ISSUE 89: October 2013 www.familieswest.co.uk
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The schools issue
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EDUCATION News International Walk to School Month
In this issue
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Welcome to our October issue where we are giving you all the information you need about schools in West London. It is an anxious time for parents and children if they are due to make a change next September. Huge amounts of time seem to be spent in preparation- all the form filling, visiting on open days, endless discussions around the kitchen table....it's a far cry from just wandering down the road to the local school "in the old days." We have been working hard to bring as much of that information as you need to make the decision. Good luck with it. See you again in October for the Schools issue.
Contents Education 3-15 Education News 3-4 News from the schools 6-7 Assessment tools used by the schools 8 The Benefits of Inclusion 10 Getting An Educational Psychology Assessment 12-13 Open Day Dates for 2013 14-15 Half-term workshops 16 What's On in West London 17-22 Classifieds 23
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Beat the traffic and get you and your kids out in the fresh air during International Walk to School Month this October. Each year, primary school children from across the UK join forces with over 40 countries worldwide to celebrate the benefits of walking to school and this October is no different, with the month-long activity encouraging pupils to walk to school at least once a week. Many parents know that walking is actually quicker and less stressful than taking the car and they value the opportunity to spend quality time with their children. It also increases air quality with fewer cars on the streets and strengthen communities, where children and parents are seen in the streets! Stop moaning about the traffic start clearing it! www.livingstreets.org.uk
National Poetry Day Mark this 3 October with a nationwide celebration of poetry. Poetry is for everyone, everywhere, from assemblies, bus-queues, cafes, greengrocers, hospitals and ice-rinks to waiting-rooms, yacht clubs and zoos. This year’s theme is water, with Coleridge’s great phrase ‘Water, water, everywhere’ as inspiration. Check out the website for a myriad of poems on the subject, together with ideas on how to turn the theme of water into lines of poetry. Participants this year are challenged to smuggle poetry into the most unlikely places, not just in libraries and classrooms but on fishing boats and ferries, via postcards, mobile phones and announcements on station platforms. Find out more at www.nationalpoetryday.co.uk
Preparing for the entrance exam season Children may have to take the exams but it also requires a battery of skills and knowledge from parents to make sure their children reach exam season possessing a quiet confidence and self-belief, secure in their English and maths knowledge and well-practised in exam techniques. Fleet Tutors advise: “Start early is the mantra you’ll hear from parents who’ve been through the experience. Whether you use a tutor or do-it-yourself, a steady structured programme prepares a child, not just for exams, but for the big changes they face when they start ‘big’ school in year 7. Don’t lose sight of your child in all of this. Focus on what they are doing right. Confidence drives self-belief which encourages learning and also establishes an outlook that will serve them well throughout life.” Fleet Tutors have been providing private home tutoring for over 35 years. Call 020 8580 3911 or go to www.fleet-tutors.co.uk.
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Education Department of Education figures have revealed a significant rise in the number of children in classes of more than 30 students. The number of five-to seven-year-olds taught in classes of more than 30 pupils has risen dramatically in the past year, with figures showing that over 70,000 children are taught alongside 30 other pupils in 2013, compared with around 47,000 last year and 28,000 four years ago. This has prompted claims from teachers that the government is failing to address a serious shortage of school places, with critics adding that the government’s new free schools have not always been opened in areas with the greatest need for extra places. ‘They are opening new secondary schools in areas where there are surplus places,’ said Stephen Twigg, shadow Education Secretary, ‘whilst the need for primary places couldn’t be greater.’ However, the Department of Education said, ‘Children are only permitted to join classes of 30 pupils in exceptional cases, if for instance they are in care or from military families. Classes often fall back naturally to 30 over a year or two.’ The increase is largely the result of a mini-baby boom after declining pupil numbers in the early 2000s, with the situation looking like it will only get worse, as the National Audit Office forecasts that admissions will rise by another 240,000 in September this year.
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Class sizes swell
Has England got it wrong? By Joanna Parry Here in England our students are used to a selective, vigorous education. We specialise in subjects at an early age. Our courses are test-driven, our exams rigorous and getting more so, and subjects such as music, drama and sport have been all but squeezed out. But have we got it all wrong? As education minister Michael Gove announces measures to make the exams taken by students in England even more demanding, look across the border and we can see that education in Scotland is run very differently. There, students take a curriculum in which national exams for 16-year-olds have been abolished. While schools in England encourage students to specialise, Scottish schools traditionally aim for a greater breadth of knowledge. Their secondary education lasts six years, ending with a single set of national exams, and their university degree programs last four years, compared with only three in England and Wales. In a nutshell, Scottish schools focus on more than just tests. ‘When the Scottish Parliament came into being in 1999, we realised our schools were not performing as well as they should,’ said the Scottish education minister, Michael Russell. ‘Our students were overexamined, our schools overinspected and the curriculum was too divided up and too shallow.’ So Scotland introduced the Curriculum for Excellence, paying more attention to how subjects were taught. Starting with kindergarten, the curriculum has progressed through the system one year at a time and has just reached the 16-yearolds who, until this year, would have taken Standard Grade exams. Students still take exams in as many as 15 subjects but those are pass/fail and set by their teachers. ‘I don’t believe for a minute that Curriculum for Excellence is touchy-feely or that we are watering down standards,’ said Gordon Moulsdale, head teacher at Bishopbriggs Academy near Glasgow. ‘It used to be that only students who did well on exams were thought of as the smart ones. But we’ve learned that there are different kinds of intelligence.’ The changes mean a slightly longer school week, and more time for music, drama, sports and community service: precisely the areas that have been squeezed in England by the need to prepare students for so many exams. It is clear that in Scotland there is no appetite for the selective, competitive and testdriven approach being promoted by Michael Gore in England, and it looks like the experiment is succeeding. So should England take note?
Looking for the potential in every child At Thames Christian College it is not just the top 5% of pupils who are labelled as gifted and talented. “We find potential in all our pupils and develop their talents and self-confidence so they can all achieve their best. Thames accepts pupils with varying levels of ability, many are academically gifted, some are talented artistically, creatively or in sport. Others have potential yet to be realised." Stephen Holsgrove, Executive Head, comments: “Our size allows us to be flexible – we can and do tailor our curriculum to enable pupils to develop their skills, realise their strengths and become highly motivated, successful young people. We never have to resort to being just an exam factory. Whether a pupil is capable of achieving all A* grades and more or finds academic study a challenge, at Thames we strive to empower each individual to set their own high aspirations. Typically at Thames, pupils achieve between one and three grades higher across all subjects than their standard prediction tests indicate. At Thames we welcome pupils who demonstrate respect for others and a positive attitude towards learning." To find out more visit www.thameschristiancollege.org.uk
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NEWS from the schools Early years at Orley Farm Pre-Prep at Orley Farm is a very busy and happy place. In Reception, children have access to a play-based curriculum at the Early Years Foundation Stage. “We have wonderful grounds which extend our children’s learning way beyond the classroom. In addition to the regular curriculum, we have specialist teachers for Drama, ICT, Music, PE, Gymnastics, French and Swimming. We strongly promote confidence and independence through our amazing concerts, class assemblies and our Harvest festival when all of Pre-Prep sing and recite poetry to local elderly visitors. Our annual Book Week always encourages a love of reading, as our visiting authors, poets, and illustrators entertain and excite! Our belief is that a love for learning, and breadth and balance across the curriculum lead to the best learning possible. Our yearly International Day takes the children ‘all over the world’, so by the time they move from Pre-Prep into Middle School they have many stamps in their ‘Passports’. Trips to the National Gallery, Open-Air Museum, Gunnersbury Museum and Odd’s Farm are just a taste of the added extras children are involved in.” The school welcome visitors to their Saturday mornings, or contact the Registrar for one of the Wednesday tours where you will see the school in action. www.orleyfarm.harrow.sch.uk/
Success at Durston House Durston House is a very successful preparatory school for boys aged 4 to 13. They aim to provide an outstanding education their pupils by creating a lively and stimulating environment. Academic excellence, creative arts and wide-ranging sporting opportunities make for a balanced outlook on school life. In the last five years Durston House pupils have gained thirty-eight academic, music and sports awards to leading senior independent day and boarding schools. On the sporting front, their rugby teams have enjoyed two unbeaten seasons in recent years, with two members being awarded club-funded scholarships. Prospective parents are warmly invited to attend their Open Morning on Tuesday 15 October. Please telephone the Registrar on 020 8991 6532 for more details.
New equipment at Avenue House At Avenue House School, they believe that small is beautiful. They pride themselves on the homely atmosphere and small class sizes which allow everyone the individual care and attention they need. They are used to making the most of their lovely house, but sometimes need a little bit of extra space for bags and coats to keep it looking pristine. Which is why the new lockers in the playground have been a welcome addition. Bright and eye catching they add to the cheerful playground, blending with the multi coloured benches and the mushroom seats. Offsetting these primary colours is the beautiful mural along the back wall portraying a variety of country scenes. Meanwhile the front garden houses a pond (now with frogs which the children watched develop from frog spawn) and a vegetable garden, giving the Gardening Club plenty to work on! www.avenuehouse.org 6
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Happy Birthday Notting Hill & Ealing 16 September 2013 was Notting Hill and Ealing High School’s 140th birthday! To celebrate girls spent the day involved in activities devised around a theme of ‘140’.These ranged from following a bearing of 140 degrees from the school and photographing the landmarks en route, to delving into the school archives to see how school life has changed over the years or recreating photos in the style of 1873. There was fancy dress in both Junior and Senior School (for girls and staff!) and a Great Birthday Bake-off competition to create a show-stopping 140th birthday cake. The special guest in the Senior School was Karen Pickering (herself a GDST Old Girl) who held her audience spell-bound as she recounted not just the story of her victories in the pool but how she came back from shocking injury and went on to even greater success in spite of advice to quit the sport . Summing up the day Head, Lucinda Hunt said: “Despite all the changes in buildings and curriculum, fashions and facilities, I think the founders of the school and its first Headmistress, Harriet Jones, would still recognise the unique spirit and style of Notting Hill & Ealing, its friendliness and warmth and the way, just as in 1873 when girls’ schools like ours were still almost unknown, we continue to place the academic success and the happiness of each individual girl at the heart of everything we do." www.nhehs.gdst.net
New bus service between Thorpe House School and Ealing, Uxbridge and Hillingdon Thorpe House Senior School in leafy Gerrards Cross opened in 2006 in response to the overwhelming demand from parents who were looking for continuity in their son’s education and a high quality alternative to the schools that were available at the time. Since its inception, the school has gone from strength to strength and is now oversubscribed year on year. They aim to provide excellent teaching in a small school environment, where each boy is known by all of his teachers and is treated as an individual. The boys are expected to work hard, something demonstrated last March when 90% of those taking individual GSCE Science were awarded an A/A* in all the three exams (biology, chemistry and physics) with the remaining 10% achieving B grades or above. Field trips, sports tours and cultural excursions are considered an extension of the boys’ studies as are extra-curricular clubs like the Barber Shop Choir, golf, debating, horse riding, Young Enterprise, sculling and judo (to name but a few.) In September 2014 a dedicated bus service will be running between Ealing, Hillingdon and Uxbridge. Find out more by visiting them on their open days on Saturday 5th and Tuesday 8th October or by going to www.thorpehouse.co.uk
Spotlight falls on New West End Facilities for ArtsEd This academic year the Arts Educational Schools will open its doors to reveal a brand new stateof-the-art theatre facility. The theatre will be used by all four schools under the ArtsEd umbrella and is part of a major refurbishment project funded in the main from a £3.5 million grant from the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. The seven-month project comprises new film and TV studios, new wardrobe storage, new seating in the school’s studio theatre and improved and accessible foyer facilities. Parents at the recent day school open evenings were the first members of the public to view the theatre which will be launched officially in later in the year by Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber. ArtsEd’s independent day school for 11-18 year old students is the most successful vocational secondary school in academic league tables. Pupils combine high academic standards with expert tuition in dance, drama and music and a wide range of performance opportunities. While sixth-formers can pursue a traditional A level route comprising four A level subjects, or a Performing Arts BTEC courses, in either Musical Theatre or Acting combined with AS level subjects. To book a tour or find out more please call 020 8987 6600 or visit www.artsed.co.uk
St Augustine’s Priory leads debate on girls’ education St Augustine’s Priory School in Ealing is hosting a Symposium on 14th November 2013 entitled “Equipping the girls of today: Empowering the women of tomorrow.” The event will address the very pertinent current issue of whether girls’ schools give their pupils the skills and stomach for life long effectiveness. The event will feature keynote speakers including Sue Stone, (CEO,Sue Stone Foundation) who is an Empowerment Mentor and who will address the topic of effectiveness in the workplace and tools required to ensure adequate preparation of girls for these challenges. A leading counsellor will talk about the emotional attributes required for success- self knowledge, self respect, self esteem, courage and confidence. The event will also feature a workshop led by Navleen Kaur who will lead a discussion on key motivators and drivers for happiness and success. Sarah Raffray, Headteacher, will close the session by giving her views on how St Augustine’s Priory is committed to lifelong education. Find out more about the school on their Open Day on 12th October 2013 or attend the Empowering event on 14th November. www.saintaugustinespriory.org.uk
Time to Shine! Numerous studies have proven the negative effect that the media can have on teenage girls’ selfesteem and body image at a time when they are already experiencing social and peer pressure. To combat this effect, Year 9 girls from Thames Christian College are taking part in a personal development programme 'ShineGIRL' to empower them to understand their own personal worth, strengths and purpose. Sessions aim to develop a strong sense of personal identity, confidence and hope. The idea is to equip the girls to realise their full potential by identifying their individual desires and motivating them to set and achieve personal goals. Emily O’Boyle said: “The programme is a lot of fun and re-energising. It has helped me to think about myself in a positive light and consider what I would really like to achieve in life.” To find out more visit www.thameschristiancollege.org.uk or go along to one of their open days. October 2013
New Headmaster at Clifton Lodge School, Ealing Floyd Steadman has been appointed Headmaster of Clifton Lodge School. He is one of Cognita’s most experienced Preparatory School Heads. In his early career, Floyd taught at Colet Court, the Preparatory Department of St Paul’s School, and became Head of Sport and Head of Juniors. He then became Deputy Head of the Preparatory School for Mill Hill. Sir Christopher Woodhead, Chairman of Cognita Schools Group, subsequently appointed Floyd Head of Salcombe Prep. After three years, Floyd moved to Downsend School, one of the largest in the Cognita group. Away from education Floyd has played sport to a high level. In Rugby he has captained Saracens and played for the Barbarians. He later became involved in the administration of sport, as National Squad Adviser for the RFU and Director of the Sports Aid Foundation. In his own words: “I have a simple philosophy on education and want all children to enjoy their time at school. I challenge them to make the most of all opportunities given, and most soon realise that the more they put in, the greater the rewards and enjoyment will be”. www.cliftonlodgeschool.co.uk
St Benedict’s School in Ealing After the most recent ISI Inspection Report (Nov 2012) praising many aspects of the school’s work including its academic curriculum, pupils personal development and also the programme of extra-curricular activities, St Benedict’s has been busy investing in buildings and facilities to build upon its excellence. This has included an award winning £6.2million Cloisters complex, refurbishment of the Senior School Library and a new serving area adjacent to the dining hall. Also a full size all-weather facility at the playing fields to complement the reputation it has acquired for its excellent sporting tradition. Whilst promoting the highest sporting aspirations, the school is committed to sport for all. A wide range of both sport, music, drama and other extra-curricular activities is offered. St Benedict’s is a co-educational school with a proud academic record. Its Mission of ‘Teaching a way of living’ is at the core of the holistic Catholic education that is provided to boys and girls from Nursery through to Sixth Form. Find out more on www.stbenedicts.org.uk
Southbank celebrates European Day of Languages The corridors and classrooms were awash with languages as Southbank International School celebrated European Day of Languages on 26th September. Students enjoyed a range of activities to learn more about the European languages represented amongst the 70 nationalities at the campus. Children and teachers wore a sticker to say “Speak to me in……..”, featuring Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Dutch, Polish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Icelandic and Bulgarian, with some wearing wore more than one sticker! Students looked at the connections between different linguistic groups, found out about those spoken around the school, shared stories, songs and games and had circle time to discuss how it makes them feel to speak their home language. A map of nationalities at the school can be found at www.southbank.org. Southbank has a strong ‘Home Languages Community’. The school usually teaches around 20 home languages and a fifth of 2013 graduates earned Bi-lingual International Baccalaureate Diplomas. For more information on Southbank International School, please contact the Admissions Office on 020 7243 3803, email@example.com. Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR
Assessment Tools used by the schools How do schools assess pupils for entry? We asked some of West London’s top schools what they do and how you can prepare your child for it. Notting Hill & Ealing High School www.nhehs.gdst.net
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4+: informal ‘play’ assessment in small groups of up to 4 children. Not expected to have any previous formal education or knowledge. Held in January/February of year of entry with results by end of February. 7+: formal tests (taken in year of entry) in English, maths and reasoning taking approx 30-40 minutes each will take place on 24 January 2014. Results as soon as possible thereafter. 11+: Group 1 North London Independent Girls' Schools' Consortium Test in English (1 hr 15 mins) and Maths (1 hrs 15 mins) will take place on Friday 17 January 2014. Sample papers available on school website. All those applying to are NHEHS invited for a short informal interview .
4+: Reception assessment consists of classroom visit and informal interview 9+: Assessment consists of a one hour English paper, 30 minute maths paper plus verbal and non-verbal reasoning tests. 11+ Assessment consists of a 45 minute Maths paper, 1 hour English paper and a Verbal Reasoning exercise followed by interview. 13+: Assessment consists of a one hour English paper and one hour Maths paper followed by interview. How to best prepare your child: The examinations are designed as a test of ability and a reflection of how candidates access the curriculum relevant to their academic stage. Interviews are designed to gain au understanding of the whole person and their contribution to broader school life. Academic scholarships and music and sport exhibitions are available at most entry levels.
Heathfield School for Girls www.heathfield.gdst.net Junior School: Entry is normally at 3+ and 7+. 3+: Small group assessments usually take place between January and June. Girls spend 30 minutes in the Nursery. Girls cannot be assessed before they are 2½ years old. 7+: Girls are invited to spend half a day in school participating in lessons, including Maths and Literacy, during which assessment of their ability to acquire new concepts takes place. 11+: A member of the North London Independent Girls’ Schools’ Consortium. Entrance examination in January consisting of Mathematics and English papers, each 75 minutes. Past papers are available from the website. In addition a computerbased cognitive ability test. All candidates are interviewed.
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St Benedict’s School www.stbenedicts.org.uk Nursery: The children are observed during a short play session in order to assess readiness for entry into the Nursery Department at 3+. Children seeking admission to the Pre-Prep Department are assessed during the Michaelmas term, when applicants are invited to attend an Assessment Morning. Using the School’s criteria for admission, children are observed in a classroom situation and asked to carry out certain tasks individually and in small groups. In addition, both parents have the opportunity to meet the Junior School Headmaster who will offer a guided tour of the Junior School and hold a brief interview. 11+ : Examination includes a one hour Mathematics paper, a one hour English Composition and Use of English paper and a 45 minute verbal Reasoning Test. The school does not provide copies of past papers. The exam is used to check whether the child is going to be able to access the curriculum they offer and therefore the school don't set a pass mark as such. The exam is set at a level which should be accessible to Year 6 pupils doing their normal course of study.
Orley Farm School www.orleyfarm.harrow.sch.uk/admissions Normal intake is at 4+ with smaller intake at 11+ 4+: Skills based assessment held in early January. No preparation is necessary for these assessments as children perform tasks similar to what they are already doing in Nursery. There is no reading or writing involved. The children are observed playing. The assessments are run in birthday order with groups of ten children per session. They will be asked to join in group play activities and also spend time on a one to one basis with our staff. They will be assessed on their motor skills, social skills, use of vocabulary (language skills), completing puzzles, naming shapes and colours and counting to ten. The assessment lasts for approximately an hour and a half. There is a £50 fee for an assessment. 11+: Entrance exam is held on a Saturday morning in early March for three hours to recruit girls and boys for Year 7. The school offers academic, music and sports' scholarships. Limited bursaries are available. The test consists of some digital (computerised) reasoning tests together with a piece of English writing and a Maths paper. No preparation is necessary for these tests. To apply, pupils will need to be at a secure predicted Level 5 in their SATs for English, Maths and Science. Music scholarship candidates will need to have a good pass at Grade 4 for their main instrument. A second instrument would be an advantage. For the sports' scholarship, it would be advantageous for the candidate to have played their main sport at club or representative levels. Both the music and sports' scholarships require an audition/trial (with the Heads of Departments) which will be held after school, providing that the candidate has successfully passed the written exam beforehand. All successful pupils will be asked to come in for an informal interview before a place is offered. There is a £50 fee for this exam. October 2013
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The Benefits of Inclusion © Steve Reid Blitz Photography, Gosport 07540 972360
By Rachael Ross, Chair, Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association When I went to school in the mid ‘70s and ‘80s, children with any form of disability were not actively encouraged into mainstream education. This absence of anyone with a disability was also reflected in the wider community. Consequently when I left school, and for much of my early adult life, I had never even met or spoken to a person with a disability, leaving me awkward and unsure how to interact in their company. Thankfully times have changed, and children with a wide variety of additional needs are now commonplace in mainstream education. Children like my son Max. Max is eight and happens to have Down syndrome. Until the 1970s it was still widely believed that children with Down syndrome were uneducable, and they were denied that most fundamental of childhood rights; an education. We now know that with right specialist support these children can learn alongside their peers, and today, more children than ever before are being successfully included in mainstream schools. That’s not to say that special schools do not play an equally important role. It has to be a
decision based on what’s best for each individual child and their specific needs. For Max, the benefits in attending mainstream education are huge. Speech and language issues are a significant problem for nearly all children with Down syndrome, and can lead to frustration and isolation if not tackled head on. Studies show that when they attend mainstream school, these children develop at least two years faster with spoken language and literacy. They also benefit from having positive role models. Max needs to be around his typically developing peers, not just for PE and playtime, but there needs to be meaningful interaction. He needs to feel that he is part of the class, part of the wider school community, with the same opportunities and responsibilities as the other children. Otherwise how can we expect him to interact successfully with society as an adult? We are very fortunate that Max’s teachers have created a welcoming and caring environment where he is very much a part of school life. When we visit, I am always overwhelmed by the genuine affection and friendship shown to Max by both staff and pupils. Many of the children have grown up with Max, and see it as nothing unusual that he is in their class working with them. In turn, I’m sure the children benefit from being with Max. They learn to celebrate differences. They learn acceptance and patience, and will hopefully grow into more tolerant adults which will lead to a more accepting and integrated society. Inclusion is helping to steadily improve society’s attitude towards Down syndrome, fuelled by more positive media portrayal. Several top retailers including M&S, Next and Boden have used children with Down syndrome in their advertising campaigns. Actors with Down syndrome have played characters in popular TV shows such as Glee and Downton Abbey. Individuals are becoming role models, and are themselves changing misconceptions, like Simon Beresford, who in 2007 became the first person with Down syndrome to complete the London Marathon, and now eight marathons later is an inspiration for people around the world. More is being achieved than ever before, but there is a still a long way to go. Down syndrome is the most common cause of intellectual disability and yet funding does not reflect this. The situation has worsened in the recent economic climate, and parents are becoming increasingly frustrated by the lack of access to specialist support like speech and language therapy, which help enable their children to participate in mainstream education. As the Coalition Government plans to ‘end the bias towards mainstream’, there is a real risk that 30 years of slow uphill progress will be undermined unless there is adequate investment in training, research, resources and specialist support. We have seen glimpses of what can be achieved as children with the right skills and support go on to lead more independent and productive lives, enter employment, and become valued members of their communities. But as yet, there has never been an entire generation of children with Down syndrome that has passed through the system with adequate and sustained support in all areas of need, continuing into early adulthood. Until this happens, we will never be sure of their true capabilities.
Rachael is the Chair of Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association (Footprints) which offers friendship, advice and a wide range of educational services to children, their families, schools and professionals in Portsmouth and across the South East. To find out more visit www.footprintsds.org 10
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Education Notting Hill & Ealing High School GDST Junior School for Girls Aged 4-11 26 St. Stephen’s Road, London W13 8HH Developing confident learners in an environment in which girls’ strengths flourish
Open Days Autumn 2013
To reserve your place at an Open Day, for further information on occasional vacancies in other year groups or to request a prospectus contact the Admissions Secretary
Tel: 020 8991 2165
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.nhehs.gdst.net
Registered Charity No. 306983
Tuesday 1 October at 1.15pm Wednesday 9 October at 10.15am Thursday 17 October at 10.15am Friday 8 November at 1.15pm Tuesday 19 November at 10.15am
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Education Getting An Educational Psychology Assessment Dr Enid Alston, South Thames College of Further Education explains: It is not easy to forget the day when a teacher throws a grubby and rather tired folder of exercise books in front of you and says scornfully 'This is Jennifer.' My reaction, perhaps wrongly, was to feel mortified... I should have defended my daughter against such an unfair attack, but nevertheless I had the reaction that I was perhaps not the parent that I thought I was, that my child was not meeting other people's expectations and this reflected on me. While I wanted to leap to the defence of my child, the evidence in that little pile was quite clear: the work looked more like that of a drunken spider with a leg missing crawling across the page than a child of 9 years old. Of course nobody at that time suggested that we should contact an educational psychologist or have Jennifer assessed for differences in learning. The funny child who could speak intelligently and amusingly on endless different subjects and be a source of facts and information as well as mimic and act was not the same as the mute, frustrated one sitting in lessons trying to meet with an approval that never came. She was found wanting because of the presentation and the written content that so under-represented what she really was.
Why children with SEN remain undiagnosed Sadly, although one hopes that a reaction such as this would now be the exception rather than the norm, from my work with older students and adults I have found that many have still not received the understanding and support that they need in school to make the most of their potential. Students of 16+ are still coming out of school saying that they did not receive an assessment or any support with learning in their school years.
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The moral of this story is that if a school does suggest that they will refer your child to an educational psychologist or for a statement of SEN, you are in fact fortunate. It may not seem so at the time, but this is a comfort. It tells you the school is already knowledgeable about special needs and the needs of the learner and is concerned for the welfare of your child and for others in the class. I have found that parents need as much information as they can get about both the kind of difficulties that could be affecting their child's learning and also the process their child will experience when they are assessed for learning difficulties. They are then in a position to ensure that their child gets the best assessment, resulting in the best available help for their particular needs.
The educational psychology assessment process To a parent, the process of obtaining an assessment or a statement of SEN can seem like one for bottling yoghurt. The object is packed, the cap is fitted and the label popped on all very neatly and the product comes out at the end looking beautiful on paper, but not really relating to your child. It doesn't empower parents or give them confidence or reassurance about how to help their child and how to ensure that they make the most of their years in school, which, in the end, is all that any parent wants.
Prior to consulting an educational psychologist So what will be the process that your child will encounter? First of all you should already be aware that your child would have had an individual education plan (IEP) for some time. This should have been discussed with you at parents' evenings and individually in meetings with the class teacher or school special needs co-ordinator (SENCo). You will also know that your child has been placed on what is called 'School Action' or 'School Action Plus' with a Wave 2 (small group) or Wave 3 (individual) intervention. It is when you get to School Action Plus that, as the term suggests, assessment by an educational or other psychologist is a probability. This process may not be quick because the school has to make the application and funding has to be put in place for the assessment. In the meantime, try to find out as much background as you can about the differences in your child's behavioural and learning style that have been mentioned by the teachers. Some sources of information are listed as follows.
Education Why conduct an ed psych assessment?
Starting the ball rolling
The purpose of the assessment is to find out how the school can best help your child. To understand this a close look must be taken at how your child learns, their profile of strengths and weaknesses and the difficulties that they have in a number of different areas â€“ behaviour, speaking, concentration, organisation, cohesion of movement and memory being just some of them.
What do you do if no one suggests that your child is having difficulties in learning that are interfering with their progress? Sandy is the child of highly educated professional parents who were working in India when he was conceived. Several months into his pregnancy his mother got dysentery, which affected her on and off until after he was born. Sandy suffered from frequent ear infections and at one point it was noticed that he could not hear what was being said around him. He had grommets fitted when he was 3 years old, which solved this problem. He scraped by in school and remained unobtrusive, but his parents were a bit worried that he didn't seem to be doing as well in school as his brothers. His teachers reassured them that he was about average and there was no need to worry, and they thought for a long time 'it's just Sandy'. Eventually when he was doing A levels a friend persuaded them that he should be assessed and he was found to be dyslexic and with a specific language impairment which had affected his learning to a significant degree. By this time it had also affected his motivation and his self-esteem. If you are worried about your child, but the teachers don't seem concerned or maintain that he will catch up given time, or is just average, follow up on your hunch. Remember miracles do happen; some children will catch up given time, but not very often, so err on the safe side and insist your child is assessed by a trained professional sooner rather than later. Time matters! The key thing to remember is that the sooner your child's difficulties are isolated, identified and dealt with, the less their education will suffer, the more successfully they will learn and the less their self-esteem and selfconfidence will be affected. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of self-esteem in the class- room, and the more this can be protected, the better for your child. If you suspect a difficulty with learning, concentration, behaviour or any other source of problem and the school is not responding to your concerns, you are at liberty to seek a psychologist's assessment yourself or get a second opinion. Sometimes parents need to know a lot more than the professionals, so always remember this is your child and you do know them best!
First things first The first step will be to arrange a consultation meeting that involves those who know the child best: parents or carers, teachers, the SENCo and the psychologist. The educational psychologist (EP) may also observe your child in class to make observations on social interactions and behaviour that lead to completion of tasks and learning.
Next steps If a further assessment is needed, a consultation will be arranged. This will entail your child completing a number of tasks, which include reading, spelling, writing and maths tasks as well as verbal reasoning and reasoning with shapes, figures and pictures. The whole process will take about two to three hours and your child should be helped to understand what the assessment is for and what it will involve. Leaflets can often be supplied by the EP to help with this explanation. EPs are well trained to put the children at ease and relate to them during these sessions, and most children find the session a positive experience with an element of challenge or fun involved somewhere in the procedure.
Feedback from the psychological assessment The assessment will result either in a verbal report, or a written one, or both. The written report will contain a great deal of technical jargon as well as the nitty-gritty, ie the recommendations for the future education of your child and an overview of your child's strengths and weaknesses. A report that does not contain some reference to strengths or learning strengths is missing the plot because these are the crucial areas through which your child will need to learn in the future and other professionals need to be guided to look for them. Recommendations or referrals may also be made to other professionals such as a speech and language therapist, occupational therapist, optometrist or a paediatrician, as well as sources of help such as the child and family consultation services. Don't be unduly alarmed if this happens â€“ the more information available, the better the help that can be obtained. This assessment and the report will also play a key role in both the preparation of a statement of SEN and the possibility of obtaining access arrangements for examinations. It is therefore an important document and, once it is obtained, you should ensure you have a copy and keep it in a safe place. A copy should also be made available to new centres of education if your child moves school or goes to college.
Dr Enid Alston, AMBDA, DipSpLD, CPsychol, Star Learning Consultancy, is currently an advanced practitioner and lecturer in specific learning difficulties at South Thames College of Further Education.
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Half-term Workshops RELISH KIDS www.relishkidscookery.co.uk 29 Oct Halloween Cookery Workshop. Learn essential cookery skills at St Mary’s Church Hall, Hanwell W7 3QP 07947 063155 e: firstname.lastname@example.org DIVERTIMENTI COOKERY SCHOOL www.divertimenti.co.uk 27 Oct Growing Gourmets – Halloween and Bonfire Night. Spooky eats and bonfire night treats. 10.30am-12.30pm for ages 5-8 and 2.30-4.30pm for ages 9-11 in Marylebone. 1 Nov Growing Gourmets – Bakers Bonanza. Baking bread and biscuits. 10.30am-12.30pm for ages 5-8 and 2.30-4.30pm for ages 9-11 in Marylebone. 2 Nov Skills from Scratch – Pasta Fantastica. Making fresh pasta and sauces. 10.30am-1.30pm for ages 9-11 in Marylebone. FIMO CLAY WORKSHOP www.funwithfimoclay.co.uk Creative fun sessions for ages 6+ in Acton. £50 per session. 22 Oct Double sided Jewellery 10.15am-4.15pm. 30 Oct Fimo Fun at Halloween 10.15am-4.15pm. 4 Nov My World 10.15am-4.15pm. Clare McKnight 020 8992 3767 e: email@example.com KITE STUDIOS www.kitestudios.org 28 Oct-2 Nov Art workshops in W12 for ages 5-8 and 8-15. CORNER 9 www.corner9.com 28 Oct - 1 Nov ‘Masterpieces’ Study a little art history, famous artists and produce our own Masterpieces. 2 D and 3 D art projects. 10am-12noon for ages 5+ in W9. Booking essential. e: firstname.lastname@example.org or Siglinde on 07763 472516 KENSINGTON IMAGING www.kensingtonimaging.co.uk October dates tbc. Young Film Makers Club A fun hands on workshop to discover the world of filmmaking. Children will explore the various stages of the film production process from storyboard to film cover. Age 8-15, 10-1pm and 2-5pm. October dates tbc. Digital Photography Discover your digital camera, learn about settings, light, composition and basic rules. Studio and outdoor work. 2-hour workshops. PERFORM www.perform.org.uk 23-25 and 28-30 Oct Half term drama, dance and singing holiday course for ages 4-8. This half-term, the theme is Rapunzel, which includes colourful costumes, original songs and live music, and a performance at the end of the week. Classes in Kensington. Call 0845 400 4000, e: email@example.com
When you contact these companies, please say that you saw them mentioned in Families West Magazine FAMILY ARTS FESTIVAL www.familyartsfestival.com 18 Oct-3 Nov First ever UK-wide Festival of family friendly arts events. From music to theatre, to circus, art and dance, all events are designed for families to enjoy. Venues in West London include: RIBA HQ www.architecture.com 30 Oct Extreme Makeover. Hands-on free family drop-in workshop. Get creative with your little ones to explore and re-design RIBA’s iconic 1930’s HQ. 11am-3pm. ROYAL ALBERT HALL www.royalalberthall.com 28 Oct Discover Blues. Explore all things Blues. Learn about the fascinating Blues artists creatively. For ages 5-11. ROYAL COLLEGE OF MUSIC 26 Oct Sparks Family Discovery Concert – Great Classics. Discover some of the most famous classics and find out about their renowned composers. BUSH HALL www.musichouseforchildren.co.uk 21 and 31 Oct Creative Dance workshop 10am. Songs, Puppets, lycra, scarves and dance rings in a music and movement workshop for ages 0-5 in Shepherds Bush. 23 and 30 Oct Music and Movement workshop. Parent and baby session using live instruments and a range of colourful resources. For ages 0-3. 10.30am in Shepherds Bush. WIGMORE HALL www.wigmore-hall.org.uk 29 Oct Songlives Family Day. Interactive family music day. Have you ever wondered about the real life stories behind songs? Work together to uncover inspiration from people, places and events in your own life and create lyrics and music to perform on the Wigmore Hall stage. For ages 6-11. 10.30am. 23 Oct Toddler Bop. Workshop leader Esther Sheridan is joined by guest musicians for an interactive workshop with music, movement and play. For ages 1-2 at 10.15am and 11.45am. HANDEL HOUSE MUSEUM www.handelhouse.org 13 Oct Pop Up Handel House. Get creative and explore Handel’s home. From candelabras to harpsichords, design your own pop-up Georgian House to take away. 12-4pm SERPENTINE GALLERY 27 Oct Serpentine Gallery Family Day based on exhibitions by Marisa Merz and Adrián Villar Rojas. 12-5pm, for all ages. ROYAL ACADEMY OF ART 20 Oct Sheepish Shenanigans. Sketch from life sheep in the courtyard or create fluffy landscapes with wool. 11am-3pm. For all children up to age 11. CHISWICK PIER TRUST www.chiswickpier.org.uk 31 Oct Becoming the Thames Free workshops, making wearable art inspired by the Thames. 10.30am-12noon for all ages, 1.30-3pm for ages 10+ RICHMOND THEATRE www.familyartsfestival.com 19 Oct and 2 Nov Fabulous Family Duels Fun & Games. Do battle with other families using drama, word play and brain power as your only weapons. 26 Oct Miranda's Musical Moments Workshop. A fun, no pressure drama, music and movement session based around The Tempest. 11am-12noon. For ages 6-16. 26 Oct Arty Titania's Got Talent Workshop Make a puppet actor and the puppet theatre. 12.15-1.30pm for ages 6-16+ 26 Oct Carry On Shakespeare! Comedy Workshop 1.30-3pm, for all ages. 29 Oct Shakespeare's Arty Royal People A royal arts and craft workshop. 10.15-11.15am for age 3-5. 29 Oct Midsummer Mayhem! Drama Workshop. Rehearse and perform Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" all in an hour. For ages 6-16. 12.15-1.15pm. 31 Oct Shakespeare's Arty Spooky Halloween People. An arts & craft workshop with optional dressing up. 10.15-11.15am for age 3-5. 31 Oct Ghostly Goings On. Rehearse and perform Macbeth in an hour.11.15am-12.15pm, for ages 6-2 Nov Talented Thespian Family Tour. Tour backstage, hear theatre stories and compete to see who has the loudest voice on stage! 12.15-1.15pm for ages 6-16. 16. 2 Nov Tremendous Tempests - Drama Workshop. Rehearse and perform Shakespeare's "The Tempest" all in an hour. 12.15-1.15pm for all ages. THE BECK THEATRE www.becktheatre.org.uk 29 Oct The Big Draw – Cinderella. Look at a selection of beautiful Cinderella costumes and a whole heap of panto props and design your won ball gown or pumpkin coach. 11am-2pm. HOLLAND PARK ECOLOGY CENTRE www.rbkc.gov.uk/ecology 28 Oct-1 Nov Environmental themed, outdoor and creative activities for ages 5-12 every weekday, morning and afternoon sessions. Booking essential on 020 7938 8166 e:firstname.lastname@example.org
ISIS EDUCATION CENTRE, HYDE PARK www.supporttheroyalparks.org 29 Oct Go Batty for Bats. Build your own bat roosting box. Use screwdrivers and team work to construct a cosy home for the bats to sleep in during the day. Once completed you can decide how to decorate the box to make it comfortably camouflaged. Also find out about bats; where they live, how they hunt and what they like as a tasty snack. Just follow the bat trail in the garden and learn all about these important nocturnal creatures. 10am-noon. AMANDA’S ACTION CLUB www.amandasactionclub.co.uk Throughout half term. Music classes and workshops Fun, fitness and music for children 4 months to 4 years in Chiswick and Ealing. Call 01895 623999 e:email@example.com FIT FOR SPORT www.fitforsport.co.uk 28 Oct-1 Nov Activity camps for ages 3-12. 0845 456 3233. Venues: Ealing – Brentham Club, 38a Meadvale Road, Ealing, London, W5 1NP and Trailfinders Sports Club, Castle Bar, Vallis Way, Ealing, London, W13 0DD
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Diary Dates 17 Oct (Notting Hill) 25 Oct (Chiswick) BACH TO BABY The critically acclaimed classical concert series specifically designed for babies and carers to enjoy together. Treat yourself and introduce your wee ones to live classical music during the crucial years. For more info call Miaomiao Yu on 0781 450 9280 e: email@example.com 18-20 Oct BLOOMSBURY FESTIVAL Free arts and culture events for all the family around Russell Square. Dance to world music, plant spring bulbs in the local community garden, watch dance in the parks, singalong with the choir, learn about fossils and ancient relics, and more. Free. www.bloomsburyfestival.org.uk 25-27 Oct THE BABY SHOW At Olympia Kensington, this annual event is the place to browse thousands of products and test run all the latest innovations for life with a baby! Pushchairs, nursery ideas, maternity fashion, and healthcare experts are all on hand along with parenting celebrities. www.thebabyshow.co.uk 26 Oct PUMPKIN PARTY AT CHISWICK HOUSE The theme is anything to do with pumpkins from Halloween to Cinderella with prizes for the best fancy dress costume! Bring along your own carved pumpkin to add to the display. The event takes place outdoors in the Walled Gardens where you can see pumpkins and squashes growing and pick up tips on how to grow and cook them. Fire-eating display, refreshments, lit pumpkin display and bat watching for all the family. 4.30-7pm. 27 Oct DIWALI Indian festival of Light- Celebrations taking place all over West London inc. Trafalgar Square where there will be free entertainment includes music and dance from community groups and professional artists, food stalls and a range of activities for children. 27 Oct DUSTY HALLOWEEN DISCO an afternoon of disco fun with special spooky dances, creepy costume competitions and Halloween games and prizes. 2-4pm in Ealing. www.dustydoesdisco.co.uk
31 Oct HALLOWEEN Time to get the pumpkin carved and the treats ready. Plenty going on at museums, galleries, parks and gardens. (see individual places in our What’s On guide) 5 Nov BONFIRE NIGHT
BONFIRE NIGHT/ FIREWORK DISPLAYS IN WEST LONDON Please check www.familieswest.co.uk for more details and up-to-date information. To date, there are confirmed events at: CORAM FIELDS When and Where: 1 Nov, WC1N 1DN Time: Gates open at 5pm, display at 5.30pm. What else is there: A short display perfect for families with young children with hot drinks, homemade cakes, glow sticks to buy. Tickets: Free entry but donations welcome for charity. EALING CRICKET CLUB When and Where: 2 Nov, W5 2HS Time: Gates open at 6pm, display is at 7.30pm. What else is there: Bonfire, musical accompaniment, bar, bbq and children’s rides. Tickets: £6 adults £4 children under 14. www.ealingcc.co.uk BRENTHAM CLUB When and Where: 9 Nov, W5 1NF Time: tbc What else is there: tbc Tickets: tbc RAVENSCOURT PARK When and Where: 2 Nov Ravenscourt Park, W6 OUL Time: Gates open at 6pm, 7.15pm Children’s fireworks display, 8pm Main display What else is there: Food stalls and funfair rides. Tickets: £7, Under 5’s free. (£5 advance tickets from Lyric Theatre box office) www.ravenscourtpark.com/events 5-10 Nov SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS FAIR Taking place at London Olympia. A huge Christmas shopping event showcasing jewellery, fashion, accessories and personalised gifts for all the family. Interactive workshops include creating floral displays and champagne tasting masterclasses. Plus a huge food hall where you can sample before you buy. www.spiritofchristmasfair.co.uk
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What's On DAYS OUT CHELSEA PHYSIC GARDEN There are lots more things to do in the 'What's On' section of our website. www.familieswest.co.uk
RECRUITING NOW for MUMS & Dad’s! Home based, global opportunity promoting: H Our natural products in the markets of health, beauty, fitness, sport, nutrition. H A 35 year old Global brand leader. H Gold Star quality training. To find out how you can really “be there” for your children at every drop off, pick up, sports day, illness day, holiday – without being accountable to a boss or to book time off or explain your absence ever again, then please leave your contact details in a message on 01252 75 8886. Be assured, we will return your call.
SW3 4HS www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk FAMILY ACTIVITY DAYS Pre-booking and prepayment essential. Call 020 7349 6453 or e:firstname.lastname@example.org 29 Oct LOTIONS & POTIONS - AN INTRODUCTION TO HERBAL MEDICINE Find out about the history of medicine and the amazing power of plants. Try your hand at making some ointments, syrups and scented bags to take away. 10.30am-2.30pm, for ages 7+ 30 Oct THE BIG DRAW Draw plants and develop your observational skills and drawing techniques in the inspiring setting of the Garden. Part of The Big Draw festival.10.30am - 2.30pm, for ages 6+ 31 Oct CREEPY CRAWLING Meet Vic Taylor from Mynewt Enterprises and his marvellous menagerie including a hissing cockroach, giant millipede, corn snake, giant African snail and Mr. Jelly Belly the tree frog. Find out how they are suited to their environments and hold them (…if you dare). 10:30am-12pm or 1-2:30pm, for Ages 4+
CUTTY SARK SE10 9NF www.rmg.co.uk/cuttysark 5 and 6 Oct FAMILY FUN WEEKEND: DAMRU DRUMS Make and decorate a traditional drum inspired by the ship’s voyages to India and the cargoes collected there. Drop-in at 11.30am or 2pm. 6 Oct AHOY CAPTAIN! Join Captain Woodget, Cutty Sark’s longest serving master, and hear tales of his voyages across the high seas. 11am, 12noon, 1.30pm and 2.30pm. 28, 29, 30 Oct CUTTY SARK RANGOLI PATTERNS Design a colourful floor pattern underneath Cutty Sark’s spectacular hull, inspired by Indian rangoli patterns used for celebrations and bringing good luck. 31 Oct SHIP SHADOW PUPPETS Create a shadow puppet inspired by Cutty Sark’s journeys to India and see it come to life in your very own puppet show. 11.30am and 2pm.
26 Oct FAMILY OVERNIGHT EXPERIENCE Children will be dressed as Tudor sailors and become members of the crew. After learning the ship’s rules, they will be trained in navigation, barber surgery and gunning, before bedding down to sleep amongst the weapons on the Gun Deck. A Tudor style dinner and continental breakfast is provided. For age 6+ 30 and 31 Oct HALLOWEEN FUN DAY Fancy dress competition, gruesome games and a haunted treasure hunt taking place around the ship. For ages 4+ 30 and 31 Oct HALLOWEEN FRIGHT NIGHT Join the creepy crew for a horrifying Halloween evening on board. With terrifying tales, and gory games this event is sure to fright and delight. For ages 6+
HAMPTON COURT PALACE KT8 9AU www.hrp.org.uk Until 3 Nov SECRETS OF THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER An exhibition exploring the bedchambers of the 17th and 18th Century royal court. 5 and 6 Oct, 2 and 3 Nov TUDOR COOKERY Watch the cooks toiling in the Kitchens of King Henry VIII, preparing the exotic dishes for his majesty. 2 and 9 Nov FAMILY GHOST TOUR Join the State Apartment Warders for an early evening walking tour to hear stories of ghostly apparitions and paranormal activity at Hampton Court Palace. 6.30pm for 60-75 mins.
HMS BELFAST SE1 2JH www.iwm.org.uk ONGOING: GUN TURRET EXPERIENCE - a chance to see what fighting at sea would have really been like. Lights, audio, projections and movement will recreate the experience, highlighting the hectic and cramped conditions that would have seen twenty-six men in this confined space at any one time. INTERACTIVE OPERATIONS ROOM - the nerve centre and brain of the entire ship which now has exciting interactives. 26 Oct-3 Nov TATTOO T-SHIRTS - PART OF THE BIG DRAW 2013 Design your own tattoo shapes and draw them onto t-shirts. As you draw, you will learn about different tattoos worn by people in the navy, and what they mean.11am - 12.30pm and 2 - 4pm.
HOLLAND PARK ECOLOGY CENTRE
W8 6LU www.rbkc.gov.uk
SE1 9DG www.goldenhinde.com
12 Oct AUTUMN WILDLIFE AREA OPEN DAY A great chance to explore a secret corner of the park in its autumnal colours. Enjoy a woodland walk, identify the flora and fauna and seek out minibeasts. For all ages, 12-4pm, free, drop-in. 28 Oct-1 Nov HALF TERM HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES Nature themed, outdoor and creative activities for children. Outdoor activities are based in the wooded area. 10am-12 noon and 2-4pm, (ages 5-10) or 11am-3pm (ages 8-12). Advanced booking required.
26 Oct DRAKE FUN DAYS Find out all about Sir Frances Drake at 11am and 2pm. For age 6+
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What's On KEW GARDENS TW9 3AB www.kew.org Until 3 Nov INCREDIBLES: A FESTIVAL TO FEED THE IMAGINATION Experience first-hand a selection of the 30,000 species we can feast. Kew’s Broadwalk is adorned with hundreds of pumpkins, gourds and squashes this autumn as well a sculpted giant fungus fairy ring. Look out for the towering pyramid of pumpkins in the Waterlily House and pick up handy recipe ideas along the way, all incorporating this versatile vegetable. Weekends in Oct and daily 28 Oct-2 Nov FAMILY WORKSHOPS Watch a pumpkin expert Tony Finch carve a pumpkin in time for Halloween. Find out how a mushroom gets its spots and take a walk with a Volunteer Guide to celebrate the fruits, seeds and the changes autumn brings.
ODDS FARM PARK HP10 0LX www.oddsfarm.co.uk
Trail. Plus, brave the new Boo Barn… if you dare! Also, there is a Giant Indoor Playbarn, with a massive adventure play area including a 4 lane Astra Slide, 2 large drop slides, a netted area with zig zag chicanes and tunnels, swinging ropes and a special Toddler and Under 5’s area. Outdoors, there is an Adventure Maze, Go-Karts, Log Play Areas and Crazy Golf.
OSTERLEY PARK AND HOUSE TW7 4RB www.nationaltrust.org.uk/osterley-park 20 Oct THE SECRETS OF TREES If trees could talk, what would they tell us? Join the Warden for a walk in the park and gardens taking in some of Osterley's rare and veteran trees and learn their secrets as part of the Great British Walk. 2pm. 26 and 27 Oct HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN FESTIVAL Family friendly Halloween fun-silly games, pumpkin carving and spooky stories. Plus create creepy craft items to take home. Come dressed up and receive a small treat. 12-4pm 30 Oct PLAY CONKERS – 50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU'RE 11¾ Can you become a conker champion. Take part in lots of exciting games to find out! Complete number 10 of the '50 things to do before you're 11¾' by playing conkers. 12 – 4pm 31 Oct CRAFT CART Fun craft activities for families. 12noon-3pm
TOWER OF LONDON EC3 www.hrp.org.uk
Odds Farm Park
Every Weekend In October and daily at half term HALLOWEEN FAMILY FUN Carve a Pumpkin, enjoy the madness and mayhem of crazy entertainers and follow the Black Cat
Osterley Park and House
THE LONDON WETLANDS CENTRE
ZSL LONDON ZOO
SW13 9WT wwt.org.uk
26 Oct-3 Nov BOO AT THE ZOO Spooky storytelling, creepy crafts, frightening face painting, menacing maskmaking, terrifying touch tables and Halloween themed animal talks, feeds and demonstrations. 26 Oct-3 Nov THE BIG DRAW A chance to draw some of the weird and wonderful species. Prizes for the best drawings. For ages 5-15.
Until 20 Oct AUTUMN FAMILY WEEKEND ACTIVITIES Craft activities including making hats and face masks of wetland creatures using colourful leaves and reeds, games, talks on migration and looking out for the birds arriving from further north. 26 Oct – 3 Nov HALF TERM WORKSHOPS Pumpkin carving, pond dipping, spider making and a Halloween themed discovery trolley. 26 and 27 Oct SPIDER WEEKEND Learn more about these fascinating animals. To counter some of the scarier myths and phobias about spiders, experts Ray and Angela Hale from the British Tarantula Society will be at the Centre with a display of exotic and local spider species.
NW1 4RY www.zsl.org
The London Wetlands Centre
Ongoing: COINS AND KINGS: THE ROYAL MINT AT THE TOWER Discover the history of the Mint at the Tower including Isaac Newton’s efforts to rid London of counterfeiters when he was Warden of the Mint. LINE OF KINGS A restoration of an exhibition dating back to the 1680s; it features 17th century hand-carved wooden horses by Grinling Gibbons, a re-presentation of Henry’s VIII magnificent armours and a whimsical scale model of tilting knights.
Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR
Bank of England Museum
MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES BANK OF ENGLAND MUSEUM EC2R 8AH www.bankofengland.co.uk 1 Oct -9 Nov Cartoons & Caricatures This exhibition consists of published and unpublished material from the Bank of England's own collection of prints and drawings. 5.30pm-9pm 28 Oct-1 Nov The Big Draw – Designs on your money. Learn about banknote security features then design your own secure banknote. Enter the competition with prizes to be won. 10:00am-4:30pm
BRITISH LIBRARY NW1 2DB www.bl.uk 29 Oct Peter Pan And The Ticking Crocodile Be inspired by Peter Pan and friends! Help their artist create a giant Peter Pan installation. Come dressed as your favourite character to win a prize! 11.00-13.00 and repeated at 14.00-16.00 / Free
GUNNERSBURY PARK MUSEUM
WC1B 3DG www.britishmuseum.org
W3 8LQ www.hounslow.info/arts-culture/historichouses-museums/gunnersbury-park-museum
Until March 14 Beyond El Dorado – Power and gold in ancient Columbia Organised with Museo del Oro, Bogotá, this exhibition explores the rich and diverse cultures of Colombia before the 16th-century arrival of the Spanish. 26 Oct Photography mystery trails Follow exciting photography trails through the galleries and then turn your photos into a comic strip to take home. For ages 5+ at 11.30am, free. 27 Oct Make your own secret code Learn about beautiful seal stones from China, and create your own digital seal using Photoshop. Use mobile technology to turn it into a mind-boggling secret code – brilliant to make and hard to crack. For ages 7+ at 11.30am, free. 28 Oct-1 Nov Myths, music and mountains Explore the myths, legends and meanings of gold in ancient Colombia. For all ages, 11am-4pm
FOUNDLING MUSEUM WC1N 1AZ www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk 26 Oct The Big Draw What can the life of the foundlings teach us about the future? Help artist Daniel Wallis create a huge drawing inspired by the story of children at the Foundling Hospital. 10.30am-1pm and 2-4.30pm, free, drop-in. 1 Nov Perpetual Portraits Taking inspiration from portraits in the exhibition Home Truths, join artist Shelly Wain to create a portrait that moves and changes. 10.30am-4.30pm, free, drop-in.
GRANT MUSEUM OF ZOOLOGY WC1E 6DE www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/whats-on/grant_listings 19 and 20 Oct Life under the waves Discover the amazing animal life that makes the sea their home – peer into the mouth of a bull shark, tickle a turtle and arm wrestle a lobster. Fun hands-on specimen based activities. Free, drop-in between 1-4.30pm. 28 Oct-2 Nov Hungry, hungry herbivores Investigating huge herbivores and marvellous munchers from dugongs to hippos and camels to snails. Fun specimen-based activities discover which animal is the hungriest herbivore plus who produces the most poo. Free, drop-in between 1-4.30pm.
28 and 29 Oct We love wildlife – RSPB at Gunnersbury Learn about wildlife in your local area and make apple bird-feeders and animal masks. 11am & 3.30pm. 31 Oct Hallowe’en High Jinx! Be creative in Gunnersbury Park's haunted pumpkin patch! Bring a jam jar and make a spooky lantern, try out some Victorian Hallowe'en games and join the lantern procession through the park. 1-2.30pm, for all ages. 31 Oct Marvellous Magic Lantern Show! View original magic lanterns and slides from the museum collections, and enjoy a spooky Hallowe’en magic lantern show! 3pm, for ages 5+
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM www.iwm.org.uk SE1 6HZ HORRIBLE HISTORIES®: SPIES Uncover the deadly world of spies at this major new interactive exhibition for families which brings the horrible history of Second World War spies and their secret schemes to life. Based on Terry Deary’s book from the bestselling Horrible Histories series. 19 Oct Martin Brown Draws Horrible Histories®. Horrible Histories® illustrator Martin Brown will share his top tips for bringing the characters from this best-selling series to life. 12pm and 3pm / £8, under 4s go free. ARCHITECTURE OF WAR Artists’ responses to the impact of warfare on our surrounding landscape and environments. A FAMILY IN WARTIME Explores the lives of William and Alice Allpress and their ten children and what life in London was like during the war. SECRET WAR The clandestine world of espionage, covert operations and the work of Britain’s Special Forces. HOLOCAUST EXHIBITION Film, photographs and a large number of rare artefacts document the history of the Nazi persecution of the Jews and other groups before and during the Second World War.
LONDON TRANSPORT MUSEUM WC2E 7BB www.ltmuseum.co.uk From buses to tubes, original posters to workers and travellers' stories, London Transport Museum explores the heritage of London and its transport system. Until 27 Oct Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs Since its first graphic poster commission in 1908, London Underground has developed a reputation for commissioning outstanding poster designs. 28 Oct-3 Nov Explore the Puppet Zoo Half term family fun in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Story time: 11am and 2pm for ages 3-7. Make and Take felt collage crafts for ages 4-12: 11.30am and 2.30pm. All Aboard! Let your under 6 'drive' a scaled-down bus, train, tube or taxi , complete with passengers. They can also take control of the transport system, moving buses and trains around the museum's miniature London. Family Station. Pick up a free coin bag and choose some activities to do as you explore the Museum. Whether you fold your own bus and drive it between the vehicles, design your own poster-postcards or take photos through flickr frames, there is something here for families with children of all ages. Until Dec LOOK FOR LONGER Enjoy playing a cryptic Underground game in the galleries where you try to find the 75 London Underground and DLR stations hidden within interactive graphics. You can also play at home at www.lookforlonger.com
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What's On London Transport Museum Depot, Acton W3 9BQ www.ltmuseum.co.uk The Museum Depot at Acton holds the majority of the Museum's collections which are not on display in the main Museum in Covent Garden. The Museum Depot houses over 370,000 items of all types, including many original works of art used for the Museum's celebrated poster collection, vehicles, signs, models, photographs, engineering drawings and uniforms. Together these form one of the most comprehensive and important records of urban transport anywhere in the world. 28-30 Oct Behind the scenes workshops including - making travelling time capsules, 10am-noon and 2-4pm - Family tours for ages 5-15 with parents or carers, 12.30-1.30 and 4-5pm. - Snapshots of the Future Photography workshop for ages 8+, 10am-12noon and 2-4pm. - Cab it Family Tours. Get into the driving seat of the historic trains and travel through time so see what it's like to be the driver of a Victorial steam train. 2-3.30 and 3.30-5pm for ages 5-15. 1-3 Nov Depot Open Weekend Explore the Museum’s treasures and take part in family activities including creative workshops, storytelling, miniature railway and tram rides, talks and film screening and behind the scenes tours. Tickets for the Open Weekend can be booked in advance online at www.ltmuseum.co.uk or call 020 7565 7298.
NATIONAL GALLERY WC2N 5DN www.nationalgallery.org.uk Every Sun in Jul and Aug FAMILY SUNDAYS Activities designed for families to enjoy and learn together, 11am and 3pm. MAGIC CARPET STORYTELLING for children aged 2-5. Sundays 10.30-11am and 11.30am–12pm. Fly away on the magic carpet, coming to land in front of a different painting each day. On 13 Oct there will be a Musical Magic Carpets session. DRAWING SUNDAY explore gallery paintings as inspiration for your art. For ages 5-11. Sundays 11am and 2pm. Drop-in. Make a room of your own! Learn how to create space and make things look far away in this drawing workshop. 6 and 20 Oct Dressed to impress Join award-winning portraitist Robin-Lee Hall to focus on drawing a single, fullbody portrait in lifelike clothing. 13 Oct Find me in the Picture Artists often include sneaky self-portraits in their paintings. Create your own hidden portrait scramble. WORKSHOPS: 27, 28 Oct and 3 Nov Walk and Draw A family drawing tour, explore how artists use gesture and body movement. 10.30am, 1 and 3pm for ages 5-11. 27, 28 29 Oct and 3 Nov Silverpoint Drawing Create your own masterpiece using silverpoint. 11am and 2pm for ages 7-12. 28 and 29 Oct Talk and Play Meet Anya, a costumed character brought to life, for singing, talking and playing inspired by a Rubens painting. For ages 2-5. October 2013
28, 29 Oct Stay and Play Drop-in session for children under 5 and their adults. Stay and play with your child in this designated space inspired by Reuben’s painting. 11am-3pm. 27, 29 Oct WALK AND TALK A themed journey through the collection where gallery staff will walk, talk and bring paintings alive! 12.30–1.30pm. For all ages.
NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY WC2H 0HE www.npg.org.uk 5 Oct Draw Tomorrow What will you look like in the future? Where will you be and what will you do? All ages welcome. 1-4pm. 19 Oct STORYTELLING FOR FAMILIES 10.30am & 1.30pm for ages 3+ Storytelling followed by a fun art activity. 19 Oct FAMILY ART WORKSHOP 11.30am and 2.30pm for ages 5+ Explore portraits, followed by an art activity. 28 Oct-3 Nov FAMILY WORKSHOPS – ELIZABETH 1 AND HER PEOPLE 11.30am-4pm, a week of activities inspired by the exhibition. (A mix of ticketed and drop-in events).
NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM SW7 5BD www.nhm.ac.uk Until 31 Oct Wildlife Garden With habitats including woodland, meadow and pond, the garden is a haven for thousands of British plants and animals, and demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city. Until 23 Nov Wallace100: Wallace Discovery Trail Follow the trail around the Museum to see some of Alfred Russel Wallace’s most important specimens. 18 Oct-23 Mar 14 Wildlife Photographer of the Year Nature photography from amateurs to photographers celebrating the beauty and magnificence of the world we live in. ACTIVITES FOR FAMILIES: 6 Oct Hedgerow Harvest A celebration of hedgerows, wildlife and autumn produce with hedge-planting sessions, tasting hedgerow foods, making winter bird-feeders and meet a hedgehog. 12-5pm, free for all ages. 12 Oct Dino Snores Ever wondered what goes on at the Natural History Museum at night? 7-11 years. 7pm till morning, torchlit trails through the museum, live animal shows and more. 12 and 30 Oct Animal Vision The world only visible to certain reptiles and invertebrates. See how adaptations in snakes, iguanas and chameleons allow them to escape predators and locate prey and discover how bees detect ultraviolet light to help the process of pollination. 10.30 and 11.30am and 1.30pm. 13 and 19 Oct Hands-on Nature: Dinosaurs Handle real fossils and inspect a variety of prehistoric specimens. Work out which ones were once dinosaurs and find out how scientists classify animals through studying fossils. Compare their features with those of modern animals and explore what they ate by looking at fossilised teeth. 2pm, free, drop-in activity for ages 5-12.
20, 28 Oct and 1 Nov Every Sun Cutting Edge Workshop Investigate teeth and diet using the amazing animal skulls. Handle real specimens, take part in fun group activities and see how Museum palaeontologists use skulls to find out about dinosaur diets. 11.30am, 1.15pm and 3.15pm. 13 and 19 Oct Hands-on Nature: Ocean Life Discover the wonder and variety of marine creatures-Handle real specimens, make your own 3D starfish and take part in rock star challenges, featuring amazing starfish costumes from costumier Anna Cocciadiferro. 11am, Free drop-in family activity for all ages. 31 Oct-5 Jan Natural History Museum Ice Rink. Skate at the Museum – the east lawn will be covered in fairy lights and also have a carousel and bar overlooking the rink. www.nhmskating.com
PM GALLERY AND HOUSE W5 5EQ www.ealing.gov.uk/pmgalleryandhouse 31 Oct Who’s there and 1 Nov Spooky Portraits Children's workshops based on the exhibition Out of the Shadows: MacDonald Gill. 10am–12pm for ages 5-7, and 2-4pm for ages 7-11. To book please drop by the gallery or call 020 8567 1227.
There are lots more things to do in the 'What's On' section of our website. www.familieswest.co.uk
V&A MUSEUM OF CHILDHOOD E2 9PA www.museumofchildhood.org.uk Until Mar 2014 WAR GAMES New interactive exhibition exploring the role of warfare in children's play from 1800 to the present day. It investigates how toys recreate and represent war, and why children play war games. There are four thematic sections-Playing at War, On the Battlefield, Reality to Fantasy and Secret Weapons. Children can dress up, play at espionage and engage in many other activities. 12 Oct The Big Draw: Drawing Tomorrow. Work with creative geniuses from CIA (Central Illustration Agency) to create unique artwork. As part of the Big Draw, kids get to be art directors and tell the professionals what to draw. Demonstrations, workshops and drop-in activities. 12-4pm. 28 Oct-1 Nov Heroes and Sheroes. Transform into a superhero and test your powers in the Superhero Skills Station. 10.30am-4pm. 29-31 Oct Play in a Day. Children are challenged to make a play in just one day based on popular children’s stories about superheroes: Nat Fantastic on Tuesday, My Mum Has X-Ray Vision on Wednesday and Super Daisy on Thursday. Participants will design and create every aspect of the play and put on a performance at the end for family and friends. 10.30-16.00
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What's On Theatre AMBASSADORS THEATRE WC2H 9ND www.theambassadorstheatre.co.uk Oct STOMP Celebrating its 10th sensational year in London, Stomp is now fresher, faster and funnier than before. 3pm and 8pm
THE BARBICAN THEATRE EC2Y 8DS www.barbican.org.uk/theatre
the Thames it watches and it waits… Its now 400 hundred years since the original Globe burnt down. The time has come for the Muse of Fire to rise again. Can you piece together the story and stop Muse before it’s too late? Muse of Fire is a story-based treasure hunt for intrepid families around Shakespeare’s Globe. Along the way you will meet strange and magical characters and uncover vital clues. For ages 5-11, 11am and 2pm.
THE LILIAN BAYLISS STUDIO
29 Oct-5 Nov THE CURIOUS SCRAPBOOK OF JOSEPHINE BEAN. In her laboratory, scrapologist Patricia Baker looks after old scrapbooks: she pours over pages filled with all sorts of things that have been flattened and squashed, in order to find out who they belonged to. 11am, 2pm, 5pm.
26-28 Oct GOBBLEDEGOOK — IN A DEEP DARK WOOD Taking inspiration from fairy tales, In A Deep Dark Wood is a fun and interactive show about a little girl who bravely ventures into a dark and mysterious wood.11am, 1pm, 3pm.
EC1R 4TN www.sadlerswells.com
SW10 0DR www.chelseatheatre.org.uk
W1F 7TF www.royalalberthall.com
13 Oct HOW TO CATCH A STAR. Based on the bestselling children’s book by award-winning author Oliver Jeffers. Adapted for the stage with music and lyrics. 11.30am and 3pm. 20 Oct THE POETRYJOE SHOW. Join PoetryJoe, star of CBeebie’s Rhyme Rocket, performer, writer and – of course! – poet, in his light-up, pop-up world of fabulous foods, beastly bugs and peculiar pets. 11.30am and 3pm. 27 Oct DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! Full of fun, feathers, laughter and excitement and features original music and lots of audience participation! The friendly bus driver leaves us with one simple instruction: “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!” However, the Pigeon is very clever and whines, bribes, pleads and even sings a song to get his own way… BUT WILL YOU LET HIM DRIVE??? For ages 3+
24 Oct-3 Nov THE NUTCRACKER ON ICE. International ice dance sensation The Imperial Ice Stars take to a specially frozen London Palladium stage for the West End premiere of a dazzling new production.
GARRICK THEATRE Until 5 Jan 2014 HORRIBLE HISTORIES® – BARMY BRITAIN PART 2 Can you beat battling Boudicca? Has William Wallace met his match? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England? Will King Charles keep his head? Escape the clutches of Burke and Hare and move to groove with party Queen Victoria! Don't miss this horrible history of Britain with the nasty bits left in!
NOTTING HILL PICTURE HOUSE W11 3JZ www.gagatheatre.co.uk 16 and 17 Oct UP & DOWN – Adapted from Oliver Jeffers's much loved book, this new theatre production suitable for babies and children up to the age of 7, brings to life the magical story of a penguin who dreams of flying and the boy who tries to help him. Ignoring the boy's advice that it is impossible, the penguin leaves his friend to go searching for a chance to get his feet off the ground. A touching story about the importance of friendship and reaching for one's dreams.
W9 2PF www.puppetbarge.com 28 Oct-2 Nov THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE AND OTHER TALES FROM AESOP These well-known fables from Aesop’s famous collection are brought to life with drama and humour. Staged with beautiful lighting and carved marionettes. For ages 3+
RICHMOND THEATRE TW9 1QJ www.atgtickets.com/Richmond
18 and 19 Oct THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF A brand new tale inspired by the much-loved Aesop fable for ages 3-7. 26 Oct THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF & OTHER FURRY TAILS Are you sure you know what happened to the wolf and those three little pigs? What about Goldilocks? Fun storytelling and beautiful puppets for ages 3-7.
20 Nov-12 Jan The Gruffalo The magical musical adaptation returns for a sixth West end season as a favourite festive treat for the whole family. Join Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep dark wood as she meets the cunning Fox, the eccentric old Owl and the party mad Snake, and outwits them all with the story of the fabled Gruffalo. Music, laughter, physical theatre and just the right amount of scary fun.
PUPPET THEATRE BARGE
SE1 9DT www.shakespearesglobe.com Until 12 Oct A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM Until 13 Oct MACBETH 28 Oct - 1 Nov MUSE OF FIRE Deep beneath the streets of London lies Muse, the last spirit of Fire. Hidden for hundreds years by the cooling waters of
SE1 8PX www.southbankcentre.co.uk
W6 0QL www.lyric.co.uk
UB3 2UE www.becktheatre.org.uk
WC2H 0HH www.nimaxtheatres.com
W1D 7ES www.nimaxtheatres.com/lyric-theatre
5 Oct THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE Puppets and magic in a family favourite. For ages 4-7. 12 Oct YUMMM! An imaginative foodfilled production where tables can dance, plates can spin and the audience is given the chance to join in with dinner time fun.
BECK THEATRE 30 Oct IMAGICIAN Jamie Allan blends incredible illusion with high technology including iPad illusion, Virtual Assistant and spectacular Laser Manipulation. All enhanced through beautiful projection and world class slight of hand.
29 Oct – 2 Nov THE MANY WHOOPS OF WHOOPS TOWN Meet the enchanting residents of Whoops Town and look out for some exciting interactive surprises. For ages 4+
Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR
30 Oct THE COMPLETE WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE A fastpaced romp through The Complete Works of William Shakespeare in just 97 minutes! Join these madcap men in tights as they weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Tragedies in one wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. For all ages. 4-9 Nov THE BUTTERFLY LION Award-winning writer Michael Morpurgo’s inspiring tale of enduring friendship. The Butterfly Lion transports audiences from the African veld to the battlefields of First World War France, as they follow the adventures of Bertie and the White Lion as they strive to find sanctuary amongst devastating adversity.
3 Nov BENJAMIN BRITTEN: THE YOUNG PERSON'S GUIDE TO THE ORCHESTRA The perfect introduction to orchestral music. Try your hand at playing an orchestral instrument in one of the Have-a-Go sessions or join in the Family Orchestra workshops from 10am to 2.30pm in the Royal Festival Hall foyers.
SADLER’S WELLS EC1R www.sadlerswells.com 15-19 Oct PENGUIN CAFÉ TRIPLE BILL / THE SLEEPING BEAUTY Birmingham Royal Ballet returns to Sadler's Wells with two contrasting evenings: classic ballet The Sleeping Beauty and three short works from artistic director David Bintley. 7.30pm.
THEATRE ROYAL DRURY LANE WC2B 5JF www.reallyuseful.com/ theatres/theatre-royal-drury-lane Ongoing CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY Roald Dahl's deliciously dark tale of young Charlie Bucket and the mysterious confectioner Willy Wonka in a brand new musical directed by Sam Mendes. 2.30pm & 7.30pm.
UNICORN THEATRE SE1 2HZ www.unicorntheatre.com Until 17 Nov DORA Dora is a storer. Birdcages and books, bicycles and balls, boxes and biscuit tins, Dora finds and keeps everything. Letting go of things can be hard but sometimes giving something away can make you even happier. Dora's story celebrates the pleasure in giving and receiving. For ages 4+ 5 Oct-3 Nov LUNA Luna, the moon spots a young boy hiding from shadows that move like monsters on his bedroom walls. Luna decides to slide down from the sky to make friends with him. Together they go on an adventure of light and dark to help him overcome his fear of the night. For ages 2+ 8 Oct -16 Nov HENRY THE FIFTH What’s the difference between a king and any other man? Kings need crowns and castles to prove themselves, and so does Henry. Henry the Fifth, that is, of England. But Henry is running out of cash and all he can think about is that his neighbour’s castle is bigger than his. A long and terrible war ensues with huge costs on both sides, including the castle Henry dreamed of having for himself. A dynamic and contemporary new version of Henry V for ages 8+ 15 and 16 Oct SENSACIONAL An interactive and immersive digital experience for ages 18 mths – 4 years. 31 Oct-2 Nov NOSFERATU A Halloween treat for the bravest. A young lawyer named Hutter travels from his small town to the Carpathian mountains to close a sale for a mysterious Count. Things get pretty scary when he arrives. Pre-show Halloween party on 31 Oct and spooky activities on all other performances. For ages 8+
Malcolm the Magician H Children’s Magic H Games H Disco H Competitions H Juggling H Balloon Modelling H Live Rabbit T. 01243 868084 M. 07734 925330 E. email@example.com www.malcolmthemagician.co.uk
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Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR
Families West PO Box 32231 London W5 1JR