Multi award-winning author, Piers Torday, opens the Oak Library at Woodlea Primary School

Photo The children at Woodlea Primary School could hardly contain their excitement on Monday 9th December when they had a visit from multi award-winning children’s author, Piers Torday.  Piers officially opened the new library at the School and gave a talk to the children.

The talk covered Piers’ journey to becoming an author, beginning with memories of his childhood reading, explaining what inspires him to write, and why he believes stories can help change the world.

The new library is called the Oak Library, following a competition amongst all the children to name the library.  The winning submission was from Lochlan who came up with the idea of The Oak Library in honour of an Oak tree that had stood in the playground.

The new library has been made possible due to the fundraising efforts of the hardworking and dedicated PTA at Woodlea Primary School.  The members are always very supportive of the school and its work.  There were also generous donations by parents into the School Fund.  At a time when school budgets are stretched so tightly, this has made all the difference and has enabled amazing projects such as this to be realised.

The students will now benefit from a bespoke new library with lots of space to read.  The library also provides a comfortable storytime space and with the support of school librarians, children will be able to borrow books independently.  The library caters for all tastes, with a wide range of genres on offer, including fiction, picture books and encyclopaedias.

Nichola Riches, Headteacher of Woodlea Primary School said, “I was thrilled to welcome Piers to the School to meet all our children who were very excited to meet him.  I was so impressed with how he engaged with the students and answered all their questions.  There is no doubt that Piers’ visit has given a boost to the love of reading that we foster at Woodlea whilst the new library will give them the resources to improve their reading skills.”

After opening the library, Piers was available to sign books for the children and their parents.  His latest book, The Frozen Sea was a popular choice for the book signing, along with his other five children’s books:  The Lost Magician, There May be a Castle, The Wild Beyond, The Dark Wild and his debut children’s novel, The Last Wild.

Piers said, “A welcoming, well stocked and easily accessible library should be at the heart of every school, and this beautiful new Oak Library at Woodlea is no exception.  It was a real privilege to be the first author of many to welcome so many eager young readers through its doors for the very first time.  The considerable efforts of all those involved in bringing this vital new school space into being have more than paid off.”

Tandridge Learning Trust appoints new CEO

Karen and RebeccaThe Trustees of the Tandridge Learning Trust are delighted to announce that they have appointed Rebecca Plaskitt as the Trust’s new CEO. Rebecca will be joining the Trust over the summer break, ready for the new academic year.

Rebecca is a highly experienced educational leader with an impressive track record of helping schools to grow, improve and perform at a high level. She is currently Director of Education at GEMS Education, an International group of independent schools and the largest operator of 3-18 schools in the world, where she provides strategic leadership and oversight to their UK schools.

Prior to that, Rebecca established a brand new 3-18 British Curriculum school in Abu Dhabi from the planning stage to full school opening. The school was a huge success and within three years of opening had grown to 3200 students.

Before joining GEMS, Rebecca was an established Headteacher of a maintained school in Nottingham. She also worked as a Local Leader in Education and as a Professional Partner for the National College in the UK. She is committed to continuing personal development, and is in the final stages of completing a Masters in Educational Leadership and Management with the University of Nottingham.

Karen Quinton, Chair of Tandridge Learning Trust said, “Rebecca has a passion for education aligned with the ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution; we are delighted to have appointed a candidate of her calibre. Looking to the future, I am confident that under Rebecca’s direction, Tandridge Learning Trust will continue to deliver exemplary educational experiences for the students of its five schools and will be well-positioned to welcome additional schools into the Multi-Academy Trust.”


Hamsey Green Primary School students on BBC Surrey’s Kids’ Talk

Children from Hamsey Green Primary School featured in the BBC Radio Surrey Breakfast Show every day for a week in May.

Presenter James Cannon came into the school and recorded a small group of Year 3 children for his programme’s daily feature “Kids’ Talk”.  The children were asked questions about their view of the world, including, ‘What chores do you do at home?’ and ‘What do you think the Queen does?’.  The recordings took place in Hamsey Green’s new music room, which was officially opened on 29th April 2019 by the High Sheriff of Surrey, Mr Jim Glover, OBE; the visit was his last official visit as High Sheriff.

Tandridge Learning Trust bids farewell to Nick Bradwell

Nick Bradwell for TLT websiteNick Bradwell has announced his retirement from the position of CEO of Tandridge Learning Trust and Executive Head Teacher of Warlingham School, with effect from 31st August 2019.

Nick Bradwell said, “It has been a great honour to work with so many exceptional people who work so hard to serve the children and parents of our local community. There is no greater privilege than leading a team of committed and professional people dedicated to ensuring the success of the talented children and young people who attend the schools within the Trust.”

From September, Nick is looking forward to having more time to both watch and participate in sport. He plays for Trinity Mid-Whitgiftian Cricket Club, and regularly follows his beloved Sheffield United FC. He’s promising to take up golf and learn to cook, while family and leisure activities will also keep him busy.

Nick started out as an underwriter for Eagle Star Insurance Company in Sheffield but swapped that for teaching after three years, taking up his first teaching job as a History teacher at Dagenham Priory School. For the last eighteen years, Nick has been at Warlingham, succeeding Alison Woodhouse in September 2013 as Headteacher of Warlingham School.

Nick’s vision for high quality education has created a culture within the school that places a priority on high achievement – maximising each student’s potential whether that lies in sport, technology, drama or more traditionally academic subjects. The expectation that children are provided with the opportunity to learn in a safe and supportive environment where everyone is respected, underpins this vision.

With the full support of the governing body, Nick successfully created Tandridge Learning Trust in May 2017, taking on the part time role of CEO as well as remaining Executive Head Teacher of Warlingham School. He has worked tirelessly with the additional four primary schools in the Trust to ensure the Trust provides the widest possible opportunities for students and staff by broadening the curriculum offer, sharing specialist staff and improving professional development.

Alongside Karen Quinton, Chair of Tandridge Learning Trust, Nick has driven forward a shared vision, values and principles for the Trust, information about which is available on this website: click here for the Trust’s Vision, Value and Principles.

Karen Quinton said: “Nick has been a superb first CEO of Tandridge Learning Trust. His modest and sincere approach, combined with absolute integrity and professionalism, has won trust, built strong relationships and commanded great respect in the local community and wider educational sphere. We will miss him greatly. Trustees, Members, Governors and all those in our schools thank him for his immense contribution and wish him well for the future.”

For Warlingham School, the shared leadership model – Paul Kinder and Steve Day as Joint Heads of Warlingham School – will continue into the academic year 2019-2020 providing great stability and building on its current success. The search for a worthy successor to Nick, as the second generation leader of Tandridge Learning Trust now begins.