Behind the Study Door
It is at this time of year that the true colours of a school community such as St Leonards come to the fore and the strength of the team of teaching and support staff becomes so very apparent. Reports, class museums, nativity plays, concerts and carol services, the many activities that bring about such excitement and joy, and of course keeping up the highest standards in the classroom until the very end are many things my colleagues balance during these wonderful – yet sometimes challenging – few weeks. Whilst the hard work of the staff is particularly evident at this time of year, it is their commitment, care and sheer passion for the job that makes such a difference to the young people, and ultimately drives the school forward.
The job of anyone working in a school requires great personal integrity and leading by example. Teaching and non-teaching staff exercise huge influence of every child, and with this comes a huge responsibility to undertake this responsibility with great empathy. We are so lucky to be supported by a diverse and valuable team, who bring great expertise to their roles. More important perhaps than their ‘day job’, whether this be classroom teaching, administrative responsibility, domestic or estates, is the importance of caring for the needs of individual pupils and developing outstanding relationships with one another and the young people here.
I often think the various roles within a school can be compared to a successful football team. The strikers are the academic, sports, music, drama and arts departments, scoring the goals and ultimately achieving the results. Those in the midfield provide the pastoral care – chasing the ball down wherever it goes (there for the children at all times). Those in defence do their best to avoid any own goals, and provide first-class firefighting (Julianne Pennycook and our leadership team). All rests with the goalkeeper, someone who needs their eye on the game at all times, to be able to act quickly and efficiently, and provide the all-important support from the back of the field (our incredible Alison who is there to back up everyone); and our wingers wait for the ball and then perform absolute miracles (individual dance, judo, gymnastics, learning support, instrumental music and LAMDA). The coaching and ‘back room’ teams prepare the ultimate environment for outstanding football (Admissions, Finance, Marketing, Administration, Grounds, Estates, Domestic and Catering).
Everyone has a different role, different angles on the game, and at times a very different view of the pitch, but all share a common goal (pardon the pun): to score those goals and progress up the league (see the child thrive, develop a voice, develop self-awareness and resilience, achieve core values, build confidence, make the very most of the opportunities, and ultimately make progress and achieve through happiness and encouragement). Everyone plays a part: all adults have a role and provide stability for the individual child.
We often use the analogy ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and that refers to the importance of school and home playing a role. Here at school, it is very much ‘the team around the child’, sometimes playing a quick game, sometimes focusing on the long game, and we couldn’t be more fortunate in having a first rate team here at St Leonards. I would like pay tribute to my immensely talented colleagues.
Managers come and go, but the players, coaching teams and ‘back room’ staff ensure the ongoing success of a school, and it is the mentality of ‘going the extra mile’ that contributes to a ‘total community’, such as St Leonards.
My warmest thanks to all those who work at St Leonards for their contribution to the happiness of our school and pupils.
Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Swimming Gala Successes
SWIMMING GALA SUCCESSES | Congratulations to the St Leonards swim team, Abbie, Sal, Eabha, Jennifer, Willow, Ed, Sanna and Thea, who competed at the Fife Schools Swimming Gala on Sunday at the Michael Woods Sports and Leisure Centre in Glenrothes.
Thea was presented with a silver medal in the 25m breaststroke, and personal bests were achieved by Jennifer (25m backstroke & 25m freestyle), Willow (25m butterfly), Abbie (25m butterfly & 25m freestyle), and Ed (25m freestyle).
Both the St Leonards Junior and Senior teams competed in the gala, which involved participants from schools across Fife. A super performance from our swimmers!
Who is a Hero?
WHO IS A HERO? | Year 3 had a visit from Marko's mum, Dr Romenska, from the University of St Andrews last week.
She told the story of Ernest Shackleton and Robert Scott and their desire to be the first to reach the South Pole, how both of them tackled the difficulties of the cold, the harsh winter and the lack of food very differently. The children realised that Scott was a hero taking his men there to try to be the first to reach the Pole, however Shackleton led his men by saying it was up to them if they wanted to make the journey, he knew it was too dangerous and they would not survive. The men decided to stay and wait and try to reach the Pole another time, they were rescued and survived. Sadly those on Scott's trip did not return. We see this history when we visit RRS Discovery in Dundee.
Being a 'leader' needs you to be brave, smart, honest, creative and kind. Not always the qualities you find in a hero, but in some you will.
The children enjoyed the discussion with Dr Romenska and taking part in her activities.
She finished her talk with a story about a Sheep who becomes king because he finds a crown, does this make him a 'true leader'? Have a read of Louis I King of the Sheep and see what you think!
Year 5 Discovery Trip
YEAR 5 DISCOVERY TRIP | On Friday, 23 November, Year 5 visited Discovery Point in Dundee. This is a long-standing trip and one of the highlights of Year 5's exciting Unit of Inquiry.
During their work the boys and girls have investigated various notable explorers who have had an impact on history. A trip to the RSS Discovery is a wonderful link to those legendary polar explorers.
In particular, there is a great interest in Sir Ernest Shackleton. Not only did Shackleton accompany Sir Robert Falcon Scott on his ill-fated expedition, but he has a link with St Leonards! On his return from his famous ordeal, he visited the school and opened a building - the first custom-built Science laboratory for girls in Scotland - now part of the Art Department.
These daring explorers exemplify all aspects of our PYP Learner Profile and it is a wonderful opportunity for our children to see how these men lived and worked in very trying conditions, and ultimately succeeded.
FESTIVE FOOTBALL | Years 4 & 5 added a Christmas twist to their Games lesson this week, playing festive football on the Astroturf. Wrapped up in jolly Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, everyone had a brilliant time outside.
We have plenty more festive events coming up as we head towards the end of Autumn Term, and know we'll see lots more of those colourful Christmas jumpers before the holidays come!
St Nicholas Day Celebrations
ST NICHOLAS DAY CELEBRATIONS | On Wednesday evening, pupils, parents and staff across both the Junior and Senior Schools came together in St Leonards Chapel for our annual St Nicholas Day service.
German readings, poems and songs were followed by traditional festive sweets and biscuits.
A special thank you to Mr Donlon's Year 7 German class, who delighted the congregation by singing 'Lasst uns froh und munter sein', and to our Sixth Form students for organising what was a very enjoyable occasion.
The following pupils received certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday:
Anna, Sal, Rachel, Eabha, Emily, Jennifer and Thea were presented with their certificates of participation following the Fife Schools Regional Gymnastics Heats, Primary Floor and Vault competition.
Charles received a Headmaster's Commendation for creating an excellent mechanical hand in Design.
Anna for super teamwork and creative thinking when working on slogans for an imaginary product.
Brendan, Daniel, Anna, Lucca, Ewen, Thomas, Luke, Ingrid and Polly all received Headmaster's Commendations for hard work throughout the term, achieving outstanding results in the recent Latin assessment.
Sam for designing a working helicopter in Design.
Sophie received a Headmaster's Commendation for determination and perseverance in Maths.
Isobel, Ellie, George, Rory, Evie and Freddie received Headmaster's Commendations for their dedication and tremendous effort put into the class project for the Christmas Fair stall.
Sophie for determination and perseverance in Maths.
Jasper for determination and perseverance in Maths.
Ava for determination and perseverance in Maths.
Lara for determination and perseverance in Maths.
Molly was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for fabulous writing.
Jamie was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for always being keen to assist in class and for showing exemplary behaviour at all times.
Jonathan for outstanding work in Literacy, especially writing. Jonathan also collected Simon's certificate on his behalf, which was awarded for showing commitment and enthusiasm towards his reading.
Elin for increased confidence and progress in writing.
Abdulla for determination in reading, and making superb progress.
Aidan for super teamwork and creative thinking when working on slogans for an imaginary product.
Oscar for fantastic focus during Maths work.
Francis received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for showing willing to take on responsibility in class, offering to help when needed, and for many acts of kindness, an example being helping a Year 1 pupil to choose a book at the recent Book Fair.
Ramsay was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for challenging himself to tackle numbers up to 1000 in Maths, and for putting in time and effort to help another pupil.
Cara, Khan and Marta for producing excellent work on Sports Heroes in PE.
BEACH-COMBING COLLECTION | Year 5 spent a morning collecting seaweed that had been washed up on East Sands beach during the recent story weather. It may have looked like a strange activity to the other visitors to the beach that morning, but it is all part of a plan!
In the Spring Term, the Junior School will start growing vegetables and other plants in their new poly tunnel. Whilst that may seem a long way off, there is a lot of work to do beforehand, and one of the tasks is prepare composting material. Every day, the green production waste is collected from the kitchen and taken by wheelbarrow to our composing area. The seaweed will be dug into the soil of our plant beds to add some much needed nutrients. Happy and industrious hands are all part of the plan!
Year 6 Museum
YEAR 6 MUSEUM | The boys and girls in Year 6 have been working hard on their displays for their class museum, which opened its doors this afternoon to parents, friends and relatives.
Inspired by the 'WEEE Man', each group chose an item to research and present, with displays ranging from a fridge (complete with working lights), to a sit-in lawnmower!
Well done to all the Year 6 pupils - what a fantastic end to the week!
News from the Lower School
Our Lower School News this week can be summed up in one word ‘Nativity!’
The children have all been working exceptionally hard on their nativity rehearsals. We just know that you are all going to be wowed by their performances. They are very much looking forward to sharing this magical festive performance with all of you on Sunday at 2.00pm.
May I remind you that 1.30pm is the absolute earliest that any child can arrive and 1:45pm is probably more than adequate. Staff will be on hand to assist with changing the children and we do ask that you let them do this whilst you relax and find your seats in the Main School Hall.
It is a very busy weekend ahead. Do try to enjoy some relaxation time in readiness for the ‘big show’, and I am sure I will see a number of you at our Christmas Fair tomorrow morning.
If you weren’t feeling festive before, I challenge you not to be by Monday – Christmas jumpers at the ready!
Have a wonderful weekend.
Claire Boissiere – Lower School Coordinator
CHRISTMAS FAIR | We are looking forward to seeing lots of St Leonards families and friends at tomorrow's Junior School Christmas Fair! Come along to St Katharines Hall from 10am - 12pm to browse the children's stalls, win festive prizes, and visit Santa in his Grotto! Booking is essential for Santa's Grotto, and for the gingerbread house decorating sessions, with details included on the posters below.