Jul 052017
 
snapchat icon

You have probably seen the press coverage about Snapchat’s new feature and the potential risks for young users but what will you do about it?

 

As ever it is important that you understand the features of Snapchat yourselves and that you discuss the risks with your daughters.  The most important thing is to make sure that the settings your daughter is using will keep her safe.  It is easy to change the settings and this advice from NSPCC is very clear.

Additionally the NSPCC’s Share Aware campaign is a very useful resource for parents who want to know more about the most popular apps currently available.

 

 

https://www.net-aware.org.uk/news/snap-map/

May 032017
 
item 1 a

How to bid: In order to place a bid you must contact Rachel Hutchinson via postal or email bid. Details can be found below on the bidding slip. There are two separate items for auction.
Item 1 details: Signed England Cricket Shirt from the England v Sri Lanka Test Series 2016 including certification of authenticity from the ECB.

item 1 a item 1 b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Item 2 details: Signed England Cricket Bat from the England v Pakistan Royal London ODI Series 2016 including certification of authenticity from the ECB.item 2 aitem 2 b

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both items have been acquired and kindly donated by Waitrose for the South Bucks School Sport Partnership. The money raised will go directly into the partnership and will be used to buy new equipment, the cost of venue hire for events and certificates and medals for competitions.

Payment: After the closing date the highest bidder for each auction will be contacted and asked to make payment to the Alfriston School bank account via BACS, cash or cheque within one week. Once payment is received the item can be collected or hand delivered if within 25 miles of Alfriston School or alternatively via signed for parcel at Royal Mail.
Closing Date: Monday 5th June 2017 12pm midday

Contact Rachel for further details:rachel@alfristonschool.com

Mar 272017
 
waaw17

This week is World Autism Awareness Week.  Here at Alfriston we started early and, on the occasion of the Singing Showcase we had a stall to display information about Autism when parents visited.  We also had a donations bucket on the stall and raised £116.55 for the cause.  Thank you.

This week, teachers at Alfriston will be asked to take part in a quiz about autism and pupils will be able to find out more about the condition by chatting with pupils who have been identified on the spectrum.  There will also be a chance to view excerpts from the feature film about Temple Grandin.

In the meantime, read on for some information about Autism from the National Autistic Society.

 

How does autism affect children, adults and their families?

The term ‘autism’ is used here to describe all diagnostic profiles, including Asperger syndrome and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA).

  1. Without understanding, autistic people and families are at risk of being isolated and developing mental health problems.
  2. Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that’s more than 1 in 1001. If you include their families, autism is a part of daily life for 2.8 million people.
  3. Autism doesn’t just affect children. Autistic children grow up to be autistic adults.
  4. Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone is autistic.
  5. While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.
  6. 34% of children on the autism spectrum say that the worst thing about being at school is being picked on2.
  7. 63% of children on the autism spectrum are not in the kind of school their parents believe would best support them3.
  8. 17% of autistic children have been suspended from school; 48% of these had been suspended three or more times; 4% had been expelled from one or more schools4.
  9. Seventy per cent of autistic adults say that they are not getting the help they need from social services. Seventy per cent of autistic adults also told us that with more support they would feel less isolated5.
  10. At least one in three autistic adults are experiencing severe mental health difficulties due to a lack of support6.
  11. Only 16% of autistic adults in the UK are in full-time paid employment, and only 32% are in some kind of paid work7.
  12. Only 10% of autistic adults receive employment support but 53% say they want it8.

 

References

1 The NHS Information Centre, Community and Mental Health Team, Brugha, T. et al (2012). Estimating the prevalence of autism spectrum conditions in adults: extending the 2007 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey. Leeds: NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care

2 Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p7

3  Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p18

4 Reid, B. (2011). Great Expectations. London: The National Autistic Society, p8

5 Bancroft et al (2012). The Way We Are: Autism in 2012. London: The National Autistic Society

6 Rosenblatt, M (2008). I Exist: the message from adults with autism in England. London: The National Autistic Society, p3

7 The National Autistic Society (2016). The autism employment gap: Too Much Information in the workplace. p5

8 Bancroft et al (2012). The Way We Are: Autism in 2012. London: The National Autistic Society

 

Myths and facts about autism

Although over 700,000 people in the UK are autistic (more than 1 in 100 people), false and often negative perceptions about the condition are commonplace.

 

This lack of understanding can make it difficult for people on the autism spectrum to have their condition recognised and to access the support they need. Misconceptions can lead to some autistic people feeling isolated and alone. In extreme cases, it can also lead to abuse and bullying.

 

  • Autism affects more than 1 in 100 people – Over 700,000 people in UK are autistic, which means that 2.8m people have a relative on the autism spectrum.
  • People tend to ‘grow out’ of autism in adulthood – myth. It’s a lifelong condition – autistic children become autistic adults.
  • Autism affects both boys and girls – fact. There is a popular misconception that autism is simply a male condition. This is false.
  • Some autistic people don’t speak – fact. Some autistic people are non-verbal and communicate through other means. However, autism is a spectrum condition, so everyone’s autism is different.
  • Autism is a mental health problem – myth. Autism is a developmental disability. It’s a difference in how your brain works. Autistic people can have good mental health, or experience mental health problems, just like anyone else.
  • All autistic people are geniuses – myth. Just under half of all people diagnosed with autism also have a learning disability. Others have an IQ in the average to above average range. ‘Savant’ abilities like extraordinary memory are rare.
  • Everyone is a bit autistic – myth. While everyone might recognise some autistic traits or behaviours in people they know, to be diagnosed with autism, a person must consistently display behaviours across all the different areas of the condition. Just having a fondness for routines, a good memory or being shy doesn’t make a person ‘a bit autistic’.

 

 

Meltdown

Many autistic people experience meltdowns. The public often find it hard to tell autism meltdowns and temper tantrums apart, but they are different things. You can help by understanding autism, the person and what to do if you see someone having a meltdown.

A meltdown is ‘an intense response to overwhelming situations’. It happens when someone becomes completely overwhelmed by their current situation and temporarily loses behavioural control. This loss of control can be expressed verbally (eg shouting, screaming, crying), physically (eg kicking, lashing out, biting) or in both ways.

What to do

If someone is having a meltdown, or not responding to you, don’t judge them. It can make a world of

difference to someone on the autism spectrum and their carers.

  • Give them some time − it can take a while to recover from an information or sensory overload.
  • Calmly ask them (or their parent or friend) if they’re OK, but bear in mind they’ll need more time to respond than you might expect.
  • Make space − try to create a quiet, safe space as best you can. Ask people to move along and not

to stare, turn off loud music and turn down bright lights – whatever you can think of to reduce the

information overload, try it.

 

Watch

My Autism and Me

Jan 162017
 
Internet-Document-icon

The School Council members have been talking about our use of technological devices and how it impacts on our lives.  We are thinking of writing some guidelines for parents about the sort of rules they should impose at home.  The girls are collecting opinions via pastoral groups and some girls are completing more detailed questionnaires.

 

It seems to be a very hot topic at the moment and there were articles in the national press just this weekend.  There has been concern about how screen time affects mental health and general wellbeing.  Here at Alfriston, we have been particularly concerned about effects on sleep patterns.

 

However, this latest research, from Oxford University, suggests that screen time can have beneficial effects on young users.  They claim that digital connectivity may enhance creativity, communication skills and development.  They suggest that there is an optimal amount of screen time or a “Goldilocks” zone as they put it, about two hours on a smartphone each day, for example.

 

It will be interesting to see what our pupils think on the matter.  If you have any strong opinions or just want to comment on your experiences with your own children, I would be pleased to hear from you.

 

We hope to publish our guidelines in time for Safer Internet Day on February 7th.

 

 

Please address any comments to Ros Shorrocks on

office@alfristonschool.com

Do you want your Christmas to start early?

 Whole School, Community Links, parental involvement  Comments Off on Do you want your Christmas to start early?
Nov 242016
 
santa-hat-clip-art-579bcb553df78c32766db396

On Friday 2nd December our school will be holding a Christmas Bazaar in the hall. There will be fun games and food to eat. We will be raising money for our school and local charities. You will be able to buy crafts, cards and calendars. We will also have a tombola, hamper raffle and a cafe. The students get to go in first and need to bring a plastic bag. Parents can come along at 10.15 to 12.45. Come along and join the fun!

 

by Ionie

Nov 012016
 
boycode

When the fabulous boyband Boycode agreed to visit Alfriston, we were delighted not just because of their entertainment value but also because of the important message they brought about online safety and cyberbullying.

They didn’t claim to be experts but since they were at school just a few years ago, they felt they knew first hand exactly what pressures the girls might be under and they urged the girls to make the right decisions in life with respect to online safety, bullying and discrimination.
Their top tips for online safety were:
• Never give out personal information, such as telephone numbers, home address or details about your school, college or place of work – sometimes you don’t know who will end up with this information and what they could do with it.
• Never agree to meet someone you are in contact with over the internet. Remember, not everyone is who they say they are. If you don’t know who they are, how do you know they are a real person? People can easily set up fake profiles, with a picture that isn’t of them (use a story) – Catfish the TV show on MTV – Shows how many people actually pretend to be other people on the Internet, you don’t know that you are actually speaking to that person
• If someone says something that makes you feel upset, uncomfortable or threatened, save the messages but do not respond. Then tell a parent/carer/or report it online – If you respond you can make things worse and escalate the situation. Make the right decision and be the bigger person
• Never send pictures of yourself or any of your friends or family to anyone you meet online that you wouldn’t want other people to see. Once you send it, it could be sent/shown to other people, so if you wouldn’t want other people to see it – don’t send it!
• Follow the rules your parents/carers have set when using the internet
• Remember – spending too much time online can effect concentration, education, sleep and health
• Keep your profiles private – Check your privacy settings and keep everything private so not strangers can see any of your personal information
Report it and block it if you find something on the internet that makes you feel uncomfortable or worried.
They also offered some helpful advice just in case the girls do fall victim to cyber bullying:

What to do

• Ignore— If you’re the victim of “minor teasing or name calling” ignore it if you can avoid it. Sometimes bullies are encouraged by seeing a reaction and the situation can become a lot worse.
• Record—Keep a record of bullying messages you receive. If you can show an adult either the messages themselves or a diary of when you received them, it may be easier to verify what went on and who the bully was.
• Reach out—Your parents, your teachers, your friends, and even police officers can help you deal with cyber bullying or discrimination. Speak to people that you trust. There is no reason to suffer alone when you are the target of bullying.
• Cut off the bully—The National Crime Prevention Council advises victims to stop all communication with the bully when possible. If it’s cyber bullying you may be able to block their phone number so you no longer receive their calls or texts. Facebook and twitter etc allow you to block other users so that they can no longer interact with you.
Report It— You can also report If you’re being bullied via a website, chances are that the bully is going against the website’s terms of use. Youtube, facebook etc have safety centres where you can report the activity and sometimes get the bully kicked off the site.

ceop

What Not to Do
• Sink to the bully’s level. Starting your own cyberbullying campaign against the bully will get you nowhere, it will only potentially make the situation worse
• Forward bullying content or messages. If someone sends you a bullying message, forwarding it to a friend only expands the problem. You never know how far an email chain can go.
• Believe the bully. Don’t let bullies destroy your self-esteem. No one deserves to be harassed. Bullies are cowards and their actions are often more about their own problems than they are about you. When bullying gets you down, talk about it with someone you trust who can build you back up.

Since the boys’ visit we have had an internet safety week in school when all the girls reflected on questions related to cyberbullying. In the upper school, pupils heard about the tragic story of Felix Alexander and the heart breaking open letter his mother wrote to the press. We all agreed that we should commit to BE KIND online and that if we are feeling bullied or lonely, it is so important to talk to someone about our feelings.
This is what Sophie wrote to Felix’s mum:

Dear Mrs Alexander

I am really sorry for your loss. I will try to be the better person and be kind to my friend and not hurt their feelings I will support my friends in every way even if they are going through hard time. If they are being bullied and together we can tell someone or ChildLine. I will do everything to stop them killing them self. I will never post any unkind messages to anyone.  If we all remember to be kind there will be no more cyberbullying ever. It is very important to talk to someone if you are worried or getting bullied and remember there is always someone you can talk to.

From Sophie

 
Meanwhile, if you want to hear Boycode for yourself of follow their progress you can find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Art and Design & Technology Exhibition

 Art, Whole School, Curriculum, parental involvement  Comments Off on Art and Design & Technology Exhibition
Oct 112016
 
artex1

artex5

artex1 artex3 On a chilly Saturday morning we made the final preparations for the exhibition and opened the art and D&T rooms up to many visitors coming to see what the pupils had designed, made and created over the last year. Some of the highlights this year were the Year 7 Muppet drawings with oil pastels, the superb GCSE Photography and Art & Design work, the inspirational sketchbooks, a selection of Year 9 stools and some fantastic ‘Art around the World’ pieces from the block group.

 

When we stop and look, we are amazed at the range of materials the students use and the quality of final pieces they come up with. We are incredibly proud of the ideas and determination to create to the best of their ability.

We love it when the younger pupils ask when they can make something that they have seen, it is a wonderful way of inspiring them.

Well done to all Alfriston Artists.
Mrs R Chapman and Mrs S Jamieson

artex2artex6

Oct 032016
 
lovein box2

Your daughter has brought home a leaflet about the Love in a Box campaign.  If you haven’t seen it you can see the leaflet here.  Schools, churches, other organisations and individuals collect and pack items into shoeboxes for the Mustard Seed Relief Mission to send to under privileged children throughout Eastern Europe. They have sent on average 40,000 boxes each year and each one is individually received by a child.

This campaign is endorsed by our Student Council and we really urge you to take part.  You can create your own gift box or you can donate something for a class shoebox.  Your daughter will tell you what age group her pastoral group has decided to support.  You can see some ideas for what to send in as your contribution in the list below:

Boys 3 ‐ 5 years old. Toy cars / Ball / Jigsaw / Picture Book / Soft Sweets / Crayons / Pencils / Soft Toy / Soap / Flannel / Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Hairbrush / Comb/ HAT / GLOVES.

Girls 3 ‐ 5 years old. Toy dolly / everything else as above.

Girls 6 ‐ 11 years old. Toy Dolly / Skipping Rope / Jewellery / Ball / Playing Cards / Sweets / Book / Felt Tip Pens / Pencils / Paper / Soft Toy / Flannel / Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Soap / HAT / SCARF / GLOVES.

Boys 6 ‐ 11 years old. Toy car / Yoyo / Everything else as above.

Boys 12 ‐ 15 years old. Marbles / Travel games / Juggling Balls / Baseball Cap / Playing Cards / Geometry Set / Note Book / Pens / Pencils / Soft Toy / Sweets / Soap / Flannel/ /Toothpaste / toothbrush / GLOVES / SCARVES.

Girls 12 ‐ 15 years old Hair accessories / Jewellery / Mew make up / Perfume Stick / Talc / Deodorant / Dolly / Skipping Rope / Everything else as above.

 

If you haven’t got time to go shopping then you could simply send a donation towards the postage as each gift box costs £3.00 to send on its journey.

If you make up your own shoebox there are a few points to note:

  • Please wrap the box base and lid separately as they will need to be checked en route
  • Hats, gloves and scarves are the only items of clothing allowed
  • Please attach the sticker part of the leaflet to the box
  • If you can, please enclose a minimum £3 donation
  • Place an elastic band around the box to hold the lid on
  • Christmas cards and messages are encouraged but do NOT include private addresses
  • Completed boxes must be returned to school by 4th November ready for collection by Mustard Seed Missions
May 262016
 
mountain icon

I’m sure you’ve all been waiting anxiously for an update on our expedition earlier this half term.  With that in mind, I thought I’d answer two of the most frequent questions I have been asked.

How did you get on?

I would call our expedition a huge success.  We arrived at Ben Nevis to excellent condition, bar the snow that was covering most of the mountain.  It was a bit of a push, but all of us got up the mountain, which is a huge accomplishment.  One of us even had ten minutes on top by himself, making him the tallest person in the UK for a very short time.

Scafell Pike went a little less according to plan.  While a large group forged ahead, a smaller group at the back made the decision, based on the weather and safety concerns, to call it a day halfway up the mountain and return to the bottom.  So, 8 of 12 made the summit, which I would still say is an excellent achievement.

Last on our list was Snowdon.  Due to arriving later than planned in Wales, we packed our head torches and started our climb almost as soon as we arrived.  Although we made great time up the mountain, it was not to be.  Poor light, less visibility, and dropping temperatures forced us off the mountain.  In hindsight, this was an excellent decision and one that no one has second guessed.

So, there you have it.  Our Three Peaks Challenge that became a one and a half peaks challenge.

What next?

We started this challenge as a physical and mental challenge but it has become so much more.  It has given us an opportunity to help give back to the school library.  Our original target for fundraising was £1000.  Unbelievably, we reached that inside of 6 days.  So, we decided to be a little more ambitious and increase the target to £2500.  Incredibly we hit that target on the last day of fundraising.

We are now beginning the process of improving the school’s library.  A questionnaire has been sent to pastoral tutors to get ideas from the pupils and we are working to decide how best to use the funds now available to us.

To everyone who has donated, supported us, or followed our adventures on twitter, thank you.  Thank you so much for your kindness, generosity, and dedication to making Alfriston School a place where our students have to opportunity to learn and to grow.  Again, thank you.

Mr VanDenBossche

Three Peaks Team

Do you know which members of staff are taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge?

 Uncategorized, Extra Curricular, Community Links, parental involvement  Comments Off on Do you know which members of staff are taking part in the Three Peaks Challenge?
Apr 182016
 
mountain icon

I want to donate

 

…And the staff who are participating are:

  1. Mrs Younge

Mrs Younge is Head of English at Alfriston.  She joined the school this academic year and she likes afternoon tea but not the washing up!

She signed up for the Three Peaks Challenge  because she thinks it will be great to have a new and wider range of books in school for students to learn a love of reading!  She has been preparing for the challenge with lots of walks, jogs and cycle rides.  She is really hoping to complete all 3 mountains but she is worried about losing her footing and slipping over!

Please encourage her.  Perhaps you could offer her a cup of tea if she doesn’t slip over.

2. Mrs Jones

Mrs Jones, teaches Home Economics, Art, PHSE and D of E at Alfriston and is pastoral tutor to 9J. She has always been quite outdoorsy and enjoys camping and walking; her passion for mountains came about after she completed World Challenge to Guyana with students from her previous school.  She says she is not the fittest of people but will always try things outside her comfort zone.   She has previously climbed Mount Kenya, Mount Meru, Mount Kinabula and Kilimanjaro.  She so enjoys the peace and tranquillity of the scenery and open space and she would really like to complete her mountain leaders training.

Ask her what’s so great about mountains because she’ll be able to tell you!

3. Mrs Knibbs
Mrs Knibbs has just taken retirement, having taught PE at Alfriston School for many years!!!! She will be continuing to work with the South Bucks Special Schools Partnership and do some Supply teaching for Alfriston, when needed. She obviously loves all sports and she likes to take on new challenges, so the Three Peaks Challenge is definitely for her.

However, she fears that she may have to ‘pull out’ at the last minute as she is nursing a skiing injury but she hopes to be able to reach the top of at least one of the Peaks and to have fun with the team.

Please tell her “She can do it” as we don’t want all her training to be in vain!!

4. Mrs Smith (Science)

Mrs Smith is an SSA supporting largely in science and home economics.  As she is a mini bus driver, she also gets to go out on trips and visits which she loves!

She enjoys walking, particularly in the mountains, running and swimming.  Since climbing Snowdon a few years ago, she has been itching to climb Ben Nevis, so being offered the chance to climb three peaks in one go was an opportunity not to be missed! Although she has trained hard, she is still nervous about the enormity of what the team are taking on, but hopes that, with a positive frame of mind and a good team spirit, everyone will rise to the challenge.

Help her to be convinced that she can climb all three mountains, no sweat!

5. Mrs Brown

Mrs Brown has worked at Alfriston for nearly 12 years. She worked for 7 of those in the classroom as a support assistant and now she is up in boarding as part of the residential team. She has worked with children most of her life as well as having 5 of her own. She enjoys most sports and goes to the gym regularly, mostly doing group activities/classes. She also walks her 10 month old German Shepherd/Border Collie pup and that takes up a lot of her time.

She is really looking forward to the 3 peaks as she’s never done anything like it before and she hopes that she will enjoy being part of a successful team!

Go Mrs Brown and the whole team.

6. Miss Leahy

Miss Leahy teaches PE and DofE at Alfriston, as well as visiting our partnership primary schools from the South Bucks School Sports Partnership to assist with the delivery of PE across all ages.  She loves all sports and adventurous activities, especially those that involve water and incorporate a social element.  As she spent much of last year on a physio’s couch, the challenge of the 3 peaks and the chance to train with a specific focus, provided the motivation to get her out and about and fit once more!

However she’s much more accustomed to a relaxed ride up a mountain via a chairlift before descending down at leisure either on a bike or a pair of skis.

Let’s hope she won’t need those skis on any of the 3 peaks.

7. Mrs Shorrocks

Mrs Shorrocks is Head of IT at Alfriston.  She has been at the school for many years and enjoys reading, photography and spending time with her grandchildren.

She is not much of a sportswoman but does try to stay fit by walking and running and she has joined the Challenge because she wants to see the view from the top of Ben Nevis.  She is hopeful that the weather will be kind and that she will get a good photo from the summit but she is worried that her knees may give out before she is safely down from Snowdon.

Give her some tips for staying awake and NO rain-dancing!

 

8. Mrs Stevens

Mrs Stevens has been working at Alfriston for almost three years. She works mainly in the PE department but also in Boarding and coordinating the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Before working at Alfriston she was an Outdoor Instructor so she loves being outdoors and challenging herself. She has walked a lot in the past but this is a new challenge and she is looking forward to tackling it with the team!!

Good luck Mrs Stevens and the team!

9. Mr Waterman

Mr Waterman is the science teacher at Alfriston and he’s worked here for ages!  He enjoys running, going to the gym and hill-walking when he gets the chance.  He hopes that the weather will give clear views but is happy to be going when there is snow.

Thanks for organising the whole thing Mr Waterman and let’s hope your GPS keeps working!

10. Mr Van Den Bossche

11. Mrs Male

 

 

 

…and who else????