Junior School and Pre-Prep Newsletter, 21 June 2019
The summer term is always busy but it is arguably the most exciting time of year in school when pupils, parents and staff members have the opportunity to celebrate learning experiences and achievements across the entire curriculum. The academic and personal development of our pupils lies at the heart of school life and it is immensely satisfying when progress is observed, recognised and celebrated as the year passes, and it is important to find time to look back and acknowledge this before moving on.
Every academic year has a character of its own, just as every individual in a school community is unique. When the planning of the curriculum, extra-curricular experiences and special themes are in place, we have a good idea as to how the year will evolve but it takes the engagement and response of teachers and learners for it to be a real success. I am delighted to report that sustainability, the current and critically important focus across all Foundation schools, has definitely gathered momentum within the Pre-Prep and Junior School during 2018-19.
Pre-Prep pupils have been leading the way in the push to reduce our use of plastic by bringing their break time snacks in paper or reusable bags and by finding ways of giving the thumbs down to single-use plastic water bottles and cups. They are eagle eyed when it comes to separating food and plastic waste at lunch time, and in their classrooms they try hard to switch of lights and use less paper. Pupils in Reception at Madingley call this approach, ‘Save the Trees Paper’.
Most young children are at ease with the natural world and gain great pleasure from playing and learning in the outdoor environment. Forest School sessions, Outdoor Education lessons, Science lessons at the Nature Reserve, Botanic Garden clubs and field trips are very well established in our schools and greatly enjoyed by 3-11 pupils. It is rare to find anyone who is not keen to pull on coats, boots and hi-vis before heading out of doors, whatever the weather, given the opportunity. I found myself in exactly this situation last week when I was ‘needed for ratios’ on a Key Stage 1 Forest School session in the 800 Wood at Madingley; what a perfect excuse to leave the office for an afternoon! Nothing beats a hands-on experience and this is especially important as we educate children on the importance of environmental awareness and sustainability.
While our Pre-Prep pupils are the acknowledged experts in the outdoor world, we have been thrilled to watch Junior School pupils embrace their role as well-informed protectors of our planet. ‘It’s Our World’, the integrated learning project held in March, provided much food for thought and marked the point when many of our older pupils became properly aware of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 for the year 2030. They worked hard to identify how these goals can be met and many have been bold in their quest for evidence, quizzing adult decision makers at home, in school and beyond, most notably in six University Colleges and the Judge Business School.
Junior School staff have been impressed by how seriously some pupils have demonstrated their passion for creating a greener future and, thanks to the tireless work of our Eco-Committee and Eco Warriors, the introduction of ‘meat free Mondays’ and gaining an understanding about The Cambridge Green Challenge, we have seen a huge step forward in terms of both individual and collective awareness and responsibility.
The closing event of ‘It’s Our World’ gave us more than a glimpse of what our pupils really care about and members of the ‘Panel of Experts’ had their work cut out to satisfy the curiosity and determination of those who posed the questions. We are delighted that since the event, we have had the opportunity to work with Ms Cindy Forde, founder of Planetari, in trialling ‘An Ocean Adventure’, a remarkable magazine designed by The Blue Marine Foundation and Planetari. This, in turn, has provided the ideal launch into the Festival of Learning project for pupils in Years 3 & 4 across the Foundation. While they get to grips with the fact that most forms of life live in the ocean and yet only a tiny fraction of this ecosystem has been explored, the other 3-11 year groups will be researching animal diversity, global forests, our footprint on the world and climate change. The Festival of Learning on Tuesday 9 July will be an incredible day for everyone involved, rounding off a year in which awareness of the importance of sustainability education has taken root and, more vitally, creating a launch pad for collaborative projects which focus on these issues next year.
Other end of year events are rapidly approaching. We very much look forward to welcoming parents to Pre-Prep Sports Day and (twice rescheduled) Junior School Sports Day, the Junior School Summer Concert, the Pre-Prep Country Dancing Display, Year 4’s performance of ‘Noah’s Ark’ and our first ‘Celebration of Learning’ for pupils in Years 1-6. If you are coming to the Summer Concert then do look out for the sustainability theme, as no fewer than ten of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are referenced in the programme of music. And, parents of Pre-Prep pupils may catch a glimpse of Isabella Mary Angetter-Hannam and/or Maddison Holly Lennon with their proud mums at the Country Dancing Display. Congratulations to both families on the safe arrival of their daughters in April and May respectively.
As this is the last Pre-Prep and Junior School newsletter of 2018-19, I should like to take the opportunity of thanking everyone for their amazing kindness and support, both this year and throughout the earlier years of my headship. It has been a privilege to have served the Foundation in this role and I am immensely grateful to all the parents and colleagues who have ensured that our schools are safe, happy and lively places of learning, and to the children for their boundless energy, enthusiasm and good humour. I shall miss their joie de vivre more than you can imagine, but I am confident that Rosedale House and the Nursery/Early Years settings will continue to provide a first class education for the youngest Stephen Perse Foundation learners in and near Cambridge.
With my very best wishes for a wonderful summer holiday and also for the future,
Head of Pre-Prep and Junior School
The start of this half term has been well and truly hit with wet weather! The dry and scorched grounds of last summer seem like a distant memory and unfortunately a number of fantastic events have had to be cancelled. In particular, we can’t remember a time when we have had to postpone Sports Day twice! The forecast is now looking up and it is pleasing that we have found a free afternoon in which the event can go ahead. Sports Day will now be on Thursday 4 July and the Pentathlon will take place that morning. No matter what the weather throws at us we will ensure the students get to experience Sports Day, in some form or other, before the term ends.
Despite many tournaments and fixtures being cancelled, the Junior School teams have remained in high spirits and committed wholeheartedly to training. The sports website is up to date, so do check in for recent results.
Swimming is well underway and it has been great for some of our club swimmers to showcase their expertise. The novices are growing in confidence, whilst the intermediates are improving in a range of strokes. The students are already starting to look forward to the swimming gala and will be choosing their events over the next week.
The annual Kate Murley tennis tournament is also fully underway and Year 6 students have completed the early rounds. The organiser was very pleased to see 32 students sign up for the tournament, not least because it makes for a perfect draw, but it also demonstrates the current high levels of enthusiasm towards sport in the Junior School. The semi finals and finals of both the plate and the main draw will take place on Saturday 29 June, just before the parent and student tournament.
Finally, a huge congratulations to Verity, a Year 6 student, who competed and won an extremely tense and exciting U12 girls 1500 metres at the East Area Prep Schools Championships in Bedford. With a lap to go she was a little behind the leader, but she put in an outstanding last lap to secure a comfortable victory in an incredible time (5:08). This performance has gained Verity selection for the National Prep Schools Championships in Birmingham.
For all other news, results and information on fixtures, please follow us on twitter @SPFSport and remember to check the sports website www.stephenpersesport.com
Junior School pupils in Years 4-6 will compete in the annual inter-house swimming gala at The Leys Pool. This event is not open to parents due to lack of space.
Scottish Dancing Display
5:00pm – 6:00pm
Club members will demonstrate a few dances, after which the Harriet Kershaw cup will be presented. Refreshments will be provided by our catering department. Parents are most welcome to bring family members and friends to this informal event.
PFA Movie Night
6:00pm – 10:00pm
PFA Mediterranean Movie Night for SS and JS students and families.
Tickets must be purchased in advance via Wisepay. Two films will be shown simultaneously and food will be available, with a cash bar (TBC). Please note JS students need to be chaperoned by parents throughout the event, and the PFA team are supervising SS students at this event. More information will be on Classlist and Parent Newsletters.
Mediterranean Movie Night at the Senior School - 28 June starting at 6pm
Don’t forget to get your tickets for this year's PFA summer event: Mediterranean Movie Night at the Senior School on Friday 28 June starting at 6pm. This event is geared towards all ages, it includes food and movies and there will be a cash bar onsite as well. Older kids can attend with or without their parents. Get your tickets and come along for an evening of film, food and fun!
The deadline for purchasing combo tickets is Friday 21 June. Movie only tickets will be available until Friday 28 June.
Second-hand uniform sale at the Senior School - 3 July starting at 3.15pm
The PFA is responding to the request from parents to run another second-hand uniform sale but we need donations to make it a success. Please drop off donations at the Senior School Reception (Union Road).
The Second-hand uniform sale will be held on Wednesday 3 July from 3.15pm to 4.30pm in the Senior School Activity Space (Union Road entrance).
We need school uniforms that are in good condition from Pre-Prep, Junior and Senior Schools. School uniforms include summer and winter, school sports uniforms, sports bag, school coats (please no frayed, torn, holes or stained items). Last day for drop off is Friday 28 June.
If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the Doodle Poll with your first and last name and you will be contacted with details to help sort and/or sell.
PFA Scavenger Hunt! Loose play equipment for the Pre-Prep and Junior School playgrounds
As part of the PFA Funding Project, the Pre-Prep and Junior School Council presented a video clip at the last PFA committee meeting with their ideas of projects that available funds could be spent on - the winning idea being 'Loose Play Equipment' for the playgrounds.