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Welcome… to the latest edition of our termly newsletter. We hope you enjoy finding out more about some of the activities around the school since our last edition. Parents – please remember our Weekly News Bulletin is still available on the Letters to Parents section of the school website accessed via the Parents’ Menu: SIXTH FORM BUSINESS CHALLENGE This June Year 12 students at HRS worked to solve the real life business problems of eleven local businesses. The companies were Jack’s of Dunmow, Progressive Furniture Ltd, the Arts Centre Dunmow, The Opticians, Out There Sports, the Youth Offending Team, Chartwells catering services, Square 1 Restaurant, Top Banana Toys, Lloyds TSB and one team worked on promoting HRS within the community. During the week the students gained valuable experience in the world of work and an insight into teamwork and problem solving in the real world. The teams each presented their project to a judging panel including staff from the local businesses after which the best five groups went forward to the final. It was a very close competition but the winning team were 'The Opticians' group. Their challenge was to increase awareness, improve business efficiency, update and improve the retail and reception techniques in the The Optician shop in Dunmow. Each member of the winning team received £100. In addition, a further four students, whose team did not win, received a prize for excellent work during the week. We were very impressed by the standard of the presentations and the students ability to think outside the box. They

worked hard to achieve their goals, showed maturity and worked well as teams outside their usual friendship groups. Miss A Fisher and Mr T James Business Challenge Coordinators

The winning team are joined by members of the judging panel and their business partners from 'The Opticians'. Front row R: PC McNamara from Dunmow Police, Andy Wilsher from Top Banana Toys, Ted Ryan an HRS Governor, Harpreet and Amandeep Matharu from The Opticians and Jacky Rom from Dunmow Arts Centre.

IN THIS ISSUE • • • • •

Visit by Kenyan teachers WWI experience Choreographic Competition results Peer Mentor Scheme Year 11 and 6th Form Balls

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In May a delegation of five teachers from Kenya visited HRS. Their visit was arranged in partnership with Takeley Parish Church and the school’s Specialist Humanities College programme. The visitors were interviewed by students from Year 8, Year 11 and the 6th Form. The visitors are all members of ACK St James Church, Mayori. Nelson Mbogo is the church secretary and Mary Mbogo is a teacher at Mayori Primary School, where the children attend until they are 14 years old. Other members of the party were Mr John Njiru, Mrs Nancy Njiru and Reverend John Nthiga. They were accompanied by Carolyn Fitzgibbon and Eileen Stevenson from the Parish of Takeley and Little Canfield.

Our visitors joined by senior students, Takeley Parish Church members and HRS staff. L.toR. Eileen Stevenson (Takeley), Mary Mbogo, Nancy Njiru, John Njiru, Rev. John Nthiga, Nelson Mbogo, Brian Williams (HRS), Carolyn Fitzgibbon (Takeley). Back row – Dr Paul Martin (HRS)

LEARNING ZONE NEWS Following the successful Essex Book Shadowing three students were invited to meet the winning author, Paul Dowswell, for his book ‘Auslander’. Clare Randall and Michael Fuller (Year 8) and Lauren Marshall (Year 9), who helped co-ordinate the after school book club, went to the Essex Library Services in Chelmsford on Tuesday 24th May. The author spent some time explaining why he wrote the book and then answered questions. Described as a ‘superlative, at times almost agonisingly compelling piece of historical fiction’ by the Financial Times the novel charts the fortunes of Peter an orphan in Nazi Germany. ‘Auslander’ is available in the Learning Zone. Accelerated Reading Level - 5.5 Mrs A Turner Learning Zone Manager

Brian Williams, Director of Specialist College, said it was “a thoroughly rewarding and enjoyable experience. The students and staff at HRS gained a far wider appreciation of what life in Kenya is like for students of their age.” The school is looking forward to building on this visit and engaging in collaborative projects in the future.

Lauren Marshall, Michael Fuller and Clare Randall meet author Paul Dowswell, winner of the Essex Book Award 2011.

Our visitors joined by Takeley Parish Church members and HRS staff. L.toR. Christine Horton (HRS), Eileen Stevenson (Takeley), Nelson Mbogo, Mary Mbogo, Rev. John Nthiga, Brian Williams (HRS), Nancy Njiru, John Njiru and Carolyn Fitzgibbon (Takeley).

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JOINT SCHOOL EDUCATION CONFERENCE On Friday 1st April 2011 staff from HRS took part in a Joint School Conference at Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School. The conference was led by Pie Corbett, a nationally acclaimed educationalist, poet and author of over 250 books. He is also part of the National Literacy Strategic group and as such has considerable influence over teaching and learning in the state sector.

contestants were asked to spell included: notorious, ultimatum, oasis, sabbatical, camaraderie and ostentatious. The students tried their hardest on the day, but sadly did not win. Not only was this a very well organised and professional event run by The Times, but it was fun and exciting too. The students especially enjoyed the free popcorn in the break!

The event was attended by 180 teachers from the Uttlesford area and the theme focussed on ‘Talk for Writing’. The delegates studied strategies for improving reading and writing levels via creative storytelling. These strategies will be implemented within the schools as part of the transition process from primary to secondary education.

Congratulations to Toby, Curtis, Jade and Kayleigh for all their hard work and enthusiasm. I would also like to thank the family members for attending the event and for giving the team lots of support and encouragement. Hopefully there will be lots of eager and enthusiastic future Year 7 students looking to take part in next year’s Times Spelling Bee. Mrs G Crawford Literacy Coordinator

The conference was organised and funded by The Helena Romanes School’s Specialist College scheme. Mr Williams, Director of Specialist College at The Helena Romanes School said “on behalf of the teachers who took part I would like to thank Val White, Headteacher of Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School for hosting this event. We are very much looking forward to working with our collaborative partners on this exciting project.” THE TIMES SPELLING BEE COMPETITION Earlier this year, a team of four Year 7 students took part in The Times Spelling Bee. Toby Abbott, Curtis Elliott, Jade Ely and Kayleigh Robertson attended weekly lunchtime meetings in order to prepare for this national event. Our local heat took place at Cineworld, Braintree, just before Easter. The team was competing against seven other local schools, and the students tried their hardest to spell some very tricky words.

Year 7 students Curtis Elliott, Toby Abbott, Jade Ely, Kayleigh Robertson took part in The Times Spelling Bee at Cineworld, Braintree

JACK PETCHEY SPEAK OUT! In May, three of our Year 10 students participated in the regional finals of Jack Petchey's ‘Speak Out Challenge’. Christopher Larkin, Victoria Freeman and Georgia Watson all presented to a mixed audience at Hedingham School in North Essex. Victoria Freeman and Georgia Watson presented well delivered speeches on the 'Facebook Frenzy'

The competition consisted of two rounds: the spelling playoff and the quick fire round. Some of the spellings the


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HUMANITIES NEWS uniforms and equipment that were worn, carried and used by the British Army during WWI. His presentation gave the students a vivid insight into the life of the British ‘Tommy’, or as he said “from the contents of his pockets, to the weapons he carried”.

and 'Blondes Just Want to Have Fun.' They did exceptionally well to get to this stage. Christopher Larkin, who spoke with confidence and enthusiasm, was placed second with his speech on 'Kitchen Concerns.' He won a trophy and ipod nano. Well Done! Miss V Lin

The students really enjoyed the event. Billie Nesbitt said “it was really good. I tried on the goat skin uniform which was used for both the British and German Army, it made me feel really hot!” Daniel Forbes said “I found the whole experience really interesting, particularly learning about the uniforms and guns.” Lucy Paulyn said “it was really interesting and much more fun than a normal lesson because volunteers were picked to try out uniforms and see what it was like during WWI.”

Christopher Larkin receives his second place prize from Councillor Wendy Schmitt

Richard Knight from Khaki on Campaign has been visiting The Helena Romanes School for several years and I am always amazed at the new stories about WWI and the trenches that he tells to our students. Mrs Gatefield, Head of History

Georgia Watson and Victoria Freeman receive their Speak Out certificates.

For more photographs and videos see: .php?pg=70 /videoandaudio/regionalfinalsessex20102011/?filtervidid=32

WORLD WAR I EXPERIENCE FOR STUDENTS This term Year 8 students were given an insight into the horrors of life in the World War I trenches as part of their History curriculum. Richard Knight, a living historian from ‘Khaki on Campaign’, demonstrated original and authentic

Students try on WWI uniforms with historian Richard Knight. From left to right: Charlie Dicker, Kieran Ralph, Richard Knight, Billie Nesbitt and Lucy Paulyn.

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PRIMARY SPORTS COMPETITIONS AT HRS As part of the Uttlesford School Partnership programme we are hosting a summer of sports planned for pupils from our local Primary Schools. The Primary Schools in HRS’s group are Great Dunmow Primary School, Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School, Stebbing Primary School, Felsted Primary School, The Rodings Primary School, Thaxted Primary School, Great Easton Primary School, Flitch Green Primary School and Great Bardfield Primary School.

GEOGRAPHY This term Year 7 students had a visit from Roy Boreham, Richard Butler and Sandra Smith of Woodfield Farm in Pleshey. We have recently begun a local area unit in which we study farming in rural Essex. The students were invited to hear about the ways in which farming has changed in the three generations in which the Borehams have owned the farm. Sandra had sourced old photographs and scanned them into her PowerPoint presentation. Students were then shown how machinery, products, land owned, staffing and productivity had changed over 70 years. Richard brought with him some examples of crops grown for students to pass around and get a feel for the different crops. Samples included oil seed rape, peas, beans and wheat. The students then had the opportunity to ask questions about what they had learnt.

In May we welcomed six local Primary Schools to take part in a Rounders Tournament. The schools taking part were Rodings, Felsted, Great Easton, Stebbing, Dunmow St. Mary's and Great Bardfield. The Rodings Primary School Team was the overall winner. HRS student Sport Leaders acted as umpires for the tournament.

In July, twenty-five students had the opportunity to visit the farm for a tour, to see the machinery hire side of the business and have the chance to see some of the farm machinery up close. To win a place on the trip, the students completed a short investigation into farming changes. Mrs L Withers - Head of Geography

In June all the Uttlesford Primary Schools will compete in an Athletics Competition held at HRS.

School links with Woodfield Farm in Pleshey Left to right: Liz Withers with Roy Boreham, Sandra Smith, Richard Butler and students Jordan Carter, Alexander Williams, Harvey George, James Garwood,

The Primary Rounders teams ready for action

HRS Sport Leaders umpired the Rounders matches


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THE HELENA ROMANES SCHOOL TRADE BASED LEARNING An exciting new venture for the school took place on Wednesday 23rd June. Sixteen Year 9 students were taken to The College at Braintree for a Taster Day to explore possible new trade based courses. At HRS we have always had the desire to provide students with the most individual and pertinent curriculum as possible and this new venture seeks to provide students with learning that is applicable and useful for them in the future.

Those students who get offered a place will spend a full day learning both the theoretical and practical side of their chosen subject at The College at Braintree. This is timetabled to allow them to continue their core subjects of English, Maths and Science and their optional subjects too. We hope that this new partnership with The College at Braintree will allow students to enjoy and achieve in ways that we have not been able to offer so far at HRS. Mr N Wilcox - Foundation Learning Manager

The Taster Day consisted of students trying out an activity in one trade area; hair and beauty, construction or motor vehicle maintenance and proving to the college staff that they had the right attitude and aptitude to be considered for a place on the one day a week Level 1 course in Year 10 and 11. All our students did very well in the tasks despite a nervous start. New places, new staff and students from other schools always make it a little tricky. Nevertheless, brick walls were built, nail varnish was applied and gearboxes were removed with style and ability and I narrowly escaped having my nails painted bright pink.

Cameron Miller and Adam Gunn get to grips with a gearbox

Maths Beresford-Davis who won the Gold/Best in School award. Junior Challenge – Congratulations to Michael Fuller who won Gold/Best in school award.

Benjamin Jones.

MATHEMATICS NEWS Year 10 to 11 students will be given a final exam in September to determine if they have reached their FFT targets and will be entered early for their GCSE exams in November. If they have not reached their target grades then they will be given the opportunity for additional study and to sit their exam in June.

I am sad to say that we will be losing Mr Dodd and Mr Malianga at the end of this term when they retire. We wish you well in the future - you will both be sorely missed. I am concerned with the growing number of students who do not bring equipment to Maths lessons. Whilst the

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THE HELENA ROMANES SCHOOL majority of students have a pencil case brimming full, many have little or nothing. Whilst a compass and protractor are used rarely in classes they are necessary in order to teach angles, measuring, pie charts, locus and construction. Few children carry a ruler which means they cannot measure or draw lines, margins or underline. More and more do not bring either a pen or pencil which affects all lessons in any day not just Maths. When it comes to calculators, do not worry about expensive scientific calculators until your child reaches a level 7/Grade C. Mr R Birss - Head of Mathematics

Mr Birss with Maths Challenge winners Michael Fuller and Joshua Beresford-Davis

Music News Two members of HRS alumni, Kathryn Brown and Amanda Michelle, made their debut with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in an all Tchaikovsky concert at the Royal Albert Hall on Mothering Sunday. Both girls are French Horn players and the school is rightly proud of their success. Six and a half thousand people were at the concert which was extremely well received. Mrs K Brown - Head of Music

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Former HRS students play at the Royal Albert Hall


PhysicalEducation The PE department have continued with their winning ways reaching finals in Hockey and Football and Cricket. game. The Year 10’s were able to bring home the silverware, winning all their 6 a-side games with some great football.

he girls played really well in the NWE Emerging schools Hockey Tournament, winning the District round convincingly, only conceding two goals. They then moved on to the County round which was played at Redbridge Hockey Centre. Again the girls performed exceptionally well and progressed through to the final. After dominating much of the final they unfortunately lost 1-0 (the only goal they conceded) to be Runners Up - an excellent achievement.


The Hockey and Football success in Year 7 and 8 continued on foreign grounds when HRS went to Paris at Easter. The teams played exceptionally well in two fixtures each with the Year 7 girls coming away with a 100% win record. The trip was extremely enjoyable with eight fixtures, three training sessions and sightseeing around Stade Francais and the Eiffel Tower. The trip finished off with a day in Euro Disney which was enjoyed by staff and students alike. Further news about the trip can be found on the ‘Trips and Visits’ page.

We have continued this success on the Football field and have been competitive in all age groups. The Year 7 and 8 boys made it to the BS&D Cup final after a good run of results, with the Year 7’s beating Saffron Walden 2-1 and the Year 8’s losing to Ralph Sadlier. The Year 10’s were also in fine form but were unable to claim victory in the plate final against Hockerill. In the BS&D 6 a-side the Year 8’s also performed well making it through to the final only to be defeated 1-0 in a very close

Congratulations to all our teams this year and let’s hope it continues in the athletics, cricket and rounders. Mr D Allum - Head of PE

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Students from Years 9 & 10 performing at the Choreographic competition. Photo courtesy of David Lipson Photography

20th Annual School Choreographic Competitions This March the following students were celebrating wins in the school’s Choreographic Competition: Solo Winners: Year 7 – Rosie Wade Year 8 – Morgan Sawyer Year 9 – Faye Headley Year 10 – Emily Senior Year 11 – Charlotte Wightwick

The school’s Dance Department have been running an annual Choreographic Dance Competition for students since 1991. The competition was first started by Mrs Jinny Huizar, a former Dance teacher at the school who came to judge this year’s event. She was joined by ex-students Phoebe Hammond, Sam Field and Will Barnes, who are all working within the Performing Arts Industry. We were also delighted to welcome to the panel the



Principal of The Dunmow Theatre Dance School, Sue Bibb and Latin and Ballroom Specialists Alan Greene and Ruth Taylor-Greene. I was extremely impressed with the standard of students’ performance skills and their technicality when choreographing their own pieces. The event was again well supported by staff, parents and students. Mrs L Judd - Head of Dance

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Drama & Media


ver the last two terms there has been a Drama Festival that featured Drama Club and local Primary Schools, the AS-level performance exams of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ and ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’, as well as the GCSE performance exams. I hope that the Year 9 and Year 10 mock performance exams go just as well – reflecting the creativity that oozes from HRS Drama students. I would like to take this opportunity to say thank-you to Mrs Platts for her hard work and wish her much luck on her maternity leave; welcome Miss Bassingthwaite into the team and Mrs Pollard back after her maternity leave (I’m looking forward to ‘HRS has got Talent’). See you all in a year after my own maternity leave.


Mrs S Stewart Head of Drama and Media

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THE HELENA ROMANES SCHOOL YEAR 7 READATHON This term Year 7 students took part in Readathon. This is a national sponsored read which aims to raise a million pounds every year for seriously ill children. The money raised is donated equally to CLIC Sargent and The Roald Dahl Foundation, who between them spend it primarily helping children and young people in Britain suffering from cancer, Hodgkin’s disease, leukaemia, epilepsy, blood disorders or acquired brain injury. We are aiming to raise over £700 this year to beat our previous record. Mrs G Crawford - Literacy Coordinator

In addition, a Peer Mentoring room has been introduced where students are welcome to come and have a chat, ask for advice or even just come for some friendly company. Its purpose is to provide an information point, so that if a student wants to find a Peer Mentor, someone will always be in that room to help.

Year 7 students who took part in the Readathon select books from the Learning Zone

Peer Mentors are identifiable by their unique ties that have a Chinese symbol which means ‘to listen’. This is very important because to be a good Peer Mentor is to be a good listener. In conclusion, Peer Mentors are at The Helena Romanes School for a sole purpose - to support and aid students through their years at secondary school. Grace Elvin - 10AMF

YEAR 9 AND 10 - PEER MENTOR SCHEME Peer Mentors are a group of thirty students from Year 9 and 10, who wanted to take the opportunity to be a Peer Mentor in order to help their fellow students. Peer Mentors are kind and supportive people who offer their time and advice to those that need it. We are approachable at all times and we will never turn anyone away. Currently two Peer Mentors, one from each year group, have been allocated to a tutor group in Year 7 or 8. This gives the students a chance to come and talk to us, as they may feel less inclined to approach us in the corridors. With the Peer Mentors visiting the form the students will gradually become friendlier with their Peer Mentors and therefore more likely to seek them out for advice. The Mentors go into their form once a week and make presentations that will benefit the students such as safety on Facebook, smoking, world news, etc.

Year 9 and 10 students who have become Peer Mentors

YEAR 10 PREFECTS I am pleased to announce we have appointed over a hundred Prefects including six Deputies and twelve Senior Prefects. Ruby Featherstone has been appointed Head Girl and Christopher Larkin will be our Head Boy. The applications were very impressive and I am looking forward to working with a strong and committed team. The Prefects will be involved in a variety of events and initiatives during the year. Congratulations to them all. Mr S McLauchlan - Year 10 Director of Learning


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Year 11 Ball – What a night! On Thursday 5th May 206 Year 11 students dressed in their evening dresses and suits for their end of year ball at Stockbrook Manor near Billericay. It was a fantastic evening. The girls looked stunning, the boys were handsome, the venue was perfect and the food was good. Our students were a credit to the school and the venue manager complimented them on their behaviour. Head Boy, Max Turner and Head Girl, Ellie Leaning were part of the organising committee.

evening. We had been planning and looking forward to the event for a long time. It was a chance to spend time with our friends – some of whom we’ve known since Primary School – before we start our exams.” It was a great way to say goodbye to the year group, in my opinion the best group of students ever! Mrs Curran - 11 Director for Learning.

Max said “The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was a perfect occasion to relax with each other and our teachers - a fitting farewell for the year group.” Ellie added that “the venue was amazing and the sunny weather helped make it a very special

Courtesy of David Lipson Photography



Mrs Curran joins students at Stockbrook Manor

Courtesy of David Lipson Photography

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Year 11 student wins place at national dance school Congratulations to Charlotte Wightwick who has successfully auditioned for a full-time place at the prestigious Central School of Ballet to study a Foundation & BA (Hons) Degree in Professional Dance and Performance. We are delighted that Charlotte has been given this opportunity to follow her dream as a dancer. We are very proud of Charlotte’s hard work and continuing passion for her career. She has always worked incredibly hard over the years and we applaud her for her success. We wish her best of luck in the future and look forward to welcoming Charlotte back to perform for us and even judge our annual choreographic competitions.

Courtesy of David Lipson Photography

Mrs L Judd - Head of Dance

Sixth Form students have a Ball! The school’s Sixth Form May Ball was held on Friday 6th May at Maidens Barn near High Easter. Year 13 students Sarah Line and Sophie Wood were on the committee who organised the event. Sarah said afterwards “over 100 students attended. The venue was incredible – it looked beautiful and the staff there were really nice. It was a brilliant end of school celebration and everyone looked amazing.” Sophie added that “it went really well and everyone really enjoyed themselves - which was really rewarding for us after nearly a year of planning. It was a good way to end our time together”. The evening was a fantastic success from start to finish and the behaviour of our 6th Form students was impeccable. The staff and caterers could not have been more complimentary about the conduct of the guests. Mr M Fletcher - Head of Sixth Form

Courtesy of David Lipson Photography

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e have had a very interesting and successful year in student voice. For the first time we were led by a joint chair; James Gray and Rachel Ward have done an amazing job! They have been ably assisted by Julia Beck and Laura Whittick as joint secretary and Nick Gliddon has kept his eye on our money and has been a great treasurer. Throughout the year we have organised and taken assemblies, we are members of some Governor committees and we have representatives on the Healthy School group. We also took on an active role in the recent interviews for the new Deputy Headteacher. We were also asked by Mr Emberton to help him carry out some research into student’s perception of the rewards system. It has been an exciting year and looks set to continue. We have funds left in the account, which we will use for projects around the school. We are currently investigating the possibility of purchasing

gym type lockers for student use and outdoor seating for spectators at sports events. We are in the middle of working out plans for implementing a House System at HRS. We have already brought this idea to the Student Parliament and have discussed it with the Senior Leadership Team. We are excited about this new venture. Watch this space! In addition, we are hoping to forge links with schools in Ethiopia and Russia through a program run by the 2012 Olympic organisation. We may even get some free tickets to some events next year! We have said goodbye to our Year 11 colleagues and so now begins our next phase of leadership under Victoria Freeman and Tom Moverley-Foster as joint chair. Our team has been strengthened by adding Emily Line as Vice Chair and Beth Garrick and Alice McCabe as joint secretary. Nick will remain as Treasurer. Mrs Curran continues to support us and often tells us that she is proud to be associated with such a fine bunch of people. Members of Student Voice

The Year 7 and 8 students visit Paris






Members of the Year 7 Hockey Team

PE HOCKEY AND FOOTBALL TRIP TO FRANCE On the Tuesday we visited the Stade de France, it was a very enjoyable and informative tour. We then went to climb the Eiffel tower, which was also extremely fun, and not many people got scared! After having our morning out exploring Paris we drove to our first match. Wednesday we had training in the morning and then our second and final matches. Thursday was everyone’s favourite day! It was the day we went to Disneyland! Friday was our worst day - it was the day it was all coming to an end. We had our own little awards presentation, for the players of the matches and the best team throughout the tour. Despite the tiredness we all had the time of our lives and have kept all the friendships we made. We can’t wait for another sports trip for another amazing experience! Morgan Sawyer - 8VL

Year 7 Football Team Other trips this term include: Year 8 History trip to Ypres; GCSE and A Level Drama trip to the Phoenix Theatre and The Old Vic; Ski Trip to Austria; Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Expedition to Thetford Forest and a world challenge trip to Thailand and Laos. The Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre SPECIALIST HUMANITIES COLLEGE Foundation School Parsonage Downs, Dunmow, Essex CM6 2AU Telephone: 01371 872560 • Facsimile: 01371 874632 E-mail:

Would your family enjoy introducing someone from another country to your way of life? There are international students from all over the world at universities in the UK: they all speak English and most are in their 20's, although a few are older and have a child here with them.They would love to spend a weekend sharing your family life in order to understand more about the UK. You could have fun introducing them to British food, customs, your local community and area; and you could learn about their country and culture. This is an opportunity to make friends across international boundaries. Geography comes alive, and afterwards, any news bulletin about your guest's country will have much more meaning. HOST is a national charity, backed by the Foreign Office, which has been linking students with volunteer hosts for many years. See or call Sandra Purrett, the voluntary organiser for Essex, on 01296 681625.


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Helena Romanes School - Summer 2011  
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