Simon Balle En Français!

Our Y8 French students have been busy this week creating models of the Simon Balle community, all accompanied with French leaflets or brochures.

Highlights included a replica of the three-storey building made entirely of chocolate sponge, a Simon Balle school prospectus completely in French and even the Simon Balle school website written entirely in French!

Take a look at our photos to see their astounding efforts. The quality of their French written work was highly impressive.

Bon effort! Bravo!

Linguavision 2018

Linguavision, the MFL Y7 singing competition, took place on last Tuesday.

The event, which was hosted by our Y12 language leaders, Alfie G and Liberty N, began with an outstanding performance by the MFL staff and the Y13 language leaders who sang “Avenir” by the French artist Louane. They were ably accompanied by Jessica M and Rose S, who displayed their impressive talents on the saxophone. This was followed by performances from each of the six Y7 forms, each form showcasing their singing prowess in French or Spanish and trying their very best to win the competition.  Some forms even went as far as masterminding a dance routine!

At the heart of the afternoon was the Y2 singing performance. They performed “la fruta”, a song about different types of fruits, without any words to guide them – a truly impressive feat! Their excellent pronunciation and intonation demonstrated what linguists and researchers have always stressed: languages are best learned at a younger age.

All students, including the Y2, were given the chance to vote for their favourite performance. Winners’ medals were awarded to:

  • 7N, for the best Spanish performance, with their song “Sofia” by Alvaro Soler and
  • 7A, for the best French act, with their performance of “Maman” by Louane.
  • Y2 students received MFL postcards thanking them for their participation and beautiful performance.

In order to participate in this event, students had to learn the lyrics of their respective songs by heart, led by their teachers. This was an opportunity for them to acquire new and challenging vocabulary as well as practise pronunciation. Congratulations to all the singers who took part in Linguavision and a big thank you to the staff and students involved in its organisation. They showed resilience, determination …. and a lot of enthusiasm!

Sofia song 7N from Simon Balle on Vimeo.

SBAS Helps Bring Water

Over the past few weeks our students have been hearing in assembly how our fundraising efforts over the year have positively impacted on the lives of the students at our sister school. With the money we raised we have been able to supply a new water pump which pipes clean drinking water directly into Samba Njabeh school for the first time in its history.

Last week we were delighted to receive a wonderful package full to the brim of handwritten thank you letters from our sister school students. Mamadou, one of the students, summed up his appreciation, writing, “Thank you very much for providing our school with clean drinking water. Now we are not going outside to fetch it”.

Margaret, who helped us to establish our sister school link, was lucky enough to be able to attend the turning on of the tap. She tells us, “there was great excitement with some children even pouring it over their heads! It was a great day. In England we take clean water for granted.”

You can see copies two of the letters we were sent via the links below as well as a few of the photos.

Keep your eyes peeled for further fundraising events. We are so proud of the charitable ethos within the SBAS community – what a fantastic outcome!

Gambia letter-head 0318     Gambia letter Helping 0318

Notre Voyage Scolaire À Saint Omer

In February, a group of Y8 students had the opportunity to spend a few days in St Omer, a city full of history and culture which is located in the North of France. Thanks to this experience, students were able to reinforce their classroom-based learning through immersion in the culture and daily rhythms of French life.

Highlights of our trip included linguistic experiences such as town trails and market visits which provided target language-focused opportunities to practise speaking in French with native speakers and to test comprehension and reading skills in French. Students also experienced a range of exciting cultural visits and workshops, including a snail tasting workshop and visits to chocolate, sweet and biscuits producers. The most popular excursion proved to be our visit to Le Touquet and the aquarium Nausicaa, which is the largest European complex entirely devoted to marine life. Students particularly enjoyed watching sea lions practice their skills live and visiting the penguins!

The trip was such an enriching experience, both linguistically and culturally. For some students this was their first time in France, or even abroad, and it was a pleasure to watch them deepen their language skills and grow in confidence whilst interacting with the local people.

Greetings From The Gambia!

Simon Balle has recently received a rather exciting package in the post, all the way from our link school, Samba Njabeh, in the Gambia. Earlier last year, you may recall that some of our students became penfriends with them.

Many of the school children in the Gambia have been busy writing letters to our Simon Balle students. In these letters, they speak of their families, school and the Gambian way of life.

This experience has given us a deep insight into how different, and often difficult, life can be for some of these Gambian children and a chance for our students to reflect on things we may take for granted.

As always, we are committed to ensuring that every Simon Balle student becomes a citizen who embodies our ‘GROUP’ values:

G – Globally aware

R – Respectful

O – Open-minded

U – Understanding

P – Pro-active

Students who are interested in replying to the letters should go to L2 on Wednesday 17th January during lunchtime.

Speaker’s Corner About Our Sister School

Our audience of about 40 students and staff listened with great interest as Miss Rhodes and Miss Wootton spoke about Samba Njabeh school in the Gambia with which we are twinned. Last Easter Miss Riddle (Primary phase teacher) visited the school and led lessons there. At Speaker’s Corner we learned about the setting of the school, how resources are very scarce and how students can only attend in the mornings or in the afternoons as there aren’t enough classrooms, chairs and tables etc. for all who want to attend.

Simon Balle has held a non uniform day recently to raise funds for Samba Njabeh and it is hoped that links between our two schools will strengthen in the months and years to come.  Please take a look below at the powerpoint presentation used.  You can also access a pdf copy of it here.



Paris Trip 2017

Please see below a report about the Y8 trip to Paris written by student Elise Ainge

‘Thirty Y8 students and four teachers set off to Paris for five days in June. We were extremely lucky with the weather and on Wednesday temperatures got up to about 30 degrees – so it was sunglasses and sun cream all round. Over the course of the week we visited many of Paris’ world famous attractions and monuments such as the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Arc de Triomphe, Sacré-Coeur and beautiful gardens like ‘Les Tuileries’ & ‘Le Jardin du Luxembourg’.  Also, the boat trip we took on the Thursday enabled us to get a glimpse of many other beautiful areas that we would not have been able to fit in.

I especially loved the Parisian architecture, particularly the Parisian apartments. We also got to make our own chocolate at a ‘chocolaterie’ which was great fun. Each morning we had French lessons and the best bit of these for me was watching the film ‘Un Monstre à Paris’. The itinerary was very busy and we walked A LOT, but it paid off as it was a unique experience and we got to see a lot of Paris. We even managed to fit in a small shopping opportunity! The accommodation was very modern and the people were very friendly. Overall, the French trip was a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it.’

Miss Riddle In The Gambia

During the Easter break our intrepid Larch Centre colleague, Miss Riddle, took a trip of a lifetime to the Gambia.  While there she visited our sister school Samba Njabeh.

We have interviewed her to find out how her trip went. Please take a look at the gallery of photos below – you can read the transcript of the full interview here.


Bienvenidos A Simon Balle (Welcome To Simon Balle)

This term the Y8 Spanish students have been learning how to speak and write about the Simon Balle community.

They were recently given the challenge of using their iPads to give a virtual tour of the school, using only Spanish, and they have shown themselves to be fantastic Spanish speaking tour guides!

Take a moment to listen to Eleanor (Y8) speaking in Spanish about Simon Balle – ¡Buen trabajo Eleanor!

Mi insti Eleanor from Simon Balle on Vimeo.


Nuestro Viaje A Gránada – Our Trip To Gránada

Last term a group of students in Y8 had the amazing opportunity to spend a week in Gránada, a city steeped in history and culture which is located in the south of Spain. Whilst there, the students attended daily lessons at a Spanish language school and were also able to see and explore all that the city had to offer.

Highlights of our trip included the breath-taking views of the Alhambra from the best viewpoint of the city and a visit to a cured ham factory to taste one of Spain’s most essential tapas ingredients. We also soaked up some Spanish sunshine on the idyllic coastline, admired the works of Spain’s most famous impressionist painter, Pablo Picasso and experienced authentic Flamenco first-hand, in the ancient caves of Sacromonte.

The trip was such an enriching experience, both linguistically and culturally. For some students this was their first time in Spain, or even abroad, and it was a pleasure to watch them deepen their language skills and grow in confidence whilst interacting with the local people. Their classroom Spanish truly came alive! Needless to say, some unforgettable memories we made during our stay en España!

Browse our Gránada photo gallery below. Warning: may cause feelings of jealousy!