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



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

I agree with this phrase.  I also believe that progress is impossible without change. At Stoneygate we must (and do) apply both beliefs.

This term we have introduced a new online maths homework system and we’re delighted with the results.  Next week we will begin a more structured approach to ‘Forest school’.  Pupils from Reception to Year 3 will spend half a day in our beautiful woods in each of the four different seasons doing a variety of learning activities from team building to art.


Creating our own outdoor classroom with our beautiful autumnal trees……

As a staff we review each trip- some we repeat and others are new.  Both pupils and staff thoroughly enjoyed the recent trip to Stratford which was a first.  In this academic year we hope to begin a Year 5 & 6 residential.  We already organise a successful Year 3/4 residential trip and language and choir trips for our older pupils, but we feel we could also offer a new trip.  I will keep you posted.

Another new venture will be our ‘Form lunches’.  We would like to invite parents , or if both parents are working  grandparents,  into school to enjoy lunch with both staff and pupils.  Mrs Whittle will be sending out specific invitations soon!

Finally, I’d like to introduce some new faces around school.

Mr Timson will be working in the PE dept under the guidance of Mrs Fielding.

Miss Alloway will be helping out in both ‘School House’ with some of our younger pupils and in the new build with some of our older pupils.

Miss Alloway & Mr Timson

Enjoy bonfire night, especially those who are attending the Rainbows event and please be careful with fireworks..

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

This week I had a glimpse into what the future of education might look like.  I donned a virtual reality headset and began to virtually explore the solar system… I even had a ‘virtual PE lesson’ with my instructor telling me what to do.  It was truly incredible.  My thanks to James Bentley, a former LGS pupil, for talking to pupils from Years 7, 8 & 9 on engineering and technology.


One pupil asked James, “do you think technology will replace teachers?”  Perhaps the question was aimed at me…

We have some inspirational Science teachers at Stoneygate: Mrs Johnston, Mrs Angel and Miss Harris.  Science should be interesting and experimental and not dull …and that is precisely what our Science department delivers.  Well done Year 7 for building/creating some wonderful projects linked to ‘Movement’.

We also tried something new this week- on Tuesday evening we held our first ‘Astronomy Masterclass’ at LGS. I would like to thank Mrs Angel and the Science dept at LGS for making this happen.

Pupils and parents enjoying the astronomy evening…

The importance of a balanced diet was the theme for one assembly this week, with Mrs Angel explaining the science and psychology behind eating.  “Why do children prefer dull coloured carbohydrates rather than the ‘rainbow plate’ option?”  Hopefully your children will know the answer!

Our second assembly of the week, led by Reverend Kim, had a Science/religious theme.  Reverend Kim spoke about the importance of light in the world.  She explained how Jack O’ Lanterns originated as a means of warding off evil spirits and the importance of light, metaphorically, for Christians.


A Stoneygate pumpkin outside School House.

It has been a wonderful week, inspired by science.  It is therefore fitting to end this blog with the news that a note, written on hotel paper, by Einstein was sold this week for just over £1 million. Einstein, having just won the 1922 Noble prize for Physics, gave the note to a hotel worker, as he had no money to tip him. It reads: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”


The £1million note..

Stars of the Week:

Last week Imran (Y2)…. for making super electricity circuits.

This week William L (Y2) …. fantastic Veetacore tessellation.

Amy and Ethan (Y1)…for super writing about Warwick Castle.

Harveer (Rec)…for making excellent progress in reading.

Finally, thank you to our Y9 Charity Ambassadors and the SSA for organising a cake sale for the NSPCC.  We raised £240.38p


Good luck to all the cross country runners tomorrow; I hope to see many of you at tomorrow’s Open Morning.

Kind regards,

Mr J F Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Whenever a parent asks a child, “What did you do at school today?”  there normally follows a muffled response of “not much”….. with  bear hunts, trips to castles, vocal concerts, sports fixtures, NSPCC visitors, ‘Fish Week’, a mysterious cat in assembly, a Geography Field Trip, a brass concert at Oundle and a cross country race…I hope your children have returned home excited, rather than bored.

I must begin this blog with congratulations to all our early morning joggers and cross country runners.  Several students were awarded a bronze certificate in assembly for completing five of their ‘Early morning jogs’.  This steely determination was seen at the inter schools cross country race on Thursday at Market Harborough.  Staff and parents were not only pleased to see participation, but the strength of character shown by our pupils.  There were several outstanding individual performances most notably Lyla (who came 1st in the Y5 girls’ race) and  Alice (who came 2nd in the Y6 girls’ race).


Year 6 boys begin their race…

At Stoneygate we believe it is important to sometimes take pupils out of their ‘comfort zone’.  I was delighted to see so many new pupils singing at the vocal concert.  Singing a solo takes great courage; it also takes great bravery to stop singing and ask the pianist to start again if you’ve missed your cue or forgotten some words.  It was wonderful to listen to such talented pupils.

Beautiful singing at the vocal concert on Tuesday…

Playing in a large band is something not many pupils get the opportunity to do, so we are grateful that the Oundle Music department invited some of our brass players to perform in a concert this afternoon.

A wonderful new experience for several Stoneygate pupils.

It’s also important to experience new food.  I would like to thank the catering team for all they have done this week.  Prawns, crab, lobster, calamari, and a variety of fish have all been eaten this week.  There was also a mysterious cat in both an assembly and the dining hall…


Delicious fish; large, happy cat…

Our Year 9 Charity ambassadors would like you to do something different over half term.  They would like you to draw a ‘spotacular picture’ as part of their efforts to raise money for ‘Children in Need’.  Be inspired by Lichtenstein or Seurat…do something different this half term!

Enjoy the half term break,

Mr Dobson



his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

This week every pupil from Reception to Year 9 has had the opportunity to listen to Jed from the historical company “Up and at ‘em!”.  The trench, the artefacts, the stories have inspired many.  Next year will mark the centenary of the end of ‘the Great War’.  As a staff we are already looking at how we as a school will be commemorating this event.

Should young pupils be taught about a war which resulted in death and destruction on a scale hitherto unknown?  For teachers at Stoneygate school the answer is a resounding yes.  Such a significant event in twentieth century world history, which changed the lives of millions of people forever, cannot be ignored.  Out of respect for those who lost their lives in a period which has now faded from living memory, we have a duty to pass on their stories to our children.



Stoneygate pupils listening to anecdotes…and handling artefacts.

In art some of our older pupils have designed and made beautiful poppies…



Moving into 2018 all pupils will get the opportunity to help develop, build and paint a 3D WW1 battle scene.  Pupils from Year 7, 8 and 9 will also have the opportunity to visit a WW1 memorial when they visit France this summer.

As ever, it’s been a busy week at Stoneygate.  Please do take some time to read other blogs regarding the Pre-Prep Harvest, the Year 6 & 7 Science trip and sport.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr J F Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Much has been written about the importance of leadership.  One book that inspired me was written over thirty years ago by a cricketer, Mike Brearley.  Brearley had studied psychology at Cambridge, but it was his unwavering ability to read not only the game of cricket, but the people that played it that made him one of England’s most respected captains.  Brearley wrote ‘the Art of Captaincy’ in 1985 and it not only inspired mediocre batsmen like myself,  the Oscar winning director Sam Mendes applied its teachings to his film crew while making ‘American Beauty’.

Leadership is about the art of motivating, influencing and directing people so that they work together to achieve the goals of the team.  At Stoneygate we want pupils to experience leadership opportunities which will help develop effective communication and interpersonal skills.

This year our Head boy and Head girl will be George and Hattie.


Our Year 9 quartet of Izzy, Rebecca, Hajoor and Leroy have been elected ‘Charity Ambassadors’.  It will be their job to lead large school charity events such as ‘Children in Need’, ‘Red Nose Day’ and the Poppy Appeal.


Leadership was certainly seen on the rugby pitches this week with some fine performances against Stamford (won 2, lost 2) and at Oakham, where our team (U13-12) played superbly in a 50-5 victory.

Forget Matt Dawson’s dummy…George leading by example….

Leadership comes in many forms and traits.  I was delighted to read about two pupils who showed great skill and bravery last weekend.  George (Y6) and Will (Y8) competed for Stoneygate at the Inter-Schools Pairs at the Fernie Hunter Trials… and won!


Congratulations to Will and George.

Leadership skills can be incorporated at a young age. This week I met a lady hoping to improve our Forest School options.  When discussing what Stoneygate wanted to achieve from a ‘Forest school’, I spoke of increased leadership and fostering imagination… I want to see our youngest pupils building dens in the forest.

Stars of the week:

Clara (Y2)… for creating an amazing dragon menu!

Oscar (Y1) for making a super shoebox castle.

I look forward to seeing several of you tomorrow at the Tigers’ training session and then the match.

Enjoy the weekend,

Mr J F Dobson