BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Frobscottle. Quadropus. Whangdoodle. Humplecrimp. Lixivate. Sogmire. Zoonk. Snozzberry.
A glance through the ‘Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary’ is sure to delight a reader of any age. Roald Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, and it is for this, as well as for his deliciously exciting writing style, that he is most regarded.
With the exception of Shakespeare, I don’t know of any authors that have a day each year in memory of them (do put me right if there are any others). A quick Google search (how Roald Dahl would have frowned at that lacklustre method of curiosity) tells us that six films have been made from his books, that he wrote 48 books (20 for children) in total, and the website is littered with Roald Dahl-inspired books, clothing, fancy dress ideas, recipes, Lego constructions, and even a Roald Dahl Monopoly board. In short, no living author has had such an influence, lasting legacy or generated such a passion for literature in both children and adults than Roald Dahl.
Why is this? His characters are not exactly the perfect role-models: George tries to make his grandmother disappear; Danny’s father is a poacher; Fantastic Mr Fox steals from the farmers; the BFG takes Sophie and leads her into tremendous danger amongst the other giants; Mr Hoppy would be a person of great interest to the SSPCA; and we won’t even start with Matilda. Perhaps like me you think that Roald Dahl’s enduring legacy is the power of his words.
Roald Dahl is is able to vividly transport us into a world of imagination accessible to people of all ages. His language captures us all to the extent that fiction comes to life, despite the ludicrous and far-fetched story lines and made-up words. When engaged with his writing, one feels carried away from the realities of life and into the clutches of his magic. All this is timeless: his last novel was written over 30 years ago.
The power of words.
What would Roald Dahl make of a world where powerful words and sentiments can go viral in a matter of seconds via technology; where world leaders engage in a war of words online; where fake news manifests itself from a single tweet or post with alarming rate; where our own words can be so easily misinterpreted if communicated by a means where you lose the emotion behind what is written; where so many of the issues and challenges we face are as a result of miscommunication? All because of the wrong choice of words, mankind’s own desire to broadcast our emotions and feelings via technology, and the ease in which these words can be misconstrued.
On many an occasion I have spoken about the unpredictable world that our young people will take on. With this comes great challenge, huge opportunities and excitement, and our children will need a very special set of skills in order to make their way in it. Far greater than the need to solve problems, think creatively and engage a broad set of skills, will be the need to communicate effectively, with compassion, clarity and confidence. At the dawn of Artificial Intelligence (which will change the role of education in a manner not seen since the Industrial Revolution) and expediential change, it will be the power of human communication that prevails. The ability to build, develop and maintain relationships with people of different race, background and standpoint will prove crucial to solving some of the major economic, social, environmental and sustainable problems. Amongst the onslaught of super intelligence (more daunting even than AI), compassionate communication will be crucial, and if all else fails, the ability to tell a good story will be a good start.
‘Education for Social Responsibility’ is all about ensuring our children genuinely understand the importance of living a fulfilled and sustainable life, and start considering ways to ensure future global stability. A major part of this is how they will communicate with one another to make this a reality. Understanding the true power of words, possessing imagination and a flair for persuasive communication will place our children in a position to be a real force for good.
Roald Dahl was a spy, RAF pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor, but it was the power of words that positioned him as possibly the most influential person in any child’s life. Our children will go on to positions of considerable global influence, and it will be the power of their words that defines the latter half of the 21st century and 22nd century.
Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
YEAR 1 BEACH SCHOOL
YEAR 1 BEACH SCHOOL | Our new Year 1 class walked down to the East Sands on Wednesday for their first Beach School session! The weather was perfect for an afternoon of outdoor learning, and the boys and girls are already looking forward to their next outing!
GONE FISHING | Year 2 went 'fishing' in the CDR this week, discovering why fishermen's nets nets have to have certain size holes to catch the desired fish and let the other fish go. They also learned all about fishing quotas in Scotland.
Following on from their visit to St Andrews Harbour last week, when they spoke to local fishermen about their work, Year 2 found out more about sustainable fishing, and even had the chance to prepare and cook some sustainable fish!
The class learned that 450 sustainable fish had just been delivered to the kitchen and prepared by our Catering Staff to feed the whole school for 'Friday Fish Day'!
After a fun fishing game on Birdcage, Mrs Paterson organised a hands-on activity in the CDR, with the children rolling up their sleeves and setting to work on making delicious fish goujons! Once properly dressed in protective aprons and gloves, the boys and girls rolled the fish in flour, egg and breadcrumbs before Mrs Kennedy, who has been Head Chef at St Leonards for 30 years, fried them for everyone. What a treat for a Thursday afternoon!
ALL ABOUT ST ANDREW
ALL ABOUT ST ANDREW | Rev Beebee came to visit Year 3 on Thursday afternoon. He visited the class to talk all about St Andrew as part of the current Year 3 Unit of Inquiry.
Rev Beebee told the children all about how Andrew was a disciple of Jesus, and how he had been a fisherman with his brother Simon Peter.
The boys and girls heard how Andrew travelled to Greece to continue Jesus' work, but some people did not like this and Andrew was put to death - not on a cross like Jesus, as he felt he was not worthy of a cross like that. Instead he was put on an 'X' shape on 30 November AD 60, which is why we mark St Andrews Day on that date today.
In AD 345, St Rule took some of St Andrew's bones on a journey and when he was shipwrecked on the east coast of Scotland, he found himself in a Fife village called Kilrymont. St Rule then built a church, and after bringing the bones here, the town of St Andrews was given its name.
Year 3 learned how in 1320, Andrew was first recognised as the patron saint of Scotland. This was made official with the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath.
St Andrew brought many pilgrims to St Andrews, and in its time St Andrews was the second most visited town for pilgrims.
The children discovered that St Andrew is not only patron saint of Scotland, he is also the patron saint of other countries, such as Russia, Cyprus and Barbados! He is also the patron saint of fishermen, fishmongers, ropemakers and sore throats!
The children enjoyed the talk from Rev Beebee. Everyone was very engaged and answered his questions with lot of enthusiasm!
DUNDEE DAY OUT
DUNDEE DAY OUT | Year 4 enjoyed a most interesting outing to Dundee this week as part of their current Unit of Inquiry on Transport. The first stop was Dundee Airport and a chance to have a look at what goes on behind the scenes. The unsuspecting passengers must have wondered at the sight of 33 eight-year-olds in the departure lounge!
From behind the glass, we watched several planes land and others take off as Andrew, the head of his department, explained some of the safety measures, the nature of the work undertaken and the numbers of planes passing through the hands of his team on a daily basis. The fact that Dundee has a flying school means that many of the planes using the airport facilities are small, training planes. However, they require as much air control and ground security as larger planes so the importance of the work is equal in all situations.
The pupils were shown the two fire tenders – relatively small at 21 tons of vehicle each, carrying 6000 litres of water in their tanks. Everyone was drilled in how to move quickly to the side should the ‘crash alarm’ go off during our inspection of the first vehicle, as the second would be sent out to the emergency.
In the security checking area, we were shown the computer image of the contents of a suitcase. It was explained that the blue shapes showed up metal objects, the orange shapes were ‘organic’ and the green areas on the screen required further screening. We all passed through the area without setting off any alarms!
After our packed lunches in the departure lounge, we continued on the second leg of our trip – to the Transport Museum, a less well-known gem of Dundee, looking down over the Tay.
There, three enthusiastic volunteers showed us around in three separate groups, each taking a different gallery as their starting point. Gallery One contained a vast range of vintage and classic cars on loan from private owners, including a Model T Ford, a turquoise Hillman Imp police car and many with cranking handles. The favourite by far had to be the ‘Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang’ car – one of only six ever built. It secured a home in Dundee because the little girl actress in the film was from the city. The volunteer helpers gave permission for the children to take turns to sit in the vehicle and to ‘honk’ the snake horn.
Gallery Two contained a variety of trams and buses and, incredibly, many early electric vehicles – some over one hundred years old!
Gallery Three completed the range of differently-powered vehicles with its steam-driven steam roller and accompanying supply of coal. Dundee’s first airplane, in competition with that of the Wright brothers, is suspended from the ceiling. With an early Harley Davidson to entice the older members of the St Leonards community, this is a super alternative if the V&A is too busy in the coming weeks!
With such a feast of information, Year 4 are now better equipped to take their research for their Unit of Inquiry to far deeper levels. Thanks to the airport staff and to the museum volunteers for sharing so much knowledge with us.
WEDNESDAY FIXTURES | On Wednesday afternoon our Junior School rugby and hockey teams travelled to Strathallan to play Riley house in a series of fixtures. The most convincing victory of the day came from the U10 boys, who won their match 26-6!
The U12 girls lost their game 4-2 to Riley House, with Thea scoring both goals in what was a terrific effort from the team.
The U11 boys lost their match 7-4, while the St Leonards U12s went down 8-4. Some strong performances from the boys at this early stage of the season!
A hockey victory ensured spirits were high on the bus journey back to St Andrews, with a 5-0 win for the U10 girls. Katie opened the season's scoring, Rachel got the second, Sanna the third and fifth, and Sal snuck in the fourth goal. Congratulations to all the players, and to Sanna who was chosen as Girl of the Game!
THE GREAT BRITISH BEACH CLEAN
GREAT BRITISH BEACH CLEAN | This morning the whole Junior School took to the beaches of St Andrews for the Great British Beach Clean 2018. As a school our children often make use of either East Sands or West Sands for learning and sport, and we are truly blessed to have such wonderful resources on our doorstep. In an effort to contribute to the health of the beaches and to the community of St Andrews we set off to clean the shorelines.
Years 1-4 cleaned the East Sands and conducted a survey of what plastics were found. Years 5-6 walked to the West Sands , where they were met by rangers from Fife Coast and Countryside. There we learned about our local beach ecosystems and how pollution effects it. They also conducted a survey of man-made flotsam on the beach. The data from both beach surveys will be used to further our learning in class and will in turn be passed onto the Marine Conservation Society so that they can continue to track the health of our beaches.
The St Leonards Beach Clean day was a wonderful combination of taking our learning outside the classroom and making a meaningful difference to our community.
The following pupils received awards and certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday:
Kabir and Nihal took part in the Green Ball Tennis Championships at Falkland last weekend, and were presented with their trophies at Assembly. Kabir was runner up in the Green Ball competition, while Nihal was the winner in the Red Ball competition.
Erin received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for giving up her Friday evening to meet and greet guests at the New Park Reunion on 7 September. She was a super ambassador for St Leonards!
Certificates were presented to Ruby (third place), Lucca (second place), and Polly (first place) following their super entries in the 'STEM being EVERYTHING' poster competition. The Junior School now has a number of brilliant new Science books, which all the children are welcome to use. Please do have a browse at the collection outside Miss Cormack's classroom!
Certificates were presented following a fantastic set of results in the ABRSM exams. Anona and Evie passed their violin prep tests; Jennifer achieved Distinction at Grade 1 Singing; Maya achieved Merit at Grade 1 Flute; Sal passed her Grade 1 Singing exam; Molly and Shelagh passed Grade 1 violin, with Shelagh achieving a Distinction; Brendan was awarded Merit in his Grade 2 viola exam; Logan achieved a Merit at Grade 2 piano; and Alistair passed his Grade 3 violin with Distinction. Congratulations to all our Junior School musicians!
Mrs Stewart's LAMDA candidates achieved a clean sweep of Distinctions, with all pupils who sat the exams securing the highest possible grade! Congratulations to the following pupils:
- Verity - Devising Drama Grade 1 - Duo
- Charlie - Acting Entry Level - Duo
- Alfie - Acting Entry Level - Duo
- Sal - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Alanya - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Rachel - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- XiuRong - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Harry - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Alistair - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Sanna - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Madison - Acting Grade 1 - Duo
- Abbie - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Jennifer - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Thea - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Eliza - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Sam - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Logan - Acting Grade 2 - Combined
- Magnus - Acting Grade 3 - Duo
- Paddy - Acting Grade 3 - Duo
- Cameron - Acting Grade 3 - Duo
- Tom - Acting Grade 3
- Ingrid - Acting Grade 3
Headmaster's Commendations were awarded to Molly for creating a wonderful poster about St Andrews Cathedral; Kamilah for producing a booklet about our favourite ice cream shop; Mia for designing a super poster about St Andrews Museum; Paula, Isabella and Cara for working together to make a model of St Andrews Cathedral, a poster, and an edible Swilken Bridge; James for making a brilliant poster during the summer holidays; and Cara who also made a wonderful poster!
Celebration Assembly also meant our very first House Update, with our newly-elected House Captains announcing the average number of points per person in their House. Mull, Harris and Lewis all averaged four points per person, but the leading House was Skye, with five points each!