Another busy week in the Junior School, with track and field events galore, in addition to our annual sandcastle extravaganza on the East Sands – my, what a lot of incredible creations we had!
In addition to our many events, our focus was on the future this week as the children spent the morning in their new classes on Monday. All seemed to be having a wonderful time – smiling teachers and smiling children which was fantastic to see.
Sports Day on Wednesday was a tremendous success. Well done to all the competitors and the incredibly dedicated PE staff for organising the event, with the support of a number of Senior School students; Frankie, Rachel, Millie, Georgie, Jack and Jemima. The grounds were looking absolutely spectacular, sun shining and pitches perfectly prepared, and our thanks, too, goes to the Grounds Team, under the leadership of our new Head of Grounds, Kevin Smith, for all their hard work in the run up to this week.
There is often debate around the importance of competitive sport in a child’s education. On the one hand you have people who feel it is the taking part rather than the competition that is important. On the other hand, you have those who love the excitement of testing themselves against others, pushing themselves to the limits, and believe that healthy competition sets children up for the challenges of life in a positive way as well as teaching focus, resilience and determination. Whichever side of the debate you fall on, I do think that we can all agree on the importance of physical activity and the benefits to children’s wellbeing and concentration.
At the Junior School, a lot of emphasis is placed upon ensuring we provide a full PE curriculum with multiple opportunities for competitive matches for those who wish to take part. It is vital that children develop physical literacy at a young age and get into the habit of making exercise a part of their life. Evidence shows that those who take part in a team sport are far more likely to continue with it in later life, compared with those of us habitually attempting the treadmill at the gym. I strongly suspect the camaraderie of team sports has something to do with it!
I hope the children enjoyed the excitement of Sports Day, which we can see as a celebration of athletic prowess but also as a testament to the importance of exercise in increasing the quality of our lives.
As we look ahead to our final week of Summer Term, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some updates for the coming year. We will be starting back in August with another impressive school roll, as well as two new members of teaching staff.
Mr Simon Lamb, who joined us in January for a set period, will be leaving St Leonards this summer. An extremely talented teacher, writer and performer, Mr Lamb’s legacy piece with us is “We Are The Words”, an expansive literary project with Years 5 and 6 that will culminate in the release of an incredible book of poetry in the new academic year. We wish him every success in sharing his talents, commitment and enthusiasm in pastures new.
Congratulations to Mr Martin Donlon on his new appointment, teaching German in an international school in Dubai. Martin has been a wonderful colleague, fully committed to his subject and the life of the school and will be much missed by students and staff alike.
I would also like to bid a fond farewell to Mrs Marije Sneddon who will be leaving her Year 5C this year. I am only too sure we will be welcoming her back in the very near future and would like to thank her for her time with us.
I will have the opportunity to thank both Simon, Martin, Marije and of course Val at Prizegiving next week, and know you will join me in wishing them all the very best for their next adventures and a well deserved retirement.
In August, we will welcome two new faces; Ms Catherine Brannen as a Year 5 Class Teacher and Mr David McLeish in Year 7. Catherine joins us from SEK International School in Qatar, where she is a PYP specialist, and David comes to us from the Metropolitan School Frankfurt. A qualified PYP and MYP teacher, David also holds the position of IB CAS Coordinator at his current school.
There is lots still to come between now and our Prizegiving next Friday morning, including the End of Term Concert on Monday evening, Year 7 Leavers’ Service and Assembly, and a special end of term assembly for all.
Have a wonderful weekend – we can only hope Wednesday’s Sports Day sun keeps on shining!
SPORTS DAY | Wednesday was our Junior School Sports Day, with Year 4-7 spending the morning competing at track and field events. Races were run, cricket balls thrown, jumps jumped, and all in all, a lot of fun had by all.
In the afternoon, it was the Lower School’s turn to take to the field for egg and spoon races, a sack race, and a good deal of running!
Thank you to the St Leonards Parents Association for providing wonderful refreshments in the form of delicious home baking, strawberries and teas. It wouldn’t be Sports Day without a slice of cake enjoyed from the sideline!
More photo highlights will be shared in due course, so watch this space!
GLENLIVET TRIP | For their Year 6 residential, our students wild camped in a forest on the Glenlivet Estate in the Cairngorms. They took part in conservation activities such as tree planting, pruning and path clearance, and learned about the workings of the Estate. They investigated the local wildlife and explored the local environment, as well as enjoying a wide variety of team-building games and activities such as den-building and the obstacle course. Our students also relished the excitement of two campfires, during which they toasted marshmallows, heard stories and sang a song about a moose (sorry for the earworm). This all culminated in group presentations where the children imaginatively shared their learning with their peers and invited guests from the Estate. Despite the atrocious, unrelenting rain, resilience levels were high and grumbles were few. A most successful trip, with many lasting memories being made. Glenlivet? More like GlenLOVEDIT!
Miss Cormack and Mr Lamb, Year 6 Class Teachers
Moving Up Morning
MOVING UP MORNING | Moving Up Morning on Monday was a super opportunity for pupils to try out a ‘day in the life’ of their new class, spending time with their teachers and meeting new classmates who will be joining st Leonards in August.
The children took part in activities and lessons including Drama, drawing and outdoor team games.
Thank you to all our new students who joined us for Moving Up Morning and we look forward to welcoming everyone into their new year groups after the summer break.
Dundee Day Out
DUNDEE DAY OUT | Last week, Year 6 were treated to an excellent day out in Dundee. In the morning, they were given a backstage tour of the Overgate Shopping Centre which was both informative and surprising; they learned about site security, recycling, turnover and tried out their new signing-in system. This was followed by an engaging presentation given by the company Five Guys, including sections on food storage and preparation, their “renowned” cheese race, and even chip-testing.
After this, the students and staff indulged in a wonderful lunch laid on by the restaurant – mmmmm! The students left with branded caps and t-shirts, and, being red, these worked oddly well with their school uniforms!
The afternoon saw them visiting the McManus Art Gallery to view their exhibits and participate in a hands-on print-making workshop, resulting in some lovely work.
All-in-all, a truly memorable day out! A big thank-you to Roy and his mum for organising so much of the event.
Mr Lamb and Miss Cormack, Year 6 Class Teachers
Toys and Games
TOYS AND GAMES | Year 1's Unit of Inquiry on toys and games of the past has really taken shape. Over the past two weeks, the children have experimented with a wide variety of toys and games. They have explored the necessity of rules and clearly understood that wherever there is imagination, there are games.
This was highlighted in a particularly exciting English lesson in which the children were given an array of boxes of different shapes and sizes to play with. We had sunbeds, boats, helmets, motorbikes, bus windows and so much more.
After reading ‘Whatever Next’ by Jill Murphy where a young bear turns a box into a rocket and heads off on an adventure to the moon, the children played again. This time, they were tasked with having their own adventures. We had a child flying on an ostrich to Africa, a snow leopard hiding from a predator, a magic bed taking a child to Greece and a seal being chased over the ice by a shark. It was all very lively and exciting. The subsequent written work about their adventures was just wonderful.
Miss Boissiere, Year 1 Class Teacher
Year 5 at Dalguise
YEAR 5 AT DALGUISE | Year 5 spent a brilliant couple of days at PGL Dalguise, near Dunkeld in Perthshire. Despite the last-minute change of destination, pupils had a fantastic time crawling along obstacle courses, building and sailing rafts, climbing and abseiling, and having a go at archery.
In the evenings, team games were organised by the wonderful PGL team leaders, making this a real trip to remember!
LEAVERS' DISCO | The Year 7 pupils were treated to a special Leavers’ Disco on Friday evening in St Katharines Hall. Organised by our Sixth Form BTEC Business students, the event had a ‘Hawaiian Pizza Party’ theme, complete with inflatable palm trees, flower garlands and tropical mocktails!
After music, dancing and games, including the very popular ‘sumo suits’, it was time for pizzas and drinks with friends. Outside, we had an obstacle course, which was definitely a hit on a mild June evening.
Thank you to the BTEC students and Mrs Prudencio-Aponte for organising the disco. It was a perfect way to celebrate Year 7’s final couple of weeks in the Junior School, before moving up to Year 8.