The school year is whirling by, and I can hardly believe that we are already at the formal examinations stage. This week our GCSE photographers and artists have spent long, hot, hours working on their final exam pieces. We have also had French examinations taking place. Next week’s examinations include the first papers in biology and chemistry, together with component 3 in drama. I would like to thank the teaching staff for providing the booster sessions for our GCSE and A-level students and I hope that everybody is making good use of these extra opportunities for study in a controlled environment. I know that some teachers will also be providing additional tuition over the half-term break and I strongly urge students to attend if this applies to their subjects.
As I pen this blog, the year 6 and 7 pupils are enjoying themselves at the Frontier Centre in Northamptonshire on a combined alliance trip. This trip is always popular and provides lots of opportunities to enjoy outdoor pursuits – made all the better by the lovely weather we are experiencing. Thank you to Mr Hawken for organising the trip and to Miss Thompson, Mr Ferrer, Miss Holyoak, Mrs Edell, Mr Stephenson, Miss Parton, Mr Wyatt, Miss Couzens and Mr Adamson for attending.
Not to be outdone, year 5 have gone off to experience a taste of the great outdoors on their Bushcraft adventure. Again, this is always a popular trip and is a great chance for the girls and boys across the alliance to mix together. The weather this week has proved great for sleeping under canvas! Thank you to Mr Farnsworth for organising the trip and to Mrs Colbert, Mrs Shribbs, Mrs Lambert, Miss Robson, Mr Powell and Mrs Robinson for accompanying the pupils.
I say this every year, but it really is a huge responsibility to supervise children on a residential trip. We must always remember that teachers are on-call 24/7 during the trip, giving up their home time and commitments to provide these enrichment activities, which is why I am always so grateful to everybody who attends.
On 3 May pupils from across the alliance attended the ISA Music Festival at the Union Chapel in London. What a fantastic enrichment opportunity for all involved and the students participated enthusiastically and their behaviour was exemplary. Lola Remond commented “It was a really good trip. I think we should do it all over again.” whilst Sophie Fletcher said “It was very inspirational and we learned a lot”. Thank you to parents for getting the students to school so early! I would like to thank Mrs Shackleton and Mr Day for arranging this event.
The year 7 Drama class have been performing using Trestle Theatre Company masks.
On Friday 4 May we hosted our first lunchtime concert at St Andrews. Fourteen students performed a wide range of music. We were delighted with the audience of over 40 students and Ms England, our singing teacher, showed her support by preparing students and attending the concert itself. Congratulations to all students and we look forward to the next one.
On 30 April there was a first for Rushmoor and St Andrew’s as we entered a ski competition. I took pupils from across the alliance to Hemel Hempstead and I would like to say well done to Marcus, Jack, Oscar and Lottie for taking part so well.
It was a pleasure to spend time with you all and watch you compete. I hope that we will have more pupils wishing to take part next year.
On Wednesday 2 May year 3 and 4 children from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s took part in Quad Kids Athletics with all children competing in a 400m run, 75m sprint, standing long jump and howler throw. They did us proud winning all the sprint races in our heat, except one, where we came second. In the 400m race, the boys finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in their heat and Amelia won the girls’ race. Overall, Rio was the 3rd highest scoring boy – well done. All pupils were a credit to both schools.
On Thursday 3 May girls from years 5 and 6 at St Andrew's competed in their first rounders match where they faced Bedford Girls School. The girls started with focus and determination and demonstrated excellent bowling and fielding, resulting in winning the first innings 5-2. In the second innings, BGS were more successful with their scoring but with scores from Rosie, Ada and Grace, we went on to win 11-9½. Well done to the following: Rosie, Olivia, Ada, Riya, Lillie,Grace L, Grace C, Faizah. Player of the match went to Rosie for her batting skills and to Grace L for excellent bowling and decision making.
On Tuesday 8 May St Andrew’s girls had a year 7 and 8 athletics league fixture. Most of the year 7 girls were at the Frontier Centre, but we still managed to win a few events. Kasey won 800m, Amelia won 1500m and javelin, Chiamaka came 2nd in 100m and long jump, Hanaadi was 2nd in shot put and Kasey was 2nd in long jump (jointly with Chiamaka). Very well done to all who took part.
Unfortunately other athletics fixtures for Rushmoor and St Andrew’s have been cancelled by our host schools.
Last week Rushmoor took two Year 10 7-a-side football teams to Sharnbrook Academy to play in a local tournament. The event started with a Rushmoor v Rushmoor clash which ended in a very tense 1-1 draw. After that the teams played a number of games against local schools including Sharnbrook, Biddenham and KCA within a league format. Having remained unbeaten for the tournament Rushmoor B went into the last game against Biddenham A needing a win to secure the overall title. Despite dominating territory and possession for the whole game Rushmoor simply couldn’t find the back of the net and a 0-0 draw meant they narrowly missed out on winning the event. Pictured are both teams after a very enjoyable afternoon of football.
Today the alliance pupils are taking part in the ISA London North Athletics event which takes place at the Bedford Athletic Stadium. This is an event that we have been hosting for many years at Rushmoor and I am pleased that it goes from strength to strength each year, giving our pupils from across the alliance a great opportunity to compete at a regional level and earn places for the national event later in the summer. My thanks to Mr Hawken for organising the event and all the staff involved today.
Year 8 cricket team are at Bedford School this afternoon. I wish them luck in their match.
Junior School News:
Following their super trip to Bedford Museum, year 1 have been writing letters about their outing to send home. The children took the letters to the office to have them franked in a special machine, instead of putting stamps on them. Then they took them to the Post Office and put them into a special post sack. A few days later the postman delivered the letters to the children’s homes. What a lovely surprise for their families!
In years 3 and 4 at St Andrew’s they are making the best of the technology available and the class iPads are becoming part of their everyday school life. From practising spellings in the morning to looking up the meaning of proverbs in English, the pupils are finding that having access to their own assigned iPad is proving to be a very valuable tool. By having the iPads always available the girls are learning that technology is only one of a number of tools available to them and they are beginning to recognise when it is, or is not appropriate to use them. For many pupils they are building on the technological skills they have learned at home, whilst for some it is a brand new experience. It is a delight to see the respect with which the girls are using their iPads and also the rate at which they are learning new skills.
Class 5CR at Rushmoor gave an assembly on Hobbies and Past Times. Each child spoke to the whole Junior School and answered questions on their specific hobby which included, crafting, rock climbing, skiing, wake-boarding, collecting and many other sorts. As you can see they celebrated afterwards in the Sixth Form garden.
On Friday 4 May children from St Andrew’s Reception Class and EYFS children from Rushmoor had a very exciting day visiting Marston Forest Centre, for a Muddy Puddle Walk. The event was to support Save the Children to raise money to help provide clean water for children around the world. It was a lovely afternoon – and the children enjoyed spotting pictures of Peppa Pig and her friends as they walked. The Rushmoor children have been continuing to learn about minibeasts and enjoyed looking for them on the walk.
During the morning, the St Andrew’s children splashed around in some specially made puddles in the playground. They also watched a short presentation on how their money would be used to construct pipes and taps to help provide clean, safe water for many children and their families. At home time the children sold special Rainy-Day flapjacks that they had made, to raise even more money for this very worthwhile cause. A big "Thank you" to everyone who sponsored us and helped us raise a large amount of money.
The pre-school garden continues to develop with wood chipping on the ground to enhance the environment and encourage the children to take more risks and build confidence to jump from small logs and stretch to reach the next stepping stone. Changes in the way the children play has been dramatic and they have showed exceptional listening skills and understanding when we have used our pulley systems, they have learnt to be aware of the other children and their surroundings. They have also listened and followed the boundaries set for safe use of sticks and other natural materials. The children have enjoyed learning about nature by looking into the small pond which is home to pond skaters and water snails.
Lottie Kent and Zeynep Salerno for having the confidence to give a moving performance and sing solo at the lunchtime school concert.
Kasey Darnton for her skill and enthusiasm in this week's year 7/8 PE lesson.
Ruby Elliott-Willey for her fantastic learning of the four times table.
Arman Treis for his maths homework.
Beau Johnson for excellent classwork.
Junior School Stars:
Rushmoor Week: 1 May 2018
RLH Tom Hall
1TS Lilia-Diya Dass
2EB Ethan Ndokera
3JM Isabelle Child
3ST Jamie Marshall
4AB Harry Ridgeon
4ET James Gallo
5CL Boris Broadbent
5CR Leo Abruzzese
5RS George Whitehurst
St Andrew’s Week: 1 May 2018
Reception Kushi Masih
Year 1 Noemi Bator
Year 2 Poppy Foster-Glennon
Year 3/4 Amelie Walsh
Year 5 Lillie Morris/Imogen Taylor
Year 6 Ada Padbury
Rushmoor Week: 7 May 2018
RLH Scarlett Muniu
1TS India Ward
2EB Farell Kotecha
3JM Ben Handscombe and Arthur Surridge
3ST Albie Beeden
4AB Oliver Hurley
4ET Louis Hyde
5CL Jack Searle
5CR Ben Bramwell
5RS Dominic Lee-Krishna
St Andrew’s Week: 7 May 2018
Reception Elijah Masih
Year 1 Arthur Mullaney
Year 2 Maddie Enright
Year 3/4 Jenna Nethersole
Year 5 Phoebe Phillips
Year 6 Lillie Lawler
Well done to Samir Lockhat and Heath Clarke who have been selected to play county cricket. Excellent efforts!
I was delighted to hear that Ben Howard was awarded player of the tour when he competed in a festival in Dorset for Olney U11s recently. Excellent news Ben! I look forward to hearing about you making further progress in rugby next season.
I was pleased to hear about Alex Parsons’ recent successes in a variety of sailing classes at local regattas. Well done Alex!
Well done to Ashton Jepp who took part in a swimathon recently with his brother and auntie raising more that £1,300 for Cancer Research and Marie Curie. Excellent effort Ashton and we are all very proud of you!
I would also like to congratulate Tyler Roach who was selected to represent the county in an U11’s basketball tournament last weekend.
Alex Pask went on a Football tour to Bognor Regis over the bank holiday. I hear the competition was extremely fierce, with the majority of teams having academy players, Alex’s team did not give up. For this their team won the Fair Play award which is quite prestigious given there were 18 teams in their age group. Well done to Alex and his team!
Councillor Gianni Carofano visited the school at the beginning of May to hear all about our work and plans focused around the Clapham site. Gianni is the Conservative’s candidate for Bedford Mayor. He was very interested to hear about our ‘diamond model’ school structure. It was great to have one of our former pupils back to visit Rushmoor and to hear all about his exciting ideas for Bedford.
We will be having a lot more of our former pupils visiting us this evening, 11 May, as we are holding the reunion hog roast for former Rushmoor pupils and their families. It is just one of the ways we are marking our centennial celebrations. I would like to thank all the staff involved in the organisation and those who are attending this evening. We have received lots of comments congratulating Rushmoor on our centenary and I am sure that this evening will be a lovely occasion to reminisce.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
What a difference a few weeks makes – in March we had snow and last week we had the hottest April day recorded in the past 70 years. It can only mean two things – hay-fever season is upon us and so is exam season! I can sympathise with the pupils involved with exams and I can equally sympathise with their parents – I have two sons doing A-levels and GCSEs this summer, so I know what you are all going through.
In eight short weeks all the formal examinations will be over and all our year 11s and 13s will have to look forward to is a long summer break. From now until that final examination they must be prepared to work harder than they’ve ever worked before. Hard work, determination and thorough revision can make the difference between grade boundaries. They must ask for help if they feel under pressure, they must attend all the booster revision sessions and query anything they do not fully understand. Balance is also required when preparing for examinations: sleep well, eat well and have regular breaks. If they take on this advice, come the results day they will know they did their very best and that is what counts.
This term will not only be busy due to the formal examinations, but there are plenty of residential trips organised throughout the year groups too. We have the Frontier Centre, Bushcraft, Grendon Hall, Chellington, Blue Peris and a Sixth Form trip to Disneyland Paris all coming up in May and June. These are all run jointly across the alliance so are a great way for the boys and girls to interact and build up friendships. Residential trips are important as they help our pupils try out new skills, develop socially and build-up their resilience. Above all, they are an opportunity for the pupils to have fun whilst they are learning and that, as far as I am concerned, is of major importance during their school life. Happy children develop into happy, confident and resilient adults.
We have also got expeditions for the Duke of Edinburgh Award coming up in June for all levels: bronze, silver and gold. I hope the weather is kind to our trekkers! This year I will be joining the team of DofE staff, as I am doing the assessors qualification, which means our trekkers will see me from time to time making sure everything is as it should be. As I have said in the past, I strongly urge pupils across the alliance to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award as it is fun, character building and useful on your CV! Pupils may also like to get involved with the Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) scheme, which also aims to build qualities such as determination and resilience.
During assembly today Year 9 to 13 pupils received a talk from Mr Broomfield offering volunteering opportunities at the Mencap Summer Scheme. This will provide a valuable service and an incredibly satisfying experience for any of the volunteers that take up the offer and if any other pupils require more information please let Philippa Abruzzese know.
On Wednesday 18 April the Sixth Form year 13 students who have completed their Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) held a presentation event for fellow sixth formers, staff, parents and younger members of the school. Their projects could be on anything they wished, the idea being that the development can be seen from first idea to end dissertation. It was particularly pleasing to see our year 13 students explaining their projects to pupils from further down the school. The year 3 boys were particularly enthralled because projects included the development of formula one racing cars, aeronautics and even development of theme park rides at Disney, Alton Towers and Europa-Park. The year 13 students were superb with the younger pupils and this is such a good experience for all concerned to interact together. Thank you to Miss Rayer for co-ordinating such a successful event and well done to all the students as it was evident that a lot of research had gone into each of your projects. The EPQ is awarded UCAS points ranging from 8 to 28, so is a useful addition to the sixth form years.
On Thursday 19 April our GCSE year 11 geographers headed out on a field trip studying the urban area of Bedford. This was a joint venture across the alliance, with their results being analysed at St Andrew’s School. I hope our pupils found the experience useful.
On Tuesday 24 April the pupils at Rushmoor were gathered together for a whole school photograph. Of course, this is to mark our 100th anniversary which we are officially celebrating on Friday 11 May 2018. It is a fitting reminder of how far Rushmoor School has come since it was moved from London after the First World War in 1918.
On Tuesday 24 April four year 10 girls, Emma Fitt, Sophia Collier-Rodley, Zeynep Salerno and Eleanor Williams-McCabe, helped with the interview process at St Andrew's Church for a new role of Youth and Children's Worker. As well as being very helpful to the church, this provided invaluable interview experience for the girls. Rev'd James Reveley commented: "We were all very impressed with their ability to give constructive and perceptive feedback on the candidates and to enter into the process with a seriousness of mind and attention to detail. The professional and courteous way that the girls engaged in the sessions and the feedback was a credit to the school."
In English, as part of year 8’s speaking and listening assessment, the girls were asked to work in groups and research different energy resources to see which energy would be best to invest money into for the future. Groups were given either: nuclear power, renewable resources or fossil fuels to choose from. The girls enjoyed working together in groups, and although at times it was challenging to ensure the workload was split equally between one another, each group was able to produce a very informative and persuasive speech. Through this year 8 have proved they are able to work as part of a group but individually too. Well done girls – you should all be proud of what you achieved.
After the success in the Senior UKMT, this week was the turn of pupils in Year 7 and 8 at Rushmoor School who took part in the Junior UKMT. It was a great opportunity for the boys to experience exam conditions in the hall. I will announce the results in a few weeks when we receive them.
A number of students from Rushmoor and St Andrews will be attending a singing workshop day next week at the Union Chapel, London. This is sure to be an amazing experience and will give students a chance to sing with many other schools. It will be a busy week as on Friday 4 May the first informal concert is taking place during lunchtime at St Andrews. Girls across all year groups have had the chance to sign up to perform and Mrs Shackleton is delighted that so many have shown an interest in this event. Students may come along to watch the performance, by invitation only, and the invitations will come from the performers themselves. Students will be reviewing both of these events in the next blog.
The music department has kindly been given funding for a Samba kit which will help to provide more opportunities for class performance alongside concert work. I am sure you will hear this for yourselves in future performances. Thank you once again for your continued support of music at St Andrews.
Well done to the Year 5 football team who reached the semi-final of the County Cup. Unfortunately they lost to a very well drilled Robert Bloomfield side this week. The boys played extremely well and we were really happy that they had reached so far in the county cup having won their district. A feat they should be delighted with!
A large number of our Year 9 students attended a 7-a-side football tournament at Sharnbrook Academy this week. We entered two teams into the event with both teams playing plenty of football over the tournament. The Rushmoor A team were impressive throughout winning four of their five games to win the overall event, only a shock defeat to KCA stopping them from a clean sweep. Rushmoor B team played very well over the tournament showing their fighting spirit and work rate throughout, a hard fought win against Bedford Free School being the highlight of their games. All the players also took a turn playing for other teams who were missing players which was excellent to see.
Year 6 pupils from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s took part in the mixed rounders tournament at Westfield School on Thursday 26th April. It was our first joint rounders fixture this year so the boys and girls were getting to know each other and the game. They all showed good signs of improvement throughout the competition and are looking forward to more fixtures.
This week our Yr7/8 alliance pupils braved the hot conditions to take part in a Super 6 Golf event held at the Bedfordshire Golf Club. The event is aimed at giving all students, including beginners, an opportunity to experience Golf in a fun event played on the clubs par 3 course. All the pupils thoroughly enjoyed their time on the course especially those experiencing Golf for the first time, experienced Rushmoor pair William Stuart and Ben Clarke carded the best score of the day to take the overall title.
On Monday 23 April, pupils from years 5 and 6 at St Andrew’s were chosen to attend the Football Association (FA) Girls' Football Week 2018 which runs until 29 April. The event combined girls from across a number of schools in Bedfordshire and provided the girls with an opportunity to develop their football skills and then apply them in a tournament. During Monday’s event the girls were also lucky enough to have been joined by England Lioness, Laura Bassett, who also took part in the training sessions and all the football fun. Well done to the pupils who were involved.
Also last Thursday, the year 5/6 netball team played their final league fixture against Riseley and drew 1-1, which means that the team were undefeated for the season! This was a fabulous effort from all the girls who have represented St Andrew's. Players of the final match were Chloe Marcos, Riya Sangha and Ada Padbury. We are still waiting for the final league results to be sent through.
On Thursday 26 April years 9 and 10 competed in their first rounders league matches where they faced St Thomas More and Stratton. In the first match St Thomas More got off to a very strong start but in the second innings the girls fought back with good fielding. Unfortunately an injury knocked confidence in the team, resulting in a win for St Thomas More. In the second match against Stratton the girls showed much more positive play, both in fielding and batting with Shelby and Emily scoring for the team. It was an incredibly close game but unfortunately St Andrew’s lost by 1 rounder. Well done to the girls: Angel-Mei Nicholls, Emma Fitt, Sophia Rodley, Maisie Edwards, Ellie Williams-McCabe, Shelby Gwiza, Evie Maddison, Ella Wing and Emily Morris. Player of the match goes to Evie Maddison for her fielding skills and decision making.
Unfortunately the first year 7/8 and year 9/10 Athletics League fixtures this week were cancelled due to the rain but we wish the joint teams of boys and girls every success for their next competition.
Junior School News:
On Thursday KS1 pupils at Rushmoor finished their Creative Curriculum topic of Fantasies and Fairytales by holding a banquet for their parents. They dressed up and performed poems and speeches, taught their parents what they had learned last term and finished the afternoon with food and drink. Fun was had by all!
Today in KS1 across the alliance we launched our final Creative Curriculum topic of the year, ‘Through the Ages’, with a joint trip to our local museum. The children enjoyed exploring the ‘Higgins House’ and its contents, comparing what they found to the furnishings and technology that fill our modern houses. The collections throughout the gallery enabled the children to understand how people worked and lived from the earliest times, discovering artefacts that date back millions of years. The children particularly enjoyed a ‘Toys of the Past’ session, where they were able to have some hands-on experience of playing with toys from years gone by. It was an exciting day enjoyed by all.
Nursery children have been having fantastic fun since the last blog. The pre-school children enjoyed a ‘bring your scooter to nursery’ day which was used as an opportunity for children to understand how important it is to be active, as they manoeuvered around a course.
Owls class have enjoyed another visit to Charter house where the children took hoops and beanbags to demonstrate how well they could throw and the residents also enjoyed having a turn too!
The pre-school garden continues to develop with the new addition of a bug hotel that has been filled with straw, pines cones and small tubes to make a very cosy space for our visitors. The children have also been learning how to respect nature and treat the insects carefully.
All Nursery parents have been invited to a parents' evening from 6.00pm to 8.00pm today, Friday 27 April, and staff look forward to seeing you.
Rushmoor EYFS have had a very busy and exciting start to our new term. Following the children’s interests their learning has been based around the new project ‘minibeasts.’ Over the holidays the children enjoyed going on a minibeast hunt with their families and talking about the different ones they found. The children have enjoyed learning about different minibeasts in non-fiction books and have been using different media to create their favourite minibeast.
The children have been particularly interested in learning about caterpillars this week. The children have been writing letters to Butterfly World, asking if they would be able to send us some caterpillars for us to look after. They are looking forward to learning about them and watching them change over time. The children are waiting for their reply. The children in Reception are looking at ‘exploring changes over time’. They went for a walk around Bedford Park and looked carefully at the changes in the environment, looking at the different signs of spring.
Amelia Logan in year 11 for her outstanding effort and focus in English.
Lorna Whitehead in year 11 for the confidence shown in her presentation to the class.
Congratulations to the following the pupils at Rushmoor for receiving a Principal’s Award: Ben Spary, Jacob O’Neill, Harry Mayrick, Matthew Eaden, Leonard Owino, Tom Ulvert, Harry Smith, Kian Woolven and Toby Sutliff.
Junior School Stars:
Rushmoor Week: 27 April 2018
Reception Eliza Burchell
Year 1ST The whole class
Year 2EB The whole class
Year 3JM Shenay Muirhead-Stewart
Year 3ST Jacob Adedeji
Year 4AB Rio Noto
Year 4ET Maya Brown
Year 5CL Joshua Mortensen
Year 5CR Harrison Wilson
Year 5RS The whole class
St Andrew’s Week: 27 April 2018
Reception Spike Haskins-Yapp
Year 1 Emma Hindocha
Year 2 Errol Bogacki
Year 3/4 Lydia Shortland
Year 5 Saikeisha Comatchee
Year 6 Laura Smith
You are all aware that I like to hear about our pupils’ activities outside of school so that we can celebrate their success, so I was delighted to hear that Jack Norman’s football team won their U11 football tournament during the Easter break. Jack plays for MK Dons pre-academy team and they travelled to Holland for the competition. They left Stadium MK on a coach at 3.30am on Good Friday, coming back on Easter Monday, and in-between played a lot of football against teams from all around Europe, securing a place in the elite competition final on Easter Sunday with a hat-trick from Jack, who his coaches named as the outstanding player of the tournament. What a fantastic opportunity - well done Jack!
I was delighted to hear Heath Clarke has been selected to the Bedfordshire County Cricket Squad for the coming season. Heath attended the County training programme over the winter months and now he can show his bowling talents in competitive matches.
On Thursday 19 April, Heath had the pleasure of meeting Gladstone Small, the former Warwickshire and England fast bowler. Gladstone signed a cricket ball and bat and spent some time talking to Heath about cricket – what a fantastic experience Heath and good luck in the County squad.
I would also like to congratulate Jacob Wells for being chosen as a DPP Bedfordshire player. We are very proud of you!
Have a wonderful weekend.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
Firstly, I would like to thank all the pupils and staff who came along to the open mornings on 10 March 2018, together with the staff and families who attended the Nursery ‘Stay and Play’ at Walmsley House. Despite the open morning having to be rearranged we did have a good number of visitors across the alliance, which is pleasing.
Thank you to Miss Camino for organising the alliance trip for our year 7 pupils to visit Wembley Arena on 7 March 2018 to celebrate WE Day. Thank you also to Mrs Bassett-Gilham for accompanying the children. We first attended this event last year and thought that the message they are promoting is excellent. The movement brings people together to try to change the world; changing attitudes by working together to shift the world from ME to WE.
The message is simple and we want to encourage our pupils to recognise that no matter what your age or where you live, we can all make a positive impact to the world – whether that’s volunteering, fundraising or raising awareness for causes. We will continue to explore the WE movement through school assemblies and PSHCE lessons.
The pupils heard messages from the Hollywood actress Lily Collins (pictured), together with Katie Piper, Alexandra Burke, Holly Branson, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie plus many more. From the picture, it certainly looks as if they had a good time!
Another alliance visit happened on 6 March 2018, The Faith Tour, which year 6 complete each year. As part of their religious education the pupils are studying different faiths and this trip helps to support their classroom based learning. They visited All Saint’s Parish Church, Jamia Masjid Gulshane Bagdhad Mosque and Guru Nanak Gurdwara. Each year the pupils are very interested to learn about the different faiths and the message which comes across is that they have very similar values. The tour certainly helps to promote understanding.
There have been a number of consultation evenings over the past fortnight, some rescheduled due to the adverse weather we experienced at the beginning of March; years 12, 10 and 6 together with the junior school at Rushmoor and Junior School and year 10 at St Andrew’s. At Rushmoor we also had the year 9 options evening. I hope that all these events were helpful and informative. If you have any queries in relation to any subjects please contact the subject teachers or form tutors using their email addresses that are listed on the schools websites.
Our senior pupils are given extra responsibilities during their time in year 11 and Leon Smith is the senior prefect in relation to academic matters at Rushmoor. In this role Leon was asked to make a presentation to the Curriculum Committee governors about his impression of learning throughout the school, pupil involvement and how he feels children learn best. Listening to our pupils and allowing them to have a voice heard at governor level is extremely helpful in the leadership of the school; it is something that is highly regarded by Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate. I would like to thank Leon for his presentation.
Linking in with the PSHCE curriculum and promoting British values, our years 5 and 6 pupils at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s had an assembly all about the role of magistrates. The aim of the assembly was for our pupils to begin to understand the laws of the land and the role that magistrates play in ensuring that law and order is maintained and the correct punishments are levied.
As part of their PSHCE syllabus, the year 12 sixth form students had an assembly about sexual health. This was a forum in which they could learn more about the issues surrounding this topic, such as the risks involved and how best they can be avoided. This is an important part of the PSHCE programme for our older students and I hope that they found it informative.
Thank you to one of our parents at Rushmoor, Mr Ulvert, for hosting an assembly about the army. It was a really interesting presentation delivered by someone with 16 years’ service in the British Army. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope that we can do the same type of assembly for the pupils at St Andrew’s.
We welcome parents bringing their knowledge and expertise to share with the pupils, so if you are interested in taking an assembly, please do get in touch.
Due to the bad weather on 2 March, we postponed our celebrations across the alliance for World Book Day. The thought of our pupils coming into school in flimsy costumes was not appropriate given the snow, and we didn’t think Cinderella would look good in Wellington boots instead of her glass slippers! Thankfully the children were able to enjoy dressing up as their favourite book character on Friday 9 March instead. Thank you to all the teachers and support staff involved in organising the activities for this fun-filled day, with the aim being to encourage our pupils to develop a lifelong interest in books.
Throughout this half of term, pupils across the alliance have been taking part in our inaugural Spelling Bee. We were all impressed by the spelling ability of a the 26 children who reached the final and how brave they were about standing up in front of the Junior School. The children had to get through several knockout rounds within their key stages and there were some very hard fought tie breakers – in fact at several points the judges had to confer and check in their dictionaries! Sometimes it is just the luck of the draw with spellings as to which ones you get on the day and I want to congratulate all the children on their hard work and determination – it was amazing to see. There were some seriously difficult spellings and the audience and judges broke out in spontaneous applause on a couple of occasions.
The 14th March was Pi Day. Pi is used in mathematics to represent a constant, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (3.14159). Devised by the famous Ancient Greek mathematician, Archimedes, Pi is an irrational number, meaning it continues infinitely without repetition or pattern. The number Pi is extremely useful when solving geometry problems involving circles, which our pupils have been learning all about during Pi Day 2018. At Rushmoor the year 7's learned by drawing different size circles on the playground and then measuring the diameter and circumference of each. By dividing the circumference by the diameter they got results that were incredibly close to 3.14. They were read a story about Pi and older boys were shown how Archimedes used the areas of the inscribed and circumscribed polygons to approximate this fascinating number. To make the day more memorable, there was a Great Pi Bake-Off with some amazing entries and a number of students also made an amazing effort to learn some of the digits of Pi, with two students memorising 52 and 51 digits each - very impressive. Even the kitchen provided pie for desert today! Hopefully, it was a day the boys won't forget.
Our A level drama pupils had their practical examination on 7 March 2018, held in front of an external moderator. The A2 examinations are demanding and I know that our year 13 students have worked hard to perfect their performances and have a great attitude towards the subject, which pleases me immensely.
On Friday the Year 10 drama GCSE group performed at the Festival of Speech and Drama in the Creative performance class. The piece had been devised by the boys earlier in the year. They had looked at physical work by Push theatre Company and Frantic Assembly and used their ideas to help shape their own work. The judge spoke highly and thanked them for a memorable performance; she also said that their rapport and commitment to each other was highly sophisticated for their ages. Well done boys. A great night and well deserved win.
A number of Rushmoor boys took part in the Bedford Speech and Drama festival and I would like to congratulate them all for doing so well. They all got positive feedback from the adjudicator; well done to Julian Romaniv, Charlie Klein, Ben Handscombe, Aadhi Arun and Ellery Few-Wiegratz . Due to the snow Finlay Castell couldn’t take part, but I would like to mention him for all his hard work and preparation.
The following girls from St Andrew's entered a variety of different categories at the Bedfordshire Festival: Holly Collins, Isabelle Burt, Amy Parrish, Ada Padbury, Lottie Kent, Georgia Barnes-Quinn and Isabelle Clegg who was placed third in the year 7 Prepared Reading category. Very well done to all who took part.
I would like to congratulate Giorgia Chiarelli, year 11, who performed at the Bedfordshire Speech and Drama Festival last Saturday with a group of girls from a drama group that she attends on Friday evenings. The group were awarded an ‘Outstanding’ with the maximum 10 marks for their performance, which qualified them to perform in the gala night where they were up against other top performers. To their surprise and absolute delight Giorgia and her group won best overall in the Speech and Drama section. This is an outstanding achievement – congratulations Giorgia.
We are all looking forward to the Rushmoor production of We Will Rock You next week. There are limited tickets left so please contact the office if you would like to purchase some.
My thanks to Mrs Chaplin who has today taken our year 10 art students for a day out in London visiting various art galleries where the pupils can be inspired. Art is not something I know a great deal about, but I am always impressed by the work that the art departments in both schools produce.
I have also learnt just how demanding the subject is in terms of time spent researching artists and learning how to see beyond the obvious in order to comment on their work. It really is a fascinating subject, with lots of different avenues to explore. Those taking art based subjects at GCSE and A level have to be dedicated, as the time involved to produce good sketchbooks and work pieces is extremely demanding. They must be prepared to do a lot of work outside normal lessons to achieve the best results.
To parents of year 10 pupils who are visiting the galleries today, I would suggest talking to them about what they have seen whilst it is fresh in their minds and encouraging them to use today’s trip to improve their sketchbooks.
This evening we have an alliance disco for the boys and girls in years 5 and 6 taking place at Rushmoor. Thank you to staff and helpers who are hosting this event, which will raise funds for the alliance. I am sure that the children will have a great time!
St Andrew's had their final Active Girls session last week, and it was a great one to end on - clubbercise, complete with glow sticks! At the end of the session all the girls were given a pink towel and a water bottle. Well done to you all - you took part in everything that was thrown at you with great enthusiasm!
After a couple of cancelled matches, year 5/6 had their second league fixture on Tuesday 6 March, and played brilliantly to beat KCA 4-1. Their defending was superb, and the girls played well to give the shooters lots of scoring opportunities. They all played really well as a team, but players of the match were Toluwa Alade and Lillie Morris.
On Friday 9 March, year 5/6 played in the U11 District Netball Tournament. In a very tough group, they lost to BMS, BGS and Lincroft but beat Scott Primary. Player of the tournament was Olivia Patel. Many thanks to Mrs Wyatt for taking the girls.
Meanwhile, on the same day, year 7/8 were playing in the ISA Regional Netball Tournament in Essex. The girls got off to a great start, beating Dwight 4-2, but then came up against some gigantic girls (!), and lost the next two matches. For their final game, they were determined to finish with a win. It was a very close-fought fixture, but the girls dug deep and beat Trevor Roberts 3-2. Players of the tournament were Ella Stone & Amelia Creasey. Thank you to Mrs Andrews for accompanying us to Essex.
Year 5/6 are playing in the ISA Mixed Hockey Tournament today so we wish them well. As reigning champions, I am sure they will do both schools proud.
On Sunday we have the re-arranged ISA Cross Country National Finals - with another snow warning in place we are keeping fingers crossed that it will go ahead! Good luck to those travelling to Rugby for this event: Rosie Foster-Glennon, Amelia Creasey, Kasey Darnton, Ella Stone, Amelia Baker and Anusha Kambli.
Last Friday the Yr11 rugby 7s team took the long journey to Maidenhead RFC for the ISA National U16s Rugby 7s tournament. The day started in very competitive fashion against a strong Bedstone College team, the game was fast paced and end to end. Both teams had clear opportunities to win but the pace of our wingers showed and the team came away with a tough 14-12 victory. Next up in the group stages were Bredon School, having got used to the different style of 7s rugby the team played much better moving the ball effectively in attack and swamping their opponents in defence. A fantastic solo try from Dylan John coupled with his big hitting in midfield allowed the team to stretch to a comfortable 24-5 victory. A place in the main cup was now assured but a game against host Claires Court would decide the group winner. Having played back to back games the players look fatigued and this showed against a very good side, the team stuck to the task but were outplayed by the host meaning we would qualify as runner up from group 1. In the cup quarter finals we played Quinton House in a very physical game, deteriorating weather conditions made it difficult for our pace men to find space meaning a very close encounter. Both teams had chances to win it but with the game locked at 17-17 it was Quinton House who scored with the last play of the game to deny us a place in the semi-finals. Although disappointed the players did themselves and the school proud over the day. Player of the day went to Dylan John.
Last week we took a combined Rushmoor/St Andrew’s team to the latest School Sports Partnership Multi Sports event held at Westfield School. A total of 30 students attended all looking forward to playing either football, scoreball or athletics. Unfortunately within a short time of being at the event bad weather meant both the football and scoreball had to be abandoned. The 10 lucky students taking part in indoor athletics were not affected and had a wonderful morning testing themselves across a number of athletic disciplines such as throwing, jumping and running. All the students enjoyed the morning once they had warmed up from the bitterly cold weather outside. Pictured are the athletics team and Rio Noto who won the award for determination among the students participating.
This week we took a Year 7 Football B team to the School Sports Partnership tournament at Biddenham. The team played a total of four games on the evening. We opened with a tough fixture against a very good Lincroft side; a well worked goal from Thomas Gee was the difference between the two teams with Rushmoor winning 1-0. Next up were hosts Biddenham, the team pressed for long periods of the game and missed a number of good opportunities before a late goal sealed another 1-0 victory. This was followed by a disappointing 1-0 loss to Wixams in a game we really should have won if not for the opponent’s talented goalkeeper. The last opponents were Bedford Free School with four of the five teams still in with a chance of winning the tournament. The players saved their best till last with a very impressive 4-0 victory being more than enough to win the overall title.
The Year 3 A, B & C team played Bedford School on Thursday. All three games were very close, we won one, drew one and lost one. The B & C teams should be especially pleased as they have remained unbeaten throughout the season, emphasising the year group’s strength. They are currently playing Castle Newnham School, good luck boys!
Junior School News:
I am delighted to announce the results of the recent Spelling Bee at St Andrew’s:
1st - Zac Pitter, 2nd - Aiden Blattner, 3rd - Maddie Enright
1st - Amelia Perry, 2nd - Jenna Nethersole, 3rd - Tilly Norman
1st - Grace Constant, 2nd - Eliana Hashemi, 3rd - Chloe Marcos
On 24 March, Demi Sunda in year 6, will be competing in the World Championships of Irish Dance in Glasgow. To gain her place Demi has competed against 50 other dancers, gaining sixth place in the southern region. Only ten places per region are awarded. Demi’s success is a result of a lot of hard work and dedication. She trains for two hours, three times every week in London, making the round trip after school, with some additional training for four hours on Sundays. We wish Demi every success at the World Championships and look forward to hearing all about it
As part of Science Week Urban Safari animal experience visited Rushmoor School. The children learnt about snakes, barn owls, scorpions, meerkats, civit cats, tarantulas and iguanas. Pupils were also able to stroke, hold and feed some of the animals. It was a fantastic experience for all pupils and teachers!
Year 5 have been studying Ancient Greece this term. They enjoyed presenting their work and explaining what they had learnt to the school this afternoon.
At St Andrew’s our Nursery staff understand the important part that positive relationships play and the impact they have, not only on a young child’s brain development, but also their self-esteem and confidence.
The stay and play sessions provide a wonderful opportunity for nursery parents to spend time with nursery staff and to participate in activities. This opportunity to spend time together reinforces to the children that they are important to all adults involved in their care. Miss Niro and her team would like to thank all the parents who attended their recent session and she looks forward to seeing you all at the next one
Within the baby unit, the babies are starting to develop a real sense of self and showing a sense of fun in their play as they find delight in playing peek a boo and dressing up….it is always wonderful to see the little ones making steps towards independence.
Rushmoor EYFS held a Mother’s Day Breakfast on Friday 9th March. The children decided they wanted to invite their mum’s in to celebrate Mother’s Day with them at school. The children wrote invitations inviting their mum’s to a Mother’s day breakfast. They walked to the local post box to learn about the journey a letter takes.
On Friday 9th March, the mum’s came into school and the morning began with busy fingers. The children were excited to share their learning with their mum’s.
The children performed a song for their mum to say thank you for all they do. They then sat down with their mum’s to enjoy a delicious breakfast.
Noemi Bator and Gabriel-Joel Holland for their impressive piano playing in Junior School assembly.
Caroline Demuth and Endean Nahummah-Eli for their outstanding work in Geography.
Amie Gray, Lindsey Gifford and Emma Grieve for their excellent conversational work in French.
Toby Sutliff for getting 100% in his science test.
Archie How for his fantastic Ancient Greek clay pots.
Alfie Stoughton for going above and beyond with his ICT homework in inventing a game.
Kian Woolven for his creative writing in English this week.
Harry Smith for speaking to the governors in their Curriculum Meeting.
Junior School Stars:
St Andrew’s Week: 9 March 2018
Reception Dylan Gilbey
Year 1 Noemi Bator
Year 2 Perpetual Nyamtowo
Year 3/4 Rosalia Hendry
Year 5 Stephanie Smith
Year 6 Grace Constant
Rushmoor Week: 9 March 2018
RLH Jace Nyenya
1TS Georgi Savkov-Lin
2EB Natalie Tshuma
3JM Alex Timpau-Rat
3ST Majus Hodges
4AB Oliver Hurley
4ET Shiniece Powell
5CL Jack Searle
5CR Ellery Few-Wiegratz
5JP Dominic Lee-Krishna
St Andrew’s Week: 16 March 2018
Reception Vedh Muralidharan
Year 1 Clara Hendry
Year 2 Jake Woodrow
Year 3/4 Charlotte Pettitt
Year 5 Phoebe Phillips
Year 6 Isabella Milner-McLean
Rushmoor Week: 16 March 2018
RLH Erin Eaden
1TS Sam Burchell
2EB Qais Ghazzawi
3JM Jeniqua Nyenya
3ST Jago Hooley
4AB Noah Etti
4ET George Simmonds
5CL Toby Sutliff
5CR Harrison Wilson & Ellery Few-Wiegratz
5JP Aadhi Arun
As this new alliance blog is issued fortnightly, this will be the last blog before the Easter holiday, although we still have another week to go before we break-up. We have a number of things coming up over the week ahead, firstly the Rushmoor trip to Montpellier in France for the pupils in years 9 and 10. This is a wonderful, enriching experience for those studying or planning to study GCSE French. Thank you to Madame Lewis and Madame Thiebeaux for taking the boys on this trip. The pupils will attend school in Montpellier and mix with French students, which will help to improve their conversational skills. They will also visit places of historical and cultural interest, which broadens the enrichment opportunities. I have no doubt the pupils will enjoy this trip and learn a lot from it.
St Andrew’s School pupils have their house dance competition to look forward to on the last day of this term, which I am sure they will enjoy. Rushmoor pupils will attend our traditional Easter Church Service at St Martin’s Church, which families are welcome to attend should you so wish, the service starts at 11a.m. Both schools will finish for the Easter break at 12.00 midday.
A reminder that there are many booster revision sessions for our GCSE and A-level students over the course of the break and I am very grateful to our staff for doing these. Pupils who have formal examinations in May and June must ensure they do a sensible amount of revision throughout the holiday period in order to achieve their very best.
Full reports will be issued electronically today for pupils in years 9 and 11 at St Andrew’s and years 9, 11 and 13 at Rushmoor.
School will begin again on Tuesday 17 April 2018.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
With our inspection reports only issued in January, some might think that staff would be relaxing in the glow of the high praise each school received. However, my view as an ISI Inspector is that you start planning for your next inspection on the day after your last. With this in mind, staff received further training on our work scrutiny expectations just after half-term. This involves ensuring that all workbooks are fully marked with appropriate feedback and targets set. All pupils, from the Juniors upwards, should have a lesson objective, know where they are and be given guidance on how to improve.
I have often mentioned that our pupils have a wide variety of extra-curricular clubs to enjoy across the alliance and I strongly encourage pupils to get involved in these. On the first Tuesday back after half-term I stepped in to run the alliance photography club, taking a group of enthusiastic photographers over to take shots of Pavenham and Oakley. I posted some of the pictures on the School Facebook page as I was so impressed. Photography is really growing in popularity as an option subject and it is pleasing to see another art-based subject added to the list of extra-curricular clubs. It has been reported that the arts are really suffering in the state sector due to budgetary demands – this will never be the case at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s, where we truly value the importance of all the arts and know a lot of our pupils excel in these subjects.
Another area that schools are keen to promote is citizenship and British values, so our year 6 pupils from across the alliance went off to the centre of government on Friday 23 February to visit the Houses of Parliament. They took part in a law and debating workshop. Thank you to Miss Camino for organising the trip and to Mrs Edell, Mrs Robinson and Mr Short for accompanying them. The focus of the trip was to learn how Parliament makes laws. Pupils came up with ideas for bills to present to Parliament and tried out the process of passing one of these bills into law through role play. The group participated in debates and voting, learning about the role of the Commons, the Lords and the Monarch in making a law.
I would like pupils in year 8 to start thinking about the benefits of taking part in The Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme. Also, if anybody from years 9, 10 and 11 wants to sign up for the scheme, then it is never too late. We have groups organising their bronze, silver and gold expeditions this June. These awards are not just fun, but important to have on your CV. The scheme challenges youngsters to get involved and committed, whether that is volunteering, learning a new skill or showing determination and stamina to complete a hard trek. I visited a Russell Group University recently and they stated that they regard the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme highly. Speak to Mr Morrish or Miss Holyoak to find out more. I will be assessing the pupils on the expeditions.
I would also recommend that pupils in year 10 and 11 consider the National Citizenship Service (NCS). This is a wonderful opportunity to build on their skills and gain confidence. It is open to all young people aged 15-17 and the programme is a great way to spend part of the summer or half term. Young people have a chance to improve communication and teamwork skills and I know some of our current sixth formers took part in the scheme and really enjoyed the experience. Further details can be found at www.ncsthechallenge.org.
I would like to thank Mr Farnsworth and Mrs van der Sande for their efforts in organising the PTFA quiz on Friday 23 February, together with the members of the PTFA and as always, Gina Ciuro. It was great to see families and staff from across the alliance getting together for a fun and competitive evening.
Due to the bad weather both schools have postponed celebrating World Book Day until next Friday 9 March, when the Junior children will dress up as their favourite book characters with events taking part in the classrooms and libraries. This year’s theme was to encourage the pleasures of reading and sharing our stories with each other. Spending just 10 minutes a day reading and sharing stories with children really helps their development. Reading aloud helps their confidence and they become more fluent and expressive. Talking about a story also helps their comprehension skills.
Rushmoor also had to postpone the year 9 evening on Wednesday 28 February. This will now take place on Wednesday 7 March.
This week the year 11 girls have been working collaboratively on revision tasks in English lessons. On Tuesday they were comparing two pieces of writing, one on Victorian Etiquette and the other on Modern Manners - both proved to be very amusing!
At St Andrew's School the Senior School pupils have organised and led two very interesting assemblies during the last two weeks. The first by Sana Abidi and Evie Maddison about diversity, and the second by Lindsey Gifford and Ellie Chick about mental health.
Rushmoor Senior pupils took part in the UKMT maths challenge this year and we were informed of the results this week. I would like to congratulate the following boys:
Olivier Gaillard - Gold
Leon Smith, Kieran Allen and Luke Barton – Silver
Harvey-Peter McCardie – Bronze
Olivier and Luke, both year 9, are through to the next round called the Grey Kangaroo. We will keep you updated on how they do. We are obviously delighted with how well they have all done!
Rushmoor Sports News:
The snow has meant many fixtures have been cancelled over the last two weeks, however a number have still taken place.
On Tuesday 20 February we took two Under 10 mixed ability teams over to BMS for some of the squad’s first competitive match for Rushmoor. Both teams lost their games but played some very good football and really enjoyed their competitive match experience. All involved should be very proud of their efforts and determination throughout.
The year 5 A team started last week with a comprehensive win over Goldington Green, the match was in preparation for the district tournament on Thursday. We took two teams to the District tournament for the first time this year. The tournament consisted of 14 teams that were split into two groups. The B team competed admirably against mostly A teams in their group. The boys tested some very good teams and should be delighted with their efforts. The sportsmanship and effort shown was very pleasing to see.
The A team had a very slow start to the tournament but did enough to qualify for the semi-finals. Like any quality team the boys saved their best football for the knockout games. They dominated both the semi-final and final and were crowned District champions. I can’t underestimate what a big achievement this is for Rushmoor, winning the tournament against some huge state schools in our district. We are the first school to successfully defend our title, as our current year 6s won the same tournament last year.
A total of 32 different boys played for the under 10s last week and all behaved exceptionally showing what a credit to the school they are.
Our year 7s braved the freezing temperatures this week to take on Kempston Challenger Academy in the local league. Despite the conditions both teams played some fantastic flowing football and created a number of chances throughout the game. Rushmoor took the early lead through Harry Phillips but were pegged back by three KCA goals in quick succession. Rushmoor continued to battle and goals by Phillips and Thomas Gee brought the score to 4-4 with minutes remaining. A last gasp attacking effort produced the winning goal with seconds left and a very cold but happy team came home with a well-earned 5-4 victory. Huge credit must go to the staff and students at KCA for ensuring the fixture went ahead.
Earlier last week our Yr7 football squad made the short journey across to BMS for a pair of fixtures in cold conditions. Due to the cold, the decision was made to play two 9-a-side fixtures to ensure all players were taking part and not getting cold on the side-line. This meant that a number of BMS students took their turn playing for Rushmoor which typified the friendly feel of the fixture. Both games were end to end affairs with all the teams creating multiple chances. The A team produced a last kick of the game goal to win a thrilling encounter 5-4, in a twist of fate the B team conceded a last kick of the game goal to draw a fantastic match 3-3. The PE department would like to thank the players of both teams and parents who braved the cold.
I would like to give huge congratulations to Mohammed Tassadaq and Jamie Webster who have both qualified to represent Bedfordshire and Luton at this year’s English Schools X-Country championships.
I would like to wish Dylan John luck in the inter-regional rowing trials this weekend in Peterborough. He will also be taking part in a National Event with 2 other Rushmoor pupils, Alex Brown and Beau Brewster, later this month. Good luck to all the boys!
St Andrew's Sports News:
On 20 February years 5 and 6 had their first netball league match and got off to a fantastic start, beating Scott Primary 8-0. Player of the match was Grace Langridge, although it was a great team effort from everyone. Well done to all who played.
On 22 February the Active Girls took part in an indoor rounders session which was fast paced and fun. Next week they will be having a go at Spinning and Dance.
Unfortunately all fixtures have been cancelled this week due to the unpredictable weather. We are hoping for better conditions next week. This includes the ISA National cross-country finals which were taking place at Princethorpe tomorrow. We are hoping this will be rescheduled as it is a real honour for the girls and boys to get through to this stage of the competition.
Junior School News:
Rushmoor Year 5 have been spying on their teachers and fellow pupils this week. As part of their science project on light they have made periscopes and learnt how they work using light, reflection and images.
I was very proud of Frankie Wolkenstein today who led an assembly to the whole Junior School on his own. This can be daunting for an adult let alone a 10 year old boy and he was a natural! Frankie has been learning Juditsu and gave a presentation on the sport followed by a question and answer session. He even gave a demonstration with his brother who also does Juditsu.
This week in English at St Andrew’s, year 5 and 6 have prepared themselves for entering an ISA competition on Shakespearean monologues. Girls were asked to find a suitable monologue and learn it off by heart to perform to the rest of the class. After performing, the girls voted for who they thought would be a good representative of their year - year 5 chose Stephanie Smith and Ava Hendry, and year 6 chose Chloe Marcos and Toluwa Alade. It was a very hard decision to select two performances from the whole class as all the girls had clearly thought about how to present their monologue to portray the different themes and feelings of the character. Next week, year 5 and 6 will be watching the four selected performances and voting for who they think will best represent St Andrew's. Watch this space!
Year 1 and 2 have been looking at the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. The children asked lots of questions about how the beanstalk grew, and so are now trying to grow their own magic beans! The girls and boys had to think about what would be needed to plant the beans and what the plants would need to grow. They have eagerly been watering and checking the beans daily waiting for the first shoots to appear.
We are very proud of Grace Langridge in year 5 who started ice skating when she was 6 years old and immediately fell in love with the sport. Since then she has been part of Milton Keynes Ice Skating School and trains 4 times a week to follow her dream of becoming a professional ice skater. Ice skating is a challenging sport requiring a unique mix of physical skill, co-ordination and dance. She recently competed in the Skate Southern Lea Valley national competition and came 2nd overall. In the coming weeks she has a number of important ice skating competitions so if you see her in school wish her good luck!
This week the children in EYFS at Rushmoor have enjoyed celebrating Chinese New Year. The children have taken part in a range of activities such as food tasting and moving to music. The children looked at Chinese writing and talked about the similarities and differences. The children copied Chinese letters and numbers.
Nursery children at St Andrew’s have been participating in world book day in style with children dressing up in some fantastic costumes. Nursery staff would like to take this opportunity to thank all the parents who have come in to read to the children across the two day celebration.
The children also enjoyed a day of fun and games for Pancake Day with races in the playground and exploring the letter ‘P’. The relay race was a huge hit with the children who demonstrated a real sense of teamwork.
The forest school ethos continues to develop. As the children grow in confidence they are beginning to independently ask questions about types of flowers, building materials and how to keep themselves safe. A big thank you to Hannah, Scarlett’s mummy for providing some fantastic log seats and slices, which the children are having a great time with.
Sana Abidi and Evie Maddision for their inspiring assembly about diversity.
Ellie Chick for her positive attitude towards homework and revision, and her contribution to the assembly about mental health.
Maisie Edwards and Karren Richens for their outstanding leadership and initiative in Choir.
Lindsey Gifford for her insightful and moving assembly about mental health.
Gabbie Edwards for her hard work in learning a GCSE poem by heart and reciting it to the class.
Congratulations to Jago Hooley for receiving a Principal’s award for his classwork and to Rupert Parrish and Heath Clarke for their science project on periscopes. Well done boys!
Junior School Stars:
Rushmoor Week: 2 March 2018
RLH Florence Steed
1TS Oliver Lees and Teddy French
2EB Mohammed Deen
3JM Samuel Moffat
3ST Albie Beeden
4AB Blaine Kelly
4ET Kian Woolven
5CL Jude Brown
5CR James Wookey
5JP Will Pankhurst
St Andrew’s Week: 2 March 2018
Reception Phoebe Watkin
Year 1 Grace Perry
Year 2 Zachary Pitter
Year 3/4 Ruby Elliott-Willey
Year 5 Freya Svendsen
Year 6 Chloe Marcos and Toluwa Alade
This evening we have the GCSE moderator visiting Rushmoor to mark the drama performances. I know the boys have been putting in a good amount of rehearsal time in and out of school and, using the best theatrical term, I hope they break a leg!
Good luck to the pupils taking part in the Bedfordshire Music, Speech and Drama Festival over the weekend. I am delighted with the amount of effort that you have put into your entries and you should feel very proud of yourselves.
Due to the weather we have postponed our Open Mornings and they will now be on Saturday 10th March from 10am to 12 noon at Rushmoor and St Andrew's Schools.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
This blog will be issued fortnightly, every other Friday, to highlight what pupils across the alliance have been involved with during school. It replaces the separate weekly blogs as we have found that many of the items are shared experiences for the boys and girls across the two schools. I hope that you welcome this slight change and find all the items interesting to read about life across the alliance.
Sixth Form News:
On Monday 5 February pupils from year 11 across the alliance, and also from other local schools, were welcomed to the Sixth Form Taster Evening. Mrs Beattie, Director of Sixth Form, and the rest of the team were on hand to give guidance about the options available at A-level standard. Subject teachers went through what to expect and how we can support each of our pupils as they enter the next stage of their educational journey. I hope that the year 11s found it helpful when thinking about what they would like to study for further education. Please remember, should you have any questions about life at Fenwick House, Miss Rayer, Sixth Form Assistant, is available to answer them using firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all the pupils who attended, we were very pleased with the enthusiastic response, and also remember that there is another opportunity for pupils and their families to view the Sixth Form on Saturday 3 March 2018 at midday.
Charity News: We are supporting Helping Rhinos. This charity was chosen because one of our year 4 pupils, George Simmonds, is a keen supporter of it and over the past couple of years has helped to raise funds to save the rhinos. Rhino poaching has increased from 13 in 2007 to 1,215 in 2014. Helping Rhinos believe the problem is too big for any individual organisation to combat and that working together is the key to any long term success. Helping Rhinos is leading innovative conservation and education initiatives that will ensure the long-term survival of the rhino. We would like to thank George for introducing us to this wonderful charity and we are pleased to support it. George was delighted to be able to invite a representative from the charity to Rushmoor’s assembly today, 9 February, to speak to us about their aims. The junior school pupils were invited to come into school in mufti clothes and contribute £1 to raise funds for this worthy cause. We will aim to introduce this subject to the pupils at St Andrew’s too.
This evening girls and boys from years 7, 8 and 9 across the alliance will enjoy a disco being held in Rushmoor’s Randall Hall. Proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to Helping Rhinos. Thank you to the staff and PTFA members for volunteering to help out tonight.
Today the interim reports will be issued electronically for years 3 to 11. These reports give the current attainment grade and a brief comment from the form teacher. If you have any questions regarding the reports you may contact the subject teacher using their email address, all of which are listed on the school websites.
A reminder that year 9 boys will have their option evening on 28 February at Rushmoor and we hosted the year 9 girls’ evening this Tuesday at St Andrew’s. This is a very important evening with the opportunity to speak to the specialist subject teachers. Remember, when selecting GCSE options, it is important to look at your child’s general ability, track record in examinations and overall performance in a specific subject. Enjoyment and enthusiasm for the subject are strong indicators that a subject is a good choice. Their enjoyment may correlate directly with a teacher who has particularly inspired them, so check who will be teaching the subject at GCSE level. The aim is to have a suitable mixture of subject choices to maintain breadth of study for as long as possible.
Half-term is a time for a bit of relaxation, but for our older pupils across the alliance it is vitally important that they use some of the holiday period to get to grips with revision. Those taking GCSE and A-levels must put together a sensible half-term revision time table and really stick to it. Any queries can then be raised with teaching staff after the half-term break. Please remember that some subjects are providing half-term revision sessions, which I would encourage pupils to attend.
Sadly I have two departures to announce. Mrs Pierce, who teaches year 5 at Rushmoor, will be leaving us at Easter having made the decision to spend more time with her young family. We would like to wish her the very best for the future and thank her for her time at Rushmoor. Mrs Pierce will be replaced by Rebecca Shribbs who joins us from Wootton Upper School. Parents of pupils in year 5 will have the opportunity to meet Ms Shribbs during this term.
Mr Walker has also decided to leave as he is relocating to be nearer to his family. Mr Walker has been a real asset to the PE Department during his time at Rushmoor and has been instrumental in organising many fixtures and events. He will be sorely missed by the pupils and his colleagues. We wish him and his family the very best for the future and hope the move is successful. We have appointed Mr Breeze to support Mr Hawken in the PE department and also to teacher science/IT in the middle years. Mr Breeze is an experienced teacher who joins us from a local academy.
Our Year 5s had a fantastic week of football with three wins out of three. Yesterday our A team dominated their match against Castle Newnham, winning comprehensively. There has been a tactical re-shuffle and the boys looked very accomplished in their new positions. It was good preparation for the County Cup which takes place the first week back after half term. Our year 5 B & C team played Bedford School on Wednesday. Both teams were superb throughout and both won very convincingly, playing some excellent football in the process. Every outfield player scored for the B team which has never happened in a match that I have coached before. I was very proud of all involved who represented the school impeccably. The year 5s have another busy footballing week after half term, with the A,B,C & D teams all in competitive action.
On Tuesday our Year 11 football team made the long journey to Pitsford School for their first game of the season. The game turned out to be a thrilling end to end battle with both teams creating a number of opportunities to score. Rushmoor took an early lead when Rylee Kotecha latched onto a loose ball in the area, Pitsford, however, fought back and two goals in quick succession saw them go into half time with a 2-1 lead. In the second half Rushmoor dominated possession and territory and eventually got rewarded by a good finish from Ieuen Daniel. That set up a frantic finish which ended with Adnan Adil first earning, then converting, a penalty in the final minutes to give Rushmoor an entertaining 3-2 victory.
Wednesday saw the next round of the national schools cross-country with the Bedfordshire event taking place at a sunny but brisk Ampthill Park. The runners taking part had qualified from last week’s North Beds trials and both the standard and difficulty of the course had taken a big step up. Unfortunately illness stopped three of our strong runners attending which left us with three representatives in the competition. Oscar Smith performed very well in a tough Junior boys race, working hard to secure a very respectable 23rd place. In the intermediate boys race both Jamie Webster and Mo Tassadaq performed excellently with Jamie finishing 6th and Mo 7th to both qualify for the English Schools cross-country event to be held in March.
Year 3 had a fantastic game of football at Bedford Modern School today. The A team drew 0-0, the B also drew 2-2 and the C team won 2-0. Good luck to the Year 7 football team who are currently playing at Goldington Academy.
It has now been announced that St Andrew’s are District Champions for year 7/8 hockey. This is a tremendous achievement for PE staff and the girls.
At District Cross-Country St Andrew’s were runners up in the year 6/7 team event - beating Lincroft which has never happened before!! This is another huge achievement for PE staff and the girls involved. Four St Andrew’s girls qualified for the Cross Country County Championships held at Ampthill Park on Wednesday. Rosie Foster-Glennon had an extremely good run finishing first in the year 6/7 event which makes her County Champion. Amelia Baker also ran very well finishing fourth in the year 8/9 event. Congratulations to Kasey Darnton and Anusha Kambli for running well against tough opposition.
A group of St Andrew’s girls took part in the Active Girls initiative again, this week thoroughly enjoying a yoga session, to help improve muscle strength and flexibility.
In Rushmoor EYFS this week their learning has been based around the book, ‘We’re going on a bear hunt.’ The children were very excited when they came into school and discovered a letter that had been left by the bear. The bear explained in his letter that he had left a bear hunt for the children to explore. The children took part in the bear hunt, exploring a range of textures under their feet. The children were retelling the story as they went on their hunt.
The children decided they wanted to write letters back to the bear, to thank him for their bear hunt.
It has been another busy week for the St Andrew’s Nursery children. In the Toddler room they have been working on building strong arms as they have been enjoying using potato mashers to squash peas or to make interesting prints on paper. It is important that children build up their muscular strength in order to perform every day functions e.g. holding a pencil appropriately, pulling up their sleeves to wash their hands or to chop up their own snack. Activities such as these also help children to understand their body and what it is able to do in relation to spaces and objects, as well as to improve coordination which will help them with games such as kicking or throwing a ball, threading or jumping in and out of hoops.
Another way in which children develop their hand eye co-ordination is to enjoy small world play with tracks which the staff have made from different coloured tape. The children concentrate as they follow the road and enjoy talking with the staff about what shapes they can see.
The pre-school children have been learning about the letter ‘M’ and enjoyed mountain rescue role play in their PE session- the children were armed with compasses and hats and had to balance their way over the mountain to rescue poor Teddy who was stranded at the end.
Year 3 and 4 have been having fun in their science lessons and have been looking at ways in which they can clean dirty water using filters. They were fairly successful but decided against tasting the ‘clean’ water!
Year 5 have learnt that light travels in straight lines, and have made their own periscopes to see this in action.
Tuesday this week was Safer Internet Day and so this was naturally the theme for the Junior School assembly. Every year there is a different focus for the day and this year it was 'Create, Connect and Share Respect. A better internet starts with you’. During the assembly it became apparent that even the youngest pupils use the internet on a regular basis and that as the pupils become older they view connecting with other people online as a very normal activity. Luckily our pupils have a very good understanding of how to connect online safely and know not to ever share personal information or communicate with people they do not know in real life. A key message of the assembly was to consider carefully what they should do with information that other people have shared online. Just because someone has shared something with you does not necessarily mean that it is right for you to share it with others. At the end of the assembly the children were given a jigsaw shaped sheet on which to create their own online safety message. The staff and children are now looking forward to being able to display these in Walmsley House.
Junior School Stars:
Rushmoor Week: 9 February 2018
Reception Henry Kotecha
1TS Stephen Muniu
2EB Danushka Gunasekara
3JM Jacob O’Neill
3ST Charlie Chamberlain
4AB Oscar O’Connor
4ET Ali Ghazzawi
5CL Jacob Mead
5CR Samir Lockhat
5JP Jonas Lee
St Andrew’s Week: 9 February 2018
Reception Dylan Gilbey
Year 1 Ruby Parrish
Year 2 Maddie Enright
Year 3/4 Elizabeth Seddon
Year 5 Isabelle Burt
Year 6 Demi Sunda
Jessica Sample in year 10 for her excellent homework in History.
Eliza Aldridge in year 4 for her superb effort and attainment in Maths.
Congratulations to Jude Brown, Binyamin Abubakar, Kieran Knuffel, T’nnox M'gitonga,
Noah Broomfield and Oliver Codrington for receiving a Principal’s award this week.
After the half-term break we have the PTFA Quiz Night being held at St Andrew’s School on Friday 23 February 2018. Full details and tickets are available from each school office.
We have World Book Day taking place for the junior pupils across the alliance on Friday 2 March 2018. Pupils have been invited to dress up as their favourite book characters, so half-term might be a great opportunity to decide upon a suitable character’s outfit.
Open Morning will take place at both schools on Saturday 3 March 2018 and I would like to thank those who have already returned their slips to confirm their support on the morning.
The Rushmoor Centenary Party for former Rushmoor pupils will take place on Friday 11 May, please contact Gina at Rushmoor if you would like to attend the hog roast.
The Alliance Summer Ball takes place on Friday 6 July 2018 at The Sharnbrook Hotel; tickets are £35 per person and can be purchased from the school offices.
I hope you enjoy a lovely half-term break and I look forward to seeing the children back at school on Monday 19 February 2018.
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH
January has already been and gone and that means that our senior pupils have just three months left before May arrives and their formal examinations commence. Not long really! So I would recommend that revision timetables are planned now so that the revision can be spread out in short sessions – little and often is the key!
Last week we sent out the ISI Inspection Report and I hope you have had a chance to read through it; we are really proud of the outcomes. I often say that I am proud of the pupils at St Andrew’s and Rushmoor, but I also believe that it is vital that the pupils themselves are proud of their school. They have every right to be as we offer them so many chances to shine, with good opportunities in sport, the arts and superb pastoral and academic support, which allows all ability levels to progress well.
Pride is essential in life, whether that is pride in your school, your place of work, your children or your own accomplishments. For pupils, pride in their school is important because it shows that they are engaged in their own learning process. Having pride in their school and the work they do actually tends to lead to better progress.
Pride comes from having a sense of ownership, so our pupils must feel as if they have some control over their learning and that their ideas matter. This is something we feel really strongly about across the alliance and encourage our pupils to voice their opinions regularly through initiatives such as the Student Council.
For pupils, having a sense of pride in their school allows them to show unity with others. St Andrew's’ reputation goes back 120 years and I regularly meet alumni who still remember St Andrew’s fondly and are proud they attended the school. Pride for your school is an essential part of being a part of a school.
With all of the above in mind, I am sure that the St Andrew’s pupils are looking forward to the opportunity of being able to join in promoting their school at the Open Morning on Saturday 3rd March. Please remember this morning is not just about new families joining the school, it is a chance for existing families to come along and see the school in action. A letter was sent out recently about attending the Open Morning, so please return the reply slip, via email to the office if you have not already done so.
A reminder that on Monday evening there is a taster session in the Sixth Form for pupils from year 11 who would like to get an idea of what lies ahead for them in terms of subject content, which will prove helpful to them making their choices for the two years ahead. I would strongly encourage all our pupils to attend this taster event as they may not be fully aware of the opportunities on offer to them and will learn a lot about what is expected in the next stage of their educational journey. Obviously we believe it is a natural transition for our pupils to move into Fenwick House for their sixth form experience, in order to continue with the excellent level of support and education they have already enjoyed throughout their time at the school.
NRICH enriching mathematics
This week we were pleased to see some of our pupils enjoying mathematics by using the NRICH resources, which aim to:
· Enrich the experience of the mathematics curriculum for all learners
· Offer challenging and engaging activities
· Develop mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills
· Show rich mathematics in meaningful contexts
· Work in partnership with teachers, schools and other educational settings
Hanaadi, Pippa, Tia and Tomisin completed the ‘Fractions in a Box’ problem very quickly, so well done girls!
Also this week, in English, year 8 have been looking at using extended metaphors to describe different types of weather. Everyone came up with superb examples to create effective imagery and in particular Amelia Baker. Can you guess which animal she is using to describe a storm? She wrote: “The loud roar from above goes right through me and then is ready to pounce. The rain comes to catch its prey, the orange stripe against the black sky, proudly bright and proud he is king of the sky.”
The year 11's had an assembly this week where they were presented with a series of revision aids to support them with their studies. This included a revision WOWO board (write on wipe off) which is intended to help them plan their weekly revision commitments. Parents have also had the resources sent to them with the intention of supporting them with their revision efforts at home. The year group are working hard and these extra resources should help them achieve their all in the future.
Thank you to everybody who came along to the PTFA meeting this week. Discussions took place about various fundraising activities and the summer ball in July. If you would like to get involved with the PTFA please speak to the office staff. Any help is greatly appreciated, whether you want to become fully involved on the committee or just help out occasionally. We have always been very fortunate to have an enthusiastic and professional team of helpers making up our PTFA and I cannot thank them enough for their ongoing support.
If you would like to book a table or reserve seats for the Summer Ball please contact Gina on 01234 352031 or at email@example.com. This is a great social event for parents and staff with the tickets being priced at £35 per person. This includes a drink on arrival, a 3 course meal, a band and disco. Please contact Gina if you would like to come along as soon as possible, as tables tend to get booked up quickly.
The St Andrew’s and Rushmoor PFTA are also busy organising a quiz night on Friday 23 February at Walmsley House, St Andrew’s Junior School. In the past this has proved to be a night full of entertainment, and a chance for staff, parents and friends to have a great evening. Teams of no more than 8 people are allowed and tickets are on sale at £5 per person. There will be a licensed bar and snacks on the table, however, please bring a picnic to fuel the brain. Please contact Gina Ciuro at Rushmoor or Helen Boland/Lorraine Cox at St Andrew’s if you would like to attend.
On Tuesday, year 7 and 8 played the final matches in their league. Once again, the girls played very well. With excellent attacking and quick passing they won 5-1 against Biddenham. The second match was against Bedford Academy who had previously won all their matches, but after applying intense pressure, we won 2-1. The final game was against Castle Newnham, and with impressive attacking and teamwork, the girls won 5-0. Player of the three matches was awarded to Ruby Ryall for her consistent running and great shooting. The team won all their games and are hoping to win the league which is an amazing result. Well done to all the girls who played: Ruby Ryall, Shannon Ryall, Lottie Kent, Ella Stone, Lorna Whitehead, Jorja Bell, Jelena Ilic and Amelia Baker.
On Wednesday girls from years 6-11 competed in the cross country event at Sharnbrook. Once again the course was particularly muddy and all girls performed extremely well. All our year 6 and 7 girls finished in the top 45, with special mention of Rosie Foster-Glennon who won her race, and Kasey Darnton, who have both qualified for the next round at Ampthill Park. Amelia Baker also performed extremely well finishing in 3rd place, where she was racing against year 9 girls. Finally, Anusha also qualified from her age group and performed well especially as she was carrying an injury. Well done to all those who competed.
This week the girls taking part in the Active Girls scheme, were involved in a boot camp session, which they enjoyed.
EYFS News: There has been another fun week in Pre-school as the children have been making bird cakes to hang from the trees outside. They mixed fat, bird seed and grated cheese around pine cones to feed all the hungry birds. The Robins class made binoculars so they could spot all the different birds that came to feed from the tree.
The children have also been putting into practice all the skills they have learnt making dens with the staff, as they now begin to make miniature versions for themselves! The children collect all the resources and find a suitable place to build and begin to make a wonderful space to play.
In line with their enjoyment of outdoor learning, the children have been cooking up a treat and making ‘mud spaghetti’. The staff offered children string to mix into the mud and a good meal was had by all. Another small group of children went on a forest exploration walk this week armed with ‘journey bags’ to keep anything of interest; the children loved looking at snails and pine cones. Upon their return to nursery they enjoyed making spirals from pebbles to recreate the shape of a snail shell.
The rocket is still standing strong in the Owls class as the children continue to have great fun with it! They have also enjoyed learning about the letter ‘r’ and activities have included making rock cakes and rock rolling pictures.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Spike Haskins-Yapp
Year 1 - Isabella Diffey
Year 2 - Bronwyn Phillips
Year 3/4 - Lucia Treleven
Year 5 - Ava Hendry
Year 6 - Olivia Sepede
In year 5 Humanities, the girls have been studying the Victorians following their trip to the Black Country Living Museum. They have been creating their own silhouettes, as the less wealthy Victorians would have done to remember their loved ones’ likeness. I understand the girls found standing still quite tricky but ultimately had success in producing some very accurate silhouettes. This linked perfectly to their topic of light which they are studying in Science lessons. The girls had the opportunity to look at how light behaves and how the actual silhouette is created.
Ella Meyrick in year 7 for excellent attitude and effort shown in Geography.
I would like to congratulate the pupils at both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s for their conduct during the lockdown practice this week. Their behaviour, from Nursery to year 13, was exemplary and they followed instructions to the letter.
A reminder that next week we have the Valentine’s Disco being held at Rushmoor School for pupils in years 6 to 8 across the alliance; tickets are available from the office. Proceeds will be donated to the Saving Rhinos Charity.
Also, a reminder that interim reports for pupils in years 3 to 10 will be issued on Friday at 4.00pm.
I hope you have a pleasant week ahead.
I M Daniel
Following on from my blog last week about the benefits of providing creative experiences for our pupils, I was pleased that this week the GCSE pupils had the opportunity to enjoy the performing arts by visiting the Cambridge Theatre to watch a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. I am sure that the girls enjoyed watching the vibrant and passionate drama!
Well done to the pupils from the alliance who went along to the ISA National Swimming Championship on Sunday 21 January. Ella Stone finished third in her individual race and second in the 200m freestyle relay, which is brilliant. I am very proud of all our competitors who represent the school at regional and national levels.
On Monday I hosted a Parent Council meeting in the library. My thanks go to the parents in attendance, especially for their positive comments and support for the school. I attach the minutes of the meeting to this blog.
On Tuesday evening another consultation evening was held, this time for pupils in year 8. As ever, I hope that it was informative.
On Wednesday St Andrew’s and Rushmoor hosted the ISA London North cross-country event, with a number of runners taking part from across the alliance. Thank you to the sports department from across the alliance for organising the event so well. The event was open to runners from year 3 to year 11 and is always a hard fought battle, with a high number of schools from across our region competing. Our runners performed exceptionally well in atrocious conditions.
In the year 3/4 race, Amelia Perry was our first runner home in 29th place. Well done to the girls in this race, some of whom were running in their first cross country competition. Special mention to Flossie Stott who ran much of the race with one shoe, as the other one came off in the mud! In the year 5/6 race Rosie Foster-Glennon came 2nd. In the year 7/8 race Amelia Baker came 2nd, Ella Stone 4th, Kasey Darnton 6th, and Amelia Creasey 9th. We finished 2nd in the team event for this age group, missing out on first place by just 2 points!
In year 11 Anusha Kambli finished 3rd, with Frankie Milburn 4th and Rosie Bailey 5th, both now in year 12 at the sixth form. Well done to all the girls who did really well in extremely wet and muddy conditions! Thank you also to the parents and grandparents who braved the weather to cheer us on!
“Fiesta time and people gather in the plaza. The sounds of Flamenco echo down the streets. A Knife glints in the hot sun. The scene is set for high romance ending in tragedy.”
As part of the English Literature GCSE course, our year 11 girls are studying the play, ‘Romeo and Juliet’. This week they visited the Cambridge Arts Theatre to see a spectacular production of Romeo and Juliet that, full of music and colour, highlighted the traits of the characters and gave definition to the plot. There was a large cast of actors and musicians who gave a vibrant performance of Shakespeare’s most passionate drama. Thank you to Mrs Lowe for arranging the trip.
In Mrs Stott’s English class, Jelena Ilic in year 7 wrote the following poem which could be a great solution to the problems of the world:
A Recipe for World Peace
For this recipe you will need a slow cooker because Peace needs a long time to make.
The main ingredients you will need are Love, happiness, kindness and understanding.
Season with happy children And enlightened families.
Take a generous pinch of Care and laughter.
Have a taste;
Make sure there is no hate, war and separation.
Make sure ingredients are equally treated
And leave to simmer.
For decoration add beautiful nature,
And serve in equal proportions.
It was good to see a strong turn out from those who were able to make the History revision clinic this week. The students used mind maps to capture a wide range of information and presented it in an eye catching and easily understandable manner. The year 11's are working hard, attending revision sessions after school and at lunchtimes. If you have yet to fully commit to revision then we recommend that you do so sooner rather than later, you will get out what you put in.
Today, Friday 26 January, Bedfordshire Police were invited into the school to discuss internet safety with our Junior pupils. Unfortunately the two sessions for years 3 and 4, and years 5 and 6, were unavoidably postponed by the Police, but will be rearranged
You may be aware that Rushmoor School is celebrating its centenary in Bedford this year. As part of our plans we will be holding a celebratory evening on Friday 11 May 2018. This date is currently being spread across social media to attract past cohorts to come along to their old school, so if you know anybody who once attended Rushmoor, please let them know. As we try to promote unison across the alliance, should you wish to help Rushmoor celebrate you are more than welcome to join in. This might be particularly beneficial if your daughter is planning the move to our joint Sixth Form or your son is planning to move from the Junior School over to Rushmoor. Further details will be available from the school office shortly.
On Tuesday this week the year 7 & 8 girls started their first round of hockey league matches. They were in high spirits and started their first match with great determination and teamwork, defeating Lincroft 2-1. The second match was much tighter and relied upon good defending and goal keeping skills from Jelena Ilic, Amelia Creasey, Lottie Kent and Lorna Whitehead. Following constant persistence, St Andrew’s ended the game with a 1-0 win. In the final game, the girls in attack showed wonderful teamwork and communication with scoring from Amelia Baker, Ella Stone, Ruby and Shannon Ryall with the score ending 6-0. This is an excellent start to the league with 3 more games to play. Well done to everyone who played with particular mention to our player of the games, Amelia Baker for her consistent running and strong dribbling in midfield.
Cross-country fixtures are taking centre stage at the moment and following Wednesday’s ISA event came Thursday’s District cross-country held at Priory Park. Our runners, selected from years 5 to 8, all performed well on a muddy course. Special mention to Rosie Foster-Glennon in year 6 who won her race with a clear distance between her and second place. Amelia Baker in year 8 also performed extremely well finishing in second place. Very well done to all who competed.
This was the second week of the Active Girls initiative and I am delighted to hear that the girls took part in a body combat class. The girls really enjoyed it and eagerly await next week's activity!!
In Nursery, it has been a real hands-on week for the toddlers who have been cooking up some real treats such as fruit scones with Tracey and exploring textures and ingredients before they are mixed together. The children have also been learning descriptive words and about keeping healthy by washing their hands and the importance of clean spoons and bowls.
Following the fun the children had learning about penguins and other animals that live in the cold, the Nursery staff and children looked very closely at fish! They talked about how a fish breathes under water, what they eat and how they feel to touch
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception - Max Hendry
Year 1 - Emma Hindocha
Year 2 - Harrison Rook
Year 3/4 - Eliza Aldridge
Year 5 - Grace Langridge
Year 6 - Floriana Sansevero
Lydia Shortland in year 4 for her outstanding effort in Maths.
Jenna Nethersole in year 4 for her outstanding effort in Maths.
Paige Munday in year 10 for her continued effort in English Literature.
I M Daniel
It has been pleasing to see the students excited about the enrichment opportunities available to them. This week I read an article in The Guardian entitled “Creativity can be taught. So why are we leaving it to private schools”. The article by Rufus Norris states:
Since 2010 there has been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a corresponding drop in the number of specialist arts teachers being trained. Hardly surprising when the Ebacc, a government school performance measure focusing on a core set of academic subjects studied for GCSE, does not include a single creative discipline. Add the funding squeeze into the mix, and the result is that the practice and study of drama, design, music and art are rapidly disappearing from the curriculum. The pipeline of talent into the industry is being cut off by the government’s misguided side-lining of creativity in education.
This is the opposite of what happens in our private schools, our top universities, and the state schools where inspired teaching and leadership pulls determinedly against the prevailing and constrictive tide.
I found the article very interesting and quite saddening because across the alliance we truly value the right for our pupils to have a well-balanced education and enjoyable school life, and the creative arts are particularly important to accomplish this. We want all our pupils to try out various art-based enrichment opportunities to see what they enjoy. One of these is the current production of Mary Poppins, which has rehearsals going on at the moment, with performances scheduled for March. It is a great pleasure as a teacher to watch our pupils enjoying being involved in this production and all the other productions that have gone on over the past few years; Peter Pan, Little Women, Bugsy and Thoroughly Modern Millie. What a great shame it would be for the arts to be side-lined!
Another artistic extra-curricular club on offer to our senior pupils is Photography. This is run in conjunction with the boys at Rushmoor under the expert tuition of Mr Child from Forge Photography. I would encourage our senior girls to try this club out – in the summer term there will be an opportunity to have a go at flying drones on the school field.
I am pleased that the debating club is proving popular and that this is giving our girls the opportunity to discuss major topics and people of influence. Thank you to Mrs Lowe and Mrs Sharma for running this. The benefits of getting involved in the debating club are:
· debates can help you practice and demonstrate your critical thinking skills
· debates can help you learn to discuss complicated topics calmly, clearly, and
· debates can help you cultivate your persuasion skills
· debates help deepen your understanding of topics when you "actively" listen to
· debates help sharpen communication skills – you can learn to say more with fewer
· debates can be mind-opening – "actively" listening to opposing opinions can help
you think out of the box – they can offer a broader range of alternatives, excite
imagination, and ignite creativity
· debates help remind you about compromise and cooperation
· debate teams can offer a sense of comradeship, demonstrating the value of
· to those with a truly open-mind, debates can broaden and deepen reasoning and
communicating skills. They can enhance the ability to think and communicate
clearly and quickly
As you are aware, I actively promote all types of sport and I am delighted to see that a number of our girls have chosen to get involved in the Bedford Borough ‘Girls In Sport’ initiative this year. I am sure they will all thoroughly enjoy the challenges.
Last year I went to Boston in my capacity as Vice-Chair of the Local Organising Committee for the School Games. When I returned I was keen to start up a cheerleading club at St Andrew’s, which we have now done. It is a fantastic way of keeping fit and having fun, so I would urge the pupils to go along and try it for themselves. Further details are available from the school office for anybody who is interested.
I am very pleased to see that a number of our pupils are visiting the Gifted and Talented Maths Clinic on a regular basis in order to stretch their ability further. Thank you to Mr Jessopp and Mrs Hickey for running this clinic.
'Things I Know to be True' by Frantic Assembly
On Wednesday the year 10 GCSE Drama group had a fantastic and very moving theatrical experience at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. Mrs Stott tells me that a few tears were shed at the end but all agreed this was a beautiful and inspiring piece of theatre that is not only ideal to review but also provides many ideas for the girls' own practical work. The girls were fortunate enough to meet one of the cast members in the foyer afterwards who gave additional insight into the dynamic physical theatre working process of the company. It has to be said that the possible highlight for some, however, was bumping into a member of the ‘Eastenders’ cast on the platform of St Pancras station...!
Sports News: Well done to all the girls who represented St Andrew's at the Bedfordia cross country event at Lincroft. It was a very windy afternoon and the girls showed real determination in completing the course. Rosie Foster-Glennon finished second in the year 5/6 race and Amelia Baker was 4th in the year 8 race - outstanding results! Well done to all who took part.
I was pleased to hear that more girls have signed up for the Active Girls group this term. They had their first session this week and joined a Clubbercise class at the Bunyan Centre (aerobics in a nightclub-style setting) which they really enjoyed. The year 10 girls were unable to join the group as they were on their theatre trip, but are looking forward to next week's session.
EYFS News: The pre-school children have been enjoying the great outdoors this week as part of their exploration of the natural world. Children and staff worked together to solve questions…how many children does it take to link around the tree? How many big steps does it take to go around? They also thought about self-care with regard to dressing appropriately and keeping safe while they were out and about. During their walk the children collected natural objects of interest to make beautiful collage pictures.
Part of EYFS education is learning from the children’s own interests and this ensures that the children get a real variety of experiences and activities. The latest group activity in Owls class came from a child who every Monday told the staff that, over the weekend he had been to the moon, so the children all made a rocket so they could go too!
The children have had great fun with their rocket so far and used their imagination to turn colanders into helmets and to land on undiscovered planets…the next generation of explorers.
Junior News: The Junior School were pleased to welcome back Jo-Ann Gaunt from Impact Bedford on Tuesday. Jo-Ann delivered an Assembly on bravery via a retelling of the David and Goliath story. The pupils also shared their own examples of bravery.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception - Chloe Lartey
Year 1 - Arthur Mullaney and Zaynab Baloch
Year 2 - Errol Bogacki
Year 3/4 - Jessica Allenby
Year 5 - Cerys Holley
Year 6 - Chloe Marcos
Grace Perry in year 1 for her fantastic piece of artwork.
We are very proud to hear of pupils’ achievements out of school, so do please let the school know of any successes. Congratulations to Giorgia Mitridate in year 10 who passed her Speech and Drama exam with a distinction, 90 marks! Well done.
I hope you have a good weekend.
I M Daniel
I hope that all our families enjoyed the festive period and I wish each one of you a happy and healthy 2018.
Once again, the ski trip to Les Menuires was very successful, with brilliant skiing conditions due to the fabulous amount of snowfall. Details have been circulated about the trip for December this year, so please let the office know this week if you are interested in attending as we need to secure the booking with the travel company, subject to numbers. All members of the family are welcome to join the trip.
The staff returned to school on Monday for a training day. The focus was on First Aid and subject planning, taking into account exam changes at GCSE/A level.
We believe in encouraging our pupils to enjoy theatre from a young age and what better way to do so than attending a pantomime. On Thursday year 1 and 2 joined with their friends from Rushmoor and enjoyed an exciting trip to Milton Keynes Theatre to watch Cinderella. This was the spectacular start to their new topic of Fairytales and Fantasy. The children thoroughly enjoyed the show, singing, dancing and laughing the whole way through, with a particular highlight being to watch a Shetland pony transform into a beautiful performing horse before their eyes! Thank you to all the parents for supporting this trip and thank you to Miss De Fortuna for arranging the trip.
Another annual tradition is the year 6 trip to Stibbington’s Day Centre. The former village school building contains a classroom furnished and equipped for lessons about an evacuee’s experience during World War 2.
The serious side of school life has been on the agenda this week too, with the parental consultation evening for year 11 girls, where outcomes of the mock examinations taken last term were discussed. Other year groups are also undergoing subject assessments so that progress can be monitored closely. In the run-up to the formal examinations this summer our year 11 girls must make the most of all the extra booster revision sessions that are being offered to them – they make a difference. Please consider if you are planning holidays that there will be revision sessions during the Easter holiday period for those sitting their GCSEs this summer. These extra sessions are incredibly helpful and I would urge all pupils to attend.
House Point Winners: As a reward for achieving the greatest number of house points last term eight girls from years 7-10 were taken to the Olde Watermill Shopping Village on Wednesday afternoon. They had a good time perusing the quaint and varied shops and stalls in the village, gathering together for a hot chocolate and marshmallow treat at the end! The next trip will take place at the start of the summer term but the destination is a closely guarded secret....so come on girls, get collecting those house points - you could be one of the next winners! Thanks to Madame Tribe for gathering all the house points, calculating the scores and preparing the certificates.
It's been very toasty: This week we piloted a new system for tuck at morning break time. On three days of the week the Senior School girls can now buy toast or cereal (with lactose free milk if required) as well as having the option of fruit, fruit juice, milkshakes and cereal bars. It has been a great success and a pleasure to see whole year groups sitting down together and making the break time a lovely social occasion. The only dilemma is...which topping to choose!
Sports News: Well done to the two St Andrew’s girls, Amelia Baker and Rosie Foster-Glennon, who joined their third teammate to take part in the U13 Beds County Cross Country Championships - they won, which is a fantastic achievement. We are very proud of you.
Awarded to Tabitha Hedgecoe in year 11 for her outstanding effort and commitment to written Drama work.
Finally, despite some local political opposition, we are currently looking at different paths towards success in achieving planning permission for the new school and remain very optimistic as we have met the majority of the requests from the Local Authority. Once we have succeeded in achieving this permission our plans are to develop the new school in as tight a timescale as possible. I will continue to update parents on developments.
I hope you enjoy the weekend.
I M Daniel
This will be my last Blog of 2017 and a Newsletter will be issued shortly to recap on everything that has happened at St Andrew’s over this term.
There have been a lot of Christmas themed activities going on:
On Wednesday afternoon, the Key Stage 2 pupils walked to St Paul’s Church in Bedford town centre to sing at the Christmas Tree Festival. St Andrew’s has participated in this joyous event for many years and this year the pupils rose to the occasion and delighted us all with half an hour of delightful songs. As well as some more traditional songs the girls sang some of the numbers from this year’s Christmas production, The Magical Christmas Jigsaw. A huge well done to all who took part.
On Thursday morning Reception class joined the children from Rushmoor Reception for a trip to a Barnyard Nativity experience in Clapham. The children became part of the Christmas story, following the characters around a beautiful garden, as the events were retold. They finally met Baby Jesus in a stable, as there was no room in the inn. There was even a real donkey to stroke! The children were delighted to be able to chat to the characters and tell them all about their own Christmas play.
Today, Friday, the Junior School pupils have performed their Nativity, putting on two performances throughout the day. It is such a lovely way to enter into the true spirit of Christmas and I would like to congratulate all the children for their wonderful efforts. Also, thank you to all the staff involved in putting the production together, both our teachers and our support staff. I hope that all the family members and friends who attended enjoyed the performances. I include below a few words from Mrs van der Sande.
“This morning's performance of 'The Magical Christmas Jigsaw' was a true celebration of the talents of our children from Nursery all the way up to year 6. Lines were delivered loud and clear and, as always, the singing was beautiful. Huge congratulations to both pupils and staff for a tremendous effort and a very enjoyable show.”
On Monday, years 7, 8 & 9 took part in the School Games swimming gala. The aim was to qualify for the County Finals which will be held at the Inspire Pool in March. As always, our girls did us proud and there were many excellent performances, including Kasey Darnton, Ella Stone and Amelia Baker winning their races; Isabelle Clegg, Aimee Moliterno and Lottie Kent finishing 2nd in their races and Amelia Creasey and Ruby Ryall finishing 3rd in their races. There were a number of heats for each stroke and we are waiting to find out who the qualifiers are, but I must say well done to everyone who proudly represented St Andrew’s.
On Tuesday years 5/6 and 7/8 had Sports Hall Athletics competitions at the Bunyan Centre. In the morning, years 5 & 6 took part in the mixed competition with the boys from Rushmoor, and they finished 4th out of 18 teams – a fantastic achievement. After school, years 7 & 8 took part in their competition and finished 6th out of 11 teams. Everyone gave their all in both competitions and I would like to say well done to our fabulous teams!
Also on Tuesday after school (it has been a very busy week!), years 9 & 10 played in their final set of netball league matches. The girls had three very tough teams to play against and, unfortunately, were not able to continue their winning ways from the first round of matches. They put up a great fight against Stratton, conceding a goal in the dying seconds to lose 5-4. They also lost to Biddenham and Samuel Whitbread, both of whom fielded very strong teams. Nevertheless, we are all very proud of the netball girls, who kept fighting to the end.
I would like to thank Mrs Bassett-Gilham for enabling the girls to take part in these events.
It certainly felt like Christmas on Wednesday when parents were treated to the Pre-school Christmas show. The children put on a wonderful performance with songs such as “when Santa got stuck up the chimney” and “we wish you a merry Christmas”. There was an added surprise from the children who all had a special snowball to throw into the audience at the end. The Nursery staff were very proud and it was lovely to see so many parents together enjoying a mince pie and a cup of tea.
I would like to remind you that the Nursery staff are looking forward to seeing you all again on Saturday for their Christmas stay and play from 10.00am-noon.
Junior School News:
Before half term, year 5 took part in an international Cinemasports competition, in association with Taiwan University. I am delighted to report that following the judging of all 101 videos, year 5 were placed in the top 12 and classified as a Top Pick, and their video was shown as part of a special screening at the university. A big well done to all the girls who took part and thank you to Mr Farnsworth for his guidance.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Phoebe Watkin
Year 1 – Tiggy Willcocks
Year 2 – Aiden Blattner
Year 3/4 – all pupils
Year 5 – all pupils
Year 6 – Olivia Sepede
Fox Choy in Reception for learning all the words to the Christmas songs and singing so enthusiastically during rehearsals.
Hannah Amor in year 7 for her excellent French test result.
Shelby Gwiza in year 9 for her excellent project work in RE.
The Christmas celebrations will continue into the week ahead. Please remember that tomorrow (Saturday) we have the Nursery Stay and Play session from 10.00am to 12.00 noon.
On Thursday we have the School Christmas lunch for pupils up to year 10. The year 11 girls will meet up with the year 11 boys from Rushmoor for their own separate lunch at The Tavistock.
On Thursday 14 December at 5.00pm the Carol Service will take place at St Andrew’s Church. All pupils from year 1 to year 11 are expected to attend and all parents are invited to join us for what is always a very festive and enjoyable evening. There will be mulled wine and mince pies in the church hall after the service.
Following the service, the children in years 3 to 6 will be returning to school for the long-awaited Christmas Sleepover. Now in its sixth year the sleepover is a wonderful way for the children to come together at the end of a long term and enjoy each other’s company before the break for Christmas. The evening will include a number of games as well as the very exciting ‘St Andrew’s Got Talent’.
On Friday staff and pupils are able to wear their Christmas jumpers and a whole school assembly will take place with a really festive theme. Term ends at 12.00 midday.
The ski trip departs on Saturday 16th and I hope everybody going to Les Menuires has a fabulous time.
I look forward to welcoming all our pupils back to school on 9th January 2018.
In the meantime, I hope that everyone enjoys the holiday and wish you all peace and happiness for the year ahead.
I M Daniel
Whilst I am walking around the school at the moment I sense a very studious approach to work coming from our senior girls, which is very pleasing. Perhaps the year 11s, having just been through their mock examinations, are more aware of the need to put as much effort as possible into their work in order to achieve their very best. They are certainly being supported in these efforts with a host of extra-curricular revision sessions available to them. I really recommend that every one of the girls makes the most of these sessions right up to their formal examinations in the summer.
I also have noticed a lot of effort going into the Christmas activities in the junior school and I am very much looking forward to seeing the girls and boys perform their Nativity for us.
This week started on Monday with a meeting all about the forthcoming ski trip. My thanks to Miss Thompson from Rushmoor for hosting the meeting and I hope all those attending found it useful in order to prepare for the trip.
I first introduced the ski trip to Rushmoor School so long ago now that I can’t actually remember the year, but it has always proved to be a great success. It is a unique trip because we allow all members of the family to attend and this really creates a great sociable atmosphere. With just two weeks to go until the trip departs, I hope that everybody who is attending is getting excited! If you are interested in attending future ski trips, look out for details or let the school office know you might wish to attend as we are currently looking at packages which we can offer at a competitive price.
Our pupils in Reception to year 4 had the opportunity to receive the flu vaccination this week. This is offered as part of the nationwide scheme for children in this age group and takes the form of a nasal spray vaccine. This vaccine has few side effects – most commonly children may get a runny nose after the vaccination for a few days.
Pupils in years 3 and 4 visited the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge today. The museum encourages creative, independent enquiry-based learning; sharing expertise about its collections; and collaborating with schools to ensure the pupils have a varied, entertaining visit. In support of their art work on portraits, pupils spent time studying a variety of portraits, considering composition and style. In the afternoon, the museum led session on Ancient Greeks gave the pupils the opportunity to look closely at artefacts and consider what they tell us about life in ancient times. Thank you to Mrs van der Sande for organising the visit.
It has been good to see an increased involvement in learning a musical instrument and in the choir. The number of students taking singing lessons is increasing all the time and I know they are looking forward to working on some pop and musical theatre items in choir next term. I would like to congratulate year 9 students who have been composing their own songs in music lessons and year 7 who have composed Christmas raps. They have shown excellent teamwork skills. Mrs Shackleton and the year 11 girls enjoyed an inspiring performance of Into The Woods at Redborne Upper School last week. Mrs Shackleton would like to remind pupils that they must attend the last few choir and ensemble rehearsals so that all are ready for the Carol Service on 14 December.
I was pleased to be shown some impressive work on war poems by year 8 in English this week.
It was good to hear that eight girls represented St Andrews and joined with Rushmoor boys in our final round of matches in the year 5 and 6 mixed hockey league. Both teams played two matches, coming away with a draw and a loss. I am told the results did not reflect the performances of either team on the night. All pupils showed how much they had improved since the first round of matches four weeks ago. Everyone played extremely well showing improved skills, great determination and wonderful team work. Well done to all the girls and boys who played. The girls’ player of the tournament went to Grace Constant for her endless running in midfield.
Years 3 and 4 took part in the Indoor multi-skills competition held at Bunyan Centre earlier this week. I was pleased to hear that they enjoyed the event and did themselves proud coming 6th out of 16 teams. Well done to all involved.
The Nursery staff have been leading sensory play this week with the babies, and they have explored different fabrics and textures, and made pictures with pipe cleaners, glitter and other materials. The babies had great fun crunching up cereals. They have also enjoyed play on a winter theme, painting snowy pictures on black paper with white paint.
The staff and toddlers have had a busy time making salt dough Christmas decorations and Christmas trees using lolly sticks and large scale drawings.
The pre-school children have been preparing for Christmas by sewing Christmas stockings, decorating Christmas cakes and also practising for their play which promises to be a festive delight. I am looking forward to seeing it on 6 December.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Elijah Masih
Year 1 – Gabriel-Joel Holland
Year 2 – Poppy Foster-Glennon
Year 3/4 - Jenna Nethersole
Year 5 – Lillie Morris
Year 6 – Toluwa Alade
Caroline Demuth in year 9 for her achievements in the Archery County Championship.
Amelia Baker and Tomisin Alao in year 8 for their excellent war poems in English.
Well done to Caroline Demuth from year 9 who won the Archery County Championship in her category last weekend. What a fantastic achievement Caroline! Caroline is a member of Kestrels Archery Club based in Biggleswade and Sandy.
Tonight is the Christmas Disco for pupils in years 1 to 4 across the alliance. The disco is being held in Walmsley House, so this really is the start of our Christmas celebrations! I hope the children enjoy themselves.
Tomorrow, Saturday 2nd November, weather permitting, Rushmoor will be hosting the annual Invitation Trophy Competition for the U11 rugby squads from the local area. This competition is set firmly in Rushmoor’s history and has been held for over 30 years. It is usually a hotly contended competition so if there are any rugby enthusiasts who would like to watch a game or two on Saturday morning please feel free to come along to the school field on Clapham Road. Hot drinks and hot dogs will be available to purchase.
Best wishes for the weekend.
I M Daniel
Firstly, well done to the parents and pupils who went along on Sunday to take part in the cycle challenge in aid of Children in Need. Your support is very much appreciated and I am pleased that everybody enjoyed the morning, with some really delightful feedback received from those who took part. The total raised so far is £600 with still more coming in.
Also on Sunday morning year 11 girls came in for a ‘Walk and Talk’ as a way to practice GCSE English Language papers. Thank you to Mrs Lowe and Mrs Sharma for giving up your free time on a Sunday to support the girls, it is really greatly appreciated. I hope the girls found the morning useful. Remember, if they have any worries about any of their GCSE subjects, now is the time to speak up so that we can help.
On Monday, some of our pupils from years 4, 5 and 6 had an early start as they headed to Barnet to take part in the London North Region’s ISA swimming gala. Thank you to parents for bringing in the children for the 7a.m. departure. Also, thank you to Mrs Bassett-Gilham and Mrs Savva for accompanying them. Our pupils swam with a great deal of determination and performed well, with Rosie finishing second in her butterfly heat and 3rd in backstroke, Stephanie coming 2nd in her backstroke race and Amy finishing 3rd in her breaststroke heat. Well done to everybody who took part: Rosie Foster-Glennon, Olivia Patel, Lillie Morris, Stephanie Smith, Amelia Perry & Amy Parrish.
After school on Tuesday, girls joined Rushmoor boys at Photography Club and they all enjoyed learning how to use flash and lighting in their photographs.
There was an information evening held on Thursday evening at St Andrew’s regarding the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award and another meeting is being held this evening regarding the silver expedition, this time at Rushmoor. Please do encourage pupils to participate in these awards because they are looked upon well by universities. When I visited Loughborough University in the summer, the awards were mentioned specifically as something that the university looks for on personal statements, particularly those working towards their gold level, which is something we now offer during the sixth form years. Thank you to Mr Morrish and Miss Holyoak for all the organisation of the meetings.
Sports News: On Tuesday both the A and B teams played in the next round of their year 5/6 mixed hockey league matches. The A team won against Castle Newnham but lost to Goldington, and the B team lost against Putnoe and drew against Westfield, with a goal being saved on the line. There were strong team performances - well done to all who played. The girls’ player of the day went to Toluwa Alade for her brave and strong tackling in defence.
Nursery News: In Nursery, the toddlers have been looking at temperature. They compared the consistency of water before and after it freezes into ice. Nursery staff also showed the children how to build an igloo with ice cubes. Pre-school children have been studying the letter N and have made naan bread with Ms Nahar. They have also talked about the dentist and the types of food and drink that are good for their teeth. A highlight of their week has been rehearsing on the big stage for the Christmas show.
Junior School News: Year 1 and 2 have been learning about volcanoes as part of their Fire and Ice topic this term. This afternoon they were experimenting with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to create St Andrew’s own erupting volcanoes.
On Tuesday year 3 and 4 joined year 4 from Rushmoor at Hazard Alley in Milton Keynes for a morning of safety related activities. Hazard Alley is set up with a variety of potential accident scenarios, such as a road crossing, train tracks, a kitchen and a pond. At each station the children are encouraged to think about the dangers that are present and understand how they could keep themselves safe. As part of the experience the children even get to go to a mock phone box and make a 999 emergency call. At the end of the morning the children came away with a much better understanding of how to protect themselves in different environments as well as having had a lot of fun. Thank you to all the staff who organised the trip and accompanied the children.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Khushi Masih
Year 1 – Tiggy Willcocks
Year 2 – Maddie Enright
Year 4 – Amy Parrish
Year 5 – Eliana Hashemi
Year 6 – Faizah Shah
Florence Stott in year 3 for her excellent work in Geography.
Toluwa Alade in year 6 for mastering the calculation of 2D shapes, in Maths.
Sophie Fletcher and Chloe Frost in year 8 for excellent written work about a past holiday, in French.
Parents of pupils in years 3 and 4 will have received an invitation to attend an information evening about the Grendon Hall residential trip which will take place in the summer. A reminder that the meeting takes place at St Andrew’s School, Walmsley House, this coming Tuesday, 28th November, at 6.00 p.m. This trip has been running for a couple of years and the children have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the outdoor pursuit challenges.
I hope you have a lovely weekend.
I M Daniel
The sixth form year 12 students visited the Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham this week. It is the nation’s largest skills and careers event with over 200 employers and training organisations on-hand to engage with young people. There are hundreds of great career ideas to explore, including jobs of the future. I hope it gave our sixth formers some inspiration. It is wonderful that we can now offer our pupils these opportunities and amazing to think that children joining in the nursery can now have the opportunity to continue their education with us right up to 18 years of age.
Mock examinations are now dominating the minds of our current year 11 cohort and some of them might be wondering just why we teachers consider mocks so important. Well the answer is because they help sharpen revision skills and revision is the hard part – for both pupils and their parents!
Mocks test the pupil’s current abilities and understanding in a subject and predicted grades will be worked out based on mock results. Mocks help us all to see what work there is to do before the real exams, so they really are important indicators.
On Monday evening a group of year 9s, two year 10s and two parents attended a performance of Chelsea’s Choice which everyone agreed was a moving and informative piece of theatre – a very strong cautionary tale!
This week has been Anti-bullying Week with an assembly and activities in lessons on the theme of All Different All Equal. Year 7 have created advice leaflets for the Junior pupils, and KS4 pupils are planning a piece of drama for Junior pupils to encourage them to believe in themselves and to not be afraid of difference.
Today the school has been participating in the annual fundraising activities for Children in Need with money being raised through a mufti day with the pupils wearing spotty outfits.
On Sunday 19 November there is also the opportunity for families to take part in the St Andrew's and Rushmoor Junior Schools’ Children in Need Fun Family Cycle; setting off from the entrance to Priory Marina at 10.00am and aiming to cycle to the Danish Camp and back again. A mid cycle pit stop will take place at the Danish Camp car park to keep spirits up. The round trip is approximately 6 miles and we are recommending that people sponsor the children £1 a mile. All sponsorship monies can be paid directly via our fundraising page.
This will be a fun activity for the whole family and parents will need to accompany their children at all times. I wish everybody the best for the morning; unfortunately, I am unable to attend because I will be travelling back from Doncaster due to my own family commitments. Happy fundraising to all involved!
Also on Sunday morning the school will be a centre of industry as our committed year 11 girls Walk and Talk their way through practice GCSE English Language papers with the support of Mrs Lowe and Mrs Sharma. It is often said that it is difficult to revise for English Language and so we plan to take the pupils through both of the language papers, step by step, explaining the questions and how to plan their answers. The girls will complete tasks under examination conditions and will keep to strict timings for each question to practice time management. My thanks to Mrs Lowe and Mrs Sharma for giving up their time.
On Tuesday there was a year 5/6 mixed hockey competition at Goldington Academy. The team played three matches, losing one, drawing one, and winning one. The girls played very well and Mr Morrish was proud of their efforts. This was a great opportunity for the girls from St Andrew’s to compete as a team with the boys from Rushmoor, which is an example of how the schools are already working within the ‘diamond model’ school structure, which I outlined in my recent letter.
The year 7/8 netball team represented St Andrew’s in the U13 District Tournament on Monday, and they played with commitment and dedication throughout. The team drew with Westfield, lost to BGS and beat Mark Rutherford. I am delighted that all nine girls were a credit to St Andrew’s and put into practice all the skills learnt with Miss Holyoak. Players of the Tournament were Maddie Corley and Amelia Creasey. Well played everyone!
The children in Nursery enjoyed a rather spotty day for Children in Need, from dressing up to creating fantastic modern pieces of art! Nursery staff also took time to explain to the children why we have Children in Need and talked about things that make us feel sad, such as not having a warm bed or food when we were hungry. The children also talked about the importance of having friends and how happy that makes them feel. It is important for children to understand that they are safe and secure within a network of peers and adults.
Junior School News:
Year 6 have been learning about the importance of Remembrance Day this week and why we observe a two minute silence. The class learnt how it all began (in a nut shell!) and then read the poem ‘Flanders Field’ by John McCrae. Linking this back to English, the class were asked to produce some images that were put into their mind from reading the poem and the girls worked very hard to produce some lovely work. Year 6 tried to put themselves in the perspective of the poet, and were very thoughtful and respectful when discussing their thoughts and feelings on the poem.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Fox Choy
Year 1 – Ruby Parrish
Year 2 – Harrison Rook
Year 3 – Tilly Norman
Year 5 – Saikeisha Comatchee
Year 6 – Olivia Patel
Perpetual Nyamtowo in year 2 for her excellent poem about feelings.
Ellie Chick in year 11 for her cheerful, friendly and polite attitude around school. I hope you have a lovely weekend.
I M Daniel
As I briefly mentioned in last week’s blog, mock interviews are taking place this evening for pupils in year 11 across the alliance. This is part of the ongoing careers programme and I would like to thank the parents and staff for their assistance in this area, it is greatly appreciated.
In the sixth form this week we had the A-level students studying Theatre performing their devised piece to an audience on Wednesday evening. Thank you to everybody who went along to support the group with this important element of their examination process.
Students studying A-level Law were taken on an excursion this week organised by Miss Ross. They participated in the Bedfordshire Magistrates’ Association Annual Mock Trial competition. I am sure that the trip proved helpful with their studies. The main purpose of the day was to understand how trials proceed in court and appreciate the roles of the professionals involved in criminal cases, which is a key content in the A level exams. It is clear that the all the students really gained this insight throughout the day. However, it was a competition between 6 local schools in which students took on roles in a criminal court case. St Andrew’s and Rushmoor lawyers role-played 3 versions of a common assault case. First to take centre stage was our defence team; Kiera Barnes-Quinn representing the defendant played by Kieran Singh - defended brilliantly and found not guilty. Then our Magistrates team, along with their legal adviser and usher, took control of the second trial and showed excellent judgement in finding the defendant. Last but not least, our prosecution team, headed up by Ryan Tame as Senior Crown Prosecutor, with 3 witnesses, faced a determined defence team from Harlington, but convinced the magistrates of the defendant's guilt. This is the first time that our law students have entered such a competition and they were up against year 13 law students from schools that had previously taken part in similar competitions, so although we didn't win the competition, Miss Ross could not feel prouder of the students - and they will return to win next year!! Thank you to Miss Ross for arranging it.
The students studying Product Design in the sixth form paid another visit to the Ikea store in Milton Keynes this week to gain some more inspiration for the practical element of their design work. Ikea is a great place to visit because they pride themselves on providing good quality contemporary designs at affordable prices using sustainable resources. These values are important for our design students to understand.
Last week we had the first parental consultation evening that involved both years 12 and 13. It was great to see Fenwick House really buzzing with pupils and their parents eager to chat to the teaching staff. The year 12 students have really settled in well and the year 13 students are focused on their studies, really understanding the importance of the next six months in the lead up to their A2 examinations. They are all talking eagerly about their next steps, whether that is university or the workplace. Please do contact us if you would like to find out more regarding the sixth form, it is a calm and welcoming place and a natural transition for our current year 11 girls.
I have been away from the school for a few days this week carrying out an inspection at another school in my role as an inspector for the ISI (Independent Schools Inspectorate). I always find it interesting visiting other schools because I come away with ideas, and being an inspector also means that I am fully up-to-date with the regulations the ISI (working on behalf of OfSTED) expect - all of which benefits St Andrew’s and Rushmoor.
One of the areas covered in inspections is the level of pastoral care schools provide. Most small independent schools focus on this as a key area and that is certainly the case at both St Andrew’s and Rushmoor Schools where we routinely receive praise for our excellent pastoral support.
Teachers nowadays need a wide set of skills, we are not just required to be knowledgeable about our subjects, but we are required to be motivators, evaluators and occasional counsellors. We have to teach our pupils to be resilient and how to cope with the demands of an increasingly difficult education system. Good pastoral care provision is crucial to being a successful school. Pupil wellbeing should be at the top of any school’s agenda because happy children will learn better. As I have previously advised, this term we have appointed a trained counsellor in order to expand our pastoral provision across the alliance even further.
Pastoral care was barely heard of a couple of decades ago, but schools are now making huge efforts to create a supportive setting. That is easier said than done in large schools, so St Andrew’s and Rushmoor certainly have the advantage in this respect, with years of great quality pastoral support behind us. Pastoral care falls into the remit of all our staff, from the Principal down. The happiness of our pupils is vitally important and when I spend time chatting to the boys and girls I believe they are happy. Whilst away on the inspection it made me reflect on the standards of education and pastoral support that we offer across the alliance and this is always a beneficial thing to do.
On Monday I was delighted that our year 2 pupils went off to Biddenham Upper School to participate in a multi-sports skills event. It is important for the school to encourage each of our pupils to participate in sport as there are a range of physical and developmental benefits for young children. Introducing youngsters to new sports can be exciting, and if carried out well, it could inspire enjoyment and participation well beyond school years – which is certainly my goal! Sport can boost fine and gross motor skills as well as educational potential. Skills learned have a positive impact on a child’s overall development. Children can learn key values including teamwork, perseverance, improvisation, fair play, honesty, rules and respect for themselves and others. It’s also the perfect platform through which to teach them about dealing with success and failure, and the nature of fair competition.
Carrying on with the sporting theme, I am very pleased that St Andrew’s offers a good range of extra-curricular activities because anything to do with promoting a healthier lifestyle is important in my eyes. One club we offer is horse riding and I am very pleased that the pupils are enjoying this enrichment opportunity. Apparently the physical health benefits of horse riding and associated activities, such as mucking out, expend sufficient energy to be classed as moderate intensity exercise. Regular periods of trotting enhance the energy expended and participating in horse riding and associated activities for 30 minutes or more at least three times a week will help an individual achieve or exceed the recommended minimum level of physical activity. This exercise helps with good overall muscle tone and flexibility, strengthens muscles and increases cardiovascular capacity.
Studies show that horse riding especially attracts females of all ages to continue with physical activity, with a vast amount of women aged over 45 still horseback riding regularly. This is very important as our aim in schools is to encourage a lifelong interest in sport and a healthier lifestyle, so by offering the extra-curricular club we may be offering your child lifelong enjoyment of a healthy activity. Horse riding also stimulates positive psychological feelings and horse riders are strongly motivated to take part in riding by the sense of well-being they gain from interacting with horses. This important positive psychological interaction with an animal occurs in very few sports. Being outdoors and in contact with nature is an important motivation and also provides health benefits.
With all the above in mind, if your child is interested in joining the extra-curricular club, please contact the school office. Please note that charges apply and numbers are restricted due to transport implications.
I am proud that the whole school observed two minutes silence today in recognition of Remembrance Day.
I was pleased to see that Rosie Foster-Glennon, Ada Padbury, Olivia Patel and Lillie Morris from years 5 and 6 represented St Andrew’s and joined with Rushmoor boys for the first round of matches in the year 5 and 6 mixed hockey league. The team fought hard in defence, preventing Putnoe, Castle Newnham and Westfield from scoring, but although we were threatening in front of goal, we did not manage to score any goals. Everyone played extremely well showing great potential for their next round of matches. I congratulate all the girls and boys who played! The girls’ player of the tournament was Ada Padbury for her brave and strong tackling in defence.
Nursery children enjoyed a spooky visit to charter house to visit the residents and show off their lovely costumes and sing songs. I am pleased to say that the residents were thrilled with our visit and the children will be heading back very soon.
The pre-school garden is developing well and Nursery staff have seen such a fantastic response by the children as their play becomes so much more imaginative and independent. As you can see the camp fire has become a firm favourite recently. Nursery staff would be grateful for any donations such as herb pots, old pots and pans, bamboo sticks or old small wooden boxes which could be used to extend the Nursery bug home.
Relationships as always continue to be the focus of, in particular our youngest children. Nursery staff understand that each child is different and ensures that time is given to support their interests either through role modelling or providing the right environment to encourage children to explore together or independently. This in turn builds up each child’s confidence and sense of self; this provides the foundation for small children to become confident and to try new things.
Nursery children enjoyed a ‘splat mat’ which is a great, no mess activity that you can try at home to encourage exploration and fine motor skills:
Lay two layers of cling film across your chosen surface ensuring that they are well taped down on the edges
Add two layers of cling film over the top of the paint and tape down well on the sides
Junior School News
This year both Junior Schools have participated in Operation Christmas Child; an initiative of the Christian relief and development agency Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1990 Operation Christmas Child has been providing underprivileged children around the world with gift-filled shoeboxes wrapped and packed by children and adults in the UK.
It is a campaign that thousands of schools, churches and other organisations from across the UK get involved with between September and November each year. In fact, it is now the UK’s largest children’s Christmas appeal.
The gift-filled shoeboxes are now being sent overseas where local churches distribute them to children, on the basis of need alone. Each shoebox is an unconditional gift, given to a child with nothing asked for, or expected in return; no pledges, no obligation to go to church or attend classes; ‘no strings attached’. Thank you for your generosity.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception – Spike Haskins-Yapp
Year 1 – Emma Hindocha
Year 2 – Errol Bogacki
Year 3 – Lucia Treleven
Year 5 – Mia Gross
Year 6 – Isabella Milner-McLean
Olivia Patel and Isabella Milner-McLean in year 6 for their hard work in Maths resulting in an improved standard and accuracy.
Honor Hale in year 10 for her improved contribution to science lessons and a really positive attitude to learning.
I hope you have a lovely weekend.
I M Daniel
I hope all the pupils enjoyed their two-week break. Now it is time to focus on hard work as we enter the second half of term. As always, this will be a busy run-up to the festive season, with lots of academic and enrichment opportunities to fit in.
One of those enrichment opportunities happened on Tuesday when pupils in year 5 joined with pupils from Rushmoor School to visit the Black Country Museum. The museum tells the story of the Black Country, which is distinctive because of the industrial might that was unleashed in the 1830s, creating the first industrial landscape anywhere in the world. Beneath the smoke and glare from blast furnaces and forges, Black Country innovation, entrepreneurial and manufacturing skill brought fame to Black Country towns from across the globe. Isabelle in year 5 expressed her enthusiasm: ‘I really enjoyed dressing up for this trip, as I felt just like a Victorian lady.’
One of our governors, Mr Brian Thompson, came into school this week to talk to the pupils about pastoral and curriculum matters. He was delighted with the positive feedback he received from the pupils who told him how happy they feel at St Andrew’s and how they are supported well by the staff. The fact that governors take the time to visit the school and listen to pupils’ views is invaluable.
Some of the pupils accompanied Mr Jones on a learning walk. This is an opportunity for them to look at teaching and learning styles across the school and to voice their own opinion on what they consider works best. The pupils then feed this information back to the curriculum committee so we can all take into account their views.
We have all seen reports on the benefits of children eating healthily and this is something we take seriously at St Andrew’s and Rushmoor Schools. Studies relating to healthier meals have determined the following benefits:
Improved cognitive function - short-term memory, the ability to conceptualise, and abstract reasoning skills improve when children eat snacks that contain more nutrients.
Higher test scores - children who receive the necessary levels of iron in their meals score better on math and IQ tests.
Better attention spans - children concentrate better after they have eaten more nutritious meals.
Better classroom behaviour - children and adolescents have been shown to get along better with classmates and cause fewer class disruptions when they have been eating properly.
Fewer absences - children who consistently eat enough throughout the day are less likely to miss school days or extra-curricular activities throughout the year due to respiratory problems. Children who attend class more often are more likely to perform well in school, so limiting absences is extremely important.
Improved mood - hungry children tend to be more irritable. They also cannot socialise as well.
With all of the above in mind, you may like your child to try our school meals. If you do, please contact the school office. The cost is £175 per term for pupils in years 1-8 and £190 per term for pupils in years 9-11. It also saves you from having to prepare packed lunches (always a good thing). The cost equates to less than £3.50 per day for a healthy, filling lunch.
The year 12s and 13s had their parent consultation evening last night and I hope that this proved to be useful. The year 13s are being supported by Mrs Beattie, Director of Sixth Form, and the rest of the sixth form team with their UCAS applications at present. Teachers are busy writing references and the students are finalising their personal statements as applications need to be submitted no later than 15 January 2018. My thanks to the sixth form staff for their guidance in this whole process; our sixth formers are really fortunate to have the close attention they receive.
The St Andrew’s girls who have joined the sixth form this year and last year are enjoying the experience and throughout this academic year our year 11 girls will have plenty of opportunities to speak to them about what sixth form life at Fenwick House can offer them.
Year 10 also had their parental consultation evening this week. Again, I hope that this proved helpful, but should you have any queries relating to your daughter’s GCSEs please do not hesitate to speak to the teaching staff or a member of the leadership team.
Our GCSE drama pupils visited The Place Theatre on Thursday evening where they watched Theatre in Transit’s production of ‘Yerma’. This is the story of a young woman whose inability to have a child tears her life apart. Her fierce desire to be a mother is met with painful indifference by her husband - provoking a desperate reaction.
The new GCSE 9-1 drama content involves the need for pupils to devise their own performance and the need to be reflective on the performances they see or do. The more pupils can talk about what they have seen on stage, the better. Questioning your child on their opinions regarding a performance would help to build up their confidence in this area.
Year 11 pupils will be taking part in a mock interview workshop on Friday 10 November, joining together with Rushmoor’s year 11s as part of our ‘Presenting yourself positively’ programme. Thank you to those parents who have already volunteered to help out with the interviews.
We were delighted that pupils from our skydiving club had the chance to participate in an international competition recently, finishing in second place! What an excellent opportunity for all concerned and well done! The Skydive Recruitz took part in the Twinwoods 'Revenge' competition on the 14th October.
During my walks around the school this week it has been particularly pleasing to see some outstanding work and I would like to make a special mention of Tomisin Alao for her work in RE and Hannah Amor for English.
The mixed hockey league starts again next Tuesday. The team did well in last year’s league finishing 4th and, as a result, I am pleased that we have now entered a second team.
I particularly enjoyed taking years 7 and 8 for their PE lesson this week and was very impressed by their hockey skills.
On Thursday year 6 girls played in a friendly match against Bedford Girls School and for some this was their first hockey match. It was a hard-fought match and our girls performed well as a team, showing good understanding of positions and tactics. Player of the match was awarded to Olivia Patel. Well done to all who played.
Halloween, Halloween, Strangest sights I’ve ever seen!
Nursery had a ghoulishly fun day on Tuesday to mark Halloween. The staff and children entered into the spirit of the day by dressing up in their favourite spooky costumes….definitely not for the faint-hearted!
This term year 3 and 4 have been looking at portraits by famous artists and identifying what needs to be in a picture for it to be classed as a portrait. They then looked in detail at different parts of the face, such as eyes, noses, mouths and ears. By carefully looking at the structure of each facial feature, the pupils have started to draw very realistic features. This week pupils had to use all the skills they had acquired to draw the other part of their own face. I was pleased to see the end result when, at the end of the lesson the girls compared their finished result to the initial portrait they had drawn at the start of the portrait topic. There were gasps of appreciation all around the classroom as each and every pupil saw the progress they had made. They were justifiably very proud of their efforts.
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception - Dylan Gilbey
Year 1 - Isabella Diffey
Year 2 - Bronwyn Phillips
Year 3 - Deborah Nyamtowo
Year 5 - Isabelle Burt
Year 6 - Floriana Sansevero
Matilda D’cruze in Reception for swimming half a length by herself.
Elizabeth Hazel in year 9 has received 3 ‘Stars of the Week’ already, so has made a great start at St Andrew’s.
Tamsin Mansell in year 10 for her outstanding contribution to the Drama lesson.
I M Daniel
The first half of term has come to a close and I hope that the pupils will now enjoy their break; however, they will do well to use half-term to reflect on the topics they have covered so far. This is particularly important for those in the senior year groups with examinations looming, but it is equally important to keep momentum going for our junior pupils in terms of practising reading and trying to find time to go over things such as times tables.
For those with formal examinations next year, half-term will be a good time to put in place a sensible revision timetable to use in the run-up to the mock examinations. Remember, little and often is the key!
At the beginning of this new academic year we circulated details regarding the new reporting structure. I would remind parents that we will be sending out pupil reports electronically from now on, so please do check your emails. Emails and text alerts are our preferred communication method and we use the Clarion communication tool for this purpose. Please let the office staff know if you are experiencing any problems with this. Also, if you change contact details at any time, please update us.
We do make use of FaceBook and Twitter to praise our pupils’ work and share things about school life, so please follow us.
Finally, in regard to electronic information, the website hosts the link for our Virtual Learning Environment and this is a place where you can find details regarding your child, such as merit points earned, homework set, etc. Please let the office know if you can’t remember your login details and password for the VLE.
As it is National Mental Health awareness week it seems particularly appropriate to share the excellent news that Rushmoor and St Andrew’s have appointed a counsellor who will be working across both schools after half term. As the Department for Education explains, ‘Good mental health and emotional wellbeing is an integral part of children and young people’s holistic development and counselling can support children’s ability to address problems and pursue personally meaningful goals.’ We are delighted to welcome Cat Brooker who comes to join us with a wealth of experience and knowledge and is a very approachable, encouraging person. Pupils will be able to meet and be supported by Cat on Friday afternoons, by appointment through the schools’ pastoral teams.
Parents of pupils in the Junior School were invited to attend consultation meetings this week. I hope that you found the chance to discuss matters with the teaching staff useful. We value our parent-teacher partnerships and truly acknowledge that a successful partnership can make a significant difference in your child’s education and the first half-term of a new academic year is an ideal time to refocus this partnership. This is a great opportunity to refine your child’s individual learning plan and to make sure the roles of teacher, student and parents are clear, specific and designed to bring out the best in your child.
The following is a message given to me by Mrs Edell (Miss Tweedale):
“A huge thank you to all the girls who turned up to my wedding day on the BBC! They really added the ‘icing on the cake’ and I was so overwhelmed by their performance that I did have a tear in my eye. What a fantastic surprise and I was so impressed they were able to dance all in time, sing beautifully and there were even some back-flips! It was incredible to see how much time and effort they have put into this performance, with the help of ‘Girls Aloud’ singer Kimberley Walsh. Although I can’t tell you the outcome of the day, you will be able to see the end result soon – the programme ‘Wedding Day Winners’ will be broadcast around Easter time but I will let you know in advance so you too can share in my special day!”
On Thursday I was proud to take a number of excellent entries to the ISA Art Competition and the following were well deserved winners:
First and Third place in the KS3 Textiles section – Sana Abidi and Imogen Curryer
First place in the KS4 Textiles section – Rebecca Worboys
Second place in the KS4 Textiles section – Isabelle Stevenson
First place in the KS4 Group Textiles section – Gabriella Edwards, Maisie Edwards, Emma Fitt, Honor Hale, Tamsin Mansell, Giorgia Mitridate, Paige Munday, Angel-Mei Nicholls and Marisa Nyandoro
First place in the KS3-5 Fashion section – Anusha Kambli and Lindsey Gifford
A special mention for Ella Stone in year 7 who competed in her swimming club championships held in Biggleswade on Saturday 7 October. She came first in 100m backstroke, 50m butterfly and 100m freestyle, and second in 200m breaststroke. An all-round great performance – well done Ella.
We were lucky to have the karate leaders in our whole school assembly this week. They told us all about karate club and pupils can sign up for the next half term if they want to give it a go – everyone is welcome. There are opportunities for pupils to grade and work their way up through the belts. Karate is a great method of self-defence and very good for general fitness.
Gymnastics Club is open to pupils from year 1 upwards and takes place every Tuesday after school. This is a very popular club, run by a professional coach from Falcon Gym, and there are still some places available.
Cheerleading Club takes place after school every Thursday and is being opened up to pupils from year 7-11. This is another club to try and an alternative way to improve fitness.
Thank you to our Sixth Formers who will be organising the Halloween Disco this evening for years 7-9 across the alliance to be held in the Randall Hall at Rushmoor. It is a Halloween theme, so there are prizes for the best dressed! Funds raised from ticket sales will be donated to the local Langar Charity.
The Pre-school children are starting next term with ‘Shaking our Sillies’ every Wednesday morning. This is an exercise programme that lasts approximately 5 minutes and reduces excess energy in order to help them concentrate during circle time, that takes place afterwards, and promotes keeping fit at the same time! They are also continuing with their cooking programme which this term has seen such delights as apple crumble, toad in hole and vegetable soup. This is an opportunity to promote fine motor skills and incorporates maths by measuring and weighing.
I hope you have noticed changes have been happening to the outdoor garden. Nursery staff are gradually developing a ‘forest school’ area with lots of natural equipment and plants. The children are continuing to make great use of the mud kitchen with the addition of a ‘potion’ table and small cauldrons.
I am pleased to let you know that the baby rooms are undergoing redecoration and rooms are being re-allocated to make best use of the kitchen facilities and creating a sleep room for small babies.
Junior School News:
As part of their work on Portraits in Art, years 3 and 4 have been investigating surrealistic artists. Using Salvador Dali as inspiration girls distorted a photography portrait of themselves by cutting it into circles and placing it against a surrealistic background. The effect was very striking and only the clever placing of the circles ensured that the human eye could still make out the facial portrait. We wonder if anyone can spot who made this?
This week, year 5 have been working on their entry to Cinemasports, an international film competition, where pupils must create their own 3 minute video. The girls were given three ingredients which must feature in their video, which this year were ‘coin’, ‘box’ and ‘crawl’.The girls have planned, directed, and acted in their film, which was an exciting and fun experience. They had to think about camera angles, special effects and how they could link shots together. All of these skills helped to contribute to the success of their film.The girls explained that “Whilst filming, we worked well as a team and we persevered in order to create the best video that we could. We were so excited to get this opportunity and we really enjoyed it!” The final video is yet to be edited, but will be uploaded to YouTube as part of the project. The girls can’t wait to see the final film; they are hoping to get lots of hits on YouTube. The link will be posted on Facebook once it is ready and we hope that you enjoy watching it as much as the girls enjoyed making it.
Reception – Chloe Lartey
Year 1 – Noemi Bator
Year 2 – Jake Woodrow
Year 3 – Matilda Norman
Year 5 – Stephanie Smith
Year 6 – Katelyn Gostelow
I have awarded the following Principal’s Awards this week:
Isobel Pettitt in year 7 for conquering her nerves and performing in drama.
Anusha Kambli in year 11 for outstanding effort and attainment in art, plus consideration shown in supporting fellow students with the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Tomisin Aloa in year 8 for her excellent oral contributions in French.
Whilst I have been walking around the school I have heard rehearsals in Mrs Shackleton’s room taking place, which sound very good. I am looking forward to hearing the musical ensembles in the run up to the festive season, which will start to get into full-swing when the pupils return!
I hope all our pupils and their families enjoy the half-term break and I look forward to seeing the pupils return in a couple of weeks.
I M Daniel
Thank you to all pupils, parents and staff who supported the Macmillan coffee morning, organised by year 11, which raised £200 for the charity.
Auditions will be held this term for pupils in years 7 to 10 who would like to take part in our production of the Mary Poppins musical. This show has only recently agreed licensing rights for schools to perform it in the UK and I am sure that it will be a great experience for all taking part. There will be a lot of commitment involved with this production which will be performed in the summer term. Please speak to Mrs Stott for more information about auditions.
The girls in year 11 had their first consultation meetings this week and I hope this was a useful opportunity for parents to hear about requirements for the year ahead. As I have stated before, and will continue to stress, revision is the most important thing for our year 11s across the alliance this year, as well as those in year 13. I know it is hard, I am a parent too, but we must encourage our child to revise little and often as early as possible. Attending the booster revision sessions is a priority. Former pupils who attended booster sessions have provided positive feedback to state how helpful they found them to be.
Our Sixth Form students in years 12 and 13, studying product design, went to visit art galleries in London this week, including the Serpentine, to look at ideas and gain some inspiration for their own projects. Thank you to Miss Cripps and Miss Rayer for accompanying the students.
The Junior School pupils from Reception to year 6 enjoyed performing at their Harvest Festival on Friday morning. It was lovely to hear the pupils perform so well given that they have only had a short time to prepare. It is our belief that allowing all our pupils the opportunity to perform in front of an audience allows them to grow in confidence. It is proven that by becoming involved in performances allows children to express their creativity, learn the need to persevere and how to focus on working together collaboratively.
The Festival was a joyous celebration and it was lovely to see so many parents attending this event. Thank you to our Head Girl Team who did a wonderful job of welcoming visitors and serving refreshments. My personal thanks go to the EYFS and Key Stage 1 staff together with Mrs Trunchion for all their hard work in putting the performances together.
Once again, we supported Akaal Seva. This is a voluntary organisation which has been running for the last 16 years in conjunction with Guru Nanak Gurdwara Bedford. A group of volunteers have been running the Bedford Langar Project for 3 years, providing free hot meals and food to those in need. The meal provided is vegetarian and is served on the first Sunday of each month in ‘Pigeon Square’, Bedford. The hot food is prepared freshly at the Gurdwara and usually consists of a curry dish with rice and chapatti or a pasta dish, along with a desert. Deshpal, Ravi and Verity came to represent the Bedford Langar Project and spoke to everyone about the vital work they do both in our community and further afield. Many thanks to all our families for your generosity.
We received great feedback after the Harvest Festival and it is always pleasing to hear. One parent emailed to say: “I have just attended the Harvest Festival and wanted to say thank you for putting on such a great event. More pertinently I wanted to thank the staff and teachers who are more involved with x. The difference in x’s aptitude and confidence from last year’s Christmas performance is nothing short of extraordinary. It really is a pleasure seeing x develop so much and so quickly, and I attribute the majority of this to your schooling and fantastic staff. All x’s teachers and carers, have been nothing but excellent – I just wanted to acknowledge this after seeing a tangible, marked difference in x today. So thank you – and keep doing what you’re doing!”
Junior School stars of the week:
Reception Fox Choy
Year 1 Grace Perry
Year 2 Maddie Enright
Year 4 Amelia Perry
Year 5 Lillie Morris
Year 6 Riya Sangha
The nursery children enjoyed some fantastic sensory play this week, such as bark rubbing and making marks in corn-flour and salt. The older children explored materials or objects that change such as water beads…they found it very hard to resist popping them! As part of learning independence skills, the children in Owls class are learning about using equipment safely through cooking activities, even making their own toad in the hole, and continuing with the cooking theme, they are also making pies of another kind…..mud ones! The children are really enjoying the freedom that creating with natural resources brings and as the nursery staff continue to build up the outdoor ‘kitchen’ this will only fuel their interest to explore.
In the third Netball game for year 7 and 8 they played Castle Newnham. The game started really well and, with some excellent shooting from Faith Swift and Chiamaka Oriaku, we were able to take an early lead. The second half saw our defenders pull together, with special mention to Maddie Corley. Our centre court players were able to find lots of space and managed to feed our shooters. With a dominating performance, the game ended 10-6 to us! Player of the match was awarded by the opposition to Ella Stone for her excellent feeding to the shooters - well done to everyone who played.
On Wednesday, year 7 and 8 played in their last league match against Westfield. Due to high winds the game got off to a slow start with both teams struggling to maintain possession. At half time St Andrew’s were leading 1—0. The second half saw our defenders pull together and the centre court players getting in front of the opposition, which helped to create more shooting chances. The game ended 4-1 to us although it could have gone either way. Player of the match was awarded to Chiamaka Oriaku by Westfield for wonderful movement in the circle - well done to everyone who played.
I am delighted that the gymnastics club is proving to be so popular. Obviously the girls are enjoying the expert tuition provided by Falcon.
This week I was pleased to present the following awards:
Hannah Amor in year 7 for her exceptional effort and really good work in geography.
Danielle Kemp in year 9 for writing an amazing persuasive letter in science, comparing the usefulness of light and electron mircoscopes in schools.
Jessie Bettsworth in year 11 for her fantastic attitude and approach to science so far this year.
I M Daniel
Principal’s Blog 29 September 2017
Thank you to everybody who came along to the Open Morning on Saturday, I really appreciate staff, pupils and parents giving up part of your weekend to support this event.
We were delighted that a number of parents and pupils from years 10 and 11 chose to attend the Sixth Form Information Meeting on Saturday. I hope it gave you all lots to think about and we will continue to provide more information throughout the year for those pupils rapidly moving towards their further education.
We are very keen to promote fitness throughout the school and this continues into our Sixth Form. Our older students enjoy membership of Towers Health Club. This is a great place for them to escape the pressures of A-level studies for a short while. I know our year 12s and 13s enjoy getting away from the school to swim, use the gym, take classes or simply relax in the spa or café. Not many sixth formers have such a great facility to use! By being members of an outside club, which is not attached to the school, it provides them with the opportunity to experience adult life away from the educational setting, which is something that helps boost their confidence.
As I mentioned in last week’s blog, our A-level geography students are doing a lot of fieldwork as part of the practical element of their examination; this saw them visit Flitwick on Monday where they carried out traffic counts and questioned the locals about the impact the Centre Parcs development has had on the area.
I am pleased to see that there are a number of revision sessions up and running for the GCSE groups, such as the history surgery, French clinic, vocab revision and geography support sessions. I really encourage the girls to make use of these. The earlier they start to prepare for their examinations next summer, the better. Revision, little and often, is the key to help embed what they are learning. They will be hearing this advice a lot over the next 8 months or so.
We hosted a coffee morning this week to support the Macmillan Charity and I would like to thank everybody who attended, donated cakes, and gave generously.
Last Friday we had a mufti day to raise funds for ‘Jeans for Genes’ – thank you for your generosity in supporting this worthwhile charity, for which we raised £158.
On Tuesday years 9 and 10 played their first netball league matches. The girls played really well to achieve the following results:
St Andrew’s 7 v Bedford Free School 1
St Andrew’s 6 v Sandy 1
St Andrew’s 4 v Etonbury 4
Players of the match were Emily Morris, Evie Maddison & Shelby Gwiza.
On Wednesday the year 7 and 8 girls played their second netball fixture against Bedford Girls School. The game got off to a slow start with both teams struggling to maintain possession, but at half time St Andrews were leading 1—0. The second half saw our defenders pull together, special mention to Amelia Creasey who made many turn-overs. Towards the latter stages of the game, we saw some calm passing from the centre court players and lovely shooting from our shooters. The end result finished 5-4 to us. Player of the match was awarded to Amelia Creasey by BGS for her excellent defending - well done to everyone who played
Year 5 have, once again, taken part in our Bikeability cycle training course. This course, delivered by Outspoken Training, has helped our girls to prepare for the challenges of cycling on roads, and has certainly increased their confidence and awareness of other road users. The girls have worked towards their Level 1 and 2 badges and have learnt a range of different manoeuvres on the road, which they might encounter whilst they are cycling with friends and family.
The girls rose to the challenge of this course and were very lucky with the weather! I look forward to seeing the girls put their new skills to good use around the roads and cycle paths of Bedfordshire.
The pupils in our Junior School once again joined forces with the pupils from Rushmoor’s Junior School to take part in an African Dance Workshop today. This forms part of their Personal, Social, Health and Citizenship Education programme and also prepares our Key Stage 2 pupils for Black History Month. The workshop was run by Education Group and involved learning about African dance which varies greatly across the large continent. The workshop focused on several different regions explaining the symbolism of each dance and proved a great way for all the children to learn. According to BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Judge, Craig Revel Horwood, these workshops are a ‘fun and stimulating way of introducing dance in school.’
The following Junior School Representatives have been elected:
Junior School Representative:
Junior Heads of Houses:
Floriana Sansevero (Tudor), Olivia Sepede (Stuart), Grace Constant (Windsor)
Junior Sports Captain:
Reception – Matilda D’Cruze
Year 1 – Gabriel-Joel Holland
Year 2 – Perpetual Nyamtowo
Year 3/4 – Amelie Walsh
Year 5 - Ava Hendry
Year 6 – Grace Constant
The nursery received lots of exciting packages this week as new equipment for the pre-school garden started to arrive. The children have been full of excitement as they helped to open the boxes and were involved in planning the outside area.
Ms Dempsey has just completed the first part of her forest school training which the Nursery staff will be embedding into their everyday play. As part of her course she will be reflecting on our outdoor play spaces and how we can improve them through the use of natural resources.
The Nursery have also ordered plenty of all in one waterproof suits to ensure that no matter how much mud there will be, the children should all stay fairly clean!
I would like to thank all the parents who came to the stay and play session on Saturday. It is, as always, lovely to see you all and the Nursery staff would like to welcome you to the Christmas stay and play on Saturday 9th December from 10.00am-12.00.
Having spoken to the pupils regarding their feelings about the new Principal’s Award, I am delighted that I have received positive feedback.
This week I awarded to: Amie Gray who manned the History room during the Open Morning and explained the school archive material to parents and prospective pupils.
Ellie Stroud for her amazing mystery story for English homework.
Natasha Edwards for working really hard and writing an outstanding piece of poetry.
I was absolutely delighted to learn about one of our year 5 pupil’s, Grace Langridge, achievement at the Lee Valley National Skating competition, where she came in second place in her category. What a fantastic achievement! This was her first appearance in the Ladies Beginner ages 9 and 10 category. This shows great commitment and determination and is a wonderful way to keep fit (something I always encourage). I look forward to hearing more about Grace’s development in skating.
St Andrew’s School – Principal’s Blog 22 September 2017
The week started early for some of our A level students in years 12 and 13, with a 6.30am departure time from school on Monday to travel to Hunstanton (thank you to parents for getting them in so early). The day-trip was in order to investigate coastal fieldwork and collect urban data.
The coastal investigations require a comparison between two different coastlines, so this Wednesday and Thursday the group headed off to Newhaven and Brighton for a 1-night stay as the second part of their field studies on geology, coastal direction, and wave action. The time in Brighton will be spent gathering data to understand how the Brighton Marina development has affected the community and businesses.
Finally, they are also conducting fieldwork more locally, investigating the effect Centre Parcs has had on the Flitwick and Woburn areas. Overall, quite a hectic schedule! I hope the students will find it useful. My thanks to Miss Ross for organising the trips and to Miss Rayer and Mr Whomsley for accompanying the group.
On Thursday evening we welcomed year 7 pupils and their parents to the transition evening. This is to welcome the pupils to the senior school and explain the opportunities the pupils will have during their time in the senior years. I hope that everybody who attended found it useful. Please remember, we operate an open door policy and are available to chat through any matters you or your child would like.
We have our first fixture for dodgeball this evening, with pupils from years 7 and 8 taking part in a competition held at the Bunyan Centre. Well done to all the girls who are due to play. Sport is certainly getting more popular and I am delighted that we have a bit of a problem! So many girls wishing to take part in hockey club on a Thursday evening at the Hockey Centre. I like that kind of problem! I hope the girls keep up their enthusiasm for this sport and I am pleased that they are listening to us and taking on-board all the opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities. Cheerleading is also a popular activity led by Mrs Jones, one which I was keen to introduce following my visit to Boston with the local organising committee of the School Games last February, where I saw some fabulous cheerleading displays. Some of the moves looked very difficult! We also offer gymnastics run by the experts from Falcon Gym Club, as well as horse riding – so hopefully, something that appeals to everyone!
I am delighted that Mrs Shackleton, our new music teacher, has really settled in so well at St Andrew’s and that the pupils have made her feel very welcome and are reacting well to her ideas. I heard the choir practising this week and it sounded very impressive. I know the girls are enjoying the choice of modern songs. I cannot wait to hear their performances.
It has been very nice to see our year 11 pupils taking great pride in their roles and responsibilities around the school, such as being prefects. They are setting such a wonderful example to our younger pupils and I am pleased to see them joining the rest of the school in the dining hall this year, again setting a good example. They are really working conscientiously and have shown that they understand the importance of this year, which bodes well for next summer’s examinations. I know they will take full advantage of all the additional booster lessons in order to ensure they achieve their full potential. So far, a great start and I hope they will enjoy learning about our Sixth Form over the coming months to start planning their further education. To start with, year 11s and their parents are invited to come along tomorrow, Saturday 23rd, to the information event held at Fenwick House from midday onwards. Mrs Beattie, Director of Sixth Form, and the Sixth Form staff and students will be on hand to answer any questions our year 11s may have. We have been delighted with the number of students who joined us this year and we hope that our current year 11s will find this information event helpful. There will be other sixth form tasters run throughout the year too.
A brief reminder that Open Morning is taking place across the alliance tomorrow morning, 23rd September, between 10.00am to 12 midday. I will be visiting both sites during this time and I will be delighted to chat with you if you are attending. My thanks to those pupils who are coming along to lend their support; I say it often, but our pupils really are our best advertisement.
On Wednesday 20 September the year 7 and 8 girls had their first netball fixture against Goldington Academy. St Andrews started strong with great movement towards their attacking end and excellent shooting. With great defensive work St Andrews went into half time with a 6-2 lead. In the second half Goldington started to place St Andrews under high amounts of pressure, and our shooting was less successful. As the half progressed the game became tight but the team showed determination and excellent team work skills to hold off for a 6-6 draw. Man of the match was awarded to Chiamaka for her flawless shooting in the first half - well done to everyone who played.
Year 9 have their first netball league matches next Tuesday against Sandy, Etonbury and Bedford Free School. We wish them luck.
Junior School Stars of the Week:
RJR - Vedh Muralidharan
1GA - Agnes Barrett & Clara Hendry
2LT - Zac Pitter
3/4Nvds - Elizabeth Seddon
5JF - Grace Langridge & Phoebe Phillips
6KT - Ada Padbury
Principal’s Awards: Madeleine Corley in year 7 who bravely volunteered to read an extra part in our form assembly and read it beautifully. She has got stuck into being part of the school community since joining us at the start of this term!
Phoebe Phillips in year 5 and Katelyn Gostelow in year 6 who overcame adversity at sky-diving club.
We are settling a lot of new babies and toddlers into Nursery and Pre-school and would like to say a big ‘Welcome’ to the children and their families. In Pre-school we have been cooking cheesy snakes while looking at the letter ‘S’ and making ant fingerprints for the letter ‘A’. The children have also been enjoying making mud pies in our outside mud kitchen, adding extra flavour with small apples and leaves off the tree! Children in Robins and Owls are working with Mrs Trunchion, our Music Teacher, on learning our old favourite …. The Big Red Combine Harvester. We look forward to continuing the visits to our friends at Charter House, residential home for the elderly.
Ian M. Daniel
St Andrew’s School - Principal’s Blog 15 September 2017
Welcome to my first blog of this new academic year. It has proved to be a busy time for pupils and staff alike, with lots of new routines to familiarise ourselves with. I am pleased that the pupils appear to have settled quickly and they all seem excited about the year ahead. I have been spending my mornings at St Andrew’s School and have enjoyed taking the whole school assembly on the first day back, together with the junior school assembly this week.
The staff were back at school the day before the pupils returned in order to take part in a training day where the main focus was on assessment and monitoring. I hope you all saw the letter sent out last week about the new procedures for reporting and consultations evenings which we will be using across the alliance in the future.
It has been wonderful to see the year 11 girls enjoying their new common room which was decorated and furnished over the summer holiday period. My thanks to Mrs Stott and Mr Jones, who joined my sons and I to put the furniture together – it was quite a production line! The result is a wonderful space for the girls and I know they will look after it.
The first day back at school on Wednesday 6th September saw our A level theatre students from years 12 and 13 depart on their first outing. They visited Milton Keynes to watch The National Theatre’s internationally acclaimed production of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’. This play is based on Mark Haddon’s award-winning novel. It is the winner of seven Olivier Awards and five Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play’. It tells the story of Christopher who is fifteen years old. He has an extraordinary brain, exceptional at maths, but he is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched and he distrusts strangers. When he falls under the suspicion of killing Mrs Shears’ dog, it takes him on a journey that turns his world upside down. The students will all be studying this play in great detail as part of their A-level studies.
The year 9 and 10 pupils went on their bronze Duke of Edinburgh expedition on Friday 8th September with a long trek and a one night stay in the delightful Bedfordshire countryside. Well done to all who participated and I hope you didn’t get too wet! My thanks to Mr Morrish and Miss Holyoak for co-ordinating everything.
I would really encourage pupils to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award as it is something that shows commitment and looks good on your CV and when applying to universities. Having visited Loughborough University recently I noted that it was something the lecturers were really looking for. Pupils can speak to Mr Morrish or Miss Holyoak for further details. You don’t have to start with the bronze level as there are options to go straight to silver or even gold, so you can join your own age group even if you didn’t start at the same time.
Year 11 geography students from across the alliance went off to Amersham on Wednesday 13th September for a fieldtrip aimed at exploring rivers. My thanks to Miss Ross and Miss Lawrence for organising the trip. I hope that the pupils found the experience useful and it will certainly help to reinforce what they are learning in the classroom.
It was so wonderful to see all the smiling faces of our Junior School children and to welcome our new pupils. The staff have enjoyed hearing all the exiting news and stories of summer holidays.
Star of the Week We are proud of our children’s positive learning attitudes and the way they behave. To celebrate their achievements, every week each class teacher will choose a member of their class to be a ‘Star of the Week’.
There are several reasons why a child might be chosen. They may have:
Worked really hard that week
Demonstrated positive values in their learning (e.g. Resilience, Solving Problems) or during break times (e.g. Compassion, Teamwork)
Made good progress in an area of the curriculum
Stars of the Week are announced each Tuesday during Junior School Assembly starting from next week, and the children don’t know who it will be in advance (although they sometimes guess if they’ve noticed who has done particularly well that week!). As a reward, Stars of the Week are given a certificate which is displayed in school and sent home the following week.
I would like to congratulate the following girls on their excellent achievement in recent LAMDA exams: Jessie Bettsworth Loulou Bettsworth Isabelle Burt Isabelle Clegg Lottie Kent
We have Open Morning coming up on the 23rd September and this is a great time for parents to familiarise themselves with areas of the school they have not seen and speak to subject staff they may not yet know. So please do come along if you would like to.
To date there have not been any sport fixtures. However, I would like to wish Year 7 and 8 good luck for their first Netball league fixture next Wednesday and their Dodgeball competition next Friday.
Ian M. Daniel
Last Friday, the year 11 girls were invited to have drinks and cupcakes with some of our sixth formers and the Director of Sixth Form, Mrs Beattie, plus the Sixth Form Co-ordinator, Miss Rayer. I hope that the girls enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions about sixth form life at Fenwick House. I firmly believe that our students will continue to flourish if they select the alliance sixth form for their further education. Those who have attended this year have really enjoyed the experience and are making excellent progress. I cannot believe the standard of the artwork that is being produced by the sixth formers, it is fabulous. I am also extremely impressed by their work ethic and they have all put an incredible amount of effort into their recent AS levels. Even on exam leave, they came into Fenwick House to make the most of the support provided there. Now, they are all firmly stuck into their A2 studies. The entire cohort have made us incredibly proud and I know they are very happy with their choice of sixth form.
On Tuesday the sixth formers visited the University of Bedfordshire for a UCAS Exhibition where a large selection of universities were represented. This was a great event to give our students ideas on their choices for higher education. The students have also had a personal statement workshop to help them with their applications. Our thanks to Mrs Howard, one of our parents, for providing this workshop; we are so grateful to all of our parents who provide their expertise to help our students. Finally, On Tuesday, the sixth form staff held a UCAS information evening for parents. I think you will agree all of this shows just how well our sixth form students are being supported.
GCSE examinations finished this week, so Thursday evening was a time for our year 11 pupils across the alliance to celebrate. The joint Prom was held at the Sharnbrook Hotel. Well done to the Head Girl and Head Boy teams for organising the event, which proved to be a great way to round off the term. Now, the year 11s have a well-deserved long summer break before they receive their results on 24 August. We look forward to seeing them all on that morning and then hopefully welcoming them to our joint sixth form in September.
Well done to everybody in year 8 who held an international showcase evening on Wednesday. Guests were able to enjoy culinary delights prepared by the pupils, together with music, presentations and performances.
You will be aware that the alliance summer fete will take place on Saturday between 11.30am and 2.00pm at St Andrew’s School on the main playground. These events are a traditional part of school life and we welcome your full support and expect all pupils across the year groups to attend to support their school. I look forward to seeing you there.
I hope that you have all seen the email regarding the upcoming summer concert on Monday 3rd July. Again, it is the turn of St Andrew’s to host this event and we are hopeful that the good weather will continue so it will be held outside. Pupils across the alliance will be performing and if last year’s event was anything to go by, it will be a wonderful musical evening. Please contact the school office if you wish to attend (maximum of 3 spaces per family). The evening will start with drinks and canapes at 6.00pm, served by the older students and the performance will begin at 6.30pm. Please remember to bring a deckchair!
Last Friday evening the pupils and staff from years 1 and 2 spent the evening supporting Save the Children by having a den-building evening and sleepover. I was with Mrs Thomas over the weekend and she told me that there was actually quite a lot of sleep because everybody was exhausted from all the fun activities. Thank you to all the staff who attended and thank you to all the pupils and parents who supported this worthwhile cause. I am told that the alliance have already raised over £900 for Save the Children from the muddy puddle walks and the money raised from the Den Day is still to be counted. Fantastic effort by all concerned!
Sports News: On Monday a number of the pupils from across the alliance went off to Birmingham International Athletics Stadium to compete in the Independent Schools Association’s National Athletics Final. Well done to everybody who qualified to represent the London Region at this event. We are very proud of you all and we are very proud that some of our pupils finished medallists. On Monday 19th June it was a scorcher of a day, 32º the hottest day of the year, and Year 5/6 still competed in their last rounders match of the season against Harrold. The girls really worked well together. Sophie Woods caught someone out. Roma Kealy stumped someone out at first post. Jelena Ilic stumped loads out at second post and Grace Constant, Amelia Creasey and Shannon Ryall worked really hard in deep field. This week we nominated players of the match, fielding Ella Stone and batting Jelena Ilic. It was a perfect finish to the league with a 14½ - 10 win. Well done. Swimming lessons after May half term were geared towards the Inter house swimming gala that was held on Wednesday 21st June. All pupils took part in their year groups and swam lots of races within their House. Well done to all involved.
A big thank you to all the parents who took the time to come to our pre-school sports day. The event continues to be hugely successful with the children having a wonderful time and enjoying the real sense of community. Some of our oldest toddlers also came to watch the fun and have their own race to show the big children how fast they could go! The parent races were as competitive as usual with the dads showing some real competitive spirit! The children were well rewarded for all their hard work with an ice lolly at the end.
Anyone for BounceTennis? If you haven’t tried it – you really must give it a go! Mrs van der Sande’s class thoroughly enjoyed their taster session at Towers Health and Racquets Club on Friday. They learnt about correct foot movement and body posture for tennis in a fun and engaging way. Thank you to Mrs Pierce at Rushmoor School for organising this.
Save the Children Den Day Sleepover Key Stage 1 pupils from both St Andrew’s School and Rushmoor School joined forces for a very successful sponsored sleepover in aid of Save the Children. They had a great time making their dens and we hope to raise lots of money for this very worthy cause. Well done everyone!
Nearly There! Pupils in Years 5 & 6 are busy with rehearsals and putting the finishing touches on what will prove to be a wonderful show. The performance dates are Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th June at 7.00pm in Wamsley Hall. If you haven’t ordered your tickets – don’t delay!
May I remind parents that on the Rushmoor and St Andrews facebook/twitter pages we regularly update on events and activities at the schools. Please feel free to follow us.
I M Daniel
As we enter the second half of the summer term, it is full steam ahead with a lot going on over the next 5 weeks, so I hope the pupils made the most of their half-term break.
GCSE and AS examinations resumed this week, together with extra revision sessions that the teachers have been putting on to help boost our pupils confidence as they enter the exam room.
We have also had the LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) examinations taking place. LAMDA is one of the UK’s oldest and most respected awarding bodies, which has been offering practical examinations in communication and performance subjects for over 130 years. LAMDA aim to provide people with the opportunity to develop the life skills they need to be a success: attributes such as self-confidence and the ability to communicate clearly and present ideas.
Pupils from years 8 and 9 had the chance to go off to beautiful Wales this week to stay at the Blue Peris Centre, where they have taken part in lots of outdoor pursuits in the wonderful Welsh scenery. They also got to experience the wonderful Welsh weather, rain, with a bit of sunshine! This was another opportunity for pupils across the alliance to mix whilst enjoying this enrichment opportunity.
Pupils in years 3 and 4 have also gone away on a 2-night residential, together with their friends from the same year groups at Rushmoor. This was a big adventure for some of them as it was their first experience of staying away from home on a school trip. They have visited Grendon Hall in Northamptonshire where they have taken part in team-building activities and outdoor pursuits. Pictured: they are on a rope course, blindfolded. I am sure they have enjoyed the experience immensely and will have lots of stories to tell this evening.
Pupils in years 5 and 6 took part in a prayer spaces workshop. Children and young people are innately curious about life. Growing up raises lots of questions and the aim of these types of workshops is to enable children, of all faiths and none, to explore life questions, spirituality and faith in a safe, creative and interactive way. This gives them an opportunity to develop skills of personal reflection and to explore prayer in an open, inclusive and safe environment. The approach purposely allows pupils to make their own meaning and to draw their own conclusions.
I was delighted to see our younger pupils having the opportunity to take part in the swimming gala hosted by Bedford Modern School. This is a great way for pupils in years 1 and 2 to get their first glimpse of the competitive sporting world that we like to promote here at St Andrew’s.
This weekend I know that some of our eldest students who are based at Fenwick House are off to visit university open days. This will continue over the coming weeks and will also happen next September and October. We have a UCAS information evening taking place on 20th June for parents, to explain about the whole application process. My thanks to the Sixth Form staff for all the support they are giving to our sixth form students with regard to ideas for higher education, particularly Miss Rayer, who is becoming an expert on everything to do with UCAS.
The Year 10 students have been working hard on their mock GCSE exams and have benefitted from some of them being in the exam hall. This has provided them with an experience of the environment ahead of their second round of mocks next year. It is hoped that this will ensure confidence and familiarity in the process and settings come the real thing next summer. Thanks have to go to all staff in school who have given up time to invigilate and mark these papers.
The Year 11 students have been working through their GCSE exams and we hope that they have prepared fully for them in order to do well. There has appeared to be a calm and focussed atmosphere when they are in school and staff have continued to offer a range of revision clubs and intervention groups to fully support the students. I would like to reassure parents that the error on the English paper will not affect our students due to them studying a different text. We will continue to support and encourage all our Year 11 girls as they enter into the later stages of this examination process.
On Monday 5 June years 5 and 6 were straight back into rounders matches, with a match against Goldington Academy. Unfortunately we were without our bowler Ella Stone so Jelena Ilic and Amelia Creasey stepped in and did an amazing job. There were some mistakes in fielding but the girls are definitely getting stronger and more confident. There were rounders from Grace Constant, Shannon Ryall, Rosie Foster-Glennon and Ruby Ryall which shows the girls are going from strength to strength. We lost this match 20.5 to 16 but scored more rounders than we have in the past. Player of the match for batting was Lottie Kent, and for fielding was Ruby Ryall.
Year 7/8 rounders matches have had an enforced break due to the School of Rock trip and the Blue Peris residential visit, but they will be taking on Castle Newnham next Thursday and we wish them well for that fixture.
Congratulations to Rosie Bailey and Courtney Gwiza who have both qualified to represent North Bedfordshire at the County Athletics Championships next Wednesday, in pole vault and high jump respectively. Danielle Mainstone is reserve for the discus. A fantastic achievement for all three girls – well done!
On 8 June we were very lucky to be visited by a football coach from R & D Coaching who spent time with Reception, Year 1 and 2 pupils, working on their ball skills. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.
As Nursery lead up to healthy eating week the children have enjoyed dressing up in the colours of their favourite vegetable! We have been singing songs to explore colour and reading books such as ‘Vegetable Soup’. During next week’s healthy eating activities we will encourage children to try a whole range of fresh produce and cooking activities as well as learning about moving our bodies and how to be active.
Our Owls class had a wonderful time recently on the Peppa Pig muddy puddle walk….as there was no sign of rain on that day we decided to create our own fun by mixing paint and water together to create our own rainbow puddles for the children to jump in, plenty of wet mud to make pies in the mud kitchen and hide and seek with Peppa Pig characters being disguised amongst the trees down at Bedford Park.
Many thanks to all parents who attended our recent parents’ evening, it is wonderful to see such open communication between parents and practitioners. If you wish to see your child’s keyworker at any time, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of staff.
Last week Mrs Djukic and I went to the Independent Schools Association’s Conference in York. The theme for the conference was resilience and overcoming adversity. The guest speakers were very good and I have invited one to come along to the staff training day in September to speak on this subject further. Of course, we already have a strong reputation for supporting our pupils extremely well and helping them to build their resilience. I am very proud that the pastoral care we provide is considered to be excellent. This is always the overwhelming feedback we receive from parental questionnaires, and is also highlighted by inspectors during their visits.
One of the things talked about at the conference was an initiative called Girls on Board. This is a scheme focused on helping girls navigate the choppy waters of friendship problems in adolescence and pre-adolescence. The scheme gives girls the language, concepts and skills to assist them in providing their own solutions to friendship problems. The scheme has been put together by a Head Teacher who has witnessed friendships breaking down within school and resolved to try and help girls deal better with the issues that they all face from time to time. More information about this initiative will be shared with the girls and parents over the coming months.
This week, the year 2 pupils from across the alliance have enjoyed their first residential. On Thursday I drove them over to the Chellington Centre in Carlton, where they stayed in a converted church overnight. I was extremely impressed with the accommodation. The children took part in lots of activities, including a nature trail around Harrold Country Park. In the evening they enjoyed games and a talent show and all the excitement meant they had a good night’s sleep in order to refresh themselves for the daytime activities on Friday.
Exam season is now in full swing, with AS levels at our joint Sixth Form and the first lot of GCSEs. I am delighted that the girls have expressed their thanks to teaching staff for the support they are receiving and will continue to receive right up to their last exam. The extra push will benefit them enormously. I wish everyone the very best for each examination.
I am pleased that the students across the school are making good use of all the extra-curricular clubs available to them and thank the teachers concerned for providing them. I am pleased too that Miss Izzard’s Youth Theatre group has caught the attention of more students. Miss Izzard is providing a summer school too, so please contact the school office or Miss Izzard directly if you require further details about this.
Last Friday, 12 May, the alliance was delighted to host the Independent Schools Association’s London Region athletics event at the stadium in Bedford. Well done to everybody who took part. We were pleased that a number of our competitors from across the alliance got through to the prestigious national event which will be held during the next half of the summer term. I was the regional sports representative for the ISA for many years, which is why we regularly host events in Bedford, so I am delighted that this tradition continues and now the St Andrew’s students have the opportunity to take part at both a regional and national level. Sporting opportunities really have come on a long way since the alliance began 4 years ago.
On 15 May years 5/6 had their first rounders match against Bedford Girls’ School A team. It was a very hard game to start the season on, but a perfect opportunity to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the team. We definitely found out the areas to work on in lessons. Shannon Ryall was captain and her and the team represented St Andrews’ really well. There were some fantastic catches by Rosie Foster-Glennon and Ella Stone to get the other team out – and I think it was the catch as well as Ella’s brilliant bowling skills that got her player of the match for fielding. In batting, the girls took too many chances early on, which got a lot of our team out. However, Lottie Kent and Shannon Ryall were the last to stay in. Lottie got player of the match for her batting skills.
On 18 May year 8 played a rounders match against Lincroft School. It was a very close match with St Andrew’s winning 8 to 7.5. It was an excellent game of rounders where the team showed determination and improvement in the second innings. Players of the match were Ella Wing and Evie Maddison.
Is there anybody out there? The children in Reception have been thinking about aliens this week. They listened to stories about aliens and used the internet to find out what other people think life on other planets might look like. Then they designed their own creatures and made ID cards to describe them. If you are passing the Reception classroom, come and look at all our amazing aliens. Grace - “My alien comes from Neptune. It is kind.” Emma - “My alien is called Tobee. It has three black eyes and it can jump very high!” Ruby – “My alien has an orange head and a blue body. It is very gentle and very small.”
Rehearsals for the Year 5 and 6 production of The Rocky Monster Show are going very well. The girls are working very hard to learn their lines and all the wonderful songs.
I would like to remind parents of our digital safeguarding information session on Wednesday 14 June at 6.00pm in Walmsley Hall. This session will be an extremely engaging one hour presentation for parents and guardians, delivered by Richard Denton (Children and Young People Development Officer and School Co-ordinator) who is an experienced expert on digital safeguarding and child protection from Bedfordshire Police.
Nursery News: The older children have been enjoying the independence of using our new child friendly knives during our cooking sessions, and with this new found independence we are introducing a programme of understanding how to keep ourselves healthy with the foods we eat and how we move. With this in mind we have joined part of a national healthy eating week (12-16 June). In the build up to this we will have a mufti day on Thursday 8 June and are asking that the children dress up in the colour of their favourite vegetable. Bethany Childs will become our setting PANco (Physical and nutrition co-ordinator) to support all staff to ensure that we promote the highest level of learning in regard to these areas. If you have any healthy recipes that you would like to contribute, please send them in - we will be creating a recipe book for all the children to enjoy and us.
Our babies have been enjoying transporting and mark making activities to develop their fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination. Watch out for the next nursery newsletter which will give you some fun activities to do at home, from babies to pre-school.
This weekend I am going to be at the Young Farmers event in Westoning on Saturday promoting the school in the community. These events are always very well attended and I usually am visited by many former pupils and their families. If you are going along, please stop to have a chat.
I M Daniel
This half term has passed by in a flash and it has been a really busy one for the pupils and staff across the alliance. Last week we had our full governors’ meeting to discuss planning for the next academic year and to review things so far for this year. We felt it has been a really great couple of terms, with increased opportunities for all our pupils across the alliance and huge successes, particularly in sport, which always pleases me. I would like to thank all the staff at St Andrew’s for their support and enthusiasm in ensuring all our pupils have the opportunities they deserve and I would like to thank the pupils and their families for embracing these opportunities.
We have lots of events coming up over the summer term, one of which is the Summer Ball and you should have received news about purchasing tickets. It will be held on 5 May at the Park Inn Hotel in Bedford town centre. I really hope that St Andrew’s parents and staff will be able to support this event. The Ball is not about raising money; it is about having the opportunity for parents and staff to socialise and enjoy a night out. Tickets can be purchased from the school office. It would be great to see a large number of St Andrew’s staff, parents and friends supporting this PTFA event.
The past week has been dominated by the Peter Pan performance. The pupils and staff involved spent Monday and Tuesday at the theatre putting the finishing touches to their show. Wednesday was the first performance, followed by Thursday evening and two performances on Friday. Everybody involved in the production should be proud of themselves for all the hard work they have put into the show. I would like to congratulate the main cast members, Thomas Kilroy as Peter Pan and Lou Lou Bettsworth as Wendy. You did an amazing job, as did all the other cast members. Thank you to everybody involved in the production, behind the scenes and front of house, particularly Mrs Stott, Mrs Gittins and Mr Day.
In her blog last week, Mrs Ryan mentioned the Auction of Promises. We were delighted that the evening raised approximately £8000 for the PTFA. The amount raised was brilliant considering numbers were down on previous years, perhaps due to the big match at Goldington Road the same evening, but it would be great to see more faces from St Andrew’s at future PTFA events, particularly as the money is used across the two schools to benefit all the pupils. I know it might seem strange coming to the Rushmoor site if you are unfamiliar with it, but we really are trying to promote one whole community across the alliance, so the more we get together the better. There are always plenty of friendly faces to welcome you from both St Andrew’s and Rushmoor.
Last week it was lovely to see our Science department taking the year 6 girls outside and making the most of the sunshine. They were celebrating British Science Week by making slime in the lab and then doing lots of tests on it measuring bounce, height and how far it could be stretched.
This week has been our very first mock AS Level examinations at Fenwick House. Our Sixth Form students have been revising really hard and it has been interesting to see just how they are coping with these examinations. With not long to go until the real things in May and June, it has been valuable to enable them to get to grips with the style of the examinations. With all the changes that have happened recently to the A-Level syllabus actually getting hold of revision guides and past papers has been difficult. I would like to thank all our sixth form staff for their efforts this year in providing a great learning environment for the students and fantastic enrichment opportunities.
I would add that the Easter break is a good time for the year 11 and year 12 students to do lots of revision. It is just 13 weeks until the last GCSE examination will be sat. Please ensure your child has a sensible revision timetable planned and makes good notes. Teachers can answer any queries they may have next term if they ask for help.
At one of the conferences I attended I heard about the WE DAY so I asked our PSHE co-ordinators across the alliance to look into it. This resulted in a group of pupils being taken to Wembley to attend a day of special celebrations. It proved to be a great experience for the girls and boys and I would like to thank Mrs Bassett-Gilham and Miss Camino for taking them. This links into the PSHE curriculum and encourages pupils to be aware of issues from around the world. Click here to find out more https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqtzsIEn-lg
This year WE Day fell on the 22nd March 2017 and the St Andrew’s pupils from years 7 and 8 who went along to Wembley Arena had a thoroughly enjoyable time. WE is a movement that brings people together and gives them the tools to change the world. The WE vision is to empower people to transform local and global communities by shifting from “me” thinking to “we” acting, helping to make the world a better place as we are all connected. Together WE change the world. The event brought together world-renowned speakers, A-list performers, and thousands of young people to celebrate a year of action that transformed communities and changed lives.
The children from the Reception classes at St Andrew’s and Rushmoor have joined forces again to take part in a scavenger hunt at Bedford Park. It is great to see the children having the opportunity to get together during enrichment events and I am sure that they enjoyed this particular outing immensely. Thank you to all the staff involved for arranging it.
Thank you to Miss Tweedale for arranging a Key Stage One Creative Curriculum presentation. Pupils from years 1 and 2 were delighted to be able to show their parents and guests all their work at this special event. I hope that those who came along enjoyed the opportunity.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday the Junior School invited their mums to breakfast on Friday morning. This is a lovely St Andrew’s tradition and it is a great way for the children to say a big thank you to their mums for everything they do – including sending them to a lovely school like St Andrew’s! Thank you to everybody involved in hosting this event and to all those who came along. We hope every mum with children throughout the nursery, junior and senior school enjoys this Sunday.
We are currently planning heavily for next year and one of the things we have been looking at is the sport provision for our sixth form students. Last week we arranged for the year 11s and 12s to visit the new complex that has just opened opposite the school field, Towers Health and Racquets Club. It is a wonderful facility and I am pleased to report that our Sixth Form students will have access to it next year. As well as being able to use the gym, this now means students will be able to swim too.
As I said earlier, our pupils are getting great opportunities in sport this year and I would like to add my personal congratulations to the girls who travelled to Chigwell to take part in the ISA Mixed Hockey Tournament last week. They won the tournament with the boys from Rushmoor. What a really fabulous achievement in a tough, fast-paced sport. Well done to Shannon, Ruby and Roma. I am very proud of you.
Girls from years 7, 8, 10 and 11 took part in a badminton tournament on Tuesday 21st March at Webber Independent School, Milton Keynes. The girls enjoyed the experience and played well in a very high standard competition.
I was delighted to see the photographs on our FaceBook Page of the girls having their first cheerleading lesson. I saw fantastic cheerleading on my recent sports trip to Boston. Of course, the Americans take it all very seriously! We have a way to go before we catch up with them, but it is looking good so far girls! As I have mentioned before, we will filter this club down to other age groups if it proves popular. This opportunity came as a result of my council meeting with the pupils.
Lastly, I would like to finish by wishing all our pupils and their families, together with the staff a lovely Easter break. I look forward to seeing you all in the summer term, which is always busy, so make the most of the rest.
I M Daniel, BA, NPQH
It is hard to believe quite how fast a fortnight goes when you are working in a school environment. Certainly, whilst I have been looking at preparing my fortnightly blog, the past couple of weeks have been full and have kept us all busy.
I would like to start by praising our year 12 students who I mentioned in my last blog. They went off to Swanage for a geography fieldtrip just after half-term. We have received feedback from the centre to say just how delighted they were with our students’ work ethic. They crammed so much into their trip, working from 9.00am to 9.00pm. They were praised for being one of the very best groups the centre have hosted. I expect our students to represent the school well, both in and out of school, so this feedback makes me incredibly proud. Well done to Amelia, Rebecca, Alex, Louie, Oliver and Owen. I know you all found the trip very useful with your studies. Now it is full steam ahead with revision for your examinations next term.
We’ve had the year 10’s consultation evening, which I hope was a positive experience for all concerned. At this stage there really should be no surprises and my one real piece of advice to the students is that effort is of paramount importance from now, all the way through until the final GCSEs in June 2018. Revision should become second nature in years 10 and 11, little and often being the key! I was brought up on the saying about perseverance and I believe it is good advice! As parents we need to be really positive and ensure we praise effort. It focuses your child’s attention on the right issues.
We are all incredibly proud of the students who are participating in the Bedfordshire Festival for Music, Speech and Drama. I have been pleased to see the joint choir rehearsing and they sounded fantastic. Everybody who takes part should be really proud of themselves. It is a serious competition and the experience is nerve-racking, but can really help to boost confidence in our students. It is a proven fact that the performing arts create a fun and structured space for children to navigate the ups and downs of their adolescence. Learning how to perform, singing with and in front of others, acting or dancing as part of a team or group – all of these things help children build a sense of purpose, camaraderie, confidence, and self-esteem.
Another thing that helps to build confidence in a child is knowing how to converse well. This is something that we all need to do in order to cope with life, anything from social situations, to job interviews. We also like to encourage our students to have a go at public speaking, as at some stage in our lives we all usually have to speak in front of an audience. Our students show a good deal of flair in this area and they are currently putting it to good use when working on their English speaking assessments. In my opinion, it is absolutely disgraceful that the speaking element of English no longer counts towards the final examination mark. I believe the ability to speak well is a really useful tool that we all need to develop. Confidence in front of an audience and the ability to appear natural when speaking publicly are really useful. Once you’ve learned the basic skills associated with public speaking, you’ll find that being able to effectively speak in public has profound benefits, including influencing the world around you and developing leadership skills.
I am delighted to report that our Peter Pan performances have proved to be very popular and tickets are selling fast. Please do contact the Admin Office if you need to book yours still. The students were busy again on Sunday rehearsing and we are so grateful for their commitment. Our thanks to parents for juggling your Sunday routines around in order to taxi the students to and from the rehearsals.
We are starting to think about preparations for summer events, so a date for your diary! We will be holding a musical concert at St Andrew’s on 3 July 2017 from 6.30pm. This follows on from the successful concert we held last year at Rushmoor where we had over 200 people attending, with canapes and bubbly to help put us in the mood for a ‘proms style’ evening, celebrating all things musical. It was a great atmosphere and I am sure that will be repeated this year too. The plan is to have performers from across the alliance, from the junior school upwards. Fingers crossed that the weather will be kind to us!
We are also starting to arrange the first joint sports days for the alliance students. The Junior sports day for nursery through to year 2 will be held on the Games Field on 4 July 2017 in the afternoon. Years 3 – 12 will attend sports day at the Athletics Stadium on 5 July 2017 all day. We will ensure that each school’s traditions are respected, but we feel that by combining, it will provide wonderful atmospheres and great sporting occasions.
Some of the students from St Andrew’s are enjoying a joint photography club with Rushmoor students. They have been learning about topics such as aperture (basically, large aperture lets in more light to the camera shutter for an exposure, while small aperture has a smaller opening in the lens diaphragm to let in less light for a given exposure), ISO (in digital photography ISO measures the sensitivity of the image sensor. The lower the number the less sensitive your camera is to light and the finer the grain. Higher ISO settings are generally used in darker situations to get faster shutter speeds) and depth of field (the distance between the nearest and furthest elements in a scene that appear to be “acceptably sharp” in an image). I know the students are learning far more about these topics than I will ever know and they probably won’t have to look up the meanings as I did! Last Tuesday they went across to The Mill in Bromham to capture some shots all under the expert guidance of Mr Child, who has volunteered his services. My thanks to him for running this club and for also compiling the recent Sixth Form marketing video, which featured on our FaceBook page recently. You can watch it by clicking this link www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsfICMcduG4
Well done to all the students from years 5 and 6 who took part in the netball match against Broughton Manor Prep School. It was a close fought competition, which finished 6-4 to them.
Also well done to the girls who took part in a very wet Independent Schools Association’s Netball Tournament. Fantastic levels of enthusiam in horrid conditions!
Finally on the sporting front, I would like to add my personal congratulations to all the students who took part in the Rowney Warren cross-country competition. I am delighted that our year 5/6 team achieved third place overall. This really is an excellent result.
I was delighted to see the students who are taking part in the Junior Skydiving GB competition have now started to raise funds for their equipment by holding a cake sale. Thank you to everybody who supported this by donating or purchasing cakes. It is great to see the support across the school and really highlights the family friendly feeling we strive to achieve. I noticed on our FaceBook page that this caught the attention of somebody who speaks Dutch, who left a comment that translated to “What fun to do that”. It is great that the students have so many opportunities to have fun during the school week and I am pleased that our reputation is spreading further afield!
A couple of Friday’s ago the children from years 6 and 7 had the chance to attend a disco and this week it is the turn of the year 8 and 9 students. I hope they have a great evening. Once again, thank you to the PTFA members for giving up your time to support this event. Also, thank you to our Head Boy, Oliver Sadd, and his Dad for providing the disco equipment again.
Miss Tweedale gave an interesting assembly outlining the Fundamental Values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect which underpins our society.
It’s a little early to be thinking about Christmas………. but Mrs Ayres, is collecting together the entries for the Royal Mail Christmas Stamp Competition this week ready to send off on Monday. All the entries so far have been fantastic and we are hoping for a winner! As well as receiving a prize for themselves and a prize for the school, the chosen design will be an official Christmas 2017 stamp which can be purchased at the Post Office.
The year 5 girls have been participating in the International ‘Cinemasports’ event. This film festival involves teams from across the world producing their own short film, (1-3 minutes) which must include 2 specific ingredients, which this year are ‘Zipper’ and ‘Magnet’. The girls have planned and produced their film which will be edited and uploaded to the Cinemasports Website ( http://www.cinemasports.com/ ) by the end of March.
All of the girls have been involved in this project and have learned about script writing, camera angles and film production. In the past this has been a fantastic experience for the girls and I am sure that it will be just as successful this year. Click here to see our previous videos.
Finally, we are pleased to be offering a Ballet Club for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2. This will start on Tuesday 14 March at 12.35-1.05pm in the Senior Hall. Please contact your child’s class teacher if you would like them to attend.
We understand the importance of keeping children active and the Nursery team have implemented a new physical introduction to the day through fun rhymes and action songs. We have trialled this with our oldest children so far and it seems to have been a huge hit….if you would like to enjoy their favourite rhyme at home you can find it on YouTube: ‘Shake your sillies out’ by the learning station. We would love you to send us photographs of your child doing their dance at home! Photographs can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Children of all ages enjoyed dressing up for World Book Day; we had a fantastic day exploring our books from home and we would like to mention Genevieve (babies) and her mum for their brilliant costumes….well done! Our older nursery children enjoyed a ‘book day’ parade with the junior school and we were very proud of them all.
Nursery management have been busy looking at ways in which to incorporate the community into nursery life and are currently in the process of working with the University of Bedfordshire to look at use of their forest school and also talking with the local retirement home to arrange for our oldest children to visit them to share experiences with them. We are very excited about these potential opportunities and will keep you updated as we go along.
Our youngest children have been enjoying texture/sensory play leading on from our last stay and play session; they have experimented as they attempt to pour flour down a water wheel or mixed coloured water by running separate colours down a variety of funnels and ramps... needless to say it has caused plenty of mess! The pre-school are getting ready for spring and have lots of lovely seeds and herbs to plant to make their outdoor area a colourful place to be. If you are a parent with green fingers you are more than welcome to come and join in, we also welcome any donations of seeds or bulbs. We have been learning new spring songs; music time is always a favourite with the children who look forward to seeing Mrs Trunchion each week.
Miss Niro would like thank all the parents so far who have returned their questionnaire regarding the nursery and the team. All feedback from parents and visitors will be incorporated into future action plans. Your fantastic feedback will be shared with staff, so keep it coming!
I would like to thank the students and staff who gave up their Saturday morning in order to attend the Open Morning. It was pleasing to see a number of prospective families coming to view our school, together with current families using the chance to chat informally with staff. Our students really are our best advertisment and mornings like this do help to promote the school well. Pictured are some of our students with the crocodile they were using as part of a drama display at the Open Morning.
Finally, another reminder about the Auction of Promises to be held on 17 March 2017. This has always proved to be an entertaining evening. The price is £10 per head which includes curry and wine. You can also bring your own nibbles and drinks. Please contact the Admin Office to purchase tickets. The event will be supporting the PTFA and our chosen GEMS charity (the school in India).
I M Daniel,
BA, NPQH Principal
The week before half-term we had our A-level taster evening, which was another chance for the year 11 students to learn more about the subjects we are offering for them. It is really important for them to have the chance to chat with the subject teachers and make an informed decision on their future options. We are strongly promoting our Sixth Form because we feel it is the right place for our students to continue their studies. It should be an automatic transition for our students to continue their post-16 education with us. We believe that the exceptional pastoral support, small classes, enrichment opportunities, mentoring and excellent teaching and learning our students receive in years 12 and 13 will prepare them well for their post-18 choices.
Our year 12 geographers went off to the Bedford Archives on the last week before the short break. The Archives Service cares for the written, oral and visual heritage of the Borough. It aims to ensure that the heritage material remains available to both present and future generations. The Archives Service can be used to discover your Bedfordshire ancestors, as well as uncover the history of buildings, villages and towns in the historic county. You can also use the collections to find out how national events were experienced locally. This links in with our year 12’s coursework studies on the public perception of certain local areas.
This particular A-level group are being kept very busy with enrichment opportunities; this week they had an early start on Wednesday morning, meeting at the school at 6.30am to head off to Swanage for a 3-day fieldtrip. Their location for the trip is Leeson House, the ideal venue for A Level fieldtrips, it is a secluded and comfortable residential centre situated near the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. The itinerary has been set to ensure our students learn and practice as many field skills as possible on the coastal topics. They will also have evening classroom sessions in order to collate data, collect secondary data, analyse their findings and write up their conclusions. They will visit Corfe Castle village and Studland Knowl Beach. My thanks to Miss Ross and Mr Whomsley for accompanying the students.
Well done to all our girls who took part in the Independent Schools Association’s London North Cross-Country Competition, which was hosted by Rushmoor and St Andrew’s. Thank you to all the staff who played a part in making the afternoon run smoothly. We were very pleased with the results, with Rosie Foster-Glennon finishing in first place, which is a fantastic achievement. Amelia Baker finished in fourth place, Evie Maddison in sixth place, Rosie Bailey eighth, Francesca Milburn tenth and Anusha Kambli eleventh – all fantastic results too. Great effort and I wish them all the best of luck at the ISA National Championships.
I would like to add my personal congratulations to Amelia Baker, Rosie Foster-Glennon and Evie Maddison who finished 3rd, 4th and 12th respectively in the County Cross-Country Championships just before half-term, as well as Rosie Bailey and Anusha Kambli who came 37th and 39th. This is a gruelling course and a tough competition, so the girls all did tremendously well. They should be very proud of their accomplishments and I know everybody at the school is very proud of them too. Again, thank you to the PE staff.
Overall it has been a great term so far for cross-country and I was delighted to learn that St Andrew’s was listed in 3rd place in North Bedfordshire for cross-country. This is an amazing achievement for a small school. Well done to all the students who have taken part and thank you to our PE Department.
The year 10 students studying art had a great first day back after half-term, with a trip to London. The group visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design, housing a permanent collection of over 2.3 million objects that span over 5,000 years of human creativity. The museum houses some of the greatest resources for the study of architecture, furniture, fashion, textiles, photography, sculpture, painting, jewellery, glass, ceramics, book arts, Asian art and theatre and performance. So plenty to keep the girls busy! Thank you to Mrs Probets, Mrs Andrews and Mrs Ryan for taking the students.
We have a great deal going on at the moment in terms of performing arts, with the Peter Pan production rapidly approaching. I am really pleased to hear that the students are very committed and rehearsals are going well. Students will be rehearsing during the Open Morning on Saturday 25 February and I am sure they will showcase their talents well to impress our visitors. We also have many students taking part in the Bedfordshire Festival for Music, Speech and Drama, with a joint choir made up of students from Rushmoor and St Andrew’s performing for the first time this year. I do hope that parents will be able to attend the group and individual performances. My thanks to all the staff from across the alliance for their work in preparing our students for this Festival. The choir will be performing ‘For the Beauty of the Earth’ by John Rutter, ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles and ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen.
Subject help desks and booster sessions are available to students in year 11 and my advice is that everybody makes good use of them. In the run up to the formal examinations this support really helps. I know that our current year 12 cohort would give year 11s the same advice – they attended the booster revision sessions and sought additional help if they were uncertain of a topic and this helped them feel more confident in the examinations. I would also reiterate the fact that revision needs to be something that is done routinely now, right up to the last examination in June. Little and often is the key! A sensible revision timetable is vitally important.
Tonight is disco night for the students in years 6 and 7 from across the alliance. I remember my own sons attending these prior to me being involved with St Andrew’s School, I am glad they have been reinstated this year. I hope the students all enjoy the night and my thanks to the volunteers from the PTFA and the staff for arranging this. Thank you to Oliver Sadd, Head Boy at Rushmoor and his Dad for running the disco for us.
The year 9 consultation evening was held on Tuesday evening, 21st February. I hope that our year 9 students have finalised their decisions in regard to their option subjects. We are always happy to discuss this further if needed. I hope that the evening itself proved informative for both students and parents. Please do contact the subject teacher direct via email if you need any further assistance – we are here to help.
Aesop's Touring Theatre Company specialises in Theatre in Education, touring Schools, Children's Centres, Art Centres and Theatres nationally throughout the year with plays and workshops specifically written and designed for Nursery, Infant, Junior and Senior age groups. The Company aims to educate young audiences through the powers of entertainment and imagination whilst, at the same time, encouraging children to question and think for themselves. This Friday, 24th February, Aesop’s performed to an audience made up of students from across the alliance from Reception year through to year 6. It was arranged to support their history lessons. I hope they all found this enrichment opportunity enjoyable. Thank you to Mrs Djukic for organising it.
Well done to Matilda Norman for generously donating her hair to charity. Her lovely locks will be used to make real hair wigs for patients suffering hair loss.
Our Year 5 and 6 girls had their first netball match just before the half term break. They played valiantly against Bedford Girls School and Player of the Match was Jelena Ilic.
Our Spring Literacy morning was a flurry of creative activity. Pupils thoroughly enjoyed working collaboratively to produce attractive displays based on characters created by the popular 2011–2013 Children's Laureate writer, Julia Donaldson.
Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 each looked at the story ‘What the Ladybird Heard’. Reception made a giant paper mâché ladybird, they painted the ladybird and added spots and glitter! Year 1 decided to make some animal masks based on the animals in the story that helped to save the prize cow. Year 2 looked carefully at the story and wrote their own version of ‘What the ladybird heard’ called ‘What the caterpillar heard’ swapping the ladybird for a caterpillar. They used some lovely language and adjectives in their story and it has a fantastic ending. We came together at the end and decorated some cakes with ladybird icing and chocolate chips.
Years 3- 6 used ‘Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book’ as the inspiration to produce a collaboratively written book of their own. The day started with pupils across the different year groups being paired up to share their own favourite books which covered a very wide range of genres. Each pair then chose a favourite book to use as the stimulus for their own double page spread. As well as writing about their book in rhyme, pupils used their creativity to illustrate their page using a range of media. The resulting pages are wonderful to read and very individually presented. They are displayed up the blue stairs in Walmsley House so don’t forget to pop along and take a peek!
On Wednesday 22nd February the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) celebrated World Thinking Day. This day has been marked by WAGGGS since 1926, celebrating international friendship and raising awareness on issues affecting girls and young women. Charlotte Kent, Roma Kealy, Amy Parrish, Isabelle Burt and Amy Parrish came to school in their association’s uniforms to mark this special day.
It has been a busy week in nursery as we received visitors from other settings who wanted to look at how we support our children individually. Ms Dempsey and Miss Niro have been extremely proud of the visitors’ reactions and feedback to our setting, in particular how engaged and motivated the children are. We are looking forward to continuing to build our network of childcare settings in order to put together a focus group which will look at best practice.
Following the children’s interests so far this week, we have enjoyed dinosaurs, excavating fossils and bones, the season of spring, magnets, room on the broom and outdoor mark making (Writing). Children have also enjoyed baking together in order to create real life props for their home corner. Our younger children are relishing the task of getting to grips with scissors and we would particularly like to thank Nicole (who is based in Toddlers) for her great ideas in ensuring that learning this particular skill has been exciting and presented in different ways.
We would like in particular to mention Isaac and his mummy in our Owls class for a continuous supply of interesting facts and models from their adventures, this made for a fantastic focus week and plenty of new facts to discover for the rest of the class.
As the weather becomes warmer, we are planning ahead and looking forward to planting a new batch of fruit and vegetables along with the Reception children as part of our integrated learning experiences. If you are a keen gardener and have some spare seeds, we would welcome any donations.
We have also welcomed two further additions to our nursery family this week and practitioners have worked hard to ensure that their first few days have been enjoyable and begin to build solid relationships.
We are looking forward to seeing everyone at this Saturday’s stay and play where we will be enjoying sensory play which includes cooking, making playdough, cornflour play, light boxes and sensory bottles. We will also be displaying a range of resources which cover topics such as speech and language, guides to levels of development for your child’s two year old progress checks and available sessions for you and your child at local children’s centres. While you are here, please feel free to have a look at the junior school which will be holding their open morning, the school staff will be more than happy to assist you.
Visit to Boston
Over the half-term break I visited Boston, Massachusetts in my role as Vice Chair of the Legacy of the Olympic Committee across Bedfordshire. I really didn’t know what to expect, but we had a jammed packed itinerary for the week. As Principal of two schools I found it fascinating to be able to visit a range of educational establishments from state schools, to independent schools, colleges, right up to Harvard University. I brought lots of ideas back, not just about sport, but also the wider curriculum. I will be discussing these with teachers across the alliance. There was a huge emphasis on sport and fitness, right from a really young age and I witnessed the very best PE lesson for junior school children I’ve ever seen. The cheerleading was fantastic, so I am glad we are introducing this at St Andrew’s. You can see from the indoor track facilities in the photograph, they are well prepared for the adverse weather they have. We saw a lot of snow!
Whilst in Boston, we had the fantastic opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela’s grandson, who is continuing his grandfather’s legacy. He travels the world to give talks on what happened to his grandfather, apar theid and how Nelson Mandela overcame adversity to lead South Africa into a brighter direction. It was a truly inspirational night.
Ndaba Mandela spoke in detail about meeting his famous grandfather when he was 11 and living with him in South Africa's Presidential Palace. He said “I carry with me the values of my grandfather, I am an African and I know what it means to be African, and I’m proud of it.”
Ndaba Mandela is chairman of the Africa Rising Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that works to improve Africa's image around the world. The organisation also works on economic development in Africa. Their aim is to create a mindset that instills and uplifts a heightened sense of pride and purpose in young Africans to ignite a New African Generation. I will use some of his words and put together an assembly on the subject for the senior students. His message to the audience was ‘together we can achieve anything’.
Open Morning is tomorrow and it would be great to see the whole school community attend to show off their school. This really helps our visitors to see the real sense of pride and belonging the students have for their school. It is also fun for students to help in their particular area of interest. I hope all families received the invitations and I hope to see you there.
I M Daniel, BA, NPQH
3 February 2017
Welcome to my first Principal’s Blog for St Andrew’s School. The blogs will be a mixture of day-to-day life at the school and my own thoughts on educational matters. They will be issued on a fortnightly basis.
Since St Andrew’s and Rushmoor formed their alliance, I have taken more and more of an active role at St Andrew’s School. The best part of this for me is to have the chance to spend time with the students. In the past couple of weeks I have been fortunate to be able to cover some of their lessons and they really seemed to enjoy the content and the learning experience. Enjoyment is a valuable tool when it comes to learning and that is something that stays with us all throughout our lives. If you enjoy something, you will take more from it. Across the alliance I try to promote an environment where students can enjoy their school life. Yes, there will be times when they will struggle, but they should feel happy enough to ask for help and know they are going to get it. There is no question that this type of environment is a key strength for any school.
Recently, I have heard a story about a student at another school who was entered incorrectly for GCSE examinations and has suffered terrible stress because of it. The student had specific learning needs which were not catered for. Staff blamed one another, so nobody was held accountable. Basically, the child got lost in the system. The system is a school that is too large, staff that are overstretched, and a severe lack of pastoral care. The end result is a deeply unhappy child. This should not be allowed to happen anywhere, but it is a reality and I am sure it is not the only one. It highlights why the students here are very fortunate to attend this school and why, as their Principal, I will strive to work for their best interests so we do not have unhappy children.
I firmly believe that students should have a strong and powerful voice in their education. This is why I run the School Voice and I listen to what the students have to say to me. I react to what they say. I also react to what parents say. If I consider changes are needed or something has to be done, it gets done and it gets done quickly. That is my style. I believe in that old saying that if you want something done; then ask a busy person. I work hard to ensure that all the students at St Andrew’s experience a happy school environment. An environment where they can extend their learning away from just the linear approach; yes, they will all learn subject material in the traditional way, but they will also enjoy an environment where they can have deeper learning experiences and are given the opportunities to expand their minds and be happy.
St Andrew’s School has enjoyed different reputations throughout its long history. Originally it was seen as a sort of finishing school for young ladies, where academic achievements were not really cause for concern. It moved on from that to become a school where students were pushed further academically. Now, St Andrew’s is part of a strong alliance and we are working towards an eventual merger to form the diamond model school (albeit frustratingly slowly due to the Borough’s planning department). In the meantime, St Andrew’s is a school that offers students, now both boys and girls, the ideal place to feel welcome, cared for and happy, with access to exceptional pastoral care and excellent teaching and learning. We value the diversity of the students within our care and we work hard with parents to ensure each child fulfils their potential.
I am delighted that the students across the alliance are working together on the production of Peter Pan. I am informed that the rehearsals are going really well. I would like to thank the staff involved; Mrs Stott, Mrs Gittins, Mr Day and Mrs Frost for their hard work and commitment to this project. I would also like to say the same to the students involved, particularly for giving up your free time on Sundays to put in the rehearsal time required. I am very much looking forward to seeing the production in March at the Place Theatre. Look out for information on ticket sales which will be sent out shortly.
On the subject of children flying I would like to mention our skydiving club. As part of inspections (I know, I am an inspector) Ofsted and the ISI look at the extra-curricular activities that the school provides. Not many schools can say they have a skydiving club!
I would like to say thank you to Mr Farnsworth for running this club, together with Ms Robson from Rushmoor, for the children across the alliance. I know they are all enjoying the skydiving, but have also had the chance to meet the Blue Peter presenters and are now the first GB team to be preparing to participate in the World Challenge in April. Fabulous! Well done to all.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Turner for her help with the horse riding club. I know that a number of our students are keen on this particular sport and I am delighted that it is something the school can offer as an extra-curricular activity. I know nothing about horses, although my niece owns two and tries to encourage an interest. Having spoken with her, I know there are school competitions, so in future I would love to see our students competing in these. This is an area where we can develop further if the students so wish.
Well done to Lindsey Gifford, Emma Grieve and Zeynep Salerno who are taking part in the Active Girls Challenge at Kempston Outdoor Centre. This is an eight week course which will includes yoga, body combat and spinning (one of my favourite fitness activities nowadays). It is an excellent opportunity for them to participate in a variety of sports and I am sure they will have a great time doing so. I want some feedback girls!
Another area I would like to encourage more is swimming. We have the opportunity to get more of our students involved in squad swimming at Trinity Pool. It is free and something I would really like our students to think about joining in. Please contact my PA if you would like more details on 01234 352031. I went to the swimming at Robinson Pool this week to watch and there are some top quality swimmers amongst the students, which is really pleasing. On that note I would like to say well done to Ella Stone who won a silver and bronze medal in the County Championships last weekend at Inspire Luton - great achievement Ella.
As a keen sportsman I have tried many different activities over the years. One of the most enjoyable was attending karate, where I achieved my brown belt. It is such a great discipline and I am delighted that it is offered as an extra-curricular club to students from Reception to Year 11. I hope the students currently attending are enjoying the experience and I would encourage others to join them. Please contact Mrs Cox in the school’s reception if you would like to sign up.
Gymnastics is another great discipline and has become more popular since the wonderful successes of our Team GB athletes at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016. I have a young daughter who loves showing me her cartwheels and I know it is a sport that youngsters enjoy. I am pleased the students at St Andrew’s have the opportunity to attend gymnastics sessions at the school and I would again encourage participation. Again please contact Mrs Cox if you would like to join in.
I would also remind students that they can participate in netball as an enrichment activity. Please contact Miss Holyoak if you would like to attend. I would like to say a huge well done to Amelia Baker and Rosie Bailey for their great running at the District Cross-Country Competition. Amelia was awarded third place in an excellent run.
Congratulations to Amelia Baker, Year 7, Rosie Foster-Glennon, Year 5, Evie Maddison, Year 8, Anusha Kambli, year 10 and Rosie Bailey, Year 11 who have all qualified for the County Cross Country.
Our sports teams are getting stronger and stronger and this can only improve with more participation. I will be actively encouraging the students to participate. Please do speak to me if there are any extra-curricular clubs or enrichment opportunities you would like to be considered at the Parents’ Council ( if you are unable to attend these please do email Mrs Heaney). My ultimate aim for sport in school is to encourage fitness and for the children to find something they enjoy and will continue into adult life in order to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
I take sport seriously, so I am off to Boston over half-term as part of a working team from the UK who are representatives from the Legacy of the Olympics Committee (LOC). I am Vice-Chair of the Bedfordshire Committee and this is an opportunity for me to liaise with my counterparts in the United States to see how sport can be used to enrich the lives of children. We are visiting five schools over the course of the week, which is a great opportunity for me to also look at other areas in the American education system that may be of benefit to us.
Moving on to another area I feel passionately about – food. I am delighted that our new Food Technology teacher at Rushmoor has agreed to offer an extra-curricular opportunity at St Andrew’s. She is running a ‘Great British Bake Off’ inspired club, which the students seem to be really enjoying. There are places still available for this club, so if any student would like to join in, please contact Mrs Cox to book a place. I believe Food Technology is a really important subject and cooking is a valuable life skill that should not be underestimated. My mother was a Domestic Science teacher and I learnt cooking from her. It stood me in good stead for my university days and beyond! In recent years, girls have seemed to step away from the GCSE, but I do hope that the students coming up through the middle years will reconsider this as a serious option and that clubs like this will help to inspire them.
Schools are not just judged on their academic success, but their sporting provision and the arts. I consider Music to be a really important part of school life. I particularly encourage students to try becoming a member of the choir. Singing is uplifting and being a member of a choir is really great socially too. I covered a music lesson recently, which was a bit of a last minute thing, so I had to think on my feet. We ended up singing some popular tunes and I know the students really loved the lesson from the feedback I received. So, why don’t they join the choir and try singing the music they like? I would love to hear them – particularly our senior girls – at another music concert like we had last summer. Anybody interested in joining the choir, let me know.
At one of the meetings of the Student Voice, I was advised that the students would like to see cheerleading introduced as an extra-curricular activity. As I said earlier, I believe that our students should raise their ideas with the leadership team and I am delighted that cheerleading will now be introduced for Years 9 and 10 and will then filter down to the other age groups.
I have also taken on board the comments made at the Student Voice meeting about a variety of menu ideas for school lunches. The group was invited to meet with the Catering Manager to discuss the ideas and their views are being considered. We are also considering their views in relation to the tuck shop and they have even had their input regarding the curriculum timetable for next year.
Our Year 9 pupils had an information evening regarding their options for GCSE recently. This is a very important decision for the students to make and I hope that the evening helped. Final option choices will need to be made by 6 March so there is still plenty of time to consider everything. Please do feel free to contact teachers to discuss any queries you have. Alternatively, Mr Jones is happy to chat things through and can be contacted via email@example.com
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is something that I personally believe is extremely worthwhile. Indeed, I have encouraged my two sons to do this and one is now working towards his gold award, the other towards his silver. It is something that is highly regarded when seen on your curriculum vitae by further educational establishments and employers. It shows commitment and determination. Vitally important in today’s fast moving world! I would strongly encourage our senior girls to take on board this challenge and we will provide them with all the assistance they require. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice.
I was delighted that we were able to introduce the new Sixth Form this academic year. The Sixth Form is really functioning well at Fenwick House and I know the students are really enjoying their new freedoms. They are also working hard on their subjects and understand the importance of striving to achieve their best. I hear lots of talk about universities and different courses and it is great to hear the sixth formers considering their post-18 education so seriously.
We have been delighted to introduce the current Year 11 girls and boys to Fenwick House and talk to them about their next steps after GCSEs. They enjoyed spending time having subject taster sessions and talking to the current Year 12s about how things are different in the A-level years. I know that they are considering their options and I know they will benefit from the nurturing environment at our very own Sixth Form. Lots of the Sixth Formers are enjoying being involved with the wider school communities at St Andrew’s and Rushmoor. They are running clubs for the younger children as part of their volunteering work for the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and helping out in whole school events and fundraising activities. I also know that the Sixth Formers thoroughly enjoy the many enrichment opportunities they get involved with. Directly after half-term the geographers are off to Swanage for a few days where they will take part in field studies and lectures in a purpose built facility. Overall, the Sixth Form is a great addition to the alliance and I hope that the St Andrew’s girls will take full advantage of having it, particularly because I’ve been hearing even more about budgetary cuts in the county this week and post-16 education will be the first to be hit, which is very worrying. I would be delighted to give a personal tour of the Sixth Form during lesson time for you as parents to get a flavour of the wonderful teaching and learning in the setting. Bursaries and scholarships are available for the Sixth form.
Mrs Djukic is now fully embedded in her role as Head of Junior School across the alliance. She splits her time equally between the two sites and I know that she is ably supported by Mrs van der Sande and the full junior school and nursery team here at St Andrew’s. I wanted to include this picture of Mrs Djukic chatting to the children during an assembly last term. I think it sums up St Andrew’s School well. I love to see the way in which the children are all fully engaged with their teacher. As one of the leadership team, Mrs Djukic is not just a teacher and in many other schools in her role, she would not necessarily know the children so well and interact with them at this level. I think it is wonderful to have senior leadership at shop floor level to fully understand how a school ticks, which is why this picture sums up St Andrew’s School so well for me.
I am extremely proud of our nursery provision. They have worked exceptionally hard to be judged as outstanding by Ofsted and to be the winners of the national award for excellence in provision judged by the ISI. I enjoy visiting the nursery and seeing all the happy children there. I would now like to see more of those children moving onto the junior school and beyond because I know they will continue to thrive in the environment that the alliance can provide. Mrs Djukic is always happy to talk to parents about their options in this respect and can be contacted at any time on email@example.com. Please remember bursaries are available subject to status.
I hope that all our students have a very enjoyable half-term break. In my next blog I will update all parents on the new school at Clapham Park. Please note I am always open to ideas for the blog, so please do inform the SLT team if you would like to see an area of the school featured more.
I M Daniel, BA, NPQH