Log September 2012

You won’t find The Christian School (Takeley) in any league tables; we are too small. And yet this tiny independent school, with pupils from across the region has excelled again. Last week we celebrated A level results from two pupils who sat them in Year 11 and gained all A or A* grades in their AS and A2 units. The school does not have a sixth form, but has a tradition of allowing pupils to sit AS and A levels if they are ready.
This June, six pupils were entered for GCSEs in Year 11. Two of these pupils have been in the school since their junior years, while the others joined in Year 7 or just to do their GCSEs. The results were fantastic with everyone achieving their best.

The statistics will not be available through the league tables but everyone celebrated.

54% of the GCSE grades gained by our six pupils were As or A*s and 90% were C or above. 83% of the pupils gained five A* to C grades including Maths, English and Science. Four of the six were awarded the English Baccalaureate. Everyone achieved what was expected and most results exceeded the predictions given by independent tests .

But what we are proud of is the hard work the pupils put in and what a credit they are to the school. Each has a very special character and each, I believe, will be make a positive contribution to their community as they grow into adulthood. One of the pleasures we have each year is reading the reports employers feedback to us about the pupils who go on work experience. They regularly comment on the excellent work ethic; the friendliness and helpfulness;  the ability to work both in a team and independently; and the initiative of these young people.

Some things you can’t measure but are of lasting value. And haven’t we learned this from this summer of Olympics and the Paralympics?

On Friday 7th September the pupils of the Christian School (Takeley) were privileged to visit the Paralympics and watch the finals of the women’s Goalball. The event took place in the Copper Box, a legacy venue, clad in copper.

Everything was special, from the good humour of the Games Makers, through to the almost theatrical procession to the Olympic Park and the majestic venues. Everything seemed to shout, ‘This is good!’

Goalball is a game for those with sight impairment and is played blindfolded. A heavy ball with bells is thrown from end to end with the aim of getting passed the opposition and in to their goal. Some of the pupils at the school had attempted to play it themselves and were able to appreciate the need to remain silent while the ball was in play. This adds to the tension amongst the spectators who have to hold in their emotions at the most exciting moments.

The pupils witnessed Sweden trance Finland for Bronze and Japan outmanoeuvre China in an intense match that ended one zero to Japan. There followed an emotional medal ceremony. The Paralympic experience was enjoyed by all and the Olympic site was appreciated for its immensity and beauty both as a built environment and in the inclusion of natural features such as flowers, the river and trees.