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A view from Surrey schools

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 March 2016

Getty Images/Creatas RF

Getty Images/Creatas RF

Archant

This is the part where we hand over to some of the students and staff at leading schools around our county and let them tell you a bit about themselves

ACS Egham International School

Woodlee, London Road (A30), Egham TW20 0HS; 01784 430611; eghamadmissions@acs-schools.com; acs-schools.com

Student: Kamryn Shult - Age: 13

How do the teachers help to make your time at school enjoyable?

They allow us to engage in enjoyable and relevant activities to better understand the topic we are studying. For example, in Individuals and Societies, when we were studying the ancient Romans, we had to make shields and create formations to better understand their fighting style and military strategies.

In what way have you changed as a person during your time there?

I have become more of a risk-taker. I am more willing to try new things in class and in extra-curricular activities, even if I don’t know how it will turn out in the end. For example, I tried out for the MS play, even though I had never done that before.

Tell us about ‘the best day ever’ at your school…

The best day ever at ACS Egham was “Dig Day” in grade 6. It was really fun to dig up artefacts and to work out what those artefacts told us about the culture of the “civilisation” that created them. I also liked it because it gave me a chance to demonstrate my leadership skills when I led our dig team.

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ACS Cobham International School

Portsmouth Road, Cobham KT11 1BL; 01932 869744; cobhamadmissions@acs-schools.com; acs-schools.com

Student: Samantha Peraino - Age: 17

How do the teachers help to make your time at school enjoyable?

I have teachers from a variety of different ethnic backgrounds and nationalities. Because of this, the stories teachers share are incredibly interesting. Teachers are often able to enhance the lesson plans by sharing their own experiences.

In what way have you changed as a person during your time there?

During my time here at ACS, I have matured as a student and as a person. I have gained a work ethic I could not have gotten elsewhere. Every person here takes a rigorous course load such as the IB diploma, the AP diploma or a combination of both. These programmes require dedication to working hard and balancing your workload. I know I’ll be prepared for life after high school and work life.

Tell us about ‘the best day ever’ at your school…

The best day ever at my school happens during the students final year! During the beginning of the school year in Senior year, the leaving students get recognised and we have a breakfast to celebrate. The school also gives us jumpers with our names on it. The senior breakfast day is a fun day full of pictures and laughs and definitely one of my favourite days.

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Barrow Hills School

Roke Lane, Witley GU8 5NY; 01483 683639; info@barrowhills.org; barrowhills.org

Staff: Paul Crisell - Role: Acting headmaster

What is it that that makes teaching at your school so enjoyable?

The friendly, helpful, community atmosphere you find regardless of where you are at Barrow Hills School really makes teaching here enjoyable. The opportunity to use the new technology we have adopted in the form of Samsung tablets throughout the school is great because the freedom you have with the mobile devices is a game changer. I love the flexibility to teach what you want when you want depending on which direction the children’s learning sometimes takes you.

Is there anything that you have learned while teaching there?

Bearing in mind 80% of my career has been at Barrow Hills School, most of what I have learned has been learned there. I have learned never to presume one way of teaching anything will always work. I firmly believe that helping children to gain self-esteem and making them feel valued is the best way to help them learn and make the best all round progress. And finally, I have learned that employees who know managers are genuinely concerned about their happiness and well-being are happier and far more productive.

Tell us the best thing that’s happened during your time at the school…

The recent opening of Barrow Hills Nursery, so we now take children from two to 13 years old. The Nursery opening was one of the proudest moments in my 20 years at Barrow Hills.

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St Catherine’s School

Station Road, Bramley GU5 0DF; 01483 899610; gill.david@stcatherines.info; stcatherines.info

Staff: Alice Phillips - Role: Headmistress

What is it that that makes teaching at your school so enjoyable?

Our Sixth form are fabulous young women! They create an aspirational culture for all the younger girls who look up to them. They lead by example in academics, demonstrating real enthusiasm for their subjects whilst carrying out meaningful roles of responsibility.

Is there anything that you have learned while teaching there?

How important a well-run and established House system is. Our Houses are the ‘family’ at the heart of the school nurturing a sense of belonging and also providing lessons in commitment, loyalty and teamwork. Not least is the sheer joy of being involved in over 20 annual House competitions and events. Happy girls make successful learners.

Tell us the best thing that’s happened during your time at the school…

Two huge development which stand out. The first involves people -The St Catherine’s Association created in 2004 brings together all current and past pupils, staff, parents and friends. There are approximately 7000 members and growing! The second is a new building - The Anniversary Halls offers facilities for sport, music and drama which are second to none.

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Greenacre School

Sutton Lane, Banstead SM7 3RA; 01737 363601; admissions@greenacre.surrey.sch.uk; greenacre.surrey.sch.uk

Staff: Megan Guinan - Role: Maths teacher, Head of Years 8 and 9

What is it that that makes teaching at your school so enjoyable?

The girls themselves! Every student is motivated to get the best results she can, unafraid of being seen to be trying her hardest to succeed. The girls respect the school, the teachers, and their learning - I really feel like they know I’m on their team.

Is there anything that you have learned while teaching there?

Girls can be reluctant to dive in and try a new skill and say they can’t (even when they can!) It is often more a question of confidence than ability.

Tell us the best thing that’s happened during your time at the school…

I was beyond thrilled when my GCSE group all passed their Maths GCSE early, in November of Year 11. They believed they could do it, so they got on and did it! 


Student: Holly Cottam - Age: 12

How do the teachers help to make your time at school enjoyable?

By including a variety of media into their lessons such as video clips and practical experiments. Each has their own style which they apply to lessons and the classes have a great atmosphere.

In what way have you changed as a person during your time there?

I have become more confident and learnt how to manage my time between academic studies and extra-curricular activities.

Tell us about ‘the best day ever’ at your school…

My best day l was probably my final day of year 6. We said goodbye to the Junior School before moving up to Senior School with the challenges that lay ahead. It was an emotional day but we celebrated with parties and games, and the atmosphere was amazing!

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Hazelwood School

Wolfs Hill, Oxted RH8 0QU; 01883 733841; bursar@hazelwoodschool.com; www.hazelwoodschool.co.uk

Student: Tom Richards - Age: 13

How do the teachers help to make your time at school enjoyable?

Teachers are very friendly and you can go to them with any troubles, school related or not. They make classes as fun as possible whilst remaining focused on the topic!

In what way have you changed as a person during your time there?

I have enjoyed developing my friendships with others and taking on leadership responsibilities as I’ve grown up through the school. I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of different groups and events, such as choirs, sports teams and drama productions.

Tell us about ‘the best day ever’ at your school…

My best day ever was during the Year 5 residential where I conquered my fear of heights and then shared good times in the dormitory with my friends over a few bags of sweets!


Staff: James Walton - Role: Assistant head (Lower School)

What is it that that makes teaching at your school so enjoyable?

Working at Hazelwood is so enjoyable because every day is different and the children make it such an exciting place to be. Children are happy and engaged in their learning with lessons full of exciting topics and activities going on all over the school grounds.

Is there anything that you have learned while teaching there?

My time at Hazelwood has reinforced my belief that by presenting inspiring learning opportunities to children, they will challenge themselves to make great strides forwards. Children will take risks with their learning if they feel fully supported in doing so. Through our ‘Purple Octopus’ concept children know that, by developing the right attitudes and growth mindset in their learning, they can achieve great things and flourish in whichever areas they want to.

Tell us the best thing that’s happened during your time at the school…

Best thing that has happened was watching the Year 2’s faces beam when they started our first ever fire during Forest Schools.

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Reigate Grammar School

Reigate Road Reigate RH2 0QS, 01737 222231; info@reigategrammar.org; reigategrammar.org

Student: Kieran Twaites - Age: 13

How do the teachers help to make your time at school enjoyable?

The teachers are fabulous and always supportive, encouraging you to think outside the boundaries, and, when you ask a question outside of the syllabus, they are more than happy to help. They are also very encouraging, pushing you to your limits, whilst making the lessons enjoyable.

In what way have you changed as a person during your time there?

I think everyone changes when they first go to secondary school, but I think generally, I have held on to my desire to protect the world’s wildlife that humanity seems focused on wiping out. I am keen to learn more about my passions, which include Cosmology and Particle Physics. I feel I have gained confidence in taking the knowledge I have learnt and sharing it with the world.

Tell us about ‘the best day ever’ at your school…

There have been many ‘great days’ at my school, the most recent being ‘Sci-Fi Day’ on the last day of the latest half term. That day I presented two talks to the Third Year on Miguel Alcubierre’s warp drive, one method for travelling faster than the speed of light (before going off on a tangent to talk further about Wormholes and White Holes). I really enjoy being able to share this knowledge with other students.


Staff: Caroline Lawson - Job title: Head of Lower School, teacher of Classics

What is it that makes teaching at your school so enjoyable?

It is wonderful to meet new pupils each year, to get to know them and to see them grow and flourish during their time at RGS.

Is there anything that you have learned while teaching there?

It has been an absolute inspiration to see how pupils have moulded their own paths in life and surmounted the challenges that can arise. My motto has become “Aim for the moon and if you fall short you will land among the stars.”

Tell us the best thing that’s happened during your time at the school…

But my favourite highlight of all was when one our new First Form girls stood up in front of the whole school in the final assembly at Christmas and sang Nothing by Whitney Houston, a capella, after only being at the school for three months. When the whole school gave her a standing ovation that brought tears to my eyes.

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