Behind the Study Door
"The first stroke of eleven produced a magical effect. The tram cars glided into stillness, motors ceased to cough and fume, and stopped dead, and the mighty-limbed dray horses hunched back upon their loads and stopped also, seeming to do it of their own volition.
Someone took off his hat, and with a nervous hesitancy the rest of the men bowed their heads also. Here and there an old soldier could be detected slipping unconsciously into the posture of 'attention'. An elderly woman, not far away, wiped her eyes, and the man beside her looked white and stern.
Everyone stood very still... the hush deepened. It has spread over the whole city and became so pronounced as to impress one with a sense of audibility. It was a silence which was almost pain... and the spirit of memory brooded over it all"
The Manchester Guardian. 12 November, 1919
One hundred years ago at the first Act of Remembrance, this article captures the spirit in which people expressed and shared grief which must have still been very raw indeed. The last century have seen similar scenes in villages, towns and cities, with the same respect, connective-ness and reflection.
As the school congregated in Chapel and on the Terrace on Friday for our Act of Remembrance, I felt enormous pride in the girls and boys who rose to the occasion magnificently. Whether reading, leading the prayers or roll of honour, laying a wreath, or simply being part of the community, every single child showed great humility and stature. 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. Our Choristers led the Remembrance Sunday services in Chapel with extraordinary singing too.
As we navigate through uncharted waters politically, there is something deeply moving about a community coming together to remember past and present conflict and stand together in unity to reflect on peace. This was a sentiment I certainly felt on Friday as I observed nearly 300 pupils standing tall together and participating in the two minutes' silence.
The girls and boys 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 on a rather misty, autumnal morning. 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 for an entire school community to stop for a moment. Silence is a truly powerful tool, and for a brief moment in time none of us gathered 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, interactively on a scale that children growing up in either World War could even comprehend. Quite rightly, learning now involves collaboration, debate and discussion; our young people navigate the ongoing struggle to 'fit in', social media, interaction on-line and off-line, and a surge in pressure, both to conform and meet societal expectations. There is a great deal to take in, and I wonder how much time they - and we - have to stop, pause and be content with silence?
For one brief moment, we held a period of silence with no interruptions. Free from any distraction, the girls and boys of St George's showed dignity and respect. The play, 'War Horse' ends with the following extract from a song by the folk singer, John Tams:
"Only the truth that in life we have spoken; only the see that in life we have sown; these shall pass onwards when we are forgotten; only remembered for what we have done"
In an unpredictable political landscape, I have no doubt our children will be remembered, not for conflict or antagonistic actions, but for truth, integrity and for sowing the seeds of peace.
On Friday morning St George’s School pupils, staff and parents gathered for a service in St George’s Chapel. The service included For the Fallen sung by the Chamber Choir and a reading of an account of the school day on 11 November 1918. After the Chapel Service, pupils from Years 1 to Year 8, parents and guests filed on to the Head Master's Lawn for a very moving Act of Remembrance, the first of its kind to take place at the school itself. The morning was appropriately damp and cold for the occasion. Pupils from Year 7 read extracts from War Game, by Michael Foreman, after which the Years 7 and 8 choristers read out a Roll of Honour of all the St George’s pupils who lost their lives as a result of conflict. The youngest Year 1 child laid a wreath to pay tribute to past pupils, members of the College of St George and those who worked in Windsor Castle and all those in Windsor who gave their lives in the service of their country. The Last Post was played and a two-minute silence observed, followed by The Reveille and prayers led by Revd Jonathan Coore, our School Chaplain. Afterwards parents and guests joined staff for tea and coffee in The Victoria.
Florence Nightingale Workshop
Florence Nightingale really captured the imagination of the Year 2 children when she came to hold a workshop with them as part of their history topic. Using a selection of Victorian items which they could touch and feel, she told the children about her early life, her dreams of becoming a nurse and then took them back in time to experience life as it was in Victorian times.
Prep School English Department
It is a busy time of year in the English department. Routines have been fully established in the first half of term, so we can now enjoy being creative in class. Autumn poems are in abundance and it has been lovely to read such rich and colourful descriptions used to describe the changing season and to see some of the wonderful work displayed on the classroom walls. The pupils in the Tuesday Creative Writing Activity had fun producing acrostic poems about fireworks this week and they tried very hard to use onomatopoeia to describe the sounds. Year 8 have been fine tuning their poetry analysis skills, but have also written some poems about an evacuee and read Dulce et Decorum Est.
Year 7 have been putting their letter writing skills to good use and have each written a formal letter to Mr Goldsmith with their suggestions for improving the playground facilities. Their ideas are impressive (and expensive in some cases!) and Mr Goldsmith is looking forward to receiving them.
Each class has been reading and studying a text which has allowed for some fantastic work in the classroom. Year 5 have been transported to Narnia in their reading of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The children have been looking at different figurative language techniques and this week they were writing a character description of the White Witch. Previously the children read Michael Morpurgo's This Morning I Met A Whale. They then had to retell the story by drawing pictures, using a technique called Text Mapping. The children went on to write their own versions of the story adding an animal of their choice into the text. Year 6 have been marooned on an island in their reading of Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom and have just discovered that the central character is not alone! This has prompted lots of discussion and prediction.
As the darker evenings draw in, it is a perfect time to curl up with a good book. Mrs Pickering has many new books on display in the library and several classes have been taking the opportunity to browse and borrow books either during Form Time or as part of their English lessons.
Green Council Report - by Zinédine B and Tom G
The 2019 – 20 St George's Green Council pupil members met this week to discuss the ways in which the school community could continue to improve its impact on the environment. We have a couple of tasks to complete now and a few that we are going to do in the future. We want to work on reducing our carbon footprint and plastic waste locally, nationally and internationally. Some of the ways we are going to do this is by litter picking, having an hour of no electricity and a reward system for people that walk to school or completing other environmental initiatives. The whole school community is welcome to offer ideas, which can be submitted to either the Green Council representative for each form group or Mr Nicholas.
A Green Council newsflash, direct from Mrs Chorley, our Business Director, has been to notify us that catering at the school is now ‘single use plastic free!’ It was estimated that St George’s had available up to 1000 plastic cups a week for use around the school – for this to be no longer the case is a real achievement! April 2019 was the last time plastic cups were purchased. The remaining stock of single use plastic has come to its end. Much of the single use plastic, examples being cutlery for school events / trips, has now been replaced with either paper or biodegradable materials (based on corn or vegetable starch).
The Geography Department has cut their paper use by 50%. Mrs Goble was very pleased to report that Year 7 has recently completed an entire project using Google Docs, which has saved a huge amount of paper and kept the space available in the pupils’ exercise books for other work.
Well done everyone for a collective drive to save the planet at a local, national and international level.
Football v Bishopsgate
On Friday the U8 teams travelled to Bishopsgate with the target of teamwork fresh in their minds from the week's lessons, having spent a large amount of time continuing to develop passing in both open and closed scenarios. The White team were involved in an evenly matched contest during which the opposition were thwarted by some excellent first half goalkeeping from Ben C. In the second half a thrilling goal form Albie S moved St George's ahead, and the team managing to hold on to the lead until the final whistle. The Red team played very well and it was pleasing to see that boys had taken their recent passing drills in practice and put this into a match situation, with some excellent ‘one-two’ passing, which created a number of scoring chances for Leonardo DZZ and Joshy G. Nearly every player had a stint in goal, Herbie W was called on a number of times to make some fantastic saves. James C and Thomas D played very well and made many important tackles which allowed Arthur JE to run at the opposition defence and set up numerous goal-scoring opportunities for his team; a very strong performance, well done! The Blue Team had a very tough game. Despite a better second-half performance, there is still lots of room for improvement, especially in defence.
The U9 teams hosted Bishopsgate. The Red team were playing on a larger pitch that was really conducive for attacking displays. There were some fantastic set pieces from both teams and crosses into the box, particularly from Will F and George H. The defences came out on top with Sam N and Paul R sweeping up really well. They were unfortunately overcome by a good goal but the performance was hugely pleasing! The White team worked hard all through their game. Josh I and Isaac S were the standout players, working tirelessly throughout the match, preventing many attempts on goal by Bishopsgate. He also displayed excellent leadership on and off the pitch. It was a very fair result and excellent game to watch.
The Blue Knights team played very well, showing plenty of energy and commitment. At times they lacked positional organisation, however, this just added to the spirit of the game and they should be immensely proud of how they played! The boys edged out Bishopsgate in an exciting 5-4 win. The Blue Dragons had a very exciting game with opportunities for both teams throughout the match. It was pleasing to see the team work hard to pass the ball in key areas on the pitch. A special mention must go to Baptiste A for his effort level throughout the game.
Netball v The Marist
Both U10 teams worked well to move the ball down the court and there were some successful passages of play into the shooting circle. Well done to the defence of both teams, who were faced with tough competition throughout the match. Isla M and Lily D worked hard to turn possession over and continued to mark their players. Both teams showed great positivity throughout the match. Special mention to Charley W who played a great role as goalkeeper and made lots of interceptions throughout the match. Reya M and Jeevan H worked very well together to clear the ball out of the defence and well done to Evie C who worked hard in the circle to create goal-scoring opportunities.
In the U11 matches the girls became much more cohesive as the game progressed and made some promising passages of play down the court. Both teams never gave up and there were some great interceptions from Willow W and Jennifer W throughout the match. Carys C and Yana V worked well together to bring the ball out of the circle and made effective use of space. Well done to Noor O who played as goal shooter for the first time and as her confidence grew, she became more and more successful at creating opportunities.
There was some great play in the U9 Red match on Friday. The team worked together well and sustained their marking, despite being up against some tough competition. Well done to Gracie M and Siena L who made some excellent passes and interceptions throughout the match. In the U9 White match, there were some excellent passes and scoring from Edith R and Lara B. The girls did really well to create space and were positive throughout. Special mention to Celeste J-H who played a great match as Centre and was also girl of the game.
Well done to all the girls on their first netball fixture of the term, some great positivity and things to work on in preparation for next week’s matches.
On Wednesday, as part of our PSHE programme, PC Bullock spoke to the pupils in Years 6, 7 and 8 about how to stay safe if they are out on their own. They have learnt about Safe Strangers and who they can go to if they feel uncomfortable, lost or worried; suggestions were the Police, shops, the Bank or Post Office. He also spoke about strangers, what is a stranger and what to do if they were approached by a stranger, offered something or asked to go with a stranger. In this instance they have been advised to take themselves away from the situation and seek a Safe Stranger or place. We have emphasised the need for them to stay as a group, when out on their own and talk to an adult about anything which has caused them concern so that support and help can be given to ensure that they feel safe as quickly as possible.
PC Bullock works closely with our homeless population and was also able to give some really insightful advise about managing a situation around this, which may cause our children concern.
Not all children of this age will want to venture out without an adult but we hope that this advice will be helpful when they do.
Key telephone numbers for all of us when contacting the Police are: 999 for an emergency and 101 for advice.
There were two special competition prizes this week. Lucky Jeevan H won the £80 pounds of Daniel's vouchers having won the 'guess the number of plastic balls in a defibrillator safe' challenge, which raised £360. On Thursday, November 21 pupils and teachers from St George's will team up with students from Windsor Girls' School to take part in a 'walk the peaks' challenge to raise even more money to buy a life saving defibrillator for the Windsor community.
As part of World Space Week pupils across the school were set a challenge to design a moon base for astronauts to live and work, in the not too distant future. The children came up with wonderful ideas and designs. The overall winner was Richard C (Y3) for his detailed and well thought out design. The runners-up were; Toby D (Y3), Albie S (Y3) Lara H (Y4), Nifeli M (Y6), Owen H (Y6). Congratulations to everyone who took part.
Reception Breakfast with Dad
It was lovely to see so many parents and grandparents spending time with Reception children on Thursday.
Years 2 and 3 Instrumental Concert
Here are just a few of the photos of our talented musicians who performed at Wednesday's concert. Well done to everyone for practising so well for it!
It was terrific to welcome Elevate again this year, who come to deliver workshops to Years 7 and 8. Based in London, they offer insightful strategies for learning and memorising key facts. Their unique selling point is using recent university graduates to come with plenty of energy and a fresh outlook on the value of developing useful learning and memorising strategies. The pupils leave with a sense of being able to retain much more than perhaps they thought possible. They also receive a login to access short video clips and other helpful online material relating to learning strategies.