BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
Frobscottle. Quadropus. Whangdoodle. Humplecrimp. Lixivate. Sogmire. Zoonk. Snozzberry.
A glance through the ‘Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary’ is sure to delight a reader of any age. Roald Dahl invented over 500 words and character names, and it is for this, as well as for his deliciously exciting writing style, that he is most regarded.
With the exception of Shakespeare, I don’t know of any authors that have a day each year in memory of them (do put me right if there are any others). A quick Google search (how Roald Dahl would have frowned at that lacklustre method of curiosity) tells us that six films have been made from his books, that he wrote 48 books (20 for children) in total, and the website is littered with Roald Dahl-inspired books, clothing, fancy dress ideas, recipes, Lego constructions, and even a Roald Dahl Monopoly board. In short, it can be argued that no living author has generated such a passion for literature in both children and adults than Roald Dahl.
Why is this? His characters are not exactly the perfect role models: George tries to make his grandmother disappear; Danny’s father is a poacher; Fantastic Mr Fox steals from the farmers; the BFG takes Sophie and leads her into tremendous danger amongst the other giants; Mr Hoppy would be a person of great interest to the RSPCA; and we won’t even start with Matilda. Perhaps like me you think that Roald Dahl’s enduring legacy is the power of his words.
Roald Dahl is able to vividly transport us into a world of imagination accessible to people of all ages. His language captures us all to the extent that fiction comes to life, despite the ludicrous and far-fetched story lines and made-up words. When engaged with his writing, one feels carried away from the realities of life and into the clutches of his magic. All this is timeless: his last novel was written over 30 years ago.
The power of words.
I believe that Roald Dahl wrote his novels in his garden shed and the closest he got to a computer might have been a typewriter. It is a far cry from a world where powerful words and sentiments can go viral in a matter of seconds via technology; where world leaders engage in a war of words online; where fake news manifests itself from a single tweet or post with alarming rate; where our own words can be so easily misinterpreted if communicated by a means where you lose the emotion behind what is written; where so many of the issues and challenges we face are as a result of miscommunication. All because of the wrong choice of words; mankind’s own desire to broadcast our emotions and feelings via technology; and the ease in which these words can be misconstrued.
On Saturday, I met with our Governing Body and members of the Senior Team to start the process of the strategic review of the school. With a provision launch date of Monday, 8 July, the new vision for St George’s will set out our core ethos and guiding principles as a school, as well as which areas we will focus on in the years ahead. At the core of this is looking at the skills and attitudes that our girls and boys will need to flourish in a rapidly changing and unpredictable world. With this comes great challenge, huge opportunities and excitement, and our children will need a very special set of skills in order to make their way in it. Far greater than the need to solve problems, think creatively and engage a broad set of skills, will be the need to communicate effectively, with compassion, clarity and confidence. At the dawn of Artificial Intelligence (which will change the role of education in a manner not seen since the Industrial Revolution) and expediential change, it will be the power of human communication that prevails. The ability to build, develop and maintain relationships with people of different race, background and standpoint will prove crucial to solving some of the major economic, social, environmental and sustainable problems. Amongst the onslaught of super intelligence (more daunting even than AI), compassionate communication will be crucial, and if all else fails, the ability to tell a good story will be a good start.
‘Education for Social Responsibility’ is all about ensuring our children genuinely understand the importance of living a fulfilled and sustainable life, and start considering ways to ensure future global stability. A major part of this is how they will communicate with one another to make this a reality. Understanding the true power of words, possessing imagination and a flair for persuasive communication will place our children in a position to be a real force for good.
Roald Dahl was a spy, RAF pilot, chocolate historian and medical inventor, but it is the characters created in his books and the words used by them that he is best remembered. Our children will go on to positions of considerable global influence, and it will be the power of their words that defines the latter half of the 21st century and 22nd century: they will be change makers.
Wishing all St George’s families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.
Head Master's Commendations
Sam P: for creating a butterfly in Art, using material stitched together with some amazing patterns and colours
Dhyaana S: for Classics work
Imogen H: for Classics work
Buddy P: For Classics work
Inara H: for care taken in completing posters about her house in Spanish, as well as consistent effort in Spanish
Mansa H: for care taken in completing posters about her house in Spanish, as well as consistent effort in Spanish
Willow W: for showing great maturity in her writing in English, and showing great commitment to developing her spelling
Spirit of St George's Award
The following have been presented the St George's Award for encapsulating the core values of the school:
Dhyaana: for being very kind and helpful to a member of the school community this week.
Nathan: for showing great kindness and support to a team mate following the matches last Wednesday
Sports Players of the Week
Jonty O: for having a fantastic work ethic this term, making the most of every match. His enjoyment and desire to improve is clear in every game
U11B Netball Team: for their hard-working and committed approach to both training and matches
Tristan U-I: for working hard in recent weeks to develop his contact skills and the understanding of the game.
Head Master's Gold Winners
Tilly W, Asees D, Isla M and Zara T have all achieved the magnificent total of 120 plus points (or more) this term, entitling them to a Head Master's Gold award and a keyring made especially for them by Mr Giani. Well done!
The U10 boys, U11 boys and Senior boys and girls all had hockey fixtures versus St Neot’s Prep School this Wednesday. Despite this being the first hockey match of the season for many and the limited amount of preparation time, the pupils put together some very impressive performances using both their transferable football skills and athleticism to good effect. A number of visiting members of staff said they could not believe that this was only the second session of hockey for the boys. Undoubtedly boosted by the Year 7 and 8 girls’ outstanding contribution, it is exciting times for hockey at St George’s School and we look forward with anticipation to the House Hockey events in the next few days.
Year 6 had a very successful day of matches. This week they played against Upton House and both the A and B team dominated their games. The girls worked well even when they changed positions and showed willingness to try out new combinations. Well done everyone!
National Junior Indoor Rowing Championships
On Friday, 15 March eight boys from Years 7 and 8 went to the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park to compete in the National Junior Indoor Rowing Competition. This was a nationwide competition with schools competing from all over the country, stretching from the ages of 11-18. The team gave a very good account of themselves and they should be very proud of their efforts; it was a great experience for all the pupils involved. We have a great track record when it comes to rowing, and much success from pupils at senior school level. We commend the achievement of four past pupils, Charlie W, Ben L, Max E and Ben L, who rowed in an octet from Windsor Boys' School last year, finishing in Bronze position at the National Schools Regatta. If your son or daughter is interested in taking up rowing, we run an indoor and river rowing club all year round.
Year 2 Festival of Sport
On Thursday, Holme Grange brought all of their Year 2 pupils to join us for an afternoon of sport. The girls have been practicing their netball skills this term and played two games - Invaders and Angel’s Child - and touch rugby matches. The games were very closely contested, with goals and tries aplenty for both sides.
Hopping mad for the Sponsored Skip
All children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 participated in a Jump Rope for Heart sponsored skip this week. In PE they have been learning about the heart – what its job is and how some people struggle with heart problems. They jumped and skipped for 30 minutes and were rewarded with a packet of Starburst on completion of the event. Parents are kindly requested to help the children to collect their sponsorship money and return it by the end of term.
Inter House Cross-Country run for a good cause!
Looking ahead to next week we invite pupils to choose their wackiest socks to run the Inter House Cross-Country in and donate £1 towards the school charity, the Alzheimer’s Society. A very special mention must go to Freya W who competed in the National Schools Cross Country race last weekend in Leeds, representing Berkshire County and finishing fourth amongst her county peers.
With the rugby and netball seasons now nearly at an end for this year, our thoughts are turning to the cricket season. We are delighted to announce that we will be building on the huge success of last year’s introduction to girls cricket with both mixed and girl’s cricket matches a key feature in next term's school calendar. You do not need to buy any cricket equipment as the school will provide it all. However, if your son or daughter is due to be playing hard ball cricket (Colts A, Colts B, 2nd XI and 1st XI teams) we recommend that any money spent should be on a well-fitted cricket helmet and cricket whites (white trousers!).
There were 'SILENCE: EXAM 'signs posted all around each floor of Old Bank House on Friday - a reminder that the ABRSM examiner had arrived and that the exams were taking place! We have no doubt that all candidates practised and performed to the very best of their ability, and look forward to receiving news of some pleasing results.
End of Term Evening Concert
T-Voices, the Brass Ensemble, the Senior String Ensemble and a number of individual instrumentalists delighted the audience with a variety of music at the End of Term Evening Concert on Monday. Many thanks to our team of Visiting Music Teachers and accompanists for helping the performers prepare for the concert.
Trips and Events
PSHE Workshop and Parent Information Talk
Amy Forbes-Robertson from ItHappens, ran a series of workshops with our Year 6 and Year 8 pupils on Tuesday, discussing Healthy Relationships and the effects of puberty. Amy also presented the content of these to parents and shared her experience of the issues faced by young people due to social media and misinformation. Please do have a look at her website, which has a wealth of information and suggestions for signposting young people to reliable sources of support and information (http://www.ithappens.education/), or contact Louise Squire (email@example.com) if you would like any further information about our PSHE programme.
Upper School Assembly Speaker - Mr Chris I'Anson
Mr Chris I'Anson came to talk to Upper School children about his career as an RAF officer and musician. He told them that one of the best aspects of being in the RAF was that one day was never the same as the next, and that he had performed in countries all over the world, not just as a musician, but in other RAF roles. He emphasised the importance of keeping both mentally and physically fit. The children were very keen to see his ceremonial sword which he very kindly agreed to brandish for them!
Lower School Assemblies
The Year 2 classes gave two very thought-provoking assemblies this week on the importance of the three R's – reduce, reuse and recycle – to help to cut down on the amount of waste we throw away. Both classes were word perfect and sang beautifully.
Year 8 Trip to Hampton Court
Year 8 visited Hampton Court Palace on Friday and had a day full of history and creative writing. They toured the Tudor apartments and courtyards of the original building which was built by Cardinal Wolsey in the early 16th century, then spent time creatively writing in the immaculately maintained and wonderfully peaceful gardens outside. An unexpected appearance of a Fantastic Mr Fox added to the magic of the day!
The Year 7s are nearing the end of their Tenner Challenge preparation. This has included market research, a pitch to the Head Master and Business Director, budgeting, logo design, poster design and much, much more. They plan to sell their products to pupils between 1.00 and 1.30 on Tuesday 26 March in the courtyard and to parents between 3.45 and 4.15 on the same day. The prices for their wares will range from £1 to £10.
This week in the boarding house has flown by. Sunday’s hot chocolate with trimmings remains a spectacular way to start the week; Monday saw many of the boarders participate in the fantastic End of Term Concert as soloists, or as part of ensembles; we noticed the coming equinox on Tuesday and managed to make more of the daylight by playing outside - 4-square is a favourite in the evening, too; Wonderful Wednesday was Movie Night - snuggled under duvets with popcorn provided; and Thursday saw two boarders coming to experience dorm life! 50% of children in years 4-8 have boarded with us so far this year!!
Do come and join us or request further information about our many flexible boarding options by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Maths Puzzle of the week
This week's puzzle...
...and the solutions to last week's puzzle. There were lots of winners in the Lower School this week!