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School cancels France trip

5.36pm - 24th November 2015

A FESTIVE school trip to France for children at a Harlow school has been cancelled in light of recent terrorist attacks. 
Students from Burnt Mill Academy were due to take the trip this weekend to practise their French speaking. 
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recommended British schools planning to take groups to France follow the French Ministry of Education’s advice not to travel. 
Helena Mills, head of Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust schools, said: “The safety of our children is the most important thing to us. I wouldn’t feel I was doing my job if I allowed that trip to go ahead because the world doesn’t feel very safe for our children at the moment. 
“It is such a shame as we know how excited our children were and how much they love to go and practise their French actually in France with French people. 
“They had such exciting things planned on the trip, but we hope we can work with the travel company and organise it for another time.” 
The students were due to visit a Christmas market during the trip.

Council leaders' concerns over health 'exclusion'

10.25am - 22nd November 2015

THE leaders of four local councils have voiced concern that the decision to exclude Princess Alexandra Hospital and west Essex from the Essex-wide improvement regime puts innovative local future plans to achieve a sustainable hospital and the local health system serving their communities at risk.
This comes as the Care Quality Commission published its report on HPrincess Alexandra Hospital highlighting the same key concerns that the Success Regime has been set up to address - capacity issues, pressure on hospital beds and staff shortages. 
The council leaders - Jon Clempner (Harlow), Linda Haysey (East Herts), Chris Whitbread (Epping Forest) and Howard Rolfe (Uttlesford) - said: “Staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital are doing an incredible job in very difficult circumstances and it was encouraging to see the CQC’s praise for the exceptionally caring staff who are prepared to go the extra mile. 
"However, it is very concerning that NHS England, Monitor and the Trust Development Agency last week decided to cut the hospital and West Essex out of its intended package of support for the county under the ‘Success Regime’.
“While we recognise there is more to be done locally, the issues at Princess Alexandra Hospital are not unique to it - they are issues that need a strategic solution. 
"Addressing staff and capacity issues and moving forward with the service transformation work already commenced in west Essex could and should be included in the Success Regime. 
“We urge NHS England to reconsider West Essex’s exclusion from the Success Regime, so that long-term solutions can be identified to the challenges being faced by the health system in west Essex and Princess Alexandra Hospital. 
"It is vital that the communities we serve have access to sustainable and appropriate health services to meet their needs.”

Hospice's Light Up A Life services

9.23am - 22nd November 2015

ST Clare Hospice is holding nine Light up a Life services this Christmas.
Light up a Life gives everyone, whether they have a personal connection with St Clare or not, a special way to remember those we will be missing over the festive period and honour their memory in a personal way.
Two events are being held at the hospice at Hastingwood along with seven other services across the St Clare catchment area. 
The hospice services, on December 9 (7pm) and December 12 (4pm), will include readings and music, with the highlight being the lighting of the tree, with each light representing the life and memory of someone dear. 
The other local services are: 
Saturday, November 28 - Methodist Church, Loughton (4.30pm meet at Loughton Methodist Church for torch-lit procession to Kings Green) 
Thursday, November 3 - Waltham Abbey Church (7pm) 
Saturday, December 5 - St John’s Church, Epping (5.30pm) 
Saturday, December 5 - St James’s Church, Buckhurst Hill (6pm) 
Thursday, December 10 - St Martin’s Church, Ongar (4pm).
Additional services will be held at St Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, and Harlow Jewish Centre early in the New Year. 
For more details visit http://stclarehospice.org.uk/get-involved/lightupalife/

Student third in countywide competition

10.36am - 21st November 2015

YEAR 6 Freshwaters Primary Academy student Kya Andreou has come third in Essex County Council's writing competition 'Now The Last Poppy Has Fallen'. 
Her poem on the theme of the First World War - Today, September 1st 1915 - was picked above entries from 16 primary and secondary schools across Essex. 
Head of School Marios Solomonides said: “We submitted Kya’s entry because it was really well thought out with lots of empathy. 
“We took part because the project was all about remembering. We have a duty to ensure our future generations know about the sacrifices people made for them, even though they may not personally know them. That is very important to us. 
“This is part of the curriculum and every year we teach it again and again, but our children get something new from it each time as they get older.” 
Essex poet and competition judge Luke Wright will now give a workshop to Freshwaters as a prize, along with Kya being presented with a £25 book voucher and trophy. 
She has also been invited to read her poem to the other nine winners, their class friends, parents and teachers at a celebratory event next year.

Book of condolence for Paris victims

8.23am - 18th November 2015

A BOOK of condolence has opened in Harlow Civic Centre for the local community to leave messages for those who died in the terror attacks in Paris last Friday. 
Harlow is twinned with Velizy-Villacoublay in the south-western suburbs of Paris, nine miles from the centre of Paris. 
The book of condolence will be sent to the Mayor of Velizy-Villacoublay Pascal Thevenot. 
Harlow Council chairman Tony Hall said: “We want to show solidarity and support and remember those affected by these horrific events. 
"We are also reaching out our hands of friendship to our twin town Velizy-Villacoublay during this very difficult time. Our thoughts and prayers are with all in Paris and Velizy-Villacoublay and the whole of France.”

School launches legacy programme

8.21am - 18th November 2015

FRESHWATERS Primary Academy has launched the London 2012 legacy programme, Be The Best You Can Be, to inspire children to pursue their dreams. 
The launch event saw Paralympian gold medallist Wendy Smith visit the school to introduce the achievement of dreams into the curriculum. 
The wheelchair basketball star said: “At the age of 17 I had a horrific motorbike accident. 
This resulted in a severe spinal injury, among lots of other injuries, and a year-long stay in hospital. 
"I was told I would never walk again. However, I battled for years at the gym, devising my own rehab plan, and now walk with sticks. 
“I represented Great Britain in Athens 2004 as a member of the GB women’s wheelchair basketball team. I have qualified as a sports massage therapist, sports psychologist, basketball coach, referee, classifier, NLP and EFT master and am just starting to train as a sprint kayaker. 
“I believe in the programme because it really does work. I have seen children transform from states of ‘I can’t do that’ to ‘I can do that’ within the three hours I attend schools for. 
"At the end of the programme, all the children involved understand their lives are their creation and responsibility and that with belief and application, they can.” 
Children will be taught the skills they need to follow their dreams to begin their own successful journey, raising their self-confidence and self-esteem and raising their aspirations. 
Head of School Marios Solomonides said: “The children really took to Wendy as she is from Essex and so they could relate to where she started from. 
"She showed them life isn’t just about having one plan, but having a plan B and C, too. She wanted to be a mechanic before her accident and so didn’t focus on anything else at school. Her accident made her change her path. 
“This programme is for both children and adults and helps them with self-awareness and self-responsibility but also about making choices. We are looking at how to implement the programme throughout school, but are confident it will raise attainment as it will make the children more focused and see a purpose to what they are learning. 
"We want our adults and children to be saying ‘yes, I did that, I didn’t give up because I am resilient’. 
“Life isn’t about competing against others to be the best, it’s about being the very best you can be and competing against yourself. You will never get high achievement unless people have the belief they can achieve it.” 
Children will be presented with recognition awards and certificates throughout the programme to encourage them to continue towards their goals or to set new ones.

Dressing up day for air ambulance

10.30am - 13th November 2015

BUZZ Lightyear, Spiderman and Hulk helped Little Parndon Primary School, Harlow, raise £378 money for the air ambulance. 
The pupils spent the day dressed as their favourite characters. 
Head of School Sophie Laing said: “The day started with an assembly on how the National Air Ambulance helps to rescue and save people. It was an opportunity for the children to get excited and raise awareness of a good cause.”

Date set for High Court hearing

10.16am - 13th November 2015

A DATE has been set for a High Court hearing on the town-wide injunction against both named and unknown persons setting up unauthorised encampments in Harlow. 
A hearing has been listed for Wednesday, December 16, after Harlow Council and Essex County Council applied to make its ground-breaking interim injunction a final injunction.
The application and associated legal papers have been published on both councils’ websites and next week these will be posted on sites the councils want to protect from future unauthorised encampments.
The injunction application seeks the same protection as the interim injunction and would ban 35 named persons from setting up unauthorised encampments on any land in Harlow. 
It also seeks to protect 321 vulnerable sites including parks and playgrounds, previously occupied sites, highway verges, schools, cycle tracks and private land identified by Harlow Council and Essex County Council from persons unknown. 
The range and length of time the injunction is in force will be decided by the High Court. 
The interim injunction remains in force until a further decision is made by the High Court. 
In March, Harlow Council and Essex County Council joined forces to apply for a town-wide ban after the town was blighted with 109 unauthorised encampments for nearly 18 months. 
The sheer volume of concerns raised by residents and businesses over damage to public spaces, fly-tipping, human waste, anti-social behaviour and the daily disruption to people’s lives and livelihoods caused by persistent encampments will be reflected in the evidence presented to the Court, the county council has said. 
Since the interim injunction has been in force four unauthorised encampments have set up on land covered by the injunction with each one moving out of Harlow within 24 hours. 
Breaching an injunction is a serious offence and could lead to a custodial sentence. 
Harlow Council leader Jon Clempner said: “I am pleased we are now at a point where we are ready to move ahead with seeking to apply for a final injunction. 
"In responding to the concerns of our residents and local businesses we have put together the very best case we can. However the final decision is very much in a High Court Judge’s hands. 
"This injunction is about protecting the town’s vulnerable open spaces, upholding the law and responding and listening to the concerns of residents and businesses. 
"It is not - and never has been - about persecuting any particular group of people or their way of life. “Since having the interim injunction it has proved a clear deterrent in protecting land. Although the issue of persistent unauthorised encampments continues in other places, I am not sure any other area in the country has ever seen the same level of unauthorised encampments we did for such a long period in a geographical area the size of Harlow. 
"It is well-known there is a lack of authorised pitches for travellers across the UK. It is up to every council to address this issue and in Harlow we are working to ensure the town meets its planning obligations in future and that the existing permanent sites are well managed and help meet future demand for pitches."
Councillor Roger Hirst, Essex County Council cabinet member for transport, planning and environment, said: “Months of work with the local communities to highlight the concerns they have and to put these in front of the judge is finally set to come to fruition. 
"Harlow’s open spaces are public assets and should be available for all to enjoy, and this injunction aims to enshrine that right. 
“This is not about attacking Travellers, it is about resisting unlawful activity, standing up for the local community and ensuring Harlow remains a place people are proud to call home.”

MP nominates pub chef for award

8.00am - 10th November 2015

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon has nominated Harlow pub chef Carol Bush for the inaugural Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year award. 
Carol will be judged by an expert panel which will decide whether she will go through to the final stages.
The award, sponsored by Nestlé Professional, is run by the British Beer & Pub Association and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group. 
Mr Halfon said: “The Golden Swift is a fantastic Pub in Harlow that is a favourite with locals.
"There's a warmth that greets when you walk through the doors, and the traditional English meals they serve make you feel completely at home.”

Students attend chemistry event

2.21pm - 3rd November 2015

YEAR 9 and 10 students from Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow, attended the Essex Chemistry at Work event which demonstrated how STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) can impact their future careers. 
Professionals from across the industry set up stations for students to visit and learn more about their area, from oil and gas to pharmaceutical, water purification plants and waste management companies.
Science teacher Gareth Myatt said: “It was an amazing day. The representatives had such passion for their work and told the students all about what they find interesting in their work. It showed our students it’s not just about earning the most money, but about loving what you do and enjoying life. 
“These people have changed the way of the world and they were talking to our students which is so inspiring for them and taught them so much they didn’t know or think was possible.
"Students were shown the different pathways into the careers, including via GCSEs, degrees and apprenticeships."

School celebrates sporting successes

2.10pm - 3rd November 2015

ATHLETES at Burnt Mill Academy, Harlow, have been excelling themselves with county, regional and national titles. 
Year 7 student Emma Nunn, 11, has been a judo fighter for six years and was recently crowned British national champion at the British Minors Championships. 
Fellow Year 7 student Lois Tappenden, 11, has been named eastern region trampoline champion after just two years in the sport while Year 8 runner Sidnie Ward has been collecting medals and titles since his talent was spotted when he joined Burnt Mill. 
Among his titles last year were Essex Schools Year 7 cross country champion, Essex and East of England indoor under-13 800m champion, Essex outdoor 200m and 800m under-13 champion and Essex Schools under-13 800m champion. 
He also came third in the South East of England inter counties cross country, is ranked number two in the UK for under-13 boys 1,500m and number three in the UK for under-13 boys 800m. 
Most recently he has become West Essex Cross Country champion on the first anniversary of his first training session. 
The school's Head of PE, Kristina O’Hara, said: “At Burnt Mill, we have many talented athletes who compete at a range of levels. 
"We have students who attend our extra-curricular clubs for enjoyment, students who wish to compete against other schools and represent the successful Burnt Mill Squads and also students who take their talents one step further and compete at county and national level both through the academy and also their clubs.
"We offer a range of sports for our students to help promote a healthy active lifestyle and to encourage students to continue with sport outside of Burnt Mill. 
“These students are exceptionally talented and we are very proud to have such great success and role models within the academy.”

MP supports breast cancer cause

2.08pm - 3rd November 2015

HARLOW MP Robert Halfon attended a parliamentary reception held by Breast Cancer Now. 
At the event he met Breast Cancer Now supporter and worker Marilyn Morris.
Breast Cancer Now aims to bring together the brightest minds to discover how to prevent breast cancer, how to detect it earlier and how to treat it effectively at every stage. 
Mr Halfon said: "I was honoured to meet with Marilyn in Parliament. She is a fantastic ambassador for Breast Cancer Now and has done so much to spread awareness about how women are affected by this disease and what they can do to prevent it. 
"The reception was an opportunity to discuss how progress can be made in vital areas of policy, and their goal is that by 2050 anyone developing breast cancer will live rather than the tragic 12,000 deaths a year now." 
He added: "I had a chat with Marilyn, who is a breast cancer survivor and fantastic ambassador for the organisation, after the event. She's invited me to these receptions every year and as a town we should be very proud of all the work that she's doing."

Thousands turn out for fireworks display

2.06pm - 3rd November 2015

FOG failed to deter a bumper crowd turning out for Harlow Council's annual fireworks and bonfire night celebrations. 
An estimated 15,000-plus people enjoyed this year's event, which has been running for more than 40 years. 
The free event was organised by Harlow Council with support from Great Parndon Community Association. 
The celebrations began with a funfair and the Heart 101.7 music roadshow hosted by breakfast show presenters Martin and Su with performances from female singers Jessica Alice and Hollie Barrie.
Harlow Council vice-chairman Edna Stevens accompanied by Snow White (Nicola Weeks) and Prince William (Jake Hendricks) from the forthcoming Playhouse production lit the bonfire before the crowd enjoyed a 20-minute fireworks display. 
More than £220 was raised through donations for the chairman’s charities – Harlow Citizens’ Advice Bureau and the Friends of the Leah Manning Centre. 
Harlow Council youth and community portfolio holder Emma Toal said: “There are not many free admission events left like this nowadays and the council’s display is one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the area. 
"By putting on a public display means that many local families can celebrate this occasion together in safety rather than organise their own events. 
“We are sorry the heavy fog may have affected the view and impact for some residents but despite this we know the majority of the crowd certainly appreciated the council’s efforts with huge cheers and applause at the end of the fireworks. 
"We have, as always, received some fantastic feedback from those who attended." 
She added: “Events like this would not happen if it wasn’t for the hard work on the day and through the evening of Council staff, stewards, volunteers and Great Parndon Community Association. I thank them for all their efforts on putting together an enjoyable occasion for local families.”

Schools mark Black History Month

9.31am - 1st November 2015

BLACK History Month has been recognised in Harlow schools. 
Primary schools within the Burnt Mill Co-operative Academy Trust marked the occasion with a range of activities. 
Freshwaters Primary Academy welcomed group Efua Sey into school who taught pupils a Ghanaian story about Anansi, Ghanaian chants and how to play the drums. 
Year 2 pupils also enjoyed a dance and drama workshop. 
Head of school Marios Solomonides said: “It was lovely as one of our classes is called Anansi Spiders and Year 2 are learning about Ghana. 
“It was wonderful for our pupils to have this experience. Watching them come in to assembly to the sound of the drums, moving to the music with smiles on their faces was a pure delight. 
“It’s vital our pupils learn about the world around them and about the history of the different people who make up the world.” 
Each year group at Little Parndon Primary School chose a historical black figure to study as part of the month, including Barack Obama, Usain Bolt and Louis Armstrong. 
Pupils will record their findings and experiences in a new floor book in their class to demonstrate the learning they have been doing. 
Roydon Primary School pupils celebrated their own diverse community with a Black History Month assembly. Head of school Jenni Elliott said: “We want our children to understand that in many ways we are all similar, but we are also very different and that must be celebrated. 
“Text books don’t fairly represent black history so this is an opportunity for us to celebrate all those wonderful historical figures who do exist.”

School collects clothing for refugees

9.30am - 1st November 2015

STUDENTS at Burnt Mill Academy have collected clothes for Syrian refugees. 
The school held a special assembly to raise awareness of the situation in Syria and to spark debate, empathy and an understanding of democracy. 
Working with CalAid, the school is sending the clothes to the refugee families. 
Humanities teacher Hannah Jones said: “Our students were moved by the stories of families who have found themselves homeless with no possessions. They decided they would hold a collection to gather clothes to send out to the refugees. 
“It shows our young people that just because this isn’t happening in our country doesn’t mean it isn’t happening and we should do what we can to help. Our students want to have a positive contribution in the wider community and show awareness of what’s going on politically. 
“They have developed empathy skills as they are putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and considering what it would be like.”
Students were shown the latest Save the Children advert - featuring Burnt Mill student Lily Aslandogdu - which hit home about children living in poverty."

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