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10-year-old Amersham schoolboy beats 15,000 kids to win the first ever BANANAGRAMS Challenge

Word game addict, ten-year-old Louis Webber of Woodside Junior School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, saw off stiff competition from 15,000 other primary school children to win the first ever BANANAGRAMS Challenge! A true whizz with words, he’s the first child in the world to be crowned ‘Top Banana’, after triumphing over 11 other children at the live Grand Final of the word game tournament, held on Saturday 21st March at the Magic Circle, the world-famous magician’s club in London. Receiving his specially-designed trophy from Rena Nathanson, inventor of

the addictive fast-paced anagram game, Louis said: “I’m so pleased that I won! I was really nervous about coming to the final, but very excited too. I just tried my best and I really love word games. The thing I like most about BANANAGRAMS is the suspense and freedom, because you don’t have to wait ages for the other players to take turns – you just all work on your own word grids at the same time and it’s a race. I don’t know how I got to be so fast though!” Louis’ mum, Hetty added, “Louis has been playing word games since he

was six years old. His aunt bought BANANAGRAMS for him last Christmas and he beats us all the time at home – he won’t even play against us now because he says we’re too slow for him!” BANANAGRAMS is a seriously challenging yet fun word game which

combines speed, intellect and vocabulary skills – players race to use their letter tiles to create often-complex word girds. 15,000 children in 500 schools all competed in the classroom earlier this year. The best player from each school – the Best of the Bunch – then went forward to compete nationally in a series of increasingly challenging online word games. The 12 players, which included Louis, then proceeded to the live Grand Final. “There were three online games and my favourite was the anagrams round,” said Louis, “My

mum and dad thought some of them were really tough, but I was really good at them.” Winner Louis’ also took home an exclusive goody bag and a £500 cheque

for his school, which was presented by Nathanson, along with Deej Johnson, Grand Final host and author of the Collins Little Book of BANANAGRAMS. When asked if he had any tips he’d like to see added to the book, Louis said, “My top tip when you ‘peel’ (take another tile) is, as you reach for the letter tile, keep looking at your word grid so that you can easily see where the new letter might fit.”

Swanshurstmoves one step closer to completion

safeguard pupils. “It is important that every child at Swanshurst

has access to a broad and balanced education programme not just from an inclusivity perspective, but also to ensure everyone is on the same learning journey,” says Elaine Kenney, Swanshurst’s headteacher. “Phase four was all about providing an

aspirational setting for pupils with special or additional educational needs to ensure they have the extra resources to succeed and the outcome more than meets our expectations. “The new building is the lynchpin of the whole

An innovative secondary school in Birmingham which is putting child inclusivity and welfare at the heart of its transformation has completed phases four and five of a six-phase project to completely remodel the school. Swanshurst School has been working with

Bournville Architects since 2008 to create an educational space where pupils and staff feel safe as well as part of the local community. Phase four of the development started in

Summer 2013 and focused on the construction of a flagship building for pupils with special educational needs whilst providing high-quality office space for the school’s social, health and wellbeing partners. The new 373m2 flagship single-storey building

contains five classrooms, disabled access and staff WCs, office accommodation and storage space. In addition to the new build, phase five saw the

complete refurbishment of the vacated health and social care classrooms to create a new 108m2 school entrance and reception area. To accommodate the change of entrance, a new controlled pedestrian and vehicular entrance to the school has been designed to further

April 2015

redevelopment programme. Whilst it works as a standalone building it connects all the other phases together as well as fostering positive working relationships with our partners as they are now all located in one building.” The school – which admits girls aged from 11

to 19 and boys into the sixth form – was originally developed in the late 1950’s and is sited on 6.4 hectares of land comprising a range of buildings, sports pitches, amenity spaces and car parking. Whilst phase four’s brief was to create new

learning areas, phase five reconfigured access to the school as Ian Tipton, director at Bournville Architects explains: “Previously public access and visitor parking was at the back of the school which meant that traffic had to travel the entire length of the site on a shared surface with pupils, potentially putting the children at risk. “To safeguard pupils and future-proof the

school a new entrance was designed and access reconfigured to provide a controlled pedestrian entrance to the site with a higher degree of natural surveillance. “Swanshurst is all about working within the confines of an original footprint. Schools are 13

under pressure to provide permanent extra school spaces with limited resources and Swanshurst is proof that with innovative design and vision, existing buildings can be revitalised to provide new learning environments. “For many schools a complete new build is not

an option, but through a mix of build, reconfiguration and refurbishment, existing resources which were not previously fit for purpose can be utilised whilst minimising costs.” The new facility opened its doors to pupils in

September 2014 and has been a hit with pupils, staff and the community. “Bournville Architects took our vision, saw

through the complexities and created a building which not only is aesthetically pleasing but meets our environmental requirements head on,” added Elaine. Phases four and five of the redevelopment

swiftly followed the third phase which kick- started the schools inclusivity and welfare transformation with a new sixth form centre and library. The final phase of the development at

Swanshurst School is due to go to planning this year.

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