On a wet and frankly quite miserable late June morning, having had to just postpone the Pre-Prep sports day and Riverdance performance, the highlight of a busy and successful week was most definitely a fleeting visit to Dorset. The sun was shining and the most perfect scene was waiting for me – our Year 8 pupils having the time of their lives on two giant floating inflatable obstacle courses. The temptation to get a wetsuit on and join in was very strong but I had to resist! The fun, joy and camaraderie were obvious and they have clearly had a brilliant week away. As with all experiences, I am sure everyone will have had their highs and lows (including Monday’s rain) but they will have learnt a lot about themselves, developed valuable skills and made lasting memories.
Meanwhile, back at school, the week started with a visit from the ice cream van and needless to say, the excitement levels were high. It certainly set the tone for our children’s enthusiasm and participation. Yesterday’s whole school transition day was a departure from the norm but extremely important in ensuring that pupils are fully prepared for the new academic year. They were able to meet their new form teachers, including Emily Clark (Head of MFL) and Kimmy Darnborough (Year 4 class teacher) who will be joining the school, take part in team building games and discuss the exciting challenges which lie ahead including their thoughts on our new learning habits. Pupil feedback has been good and I am confident that they will go into the summer holidays happy in the knowledge that they are ready for September.
By way of advance warning and with full details to follow, we are arranging pre-term individual parent and form teacher meetings during our inset days from the 2nd September onwards. These meetings will give you the opportunity to discuss any issues with form teachers and to build good working relationships allowing us to work in partnership to ensure the highest possible outcomes for the children.
I would like to thank everyone who has written to support our end of term plans. Whilst we have been forced to make some changes and the last few days will look quite different; the show must go on! All children will be able to participate in their sports day events with parents spectating and also perform in end of year plays, songs and dances in front of a live audience. After the year we have had, these were non-negotiables for us and the importance of ending the term on a high and in a celebratory fashion cannot be underestimated. My thanks to Jen Brooker, our Compliance Officer for the pages and pages of risk assessments she is compiling!
It has been great to welcome Year 5 and Year 7 parents into school for future school and scholarship academic briefings. These face to face presentations are invaluable and have always been such a normal part of school life. Needless to say, they will continue apace in the new year together with various parents’ workshops covering the core curriculum subjects and our teaching methods. Mr Fitt will also be looking for willing parent volunteers for our soon to be formed parent and staff choir. An enthusiasm for and love of singing is always more important than any formal training and the first public appearance will be at our whole school Carol Service on the 14th December!
A very welcome long weekend beckons giving time to prepare for a busy final two weeks of term. I hope everyone has a restful few days.
We are hurtling towards the end of term at such a pace! This week, with a focus on our pastoral theme, diversity, my form delivered our weekly chapel service with a confident and well-paced telling of the story ‘Whoever you are” by Mem Fox. Challenges followed to look beyond what is seen on the outside and understand that our hearts and smiles are all the same ‘whoever we are’. Next week the children will be enjoying their final house meeting of this year; an opportunity to see their houseparents and share their highlights from this year. In visiting Reception this week, it was wonderful to sit down and share Joseph's learning journey folder with him and share in his reflections of how he has progressed this year. I hope you have all enjoyed the opportunity to share your children's work with them during pop-ins.
Each form teacher has reflected below on transition morning and the time they have spent with their new classes. The excitement was palpable as squeals of delight could be heard when the children explored their new surroundings, this really helps to allay any initial anxieties about the coming year. I was very excited to receive beautifully handwritten letters from my new form. Before the end of the term, you will be sent the academic handbooks for next year, giving you plenty of time to look through the information and ask any questions.
I hope the sun shines on your weekend.
It has been a week of great preparation in Reception with practice for sports day, Riverdance and move up day with Mrs. Johnstone and Mrs. Lander. The children were so excited for transition day but it feels a little bittersweet beginning the countdown to the end of Reception. Although some of your children turned a little shy with parents in the classroom for the first time, it was wonderful to welcome you into our space and give you a small glimpse of what Reception has been like. The children were so happy to share their special books with you and are now even more motivated to fill them up before the end of the year. This week, they also helped me to make a welcome video for the children starting Reception in September highlighting all the areas available in the classroom and they seemed so grown up!
We have continued writing animal facts and working very hard on leaving spaces between each word to make it easier for other people to read. One of the more interesting facts we learned this week was that octopus' have three hearts - wow! We also tried to wrap our heads around the idea of a food chain in the ocean and wondered why sharks have no predators and what would happen to the ocean if there were no sharks. We have been working on our photography skills in computing. This week the children used the iPads to try and take portraits of their friends. In maths, we have been focusing on our number bonds to 10 and working out the many combinations there are to make 10. We also spoke frequently about the number 5 this week as everyone in Reception has officially turned 5 - hooray!
Our vehicles are finally finished and are a triumph! The week has been rammed to the rafters with surprise ice-creams, Riverdance rehearsals, transition morning!
In class, we have been in a reflective mood and needed to talk about how to embrace change as there have naturally been a few little wobbles about the prospect of leaving the familiarity of Year 1 in the near future. The children had the opportunity to share any worries which ranged from: will we still be able to hold our new teacher's hand if we feel scared, to will Mrs Sutherland definitely let us sit on the benches in assembly?! We each put our thoughts and feelings down into a letter and took it with us when we visited our new classroom. The children returned with smiling faces and were definitely feeling reassured, in fact, full of giddiness to learn about dragons in September!
In English and topic lessons we have moved on to exploring flight for our final few weeks. Firstly, we imagined ourselves thousands of years ago with only natural resources available to us and the children invented their own flying machines - there were a lot of birds being tied to children who were hopeful of being lifted into the air by their wing power! This then progressed to us sharing the Ancient Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus, the story about the boy who flew too close to the sun because he did not listen to his father’s instructions. Our class said they always listen to their mummies and daddies!
Hearing how well their hot air balloon homework had gone was very rewarding. Billy was able to tell us about molecules needing space which is what caused the balloon to inflate. Wowzers! Thank you also to parents who were able to come and celebrate their children’s work with them at pop-ins. The books will be coming home for you to cherish forever in the final week!
Year 2 have been honing their research skills over the last few weeks and this week, we’ve become habitat experts! We have all chosen a habitat to research and create using our shoeboxes. Within our research, we’ve been thinking about micro-habitats, predators and an animal’s basic needs. They are looking fabulous and we’re intending to cover them in fascinating facts so that each diorama will provide a wealth of information to the observer!
In our art session, we completed our own surrealist wonderlands. They are colourful, eye-catching and suitably bizarre to suit the surrealism theme we were working towards. We’ve enjoyed finding out about surrealist artists… ask us about Dali (and feel free to see if we can remember any of the others!!) - we’re keen to share our knowledge!
Transition morning was a big event because not only are we moving into Year 3, but we are also flying the pre-prep nest and heading up to the prep school! This was hugely exciting and we very much enjoyed a tour of our new home and all the exciting new facilities we’ll have access to next year.
Miss Rickaby and Mrs Sutherland
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