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The Ellesmere Blog

Hello Sunshine!

on Tuesday, 27 June 2017.

You could be forgiven for comparing the next few weeks at college to a busy international airport with the comings and goings of students on placements, trips, activities and work experiences.

Staff and students have been making the most of the summer sun by moving lessons outside and taking full advantage of the facilities across the site, from the play equipment to the horticultural area and from the 3G pitch to the cycle area.

As always, we experience a time of mixed emotions as we move towards the end of summer term. Although we will be sorry to say goodbye to our Leavers, they have grown and matured throughout their time at school and are ready to tackle new challenges in the outside world. It goes without saying that they will remain a part of our Ellesmere Community and will be welcomed back should they choose to visit.

Similarly, there is excitement in the air as we look to welcome new students across all stages of the college in September. This week we welcomed parents and carers of our new starters for a coffee morning (served by our fantastic Community Café team) and an opportunity to meet some staff members.

Current students are looking forward to experiencing life in their classes for next year on ‘Moving Up’ day, and our Phase Two and Post 16 leavers are looking forward to celebrating the end of the year with their annual Prom. Next week the whole college will be partaking in PSHE day, a day to focus on our Personal, Social and Health Education, and the following week sees the annual Sports Day for all our students.

Finally, we need to welcome our new residents to the Ellesmere community! Peri, Peri, Nugget and Drumstick, our Ellesmere chickens, joined us before half term and are being well looked after by both staff and students, who are working on a rota system to care for and feed the chickens.

 

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Sporting Superstars at Ellesmere College

on Thursday, 06 April 2017.

As we draw ever closer to the Easter break, we take the time to reflect on some of the sporting experiences and achievements within the college over the last few weeks.

On the 27th March, in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and Special Olympics Great Britain, Ellesmere Active organised an Elements festival, offering young disabled people from a number of local schools the opportunity to take part in a number of different activities. These included Motor Activity Training Programme, Outdoor Learning, games and dance. Teachers and teaching assistants had attended a training course with the view of raising standards and opportunities within the school environment, and were mentored on the day by specialist tutors in order to support their provision in school.

The following day saw Ellesmere holding a highly anticipated BMX festival, a culmination of the BMX sessions that have taken place in school throughout the year. Again, students from several local special schools across the city and county gathered to take part. The day was relaxing, yet fun-filled, with activities, race and free play, as well as a special guest appearance from ‘Streetvibe’ and their fun bus with games and music.

As part of our role as a Youth Sport Trust Project Ability Lead School, on Monday 3rd April, Ellesmere College teamed up with four SKY Living for Sport athlete mentors in a joint programme to both inspire young people across the College and to further develop the skills of mentors. Sam Ruddock, Nicola Minichiello, Leon Baptiste and Joe Roebuck were involved in a whole school assembly before supporting students in various tutor groups and lessons*. Mentors were able to use their personal experiences in sport to help students consider the values of friendship, respect, equality, determination and excellence to motivate and inspire students in their learning. They even had time for some personal challenges, including a football challenge match against students, running races and virtual bobsleigh teams. The day also provided the athlete mentors with an opportunity to learn from staff at Ellesmere about teaching and learning strategies for students with a wider range of learning and communication needs. Staff and students had a fantastic day, and would love to welcome any of the mentors back to visit in the future!

In a similar vein, on Wednesday 5th April the annual Leicestershire and Rutland School Games Spring Championships were held at Loughborough University, with Ellesmere teams competing in both Boccia and Basketball tournaments whilst representing West Leicestershire. Close to 900 athletes from 45 schools competed in over 100 teams during the course of the day, so it is a fantastic result for us to come away from the event with second place results for both our Phase 1 Boccia team and Phase 2 Basketball team. It is also highly pleasing (although not at all surprising to those who know our students) to see our Phase 1 Boccia team coming away as proud recipients of a ‘Spirit of the Games’ award.

As a college, we are immensely proud of all our students’ sporting achievements, and love to see the happy faces that are almost guaranteed at the conclusion of these events.

*Further information on any of the Sky Sports Living for Sport athletes involved can be found at: https://livingforsport.skysports.com/mentors.

 

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It’s a Spring Thing!

on Friday, 31 March 2017.

Some younger visitors to school, in the form of escapee lambs from a nearby farm, and some lovely sunny weather over the last couple of weeks indicate that spring has finally sprung, bringing a whirlwind of events and activities for staff and pupils at the College.

Last week saw a staff quiz night raise £385 for the Ellesmere supporters’ fund. Congratulations to ‘Quiz Akabussi’ for winning the quiz, with further special mentions to ‘I thought this was speed dating’ for the most inventive name, and ‘Beauty and the Beasts’ for propping up the pack in last place!
Friday observed both staff and pupils taking part in an own clothes day, as well as cake sales, sweepstakes, raffles, collections and a very exciting school disco, all in aid of Red Nose Day, raising money for Comic Relief. The College as a whole raised over £650, as well as a further £200 through the sale of red noses, a fantastic total to help to make a difference to mental health, education, immunisation, fighting malaria and domestic violence both in the UK and abroad.

Business has also been picking up for the Post 16 Enterprise Group, who have been running successful weekly massage and relaxation sessions for both students and staff within the Internet Café on Tuesday afternoons.

Finally…we are looking forward to meeting some new members of the Ellesmere College family after Easter when we will be joined by six chickens! Negotiations are still underway to name our new residents but students, staff and friends of the College will be involved, Chicky McChicken Face gets our vote. We hope they will enjoy their new home and we look forward to some new challenges and hopefully some egg-cellent produce!

 

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Could it be magic?

on Friday, 17 March 2017.

As the days start to lengthen, and it looks as though spring has finally arrived, the hustle and bustle around the College continues!

After a busy few weeks following our February half term, March brought around the annual World Book Day, and both staff and pupils at Ellesmere threw themselves into the ‘Harry Potter’ theme with great passion, and some fantastic fancy dress costumes! The school was awash with spellbinding decorations, bewitching activities, magical classroom resources, and of course, plenty of fantastic photo opportunities!

Throughout the day, students had opportunities to participate in a Quidditch tournament and potions class, have a taste of butterbeer in the Leaky Cauldron and take part in the ‘Weird Write All’, record their own Harry Potter trailers, break into Gringotts bank and the Ministry of Magic, complete the Herbology treasure hunt, and learn more about owls in ‘Care of Magical Creatures’ class.
World Book Day celebrates the joy and value involved in books and reading, most especially for children, and each student received a £1 book voucher. The true success of the day was reflected in the laughter and happiness of everyone around the college, and we hope that the true meaning of the day was channelled by each activity.

We leave with this thought from Dr. Suess: “You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.”.

 

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Best Foot Forward

on Monday, 23 January 2017.

After a fairly mild winter so far these past few weeks have plunged us into coldness that contrasts sharply with the heat generated by the feverish activity taking place within school. A walk around the building reveals a hive of activity throughout with all our phases and departments busily beavering away. Our sports hall is always full. Just at this moment we have cricket, basketball and multi-fitness all taking place. Walking past the cooking rooms is a real test for anyone. The smells are enough to start stomachs rumbling a hundred metres away! Just now it seems cakes are being baked in readiness for some lucky people. The stage area is currently filled with the sounds of an expressive arts group. I don’t know what it is they’re doing but it sounds like fabulous fun! All of our hubs are full of students and staff hurriedly making their way between lessons and learning spaces and barely a day goes by without a new innovation appearing. Right now it’s our new intervention pods that are attracting attention. These pods provide a positive learning space for individuals and small groups. A few teachers had to be convinced they weren’t Star Trek teleports due to their futuristic appearance! They’ve proved to be a brilliant addition to our hubs and the feedback from staff and students has been hugely positive.

Last week we were visited by M&M Theatrical (magicoftheatre.com) productions who put-on a brilliant performance of Pete Pan. The show went down an absolute storm with all who saw it and we hope to welcome them back to Ellesmere sometime soon.

On 24th January staff from Ellesmere will be taking part in the Local Offer Live! Event at the Curve theatre in Leicester city centre (http://curveevents.co.uk/local-offer-live). Local Offer Live is an annual event showcasing disability related services. For 2017, Local Offer Live is expanding to include services from Leicestershire and Rutland. If you’d like a free fun-filled day where you celebrate amazing people, then please feel free to drop in at the event. All welcome.

Our post-16 Internet Café continues to go from strength-to-strength. Visitor numbers are up around 15 – 18 students per lunchtime who use the café to eat lunch, watch TV, surf the web and generally hang-out and chat in an environment they feel really comfortable in. The café also provides respite from the bitter cold here in Leicester this week!

Once Upon A December

on Monday, 12 December 2016.

December is always a busy, crazy, exciting, amazing, fabulous, fantastic, fun time. The school is abuzz with Christmassy anticipation as we work towards the holidays. The air is full of song as many of our students rehearse for their Christmas productions and every hub has been turned into a production line for making decorations.

The Art and D&T Department are running a competition to see which tutor group can design and make the most creative and unusual Christmas tree. Christmas trees can be made from any junk such as boxes, tins, containers etc…or could be made from various everyday objects and products. Some of the entries are going up in various classrooms and the competition looks like it will be fierce!

The 6th Form Social Enterprise group ELLESprint produced a Chritmas card on behalf of the whole student body and presented to our CO-Principle Lin Richardson who accepted it on behalf of all of the staff. We think it could be the biggest Christmas Card in leicester! It is on display in our reception area.

On Thursday afternoon (8th) BT Sport came into school to some film with class 7MG and the 6th Form Sports Leaders in their PE lessons.  The purpose of the filming is to showcase how Leicester City FC Community Trust and their partners are using disability funding from the Premier League and BT. The film they are making will be aired on BT Sport before the Leicester vs Chelsea match on January 14th.

Community coaches from LCFC ran the PE lessons and fromer LCFC player Paul Dickov came in to represent BT Sport and LCFC.  Most excitingly the Premier League trophy also came along too! Many of the children (and lots of the adults!) queued patiently for a photo with it under the watchful gaze of the FA Premier League security guard! We’d like to thank everybody involved for a really special afternoon.

Friday saw our annual Christmas Fayre. We were overjoyed to see so many parents, grandparents, carers, siblings and Ellesmere supporters. The event was brilliant and a lots of fun was had by all. A special mention must go the refreshments, which were gorgeous and very heartily enjoyed! Thank you to everyone who donated, helped set up, clear up, helped to run a stall and spent money at the Christmas fayre. You all made this a huge success and without you all it wouldn’t be possible. Together we managed to raise £1362.79 which is a fantastic achievement. Well done all!

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Our name in Lights

on Monday, 07 November 2016.

The weekend saw the sky filled with fireworks all over Leicestershire as the county celebrated Bonfire night in style. I know a large number of our students and staff ventured out into the cold to join in the celebrations and I hope that everybody had a fun and safe time. We have no reported incidents or injuries amongst the Ellesmere family, something for which we are always grateful.

A whole host of our students are taking part in performances at The Curve theatre today. All of them have been working hard for months, rehearsing, practising and getting their performances just right. The shows are always an enormous treat and we are sure everybody involved as participants, supporters and audience members will have a brilliant time.

The following students will be appearing in the show A Night at the Movies;

Jahvarni Williams / Nageen Chaudhry / Keeley Forryan / Micheal Batchelor / Lauren Brown / Amira Jama / Davy Coles / Lailaa Parekh / Naeem Silcott / Jasmine Bolt.

Another group are performing the pieces they’ve been developing with Side Kick Dance;

Naomi Burton / Mahima Lalwani / Nikita Solanki / Cale Wood / Meghan Williams / Rosie Acton / Laura Hayes / Niamh Curran / Miles Marshall / Alex Burbidge / Elle Molyneux / Abbie Bogle-Smith / Marcus Rees / Megan Smith / Radhika Bhatia / Jess Alexander-Rodrigues / Carly Nutting.

We’d like to wish all of them the best of luck and hope that they and all the audience will have an amazing time. We’re pretty sure they will!

Last week was primary class Acorns first trip out of school. They went to see the Diwali decorations and had a great time looking at all of the pretty sights from the bus. Their first trip was so much fun and very tiring… some of them were asleep by the time they arrived back at school! A massive ‘thank you’ goes out to the Outdoor Learning team for their help and support.

Our support of the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal is continuing and there are a variety of items available on Reception for you to buy including poppies which, as ever, are available for a personal donation.

Golden Hours

on Thursday, 27 October 2016.

We have returned to school following the half-term break and autumn is fully in the air! It’s impossible to walk up the path without the familiar evocative sound of leaves being trampled under-foot. We’re so lucky to be based on a site with so much greenery and it’s a joy to watch the different shades emerging as each day passes.

Yesterday saw us hold our parents evening. The event was really well-attended and it was brilliant to see so many parents, carers, families and friends filling the college. There were many, many happy faces so clearly we are all doing something right! The sights and sounds of enthusiastic students showing and telling their loved-ones all about the college and their experiences is hugely rewarding and heart-warming.

Today we’ve welcomed the Magic Theatre Company into school. They are performing a live theatre production of Sleeping Beauty for phase one. I’m certain that this will be a fantastic afternoon and a great opportunity to experience live theatre (hopefully I can sneak along and watch!).

For two weeks our Drama store has been turned into a Sensory Atelier (An Atelier is a workshop or studio, especially one used by an artist or designer) to deliver a show/installation called Turned on its Head.  Artists-in-residence Liz and Caroline are working with the four primary classes from 24th October until the 4th November in the stage area. All staff are being encouraged to pop into the sessions to observe or join in 9:20-10:20 or 13:30-14:45. Some images of this wonderful experience will be appearing on here and via our social media channels very soon.

As ever sport is at the forefront of our activities calendar. As part of the Women In Sport and Physical Activity (WISPA) initiative, Girl’s kickboxing starts next week. Beginning next Wednesday lunchtime (12.40-1.10pm) in our amazing Sports Hall. All girls in all years are welcome to come along and try kickboxing.   This is an opportunity to try a new physical activity, meet new people and gain confidence.

There are plenty more exciting activities, opportunities and initiatives coming up over the next few weeks. As ever, keep an eye on our social media output for information. There’ll be more reporting on this blog next week…assuming we all make it through Halloween!!

These are the Days

on Thursday, 13 October 2016.

Oh no, you’ve forgotten to charge your phone!!….Help is on hand!! As part of the Post 16 Enterprise Initiative, a phone charging service called Electro & Go!, now taking place in the Internet Café at Lunch times. The cost for Students is 25p for half hour or 50p for 1 hour. The cost for Staff is 50p for half hour or £1 for 1 hour. Brilliant idea from form JMR.

As part of the same initiative Form DA Have set-up the Cool Key Company designing and producing bespoke key-rings. These brilliant products have been flying out and the students are well on their way to challenging for the title of Enterprise Champions!

Our Student Council continue to meet to add the voice of young people to the development of ideas and initiatives around the college. The whole school are extremely thankful to this important group and welcome the voice they provide. In a new development next term, outcomes from Student Council meetings will be displayed on the smart-screens at various points around the building.

The 6th Form student enterprise group ELLESprint met for the first time this term and undertook a visit to LCiL (Leicester Centre for Integrated Living) for the launch of Super Friday, a weekly multi-agency event operating every Friday during the Social Media Café will see meaningful volunteering and work experience opportunities being offered across all the West End Centre’s facilities.

ELLESprint took part in a number of engagement activities including starting a project with Enterprise Car Rental’s education team to develop a board game. It’s an amazing opportunity and promises to be an exciting project.

Last week saw us join with the nationwide Coffee morning for the MacMillan cancer charity. The Community café was full with visitors enjoying refreshments including home-made cakes baked by students in the 6th form. The event was hugely successful and raised a large amount of cash for the charity.

The BMX club has been taking place on our specially-designed on-site track. Large numbers of students have been getting involved and their enjoyment has been obvious and rewarding. A number of photos have been put up on our Twitter feed (@ellesmereleic) that are well worth a look.

As ever Ellesmere continues to be at the forefront of sporting engagement and excellence. To list all the events and achievements this month would require a much larger blog post but evidence of their achievements is available across various social media including our website and Twitter.

Our Maths and PE departments have both recently joined-up with Twitter and we look forward to engaging with them in both the real and virtual worlds (@EllesmereMaths and @EllesmerePE if you want to give them a follow).

School closes tomorrow for the half-term break. A chance to rest and re-charge before the always busy and exciting winter term. We’ve had a really rewarding term and look forward to building on our achievements next term. Have a great break everyone!

AUTUMN ALMANAC

on Monday, 19 September 2016.

We’re fully back into the swing of term time now as we negotiate our way through the last of the summer. This week has seen record-breaking temperatures for the time of year and we’ve taken the chance to get the students outside and investigating the sights, sounds and smells of September. The brambles at the back of our main building are full of Raspberries, blackberries and rapidly seeding grasses.  I spent some time with a group of students who were absolutely fascinated by the heavily pregnant spiders nesting in the bushes and long grass. It is truly amazing what can be discovered on our doorsteps if one takes a bit of time to investigate.

 Ellesmere is pleased to be taking part in the Waste less, Live more Week Challenge for 2016. We’re in good company, joining over 30,000 like-minded people across the country who have signed up to the 101 ways to #WasteLessLiveMore Challenge so far. The focus is getting people to take part in activities which are good for people and the environment.

As part of the week (19-25 Sept) there are exciting events being held up and down the country to get involved in. Visit our Events page (http://www.wastelesslivemore.com/) to find out what's going on near you. To get started, events happening this weekend include:

Recycle Week (12-18 Sept, nationwide) – a celebration of recycling, this year focussed on the theme of ‘The Unusual Suspects’.

The Festival of Thrift (17-18 Sept, Redcar) – the UK’s national celebration of sustainable living.

Do Nation Pledge (ongoing, nationwide) – building a movement of people making small changes towards healthier, more environmentally friendly lifestyles.

After last week’s record-breaking weather it seems autumn is now fully upon us. As one season ends and another begins, we move forward full of spirit and endeavour. The school is its usual hive of activity as learning, activities and projects move forward. The students are all now fully up-to-speed with Ellesmere life, with summer’s new arrivals now feeling like old hands! It's also great to see former students and staff returning to Ellesmere to help us out in a voluntary capacity. We welcome them back with open arms. It seems they just can't bear to leave us!

Get Into the Groove

on Friday, 02 September 2016.

We reach the end of our first week back after the summer break and we’re are all now well into the groove of another exciting term. After working on-site quite a lot of the summer, I’m personally thrilled to have spent the past week in a building full of students again. Schools without students in them can be strange, earie places and it’s great that the building is back to the business of schooling again.

Staff have been coping expertly with the inevitable challenges the return after such a long break always brings. A positive mind-set, enthusiasm and a sense of humour go a long way working in a school and our team have them in spades. Whilst mentioning staff I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Ellesmere on behalf of everyone here. It’s great to have you on board and we know you’re going to love it!

There’ll be a lot more exciting things to report on over the next few weeks so watch this space!

Here Comes The Summer

on Monday, 11 July 2016.

We enter the final week of term with a dizzying number of activities and events filling our diaries and timetables. This week is ‘Activities Week’ and a whole range of things are going on across the whole school. Students will be on-and-off site, taking part in unique classes and generally getting involved in things all around the building and outside spaces. It promises to be a great week.

Last Friday saw our annual Sports Day. With the range of facilities we have here at Ellesmere the sheer amount of sporting activities our students can engage in is vast and this year we took advantage and saw sporting excellence spread across a number of areas. Athletics, archery, running, basketball, BMXing, cricket and tennis were just some of the variety of the sports on offer. Congratulations to our brilliant PE department for organising things and well done to all who took part.

We also held our hotly-anticipated football matches between staff and students. It’s obviously ‘not the winning but the taking part that counts’ so I won’t mention the results but the staff ‘took part’ in two games that cemented their position as Ellesmere football champions.

We have recently established the ‘Ellesmere College Charity Group.’ This is made up of a small group of students and staff at present. Early next term we shall be inviting more students and staff to be involved in the development and growth of the group.

For the group’s first endeavour we are working in partnership with Dixie Grammar School to raise money for a school in GAMBIA that our co-principle Lisa Pittwood has visited. The first charity event is a non-uniform day on our Fun Day on Wednesday. A special ‘well done’ goes to Kyron, Villiam, Fazial, Lauren, Cain and Su S for organising this first event.

Everyone's a winner!

on Friday, 01 July 2016.

Last night saw us hold our 7th annual Champions Night where we celebrated the sporting achievements of our students. The awards are to recognise achievement and the outstanding contribution that young people make at Ellesmere College through sport.

A large turnout filled the hall and watched a number of awards being presented across all age-ranges to students who have had significant success in sporting activities this year.

The key-words that stood out amongst the praise for the winners were Progress, confidence, positive attitude, reliability, respect, fair-play, dedication and leadership, all essential characteristics for success in both sport and life and ones that our students have demonstrated in abundance.

It was absolutely brilliant to see all the students receiving recognition for their efforts and having their success celebrated in such a way. A huge well done to everyone involved.


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Motor-Activity Training Programme Event

on Friday, 17 June 2016.

Last Friday saw us host a hugely successful Motor-Activity Training Programme (MATP) here in our enormous sports hall.  The Special Olympics Motor Activity Training Program is designed for athletes who are unable to participate in official Special Olympics sport competitions because of their skill and/or functional abilities. The Motor Activity Training Program is designed to prepare athletes -- including those with severe or profound intellectual disability and significant physical disabilities -- for sport-specific activities appropriate for their ability levels. More information can be found here http://www.specialolympics.org/

The event attracted visitors from all-over Leicestershire. Friends and competitors arrived from Leicester College, LCiL, Dorothy Goodman School, Spoilt4Choice, Wigston Gardens, Inclusive Futures and many more.

Everyone who attended testified to the success of the day. The sport shall was filled all day with the sights and sounds of activity, endeavour and most of all fun! The day was hugely rewarding and a brilliant time was had by all. Congratulations to all involved with the day. Here’s to next time!

More photos from the event can be found at www.facebook.com/Leicester-Inclusive-Futures and https://twitter.com/ActiveEllesmere

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Signing Get-together

on Thursday, 09 June 2016.

 

Yesterday saw us hold the launch of an event aimed at supporting students living with a hearing impairment. Colleagues from the City council’s Hearing Support Team held the event called a ‘Signing Get-together’ at the Sports pavilion here at Ellesmere. The day brought together deaf and signing students from across the city to develop community, communication, social and practical skills. We welcomed students from Merrydale Junior School, Ashfield Academy and Spinney Hill School.

A number of students across Leicester find themselves as the only deaf/signing student in their school. Bringing such students together with other similar young people can do wonders for the confidence, well-being and engagement.

Students were supported through several sessions and workshops including cooking, hearing-aid cleaning and communication activities. The pavilion was a hive of activity throughout the day and it was clear to anyone venturing in that there was a whole of lot of fun being had by some very happy young people.

There is a hope that the event will become a regular occurrence and on the evidence of yesterday it would be a hugely welcome and rewarding experience.

 

 

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