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Folkestone pupils plant hundreds of trees in whole school day of environmental learning
Pupils from Martello primary school have celebrated National Tree Week by organising their own ‘Tree Day’ event. Martello Primary School held the event to help foster a deeper connection with nature and instil a sense of environmental responsibility to its students.. Read on...
The initiative, spearheaded by Kate Yates, Forest School Lead at Martello, came about after the Woodland Trust donated 270 trees to the school. Kate and the school leadership decided to mark the planting of these trees by dedicating a day to helping children understand how the natural world around them enters into their classroom learning.
To make this happen, every teacher at Martello designed their own tree-based activity to form part of a different lesson:
The Reception class immersed themselves in a Forest School experience;
Year 1 explored the impact trees make on the natural world around them as part of their Personal, Social and Health Education;
Year 2 looked at the work they could do with this wildlife with their Design and Technology knowledge;
Year 3 embraced their creativity as they delved into tree-based Art;
Year 4 took on learning about where different trees come from as part of their Geography work;
Year 5 learned about the natural workings of trees in a Science lesson; and
Year 6 honed their English skills by presenting information on trees to each other.
Throughout the day, the children had the opportunity to rotate between classes, fostering cross-year interactions as well as a wider understanding of the importance of trees. This interdisciplinary approach not only enriched their knowledge but also created an engaging and immersive learning environment.
All the activities tied in with one of Martello’s core values: Responsibility. Throughout the day, pupils learned more about how to take care of trees and the collective responsibility we all share in helping to preserve and nurture the world around us.
The highlight of the day came at 1430 when the entire school, from the youngest Reception children to the eldest Year 6 pupils, as well as the entire staff team, gathered on the school field. In an inspiring display of unity, everyone there took part in the ceremonial planting of a tree, marking a collective commitment to environmental stewardship.
Pasha Year 6 said :
“It was really fun to experience different activities throughout the day and enjoy the day with teachers who we might not see everyday. My other classmates also seemed really engaged and we could tell the teachers had gone to a lot of effort to prepare such a wonderful day for us. The day went far too quickly.”
Lana Year 4 said:
“It was fun planting the tree as a whole school at the end of the day , my favourite activity was DT and getting to make a working toy.”
Rudi Year 2 said:
“Tree day was amazing, I really enjoyed learning about the 4 different groups of trees through the art of poetry in year 6 with Mr Waterman.
Kate Yates, Forest School Lead at Martello Primary School, said:
"The children had a wonderful time throughout the day, immersing themselves in activities that not only expanded their knowledge but also instilled a deep appreciation for nature. We know how seriously our pupils take learning about the environment and what we can do to protect it, so opportunities like this are vital to help them understand their place in the natural world.
Natalie Barrow, Principal at Martello Primary School, said:
“We all loved taking part in ‘Tree Day’ and it was a fantastic success. Having each year group participate in a different tree-based activity in different subjects showed them how integral trees and wildlife are to so many facets of our lives. Thank you to Kate and all our staff for their hard work and enthusiasm in making this happen.
“The celebration was a testament to the vibrant and inclusive learning environment we cultivate at Martello Primary School, and we are already thinking about the new and exciting learning experiences we can offer here in the future. ”
Folkestone children celebrate love of reading with Book Week
Pupils from across Folkestone have celebrated World Book Day with a full week’s worth of activities. The children, from Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary and Morehall Primary, enjoyed Book Week with a wide range of activities from Monday to Friday. Read on...
Book Week is an annual event for Turner Schools, which organises a full calendar of activities across the week. The aim is to build on the appeal of World Book Day by bringing pupils, families and staff together to appreciate the importance of literature, and the joy which can be found within it.
Over the course of the week:
At Folkestone Primary, pupils designed an Egg Box Character, dressed up as their favourite book character, browsed a Scholastic Book Fair where they could use their National Book Tokens to buy books, and were treated to a visit from local author and illustrator Katy Towse. They also decorated their classroom doors with their favourite stories, took part in book-themed dance workshops, and hunted for Golden Tickets - hidden around the school grounds where children who found them would receive a new book. The school also invited parents in for a DEAR - Drop Everything and Read - event with their children.
At Martello Primary, parents were also invited in to read with their children as well as to participate in a World Book Day Celebration Assembly. Children also competed to design the best potato character, participated in author workshops with Loris Owens and competed in the Big Book Quiz. Teachers also read to different classes after school and before lunchtime.
At Morehall Primary, pupils designed a National Book Token cover, dressed up as their favourite book character, visited Cheriton Library, and participated in the Masked Reader competition where they had to guess the teacher behind a mask while they read an excerpt from their favourite book. Pupils also joined in with the Scholastic Book Fair and the book-themed dance workshops.
Aleysha, Year 3 Morehall:
“I really enjoyed trying to guess which teacher was reading in "The Masked Reader" and I'm so excited to start reading my book that I was able to get from the library. Book Week is always so much fun!”
Louise Lythgoe, Executive Head Teacher and Primary Improvement Team Lead at Turner Schools, said:
“We know that getting children excited about reading at a young age is key to developing a life-long love of reading. This is important for children’s educational development, but more than that, it’s about helping them realise how much joy they can find in books.
“There’s no question that Book Week was a fantastic success and our children loved taking part in such a wide range of activities. Everyone got so involved and it was wonderful to see so much laughter and happiness across our school with such a creative range of activities based around reading.”
Turner Schools’ Diversity and Inclusion Week teaches local young people about those who might be different from themselves
Over the last fortnight (w/c 30th January and w/c 6th February), thousands of pupils from across Folkestone have taken part in a number of activities to enhance their understanding of others. In all, 2,650 pupils from the Turner Schools trust have participated in Diversity and Inclusion Weeks within their schools to learn more about the world around them.Read on...
The five schools within the trust - Folkestone Academy, Turner Free School, Morehall Primary, Folkestone Primary, and Martello Primary - worked together and independently to organise activities as part of the trust-wide community engagement programme.
Throughout the week pupils took part in a range of lessons, presentations, and workshops to celebrate different aspects of diversity. Guest speakers shared their knowledge and experiences; the overall aim being to develop pupils' awareness, appreciation, and understanding of those who may be different to themselves, and to inspire and provide role models for those pupils who may not not see themselves reflected in everyday life.
Some of the main activities this year included:
Visit of Sir Stephen Wall
Sir Stephen spoke to pupils in Years 11, 12, and 13 about LGBT rights and what it was like for him growing as a gay man and working as a British Diplomat at a time when it was unacceptable to be part of the LGBT community.
Visit of Wordly Wise Ambassador Mark Parrin
Mark talked about his physical disability and what it is like being in a wheelchair. He shared stories of some of the challenges he’s faced, such as being left on aeroplanes for hours because airport assistance hasn’t been available and having his wheelchair destroyed by baggage handlers. Mark highlighted the importance of having a positive attitude when facing adversity.
Nathassia Devine Performance
Chart topping, electronic music artist Nathhassia performed to pupils in Years 7 and 9. Her music promotes inclusivity and kindness. Nathassia also talked about her experience of being bullied as a child because of her multi-cultural heritage and the impact that that had on her mental health. She encouraged pupils to be kind and accepting of each other and to speak up if they ever felt unhappy.
Year 7 pupils at Folkestone Academy spent the week reflecting upon aspects of diversity that were important to them. They each decorated a pebble to promote inclusion and kindness which they then placed in areas around the town.
Books for Change
Emily Ghassenpour from Books for Change worked with pupils throughout the primary schools, delivering anti-racism workshops. She encouraged pupils to reflect upon what we mean by the term racism and how people feel when they are treated differently because of the colour of their skin.
Pupils in Year 2 visited their local libraries to have a storytime session with books that promote inclusion. Staff from the library read The Proudest Blue and And Tango Makes Three; the children then had a discussion about the stories and why it’s important to have diverse characters represented in books. They then made posters for a display in the library to promote books with diverse themes.
The Beacon Plus
During the primary school week, both Martello Primary and Folkestone Primary carried out activities with The Beacon Plus. Year 6 children from Martello visited the Beacon Plus Community Cafe on Tuesday and enjoyed time with the learners there, hearing about the work that they do and their goals for the future. On Thursday, Year 6 pupils at Folkestone Primary were treated to a talk from one Beacon Plus learner about autism and then they were joined by 16 other learners from the provision who spent the morning chatting and playing games with the children.
Young Animators Club
Year 4 and 5 pupils at Morehall Primary participated in an animation workshop which was delivered by the Young Animators Club. They discussed what it means to be neurodivergent and then created animators that reflected how neurodivergent people might feel in different situations.
Katy Tibbles, Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools said:
“As a trust, we're passionate about developing our pupils into well-rounded individuals with open minds and an appreciation for a diverse society. Whilst inclusion is part of our everyday practice, we use these weeks to really celebrate and focus on diverse topics. Essentially, our goal is to develop our young people into well rounded, open-minded adults who appreciate living in a diverse society.”
Am’e Moris, Principal at Morehall Primary said:
“It’s incredibly important that our children learn about inclusion. Diversity Week encourages kindness, understanding and empathy. The children have had lots of fun participating in the activities this week, but most importantly, they have developed knowledge and an appreciation for a diverse society.”
Ben, Year 12 pupil at Folkestone Academy said:
“The talks this week have been really interesting. They have broadened my perspective; I really enjoyed the talk on LGBT history.”
Sophie, Year 9 pupil at Turner Free School said:
“Diversity week has made me think more about others and the importance of being kind to each other.”
Olive, Year 5 pupil at Martello Primary said:
“This week we have learnt that it doesn’t matter if you are different, or think that you are different, everyone is important and special. Everyone deserves to be treated the same way and not different because of the way they look or feel.”
Festive Hampers Delivered To Folkestone Families
This Christmas, staff at Turner Schools delivered 100 families from across the Turner community a Christmas food hamper. On Friday 23rd December, Turner staff volunteers will packed up 100 hampers and delivered them to homes across Folkestone.. Read on...
The hampers included ingredients for a Christmas dinner, excluding meat products, and helped bring festive cheer to families across Folkestone. The project was funded by a £2,000 donation from Folkestone Rotary Club and £900 from Folkestone Town Council, as well as £415 donated by Turner Schools staff. This last figure was match-funded by the Trust.
Katy Tibbles, Senior Stakeholder and Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said:
“We were delighted to offer families across Folkestone these festive hampers. We know how tough life is right now for too many families and so we wanted to do what we could to help out. Hopefully this brought a smile to people’s faces and allowed them to have a really special Christmas. Thank you to the Folkestone Rotary Club, to Folkestone Town Council, and of course to our fantastic staff for their support in making sure we can offer these hampers.”
Sarah Morgan, Director of Secondary Improvement at Turner Schools, said:
“Our aim was to bring festive cheer to those in need and to show everyone the Turner spirit. I am so proud of the staff members who donated to this project, as well as those who offered their time to help us pack up and deliver these hampers. I am delighted that we have been able to offer these hampers to so many families this Christmas.”
The Turner Schools Trust is deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty The Queen.
Turner Schools organises Community Day for thousands of pupils
Pupils from across Folkestone have come together in a series of activities to celebrate and support their local community. More than 2,000 pupils from across Turner Schools spent the day giving back to the people around them in the organisation’s first ever ‘Community Day’. Read on...
Turner Schools hosts Creative Arts Exhibition to highlight pupils’ talents
Pupils from across Folkestone have showcased their artistic talents at the second ever Turner Schools Creative Arts Exhibition. In total the exhibition saw more than 1,500 entries from the schools in the trust, with pupils collaborating on a number of projects to make up the finished exhibits. Read on...
In addition to the range of artwork on display, pupils from the three primary schools as well as Sixth Form pupils from Folkestone Academy performed a series of live shows. The Folkestone pupils sang, played the piano, danced and busked throughout the evening. After the performances there were speeches from notable dignitaries followed by prize giving.
Councillor David Monk, Leader of Folkestone & Hythe Council, and Deputy Mayor Councillor Belinda Walker attended the exhibition, along with school governors and other notable figures from across the trust. Councillor Walker and Turner Schools CEO Seamus Murphy presented prizes to the winning pupils.
The theme of this year’s exhibition was ‘We Are Folkestone’. This theme has allowed pupils to examine the town in which they live, looking at the past, present and future and creating a body of work which puts young voices at its heart.
Seamus Murphy, Turner Schools CEO, said:
“I’m incredibly proud of the resilience and strength of character that our pupils have shown throughout the past year. The quality of work that they have continued to produce both in school and via home learning has been fabulous. This exhibition was an opportunity to showcase just some of the talents that they have demonstrated throughout the year. I am especially pleased that we also have the creative scholars showcasing their work this year, a new initiative at Folkestone Academy.”
Michelle Foxwood, Turner Schools Creative Arts Director, said:
“We are not just five institutions working independently to tick off Ofsted criteria, but instead, a united collective invested in the continual regeneration of our town through its most important asset: young individuals who as a community will take us into the future.”
Shortlisted categories - Prizes presented by Deputy Mayor, Cllr Belinda Walker
Martello Primary honoured with prestigious gold award
Martello Primary is celebrating having achieved the School Games Gold level Mark Award for the 2021/22 academic year.
The School Games Mark is a Government-led award scheme launched in 2012 by the Youth Sport Trust to reward schools for their commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community. Participating in this process allows schools to evaluate their PE provision and assists them in developing an action plan for future progress. Read on...
Martello was awarded the Gold Mark for their commitment to competing in a range of sport competitions in school and in the community. The school also promotes positive attitudes towards competition and sportsmanship, as well as promoting healthy active lifestyles for its pupils.
The school has a notable commitment to sports, including: participating in the Herald Cup in football, sending teams to Years 1/2 football competitions and Years 5/6 football competitions, participating in golf festivals, dance events, rounders tournaments, swimming galas and even a dodgeball tournament.
Jade Goldfish, PE lead at Martello said:
“We are extremely pleased with our pupils' hard-work and dedication to keeping active.”
Charlotte Speed, Head of School at Martello Primary School, said:
“We are delighted to receive the School Games Gold Mark for our work in promoting sport and healthy living for our pupils and local community. It is so important to learn how to live an active life from an early age and we want to make sure every pupil here is enthused to take up a sport. We are committed to making sure every child is supported to find the right form of exercise for them and is able to stay physically active throughout their time at school.”
Folkestone pupils perform and record series of radio plays
Folkestone pupils have enjoyed flexing their creative muscles in a project working with experienced radio professionals from Academy FM Folkestone. The ‘Reconnect Radio Drama’ project saw children rehearsing and recording a series of dramatic scripts in the Academy FM studios and other locations across their schools. Read on...
The project came about after Kent County Council's 'Reconnect' fund donated nearly £5,000 to Academy FM Folkestone to offer local children new opportunities. In total, the Academy FM team worked with 50 children from Martello Primary, Folkestone Primary and Morehall Primary.
Scripts were written by the Project Leaders and designed to meet the children’s ability levels and objectives, with the Martello Primary and Folkestone Primary pupils working in groups of five. The Folkestone Academy groups, who chose to record an act of A Midsummer Night’s Dream worked in larger groups.
Pupils from all three schools practised their scripts repeatedly with regular and positive feedback from the Academy FM team, before recording in the Academy FM studios as well as a range of interior and exterior locations across the schools. Sound effects and other production were added afterwards to ensure the finished pieces were as entertaining and realistic as possible.
Academy FM's impact is clear to see in Primary school surveying:
100% of children agreed they enjoyed the radio activities
89% said it had improved their confidence after the pandemic
84% said the project had helped them to speak more confidently
66% said the radio activities had helped them enjoy school and their learning more
95% would like to do similar activities as a regular opportunity
89% would like more opportunities to do radio drama or presenting.
A selection of the radio pieces were then turned into a video which can be found here.
David Sharp, Academy FM Manager, said:
“It was great to get the support of KCC and their Reconnect fund for this project. It was clear the children were interested in trying new things after the disruption of Covid and this was a great opportunity to work on their creative skills. They tackled every task with enthusiasm and a clear desire to improve, and over time it was clear to see their confidence and ability increasing.
“This was unquestionably one of the best projects we have worked on to date and we all loved seeing how much it meant to these children. We have gone onto a much bigger 'Reconnect Radio' project supported by KCC, which sees us working with 12 schools across Kent”
Seamus Murphy from Turner Schools, said:
“Thank you to KCC's Reconnect fund, and the Academy FM team for their hard work in designing and running this incredibly valuable project for our children. It’s obvious how much this has helped the children develop their creative and performing skills, as well as their confidence in their daily lives. This is a fantastic example of the exciting opportunities that our schools offer outside of the classroom as part of our wider provision.
The project was planned by David Sharp, Station Manager at Academy FM Folkestone with advice from Sadie Hurley of Jim Jam Arts. It was delivered by Lucy Thompson (freelance drama practitioner) and Katherine Castle (an experienced Teaching Assistant with a BA in Drama who currently works at Academy FM).
Ofsted praises Martello Primary School in glowing report
Staff and pupils at Martello Primary School are celebrating after a glowing report from Ofsted following their recent inspection earlier in March. The school, part of Turner Schools in Folkestone, was judged to offer a ‘Good’ quality of education across every category for the first time in the school’s history, clearly demonstrating the high standards at Martello. Read on...
The Ofsted inspectors noted that school leaders at Martello are ambitious for their pupils and have ensured the school is well managed at all levels. Pupils feel safe while at school and agree that teachers are kind, while staff develop warm and caring relationships which allow them to get the best out of their classes.
The inspectors also highlighted the support of leaders within Turner Schools who work closely with the team at Martello to ensure teachers receive highly effective professional development. This has led to teaching becoming increasingly expert, particularly in reading and mathematics which are key priorities at the school. Teachers spoke highly of the development opportunities they are offered and the trust-wide opportunities they have to share expertise with other schools.
Key highlights recognised in the report include:
School leaders have carefully considered each subject and where it fits into the wider school curriculum to ensure this is well-structured. This ensures that lessons are interesting and engaging which means that pupils are happy to work hard in the classroom. The mathematics curriculum was highlighted as being particularly well designed to ensure pupils start with a secure base of learning before being introduced to more complex problems.
Teaching children how to read is a key priority at Martello. In the Early Years provision children develop speaking and listening skills, and improve their vocabulary, which allows them to make good progress in reading. This is well monitored so that any pupil at risk of falling behind can be identified in good time and given the support to help them catch up quickly.
Pupils are happy and confident learners and speak very positively about their school. They know they can speak to staff if they have any concerns and are confident they will be listened to. They have a mature understanding that everyone is different, and that respect and tolerance are crucial to maintaining good relationships with each other.
Pupils are also provided with a number of opportunities to develop responsibilities, such as older pupils training as playground leaders to support their younger peers during playtime and other breaks in the school day. Behaviour across the school is good and pupils find their classes enjoyable. They try hard even when challenged.
Leaders have made the school a focal point of the community and provide valuable support for pupils and their families. Parents were happy to speak to the Ofsted inspectors and highlight the compassion that the Martello team showed for the families of their pupils.
Pupils with special educational needs are well supported as specialist teachers’ knowledge and expertise is shared across the staff body. Parents are also offered help, guidance and support with their children to support their learning and wellbeing at home. These children are given effective support and adaptations to make sure they can still access the curriculum and thrive with their education.
Louise Lythgoe, Executive Head Teacher at Martello Primary School, said:
“Martello Primary is a wonderful school. We are incredibly proud of the children and staff and delighted that Ofsted have recognised and commended everything that we are doing to ensure pupils are well taught and cared for. Thank you to our families for their support and contribution to Martello’s success. We look forward to enhancing provision further as we build on what has been achieved so far.
Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:
“Congratulations to Louise, her team, and everyone at Martello Primary School on this glowing Ofsted report which recognises everyone’s hard work. It is clear to see that pupils here are receiving the best possible start to life, and I am so pleased that the inspectors got to see what makes this school so special. To be declared a Good school is a fine achievement, and I am delighted for them.”
Award winning actress Jessica Hynes on judging panel for school talent celebration
Pupils from across Turner Schools had the chance to wow their peers at the first annual Turner’s Got Talent showcase at Folkestone Academy. In total, ten acts from across the trust performed their acts, including musicians, dancers, singers, and gymnasts. The ten finalists were given the chance to compete after each school held its own heats with more than 170 pupils across Turner Schools participating and showcasing their talent. Read on...
During the final showcase prizes were awarded by a panel of judges including renowned actress Jessica Hynes, Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, Krissy Yates, Principal at Turner Free School and Local Councillor Jackie Meade.
The Turner’s Got Talent crown was taken by winners Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh from Folkestone Academy who performed ‘Come as you are’ by Nirvana.
In addition to the grand prize, Adela from Morehall Primary School was named Best in Primary for her cello performance of Spring Song by Frank Bridge, while Isabelle from Turner Free School won Best in Secondary for singing ‘Traitor’ by Olivia Rodrigo and Sienna from Martello Primary won The Murphy Prize, a prize that recognises potential talent in the future, for her rendition of ‘Try Everything’ by Shakira.
Holly, Year 9 Folkestone Academy pupil, from the winning band, said:
“I was very happy to win this great prize! We rehearsed this song for a couple of months and it’s nice to see that our hard work paid off. We have named our trophy ‘Benny’.”
Jessica Hynes said:
“Well done to all the performers, there was a fantastic amount of talent on the stage. We chose the winners because they showed incredible talent, dedication and amazing potential. We all agreed they had a kind of magic and an alchemy of fantastic performance skill. I really hope they go on and keep doing it because they really have got something.”
She continued: “Nothing is impossible, it’s really important thinking about performance and the Arts it sometimes seems unreachable. It isn’t! All you need is talent, focus, dedication and to keep on working. Any dream, no dream is too big.”
Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:
“Congratulations to Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh on being named winners of the Turner’s Got Talent competition, and to every single one of our performers for their hard work. The competition was a resounding success and really highlighted the depth of talent across Turner Schools, which was absolutely fantastic to see. I’m sure these pupils will continue to showcase their skills over the coming years and I look forward to watching them do so.”
Folkestone pupils mark Queen’s Jubilee with tree-planting ceremony
Pupils across Folkestone have marked the Queen’s Jubilee by planting trees in celebration. Pupils at Martello Primary School, Morehall Primary School, Folkestone Primary, Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School planted a tree outside the school buildings as part of a national campaign of celebration. Read on...
The initiative, organised by The Queen’s Canopy, calls for schools to get involved and celebrate their outside spaces. In total more than one million trees have been planted in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The project is a unique tree planting initiative and invites people from across the country to plant their own trees to celebrate this historic milestone.
The Turner Schools team sourced their trees through Kent Historical Trees from Brogdale Collections, planting five trees, including two cherries, two acers and one ornamental plum in total. The pupils were also warded a commemorative plaque by the Queen’s Canopy initiative in honour of their efforts.
This is just the latest action by Turner Schools pupils to raise awareness of climate change and to look at how they can be more environmentally responsible. Pupils at Folkestone Primary and Martello Primary School have formed an Eco Council to look at addressing the school’s environmental impact, while their peers at Morehall Primary voted for Eco Champions to represent them and to decide which eco-friendly projects they should implement.
Cayden Collins, newly appointed Head Boy at Folkestone Academy Sixth Form, said:
“I feel very privileged to be a part of the tree planting at Folkestone Academy. The Year 7 pupils that accompanied the Head Girl and myself will get to watch the tree grow during their time at the Academy. I’m looking forward to coming back in years to come and seeing the progress the tree has made, knowing that I was a part of its beginning.”
Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, said: DRAFT
“It’s fantastic to see our pupils are so keen to find out more about nature and the joys of spending time outside. They are really environmentally conscious and are so keen on doing what they can to raise awareness of climate change and to make a positive impact on the natural world around them.
“The Queen’s Canopy initiative is a fantastic means of getting schoolchildren out in the fresh air and to highlight the great wellbeing benefits of spending time with nature. These trees will form a lasting monument to this historic milestone.”
Doing Something Funny For Money
Pupils raised over £60 for Comic Relief by wearing odd socks to school. Pupils also were filmed telling their favourite joke...
Schools celebrate their community through ‘Folkestone Talks’
Care 4 Calais, Kent Police and the Napier Barracks are just some of the guests invited in to meet pupils of Turner Schools during their month-long ‘Folkestone Talks’ - a Trust-wide celebration of the people who make up their local community. Read on...
The initiative, which is running throughout March, is a wonderful opportunity for pupils to meet people who live or work in the town and to benefit from the stories, backgrounds and experiences that they can share. It aims to:
Celebrate Folkestone’s diversity;
Encourage pupils to feel proud of their town;
Promote empathy and cultural awareness;
Prepare pupils for life in a modern world.
Over 70 members of the community have committed to participating, including representatives from the Nepalese and Roma communities; various churches and religious groups; councillors from the town and district council; and the Rotary Club. The events are run in a ‘speed networking’ style where small groups of pupils spend 10 minutes with each guest before moving on to the next person. So far, events have been held at Turner Free School, Morehall Primary and Martello Primary, with dates set for Folkestone Academy and Folkestone Primary later on in the month. By the end of the series, over 900 pupils will have participated in the events.
Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager, Turner Schools, said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that’s been shown by the community towards these events. It’s a fantastic way for our pupils to meet the wide variety of people that play a part in the town and who help to make Folkestone a great place to live and work. At Turner Schools, it’s part of our mission to strengthen communities and I feel that these events have been successful in doing that.”
Haydee Blaskett, Environmental Enforcement Officer, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the morning and would like to say how wonderful and polite all the children were. They were really engaged and were asking some brilliant questions that were really relevant to our role and about the town.”
Mick Cronin, Community Liaison Officer, Kent Police, said: “I’ve very much enjoyed taking part in the Folkestone Talks events across the Turner Schools. It’s been a great opportunity to bring together different groups from the community and to celebrate the diversity that exists in the town. Initiatives such as these play an important part in developing community cohesion.”
Noah (Year 4, Morehall) said: “I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and finding out about their lives, feelings and jobs”.
Parent (Turner Free School) said: “As a parent I would like to thank you as a school for not only helping to shape my daughters academic future but also herself as a person with activities like this. “
Glass Making Workshop
Friday 25th February
Pupils at Martello Primary, a Turner School in Folkestone, learnt how to make their own glass art at a workshop led by local artist Sarah Sillibourne, which was funded by Music and Arts for the Shepway Community (MASC) charity. Read on below...
During the unique glass art workshop Ashford-based Sarah showed the pupils how to shape and colour glass and helped them craft their own pieces - wonderful suncatchers which, once kilned, will be given as gifts to someone special. A number of parents and families with preschool children also attended, which added to the experience for pupils.
Sarah’s glass making ranges from wall art and splash backs to large decorative bowls. Her inspiration comes from her natural surroundings, taking colour, pattern and texture to relate in one form or another into her work. As well as producing glass art she runs educational workshops for school aged children.
Louise Lythgoe, Executive Headteacher, Martello Primary, said: “This was a great experience for our pupils. We were all wowed by their creativity; they had some fantastic ideas and we can't wait to see what the pieces look like when they return from the kiln! Staff and pupils would like to extend sincere thanks to 'MASC' for their generosity in funding the project and to Sarah for her wonderful workshop.”
“It was really fun. I particularly liked using the spaghetti glass for the middle of each petal of the flower.” Wilfred, Year 2
“I loved it when we added the coloured frits to add detail.” Sofia, Year 2
“I loved it when we could see the finished piece. We made flowers and the glass sparkled like diamonds.” Oscar, Year 2
Local Artist Paints in Front of Pupils
Monday 17th January
Our Martello family enjoyed the most wonderful live art experience today, having the privilege of hosting local artist Shane Record in our hall, watching him work his magic, right there in front of us! Read on below...
The whole school was invited to sit and watch Shane work, and create their own artwork inspired by his, as he brought a beautiful painting of a stunning Folkestone view to life before our very eyes. He even invited a handful of lucky children to step up and assist him in adding the finishing touches to his landscape, giving some expert tips and tricks to anybody who wanted them along the way.
We’d like to thank Shane again for stopping by Martello and delivering a fantastic, memorable experience for everybody involved. We hope this won’t be the last time we see him at Martello, paintbrush in hand!
Turner Schools Christmas Concert 2021
Pupils from Folkestone Academy, Folkestone Primary, Martello Primary, Morehall Primary and Turner Free School perform in our first Turner Schools Christmas Concert.
Martello Primary Create Diversity Film
During Diversity Week pupils created a film about diversity with the help of the Young Animators Clubs. Watch it here >>>
Folkestone Pupils Take Part in Diversity and Inclusion Week
School leaders across Turner Schools have worked together to launch a trust-wide Diversity and Inclusion week. Pupils in all year groups across all five schools took part in a range of activities throughout the week including subject specific lessons, workshops and presentations from a range of guest speakers. Read on...
The aim of the week was to broaden pupils’ awareness of what is meant by diversity and inclusion; to encourage pupils to develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding towards those who are different to themselves; and to gain an appreciation for the diverse community in which we live.
Neurodiversity workshops with The Young Animators Club - Pupils participated in workshops on the concept of neurodiversity and how it feels to be neurodiverse, before producing animations to reflect their thoughts.
Anti-racism workshops with Books for Change - Pupils actively engaged in workshops delivered by Books for Change where they talked about the impact of racism and the importance of treating people equally.
Mark Parrin (Ambassador at Wordly Wise) - Mark delivered assemblies to Year 10 pupils at Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School, sharing his story of how he became paralysed in his mid-twenties, and how having a positive attitude has helped him to live a full and rewarding life. He went on to talk about the work he does now to support other people living with disabilities.
Mr Lea Baynes, teacher at Folkestone Academy - Delivered assemblies at all schools about his experience of being transgender., speaking openly and honestly about the challenges he faced as a teenager and the struggles of trying to ‘fit in’ before realising that he was transgender.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council - Deputy Leader Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee and other Council representatives spoke to pupils about diversity in the workplace, looking at the 9 protected characteristics and why having a diverse body of employees makes the workplace a more successful and happier environment.
Hearing impairment specialists from Kent Supported Employment - Helped pupils to understand what it’s like to be hearing impaired and what they can do to support members of the community with these needs.
Storytime with Dita the Drag Queen - To end the week, pupils spent the day with Dita the Drag Queen, reading stories about gender differences, using appropriate pronouns, and inclusive language. They got to know Dita, asked them questions, enquired about their job, their life, their own experiences at school, and learned exactly what it looks like when somebody, who may initially appear different in some way, is happy and confident and able to express themselves however they see fit.
A Year 7 pupil from Folkestone Academy said:
“This week I have learnt to be more respectful and considerate of other people's feelings. We should celebrate the differences between us; no one should experience discrimination.”
Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:
“As a trust we embrace the diverse culture in which we live and we want our pupils to grow up having confidence in themselves, no matter what their situation may be. This week, pupils have had the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues and have heard first hand from people with diverse backgrounds. Pupils from all age ranges have approached the week with interest and maturity and I know that they have gained a huge amount from these experiences.”
Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said:
“It has been a privilege to work with such a diverse group of people throughout the week. I am incredibly grateful for the contributions made by members of the wider community and the stories that they have shared with us.”
Martello Primary School pupils form Eco Council
Martello Primary School pupils have taken their first steps towards becoming more environmentally conscious by forming an Eco Council, pledging to work together for a better world. As part of the school’s ‘Democracy Week’, school children voted for their Eco Council representatives, who were then awarded their places and badges by Mayor Michelle Keutenius, Deputy Mayor Nicola Keen, and Councillor Jackie Meade.
Pupils wanted to form the Eco Council so that they could have a greater impact on the school’s environmental footprint. Making a positive impact on both the local community and the wider world is at the heart of Martello, whether it is reducing the school’s use of paper or working with the fabulous Locavore Community Garden to learn to live sustainably.
The Eco Council’s first task will be to plan and implement a recycling project across the school to help reduce waste and take care of the environment. School leaders plan to let the Eco Council drive this project as a means of helping the children develop useful leadership and creative thinking skills, as well as a source of fresh ideas.
To highlight the importance of using their voices for change and showing their commitment to protecting the environment, two members of the Eco Council, Rose and Wilf Ghassempour, will be attending the COP26 Climate Change rally in Sandwich on Friday November 5. They’ll represent the Eco Council as well as the wider school community with banners, passionate spirits, and their Eco Council badges proudly displayed.
When asked what she would like to change and make a difference as an Eco-Council member, Rose Ghassempour said:
Help make the community better
Help people grow things in their gardens
Help climate change - help people be careful with electricity
Help people have enough water
Encourage people to drive electric cars
Help clean up rubbish
Be helpful and kind
Wayne Beech, Principal at Martello Primary School, said:
“We know that our children are deeply concerned about climate change and their impact on the natural world around them. That’s why we wanted to give them the chance to have a say on what we do as a school, and to advise the school community on what we can do to make the world a better place for everyone.
“It is no surprise that our pupils were so enthusiastic about joining the Eco Council as they are so passionate about the environment. They are invested in what the future may hold for their generation, and for those that come after them, and they are focused on doing whatever they can to make a difference.
“It is really inspiring to see them so invested in making a positive difference, and to see them researching different ways of improving our environmental footprint. I have every belief they will make a difference for us as a school, across Folkestone, and far beyond that over the coming years.”
Martello Podcast 2021 - One Big Family
How would you become the most popular kid in school?
Hear from our year 6 pupils talk about their plans for becoming the most popular kid in school.
Martello Podcast 2021 - Most Popular Kid in School
How would you become the most popular kid in school?
Hear from our year 6 pupils talk about their plans for becoming the most popular kid in school.
Martello Podcast 2021 - Curriculum
What's your favourite lesson?
Our year 6 pupils talk about the variety of lessons that they have done and try to choose their favourite.
Martello Podcast 2021 - Our Library
Our pupils love reading to Stanley; he gives them the confidence to come out of their shells. If only he didn't love cucumber so much, he might make an even better listener.
Martello Podcast 2021 - Locavore Garden
We love outdoor learning and so do our pupils. Hear from more of our Year 6 pupils about the wonderful opportunity Locavore Growing Project provides our school.
Martello Podcast 2021 - EYFS
Local pupils offer Acts of Kindness to Folkestone residents
Pupils wanted to create a project that would bring happiness to the people that live in their community and they believed that something as small as a cup of tea and a nice biscuit could make all the difference. Residents were left with messages from the children which encouraged them to put their feet up, call a friend, or invite a neighbour round for a tea and chat.
Children from Years 3 and 5 packed 100 boxes which they delivered to houses in the roads surrounding their school. Whilst they were out and about they also got to chat to some of the local residents and hear about their stories of living in the community. The children and school have received lots of positive comments since delivering the boxes, with some households taking to social media to share their joy at receiving the gift. One neighbour posted ‘What a lovely box to receive from the local primary school… you have made my day’.
Hope, Year 5 Pupil at Martello Primary, said:
“I really enjoyed making the boxes and delivering them to the houses. I feel happy because I know I've made other people happy!”
Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said:
“The children at Martello are always keen to give back to their community and this seemed like the perfect way to do it. They have been very excited about the project and have gained a lot of joy from making other people happy. It’s helped them to realise that sometimes, even something as small as a cup of tea and a biscuit, can brighten someone’s day.”
Martello Hosts Summer Gardening Club
Staff at Martello Primary School, working in partnership with the Locavore Growing Project, have worked on a Garden Holiday Club over the summer break in an effort to provide new experiences for Folkestone children. The Garden Club offered local children who are eligible for free school meals the chance to experience a varied range of activities over the course of the summer. READ ON.....
Children had a range of educational and supportive experiences, including diverse storytelling from Books for Change, forest school, family mindfulness and nature connection experiences with Mindfully Present, as well as garden-to-table cooking activities with the Locavore team, gardening and foraging. They also had the chance to express their creativity with ceramics, printing with natural dyes, and even drumming.
As well as keeping children entertained, the Holiday Club gave them the chance to connect more closely with nature, to understand more about where their food comes from and to support them in living healthier lifestyles. It also helped develop social skills which will be important for the coming school year.
Kate H, whose child attended the club, said:
“Thank you thank you! This garden is a magical place and watching my emotional 5 year old relax with the friendship, drumming and hammocks was magical.”
Ruby B, whose child attended the club, said:
“Thank you so much for your wonderful Holiday Club. My child has enjoyed it so much. It has had a positive effect on his behaviour which can be very challenging at time. He seems a lot calmer and happier in himself”
Rosemary B, whose child attended the club, said:
“I have really enjoyed being part of this beautiful community space and project. It has been so wonderful to connect with people away from normal business. My child] has learned a lot.”
Cherry Truluck, Creative Director at Custom Food Lab, said:
“The Locavore Growing Project team feel totally honoured to have spent their summer with this sensational group of young people. We thought we knew how special the community garden was, but they have brought new life, inspiration and a deep intuitive understanding of the connection between healing the earth and healing ourselves. It has been an important journey of learning and discovery for all of us, aided in no small part by a talented and committed group of facilitators and support staff, and we cannot wait to do it again. BE THE CHANGE!”
Wayne Beech, Principal at Martello Primary, said:
“We are hugely proud to work closely with the fabulous team in the Locavore Garden, the Garden Summer school was a huge success. Providing the children with an opportunity to socialise, learn and play outside and eat a healthy meal was a sole aim for us at Martello this summer.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, with a lasting impact on the children’s wellbeing and readiness to learn this term. The Martello Family now encompass many aspects of the local community and we look forward to providing more and more opportunities that benefit Folkestone.
“Outside learning, sustainable living and making a positive impact in the community are at the core of our values and the summer school embodied who we are. We love to show off our lovely little school, if you are interested in finding out more please contact the school office or Mr Beech on Wayne.firstname.lastname@example.org.”
DfE Covid 19 Guidance
Please take some time to read the DfE Covid 19 guidance for parents/carers. (Click Gov.uk link)
Our school has updated our Covid 19 risk assessment to reflect the changes made in July.
New Under 5's Club - Wildlings at Locovore Garden, Martello
Come and join the fun in our new extra-curricular club, Wildlings!
Wildings is an exciting new Under 5’s and parent group. It is a Forest School and Nature group and will include lots of outdoor activities!
We are looking forward to welcoming you all to partake at Martello's Wildlings Club at Locavore Garden.