Friday, 24 February 2017


The Diploma students' production of 'Les Miserables' has quite simply wowed audiences this week. As a West End hit covering a complex plot, challenging acting, songs with the most extraordinary vocal ranges, a symphonic score and large ensemble numbers is ambitious to say the least. The production this week has been a triumph and demonstrates much more than talent, although this was there in abundance. A project such as this requires enormous dedication, teamwork and commitment from both pupils and the production team.

The sense of satisfaction and immense pride of what fellow cast members have achieved, whether it be stage management, musicians, technical team, front of house, programme designers or make up artists, will be overflowing tonight. It can be argued that team success is far more rewarding than personal success (not that we should over shadow this) given the number of skills and character strengths needed to get over the hurdles.

The Production of 'Les Miserables' is an example of the power of team work. However, it isn't the only example of team work this week. A significant proportion of the success of our children on a day-to-day basis stems from their ability - growing and developing constantly - to work as part of a team, sometimes a small cog, sometimes a slightly more prominent cog. Every single member of the hockey teams on Wednesday had to put their position as a team-player well ahead of their own personal skills and ability; I have observed our Year 7s this week plan their own towns as part of team, taking the opinions and view of others on board; Our choirs and string ensembles have rehearsed this week as teams, having to listen to others and understand their responsibilities as part of an ensemble.

Through our curriculum at St Leonards, we place collaboration at the heart of the learning process, in our PYP, MYP, GCSE and ultimately DP programmes. Commitment to teamwork drives creativity, compassion, a desire to get through challenges collectively and strive for the highest possible standards. This emphasis on responding to others is simply not possible with a curriculum based on passive learning and regurgitation of knowledge, and this week's production of 'Les Miserables' has reaffirmed our belief that we must be ambitious for our pupils, and these ambitions will be realised through teamwork. Internationally renowned soloists, world class sprinters, individual athletes, and even Andy Murray would agree that their success is down to the support network of others: they are a mere cog (admittedly a rather important cog) in a team.

I am reminded of this rather humorous video clip, which demonstrates the power of team work perfectly:

Another significant benefit of teamwork is the growth of compassion. Children must be encouraged to ‘look out and consider others’ rather than develop an inflated view of themselves, which often leads them to forsake others. To achieve something as a team, all those involved has to have the generosity of spirit to put others first. This is just as powerful in the playground, day-to-day schoolwork, and out and about as it is in ensuring the success of large productions and sports fixtures.

Big hearts versus big heads.

Wishing you a happy weekend,

William Goldsmith


We are all gearing up for our 'Book Week' at St Leonards, where we look forward to the following events in addition to the competitions and book swap which will continue throughout the week:

Monday: Storytelling workshops

Wednesday: Book Aid International Assembly; Roald Dahl Bake sale

Thursday: World Book Day: Fancy Dress theme (£2 donation to Book Aid International)

In addition, each year group will be visiting Toppings. The children will all be given a World Book Day token of £1, and we suggest no more than £5 to supplement the token.

May we encourage Parents to join our Book Swap, and bring in any old / unwanted books (and a £1 donation) and take part in the swap. The children's book swap will take place in the library, and the adults in the reception area.

Our Book Week is part of a larger plan we have to develop our reading programme in the School, and I shall be writing to Parents with details of our framework for September 2017 during the Summer Term.


On Monday we had an informative tour of the Joan Eardley exhibition, ‘A Sense of Place’, at the Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Joan painted in only two places in her lifetime. Some galleries displayed work created when she lived in Catterline, a fishing village in Aberdeenshire. She used lots of texture in her paintings of the sea and the landscape near her cottage to bring them to life – sand, flowers and layered bits of paper made them really unusual. The second collection featured work she completed in her other home in Glasgow where she was fascinated by the life of children in the tenements and on the streets.

After that we travelled to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery where we had another great tour. These portraits were very different in style – we found out about a variety of portraits and had a go at drawing what we saw in some of them. We ended the afternoon with a visit to a working library. One miniature really stood out for us which was done by a woman who held a fine paintbrush in her mouth because she had no arms or legs.

Niamh and Fiona

We thought it was amazing how much detail went into some of the paintings. What really made us go ‘wow’ was ‘The Consultants’ by Ken Currie. The painting really tells you what is happening. It feels as if you have disturbed the surgeons at work and it made us think about the fear of what might exist beyond death. Other exhibits we enjoyed were the model of an artist’s brain and a picture of Gavin Hastings.

Ashton and Cameron

I think the portrait gallery was best. I liked how they had death masks of famous people and how they had paintings of people on lockets that must have taken ages to do. I loved all the tiny details that made a difference.


Well done to our budding writers

Catherine and I hugely enjoyed reading all the entries for our House Creative Writing Competition 2017.

I shall be announcing the winners during Assembly on Monday, 15 March. We both now have the challenging task of picking year group winners!

We have now submitted all entries to the Radio 2 500 words competition, and should hear back in early May if any of our writers have been shortlisted.


The Year 3 have been busy tuning in to their new Unit of Inquiry on Communication. They were visited by volunteers from the Museum of Communication in Burntisland. Tom, Dorothy and Marion shared their wealth of knowledge on all forms of communication, some of which dating back hundreds of years. The children then had the opportunity to test some of the artefacts that were kindly brought in for the workshop.

A splendid afternoon of Hockey was enjoyed by our Girls and Boys vs. Fettes (B) and MESM (Girls). The Girls 'A' team drew 1-1; Girls 'B' team won 5-0; Boys U12 lost 4-1; Boys U10 lost 6-0.


Many congratulations to James who won a bronze medal in the Junior Slalom competition at Ruhpolding Snow School, Bayern. He completed 12 gates in the highest time, having been chosen from his two runs.

Construction Club gets ambitious on Tuesday afternoon
Many Happy Returns to...

We wish the following a very Happy Birthday for next week: Harry, Jack, Lewis, Sam, Tom


For more information about the Hockey Camp, please contact Louise Carroll (

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