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Project Based Learning

What a Wonderful World

It was the very great pleasure of Year 7 Project Based Learning to welcome the wonderful children of Arnold View Primary school to a teddy bears’ picnic and celebration.
The sixty children of the Fireflies, Dragonflies, and Busy Bees had all grown beautiful flowers and painted "friendship rocks" for the Arnold Hill Flower Festival. This has been created for the Friends of Chernobyl's Children visiting this week. We couldn't accept such a gift without inviting them to visit us for the afternoon. We all enjoyed the flower garden together and then enjoyed more surprises as they presented us with bunting they had made and windmills for the garden. Just when we thought it couldn't get any better they surprised us by singing two songs they had learnt about flowers, one of them including sign language! The Y7 ambassadors loved them so much they had to sing them again so we could join in. It was such a pleasure to play a "live" recording to the 12 Belarusian children when they visited us on Friday.
Next we set off for a game of "Simon says" with the ambassadors, who discovered it's still a tricky game before we all enjoyed cookies and a drink.
The AHA ambassadors excelled themselves, polite, caring and warmly inclusive of all the children and adults. They took their role of hosts seriously but with genuine joy. It was wonderful to see them making our guests feel special and at home. Particularly pleasing was to see them showing great adaptability and anticipation.
Particular thanks to Nadine Cairns, Kayleigh Williams and Stephen Higgins who joined Year 7 to assist the ambassadors, Miss Box and Mr Maurice-Smith.
Thanks to their great work and "professionalism" Miss Box and Mr Maurice-Smith had little to do other than join in the fun.
Well done to Foundation and Key Stages 3 & 4! A new partnership born out of kindness, charity and fun, from learning about and supporting children affected by the Chernobyl disaster 30 years ago.
A massive thank you to the wonderful Miss Wilson and her staff at Arnold View for their hard work and enthusiasm that made today and tomorrow so special.
Thanks to all the staff, parents and children who helped make this happen. Today we lived in a very wonderful world.

Flower Festival - Where to Bring Your Flowers

The day is nearly here and thank you to everyone who has been growing or planting flowers for the flower festival to welcome Friends of Chernobyl’s children.
I’d be grateful if flowers could be brought into the Academy next week to be on site by Thursday 23rd June at the latest.
To make life easier, flowers can be left outside the main school gate in the marked area and we will move them down to the festival during the day. It would be lovely if a short greeting or message of welcome from you was with your flowers.
Thanks again for your support,
Jez Maurice-Smith

Flower Festival Update

Following the bad weather spell we suffered in April, I understand some flowers that were being grown from seed for the festival have really suffered. Having been asked by a few people I thought I should set minds at rest and let you know that if you would still like to donate, it will be perfectly alright to put together some simple bedding plants or similar. At this stage we do not expect plants to be grown from seed.
Our students have had to battle to look after our sunflowers at the Academy!
The children visit us on 24 June 2016 and I’m still looking forward to creating a very special surprise for them with the flowers.

Thank you for your support.
Jez Maurice-Smith

30 Year Anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster

To mark the 30 year anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, Arnold Hill held a purple themed non-uniform day on Tuesday 26th April 2016. Our students weren't the only ones having fun on the day as staff were also encouraged to take part in the “Dreamworks vs Pixar” challenge set by Mr Maurice-Smith. We asked for donations of £1, as well as contributions of small change (1p, 2p and 5p) under our longstanding “small change, BIG difference” campaign, and raised a fantastic £1026.55!

The total we have raised to support the Friends of Chernobyl’s children charity since September now stands at £1790.52 and we are within touching distance of the £2000 target that we set ourselves for the year. Thank you to everyone for your continued support; one final push and we should do it!


Later in the evening, Mr Maurice Smith attended a commemorative event organised by the Hucknall branch of the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity and lit a candle on behalf of Arnold Hill. Suzy Smith FoCC Secretary said "What a lovely way to commemorate the 30 years since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster... A candle has been lit for each child that we have supported ever since our branch of Friends of Chernobyls Children began in 1999".

Heads Up for Learning Opportunities Around You

Read more about Project Based Learning in the latest Trent Academies Group blog.

Flower Festival 2016

On Friday 24th June 2016, 13 children from Belarus will visit us for the day as part of their medical respite visit organised by Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity.
As flowers do not grow well in Belarus because of the contaminated soil, we are determined to grow a flower garden for the visiting students to enjoy on their visit. Students have been busy planting sunflower seeds and hopefully these are growing well at home. Parents, guardians and other family members are also invited to grow flowers in tubs or pots to add to the garden on the day. 

Grow Wild is giving away thousands of native wild flower seeds, register here to claim yours today.

Flower Festival 24.6.16

What is Project Based Learning?

This year we have introduced Project Based Learning to all students within Year 7. We believe this provides an exciting opportunity to develop their learning skills through an interactive Learn2Learn project. The course has been designed to provide learning which has a defined purpose and context, and we are focusing on the experience of Children in Belarus. All of Year 7 will follow this course, and each tutor group will receive one hours’ learning each week from a wide range of teachers.

FoCCWe will be working with the charity “Friends of Chernobyl’s Children” (FoCC) who raise money to fund a month’s medical respite holiday here in the UK for ten children each year. On 26th April 1986, a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power station released a tremendous amount of radioactive material. This was carried from Ukraine into neighbouring Belarus as radioactive dust contaminating the land and water of the area. As a result of the raised radiation levels, even to this day, there is a significant increase in the occurrence of Thyroid Cancer in children and immunosuppression.

The FoCC project aims to teach our students about the cause and effects of the Chernobyl disaster and stimulate learning through this context. We will be delivering tasks designed by all the faculty areas that provoke learning. What can we learn about the children, their life and culture, the difficulties they face and how we can help them? year. On 26th April 1986, a fire and explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power station released a tremendous amount of radioactive material. This was carried from Ukraine into neighbouring Belarus as radioactive dust contaminating the land and water of the area. As a result of the raised radiation levels, even to this day, there is a significant increase in the occurrence of Thyroid Cancer in children and immunosuppression.

Our ultimate ambition is to welcome the ten children for one day in June 2016 to take part in an activity day we have designed for them. The children will be one year younger than our current Year 7 pupils.

Throughout the year we will be holding a variety of fundraising events on behalf of FoCC, and the proceeds will contribute towards the children’s visit next year. We have already raised and donated £312 from the Marvel vs DC Charity Day held at school in July 2015.

Today We Met...

On Tuesday 21st January, Year 7 hosted the organisers and foster parents from Friends of Chernobyl's Children. The year group were fascinated and enthralled as Kim, Suzy and Nic explained how very different life is still in Belarus, nearly 30 years after the disaster. Using photos, food and everyday objects, Kim described how different life for the children was to that of our students.
After the presentation the ladies spent time with PBL ambassadors from 7N who showed them their project books and explained the lessons they had studied.
Year 7 and the ambassadors were a credit to the academy and represented us brilliantly as polite, responsible and very caring learners. Kim very kindly shared the following feedback after their visit “Today we had an amazing day at Arnold Hill Academy.... Meeting the wonderful pupils that support our charity was so uplifting, what a great crowd of young people. You ALL need to be very proud of yourselves, you are a credit to the school and your families. Thank you for making us all feel so welcome, looking forward to being part of all your ideas for the future. Bless you all.”

We are now looking forward to hosting the 13 children sponsored by the Hucknall branch in June on their next medical respite visit.

Autumn Term 2015

This term has seen a fantastic start to the Project based learning course for Year 7.Students and their teachers have been learning about the Chernobyl disaster and its effects on the people of Belarus. We have learnt about the science of radiation and even how to compare radiation levels on a scale of Bananas. We have explored how the disaster created a wild life conservation area that is boosting the populations of wild bears and wolves but also stopped to ask “Is this all good news for all animals?” In the last half term we have learnt about the geography of the area, explored whether nuclear energy is good or evil and used historical sources to look back at the event and its consequences.

Over the term we have also been lucky enough to have help from a Polish teacher who experienced the events as a child in a nearby country.
We raised money for “The Friends of Chernobyl’s Children” through a Halloween event and a further £200 was raised by the heroic 7N with their sponsored silence in December.
This brings the total raised by and on behalf of Year 7 £447 this term.
In total we have now raised £763.97 since July and will help the Friends of Chernobyl’s Children charity bring 13 Children to the UK for a four week medical respite visit.

The Great Cloud Experiment

When the Chernobyl reactor incident occurred, radioactive dust was carried north west over Europe, much of it settling on Belarus.
To better understand how this dust spread, Year 7 students have released purple glitter by placing a pinch in their pocket, shoe or bag and we are now tracking how far it travels.
At the request of students, Mr Maurice-Smith will be providing school maps for sightings. Please remind students to report purple glitter sightings, they can do this by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Burying Chernobyl

Recently BBC Radio 4 broadcast a programme about Chernobyl that may interest parents. It is presented by a young woman who revisits the home she was forced to leave.
Burying Chernobyl - Episode 1 - @bbcradio4

Charity Fundraising

The non-uniform day on Thursday 22 October will raise money for FoCC and Cancer Research.
In addition to the £1 for non-uniform, we gratefully receive donations of any loose change (1p, 2p and 5p coins that may be left in drawers, old purses or pockets.) We believe that small change can make big differences.