The last few weeks of term have been busy for pupils and staff, in both the Pre-Prep and Junior School, with a variety of special events, as well as all the usual activities in the classroom, playground and beyond.
The recent fine weather has made outdoor pursuits particularly enjoyable and we are delighted that nearly all pupils have participated in Forest School, Outdoor Learning or Nature Reserve trips since half term. These off-site learning opportunities will continue next term, with the addition of Outdoor Learning sessions for Year 3 and trips to the Nature Reserve or Botanic Garden for Years 3-6.
As the hockey and netball season, for boys and girls respectively, draws to a close there is much to celebrate and everyone is looking forward to spending time at Latham Road next term, with cricket, athletics and Sports Days on the agenda.
Year 6 pupils have spent more time than usual at Latham Road, adding Bikeability to the list of activities done on that site. After passing Level 1 training on the games court at Latham Road, the 50 pupils participating in the course have moved on to Level 2, which involves six hours of intensive training on public roads near school. We are grateful to the excellent instructors from Outspoken and also to everyone for accommodating the unusually high number of bicycles on the driveway this week. It has been very good to hear really enthusiastic feedback from our cyclists and we wish them well with their practical assessment this afternoon.
We have enjoyed a feast of class assemblies during the last fortnight and are very proud indeed of pupils in both Reception classes and both Year 3 classes for sharing their learning confidently and creatively.
While these assemblies gave us a glimpse of pupils’ work across many aspects of the curriculum, other highlights have been specifically in Art, Music and Drama.
This week our Pre-Prep pupils on both sites have held Art exhibitions. Tuesday morning found parents viewing the art work of City children in the Hall and this afternoon it is the turn of Madingley children to showcase their art in Madingley Village Hall. This special event has brought the half term topic, ‘Picture This’, which has involved trips to the Fitzwilliam Museum, Kettle’s Yard and our own Visual Arts Centre to a fitting conclusion.
Meanwhile, nearly 40 members of Years 3 & 4 are to be congratulated on their Performers’ Platform Concert last Wednesday. As always, it was a delight to see great progress from those who had played in previous concerts, as well as courage and pride from all who took their turn to play in front of a packed audience.
As the end of term approached we became aware that Year 5 pupils appeared to be spending more time in the Senior School than in the Junior School and, as their walks between sites became more frequent, we spotted costume bags and interesting looking props being carried. Posters appeared on corridor walls announcing two performances of ‘Dream On’ and excitement levels rose. At last the day arrived and the scene was set. The audience was transported to Athens where Duke Theseus and Hippolyta were preparing for their wedding. What followed was something quite enchanting as our Year 5 pupils presented a musical version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, in which every member of the year group acted and sang, including several solos, absolutely superbly. Not only was this show visually attractive with effective scenery and stunning costumes, but it was thoroughly entertaining and the children clearly loved conveying the humour, as well as the various stories within the tale. Mrs Marty and her Year 5 cast brought Shakespeare alive most successfully and this skilfully adapted and directed production will certainly live long in the memory. Lili, who played one of Titania’s fairies, would like to add, ‘Listening to the first rehearsal was the best part because nobody knew what anyone would say. Everyone thought when Lysander told Demetrius to marry Hermia’s father it was incredibly hilarious!’
Barnardo’s Day has been an annual or biennial event in the Senior School for decades and today our Year 5 & 6 pupils are experiencing this colourful and eclectic event. With a clear understanding as to the importance of fund-raising for our nominated charities, they left with full purses and high expectations then returned an hour or so later beaming with happiness and thinking ahead to when they are tasked, as seniors, with setting up such activities linked to a theme. We look forward to hearing how much has been raised at the 2019 Barnardo’s event.
When pupils’ wellbeing and mental health is discussed there is a tendency to look for specific pigeon holes for where this is addressed - is it through PSHEE, does it happen in assemblies, should it be an aspect of lessons or playtimes, how can it be fitted into after-school clubs and events? We would argue that wellbeing is the lifeblood of our schools which underpins every aspect of the curriculum and extra-curricular provision, as well as the social times of every school day. A glance through this newsletter gives just some examples of how the staff in our settings are creative in finding different ways of supporting our pupils in their learning journeys and to ensuring they feel really proud and happy about both individual and collective achievements.
We wish you and your family a lovely break over Easter and look forward to welcoming everyone back to school for the summer term on Thursday 25 April.
Head of Pre-Prep and Junior School