The Voice of st leonards junior school

Friday, 1 September 2017


Let me start with a story:

'Two more days to Mount Wu-T'ai'

Long ago, in China, there was an old monk going on a pilgrimage to Mount Wu-t'ai. Aged and weak, he was treading the long dusty road alone, seeking alms along the way. After many long months, one morning he gazed upward and saw the majestic mountain in the distance. By the roadside, there was an old woman working the field.

"Please tell me", he asked, "how much longer I must proceed before reaching Mount Wu-t'ai?" The woman just looked at him, uttered a guttural sound and returned to her work. He repeated the question a second and third time, but still there was no answer.

Thinking that the woman must be deaf, he decided to push on. After he had taken a few dozen steps, he heard the woman call out to him, "two more days, it will take you two more days." Somewhat annoyed, the monk responded, "I thought you were deaf. Why didn't you answer my question earlier?".

The woman replied, "You asked the question while you were standing put, Master. I had to see how fast your pace was, how determined your walk!".

This famous folklore makes a humorous observation, but also points to an important lesson: When we face challenges, or set our sights on our goals, we do not know how long it will take. We do not know if we will succeed. But if we don't start on the journey we do know for certain that we will achieve nothing.

This was the theme of my Assembly on Wednesday morning. We talked about setting goals and targets (or dreams if you like) and making the journey - sometimes long and arduous with challenges, setbacks, help from others and disappointments - to reach this potential. Following this Assembly, we have asked every child to write down their goals and aspirations for the term. These are being returned to me (I will not look at them), and the children will see them at Half Term to review how they are getting on. I shall look through what they have written with each child at the end of term to see how they are getting on with their journey towards their chosen goals and aspirations.

For every single child, their goal and aspiration will require hard work and effort. The reward they will get when they achieve this goal - or certainly achieve it as far as they possibly can - will be the enormous satisfaction and build up of self-belief. Carol Dweck argues that we set two types of goals: performance goals and mastery goals. She sights "getting an A in French is a performance goal, and being able to speak French is a learning goal" (Dweck, 2009) as an example of this, in that a performance goal is designed to make a child look smart and capable, whereas a learning goal helps the pupil learn. You may well have heard of the '10,000 hour rule', whereby it has been argued that in order to properly master a skill and become the best of the best, learners have to dedicate 10,000 hours of practice. Malcolm Gladwell proved this theory with violinists and pianists, and found that those who dedicated 10,000 hours to meaningful practice were reckoned to be the best musicians, whereas those who only spent 8,000 of mastery were only seen to be very good. This demonstrates two things: one, that reaching a goal or dream requires meaningful practice, hard work and determination; and two, we are not born with talent.

I am, of course, not suggesting that the boys and girls spend 10,000 hours mastering what they have written as their hopes and dreams for the term! It is merely to demonstrate that the ultimate satisfaction will come to those who have devoted hard work, determination and true grit in the pursuit of these aims.

There can be few who have suffered so many set backs in the pursuit of their dream than Michael Jordon, as shown below.

Every single child has the ability to reach his or her potential in whatever they put their minds to. The greatest reward will come when they hurdle whatever challenges come their way and they feel their hard work, perseverance and grit has paid off: that is true potential.

"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph: a beginning, a struggle, and a victory" Mahatma Gandhi.

Term has got off to a fantastic start, and I couldn't be more delighted with the atmosphere and sense of community spirit in the school. I would like to pay particular tribute to our new boys and girls in every year group who have already made a significant contribution to the ethos and values of St Leonards.

Wishing all St Leonards families a fulfilling weekend - whatever your adventures may bring.

William Goldsmith

Year 1 make an energetic start to their time at St Leonards

Year 1 have had a busy first week getting to know their new school. On Tuesday, as part of their first Unit of Inquiry, How We Organise Ourselves, they went on a tour of the school, finding out about the different rooms and people found at St. Leonards. They took plenty of photographs on the way and made a map of the school to keep in the classroom. After visiting Mrs. Dewar, they made an office in their classroom complete with homemade computer, notice board and even a homemade cup! They found out Mrs. Dewar’s office is a busy place to be and have had lots of fun pretending to take telephone calls, make notes in a notepad and type on the computer. What a great start to their first year of school!

Year 2

This week Year 2 have been out and about learning about the different jobs people are doing down at the harbour. We interviewed some lobster fishermen, the lady who runs the harbour cafe and shop, Tam the litter picker and a pair of Dutch pirates who told us some tall tales about their lives aboard the tall ship that dropped anchor in the bay. We also conducted a survey of the facilities available to visitors to East Sands, which meant trying out the play park and visiting the ice cream shop, and we are going to use our findings to write tourist brochures to persuade people to visit this wonderful place.


All was quiet at 9.30am on Monday morning. All that could be heard was the quiet hum of learning in the classrooms at St Leonards Junior School! Suddenly, word reached the Headmaster that Pirates had arrived and were moored in the harbour of St Andrews.

Within seconds, an even quieter hush descended on the school and all that could be heard was a hoover on the top floor. The entire school had headed to the Harbour to meet our Pirate visitors, who had come over from Holland. They certainly hadn't reckoned on 154 school children to join them for their breakfast!


Linking with their 'Unit of Inquiry', Where we are in Time and Place - Year 3 have been re-creating still images of key places in St Andrews.




Following the success of last year's Open Days, our school Open Morning will take place on Saturday, 7 October 2017. 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 9.00am 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.

Plea for donations for our Harvest Festival Assembly

25% of young people living in St Andrews rely on food banks for food and basic household goods, and we once again looking for donations to give St Andrews Store House following our Harvest Festival. Hamish Sneddon will be joining us for our Harvest Festival Assembly on Wednesday, 20 September. which will be led by our Year 5s and the pupils that attend Bible Unwrapped activity. Please do donate generously as you have in previous years, 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, and coffee will be served afterwards.

We wish the following a very...

Many Happy Returns to... Jacob, Kamilah, Sophie, Thomas, Verity, Kabir, Sanna.

Thought for the week ahead...


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