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

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Data means power in the 21st century.  My supermarket knows where I live; it knows my favourite apples and the razors I use. Data in the wrong hands can cause all sorts of problems; just ask Mr Zuckerberg about Cambridge Analytica and 87 million Facebook users.

New laws regarding GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be introduced this month.  These new laws will affect everyone.  As a school, and as a Trust, we believe we are ready.  We are currently working with all our external bodies who may receive information regarding your children.  For example, we have created an ISA (Information Sharing Agreement) that will be sent to all companies involved in residential trips.  Both school and the external organisation will need to sign this ISA which states that any information on pupils is shared securely, this information will be stored securely, the external organisation will not pass on any pupil information to another party and the organisation must agree to destroy the data once the trip has ended.

The following data I’m delighted to share with you.  Assessment data must be used in schools to enhance teaching and learning.

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Last week pupils from Y1- Y9 did some online assessments- as you can see pupils from all year groups shown are performing exceptionally well.  In all areas of English (Reading, comprehension and spelling) the vast majority of pupils are well above their chronological age; the same can be said about their mental maths.

(The green line is reflects the chronological age.  Each Year group (Y1-6) has a colour coded rectangular box. The rectangular box shows you where the middle 50% of pupils are in relation to their age equivalent scores. 25% of pupils will be above the rectangle and 25% will be below. The horizontal line in the middle of the box is where the median score for the class is. The vast majority of our pupils are working above their chronological age.)

The desire for more data in sport has been irrepressible in the last twenty years. Athletes and sports coaches need as much data as possible.  Data scientists are now an invaluable part of a team’s success.

I do have some swimming data on Jacob and Sophie- two of our finest swimmers.

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Jacob & Sophie…exceptional swimmers

Jacob (Y5) managed to get into 6 individual regional swimming finals (competing against pupils who are two years older).  In the 50m U11/12’s freestyle event, Jacob won the silver medal; an incredible achievement.

In the Northampton County Swimming event, Sophie (Y8) collected 5 golds, 6 silvers and 5 bronze medals; she managed to gain 7 regional qualifying times.  In the regional finals Sophie went on to record 7PBs (a marvellous statistic in itself); Sophie came 4th in the 50 freestyle event and won bronze in the 100m freestyle.

I was delighted to see so many pupils enjoying the sunshine and playing cricket and rounders this week.

Some sports stats:

Cricket v Bilton Grange

U13’s (won)

U11’s A (lost)

U11’s B (won)

U11’s C (won)

U11’s D (lost)

Rounders v Bilton Grange

U13’s (won)

U11’s A (won)

U11’s B (won)

U11’s C (drew)

Cricket v Witham

U9’s A (won)

U9’s B (lost)

U8’s A (lost)

 

Rounders v Witham

U9’s A (lost)

For more details, please visit the school website.

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Enjoy the Bank holiday weekend and hopefully the sunshine…

Mr J F Dobson

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

In the Lent Term we asked Stoneygate pupils (and parents) to list their top five ‘Inspirational British Women’.  It makes for interesting reading.  JK Rowling received more votes than Beatrix Potter; Jessica Ennis more votes than Queen Victoria!  I was delighted to see Rosalind Franklin managed to get into our top ten. In her short lifetime, this incredible British scientist did not receive sufficient accolades for her work in DNA.

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The brilliant British female scientist Rosalind Franklin…

Thanks to Year 9 for collating this information…combining History and Maths to good effect.  The size of the block represents the number of votes cast. ‘Queen Elizabeth’ is our current monarch, not the Tudor queen!

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It was also lovely to note that some pupils highlighted their mum in the top 5 ‘Inspirational British women’.

Nellie Taylor, Stoneygate School mother and ardent suffragette, would have been thrilled to have witnessed the unveiling of the Millicent Fawcett statue in Westminster this week. Never before has there been a statue of a woman in Parliament square, now there is….

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The great political reformer… with Sadiq Khan and Theresa May.

Thank you to Y8 pupils for leading a wonderful socio-political assembly on plastic this week.  Their assembly including jaw-dropping statistics, shocking videos and witty drama!  Their message was an important one: we must reduce, reuse and recycle.  Currently 8 million pieces of plastic end up in our oceans every day.  Following the assembly, I spoke to our catering team about ways in which Stoneygate can reduce using plastic.

In our other assembly, Nathan (Leicestershire CCC) and Lauren (Loughborough Lightning CC) spoke to the pupils about a new cricket initiative.

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Lauren & Nathan took some cricket classes.

Remember girls, cricket is not just for boys.  The English women’s cricket team are currently the world champions.

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Keeping with cricket, well done to all those who played at Bilton Grange this week.  Don’t be fooled by the photo…it looks like an idyllic afternoon of cricket….ten minutes after this photo was taken the skies opened.  Please do view the website for results.

Enjoy the weekend,

 

Mr J F Dobson

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter.  It’s been particularly lovely to welcome the pupils back with the school looking so smart; several classrooms have been painted, as have the stables…. and the sun finally came out.

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Mrs Ashwin and Reception pupils enjoying Music outside in the stables block…

Hope is crucial in families, in our schools and in our society.  This Easter the world remembered the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King.  He declared, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”.  Like many people over the break, I joined the National Civil Rights Museum, in ‘committing to a year of peace and action’- over the course of 50 weeks the Museum will send 50 achievable actions that ‘realise Dr King’s legacy of peace’.

I hope (nay insist) that ‘teaching and learning’ continues to improve.  As staff we continuously review our work with both the pupils and our surroundings- we must always seek to improve our curricula and the fabric and infrastructure of our buildings. Key areas in numeracy and literacy are being addressed; some structures are being demolished, others are being re-furbished.

Going, going, gone.

The old mobile classrooms were demolished this Easter.

We all want (and hope) our children will be safe, happy and learning.  It was interesting to note how our Year 6 pupils fared in a county Internet survey recently.  Here are some of the findings… I was delighted to see our pupils do not spend more than 4 hours a day on the internet.  I hope this will continue.

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The Y column in the following grids represent % of pupils in Y6.  The blue represents Stoneygate, the red represents the average in the county.

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Again, I was pleased to note no-one uses phone cameras/webcams to chat with ‘new people’.

As a community, we do need to stay vigilant.  A worrying stat was the fact that 25% of our 11 year olds do not know about privacy settings and 18% had ‘online friends they’d never met’.  School will address both matters, but they also need to be monitored and addressed at home.

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For many young children with serious illness, hope is a necessity.  I was delighted to hear about Ellie’s (Y1) actions over the Easter break. Ellie decided to donate her hair to ‘The Little Princess Trust’.  This organisation make wigs for children with serious illnesses.  Ellie also made nearly £500 in donations.  Well done Ellie…we are all very proud of you.

Ellie..before and after…

On Tuesday, ‘Mother Liz’ (Trust chaplain) spoke to all the pupils about Easter and the message of hope.  Jesus’ life did not end with his crucifixion, through his resurrection, she explained, he brought hope to the world.

Finally, good luck to Miss Harris running in the London Marathon this weekend.  We hope it’s not too hot and we hope you finish!

Enjoy the sunshine and blue skies

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Mr Dobson

 

 

HMV

his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

This week the world was not surprised to hear that Vladimir Putin had been ‘elected’ President of Russia once more.  Putin gained over 76% of the vote; the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, was barred from the race.  Democracy, in all forms, is a difficult concept, as Churchill declared, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

This week we held a debate, the motion being ‘This House believes the Monarchy in 21st century Britain is irrelevant’.  Four pupils argued for, four pupils argued against.  Comments and views were taken from the floor.  No-one was barred….Kremlin please note.  In a tense open vote at the end of the debate, scores were even.  Madame Hosie, as Chairwoman, therefore had the casting vote.  The motion was not carried.  Democracy triumphant; the Queen delighted!

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Democracy in action…

There have been a number of school events this week in which pupils, staff and parents have all worked together to benefit both our pupils and charitable causes.

I thought our pupils read and sang beautifully at our Easter service at St Cuthbert’s Church.  The collection from the service will be shared between the Church (part of the Church floor needs to be repaired) and the Bishop’s Lent Appeal (to help the victims of hurricane Irma).  Two worthy causes.

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Sunshine on our way to Church…

The Morris Mile looked spectacular this week- thank you to Mrs Telfer for the hay bales and to the staff who constructed the course.  It was certainly more challenging than last year… with the first hurdle resembling Becher’s Brook!  Were the pupils overwhelmed?  The harder the course, the more determined they were.

Older students helping younger ones…

Here are some of the highlights from the race…

Prior to the steeplechase, Mrs Angell and Mrs Veary had the difficult, but ultimately enjoyable task of judging ‘The Great Stoneygate Bake Off!’.  Thank you again to all pupils and parents who entered this.  We raised almost £300.  This will be split between the Matt Hampson Foundation and Sport Relief.

Congratulations to Clara, Mia, Lea and Elizabeth.  The cakes looked and tasted wonderful.  Particular thanks must go to our parental body, the SSA, for helping out with this event.

We ended the term with a Pre- Prep gym display and a ‘Bring and Buy’ Sale.  A special thanks must go to Mrs Fielding and Mr Palmer for organising the two events.

Thanks to Mrs Fielding for not only putting on the display, but for her coaching.  The pupils showed great balance and gymnastic technique, but also progression…with some of the Year 2 pupils managing vaults and summersaults.

It has been a long winter and I think we are all looking forward to the Trinity term.  With Easter one associates new life.  During the holiday there will be much work done at Stoneygate.  I am delighted to say the mobile classrooms will be demolished and painters and decorators begin on Monday.  They will be focussing on both internal and external work at Stoneygate.  New teachers will also be arriving both in the Trinity Term and the Advent Term.  We wish Mrs Johnston (Y3 Science & Lower school French) well as she relocates to Scotland.  We welcome Madame Patterson who will be joining Madame Hosie in the French department.  Madame Patterson will initially take Lower school French and then support some of our older pupils in the Advent term.  In the Advent term we will also be welcoming other new staff- Mrs Liquorice (Humanities teacher) and Mrs Brown (Year 3).

May I wish you all a happy Easter,

Mr Dobson

HMV

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

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Year 6- Still life

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Year 7- Textiles

Year 8- Abstract & Portrait

Year 9- Textiles & Portrait

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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.

Amazing!

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).

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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