Helena Romanes School and Sixth From rounds off a successful year with a newly appointed headteacher
PUBLISHED: 11:56 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:44 28 June 2019
The Helena Romanes School and Sixth Form Centre in Great Dunmow are celebrating a successful year of student achievements, author visits and trips abroad. In September, they’ll be welcoming a new headteacher and holding an open morning for prospective students and their families.
Following the retirement of existing headteacher, Simon Knight, Daniel Gee was chosen for his exceptional record as an Ofsted employee and Her Majesty's Inspector (HMI), as well as his vision for the school.
Commenting on the new appointment, Mike Perry, chair of governors, said: "Daniel Gee has an outstanding track record as a headteacher at Bromfords School and Sixth Form College in Wickford and the Ramsey Academy in Halstead. This combination of his previous successful headships and his tenure as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors made Mr Gee a standout candidate amongst a very high calibre of applicants."
One of the key areas that Daniel will prioritise is the school's engagement with the local community. "I am eager to use my previous experiences in school leadership to ensure that pupils at HRS benefit from high quality learning experiences, both in and out of the classroom," said Daniel.
He added: "My vision for HRS is to build upon the school's current strengths, to support its continued development and to develop and embed its continued, and very important, role in the local community. I am particularly looking forward to working with our local primary schools to ensure that pupils make a smooth transition to HRS and build upon their successes from the moment that they arrive here."
Gothia World Youth Cup
This will be the third year that Helena Romanes will be sending a team of boys from the school to the Gothia World Cup in Sweden as a reward for succeeding in the Raising Academic Achievement Programme. The programme, which was designed by teachers Mr Allom and Miss Cheyne, aims to raise the academic achievement and aspirations of boys at the school, using sport as a tool to motivate students to achieve higher results. Some of the students who attended the 2017 trip subsequently coached boys who went to the 2018 World Cup, and the grades and social skills of the participating students have greatly improved.
During May half term, 41 students from Helena Romanes visited Salamanca in Spain. Alongside language immersion classes, students enjoyed visits to the local cathedral, university, modern art museum and hidden gardens. The final day was spent seeing the sights in Madrid, including the Real Madrid Bernabéu stadium.
Valere Newell, head of Spanish at Helena Romanes, said: "Throughout the trip, students were praised for their excellent behaviour and positive attitude. It was a delight to see students supporting each other and making every effort to use their Spanish in a variety of situations."
Students also had the chance to visit Paris and Rome earlier in the year.
This year, author G. B. Strong visited Helena Romanes to talk to year 8 students about his book 'Running Deep' - a futuristic novel set in Essex and London. He ran creative writing workshops for years 7 and 8, finishing with a book signing session in the Learning Zone.
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Strong used the opening chapter of his book to explain the importance of daydreaming to the students and to encourage them to embrace creative writing.
Learning Zone manager and joint literacy coordinator, Sharon Bird, said: "Once they had relaxed into it, the pupils loved being free to look out of the window and daydream away. They started creating a story about what they had been thinking about with some amusing results."
Helena Romanes has also welcomed local author Kate Wiseman for a couple of visits to the school, as well as author Stewart Foster, who won the EES for Schools Award in 2018 for his book 'All the things that Could Go Wrong'. World-renowned author of 'Horrid Henry' Francesca Simon has also visited the school in the past.
Every year, Helena Romanes offer rewards trips for students who have gained a high number of positive behaviour points over the year. They feel it is important to celebrate and reward hard work and positive attitudes to learning and therefore invited the successful students to pick from a range of day trips, including Colchester Zoo, Adventure Island, paintballing, Jump Street and an in-school activity such as bake off-style cake decorating, pottery painting and a movie of their choice.
More than 60 per cent of the students attained the high expectations with over half of them choosing to go to Adventure Island this year.
The school will be holding an open morning on Saturday, September 28, where prospective students and their parents can tour the school and meet existing students and staff. Visitors can participate in exciting science experiments, get creative in the art department, see the maths department at their best, get involved with physical activities, and watch drama students in action, amongst other things.
The open morning will be the first time that Daniel Gee, as headteacher, will be able to share his vision for Helena Romanes with the community.
Helena Romanes have a refurbished sports hall equipped with indoor cricket nets, hockey goals and sidings and badminton nets that they wish to share with the community. They also have a wonderful dance studio which they rent out, as well as fully equipped food rooms, design and technology workshops and textile rooms. The main hall is available to hire too, as is their Learning Zone and a variety of classrooms.
For more information, contact Alison Westcott on 01371 872560 or visit