The Georgian monday, 10 February 2020


"A kid today can likely tell you about the Amazon Rainforest - but not about the last time he or she explored the woods in solitude, or lay in a field listening to the wind or watching the clouds move." Richard Louv, author of the 'Last Child in the Woods'.

I do love Persil’s ‘Dirt is Good Campaign’. Whilst it is incredibly clever advertising for a washing product company, they have led a super campaign to promote the importance of play:

I am sure you have all heard of Sir Ken Robinson. His TED talk, ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ remains the most watched TED talk of all time, at over 50 million views so far. I have inserted the link into one of my blogs before, but if you haven’t watched it, I wholeheartedly recommend you do:

He recently released a new book, ‘You, Your Child and School’, in which he provides guidance to parents in how to navigate their child’s education. In this book, he devotes some time to promoting the importance of children engaging in play. He says the following: “Perhaps the simplest advice I can offer parents concerned about preparing their children for the world is this: let them play more….I’m talking about inventing games on the spot with their friends, turning a pile of twigs into a fairy wood, or hiking along a stream to explore the wildlife there. Play is the work of a child, and children must have time, space and permission to engage in a variety of play in order to maximize the developmental benefits that play offers.” (Robinson, 2018).

It is not just about learning key skills such as imagination, creativity, connection to the world or problem solving, but play is actually key to brain development. As you will see from the diagram below, from birth to three years of age, children are developing vital connections in their brain, called neurons. These are formed by experiences the child has, such as attachment, a sense of loving and a range of sensory experiences. If these experiences are not repeated, then the connection is pruned, therefore this process is dependent on our stimulation and environment. For example, if no one interacts and talks with us, we won’t learn to speak; if no one responds to our cries, we stop crying. Research has suggested that this rapid growth and pruning of connections only takes place during the first three years of a child’s life, however a recent study suggests that this process is repeated again during the early onset of adolescence. The development of the brain is also strengthened by a number of other factors, including play, and experts believe that play helps children develop an effective stress response system, which in turn leads to increased resilience and self-regulation (Perry, 2001).

Have a think about memories of your own childhood. What do you remember doing?

Did this memory involve:

1. Being outside

2. Being away from adults

Research has shown that the overwhelming proportion of adults choose one of these memories when asked.

The importance of free, unsupervised and self-initiated play is so vital; let’s not allow the next generation to be the ones who won’t have the memories of it that we have.

Catherine and I asked Arthur what he was most looking forward to doing when we return to St Andrew's for Half Term next week. Without much hesitation, he said “Potholing" [we live on a farm track]. I hope the weather allows for you all to spend time outdoors getting mucky.

William Goldsmith

Celebration Assembly


Leo M and Alexios S have been offered Music Scholarships to Wellington College, and Carl A has been offered a Music Scholarship to Bryanston. We congratulate them, and thank all those who have supported them.

The following pupils received awards on Monday:

Head Master's Commendations

Radley H and Alex L: for creating a fantastic model to depict a motte and bailey castle

George H, Sam N, Jessica G, Edith R, Tom V, Celeste J-H and Paul R: for completing some great voluntary work in French, capturing all they have learned this year.

Milton O'B and Mason S: for working consistently hard in French lessons.

Mariella O'B: for an excellent poster about snacks.

Savannah K and Nathan M: for excellent use of language in their French speaking

Leo C: for putting a great deal of effort into Spanish

Tommy H: for continuous effort in Spanish lessons

Spirit of St George's Awards

Thomas B: for being very helpful

Nefeli M: for managing to fill nine eco bottles

Noah N-C: for all his help during assemblies

Katie K: for applying her first aid knowledge to help someone

Sports Players of the Week

Years 3 and 4: Ava S for Leadership: Captain on Friday, demonstrating a positive attitude and leading by example.

Years 5 and 6: Nathaniel M for Enjoyment: Working incredibly hard this term to learn a new sport and making wonderful progress.

Years 7 and 8: Tristan U-I for Leadership: Stepping in as captain on Wednesday showing both leadership quality and compassion towards his team mates.

LAMDA Recitals

LAMDA recitals took place in front of an audience of parents and friends on Sunday and Wednesday in preparation for the examinations on Friday. All the children were word perfect in the two pieces of poetry or prose which they had selected, speaking audibly and clearly from memory. The practice appears to have paid off and the exams went well on Friday. We look forward to receiving their results in a few weeks' time.

NSPCC Number Day

On Friday the school took part in the NSPCC Number Day to help support the charity's vital services such as Childline and the Speak Out Safe programme, which aims to equip children with the knowledge and understanding they need to keep safe by delivering assemblies and workshops in schools. Pupils were invited to wear an item of clothing with a number on it in return for a donation of £1 to the NSPCC. Pupils designed and created hats to wear for the occasion and there was an impressive level of creativity from both pupils and staff.

Maths Challenge Triumph at Cheltenham College

On Tuesday, eight pupils, composed of two teams of four pupils from Year 5 and Year 6, travelled to Cheltenham College to take part in a Maths Challenge competition.

The pupils performed exceptionally well and worked strategically together within their teams. They competed in four rounds : a logical round, a cross number round, number problems and a relay. The competition was intense and really tested the pupils' mathematical knowledge and their teamwork skills. St George's came through triumphantly, with the Year 5 team coming 1st out of 24 teams, bringing home the medals.

Stargazing Evening

The turn out this year for the Stargazing Evening was the best ever. Despite considerable cloud cover, the children and parents were able to catch detailed glimpses of the Moon and Venus which is well positioned in the night sky at the moment. We are once again indebted to the Herschel Astronomical Society for their continued support and the wonderful telescopes they brought for the occasion.

Quiz Club Heat at Manor House School, Leatherhead

On Thursday, eight St George's pupils took part in the Key Stage 2 Quiz Club heat at Manor House School in Leatherhead. Two teams, each composed of a Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6 pupil represented the school, competing against 11 other teams from the region in a series of multiple choice questions.

Each pupil had a remote control button to log their individual answer after conferring with their team mates. Not only general knowledge but also strategy therefore came into play in order to maximise points scored. Topics ranged from 'big cats' to Machu Picchu, and from the first landing on the moon to the composer of “The Four Seasons”. After a stimulating and thought-provoking morning of 40 questions, St George’s School 1 ( Owen H, Toby C, Issey and Tom J) came 9th and St George’s School 2 (Carys C, Loic C, Raphael K and Molly J) came 4th with a score of 2030 points, just 55 points behind the winners. Well done to all involved and thank you to the parents for their support.

Assembly Speaker - Cosmologist Professor Richard Battye

St George’s was very fortunate to have Professor Richard Battye as our guest speaker in assembly this week, who gave a talk on his career in astrophysics and cosmology. He is currently the Professor of Cosmology at the University of Manchester and has been the Associate Director in the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics since 2015. Professor Battye’s career has also included working with the former theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking. After the assembly, Professor Battye was also kind enough to give us his time to run a workshop with our Year 7s. This included a discussion on the expansion of the universe, cosmic background radiation and blowing up balloons, followed by lots of interesting and insightful questions from the pupils.

Launch of new Parent and Toddler Group

Our very first parent and toddler group, 'Butterflies & Caterpillars', will take place on Friday, 28 February from 9.10 to 10.10am. Please tell your friends about it. Click here for more information and to find out how to reserve one of the limited places.

Year 5 Chocolate Rocks!

In geography, Year 4 have been learning about the layers of the Earth and how rocks are formed. Using chocolate the children made an example of sedimentary rock with its flaky layers. Then they used their hands to add pressure and heat, like within the earth, to melt the chocolate so that when it cooled it would be a noticeably harder form of rock; this is metamorphic. Finally, the chocolate was melted and then left to cool to make the hardest form of rock, igneous! The children enjoyed sampling each type of chocolate rock and could feel the difference in the textures and strength.

Sports Report

Under 10 Rugby

The Under 10A team played a very exciting and competitive match against Twickenham Prep on Wednesday. They performed very well as a team, looking to move the ball in attack and securing the ball effectively in defence. It was a wonderful team performance ending with a 4-2 win for the boys. The Under 10B team played a 5-a-side fixture. It was a high scoring encounter with a reduced amount of players on the pitch. However, it made for an entertaining game. St George's handling was impressive, popping the ball off the floor to keep attacks flowing really well, which led to some great tries. The Under 10C team participated in a thrilling game. In a high scoring encounter, both teams scored several tries as the game ended in a draw. Special mention should go to Cedric R who scored 5 tries and Jonah P who showed determination and grit throughout the game.

Under 11 Rugby

The Under 11A fixture was played on a large pitch away at Twickenham Prep. They started brightly, exposing space for Alex W to run in an early try. Twickenham hit back, taking advantage of sluggish defensive speed. Otherwise, defence was good, and Twickenham resorted to kicking into space behind, forcing St George's back. With the scores level at half time, St George's found it harder to find space on the wings; Thomas K and Benji S both scored similar powerful tries, but could not prevent the outcome: Twickenham won 5-3. The Under 11B side played very well. The first half was a very even affair, with both sides showing some fantastic tackling, however some great tries from Owen H and Fede R put the result in St George’s favour. Special mentions must go to Kobe and George S for some very impressive tackles. Our aim for the next fixture will be to work on our rucking position. The Under 11C team had another high scoring game, with tries coming from both sides and attacking play coming out on top. This team is making great progress, continuing to develop their tackling technique.

Senior Rugby

The 1st XII had a tough game. The final score was 40 points to 20 in favour of Reddham House. We were much better in the 2nd half and in fact all our four tries were scored from better rugby (Reddham scored most of their tries from a quick runaway and missed first time tackles). We recycled the ball well and moved it out wide. It was another tough day on the games field for the 2nd team against the Reddham House U12A team. Whilst the boys are individually making progress, they are yet to collectively all play well at the same time. Hopefully, with only a few matches of the season remaining, they will get the result that their efforts deserve.

Under 8 Rugby

The Under 8 Red side enjoyed a good afternoon of rugby with Sunningdale School on Friday. There was some lovely direct running from Barney H and Arthur Jack E, whilst in defence Leonardo DZZ and Thomas D made some very important tackles. This was a good all-round performance with the aim for the next match to ensure we do not crowd the ball carrier but instead draw the opposition man before passing the ball. The Under 8 White team competed in an entertaining game. The boys enjoyed the encounter and special mention should go to Zaki B who was great in defence and Herbie W who tried hard throughout the game.

Under 9 Rugby

The Under 9 Red played some exciting rugby with a game that ebbed and flowed with tries coming from both teams. Ultimately St George’s defence proved too strong for Sunningdale, resulting in some wonderful break away tries. The Under 9 White team played a mixed practice game. There were tries aplenty with strong forward running from both teams. Tackling technique and application is improving each week. Standout performance was Baptiste A who made some fantastic tackles.

More Swimming Success for Sam P

Congratulations to Sam who won his butterfly race at the IAPS Swimming Regionals at James Allen's Prep School on Wednesday. We now wait to see if his impressive time is quick enough for him to qualify for the Finals at the London Aquatic Centre in the Olympic Park.

U10/U11 Netball vs Hall Grove

Both U11 teams were faced with some challenging opposition on Wednesday afternoon, but were courageous in their approach as a team. The U11A team showed their versatility and changed their usual pattern of play in response to marking some tall players! Nefelli M and Willow W marked their players well and were able to turn over lots of balls. The team worked hard to come forward for the ball and use the space. The girls showed excellent determination and although they faced a loss they fought to the end, showing good sportsmanship and teamwork.

In the U11B match the team made a promising start against strong Hall Grove competition. Again, fantastic teamwork was evident throughout the game with some pleasing movement on court. There were some exceptional interceptions from Willow W and Ella G. Well done to the shooters who converted goals for St George’s.

The U10s also faced some tough opposition on their away visit to Hall Grove. The U10Bs made a fantastic start to their game, they showed determination and there was some great work into space by Evie C and Reya M. There were some lovely passages of play with the ball moving into the attacking circle and an excellent shooting partnership with Liv D and Evie C working well together. Final score was 7-6 - well done to St George’s. Player of the match - Evie C.

The U10A team had a tougher game with the ball being turned over lots in the centre court. There were some excellent interceptions from Lily D and Isla M who stopped the ball going in to the circle. A close game resulted in an unlucky 4-2 loss. Player of the match - Tilly W.

U8/U9 Netball vs Hall Grove

The U9 girls had an excellent afternoon of netball on Friday with some very competitive play against Hall Grove. The blue team started off a strong first quarter with a goal in the first few minutes and following this Hall Grove equalised. The play remained even for the rest of the match with end to end play. There was some good movement on the court and the defence made lots of interceptions. In the red team there was also some excellent defensive play from Alma S and Millie W with the ball travelling from one end to another in quick succession. Both matches ended with a draw.

The U8 matches produced some excellent individual performances in both teams. Excellent interceptions from Freya S and Willow J were key to stopping Hall Grove scoring. There was some good movement in the circle from Elise May J and Joanna H which led to goal-scoring opportunities. In the red team match there was some great leadership on display from Ava S who captained the team this week and showed a mature approach to her play. Final scores were 1-0 and 2-0 to St George’s.

Safety Warning

You may have seen the small magnetic ball bearings that many of the children are playing with at the moment – they are sometimes silver but often multi-coloured. Whilst these are fascinating and very tactile, they do create a safety concern, particularly as we have some very young children here at St George’s. The press has recently reported children being hospitalized due to swallowing them. The children have been asked to leave them at home and your reinforcement of this would be very much appreciated. Miss Squire

Parents' Group Quiz Night - Saturday, 21 March

Get your team together for the Parents’ Group Quiz Night! Tickets are just £15 per head, including a hot supper, and it’s always a fun (and competitive!) event. Teams of 6-8 are ideal (9 absolute maximum please) so think of a great team name and book your place via stgeorgesparents@hotmail.com – this is always a popular event so it’s advised to book early. Doors open at 7.15pm, so grab a drink at the bar before a prompt 7.45pm quiz start. See you there!

In the Pre-Prep this week...

Wishing the following pupils a very...

Zack T, Rai S, Judah H, Isabella C, Cayman C, Karina K, Max A and Leo C.