Headmaster’s Bulletin – Edition 7

This Week

Dear Parents,

Our half term break already seems like some time ago, given how busy this week has been and given how exciting the last 24 hours have been, in particular!

Last night saw a massive turn out of parents for your Parents’ Association Quiz Night, with a rather splendid Indian feast laid on to keep us all going. To say that the evening was a roaring success would be, well, fitting I suppose as the theme for the table decorating contest was ‘The Animal Kingdom’ after all. The children of the parents who won that competition will be taken out to lunch by Mr Richards and me. So many parents had clearly gone to a lot of trouble to decorate their tables but I have to say, the winning table was very imaginatively decorated indeed. It was very amusing at various stages to see the parents on that table seated around their zebra ‘leit motif’, peering out from behind it, in order to answer their questions! The members of the winning team of the actual quiz itself were very surprised to find themselves in first place by the end of the event, but we (!) tried hard not to look too pleased with ourselves I hope? There was a lot of very clever thinking going on from everyone present and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. In addition to being an opportunity for us all to enjoy each other’s company, the Quiz Night is also a fundraising event and Mrs Searancke, as one of the Co-Chairs, has emailed me to say that funds raised last night will be used to purchase cameras and a new keyboard to be used in the Pre-Prep. This is wonderful news for us and very many thanks indeed for the kind generosity displayed by all parents and the Association itself.

This morning saw us welcome a very good number of visitors to both Pre-Prep and Prep for our second Open Morning of the term. Once again, the boys in Year 5 who act as tour guides were superb ambassadors for their school. As they get chatting to our visiting prospective parents there is very little that can stop them and our visitors are always so complimentary about our boys’ manners and behaviour afterwards. This is always excellent to hear.

The House Football Competition was also a very enjoyable event this afternoon, followed by parents and visitors coming in to the James Hall at the Prep to have a look at our exhibition of ‘Open Homework’ projects, all based this year on the number 7. I have been simply amazed by the boys’ talents and creativity as they have explored the number 7 from all sorts of angles. It is impossible to pick any one piece of work as a favourite, as it is the very unexpected nature of all the investigations that really makes ‘Open Homework’ so successful each year I think. Just as a flavour of what some of the boys produced though, here is a tiny selection from all the wonderful pieces they brought in that particularly appealed to me:

  • A boy in Year 3, at the precise age of 7 years, 7 months, wrote a very interesting response to a theatre piece he saw over the half term break based upon Snow White and not exclusively the dwarves, but the 7 deadly sins.
  • A boy in Year 4 produced a game comprising 7 little boxes, each representing the 7 different continents which were beautifully decorated in a style typical of a country from each continent. Inside each of the 7 boxes was a ‘tangram’ (a 7-piece puzzle) which when solved produced an image of an animal from that particular continent.
  • Another boy in Year 4 read T.E. Lawrence’s The Seven Pillars of Wisdom and, clearly inspired by that, wrote a truly hilarious account of a real life incident questioning not only his own wisdom but that of his father’s in relation to a sinking toy sail boat, a pond and a rescue mission carried out in broad daylight in nothing more than a pair of bright red pants!
  • A boy in Year 5 interpreted the theme in a very conceptual way and made a wonderful poster, complete with 3D collage pictures, explaining what he had learnt about the bore that regularly rises on the River Severn.

Our assembly theme this half term is the word ‘freedom’ and Miss Wakeling led the introduction to that for us all with her assembly on Wednesday morning. She presented her own thoughts on and around the theme and encouraged the boys to consider notions of freedom in very philosophical, intellectually challenging ways. As the term unfolds I would recommend you find time to talk to your children about their developing understanding of what the word ‘freedom’ means to them. I would be very interested, as ever, in any feedback you might have on their views.

Have a great weekend,

Tim Smith

Headmaster

Sports News

This week has seen us return back to school with fixtures for the U10s and U11s against St. Piran’s school on Wednesday and our eagerly anticipated house football competition today.

For the U11s it was an away trip for the A, B and C teams to St. Piran’s, which is probably our longest journey on the calendar. As I am sure you are aware the A team are very talented and have been doing very well this season but it was always going to be interesting to see how the two-week break would affect the team. Due to the mocks on Monday they also didn’t have a training session in advance to prepare. However, it didn’t appear to have too much of an adverse effect and the boys put in a solid performance, eventually winning 2-1, in what turned out to be a really competitive match and one which if they hadn’t been on their metal, they could quite easily have lost. Regardless of the result it will be remembered for a sublime goal by Harry Wilson which I am sure will be part of his highlights reel for years to come.

The B team showed some great resilience after being 2-0 down to come back and win 4-2. One of the things I love about sport and school sport, is how situations can occur whereby boys are able to show such characteristics, as often these can be really hard to manufacture in the classroom. This was one such occasion and the boys in that team were able to develop and display some really valuable qualities, which only serves them well in the future and gives us as teachers a much greater insight into their strengths and weaknesses and ultimately their deeper personality.

I was with the C team and we too drew, but I was really pleased to see some genuine progression in the standard of football the boys were playing. There was more than a sprinkling of good quality play that saw the boys draw upon and employ fundamental aspects of football, such as moving into space, good accurate passing and the use of width to attack. As well some grit and desire to defend. If we had lost yesterday it would not have bothered me one bit, they are progressing and that is a victory in itself.

For the U10 teams there was a similar story. St. Piran’s traditionally has always been a tough opposition. Things are never one sided and clearly today was no different with the A team winning 1-0, the B team drawing 1-1 and the C team losing 1-0. It was the D team who were the shining stars running out 4-0 winners, but on the whole it was a great afternoon of competitive football. There is now only 2 weeks before we depart on the U10 football tour to Manchester and I had the opportunity on Monday of working with this age group in their games lesson. I made a point of highlighting how things such as the upcoming tour can focus the mind and attempted to use it as a motivating tool to try and move forward the already high standards we have been seeing from this year group. The session itself went well and they certainly have the tour in the back of their minds and I think the results on Wednesday were also a testament to that. Let’s see if they can keep it up next week when they play Surbiton High.

Today is our house football competition and I would suggest this only equalled by the house rugby competition in terms of anticipation and excitement and levels of competitiveness on the day. I’ll give you all a full de-brief next week along with those Surbiton High fixtures. I hope to see many of you this afternoon and let’s all the boys play with spirit and gusto but ultimately that they all enjoy themselves.

Prep News

Here are some pictures of just some of the wonderful and imaginative work produced for the Open Homework exhibition based around the number ‘7’ this week:

Pre-Prep News

Everyone has returned to school refreshed and ready to embrace the second half of term, which promises to be an especially busy one!  As you no doubt will already know, we have some important events happening towards the end of this term – here is a quick reminder of what’s coming up…

  • Thursday 30 November Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 Christmas Production in the James Hall at 2.30pm
  • Wednesday 6 December Kindergarten will perform their nativity in their classroom at 11.15am
  • Parents’ Visits take place on Monday 11 December – please see the School Calendar for specific timings for the different year groups.

We hope to see many of you at these forthcoming events.

Today was our second Open Morning of the term and we are delighted to report the children impressed our visitors with their impeccable manners and the much-anticipated Golden Treat topped off the afternoon.

This week the Courtesy Cup and Badge were awarded to Stephen Zhang for always being so polite, including coming into school with a cheerful hello every morning.

and Stars of the Week to the following pupils:

Year 2: Aarav Tegginamath for always completing his homework to a very high standard.

Year 1:  Joshua Hill for excellent reading this week.

Reception: Daniel Fitzpatrick for his super phonic skills – well done!

Here’s what we’ve been up to in class …

We are so pleased with how the children Kindergarten have settled back into their routine this week. We started our week off by discussing Diwali and, in particular, the story of Rama and Sita. Some of the children recalled how they celebrated the festival of light with their family. We loved hearing about their Rangoli patterns inside and outside their homes.  On Monday, Mr Smith visited to read us the story of Room on a Broom. We all listened very well and gave great answers about the story. We have looked at the letter ‘i’ this week and have thought about things beginning with ‘i’ which was quite tricky. Next week we are learning about the sound ‘p’. We have experimented with different media whilst creating firework pictures using chalks, paints and lots and lots of glitter! We have talked about how to stay safe when watching fireworks this weekend. Next week our topic will be ‘Shapes and Patterns’.

We have had a really fun and very spooky week in Reception.   In mathematics our learning has focused around shape. We have learnt about the difference between 2 and 3 dimensional shapes, and learnt their correct mathematical names, and used vocabulary to describe them. We went on a 2D shape hunt around the School – the most common shape was the rectangle. On Friday we had great fun sorting the contents of Miss Johnston’s shopping bag! We sorted her shopping into cuboids, cubes, spheres, triangular prisms, cylinders and cones.  In literacy we have been enjoying lots of Winnie the Witch stories, and the children have been motivated to write their own versions of the story. The children were also very excited to help Witchy Timba magic up a new broom by writing a spooky spell.  We needed bats, frogs, cobwebs and pond gunk! The children used their segmenting skills to count out how many sounds were in each word and we wrote the spell together. It resulted in a rather fantastic broomstick with a red bow! We have also made biscuits and created spooky oil pastel drawings, so all in all a busy and very enjoyable week in Reception.

This week in English Year 1 have been learning about rhyming words. We have been using matching games to pair rhyming words and at the end of the week wrote our own poem titled ‘Today I Ate a Worm’.

In maths, we have been measuring length and height. The children have been using non-standard units to measure classroom objects and ordering things from longest to shortest and tallest to shortest.

We continued our work in science by looking at different types of pets, what our pets have in common and what makes them good pets!

In maths Year 2 have been learning how to multiply and divide, mainly focusing on the 2x tables. Some children have also worked on their 5s, 10s and 3s.

In English we have been planning and writing stories about finding an animal living in the cupboard under the stairs and going on an adventure with that animal.

We began our new science topic ‘Electricity’ by sharing what we already know about electricity and writing down what we would like to find out. We then learned about the two types of electricity (static and current) and where it comes from. In our topic lessons we learned about the postal system and wrote our own letters ready to post next week. We also learned about the history of telephones and made our own string phones. In RE we learned about the Hindu festival of Diwali; some of the class had celebrated this over half term and were able to tell us lots about it!

We hope you have a lovely weekend.