The Voice of St Leonards Junior School

Friday, 22 September 2017


"Could some of the world's biggest challenges be solved if we all adopted the IB Learner Profile?" IB Community Blog.

A bold question indeed, and one designed to make us consider the international and domestic challenges facing many countries worldwide this week as we mark World Peace Day.

As you know, the IB Learner Profile consist of ten traits that we want our children to develop as they develop at school and home, and of course remains central to the Primary Years 'Units of Inquiry, Middle Years 'Units' and the Diploma Programme here at St Leonards.

There are two specific areas of the Learner Profile I wish to focus on:

1. Risk taking

Risk taking is a fairly loaded concept and can be applied in many settings. For us at St Leonards, it is about having the courage to take a chance, rather than choose the easy option; try new challenges; and pushing oneself to develop new skills, even when success is not guaranteed.

There are three example of risk-taking that I would mention that I have seen over the last week at St Leonards.

At Comrie Croft I saw first hand the results of taking children out of their comfort zone (in a controlled and safe environment) and the huge impact this had on their confidence, and willingness to try something new, not give up and persevere. Some children hadn't had much experience at all of mountain biking, took a risk to persevere and proved to themselves that they could master the skill with a willingness not to give up. Indeed, one of my reasons behind making outdoor learning a central part of the curricular and co-curricular life of the school is the role it plays in developing risk-taking, perserverence and initiative. In research counducted by The Outward Bound Trust, participants of all outdoor education residential (from a weekend to 19-day course) reported an increase in emotional control, self-confidence, self-reliance and perseverance, following their course.

I have had the great pleasure of congratulating a number of children this week for showing risk-taking attitudes. In Maths, three children have overcome difficulties in understanding number-bonds through perseverance. In swimming, there have been examples of children taking themselves into the deep end for the first time and realising that they can 'do it', and when faced with a much larger opposition, our U12 and U10 rugby teams took on the challenge, and as a result, I saw the best rugby I have seen so far at St Leonards.

We put risk-taking at the very top of our priorities, so that our children develop the courage to take a chance rather than the easy option; try new challenges, and push themselves to develop new skills.

2. Caring

I spoke in Assembly on Monday and outlined three school rules for this week:

1. Be Kind

2. Be Kind

3. Be Kind

I spoke of kindness as contagious, and how quickly acts of kindness can spread across the school, and I was heartened to hear Years 1-3 tell me of their experiences - both giving and receiving - of kindness this week. Learning to be caring, compassionate, empathetic and tolerant are absolutely key. Our 'Units of Inquiry' support our children's understanding of caring about the world around us, caring for ourselves and understanding our place within the world, however it is also the seemingly 'little acts of kindness' that develop a person's sense of responsibility and authenticity, and this will stay with them for life.

Please do watch this clip with your children over the weekend (we showed it on Monday in Assembly), and discuss what the individual acts of kindness amount to.

Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures may take you.

William Goldsmith

Introducing our House Captains 2017-2018

Our newly elected House Captains were formally appointed to their roles during Assembly on Wednesday morning, and presented with their House Captain badges.

Our House Captains 2017-2018

Many congratulations to:

Mull: Eilidh Jarrett and Jack Gettinby-Anderson

Harris: Helena Flynn and Angus Graham

Skye: Eva Smeddle and Magnus Newton

Lewis: Katie MacAulay and Bruce Logan

Harvest Festival

On Wednesday 20th September we came together to celebrate our Harvest Assembly.

This was led by the pupils of both Year 5 classes, they presented a very informative assembly which they had researched, collated and delivered with great professionalism.

Class 5P began with a short explanation about the meaning of Harvest from sowing the crops to reaping them and the need for the weather condition to be just right. They then explored the “Flying Pizza”. This was a fun investigation that resulted in them just having to make pizzas one day to trial. The investigation was based on where does all the produce come from for our pizza toppings and how far have they travelled to get to us. We discovered that to make their favourite pizza the mileage covered would be whopping 24,204 miles. So could we find similar ingredients locally? This we could do and the mileage on this pizza was only 60.6 miles a difference of 24,143 miles. The class realised that all this mileage had a huge impact on the environment as the ingredients had to be brought by planes, boats and trains from all over the world. Keeping the pizza locally meant that our Carbon Footprint could be hugely reduced and we were also supporting our local farmers and producers and the local economy which could only be good.

Class 5C informed us all about how Harvest time is celebrated around the world. They also informed us of the local Food Bank – The Storehouse which is situated in St Andrews, started by the Vineyard Church. They help support local people who have found themselves struggling and need a little help to get them by. Hamish Sneddon informed us that 1 in 4 people in St Andrews so far have used the Food Bank at one time or another this year.

The donations for the Storehouse that we collected were greatly received by Hamish who thanked everyone who had donated so generously. Our boxes of tins, biscuits, pasta, cleaning products and many more items will be so appreciated by the charity and those who are in need of the help.

Thanks also to Mrs Brown who supplied the hay bales which created a wonderful platform for us to display all that had been donated by St Leonards.

Emily offered us a wonderful prayer of thanksgiving before we joined together to share in our Hymn.


The following awards were presented during Assembly on Monday:

Year 1 Pupil of the week: Monty Wright

Year 2 Pupil of the week: Ishbel Reid

Year 3 Pupil of the week: Francis Maughan

Spirit of St Leonards Award: Cameron Parkin, Polly Morris, Katie MacAulay, Bruce Logan

Headmaster's Commendations

Harry Pennycook - for work on 'number bonds' Maths Poster, and showing hard work in Maths this term

Tom Mifsud - For an outstanding interactive PowerPoint on a Maltese Reverse Osmosis water plant, where sea water is converted into drinking water.

Ruby Richardson - Building a 'cloud model' out of balloons and papier-mâché to demonstrate how clouds function.

Sam Henderson, Ruby Richardson, Polly Morris and Rebecca Hooley were also awarded Headmaster's Commendations for their work on 'windmills' in Art last term.

'Swallows and Amazons': Comrie Croft Adventure

"What care I for a goose-feather bed, with the sheet turned down so bravely, O? For tonight I shall sleep in the cold open field, O!" Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome.

Miss Neave writes...

Last Friday, 31 adventurous pupils from years 6 and 7 left St Katharines Hall in the rain, laden down with large backpacks, sleeping bags, mattresses and wellies and walked to the Byre Theatre to board a large coach destined for Comrie Croft, Perthshire. Then they were laden down once more, marched to the top of a hill and led to a fantastic campsite with four, large round tents and an incredible view across the Pershire hills and a little wooded area.

After unpacking and setting out sleeping areas, there was time to explore and collect wood for the fires, quick games of football and general running about. We were all treated to fish and chips from the local chippie, which we ate sitting around large firepits, then later we heated hot chocolate in a large pan and toasted marshmallows on sticks, eating, them between chocolate hobnobs - delicious make shift smores.

I don’t know how many teeth were brushed that night, I don’t think any showers were taken and there was some difficulty getting to sleep! Do we put this down to the sudden drop in temperature and the fact that some of us sleep- rolled downhill (clad in sleeping bags) in the tents throughout the night! Or some very excitable little campers?

Breakfast was fantastic – bacon and scrambled eggs, not quite Peat Inn standards, but especially tasty having been cooked on the firepit once more. A team of year 7’s washed the grotty pans in the very eco-friendly mess area, in piping hot water heated with solar power.

The Amazons (Year 7s) then got kitted out with mountain bikes and helmets and after practice sessions around a tailor made course hit the hills. Up-hill was of course a challenge, but they coped well, and was worth all the effort when they came flying down the other side! Meanwhile, some of us were lucky enough to eat cake in the highly recommended tea room!

The Swallows (Year 6s) headed to a bushcraft experience where they were shown how to forage for food, start fires with dried lichen and flint and painted their face with berries or mud to really look the part! I hear the sour apple leaves were a great hit and more hot chocolate was also on the menu.

You would think we would have no appetite for lunch, but amazingly, we managed to guzzle sandwiches, chocolate and crisps! This was soon burned off when the two groups swapped activities in the afternoon and loads of running about, with the sun setting behind the hills when we got back to our hill top in the evening. This meant we were able to enjoy the burgers and sausages for tea!

There is nothing better than sitting around a fire at night and there was a real sense of well-being and camaraderie as well as a strong feeling that we had achieved so much in such a short time.

I am quite sure none of us will ever forget this trip, it was quite simply fantastic!

The children write...

"I really enjoyed the weekend and learned a lot about camping and survival. I learned how to light a fire, how to use an old kettle and how to mountain bike. I will make sure my Mum and Dad take us there" Lucinda

"I really enjoyed it, especially mountain biking. I would recommend it to anyone next year" Anna

"I really enjoyed the trip, especially having no electrical [devices]" Tom

"I had a great weekend, and it was really funny when Cameron sat in the wheelbarrow" Ruby

"The camping was cold, fun and the best trip I have done. I want to do it again" Finn

"I had a great time. I hope we have more camping trips next year. The mountain biking was great as well" Lucca

"Comrie Croft was amazing. I loved mountain biking and bushcraft. I want to do again" Polly

"I loved the weekend because we got to do lots of fun stuff like bushcraft, cycling and we got to be with our friends" Sam

Thrilling matches on Wednesday


The U12 Team started strongly and commanded most of the attacking play in the first quarter of the game, but were just unable to cross the goal line. MES closed out the half with 2 good goals in quick succession.

St Leonards got the bit between their teeth and opened the second half with a goal by Katie MacAulay from a indirect free hit. Spurred on by this, pressure from our attack forced another foul in the circle. Katie MacAulay got her stick on the end of the ball and rattled it off the back board bringing the scores level.

The team battled for the rest of the match with Captain Millie Love putting 3 just wide of the posts. Great game and team spirit!

Miss Dawson

U12 Rugby vs. Lathallan

The U12 team played as good a match as I have seen in my time at St Leonards. Their commitment to the tackle and their ambition to move the ball to the wide channels resulted in a marvelous team performance and as a result they came out on top at the final whistle.

The U10’s had a great tussle-again fully committed to the physical side of the game but unfortunately despite a good performance Lathallan were very good on the day and ran out winners.

It is great to see so many boys out enjoying their rugby and working hard to improve their performance.

U10 Rugby vs. Lathallan


This week it is all change for the after school cooking club as they took part in their activity at its new venue, the CDR. The girls from Years 6 and 7 had great fun exploring the kitchens, stores and cooking areas and were even brave enough to step inside the colossal refrigeration units, finding out the amazing work and preparation which goes in to making our school meals. Alongside the tour, the group made a delicious batch of pastries, filled with their own choice of ingredients. Many thanks go to Mrs Paterson who has very kindly offered to support this activity and offer the amazing chance to cook in a busy working kitchen.

The Monday cooks...


Year 2 rounded off their 'Unit of Inquiry' on jobs within our local community with a visit to the Scottish Fisheries Museum and the RNLI Lifeboat Station. Here were were able to investigate how the technology involved in fishing and found on board boats has developed and changed over time. We were really impressed by the hi-tech gear used by the Lifeboat crew and loved being allowed to explore their boats and hear about their daring rescues at sea. A great day was had by all.

Polar Expedition talk to Year 6 and 7

On Thursday this week, we were lucky enough to have Iona Wardener, a Year 11 Student from Fettes to come and talk to us about her adventurous expedition to the Arctic through The Polar Academy. Sorely disappointed at not being chosen for the expedition, having put enormous hard work into the training, Iona soldiered on nonetheless and her grit and determination paid off. With just two weeks to go, someone dropped out of the team and Iona was awarded a place. Year 6 and Year 7 were fascinated by Iona’s talk and wanted to know how she stayed safe from polar bears and did she have time for a snowball fight or two? Many were inspired and keen to follow in her footsteps, so watch this space….

She ended her presentation with the following advice:

"The polar academy has changed my life because I now know I can achieve anything by working hard and believing that I can achieve it. So, if you take anything away from me chatting today, know that no matter what you think you can or can't do, if you work hard and don't give up, you can achieve what you set out to do".



Congratulations to Cameron for his continued successes in Gymnastics, especially last weekend in a major competition.


Eabha and Cara have shown great 'action' and kindness, by making fruit juices and homemade slush puppies, and selling them to raise money for The Elmer Casey Foundation, a charity to raise awareness of Cancer.

Open Day

Following the success of last year's Open Days, our school Open Morning will take place on Saturday, 7 October 2017. Children in Years 4 -7, as well as the Senior School are requested to attend, looking smart in their school uniform, for a morning of fun learning activities. Inquiry lessons will start at 9.00am and finish at 11.30am. I also invite parents to use the event as an opportunity to see the school in action and visit the different areas and departments within our beautiful campus. The morning will start at 9.30am with a short welcome from Dr Carslaw and myself, followed by a tour of the Junior / Senior School, finishing in St Katharines Hall for refreshments. Further details will follow next week, but I do urge you to join us.

We wish the following a very...

Many Happy Returns to the following for the week ahead: Marko and Finn



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