The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 28 September 2018



At the start of October 2010, Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin captained Europe and the United States respectively in the Ryder Cup. Held at Celtic Manor, Europe battled through dreadful weather and regained the cup, winning 14 ½ to 13 ½. Arguably one of the most dramatic and popular sporting contests in the world, the Ryder Cup takes a sport that is largely an individual pursuit and creates a competition that requires teamwork to the highest degree.

As the Ryder Cup gets underway in Paris, I have spent the last 48 hours at Celtic Manor, alas not on the golf course (you have my assurance that my clubs have remained back home) but attending the annual IAPS Conference for Heads of Independent Prep and Junior Schools.

The theme for this year’s conference has been ‘Tomorrow’s World; Global Citizens’, with a focus on how we as educators can instil values, a deep understanding of global issues, and continue to put the right skills and attitudes as a central part of our curricula. Looking at the notion of ‘Global Literacy’, it is very interesting to see the work the UN, amongst others, are doing to promote such skills, values and competences fit for the 21st century. In line with our focus on ‘Education for Social Responsibility’, we will certainly take these models away with us to continue to link them with our ‘Units of Inquiry’.

What we are seeing here, though, is a shift from a traditional ‘instruction’ method of teaching and learning (a largely 20th century-based model), to much more of a skills-based approach, and this requires a move from the learner as an individual (working towards, and passing, a raft of exams) to the learner engaged in collaboration with others and developing a set of interpersonal skills to equip them to work in diverse teams.

One of the talks I attended illustrates this very well, and takes us into Higher Education and a shift in attitudes that is being seen in many of the world’s leading universities. Dr Ruth Graham, an engineer at Imperial College London, has engaged in some interesting research around Engineering degrees across the world. In her research, she has seen Engineering degrees going through a period of rapid change, both in terms of teaching and the admissions process. An example she cites is MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), where they have changed their whole way of educating students from a traditional instruction model, to a curriculum that focuses on skills, innovation, creativity, communication and multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary learning. Their selection process, whilst still primarily focused on academic ability, now comprises a selection weekend where candidates are assessed on their listening and understanding of others, ability to collaboratively define and solve problems, and their empathy and compassion. Dr Graham feels that this rapid shift in mindset across Engineering departments will soon spread (if it hasn’t already) to other faculties and degree subjects, and we are in danger of creating a dichotomy if school education programmes still focus on the individual, examinations and transfer of knowledge.

Emerging leaders in education will be the ones who acknowledge the importance of these skills, an understanding of others, the ability to listen and work confidently and comfortably in diverse groups. The shift from the individual to this collaborative approach is now being seen as critical to the success of those we are educating. Even when Artificial Intelligence plays a dominant force in 2030, an understanding of other people will prevail.

As Rose and Rahm lead Finau and Koepka in the ‘Friday Fourballs’ in Paris, I think we can take great lessons from the Ryder Cup. A tournament where great individual ability and strength is quite frankly useless without the ability to communicate, work as a team, listen and respond to others, and collectively draw out the very best in others.

As we look to tomorrow’s world, it seems that togetherness is not simply about humanity and good citizenship, it plays a crucial role in driving individual success.

I wish all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.

William Goldsmith


COMRIE CROFT | Last weekend, our Year 6 and 7 pupils spent the weekend camping, mountain biking, learning bush craft skills and just enjoying the great outdoors. This is the second time that St Leonards has headed to Comrie Croft to enjoy the Perthshire countryside. Our Comrie Adventure is scheduled at the start of the school year as it provides a valuable opportunity for our two uppermost form groups to bond, share experiences and learn new skills.

We arrived early on Friday afternoon and soon set about making camp, unpacking gear and getting to know the site and learning about the routines and chores that needed to be followed over the weekend. We were blessed with clear skies in the afternoon, which meant that as soon as the sun dropped below the horizon, the air began to chill quickly. Everyone was treated to a fish and chips supper whilst we sat and sang songs around the campfire. Happily Mr Shiells had brought his guitar with him, and a spot of music was a perfect end to our first day.

Saturday involved a full day of mountain biking and bush craft skills. Comrie is an excellent venue for mountain biking, and after a few runs on the 'skills park' everyone set off up the hill and explore the different bike routes. Bush crafting involved lighting fires, using a Ghillie kettle and building dens. Another day of full sunshine meant that is was going to be another 'braw bricht and cold nicht'. Even with a hearty meal and singing around the fire did little to keep the chill at bay and this time, the temperature dropped to -2C.

Thanks to Mr and Mrs Lindsay, Miss Carroll, Mr and Mrs Pennycook and Mr Goldsmith, the children were roused from their sleeping bags with the smell of bacon on the fire before we all set about breaking camp. We were mindful of leaving the meadow in which we camped better than we found it and after several group sweeps of the area, all that remained after the children had hiked down the hill to the bus were footprints in the dewy grass.

- Mr Barrable


RUGBY RULES | A great effort from the U10 boys, who were victorious away against Clifton Hall this week. Well played!


YEAR 2 BEACH SCHOOL | After chatting to the crab fishermen at the harbour at the start of term, Year 2 planned a crabbing expedition to the East Sands. The children made crabbing lines, baiting them with dog food, and dangled them into the rock pools left behind at low tide. They caught a shore crab, to everyone’s great excitement!

During Year 2's visit to the Fisheries Museum in Anstruther last week, they learned that the fishermen used lugworms as bait, and the boys and girls even managed to dig up a few lugworms of their own, looking for telltale worm casts and breathing holes in the sand to work out exactly where to dig.

After all their hard work Year 2 retired to the ice-cream shop at the harbour for a well-earned treat!

- Miss Fisher


ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL | Year 3 visited St Andrews Cathedral on Tuesday. Luckily it was a sunny day, and not too windy for a trip up to the top of St Rule's Tower!

The class met their guide who talked about the cathedral building and how it would have looked when it was finished in 1318. It is hard to imagine how vast it would have been with walls, pillars, painted windows and a roof. They walked up the nave as far as we as Pilgrims would have been allowed. The children were told that they would not have been able to sit down in the cathedral as there were no chairs or pews.

The children enjoyed sitting in the Chapter House as the canons would have done, and they also saw the stone coffins that were made for the priors who were in charge of the canons, and who would have been buried under the floor of the Chapter House.

Year 3's guide showed the class Medieval leather shoes that the pilgrims would have worn on their journey to the cathedral. They were not very robust, so to help keep their feet dry, they made wooden shoes to put on while wearing their leather pumps. The boys and girls also saw replicas of money that the pilgrims would have used to buy food and lodgings on their trip.

The class learned that the school would have been a 'hospital' for pilgrims, but not a hospital as we know it. It would instead have been a place for hospitality.

The children enjoyed their trip to the top of the tower, despite the wind getting up a bit. The 154 steps did not put them off! The view from the top is magnificent, and allowed everyone to see the roads of the town all leading to St Andrews Cathedral.

- Mrs Beebee


DAD'S DAY | On Monday, Year 2 had what they ended up calling ‘Dad’s Day’ as two of the parents of children in the class came in to speak about the jobs that they do. This helped the boys and girls to answer questions posed on Year 2's Wonder Wall about different jobs within our local community.

“My daddy is a neurologist. He is called Dr Tom and he works in Dundee. He gave us some tuning forks to play with. He uses them to check hearing and feeling and to work out if there’s something that doesn’t work with your brain. He showed us a toy brain. Your brain controls your body. One part helps you balance on a bike. Another helps you breathe and another helps your body mend itself. I thought my daddy was brilliant!” - Matilda
“My daddy is called Major Usmani and he is an army dentist at Leuchars. He sometimes works in other places, like Mongolia. He showed us how to brush our teeth. We got to brush some plastic teeth and dress up like a dentist or a soldier. He taught us about what foods are good and bad for your teeth. He brought a lady called Jill with him. Jill helps daddy at the Dentists. Jill gave us disclosure tablets. They are used for showing plaque and they made the plaque go purple! They don’t taste of anything. Then we brushed our teeth. Daddy gave us some presents - a tooth brush, a two minute timer for brushing your teeth, a dentist’s mirror, a sticker and a tooth fairy envelope. I thought my daddy was fantastic!” - Amber

A huge thank you to our special guests for taking the time to come in and tell the class all about their work!

- Miss Fisher


RIDGWAY TALK | On Monday, Mark Williamson and Rebecca Ridgway from the Ridgway Adventure Centre visited the school to talk to Year 7 parents about the upcoming May 2019 trip, what it will entail, and what skills and lessons the children will come away with.

Even though I accompanied the Year 7 trip last year, I found the talk inspiring and couldn’t wait to start the preparations for our 2019 visit.

Watching the presentation filled with photographs of all the adventures we went on, brought back all the memories and individual successes experienced by our Year 7 adventurers.

It underlined why Mr Goldsmith and I support this trip and why we feel it is such a valuable experience for the Year 7s. Not only will it create lifelong memories, it will serve our children well as they progress from the Junior School.

Please click the link below to view the full album of photographs from last year's Ridgway Trip.

Please find the booking form for May 2019 attached to this week's Junior School Mailing email from Mrs Dewar.

- Mr Barrable


YEAR 3 BEACH SCHOOL | Year 3 visited the East Sands on Wednesday for Beach School. Despite it being a bit windy, it was terribly mild, so everyone had great fun.

The children recreated St Andrews Cathedral and St Rule's Tower in sand following their visit there on Tuesday. They all worked so well together, working in small groups, gathering items from the beach to make their towers, the grave stones, the Chapter House, the cloisters, and making sure they laid out the cathedral in the shape of a cross.

It was lovely to see the class working collaboratively. This year's theme of 'togetherness' was truly in action on the East Sands this week.

- Mrs Beebee


Monday morning was made extra special by Cameron leading Celebration Assembly - the first of our House Captains to stand up in front of the school and run the show. He did a brilliant job, and we're looking forward to many more House Captain-led assemblies, every other week from now on.

The following pupils received awards at Celebration Assembly:

Clara for independently writing her own autobiography during After School Club - a tremendous story with lots of lovely details!

Sophie for displaying hard work, effort and an open-minded and positive attitude in all aspects of classroom life.

Will for having a motivated approach to all lessons both in and outside the classroom.

Ollie for demonstrating excellent research skills during the 'Unit of Inquiry' tasks.

Morpheus for outstanding group work during Drama, and for his performance as the Forest Fire in an improvisation sketch.

George for creating a magnificent model of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

William for displaying the guiding principles of the Comrie Croft Trip: Team Work, Positive Thinking and Self-Reliance.

Hamish for displaying the guiding principles of the Comrie Croft Trip: Team Work, Positive Thinking, Self-Reliance.

Eliza received two awards, one for kindness to younger children during the Comrie Croft Trip, and one for creating an outstanding poster on the Roman aqueducts.

Jennifer for kindness to younger children during the Comrie Croft Trip.

Abbie for having her long hair cut to raise money for charity over the weekend.

Calum received a Spirit of St Leonards Award for displaying the guiding principles of the Comrie Croft Trip: Team Work, Positive Thinking and Self-Reliance.

Elin was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for excellent listening, always doing her best in class, and demonstrating exemplary behaviour.

Milla was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for her outstanding and consistent positive, 'can-do' attitude to every aspect of her work and classroom life.

Marko was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for being a superb listener, an example being during the trip to the St Andrews Golf Museum, where he listened well to the information given, then retold it to the class back at school.

The House Points from last week are as follows: Lewis has an average of 6 points per member of the house, Harris and Mull have 7, putting Skye in the lead with an average of 8 points per member of the house. Well done Skye!


UNIVERSITY VISIT | This week, Year 5 were incredibly fortunate to have Professor Sweetman, from the University of St Andrews, to come by and give a talk on the plight of refugees in Greece. Year 5, in their PYP Unit of Inquiry, are investigating human needs and human rights and the responsibilities of society and organisations to help protect these rights.

We were very fortunate in having Professor Sweetman, who with her family have spent time and assisted in refugee centres in Greece. Their experiences were most informative and provided us with so much to think about and reflect on. We are most grateful and it was a wonderful reminder of the importance of service for others.

- Mrs Torrance and Mr Barrable


On Monday, my colleagues and I rejuvenated the tyre arrangement in the Lower School playground with a view to encouraging the children to climb. It worked a treat initially but very quickly something else happened, something we hadn’t planned and definitely hadn’t forseen - as is par for the course. The children began to play with the tyres, really play!

They were rolling them alone, having races with others and their tyres, experimenting with the strength of their pushes, investigating what happened during a ‘crash’ with different surfaces and culminated in what I can only describe as bump tig! I would apologise for the ridiculous mess some of the children managed to get into if it weren’t for the obvious fun, splendid enjoyment, exhilaration and all round ingenuity I observed.

Resilience is a buzz word just now and our theme for the month is risk taking. I saw these in abundance over the week and something more. I saw incredible teamwork as children held a tyre steady for another who wanted to stand atop, I witnessed older children assisting and encouraging younger ones to roll their own tyres and most of all I saw FUN. They had made their own fun in a variety of amazing ways and they knew it, they loved the freedom, the exploration and the risk. I’m keen to harness this and keep their play fresh; as Mr Goldsmith said last week, play is their work and this week every child ‘worked’ extremely hard.

When not conducting tyre investigations our objectives were as follows:

Year 1

  • Phonics 'c' and 'k', formation of 'i'.
  • English - Concluding our work with ‘Funnybones’ we have made our own ‘bony bodies’ and written what we think the skeletons might have been saying or thinking using our best ‘have a go’ writing. Our focus being creativity and sentence construction.
  • Maths - Reinforcing out counting skills and focusing on number formation 1-5.

Year 2

  • Phonics 'th'.
  • English - To be able to write tourist information brochures linked to East Sands.
  • Maths - To be able to recognise, count and sequence numbers to at least 30. Addition to 20.

Year 3

  • Phonics - 'oo'.
  • English - To be able to write a report about our recent trip to the cathedral as well as a similar recount in the words of a pilgrim who made the same trip.
  • Maths - To be able to develop awareness of sequencing numbers up to 1000, and identifying one more and less.

Do let me know if you have any other playground suggestions, and don’t worry if you can’t imagine how it might be used, the children will take care of that!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend,

Claire Boissiere, Lower School Coordinator


It's hard to believe that Halloween is nearly upon us! Please save the date for our annual Pumpkin Party, which this year will be held on Friday, 2 November. Organised by our wonderful St Leonards Parents Association, this is always a super event, with lots of fun, games, treats (and tricks!), as well as a very impressive costume parade!

Wishing a very...

...to the following pupils: Shreyas, Kyle, Ryan, Hayfaa, Zachary and Magnus.

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