New Year, New Topics
Like any outstanding school, Highfield and Brookham have high expectations, high standards and a detailed improvement plan that strives to provide the very best education for children between the ages of 2 and 13. As with any improvement plan, this starts with a dream, an ambition. From the initial notion, discussions take place, so that the relevant stakeholders can deliberate the possible ways forward and fine-tune the details, until a clear and concise plan can be formulated. Read on...
Sophie Baber, Headteacher at Brookham School
Nursery Nailed It
Bear Cubs have enjoyed reacquainting themselves with the nursery environment this week and catching up with their friends, as well as welcoming a number of new members to the class. They have also been very excited about their introduction to woodwork! The children have been shown how to use hammers and nails, and enjoyed developing their hand eye coordination. The activity also provided a very good way of extending the children’s vocabulary, as well as giving an opportunity to discuss the importance of keeping safe through rules. Over the course of the term, the children will be introduced to more woodwork tools and resources, and we look forward to seeing them develop their confidence, independence and creativity.
Samantha Forster, Head of Nursery
Reception Embrace Challenges
The children have had a fantastic start to the Spring Term. In maths, they were introduced to addition using part, part whole (how numbers can be split into parts). The children have also impressed us with their ability to subitise numbers (the ability to recognise the number of objects without the need to count them), which is fundamental to early understanding of how numbers partition. For PSHE this week, we have been focusing on understanding that if we persevere, we can tackle challenges. The children loved working on various practical challenges and discussing how they made them feel before, during and once they completed the activities. It was wonderful to see how encouraging they were with each other. Next week we will be embracing our new topic Out Of The Egg. The children are excited to see what the new term brings!
Jessie Millsom, Reception Teacher
Year 1 Extinguish A Fire
The year group had an explosive start to their new topic, The Great Fire of London. The children were transported back to the 17th Century when life for Londoners was very different to today. Having joined in with the nursery rhyme Ring a Ring of Roses, the importance of carrying posies to keep the black death away was discussed. From rat catchers to diary writers, and bakers to kings, every child was given a role and the events of the Great Fire of London were brought to life. Working as a team, buckets were passed down a line to extinguish the fire, exactly as people would have done in 1666. After a fantastic session, they are looking forward to finding out more information about the Great Fire in the coming weeks.
Georgie Hunter, Head of Year 1
Year 2 Star Gaze
Year 2 experienced the excitement and wonder of a big sky dome during their trip to the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester. Sitting under the 11m dome, they experienced the dynamics of the sky above, with the sparkling stars and planets clearly visible. This was the most wonderful way to start our new topic, Space. Through the colourful displays, demonstrations and presentations in the main auditorium, the children were introduced to the awe and wonder of the universe around them and have been inspired to want to learn more. The children asked some fantastic questions, behaved beautifully and even learnt how to make a peanut butter sandwich in space!
Kerri Wilkes, Head of Year 2
Year 3 Make A Marvellous Medicine
Do you have the January blues? Feeling, grouchy, grumpy or grumbly? Well, you'd better approach Year 3 children with caution in the next few weeks, as they may just have a remedy for you! The children were shocked and astounded to learn about poor George's grizzly old grunion of a grandmother, particularly after so many of them saw their own gorgeous, giggly, gracious grandparents during the Christmas holidays. They promptly realised that something had to be done... Ingredients were gathered, then poured, sprinkled, drizzled and dolloped into an enormous pan which was enthusiastically stirred by a plethora of willing hands. The mixture squelched, slopped and slurped and there was a definite whiff of magic in the air - or was it Flowers of Turnip perfume? When the marvellous medicine was ready, the brave Barn Owls and courageous Kestrels sampled the concoction. Thankfully, no unfortunate side effects have been observed at this time...
Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher
Year 4 Begin Their African Adventures
We were all excited to welcome the children back after the Christmas break and to introduce this term’s exciting new topic of Africa. The children first had to decode a cryptic message to find out which African country they were going to research. They then set to work using atlases and iPads to find out interesting information and facts about their given country. The children are all looking forward to the opportunities that this term will bring, especially their visit to London’s Lyceum Theatre to see the spectacular production of The Lion King.
Martine Melling, Head of Year 4
Year 5 Solve Problems
It is important for children to develop their problem solving and reasoning skills in order to be able approach problems from different directions and persist in finding solutions. In their Maths lessons, the children are regularly given the opportunity to do this through extension tasks and problem solving sessions. In their first Maths lessons of the term, Year 5 were challenged to solve some mathematical problems and puzzles. Working in small groups, they had to consider the information provided, look for patterns, and develop logical arguments. The children needed to persist in their approaches. Some groups reached the answer through trial and improvement, whereas others used logics. Most of the children found it a challenge to clearly explain their methods and reasoning to the rest of the class. Most groups eventually came to the correct answers by trying different combinations of numbers. Two groups spotted that A+B+C+D = £13 thus E = £8, and this was the starting point to solving the problem.
Sinead Bald, Maths Teacher
Year 6 Cross-curricular Skills
As part of their work on portraiture the children continued working on their Buddha portraits this week. Throughout this project, they have drawn on their understanding of facial proportion which the first learnt about while working on their self portraits. They have been challenged to apply these rules to their Buddha portrait, while also keeping Buddha's features in mind. Colour theory has also been investigated - they have also been challenged to use either only cool or warm colours in both the background and foreground of their portraits. The children learn about Buddhism in their RS lessons so this project provides a wonderful cross-curricular link.
Olga Houghton, Head of Art
Year 7 and Year 8 Examinations
Preparing children for public exams is a very important step at Highfield. For our Year 8s, the majority of children, who take Common Entrance at the start of June, have just sat a full set of mock exams, and they will have oral exams in either French or Spanish next week. Our potential Scholars have their final exams from the end of this month through to early May, depending on which senior school they are heading to, and again, they have done mock exams in all subjects. These mock exams are highly beneficial in terms of knowing what to expect and experience when the ‘real thing’ takes place, and hopefully these will prove to be straightforward and problem-free! Mistakes can be made and much good learning takes place. For our Year 7s, starting the process now means that they too are becoming well-prepared. The week has run smoothly and the children are tired but happy that it’s all over (except for the oral exams). They have done well, and we now await the results in the coming days and weeks.
Simon Mason, Head of Year 8, History and Examinations
Coaching From Russell Earnshaw
Sports coaches at Highfield and Brookham were lucky enough to work with professional coach and previous England Rugby Football Union player pathway coach, Russell Earnshaw, during Monday’s INSET day. Russell, who is currently working in many different areas of sports development, worked with all of our sports coaches, passing on his philosophy of coaching through games along with many other innovative coaching ideas based on recent Sport Psychology studies. He discussed his many important values of coaching, including encouraging more player led sessions, avoiding block practice and encouraging all players to think for themselves. All our coaches left feeling very motivated and are looking forward to putting this knowledge in to practice during the children’s lessons.
Dan Bather, Director of Sport
Brookham House Points
Ash 248 • Oak 275 • Willow 245
These are just a few of the exciting things the children have been involved in this week. Even more exciting news and photos will be shared on social media, so please don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.