BEHIND THE STUDY DOOR
“Apart from anything else, we should never lose sight of the level of fun which should exist in all of our school”
This was how Tony Little, who retired as Head Master of Eton in 2015, ended an inspiring speech on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for educators, schools and young people. It is perhaps curious that he should end highlighting the importance of fun in schools, for fun is a word that we wouldn’t necessarily expect when talking about education. Somehow, the word fun seems to dumb down learning slightly and we tread very cautiously when referring to lessons, schools and education as fun, instead using words such as creative, imaginative, inspiring, interesting etc. Tony Little is quite right though, for all the challenges ahead to ensure pupils have the right set of skills to succeed in an increasingly complex global world, for all the pressures of exams which might or might not lie ahead, for the commitment of schools to ensure children go confidently into a world which is less certain and we know will have to overcome tremendous challenges, we must never lose sight that school must be a fun place to be.
When we think of some of the greatest characteristics someone can have, we often rank possessing a sense of fun alongside kindness, thoughtfulness, sincerity and authenticity. Young children are great fun, being around our own children is tremendously fun, and as we get older we never lose the sense of having fun as an important facet of life. Why then, should fun be taken out of schooling and education, simply due to the perception that it somehow takes away the serious part of learning.
I am stressing the importance of fun, because I found myself – with true conviction and meaning – saying to our prospective chorister families who joined us on Saturday that we are a fun and forward thinking school, and it felt great to highlight this.
In our assembly this morning I presented Commendations to pupils who, in securing their knowledge of a Motte and Bailey Castle, had created models – and in one case baked a cake – of these medieval structures. There is no doubt that the knowledge would have sunk in, and they have had tremendous fun in the process. Our Year 7 Geographers last week, in learning about mapping, created their own floor plans of the school; a practical and enjoyable task with a serious learning intention underpinning it. The Year 5s enjoyed a ‘Titanic Theme Day’ on Tuesday, which involved a number of activities throughout the day; serious learning, but also a joy to see the group having fun along the way.
I have always found it fascinating that the opening line on job adverts for all teaching posts at an extremely high performing and academic school is: “we require an outstanding individual to join our fun... school”.
Promoting our schools as places of fun is essential if we are to uphold the personalities, sheer curiosity and enthusiasm of our children when they arrive in Kindergarten. They can be sure that their journey through St George’s will, amongst many other things, be great fun.
If I can be forgiven for appalling use of grammar, ‘have a fun week'.
Head Master's Commendations
Many congratulations to the following pupils who received an award during Celebration Assembly this morning.
Hari K J and Yana Va– for making a fantastic model to demonstrate a motte and bailey castle
Isabel G – for designing and baking a fantastic cake to demonstrate a motte and bailey castle
Toby C – for producing a fantastic poster in French about his family
Reya M - for producing a fantastic poster in French and poem about pets
Isla M - for producing a fantastic poster in French about pets
Gabriel R-A - for producing a fantastic poster in Spanish about his Christmas holidays
Liv D – for producing a fantastic poster in French about her family
Loic C - for producing a fantastic PowerPoint presentation in French about his family and interests
Nate M - for producing a fantastic poster in French about his family
Callum B - for producing a fantastic poster in French about his family and pets
Sports Players of the Week
Years 3&4: Thomas D for Teamwork. Thomas made some outstanding last-ditch tackles in the match against Daneshill.
Years 5&6: Evie C for Pursuing Excellence. Evie worked tirelessly to find space on the court, dodging her player to help convert goals.
Years 7&8: Miles M for Pursuing Excellence. Miles worked tirelessly all match in both attack and defence to develop his understanding and contribution to the team.
Year 5 Titanic Day
On Tuesday a collection of first, second and third class passengers arrived in Year 5 all dressed up and eager to learn for their much anticipated Titanic Day. They were even joined by some crew members including waiters, coal workers, musicians and captains, with Captain Douglas and Captain James leading the way.
This children took part in some cross curricular lessons to link all the Titanic learning together. In maths, they were looking at solving a variety of Titanic maths problems, this included calculating how many tonnes of food were needed on board the voyage. In English, the children had to research the character they had come in as, looking for their age, occupation and whether they perished or survived the sinking. We then had a fabulous drama workshop run by Mr Jennings and the children all embraced their characters well. After lunch, the children went for a swim in their clothes to see how hard it would have been to survive in the water!
The children have worked exceptionally hard on their Titanic work over the past term and this was a fabulous way to conclude the topic. Many thanks to the parents for some wonderful costume creations, too.
Year 2 Science in the Laboratory
As part of their topic on Materials, the children in Year 2 had a lesson with Mr Foran in the laboratory. With their safety goggles on, they melted a selection of materials - ice, wax, chocolate and cheese to see which one melted the quickest. The children enjoyed the first-hand experience and recorded their results.
Weather Man Peter Gibbs Speaks at Prep School Assembly
We were delighted when Peter Gibbs, former BBC weather forecaster and journalist, agreed to come and speak in our Assembly on Friday. Peter is a uniquely experienced meteorologist and worked at the Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice shelf of the Antarctic, seeing emperor penguins and whales. He passed on the message that we must look after our planet and preserve natural habitats and encouraged our children to play their part in mitigating the effects of climate change. Peter then kindly talked about the weather to both Year 4 classes.
We are delighted that Sam P won gold in the Berkshire & South Buckinghamshire County swimming final for 50m butterfly on Saturday. Entering the final with far from the quickest qualifying time, he swam 36.47 seconds to win!
The Under 11A team played matches against The Marist who were well drilled, and although we made lots of interceptions we were unable to convert. Well done to Willow W who continued to show resilience until the final whistle even though she sustained an injury early on. Special mention to Isabel G who played in a new position and was very solid throughout the match. Well done to Carys C for receiving player of the match for excellent focus and interceptions throughout.
In the B team match, there was some excellent play from Summer E who received player of the match for her excellent interceptions and leadership skills throughout.
The players in both teams displayed positivity throughout the afternoon, showing true sportsmanship and teamwork.
The Under 10s also played The Marist and both teams displayed some excellent teamwork. They were up against tough opposition in both matches, including a very tall Goal Shooter. Thanks to some skilful linking play from Tilly W and Liv D, the ball was moved up the court well once interceptions had been made. Well done to Poppy J who displayed consistency and accuracy in all her shots. Tabitha P stepped into the A team due to an injury and showed resilience and determination in all the interceptions she made and continuously marked her player.
In the B team match there were some good interceptions from Charley W and Reya M. The team showed excellent positivity even though the combinations of players were switched around throughout the match. Special mention to Evie C who showed fantastic movement on the court, dodging her player and finding space in order to convert goals.
On Friday girls in Years 3 and 4 had an exciting opportunity to be coached by ex England international and Wasps Netball player - Sophia Candappa, who visited us and gave a masterclass to the older girls last week.
Sophia attended The Marist and was coached at Eagles Netball Club by Mrs D. She previously played for Surrey Storm where she was instrumental in their Super League win. Sophia has represented England at all age groups and has dealt with many highs and lows in her career.
The girls had an enjoyable afternoon where they focused on ball skills and took part in some exciting and competitive games. Sophia showed them how to perform some challenging skills and they were all keen to try them out. At the end of the afternoon they girls had the chance to ask Sophia some questions. These were interesting and well thought out, and the girls enjoyed hearing about Sophia’s journey to becoming professional. Thank you to Sophia for coming in and sharing her netball expertise with us!
Unfortunately, the 1st team rugby match had to be cancelled due to Twickenham Prep’s playing fields being flooded, however, as this was a training match and the first game of the season we were able to make a few adjustments and host a squad fixture against a mixed senior side. During the four quarters, all boys from the 1st and 2nd team played with the second team predominantly playing the first half and the first team playing in the second half. Whilst the 2nd XII conceded a few early tries, they started to make more tackles and became more organized in terms of their defensive line during the first period of play. Their targets for the upcoming fixtures are to commit to a tackle and make their presence know when rucking! The 1st XII came out after the break raring to go and immediately played on the front foot with some good individual attacking play. Twickenham’s organised defence meant that we had plenty of the ball but few scoring opportunities. In a tight game, we won two tries to one; however, they need to work on their effectiveness at the breakdown and supporting players when attacking. A promising start to the season by all of the senior players.
The Under 11 teams played against an enthusiastic and energetic LVS team. The A’s started strongly and looked to move the ball around waiting for the that space to appear. There was a fantastic start to the match with two quick tries and LVS hit back with a well worked try, finding space out wide. After a half time talk on the importance of hitting the line at pace and completing the tackles, the boys pushed on and ended up sound winners with a score of 5-8.
The Bs also had a strong start to the season, winning comfortably whilst grasping the opportunity to develop their contact skills and the ability to create the overlaps. It was a great start to the season for the Cs who played incredibly well in their first rugby fixture of the season. In a highly enjoyable and entertaining game, the team won 14-8. There were some great tries scored involving the whole team. Special mention should go to Alex L who showed determination and excellence when tackling, and Haidar K, who demonstrated excellent sportsmanship throughout the game.
The Under 10s travelled to LVS on Wednesday with three teams. The A team had a game of two halves against a very similar LVS side. The first half was scrappy and it was clear this was the first game of the season for both sides. Charlie H captained the side well, with both defences demonstrating a tough tackling and good rucking technique. In the second half, St George’s started to dominate the game, Toby C and Daniel P making a number of exciting breaks. The aim for the next game is for the team to support the man running with the ball and to pass before getting tackled.
The B team began their season with a defeat by LVS, 3 tries to 7, but took from the fixture learnings for future matches. Alexander L and Max A showed spirited runs and solid handling, while Bikram H demonstrated determination to keep going to the end. With greater confidence with the ball in hand, and increased confidence to tackle well, this team should give future opponents very close matches. The C team also travelled to LVS for their first rugby fixture of the term. Conditions were muddy and wet, but despite this they played in a high scoring try fest. There was strong positive running from St George’s, with several individual tries scored in a good team effort. There is lots to work on but this was a good showing for their first fixture.
Sadly due to the heavy rain over the course of the week, the U9 away rugby matches had to be cancelled on Friday as Daneshill’s pitches were waterlogged. Instead of fixtures they trained well and are now looking ahead to their matches against LVS and Reddam House. The white team produced a great performance in a high scoring game against Daneshill. They greatly improved from last week with impressive handling and strong forward running. Additionally, their knowledge and application of the offside rule was positive.
On Friday afternoon the U8 squads played two sides from Daneshill School. The team did extremely well, the defence from both sides was outstanding, and Thomas D in particular made a few outstanding tackles. Ben C and Joshy G both ran well with the ball in hand, creating a number of attacking opportunities for the team. Our aim for the next game is to ensure we use the space more often and pass before we are tackled. Well done boys for your excellent effort.
Chorister for a Day
On Saturday we hosted the ‘Chorister for a Day’ experience, with 30 families in attendance. Our Choristers played a key role.
Wednesday Years 4 to 8 took part in Mindful Listening and Mindful Seeing lessons as part of our ongoing introduction to MindUP.
Mindful listening helps us choose which sounds to focus our attention on and helps us to be thoughtful in the way we hear and respond to the words of others. Mindful seeing enables us to better observe ourselves, other people and our surroundings to more fully enjoy and learn from them. Both of these will be reinforced in lessons across the curriculum to encourage recognition of where these skills are of benefit. There will be further Mindful lessons throughout this term, including mindful smelling, tasting and movement. One of the activities was for the children to mindfully look at this painting by Grandma Moses, ‘Taking in the Laundry’, it’s amazing what you can spot when you really look.
Form Tutors continue to facilitate brain breaks and we are experimenting with using them at the start of Prep sessions to enable pupils to move from a lively play attitude to one of calm and ready to work.
With the weather set to be cold but dry this weekend, you may like to take a family walk where you can stop for a few minutes for some mindful seeing and listening. It’s a great way to slow down and take notice of the world around us. - Ms Squire
Heads and Hearts
Jan Ramsay and Sue Stafford, therapists from Heads and Hearts, spent some time chatting with Year 7 and Year 8 pupils about big feelings and emotions and how they might manage them. Later in the day they also ran a session for parents and then for staff. It was a great opportunity for each group to share experiences and perhaps recognise that we are not alone in how we feel. The emphasis was very much that to experience big feelings in times of emotional challenge is normal and that it is important to express and share them.
We aim to host further sessions to support our community's mental health and wellbeing, so would welcome any suggestions of topics that you would be keen to attend. Do let me know - firstname.lastname@example.org.