While everyone appreciated the long summer holiday and made the most of the amazing weather, it was wonderful to come back together at the beginning of term. We were very pleased to welcome both returning and new pupils to the Junior School and we have enjoyed an excellent start to 2018-19.
Our annual Welcome Lunch, for the families of pupils joining or transferring to one of the Foundation schools, was a huge success. The weather was fine and the Senior School site proved ideal with circus skills and basketball in the Sports Hall, football on the MUGA, a tasty lunch complete with ice cream in the beautifully refurbished Dining Room, and plenty of outdoor space for table tennis, free flow play and relaxed conversations.
We were back in the Senior School the following Thursday evening when the Junior School staff hosted the annual Parents’ Information Meetings. These were very well attended and gave us the opportunity to provide an overview of what 2018-19 holds for each year group. We are grateful to David Hewlett, 3-11 Digital Leader, for talking at all four presentations. As well as explaining how iPads enhance the learning journey, Mr Hewlett also introduced parents to the Thinking Toolkit which underpins our curriculum and helps our pupils to become adaptable, flexible and resilient learners.
One of the most highly anticipated assemblies of the early autumn involves the announcement of which School Houses our newcomers will be joining. This year was much more exciting than usual due to the opening of a seventh House. Sutherland, named after Dr Gill Sutherland who was a member of the Governing Body for 40 years and Chair for half of the time, is the first new House for 70 years! Building a new House proved to be a tricky operation but, thanks to 16 pupils in Years 4, 5 & 6 who agreed to be founding members of Sutherland, along with eight new pupils, the task was achieved just in time for the election of House and Sports Captains during the first full week of term. We were most impressed by the number of Year 6 pupils who stood for election and their posters and presentations were of a high standard. We are very proud of them all; we congratulate those who were elected and commiserate with those who were not successful on this occasion. We hope that they will all go on to hold other positions of responsibility throughout the coming year.
No sooner were the Captains in post than they found themselves leading their House in the annual Art Event. Designed as a bonding experience for House members, this event also aims to help pupils understand more about the Foundation. This year the focus was on the qualities and values which members bring to their House and how they strive to be Future challengers, changemakers, creators, innovators, leaders, pioneers and thinkers.
There was lively debate in each House room as ideas were offered, considered, discussed and accepted or rejected for display as ‘bubbles’ on the potion bottles being created that afternoon. Here are just a few of the statements which made it through: Sutherland members like to look at things from different perspectives and are curious about the world. Street members are pioneers looking to find new possibilities. Rose members recognise each others’ talents. Pollock members use their intelligence to become eco-warriors. Kennett members are creative, cool and collaborative. Clark members are committed to looking after the environment. Cattley members are courageous because they stand up for their beliefs.
We really appreciated the help of our pupils at the Foundation Open Event on Saturday 22 September. New marketing posters on freshly decorated walls throughout the Junior School made the whole building very welcoming and it was great to see members of all year groups, alongside visitors, participating in activities linked to the Thinking Toolkit and earning stamps for their Passports. Meanwhile, this year’s tour guides were praised for their efforts and it was great to see sport being played virtually all morning and to be entertained by ‘live’ music, including African drumming! Top marks to those who reached the Design Engineering Room at the top of the building and contributed to the ‘Bridge of Sustainable Sides’.
26 September is always a special date in the school year when we pause to mark European Day of Languages. This year was no exception and we are grateful to Mme Neely for leading assembly and inspiring everyone to ‘have a go’ at speaking in languages with which they are not familiar. Taking the register in a different language, sharing phrases over the lunch table, joining in multilingual courtyard chat during break and dipping into our collection of dual language books in the library were all very popular. We are now looking forward to viewing the results of Mme Neely’s competition - ‘My multilingual recipe for happiness’!
The first expeditions of 2018-19 involved Year 6 and Year 3. Last Tuesday Year 6 pupils had a fantastic time in North Norfolk where their study of coasts really came alive. Next to set out for a day trip was Year 3 when the pupils and staff travelled to Dame Bradbury’s for ‘An Island Adventure’ on Wednesday. We look forward to receiving a report of their day shortly.
Finally, we were thrilled to receive the news that three Year 5 pupils have won the 2018 Year 3 & 4 CLEAPPS Primary Science competition. They attended a Year 4 Science Club run by Mrs Richardson last year and submitted their entry in the summer term. The letter from CLEAPSS stated, 'In a very strong field, Olivia, Dasha and Emily's entry really shone out as being an exemplary piece of work, we were particularly impressed with the great variety of potential indicators tested’. We are delighted that a representative from CLEAPSS will attend a celebration assembly, later this term, in order to talk about the children’s entry and present them and the school with prizes. Very well done to Emily, Dasha and Olivia!
The change in timetable to include afternoon game sessions for Years 4, 5 & 6 has produced some fantastic opportunities for many Junior School pupils to represent the school on the sports field this term.
The girls have started strongly having already played fixtures against Fairstead House, Heritage, Kimbolton, King’s Ely and the Perse Prep. Most of these fixtures have involved every student in Years 5 & 6 and they have shown their strength in depth as year groups. Whilst results in sport won’t always go your way, the learning as a team, alongside the enjoyment and progress, has already been very prominent. The U9A team deserve a special mention for opening their account with an impressive win over Kimbolton and their year group’s enthusiasm is second to none at the time of writing! The U11s travel to their first tournament of the year on Monday where they will take part in the regional round of the IAPS tournament held at Framlingham College. Good luck girls!
The groundsmen across Cambridge have had a torrid time trying to get the grass playing surfaces into a playable state following the dry summer weather. Fortunately the football pitches at Gonville and Caius are beginning to look fantastic again and just in time for us to host a multitude of fixtures. With relatively small numbers of boys in some year groups it has been fantastic to see everyone displaying desire and commitment to represent the school and do their best. The U11As recently travelled to play in the ISFA 7-a-side tournament at Chigwell where they gave a great account of themselves. One or two of the boys said it was one of the most enjoyable days of sport that they had ever experienced.
Clubs are well and truly underway and it is great to see pupils taking many opportunities to get the SPF colours on and embrace the variety on offer. Early morning running club, which has been a favourite for a couple of years, continues to be very well attended and participants are looking forward to the first cross country meet in the week building up to half term.