Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week was before half term.  We raised awareness about our innate mental health through mindfulness tips every day, emailed to all students and staff.

Mindfulness is just about noticing and observing feelings, thoughts and physical sensations. Not DOING anything about them, but just becoming more aware.

So the tips included:

– breathing techniques: the simplest thing you can take notice of

– body scan: to become aware of how we feel physically

– sitting and listening: noticing everything going on around us for a minute or two

These tips will be posted around school, as little reminders for us to take a moment to check in with ourselves, especially during the busy exam period

Iterative Design And Testing

As part of the reformed A level in Product Design, our students undertake new projects.  They have taken inspiration from flowers, nature and Tom Raffield – a prominent young designer who believes in sustainability and organic design.

The images show great use of iterative design and testing to reach a final outcome which is expected at GCSE and A-Level more prominently now than ever before.

Moors The Merrier

Y12 students recently travelled to Haworth, Yorkshire, the home of the most celebrated family in English literature, the Bronte sisters.

Charlotte, Emily and Anne Bronte all lived quite foreshortened lives and were never comfortable in literary circles, yet produced, all writing around one table of a modest Yorkshire parsonage, novels which exert great influence to this day, particularly ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Jane Eyre’.

Our visit centred on the Bronte family home, the Parsonage, which now serves as a visitor centre, museum and hub for academic studies of the sisters’ novels. With lectures on literary and historical context, critical interpretations  and a tour of the Parsonage punctuated by an ice cream here and a cream tea there, our group embarked on an intrepid eight mile hike on the moors, a landscape which permeates  ‘Wuthering Heights’.

An exhaustive quiz in the youth hostel in the evening, on what the group had gleaned from the day’s activities, confirmed that they were all Bronte experts-in-waiting and prepared for the rigours of the English Non-examined Assessments. All that remained was a trip on a steam train on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway line and the warm embrace of family at Stevenage station.

Views From Above

We have been going through some of the old records of the school and thought it was worth sharing three photos of the school which show how we have expanded over the years.

The first, black and white, shot was in the 70s after the swimming pool and sixth form/humanities block were added.  The second was most likely taken during the late 70s or early 80s and the last one was once we expanded to an All-through School.

Lots of changes but also the main layout remains and the school has been refurbished extensively!

*Many thanks to Miss Craik (former pupil and current staff member) for identifying the dates more clearly for us.*

Y13 Psychology Revision – Evaluation Boosting Games

As the exams draw ever closer Y13 Psychologists are doing all they can to fix all-important research in their memories to improve the quality of their evaluations.

Sarah & Caitlin have attended the psychology drop-in support group all year creating fantastic revision resources which has been helping them to improve their own recall. This week we’ve been playing them in class to support everyone. Take a look at their ‘Guess Who’ (yes – they are real sets they got from charity shops), where they have made a different set for every topic area and Top Trumps which cover key studies and theories.

Fantastic work girls!

DipLCM Students 2018

Congratulations to Y13 students Fenner, Emily, Rose and Lizzie. They have all just heard they have been awarded the DipLCM – a Level 4 Diploma from the London College of Music. Yes they now have letters after their name…….

This is a huge deal for them and recognition of the standard of musician that they have become. The standard is very high and I am delighted with what they have achieved. Their teacher Clare Taylor also needs credit for getting them through the high pressure performance exam!

They are now in the very select club of Diploma musicians that we have had at Simon Balle over the years.

SBBB At Blackpool Tower Ballroom

The Simon Balle Big Band recently performed at the world famous Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Invited to perform at the UK Coach Rally Dinner and Dance, the band were fabulous in this iconic venue. They held the venue and audience for an amazing evening of Big Band tunes and popular dancing numbers.

The standard performed was amazing and the musicians were praised by all who were there – few could believe it was a school band.

To perform at this wonderful venue is testament to the quality of the band and music at Simon Balle School. Walking onto the stage at the ballroom is something the musicians will never forget.

Some Achieve Greatness!

The English Department recently challenged the whole school to answer some fiendish questions about characters from Shakespeare’s plays, places the plays are set and a missing words round, including identifying which female character this actor was playing in the original practices production at the Globe Theatre.

Congratulations to the winners:

Y13 Jake Orpin, Y9 Charles Winterton and Y7 Adele Pereira.

Special Commendation goes to staff winner Mrs Cornell!