May I begin this week by wishing all our St Leonards families a very happy Advent period, and I much look forward to welcoming you all to our numerous events over the next two weeks as we celebrate this immensely special and joyous period.

The last five days have been immensely busy here in the Junior School with much to report on, and I hope you enjoy reading about the trips, concerts, sports fixtures and activities which have taken place this week.

Catherine, Arthur and I took advantage of free admission to St Andrews Castle on Saturday, as part of Historic Scotland's weekend of waiving entrance fees to all their sites to celebrate St Andrews Day. As a keen Historian, I was absolutely fascinated about the deep rooted history in St Andrews and couldn't help but feel very excited about the prospect of Arthur growing up here to explore all the wonderful attractions in and around St Andrews. For, as he spent Saturday filling us in with panic by hurling himself all over the Castle, before too long he will absolutely love exploring the mine, learn about the history and appreciate the joy of discovery. My point here is that our children are so fortunate to be living in an area which affords them the opportunity to explore, discover, learn and have such fun outside. I very much hope Arthur will look back on his weekends spent on the (many) beaches, running around the ruins of the castle and cathedral, picking pumpkins and strawberries, 'bagging' a Munro, watching the harvests, learning about the many castles in the area, and much more, with the knowledge that his childhood was the richer for this.

In polar opposite to my message last week that we must embrace IT, I encourage all our children to spend their weekends and holidays exploring the great outdoors and heritage sites we have on our door step. I was deeply embarrassed last week that, upon seeing an enormous bird of prey by the side of the road, I wasn't able to identify what it was. I would hope the boys and girls are growing up with a thirst for soaking in all around them, from the coastal birdlife to the history spanning over 1000 years.

With this in mind, I wish you all a very happy weekend exploring and encouraging the children to fill their minds with knowledge, curiosity and quirky facts! If you're at home, let them grow their imagination by themselves and have time mooching.

William Goldsmith, 2 December 2016


7C presented a wonderfully entertaining and thought provoking assembly on Wednesday on the theme of celebrating differences. Using the iconic 'Mr Men and Little Miss' series, they illustrated the importance of celebrating each other's differences and unique qualities, which go far beyond what we look like or where we all come from.

A number of Parents have written to me this week saying how impressed they were by the clarity of their message and how it was delivered, and I couldn't agree more. I have been most impressed with our top year this term and how they have led the School with compassion, kindness and genuine role-modelling and leadership qualities.

Years 4-7 Informal Concert

Once again, we were all delighted by some wonderful performances from instrumentalists and singers across Years 4-7 on Thursday morning. Whether a beginner or more advanced player, every boy and girl who took part performed confidently, and with real passion and charisma. We have great musical talent and enthusiasm coming up the school, and can look forward to many more fine performances and concerts. As Paul Shiels commented, to see the progress which has been made from term to term with many of the children is just wonderful.

All those who had the privilege of attending the Senior School choral concert of Faure's Requiem will have been blown away by the powerful performance of this ambitious work. Many congratulations to Fiona Love, and the pupils who sang in this masterpiece.

Our String Ensemble performed Jingle Bells to end our morning concert, and I continue to be most impressed with the quality of their playing.

U9, U10 & U12 Boys vs. Ardvreck
There was a dynamic atmosphere on Wednesday with our three boys' rugby teams out in force against Ardvreck. It was palpable to see the progress our boys have made over the season, both as individuals and playing as a team.


Year 5 had a great trip to the RRS Discovery in Dundee linked to their Where We Are In Place and Time 'Unit of Inquiry', Explorers. They were allowed to try on some authentic clothing worn by Antarctic explorers during the time of Captain Robert Scott as well as more modern clothing typical of Antarctic explorers in recent times. They were then taken on a fascinating tour of the Discovery by a very knowledgeable guide followed by a treasure hunt to complete in the main exhibition hall.

Year 5s constructing their junk model ships. The pupils have conducted research into ships used by famous explorers, and have created a factfile about their ship. Using materials brought in from home, they have build their ships in class.


As part of their 'Unit of Inquiry' into how human actions of the past impact on modern day life, Year 6 visited the Verdant Works in Dundee on Thursday. Before having a tour of the Works, the children explored the sorts of Christmas presents Victorian children might have expected. We found out that the poorest children would have been lucky to get some dried fruit and nuts and would have had to work on Christmas Day! After making Christmas cards inspired by Victorian and Modern day examples, Year 6 found out about the experiences of children working in the jute mills of Dundee. As well as seeing the processes involved in making jute, they learned about steam power and saw the Verdant Works steam engine in action (although powered now by electricity!) They also got to experience what it might have been like in a Victorian classroom – and decided the punishments were far too harsh!


Year 1 have been getting into the Christmas spirit and writing invitations. Mrs. Fynn noticed the children were spending lots of time writing each other’s names and suggested they write some cards to their friends. Soon they were all writing invitations to their parties, and some of the class decided to be even more creative and make decorations and bracelets for their guests to wear. This is just another use for Year 1’s developing writing skills!


This term we have started a new project centred on Literacy. We have twinned with a school in Northern Canada, Minahik Waskahigan School in Pinehouse, Saskatchewan. The school is in a remote northern village consisting mainly of Cree speaking people.

The village of Pinehouse, where the school is located

Here is the link to the school’s website:

And the school district’s site with photo gallery:

Our first shared activity is to create a bookmark showing details and the name of your favourite book. We look forward to receiving our bookmarks early next term.

The Year 7s with their completed bookmarks


Year 3 were visited by Dr McGuire who is a Principal Scientist in the Photobiology Unit at Ninewells Hospital. Dr McGuire explained to us the importance of protecting our skin. We experimented with very special UVA colour changing beads to find out what would protect our skin from the harmful effects of UVA. We had the chance to make our own UVA detecting bracelets. We have been wearing our bracelets all week and have been surprised that they have changed colour, even on a cloudy day.

This was linked to our investigation into role models within our society and we would like to thank Dr McGuire for taking the time to visit us and share her knowledge in such a fun way!

Many Happy Returns to...

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday: Harry, Ewen, Luke, Lucca, Rachel




We are in Week 14, and it is only natural that the children (and staff & parents) are starting to feel the effects of a long and busy term. This affords me the opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of sleep.

From about the age of 11, children need approximately 9 1/4 hours of sleep. Not having enough sleep affects mood, concentration, health, ability to learn, relationships and many other aspects of a child's life. In order to sleep, however, we all need to actually feel sleepy, and this feeling is created when our brains produce melatonin.

Turning off ALL computers, phones, tablets and anything connected to the internet in your bedroom for one hour before you want to go to bed will be the one thing that helps you most, and encourages your brain to produce melatonin. Looking at a screen before bed, or worse with the light off, is just as energising as drinking two shots of espresso. Screens mimic daylight and they trick your brain into thinking it is daylight. This is the most common cause of sleep deprivation in children, and specifically teenagers, and leads to underperforming at school.

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