It was more "bubbles" and now facemasks too among other things this term, as the school worked hard to stay Covid safe. It has been great to see the flexibility and versatility shown by the pupils, staff and parents to the necessary changes in school life. It hasn’t got in the way of the WHP spirit and “joie de vivre”. Everyone was so happy to be back!
We all plunged into a busy term enjoying familiar routines like Wake 'n' Shake, and embracing new ways of learning. We enjoyed National Poetry Day to this year's theme of "vision". Torrential rain gave much cause for excitement and Year 2 helped a virtual celebration of Harvest Festival for the first time. The whole school was able to honour the fallen with a two minute silence on Remembrance Day with touching readings from Year 8. Show HM's took place at a safe distance and we were also privileged to have a virtual assembly visit from Alex Hibbert, a real life polar explorer who told us about his record breaking journeys across ice caps in Greenland.
We held a special day dressed up as our favourite book characters to remember Mrs Bell. She had a passion for theatre, so the supported charity was Acting For Others which supports all workers in theatre, an area also particularly hard hit by the pandemic
This year's scholarships have started to be awarded and a truly great haul so far! Well done to Owen Y (Dauntsey's, Sports), Lois M (Millfield, Sports), Emilia E (Millfield, All Round), Pippa S (Blundell's, Sports) and Harry G (Millfield, Sports).
Academic life is going through exciting and innovative change, as we move to the PSB (Prep School Baccalaureate). The focus on values and pillars of character such as kindness, ambition and resilience, along with the 6 core learning skills of collaboration, leadership, independence, reflection, curiosity and expression are key additions to the learning journey we offer the children, which we feel will equip them well for their next step and later life. Mr Boyce and Mrs Peel gave very informative virtual meetings to parents to introduce and explain this learning approach during the term.
The boarding house sprang back to life and got right back into its busy routines of study and fun. The boarders loved their active weekends with everything from 10k walks, to treasure hunts and returning to a satisfying roast dinner. Sunday Funday, as usual, a real highlight:
Not to mention of course a booming fireworks night and the much loved Spotlight.
Everyone at Early Years Pre-School and Reception is very excited about their adoption of curiosity based learning and working towards their Curiosity Approach Accreditation. The learning space has been transformed to facilitate this new way of learning, with authentic resources offering a range of textures and objects to explore and investigate.
As always, Forest and Beach School have been a big feature of the term, and the children enjoyed the rain too! Their world is always rich in colour and they love to travel out of school on adventures. Pumpkin picking at the farm while enjoying the book "Pumpkin Soup" was a wonderful trip this term.
In sport, a few words such as county, district, pathway, academy and squad have been used a lot, as outside clubs and organisations have recognised the great sporting performance of West Hill pupils and want to take them on a route to even greater heights. The sports scholarship programme is nurturing their talent and it is wonderful to see inter-house and even inter-school sport coming back to WHP.
Our first online concert was in November which gave everyone a chance to step up and perform and we look forward to further grander events to come. It has been lovely to get back to doing some singing and also to see how hard all the children have been working in preparation for our exciting Christmas music video. They have demonstrated great resilience in difficult Covid restricted learning conditions this term, and we are proud to say we gave over two thousand music lessons on piano, singing, guitar, drums, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, trumpet, trombone and cello.
Well done to all who worked so hard for their end of term ABRSM music exams with a 100% pass rate. Special mentions for Isabella P, Alfie A, Cori M, Benji P and Sophie T for their distinctions and the nine other children who gained merits.
Outdoor education has been thriving this term, and they have created great video records of their adventures as they train for their Outdoor Challenge Expeditions, building the resilience and perseverance they will need.
Club WHP had a busy half term and is now looking to offer specialist sports coaching in the holidays too. Here's looking forward to life after the pandemic when we can welcome pupils from other schools and the local community into the club again too.
The West Hill Riding School had two days of saddle club, where participants were able to really learn about taking care of the ponies as well as honing their riding skills.
With festive lunches, dinners, hat and jumper days, pantomimes and popcorn machines, we were able to celebrate the festive season in style!