Press Releases

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    Music Feature: Mr James Horn

    Music is a key part of our children’s developments here at Snaresbrook Prep, we believe it enables our children not only a necessary creative outlet and a platform to express themselves. It also helps to deepen concentration, focus and passion; is linked to improved cognitive function; increased language development from an early age and positive social interaction – creating a community for our children to grow within. We take a look through the eyes of our guitar teacher, Mr James Horn who started with us March of this year!



    So James, where did your musical career begin?


    “I started playing guitar cause I got kicked off the football team, when I was in Year 6… I didn’t enjoy football. My cousin played guitar and I thought it was cool, so I gave it a go.  I took my Grade 8 at GCSE and went onto London College of Music to study Jazz. I then moved onto composition and teaching!


    Other than teaching at schools, I’ve done composition for a TV comp – 3 pieces were accepted for the programme which will be out in new year (sorry name is under wraps!) and I also write for music library companies: orchestral film scores, short films, documentaries (most recent was “The Naked Cowboy” documentary on New York city musicians playing in cowboy boots and his life story) and tv ad briefs. I absolutely love the variety the job gives me and that it’s not just my job but my passion!”


    How do you see the music department developing and what changes have you seen since starting with us?


    “All credit to Ms Phillips (Head of Music). The opportunities we have for a broad range of instruments including guitar flute, ukulele, violin, recorder, viola are fantastic. Ukulele is a benefit for them, as it’s a nice way to enable them to progress onto guitar. We start them in Year 2 with ukulele and by Year 3 we move them up to guitar.


    The kids, on the whole, are massively enthusiastic and open to learning. Throughout the year the children’s attention span has flourished, they have brilliant focus during lessons and their dedication to learning is phenomenal. They’re such nice kids to work with, I’m proud of how much they’ve absorbed this year. I would love to teach every kid here – that’s the aim! Plans going forward are for small guitar ensembles in assemblies, more events outside of school and even collaborating with other schools, which will be fantastic a opportunity.”


    What would be your one bit of advice for a beginner?


    “Practise and patience; understand mistakes are key to progression. Age doesn’t make a difference, progression depends on work ethic and practise! Tips for teaching beginners, I’d say make it fun!”


    What ways do you try to make your lessons fun and engaging?


    “It’s key to keep students progressing through grades and introduce them to different genres so they’re able to continually grow. They all enjoy the “Rock School” grades and playing the parts of the film. I had teachers who taught me just classical. Classical piano or flute is great, but when you play guitar you wanna play rock so the Rock School syllabus (electric and acoustic) has been great because it opens them to a selection of different styles of music.”


    What events are the children taking part in this year?


    “They will be playing at Manor Lodge, in South Woodford, singing and performing some lovely Christmas carols for the residents. And later on in year they will be playing grade at their Summer Concert, so really looking forward to that, it’s always a lovely evening!”


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    RECORD RESULTS AT SPS including 17 Scholarships!

    Snaresbrook Prep has just received the most brilliant set of examination results ever at 11+, including 3 offers to City of London Boys, 1 offer to City of London Girls, 11 places to Bancroft’s (7 Scholarships), 14 places to Forest (5 Scholarships), 8 offers to Chigwell (1 Scholarship) and 8 offers to St Edmund’s (2 Scholarships). Snaresbrook also achieved 2 Scholarships to Braeside and 1 offer to Park. In addition to these we have had a number of Grammar School places offered including Ilford, KEGS, Chelmsford and Westcliff as well as one State School place. Looking back at exam result records, this set has far surpassed what looks like the best results which were in 2007. Snaresbrook Prep is a very popular choice with parents to the extent whereby it could now fill its main point of entry – The Nursery – twice over!


    A number of staff have worked with Year 6 this year, their current class teacher, Mr Manning, exclaimed The class have all worked so hard to achieve these results. Each week, they prepared for the exams, even when the whole school was focusing on the build up to Christmas. I am so pleased that all their hard work has been rewarded. They should all be proud of their achievements.”


    Head, Chris Curl, who runs current affairs lessons with the children and discusses how to come across in an interview, stated, “It’s a team effort and shows that what we are doing here and across the school is working. The initiatives and strategies we have put in place are bearing fruit; it’s wonderful for the children and their delighted parents.” He said “I would like to thank all the staff who have taught them from the Nursery upwards”.


    Ms Burgess, Deputy Head, has worked with small groups in the class this year, said “It has been very rewarding to see the happy, smiley faces of the children in Year 6 after receiving their amazing results! They all worked incredibly hard and it has brought great success. Staff have worked well as a team, pulling lots of their strengths together, helping the children to succeed. There has been a strong partnership with their parents too. We are extremely proud of the achievements of our Year 6 children!”


    Mrs Phillips, Snaresbrook’s Music Co-ordinator, was delighted with three Music Scholarships and said “I would like to thank all of the instrumental staff in supporting the children. I am very excited with the way Music has gone from strength to strength here at Snaresbrook over the last few years.”


    “Looking into the record books in the year 2007 we gained 9 scholarship in total but to achieve 17 scholarships is absolutely stunning. What makes these results all the more remarkable is the feedback from the senior schools – that they have all had more applicants this year than ever!” remarked Chris Curl.


    One Year 6 pupil said  “The rewards of getting into the school I wanted makes all the hard work worth it.” Another child exclaimed “I was so excited when I opened my results envelope that I jumped on my knees”.


    Congratulations to all the Year 6 children, their amazing teachers and their overjoyed parents!


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    “Health isn’t just exercise and diet, it’s your mental attitude too!”

    Snaresbrook Prep launched a brand new ‘Wellbeing Scheme’ in today’s Assembly, which introduces ways in which the children deal with stress and emotions, techniques to help relax and calm the mind, figuring out emotions and understanding that caring for yourself before others is necessary, not selfish.

    Ms Burgess, Deputy Head, has kick started the scheme with ‘Relaxation Club’, wellbeing discussions during weekly PSHEE lessons and monthly Wellbeing assemblies. Miss Allan is assisting her and has been diffusing some wonderful scents to create a calming atmosphere, “smells are highly emotive and the children really enjoy figuring out what we’ve used”. The scheme is to roll out across the school to encompass all classes and pupils, as well as staff. “We hope that with a calm and relaxed mindset, we can truly do our best as a school and also, enjoy the work we put in, rather than leaving stressed” – Ms Burgess.

    Some benefits the relaxation techniques used at Snaresbrook Prep include;

    • Improved concentration and energy levels
    • Recharged immune system
    • Reduced stress and anxiety
    • Clarity and calmness which in turn creates healthy sleep patterns
    • Encourages creativity, self expression and self confidence

    Linking in with the School’s Values, Ms Burgess hopes that the children will really feel the benefits of the scheme, learn lots about themselves emotionally and mentally, as well as take some techniques away with them to use in everyday life and hopefully, into adulthood!



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