Junior School and Pre-Prep Newsletter, 22 March 2019
At the Stephen Perse Foundation we believe that young people are entitled to an education which supports their development as global citizens and encourages them to explore and express their own values and opinions. Casting an eye back over Pre-Prep and Junior School tweets during the last two weeks, it is clear that our pupils are making the most of opportunities designed to help them to think about the interdependent nature of our world, both socially and environmentally. It has been exciting to see them share their love of reading, celebrate different cultures and play an active role in caring for our planet.
World Book Day is marked in over 100 countries and there was hardly a corner of the Foundation which did not feature in the worldwide celebration of books and reading on Thursday 7 March. Classrooms, libraries, meeting rooms, offices and even the kitchens were populated with ‘book characters’ of great variety. It did not take long for it to be obvious that there were a lot of foxes around! Not surprising, of course, as our World Book Day visitors were Zeb Soanes and James Mayhew, author and illustrator of ‘Gaspard the Fox’. Pupils in Years 2-4 across our schools were enchanted to hear Zeb talk about the real Gaspard, an urban fox in London, watch James draw Gaspard (starting with his pointy ears), and meet both Zeb and James at the book signing event in the library. No sooner had Gaspard’s creators left for Dame Bradbury’s than Year 3 pupils and Madame Neely set to work bringing this friendly little fox to life in their French lessons. What fun it was for the children to use their vocabulary to great effect, as their annotated drawings took shape and found their way into corridor displays and twitter. You can read more about World Book Day here.
This magical day emphasised the immense importance of the language and communication section of our learning wheel. Competence as readers and communicators is essential in an interconnected world and we are fortunate to be able to offer a range of modern languages, both within and beyond the curriculum, as well as many opportunities to read for pleasure, individually and with others.
We are lucky to have many cultures and religions represented within our schools. Pupils, parents and staff members are happy to share their languages, beliefs and traditions and this, in turn, engenders a sense of global community. While we openly embrace our differences, we also celebrate our similarities and, in the words of Miss Perez, ‘A smile is the same in all languages’.
In sharing languages and customs we enable our pupils to gain an appreciation of life beyond their classroom, beyond the Stephen Perse Foundation, beyond Cambridge and beyond the UK - building their global perspective. We are delighted that Qingqing has been teaching Mandarin to pupils in clubs and lessons across our schools this term, as well as in the Senior School. This photograph of her with some Pre-Prep pupils is a great example of how readily they learn about another part of the world, embracing its language and culture.
It was lovely too to see Year 2 pupils showcasing their knowledge of religious customs by setting up a Sikh langar in their classroom and making Rakhi bracelets, as well as planting withered bulbs which will ‘regenerate’ next spring. We also enjoyed seeing Reception pupils mark International Women’s Day with cards and tulips.
We encourage our pupils to share everything they know about the world in which they live and to be active learners in finding out more beyond their own geographical boundaries. Through experiences, in and out of school, we try to open the eyes of younger children to diversity and variety. Our wander down Mill Road gave them a sense of global food and culture; in turn it was lovely to see how excited the shopkeepers and stall-holders were to meet the children and talk about their wares. We thank the parents who actively contribute to the global awareness of our pupils by running activities or sharing their own language with us at special times of the year and in everyday conversations.
This week we are re-launching our Global Outlook certificate, which will be awarded to Pre-Prep pupils who have been recognised as making a contribution to the community or demonstrating their thinking about the world around and beyond them. We look forward to congratulating pupils with these certificates in the coming weeks!
Junior School pupils’ engagement in ‘It’s Our World’, their 2019 integrated learning project, has surpassed our expectations. We expected them to be interested in the planned activities but, from the launch of the project on 11 March to its close with the ‘Panel of Experts’ on 18 March, it became clear that they are increasingly confident about asking questions, challenging existing practices and seeking answers. They care about their planet and are very keen to solve problems and act as well informed, responsible citizens. Click here to read about our visiting speakers and panel of experts.
Happily, our unpacking of the Thinking Toolkit, coupled with the work done last term on how to be Future Innovators, Changemakers and Leaders etc, has equipped our pupils to approach global concerns with confidence. They have shown themselves to be open to fresh ideas and willing to celebrate small successes. They threw themselves into all that the project offered, from quizzing visiting speakers and tackling challenge type activities at the Eco-Classroom to designing playground games to raise funds for Toilet Twinning and participating in eco-awareness walks and visits. Click here to read about the year group activities.
Computational and critical thinking skills have proved invaluable to our pupils as they have wrestled with how to find ways of making a difference as global citizens. Time and again, they have discovered that small changes of behaviour at a local level can make a difference. This was particularly true during the eco-awareness walks and visits. We often say ‘Cambridge is our campus’ and never was that truer than last Wednesday when Years 3-6, accompanied by 22 members of staff, deserted the Junior School and made their way, questions in hand, to six University Colleges and the Judge Business School. This was a real highlight of the project and we are immensely grateful to the staff and student members of these establishments for welcoming us and allowing to ask quite searching questions about the sustainable and eco-friendly measures they have implemented. Click here to read about these visits.
We are excited to watch our pupils continue to grow as global citizens and look forward to the Foundation’s Festival of Learning in July when they will have more opportunities to voice their opinions and act in accordance with their sense of what needs to be done.
Head of Pre-Prep and Junior School
Head of Sixth Form - Announcement
As you are aware Miss Naomi Atkins was appointed as Vice Principal 11-18 in September last year alongside her role as Head of Sixth Form. At the end of the academic year, Miss Atkins will be stepping down as Head of Sixth Form to focus on her role as Vice Principal 11-18. Miss Atkins will continue to lead the 11-18 Leadership Team and ensure we are delivering on our aim and values with both the Sixth Form Colleges and Senior School.
We are delighted to welcome Spencer Pinkus as our new Head of Sixth Form from September 2019. A Cambridge English graduate, Mr Pinkus initially practised as a Chancery barrister in London before joining the teaching profession in 2011. He is currently Head of Enhancement and Enrichment at The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, as well as a teacher of English and Drama. Mr Pinkus has also acted as a Sixth Form tutor and university applications adviser for several years.
Tricia Kelleher is looking forward to meeting with Mr Pinkus during the Easter holidays and learning more about him which will be captured in a new podcast.
Mr Pinkus will be attending the next Sixth Form Colleges Open Evening on Thursday 2 May and looks forward to meeting as many of you as possible.
Listen to the first episode of the SPF Podcast, a series of conversations between members of the Stephen Perse Foundation, staff and students alike.
After the successful Cambridge Model United Nations conference at the beginning of March, Principal Tricia Kelleher sat down with Secretary General and 6th Form student Justin. They discuss the conference and why it is important that young people collaborate internationally in the current political climate.
This is an extremely busy period of the term and provides many Junior School students with the opportunity to represent the school on the sports field. The buzz around sport in the Junior School has been very high as a result, and teams returning can be certain of an inquest from their peers.
As ever, there have been far too many fixtures to mention them all, but in a busy tournament period it is worth noting the outcomes of some of the bigger events.
The U11 boys travelled to Bishop’s Stortford to play in the IAPS Regional hockey tournament. Playing against a number of unfamiliar schools is always good and a real chance to put your skills to the test. The boys played very well throughout the day and were as solid and secure at the back as ever. They made it through into the plate competition in the afternoon and then the drama began to unfold. Winning the quarter finals against Stamford on penalty flicks and the semi final against Beachborough 1-0, they were into the final. A cracking game against Feltonfleet ended with the boys claiming a well deserved medal and finishing in the runners up position
The girls’ IAPS Regional netball tournament was hosted by Uppingham School and the U11 squad arrived full of confidence and determination. The morning went tremendously well as the girls remained unbeaten to top their group and qualify for the cup competition. Here they sailed through to the semi finals where they faced Yarm, a school from Teesside. At full time the schools were tied at 4-4, but Yarm managed to keep their composure to stretch out a lead in extra time. Yarm went on to win the tournament and qualify for the nationals, which shows the girls just how close they were and how good they are.
There are a few remaining fixtures as the term begins to wind down, but there will be a switch towards cricket in some of the lessons as we begin to focus on the major sport for the Summer Term.
For all the other fixture news and results remember to check the website www.stephenpersesport.com and follow us on twitter @SPFSport.
Upcoming Junior School events
Clarinet and saxophone pupils' concert
5:00pm – 6:30pm
Mrs Stevenson's clarinet and saxophone pupils concert in the Senior School Hall.
Y6 trip to Bletchley Park
8:30am – 4:00pm
Y6 collaborative visit to Bletchley Park. Children will carry out code-breaking activities and see an original enigma machine. They will get a greater understanding of the significance of what happened there.
Y3 and Y4 Performer's Platform Concert
5:00pm – 6:00pm
This Performers' Platform Concert gives pupils in the Years 3 & 4 the opportunity to perform as soloists in the Junior School Hall.
3Alpha pupils Class Assembly
8:40am – 9:10am
3Alpha 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.
Y6 Bikeability course
This is an 8 hour course over 4 days for all pupils involved.
Y5 drama production performance
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Location: Senior School Hall Performance 18.30-19.30Refreshments in senior school dining room 19.30-20.30
Y3 Hazard Alley trip
Spring term ends
Upcoming Pre-Prep events
EYFS Play based learning and Tapestry workshop
8:15am – 9:00am
Location: City site, main school hall This workshop is for any Early Years parents (Kindergarten or Reception) who wish to find out more about play based learning and how we and they can use Tapestry to share learning. Parents with children from either site can attend this workshop.
EYFS Play based learning and Tapestry workshop
8:15am – 9:00am
Location: Madingley site, main school hall This workshop is for any Early Years parents (Kindergarten or Reception) who wish to find out more about play based learning and how we and they can use Tapestry to share learning. Parents with children from either site can attend this workshop.
Madingley Kindergarten trip to Visual Arts Centre
9:05am – 11:00am
City Kindergarten trip to Visual Arts Centre
1:30pm – 2:45pm
City Art Exhibition
8:00am – 10:00am
Location: JS Hall
Reception collaboration: Spring Forest School
10:00am – 1:30pm
Location: Dame Bradbury's This Forest School collaboration day will enable the children to witness the seasonal changes and experience the woodland and surrounding area in the spring, with an Easter twist!
Spring term ends
Madingley Art Exhibition
9:15am – 10:30am
Location: village hall
Second-hand uniform sale
A team of dedicated volunteers, ably led by Bing Chai, ran a successful second-hand uniform sale at the Senior School on Friday 1 March.
We're very grateful to all parents who donated uniform or came by on the day - the cut-price offer made over £1,200 for the PFA to invest into activities and events, and we're always open to ideas on how best to spend it.
Next PFA meeting
If you'd like to make suggestions for PFA activities and events, or otherwise get involved in organisation and volunteering for these, please do come to the next PFA meeting at the Senior School at 8pm on Wednesday 1 May 2019.
We're trying out the 8pm start to get around bedtimes for kids, so I hope this helps..! We'll lay on some refreshments for anyone who comes, and will send out the invitation to all via ClassList.
Summer Fair 2019 - survey results
Finally, we recently ran a survey for the Summer Fair 2019 with some great feedback. The preferred date and venue for the fair is Friday 28 June 2019, from c.5.30-8.30pm at the Senior School (to be confirmed!).
This should allow us to make use of the outdoor stage that the PFA has committed funds to supporting - we might be able to arrange some musical performances from the students (maybe even from the odd parent too - hands up, please!).
If you'd like to add your 2p on any or all of the above, then please do get involved by contacting the PFA directly either via your year-rep / the PFA committee on ClassList or by email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
@McgoughRoger Agreed! Spring was brilliantly played by our Drama teacher and Winter was such a good sport. I am retiring this year so packing in my favourites - have loved and used this poem since it appeared in BBC Stories and Rhymes 40 years ago!