There are many ongoing projects which involve a large number of students, and several partner schools, and we are always looking for ways to expand our links.
As in previous years, we have a number of international students currently studying in our Sixth Form.
This year's contingent are:-
Aireen Gabriel - Australia - Music Tech, Psychology, BTEC Science
Sierra Hamerick - USA - Maths, History, English
Max Rabinovich - Switzerland Pscyhology, English, History
Sri Lanka Project
Ellowes is very proud to be an International school, with many multi-cultural links. At the start of this academic year, the school received an International Award from the British Council for its work with Seethadevi Girls’ School in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
The English department ran a number of projects alongside the Sri Lankan school the previous year, such as researching and writing travel guides for Sri Lanka, and looking at Sri Lankan poetry. Following these schemes, the two schools took part in a teacher exchange in September and October 2015.
From Sri Lanka, Miss Devika D’Souza visited us and spent a week observing and taking part in UK school life. She was a wonderful visitor and seemed to learn a huge amount about different types of teaching methods. At the end of the week, she gave an excellent assembly to year 7 – they enjoyed learning about the differences between school life in England and Sri Lanka, and even had the opportunity to try on a traditional Sri Lankan sari!
In October, Miss Rowley and Mrs Cranfield returned Miss D’Souza’s visit, spending a thoroughly illuminating week in Sri Lanka. They experienced Sri Lankan life to the full: eating spicy food; visiting an elephant orphanage; worshipping at Buddhist temples; travelling to work by ‘tuk tuk’ and teaching huge classes with none of the things we take for granted in the UK (such as projectors and whiteboards).
Mrs Cranfield and Miss Rowley have enjoyed telling tales of their adventures to Ellowes students, who have been full of questions about life in Sri Lanka. Following the project, several of our students have become penpals with the girls in Sri Lanka, finding out more about their culture through the medium of letter writing.
It was an early 5am start for Esme Evans, Stephanie Parsons and myself as we met at Birmingham airport, with another 220 students and teachers from the West Midlands. We were to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp in Poland and return home in only one day. We arrived in Poland at 10am at took an hour coach journey to Auschwitz. We were given a guided tour of the barracks visiting rooms that hold images and artefacts of the horrors that took place at this camp. We saw rooms full of shoes, suitcases, personal belongings, and human hair all of which was taken from the Jewish people when they arrived at Auschwitz. We later travelled a little way down the road to Birkenau, the camp that saw the mass murder of almost 2 million Jewish people. It is vast and silent and the sight of train tracks here bring on various emotions. By the time the tour was finished the camp was closed and we were given special permission to remain in the camp and hold a memorial service. This was lead by a Rabbi, from London who told numerous moving stories of what happened in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Esme was invited to be part of this service, reading a short poem to over 200 people. From here we returned back to the airport to touch down in Birmingham around 12am.
This was a long, emotional and tiring day. Both students conducted themselves superbly, and I cannot praise them enough for this. For all involved this was a life changing experience.
The students at Ellowes Hall wrote their first letter outlining their general day-to-day activities and sights around them that could be appealing for visitors. Following a reply from Malaysia, the letters have moved to personal accounts of interest and food that's a speciality in each country - this has no doubt been amusing for both schools.
It's clear the students have enjoyed this experience because they talk about it with great enthusiasm. One student commented: "I found it interesting to find out about other people's lives and it was really good. It was surprising what they said and I learnt a lot about the country and how they do things".
Hopefully the link will continue for further years as it's been a great success this year and the students have gained a lot from the experience.
Some of our Year 7 students have been walking to Roberts Primary School each Tuesday afternoon to share reading with a partner Year 3/ 4 pupil. All of the texts have had an international flavour, which has helped all participants to learn about other countries, cultures and ways of living. Zachariah Abbotts comments “I loved reading books from different continents. I learnt how to count up to five in Japanese. Mrs Pitt, who accompanied the students has said the project has “ given the students a sense of responsibility in roles as mentors and has broken down barriers for the younger pupils and helps them prepare for transition to secondary school. The most effective part was having a theme based on different countries. The pupils learnt something about each place and culture from each chosen book.”
There have been two strands to this project. In strand one, students from our school and our partner school in Vigo, North- Eastern Spain, ( Colegio Maria Immaculada Carmelitas ) have been regularly emailing each other on ‘Home and School’ and ‘School and Education’ using the target language. which Mrs Knight said proved “ an authentic medium” for students to “ express their thoughts and ideas”.
The second strand, the annual Spanish Exchange, led by Mrs Knight, continues to be a great success, having involved some fifty families over the past four years. Students from Year 8-10 have participated, staying in each other’s homes, visiting school and places of local interest. The students’ language skills are undoubtedly improved , “ I have learnt a lot of new words” and realised that the pronunciation was different to what I thought” ( Natasha Milbourn) The teachers in both schools acknowledge the students’ ” personal growth and development” which the Exchange brings. The parents, too benefit from having a Spanish guest in their homes, commenting “ I enjoyed practising my Spanish with our guest” and “ lots of spontaneous activities occurred” (Mr Edwards)
In the second year of our Language Leaders’ Award, Year 9 students have been going to Milking Bank on Thursday afternoons to work with Year 4 pupils on their French skills. Our students have had to plan lessons and activities which would motivate the younger pupils and encourage them to participate. Alice Whitehouse in Year 9 says it was an interesting challenge to find “ different ways to approach children when teaching them a language” Miss Nicot says that it “ has developed their confidence and their French language by working independently and as an efficient team, in order to deliver good lessons.”. This project has helped students to have a very positive approach to languages and take pride in their skills. Again Miss Nicot says, “ The Year 4/9 engagement was incredible. They made excellent progress”
BBC School Report
On March 21st, Ellowes Hall hosted the Mini-Olympics, inviting four local Primary schools ( Milking Bank, Jessons, Roberts and The Straits) ) to participate. The sports covered were swimming, girls’ and boys’ football and girls’ and boys’ basketball. Sixth Form Sports Ambassadors organised the event and there was a stunning Opening Ceremony.
Led by Miss Chatzipoloudou our Year 8 Gifted and Talented English Club had researched the history of the Olympics , its ideals and values and then became reporters for the day. On March 27th their reports went live on BBC School Report - click here to view them.
In preparation for this event, students researched the history of the Olympics and Government policy on children’s health. The School Reporters conducted interviews with teachers and students and 30.000 young reporters around the UK sent in reports to the BBC on that one day.
Ben Whitehouse and Joshua Mee visited Auschwitz in January 2014 and it a lasting impact on them, which they demonstrated in presentations to Year 8, on their return. Ben commented that by “ spreading the message to younger groups, he wants to prevent events like these happening in the future”
Study Abroad UK
We always welcome students from other countries into our Sixth Form every year. This year Carlotta, from Italy, and Bree from Australia each joined us for 2 terms. They gave assemblies, explaining the education systems in each of their countries and their motivation for coming to spend some time in an English school.