International Schools Award

Sinead Earley, International Co-ordinator and Claire Penn, International Secretary attended the International Schools Award last night where we picked up the award, a flag and a plaque. We also received an honourable mention for being involved in the programme for fifteen years. Our thanks to Kathryn Bragg for successfully reapplying for this award on behalf of the school.

My Trip to Lesotho


At the beginning of July I travelled with 17 fellow students from the Anglo European School to the small African nation of Lesotho, where we were to work alongside the community of Malealea. This was organised with the help of a charity called Africa’s Gift. The aim was to help with environmental sustainability, agricultural development and promoting health and safety awareness.

Fundraising was one of our main aims before the start of the trip. This was obtained by bag packing, car washing, sponsored swims etc. The money raised was put to extremely good use for example buying toilets seats for the local girls school! One can’t comprehend in our developed world the joy an item such as this can bring.

We helped dig a reservoir, this was to capture rainfall, helping the community preserve water for their crops. It was shocking how precious and limited water is compared to England. Some of the money raised went towards pipes for trenches that we dug in order to help the flow of water and stop it being lost. Our walk to and from work each day was 90 minutes on unmade roads, which was pretty hard when carrying shovels and wheelbarrows.

I and five other girls were lucky enough to shadow African women for the day and experience the everyday struggles they deal with in order to prepare a meal. The first step was collecting water. We walked to a nearby stand pipe (some go to ponds or lakes), fill a bucket and balance it on our heads. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The women made it look effortless. Some women carry the buckets on their heads for hours, navigating unmade roads. They were much stronger than us. We also collected firewood. This was obtained by climbing down the side of the mountain and pulling trees apart with our bare hands. After we collected enough wood, they would tie it up and place it on our heads. Carrying the wood was a lot easier than carrying the water, but it was still very tiring as we had to walk back up the mountain carrying it all. Once they had the water and wood the cooking process began. On average the women had to make these collections more than three times a day. Being able to share this experience gave me an insight into how difficult day to day lives are for African women, doing chores that we take for granted.
Many of us raised money by selling trees. Lesotho sufferers from soil erosion problems and lack of food. The trees sold were in order to aid these issues. £5 buys a soil stabilising tree and £10 a fruit tree which helps with food security in the Village. All the trees bought were dedicated with a special message by the sponsors and will be blessed by a priest and hung in the local community village hall. (If anyone is interested in helping by purchasing a tree these can be found on the charity website

We carried in our luggage 20 thermal cooking bags called ‘Wonderbags’. Our fund raising helped to purchase some which were distributed in the community. These are changing lives in Africa by reducing the amount of time spent by women stirring cooking pots, collecting wood and reducing water consumption by 80% during the cooking process . The bag works like slow cookers keeping pots at a constant temperature and freeing women from cooking tasks for approximately 5 hours. All they need to do is bring the pot to the boil and place it inside the Wonderbag and leave it.
Inhalation of smoke is a huge problem too, contributing to premature deaths and early blindness. A lot of the cooking takes place inside the home which houses up to eight people living in one room. This means everyone is inhaling the smoke. 1 in 9 children die because of this and life expectancy for women is 48 and 50 for men. The Wonderbags were created by an African lady. Her aim is to stop these tragic deaths and to promote a healthier way of cooking (these can also be purchased on the website).

What an experience. I never expected to do something like this and I’m so glad I did. Meeting such beautiful and kind people. For a community that has so little, they were welcoming and showed such kindness and warmth in the time that we were with them. I was very sad when we left them. I feel a great sense of joy knowing that I have made a small difference to their lives. I am determined to do something like this again in my life whether I go back to Lesotho or help somewhere else. The rewards are immense.

Anglo welcome exchange visits from Frankfurt and Dijon

We have welcomed our exchange visitors from Frankfurt (work experience) and Dijon (long term).  The work experience exchanges have been running for over 15 years where students have the chance to work in placements such as infant and junior schools, Oxfam, a vet, a nursery, Essential School of Painting in London and the Guild Hall of Music in London.

Our long term exchanges are very well established with students becoming a pupil in their host school. The Frankfurt long term exchange departs for their away leg on Sunday, whilst Dijon students arrived in school this week.  The Frankfurt long term exchange is now in its 40th year.

Royal Air Force Visit

Year 10 students had the privilege to engage in an interactive, dynamic and informative ‘show’ put on by the RAF about the science of flight. They witnessed the use of one of the most up to date drones and learned how they are used in the armed forces. As well as the team demonstrating with the use of air blowers, wing sections and 2 of the same jet engines Yves Rossy used to fly across the English Channel.  They explained the science of flight concerning lift, drag, thrust and weight. The students were amazed by how the science and engineering sections of the RAF enabled them to set a new altitude record for paramotoring by tackling and overcoming the problems that altitude, cold and wind have on the human body, motor and fuel function and material stability and strength. ( Before a closing talk from two RAF ambassadors who explained about the many job opportunities available in the RAF, some students got to experience a virtual reality headset which is an effective tool for pilot training and all watched a video of the enormous new helium filled airships which can stay aloft for days, using less fuel and carrying heavier loads than conventional aircraft. This is a new technology the RAF are hoping to make future use of.

Students return from a week of intensive study at the UN in Geneva

Forty staff and students from the Anglo European School recently returned from a week of intensive study at the United Nations in Geneva. The Anglo is the only state school known to offer such a programme. As well as receiving briefings from departments within the Palais des Nations such as peacekeeping, disarmament, the work of interpreters and the work of the Human Rights Council, the group also spent time at a number of specialised agencies that form part of the UN system. The World Health Organisation, the World Meteorological; Office the World Intellectual Property Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees all formed part of the programme. The International Telecommunication Union provided an insight into the development of telecommunication. According to party leader, Headteacher, David Barrs, “the students discovered how central Ingatestone was to the story of telecommunications!. Situated between Chelmsford where Marconi pioneered radio broadcasting and Brentwood where Alan Sugar’s Amstrad popularised domestic computer use, Ingatestone is very well placed to make this claim!

In the post-referendum world the group also visited the World Trade Organisation.

David added “Once the students understood that the UN is not a World Government and that it cannot force countries to act in certain ways, they came to see it as a force for good. If they want to make their mark on the world using their education and ideas, they need to understand how the world works. The UN touches every part of their lives one way or another, be it through their studies, their careers or their daily lives”.

The school will visit again in 2018.

The photograph was taken in the main conference room of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Mr. Barrs (front left), Mrs Kowalski –teacher (right) Mr Newton – Director of Sixth Form (seated- right).

The US ambassador to the UK visits Anglo European School

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The US ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, joined Year 11 students to celebrate their final day of formal education at the Anglo European School this week before examinations begin in earnest.  He joined students to open the new Humanities Block which houses the History, Politics and Citizenship Departments; subjects which Ambassador Barzun was keen to discuss with students in their final assembly. During his interactive speech, he challenged the Year 11s to consider their own perceptions of America, its history and foreign policy. Students had the chance to question the ambassador directly on issues such as climate change, gun law, Britain’s place in the European Union, the current Presidential elections and the US’s approach to education, homelessness and health care. They were also fascinated to hear of his work on President Obama’s historic election campaign and what impact the President’s tenure has had on the American people. The event was broadcast on the BBC’s Sunday Politics show where journalist Simon Dedman posed further questions raised by the students during an interview with the ambassador. Headteacher Jody Gee said, “This was a fitting climax to our students’ distinctive education and farewell celebrations; students had their preconceived ideas challenged, their views on America’s intervention policies explored openly and were able to share their own political views on what the future global agenda should be.”

Read more here:


Author Piers Torday visits the school

On Wednesday Year 7 and 8 students at our school were treated to a visit by the author Piers Torday, who came to talk about his books The Last Wild, The Dark Wild and The Wild Beyond.  Piers told the students how and why he decided to start writing.  He also explained his concerns on how our world is changing environmentally and how this and his love of reading and writing about animals led him to write this series of books.  Students were able to ask Piers questions regarding his writing and finished the talk by having their books personally signed by the author.

The Anglo European School Library organise yearly author events for students in year 7, 8 and 9 to encourage and enthuse students to read a wide genre of books and to re-establish an excitement in reading for young people.

Email from Piers to Library

Thank you so much for inviting and organising my terrific trip to the Anglo European school yesterday. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I hugely appreciated all the work that had gone in to putting the visit together, ordering books, moving timetables around and so on.

The children were delightful to talk to and I very much enjoyed their responses during the sessions and after. I was also very touched by Lorraine’s welcome and introductions – please do pass on.

And in particular – something that almost never happens – I was honoured that your Head took a few minutes to meet with me and left inspired by her commitment to books, reading and libraries. Good luck with finding that Patron!

Information about the writer – Piers Torday

I was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people, and spent my early years crawling around on the floor of the children’s bookshop that my mum ran.

After school and university I ended up doing plays and comedy shows on the Edinburgh Fringe, and then moved into telly where I helped develop, write and make all sorts of programmes from reality to comedy shows.

I am very lucky to come from a writing background. My grandfather Roger Mortimer was a journalist who wrote hundreds of very funny letters to his children, which you can read in the Dear Lupin trilogy by my relatives, including Dearest Jane, by my mum. These were recently adapted for the West End stage by Michael Simkins, starring James Fox.

After my dad Paul wrote his first book at the age of 59 (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen) I felt inspired to have a go myself and went on an Arvon Course at Ted Hughes’ old house in West Yorkshire, where I began to write The Last Wild, my attempt to make sense of how we are changing our environment and the natural world around us.

It was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and the UKLA Award, as well as winning Stockton Children’s Book of the Year and Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year. The book has sold all over the world and its sequel, The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The third and final book in the series, The Wild Beyond came out in 2015 to critical acclaim.

This year I have been a judge on the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and we announce the winner in November.

I am now working on four more books for my publishers Quercus Children’s. One is a new story all by itself, and the next three will be another trilogy – to be revealed…

I am also delighted to announce that I have completed my late father’s final novel, a political thriller called The Death of an Owl (not for children!) which will be published by W&N in April 2016.

In between, I have also been trained as a Reading Helper by the brilliant Beanstalk and am very privileged to be working with them in North London to help challenged young readers enjoy children’s books the way I once did. I am also a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre, which gave me my first ever break and continues to do the same every year for hundreds of young creative people.

Finally, I am very proud to be Patron of Reading at the inspiring Heathmere Primary School in Wandsworth.

Quotes from Students:

I thought Piers Torday’s visit today was inspiring.  I have now gained a liking for his books and I am looking forward to buying them in the future.  He has also inspired me to write books about animals as well as read them – Jude Ofori-Awuah

I thought it was very exciting and fun when Piers Torday visited us.  My favourite book is The Last Wild, which is the book I am reading now.  It was very inspirational and I liked the idea of his story.  – Alfie Callahan

I found the visit really fun and I enjoyed getting my book signed – Maia Nandris

I think the author has an amazing imagination and really thinks about his stories.  I am also extremely excited to read his next two books – Christian Lee

Mrs Gee said “It was a great pleasure to meet Piers today. This is part of a wider literacy strategy to promote reading for pleasure at Anglo European, organised by our librarian, Lisa Rawlings. Our students welcome authors frequently and have an opportunity to discuss their latest work, the creative writing process and have books signed. Our Year 7 and 8 students were particularly inspired by the way Piers uses his own experience and environmental  concerns, particularly  with  reference to the preservation of endangered species to inspire his fictional writing.”


Year 9 visit the British Film Institute for a Chinese film study day

On Thursday 4th February, 14 Year 9 students studying Chinese went to the British Film Institute in London for a Chinese film study day. In the morning, we watched clips from different Chinese films and explored themes such as rural versus urban, and tradition versus modern. In the afternoon, we watched Not One Less, a fascinating film produced by the Chinese director Zhang Yimou. Students enjoyed the opportunity to explore Chinese history and culture, whilst also stretching their language skills.

Year 9 visit the County Hall during Local Democracy week

On Friday 16th October 2015, ten Year 9 pupils represented the Anglo European School at Essex County Council’s annual Local Democracy Week event for Essex school pupils.  Pupils were mixed with pupils from other schools to plan an argument for or against a motion to debate in the council chamber with the debates chaired by Chair of Essex County Council, Norman Hume.  In the afternoon, pupils had a chance to ask questions to five councillors on current issues affecting them. Feedback from the pupils was very positive, many remarking how challenging it was to speak publicly in front of so many people in a room as grand as the council chamber.

Nick Hills, the teacher accompanying the pupils said, “it was a privilege to see our pupils working well with pupils from other schools in an environment where so many important decisions are made that affect them directly.  The atmosphere was at the least intimidating for some of them but the quality of the public speaking from all pupils on the day was of a very high quality.  The programme for the day enabled pupils to develop skills of public speaking, advocacy and representation, skills that they are likely to use as they go through life”.

BBC visit the Anglo, coinciding with the Chinese president visiting the UK

Coinciding with the Chinese president visiting the UK the BBC came to the school today to video a Chinese lesson and watch some Chinese dancing by our Year 11 students.  The piece will feature on Look East tomorrow so do keep an eye out for this and will also feature on the political show on Sunday.