The Georgian Friday 1 March 2019


Friday, 1 March 2019

Lego: Serious Play?

I am quite sure the University of Cambridge turned a few heads when they advertised for a ‘Professor of Lego’, to take the chair in a new department within the Faculty of Education in January last year. They were inundated with applications (as one might expect), and have subsequently appointed Professor Paul Ramchandani to take the role, with a remit to examine the importance of play in education.

Very understandably, this appointment has divided opinion. Whilst it is widely agreed that there are considerable benefits of learning through play, some have questioned the relevance of pushing this when learning still has to be hard work and at times rather unglamorous. Tom Bennett, founder of ResearchEd (a highly respected writer and educationalist) has argued that learning must go well beyond enjoyment and play, indeed have an element of unpleasant slog to it.

So, the Lego Group has given a £4m grant to Professor Ramchandani and his team to use Lego to “ensure children are equipped with the 21st century skills like problem solving, team work and self-control”. These are indeed key skills for our children, now more than ever, and the days of factual regurgitation of knowledge are well and truly behind us, or certainly should be. I completely agree with the notion that learning through play engages learners, ignites many of the multiple intelligences, develops core life skills, and adds great interest to the learning process. I unashamedly think – and passionately so – that learning should be fun, and why shouldn’t we connect something so magical, innovative and imagination-firing such as Lego to learning? I have never met a parent who doesn’t encourage their children to play with Lego. Catherine and I look on in amazement as Arthur builds his Duplo and Lego houses with such intense concentration, glee and pride (and sometimes artistic temperament, which alas he has inherited from his father). Of course, there is a connection between the world’s most famous creative invention and education, and I am absolutely delighted that Cambridge have shown the courage, imagination and foresight in researching the effects of Lego within the classroom.

I am not for one second suggesting we allow ourselves to lose the rigour of education within schools and classrooms, and allow children to build castles, Sydney Opera House, Darth Vader and Big Ben all day. Of course, if this was the case, we would quickly discover that this extreme version of active learning breeds a generation of passive learners, who will not take in much at all. The acquisition of knowledge is vital, and study has to stretch our pupil’s minds, even from the age of five. We must continue to develop a mindset in our pupils that learning can be tough, challenging and a slog at times. We mustn’t pretend that learning is always fun either. Rather like learning lines for a play, or practising scales, mastering a perfect off-spin, or learning the weekly Latin grammar, mastery takes time, dedication, grit and a fearless mindset. No, mastering any skill requires everyone, whether five years of age of fifty, to dig deep. Every day in our jobs we will be making choices, undertaking difficult decisions or having to have tricky conversations, which we are able to do because we learned how to dig deep in various stages of our own learning journeys.

However, I applaud Cambridge and all those who put play at the centre of the learning process. We are developing a true love of learning in our pupils at this stage, and this will prepare them for the tough moments ahead. What is the point of creating a disconnect between games and toys that add huge benefit to the development of children and what they learn at school? Absolutely none I would argue, and I hope Professor Ramchandani provides interesting research which dismisses the myth that learning and play must remain apart.

I remember my Prep School as the 'chalk and talk' approach to factual regurgitation of knowledge, and very little else from the classroom. How wonderful that the next generation will have this same knowledge, but acquired in no small part through play and all the spin-off effects from this. After all, this isn’t anything new: the Montessori method has been doing this since 1897.

So, play or hard work at school? The two go hand in hand, let’s not shy away from either or separate the two. We are not ashamed of play, after all, it is probably the most vital cog of growing up and infant, child and adolescent development. Play creates enjoyment; pupils who enjoy learning become life-long learners; life-long learners seek hard work, challenge and the more monstrous side of education.

Alas, the weather might take a turn on Sunday, so may I recommend getting the Lego sets out and seeing where your child's imagination and creativity takes them. I will be making a start on my Lego Hogwarts Set, which I had for Christmas, which will have pride of place in my study next week.

Wishing all St George’s families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.

William Goldsmith


Next week's edition of 'The Georgian' will contain photographs of the recipients of Monday's Head Master's Celebration Assembly.


Chamber Choir Tour to Cardiff

The convoy of two mini buses and one van all labelled with St George’s School, Windsor Castle, set off from school on Saturday morning in the direction of South Wales. The transport was loaded with excited children, their cases, cassocks and surplices, an electric keyboard and a dozen music stands, and of course some support staff. We were heading for Cardiff Central and Llandaff Cathedral. The Chamber Choir were performing their re-knowned ‘Jazz Mass’ on the Sunday morning and were recording their CD of ‘A year at St George’s School’ which included music from festivals through out the year. Mass went smoothly and beautifully, the children sang their hearts out and the residents of Llandaff were awakened to the lively mass music, which they say they will try and emulate in the future. The recording will be amazing, what a stunning venue to sing in, and what great acoustics with such history in the cathedral. For down time we visited the world re-knowned Welsh Royal College of Music and were so lucky to hear their wonderful student brass band performing Shostakovich on their traditional instruments and then variations of other composers on glass bottles! The following morning we went round the museum of St Fagan and learnt all about buildings from the past of Wales: farmhouses, Tudor Manors and castles. We loved the bakery (and its delicious warm fresh cheesy rolls) and the sweet shop where you could buy grams of old fashioned sweets. Thank you to Mr Wilkinson for such a fun tour.

Evening Concert

Tuesday night’s evening concert was focused on our young pianists and singers, who performed with an ever-impressive sense musicality and style. Ranging from beginners to more accomplished performers, the children introduced themselves, sang and played, and bowed as if they were taking the stage of the Wigmore Hall! A huge thank you to all the children who worked so hard, and to their parents and supporters for creating such a positive atmosphere.

Prep Schools' Choral Day

On Thursday, the Year 4s from T-Voices travelled to Wellington College to take part in a Prep Schools’ Choral Day. This year the event took place in Wellington’s brand new theatre. Led by Rachel Staunton, herself a ‘Berkshire girl’, the children enjoyed learning a host of new songs from the South African folk song Shosholoza to the newly composed Jazz song Hold your head up high. As well as learning over ten songs, the children had the chance to explore the Wellington site and enjoy sausage and chips! The day ended with a performance to the parents of several songs followed by a happy journey back full of excitement about all that had been achieved over the day.

Visitors this week

Indian Dhol Drumming Workshop

All the children in the Lower School had a chance to bang an authentic Indian dhol drum in a fun workshop on Monday. They learnt about the history of the drums and what they were used for, and were taught proper playing techniques using two kinds of wooden sticks, known as the dagga and the tihli to bang each side of the drum with.

Upper School Assembly Speaker - Mrs Samantha Matute

At assembly this morning we had an enlightening talk from Mrs Samantha Matute, Global Head of Indirect Tax Operations at GSK. The children were interested to hear how Mrs Matute had progressed in her career from being a Tax Inspector to running a multinational team in Finance. They heard what skills and attitudes were needed to succeed, such as negotiating, problem solving and communication skills, and learnt how robotics and AI are now used to help with accountancy and analysis tasks. The Q&A session, including questions posed by Annabel P, indicated that there is a lot of interest from our children in pursuing a possible career in Finance: thank you Mrs Matute!


Some of you may have heard of MoMo this week – it was reported on the news and in newspapers that it was appearing in videos on YouTube and Kids You Tube encouraging children to do dares that included self harm. However, after close inspection from children’s charities, the advice is that MoMo does not actually exist – it was a rumour made up that spread rapidly.

What it has highlighted is how quickly E safety issues are discussed, which is a good thing. We have talked to the children in Assembly today to reassure them that this is nothing to worry about, BUT we have explained to them the importance of keeping their details secure and not sharing phone numbers or any other personal details with strangers online. This link will explain what to do if your child is still worried or they see anything upsetting online about it. https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/47402709

The bigger E safety story this week is about the rise of strangers contacting /grooming children via Instagram, and again we reiterate that the user age for Instagram is 13 and as a school we do not recommend that children should have it until they are 13 and have completed our E safety education. In our E safety lessons we cover Cyberbullying / Grooming / How To Secure Our Accounts in Years 6, 7 & 8, so that by 13 they are prepared to know how to stay safe.

If you have any further questions on this, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Emmerson-Smith: clare.smith@stgwindsor.org.

BBC Radio 2 500 Word Competition

Many of our pupils have been working on their entries for the 500 word writing competition. The final will be held at Windsor Castle. Some of our younger pupils may require parental help to get their entries typed up in time for next Friday’s deadline, so do please support them with this. It has been lovely to read such exciting and enthusiastic stories!

World Book Day - Thursday 14th March

A reminder that our World Book Day is celebrated on a different date to the national celebration. The staff and teachers are encouraged to come to school dressed as a character from a well-known book on Thursday 14th March. The ‘Once Upon a Bus’ double decker will be here to tell stories to the Lower School and the author Steve Cole will be sharing his books and writing tips with Years 4-8.

Revenge House Report

Hello there, I am here to tell you about the best house... Revenge, and what we do during our house meetings. Firstly, everybody comes to Miss Squire’s room in the Art Lab and Mr Giani greets us there with a friendly smile.

When we are all there we check the overall house points for the term. The tension is unbearable as we all wait in anticipation to see where we are. Fortunately, the mighty Revenge (as we are called during meetings) was in pole position last time. Next Tuesday, we will have to wait and see…….

Next, we calm down our nerves with an enjoyable game, like Who/What Am I? We have 25 question to see who Mr Giani is. We took it down to the wire last time, but we couldn’t guess who he was but our last guess was the closest. Jonah P said the genie from Aladdin, but the answer was Aladdin from the movie. We were so close!

Then we give our awards for people who got Bronze and Silver, these are handed out and signed by Mr Giani himself. After we clap our hands so hard we’ve lost all feeling, it is time for the last stage of our meeting.

Last term, we practised for our House Song! Not to brag, but we think we had the best song, “Love Train” by the O-Jays, with Leo M as lead singer. Unfortunately, we were beaten by Rodney and their outstanding performance of ‘Fly Away Home’. Still, Jamie P won the senior solo piece with Nocturne No. 5 by John Field, and our very own Mariachi, Gabriel R-A, raised the roof with Cielito Lindo!

Now back to school lessons :(

Dylan M-H, Deputy House Captain


The secret boarder is someone who the Boarding House Team feel has had a great week in all areas of boarding. The boarders are told when it is a ‘secret boarder week’, but crucially not who the secret boarder IS. If all goes well, a winner is announced at the end of the week and there are prizes for everyone…! Happily, this week's secret boarder is Seb H! Well done!


Sports Report Week 7

‘Teamwork, the combined action of a group, especially when effective and efficient.’

U11 IAPS Netball Small Schools Champions Report by Immy H

On Friday 15th of February we, the Under 11A netball team, went to IAPS in Framlingham to retain our title. First, we were in pools and played three matches. We won all of them and came first in our pool. Then it was the quarter-finals and we were playing Dolphin and by the end of the 14 minutes it was nine all, and we had to play for the golden goal. Luckily it was our first centre pass and we got it into our goal third. Play was going really smoothly but then their Goal Defence intercepted the ball and it was coming towards our Defence. We were all screaming and then Annabel made a wonderful interception and we got it down the court. Despite all that pressure, Cara made her shot and we were through to the semi-finals.

We then played in the semi-finals, and compared to the last game it was a much more relaxing affair, which we won 9-2. Then it was the finals, and we were up against Langley Hall. We all played our best. The whole squad committed both on the court and the side-line. Eva R ran her fastest (and that’s fast), Cara V and Asees D shot their most accurate, Lucy got the ball every first centre, Annabel made all of the interceptions that she could, Cici B forced her player towards the side-line and I stuck to my Goal Shooter like glue. After we got our momentum, we gained more confidence and belief in ourselves. After the longest 14 minutes of our lives, we had finally beaten Langley Hall by 8-4 and won IAPS!!!

Warmest congratulations to our U11s

Netball Matches on Wednesday

The Oratory dominated the game throughout. Unfortunately St George's hardly had any shooting opportunities. Final score 8 - 0. The Player of the Match (chosen by the opposing team) was Bea A.

The match against Holme Grange was rather slow. They made the most of their two opportunities to score, whereas St George's shots unfortunately just missed the target. The Player of the Match was Isabelle S.

The U11s took to the court with great confidence against a physically stronger and bigger Holme Grange U12/13 team. The girls played with great composure and dictated from the start. With excellent shooting and good through court play, the girls won with ease. The Players of the Match for Year 6 were Cara V (Attacker) and Annabel P (Defender).

The U12/13 team also played with good intensity and combined well with some Year 6 players. There was some great teamwork and an excellent winning result. Cici B was selected as Player of the Match.

Rugby vs Milbourne Lodge

All the rugby matches this week were against Milbourne Lodge with some very competitive matches across the board. It was a delight to see the boys work so hard for their team and embrace this week’s value of teamwork so effectively. It would be fair to say that a number of the teams are still working on developing their communication skills to ensure that the team, at key stages of the game, are working towards the same goal. Congratulations to all the boys on their efforts in matches this week.

Inter House Indoor Rowing

A very well done to all the pupils in Year 7 and Year 8 who took part in House Rowing on Friday before Half Term. The team event was a combined timed row over 2000 metres, and the individual races consisted of a two-minute row in Year 7 and a three-minute row in Year 8. Both of the events were incredibly well contested and it was enjoyable to see the teamwork ethos of each house shining through.

Year 7 and 8 combined scores over 1000m-

1st Vindictive - 4.03 mins

2nd Rodney- 4.13 mins

3rd Victory - 4.21 mins

4th Revenge- 4.49 mins

Year 7 individual (2 min row)

1st Oli P- Vindictive

2nd Henry K- Victory

3rd Alexios S - Rodney

4th Noah N-C- Revenge

Year 8 individual (3 min row)

1st Bligh H - Vindictive

2nd Lifu Y - Rodney

3rd Rene M - Revenge

4th Ali K- Victory

Maths Puzzle

This week's puzzle

Week 7 Solutions

Fun Maths Lesson in Year 4
Year 8 post exam relaxation
Please do join us for...
Wishing the following a very...

We wish William P a very Happy Birthday on Thursday!

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