We started the term celebrating 100 years of West Hill! What better way to start the year than dressed up in the style of the decade when the school was founded. We did activities like Wake 'n' Shake in costume and an assembly from a rather fearsome and somewhat familiar looking 1920's schoolmaster. We are continuing to celebrate the centenary over the year with a range of activities involving pupils, parents, staff and Old Westhillians.
There have been an impressive number of scholarships, awards and exhibitions so far this year given to 15 pupils, some gaining more than one. They have reflected the wonderful all round education West Hill provides with academic, musical, sporting, art and drama achievement all recognised. For more details and information about all places offered, please see the Headmaster's newsletter here.
Pupils have had a busy time both in and out of the classroom studying across disciplines. We had a great World Book Day celebrating Swallows and Amazons, as teachers shared their favourite childhood stories. There was a great buzz of energy in the Jubilee Hall as we hosted 17 schools for the West Hill Park Maths Challenge and a lot of hands on history making Tudor houses, also with visits to the Museum of Farnham and SeaCity. There was plenty of practical learning, applying skills to the real world using everything from pizza to sandwiches, creating instructions on teeth brushing and even making lunch for an alien! Coastal erosion and the Stubbington Bypass have been examined in depth, and Year 8 have been helping Reception to measure rainfall. Last but not least, parents came in for “How to…” sessions to learn about methods of teaching and how to support learning in English and Maths.
Another busy and exciting time for the boarders. Once again we have had many fun Wednesday nights and busy weekends packed full of activities! We have been golf professionals, pancake eating machines and performed some spectacular Irish jigs on St Patrick’s day. We have climbed mountains at Rock Up, swum and skated our way around the Guildford Spectrum and gone to the depths of Brighton Aquarium on our Sundays. From all of us who work in boarding, we wish everyone a Happy Easter and look forward to having our boarding family back together as soon as we can. Stay safe and well.
A spring term full of adventures in Early Years! We investigated water at the start of term and enjoyed trips to the pond. We looked at reflections and created some amazing ripple patterns on the water. The winter months provided us with lots of ice which enabled us to become mini scientists and investigate the concepts of freezing and melting. The children even arrived at Nursery one morning to find lots of frozen dinosaur eggs! As usual, we made the most of the puddles that appear in our playground. We recently used powder paint to explore what happens when certain colours are mixed together and also made lots of bubbles with soap! We even created a river inside and made our own boats. The children have been talking a great deal about pirates and recently helped to create their own pirate cove! We used the large construction resources to make a raft and set sail to seek our fortune!
Continued great achievement in West Hill sport and even more importantly superb sportsmanship, teamwork and fun! Among other triumphs, our teams did very well in IAPS hockey and netball tournaments, In2Hockey, tennis and of course the U13 girls becoming the Lady Taverners Indoor Cricket county champions! The bronze accredited WHP Triathlon club have been training hard and enjoyed sporting their new club hats. We were privileged to have England cricketer Marcus Trescothick visit the school to talk to us and coach cricket. The Jersey Hockey Tour was a huge success despite the weather and last but not least, the staff team beat the Old Westhillians in their annual hockey match!
The music department remains a constant hive of activity giving over 200 individual music lessons per week in addition to curriculum class music, 4 choirs, pop groups, music clubs such as Café Zam Zam, lunchtime concerts and of course the very popular open mic and jazz nights. Great recent exam results produced 6 distinctions and 10 merits and all exams passed! We eagerly await the drum results. For Year 6 of course, the highlight was going to the O2 for Young Voices, where they sang along with 8500 other children in the company of stars like Tony Hadley, The Shires, Ruti and fantastic dancers in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. Here's hoping we can get back to the normal hectic schedule of events as soon as possible!
Outdoor education is very much at the core of our curriculum at West Hill, along with woodland and beach schools, our academic life often reaches out into the natural world for inspiration and to apply skills and ideas learned in the classroom. Whether it is braving the howling wind in the New Forest, older mentoring the younger on their woodland day, kindling fire or just donning boiler suits to enjoying the wonderful WHP grounds, our pupils are always keen to enjoy the outdoors. Of course pupils are continuing to train for the Outdoor Challenge Expedition and Award this summer!
Of course the amazing "Pauper Princess" was the outstanding drama success of the term. The cast and all the staff and parents who did so much to support them were not going to allow the Coronavirus to ruin their show. Some actors had to stand in at the last minute even for major parts, and the dress rehearsal, first and second performance all in one took place on 18th March. A theatrical triumph and really a superb display of talent. Taunton School also invited WHP to visit for a dance and drama workshop during the term, a great opportunity to receive instruction from their department head and staff, use their facilities and for our Elements Dance Company to show off their moves!
We really enjoyed the excellent annual KES art exhibition and congratulations to the 10 pupils whose artwork was selected. Years R through to 6 have done some wonderful work preparing for the Titchfield Art Show which of course has sadly been cancelled this year. So much impressive art work has been produced this term. Year 3 have drawn some excellent perspective street scenes, and Years 4/5 some amazing paintings for the art show. Year 6 have really excelled themselves with their ceramic dragons. The Year 7 silk paintings were outstanding and Year 8 portraits so far are superb. The standard of scholarship work by Lucy S, Molly B, Isabella W and Tom C was absolutely outstanding. We really look forward to seeing what all the pupils can create whilst at home. And finally we have seen some really excellent ideas towards the school stained glass centenary window, work on which will resume when we return to school.
As a Pony Club linked centre, West Hill Riding School coaches attended the annual Pony Club Coaches Conference this half term at Hartpury Equine College, Gloucestershire. And well done to all the riders who passed their Pony Club efficiency tests!
In other news, we were proud to take part in Place2Be #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek (3rd-9th Feb) and marked it wearing a piece of uniform inside out while learning more about how to keep good mental health. We were pleased to welcome several senior school headmasters to come visit the school and talk to us in assembly, while the girls in Year 1M were very pleased to all receive a rose from Ethan on Valentine's day! Also we were thrilled to have a visit from an owlet spotted by some of our horse riders!
The Coronavirus of course has caused the closure of the school for the last week of term but the learning is not over, as the staff and children have really started utilising the potential of Google Classroom and finding ways to productively occupy themselves at home and share it. What are you and your children doing at home? We wish you all a Happy Easter and love to hear your stories. It is lockdown not shutdown, so share on social media and tag #WHPathome!