15th January 2021
by Justin Chippendale
A few comments from HEADlines after a really productive ten days of term. We continue to be impressed with the level of engagement from the children and are pleased to note that we have all retained a good working knowledge of MS Teams. In fact, various enhancements to the functionality are also being deployed where appropriate in several areas. It is worth repeating my admiration and gratitude to pupils, teachers and parents for such a remarkable and effective response.
As before, one of the benefits of this digital solution is that I can dip into almost any lesson at any point and so I have a fantastic birds-eye overview of the incredible scale of interactions with the academic subjects. As well as that, I can follow my nose down any subject based rabbit hole in Teams and come across the output from hundreds of children. Some of the submissions and the sheer volume of exchanges within the Creative Curriculum and sporting Teams are just tremendous.
Another positive by-product of these circumstances (for most!) are that parents often get to enjoy learning something at the same time as their children and hence can share a live conversation about the topic. There is less of the slightly monosyllabic child that climbs into your car at the end of a day: “What did you do at school today?” can often be met with a stock “Nothing” in response as the moment has passed.
As we come to end of the week, I have trained myself not to enquire of people, “What are your plans for the weekend?”, knowing full well that apart from activities with our families, our options are limited to exercise or a necessary trip to the shops and maybe an online hook up with friends for a chat, some games or an exchange of recommendations either about box set series or cocktail combinations.
Whatever you do, I hope it goes smoothly.
This Week in Pre-Prep...
by Claire Luckhurst
I am currently feeling reassured by the normality of penning this newsletter after what has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. 2021 has definitely ‘kept us on our toes’ so far but I do hope we now feel able settle into a more measured rhythm now routines are better established and we all share a better understanding of how the weeks ahead will operate. I must thank the staff for having risen to the many challenges they have faced since the second lockdown was announced. It has taken a huge amount of hard work to get to where we currently are which I know, from the various emails I have received, has been appreciated by you all. Similarly, we are all greatly appreciative of the efforts you are giving to support your children at home. As parents ourselves, we know this is not easy! Your best is all we can ask and if there are days when things aren’t completed please do not worry; it is worth remembering there are days when children do not complete everything in school either. It’s a balancing act through the week and if you can get to the end of it and reflect that you achieved most things and you are all still smiling you should give yourselves a hearty pat on the back. However, if you have any concerns about your child and their learning or their general attitude or motivation, please do get in touch with their class teacher who will be more than willing to support you as best as she can. There will be peaks and troughs as this style of learning can breed a little ‘monotony’ but we are doing our best to provide as much variety, challenge and ‘oomph’ as we can.
I must also say a huge ‘Thank You’ to the Nursery team who opened up the doors to welcome back a significant number of our youngest members of our King's Hall family. Routines have required some adjustments but having popped in to say a quick ‘hello’ earlier in the week, I was met with an oasis of calm and happiness. What a team!
To finish off the week, Mr Watson set each of the year groups a quiz.
Lots of fun was had and here are a few of the questions ...
“Which King's Hall teacher celebrated a momentous birthday last term?”
“What is the name of Mr and Mrs Chippendale's dog? Ben, Molly, Crufty or Meg?”
“What does H2O stand for?”
“Who won last year's FA Cup?”
“In French what is the word for apple?”
“What is an eight-sided shape called?”
“What was the most downloaded song on Spotify in the UK in 2020?”
“The true events of US Airways Flight 1549 was made into a movie. What was it called?”
“How long can a camel go without drinking? 4 days, 14 days, 4 weeks or 4 months?”
A Few Words from...Willow Simpson
This term's Head Girl
Hello and Happy New Year.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas, it was a strange one, but quite nice just having a quiet time with Mum, Dad, my brother Reef and our 5 guinea pigs! We went to my Grandparents' house up the road for tea and we all sat in their big shed with blankets wrapped round us and hot water bottles, Grandpa also had a patio heater in the middle! We opened our presents and had Christmas cake, it was quite fun in the dark with fairy lights around the shed! At New Year's Eve we watched the fireworks around the area and sang Auld Lang Syne together by the Christmas tree.
We went on lots of lovely walks over the holidays to the coast and also lots of cycle rides from home across the fields and tracks in the area. I also made a chocolate log using brownie mixture with lots of icing, it was a little chewy, but delicious!
After looking forward to seeing my friends at school it turned out that we had to go into yet another lockdown so sadly we have to stay at home again, but I see them all during online schooling which is brilliant and chat to them every evening. We all help each other out and keep each other going and the teachers are always there for support too.
I’m enjoying all the sporty activities we’ve been given as well, I love doing my runs and other things like hockey, football and circuits. The guinea pigs enjoy sitting on my back while I do the plank or press ups!
I hope you all stay safe and that we will be back at school soon.
Our Creative Curriculum Team includes Art, DT, Music and Drama. Each week fun activities are posted where work is set and where children will be able to be away from their screens!
This week in Art ...
Year 8 were asked to do a Photowalk. They had to go for a 30 minute walk and look for unusual and interesting things to photograph whilst out walking.
Year 7 were asked to create a Mandala from nature, collecting fallen leaves, petals, seed pods, fruits, etc and forming them into a circular pattern.
Year 5 studied Aboriginal art briefly. They looked at the style of the dot painting technique, and the use of symbols to tell a story or convey a message. They then had to design their own boomerang.
Year 6 had fun creating their own shadow puppets.
by Snoops the Dog
I hope you are all well. School has gone quiet again, but not as quiet as the first Lockdown.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed seeing the critical workers’ children at school, and as always, I’ve been as helpful as possible. I’ve cleared up lunch crumbs, joined in football games on the Astro and helped out in the computer room. I can’t resist wandering under the computer tables and brushing against legs to make the children jump! They haven’t quite got used to the fact that there’s a friendly ball of fur wandering around during their lessons.
Life in other parts of school is rather dull at the moment. The boarding house is strangely quiet, so quiet in fact, that I haven’t even been tempted to go into your dorms and move your slippers. Some of you will remember when I accidentally ate the odd slipper when I was a pup. Sorry, Monty, and other chewed up slipper owners.
Anyway, enough about my antics as a pup, I am becoming quite grown up now, although I do still have the odd silly moment.
I’m looking forward to catching up with you all in next week’s newsletter and seeing what you’ve all been up to. And remember, even though you may not have seen me online, I’ve spotted most of you during your remote lessons. Work hard everyone!
Lots of Love
Your Snoops X
As the first full week of learning draws to a close, the Year 8 tutors are pleased that their tutees have adapted so well to the routines of remote learning once again, and are approaching each working day with a mindset of being ‘in school’ whilst at home.
Technology issues aside, pleasing levels of organisation and participation have been evident, and this bodes well for the coming weeks. Speaking of technology, lots of our discussions this week in PSHE and our smaller groups have centred around the pros and cons of all things internet-related, from our current working lives on Teams to our less formal communications on social media. With Covid-19 in mind, there was a strong awareness from the pupils of the positive aspects of technology, such as the collaborative learning that is taking place, the opportunities to share ideas and resources (by teachers, pupils and parents), and the importance of us all being able simply to communicate with each other. Indeed, Mr Morgan posed the question to his tutor group – what would schools have done 20 or more years ago, if a pandemic had happened, in order to continue the children’s education? Whilst, the pupils demonstrated an excellent grasp of the dangers of too much ‘screen time’/interaction on social media, etc., they also understood how important a positive mindset and positive behaviour are when we are faced with difficulties. Given that we face an unknown length of time away from each other for now, the tutors are certainly encouraged that the pupils have the necessary tools, in terms of their personal qualities, to survive and thrive.
Here is what some of them have been up to outside of their lessons ...
My family and I like our lengthy walks around the Botanical Gardens but my dog, Spicer, who is nearly 15 years old, just cannot keep up anymore so we decided to buy him a stroller. We also have a dachshund called Whisky who is a lot of fitter and walks alongside the stroller. Spicer gets to walk when he likes but when he gets tired he gets to have a rest. I never thought I would be strolling around with a dog in a pram - these are certainly strange times!
After the park run on my local beach I took my RC (remote control) car on a really muddy track with steep banks either side - it’s really fun driving it off the banks! Something always breaks, though, which is also fun as I have to fix it when I get home. This time the axle become detached but I’ve mended it now so I’m going to take it out again this afternoon.
Laughter is the best medicine, they say, and no doubt you have all seen the return of sharing various pictures and videos as we did back in April. Here are just a few to hopefully bring a smile to your face.
When I first saw this from a distance, I thought it said ‘Wise inspiration to get you through Lockdown’. But now I read what it really says, I can see I was correct first time!
It is crucial that we keep spirits high over this difficult period. Physical and mental health are so important, so look out for tweets which will give you all some ideas. Keep exercising, keep eating well and look after each other.Sports Twitter Press Up and Dress Up Challenge Yoga with Mr Clark
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