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!

New International Link

Here at Simon Balle All-through School we are passionate about our students becoming compassionate, open-minded citizens who are aware of the world around them. Our new initiative, ‘GROUP’, aims to remind and encourage our students to demonstrate these qualities. Have a look through our photos to see what the letters stand for.

A part of our initiative to increase Global Awareness, we are very excited to announce that we have recently twinned with a school in The Gambia, named Samba Njabeh. The Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and our twin school is located in one of its poorest regions. Many of the students there do not own their own pen, pencil or exercise book.

To raise awareness we ran a 50p riddle hunt; students had  to successfully crack the code to reveal the location of the school.  Our next challenge was to raise some much-needed funds. Students and staff donated so that we were able to outline a giant-sized map of Gambia, using only 50 pence pieces. The sense of community spirit was outstanding and we are delighted to announce that we raised £169.57.

One of our Larch Centre colleagues, Miss Riddle, was able to visit The Gambia and Samba Njabeh School during the Easter break. Whilst there she was able deliver some letters that our students had written and to hand over some much needed resources.  Watch this space for further updates!

¡La Cocina Española!

Spanish cooking 5aEl viernes pasado la clase de 7N pasó la clase de español en la cocina! Los estudiantes prepararon una tortilla española, un plato típico de España. Todas las instrucciones eran en español y los estudiantes lograron entender el método sin problemas. Después, pudimos probar la comida y dar nuestras opiniones sobre las tortillas diferentes. 

Además, aprendimos mucho sobre las diferencias entre los hábitos alimentarios en Inglaterra y España.  Como podėis ver en las fotos, nos divertimos mucho. 

Or, for the single-linguists among us:

Spanish cooking 2Last Friday 7N swapped their pens for their pans and spent their Spanish lesson in the kitchen! The students were asked to prepare a typical Spanish omelette (tortilla española), a quintessential part of Spain’s national cuisine and popular tapas dish. And if this wasn’t impressive enough, the equipment, ingredients and cookery instructions were all given in Spanish! 

As you can see from our photos, the tortillas both looked and tasted divine. During the tasting, students were also able to express their opinions on each other’s culinary creations in Spanish.  Jacob was overheard saying “Me gusta la tortilla porque es deliciosa y sabrosa” (I like the omelette because it’s delicious and tasty).  The class also discussed the interesting cultural differences between Spanish and English eating habits. 

Y10 MFL In Cambridge

Please see below a report written by Y10 student Matteo T about a recent MFL trip:

Y10 MFL Cambridge 2016‘On Tuesday 28th June, ten Y10 language GCSE students had the opportunity to visit Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge, where we had an interactive day of languages and got a taster into university courses. This included one lesson based on the language we do at GCSE (French, Spanish, German) taught in the target language and two lessons where we learnt languages that we have never come across before (Portuguese,  Chinese/Russian and Arabic). We also got the opportunity to ask questions about university in general. Overall, everyone enjoyed learning languages with teachers of a very high level and going ‘out of our comfort zone’ to acquire new skills and learn new languages that are spoken all over the world. It was an experience which has taught us a lot and at the end of the day everyone left Cambridge with a smile on their face.’

Y10 MFL House Rap Competition

microphone mfl rapY10 French, Spanish and German students have been competing in a house rap competition on the topic of house, home and local area. The standard of students’ work was outstanding as always, so congratulations to all who took part. Please click on these links to hear some examples:

McMatt & Easy-C 5

Congratulations to the following students who have all received house points for winning in their respective language:

French:  1) Adam Tridgell   2) Darcy Brennan   3) Lucie Blackman

(Commended – Lexie Seiler, Olivia Veale, Daniella Banks, and Anya Daar)

Spanish:  1) Matteo Tontodonati  and Cami Alarcon-Mcallister  2)  Alfie Graham  3) Alexandra Heal  & Maddy Moulder

(Commended – Gregory Wraith and Giles Barnfather)

German:   1) Luke Brown 2) Lily Davis  3) Sebastian Toombs 10A