Broomfield & the local community

Year 3 at Kew Sparkle

The local shops around Kew Gardens station literally do sparkle for one evening a year when the roads are closed, the shops open late, fairground rides abound and lights and happiness light up the darkest of evenings. Broomfield children are everywhere enjoying the fun with their parents. As part of the festivities we bring our Year 3 pupils to sing a selection of traditional carols. Mrs Bou conducts the children in their first public singing outing as a Broomfield choir while Mr York normally dusts off his trombone to accompany them with an obligato or two.

Year 4 at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

Since 2004 our Year 4 children have benefitted from a special and unique relationship with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. This has taken a number of forms. Firstly we undertook a ground-breaking project with Kew’s senior education and horticulture staff to work on how children can be engaged academically and practically by learning the science and practice of gardening. Since then we have continued sending our Year 4 pupils to Kew’s Education Department for 6 laboratory sessions a year based on the work started in 2004. We have also engaged the enthusiasm generated for gardening within the school to produce a school vegetable patch which produces tomatoes, potatoes, rhubarb , apples and herbs, all of which help feed the school when they are harvested.

In May 2010 our Year 5’s were invited as the only school to attend a special launch of Kew’s campaign to promote peat free compost. The then Cabinet Minister responsible, Hillary Benn, came to meet and talk with our children and together they potted some seeds from the Kew seed bank using peat free compost.

In June 2013, two of our Year 5 children were asked to take part in a BBC2 TV series presented by renowned chef Raymond Blanc and filmed at Kew Gardens. “Kew on a Plate” will be shown towards the end of the year.

Year 4 at the Kew Fete

Every year, Year 4 work as a team to run the Broomfield stand at the Kew Fete. With the support of their Year 4 form teacher, they make and sell elderflower cordial. This is inspired by the US charity initiative, Lemonade Day www.lemonadeday.org, a project aimed at inspiring children to learn about running businesses by starting with the planning and running of a lemonade stall. Our pupils are involved with everything from picking and making the elderflower cordial to learning how to price it, serve and market it, to deciding what to do with any profit they raise.

Years 5 & 6 at Cecil Court

For over twenty years Broomfield has been delighted to contribute a small service of carols and poems to the life of Cecil Court, home for the elderly in Kew. This tradition began when the mother of our long standing music teacher, Mrs Christine Dickerson, was a resident of Cecil Court. Since those early days we have continued this tradition in early December each year. Our Years 5 and 6 pupils arrive at Cecil Court to sing some of our favourite carols, as well as a few new ones, while they also recite specially learned Christmas poems, all to bring some Christmas cheer and excitement to the residents of Cecil Court.

At the end of the concert our children spend some time chatting with the residents of Cecil Court before coming back to school to get on with their lessons.

BHS and Children’s Charities

As part of school life there are opportunities for us to fund raise while educating our pupils about how life is for children not as lucky as they mostly are. We do this with our support of two children’s charities through our Christmas card project, plus our rolling three years cycle of support for major children’s charities through our House fund raising efforts.

At Christmas, Mrs Frey our artist in residence leads all the children’s work in drawing and colouring their own Christmas card. Parent are able to buy the card to give to friends and family with their children’s design on it and a small donation to our nominated charities is made from each pack of cards sold. For the past few years we have nominated two charities. The Neuroblastoma Society supports research into this particular form of childhood cancer. This was the cancer that sadly afflicted a Broomfield child, Joanna, in whose memory we have a small garden filled with plants and flowers named “Joanna” in the school playground. Information on the society is at www.neuroblastoma.org.uk. We also support the Children of Fire charity in South Africa. This charity is personally supported also by our Head Teacher, Mr York, and is a charity designed to care for and educate South African children hugely scarred and seriously burned in uncontrolled fires. Further information on this is at www.childrenoffire.org

St Anne’s Church, Kew

Broomfield has historic connections with our local parish church, St Anne’s Kew Green. We have anecdotal evidence to suggest the school has been celebrating its Christmas carol service at St Anne’s since it opened in 1876. Our founding headmistress, Miss Sara Eliza Mead is commemorated for her good public works with a plaque in St Anne’s, as is our headmistress from the 1950’s, Miss Phyllis Palmer.  Later in the 20th century, Broomfield was honoured to be included as the subject of one of their special embroidered church cushions dedicated mainly to the notable people, especially the members of the Royal Family, who have been connected with St Anne’s. It is always an intriguing moment at rehearsals for our Carol Service for the children to see whose cushion they are sitting on, and if they are on the school’s own cushion.

We welcome Father Nigel Worn to our carol service each year, and he also visits us at school. Broomfield is pleased to support the church’s current fund raising activities in a number of ways. We have a school brick in the car park to commemorate our historic link with St Anne’s, and we always dedicate half of the proceeds of our retiring collection at the carol service to the church. While Broomfield is delighted to support St Anne’s, we educate our children about the major world faiths and welcome families of all faiths, and none, within our school community.

To find out more about St Anne’s Church please see www.saintanne-kew.org.uk

BHS carols with the Rotary Club

For over a decade, our Years 4, 5 and 6 pupils have braved the cold on a December evening and sung carols to support Richmond Rotary Club. Mrs Bou plays the keyboard while Mr York conducts the children as we sing our favourite traditional and modern carols for commuters as they pass through Richmond train station. The children are wrapped up warm, smart in their uniforms, while parents have become expert in encouraging the crowd to make donations every year. It is wonderful to bring the happy sound of our children singing to such a public place, to see the smiles on the faces of commuters, and to wave at former pupils, parents and staff as they happen to see us singing. The children soon learn that we only sing when a train comes in – which is most of the time! Over the years this has enabled us to help Richmond Rotary raise thousands of pounds for a variety of charities generally supporting children. The children are always very excited at the end of their hour’s singing as Richmond Rotary kindly give them chocolates and send them home tired but happy.

We are also very grateful to our local Kew Rotary Club for their support over the years. Most notably, Kew Rotary have kindly donated a beautiful hard back dictionary for every Year 5 and 6 child at Broomfield over the past 7 years. We present these at Speech Day and we feel that nothing could be more appropriate as a gift to a child at this stage in their education as a dictionary that encourages a love or words and learning. A number of former pupils and parents are members of the Kew Rotary club and we thank them for their kindness in including Broomfield in this initiative.

Harvest & The Kew Neighbourhood Association

Every year in October we hold our Harvest Festival. Parents from Year 6 are invited to join the whole school, celebrating with songs and poems from every class, even the very new Pre-Kindergarten children take part, singing in public for the first time. Children are encouraged to think about what Harvest festival means and how important giving to others is in the life of our community.

To put this into practice, our children all bring in a small gift of food as a Harvest offering. The years 6 children with their parents collect these gifts together and take them individually boxed with poems and Harvest cards inside to local elderly people chosen for us by Kew Neighbourhood Association.

We have collaborated with the KNA for nearly 10 years on this Harvest project, and we are proud to be the only school in Kew which brings Harvest gifts to local elderly people, hand delivered by our Year 6 children and their parents. The children really enjoy the experience, and learn from it too, and we are always very delighted to receive and read to the children the letters of thanks that come in to school from the grateful recipients.

Information on Kew neighbourhood Association can be found at www.kna.org.uk