Leaps and Bounds
The job of a teacher is very rewarding one. I always loved teaching the early years as the results came quick and the progress, at times, was huge. Further up the school, once basic concepts have been mastered, progress is perhaps not as starkly noticeable on a daily basis but certainly by the end of a term, or indeed a half term, there is real satisfaction, and it is clear to see how pupils have grown and developed over the weeks. It is always heartening to look at a writing jotter at the start of the year and then flick through to the end - what a difference! Reading through them, you can witness the children themselves noticing great strides in their handwriting, note the emergence of paragraphs, better presentation and stories getting longer and longer.
In every class I dropped in on this week there has been progress since term started at the end of August. Year 3 were reflecting on what they had learned so far, what they found tricky and what they had particularly enjoyed. Some of the Year 1s were writing independently in class; some can now write letters, some their name, whilst others are reading, and starting to recognise common words. I was delighted to be invited into Year 6 French to listen to their presentations on habitats, where there was not one word of English to be heard. The children spoke confidently and with superb concentration on delivering in a French accent. All have made considerable progress.
They key to progress is practice, and never was I reminded of this more than at the Informal Concerts this week. Musicians of every ability are encouraged to play and it is brilliant to see so many children have the confidence to stand up in front of a packed audience and sing, play the piano, violin or guitar. I am sure that some of us as adults are envious of not only their ability, but also their readiness to perform. What must not be underestimated is the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Music is much like English, French, Maths, golf, hockey and rugby; the more you put in, the more you get out. I am incredibly lucky, in my role as Head, to be able to observe such exceptional young people in the Junior School each and every day.
With best wishes for a relaxing Half Term.
HARVEST DONATIONS | As part of their current Unit of Inquiry on ‘Rights and Responsibilities’, the Year 5 students took action by helping at the local food bank, Storehouse St Andrews. During the unit, the pupils learned about the difference between wants and needs. They discovered that some people in Scotland do not have their basic human needs met and focused on ways in which society is helping these people. They researched food banks and how they help to meet basic human needs.
Year 5 then began a campaign: to gather as many items as they could for the food bank. They created posters and presented their campaign at Harvest Assembly, explaining to the rest of the school what food banks are, who might use them and what items are good to donate. Year 5 started a week-long challenge. Whichever House gathered the most items, won. I am delighted to announce that the winning house was...Lewis, with a breath-taking 324 items!
The Year 5 pupils would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every person who donated to the food drive. In total, St Leonards families donated more than 760 items. That is a huge amount and, as a result, we have been able to help so many families in St Andrews.
On Tuesday morning, the students walked to the Storehouse, following their donations, which had to be taken in two van runs! Scott, one of the volunteers who run the food bank in St Andrews, gave pupils more information and data about the organisation. They then split into two groups, with one group sorting onto the shelves and the other packing bags to give to people in need. They all did a fantastic job by taking responsibility and showing dedication and enthusiasm. Well done Year 5!
Miss Brannen, Year 5 Class Teacher
HOCKEY ACTION | Congratulations to the U11 girls’ hockey team who played a fantastic game against Fettes last week, with six goals scored. Abbie netted the opening goal, followed by two from Lana and three from Sanna. The final result was a 6-0 win to St Leonards! Congratulations to the whole team and to ‘girl of the game’ XiuRong for her excellent defensive play.
The U12 girls had a more challenging match, losing 6-1 at the final whistle. Rachel scored for St Leonards, with some fantastic saves from Isobel and Emily names player of the match.
FAMILY HISTORIES | Year 2 were visited by a truly amazing lady this week. Claudia’s great-great-grandmother, Helen Philp, came to speak to us about her life as we began looking into the past and exploring our own family histories.
Helen will be 103 years old in December and was able to answer the children’s questions on a wide variety of topics. Here are just a few of the things that we learned during her visit...
‘She told us that if you were really naughty at school you got the belt. She got the belt one time! She got it because she just wanted to know what it felt like.’ - Claudia
‘She had three brothers. They were all in the Second World War. One of them flew on aeroplanes, another mended planes in Africa and the other one landed in Norway with a parachute and he married a Norwegian lady! They all got home safely after the war.’ - Claudia
‘She got married during the war. Her wedding was simple because there wasn’t lots of food in the war. She had a cake, but it didn’t have lots of layers on it, just one layer.’ - Thea
‘She made her own wedding dress. It was white.’ – Bethany
‘Her favourite food was dumplings. Her mum would make one for her birthday and she would hide money inside it.’ – Harrison
‘And she told us about ‘lucky potatoes. They were sweets made of toffee covered in cocoa. The shopkeeper would hide coins inside some of the lucky potatoes too!’ – Jonathan
‘You wanted to get the money, but you had to be careful. If you got a coin you could lose a tooth! But if you got a coin you could buy another lucky potato!’ - Jamie
Year 2 are looking forward to having a go at making their own lucky potatoes after half term.
Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
MS Coffee Morning
MS COFFEE MORNING | This morning there were cakes and biscuits galore in the Junior School staff room as our coffee morning in aid of the MS Trust got under way. Pupils were dressed in their brilliant and imaginative risk-taker themed outfits and staff enjoyed tucking into the tables of treats during Morning Break!
So far, we have raised a total of £500 from our bake sale and fun run, but we are sure this figure will rise! Thank you to all for your support of this worthy cause.
Mrs Beebee, Year 3 Class Teacher
The Big Soup Share
THE BIG SOUP SHARE | On Wednesday, Year 2 participated in ‘The Big Soup Share’, a nationwide initiative organised by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. The Big Soup Share is a chance to celebrate the work done in our school garden by harvesting our crops, whizzing them up into a delicious soup and sharing it out with others.
We picked leeks and potatoes, weighing and comparing the yield of different varieties then, with the help of Darren, our Catering Manager at St Leonards, we shared our soup with the school community at lunchtime.
Miss Fisher, Year 2 Class Teacher
Meet the Expert
MEET THE EXPERT | One of our parents, Dr König, came to visit pupils in Year 5 on Thursday and share her expertise on Human Rights. The children delved further in their Unit of Inquiry by exploring examples of people who have been unfairly treated and even imprisoned.
All were engaged and inquisitive about the realities of the world around them. They participated in two activities; one where they inquired into free speech and the second, talking in small groups about which rights we could take out of the convention. We would like to thank Dr König for her time and interactive talk!
Miss Brannen, Year 5 Class Teacher
Leuchars Base Visit
LEUCHARS BASE VISIT | Transport comes in all shapes and sizes! The Year 4 children were extremely fortunate to be given special clearance for a tour of Leuchars Army Base by St Leonards parent Major Bill Minards. The children were shown a wide variety of transport used by the armed forces from long ago to that used today.
We were then guided through the air traffic control tower, witnessed it in action and had the opportunity to ask many questions on how the tower operates. It was a fantastic visit to conclude our inquiry in to the wide variety of transport, function and different networks. We would like to thank Major Minards for taking the time to organise the visit and act as our tour guide on the day.
Mrs Arkwright, Year 4 Class Teacher
INFORMAL CONCERTS | This week, parents and pupils were treated to two excellent Informal Concerts in the Music School Auditorium. The range of instruments played, and genres covered was wonderful to see, and each and every one of our performers should be incredibly proud of their achievements. It is no easy feat to stand up and play or sing in front of an audience.
Thank you to all who performed and supported this morning and yesterday morning, and to Mr Shiells, Ms Love and Ms O’Brien for all their hard work in preparing and rehearsing our musicians.
The Lower School children rounded off our musical week perfectly with three interactive songs, including one in Spanish!
Charity Fun Run
CHARITY FUN RUN | School uniform was swapped for fancy dress for our risk-taker themed final day before the holidays, the highlight of which was the annual St Leonards Junior School Charity Fun Run!
Dressed as their chosen risk-takers, from climate change activist Greta Thunberg to rugby players and the very brave Nemo, who took the plunge and swam over the edge of the reef, the children set off at the start line outside the Junior School for a run around the grounds, raising money for the MS Trust.
Thank you to all who have donated so far!
Congratulations to the following pupils, who received awards at Celebration Assembly on Monday:
Gemma for always being polite and friendly to both adults and her peers.
Rebecca for being a risk-taker and speaking confidently and clearly at the Harvest Festival Assembly.
Cecilia for settling in brilliantly and consistently producing work of a very high standard.
Claudia was Year 2 Pupil of the Week for engaging in her new Unit of Inquiry on Family Histories so enthusiastically, in preparation for her great-grandmother's visit.
Michelle for spontaneously helping the Year 2 and 3 teachers at our Open Morning, warmly talking to prospective new children and making them feel so welcome.
Lara for her commitment to spelling last week and showing attention to the presentation of her work.
Mia for perfect dictionary work and spelling homework.
Will for a truly brilliant effort in his Homework Heroes task, producing a well-planned and perfectly executed board game designed around the water cycle.
Freddie for being such a good sport and having the generosity of spirit to celebrate the success of others as well as his own. The attributes of a real team player!
XiuRong for initiative and taking responsibility for a good cause (busking to raise money to buy supplies for the food bank).
Julius was presented with his medal following a trip to the US to compete in a prestigious golf tournament.
Harry for being a risk-taking and acting out a scene where he played Mrs Stewart's dad.
Lucy, Lois and Riya for a fantastic Homework Heroes animation and working well and quietly in all lessons.
Albert was Year 1 Pupil of the Week for his fantastic phoneme writing.
Eleanor was Year 3 Pupil of the Week for great growth mindset in her Maths this week, being resilient and not giving up when she found it tricky.
Lower School News
My message this week is short and sweet.
We have had the most amazing start to the academic year, from the very first days in new classes to the inspirational performances at the informal concert this morning and everything in between. With all our children happy, busy and thriving my Half Term request is simply that you all have the most wonderful holiday. May your children rest, relax and recharge those batteries. Enjoy the Autumn sunshine, indulge in whatever afternoon daylight we still have before the clocks go back and, above all, have fun!