his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Finding the right balance between technological and traditional methods of teaching and learning is crucial for both school and home.

At Stoneygate this week I’ve enjoyed working with pupils from Years 2, 3 & 5 on the Ipads.  Their creative minds mixed with intuitive technology means we can sharpen our analytical skills and create stories within minutes.  Does this herald the end for books?  Absolutely not.

On Tuesday, Mrs Stocks led a wonderful assembly on the importance of reading.  She also highlighted some of the writing competitions some of our pupils will be entering.

We know stories can inspire, increase vocabulary, expand imagination, improve memory…they can also reduce stress.  Do listen to Tom Hardy below and tell me if you don’t feel better having listened to this story.

There have been many outstanding performances in sport this week:

In hockey, well done to all who played in either the Stamford or LGS tournaments- at Stamford the U10A team won all their matches playing against Laxton, Copthill, Stamford, Brooke Priory & drew against Grantham.  The U13 girls at LGS drew against Welland Park A, beat Welland Park B, beat LGS B, & lost against LGS A.

Player of the week in hockey: Imara for her ball control and setting up many of the goals scored in the Stamford hockey tournament.

In rugby, the U13’s drew against Oundle (40-40), the U11’s played in the Stamford Rugby tournament, the U10s A& B played against Fairfield (the A’s won, the B’s had an epic 50-50 tie) and the U9’s A&B played at Maidwell. (For more details view the SOCS website).

Player of the week in rugby: George T (Y6) for some superb tackling in the Stamford tournament.  Champagne moment however must go to Ben in Y7, who having just joined the school, in the first minutes of his first match, caught the ball and scored a try!


Well done Ben!

On Thursday I spoke to the pupils about the following two people…hopefully they will know the difference (and similarities) between the two!

It was agreed these two men…did have something to moan about; whereas we are very lucky.

Enjoy the weekend and I look forward to seeing you either at the ‘Welcome Back Evening’ on Monday night or the ‘Careers Convention’ (Years 7-9) on Tuesday night.

Mr J Dobson




his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Lots of schools talk about their ‘holistic approach’ to education…but there are few prep schools who can demonstrate it so well in the first full week back as Stoneygate.

Staff are encouraged to think of new initiatives and to implement them.  I was delighted to see so many pupils (and parents) at our inaugural early morning run this week.  It was a truly invigorating start to the day…with everyone enjoying the run in the morning sunshine.  Congratulations must also go to our U11 rugby and hockey squads who performed well at Laxton Junior school this week.


Mrs Ashwin delivered an inspirational assembly this week on how music can actually make you smarter.  Despite the obvious bias, Mrs Ashwin showed pupils how music can not only help with your creative thinking, but also numeracy and even sport.


I really should play the clarinet more often….

This week we also celebrated some outstanding work done over the holidays.  Four pupils gained the ‘Headmaster’s Award’:

Louie’s (Y5) summer project work on a trip to Italy, complete with a parody of ‘diary of a wimpy kid’:


Some of our GATE pupils produced some imaginative work based on the theme ‘the Journey’: Evie (Y7) chose to paint a gruelling part of the ‘Tour de France’, Mount Ventoux- a difficult journey for many cyclists. Joanna (Y7) pieced together her grandmother’s journey through the 1930s- 1960s.  Alice (Y6) created a family tree, charting her family’s ‘ journey’.




From exploratory walks in Year 2, to Science experiments in Year 5, to  creative work with textiles in Year 9. ..pupils (and parents) are getting into the routine of our holistic approach to education at Stoneygate.

Have a good weekend,

Mr J F Dobson



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I need to start with some ‘thank yous’.   Thank you staff for all the hard work over the summer- school looks wonderful and thank you to the parents for returning such smart looking pupils!


From house to school…

For the first three days of this week all staff have been involved in INSET (In Service Training).  Courses have varied from ‘the Legalities of Data Management’, to using Educational Apps, to ‘How to use a Defibrillator’ (thank you Mrs Johnson) to ‘Creating a Forest School’.  INSET has been varied, informative and inspirational.

The consultant who led the ‘Forest school Training’ was bowled over by our beautiful surroundings. She delivered practical ideas to outdoor learning and discussed the importance of ‘taking risks whilst learning outside’.  The progressive Prince Albert saw the risks and benefits of learning, working and playing outdoor over 150 years ago.  The Swiss Cottage at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight was not built for aesthetics, but for the Victoria and Albert’s children to discover and explore.

Risk is a necessary part of education and I spoke to the pupils about this on Thursday.  Risk is not about putting yourself in danger.  Risk is about taking yourself out of your “comfort zone” and often about trying something new.   So let’s encourage Stoneygate pupils to try different foods, try a different after school club and perhaps write a different story ending.

Looking forward to the term ahead…

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Much is happening at Stoneygate this summer… with investment in sport (see the new hockey and mini goals), in the Art block, in Administration, in IT (nine new interactive whiteboards are currently being installed, two trolleys containing Ipads have been loaded with the latest apps).

The introduction of nine interactive whiteboards will aid teaching and learning at Stoneygate.

We have invested in new furniture in the foyer of the new building, a new kitchen is currently under construction, the windows are being replaced at the back of the old building and the conversion of School House, from a residential setting to an educational one… is close to completion.

A new kitchen is planned for September….

A learning hub for pupils, staff and parents in the foyer of the new building and new windows for the old building…

It is a very exciting and busy summer here at Stoneygate.

I will keep you informed with developments throughout the summer.

Kind regards,

Mr J F Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Thursday’s fete epitomised everything that is good about Stoneygate.  Everyone worked together, everyone had fun and we delivered something that was very special.  Could I thank all pupils, staff, parents and external organisations that made the fete such a success.  Money raised from yesterday will be shared between the SSA and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust.

In the morning the pupils certainly enjoyed the bird of prey demonstration….

Izzy has everything under control…

It is through links with this Trust and Mrs Johnson that school now has a defibrillator.  This defibrillator is to be used by anyone, for anyone on the school site.  On Monday 4th September parents are invited to attend a defib training session at school (1.15pm in the foyer of the new build)- please do put this date in your diary.

This week we have congratulated pupils for the musical, sporting and academic efforts…well done to you all.

Some of our prize winners…thank you to Mrs Rhodes and Mrs Banerjee for handing out the awards.

For pupils that are leaving, I wish you all the best and remember your final assembly here.  Be bold, be daring, be not be the ship that stays in the harbour.


I will end this blog with some thank you’s…

Thank you to the pupils for their energy, their enthusiasm, their kindness and their willingness to learn.

Thank you to all staff (- site, catering, office, academic-) for your high standards, hard work and creativity.

Thank you parents for your continued patience and support.

I hope you all have a wonderful, safe holiday.


Mr J F Dobson

Don’t forget the Headmaster’s Challenge!



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

With the summer holidays imminent, this week’s assemblies focussed on ‘keeping safe’ and ‘journeys’.

On Tuesday we were fortunate enough to have Mike, a volunteer from the RNLI, in school to talk to us about the importance of keeping safe at the beach.  Mike spoke about ‘cold water shock’, rip currents, tested pupils on their flag knowledge and gave some interesting facts..there are almost 20,000 miles of coastline to patrol!

Keeping with safety over the holidays, many of you will be aware of a recent update to Snapchat (Snap Map) which shows publicly posted images on a searchable map which is accurate enough to determine exactly where that person is located at that time, therefore indicating a user’s home address.  Although mobile phones are not allowed at Stoneygate, we do realise some of our older pupils use them outside school; as a school we feel we ought to warn you and advise pupils to switch off Snap Map. See article below…

On Thursday 4DS delivered a thought provoking assembly based on a follow-up to the ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’ story.  The message was an important one- sometimes we have to go into the unknown, but with confidence, caution and help from our friends- we can overcome our fears.


The Three Billy Goats’ grandchildren and ‘the bridge’…..

Keeping with trips and journeys, could I thank all the parents who dropped off their children at 4.30 am this morning.  Pupils and staff were still in remarkably good spirits before heading off to the airport.

There’s definitely a look of concern amongst fellow passengers..

Finally, thank you to the SSA for last week’s ‘Midsummer Ball’- it was a truly wonderful evening.


Beautiful setting, superb band, great food…and we raised money for charity.

With our senior choir touring Dublin this weekend, it only seems right that I end this week’s blog with our very own Mr Ashwin singing this classic Irish song….


Mr J F Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Yesterday pupils from Years 7 & 8 trekked the Higger Tor route in the Peak District.  As we approached the end of our hike, just before the distribution of ice lollies, we ‘paused for thought’.  We discussed our journey in both literal and metaphorical terms.  We decided that life, rather like our trek, was sometimes difficult, but ultimately rewarding.  The path was not always smooth; sometimes there were boulders in our way.  There were moments of difficult climbs, followed by gentle slopes.  We walked through sunshine, wind, rain and even thunder… but with determination, help from our friends and a sense of humour, we all made it back to base camp.

Comparing life with our trek…Thomas Hardy would approve!

I’m delighted to announce we have raised over £100 for Breast Cancer Care this week.  Throughout the week , whenever there has been an opportunity to drink tea or coffee, we have asked for donations.  One such opportunity came after the ‘Mothers v Girls’ rounders game…

This year we had two rounders games.  The mums won one and lost one…we also raised money for an important cause.

Thank you to pupils, parents and staff who attended Tuesday’s Summer Sequence Concert.  With record temperatures being met, we decided to hold the concert in the courtyard.   It was a glorious evening with outstanding solo performances from Bea (Y8), Joanna (Y6) and Siddharth (Y8), wonderful duets from Will and Max (Y7) and Tabitha and Mia (Y5 ukulele duet) and some marvellous team efforts from the Stoneygate Recorder Consort, the Senior Choir, ‘The Fab Five’ and the Stoneygate School Orchestra.

Thanks to Mr and Mrs Ashwin and Mr James for organising the evening….. and to the ice cream man for turning his sound off!

Parents, could I ask you to monitor fidget spinners.  Although I spoke about the craze in an earlier blog, some fidget spinners are now dangerous.  If your child has a spinner with sharp edges, please keep it at home.  If the spinner has smooth, circular edges pupils may play with them at break.

No sharp edges please.

Stars of the week:

Year 2-                  Ophelia

Year 1-                  Archie (this week)

Ellie (last week)

Reception-          Ethan (this week)

Noah (last week)

Looking forward to seeing you all at the Mid-Summer Ball,

Mr J F Dobson