BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.
Two events over the last two days have brought our Upper School together (and in the case of the latter, our Year 3s too): the Theme Day yesterday, and our House Music competition this afternoon. Focusing on ‘Fundamental British Values’, our pupils worked together to create their political parties, broadcast their core policies for the running of the school, and took part in a series of activities to understand the very nature of democracy.
Quite apart from the enjoyment of these two events, the inevitable boost in confidence it will have given children to stand up in front of others, ask leading questions or sing in front of their peers, community occasions provide an opportunity for pupils to develop one of the most crucial skills of all: collaboration with one another.
I was immensely impressed with the discussions and debates that took place on Thursday amongst the groups, with policies being decided that got right to the heart of a wider understanding of global issues. Looking at the notion of ‘Global Literacy’, it is very interesting to see the work of the UN, amongst others, in promoting vital skills, attitudes and competencies. Yesterday’s learning demonstrated a clear shift from the traditional ‘instruction’ method of teaching and learning, to much more of a skills-based approach, and this required a move from the learner as an individual (perhaps working towards, and passing, a raft of exams) to the learner engaged in collaboration with others and developing a set of interpersonal skills to equip them to work in diverse teams.
A reminder of the power of teamwork.
I recall a talk I attended in September, that illustrates this very well, and takes us into Higher Education, where a shift in attitudes is being seen in many of the world’s leading universities. Dr Ruth Graham, an engineer at Imperial College, London, has engaged in some interesting research around Engineering degrees across the world. In this research, she has seen these courses going through a period of rapid change, both in terms of the learning and teaching, and admissions process. She cited MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where they have changed their whole method of educating students from a traditional instruction model, to a curriculum that focusses on skills, innovation, creativity, communication and multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning. Their selection process, whilst still in part focused on academic ability, now comprises a selection weekend where candidates are assessed on their listening and understanding of others, ability to collaboratively define and solve problems, as well as their empathy and compassion. Dr. Graham feels this shift in mindset will spread, and we are in danger of creating a dichotomy if school education programmes still focus on the individual.
Emerging leaders in education will be the ones who acknowledge the importance of these skills, an understanding of others and the ability to listen and work confidently and comfortably in diverse groups. This shift from the individual to a more collaborative process is now being seen as critical to the success of those we are educating. Even when Artificial Intelligence plays a dominant force, an understanding of other people will prevail.
As we reflect on the events of yesterday, and look to tomorrow’s world, it seems that working together is not simply about humanity and good citizenship; it plays a crucial role in driving individual success.
It is my wish that every child goes home in the evening with memorable experiences, the best that can last a lifetime. I hope Thursday was one of those days. You will receive my Half Term letter next week. It details a timescale for the planning and launch of our strategic development plan. At the heart of the planning for this is the spirit of togetherness, which will see the pupils as individuals, and collectively as a school, grow stronger. In his inauguration address as President of the University of Virginia, Jim Ryan ended by saying: “that is the place where our aspirations and realities finally intersect. I know that many of you, so many of you would like to get there as well, and I look forward to our imperfect journey together”.
I wish all St George’s families a happy Half Term, wherever your adventures take you.
PS Do watch this clip. it is bound to bring additional cheer as you start your Half Term.
Name Our Newsletter Competition
Congratulations to Carl A and Ali K for coming up with the name 'The Georgian' for our weekly newsletter. They will be receiving a book token after half term.
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to the following for being awarded a Head Master's Commendation this week:
Leah: For commitment to her homework, especially History and Geography projects
Nefeli: For superb efforts in French over the past two weeks
Jimmy: For consistent effort in French
Isla: For an outstanding diary entry in English, showing wonderful descriptive writing.
Spirit of St George's Award
Congratulations to the following for being presented a Spirit of St George's Award this week:
Matilda and Leo: For impeccable manners and treating others with great respect at all times.
Zinedine: For kindness and consideration towards a visitor who joined us for a taster day.
Henry: For showing great kindness towards a fellow pupil.
Sport Players of the Week
Years 3 and 4: Kaya for working hard to support the team.
Years 5 and 6: Ethan and Lara for their effort and hard work during training and matches
Years 7 and 8: Johnny for leading the team by example.
Theme Day - Fundamental British Values
House Music Competition
The House Music competition this year had the theme of 'Transport' for the choice of songs. It proved to be a hugely enjoyable way to end this half term and a triumph for Rodney House who carried away the trophies for the Best Song and Overall Winners of the Competition. The best individual performance certificate in the Years 3 - 5 category went to Ben I'A for his bassoon Intrada and to Jamie P in the Years 6 - 8 category for his piano Nocturne No 5. Our thanks go to Mr Marcus Pashley, Director of Cranleigh Music, for being such an excellent and impartial judge.
This week's visitors
The Onatti French Theatre Company
Mrs Alderson writes: "On Monday our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils had the pleasure of seeing the French play Ticket pour l’espace performed by an English actor and a French actress. Jack, an English boy, has won 'un ticket dans une compétition' to go into space 'l’espace'. He is going to orbit the Earth, 'La Terre'. However, when he gets to the space centre, they only speak 'Français'! Yana had to come and help Jack to understand what the French computer was telling him! Once in space, they have 'un problème': they land on an unknown 'planète'. Fortunately, they have enough fuel to get back to Earth, to everybody’s relief! The play, which was performed in a combination of English and French, was very entertaining. Some of the pupils were even actively involved in the play and really liked taking part on stage. It was thoroughly enjoyed by everybody and a great experience!"
Royal Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service
On Tuesday we were visited by a team of firemen from the Berkshire Fire & Rescue Service who came to talk to the children in Years 4 - 8 about fire safety in the home. They showed them all kinds of equipment in the fire engine and even allowed children to climb aboard and try things out, which was very popular. They even allowed Mr Wilson to dress up in one of their uniforms!
The Value of Values
It has been a pleasure to see how well the children have responded to the new sporting values this half term. It is helping the boys and girls review and assess performances, but more importantly, empowering them with the ability to see the value of reviewing a performance ahead of a result. After half term we will aim to focus on one value each week and will keep you updated on how this will shape the focus of both lessons and matches that week. We are incredibly proud of the effort the pupils have put in this term and look forward to more of the same after a well-earned week off.
The Year 6 IAPS squad performed exceptionally well this afternoon; they played half a match against the Bishopsgate U12/13B team and won 15/2. The next challenge was the Bishopsgate U12/13A team. The first quarter was a very tight affair against a team who were physically stronger and extremely tall. They lost the quarter 4/3, but the girls were very impressive, playing in different combinations and under extreme pressure, and Miss Walsh was delighted with their performance. The players of the match were Imogen H and Eva R.
The U10s and U12/U13s had tough matches against Bishopsgate this week. Each team played extremely well and displayed some excellent netball. The girls never gave up and left in high spirits, ready for the next challenge.
IAPS U11 Netball Tournament at Framlingham College
We are delighted to announce the news that our Year 6 girls have won the tournament today - very well done indeed!
The Under 8s were just too strong this week, using the passing skills they worked on in the week to good effect, resulting in two very high scoring games.
Both Under 9 rugby teams worked hard to put into practice the passing skills they had been developing in training during the week and showed glimpses of what is to come with some very exciting attacking rugby against LVS.
The Under 10s team ran out comfortable winners against Bishopsgate. Both the As and Bs attacked with pace and scored some excellent tries. I was most impressed with the improvement in their defensive play. The whole team played with enthusiasm, sportsmanship and team spirit.
The Under 11s came up against some strong opposition, but after the hard work from previous few weeks, particularly at the breakdown, they were able to produce some excellent front football and ultimately some outstanding play.
It was a challenging Friday afternoon for both the senior teams this Wednesday due to a large number of players being absent from the fixture, however, the boys should take great pride in the way they performed in such difficult circumstances.
Patrick Wright - Director of Sport
To the delight of Mr Foran and members of the Hershel Astronomical Society, the sky cleared of clouds, allowing for a very successful Stargazing evening on Tuesday. Children and their parents were treated to stunning views of the craters on the Moon. Both Mars, Uranus and the Orion Nebula were also viewed through an impressive range of telescopes and binoculars.
To think about over Half Term...
This week Year 4 were able to taste some French cheeses in their French lesson, including Brie, Boursin, Chèvre, Emmental and Fromage Bleu. They had to say in French whether or not they liked the cheese. Some pupils were more daring than others, especially with the Fromage Bleu, but everyone enjoyed the experience.