Children’s authors tell tales at ACS Egham

Well known children’s authors Eoin Colfer, Paul Geraghty and Alex Scarrow have all recently visited ACS Egham International School to deliver inspirational literary workshops. The workshops were aimed at giving students a deeper insight into the life of an author, and inspire them in their own literary endeavors.


Author Paul Geraghty delivering his illustration workshop

Author Paul Geraghty delivering his illustration workshop

Eoin Colfer, author of the internationally renowned Artemis Fowl series, delivered a Victorian Music Hall themed workshop to students aged 10 to14. The highly original session included a performance by two actors, plus poetry readings, and an insight into Colfer’s new book, ‘Warp and the Reluctant Assassin’. The visit combined drama and literature in a way few other authors attempt on school visits.

Paul Geraghty, author and illustrator of over ten children’s books, gave students aged 4 to 9 a chance to watch his illustration skills, encouraging them to develop their own technique. Students learnt how a story idea develops from a picture to a whole book, and gained insights into the different artwork and publishing processes for authors and illustrators.

Two illustrations Paul created on the day will be hung in the lower school library and reception area of the Lower School. Illustrations are from his stories, ‘Dinosaurs in Danger’ and ‘The Steamy swamp’.

Suzanne McCluskey, Lower School Teacher Librarian at ACS Egham, commented on the authors visits:

“Having writers of Paul Geraghty’s calibre visit our students was wonderful. It was great to see our students engaged, excited and eager to learn as much as they could from him.”

Author of the ‘Time Raiders Series’ and ‘Ellie Quin’ series’, Alex Scarrow, visited ACS Egham to deliver a workshop for students aged 11 to 15. The workshop centered on the craft of writing and how Alex Scarrow has managed to become a successful writer.




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ACS International School students join IBM team.

IBM puts ACS students through gruelling graduate tests and they pass with flying colours.

ACS Cobham recently enjoyed a visit from Caliean Hargrave, IBM’s Further and Higher Education Client Manager and his recruitment team for a special mock-IBM recruitment day with students.

Students film each other as part of the ‘IBM Smarter Planet Challenge’

Students film each other as part of the ‘IBM Smarter Planet Challenge’

The schools won this special IBM recruitment day following the ECIS Technology Conference 2013 held at its Cobham campus last March and where Cailean was also a keynote speaker.  In addition to the recruitment day, ACS also won access to IBMs vast hardware and software catalogue, which will be used as part of ACS’ student programming activities.

Based on IBM’s famous gruelling graduate recruitment process, 17 students from the High School were put through their paces with a set of difficult challenges that tested their employability skills including critical thinking, adaptability, collaboration and leadership.

During this ‘Mock Assessment Centre’, students worked on the challenges over two hours testing both their logistical and logic skills under pressure.  At the end, students were grilled by Cailean and his panel about their answers and also about their higher education aspirations, replicating the process graduates go through.

In the final challenge, known as the ‘IBM Smarter Planet Challenge’, students faced a real world problem where they had to find a workable solution in under three hours. Groups then pitched their ideas using video to the panel.

Caliean commented on the day’s activities:

“IBM recruitment has not run an event like this is at a school before, it was the academic excellence and the confident impression learners made on my first visit that drew me back. Despite our incredibly high expectations of these students, I was astounded at the innovative, entrepreneurial and intelligent contributions from all.”

He added:

“I have personally delivered the mock assessment centre to hundreds of third year university students and have not seen the level of skill, adaptability and assertiveness that ACS learners showed. I can say with conviction that I would have recruited 30 per cent of them if they had degrees in their hand – and we take on just one in 100 of university applicants.  I can be sure all students would meet the IBM global standard before course completion. This is not a programme we will roll out to the schools market, but we will continue a partnership with ACS given the outstanding opportunities they are creating for young people. ”

Richard Harrold, Assistant Lower School Principal at ACS Cobham and the day’s facilitator added:

“The IBM recruitment process is notoriously challenging and I felt the students handled the pressurised environment excellently. This has been a valuable opportunity for students to experience the demanding technology industry and they should all be immensely proud of what they achieved in the day.”

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ACS Cobham welcomes North American College and University Fair

Over 400 students recently attended the North American College and University Fair at ACS Cobham International School, part of its inaugural tour.

The tour of 15 universities from the US and Canada traveled to four international secondary schools in Europe; ACS Cobham was its last stop and the only school it visited in the UK.

ACS Cobham student ambassador team helped organise the fair’s visit.

ACS Cobham student ambassador team helped organise the fair’s visit.

The only fair of its kind in Surrey and the London local area this spring, students were able to learn about their higher education options in the US and Canada. They were also able to speak to North American representatives from higher education institutions about the benefits of a liberal arts education, as well as scholarship and financial aid opportunities for international students.

Running alongside the fair were information sessions on topics such as US standardised tests, key differences between US personal essays and UK personal statements, student-athlete recruitment and financial aid. Presented by The Student World, an educational session titled ‘Off the Beaten Path: Exploring HE in Asia, Australia and Europe’ was also on offer for students.

The ACS Cobham student ambassador team was also on hand to provide firsthand insights to future applicants about their experiences of applying to higher education institutions in US and Canada.  The team was also partly responsible for organising the fair, acting as guides for delegates on the day.

ACS Cobham student, Jimmy Lowe, part of the student ambassador team, who will be attending Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, US, next year and who applied for US universities this year commented:

‘The admissions process in the states can feel quite daunting at times, especially if you are not familiar with the system.  The Fair was extremely useful in helping other students interested in studying in North America understand the process and get the best from their application.  I am really excited about studying in the states next year.’

Joan Liu, ACS Cobham College Counsellor commented:

‘The North American College and University Fair’s first visit to ACS Cobham was incredibly successful with over 400 students, parents and local careers advisors attending. It was a unique opportunity to learn about the US higher education system and to talk to relevant tutors as well as learn about all the HE options open to students.’

She added:

‘It was particularly helpful for students who had thought about pursuing a liberal arts route post-18 education, as this is an area that is not as popular in the UK as the US. I’d like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to student ambassador team and volunteer parents who helped organise the fair and I hope we’ll be able to offer the same opportunity to next year’s local students and families.’


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Grade 5 students showcase their talents at end of year IB PYP Exhibition

Over fifty students aged 10 to 11 at ACS Egham International School, recently took to the stage to present their final school project to parents, teachers and staff, as they prepare to move to the Middle School in the Autumn.

ACS Egham students Elliot Dahl and Olivia Lacik, both aged 11, who presented on the impact of social media on human behaviour.

ACS Egham students Elliot Dahl and Olivia Lacik, both aged 11, who presented on the impact of social media on human behaviour.

The exhibition is the culmination of students’ International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) studies. A compulsory element of the programme, the exhibition requires students to undertake a collaborative, inter-disciplinary piece of research chosen by themselves, giving an opportunity to develop their teamwork and communication skills, and showcase their ability to offer solutions to real-life problems.

Topics on which students presented this year included assessing the role social media has on human behavior, how support networks influence the way people cope with trauma, and the impact human demand has had on animal habitats and eco-systems.

ACS Egham teacher, Sara Faulkner, one of the main organisers of the exhibition alongside her fellow teachers Lauren Dean and Sarah La Caze commented:

“All the students worked extremely hard in the build up to the exhibition, and it really showed when they presented their findings to our school community. Presenting can be daunting at any age and they should all feel very proud of their achievements.”


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Good vibrations: ACS Cobham students jam for charity.

Students jammed for six hours solid over the school day at the annual Jazz Jamathon. The event raised £235 for the ACS Cancer Relief Organisation, which was founded by two ACS Cobham students who both had personal experiences with cancer.

ACS Cobham International School Jazz Jamathon

ACS Cobham students raised £235 for the Extralife Appeal from their Jazz Jamathon.

The ACS Cancer Relief Organisation raises funds for cancer research in the UK and the United States. This year proceeds from the Jazz Jamathon were donated to the Extralife Appeal, which raises money for the paediatric cancer programmes at Duke Hospital and St.Judes Hospital.

Students started improvising music at nine a.m., letting rip chords, scales and progressions across the school campus. Over thirty students, aged 15 – 18, play with the High School Jazz Band and are regularly taught how to improvise without stopping during classes.

Striking up in the Marble Hall, the band could be heard throughout the school, raising awareness of the Cancer Relief Organisation as well as recruiting new Jazz Band members.

When improvising, the band’s rhythm section sets the groove and chooses the chord progression; the other players then work around the chords using an appropriate scale and feel.  The band were able to showcase various Jazz styles utilising the music theory, research and analysis skills they have developed throughout the year as part of their weekly sessions.

Esme Trahair, one of the students who took part in the Jazz Jamathon commented:

“If I had to sum up the Jamathon in one word, I would choose ‘fun’. Everyone in the Jazz Band had such a great time, and it put a smile on my face to see students of all ages come to listen to us. We raised money for a great cause, and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year!”

Zoe Lees, Head of Music at ACS Cobham, who has been running the Jamathon for over a decade commented:

“This year’s Jamathon was wonderful. Not only did we raise £235 for the ACS Cancer relief Organisation, but we discovered some “cool movers” from Early Childhood who enjoyed dancing along to the music. I’d also like to say a big thank you to everyone who took part and supported this year’s Jamathon”.


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ACS Hillingdon’s Got Talent

Over 60 students recently performed at the annual ACS Hillingdon’s Got Talent event, performing a wide range of comedy acts, songs and music in front of a packed live audience of friends and family.

ACS Hillingdon dance students performing on stage

ACS Hillingdon dance students performing on stage

Now in its fourth year, the Hillingdon’s Got Talent show was set up by ACS Hillingdon parent Amanda Philipe-Savage, who wanted to organise an event that would bring together the whole school to celebrate the unique talents of students from every year group.

One of the highlights of this year’s show was a performance by ACS Hillingdon student, Graeme Miller, who played two of his original compositions. Inspired by taking part in the Hillingdon’s Got Talent show last year, Graeme auditioned for the 2012 Open Mic UK Competition where he won the regional and area prizes for Best Original Song.  Graeme beat over 2,000 other students across the UK to reach the top 30 and perform at the National Finals at the O2’s Indigo theatre.

“There are many music events at ACS Hillingdon throughout the year, but Hillingdon’s Got Talent is one of the only shows that the whole school takes part in so it always special,” commented Graeme Miller.

“Everyone gets behind all the acts, both the performers backstage and the audience. The show helped me develop my confidence with performing and I would definitely recommend to anyone else who is thinking of taking to the stage to give it a go – you never know what might happen!” he added.

Other standout performances included a student demonstrating his impressive skill at finishing a rubiks cube within 60 seconds, and a powerful rendition of ‘My Heart Will Go On’ by the Lois Mattson Orchestra.

The talent show doesn’t leave one act crowned the winner, but celebrates the talents and achievements of all students who take part.  It isn’t about winning, it is all about participation.

Amanda Philipe-Savage, founder and main organiser of Hillingdon’s Got Talent, commented,

“Every year I love seeing the students grow in excitement as the evening approaches, and get to enjoy performing and showcasing their talents in front of the whole school community. The event was sold out for the fourth year in a row and continues to grow each year thanks to the hard work of all the parents, teachers and students who make the show what it is.”

“Events that bring together students of all ages are always special, and we are looking forward to creating an event that will give students across each of the ACS campus’ at Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon the chance to perform together in the future.”

Money raised on the night through ticket sales will be added to the funds available for the ACS Hillingdon Gifts Programme, which allows parents, students and teachers to choose an item to buy which will enhance the teaching and learning experiences for students at the school. So far the Gifts Programme has been used to purchase a piano, disco ball, microphones, and wigs for the school’s Performing Arts programme.

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‘Yeek the Emu’ story by ACS Doha students, Julienne & Ulises.

ACS Doha students recently undertook a self-initiated project that included writing, illustrating and publishing their own books after an interactive class on short story writing. You can read Julienne and Ulises book here as well as their experiences working together below.

“YEEK the EMU”,

By Julienne Monteiro

Illustrations by


Julienne and Ulisesare energetic and active students. Here is their story for their new book, Yeek the Emu…


We were working on summaries in Mrs. Debbie’s class and we really enjoyed Edward and Edwina the Emu books. When Mrs. Debbie told us about the book project and explained that we had the opportunity to write a third book about Yeek the Emu, I was very excited. Straight away I accepted the challenge.

First I thought of a story; trust me, this wasn’t easy! Later I added in the rhymes which were my biggest challenge. I wanted to deliver a message to everyone; believe in yourself, names mean nothing, all that matters is who you really are.

It took me about a month to put the story together; Mrs. Debbie’s suggestions and encouragement helped me a lot.

When Ulises was chosen to illustrate the book, we started to work together to plan the book – he really did such a great job!

My friends enjoyed reading the book as well as my family, I’m really happy. I’m already planning my next story…


Last year, I was drawing all the time in my French class; my teacher liked it and thought I was a really good artist. When Mrs. Debbie sent an email to all the teachers looking for illustrators, my teacher recommended me for the Yeek project.

I liked the project and Julienne’s story was very interesting, I enjoyed working on the book.

All my teachers encouraged me, but I must admit that my mom was the one who helped me the most.It took me three weeks to finish the book; sometimes I was missing some colors, I was out of ideas and I didn’t know what to do; I really had to be very creative.

I feel relieved and happy now!

I must thank all my friends, teachers and family for supporting me, and specially my mom and my dad who really cared and are very proud of my book!

Julienne and Ulises’ book can be read here:

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ACS Cobham U18 girls football team win third title

ACS Cobham won the ISFA U18 Girls Cup for the third time when they defeated the reigning champions, Stamford High School, in the Final at Staines Town FC, the home of Chelsea Ladies, which proved a fine venue with an excellent playing surface.

Stamford started positively and might have scored in an early goalmouth scramble.  However, it did not take long for Cobham to settle and they went ahead after 6 minutes when excellent work by Simone Serrano set up Alice D’Aboville to score and they might have made it two when Christine Stuart’s fine run ended with her shot hitting the post.

Serrano hit the crossbar in the opening minutes of the second half and Cobham continued to dominate but they come up against a stubborn Stamford defence with Charlotte Brooks in particularly fine form in goal.  Stamford seldom threatened the Cobham goal but, at just 1-0, there was always tension and the final whistle prompted scenes of delight.

Cobham captain Sophie Montgomery was presented with the Cup by a particularly distinguished guest in Kelly Simmonds, Head of the National Game at The Football Association, accompanied by the Chair of ISFA’s Girls Section, Susannah Abbott.

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ACS International Schools welcomes inaugral North American College & University Fair

Over 500 local students are registered to attend the inaugural North American College & University Fair, the only one of its kind being held in Surrey this year.

ACS Cobham International School will host 15 North American representatives from higher education institutions on May 16.

Highly selective institutions, such as Kenyon College, Hamilton College and Reed College, will be on hand to talk to students about studying in the US and Canada as well as the benefits of a liberal arts education.

Students will have the opportunity to meet relevant tutors to develop a deeper understanding of how applications are evaluated as well as what residential and extracurricular opportunities are on offer.

This fair is the first of its kind to be held in Surrey. It is part of an inaugural tour that take these 15 institutions to Institut Le Rosey and Zurich International School in Switzerland, to International School of Brussels, and finally to ACS Cobham International School.

Joan Liu, College Counsellor at ACS Cobham, commented:

‘This fair is a rare opportunity for local students to learn about their higher education options in North America and to understand what qualifications enable them to apply to study in the US and Canada. As a school known for its expertise in North American admissions, we encourage students in the local area to come and learn more.

She added:

‘This is also a great opportunity for students, parents and teachers to attend information sessions on the difference between the US and UK personal statement, financial aid and bursaries, recruited student-athletes, and admissions tests.’

Esme Trahair, part of ACS Cobham’s student College Ambassador team, which has been instrumental in co-organising the college fair tour, added:

‘Working out what the next step will be in a student’s education is exciting, whether it is a liberal arts college or a university.  I’m really looking forward to learning about all the different North American institutions featured at the College Fair.’

To register for the Universities & College European Fair Tour visit the website:

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‘Yeek the Emu’ story by ACS Doha students, Aya & Ryan.

ACS Doha students recently undertook a self-initiated project that included writing, illustrating and publishing their own books after an interactive class on short story writing.

You can read Aya and Ryan’s book here as well as their experiences working together below.

“YEEK the EMU”,

By Aya Imam

Illustrations by Ryan Alghussein

Aya and Ryan are talented and funny students; their journey to finish the book is quite interesting!

The biggest challenge for both of them was working together as a team. They were in the same class last year and found sometimes sharing ideas and working together was a little challenging. This experience helped them understand that even if they are different they can work together and achieve something great!


When Mrs. Debbie told us about the project I was really excited about the idea, but I was also a little worried about the extra work.

I started writing and found that the rhyming and repetition where my biggest challenges. Mrs. Debbie was very supportive, she helped me a lot and provided me copies of other books for guidance. It took almost 2 weeks to finish writing the whole book. My message for everybody was to always be your-self and not to change for others.

Mrs. Debbie asked us if we wanted to draw it ourselves or if we would like somebody to help us? We all decided we needed someone to help;she sent an email out to all the teachers looking for a student who was good in drawing and wanted to participate on this project; and Ryan was chosen.

The idea of having my book published was a great motivation for me to work and cooperate with Ryan; all my friends and my family will be able to read my story. Ryan is very talented and we managed to cooperate and work together in the end to produce the best book!

The book is great, I’m really happy and my parents are really proud.


I was very happy when I was picked; I love drawing and I’m good at it!

It took me almost 2 months to finish the illustrations; I missed the December break working on the book.I appreciate Mr. Ben’s support and guidance, it was very helpful.

Working with Aya was challenging to start with as we both had very different ideas, but when we started to talk and discuss our points of view we discovered that we can understand each other better and we can find a way where both of us are happy.

It turned out to be a great book, my parents are very proud of me and I like the idea of publishing my work.

On a final note, it was good to work with Aya, as you can see we started to agree!

Aya and Ryan’s book can be read here:

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