Friday, 15 September 2017


'In ten years time, robots will take over from teachers in schools'.

This headline in last Sunday's papers wasn't unexpected, for we are going through a period of exponential change in the world as Artificial Intelligence, and even Super Intelligence, brings great opportunities to our way of living. Why wouldn't there be the anticipation that robots will take over schools? The benefits could be numerous: pre-programmed personalised learning for each child allowing the able to be stretched sufficiently, and the less able to be taken at a pace to suit them; robots presumably have all the facts and infinite knowledge at their fingertips; robots can mark work immediately, thus speeding up the feedback process.

So, what is the issue, if academically speaking, robots can have so many benefits to a pupil's individualised learning?

As we look to prepare pupils for the tremendous opportunities that the world will bring them, opportunities that will continue to break down geographic and cultural borders, and opportunities that will see them fulfil jobs that don't exist yet, there is one element of schooling and growing up that will remain as important as it has since the Ancient Greeks: the development of relationships, emotional and social understanding.

Robots will not support parents in instilling compassion, kindness, consideration and manners in our children, whereas teachers as positive role models play a very important part in this development.

This supports a central mission of St Leonards. The family ethos of our school was seen as one of the most important aspects of St Leonards. What does a true family school look like? Visibly, it is the relationships that our pupils have with their friends' families, both in and out of school, and it always heartens me to see the warmth our families show towards other children on a daily basis at school. It is also the family feel of our staff, and friendships that are formed within the staff room between families, and again this filters down to the children and contributes to the very special ethos we enjoy. Catherine and Arthur play a role in creating a family feel, as I know all our families do. Grandparents and other relatives also play an important part, and I look forward to welcoming the wider family to many more school events in the future. The friendships I observe every day - friendships between children, their parents and staff - is a key driver in making the school the kind, caring and close-knit community that it is. This hasn't been generated by advances in IT, nor has the dawn of super-intelligence. What drives this atmosphere is a philosophy that has been at the core of education since 340BC: "educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all" (Aristotle). It is this that will enable our pupils to develop ideas that will change the world and make a global difference.

Why am I not overly concerned about robots in schools? Headlines like this have been appearing in the press for over ten years, and as Tony Little, the ex-Head of Eton College says: "We are preparing children for global change on an unimaginable scale. We must balance this with a great deal of fun". It is the people in our schools - as communities that are fuelled by social and emotional intelligence - that provide fun, imagination and compassion. it is these skills, along with many others, that are required before we even imagine a robot standing in front of a class.

St Leonards is a truly family orientated school, and I thank our children, parents and staff for sharing this commitment and making this such a special community.

Wishing all St Leonards families a happy weekend, wherever your adventures take you.

William Goldsmith


Congratulations to the following who were awarded the weekly 'Spirit of St Leonards' awards in Assembly on Monday:

Year 1 Pupil of the week: Ramsay Sloan

Year 2 Pupil of the Week: Ruben Loe

Year 3 Pupil of the week: George Crook

Years 4-7 Spirit of St Leonards Award - Katie Penman

Headmaster's Commendation - awarded to Isha Bhaskar, for her poster on The Water Cycle

Year 1's Gaudi inspired art

For their 'Unit of Inquiry', How We Organise Ourselves, Year One have been finding out about the school. As part of this inquiry, they have been exploring the school and have been representing their surroundings in different ways. They have also explored the work of Gaudi and have painted some very colourful pictures inspired by this art. The children made sure they included lots of colour, wavy lines and just a few turrets! Artists in the making!

Children's Author, Alison Caldwell visits St Leonards

Year 2 visit the CDR


Year 2 spent a wonderful afternoon preparing and eating haddock. We learnt where the haddock is caught and how it makes it's way to our plate. Mrs Paterson had sourced in some fish for us to identify and we were allowed to touch them. After preparing our fish, the kitchen fried it for us and then we got to eat it; delicious. The haddock was in the sea yesterday and now it's in our tummies!


Over the holidays, Lewis in 4P really took to our first Unit of Inquiry, 'Transport Networks provide travel for different purposes. With the support of his Dad, Lewis set about constructing his own bridges out of Lego. Today, Lewis demonstrated how a pontoon bridge works to our class and we all had a go at identifying the other bridges. 4P happily identified girder, suspension, cantilever and cable-stayed but we all agreed that the 'super-rare' pontoon bridge seems to be the most useful. How many can you identify and do you know where we would find examples of these bridges locally? If not, speak to any member of Year 4!

Year 3 have had a busy week

The Year 3 children had a wonderful time at the cathedral on Thursday afternoon. They had the opportunity to ask questions they had prepared, dress up as pilgrims and solve Francis’ I SPY booklet that he produced over the summer holiday!

The children have continued to work collaboratively in Maths by creating their own number sequences using 2,3,4 and even 5 digit numbers! Their classmates had a tricky time working each sequence out.....Year 3 are real mathmagicians!


Year 2 have been investigating the different jobs that people do around the St Andrews harbour area. On one of our walks we spoke to some builders who were rendering the houses facing the harbour, and upon returning to the classroom both Mohamed and James posted questions on our Wonder Wall asking how building are made. Angus Wright kindly stepped in to help us learn more about this and clearly explained the different steps and processes involved in creating a building. He also told us about sailing boats and designing crazy golf courses. We had a brilliant time practising our golf skills!

Having learnt from Angus Wright about how real buildings are constructed, Year 2 then went on to create virtual reality buildings of their own using the Block Craft app.

Open Morning, 7 October 2017

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.

Harvest Festival, Wednesday 20 September 2017

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...

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday for the week ahead: Brendan and Ophelia


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