25th September 2020
by Justin Chippendale
In a few ways, this week had some wider elements of gloominess within it. The autumn equinox marking the point from which we have less light than dark in our days for the next three months; a change in the weather mid-week plus a tightening of some Covid restrictions and a reminder these circumstances may not alter much for a while. There were certainly some forlorn, glass half empty, droopy shoulder moments and it’s not a bad thing, from time to time, to allow a bit of self-pitying and to not ignore the emotional challenges we face.
What you do need, however, are pick-me-ups to ensure you don’t spend too long navel-gazing. Luckily for us, one highly recommended remedy is spending time with children. There is something special about being carefree that makes it a necessary component of a well-lived childhood and carefreeness is a disposition not to feel stressed and anxious that resides quite naturally in children (adolescence then starts to alter this!). So, we have about 300 reasons to be cheerful amongst us and this week’s newsletters again have several insights to what they’ve been up to. Whilst Year 5 have enjoyed themselves and gained a great deal over the last two days at Kilve, it is too soon to offer reflections on their trip – that’ll be something to look forward to in next week’s edition; Year 4 are the next to head off.
Two people have separately offered the same thought of another collective remedy during more difficult times. A parent waiting at pick up, and a member of staff in the playground both said to me, when contemplating the societal pressures we all share, “We all just need to be kind to each other”.
This Week in Pre-Prep ...
by Claire Luckhurst
Another week seems to have passed in the blink of an eye and a whirl of activity; indeed, we are now already half way through this first half-term! It is incredible to see just how much your children have already grown in this short time in terms of understanding new routines and expectations for their respective classes. We have also been hugely impressed with how all the children who joined us brand new to King’s Hall have settled and taken Pre-Prep life in their stride. This is a testament to their own confidence, the warm welcome given to them by the other children in their class and the positive relationships I hope the parents of these children feel they have established with their child’s teacher. It is also lovely to see our family continue to grow as we welcome another four new faces into Nursery 1. We hope Cecily, Finn, Henry and Rose (and their parents!) all enjoy the adventures and fun on offer.
We bid a brief ‘farewell’ to one of our staff family members, Miss Knight, as she begins her maternity leave next week. We wish her the very warmest of wishes and look forward to hearing the exciting news!
A Few Words from...Wilf Gostling
This term's Deputy Head Boy
Hello! My name is Wilf Gostling and I’m this term’s deputy head boy.
I’ve been at King's Hall since reception and this week I wanted to talk about change. Change is a part of life that never stops, and it can be challenging. This week I've had to say goodbye to Milo, my pony, who I have developed a good relationship with. I'm too big for him now so I must move on and he must too! Change can be positive as he will now go to a lovely new home and help teach and form a special bond with his new owner Livvy.
You may encounter change, of which you may not be happy about. But sometimes it happens for a good reason! I have had a few changes in school that I have found a challenge and you may too - a change can bring new opportunities. For example, you may develop in your academics, sport or whatever you're into! So, no matter how hard the change or challenge, never give up on what your good at.
During the weekends, I like to be at home and do the odd bike ride! I usually like to lay back and just chill but this weekend, I’m hoping to go fishing with my dad. One of my favourite sports is swimming and I’m really happy that King's College are able to re-open the swimming pool so I can resume my training.
by Snoops the Dog
Hello dear friends,
I’ve had another week of much the same, but I mean that in a good way because I’ve been enjoying the last few days of summer. Wasn’t last weekend a cracker?
I was taken for the most invigorating walk on the Quantocks by Mr Halls and many of my other, slightly smaller, two legged friends. I did have to make a pinky promise not to chase any deer, ponies, cattle or rabbits and you’ll be pleased to know that I was on my best behaviour. On this occasion we didn’t see any deer but what my humans have to remember is that sometimes we canines just can’t resist taking a closer look. My recall is actually very good so if I’m asked to return, and there’s a high grade treat involved, then I’m always happy to oblige!
Back at school there was a slight concern over a possible tick in my fur but after what felt like minor surgery from Mrs Hardy (she lives on a farm so her amateur veterinary skills and knowledge are very good), it just turned out to be an everyday, common zit which is understandable because in doggie years I’m now a teenager.
So back to life at school, it’s been doggy heaven: playtimes on the field, fun and games at the Kings Hall lido and happy children all wanting to play with me. I’ve mentioned before that I have to try and share myself between the different year groups so this week I made the time to pay a quick visit to nursery. Oh my goodness ...what cutie pies! I’ll be making a return visit to that part of school very soon.
Here’s to the start of the colourful season: Happy Autumn everyone!
Mrs Clare Masters, Houseparent
What a glorious afternoon we had on Sunday. Two hours sitting in the sun watching the children enjoy the beautiful warm outdoor pool, inflatable doughnuts, sharks and aeroplanes just added to the fun. Even Snoops joined in from the side-lines! After swimming the bubble headed up to the Quantocks. The children loved exploring Wills Neck and the rope swing too!
A sporting day in Mr Sprague’s tutor group. We have really made the room our own, not only is it the main teaching room for our ‘bubble’, but we are customising our lockers, hanging our bags on the back of our chairs and leaving the odd cricket or hockey sock at the back of the classroom. A regular home from home, really!
4W have made a super start to the new term. As you can see from the photo, they are a friendly, happy bunch. On discussing highlights of the term so far, it has to be said that Snoops’ regular visits to Room 1 have been a firm favourite. They had already heard that he is rather partial to making himself comfortable in the recycling bag during lessons, but they’ve now seen it for themselves. The adventure playground remains high on the list of exciting weekly events, but the class are all looking forward to their two-day trip to New Barn next week. Last year Snoops came on the residential trip so he’s hoping to free up his diary for at least one of the days this year. Mrs Willmott is very pleased with her hardworking class and would just like to say, ‘keep it up 4W’.
Academic Life - Art
Year 3 have been studying the colour wheel and have created work to showcase hot and cold colours as well as looking at tone by studying 3D shapes.
Year 4 have been studying colour theory, creating spinners to showcase which primary colours can be mixed to create secondary colours. Year 4 recently studied the artist, Hokusai, a Japanese woodblock printer who created the iconic wave image that we see in the pictures.
In Year 5 we have been looking at complementary colours and how they can be used to create a strong contrast and make colours appear more vivid and brighter. The pupils decorated their hand print using these colours, patterns and varying the tonal scale.
The Year 6 children are having lots of fun mixing the three primary colours to make secondary and tertiary colours forming the twelve section colour wheel. Later in the term we will use these colour relationships to achieve different effects such as dramatic contrasts or to make something visually appealing.
Year 7 are studying silhouettes, using images of their lockdown activities, to create a mixed media collage, as well as ICT research into cultural patterns and symbols.
And in Year 8 the children are studying self-portraits, drawing their own, enlarging their photo using grids and painting these, based on ICT research of portraiture artists.
by Mr Dayus-Jones
A few years ago, I gave an assembly on practice – not specifically music practice (although my core examples were musical), but practice as a concept. This quote from the famous violinist and teacher Leopold Auer was one I used at the time and it sums up the key point that good practice should be done with care and consideration:
“Practice with your fingers and you need all day. Practice with your mind and you will do as much in 1 and 1/2 hours”
Practice does not, as the saying goes, make perfect! Practice makes permanent and bad practice will simply lead to bad habits or learning things incorrectly - perhaps permanently! In whatever field you are doing your practice, don’t just go through the motions – think consciously about what it is you are practising. Good practice makes progress.
How to Thatch
This week Mr Hands held some brilliant assemblies for several of our bubbles (Years 3, 4 and 6) on ‘how to thatch’ as pre-teaching, he was also a thatcher! This was a very hands-on, eye opening half hour that was a great start to our day!
The sun shone brightly for us on our first Saturday hockey session of the term. It was great to see the effort and determination from the girls, who came in to put their skills and knowledge to the test in match play. The older girls were also treated to a skills session with Mrs Hardy between their matches, and our Year 5 girls got to grips with some finer skills before pitting themselves against an opposition. Well played girls!SPORTS TWITTER
In 2018, we enhanced our lunchtime hobbies offering with a new and exciting event – The King's Loop. Popular with staff and pupils from across the school, the Loop is a fun yet challenging 2.5k run around the school grounds. Inspired by the popular Park Runs that take place up and down the country, the school community (including Snoops, our boarding pet!) gather to tackle the course twice a week.
Below is a little video of some of our Year 5 and 6 pupils running the Loop, with support and encouragement from language department.
The weather has been so beautiful and just perfect for a spot of cricket. Our pupils have been able to enjoy getting outside on our front field as the sun has continued to shine.
Watch the video below to see a fantastic finish to the cricket on the 1st XI pitch last week.
Also pupils in Mr Stannett's science class have been merging science with cricket. Click the link below to have a look, is Mr Stannett wearing a science lab coat or a cricket umpiring jacket maybe?!
Alex Rider Short Story Competition Winner!
During the lockdown, one of our students Jago Barclay entered a national short story competition on the Alex Rider website https://alexrider.com/story/ and guess what ... he won!
Walkers Books were looking for a short story with a maximum of 500 words, packed with action,
adrenaline and adventure, inspired by Alex Rider’s adventures, which they certainly got!
The first line from Stormbreaker was included as a story starter:
"When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it's never good news."
They expressed how Jago's story was a pleasure to read with exceptional description, an imaginative plot, good characterisation and great pacing/tension. His story will soon be published on the Alex Rider website https://alexrider.com/ Keep a look out!
As part of the prize the school have also won ten signed copies of the brand new mission in the Alex Rider series, Nightshade, and a class set of Alex Rider secret message pens, bookmarks and stickers.
The winning entry is included below for your enjoyment:
When the doorbell rings at three in the morning, it’s never good news.
Alex Rider was instantly suspicious. He stepped down the stairs cautiously, bare feet padding noiselessly on each stair. He approached the front door, his fair hair glistening in the moonlight and his sharp brown eyes alert to every movement around him. He was in good shape – tall and athletic.
Alex took a deep breath, and swung open the door. The last thing he saw was a needle being taken out of a pocket. Then darkness engulfed him.
He woke to bright lights. Alex tried to sit up but ropes were tied across his chest preventing him. He was in some sort of basement, alone.
“Hello,” he called out hesitantly. There was no reply. After a moment, a voice echoed across the room.
“Well, well, well. Our patient is finally awake.” The man was bald, and looked like he had run straight into a thorn bush. He had cuts everywhere and a tattoo on his neck. Alex didn’t like the way he said patient, as if they were going to operate on him.
The man snapped his fingers and three guards rushed into the room. In one swift movement, they cut the ropes tied across Alex’s chest and grabbed him, walking him off to the exit. One of the guards looked down at his watch. Big mistake. Alex hoisted himself up onto the guards’ shoulders before they could react. Then he swung with all his might at the guard looking at his watch.
The guard had just enough time to look up and see Alex’s boot slam into his face. Alex tumbled to the ground and hauled himself onto his feet, running as fast as possible for the doorway with the guards in hot pursuit.
Alex hurtled down a corridor, knowing his only disadvantage was that the guards knew the layout. He didn’t.
He sprinted into a lab and looked around. Dead end. He was trapped.
A moment later the man with the scars entered.
“What do you want?” Alex demanded.
“You.” He said simply. “You are our experiment. I will inject you with my serum. It removes your memory. If it works, I can start the world from scratch. No one will remember anything. And I will run it.”
He was a pretty good actor if he was lying.
The man waited a moment and then took a syringe out of his pocket and lunged at Alex. Alex dodged the syringe and rolled behind a workbench. The bald man stopped and calmed himself. He ran a tap and filled himself a glass of water.
“You’ll have to come out eventually, Alex,” he said, smiling cruelly. Alex looked round and saw a tube of white powder. He grabbed a fistful and chucked it at the man.
Alex covered his face. BOOM! Shards of glass flew everywhere.
Alex looked round. The man was lying face down. “Sodium and water,” he muttered. Then he bolted from the room.
Written by Jago Barclay
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