his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

Happy New Year and welcome back to Stoneygate.

On Monday and Tuesday this week staff were involved in various activities: planning, meetings and INSET (IN SErvice Training).  On Monday, Ian Anderson (from Dragonfly Training) hosted an excellent session on ‘Stretch and Challenge’ at Stoneygate…and I’m delighted to hear that some of his practical methods are already being implemented.

Every school in the country can improve and schools should find time to discuss this issue.  On Tuesday I found myself both leading meetings and discussing issues surrounding “how to improve Teaching and Learning at Stoneygate”.  The topics varied from ‘When to introduce I movie trailers’ to ‘How we can inspire our pupils through comprehension’.

In one session we discussed pupil organisation.  For hundreds of years teachers have heard the lines, “I can’t find my pencil, sir” or “I’ve run out of ink, Miss”.

Teachers want to get on with the lesson.  Should we therefore have a permanent supply of pens and pencils in every room, especially for those pupils who struggle with organisational issues?  If we do, are we pandering to their needs and actually not helping develop their independence and organisational skills? As parents could you please check that your child has the correct stationery at the start of every term.  Yes, pupils will continue to lose pens and school will, of course, be on hand with a copious supply of ‘spare pens and pencils’.

Pupils ought to be taught the importance of responsibility and this was touched on in assembly this week. I spoke to the pupils about the origins of the word January and its derivation from the Roman God, Janus.  Janus, looked both to the past and the future; I then made the rather tenuous link between ‘looking both ways’ with regard to road safety.  The assembly was divided into three sections, with pupils watching age related material.



The clip below was shown to pupils from Year 3 upwards.  The series are quite scary in content, but I believe it needs to be, as we cannot allow our pupils to be complacent about road safety.

I ended the assembly by speaking to pupils from Years 7- 9.  For them, my biggest concern is walking and not concentrating.  There has been a huge increase in teenage related injury due to children not looking where they are going and not concentrating when crossing a road.  Too many teenagers are texting, playing games or switching music videos on their mobile phones and therefore oblivious to danger.

Last year Honolulu became the first major city to ban texting whilst walking under new legislation dubbed “the distracted pedestrian law”.  Police in Hawaii’s capital can now fine pedestrians up to $99 for ‘viewing a device whilst crossing a road’.  A sign of things to come perhaps?

Dates for the diary:
Tuesday 16th January- School shop & Year 6 Parents’ evening

Thursday 18th January- Forest school (Recpetion & Year 1)

Friday 19th January- Forest school (Year 2 & Year 3)

Monday 22nd January- Year 4 Parents’ evening

Tuesday 23rd January- Year 8 “Life on Earth” Challenge, Year 3 Parents’ lunch & ‘Half price Book Fair’ begins

Wednesday 24th January- SSA Quiz and Curry Night

I look forward to seeing many of you at these events; please do join us for the ‘Quiz and Curry’ evening… I can’t promise intellectual stimulation, but I can promise fun!

Mr Dobson




his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

I am delighted that pupils and staff enjoyed ‘Scrooge’ on Wednesday; there are many lessons we can learn from “A Christmas Carol”.

  1. Listening is important.

Scrooge’s life changes after he has listened to the ghosts of Christmas present, past and future.  Yesterday, as I listened to our pupils sing, read and perform at St James the Greater, I felt truly proud.   It was the most uplifting service…

This morning we listened to two very different assemblies.  In the first assembly we listened to a number of pupils play a variety of instruments- guitars, ukuleles and recorders and we sang Christmas carols.  The  second assembly was a celebration of sporting achievements- Certificates were awarded to a number of pupils for a number of awards.

There were dance displays from Reception and Year 2 and a Taekwondo display from Eashan and Izzy.


2.Value your colleagues.

Scrooge had a faithful employee in Bob Cratchit, but he treated him with disrespect. Scrooge rarely gave the man a day off and even begrudged him burning enough coal to keep warm while he worked.

I need to thank my staff.  It has been a long Advent term, with Mr Dobson (Scrooge) taking away the two week half term!  I do appreciate all members of staff at Stoneygate: the office staff, the site managers, the kitchen staff, the visiting music teachers, the TA’s and the teachers.  I would, however, like to give a special mention to my deputy, Mr Stocks.  Having been here for over 100 terms, his energy, humour and cricket knowledge have been a great support to me.IMG_0072

The dedicated Stoneygate staff have braved dangerous roads to get into work..but it has been worth it…and I thank them for it.

3.Plan for the future.

When the final ghost visits Scrooge, he takes him to a forlorn, unkempt grave site. When Scrooge sees his own name written on a gravestone, he begs the spirit to give him another chance. As a result of this insight, he is motivated to contribute to charity and to speak kindly to everyone he meets.

As a staff we have already planned many exciting activities for the next two terms!

Parents, pupils and staff, thank you for your support this term.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas…

Mr Dobson


his-master-voiceHeadmaster’s Voice

As a school we want our pupils to show resilience and not give up (whether they are doing a maths paper or losing a sports fixture with five minutes to go), we also want our pupils to know that we are compassionate and understanding.  Pupils need to know that within Stoneygate they can express their emotions to either their friends or staff.

The British have often been accused of a lack of emotion and having a “stiff upper lip”; finding the right balance between being resolute and showing your emotions is difficult enough for adults, let alone pupils.  Recently I spoke to pupils about emotions and crying (and thank you to pupils from Year 9 for their drama).  We cry when we cut an onion, we cry whilst watching a sad film, we cry with joy at weddings, we cry with laughter, we cry with relief when winning gold at the Olympics…

Barack Obama’s speech on gun control…British Olympians

It has been a week full of emotion at Stoneygate.

On Tuesday evening I addressed our alumni on the topic of ‘Stoneygate’s Fallen heroes’.  As Headmaster and as an historian I felt great pride, humility and sorrow talking about young men who had died one hundred years ago in World War I.  What struck me about these young men were their attributes- these were young men who enjoyed their studies and sport.  Characteristics that are still important a century later.

Take, for example, the story of Guy Russell.  He was a natural athlete.


He was captain of rugby in 1904 and two years later he captained the cricket team. (See image.)  Guy fell in love with his childhood sweetheart, Gladys Hitchin.  They eloped to Gretna Green, got married and had a brief honeymoon at the end of which Gladys said farewell to Guy as he left for war. Guy never returned.  He died on October 13th 1915 at the battle of Loos…on the very same day his wife gave birth to their son, Derek.

IMG_4135 Guy Russell, Captain of rugby and cricket…

Wednesday and Thursday were emotional days too.  I was very proud of all the pupils and staff involved in the Pre-Prep production, “A King’s Christmouse”.  The script, the stage, the choreography, the singing, the acting, the costumes..were all first class.  I hope you enjoyed the production as much as I did.

Today we experienced the joys (and some minor frustrations) of technology as we skyped Marvin B Elementary school in North Carolina.  Pupils from our Years 1 and 2 discussed cultural differences..

We asked about Thanksgiving; they asked about Christmas crackers.  I did explain that the joke was supposed to be awful.

Despite being on the other side of the Atlantic, we managed to sing “We wish you a Merry Christmas” at the same time.  We aim to develop this link with North Carolina in the future.

Finally, thank you to everyone involved in the Santa Fun Run today… in an age where we have to justify everything, how refreshing it was to do the Morris Mile with our Santa hats on…just for sheer enjoyment…my special thanks to the Stoneygate School Association for helping organise the post run treats: coffee, mince pies and hot chocolate…

In an emotional week, I was delighted to hear Chris Evans talk about us on his radio show this morning….


On Radio 2 this morning…”Robbie Williams, Dawn French and Stoneygate school”…not a bad line up.

Mr Dobson


Dear Parents

Following the success of last year’s event, the Stoneygate School Association (SSA) have decided to repeat the Santa Run again this year for all pupils on the afternoon of Friday 8 December at 2.15 pm on the “Morris Mile” cross country course.

Please send your child to school on the day with suitable accessories to get them in the Christmas Spirit: – Santa hats, reindeer antlers, jingle bells, tinsel and all things Christmassy! All parents are invited to come along and join in the run with their children, so if you wish to join us, please meet us at the start of the Morris Mile Cross County Course at 2.15pm prompt.  Or you can just come along and cheer on the children to the finish line.

Afterwards there will be refreshments served, including turkey sandwiches, hot drinks and mince pies, so please come along to the School Hall and join the festivities, and collect your children from there. Clubs and Prep will continue as planned from 3.30pm.

For catering purposes, it would be useful to know how many parents/guardians will be attending, so we would be grateful if you could return the attached slip to the school office or email us on by Friday 1st December.

P.S Date for your diary – Curry and Quiz Night

Wednesday 24th January 2018 in the School Hall from 7pm.


Santa Run Friday 8th December 2017 


Please include ______ parents/guardians in the catering for the post Santa Run Refreshments. (Return to the school office or email by Friday 1st December).

Name of Child (ren):…………………………………………………………………. Child’s Class (es) ……….

Please could you advise if you have any food allergies/dietary requirements:


Parent/Guardian Name: ……………………………………………………… Date:……………………………..