his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

As a school we want our pupils to show resilience and not give up (whether they are doing a maths paper or losing a sports fixture with five minutes to go), we also want our pupils to know that we are compassionate and understanding.  Pupils need to know that within Stoneygate they can express their emotions to either their friends or staff.

The British have often been accused of a lack of emotion and having a “stiff upper lip”; finding the right balance between being resolute and showing your emotions is difficult enough for adults, let alone pupils.  Recently I spoke to pupils about emotions and crying (and thank you to pupils from Year 9 for their drama).  We cry when we cut an onion, we cry whilst watching a sad film, we cry with joy at weddings, we cry with laughter, we cry with relief when winning gold at the Olympics…

Barack Obama’s speech on gun control…British Olympians

It has been a week full of emotion at Stoneygate.

On Tuesday evening I addressed our alumni on the topic of ‘Stoneygate’s Fallen heroes’.  As Headmaster and as an historian I felt great pride, humility and sorrow talking about young men who had died one hundred years ago in World War I.  What struck me about these young men were their attributes- these were young men who enjoyed their studies and sport.  Characteristics that are still important a century later.

Take, for example, the story of Guy Russell.  He was a natural athlete.


He was captain of rugby in 1904 and two years later he captained the cricket team. (See image.)  Guy fell in love with his childhood sweetheart, Gladys Hitchin.  They eloped to Gretna Green, got married and had a brief honeymoon at the end of which Gladys said farewell to Guy as he left for war. Guy never returned.  He died on October 13th 1915 at the battle of Loos…on the very same day his wife gave birth to their son, Derek.

IMG_4135 Guy Russell, Captain of rugby and cricket…

Wednesday and Thursday were emotional days too.  I was very proud of all the pupils and staff involved in the Pre-Prep production, “A King’s Christmouse”.  The script, the stage, the choreography, the singing, the acting, the costumes..were all first class.  I hope you enjoyed the production as much as I did.

Today we experienced the joys (and some minor frustrations) of technology as we skyped Marvin B Elementary school in North Carolina.  Pupils from our Years 1 and 2 discussed cultural differences..

We asked about Thanksgiving; they asked about Christmas crackers.  I did explain that the joke was supposed to be awful.

Despite being on the other side of the Atlantic, we managed to sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” at the same time.  We aim to develop this link with North Carolina in the future.

Finally, thank you to everyone involved in the Santa Fun Run today… in an age where we have to justify everything, how refreshing it was to do the Morris Mile with our Santa hats on…just for sheer enjoyment…my special thanks to the Stoneygate School Association for helping organise the post run treats: coffee, mince pies and hot chocolate…

In an emotional week, I was delighted to hear Chris Evans talk about us on his radio show this morning….


On Radio 2 this morning…”Robbie Williams, Dawn French and Stoneygate school”…not a bad line up.

Mr Dobson


Dear Parents

Following the success of last year’s event, the Stoneygate School Association (SSA) have decided to repeat the Santa Run again this year for all pupils on the afternoon of Friday 8 December at 2.15 pm on the “Morris Mile” cross country course.

Please send your child to school on the day with suitable accessories to get them in the Christmas Spirit: – Santa hats, reindeer antlers, jingle bells, tinsel and all things Christmassy! All parents are invited to come along and join in the run with their children, so if you wish to join us, please meet us at the start of the Morris Mile Cross County Course at 2.15pm prompt.  Or you can just come along and cheer on the children to the finish line.

Afterwards there will be refreshments served, including turkey sandwiches, hot drinks and mince pies, so please come along to the School Hall and join the festivities, and collect your children from there. Clubs and Prep will continue as planned from 3.30pm.

For catering purposes, it would be useful to know how many parents/guardians will be attending, so we would be grateful if you could return the attached slip to the school office or email us on by Friday 1st December.

P.S Date for your diary – Curry and Quiz Night

Wednesday 24th January 2018 in the School Hall from 7pm.


Santa Run Friday 8th December 2017 


Please include ______ parents/guardians in the catering for the post Santa Run Refreshments. (Return to the school office or email by Friday 1st December).

Name of Child (ren):…………………………………………………………………. Child’s Class (es) ……….

Please could you advise if you have any food allergies/dietary requirements:


Parent/Guardian Name: ……………………………………………………… Date:……………………………..


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I’m always rather wary of statistics.

We know Manchester City beat Leicester City 2-0.  But how well did the Foxes play?  In this Budget week, will £2.8bn over the next three years save the NHS? I noted on Twitter this week that “teenagers who read in their spare time know 26% more words than those who do not”.

Schools can often become obsessed with  League tables and so Eton, St Paul’s, Winchester and as of this academic year, Wellington College, all decline academic information to newspapers on the grounds that they are “increasingly  irrelevant as they attempt to compare different qualifications.”

Below are some statistics relating to the teaching and learning of English and Maths at Stoneygate.  I am pleased with the results as they confirm something I already know i.e. that our pupils are making excellent progress and our staff are working hard to ensure that.  They do not however ‘paint a full picture’.  Assessments need to be used as a tool for teaching and learning.

When doing assessments in the first term, I am also wary that some topics have not yet been taught.  Year 2, for example have not studied geometry yet!

Pink column = National average; green column = Stoneygate Average

Year 1 English

Year 1 Maths

Year 2 English

Year 2 Maths

Year 3 English (Blue = National Average; purple = Stoneygate)

Year 3 Maths

Year 4 English

Year 4 Maths

Year 5 English

Year 5 Maths

Year 6 English

Year 6 Maths

Year 7 English

Year 7 Maths

Year 8 English

Year 8 Maths

Year 9 English

Year 9 Maths


Y9 Maths i

From Year 1 to Year 9 in almost every single section of English and Maths assessments we are ahead of the ‘national average’.

I am delighted with the findings, but not surprised.  These statistics only reinforce what I already knew….we must, however, not rest on our laurels, but continue to improve!

Stars of the week:

Year 1: Ketanndu for learning his lines for the Christmas play and learning his dance routine.

Reception: Hebe for a positive approach to her school day.

I will end this week’s blog with some cricket statistics: England have played Australia in 69 Test series, England have won 32,  Australia have won 32 and  there have been 5 draws.  England have won 18 series at home and lost 14; Australia have won 18 series at home and lost 14) doesn’t bode well for England down under!

Mr Dobson


Laterne, Laterne, Sonne Mond und Sterne


Children at the German Kinderclub have been celebrating the festival of St. Martin with self-made lanterns, a lantern procession and St. Martin’s songs. St. Martin’s day is a German and Austrian tradition celebrated each year on the 11th of November to remember St Martin, who was a friend of the children and patron of the poor. It was fun to learn the German Laterne song by heart and light up the dark afternoon with our bright songs and lanterns!

Year 2


On Friday Year 2 spent a lovely morning in Great Glen as part of our topic on ‘Our Local Area’. We looked at local features, points of interest, thought about directions and noticed road names, shops and useful signs around the village. We stopped at the Post Office to post our envelopes that we had  previously addressed. Everyone is very excited to receive their letters with a special note inside! Then we went into the Post Office to spend the £1 we had on a special treat. Everyone was very polite and well mannered, which the Post office staff commented on. We then strode down to the park , ate our treats and had a play. On the way back to school we followed a secret pathway, saw the church and practically ran up the hill to be back at school in time for our lunch!!



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Last week I attended a Heads’ conference in Leamington Spa.  One of the key note speakers was Elizabeth Wright.  Elizabeth represented Australia at two Paralympic Games and won three medals.  At the conference she spoke on the subject of ‘Resilience, Well being and Success’.

elizabeth wright

On the topic of well being, she challenged adults in the room (and our pupils) to write down three things for which they are grateful for every day for one week.  After repeating this exercise for seven days, “research has shown that it can reduce stress and improve happiness” for months afterwards.  Perhaps today I’d like to thank…

  1. Soldiers past and present
  2. Our imaginative and talented pupils
  3. The generosity of the Stoneygate School parents


We began the week looking at the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele.  The battle epitomised WWI.  Due to torrential rain, the British and Canadian troops found themselves fighting not only the Germans but a quagmire of stinking mud that swallowed up men, horses and tanks.


After 105 days of brutal trench warfare, the Allies finally recaptured the village of Passchendaele – but by then around a third of a million British and Allied soldiers had been killed or wounded in some of the most horrific trench warfare of the conflict.

We looked at examples of bravery, such as the fighter pilot Hardit Singh Malik.  Hardit had studied history at Oxford and played cricket for Sussex.  He flew over Passchendaele whilst in pursuit of the ‘Red Baron’.  Hardit, was unfortunately outnumbered in the skies and he was forced to crash land. There were over 400 bullet holes in his plane.  Somehow he managed to survive; he died in 1980 (with two bullets still lodged in his leg).


Hardit Singh Malik, cricketer and fighter pilot.

Some of our Year 8 pupils have done some creative English based on their knowledge of the war.


A poem written by Will (Y8)

Keeping with creativity, I would like to thank all those pupils who participated in the ‘Children in Need Spotacular Painitng’ competition- an art competition organised by our Year 9 Charity ambassadors.  It had one stipulation- the art work had to be spotty!

A spotacular effort!  Well done to all who entered.

Finally, I’d like to thank the Stoneygate parents.  I’d like to thank all of you who attended last night’s talk on ‘Stoneygate School and Secondary Education’; I’d also like to thank you for supporting our ‘Children in Need’ efforts, either through the baking or the buying of cakes.

We have currently raised over £350.

Stars of the week:

Reception: Aiden and Keira

Year 1: Zak  for Forest School; Leo for number bonds to 20.

Year 2: Georgiana for odd and even numbers; Jessica for learning her Christmas concert words; Rayyan for listening and joining in at carpet time.


Have a good weekend,

Mr Dobson