The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 3 February 2017


"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain"

What is the real purpose of education? Sure, it is important to get good grades, learn and make progress in all areas of the curriculum, have exposure to a breadth of opportunities and have fun along the way. However, there is absolutely no doubt that the primary aim of successful schooling lies in achieving lifelong happiness. As we draw to the close of Mental Health awareness week in the Senior School, and 'Spread a little kindness' week in the Junior School, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight key areas we can not only promote, but ensure the very foundations of wellbeing in our pupils from Year 1. Our role in the Junior School is to lay down protective factors to provide our boys and girls with the resilience to weather the everyday winds, rains and sometimes storms of life.

Cara's sign - 'spread a little kindness'

'Flourishing' is a word I think encapsulates exactly what we - teachers and parents - want our children to be. Martin Seligman, a leading architect in positive psychology measures well-being in five elements:

1. Positive emotion

2. Engagement

3. Relationships

4. Meaning

5. Achievement

and from this we can choose any number of key qualities we would like to see our children develop, including:

Self-esteem; curiosity; optimism / hope; zest; resilience; kindness; empathy; gratitude.

Through our curriculum and approaches to teaching and learning, we place heavy emphasis on curiosity, encourage risk-taking and challenge. Through our commitment to global-links, we look to develop compassion and kindness in our children. Self-esteem and the building of confidence lies at the heart of our approaches to Pastoral Care and Growth-Mindset cuts right across the curricula and co-curricular sides of school life in binding all this together.

"Like Eric Liddell, we are all made for a purpose" (James Shone)

Our pupils are being brought up with more opportunities than ever before in a world that is developing at a pace we couldn't even have imagined as children. This is tremendously exciting for the next generation, but also places pressures on them. Pressure to succeed, social pressures (both online and offline) and the increased danger of children seeking perfection and losing sight of their own special qualities, and in essence becoming uncomfortable in their own skin.

It is a pertinent time to remind ourselves that we must help our children build resilience and grit; and develop the mental and emotional robustness that allows them to deal with the daily challenges, hurdles and sometimes slap in the face life will inevitably deliver. As one of the most inspirational teachers and now mental health campaigners, Dick Moore, says "to bend in the wind rather than snap in the hurricane".

Nick Vujicic reminds us not to focus on what we can't do, but on what we can do

In tandem with our curriculum, we will seek to encourage goal setting, problem solving, growth through challenge and commitment, as well as many of the core soft skills mentioned above. You will note that I haven't mentioned talent, gift or intelligence. As Dr. Bernard Trafford (Newcastle Grammar School) highlights, these are not helpful concepts: it is the growth mind-set, acceptance and learning from failure that we need to emphasise. On this note, I couldn't be more proud of our U12 girls' hockey team who demonstrated all of this in abundance as they travelled to Mary Erskine expecting heavy losses based on previous encounters with them, only to return triumphant in so many ways.

William Goldsmith

Girls Hockey vs. Mary Erskine

The U12s take on Mary Erskine

It was an action packed game which was end to end from the first whistle. An early goal from Fiona put us in front and Mary Erskine drew level on the stroke of half time. Midway through the second half MES took the lead but Millie Love brought us back on level terms with an great finish. MES struck again and with 5 minutes left Fiona completed her brace. Another great performance from all involved.

The U12B Team had a hard fought game, with end to end play in the first half. Eva had 3 balls which just missed the target by centimetres. Spirits were high and with determination the team upped their game in the 2nd half. Great linking play allowed St Leonards to attack the Mary Erskine goal line. Corinne fed a fast ball past the defence and Eva finished it off, and scored the winning goal. Superb!

Magnus earns his Blue Peter Green badge

We are all immensely proud of Magnus for earning the ultimate accolade: a Green Blue Peter Badge. With the aim of building a shelter for hedgehogs, Magnus cut up old pallets and constructed a superb home for them over winter. For his initiative and endeavours, Blue Peter recognised Magnus' contribution to wildlife and awarded this sought after award. Congratulations, Magnus.


On Friday Dr Swift (aka Verity’s Dad) kindly visited the Year 3 children to talk about the importance of health and safety within our environment. Within Dr Swift’s role of Head of Centre for Advanced Scientific Technologies at the University of Dundee, he shared good practice with us and highlighted the dangers involved in working with lasers and chemicals. We were given the opportunity to dress up in safety gear and create our own risk assessment….Many thanks to Dr Swift for taking the time to visit us, we learned a great deal.

Artist of the month

We have launched our new monthly competition, 'Artist of the Month'. Presented to a pupil who has not only produced a stunning piece or work, but also put a great deal of effort into his / her art, this award will be presented monthly. With the pictures framed in our 'Artist of the Month' gallery, we will also produce a calendar at the end of the year.

Many congratulations to Freya in Year 5 for her superb landscape piece, inspired by Joan Eardley.


Year 2 had a visit from two real engineers, Jonny Chernin’s parents, Margi and Leon, as part of our inquiry into simple machines.

They introduced us the tale in which Archimedes, who had been examining the properties of levers and pulleys, built a machine that allowed him to single-handedly move a ship and her crew across a harbour.

Leon had created an amazing system of pulleys that allowed us to replicate this venture in the classroom, much to the delight of our class! Pulleys certainly made this job easier.


Our warmest congratulations to Mr. Bosphore-Ward's husband, who was awarded an MBE at an investiture at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles. Commander Douggie Ward, a Royal Naval officer, has been recognised for his work on gender equality & LGBT within the Royal Marines and Royal Navy. He joined the Royal Navy as a Logistics Officer in 1997 and has served in a variety of ships, submarines and shore bases. As a qualified Barrister, he has also undertaken operational tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bahrain, as well as other legal posts in the UK. He currently serves as a Prosecutor at the Courts Martial. Douggie is also a Stonewall Scotland Role Model and works with the charity Diversity Role Models to give anti-bullying talks in schools around the UK.

This is a superb achievement, and a richly deserved accolade for Commander Ward.


In conjunction with our 'Unit of Inquiry', investigating processes, Year 4 have been exploring the language of instructions. Here, we made paper aeroplanes. One group had picture instructions, one group had word instructions and one group both. We all agreed having both was the best scenario but all our planes were airworthy. Great fun!

Many Happy returns to....

We wish the following children a very Happy Birthday: Riya, Angus, Isabel and Emily


Please click on the link below to access next week's mailing:

- Menu

- Music Lessons

- Diary Dates

- Details of the St Leonard Breakfast Club (Year 6 and above)

Action for Happiness:


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