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Crawley College ‘honoured and humbled’ by special visit from children of Chernobyl

It’s the simplest things that can put the biggest smiles on children’s faces.

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That was the lesson for healthcare and childhood studies students at Crawley College last week, as they discovered when they spent a morning with children from Chernobyl.

The students entertained the children, aged from seven to 12, with a number of hands-on activities – from painting to football – and in return were treated to beaming smiles, hugs and songs.

Every year, the children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster visit Sussex for four weeks as a respite break thanks to the charity ‘Friends of Chernobyl’s Children’.

And for the past seven years, students and staff at Crawley College have been working with the charity – providing fun activities as well as fundraising support.

Last year the college raised more than £1,800 for the charity – enough to sponsor two boys to come to the UK this summer.

Lecturer Kirsty Robinson has spearheaded the college’s involvement since 2012. She said:

“Although it has been more than 30 years since the Chernobyl disaster, it still has a massive impact on families from the area.

“For some, they have suffered health problems but many families live in abject poverty as a result of the disaster. The area has never recovered economically and it is hard to imagine what life is like for these children.

“For us, it is humbling. For our students, they have an opportunity to learn about the children and how their lives can be transformed.

“We have the honour and privilege of meeting some truly special young people. It is remarkable.”

Crawley College student Shannon Wilson added:

“I think we all enjoyed the morning with the children from Chernobyl.

“I’ve learnt a lot and I have a lot more knowledge and understanding about how they live, but they are still so happy. I think it puts a lot of things into perspective.”

Sheila Nash is the co-ordinator the Mid-Sussex group for the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children.

She said:

“All of us involved with FOCC Mid Sussex are really grateful for the wonderful support the Crawley College staff and students have given us over the years – both the fun activities they provide for our kids each summer and the amazing fundraising effort last year, which will more than pay for our little twins’ visit this summer and some towards the next year.

“It’s so good that both our children and the Crawley students benefit so much from the link we have created.”

Education

Tilgate Primary School praised by Ofsted

Following a recent Ofsted inspection, The Oaks Primary School and Nursery was judged as continuing to be a good school that is highly ambitious for its pupils.

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The inspection took place on the last Wednesday of the school year in July and the report states that the school has a:

cohesive, knowledgeable and influential team of senior and middle leaders who are highly ambitious for pupils”.

The report also acknowledges how positive the pupils and parents feel about the school:

“Pupils enjoy school. They are enthusiastic, keen and inquisitive learners…(the pupils) said that lessons are fun and make them think hard”. “Parents praised the staff’s efforts to provide children with good opportunities to learn and ensure that they are fully prepared for the next stage of their education. One parent said, ‘My daughter loves the school.’ Parents particularly value the way staff support their children to develop good personal and social skills”.

There is also praise for The Kemnal Academies Trust (TKAT) and the impact of collaborative work between the TKAT schools:

“Leaders at all levels benefit from their collaborative work with The Kemnal Academies Trust. From schools within this multi-academy trust (MAT), leaders meet together to share good practice and update their knowledge”.

Alan Gunn, Headteacher of the school said,

“We are all absolutely thrilled with the report. We have a highly dedicated and skilled staff who are all committed to giving all our children the best possible start to life.

Everyone works very hard to ensure The Oaks is a fantastic place for our children to learn and grow as successful, confident and responsible individuals. I am so proud of our children and the staff and it is great that our efforts have been acknowledged by Ofsted.

The report has highlighted a number of our strengths and that we continue to strive to provide good level of education. It has also confirmed ways that we can continue to improve on to ensure even greater success in the future.”

The full report can be read on the School’s website by clicking here.

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