The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 20 September 2019

Let Us Be Risk-Takers

When I think of the word risk-taker, my mind immediately springs to cage diving in shark-infested waters, or even simply swimming in open water. I found out over the summer that this fear is called thalassophobia. My family cannot understand why I won't join them in the sea, jumping waves, swimming in the ocean or floating on my back in the water. The fact is, the very thought of it makes me nervous, but I know my idea of fear is another person's idea of heaven. That’s what makes us different; that is what makes us unique.

Two weeks ago, I was approached by Mrs McKimmon, our Year 4 Class Teacher, who she told me that she was ready to be a risk-taker. Many of you will have had the pleasure of your children being taught by Kathleen. Many you may not, however, have known that she has Multiple Sclerosis. For many years, Kathleen has not shared details of her illness; some colleagues knew but the children almost certainly did not.

Earlier this term, a Year 1 pupil asked her if she had broken her leg when they saw her walking with a crutch. Others have asked her if she has a sore back. Kathleen decided that the time was right and she was ready to share her story and take that risk.

Year 4 led an assembly to raise awareness of Multiple Sclerosis.

The children in Year 4 put on a fantastic assembly on Wednesday morning, raising awareness amongst the school community of MS. They have been learning about what it's like to experience the symptoms: from putting their hand in a bowl with fizzy water to experience numbness, then trying to turn the pages with gloves on as it can be difficult to use your fingers, or walking with a bag of sand around your foot, as walking is compromised. After kneeling for a long period of time to show what cramp felt like, one child said, ‘Is that what it really feels like? That must be horrible.’

The objective of the assembly was to increase awareness, not just about MS, but to increase awareness of hidden illnesses, and our IB Learner Profile ‘Risk-Takers’ month seemed like a perfect opportunity to do this. As a school, we very much want to support the MS Trust this year as our chosen charity, and on Friday, 11 October the children will take part in the annual ‘St Leonards Junior School Fun Run’. This year, any proceeds raised will be donated to the MS Trust. The run is typically carried out in fancy dress, and with that in mind, we would like to ask the children to dress as ‘risk-takers’. It could be someone they admire for having taken a risk, it could be members of the Armed Forces, stuntmen and women, people who have done something brave, have challenged themselves and taken a risk. We look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with!

For Kathleen, she truly has been a risk-taker this week: she has shared her story. For Year 4, they, too, have been risk-takers, confidently leading their assembly and setting the bar very high indeed.

This weekend, a number of our Year 6 and 7 children will be pushing themselves beyond their comfort zones and taking risks at Comrie Croft. I would encourage you all to think about a risk you might take - however big or small.

It’s unlikely you’ll find me swimming in the sea any time soon, but maybe one day!

Julianne Pennycook

Spotlight On...

Food Focus in Year 2

No luck for Year 2 crabbing on the beach but lots of fun nonetheless!

FOOD FOCUS IN YEAR 2 | Food has featured strongly in Year 2 this week. On Monday, we ventured down to the beach to try our hands at crabbing. The idea came to us when we met Tom, one of the lobster fishermen at the harbour, who shared some good tips on crabbing technique with us. Sadly, despite his advice, we didn’t catch any live crabs this time - but we had a great time trying!

The children also managed to persuade their teachers that we should call in at the Harbour Cafe for ice cream on the way to the beach. The lady who runs the shop very kindly showed us one of the crabs that Tom had caught earlier.

Year 2 had the pick of the crop in the polytunnel.

On Tuesday, we picked beetroot, courgette and squash in the polytunnel and took them up to kitchens for the chef to use in the school lunches – delicious!

Finally, we looked at fish in Restaurant 1877, and spent an exciting afternoon learning how fish goujons are made. The children learned lots about fish sustainability, where the fish we eat at school lunches come from, and what our Friday fish and chips looks like before filleting takes place.

Delicious Friday fish in Restaurant 1877 after learning about sustainability.

The boys and girls loved seeing the fresh fish display in all its glory, not to mention donning aprons and gloves to dip the fish fillets themselves, although the highlight of the afternoon was, undeniably, the eating!

Many thanks to our Catering Manager, Darren Tonge, for sharing his knowledge with the children so enthusiastically and making it such an entertaining experience.

Miss Fisher and Mrs Lindsay, Year 2 Class Teachers

Climate Change Assembly

Missionaries Keith and Ida Waddell came in to speak about climate change in Zambia.

CLIMATE CHANGE ASSEMBLY | On Monday morning we were joined at Celebration by Keith and Ida Waddell, who work for the United Church of Zambia and came in to speak to the pupils about how climate change is affecting the country. Thank you to Keith and Ida for an informative talk, complete with slideshow to demonstrate the impact of climate change in Zambia, whether it’s on fish in the Zambezi River or access to water and strong crop yields in rural villages.

Hockey & Rugby Results

This week's fixtures were against Lathallan and ESMS.

HOCKEY & RUGBY RESULTS | Wednesday afternoon’s fixtures were against Lathallan for the boys and ESMS for the girls, with the U12 boys kicking off proceedings with a brilliant 11-6 win in their away game.

It was a narrow loss for the U10 boys, but that wasn’t enough to dampen spirits, and everyone should be incredibly proud of their performance.

The U12 girls had a tough match against ESMS, losing out 5-1 but with goals from Rachel and Emily. Well done to all our teams who had matches this week!

House Captains & House Photos

HOUSE CAPTAINS & HOUSE PHOTOS | We are thrilled to announce the newly elected House Captains for 2019-20! The nominees each gave brilliant presentations and we had some very strong candidates this year. Congratulations to the following Year 7 pupils, who took up their new roles as Captains and Vice Captains this week.


Announcing our new House Captains of Harris.
  • Captains - Ben Brown and Eabha Lang
  • Vice Captains - Logan Graham and Rachel Hogg


Announcing the new House Captains of Lewis.
  • Captains - Simon Ivan and Emily Logan
  • Vice Captains - XiuRong Gong and Archie Barton


Announcing the new House Captains of Mull.
  • Captains - Henry Shulver-Brown and Eliza Konig
  • Vice Captains - Thea Wright and Roy Brackenridge-Cumming


Announcing the new House Captains of Skye.
  • Captains - Maya Usmani and Harry Purvis
  • Vice Captains - Charlie Vincent and Sofia Kunwar

Dundee Airport Adventure

Year 4's Unit of Inquiry lent itself perfectly to a trip to Dundee Airport.

DUNDEE AIRPORT ADVENTURE | On Thursday, the Year 4 children visited Dundee Airport to investigate the different types of transport we use and the reasons why we use it. On arrival, we headed straight for security where we were met by Craig who is the Head of Security at the airport. He explained the importance of airport security and how he makes sure that nothing is taken on board that shouldn't be. We also learned that amongst other items, hoverboards were forbidden as the batteries had a tendency to explode!

Scott, who is in charge of the Fire Department at the airport then guided us to the lookout point where we could safely watch a plane land. He explained how the airport operates and the importance of airport safety. We saw a wide variety of transport and even had the opportunity to look inside a fire engine!

Building bridges in Year 4 Drama.

Back at school, Year 4 used their bodies to build bridges in Drama to tie in with their Unit of Inquiry on transport.

Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher

Year 3's Tour of the Town

Year 3 learned about King James V and Mary of Guise's wedding in St Andrews.

YEAR 3'S TOUR OF THE TOWN | Year 3 had a visit this week from Dr Bess Rhodes, a Historian from the University of St Andrews. This was a return visit for Dr Rhodes, who is a specialist in the history of St Andrews.

Dr Rhodes took the class on a ‘tour of the town’ through the retelling of the wedding of James V and Mary of Guise, in June 1538. They were, of course, the parents of Mary Queen of Scots. It was a royal wedding and just as grand as the recent weddings we have seen at Windsor.

The children learned that Mary should have arrived by boat at the harbour in St Andrews, to be met by her husband and everyone who had turned out to welcome her, before coming up through the Gateway at the bottom of the Pends, which would have been ornately decorated for her arrival, however her boat was blown of course and she ended up in Fife Ness from where she then had to ride up to St Andrews.

After staying at the New Inns, thought to have been situated where Bishopshall boarding house is today, James and Mary proceeded to St Andrews Cathedral for a service before processing around the town, taking in Blackfriar’s Chapel, Greyfriars, St Salvator’s, St Mary’s, St Leonard’s and finally the Tolbooth or Town Hall that is no longer here. It was a wonderful celebration that lasted 40 days!

The children had a lot of fun acting out the wedding and learning all about the town and its history.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

MUSA on Medieval St Andrews

Learning about Medieval St Andrews thanks to Matt and Lydia from MUSA.

MUSA ON MEDIEVAL ST ANDREWS | Continuing Year 3’s busy week, two guests from MUSA came into class on Tuesday to tell the children all about Medieval times in St Andrews, and in particular at the University. Matt and Lydia explained that students came to the University at the age of 11 and that at that time, only boys were allowed to attend. They did not go home each day but stayed and boarded. The only female was the laundry lady and she had to be over 50!

The children learned that a student’s day started at 5.00am with breakfast, then throughout the day they studied, ate and prayed, up to seven times a day.

Studies at the University included, Rhetoric, Logic, Natural Philosophy, Metaphysics and Ethics - a little different to our schooling today! Exams were done on the Black Stone, where the students sat in front of their Master, who asked them questions they then had to answer in front of peers, scholars and family. If they got something wrong, those watching threw rotten vegetables at them - not very encouraging!

The children had a lot of information to gather and fully enjoyed their visit from MUSA.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Food Bank Volunteers

Year 5 welcomed Mrs Hewitt, who spoke about the work of a local food bank.

FOOD BANK VOLUNTEERS | One of our Junior School parents, Mrs Hewitt, visited Year 5 this week to talk about food banks. She has volunteered at the Dundee Food Bank, which is run by The Trussell Trust, for two years.

Mrs Hewitt told us about a day in the life of a volunteer and also a day in the life of a person who has to use a food bank. She also described reasons why people might need to use a food bank and how frequently it can be used.

The children in Year 5 will be running a food drive in their Houses and donate the proceeds to the local food bank. Thank you to Mrs Hewitt for sharing all her knowledge with us!

Miss Brannen, Year 5 Class Teacher

Golf Museum Outing

Hannah told Year 3 about the town's history as the Home of Golf.

GOLF MUSEUM OUTING | Prior to Year 3’s visit to the Golf Museum, Hannah visited us at school to tell us all about the Home of Golf and Tom Morris. Golf has been played in St Andrew for over 500 years.

Tom Morris Senior was very influential in the golfing world, having been a golf ball maker, green keeper, course designer and professional golfer, winning the Open Championship four times.

He moved to Prestwick with his family in 1851 to set up Prestwick Golf Club and to design the course there.

Young Tommy Morris began his career at Prestwick before moving back to St Andrews, where he won the belt after winning the Open three times in a row. This has now been replaced by the famous Claret Jug and winners’ medals.

The traditional Captain’s drive in took place earlier today, when the incoming captain of the R&A drives off the first tee and the caddies chase after the ball. The caddie that returns the ball wins a gold sovereign.

Year 3 learned about the history of golf at the St Andrews Golf Museum.

On Thursday, following our talk from Hannah on Wednesday, we headed to the Golf Museum to look at some of the artefacts for ourselves.

We looked at different clubs, comparing them from clubs of today and those made by Tom Morris. We actually held a club made by Tom Morris as well as golf balls made by Allan Robertson. We learnt that a ‘feathery’ ball held a top hat full of feathers. They could only make about three a day by hand.

After a look around the museum and trying our hand at putting in traditional clothes, we had our picture taken with the Claret Jug, the trophy that is won by the champion golfer at the British Open.

We have had a wonderful week of trips and visitors in Year 3!

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

St Andrews Cathedral Tour

Discovering the fascinating history of St Andrews Cathedral.

ST ANDREWS CATHEDRAL TOUR | On Monday, Year 3 visited St Andrews Cathedral to learn all about its history from its beginnings to when it was ‘sacked’. Our Guide, Djamila, created a timeline of the Cathedral’s past, which the children added to as they walked around. This helped them understand how the Cathedral became such an important part of St Andrews’ history, and Scottish History more widely.

The children learned about the pilgrims who came to worship; how they would hear the monks singing in Latin, but not understand what it meant. They heard how the pilgrims walked for hundreds of miles only wearing very simple leather shoes on the cobbled streets, using wooden platform-type soles to protect them.

The tour was fascinating and we had a beautiful Autumn day for it! The children enjoyed their 160 steps up to the top of St Rule’s Tower, although some had to dig deep as they found the height quite scary. Fortunately, all were resilient and made it to the top, tying in perfectly with our IB Learner Profile of the month, ‘Risk-Takers’, and taking in the magnificent views of the town, the school, the castle and beaches.

Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher

Celebration Assembly

Congratulations to the following pupils who received certificates at Celebration Assembly on Monday:

Eleanor for a super project book on St Andrews and the university.

Isobel was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for settling in so well to her new school, working hard and trying her best in all she does.

Bethany was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for settling in to the new routines of Year 2 so confidently.

Grace was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for having a sunny disposition and polite manners, as well as an enthusiastic approach to everything Year 1 are doing.

Grace for tidying the cloakroom without being asked.

Harrison for working incredibly hard on his Maths and writing.

Ishbel for super focus and contributions to class tasks, especially Maths.

Cara for her active listening, reflective and thoughtful participation and her highly accurate work during the first two weeks of using our new Maths scheme.

Eva for always asking how the teacher's day has been and being kind to everyone.

Cameron for the excellent effort and attitude he has displayed towards his learning.

Lewis for his fantastic Homework Heroes work and Molly for her unfailing attentiveness and caring encouragement towards another member of the class.

Lower School News

I do love Autumn. The leaves are just starting to turn a little, the air is changing and although the sun is still shining there is a hint of crispness about the weather. Not only is the weather changing, so too are our children.

The atmosphere in the Lower School is one of calm enthusiasm. All new children have happily integrated and routines are well under way. It is wonderful to watch the pupils making their way to dance classes, grasping instruments as they head to their music lessons, greeting one another by name in the corridors, waving at teachers and hearing their excited chatter about all that their new Units entail. The friendly, family atmosphere is most certainly alive and well in the Junior School!

Mrs Beebee’s Year 3 class has definitely had the busiest week, what with their postponed Cathedral visit on Monday followed by MUSA talking about Medieval St Andrews and university life. Not content with that, they had a visit from Hannah, who works at the St Andrews Golf Museum, after which they visited the museum for themselves. Discovering the extent of the history right here on our doorstep has produced great curiosity and has, as we had hoped, produced many more questions for the children to explore.

Year 2, meanwhile, had an incredible time after they were recruited as farm labourers, courtesy of class parent, Mr Steven. They spent a memorable afternoon broccoli picking, potato harvesting and combining for harvest time as they continue their investigations into the world of work and the many different jobs that people do.

There have been lots of investigations going on in Year 1 this week.

In Year 1, we have been delving further into ways in which we are the same but different. This week, the children investigated ways in which they can move, helped along by Eric Carle’s book ‘From my Head to my Toes’. They have also started to notice the similarities within our numbers, an investigation that has only just started.

The briefest of snapshots from another busy and fulfilling week, packed full of inquiry, investigation and interest.

As we look to our European Day of Languages next week, we will be running an special poster competition in the Lower School, which is entirely voluntary - all entries will need to be in by Thursday, 26 September in time for judging! Full details are on the note below. The more child-led your poster, the better!

To more practical matters, and the scourge of lost property is upon us once more. Whilst all class teachers do endeavour to ensure that changing to and from Games kit is a slick and efficient affair, it never ceases to amaze us how many items of clothing can be transferred to friends and neighbours! Do please check your kit weekly and bring any named items you have inadvertently gained back to school where we shall happily reunite them with their owners. The more labelling the better!

Finally, wishing you all a glorious weekend in whatever Autumn sun we can muster.

Claire Boissiere, Lower School Coordinator


We wish the following pupils a very...

Many happy returns to Christina and Marko! Have a fabulous day!

Diary Dates

Open Morning 2019

Just one week to go until our Whole School Open Morning!

OPEN MORNING 2019 | Thank you to all those who have passed on details of our upcoming Open Morning to friends and family. We are looking forward to welcoming visitors next Saturday, 28 September at 9.30am.

This will be an opportunity to tour the Junior and Senior School, meet key members of staff and learn about life at St Leonards.

All pupils in Years 4-7 will be in school for the morning, taking part in lessons and fun activities. Year 7 pupils will also act as tour guides, showcasing the Junior School to our guests!

Please do continue to spread the word, and in the meantime, do watch our Open Morning countdown video below: