A Viking invasion in Kempston, awards galore and a research star in Barcelona - pupils celebrate end of term in style

Saxon and Viking day at Camestone Lower School, Kempston.

Saxon and Viking day at Camestone Lower School, Kempston.

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Schools are out - and pupils everywhere have been celebrating the end of summer term in style.

Here’s a flavour of some events and awards:

Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School Green Flag Award.

Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School Green Flag Award.

>> Pupils at Camestone Lower School in Kempston travelled back 1,200 years back in time to explore what life was like in The Dark Ages.

Creative curriculum specialists Off the Page spent a full day in the school showing the whole of year 3 what life was like as a Saxon or a Viking.

The hall and playing fields were transformed into a Saxon village on the eve of a Viking invasion as the children were shown a variety of activities from Rune making, to Saxon medicines, from clay pottery manufacturing, to hunting and preparing for battle.

In the afternoon, pupils were shown a variety of different skills and techniques used by archaeologists to find out more about our ancient past.

Class teacher Alan Jones said: “It was a wonderful way for the children to discover how different life was over a thousand years ago. The children thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we look forward to inviting Off the Page back into our school next year.”

>> Pupils and staff at the Harpur Trust-owned independent, Pilgrims Pre-Preparatory School in Bedford, have obtained a Green Flag Award from Eco-Schools for their focus on sustainability.

As well as running an international schools award programme, Eco-Schools provides educational establishments with environmental frameworks to ensure that sustainability is introduced and maintained as a core element of school life.

At Pilgrims, all pupils are encouraged to play an active role in caring for their environment. Aided by an enthusiastic group of pupils who are ‘Eco Warriors’, the children learn the importance of the three R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle. In addition, thanks to the extensive outside space that is available to the children at Pilgrims, pupils are able to gain first-hand experience of planting, harvesting and a wide range of other outdoor activities at their very own Forest School.

Teachers also plan additional activity around key dates in the environmental calendar, such as last month’s World Environment Day.

The Eco-Inspector who awarded the school its Green Flag, said: “I was very impressed with the level of knowledge of the children. It is clear that the school is working hard towards embedding Eco Schools’ values of sustainability and it is evident that the children are enjoying being part of the process.”

>> Co-film makers Ian Yarwood and Billie Lloyd-Jones plus actor Louis Gibson, all students at Sharnbrook Upper School, have won the Best Sound category in A Sense of Place, a competition organised and sponsored by various film bodies in the south east. The competition was aimed at young people between the ages of 7-19 and the challenge was to produce a short film no longer than 2 minutes 20 seconds around the theme. Got to http://filmcompetition.org.uk/

You will find their film on the winners’ page under their collective name The Raw Image.

>> Bedford Academy hosted its annual sports presentation evening celebrating its students’ sporting talents and achievements.

A over 140 students, parents and teachers, plus pupils from years nine to 13, over fifty individuals were recognised and rewarded for their successes, endeavours and enthusiasm.

A particular highlight of the evening was the much anticipated sports personality awards with winners decided by a school vote. The awards went to Robbie Chandler and Sayima Akhtar who secured the most votes for their sporting prowess, motivation and character displayed throughout the year

Students and guests also enjoyed a motivational talk from guest speaker and former BMX World Champion, Mike Mullen. A previous visitor to Bedford Academy as part of the Sky Sports Living for Sport (SSLS) programme, Mike inspired the audience with his life story and tales of the obstacles he overcame to achieve his goals.

>> Former Bedford Modern School student Stephen Hartill will perform in Degrees of Error’s Murder She Didn’t Write, a fully improvised murder mystery play at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from August 1 to 17.

The 22-year-old said: “My interest in drama arose from taking drama as a school subject until my GCSEs, taking part in Bedford Modern School productions as a stage-hand, working as a drama school teaching assistant at Act One Theatre School and learning stage combat.”

Stephen, who left BMS in 2010 with 10 GCSEs and 3 A Levels, is now studying an MA in Classical Studies and Ancient History at the University of Bristol, having graduated from his BA Joint Honours course in English and Classical Studies.

He became a member of Bristol University’s Bristol Improv Society, the university’s

improvised comedy and theatre society. He also directed, produced and performed in

numerous shows with Bristol Improv and at the Edinburgh Fringe for the past two years as part of the student productions.

In 2014, Stephen joined the professional improv troupe Degrees of Error and became Associate Producer of the Bristol Improv Theatre Network. He has also directed an improvised Victorian horror called Mysteries of the Unknown with Bristol Improv which will also be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe. Additionally, Bristol Improv is taking up a free show called Bristol Improv Steals the Show.

>> A computer games development undergraduate has beaten over 250 fellow students to a national computing gong.

Open to first-year students in the University of Bedfordshire’s Computer Science and Technology (CST) Department, Matthew Kaye was awarded the British Computer Society (BCS) Prize for achieving the best grades out of an eligible 268 students.

Accrediting a number of Bedfordshire’s CST courses, BCS is the Chartered Institute for IT, looking after the interests of individuals worldwide in the computing profession.

He said: “ was absolutely delighted when I was told the news and quite surprised.” He collected a £150 cheque and free BCS membership for his efforts.

>> A 13-year-old pupil from Lincroft Middle School became the star attraction at a conference in Barcelona by being the youngest participant co-presenting a research paper.

Richard Webb accompanied The Open University’s Dr Cindy Kerawalla to an education conference in Spain to present the paper he had co-written. It discusses the use of an educational tool created by the OU to assist school pupils in independently conducting research on topics of their own choice. It was Richard’s personally-conducted research – into the use of violent video games – which supported the academic paper and was used as an example of how the tool, called MyShout!, operates.

Richard’s mother Alison Radmall said: “Richard found the conference in Barcelona to be both a nerve-wracking experience but also a fantastic opportunity to present work to an international academic audience. He particularly enjoyed the reaction of people when they realised he really was a delegate, co-presenter and co-author!”

The budding academic has already presented his research in the past year to a large audience at the OU, which included the Children’s Commissioner, an MP, and representatives from various charities and Local Education Authorities.

Dr Kerawalla, Director of the Children’s Research Centre and lecturer in Childhood and Youth Studies at, said: “It is very unusual for a young person to co-author an academic paper and to present at an adult academic conference as a fully registered conference delegate. Richard’s research project proved the value and usability of the MyShout! tool that we developed, and it was very valuable for delegates to hear directly from him how the resource operates.”

She explained that the MyShout! website tool goes beyond simply providing children with the skills on how to go about research, it also teaches them how to think critically, be ethical and systematic and to take responsibility for their own research.

“What we end up with is children getting a massive confidence boost from successfully conducting their own research,” she added.

The OU is working with Lincroft Middle and other schools in the Bedfordshire area to get youngsters started on researching topics that interest them.

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