As the end of first half of term draws ever nearer, we look back on a very successful and exciting 21st Century STEAM and Open Week. It has been a delight to show our prospective parents and children our school and I am always enormously proud of the way in which our boys model and embody our school values and the St Edward’s Family atmosphere. We received glowing praise from every visitor.
I was equally delighted with the welcome the recent Independent Schools Inspectorate inspectors received at our school. Although we are required to wait on further official news from the ISI, the inspectors commented on the warmth, manners and politeness of our children and on the warmth of our community - A view of our school that I unreservedly share!
21st Century Learning is a critical part of our curriculum and is certainly part of our plans for the further development of our school. During our recent Coffee with the Head meeting, I greatly enjoyed the company of such a large cohort of parents to discuss the curriculum developments that we intend to implement soon. It was very pleasing to have such an engaged audience and I am grateful for their attendance and support. My ‘non-stop talking’ was recorded and will be available for viewing on YouTube soon, I believe.
Next half of term, the focus shifts for many of our pupils to the expressive arts as we prepare for our annual production of ‘Bugsy Malone’. I am sure that the boys, and Mrs Hagyard, will put their hearts and souls into the production and that we can look forward to an Oscar winning performance.
Finally, I would like to thank our staff for their dedication and commitment to our school and, equally, I would like to thank our families for their continued support over the course of this half term. It is indeed a privilege to be a part of the St Ed’s Family!
St Edward’s students enjoyed a marvellous week launching our STEAM topics of Peace and Justice. We had visitors from various fields coming to talk and inspire lots of minds. From all different angles our visitors explored Peace and Justice to get our students communicating, thinking critically, being creative and working together collaboratively.
Mrs Lawale came in to introduce the boys to the legal system and how justice works in the UK and the EU. In this excellent talk boys were introduced to the law and the importance of fair representation.
Cat Terrett came in from Ultra Electronics to discuss how engineers help the peace process and how Ultra Electronics design devices to detect mines and help clear the Ocean and keep ships safe. Responses from the boys were amazing, particularly Reception who were enthralled by what the company did and asked some amazing questions all about underwater trenches.
Brigadier Jon Swift from the British Army enthralled the boys with a terrific presentation on the 4 roles the British Army carries out. They all enjoyed a fun quiz on Army facts and on Army vehicles! Warriors, Foxhounds, ATVs, Challengers and more. The boys had so many fantastic questions!
Mrs Walia visited our Pre-Prep students and spoke to them about Chinese New Year and all its traditions. The boys loved seeing all the colourful lanterns, dragons and traditional costume. Kung Hei Fat Choy!
What a fantastic visit from author Tom Palmer! He has written over 45 published books, his titles including Armistice Runner, Combat Zone, Over the Line and we got a special preview of D-Day Dog his new book coming out in May this year!
Pupils split up into groups to be treated to a fun and brain teasing quiz, there was fantastic collaboration amongst teams who put their heads together to win points. Tom then refereed a penalty shoot out amongst teams to decide upon a winner!
We were all thrilled to have our books signed and have a quick chat with Tom, it was terrific to host him at St Edward’s Prep.
Pre-Prep welcomed Marcia from Thames Valley Police. The children were surprised to learn that Thames Valley is one of 43 police forces in the UK, including the airport and transport police.
They began by brainstorming safe zones where children can go if they are in danger and the way in which uniforms help us to identify ‘safe strangers’ such as police officers, nurses, supermarket workers and bus drivers.
The session finished with the children creating a finger print which they then turned into a keyring. Many of these are now hanging proudly on their St Edward’s backpacks.
With so much excitement over the week, it was a terrific way to end on a wonderful mindfulness talk and visit from Mrs Provino. Her meditation gong had our students mesmerised………. Students learnt how to express emotions in a variety of ways and how to recognise these different feelings. A truly holistic approach to the education of our students.
I think you’ll agree, it was an engaging, educational and inspirational week for our boys. Thank you to all those who visited us and provided the St Edward’s family with such a collaborative effort to the boy’s educational journey.
21st Century Learning
In order for our boys to be prepared and ready for a more complex life and work environment a 21st century classroom must promote creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration.
Developing, implementing and communicating ideas, along with being able to analyse and synthesise information to solve problems is key. Articulating thoughts and effectively sharing responsibility for collaborative work is not something new to the 21st century, these are, however, critical skills needed to succeed in a 21st century marketplace.
Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking and Communication, the four pillars of our STEAM Week and part of our School philosophy, were seen in action as Year 2 set off for Pangbourne Woods with the idea of creating an Anglo Saxon settlement. As the boys will tell you, the Anglo Saxons started out as Invaders, and settled in England for many reasons. The Anglo Saxons were particularly fond of making things using wood so we followed suit, making our own shelters, tools and weapons. You can see how much the boys enjoyed creating their settlement and even invented Anglo-Saxon style songs to greet their visitors!
Little Griffins & Reception
Little Griffins and Reception have had a flying start to 2019! St Edward's core values of Respect, Tolerance, Kindness, Curiosity and Independence have been weaved into learning day-to-day. While enjoying many activities and having fun, lots of learning has taken place, communication and language, maths and literacy, expressive arts and design, physical development, French, music and physical development. They have been Busy Bees!
Coffee Morning & Senior School Presentation
The coffee morning provided parents with a fantastic presentation of what the future holds for the school, looking closely at the school curriculum and how the St Edward's family help to weave STEAM, 21st Century Learning and our Core Values within that. Thank you to so many parents who came along.
It was also lovely to welcome local Senior Schools to St Edward’s Prep for a presentation evening. Reading Blue Coat, Leighton Park School, Holme Grange School, Abingdon School, Pangbourne College, The Oratory School and Shiplake College joined us to showcase their fantastic schools.
The evening was a great success with much discussion and collaboration amongst Headmasters, Teachers, Registrars, Parents and Students. Feedback from both parents and students was that the evening was a valuable opportunity to discuss entry requirements and find out more about these schools as possible senior school options. Families were very happy that St Edward’s had provided such an ideal opportunity to come and have a chat to all the represented senior schools.
Bletchley Park Trip
Even though we did sign the Official Secrets Act, we really cannot keep our fabulous trip to Bletchley Park a secret! Once, the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, it is now an incredible historical record of the amazing and vital work that occurred there during WW2. We were, most definitely, a captive audience and enthralled by what we heard and saw. We tried our hand at Morse Code and were quite successful at breaking codes. We learnt that it was Hut 8, led by Alan Turing that made the breakthrough on the Dolphin Enigma key used by the German U-Boats attacking the British Trans-Atlantic convoys. Throughout the Battle of the Atlantic, Bletchley Park codebreakers and, in particular, Hut 8, helped the Admiralty to track the U-Boat wolf packs which reduced the German Navy’s ability to sink the merchant navy ships bringing vital supplies to Britain from America. Thank goodness, otherwise we may have all been very, very hungry! It was a fabulous opportunity to visit this heritage site, and an incredible privilege to come to know and admire the uniquely important story of these Codebreakers during the Second World War and the importance of Bletchley Park. It is no wonder we just couldn’t keep this visit a secret and well-worth visiting again.
It's been an action packed half term for sports. The boys have improved their rugby skills and enjoyed many fixtures against different Berkshire schools. They have played some excellent rugby and put in outstanding performances against talented opposition. Swimming has also continued and been a favourite for the boys. They have gone from strength to strength improving their fitness, technique and water safety awareness.
Eagle House Maths Challenge
The annual Year 6 Maths Challenge at Eagle House School is always a big event: There were a total of 81 teams from 42 schools taking part.
The boys had to work in pairs to solve maths questions involving algebra, numeration, arithmetic, logic, strategy and word problems. Two hours of relay racing, number crunching, problem solving and brain boggling fun. The team worked fantastically hard, demonstrating enthusiasm, determination and collaboration skills all afternoon. Even when they came across hurdles in their path, the boys did not give up and worked with 100% motivation and application.
As if this was not enough – when it came to the prize giving ceremony we discovered that our team had come 4th out of 81. An astonishing achievement – well done, boys! Perhaps even more exciting than Maths was the snow blizzard on the journey home; to quote: “A Maths challenge AND snow – it’s the best afternoon ever!”
Food Glorious Food!
Delicious and nutritious - our pupils are always spoilt for choice! We've had a terrific variety of food to try this term. Artichokes, a sausage smorgasbord and sushi. Not to mention Meat Free Mondays and a Chinese New Year Feast! Thanks again to Holroyd Howe for keeping tummies full.