News

Community is really important to us at Turner Free School and now, more than ever, we are joining together to support each other during this time. Like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages to see what our pupils are doing inside and outside the classroom.

Award winning actress Jessica Hynes on judging panel for school talent celebration

Pupils from across Turner Schools had the chance to wow their peers at the first annual Turner’s Got Talent showcase at Folkestone Academy. In total, ten acts from across the trust performed their acts, including musicians, dancers, singers, and gymnasts. The ten finalists were given the chance to compete after each school held its own heats with more than 170 pupils across Turner Schools participating and showcasing their talent. Read on...

During the final showcase prizes were awarded by a panel of judges including renowned actress Jessica Hynes, Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, Krissy Yates, Principal at Turner Free School and Local Councillor Jackie Meade.

The Turner’s Got Talent crown was taken by winners Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh from Folkestone Academy who performed ‘Come as you are’ by Nirvana.

In addition to the grand prize, Adela from Morehall Primary School was named Best in Primary for her cello performance of Spring Song by Frank Bridge, while Isabelle from Turner Free School won Best in Secondary for singing ‘Traitor’ by Olivia Rodrigo and Sienna from Martello Primary won The Murphy Prize, a prize that recognises potential talent in the future, for her rendition of ‘Try Everything’ by Shakira.

Holly, Year 9 Folkestone Academy pupil, from the winning band, said:

“I was very happy to win this great prize! We rehearsed this song for a couple of months and it’s nice to see that our hard work paid off. We have named our trophy ‘Benny’.”

Jessica Hynes said:

“Well done to all the performers, there was a fantastic amount of talent on the stage. We chose the winners because they showed incredible talent, dedication and amazing potential. We all agreed they had a kind of magic and an alchemy of fantastic performance skill. I really hope they go on and keep doing it because they really have got something.”

She continued: “Nothing is impossible, it’s really important thinking about performance and the Arts it sometimes seems unreachable. It isn’t! All you need is talent, focus, dedication and to keep on working. Any dream, no dream is too big.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“Congratulations to Holly, Peter, Zach and Josh on being named winners of the Turner’s Got Talent competition, and to every single one of our performers for their hard work. The competition was a resounding success and really highlighted the depth of talent across Turner Schools, which was absolutely fantastic to see. I’m sure these pupils will continue to showcase their skills over the coming years and I look forward to watching them do so.”

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Folkestone pupils mark Queen’s Jubilee with tree-planting ceremony

Pupils across Folkestone have marked the Queen’s Jubilee by planting trees in celebration. Pupils at Martello Primary School, Morehall Primary School, Folkestone Primary, Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School planted a tree outside the school buildings as part of a national campaign of celebration. Read on...

The initiative, organised by The Queen’s Canopy, calls for schools to get involved and celebrate their outside spaces. In total more than one million trees have been planted in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The project is a unique tree planting initiative and invites people from across the country to plant their own trees to celebrate this historic milestone.

The Turner Schools team sourced their trees through Kent Historical Trees from Brogdale Collections, planting five trees, including two cherries, two acers and one ornamental plum in total. The pupils were also warded a commemorative plaque by the Queen’s Canopy initiative in honour of their efforts.

This is just the latest action by Turner Schools pupils to raise awareness of climate change and to look at how they can be more environmentally responsible. Pupils at Folkestone Primary and Martello Primary School have formed an Eco Council to look at addressing the school’s environmental impact, while their peers at Morehall Primary voted for Eco Champions to represent them and to decide which eco-friendly projects they should implement.

Cayden Collins, newly appointed Head Boy at Folkestone Academy Sixth Form, said:

“I feel very privileged to be a part of the tree planting at Folkestone Academy. The Year 7 pupils that accompanied the Head Girl and myself will get to watch the tree grow during their time at the Academy. I’m looking forward to coming back in years to come and seeing the progress the tree has made, knowing that I was a part of its beginning.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO of Turner Schools, said: DRAFT

“It’s fantastic to see our pupils are so keen to find out more about nature and the joys of spending time outside. They are really environmentally conscious and are so keen on doing what they can to raise awareness of climate change and to make a positive impact on the natural world around them.

“The Queen’s Canopy initiative is a fantastic means of getting schoolchildren out in the fresh air and to highlight the great wellbeing benefits of spending time with nature. These trees will form a lasting monument to this historic milestone.”

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TFS Celebrates Official Opening

On Friday March 18, staff and pupils at Turner Free School celebrated the school’s official opening at a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Dr Jo Saxton, former CEO of Turner Schools and now Chief Regulator of Ofqual, cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of the school. Read on...

The ceremony was attended by a number of high-profile guests, including Damian Collins MP and a number of Folkestone’s local councillors. They were treated to a tour of the school’s new permanent buildings followed by presentations from Principal Kristina Yates; Mike Buchanan, Chair of Trustees of Turner Schools, and Dr Saxton, as well as a speeches from current pupils and a performance by the school choir. The ceremony ended with Dr Saxton cutting the ribbon.

Kristina Yates comments: "We are absolutely delighted that our pupils and staff are now able to make the most of the incredible facilities we have on offer. We have been so proud of our pupils, who have coped brilliantly with the many challenges and delays caused by the pandemic.

“Finally TFS pupils are enjoying their learning in specialist spaces, including an engineering suite, a fully-equipped food technology room, and our fantastic lecture theatre. Our large, open-plan, Heart Spaces also enable the TFS community to take part in Family Dining and work as a cohesive team every day."

Turner Free School, a secondary school for 11 to 18 year olds, opened to Year 7 pupils in September 2018. Permission was granted for the new build in October 2019, with work completed in May 2021. Turner Schools – a family of five schools in the Folkestone Area – the school aims to nurture 11-18 year old pupils with a passion for learning, who have the confidence, knowledge and ambition to go out into the world and fulfil their potential.

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Schools celebrate their community through ‘Folkestone Talks’

Care 4 Calais, Kent Police and the Napier Barracks are just some of the guests invited in to meet pupils of Turner Schools during their month-long ‘Folkestone Talks’ - a Trust-wide celebration of the people who make up their local community. Read on...

The initiative, which is running throughout March, is a wonderful opportunity for pupils to meet people who live or work in the town and to benefit from the stories, backgrounds and experiences that they can share. It aims to:

  • Celebrate Folkestone’s diversity;

  • Encourage pupils to feel proud of their town;

  • Promote empathy and cultural awareness;

  • Prepare pupils for life in a modern world.

Over 70 members of the community have committed to participating, including representatives from the Nepalese and Roma communities; various churches and religious groups; councillors from the town and district council; and the Rotary Club. The events are run in a ‘speed networking’ style where small groups of pupils spend 10 minutes with each guest before moving on to the next person. So far, events have been held at Turner Free School, Morehall Primary and Martello Primary, with dates set for Folkestone Academy and Folkestone Primary later on in the month. By the end of the series, over 900 pupils will have participated in the events.

Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager, Turner Schools, said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the support that’s been shown by the community towards these events. It’s a fantastic way for our pupils to meet the wide variety of people that play a part in the town and who help to make Folkestone a great place to live and work. At Turner Schools, it’s part of our mission to strengthen communities and I feel that these events have been successful in doing that.”

Haydee Blaskett, Environmental Enforcement Officer, Folkestone and Hythe District Council, said: “We thoroughly enjoyed the morning and would like to say how wonderful and polite all the children were. They were really engaged and were asking some brilliant questions that were really relevant to our role and about the town.”

Mick Cronin, Community Liaison Officer, Kent Police, said: “I’ve very much enjoyed taking part in the Folkestone Talks events across the Turner Schools. It’s been a great opportunity to bring together different groups from the community and to celebrate the diversity that exists in the town. Initiatives such as these play an important part in developing community cohesion.”

Noah (Year 4, Morehall) said: “I really enjoyed meeting lots of new people and finding out about their lives, feelings and jobs”.

Parent (Turner Free School) said: “As a parent I would like to thank you as a school for not only helping to shape my daughters academic future but also herself as a person with activities like this. “

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Interested in becoming a parent governor? We would love to hear from you.

Please complete the form below if you are interested in becoming a parent governor. For more information, visit our governance page or email governance@turnerschools.com.

Return your nomination form to the school office by Friday, 28th January.

Christmas Home Science Experiment

Struggling to find Christmas decorations? Why not make your own! Watch our Science pupils show you how to make crystal snowflakes using everyday household supplies!!

Folkestone Pupils Take Part in Diversity and Inclusion Week

School leaders across Turner Schools have worked together to launch a trust-wide Diversity and Inclusion week. Pupils in all year groups across all five schools took part in a range of activities throughout the week including subject specific lessons, workshops and presentations from a range of guest speakers. Read on...

The aim of the week was to broaden pupils’ awareness of what is meant by diversity and inclusion; to encourage pupils to develop a greater sense of empathy and understanding towards those who are different to themselves; and to gain an appreciation for the diverse community in which we live.

Events included:

  • Neurodiversity workshops with The Young Animators Club - Pupils participated in workshops on the concept of neurodiversity and how it feels to be neurodiverse, before producing animations to reflect their thoughts.

  • Anti-racism workshops with Books for Change - Pupils actively engaged in workshops delivered by Books for Change where they talked about the impact of racism and the importance of treating people equally.

  • Mark Parrin (Ambassador at Wordly Wise) - Mark delivered assemblies to Year 10 pupils at Folkestone Academy and Turner Free School, sharing his story of how he became paralysed in his mid-twenties, and how having a positive attitude has helped him to live a full and rewarding life. He went on to talk about the work he does now to support other people living with disabilities.

  • Mr Lea Baynes, teacher at Folkestone Academy - Delivered assemblies at all schools about his experience of being transgender., speaking openly and honestly about the challenges he faced as a teenager and the struggles of trying to ‘fit in’ before realising that he was transgender.

  • Folkestone and Hythe District Council - Deputy Leader Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee and other Council representatives spoke to pupils about diversity in the workplace, looking at the 9 protected characteristics and why having a diverse body of employees makes the workplace a more successful and happier environment.

  • Hearing impairment specialists from Kent Supported Employment - Helped pupils to understand what it’s like to be hearing impaired and what they can do to support members of the community with these needs.

  • Storytime with Dita the Drag Queen - To end the week, pupils spent the day with Dita the Drag Queen, reading stories about gender differences, using appropriate pronouns, and inclusive language. They got to know Dita, asked them questions, enquired about their job, their life, their own experiences at school, and learned exactly what it looks like when somebody, who may initially appear different in some way, is happy and confident and able to express themselves however they see fit.

A Year 7 pupil from Folkestone Academy said:

“This week I have learnt to be more respectful and considerate of other people's feelings. We should celebrate the differences between us; no one should experience discrimination.”

Seamus Murphy, CEO at Turner Schools, said:

“As a trust we embrace the diverse culture in which we live and we want our pupils to grow up having confidence in themselves, no matter what their situation may be. This week, pupils have had the opportunity to explore a wide range of issues and have heard first hand from people with diverse backgrounds. Pupils from all age ranges have approached the week with interest and maturity and I know that they have gained a huge amount from these experiences.”

Katy Tibbles, Community Engagement Manager at Turner Schools, said:

“It has been a privilege to work with such a diverse group of people throughout the week. I am incredibly grateful for the contributions made by members of the wider community and the stories that they have shared with us.”

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Anti-bullying Week News Feature

ITV Meridian 15.11.2021

Pupils at Turner Free School spoke in a news feature about anti-bullying.

TFS Anti Bullying Piece_ITV Meridian_151121.wmv

Folkestone pupils meet French peers through message in a bottle

Pupils at Turner Free School have made contact with French students from Calais after sending messages in bottles across the Channel. Turner Free School was contacted by fellow students from the French school Collège Louis Blériot, who found their messages washed up on a nearby beach while studying tidal flows. Read on....

The Message in a Bottle project was launched over the summer at Turner Free School, as a means of encouraging pupils to develop their writing skills and to provide a means of expressing their emotions. Pupils produced simple written pieces which they then placed into bottles so that Nick Brooks, the teacher behind the project, could launch these into the Channel at Dungeness.

One of these bottles was then found by students from Collège Louis Blériot, who excitedly contacted their English peers to tell them they had discovered the messages and were keen to translate them. They wrote about the experience on their school website and are looking forward to sending their own messages in English to strengthen the fledging relationship.

Staff at Turner Free School have also now made contact with the French teachers there to see what else the two schools can learn from each other, and to discuss how they can work together. They plan on continuing to exchange messages to discover how their education differs over the coming months.

Nick Brooks, Turner Free School, said:

“We wanted to give our pupils the opportunity to work on their writing skills by drafting simple messages outlining their experience of the past couple of years. Instead of just keeping this in school though, we also wanted to encourage them to reach out to others, and we thought that sending the messages to France was a great way of showing them how far their messages might go.

“The pupils were all so excited to hear back from the French students and it’s fantastic to know that they’re translating and reading our messages at the moment. This is a great opportunity to reach out to Collège Louis Blériot and see how else we can work together to support our mutual students.”

Kristina Yates, Principal at Turner Free School, said:

“This is really exciting for all the pupils involved with the Message in a Bottle project, and I’m delighted that the French students have made contact. It’s such a great way to build relationships with their counterparts in other countries, and it’s fantastic that the messages were found by students of similar ages. We’re all looking forward to what comes next and working with our new French friends.”

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DfE Covid 19 Guidance

Please take some time to read the DfE Covid 19 guidance for parents/carers. (Click Gov.uk link)

Our school has updated our Covid 19 risk assessment to reflect the changes made in July.

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