Local News

Town Centre Christmas Lights

Town Mayor Cllr Alvin Finch helped switch on the Christmas lights in Bracknell Town Centre.

He said: “It was heartening to witness the thousands of people who made their way to the Town Centre for the Christmas lights switch on, and the passion of the crowds in both Princess Square, and Charles Square. It was great to have national Bracknell celebrity Dani Harmer, and her Academy to lead us in the pre-Christmas celebrations.”

“It was magnificent to assist Dani switch on the Christmas lights with the Borough Mayor and Matt and Michelle from Heart radio. Pushing the buttons not only celebrated the coming of Christmas but helped cheer the demolition of the old buildings and herald the new Town Centre. To complete the celebrations we had a brilliant flourish of fireworks to see in Christmas, and out with the old town.”

He added: “The eagerness of people to be involved made me even more proud to live in this tremendous place that is Bracknell.”

Bracknell Forest Mayor Cllr Mrs Jan Angell, Heart DJ Matt Brown, children’s TV actress Dani Harmer, Heart DJ Michelle Jordan and Bracknell Town Mayor Cllr Alvin Finch switching on the Christmas lights in Princess Square.


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My Bracknell Forest Art Exhibition

Earlier this year, our schools were invited to take part in an art competition to reflect life and living in Bracknell Forest.  Nineteen schools and the Youth Service submitted art work to the summer exhibition at South Hill Park on the theme of ‘My Bracknell Forest’.  The exhibition showed children and young people’s artwork from the ages of 4 to 18.  The schools and youth centres chose their best individual and group entries which were displayed in South Hill Park’s Mansion Galleries as part of an exhibition of 120 pictures exploring what Bracknell Forest means to young people.

Young people were encouraged to research their local area to inspire a piece of artwork to show where they live.  The inspiration came from many subjects including important historical buildings, such as South Hill Park, to areas of geographical or environmental interest like Swinley Forest.

Encouraging young people to be creative and imaginative is important and the My Bracknell Forest art competition provided a great way for young people to express themselves.  A selection of the art work has been photographed and put into a commemorative book.  A copy was presented to the Deputy Major when visiting the exhibition with a party from Leverkusen.

We also saw the art work created by a school from Leverkusen.

EP-Bracknell-Forest-Stag800 My-BF-art-comp-2_800 My-BF-art-comp-winners800 My-BF-art-comp800 Ranelagh-The-Elderflower-Picker800 St-Josephs-Untitled800 Uplands-It-is-always-a-nice-day-in-Sandhurst800 Wildmoor-Heath-Love-is-all-around800 Wildmoor-Heath-Wellington-College800


A Visit in British Primary Schools

Stofftier-kaufenLast Wednesday I visited with Sue Pike, an advisory teacher for the council, two primary schools in Bracknell. This was a very exciting experience for me, because I’ve never been to a school in England.

Sue explained to me that the children in England start school at the age of 4 or 5 and that they stay in primary school for 6 years until they’re 11 years old.

This is a really big difference to the German school system. In Germany the children start school at the age of 6 or 7 years and leave school at the age of 10 or 11 after having 4 years stayed in primary schools. After which the parents and teachers decide which school would be the best for each child.

In the schools Sue and I were playing some games with the youngest children in order to see how they move and if they are able to write their names and draw nice pictures. Sue told me that she will do the same tests with the children in a few weeks again to see how they developed. At one point we divided the children into three groups and each one having a different challenge to complete. One group had to show what they can do with hoops, another had to collect as many bean bags as possible and another group had to pass a balloon around. While playing with the children, you could see how they behaved in a group or how they could move themselves, e.g. in the group with the hoops. It was nice to see the difference between the schools and children. To sum it up, it was a really good experience and a very nice but an exhausting day.

by Vanessa

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Halloween in Germany

Pumpkin from Jealotts Hill

Halloween isn’t as famous in Germany as it is in many other countries around the world. However, most families decorate their houses with carved pumpkins placed in front of their windows or front doors.

To hollow out the pumpkins is for all members of the family much fun, because the children can decide how their pumpkin should be carved.

Furthermore, the children in primary schools do handicrafts like big spiders, pumpkins or ghosts, in order to decorate their classrooms.

On 31st October only some children knock on neighbour’s doors in order to ask for sweets or cakes.

More popular is a holiday a few weeks later, called St. Martin, where a majority of people walk through the streets with hand lanterns, singing songs about the lantern or the holy St. Martin.

by Vanessa Muth



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Starting School in Bracknell

BuildingSt. Michael’s Report

At St. Michael’s Easthampstead Primary School, new pupils are starting in the Cats class in the hope of becoming successful individuals when they grow up.


In the Cats class some of the new children, many of them only 4 years old, are very shy and frightened but some are excited and friendly straight away. Now they are at school they are so adventurous, finding out new information and playing fun educational games.


In the Cats class the teacher is Mrs Kinsey and they really enjoy having her as a teacher! Mrs Kinsey reads them fun and interesting stories with interesting subjects and spellings.



In the playground, children like to play fun games which are fantastic. None of the children in Cats class are worried about anything and they are very positive towards the school.


Lots of the Cats class have packed lunches but some have our yummy hot school dinners which are filled with nutrients and vitamins. They all enjoy the school meals very much. After their meals they go outside to play. They feel very safe and happy playing around with the other children in different classes. None of the Cats class feels worried about the way the other children treat them; in fact they feel like the older children when they look after them. Some of the Cats class have older brothers or sisters who are happy to let them participate in their games.


Mrs Kinsey

At the end of the day the Cats line up at their class door and wait for their parents or guardians to pick them up. Many are excited for the next day and to see what exciting and new things they will learn.

Our infant classes are Kittens (Reception) Cats (Reception/ Y1) Tigers (Y1/Y2) and Lions (Y2).


By Wande & Sophie (y6)

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Visiting the Queen

windsor02Leverkusen students Saskia and Jana write : When our parents came over to visit us in Bracknell for the weekend we decided to go and visit the Queen in Windsor. Unfortunately she wasn´t there, but nevertheless it was a great day in Windsor.

We were all really impressed how huge the castle is. Saskia has been to Windsor before, but for the rest of us it was the first time and we were all surprised because we have imagined the castle a lot smaller.

Another fact that is really impressive is, that after 900 years the castle still is in use. In Germany most of the castles and palaces are only used as tourist attractions.

We all thought that everybody who visits Bracknell or those who are just making a city trip to London should go and visit Windsor Castle one time.

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Summer Work Experience in Bracknell

saskia_jana02On 22nd July 2013, Jana and I (Saskia) from Leverkusen came to our twin town Bracknell in order to spend the whole summer volunteering for the Bracknell Forest Youth Service.

We both study English at university in Germany and plan to become English teachers later on.  We didn’t know exactly what to expect and were thrilled to get to know Bracknell and its people.

When we arrived we first met the team supporting us and received a schedule that gave us our plans for the next six weeks.

Every day we worked with a variety of young people from different areas of the borough. We really enjoyed working with them and we all learned lots together.

Since Bracknell is not that far away from the coast (compared with Leverkusen) and London and Windsor are just a short journey away, we planned a number of weekend trips.

One of our first impressions was that British people do love their parks and are likely to spend their leisure time there.

We were really impressed by the size of the Bracknell youth clubs which are (compared to Leverkusen ones) huge and very well equipped.  We even got to sample ‘English Afternoon Tea’ in the hotel we were staying in. But more about that later….



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Rhein Rock Open Air Festival

Rhein Rock is a foundation which promotes newcomer bands. Rhein Rock is not a usual festival, it’s a festival organized by a lot of young volunteers who spend a lot of hours to organize it. They all collect donations. Rhein Rock is a festival for Punk Rock, Pop Punk, Alternative, Metal, Funk, Punk, Indie and Emo bands.

This year the festival took place on the 13/7/2013 and it was the 6th Rhein Rock open air festival. It’s always on the Bürgerwiese in Baumberg, a city next to Leverkusen. There were about 500 bands who applied for the festival but only ten of these were chosen.

There were about 1000 listeners.

I visited Rhein Rock with some friends and it was amazing. There were awesome bands and they presented awesome gigs. Some bands just covered other famous bands and some bands presented their own songs. My favourite bands were Blessed by Rhenus and Emergency Gate.

Tobias Schneider and Fabian Kobelt, Käthe Kollwitz Gesamtschule Leverkusen


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An English Art Exhibition involving Leverkusen?

Members of a group of visitors from Bracknell’s German twin town, Leverkusen, discovered the answer to this question on 20th July 2013. They were invited to view an exhibition of school’s art work entitled “My Bracknell Forest” at South Hill Park Arts Centre.

In the Spring of 2013, Dr. Janette Karklins, Director Children, Young People & Learning at Bracknell Forest Council, set a challenge for young people to represent their locality through their artistic vision. Leverkusen was also involved as twin town – of course with the appropriate theme “My Leverkusen.” And the GGS School, Leverkusen, Heinrich Lübke-Str. submitted entries to the competition.

More than 130 entries to the art competition were on display. The impressive paintings, collages, watercolours, drawings and sculpture demonstrated the variety and sophistication awakened by the theme. Works with individual topics eg., “Child with Pet at Home” hung alongside others that reflected nature. Others highlighted environmental problems and possible solutions. A huge area of forest around Bracknell had been devastated by fire two years previously.

The contribution of our Leverkusen school – a map with inlaid land-marks and leisure places in the interpretation of Class 3 – was projected on a large monitor in the foyer of this dignified old building. As the mayor handed over the original work to the Bracknell representatives, there was much applause and praise. It will remain on display in Bracknell until the end of September, before it returns to Leverkusen.

Perhaps it would be worth Herr Adomat (Departmental head of children’s services in Leverkusen) considering a similar event for visitors from Bracknell next year. There are plenty of appropriate spaces in our city.

Incidentally; the project is documented in the Internet newspaper of Bracknell / Leverkusen A book has been published and a DVD of images is in production.

Leverkusen visitors to South Hill Park, Bracknell, July 2013



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Last Week before Summer Vacation at KKS

In the last week before our summer vacations, we only have two normal schooldays. On Monday our lessons are shorter than normally. Our lessons are only 30 minutes long – 15 minutes shorter.

Usually on Mondays school finishes at 4 p.m., but on this Monday we only have school until 1.50 p.m. The reason is the high temperature here at the moment. Tuesday is like every Tuesday this year. On Wednesday we are having our Sports Festival. On this day we only do sports and no regular lessons. On Thursday we will enjoy a day out, which is a so-called “Wandertag”:  every class will be on a trip. Some will visit a museum, another city, or a fun park like “Phantasialand”. On Friday we will only have two regular lessons, before it’s time for our school reports, and then our summer vacations will start.

July 2013 : Celine D. (14), Käthe-Kollwitz Gesamtschule Leverkusen