“Close your eyes and bring back all the memories of everything we’ve been through.”
This week, it was fantastic to see pupils, parents, and teachers gathered together to celebrate the successes and achievements of the pupils at the Prizegiving ceremonies, albeit in a virtual manner. For their Prizegiving ceremonies, the Year 6 and 7 pupils, under the guiding hand of Mrs Stewart and the technical wizardry of Mr Shiells, recorded heartfelt performances of a song entitled Memories. The words of the song encouraged us to “close our eyes and bring back all the memories of everything we’ve been through.” As individuals and as a school, we have certainly been through a lot together this year! We have enjoyed the usual jam-packed calendar of lessons, sports matches, concerts, assemblies, school trips, and beach visits, but the abrupt transition to online learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly be what we remember most about this year.
All the Junior School staff are very proud of what the children have achieved this year in such challenging circumstances, and the way in which they have pulled together to support each other through this difficult time. The kind and supportive nature of our pupils was also seen at the Prizegiving ceremonies - there were some lovely congratulatory messages written by the pupils in the chat section of the Meets. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the class teachers who worked so tirelessly to put these virtual ceremonies together.
We wish the Year 6 and Year 7 pupils all the best as they prepare to begin the next chapter of their journey here at St Leonards. Fortunately, because St Leonards is an all-through school, this is not a final farewell but rather a ‘see you soon’. It has been incredibly special to watch these children progress from learning phonics and writing their first words, to giving speeches at the Prizegiving ceremonies with such poise, passion, and confidence, and we look forward to watching them progress, develop and flourish through the three-year Middle Years Programme, and beyond.
I too have enjoyed seven very happy years here in the Junior School and, from August, will also be starting an exciting new chapter here at St Leonards. From next academic year, my sole focus will be on my role as Housemistress of St Rule, and I look forward to welcoming many of the Junior School pupils into the house for socials and other boarding events.
All in all, it has been a year filled with laughter and learning, challenges and changes, achievements and adventures. May I take this opportunity to extend my thanks to our parent body for their support over the course of this year. I hope that you have a wonderful summer holiday with your families, and I very much look forward to seeing you all when St Leonards fully reopens in August.
CELEBRATION ASSEMBLY | In the final Celebration Assembly of the academic year, Mrs Pennycook awarded Commendations to the pupils listed below. Very well done to this week's recipients!
TERRIFIC TOYS | Year 1 have loved their Unit of Inquiry which has focused on games and toys from the past, and have produced some fantastic project work. For example, Niamh decided to investigate her Furreal dragon named Torch. She started by researching older toy robots and made a brief timeline, and then decided that it would be fun to try to make a toy robot with her parents. She also looked at other mechanical objects and made a grabber, and then enjoyed learning about Benjamin Franklin who invented it. You can see the fruits of her labours below!
This week, to conclude their Unit of Inquiry, Year 1 reflected on what they had learnt and enjoyed playing some games that they have discovered together. The pupils vs teacher noughts and crosses game was tightly contested, with the final outcome a draw. However, the standout game of the day was 'Beetle Drive' - the focus, frenzy, and determination was palpable even online as the children raced to be first to complete their Beetle. Joint winners were Mairi and Catherine.
Well done to all the Year 1 pupils on a fantastic year of learning - Miss Boissiere's classroom has now closed down for the holidays!
Posture and Expression
POSTURE AND EXPRESSION | This week, the Junior School pupils have been focusing on posture and expression in their Drama lessons. As part of this project, Mrs Stewart tasked them with recreating famous pieces of artwork in their own homes. The pupils recreated a wide range of artwork ranging from the Surrealist painting Les Fils de l'homme (1964) by René Magritte to Vincent van Gogh's iconic Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Halt (1887). The likenesses really are uncanny! We hope that you enjoy looking at their fantastic tableaus in the online gallery linked below - can you guess the painting/piece of artwork and also identify the pupil?
MARVELLOUS MUSIC | The pupils in Years 6 and 7 put on a fantastic Leavers' Concert at the end of this week, which featured both LAMDA and musical performances. It was a wonderful celebration of the pupils' hard work and commitment to Music & Drama throughout their time in the Junior School. All the performances were excellent, but a few selected highlights included:
- Verity's monologue performance of Ginger, a horse from Anna Sewell's novel Black Beauty. She performed with real poise and sensitivity.
- Eliza's confident performance of Charpentier's Prelude on the cornet.
- The fantastic vocal performances from Jennifer and Shreyas, who sang Abba's Slipping Through My Fingers and Pasek and Pauls' Waving Through a Window respectively.
The concert concluded with a performance of Bridge Over Troubled Waters by the St Leonards Show Choir. The performance was the fruit of a large collaborative project which has taken place over the past few weeks. First, the sheet music and backing track was shared with the choristers, alongside some excellent practice tracks produced by Year 13 student Kit McCarthy to help singers familiarise themselves with the vocal lines. After a few rehearsals, the singers recorded themselves at home and uploaded their videos. Mr Shiells then extract the audio and started to mix it all together. Parent Chris Wallard did the same with the video files and also shot some lovely footage of the school grounds for use during the instrumental sections.
We hope you enjoy the nice warm sound created by the combination of voices, and the spectacular look of the finished video. Congratulations go to everyone involved in the project - we hope that you enjoy watching the performance below!
Eagles and Wolves
EAGLES AND WOLVES | We have been so impressed by the quality of presentations and projects that the Year 6 pupils produced for their PYP Exhibition this year. This week, we are pleased to share a video produced by Brodie for her project which focused on the conservation of wolves. She created an amazing model, and then produced this compelling video taking on the perspective of an eagle and a wolf with an incredible narrative. Please click on the link below to watch the video. Fantastic work, Brodie!
SUPERB SCIENTISTS | This week, the Year 7 pupils concluded their Science syllabus with Mr Martin's Big Fat Science Quiz of the Year. It was certainly a fun way to end the year! The quiz had three rounds - materials, energy, and cycles - which each contained some challenging questions. For example:
- As of 2019, which planet in the solar system has the most moons?
- True or false: a strawberry is magnetic if you can find a strong enough magnet to attract it?
Below are a few words from Mr Martin to the Year 7 parents:
"I would like to express my thanks for encouraging your young scientist over the course of this year. A most unusual year in many ways, but the pupils persisted through it all, producing some really excellent pieces of work which showed enthusiasm and knowledge. I am proud to have started their science education for them, and I hope they continue to stay curious, keep asking questions, and remain dedicated and committed scientists through the rest of their secondary education and, hopefully, beyond. In these strange times, it is ultimately scientists we look toward for answers, and so I hope that you keep the light of science education alive in our youngest scientists. Who knows what future problems they will have to solve!"
LAST LESSON | Year 3 had their final lesson of the academic year today - and some of them even dressed up for the occasion to wish Mrs Beebee a very happy birthday!
When lockdown began, Mrs Beebee decided to retain an element of the 'old days' in her lessons and erected a flipchart in her dining room as a makeshift whiteboard. Year 3 have got through 6 whole flipcharts this term! In true St Leonards style, and out of a desire to care for the environment, Mrs Beebee has now taken this mass of paper to the recycling centre.
Mrs Beebee is so proud of all that Year 3 have achieved this year, especially since lockdown began. The children have worked hard, and the support of the parents has been amazing. Well done, Year 3.