The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 10 November 2017


As the school congregated in front of Hepburn House for our Act of Remembrance this morning, I felt enormous pride in the boys and girls who rose to the occasion magnificently. Whether reading, laying a wreath, leading the prayers, or simply being part of the community, every single child showed great humility, stature and unassuming confidence. This isn’t the first time I have offered this sentiment to parents, and it isn’t given lightly: your children are a great credit to you.

As we navigate ourselves through choppy waters politically and daily headlines – whether bona fide or part of a growing concern of ‘fake news’ – which calls into question the sincerity and humility of leaders and role models, there is something deeply moving about a community coming together to remember past and present conflict and stand together in unity to celebrate peace. This was a sentiment I certainly felt today as I observed 156 girls and boys standing tall together and participating in two minutes' silence.

I have absolutely no doubt that the boys and girls will all have had different thoughts during those two minutes: some, quite understandably, will have allowed their minds to wander away from what brought us together today. Alongside paying tribute to members of the armed forces and civilians across the world who have striven, and continue to strive, for peaceful resolution, it was humbling to find the entire school community stopping for a moment. Silence is a truly powerful tool, and for a brief moment in time none of us gathered this morning could find any distraction.

From the moment these young people wake up to the moment they go to bed there is distraction in the form of information through many different mediums, interactivity on a scale that children growing up in either World War could not even comprehend, learning that now revolves (quite rightly) around collaboration, debate and discussion, the ongoing struggle to blend in with others, a multitude of extra-curricular activities, social media, interaction with friends both online and off-line and of course the surge in pressure, both to conform and meet societal expectations. That is a great deal for their minds and bodies to take in as they navigate the challenges of growing up. I wonder, in amongst this, how much time our young people – or indeed we – have to stop, pause and be content with silence?

For one brief moment today, we held a period of silence – whether for contemplation, reflection, charging imagination or simply allowing our minds to wander, and no email, phone call, ‘ping’, bell, football, news item, debate, material good or game could interrupt this.

Free from any distraction of day-to-day life, the boys and girls of St Leonards Junior School showed enormous dignity and respect. We must never underestimate what we can expect from children of this age. Remembering the past is incredibly important, as is paying tribute to the men and women who have devoted their lives to peace. Those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice across the world would – I have no doubt – be proud to see young people showing that same humility, and it is gratifying that this has, amongst all that life in 2017 brings, endured.

Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend.

William Goldsmith


GALLERY VISIT | On Monday, Year 7 visited the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. The pupils are focusing on creating a piece of art that describes different aspects of their identity. The class went to view paintings of people to see if they could decipher the clues given to us by the artist, which reveal the sitter's identity.

An owl painted in the background of one work was used to show that the subject was knowledgeable, while a pile of books hinted that another was an author. A blue sash revealed one sitter was a Scottish prince, and an aviation empire helped depict the Head of Caledonian Airlines.

Sir Adam Thomson, Head of Caledonian Airlines, painted by John Wannacott.

After a terrific guided tour and a spot of lunch, the children had a chance to sketch some of the portraits on display in the gallery.


ARMISTICE DAY ASSEMBLY | This week, we remembered those who lost their lives in conflict at our Armistice Day Assembly and Act of Remembrance. There was not an empty chair to be found in St Katharines Hall this morning as pupils, parents and staff gathered to pay their respects and listen to the children as they led us all in prayer, song and readings.

Charlotte McFadyen played the violin as everyone arrived at the Junior School, and the introduction and opening prayer was ready superbly well by Jack Gettinby-Anderson and Helena Flynn.

After our first hymn, 'Be thou my vision', Years 1 and 2 stood up to read 'Little Poppy'. They were followed by Year 3, who recited 'The White Cliffs of Dover', then Year 4 with 'Are You Sleeping?'.

Everyone joined in for 'I vow to thee my country' before Magnus Newton and Katie MacAulay read out the Poppy Appeal. Year 5 was represented by Rachel Hogg, Freddie Downie and Zachary Sewell reading 'Remembrance Day', then it was the turn of Year 6 pupils Paddy Pennycook, Anna Black and Luke Farquhar with 'In Flanders Fields'. Katie MacAulay led the closing prayers before Hector Long (Year 12) piped us to the entrance of Hepburn House.

Outside, Year 7 read an extract from 'War Game' by Michael Foreman and the House Captains of Mull, Harris, Skye and Lewis led the St Leonards Roll of Honour, remembering Seniors, St Andrews University alumni and residents of the town who gave their lives in battle.

After the wreaths were laid on the steps of Hepburn House, Tom McBarron (Year 12) played the Last Post to mark the start of our two-minute silence. Thank you to all the children for leading us in such a fitting Act of Remembrance, and to the parents and staff who attended.


REMEMBRANCE POEMS | Year 5 came up with some wonderful poems for Remembrance Day, and even made their own wreaths to illustrate their work. The children's 'Poppies' poems are on display in the Junior School for anyone who would like to come and have a look!


HOCKEY ROUND-UP | Well done to the Year 7 hockey team who beat the Madras S1 team 10-0 at Station Park on Monday! Goals were scored by Eva Smeddle (x2), Millie Love (x3), Nadja Campell (x2), Sophie Clarke, Katie MacAulay and Corinne Dumbreck. A brilliant win for St Leonards!

The U12 girls beat Kilgraston 4-2 at home with goals from Sophie Clarke, Millie Love, Elisenda Tortajada and Katie MacAulay. A solid performance from all, including some really great saves from Eilidh Jarrett when the game was tied 1-1!

It was a win for the U10s too, who comfortably beat Kilgraston 4-0 in an end to end game, which saw Thea Wright score a hat trick - two great goals in the first half and her third in the second half! Congratulations also to captain, Anna Black, who maintained her scoring form by claiming her goal at the start of the second half. Another great game!


BOOK FAIR FUN | On Thursday morning, the Scholastic Book Fair arrived in the Junior School with plenty of top titles to choose from! Some of the children have already selected their favourites. The Book Fair will be at St Leonards Junior School until Tuesday, 14 November, so don't forget to come and browse the shelves!


THE PACKAGING PROCESS | Year 4 enjoyed a fantastic visit from Lindsay Galloway Hall, during which they discovered just how much work goes into the packaging we use every day. From design to sampling, testing, production and delivery, the children learned that even a humble box goes through a huge number of processes.

Now, as they come to design packaging for their own products, Year 4 will be acutely aware of the importance of cost, time and quality in every step, as well as making sure they avoid alienating any market, such as the US where the customer must be able to see the product. Likewise, in Asia the colour blue symbolises death and no thumb images should be used for the Iranian market.

The children asked so many questions and thoroughly enjoyed seeing how popular brands have changed their logos over the years. A huge thank you to Lindsay for giving her time to come in and talk to us, and to Mrs McGuire who made the whole visit happen!


Congratulations to the following pupils who received certificates during Celebration Assembly on Monday:

Archie for expressing ideas on freedom.

Marta for giving a wonderful presentation on family history as part of the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Anna for showing enthusiasm towards the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Adam for being very brave in starting a new school, for joining in with all the activities and settling in so well to life at St Leonards.

Daniel for giving a wonderful presentation on family history as part of the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Cara for giving a wonderful presentation on family history as part of the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Marko received two awards this week. He was Year 2's Pupil of the Week for working extremely hard in class and gaining confidence over the term. Marko was also awarded a Headmaster's Commendation for giving a wonderful presentation on family history as part of the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Shreyas for interpreting the world religion in clay and expressive lettering.

Scott for giving a wonderful presentation on family history as part of the 'Unit of Inquiry'.

Olivia for producing an excellent piece of independent writing which consisted of a description of herself, having made a collage of her face.

Harry for writing a critical review of the film 'Hidden Figures' as part of the Homework Heroes tasks.

Cara for researching and writing a booklet depicting life in the Victorian era.


CERES FOLK MUSEUM | Year 2 enjoyed a fascinating visit from volunteers at Ceres Folk Museum last week. This tied in perfectly with the current 'Unit of Inquiry' which is all about family histories.

Our visitors ran an engaging workshop on what life was like when our grandparents were children. They brought along lots of artefacts for the everyone to play with and gave us some great ideas, which we can use when the pupils set up their own Family Histories Museum later in the term!


PUMPKIN PARTY | For one night only, the Junior School transformed into a spooky setting for our annual Pumpkin Party! Pupils and parents had a frightfully good time, attending in an array of wonderful costumes – eerie guests included zombie school children, mad scientists, scary skeletons, power rangers, seaweed, and of course, pumpkins!

After the grand and dramatic Halloween parade, our Head boy and Head girl awarded prizes for the best costume and creatively carved pumpkins.

Next up were the trick or treat games: dozens of hanging doughnuts were then eaten and children were attempting not to ruin their face paint while apple bobbing!

Thank you to our wonderful Parents Association for dressing the hall, creating the Halloween games and providing the popular popcorn nibbles. We managed to snap plenty of photographs of the crazy costumes over the course of the evening so here's the album in full!

Wishing the following a very...

We wish Joe a very Happy Birthday for the week ahead.

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