his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

The ‘Celebration of the Arts’ Week is one of my favourite weeks in the year.  Could I thank all pupils, staff and parents who have supported this project.

The art work produced by the pupils never ceases to amaze me.  Here are some examples, but please do come and view them yourselves.

Year 3- inspired by Fernand Leger & cubism..

Year 4- ‘fantasy animals’

Year 5- inspired by Picasso


Year 6- Still life


Year 7- Textiles

Year 8- Abstract & Portrait

Year 9- Textiles & Portrait



Please do read the previous blogs regarding the ‘Presentation afternoon’ and last night’s ‘Piano and Strings’ concert.

In the midst of all this we embraced Pi day.  As Mr Palmer explained in the UK we put the day, the month, the year when showing the date (16/3/18); in the USA they put the month, the day, the year (3/16/18).  We all agreed it was a strange order, but it does create Pi day (3/14).  Congratulations to all students who took the Pi challenge…but particularly our champion- Bradley in Y6, who can recite over 200 decimal points in the correct order.


We have also played several fixtures this week.  With Mr Timson, I took the Year 5 boys to a mini football tournament at LGS.  I was very proud of the way the boys performed.  In the first match against Witham, we hit the woodwork several times, but ultimately lost 3-0.  In the second match we came from a 2-0 deficit to draw with LGJS.  And in the final games we beat Grace Dieu 8-2.  We were runners up, but most importantly, despite losing our first game, the boys never gave up.  Well done the U10 team.  For more results please do visit the website.

Congratulations to all those pupils from Years 2, 3 and 4 who represented us at the Kettering and District Eisteddfod. We came first in all the classes in which we sang (open and hymn singing) and had some super comments from the adjudicator. The comments included ‘such character and spirit’, ‘ a lovely rhythmic start with such clear, crisp words’, ‘clear ringing tone’, ‘sustained tone colours’ and ‘great commitment and teamwork’. We were given some of the highest marks that we have had in recent years (all distinctions).


Victors once again…well done to all pupils and Mrs Ashwin.

The ‘Celebration of Arts’ week ends this evening with a dance display and the Year 6 production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’.  I wish all participants the best of luck and I’m looking forward to watching all of you.

Stars of the week:

Reception: Emilia

Year 1: Ethan & Oscar

Year 2: Rayyan

Don’t forget tomorrow morning we have our Easter walk (all well behaved dogs welcome) and Easter egg hunt for our younger pupils.

Next week looks equally busy and exciting with sports fixtures, forest school, the fireside debate (“Should we still have a Royal Family in the 21st century?”), the Easter service (Thursday at 10.00, St Cuthberts), the Great Stoneygate bake off, a ‘Bring and Buy’ stall,  the Morris Mile….

I end this week’s blog with Hattie (Y8) who performed this piece during the ‘Piano and strings’ concert.


Mr Dobson


Joie de vivre…

Our annual French day in March always brings the ‘Joie de vivre’ spirit to Stoneygate.  Pupils amazed and delighted each other, staff and parents with their knowledge, application and enjoyment of singing and speaking in French.

From Madame Hosie’s assembly all the way to the final crepe being served at 7pm, school was buzzing with all things French…..

Pupils enjoying Madame Hosie’s assembly…..


Our guest dramatists, Onatti Productions, performing ‘Le château’ …. avec les enfants!


For some pupils delivering plays in English is a challenge…school was so proud that so many students performed in French.  Do enjoy the following clips.






Enfin, merci beaucoup madame Hosie pour une journée merveilleuse…


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I don’t believe pupils should continue to read a book they find either too difficult or too boring.  Reading should be fun and not a chore.  I don’t however want pupils to give in too easily.  Most pupils from the age of 10 upwards should give a book “the first 100 pages” before making any decision as to whether to continue or not.  Reading and resilience have been the key words of the week.

Could I thank all staff, parents and pupils who made it into school this week.  The weather has certainly been challenging.  With all fixtures postponed, surely they’d be no early morning cross country club in the snow?  But this is Stoneygate.  When I asked Mrs Fielding if she was going running with the pupils her response just confirmed her commitment…”Mr Dobson, give me one runner and we are going!” Two pupils turned up and off they went.  Well done to Edward, Toya and Mrs Fielding.

Well done to all those pupils who turned up in costume for World Book Day.  Despite school being covered in snow and a wind chill factor of -8, a whole variety of characters turned out.  From Greg in ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ to Little Red Riding Hood to Toad from ‘Wind in the Willows’.



Thank you to Mr Hackney and 5MH for leading an assembly on World Book Day.

Do take time to read an earlier blog posted by Sally on how the weather this week has affected our wildlife…it make for an interesting read!

Enjoy the weekend and let’s hope we see more sunshine next week….

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I don’t want school to be dull… but sometimes we have to do grammar exercises, sometimes we’ve just got to learn Latin verbs and sometimes we have to practise scales on the piano- and these disciplines are important.  Routine and practise are two key characteristics in education and life…but enjoying something slightly different or totally unexpected can also bring rewards. This week we have experienced performing Chinese lions, huge orchestras, sports fixtures, made science projects and listened to the choir master of Leicester Cathedral choir …

Over half term millions of people celebrated the Chinese New Year; as a school we thought it only fitting to bring this celebration to school.  Without letting the pupils know, we invited ‘Long feng Martial and Cultural Arts’ into school and in doing so they brought colour, noise, gymnastics and tears for some of our younger pupils!


I’d like thank Dr Christopher Ouvry-Johns, Director of Music at Leicester Cathedral for coming to assembly and discussing the role of a chorister.  Mrs Ashwin and I are both keen to develop this relationship with the cathedral.

Thank you to Year 6 who introduced school to World Book day.  This event takes place next Thursday and to celebrate we are giving the pupils an opportunity to come to school dressed as a character from a book (for older, more self-conscious pupils, non-uniform can be worn, however do let us know your favourite character!).  We are asking for a donation of £1 to take part.  This money will then go to a local charitable cause… a 5 year old boy who lives in the county with Muscular Dystrophy.

On Thursday a number of Stoneygate pupils took part in the Prep school Music day at Uppingham.  21 prep schools from all over the country joined in this musical extravaganza.   The evening concert, which I was lucky enough to attend, was truly wonderful.  The experience, thrill and noise made by these 21 schools is unforgettable.  Thanks must also go to Mrs Ashwin and Mrs Angell for accompanying and encouraging the pupils.

We want our pupils to be creative; we also want our pupils to be resilient, determined and brave.  Those characteristics have certainly been on display in our sports fixtures this week.  I was delighted to watch some of our girls in action against Twycross.  My knowledge of netball is still somewhat limited, but I recognise teamwork, spatial awareness and the ability to pass (& shoot!) with a ball. Girls, you were amazing!  We’ve had fixtures against Maidwell Hall, Twycross House and Stamford in football, netball and hockey this week. Please see the website for results and fixtures.


Finally, thank you to pupils (and parents) in Year 5 for building some outstanding models linked to Science work.  The models are on display in both the Science room and the dining room.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Apparently today is ‘National Toothache Day’ and, much to my children’s delight and my incredulity, ‘National Pizza Day’. Really?

We have, as a school, marked two events this week: Internet Safety day and Vote100.

Thank you Mrs Jelly and 4FJ for delivering a really important assembly on Tuesday based on internet safety.  Thanks also to some of our older pupils for helping out with some drama in that assembly.


Drama based on internet safety…

On Thursday, Reception gave school a ‘Q&A’ session on winter- their answers on weather, animals, clothing and hobbies were brilliant!  (Again thanks to our Reception staff, Mrs Balchin and Mrs Stretton.)

IMG_3277 (4)

Happy to play in the snow…

The second national event we remembered this week was the centenary of women in Britain getting the vote.  As a school we have a rich history and I’m very proud that we have links with the Suffragettes.  As I mentioned in my letter, Nellie Taylor, was both a Suffragette and Stoneygate school mother 100 years ago.

nellieNellie, Stoneygate mother & Suffragette

When Emmeline Pankhurst declared, “Deeds, not words”, Nellie responded.   In 1912 Nellie took part in a window smashing campaign in London.  She was subsequently arrested and went on hunger strike.

Our Stoneygate mother has the dubious honour of being one of the first people in the UK to be put under police surveillance… the police watched and photographed Nellie’s movements.  Photographs of Nellie can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery.

Please do complete your ‘Top 5 most inspirational British women’ and return them to me…it will be interesting to see the results.

Queen Victoria, Mary Berry, Boudicca & Adele…would they be on your list?

As a school and as families, we encourage discussion and debate.  This week Madame Hosie and I encouraged pupils from Y6-9 to join us in a debate on the Royal Family.  With Royal weddings imminent this year, we thought it only fitting to discuss ‘Do we need a Royal Family in the 21st century?’  Over half term we’d like pupils to take a side and equip themselves for a lively discussion… there can be no sitting on the fence!

Congratulations to pupils in Y5 & 6 for completing their Maths challenges this week (see Mr Palmer’s blog).

Head teacher’s Awards

Year 2- Ellie- outstanding work

Year 1-Ellie- super glossary definitions

Reception- the entire Form for learning their lines and their wonderful delivery!

Date for the diary:

Parents de-fib training 2nd March, 9.00am school hall.  Refreshments to follow.

Enjoy the half term…I’d better put some pizzas in the oven!

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I’m very much looking forward to the 6 Nations competition starting this weekend.

There is a misconception in some schools that competition is bad; that self-esteem will be affected if a child loses. But to lose, is not to be a ‘Loser’.  If a child can experience the thrill of winning and the disappointment of losing early in life through competitive sports, they will be well equipped for the reality of life.

Competition provides motivation to achieve a goal; to demonstrate determination, creativity and perseverance to overcome challenges; and to understand that hard work and commitment leads to a greater chance of success.

Life is full of situations where there are winners and losers: a sports game; getting a job; bidding on a contract; not getting into the desired college. Children need to learn how to cope with disappointment and to be able to genuinely appreciate the good fortune, talents and abilities of the “winner” and then look forward to the next opportunity to try again.

As a school we will continue to play sport competitively and in this term we will perform at the Kettering Music Festival, we will encourage our pupils to participate in the ‘500 words’ writing competition and we eagerly await the return of Mr Palmer’s Pi challenge!


There are two age categories for the Radio 2 500 words competition: 5-9 and 10-13.  There is more information about this competition in the library and on the Radio 2 website.  Do listen to some of the winning examples…and get writing this half term!

Well done to all the pupils who took part in our fixtures this week.  It is our philosophy to get as many pupils playing in competitive fixtures as possible.  I was therefore delighted that out U11D squad got a fixture.  Please do view all our results on the school website.

Congratulations to all who played in the ‘Keyboard, Drums and Guitar’ concert on Thursday.  I was fortunate enough to watch the first part (before dashing to another meeting) and I was delighted with what I saw.  Stoneygate pupils concentrating, reading, developing skills and enjoying their music.


Our guitar and ukulele ensembles…

Competition in sport and performing music both help the brain….and we will continue to promote both at Stoneygate.  The diagram below shows how the two disciplines can have a positive effect on academia.


As we had League/House meetings this week and a School Council meeting, our ‘Stars of the Week’ are from the previous week:

Year 2: Archie for his amazing knowledge on birds.

Year 1: Leonardo for good segmenting when spelling.

Rec: Aiza for recognising and writing numbers.

Enjoy the rugby…


Mr Dobson



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Artificial intelligence is already here.  Pupils at Stoneygate use an online maths programme that suits their individual needs.  Does this mean that staff will be replaced by computers?  In the short term, the simple answer is no; teachers will still be needed.  In the 21st century AI will increase in education and this is the theme of Sir Anthony Seldon’s new book: ‘The Fourth Education Revolution’.

The first revolution, Seldon argues, consisted of learning the basics of survival – foraging, hunting, growing crops and building shelters.  The second involved the first organised sharing of knowledge and the third was marked by the invention of printing.  The fourth educational revolution, Seldon believes, could happen in the next 10 years.  Under this revolution AI would lead education by emotionally sensitive machines, which would be highly personalised.


‘The Fourth Education Revolution’ should be out this spring.

The most important aspect of any school is the quality of the staff.  Mrs Hayden, who has taught at Stoneygate for several years, will be leaving at half term.  Mrs Hayden has been an outstanding teacher and will be sorely missed by both staff and pupils; we wish her well in her new ventures.   Mr Jelly will be covering Mrs Hayden and meetings are already taking place to enable a smooth transition.  You may notice on the website we are currently advertising for three new posts at Stoneygate…AI might be approaching, but we will keep investing in staff.

It’s been a busy week at Stoneygate with sports fixtures, Book Fairs and a Science challenge. Last week I managed to see some netball, this week I managed to see some football.  We had some extremely close games this week which made for some exciting encounters…

Versus Brooke Priory, the U13A’s & the U11B’s both won, with the U11A’s, C’s and D’s narrowly losing.  The U9’s played Wellingborough, with our A team victorious and the B’s defeated.  All close games, congratulations to all players.


Could I thank all parents and pupils for supporting the Book Fair this week (thanks also to Mr Timson for organising this) ….in a technological age, we will still encourage the reading of books…IMG_4421

I also need to thank pupils and parents from Year 8 for their ‘Life on Earth Challenge’.  Please do view Mrs Angell’s earlier blog.

Finally, congratulations to all the pupils below on receiving their recent music certificates.


Well done Rosie, Imara, Felix, Olivia, Hattie, Shonali and Karan.

Playing sport, reading books, touching science, making music… Artificial Intelligence may well increase in education, but I’m certain our pupils are gaining much through these current activities.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr Dobson