Desperate Glory

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On Monday 21st March The Globe Players visited Kingsbury High School with their First World War production of Desperate Glory.

This year is one hundred years since the Battle of Verdun and the Battle of the Somme. Desperate Glory marks this centenary with a lively and moving show which combines the prose and poems of the writers who fought in the First World War with many of the music hall songs of the time, and brings to life the experience of some of the men and women whose lives were devastated by the first industrialised war. The patriotism, disillusionment, satire and sheer horror expressed in the writings of the soldier-poets are set against a background of the changing attitudes of those at home.

The play was performed to some 300 Year 8 students throughout the day. Associate Head of the English Faculty, Ms Bali, said “Desperate Glory was an extremely moving, richly entertaining, and, above all, thought-provoking show about World War One. It was an excellent introduction to the Year 8 unit: War Poetry.”

Launch of ESOL Classes

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Monday 7th March saw the launch of the school’s new initiative: English as a Second Language (ESOL) Classes.

The classes have been very successful with both parents and students attending twice a week after school. The sessions have been planned creatively to improve language and communications skills through a range of tasks and interactive activities.

There are currently three classes: a higher and lower ability group for the students and a class for the parents. Each class has lessons tailored specifically to meet the needs of the learners whilst ensuring that their learning is fun and exciting. The lessons for the students involve improving their grammar, vocabulary, speaking and writing skills to aid their academic learning and boost their confidence. The parents’ classes consist of learning basic communication and life skills.

Having held lessons for just over 2 weeks, the students and parents shared their views on their experience of the ESOL classes so far.

Parent feedback:

“I am really happy to come to the ESOL classes because I am learning more English and I meet people.”

“I am very happy to be in these classes because I have learnt so many new things.”

“I have learnt new things and met other people.”

Student feedback:

“I like the ESOL classes because I’ve learned lots of things that I didn’t know before.”

“I am learning more English and I have fun.”

“These classes are helpful and interesting.”

“I like the lessons and the teacher because she helps me and teaches us interesting things.”

View our school website for more information.

Spies, Lies and Disguises

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On the 15th December 2015 a special presentation event took place for Kingsbury High School students who embarked on the seemingly impossible task to write a novel within five days.

Over the October half term, eight Year 10 students worked with White Water Writer’s Camp to achieve their goal. After an intense week of brainstorming, storyboarding, character creating, writing and editing, using a complex system which is actually used to design computer software, they completed their novel.

At the presentation event students saw their published book, Spies, Lies and Disguises, for the first time. Their achievement was celebrated with an iced cake in the shape of an open book with each of their names adorned on it; Headteacher, Jeremy Waxman OBE, presented the students with a certificate and a gift wrapped copy of the novel; and signed copies were presented to the school’s Library Manager, Tracy Fildalgo, to be housed in the school libraries.

Vinitha Vasantharajah recalls her experiences of the project and says “I loved coming up with ideas and discussing the story as well as editing and drafting. It felt amazing when the book was completed. We worked as a great team, achieved a lot and were all happy with the result. I just wanted to keep on editing, drafting and writing. I did not want it to end because I was having so much fun.

“Receiving the book really made me question whether we wrote it. That’s how amazing it was and it was a wonderful opportunity for all of us.

“I fell in love with the story and product. It really helps you develop teamwork skills and be mature about deciding which idea was most suitable. The whole experience has inspired me and I would highly recommend it. It has given me great memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”

Kingsbury High School’s EAL Teacher, Agnieszka Owczarek, organised the event with White Water Writer’s Camp and said “All students, who participated in the writing workshop, have worked very hard in all sessions going beyond what was necessary and accomplishing their goal of writing their own novel in such a short period of time. They are very enthusiastic, inspiring and talented youngsters – a credit to Kingsbury High School and real role models for other students at our school.”

Congratulations to the following students: Asma Mohamed, Hassan Naima, Kassandra Chase, Luxshayan Balakumar, Sankeeth Balaraman, Tahmeenah Rahman, Vinitha Vasantharajah and Zubeyda Elmi.

Spies, Lies, and Disguises is available to buy on Amazon.

Extract from Spies, Lies and Disguises

Will let the curtain fall as he leapt back onto his single bed. His silky brown hair flopped to one side as he thought of his day. He could not help to wonder why they left him alone. And why the town looked like it had been frozen? Did time stop? No, that could not have happened, he thought.

Out of the blue, he heard a faint noise repeating itself. However curious he felt, Will did not look in its direction. First the man on the bench, a frozen-in-time village and now this? It – it had to be a trap.

He cleverly lifted himself up, and wrapped his hands around his face whilst he secretly looked at the direction of the noise. From the corner of his eyes, he noticed a faint red light fluctuating on his wall. He was being spied on from the inside of his room – that was why they had no reason to wait! But what could he do?

The LIT Programme

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On Monday 15th June 2015, a film crew came to visit Kingsbury High School to capture The LIT Programme in action.

The LIT Programme is an educational programme that Kingsbury High has been piloting with the Hackney Learning Trust over the past three years. Throughout this year around 70 Year 7 students have been involved in the project during their English lessons to improve their reading comprehension and writing skills.

With the footage, The Hackney Learning Trust is making a short, educational film about how The LIT Programme is delivered at Kingsbury High School. The film will feature The LIT Programme lessons, as well as short interviews where both students and staff speak about their experience of the programme this year.

Nicole Assaad, Kingsbury High School teacher and Literacy Champion said “Kingsbury High students have been making tremendous progress. Through this film, which will be made available to other educational professionals through the Hackney Learning Trust website, teachers can offer the same support to their students and will be able to see how to deliver the programme more effectively.”

A Twist in the Tale

A Twist in the Tale

Talented writers at Kingsbury High School have had their stories published in a national anthology. A Twist in the Tale – Southern Stories, edited by Jenni Bannister and published by Young Writers, features the work of 14 Year 9 students.

The book is the result of a competition run by Young Writers to encourage young people to engage in creative writing. The brief was to write a story with an unexpected twist in up to 100 words.

The anthology will be available for staff and students to borrow from the lower school library and will also be held at The British Library.

Tayari Gachegua said “We had to try and write a story within a hundred words and the story had to have a twist at the end. At first, one hundred words seems like quite a lot, but as you start writing, you realise that you want to include more detail so it was quite a challenge. My story is called The Prisoner. It’s about a grandfather who is telling his grandchildren about his time in prison. When I saw the book for the first time, my heart started pumping; I was just a bit nervous. The fact that the book will be in our school library is even more nerve-wracking than it being in The British Library because with The British Library, it will be members of the public and people that we don’t know, whereas in the school library it’s your peers that are going to be reading it, so they are going to be direct; they’re going to tell you if it’s terrible or if it’s a good story, so I’m nervous about what they’re going to say”

Adam Badawy said “I’ve been to the British Library a few times and I’ve seen how big it is, so I was really surprised when I heard the book was going to be held there. It’s quite a big honour to see something that I have written in there.”

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Kingsbury High School Student Discovers the Secrets of Life

aida getachew from techkhs on Vimeo.

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Year 9 student, Aida Getachew, started writing the Secrets of Life at the age of 12. At 13, she was a published author and at 14, she finally told everyone about it!

The Secrets of Life, is the story of a teenage girl who undertakes a mission to find and protect an enchanted scroll, entrusted to her by her ancestors. Kingsbury High School students are eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Secrets of Life in the school’s libraries.

The Secrets of Life is available to buy in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.

Below is an interview with Aida:

What inspired you to write a book?

My Saturday school teacher asked me what I wanted to do when I was older and I told her I wanted to be an author. She told me that I better get started because it takes a long time to publish a book, so I started writing the following weekend.

How long did it take you to write the book?

It took me about a year to write the book with breaks in between.

Did you get writers block?

Yes, a lot.

What gave you inspiration for the story?

I really like Harry Potter and anything fantasy. I love the idea that, in fantasy, nothing has to be real so I took that on board.

Who are your favourite authors?

J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien

I heard you kept it really quiet from all of your friends. Why was that?

I didn’t want to tell them in case something went wrong or that it didn’t get published.

How have you found the fame when your friends found out?

No one believed me. My family did not believe me, my friends didn’t believe me, my teachers didn’t believe me so they took a lot of convincing, but it’s good. I’m still the same person, but with a book.

What are your next steps? Have you planned another book yet?

I might write one, but I’ve got GCSEs coming up so I’m going to study for them first. I might write one in the summer. I might do a sequel to Secrets of Life.

How did you feel when you heard your book was going to be published?

When I got the phone call, I didn’t believe it; I thought it was a prank. I was really excited, happy, I was going crazy. It was really good.

How did your family feel? What did they say?

They were smiling the whole evening. They were just really happy and they called me ‘author’ and ‘celebrity’, it was really strange. They were really proud of me.

[text by Camille; photograph by Steve; video by Erik]

Reading for Enjoyment

On Monday 14th January, the whole of Year 7 took part in an exciting ‘reading for enjoyment’ Excel day designed to encourage and celebrate reading. Both students and staff dressed up as their favourite book character with often imaginative and visual stunning results! Throughout the day a range of exciting activities were experienced such as: drama performances and role plays; reading aloud beloved preschool books to develop students’ story telling skills to engage young children; and manipulating words to create enigmatic riddles in the style of J R R Tolkien!

Students consistently celebrated their reading by building a reading tree; watching it grow throughout the day by adding to it all the elements they loved about reading books. From characters and action to voice and writers’ style, one thing is clear: the staff and students have many reasons to love reading here at KHS!

[text by Ms Sangha & Ms Bryson; photography by Steve & Camille]