Behind the Study door

Term is rolling on at an alarming rate, and it is hard to believe we have only three weeks until Half Term.

I couldn't help but get incredibly excited as I wandered around the classrooms on Thursday evening to see evidence of so much inquiry based learning going on. The walls are full of work, pictures and sheer fun, and I am so proud of what the children and staff have achieved over the last three weeks. In addition, everyone has fully embraced our focus on 'Growth Mindset', whereby pupils (and staff) are encouraged to embrace mistakes, and take risks, as some of the posters and childrens' work on this page suggests. I shall base my blog next week on 'Growth Mindset', but suffice to say plenty of positive mistakes and risk taking is occurring on a daily basis here.

On Wednesday, our U12 girls played a very strong Mary Erskine team in Edinburgh. When any team play, I always refrain from asking "who won?", instead asking the more important questions, such as "how did you all play, did you enjoy the game and are you making good progress?". There is no doubt that we strive to win, and of course that is an added bonus, but the key aspect of team sport is how individuals contribute to the team, what progress is being made and whether they are having fun. In turn, this will contribute to the success of team. I am delighted with all I have seen from our boys and girls on the sports pitch, and they are certainly all making excellent progress as a team in their skills development but also in their support for one another on and off the pitch.

Catherine and I shall be away on Monday and Tuesday next week attending the annual IAPS Heads conference in London. IAPS is a group of the top 350 Prep Schools in the UK, of which we are one. We will miss St Leonards next week and it will certainly be strange being 'back down South(!)', however it is a most important opportunity to share excellent practice with other Heads and I look forward to bringing back lots to think about here. There are some fascinating sessions, including sessions on raising children's self esteem at a young age, something I feel passionately about. I look forward to sharing all I have learned with the staff here next Thursday.

May I end with a plea for help? I am absolutely thrilled to announce we will be building an outside classroom in the area opposite my study window. Our plan is to build an area covered by a tarp for classes to use for a variety of different activities. If anyone is willing to donate a large tarp, logs for chairs and anything else they feel might be of use, I would be delighted to hear from you. One of our new story telling chairs will be used here, and I can't wait to see the children enjoying this area - even in winter! I want to develop our use of outdoor learning spaces, and I look forward to seeing this space used.

I wish you all a very happy weekend.

William Goldsmith, 23 September 2016

Introducing our House Captains for 2016-2017


Our eight new House Captains were announced in assembly on Monday morning. This followed a vote cast by every child in the school, and the very close results demonstrate just how strong our entire Year 7 is this year, already acting as very good role models for the remainder of the school.

I look forward to making other leadership appointments in Year 7, but I am sure you will join me in congratulating the following on becoming House Captains:

Mull: Niamh and Jack

Harris: Lucinda and Cameron

Skye: Milli and Ashton

Lewis: Faye and Jamie

Many congratulations to our new House Captains
Life is sweet for Year 7

In celebration of Roald Dahl’s 100th Anniversary earlier this week, Year 7 have been inventing some amazing confectionery of their own. Like many of our students Dahl had a very sweet tooth and a serious chocolate addiction. The description of Mrs. Pratchett’s Sweet Shop in his autobiography, ‘Boy’, was particularly popular with pupils, especially as a tasting session was deemed ESSENTIAL to get their creative juices flowing! The results are on display on the top floor. We hope you will agree, it’s worth the climb.

Willy Wonkas in the making
Sweet tooth!
Tom is the beating drum of the St Leonards Pipe Band


On Thursday. Year 2 spent a fishy afternoon at the CDR. With the help of our catering manager, Laura Paterson, we learnt about sustainable fishing methods and where the fish we eat on a Friday comes from. We handled many different fish and then made our very own fish goujons. They were delicious! It was a wonderful way to end our current 'Unit of Inquiry'.

The Great British Hake Off


Congratulations to the following children who were presented with their ABRSM certificates on Monday morning, following their graded exams in the Summer Term:

Eilidh - Violin

Alastair - Violin

Charlotte - Violin

Eva - Piano

Elisanda - Violin


Learner Profile in action

There was much excitement at St Leonards on Wednesday as our photographer was back in town. In amongst capturing the school in action, a staged shot was held on West Sands with two of our Junior School riders on their horses, and a Learner Profile shot in front of the school, below.

We can't wait for the photos to arrive back!

New Nike advert in production!
Mr McDonald's Thursday football club gives Dundee United a run for their money
Our focus this year is embracing mistakes and developing a Growth Mindset
Take risks and make mistakes; think creatively and imaginatively..

Our next school Open Morning will take place on Saturday, 8 October 2016. Children in Years 4 -7, as well as the Senior School are requested to attend, looking smart in their school uniform, for a morning of fun learning activities. Inquiry lessons will start at 9.30am and finish at 11.30am. I also invite parents to use the event as an opportunity to see the school in action and visit the different areas and departments within our beautiful campus. The morning will start at 9.30am with a short welcome from Dr Carslaw and myself, followed by a tour of the Junior / Senior School, finishing in St Katharines Hall for refreshments. Further details will follow but I do urge you to join us. School buses will be running as normal, but please note pickup will be 15 minutes later. The return journey, buses will leave at 12 noon. Please let the Domestic Bursar know if you do not require the Saturday bus.

Collection for Harvest Festival

25% of young people living in St Andrews rely on food banks for food and basic household goods, and we are hugely grateful for the donations received so far. Hamish Sneddon will be joining us for our Harvest Festival Assembly on Wednesday, 12 October, which will be led by our Year 5s and the pupils that attend Bible Unwrapped activity. Please continue to donate as generously as you have been, and we have a special plea for household goods (bleach, window and bathroom cleaner, cloths etc.), which are equally as important. If any parents can lend us hay or straw bales for the assembly, we would be most grateful. Parents and friends are warmly invited to the assembly.

Many happy returns

A very happy birthday for this week: Brendan, Ophelia, Marko, Finn and Robert


With talk of Year 7's scrumptious sweet shop, inspired by 'Boy', Roald Dahl's autobiography, I have half expected to find a dead mouse in my coffee each day, as experienced by poor old Mrs Pratchett! Roald Dahl would have celebrated his 100th birthday last week, and I urge you all to heed this advice he has for us all:

"I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed, embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Luke warm is no good"

There is plenty of that passion here at St Leonards. If you haven't gone to Toppings to buy the Roald Dahl dictionary, I strongly recommend it; it is brilliant! My favourite definition so far:

Gungswizzled. A prize (not a snozzcumber) will be awarded for the correct definition.

'George's Marvellous Medicine' illustrated by Quinten Blake

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