The Autumn has continued to bring a term of change. Bouncing between being in or out of a national lockdown, our pupils have maintained a level of resilience that we should all be very proud of. It is clearly not school as ‘normal’ but their flexible approach to the impositions that are in place have ensured that Rosedale House has remained a vibrant, inspiring place to be.
Working with our young pupils to continue a sense of school community and connection has proved to be our most significant challenge, but the staff at Rosedale House have met this challenge most remarkably, creating new initiatives that foster a connected school environment has helped to maintain this vital component of school life. We would love the opportunity to return to normal, but for now we’re doing alright!
The introduction of new charitable fundraising events and fitness challenges have helped to maintain the inspiration that many of our pupils need. They have filled the void created by having access to after school clubs. Our Year 6 House and Sports Captains have played an integral role this half term in leading their houses to success. Through providing the ideas, coordinating their House’s involvement and analysing their success, they have had a busy time indeed.
The 30:30 wristband challenge was welcomed by many of our pupils as an opportunity to continue to have an active lifestyle, whilst many of their clubs and activities were once again put on hold. An initiative that was introduced by Mr Lomas has seen a fantastic uptake from our pupils and it has been quite incredible looking at the results. Over 40 of our pupils received a gold wristband (completing all 28 days of activity) but well over half of the school took part in this challenge and met the demanding standards of the bronze, silver or gold. We have many proud pupils from Years 1 - 6 adorning their wristbands and rightly so.
Our Readathon was met with equal energy and I am pleased to say that:
Street have raised £179 for the charity Center 33
Pollock have raised £182.35 for Shepreth Wildlife Conservation
Rose have raised £56 for Wood Green
Sutherland have raised £267 for Cambridge Carbon Footprint
Kennett have raised £444.75 for Heart Wildlife
Cattley have raised £185 for Woodland Trust
Clark have raised £97 for Water Aid
With this house initiative raising over £1400 I am pleased that these nominated charities will receive a boost to efforts at this time of year.
Rosedale House were very well represented in this year’s digital Christmas card competition. Mr Girvan and the Sixth Form Student President Team had the unenviable job of selecting this year's winners. Due to the high number of entries the competition was grouped into a Year 1 and 2 award, year 3 and 4, year 5 and 6 and Senior School and Sixth Form. I was very pleased to be able to congratulate a few winners from Rosedale House. Rynn S (Year 1), Imogen M and Eleonora B (Year 3) and Rosie R (Year 4) all came away victorious this year.
To view Imogen M and Eleonora B (Year 3) winning Christmas movie click here.
News from across the curriculum
Year 1 made an immersive start to the topic ‘Around the world’ on our launch day. The children learnt about pizza from Italy, patterns from Africa, animals from Australia and dancing from India. We have continued to apply this theme to our work this half term by learning about the continents and the famous landmarks of the world. Most recently, we have been making sculptures of our favourite landmarks using clay and we have continued to be inspired by our airport role play areas; checking tickets and flying the planes.
In RS we have been learning about Christianity and the features of their churches. We have used the iPads to go on virtual tours of the church and then used our knowledge to recreate some beautiful stained glass windows. Through recapping and retelling the nativity story we have then been able to make some nativity scenes using our careful cutting skills to make stencils.
Year Two’s study of ‘Wombat Goes Walkabout’ enabled them to learn about the animals and the terrain of the Australian bush. The children identified repetitive language patterns, broadened their vocabulary with new adjectives and synonyms and learned to use speech in narratives. Reading, analysing and dramatising the story inspired our budding authors to write their very own variations of Wombat Goes Walkabout!
They have enjoyed learning about forces as part of their ‘Digging Down’ topic which has motivated them to make pulleys to move buckets of leaves and even move children, which they tested whilst at Forest School! The children learnt about and then applied principles of fair testing in a science investigation too. Year 2 collaborated to explore if a toy vehicle would travel further with a higher or lower ramp. The children were very surprised that the results weren’t as they predicted!
Year 3’s thematic topic this half term was Let Us Entertain You. We began by studying an oil painting by Pieter Bruegel called Children’s Games. It was painted in 1560 and was regarded as a modern painting at the time. We thought about what the painting told us about the 1500s and we were surprised to see how children's play is still quite similar to what children would be doing now to entertain themselves.
The pupils had a brilliant time debating which toy or invention has had the biggest impact on entertainment over time. We battled plastic against the printing press and electricity against transport! Not surprisingly, the top spot went to the Internet, which even today continues to transform and dominate the way we live.
In our RS lessons digital skills were honed as pupils created stop motion Christmas cards and we even created codeable Advent calendars using Scratch.
In keeping with our entertainment theme, we designed and created our own 3D African inspired masks using recycled cereal boxes and brown gum tape. Year 3 were so proud of the finished products!
Science saw us using magnets and springs to explore forces. We planned our own investigations, took precise observations and measurements, and looked at how the properties of magnets and springs can be put to use in a range of practical applications. We couldn’t believe our luck when we were allowed to catapult objects around the science lab under the pretence of learning!
Year 4’s thematic topic was Colours of History. We had great fun looking at many different colours, such as Egyptian blue, mummy brown, Tyrian purple, woad, Vermilion and saffron. Pupils had to create leaflets advertising an Egyptian Blue Exhibition and use their persuasive language skills to argue that red is the most important colour in the world. They also photographed themselves, using mark-up to design woad tattoos for going into battle with the Romans
In English pupils were focusing on persuasive writing and historical fiction. We held some lovely debates about whether or not we thought we should wear school uniform and whether it is important for children to own pets.
We also designed posters encouraging people to visit Ancient Rome on their holidays and then created our own radio adverts to accompany this advertising strategy. As an introduction to historical fiction we looked at books from the library and used them to create timelines.
Our class reader was ‘Escape from Boudicca’s Army’ and we used this resource to put ourselves in the shoes of a member of the Trinovantes tribe, to inspire the writing of a piece of historical fiction. What did we think of Boudicca the first time we saw her? What was it like to storm the city of Camulodunum?
In the first half of Autumn Term, Year 5 studied migration through the ages and its impact on society today. After enjoying our class reader, Boy at the Back of the Class, we wrote persuasive formal letters to the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to ask for improved treatment of refugees. We also wrote our own migration stories, based on Francesca Sanna’s book ‘The Journey'.
We have enjoyed some outdoor Maths this term, measuring heart rate after physical exertion and creating line graphs from our data findings. We helped our understanding of factors by creating factor bugs and designed square and cube number clock faces.
In the second half of term we looked at Crime and Punishment. Pupils created Roman curse tablets to submit to Gods in response to crimes committed against them by their friends...including cursing Mrs Parker for making boys sit next to girls!
We also staged our own Anglo Saxon trial by ordeal.
Our discussion texts focused on the merits or otherwise of detention as a punishment in school. Pupils had plenty to say on the subject, so Mr Hewlett might like to consult Year 5 in any future decision making processes!
This term our thematic topic in Year 6 was ‘a world of difference’, where we studied different biomes in Geography. Biomes are large regions of land named after the dominant vegetation type or landscape.
We focused on the various Russian biomes of desert, tundra, steppe and taiga, looking at the flora and fauna found in these particular habitats with the aim of concluding why these biomes were located where they were.
In English we have been learning about life in South Africa during apartheid times through author Beverly Naidoo’s Journey to Jo’ burg, and more recently about gender inequality in Pakistan through Malala’s words in her book. Our Year 6’s showed maturity and insight beyond their years with these shocking and unfair situations.
Most recently, Year 6’s have read Michael Morpugho’s ‘Billy the kid’, which is a story that follows the entire life of Billy, a keen footballer who played for Chelsea, before going to war. The war experiences changed him in so many ways, and the children explored why he reacted in the way that he did. Again a mixture of hard hitting topics with historical facts.
During Remembrance week we focused on War Poetry, in particular the poem Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen with its strong message about the realities of war for soldiers serving on the frontline during the First World War. Year 6 wrote poems about conflict and war reflecting on their own thoughts about war and the impact it can have.
Despite the extra Covid-19 safety measures, pupils have still enjoyed a full and active programme of practical work in Science. The current situation has prompted a renewed focus on how we use our outdoor spaces to enrich pupils’ scientific learning. This has included looking at what’s around us in our immediate surroundings, with Year 5 doing some exploring to find examples of flowers and seeds around school as part of their Life Cycles topic and seeking out plants and animals that make their home in the playground for the Adaptation topic.
Year 6 took part in a more formal, organised visit to the Foundation Nature Reserve at Latham Road as part of their study of Ecology in Biology lessons. They really enjoyed the hands-on fieldwork in groups, collecting environmental data and exploring the different areas: doing pond and stream dipping, finding and recording invertebrates in the scrub bank and tree areas and the wetland of the flood meadow. It was a timely reminder that we are fortunate indeed to have such a rich area for outdoor science learning.
We have still been able to carry out a varied and exciting range of practical and investigative work in the lab too: everything from Year 4 getting to grips with the intricacies of temperature measurement and filtering to Year 6 exploring the inner secrets of the eye (including seeing a pig’s eye being dissected!) and carrying out their own independent research into the factors that contribute to iron rusting.
I wish you all a happy break and I hope that you are able to spend some much needed family time together. Here’s to a prosperous 2021!
Head of Rosedale House
Sports Round Up
Year 1 and 2 have had a memorable first term of the year and due to the kind weather, they have experienced a variety of different sports. They have been practising and perfecting many skills with a focus on athletics and football. Both Year 1 and 2 have demonstrated great ball control, dribbling, coordination, powerful running and have shown increased confidence and enjoyment in their PE lessons.
Year 2 worked extremely well, learning new techniques and skills in throwing both overarm and underarm. They developed their throwing skills at targets from a variety of distances. They have also made great progress in athletics, jumping further, hurdling smoother and running quicker in their races. They really enjoyed working as teams in small sided relays.
Although there hasn't been the opportunity to play fixtures, the boys in Years 3-6 have had an incredibly fruitful term, progressing their individual and team skills. Ball mastery has been the topic for all years, and the aim has been becoming comfortable and confident with their skills. Children have learnt that ball manipulation and dynamic movements with the ball is imperative to improve ball control and movement patterns. Year 6 boys have worked tirelessly to improve their skills in specific scenarios and have learnt to become effective leaders on a football pitch, both leading by example as well as being confident communicators. Well done to all boys for working hard to improve their individual skill sets, we look forward to seeing you all flourish in future fixtures.
The Year 3 girls took part in their first hockey term, learning lots of important and basic skills, and developing their teamwork in small sided games. With no fixtures this term, the Year 4 girls learnt about effective team tactics, attacking short corners and positions in 7v7 matches. The Year 5 girls have shown an abundance of talent, working on individual skills, keeping possession under pressure and set pieces during match play. The Year 6 girls have worked tirelessly in their hockey and have maintained a high level of motivation throughout the term. They have looked at specific individual skills, both attacking and defending and how they can apply these in game scenarios. They have also been working in different 7-a- side formations and how they can best support each other as a team with certain positional play. All in all, it has been a great term for the girls, which has seen them progress as effective team players.
Yoga, girls football, touch rugby and badminton are just a selection of the sports that have been taught in P.E this term. It has been fantastic to see children progress their skill sets in individual sports and become increasingly confident in their new talents. Yoga has been great for mindfulness and discovering a different approach to physical education that children might not have approached before.
The Stephen Perse Foundation, a family of leading independent co-educational schools in Cambridge and Saffron Walden, has been recognised in the Sunday Times annual Parent Power awards as the East Anglia Independent Secondary School of the Decade, to be published in full on Sunday, 29th November.