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Students stage Cinderella

2.44pm - 8th December 2017

STUDENTS at Burnt Mill Academy put on a festive performance of Cinderella. 

The show featured acting, dancing and comedy, as well as a medley of songs from 60 years of pop, including rewritten versions of hits by the Monkeys and George Michael. 

Philip Watson, lead practitioner of drama, wrote the bespoke script for the show including slapstick comedy scenes with two ugly sisters and music from the school’s concert and rock bands. 

He said: "We’ve always had a huge, inclusive cast of students from across the academy in our Christmas showcases.

"The challenge this year was to create a single pantomime with songs, roles, dances and scenes for everyone." 

Students auditioned in September and attended rehearsals each week to prepare for the performance. 

A performance was also put on for children at the Burnt Mill Academy Trust primary schools - Cooks Spinney, Freshwaters, Little Parndon and Roydon.

Students collect coats and food for charities

12.06pm - 7th December 2017

STUDENTS at Burnt Mill Academy have collected coats and food for two charities. 

Five sacks of coats have been donated to the Wrap Up London campaign while dozens of boxes of food have been handed over to Harlow Food Bank. 

Students are also volunteering their time to collect more Food Bank donations from shoppers at the Tesco store in Edinburgh Way. 

Head of Humanities Kayleigh Trainor said: "We have regularly supported the Food Bank, but this is the first time we have collected for Wrap Up London. 

"We want our students to be aware there are people around them who are not as privileged as themselves, that could include their friends in school without them even realising. 

"It’s showing them that, as a school we can support people in this way and raising awareness of the fact more and more people are turning to the Food Bank for help." 

She added: "It’s a way of promoting active citizenship and showing the positive impact we can have on our community. 

"The response has been really impressive, especially for Wrap Up London as we had a very quick turnaround for that collection."

Illicit cigarettes seized

9.41am - 3rd December 2017

MORE than 17,000 illicit cigarettes have been seized from two shops in Harlow. 

Officers from Harlow’s Community Policing Team worked with Essex Trading Standards officials to search businesses in the town centre on Thursday. 

During the intelligence-led operation, detection dogs Scampi and Yoyo located the cigarette haul and 4.5kg of hand rolling tobacco in a vehicle and hidden with a secret compartment in a shop wall. 

Inspector Tony Walker said: "The operation saw thousands of counterfeit cigarettes removed from shops that operated illegally while taking trade away from other businesses. 

"We’ve been listening to the community and in October introduced a 12-week plan to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

"We're already seeing the benefits and have completed over 200 hours extra foot patrols, have carried out four dispersal orders, have arrested eight people and have seen a reduction in reported crime. 

"We will continue our operations throughout the festive period and have additional plans to increase our visibility in the New Year, helping to create a safer community for people to live, work and visit." 

Councillor Susan Barker, Essex County Council’s cabinet member with a responsibility for Trading Standards, said: "The importance of this work cannot be underestimated and it would not happen without the help and support of the people of Essex. 

"We are finding that more and more criminal businesses are using sophisticated means to conceal illicit tobacco, often investing significant sums of money into their installation. 

"We have sent out a clear message that repeated criminal behaviour of this kind will not be tolerated and we will continue to work hard with our partners to clamp down on the sale of illegal tobacco." 

Both businesses have been issued with notices and the seized cigarettes will be destroyed.

Historic pond area restored

8.03am - 1st December 2017

HISTORIC Harlow parkland that has been part of the town for centuries is being restored thanks to an £80,000 project funded by Harlow Council and Essex County Council. 

Oakwood Pond, near Princess Alexandra Hospital in Little Parndon, has been transformed thanks to a project being completed by Harlow Council in partnership with the county council, contractors and volunteers.

The pond and surrounding area has a rich history, possibly dating back as far as the 1100s as a stew pond for the Canons Brook monastery and later forming part of the grounds of Upper House in the 1700s. 

In recent years the area has been neglected and fallen into disrepair. Now the site is on the way to returning to its former state with the original parkland being restored, flood protection for homes in Canons Brook and Fold Croft in place and the general environment being improved for both wildlife and local people. 

Work began on the first phase in September. 

It saw excess trees and vegetation removed opening up the area and reinstating the original pond for local flooding prevention. 

The water supply was re-introduce to the pond by reconnecting spring water. 

New aquatic plants have been introduced and a diverse range of water, vegetation and wood-based habitats created for wildlife and further restore the parkland. 

Access has been improved to and through the site from Upper Park to Harlow Town Centre and the hospital. 

Disabled access points, fishing platforms and a new 360m access loop/footpath around the pond have been installed along with a 30m boardwalk across a section of the pond. 

A number of bird boxes have been installed while a balancing pond has been planted with reeds to add to the biodiversity and to filter the incoming water supply. 

The new fishing platforms, available and suitable for people of all abilities, will also be used by Stort Valley Angling Society to help teach young people and people with disabilities to fish when the pond is ready to be restocked. 

A special opening event was attended by councillors, volunteers, contractors and local residents. 

Harlow Council environment portfolio holder councillor Danny Purton said: "Oakwood Pond will be a place for residents to enjoy once again and provide educational opportunities for local people. It is also another great example of local volunteers and Council staff working together to improve our town. 

"The plan is that this project will pave the way to make further improvements to the area in future. Once the water levels have increased and a natural food supply has been established, the pond can be restocked with fish. 

"This is an area that has unfortunately been neglected over the years but, by working together with local organisations like Stort Valley Angling Society, contractors and our fantastic volunteers, we can make this place really special and somewhere for everyone to enjoy."

School relaunches debate society

8.00am - 1st December 2017

A DEBATE society has been relaunched at Burnt Mill Academy with Year 7 to Year 11 students encouraged to come together to express their views. 

The club is also promoted as a way of keeping up-to-date with current events, to build confidence, to become part of a team and to take part in competitions. 

Each week students practise their debating skills. Maths teacher Angus Hally, who runs the after-school club, said: "Young people are seen as not being engaged with the world around them, particularly when it comes to politics. 

"The debate society gets them to think for themselves and to argue their points and is a great way of getting them involved. They get to explore some of the things they are interested in. 

"It also helps to develop an incredibly useful skill which is transferable across their subjects. In English, for example, it helps to make their critical thinking much stronger. 

"Most of the time I throw a topic at them and they have to debate it on the spot. It’s a really exciting club."

Students are looking to compete in competitions run by the Rotary Club and Oxford Schools.

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