It was nice to welcome the staff and pupils back for the new term, and I hope everybody enjoyed the Christmas break. Unfortunately, I have to start with some sad news about one of our governors, John Wilkinson, who passed away just before Christmas.
John initially became involved with Rushmoor when his grandson joined the school. Over the past 15 years, John attended countless governors’ meetings, school productions and events; providing support to the school community. He headed up the sub-committee for marketing and was actively involved in our plans for the new site, having only recently attended the first of the rebranding meetings.
I knew John away from the school environment and often saw him supporting his grandson playing for Bedford Junior Blues Rugby. It was always nice to chat to him and I value the support he gave to me personally and to the schools.
The Governing Body and staff greatly appreciate John’s service over so many years and his commitment to the pupils at Rushmoor and St Andrew’s Schools. We will sadly miss John and we send our condolences to his family. Representatives from the school will be attending his funeral service next week.
The Christmas holiday was a chance for the senior pupils at Rushmoor to do some revision as their mock examinations got underway at the start of this term. The senior girls at St Andrew’s took most of their mock examinations before the Christmas break. Once the students have time to reflect on their mock examinations, I hope they will put together a sensible revision timetable to use between now and their final examination in the summer term. The next six months will pass incredibly quickly and hard work is required to ensure they achieve their best. There is no room for complacency, so revision should be carried out, little and often, in order to be prepared.
We have also had formal examinations taking place for the Sixth Formers over the past fortnight, with the Business students (and ICT) taking some of their course examinations. The Cambridge Technical courses spread the examinations over the two-year period, with examinations taken in year 12 in January and June and then in year 13 in January and June, these combine with coursework to provide an overall mark. This type of course will be appealing to many of our students who may want to step away from the new style linear A-level. Our Sixth Form Director, Mrs Beattie, would be happy to discuss the Cambridge Technical Courses with our year 11 students currently considering their next steps. Year 13 A level students have also been sitting their mocks during this period.
There have been a number of consultation evenings already, with year 11’s at St Andrew’s taking place on 9 January, year 7’s on 14th and year 7’s at Rushmoor on 16th. As always, I hope that these consultations proved helpful and I would remind parents that we have an open door policy so are pleased to discuss any concerns you may have at any time. Please contact the subject teacher via their email address listed on our websites should the need arise.
Rushmoor and St Andrew’s next performance for the middle and senior school will be ‘Guys and Dolls’. There were a large number of pupils that came to the workshop on Monday and I’m sure they have been busy learning lines for the auditions this afternoon. Information on performance dates and how to buy tickets will be sent nearer the time.
We held Reception In Action mornings for our older nursery pupils at both St Andrew’s and Rushmoor, on 8 January and 15 January. It was an opportunity for visitors to come and find out more about our unique ethos and see how well their child could enjoy our nurturing learning environment. It also allowed our current nursery pupils, that are due to start Reception Class in September, to experience what their days will be like next year. Thank you to all those involved in this initiative.
The PTFA have arranged a magic show and disco for the pupils on Friday 7th February.
Magic Show – Reception Class to Year 2 from 4-5pm at St Andrew’s School.
Disco Years 3, 4 and 5 from 5.30-7pm at Rushmoor School.
Disco Years 8 and 9 from 7.30-9pm at Rushmoor School.
Pupils are working hard towards their Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh Awards this term. We are discussing the option of introducing Year 7 and 8 to the club early. To find out more about Duke of Edinburgh please follow this link https://www.dofe.org/experience-list/
On Wednesday, Mrs Crannis took a team of year 5 and 6 boys to Explore Learning in Sainsbury’s to take part in round 2 of the Explore Learning Mathematicians’ Award 2019/20. The year 7 and 8 team then took part on Thursday.
Both teams worked really well and enjoyed taking on the challenge, created by ‘nrichmaths’ especially for the competition. Our school was one of 25,000 schools taking part nationally in the first round and we hope that we have done enough to be one of the 10 teams (5 Primary, 5 Secondary) that will go through to the final, to be held at the National History Museum in February.
Whatever the outcome, the boys really benefited from working as part of a team and solving a problem requiring logic and mathematical thinking and we are extremely proud of them representing the school.
The first football fixture of the term took place on 15 January away against Kings Ely School, with year 7/8 A, B and C teams taking part. Well done to all our players. All three games were super competitive against tough opposition. We look forward to all the upcoming football fixtures this term.
We also had our first x-country event of the new year; the well renowned Bedfordia event held at Lincroft School. We had teams from year 5/6, 7 and 8 taking part in an event that can attract over 150 runners per race. Special mention to Rushmoor’s George Matthews, Willoughby Creasey, Oscar Marsh and Hayden Hayhoe-Fisher who all ran well in their first event for the school. The girls ran brilliantly with standout results from Amelia Perry finishing 28th and Rosie Fisher-Lowe and Demi Sunda both finishing 29th in their races.
I would like to wish Millie Perry, Sophie Weston and Harry Ridgeon luck at the British Schools Gymnastics Association, Eastern Region Schools Acrobatic, Tumbling and Disabilities Gymnastics Championships being held at Milton Keynes Gym Club on Sunday 26th January. I look forward to hearing all about it.
On 13 January year 9 boys had their DTP and Meningitis ACWY vaccinations. The teenage booster is given as a single injection to boost your child’s protection against three separate diseases: tetanus, diphtheria and polio. It tops up the effect of the earlier baby and pre-school vaccinations against these diseases.
The Meningitis vaccination was introduced to respond to an accelerating increase in cases of invasive meningococcal group W (MenW) disease. The vaccination of this age group will not just protect these young people but also help to protect children and adults across the population. It is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises the Government on vaccination. The reason the programme is mostly being offered in schools is because experience shows that this form of delivery is very effective at reaching the target population, ensuring good vaccine uptake.
Nursery have had a busy start to the term, welcoming new and existing families back and hearing about all the lovely things that the children have been doing during the holidays.
Miss Niro and the Nursery staff have been reviewing the way they do things in accordance with responses of the children in each age group:
The oldest babies and toddlers will be working on serving themselves during mealtimes, assisted only at key parts of the meal to encourage interest in a range of different foods. By introducing this, it enables children to have a sense of self within the group and confidence in making their own choices. A special circle time has been formed each day for the oldest toddlers (wriggly Wrens) which will focus on the skills needed to effectively transition to pre-school. This will range from pouring their own drinks, putting on their coats, attempting zips and chopping their snack. During the circle times children will also be having short visits to the pre-school area with the support of a familiar practitioner to become used to the environment and new staff members. The younger children of the group, during this time, will enjoy focused activities which promote fine motor skills (making small movements) in order to build up muscle strength in the hands/arms and develop hand-eye coordination.
As a setting, Nursery have decided to continue meeting parents for a formal 2-year-old progress check. In preparation for this each parent will be given an ages & stages questionnaire to enable Nursery staff to really understand what behaviours and interests each child has at home. This will help to build up a crucial picture of each child's next steps at this important stage of their development. A 3-year-old progress check will also be held, with the parents, key worker and specialist health worker.
Date for Diary: The next parents’ evening will be on Friday 28 February from 6.00pm-7.30pm. Slips will soon be sent home for parents to book their preferred time, although these will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
I had the pleasure of spending time in Rushmoor Robins this week. Every month, Rushmoor EYFS are surprised with a 'secret reader' who comes to read them a story. It is usually a family member of one of the pupils so they were surprised to see me. I read the children Farmer Duck and Spot's Birthday Party, books I haven’t read since my children were young.
Junior School News
KS1 from both Rushmoor and St Andrew’s enjoyed a stunning start to their Fairy Tales & Fantasy topic. They ventured to Milton Keynes theatre to watch an exciting performance of Aladdin. The children thoroughly enjoyed it and have spent lots of time discussing the show on their return to school and writing reviews of the performance.
"My favourite part was when they were singing." - Fox
"I thought the most exciting part was when the Genie came out of the lamp!" - Khushi
"My favourite character was Aladdin. The show was very good." - William
"The funniest part was when Wishee Washee put the ballet dress on." – Max
''My favourite part of Aladdin was when they flew over the audience in their magic carpet!'' Arthur
''The funniest part of the show was when Aladdin’s brother was locked in the cage!'' Tom
''The best part was when Washee broke the chair and his voice went all funny!'' Nyah
''I loved it when Aladdin and Jasmine danced, I wish I could dance like that!'' Madinah
Junior School Stars of the Week
St Andrew’s School
Week ending 10 January 2020:
Reception – Nari Molo
Year 1 – Liliana Sepede
Year 2 – Natilda D’Cruze
Year 3/4 – Lucia Wildman
Year 5 – Sophie Muwanga
Week ending 17 January 2020:
Reception - Al-akhire
Year 1 - Scarlett Rook
Year 2 - Khushi Masih
Year 3/4 - Isabella Diffey
Year 5 - Ayesha Alfaro
Week ending 17 January 2020:
Reception – Jesse Bates
1ET – Tom Hall
2KGL – Tom Marshall
3JM – Sam Burchell
3ST – Sebastian Thomas
4ET – Kieran Kali-Rai
4ZL – Errol Bogacki
5CR – Sam Moffat
5ZL – Jacob O’Neill
Olivia Patel for kindness to her peers, whilst managing her own school and extra-curricular commitments with good cheer and dignity.
Georgie Day for significant effort in English and English Literature.
Ruby Stoughton for her holiday homework diary.
Oliver Hurley, Eros Di Pace and Miles Folbigg for their science presentations.
Crispin Djengiz for going over and above the brief for his maths holiday homework and produced an amazing picture demonstrating reflection and rotational symmetry.
Alex Thomson for his English classwork.
Angelos Angelopolous for being incredibly helpful at the year 4/5 Christmas Party.
Tom Marshall for his maths classwork.
The next Rushmoor Parent’s Council meeting will be on Friday 13th March from 9-10am. If you would like to attend please email Mrs Philippa Abruzzese at email@example.com
I M Daniel, BA (QTS), NPQH