Junior School and Pre-Prep Newsletter, 8 February 2019
I am delighted to inform you that Dr and Mrs Holyoake welcomed a baby daughter into their family last Sunday evening. The new arrival is a little sister for their two young sons. I know you will join me in sending our congratulations and best wishes to Mrs Holyoake for a very happy maternity leave.
I have now taken on responsibility as Head of Pre-Prep for the remainder of this academic year. I shall be working closely with Mrs Heywood, in her role as Deputy Head of Pre-Prep, and with the Pre-Prep staff on both sites. I shall be based at Madingley on Tuesdays, apart from one or two weeks due to existing commitments, and at City on the other days of the week. I plan to attend Pre-Prep events on both sites, whenever possible, as well as at the Junior School.
Those of you whose children are current or former Pre-Prep pupils will be sorry to hear that Mrs Kirstie Lancaster is leaving her role as Pre-Prep Administrator at the end of next week. Mrs Lancaster has been a member of Foundation Professional Support Services for over six years and, whilst mainly based at Madingley, she has made a huge contribution to the smooth running of Pre-Prep administrative matters, including admissions, special events and daily operational matters, across both sites over the years. Thank you, Mrs Lancaster, we will miss your calm efficiency, your kindness and your inexhaustible smile! We wish you all the best in your new job.
Pre-Prep and Junior School news will now be reported within one newsletter from today.
Finally, I do hope you all enjoy a lovely break from term time routines over half term.
Head of Junior School and Pre-Prep
Life in our Pre-Prep settings at City and Madingley has been busy recently with collaborations and regular off-site learning opportunities. Here are some of the highlights.
In Key Stage 1 this half term, Year 1 & 2 pupils have had the opportunity to use the Sports Hall at the Senior School for their Friday PE lessons. The children have enjoyed the challenge of playing games within a court, which provides a new dimension for their games skills. They have learnt to follow game rules, mark their opponents and work together as a team, showing superb enthusiasm, resilience and collaboration. Future sports stars in the making! It has been great to hone our PE skills in this amazing Foundation facility. Go team Pre-Prep!
In Early Years the children spend a good proportion of their day engaging in what we call ‘continuous provision’. Put simply, this encompasses the resources and areas which are laid out for the children to explore freely, such as role play areas, sensory play, small world, books, fine and gross motor activities. Each area/activity has been carefully planned, according to the children’s interests and their next steps in a variety of skills. Using pupil voice is key to creating a successful Early Years learning environment; this week the children were really interested in sorting and mixing so a collection of different types of dried beans and sand were put out which the children instantly mixed together. They were then asked to separate the beans and sand by using sieves or their fingers.
Once they had mastered this, the challenge was to try and create their own way of separating out the beans and sand. With just a little adult support to get them started, Reception pupils made their own sieving machines from card. This simple activity gave the children an opportunity to think critically, test out their ideas, develop their fine motor skills and build up their vocabulary to include words such as sieving, adjusting, experimenting, testing and separating. At first glance this may seem like messy chaotic play but it is actually a hotbed of enquiry based learning.
Reception children from City, Madingley and Dame Bradbury’s came together at the City Pre-Prep last week for their termly collaboration day to celebrate and learn about Chinese New Year. The children enjoyed a variety of activities including the great race yoga practice, making Chinese lucky envelopes and learning all about how Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world. Thanks to our student helpers, the children had the opportunity to learn numbers in Mandarin and Cantonese. They also made paper couplets to decorate their houses. This was a busy learning day with friends, as well as with our Foundation community and beyond.
Key Stage 1 pupils have also been visited by our global community this week. A group of students from Japan, whose school has an exchange partnership with the Foundation, came to share Japanese culture, language and skills with our pupils. The children performed a frog song, learnt about origami and translated their favourite animals in English into Japanese. They were amazed at the different animal noises made in Japan and that it was a 15 hour flight to get there. Year 1 pupils were particularly pleased to meet an origami expert who could make them an origami spider, something that many of them had as a project for Plan Learn Do Review.
Outdoor learning continues to be part of our weekly timetable and Year 1 pupils went to the local park to collect sticks, leaves, seeds and branches to design fantasy settings for their writing in Literacy lessons. Adding colour, paper and different sticky resources to the outdoor materials, they used their imagination to create a fantasy world where a fairy, troll or any small creature could live. These pictures are now on display in the Madingley Year 1 classroom and will help to inspire the children when planning and writing fantasy stories based in their imaginary worlds.
The countdown to the next care home visit is always ongoing and engulfed in excitement for pupils in Year 2C. Our yearly service learning projects provide pupils with a diverse experience of a different part of their community. Through shared activities (including crafts, singing and local walks) the children discover the value of community learning. They become proud of the positive impact their company can provide and value the wealth of experience and wisdom the residents share with them in return. Year 2C children are looking forward to their next visit when they will be drawing the residents’ favourite things.
The first month of the spring term has seen Junior School pupils involved in two major collaborative project days with their counterparts from Dame Bradbury’s, workshop sessions with visiting speakers, several special talks and assemblies, and the all important annual celebration of the Foundation’s birthday!
This year we looked back over a few highlights from the 138 years since the school first opened its doors at 68 Trumpington Street to 28 pupils, whose parents paid £5 per term. The fact that Cambridge, along with much of southern England, was in the grip of a major blizzard in mid-January 1881 is always a talking point and the history of our seven school houses is also much discussed. This year we learnt about some of the former Junior School heads, including Miss Rosedale who oversaw the move of 102 Juniors to its present location on a snowy day in January 1960. Any mention of snow causes almost more excitement than SPF birthday doughnuts so we were delighted when the temperatures dropped last week and the playground was a winter wonderland for a few days!
Pupils in Years 5 & 6 thoroughly enjoyed their Tudor Seafaring and Music collaborative project days with Dame Bradbury’s. Both events were based in the Activity Space at the Senior School, such a versatile and ideal venue for a whole year group from across our 3-11 schools. It was particularly pleasing to see it comfortably accommodate 100 Year 6 pupils, accompanying staff and an audience of parents last Tuesday.
Our series of seven house assemblies came to a splendid conclusion with presentations by Kennett and Pollock whose members tackled ‘future creators’ and ‘future innovators’ respectively. The clear message from all seven houses is that everyone should feel confident about embracing challenges, following their dreams and thinking outside the box. Junior School pupils certainly seem eager to have a go, whatever the situation, and to pick themselves up when at first they don’t succeed. It is always good to see them encouraging each other in such situations. Teamwork also shone through the first two class assemblies of term. Last week the members of 6Alpha gave us a highly entertaining whistle stop guide to their study of the Victorians and this week it was the turn of 4Alpha pupils to draw us into their topic on Polar regions, which they did with considerable style.
Year 6 pupils and class teachers wish to offer thanks to Emily’s mother for kindly bringing Victorian artefacts into school for a very special ‘hands-on’ session. To read more click here.
We are grateful to the members of Eco-Committee for launching and guiding our first ever ‘Switch off Fortnight’ campaign. Their assembly, drawing attention to how everyone in our community can ‘make a difference’ by using energy more thoughtfully and sparingly, was well pitched and it inspired Year 4 pupils to design and display some really creative posters, reminding us all to be more aware of how energy consumption can be reduced. The messages which caught my eye in particular are ‘Being Eco is Easy’ and ‘Switch off the light, give the environment more might’. As well as working towards the Eco Schools Bronze Award, our Eco-Committee are paving the way for our integrated learning week on sustainability and environmental issues later this term.
Our attention has now shifted to ‘Safer Internet Fortnight’, which is being marked across the 3-11 schools in the Foundation. A series of e-safety sessions delivered by Digital Awareness UK two weeks ago was perfectly timed as it linked closely with the theme of Safer Internet Day on 5th February. ‘Our Internet Our Choice’ has prompted valuable conversations in PSHEE and Digital Learning lessons and it is clear from the pupils’ own comments that they have really appreciated the time taken to explore important messages about keeping safe online. We hope that parents will find opportunities to talk with their children about the topics which have been discussed in school. To read about the Digital Awareness sessions click here.
Pupils in Years 1, 3 & 5 attended sessions of quite a different type earlier this week when we had our first ever visit from a nutritionist involved in ‘Beyond the Chartwells Kitchen’, a programme designed to help young people build a personal toolkit of knowledge, skills and inspiration – as key ingredients for happy, healthy futures. The module selected for this first visit, ‘My Young Mind’, helped the children to think about how to care for their mental wellbeing. We look forward to future visits from Chartwells education team as the programme consists of a great variety of ‘healthy eating’ topics.
It is now nearly three months since the installation of canvases in four Junior School classrooms. Mrs Mason, Junior School Creative and Design Engineering Lead, has compiled the following update.
Looking at the table canvases at this stage of the Frequencies Project, it is clear that many layers of drawings are building up. Pupils speak about how some amusing images have been created, as different people have taken turns to add new features. Amongst the random scribbles there are some very creative, carefully drawn images to be found.
This is what some of the Year 6 pupils have to say about the project at this stage:
‘The tables are covered with many layers of drawings, most notably Illuminati triangles and angry crisps.’
‘I have seen some really nice pictures - I laugh at what they have become.’
‘I don’t like it when people scribble over other peoples drawings - this has spoilt some amazing drawings.’
‘If you like to doodle while you’re thinking, this is a really good idea.’
‘I really enjoy having the canvas down so I can do working out on the table.’
We are very proud of Chinmayee, a Year 6 pupil, on her success in the regional round of the First Lego League and wish her and her teammates well in the UK and Ireland Final, which is being held in Bristol on 16 February.
We suddenly realised that half term is fast approaching when Mr Millward, Miss Bluck and Mrs Minion were spotted a few days ago briefing 33 members of Years 5 & 6, in preparation for their trip to the slopes of south-western Switzerland. We wish them, along with pupils and staff from Dame Bradbury’s, a most wonderful time and will be eager to hear their après-ski trip tales!
We look forward to seeing parents of Junior School pupils at the PFA Valentine Cake Sale in the Senior School Dining Room on the afternoon of Thursday 14 February. Arrangements will be made for Valentine goodies to be available for Pre-Prep pupils in or near their classrooms.
The Junior School has enjoyed a good start to sport in the Spring Term. The tricky weather conditions have caused a bit of disruption to the hockey and netball programme, but equally provided the students with an opportunity to experience some quite gnarly cross country conditions.
The annual and eagerly anticipated Bedfordia Cross Country race was again a real highlight of January. The U11 girls’ team finished 5th overall with Verity Valentine, who led from the start, finishing second in a final sprint for the line.
The netball season has started well with the U11 As winning 8-5 away to the Perse Prep. All girls available played in the fixture and although the Bs and Cs were less successful, there was a lot learnt in both matches. Most recently all three U11 teams played King’s College away and returned with three wins! Well done girls.
The astro turfs across Cambridge are often hit hard with frosts at the start of the year. This year has been no different and, unfortunately for the U11 boys’ teams, Wednesdays seem to have been hit hardest of all. With both the New Hall and King’s College School fixtures cancelled, the U11 boys went into this week’s county tournament with little match practice. Imagine then our delight to hear that they conceded only two goals throughout the entire tournament and finished in a most respectable fourth place.
The U9s have managed to play twice and, despite only just having 14 for two teams, they are showing some real promise, securing two draws with strong opposition.
The Senior School has begun to push girls’ football and it is being greatly enjoyed. We have followed suit in the Junior School and are now running after school sessions on Wednesdays for girls in Years 4, 5 & 6. There is plenty of space for a few more individuals to sign up and Miss Stevens would welcome anyone who is interested.
As the term continues and the fixtures begin to flow with regularity, remember to stay up to date on the sports website, and to follow us on twitter @SPFSport
Upcoming Pre-Prep events
Pre-Prep trip to Bridge End Gardens
9:00am – 12:30pm
4:00pm – 7:00pm
City and Madingley Pre-PrepsParents' evening is an opportunity for parents to come and have a 10 minute appointment with their child's classteacher to discuss progress in school. In Spring term there is an opportunity to see their child's books and their online work.
PFA Valentine Cake Sale in SS Dining Room
3:00pm – 4:00pm
The annual Valentine Cake Sale, organised by the PFA, is always a highly popular event and actually falls on Valentine's Day this year! Parents of PP and JS pupils are invited to donate homemade biscuits, cookies, small cakes etc for sale to PP and JS pupils towards the end of the school day. Funds raised go towards PFA projects.
Upcoming Junior School events
Y3-6 Chinese New Year assembly
8:40am – 9:00am
This assembly is for pupils and staff only.Junior School pupils who celebrate Chinese New Year have the opportunity to share their experiences in assembly.
6Aleph pupils Class Assembly
8:40am – 9:10am
6Aleph pupils will present their class assembly in the Junior School Hall. Parents of pupils involved are invited to attend, with refreshments in the Library beforehand.
Ski Trip to Switzerland (Joint Junior School & Dame Bradbury’s Y5 & Y6)
Due to parent demand, PFA members are pleased to be running a Second Hand Uniform Sale on Friday 1 March from 15:45 to 17:00 at the Senior School (Union Street entrance). A wide selection of good quality second-hand school uniforms from the Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior, as well sports equipment, will be available for sale. Parent volunteers will be on hand to help those students requiring assistance in case parents are unable to attend.
Alumni Reunion Saturday 15 June 2019 - 12.30 - 5.00pm
Parents of students who are also alumni of the school, are warmly invited to attend our annual alumni reunion, for a full buffet lunch with wine, refreshments and afternoon tea. There will be tours led by our Year 10 Student Leadership team, and the GCSE and A Level Art Exhibition will also be open for a tour.
Tickets for parents can be purchased using your existing Wisepay login here. All alumni are welcome, but leavers celebrating their anniversary of leaving are especially welcome. This year our groups are leavers of 2009, 1999, 1989, 1979 etc (this would be the year you would have left U6, so if you left in Year 11, add two years to ensure you come with your peers!).
If you are an alumna, and are not in touch with our alumni office, you can update your details on our online form, or email our Alumni Officer, Melissa Santiago-Val, for more details.
Hugely impressive class assembly by 4Alpha today. A really cross-curricular experience showing depth and breadth. We enjoyed the humour, French and Music skilfully interwoven. Well done! https://t.co/bY40VCfZhf