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Local schoolboy wins Scientist of the Year

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A local schoolboy has won the Key Stage 2 Scientist of the Year at a science fair organised at the University of Surrey this week.

Run by the multi-academy GLF Trustm students from a range of local primary and secondary schools competed in years groups head to head to be named Scientist of the Year.

Max Barr of Salfords Primary School was named winner for his Key Stage with a project on how to make gases at home.

Winner of the other Key Stages were:

Sophia Briscoe, of Merstham Primary School, for Key Stage 1 Primary Scientist of the Year for her work on the subject of whether boys are completely hygienic.

The Key Stage 3 winners were Faith Walker, Poppy Wigley and Elsie Wright from The Beacon Secondary School on the taste of coffee.

Hillcroft School pupils at the Science Fair

The event was held at the prestigious venue on Wednesday when the university’s Professor Jim Al Khalili was one of the key note speakers along with Jo Fox, US Space Ambassador and head of Spacefund.

Each school, all members of the multi-academy GLF Trust, held its own science fair prior to this week’s final to choose a winning project and runner-up for the university date. Pupils had worked on their own projects at home in order to take part in the event.

“The standard of children’s science projects this year were exceptionally high. It was amazing to see so many excited and engaged children enjoying science and sharing their love of this awesome subject with others,” said Tom Holloway, GLF Primary Science Leader.

Subjects chosen by the students ranged from how to make gases at home to the chemical composition of coffee and a number of businesses and organisations gave up their time to help with the event.

“It would not have been possible without the support of so many, including Pfizer, Atkins, SES Water, Pirbright Institute and Electronic Arts,” added Mr Holloway.

The KS1 winner was Sophia Briscoe, of Merstham Primary School; KS 2 was Max Barr, of Salfords Primary School with a project on how to make gases at home. The KS3 winners were Faith Walker, Poppy Wigley and Elsie Wright from The Beacon Secondary School on the taste of coffee.

The complete list of schools taking part:
Chestnut Park Primary School
Cuddington Croft Primary School
Danetree Primary School
Hammond Junior School
Lime Tree Primary School
Lorraine and Pine Ridge schools
Marden Lodge Primary School
Salfords Primary School
Warlingham Village Primary School
Windmill and Wheatfied Primary School
Whyteleafe Primary School
Hillcroft Primary School
Merstham Primary School
Cordwalles Junior School
Southgate Primary School
Lightwater Primary School
The Beacon secondary school
de Stafford School

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Education

Thomas Bennett Teachers vote to strike

99% of the voters elected for strike action.

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Thomas Bennett teachers vote overwhelmingly for strike action over funding cuts and job losses

Teachers working at Thomas Bennett Community College in Tilgate, Crawley have voted to take strike action. Members of the National Education Union (NEU), voted by 99% in favour of the action, with a turnout of 89%. The school, operated by The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) has threatened to make teachers redundant and make drastic funding cuts to areas such as support for children with special educational needs (SEN).

Regional Secretary, Paul McLaughlin said:

“This overwhelming result shows the enormous strength of feeling that members have over this devastating issue. We’re calling on the employer to come to the table with serious plans to save this school, otherwise we will be forced to take significant action.”

This follows a recent public meeting where 150 members of the school community including parents, pupils and staff came together with local councillors to oppose these plans by the academy trust.

The union has confirmed that any action will be non-disruptive of exams.

Local Representative and English Teacher in the school, Alex Ramiz said:

“Through this ballot result our members are sending a clear message to The Kemnal Academies Trust that they do not accept their outrageous proposals for running our school into the ground. They will take strike action unless TKAT come up with a more workable solution.”

NEU Regional Officer, Glenn Kelly added:

“TKAT have choices. They have £7 million of reserves they can use to save this school; the Chief Executive is paid £165,000 a year and they can renegotiate the terms of their PFI contract which costs £1 million per year. So far, they have been unwilling to consider these alternatives, and prefer to make our members redundant instead. These decisions would leave vulnerable children in the school without adequate levels of support.”

Angela Newman of the Crawley Community Action Group, a parent led body formed to help fight the cuts to the school, stated;

“I am one of the many parents who are concerned about Thomas Bennett and are determined to save the school. I want to speak up to say that we fully support the teachers who have balloted for action. It’s a shame that it has to get to this but, like us parents they are motivated only to save our school and to be able to provide the children with the education they deserve.”

Peter Lamb, Leader of Crawley Borough Council said:

“As the teachers said at the meeting last week, if you want to prevent the cuts to the school we need to be ready to stand together to defend our children’s education.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“It’s perfectly understandable and right that teachers at Thomas Bennett should highlight concerns about the future of the community college and I call on the academy trust who runs the school to respond fully to these worries so that pupils and parents can be assured for the future”

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