Developing Knowledge and Skills

Developing Knowledge and Skills
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Head's Thoughts

Choosing a school for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a parent. This topic has been even more on my mind than usual recently, either in light of the results of senior school assessments that our pupils have taken, meetings with current parents to advise on next schools, or from the opposite perspective of meeting prospective parents. We welcomed many to our Open Morning last Saturday and met a large number of prospective London parents at our annual 'Educating Outside London' drinks reception that we hosted in Chelsea on Wednesday evening. Read on...

Phillip Evitt, Headmaster, Highfield School

Nursery Numeracy

Every day in Nursery, Bear Cubs experience opportunities to develop their numeracy skills through play. The fundamental skill of counting is practised in a variety of ways, whether through counting fingers when singing number nursery rhymes, counting stepping-stones in the garden or counting eggs made out of playdough. Exposing the children to counting in a wide range of ways and contexts helps them to develop an understanding of what each number actually means, and helps ensure a deeper understanding, which is crucial as they learn further mathematical skills.

Samantha Forster, Head of Nursery

Reception Have a ROARsome Week

At the beginning of the week, the children discovered a mysteriously large blue, speckled egg. They were very intrigued to discover what might be inside and had plenty of questions for their teachers. Showing care and concern for this unknown creature, the children decided to bring the egg inside to keep it warm. They took it in turns to monitor any movement or cracking, regularly checking the egg was safe. On Tuesday morning, they discovered the egg was missing! The children searched high and low before bumping into Miss Delacombe who had spotted a little green diplodocus stomping around the playground the previous night. As the events began to unravel, Reception fled to the playground to hunt for footprints and other clues that might lead to his whereabouts. The children made posters to ask staff and children to keep their eyes peeled for this adventurous little green diplodocus. The search continues...

Olivia Shepherd, Reception Teacher

Year 1 Travel Back In Time

During their literacy lessons, Year 1 were transported, once again, 300 years into the past.  This time, their journey enabled them to discover what writing was like. They were given the opportunity to try it first hand and wrote letters using feather quills. The children composed messages to Toby, who they had met in the story ‘Toby and the Great Fire of London’. They needed to urgently write him a letter warning him that a huge fire had broken out. The process of writing in ink rather than pencil, created much excitement! The children were challenged to focus on their pencil grip and manipulate their fine motor skills to create perfectly formed letters. Furthermore, the activity helped them to develop an understanding of how writing implements have changed over time. 

Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher

Year 2 Focus on Wood

As part of their Science topic on Materials, the children have been identifying and comparing the suitability of a variety of everyday materials for particular uses. This week we have taken a close look at wood and its properties. What better way to start the lesson than a guided tour of the school’s biomass to see first-hand the wonderful things that wood does for us as a school? The children learnt that this wonderful renewable source of energy helps fight climate change and provides a cleaner environment for all of us. This interesting trip raised many questions and encouraged the children to think of other unusual and creative uses for everyday materials such as milk bottle houses, fleece jumpers made from plastic bottles and shoes made from old tyres. 

Kerri Wilkes, Head of Year 2

Year 3 Appreciate What They Have

This week, the children reflected on how lucky they truly are. Blessed with loving families, a safe place to live, clean water, nutritious food, a fantastic education and medicine if they need it, many might take their advantages for granted. The children were astonished to find out that many people around the world do not have access to these things. They were even more shocked to learn that there are children the same age as they are who have to earn money to live instead of going to school. This has been an eye-opening introduction to the new topic, 'Is it Fair?'. Playing the 'Banana Split' game, they debated who should have which share of the 30p cost of a banana, considering the supply chain from picker, plantation owner, shipper, importer and supermarket to the consumer who buys it. The children are on the lookout for the Fair Trade symbol on products at home and in the shops. So far, the logo has been spotted on jam, tea, sugar, rice, chocolate, hot chocolate, coffee and bananas.

Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 Cranleigh Tournament

Having only been playing hockey for 2 weeks and many of the girls having not yet played on astro, this was always going to be an afternoon of excitement and a chance for the girls to put their skills to the test.

Straight into their first game against Cranmore, the A team did not disappoint. By applying what they had been practising - looking up, passing to a team mate and working together up the pitch - they came out with an excellent 1-0 win. This form continued into their next game against Cranleigh. Outstanding dribbling and passing from Genny and excellent finishing from Alice, resulted in a well deserved 2-0 win.  The next game was against a well-drilled St George's. They put the girls to the test, who defended excellently, but gave into their first loss. Finally, into the last match with weary legs. It was a very close game against Edgeborough; again some super passing, particularly starting to use the wing more efficiently. In the last minute, Edgeborough pipped Highfield to the post resulting in a 0-1 defeat.

It was wonderful to see the girls working together and particularly special to see their skills progress over the course of the afternoon.

Charlie Peerless, Year 4 Teacher

Year 5 Develop Key Skills

The Keys Programme, which is unique to Highfield, takes children on a journey of self-awareness and personal development, allowing each child the opportunity to discover new experiences and to take ownership of their education. This half-term, 5VL are participating in Dance, building on different skills each week and working towards a final piece. It was certainly impressive watching them prepare for this with a strength and conditioning warm up, with impressive ‘planking’ from Jasper, Tallulah and Lottie! Meanwhile, in the swimming pool, 5SB were saving lives with a ‘chin tow’. They learned how to correctly guide their partner across the pool to safety ensuring their partner was able to breathe and that they held them carefully under the chin. In the DT Lab, 5OS, are helping our community by creating handwriting aids for Brookham Nursery children. They are using computer aided design to create shapes, which are then laser cut. The final step is to insert a small piece of wood, which allows the Nursery children to develop their fine motor skills.

Vivienne Liddell, Head of Year 5

Year 6 Master Mask Performance

The year group took part in an inspirational mask workshop during their Drama lessons. Led by Tory Sanders from Trestle, a mask and physical theatre company, the children explored the exciting versatility of masks and how they can unlock a more focused physicality in performance. Through a playful approach, the children were challenged to come out of their comfort zones and try something brand-new. They learnt the mask skills of clocking the audience, passing the focus, exaggerating their physicality, as well as how to express their emotions in order to tell a clear story. Some students will get the opportunity to develop these skills further in the opening scene of the Year 6 production, ‘Big Issues’, later on this term.

Sarah Baird, Head of Drama

Year 7 Produce Perfect Pottery

The first Sunday activity of the term saw the Year 7 boarders, along with their peers from other year groups, participate in a creative afternoon of pottery, learning how to make a piece of pottery from scratch. Pieces of clay were transformed into a huge array of extremely creative pottery pieces including pots, sculptures, mugs, a birdhouse and even the Statue of Liberty! A lot of patience was required by the children to knead the clay to remove any air bubbles to ensure their pottery didn't burst in the kiln. They were also challenged to make sure their pieces were stable enough not to collapse and to use the correct amount of clay slip to join pieces together. The children are looking forward to painting and glazing their works of art once dry.

Susannah de la Haye, Year 4 Teacher

Year 8 Talented DT Scholars

As part of their portfolio preparation for their Design and Technology Scholarships, this year’s aspiring DT Scholars have been busy working on two very creative projects. Tom has designed and made a hardwood oak kitchen island, exploring recycled and upcycled materials with a rustic theme, while Orlando has created a barn owl box with an inspection hatch for chicks. Both students began their projects by modelling the items they wanted to make and were challenged to use hard woods instead of the soft woods that they have been using in class. Throughout the process they developed and demonstrated their skills of smoothing of wood, oiling and staining, computer aided design, and electronics. They used a whole range of different equipment including a router, band saw, pillar drills, biscuit joiner, wood planes, mitre saw, jigsaw and plug cutters, resulting in two very impressive pieces of work.

Jamie Dew, Head of Design & Technology

Brookham House Points

Ash 388 • Oak 418 • Willow 382

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.

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