BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
As I write this, School is mysteriously quiet and I can reflect on the most magical of Carol Services we have just enjoyed. Our readers were superb, the Choirs sang beautifully and each Class performed their Carol with energy. My thanks go to Mr. Paul Shiells, Mrs Fiona Love and Mr. Robin Bell for arranging such a stunning service.
Our focus for this term has been one of Growth Mindset, in that we encourage our pupils to embrace mistakes, see challenges and springboards for future success and have no fear - or indeed belief - in failure as finite. In all areas of School life we have promoted taking on challenges, learning from mistakes, accepting criticism and feedback, perseverance, the importance of asking questions and taking risks. This theory comes from Carol Dweck, an eminent Professor in Education at Stamford University, and you will remember I shared her diagram with you in September. I urge you to watch her recent RSA animation on Growth Mindset, paying particular attention to her advice of praising your children for their effort, rather than achievement.
The awards I presented to each child yesterday in Assembly gives us an opportunity to reflect on all the individual qualities they all have, and that it is so important that we as teachers and parents continue to develop their inner self-belief that they can achieve when they put their mind to something. This doesn't just have to be talents on the Academic front, Games Field, or in the Arts. Achievement through courage, kindness, role-modelling, leadership, a sense of right and wrong, is just as powerful and significant.
Sylvia Duckworth's Iceberg illusion illustrates Growth Mindset and the effort behind success very well. As you reflect on your child's successes this term, and over the next three weeks, do show them this image and explain it to them. The top of the iceberg above water is what happens when you are successful. Below the water is what people do not see, and this is all the different factors that enable you to learn effectively.
What a wonderful end to the term we have all enjoyed. The run up to Christmas in any School is an immensely special time, and here at St Leonards we have certainly enjoyed some memorable occasions as a community, many of which are commented on below. My end of term letter, sent out to parents next week, will give a summary of the term, however I must mention that I couldn't be prouder of all the pupils have achieved over the last 16 weeks. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know every single child and follow their progress in all areas of School life.
The School was transformed into a Winter Wonderland on Sunday for our annual Christmas Fair. As usual, the children's stalls lived up to expectations and we were treated to a wonderful and vast array of outstanding stalls, including: homemade potpourri, notelets and festive cards, roulette wheel, fortune-telling, photo booth, baked goodies, guess the sweets in the jar and many more imaginative displays and games. Well done to all the children for working so hard on their stalls and on the day, and raising a whopping £1,150. The money raised has gone to the Save the Children appeal to support desperate children in Aleppo, Syria and Yemen. Yet again, there was a tremendous atmosphere and my thanks to Claire Boissiere and the Sixth Form CAS students for masterminding the morning.
A new initiative this year was 'The Avenue', a host of stalls run by Parents and Friends selling their homemade goodies and crafts. This was a very welcome addition to the day and gave everyone the opportunity to browse and purchase many festive delights. My study was turned into Santa's Grotto for the morning, and my enormous thanks to Michelle Wilkinson, Kerry Munro and the PA for all they did to make the day so successful. Welcome refreshments were provided, once again, in the 'Retreat Cafe', also run by our marvellous PA.
We were all treated to a magnificent sit-down Christmas Lunch on Tuesday, courtesy of Laura, Mary and our wonderful Catering Team. With Grace before and after lunch, it was an opportunity for the entire School - staff and children - to enjoy a delicious lunch together, and even have a visit from Father Christmas.
Many thanks to the Catering team for all they have done this week and throughout the term to look after us so well.
On Thursday afternoon the School gathered together, joined by a number of Parents, for our end of term celebration assembly. Interspersed with community Christmas singing (our rendition of 12 Days of Christmas was superb), we had awards for each class as well as Sport, Music, Art and Drama endeavour awards. This provided us with an opportunity to celebrate the successes, character strengths and endeavours of each child and there was a great deal to celebrate. A common theme in many of the certificates awarded was kindness, consideration, determination, growth in confidence, leadership, a sense of fairness and loyalty to others. Ending with 'Silent Night', with St Katharines Hall lit by candlelight, it was a very special end to the term.
May I Highlight two citations which encapsulate the qualities we look for in our children:
He has made an exceptional start to his time at St Leonards, showing dedication, team spirit, enthusiasm and positivity - an excellent all-rounder
For displaying true leadership potential and being an outstanding role model to the School community
She is always willing to put others before herself, offering assistance, friendly support and forever being positive
He has never given up
In the magnificent surroundings of Holy Trinity Church, we held our beautiful service of Lessons and Carols on the last morning of term. A celebration of the true meaning of Christmas, but also a special occasion when the whole School community comes together, our service consisted of anthems from our Boys, Girls and Chamber Choir, readings confidently delivered by children across Years 4-7, Prayers led by the House Captains and year group carols rehearsed in Class Music this term. With uplifting congregational carols, an energetic address given by Revd. McClarty and the most stunning Vesper Hymn as a blessing, sung by the Chamber Choir, this was a wonderful way to end the term and begin the Christmas holidays.