Letter from the Head, 26 March 2021

Friday 26 March 2021

Dear Parents

We have arrived at the end of another rather different term from that which we were hoping for. However, with everyone returning for the final three weeks of term, it has been one that has ended on a high for me, and I hope also for the boys. The school has been busy once more with work in the classroom, the sound of instruments echoing out from the practice rooms, and boys getting fully involved in their wider curriculum subjects and other half activities, not to mention the excitement of seeing friends everyday – something that we should not now take for granted as much as we perhaps used to. I also want to thank you too, parents, for all your support during the period of remote learning. The kind and thoughtful communications we received during that time were a real tonic to us all.

The boys have shown great resilience again this term and can be proud of all their achievements. I have attached a link to the video I shared with them this morning in the final assembly showing some of the great things that they have worked on this term. Please do have a watch.

It was amazing to see our Pre-Prep children running around with the Easter Bunny this morning on their Easter Egg hunt. It brought back so many memories of searching for eggs myself at that age and the excitement of seeing the shiny shape tucked in a tree root or on a bench. I do hope that the boys may even share some of their spoils with you on their return home today. I had a quick look round later myself, just in case, but they had all been found!

In the final assembly this morning, we spoke about the Easter message of new life and how perhaps, if the conditions allow us to follow the roadmap out of lockdown, this was the perfect time to think about a great summer ahead with some positive signs of the country moving through an amazing vaccine program and the continued slow lifting of some restrictions. As the leaves start to come out on the trees and the clocks go forward to share with us again longer evenings and hopefully some warmer weather, there is much to look forward to. I would encourage everyone to enjoy the world around us over the holidays and make the most of the amazing wildlife and scenery on our doorstep.

On our return next term, we will be maintaining our current policy of the children wearing their PE or Games kit into school. We will still be working in our bubbles and following our protective measures closely to try to ensure the community is kept as safe as possible. On that note, please may I remind parents with children in Year 7 and 8 that they should continue to Covid-19 test twice a week at home.

As long as nothing changes with the current government guidance, we are very much looking forward to getting back to inter-school cricket fixtures in the summer for the children in Years 3-8. There will, of course, be precautions in place and we will be following the guidance as laid down by the national governing body for cricket, but I know that the boys will thoroughly enjoy getting back into matches that have been absent for over a year and representing the school once more. At present, the recently updated government guidance on grassroots sports does not allow any spectators so unfortunately, until this changes, we feel we are not able to open up our fields for you to watch. We will of course be consistently reviewing the government and relevant sporting national governing body guidance as well as our own working practices and as soon as we can welcome parents back on the fields to spectate, we will be doing so.

I wanted to take this opportunity to once again thank Pip Usher for her work at Abingdon Prep and wish her all the best with her new role in Oxford next term. I would also like to mention that Ellie Harland has now started her maternity leave and Bev Buckle has taken on the role of Admissions Manager and my PA. I will of course be in touch when I have any exciting news about Ellie.

Finally, I would like to wish you all a Happy Easter and hope that you are able to enjoy the holiday ahead.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 19 March 2021

Friday 19 March 2021

Dear Parents

It has been a very positive week in school with the boys continuing to work hard in lessons and enjoy the fresh air and camaraderie of playing together at break times. I have really enjoyed judging the brilliant science in a jar experiment that the boys have put together over the past few weeks. It has been amazing to see so many completely different types of scientific experiments designed by the boys. It has been an almost impossible job to pick a winner from all of the sections but all the boys can be very proud of their efforts.

Football has been taking centre stage on the games field with many of the boys competing in house matches or inter year group matches this week. The warmer weather has been timely and I have enjoyed seeing so many talented players showing off their skills both on the games field and in the playground.

In the classroom I have been impressed with our Year 5s in the Science lab undertaking experiments measuring the rate at which bread rose when containing sugar and not containing sugar. They then had to create graphs with the data and draw their scientific conclusions.

Year 6 in Maths have been producing pie charts of class favourites, pets, football teams and chocolate bars to name but a few, focusing on how to create them with precision accuracy using a protractor and interpreting tricky pie chart problems as well.

In Year 1 the boys have been working on performance poetry and I was treated to a wonderful performance of ‘Zim, Zam, Zoom’ this morning. They had memorised the words and gave a very dynamic performance which I thoroughly enjoyed. They have also been writing their own performance poetry so I will look forward to hearing more about that next week.

I would also like to take this chance to thank all of you who have kindly donated chocolate for the Gatehouse charity, a foodbank for the homeless, at what has been a very tough time for them. I know that many more bars will come in next week to help those in real need celebrate Easter with some chocolate. Thank you too to our Pre-Prep parents for all their kind donations of Easter Eggs for our upcoming Easter Egg hunt next week.

We have continued with our Covid19 testing regimes this week but they are now all taking place at home for both staff and pupils. Thank you to parents for supporting us with this and helping to keep our community as safe as possible.

Finally, please could I take the opportunity to remind you that the boys should not make their way into their classrooms until 8am as their teachers will be busy getting everything in place for the day and they won’t be supervised.

I hope you all have a great weekend ahead and are able to enjoy a walk amongst the daffodils and crocuses that seem to be coming out in large numbers signalling that spring is well and truly with us.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 12 March 2021

Friday 12 March 2021

Dear Parents

It has been such a great week having the boys back in school, hearing the noise and seeing the smiling faces as they chat along the corridors and run around at break times, enjoying being back at school and catching up on the social interactions that they have been missing so much. I have been incredibly impressed with the way all the boys have settled so quickly back to work.

At 10.20am on Monday I took the opportunity to walk around all of the classrooms and it was great to see the boys so focused on the tasks in hand, already back into the routines of working hard in the classroom. There were, understandably for some, a few nerves on their return but these quickly disappeared as they chatted to their friends and teachers over the course of the day. A number of teachers have commented on the fact that many of the boys are showing a level of increased independence with their learning in the classroom, which is perhaps a positive from the time spent working online. It really is great to have the boys all out playing sport, back in the CDT room, art room, music rooms and drama areas, making the most of the wider opportunities available in school.

Clubs have restarted and it is great to see the boys getting immersed in their different interests, with a full turnout for Year 6 Warhammer today. I am learning a huge amount about the tactics of set battles and the intricacies of painting figurines!

Science week has been a huge success with lots of ‘science in jars’ coming into school and pictures being uploaded to the Google Classroom area. We heard in assembly on Thursday about inventions and inventors and even how some inventions that have been incredibly successful were accidental! Who knows what some of our boys may be responsible for creating in the future?

Our ‘Birds of Positivity’ project has also been a great success with some quite beautiful creations coming into school. A huge flamingo was there to greet the boys in the entrance hall and the messages of support have been wonderful to read as I discover new additions to the tables in the hall every day. I encourage you to look out for the photos of these birds on our social media feeds and website. They really are a delight.

Today, Year 7 and 8 have participated in mental health workshops delivered by Natalie Hunt, Wellbeing Coordinator at Abingdon School, looking at social pressures and at ways that they can manage these and create positive outlooks for themselves. It is important that we support our boys as they grow up in today’s society and help to give them the tools to support their own, and others’ wellbeing.

I wanted to thank our Covid-19 testing team publicly this week as they have undertaken 160 lateral flow tests with our Year 7 and 8 pupils on site. We have one more round of this testing next week before we revert to home testing twice a week.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to congratulate Pip Usher, one of Year 4 teachers, on her appointment to New College Prep school as a Year 4 teacher. Pip has been with us since 2012 and we wish her all the very best with her exciting new role which starts in April.

Finally, it has been lovely to have the chance to speak to some of you at drop off time this week. We have a great community around us and I hope that with the continuing vaccine rollout and other measures in place, we will be able to maintain the easing of measures across the country at times that continue to promote the safety and wellbeing of us all.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 5 March 2021

Friday 5 March 2021

Dear Parents

This is an exciting time for all children across the country as they prepare to come back into school on Monday. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to be able to welcome the boys back on site from next week. It has been a long 8 weeks of dark evenings and cold weather but with spring very much on its way, a successful rollout of the vaccination program continuing apace and the children coming back to school, there are lots of reasons to be hopeful and we cannot wait to have the boys back in class. There will undoubtedly be some bumps along the way but I know that all the teachers here are also keen to be back in the classrooms. I would ask, and I have spoken with all the boys in assembly earlier this week and will do so again on Monday about this, that you remind your children of the vital importance of social distancing, hand washing, sanitising and following our measures in school to try to keep everyone as safe as possible over the coming weeks. We have a fantastic community here at Abingdon Prep and I know that we will all continue to work together for the best outcomes for everyone.

This Wednesday evening saw an excellent webinar on ‘supporting your child’s wellbeing’ take place. It has been recorded and contains a wide range of resources as well so do take the time to watch it and look at the information packs that we have shared. I know that those who attended found it a really interesting talk and will have taken some great tips away with them. It was not specifically aimed at lockdown times but just children’s wellbeing in general and what we can all do as parents to support that, and indeed look after our own wellbeing too. Please do have a look at the email shared with you earlier today.

Yesterday morning started with a brilliant World Book Day assembly of ‘The Masked Reader’ with recordings of 13 staff all masked up reading extracts from some of their favourite books. The boys had to guess who was reading – if you followed ‘The Masked Singer’ last month on ITV then you will know what it was all about. There were a wide range of accents and disguises on show and I am not aware that anyone guessed all of the staff correctly. It was great fun and a terrific alternative to dressing up as we would ordinarily have done in school to celebrate World Book Day.

We will be beginning our lateral flow testing program on Monday morning for our Year 7 and 8 pupils and I wanted to publicly thank Justin Hodges and his team, alongside our own nurses and Rachel for organising it all. It has been a significant task to get everything in place and I hope that it will all work as planned on Monday morning. Thank you to all those parents who will be bringing the boys in at slightly different times to normal in order to help us facilitate this programme.

I would also like to remind you that as a household with children at school, you are also entitled to order online or collect in person a set of lateral flow tests for home testing of your household members. I have attached the link to the website for doing this here should you so wish.

Our virtual distance fixtures have been going really well with over 1500km being racked up by the boys last week and hopefully even more this week. It is great that the boys have taken on this challenge and added their kilometres to the school total, be that running, walking, cycling or even riding a horse! Some very impressive distances have been achieved by some of our Pre-Prep and younger year groups too.

I am sure that I will see many of you in the car park in the coming week but I wanted to finish my letter this week by thanking all of you as well for your support of the school during this period of remote learning. You have done a sterling job with your sons and I am confident that over the coming weeks we will quickly settle back into our routines and the boys will love being back with their friends, catching up on the social element that has been so sorely missed.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 12 February 2021

Friday 12 February 2021

Dear Parents

It has been nearly a year now that we have had disruptions to the normal routines of school life and I have great sympathy for the disappointments that some of the boys will have experienced without our usual raft of plays, events, concerts and sports fixtures. I am incredibly proud of the children who have shown great resilience and perseverance and continued to learn and make good progress with their studies despite some of the obstacles in their way. I am also tremendously grateful to our teachers and support staff, all of whom have worked so hard this half of term to ensure that the children’s education has continued to be fully delivered in the best way possible. It is clear that we have all spent a great deal of time in front of the computer screen since January and I would direct the boys not to work over half term but to enjoy themselves and to try to steer away from too much screen time over the break.

I am optimistic that we will be allowed to return to school in some capacity in March and very much look forward to that time where I can greet them all again in the morning on their way in. We are currently expecting an update from the government in the week beginning Monday 22 February so will of course contact you once we have further details about the planned return to school.

I hope that those of you who attended our virtual e-safety event on Wednesday evening found it useful. I know that the boys will have been made aware of a number of key messages in their talks which also took place on Wednesday during lesson times. It is now, more than ever, given the horrendous social media abuse that seems to make the headlines on a daily basis, the right time for our children to understand the role that social media can play in life, both as a wonderful means of sharing positivity but also as a force for negativity and hate. It can be a difficult message to understand for children but given that social media and the internet are here to stay, one that we cannot overlook in schools and we must play a role in educating our children to make good choices in their interactions with it.

Yesterday saw a brilliant pancake assembly delivered by Rachel W. A number of teachers had been challenged to flip a pancake as many times as possible in 45 seconds and send in their videos. A winning score of 52 from Roger was very impressive, although the mid air split and drop to the floor from Louise was perhaps the stand out moment! You can see the videos in the news section of the website. The boys were also shown how to mix a perfect batter so do get them to cook some pancakes on Shrove Tuesday next week. Lemon and sugar or banana and chocolate spread? Perhaps both!

I have enjoyed seeing and hearing about all the exercise that has been taking place at home this week, adding to the kilometres for each house in the virtual distance year challenge, which was won by our very energetic Year 3 and 4 classes. The cold weather seems not to have deterred many and in fact, the beautiful blue skies and hanging icicles have made a wonderful backdrop for getting out and about for some daily exercise.

We have also today released our first recorded concert platform showcasing some of the fantastic music that the boys have been producing in the past few weeks. We will have more of these to come after half term so please do look out for them.

We say a very fond farewell to Sam Barder today, who after three and half years with us at Abingdon Prep as a sports coach, will be taking on an exciting new challenge as a broadband installer. Sam is hoping to come back for our prize giving day in the summer term so that we can all say a proper goodbye and thank him in person. His sporting prowess and great sense of humour will certainly be missed but we wish him all the very best with his new career.

Finally, I wanted to thank all of our wonderful parents again for your support over the course of this half term. It cannot be an easy task to balance your own work with supporting your children with theirs. As a little light relief, I would encourage you to look on the website for a rather entertaining parody of a Zoom lesson written by Rachel P. It certainly made me laugh and you may even recognise familiar events in some of the interactions. I would also like to reassure you that the vast majority of our Zoom lessons get off to a much more efficient start!

I hope you are all able to enjoy the half term break at home and that the boys will also take the time to relax and step away from work and computers for the week.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 5 February 2021

Friday 5 February 2021

Dear Parents

I hope that you have all had a good week and remain well. I have been very heartened by the speed of the vaccine roll out and am optimistically looking forward to a time after half term where we will be able to have the boys back in school with us.

Thank you to all the parents who completed our short survey last week. The findings were hugely positive with 95% of the 132 respondents saying that they were “very positive” or “positive” about the School’s online learning provision. Thank you also for the many kind messages of support, they are very much appreciated. Some parents suggested ideas to further improve what we offer and we are giving these careful consideration.

Parents were also asked about the amount of homework their sons were receiving. Again the majority, 80%, said that they were “very positive” or “positive” about the amount they received. It is difficult to gauge the homework we should be giving boys as we are acutely aware of the amount of screen time that everyone is having at the moment. Many parents mentioned their concerns about this. We have talked to staff about the possibility of setting homework that does not involve screens and encouraging boys to do practical activities or written work which they can then scan and send in. If you have ongoing concerns about your son’s homework, do please talk to your son’s form teacher as we are keen to work with families to support their needs.

Conversely some parents requested more homework. We feel that the amount being set is adequate for this time. However, we do understand that everyone has different perspectives on what homework should be and how long it should take currently. Having consulted with staff in all year groups, they feel that much of the homework is set in order to respond to teacher feedback. Boys are often asked to review and improve classwork or extended projects which we see as extremely valuable and useful as additional homework.

We would also recommend to those parents who suggested they were keen to know more about how their sons were getting on, that they look through their subject Google classrooms with them. These contain feedback from each of the teachers which will assist parents in identifying how their sons are responding to a variety of tasks. With a number of year groups having parents evenings this half of term, this will also be a good opportunity to gain further feedback from teachers.

Another issue raised by parents was the need to get outside and enjoy fresh air and exercise. We are completely in agreement with this and we encourage all the boys to take advantage of the 1 hour 10 minute lunch break to do something away from screens and preferably outside. We would also continue to encourage all the boys to step away from their screens during the other breaks that take place during the day. It really is important to move around in the breaks from lessons, just as boys would do if they were in school. In addition to this there are of course, the sport, PE, and swimming lessons where boys are also undertaking exercise through our challenges, Zoom circuits or specific sporting activities. As the days are becoming longer, hopefully the boys will also be able to get some fresh air after lessons have finished at the end of the day as well.

On a different note, Kate, our talented cookery teacher for Other Half, is going to be on the One Show next Thursday evening. Do have a watch if you are able to.

I would also like to take this opportunity to share with you the wonderful news that Ellie, our Admissions Manager, is expecting and will be starting her maternity leave in April. We are all very excited for her. Bev Buckle, will be taking over the role. Bev is currently working in the Abingdon School Admissions Department and was previously an Abingdon Prep parent and teaching assistant here so she already has a great knowledge of what Abingdon Prep is all about.

Once again, many thanks for taking the time to feedback your thoughts to us last week and for your ongoing support of the school and your children in these difficult times.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 29 January 2021

Friday 29 January 2021

Dear Parents

We have now completed our fourth week since the start of term and I think it would be fair to say that all of us have had moments when we found ourselves a little down or frustrated with the current lockdown. This is, I think, perfectly normal, but last Sunday’s snow certainly gave my family a real boost as I am sure it did with everyone else. It was lovely to get out into the fresh snowfall and build snowmen and find a slope to get the toboggan going down for the first time in a number of years. We decided that the mound at the front of school was a perfect spot to introduce Quinn to his first sledding experience which he thoroughly enjoyed!

I am sure that you are aware that on Wednesday the Prime Minister announced that schools would not start reopening until Monday 8 March at the earliest. We will clearly be watching with great interest at any further announcements with regard to the reopening of schools and how that will take place. In the meantime, as we face some more time working remotely, we are keen to gather feedback to ensure that our provision is as good as it possibly can be. I would be grateful if you could complete ​this​ very short ‘pulse check’ survey by 9am on Monday 1 February. We will also send this out via an email so you can access it through either link.

I think it is important we recognise that our children do face challenges when working remotely for such long periods of time and I want to take this opportunity to remind you to encourage your boys to chat to their form teachers and friends and family, and all of our teachers are aware of the difficulty and uncertainty that some will be feeling. You are all doing a great job at home with your children whilst juggling your own work and as a school we thank you for that.

Next week is our mental health awareness week and we have a guest speaker coming to talk to the boys in assemblies and we will be running a number of other activities designed to get the boys talking and reflecting on their feelings as we continue to learn online. I hope that today’s ‘no screens’ afternoon is strictly adhered to and that the boys enjoy some time away from their computers learning a new skill, practising something, or just enjoying some down time with the family. I am very much looking forward to seeing some of the videos and pictures that the boys have been asked to send through. Clearly I have written this letter in the morning so will also be taking time away from the screen myself! My wife is encouraging me to have a go on the sewing machine so I too will be learning a new skill over the weekend.

We have encouraged our boys, and teachers, to break down these periods of remote learning into small chunks to work through. On Monday, there are just two weeks until the February half term. After a week off, there will be two weeks until 8 March and hopefully schools will then begin to reopen, even if there is a staggered start for different year groups.

I wanted to finish my letter this week by reassuring you that we are continuing to work hard with all of the boys online and that having the ability simply to chat to friends on Zoom or with the class teacher is important. The boys are doing a really good job with their learning and although this is not easy for anyone, we are all really proud of their efforts and we will continue to work hard to support all of them, maintaining a sense of continuity and normality with their lessons.

I hope you all enjoy a restful weekend.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 15 January 2021

Friday 15 January 2021

Dear Parents

I hope that you have all had a good week and remain well, along with your families during this current lockdown. It seems to me that the darker evenings and wet weather makes this a harder time for so many of us in comparison to the first lockdown but it is with hope that I listen to the daily updates on growing vaccination numbers for the most vulnerable in society.

The boys have continued to work hard in their lessons and I have been really impressed with the quality of work that I have seen coming through from so many of them via Google Classroom. It is not easy to sustain focus online for such long periods and I hope that the boys are ensuring, in line with my assembly this week, that they are getting away from their desk at break times and moving around, and also continuing to exercise and update their exercise logs.

In Pre-Prep I have loved seeing some of the live Zooms on the classroom screens in Key Worker School and the boys working hard on the tasks in front of them.

I know that for some this is a very difficult time and if boys are struggling with their work, please do ensure they talk to their teachers about it and what can be done to support them.

With all this in mind, as a foundation we have decided that on Friday 29 January we will be having an afternoon without screen time where lessons will not be taking place and the boys will not need to dial in to any Zoom sessions or do any school work. We are aware of the fact that many boys, and indeed staff and parents, will have spent a lot of time in front of a screen over the ​previous​ four weeks of term and we feel that time spent off screen then and over that weekend would be a great break for them. So, we will be setting up a voluntary challenge which boys and families can choose to participate in that afternoon if they wish – details of the challenge will be shared nearer the time. However, there is no compulsion to be involved in that, it could simply be an afternoon of quiet reading, relaxation or dog walking. The only stipulation we have for the boys is that they cannot be in front of a screen.

We would love to receive any photos or videos of the boys’ challenge or activities on that afternoon and hope to put together a slideshow / video to share with the boys during an assembly. We feel that after four weeks of term this will be a great time for the boys to step away from their screens. Hopefully that will also encompass the entire weekend as well.

For those boys attending Key Worker Care, they too will be taken away from their screens and will either participate in the challenge or have other activities set up for them. I understand that there may be some boys or families who may wish to do half a day of KWC instead but we will be in touch with families nearer the time regarding this.

My thanks again must go to all of our amazing key workers around the country who are continuing to help us all through this difficult time.

I hope you all have a good weekend and stay safe.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 4 December 2020

Friday 4 December 2020

Dear Parents

There was a small part of me which was a little disappointed not to see snow on the ground this morning after the forecast earlier in the week for a Friday covering. Our Christmas trees are up and fully decorated in the Hall, alongside our brilliant ‘Give Thanks Tree’ and recycled non-plastic decoration tree in the entrance area. It is certainly beginning to feel very Christmassy in school. We will be having our Christmas lunch next Thursday and raising money for our school charity, Be Free Young Carers, by wearing a Christmas jumper for the day. I look forward to seeing the full range of Christmas creations!

We are gearing up for our recorded carol service which we will be sharing with you on Thursday next week. Sean and I will be introducing it live on zoom and you are all invited to join us before sharing with you the link to hear all of the boys in action. Our Carol Service is always a highlight of the calendar and I am saddened that we cannot run it in person at St Helen’s Church this year. However, it will be great to hear the boys in action and celebrate the message and magic of Christmas together.

The boys have been working hard in this penultimate week of term and I have been fortunate to see so many exciting learning activities taking place.

In Reception, despite being at home completing their isolation, they have been unbelievably busy. They have used various scaffolded techniques for letter writing to Father Christmas and they have also learnt about addressing envelopes and using stamps. The Christmas theme continued through their computing lessons with augmented reality – dancing with snowmen and reindeer!

In Computing, Year 7 has been getting into the Christmas spirit by producing stop motion animations using Christmas Tree decorations and presents. The results of their work were very impressive and they all seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the task.

Perhaps the highlight for many of the boys this week though was their live drawing classes in Art. Toby, the spaniel, came for the day to act as a model and was beautifully behaved throughout, allowing some fantastic drawings to be produced by the boys.

I wanted to take this opportunity to pass on huge thanks to our JPA for their organisation of the virtual beer tasting and Christmas Wreath making events online last week. I have heard that both events were very enjoyable and a real success. Today we have also shared with you in the mailing our JPA Christmas shopping brochure with some wonderful gift ideas for Christmas. This has been put together in lieu of our Christmas Bazaar which could sadly not take place this year. Sally, our new chairperson, has been a driving force with all of this and I would like to thank her publicly for her efforts.

We have taken the decision that we will continue to ask the boys in Years 3-8 to come into school in the Games / PE kit next term. Our Pre-Prep boys will continue in their winter uniform. This will continue to limit the need for changing in changing rooms and the number of close contacts that could occur as a result. We will of course continue to keep this under review in line with any government guideline changes to school settings.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I imagine that many of you will be putting up your Christmas trees at home. Hannah and I have our collection slot booked for Saturday morning and will be decorating away with Quinn tomorrow.

Best wishes

Craig

Letter from the Head, 27 November 2020

Friday 27 November 2020

Dear Parents

I wanted to start my letter this week by thanking all of you for your wonderful support during what has been a difficult week, given our first positive Covid-19 cases at school. It has been incredibly heartening to have received so many very kind and thoughtful emails from you. The boys in school continue to work hard and for those year groups at home, I know that their learning is also continuing apace. It really is vital that we all continue to follow the procedures in school for keeping safe by washing hands, sanitising and social distancing.

The weather certainly took a wintry turn this week but it was lovely to have a number of competitive touch rugby house matches take place on Wednesday afternoon for some of the year groups. The boys have missed playing in matches so it was great to see them working hard for their teams and enjoying competition again. The standard amongst the Year 8s, the group I was working with, was fantastic with some wonderful handling, passing and running rugby being played.

In the classroom this week our Year 5s have been continuing to write their Victorian Crime novels. There were certainly echoes of Sherlock Holmes running through their storylines but I was hugely impressed with the descriptive language being used to set the scene and draw the reader in to the ‘whodunnit’.

In Year 8 the boys have continued to learn about Buddhism and the five precepts. In a very short space of time I was taught a huge amount about the precepts and was incredibly impressed with their understanding of them and their knowledge of the wider Buddhist faith.

In Year 3 the boys’ poetry unit came to a great conclusion with their animal shape poems now proudly displayed in their classroom. They all worked so hard on using similes and poetic language to produce poems they can be very proud of.

Please could I ask that everyone takes extra care in the car park when collecting your children in the afternoon or evening. With the evenings now drawn in, it can be rather dark at pick up times in the car park and it is imperative that the boys are safe and seen when they are crossing over to their parents’ cars. Please do be extra vigilant when using these areas.

I hope that you all have a good weekend as we move towards the end of lockdown and as we move into Tier 2 at that point. Please could I ask that all parents continue to wear their face coverings if getting out of their cars at drop off or pick up. Your support with all this is hugely appreciated.

Best wishes

Craig