20th March 2020
by Justin Chippendale
Just to take our minds off Coronavirus for an instant, this morning we had a bit of shepherding to do.A good number of sheep from the back drive had an idea that they might like to play some hockey but, thanks to a few quick responders like Roger and Martin, together with Mrs Lawford and Mr Hands who were arriving at that time, by the time Mr Watson and I arrived on the scene there were just a cheeky handful left looking like they wanted to stop hockey and move to try out the basket swing!A few gaps blocked by hurriedly parked cars, some helping parental hands (thank you) and a quick move of some fencing later, the situation was largely contained before the main flow of drop off traffic.
HEADlines is a weekly post of some random thoughts either related to the week, or not.You have received quite enough communiqués from the school about the global situation we find ourselves in so I will not mention it more here.
One highlight from this week was of, course, the play. Year 6 are rightly so proud of themselves following their Ghosthunter performances.I have a sense they felt they really smashed it yesterday! Congratulations to them all and all concerned with the production under the guidance of Mrs Keirle. One by-product of reduced staffing was that the lighting and sound crew had no adult supervision during the actual shows and the remarkable accuracy and quality of their work evidences once again that we underestimate to our loss what children can achieve when stretched.Humans are naturally lazy (forgive the generalisation) - seeking a shortcut is a sign of intelligence, they say - but when needs must, there are levels of skill, adaptability and resilience that come to the fore. Children are amazing…..
For now, its adieu from HEADlines and fortitude to us all.
This Week in Pre-Prep ...
by Claire Luckhurst
We started the week celebrating all of our wonderful Mummies in an assembly which (hopefully) made the children think about just how much looking after they require! I told the children I had a ‘pet’ in my box that I was hoping one of them may like to adopt. Naturally they were all super-keen until I explained a little more about the pet’s needs!
- When young, this pet needs feeding up to 8 times a day (and sometimes more), including in the middle of the night.
- This pet makes a terrible, smelly mess that you have to clean up.
- You have to spend most of your time walking, talking and playing with this pet which can be very tiring and means you don’t really have any time to do the things you might want to do.
- It can be VERY mischievous and should NEVER be left alone as it is prone to making quite a lot of mess that you will have to clear up.
- This pet will often wake you up in the middle of the night as they may think it is ‘playtime’
- You will spend a lot of your time just worrying about the pet: Are they happy? Are they ill? Have they eaten enough? Is their diet healthy enough? Are they too warm? Too cold?
- This pet will cost you thousands of pounds to keep healthy and happy every year.
By this point most children (bar the most optimistic enthusiast!) had unsurprisingly retracted their offer to adopt my pet but were very keen to know what the pet could possibly be. I opened the box to reveal a ‘mirror’ and asked them what they could see staring back at them: children! The most time-consuming, expensive, mischievous and worrisome creatures that ever walked the earth (as well, of course, as being the most rewarding, wonderful and precious creatures too!) The children soon realised the list of ‘job requirements’ to look after this pet applied to them and agreed it was quite an exhausting list! They also agreed their Mummies are all amazing and deserve to be told so especially on Mothering Sunday so may we wish you all a very happy, restful and relaxing day (no pressure Dads!)
We also welcomed Early Years consultant and educationalist, Greg Bottrill, into our world on Monday to weave his magic and share some of his experience, knowledge and creative ideas with us all. He dedicates his days to 'putting the focus back on children and making them leaders in their own learning – shifting the adult's role away from being a teacher and more to a facilitator'. His passion is to help children and adults capture the ‘joy’ of childhood through allowing them the time and space they need to grow and develop. He has a number of inspired ideas and techniques to promote this ‘joy’ and supported the setting up of a ‘Message Centre’ in Reception which instantly caught the children’s imaginations and has led to them sending messages to each other in all sorts of places; including Mrs Stanley’s shoes! We are now keen to explore the possibilities of adopting some of his other ideas, ‘Adventure Island’, ’Play Projects’ and ‘Drawing Club’. An exciting journey ahead!
Once again, King’s Hall School had the most fantastic week at this year’s Taunton Drama Festival.
The standard of performance was very high and every one of the King’s Hall pupils represented the school beautifully.
Over the course of the week, forty one pupils in Years 1 to 8 managed to win first, second or third placings in various classes - an unbelievable achievement!
Particular congratulations should be given to Charlotte Scott, who won the Year 3 & Under Verse Speaking and was graded Outstanding - this is a mark of 90% or more and is only ever awarded for ‘an exceptional performance, both technically and artistically’ (only 2 were awarded to all performers across the whole week!). For her class-winning performance of the poem Cakes in the Staffroom by Brian Moses, Charlotte was also awarded with The Robin Bush Award for Performer of the Year; she was chosen by the adjudicator, Rebecca Vines, out of all of the children of all ages who performed across the whole week – truly an outstanding achievement.
Jack Besley and Will Geddes
2nd placeKathryn Haslam
Shakespeare Sixth Form and Under
3rd placeLizzy Roe
Year 5 & Under Verse Speaking
Despite the challenges the school faced this week, Year 6 were determined that the show would go on ...
Ghosthunters tells the story of some school children who camp out in the library at night to see the Ghostly Monk who is supposed to haunt the room.
During the night the children keep watch and as they do so, characters from the story books come alive and the children are transported into the stories.
Do they actually see the Ghostly Monk who haunts the library?
Full review and photographs to follow ...
A Few Words from ... Oscar Mack
This term's Head Boy
There has been a lot going on lately in school and in the world and I just want to say a bit about one of them, the Coronavirus. I am not an expert in this area so I will not be talking about the physical side of things. My view of it is that we all need to stay calm and not worry too much about it because it would be easier to sort it out if we do not panic and it will be better for your mental health.
Back at school there are many things to get your mind off it such as the Year 6 play. Having a brother in Year 6 I know how hard they worked, through endless play practice announcements in assembly to me being read lines over and over.
Another thing to look forward to is the House Music (which we hope we might get to do) as it is always a highlight of everybody's year. It is also an opportunity for any young musicians to show off their skills and musical talent to the whole school.
Something also very exciting (which the Coronavirus can’t cancel) is the banishing of the winter and the joy and happiness that springtime brings. I am almost certain that most of you have noticed that it is still mostly light at six o’clock!
Thank you all for reading this as it will be my last newsletter as Head Boy, and I hope you all have a great Easter.
In History ...
Considering what is going on in the world the children have been full of questions about whether this sort of thing has any precedence and of course the answer is yes. Cue much discussion, ranging from the Black Death to the more recent Sars outbreak.
Year 3 have visited the Taunton Museum and Year 5 have recently completed an election campaign for the claimants to the throne in 1066. Each group represented a different claimant and had to run an election campaign before the class voted on the best one. Great fun was had making rosettes and resources and preparing the campaign speech.
Last Monday saw the Year 7 children enter the classroom with smoke machine, music and disco lights in full swing. This was in aid of launching a piece of self-directed work studying a Great Leader. Interestingly their choices of individuals have had a distinctly social and medicinal tone. Pars, Nightingale, Pankhurst and Beveridge are all making appearances. Thankfully only one middle aged British male is being studied and this is only because ‘Monty’ the child, discovered ‘Monty’ the General. How can you say no to that! This has been in addition to re-enacting the Spanish Armada and generally getting out of the classroom at every opportunity. Watching Mr Halls (English Fireship) take on Mr Mackenzie (Spanish Fleet) was an interesting moment.
A View from the Rose Garden
Year 3 loved seeing all the artefacts on display at the museum in Taunton.
A few children even managed to get stuck in the stocks! It was a morning of interactive learning and the children were so impressive at answering the trail sheet questions. Their curiosity is wonderful to see! The star attraction for Year 3 was a shriveled monkey's head and Mrs Gompels loved the giant's shoe who grew to be over seven foot tall!
by Snoops the Dog
Romeo and Poodlette
Well hoomans, what can I say?
It’s all gone quiet here! At least I was able to enjoy the Year 6 play earlier this week, and although many of you didn’t get to see it, I can tell you, with paw on heart, that it was a totally awesome performance, oozing with talent and confidently executed.
So what to do, now that you’ve all gone home? Well...I’ll continue my daily walks and naps, but I’d like to think I can stay in contact with you during our extended break of home schooling and holidays! You probably realise, as I’m writing this blog, that I’m quite tech savvy. If any of you’ve been wondering, I have a special keyboard overlay. It’s similar to the ones the littlest hoomans use in Pre-Prep, except mine is specially adapted for paws. So, if you’re feeling a little bored or have some spare time (parents as well as children), you could always send me a letter or picture. All of you have gone home to your families, but I’m a little short on the ground in that department. Don't worry though, the teachers will be here on a daily basis, so I’ll keep you up-dated with life on site.
There is one other little interest that I might pursue during my isolation, and that is Meg, the Chippendale's family puppy. I made mention of her last week but I still haven’t mustered the courage to strike up a conversation from the little balcony overlooking her garden. I thought of going down the line of...
Megeo, Megeo, where for art thou Megeo?!
Just something I heard in a Year 8 English lesson, although I think that sounds as though it ought to come from a tall, dark handsome hound. What do you think? I am blonde and of average height after all... I also thought of flowers, but they’re not really a thing in the dog world, although we do like to do a spot of watering now and again!
As I’m officially into my teenage years, I’ve realised that I need to ditch my brown, nylon walking jacket in favour of something more urban. How could I possibly go wrong if I re-style myself in the fashion of those ultra cool Year 8 dudes? I think I’ve got the look just about right. How can Meg fail not to notice me, casually leaning on the balcony railings, looking like a trendy city dog rather than a scruffy mutt?
Much love from your trendy school pup!
What a strange week ...
Mrs McDermott's Year 7 Tutor Group
The children had a good weekend, but with many activities curtailed. Some football was played, families went for walks and freezers were defrosted! Our usual class spirit has remained strong and the early morning hymn book table tennis has been in full flow – it’s lovely to see the camaraderie and fun that the children are having and how inclusive the games are, whether 1 v 1, ‘round the table’ or doubles. All have been really disappointed by fixtures being cancelled, but the mature way that this has been accepted has been a credit to them. On Wednesday, the boys played some hockey house matches and the girls, with much trepidation, went up to the top field to find that we had arranged a football house match afternoon, they had great fun (many returning to the changing rooms with their house name written in mud down their legs!). On Thursday, we were all in early, but down to six tutees, so we watched an episode of Our Yorkshire Farm before registration – a definite favourite after being introduced to it by Father Mark. Fortunately, we get to see the Year 6 play this morning – should be fantastic!
We all are certainly
looking forward to things returning to normality and our school community
returning fit and well.
Mrs Clare Masters, Houseparent
Phew, what a week it’s been! I have to say I think I am now fully qualified as a travel agent, taxi driver and grumpy shopper (nothing left on the shelves for me!). Trying to sort out all the overseas travel has been no mean feat, but we’ve done it and I can happily report that all our boarders will, at some point, make it home to the safety of their family this week.
As I said, it really has been a chaotic week but the children have carried on as normal with the exception of they now all have the cleanest hands you will ever see! We did an experiment earlier this week involving a plate of water and some pepper; the latter of which reflected germs. The children put one unwashed finger into the mixture and the pepper stuck to their finger. They then washed their hands and when they put their finger back in the water, the pepper spread to the sides. A little bit of magic and a great way to demonstrate just how important it is for us to wash our hands.
Who knows what next week will bring, but we will continue to spread happiness - not germs!
Year 5 headed up to Holford on Wednesday ...
... a welcome escape from all of the chaos in the world.
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.#COVID19FIT
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