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his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

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A picture that says a thousand words….

Happiness, unity, joy, summer…they all spring to mind when I see this image.  Could I thank all pupils, staff and parents for all their efforts not just in this final week, but the entire academic year.

With Prize Giving, the Summer fete and Leavers’ assembly, we have celebrated the best of what Stoneygate is all about this week.

I hope everyone enjoys their holidays.  Please do send me a postcard!

Mr J F Dobson

HMV

his-master-voice Headmaster’s Voice

The summer holidays will soon be upon us; newspapers are suggesting holiday reading material.  English will always be subjective.  The same novel can be “a gripping read” to one critic and yet panned by another.   From our summer assessments, both internal and external, one thing is clear- English at Stoneygate is going from strength to strength.  The highest mark awarded to our Common Entrance students this year came in English. English dept Heads at both Oakham and Loughborough GS have commented on the excellence of Stoneygate pupils in this particular field.  This year the English department introduced a new online comprehension system and yet despite some phenomenal results at 13+, the dept will not be resting on its laurels.  Next year the staff will be looking at ways to improve creative writing.

Stoneygate pupils and staff do not stop until the final day of term.  Having returned from France and Yorkshire, the previous week, several pupils were then involved in the Summer Sequence concert on Tuesday evening.

A beautiful evening in the sunshine..

It’s certainly been a busy week for Mrs Ashwin.  Following the concert, her Form 5LA then performed an assembly on careers and possible jobs. 5LA chose a career from every letter in the alphabet- it was an informative and at times hilarious assembly; written and directed by the children themselves.  I‘m not sure how many pupils will become Queen…but we can all hope!

The alphabet of possible jobs by 5LA..from kick boxing to Yoga Teacher, from Lawyers to Vets…

At Stoneygate teaching and learning is not limited to the classrooms and this week with the glorious weather pupils have enjoyed Forest school and Science discovery lessons around the school grounds.

Forest school ended with “fire, food and fun!”  All the children revisited the safety rules of fire lighting and then helped build the fire. Years 2 and 3 looked at food preparation outside and Year R and 1 found out what happens when you heat corn over a fire.

All the classes toasted marshmallows on the food sticks they made last time and tried either chocolate cakes made in hollowed out oranges or bananas with chocolate buttons melted inside the skins.  Reception and Year 1 made s’mores with their marshmallows.

Mrs Angel, always looking to inspire pupils, took pupils to the school pond and the forest to search for wildlife…

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I now have 5 minutes to get to Kibworth to umpire the dads v lads game.  Good luck to both teams.

Stoneygate pupils and staff do not stop…but that’s what we like!

 

Mr J F Dobson

 

 

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Thank you to all pupils, staff and parents who have helped Stoneygate in the last week.

Last Saturday the Senior Choir sang with an adult choir, the Cecilian Singers, at LGS.  The varied programme included extracts from ‘Mary Poppins’ to Henry VIII’s ‘Pastime with Good Company’.  The two choirs sang together on two pieces: Bob Chilcott’s ‘Five days that Changed the World’ and Howard Goodall’s ‘In Memoriam- Anne Frank’.  Two challenging, yet beautiful pieces.  Thanks as ever, to Mr and Mrs Ashwin.

This week we’ve had our three sports days.  Competition is important at Stoneygate.  We want pupils to have a desire to win; but pupils must also learn to lose.  Both are equally important skills.  Over the course of three sports days I’ve seen pupils excelling in throwing, running (long and short distances), hurdling, long jumping, speed jumping…I’ve even learnt the correct method for handing over the baton during the relay race!  I’ve also witnessed good sportsmanship.

A wonderful photo of some Y6 boys hurdling..

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As Jesse Owen said, “Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”

We’ve recently looked at being different and being brave in assemblies.  Year 4, under Mr Stocks’ guidance performed a short play in assembly about being an evacuee.

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This week I’ve continued with that theme, drawing comparison with Paddington Bear.  Paddington Bear took a perilous journey across waters to reach England.  He came with very little- just a suitcase and a label (and some marmalade sandwiches!).  The author, Michael Bond, deliberately made comparisons with both evacuees and the ‘Windrush Generation’.

Finally, I’d like to thank the parents  (the SSA in particular) and the catering team for helping organise tonight’s BBQ.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr J F Dobson

Dev

On Thursday evening Dev Naran (Year 3) died in a car accident.

At this moment of deep sadness for the Stoneygate School community we must endeavour to remain strong and come together to offer mutual support.  The impact of this devastating loss will be felt in different ways and at different times by everyone within our community.  Please do not suffer alone.  Our pastoral staff, Chaplain and the Trust Counsellor will be available in the days ahead to offer support and guidance to anyone who needs it.

We shall be holding a short service in School on Monday morning at 8.45am for pupils, staff and friends.  A book of condolences will also be placed in the School Hall.

I am deeply sorry to be writing to you with this news.

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Dev, with some of his school friends last week…

Mr Dobson

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I have to confess that I am sometimes rather cynical of educational buzz- words.  In the 1990’s schools were encouraged to create students who would be “life-long learners” (i.e. learning is not confined to childhood or the classroom, but takes place throughout life and in any range of situation.)  But surely history has shown that most people have continued to learn, either a trade or a profession, post school…did it really need terminology?

Thanks to my pupils and staff, I have learnt some incredible information this week.

On Tuesday, Reception pupils delivered a wonderful assembly on animals.  Did you know the shape of an African elephant’s ear is the same shape as a map of Africa?

Did you know a giraffe’s tongue is black so that it doesn’t get sunburnt?

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I also found out this week the inside gossip from Buckingham Palace…thank you Year1 for your amusing and illuminating assembly on the Royal Family.

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‘The Queen’ complete with her marigolds…

Mrs Ashwin has been learning and incorporating some newly found knowledge in Music lessons.  Mrs Ashwin has recently attended one of the Kodaly Music courses.  This method of teaching involves lot of games, singing and even sign language as was demonstrated during the Pre- rep and Years 3 & 4 Choir concert this week.

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Congratulations to all who took part in this concert.

A love of singing should certainly not end when your school days are over.  I am delighted to announce that Mr Ashwin will be starting the Stoneygate Community Choir from this September.  If you are free on Tuesday afternoons from 2.35- 3.15 and simply enjoy singing, please do join us.  (There are no auditions and no singing experience is required.)

Learning is certainly not confined to the classroom at Stoneygate.

This week pupils from Reception to Y3 enjoyed a variety of activities at Forest School.

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Pupils inspired by our surroundings…

Reception and Year 1 pupils listened to the story of “Stanley’s Stick” and created their own hobby horses using a stick of their choice .  Year 2 explored how to make natural paints and leaf printing on material using mallets. They were very proud of their flags at the end of the session.  Year 3 explored the wood to discover a wide range of different leaves and began to name and identify them. They also explored the natural paints and made prints of the different leaves using clay.  See photo below…

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Residential trips are hugely beneficial and educational: from confidence building to encouraging independence to team building; these trips develop a different aspect of learning. I hope our Year 3 and Year 4 pupils enjoy their time at Caythorpe Court this weekend.

Enjoy the half term break,

Mr J F Dobson

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I was reminded this week of the scene in ‘The Life of Brian’ when the Peoples’ Front of Judea (or is it the Judean People Front!) are holding a meeting and justifying their raison d’être. “What ‘ave the Romans ever done for us?” asks an irate John Cleese. Cue: “aqueducts”, “roads”, “irrigation”, “medicine”, “education”, “sanitation”, “public baths”, “wine”…Brilliant.

Year 3 have been studying the Romans and their impact on Britain.  On Thursday morning they performed a wonderful, informative assembly on the Romans and the Celts, including their version of the Horrible Histories rap on Boudicca.

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Last week Gregorius Manlius, Roman Legionary and sometime gladiator, visited Year 3.  Gregorius discussed Roman legacy, led a handling session and even got our Year 3 pupils performing Roman army drills.

Year 3 pupils in costume….. and delighted to learn and play Roman games & study pottery…

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Year 3 in testudo (tortoise) formation.

It has been an unofficial History week at Stoneygate.  On Monday, Year 4 pupils went back in time to WW2 and were evacuated from Stoneygate School.  On Tuesday morning, 4FJ gave an illuminating assembly on communication and how that has changed in the last 200 years.  On Wednesday, Year 2 visited Charnwood Museum.

We ended the week with a Tea party (not Boston style) to celebrate the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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The tea party also raised money for The Bridge (Homelessness to Hope) charity.  Thank you to the organisers and those who supported the event.

Stars of the week:

Reception: Charlotte for descriptive writing.

Year 1: Krish for multiplication.

Year 2: Clara for amazing work on air raid shelters.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr J F Dobson

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

There has been much in the press lately about telling the time.  The story came about after comments from a former head teacher, Malcolm Trobe, now deputy general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, who said “the current generation aren’t as good at reading the traditional clock face as older generations”. To help minimise stress in important exams, he has suggested switching to digital clocks.

I have been thinking about this issue.  Do we need to teach Stoneygate pupils about analogue clocks?  If so, who should teach them about telling the time?

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Too complex, out-dated for the 21st century?

We no longer use slide rules or videos and yet these once-essential skills have fallen into disuse not because we have become lazy, but because our tools have become more sophisticated.  For students (and adults today) digital displays are simply more common, whether on train platforms, computer screens or mobile phones. No wonder our children are confused!

Is it even necessary for 21st century children to learn how to tell the time on an analogue clock in today’s digital age? I believe it is. Analogue clocks can provide a vivid representation of time that digital clocks cannot. With many different learner types – including visual learners/thinkers – most need the analogue clock to have a good understanding of time. Analogue clocks help children understand the passage of time because they have hands that are constantly moving and they help with the 5 times table!

We will continue to learn with analogue clocks at Stoneygate, but we also need your help at home.  School and home need to work together on numerous issues: from reading to fastening shoelaces, from bowling practice to telling the time.

Well done to all pupils who participated in fixtures this week against Maidwell Hall and Laxton Junior.

Milly certainly works hard at improving her sport both at school and outside school.  Here she is in action mid week- great concentration and technique- the opposition fielder has started running- she knows Milly is going to hit the ball a long way!

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I was fortunate enough to join the U9 cricketers away at Laxton on Thursday.  The A’s lost, but the B’s drew in an exciting final over.  Definitely more bowling practice needed both in school and at home.

Schools and homes also need to work together on food, diet and allergies.  This week a pupil at Stoneygate did have an allergic reaction as he had been near to a pupil who had been eating nuts in the car prior to school.  If your child enjoys eating ‘Crunchy nut corn flakes’ or even just nuts for breakfast, please ensure that he/she brushes their teeth.  It’s important for their health and possibly others. As we approach the trip season, could I also ask that NO nuts (or food containing nuts) are brought on these trips, thank you.

Reverend Kim Ford spoke to the children this week about courage and bravery, we also heard from a representative from VASL (Voluntary Action for South Leicestershire)- who spoke about their role in our society.

Year 3 also had a special guest this week- dating back 2,000 years- a Roman soldier gave an illuminating talk to our pupils on life in Roman Britain.

It’s been great to have some May sunshine in our beautiful gardens…

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It is now 5:35 or is it twenty five to 6?

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr J F Dobson