Contact Details

Marden Vale

C E Academy

With God, all things are possible - Matthew 19:26








HOPE SPRINGS EXTERNAL: Youth Filmmaker and Photographer of the Year Competition.


This spring, we want to give your students the opportunity to engage with nature in a fun and creative way. The competition is open to all children aged 16 and under, no previous experience or specialist equipment is required – just a passion for telling exciting, local wildlife stories.


Students can either work in groups or individually. It’s a perfect long-term project for those hoping to spend a little more time offline this spring. Whether you are based in the city or the highlands of Scotland, amazing wildlife can be found all around you. No cameras are required either – students can capture images using whatever equipment they have to hand, including tablets or smartphones.


Participants are invited to submit either a series of up to six photos that tell a story, or a short film (up to three minutes long), that has the natural world as a central focus, with a clear and powerful narrative. 


This year's theme is Hope Springs Eternal. Nature has been a source of hope for so many over the past year. Help your students share the hope that the natural world brings to them by signing up today. The closing date for the completion is 31st May 2021.


Born Free’s education team would be delighted to answer any questions about the competition and how schools can get involved. Please do not hesitate to get in touch via or visit



Calne in Bloom Art competition 2021



Chris Lamming from GEMS Didcot has been in touch with information about a letter writing competition being run by Usborne – closing date 2nd April 2021. 

Please see below the letter-writing resources and the link below will provide further information about the competition.







From Year 2 onwards the National Curriculum Programme of Study stipulates the requirement for children to be taught to write for a variety of purposes, including real events. They need to plan what they are going to write and how this is going to be expressed, and to edit or amend their writing.

In this day and age of social media and instantaneous messaging, the writing of letters has become far less common than in previous generations, but is still an important means of communication. This package provides a range of resources to support the teaching of letter-writing in a variety of formats and contexts.

The package does not provide a prescribed step-by-step programme of teaching. It is intended that teachers select particular resources or parts of resources as appropriate, depending on the age-group and context of what is being taught.

A list of resources and brief descriptions of their use is given below, but teachers are encouraged to view them all and only select what fits their requirements.



  1. PowerPoints

Each of the PowerPoint Slideshows is intended to take pupils step-by-step through a particular aspect of writing letters (or e-mails).


  • A Very Brief History of the Post - A PowerPoint Slideshow giving a very simple bit of background history on how mail delivery has developed.


  • Some Aspects of Letter Writing - A PowerPoint Slideshow illustrating some reasons for writing letters.


  • Letter Writing – Formal & Informal Language - A PowerPoint Slideshow showing typical choices of informal and formal expressions to be considered when writing a letter.


  • Setting Out a Formal Letter - A PowerPoint Slideshow displaying the conventions of setting out formal letters.


  • Setting out an E-mail - A PowerPoint Slideshow displaying how an e-mail might look and highlighting some points regarding composition.


The PowerPoint Presentations are simply a series of screens, each of which is intended to provide a starting point for a letter-writing activity. It is up to the teacher to guide the discussion and ideas that arise from the stimulus provided by the displayed screen. The first two PowerPoint Presentations give ideas for tasks to practise their letter-writing skills and approaches; the second two suggest possible situations in which children might actually write and post letters to various recipients.


  • Possible Fiction-based Letter Writing Suggestions - A PowerPoint Presentation giving a series of screens, each displaying an idea to stimulate a letter writing activity.


  • Replying to Letters - A PowerPoint Presentation similar to the above, but in this case supplying a hypothetical letter to which a reply is required.


  • Possible ‘Real-life’ Letter Writing Suggestions - A PowerPoint Presentation as before, but here each screen provides an opportunity for actually drafting and writing a letter to address a ‘real life’ situation.


  • Possible ‘Real-life’ E-mail Suggestions - A PowerPoint Presentation with each screen suggesting an e-mail to be composed.


  1. Cloze & Jigsaw Resources

A set of ‘model’ letters is supplied as individual Word files.

Each of these may be used to discuss the language, content or format of a particular type of letter as a precursor to children writing their own if so wished.

Each of the above ‘model’ letters is also given in the form of a ‘jigsaw’ Word file. Here the sheet is cut up and pupils – preferably working in pairs – must decide the order of paragraphing etc.

The ‘model’ letters have also been supplied as cloze exercises. Here, after reproducing an initial opening block of the letter in full, every nth word (8th, 9th or 10th) is omitted. Working in pairs, children can discuss what that missing word could be. Whilst there is usually only one possible option which fits with the content and style of the letter, alternatives can usefully be discussed.


  1. Miscellaneous
  • Letter-based books for children – A list of popular children’s books which are based around correspondence between characters. A possible age appropriateness is given, along with a brief description. Some of these books can act as possible ‘jumping-off’ points for writing activities.


  • Letter-writing (Formal & Informal Language choices) – The 3 letters used in the corresponding PowerPoint Slideshow as Word files.




  • Arrange for Postman/woman to visit the class or visit the Post Office or Sorting Office
  • Have a post box in classroom all year - writing paper, cards, stamps and envelopes available
  • Role play area: Post Office
  • Post a birthday card in class post whenever there is a birthday for child, TA or teacher – you could get this secretly signed by the rest of the class
  • Write letters to an OAP or a local Care Home – the children could have OAP penpals
  • Send letters to parents/carers inviting them into school to share work etc
  • Post a letter to each child at their home and ask them to bring the address to school of someone who they would like to write to who lives away