The Finishing Line
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Brookham Class Of 2020
Year 8 Play - Grease - Virtual Production
It is hard to believe that it is the end of the school year and what an extraordinary year it has been! No one could have foreseen the current circumstances we have found ourselves in, or imagined we would be finishing the year in bell tents on the playing fields in all weathers. Yet the Nursery children have amazed us with their resilience, adaptability and positive attitude. No matter what the situation, whether in their normal Nursery environment, during the period of online learning, or most recently when camping out in the fields, they have not only taken it all in their stride, but have positively embraced their learning opportunities and shown what amazing children they are. The energy and determination they have demonstrated throughout the year has never ceased to amaze us and the team spirit and sense of community amongst them has been palpable. What they have achieved this year and the progress they have made is truly amazing. There is no doubt all the children are now ready for a well-earned rest and a chance to recharge their batteries before starting the next step in their educational journey in September. We hope they have a wonderful summer filled with fun and laughter (and hopefully some sunshine too) and we look forward to seeing all those who are returning to Brookham in September. We would also like to say good luck to those who are moving on to pastures new. Well done everyone, on an absolutely fabulous year!
Mrs Samantha Forster, Head of Early Years
In spite of the long summer holiday waiting in the wings, I actually dread this time of year because it means having to say goodbye to my class. After a year of building relationships with each individual, making so many very happy memories together and forming the bonds that make what I call our ‘school family’ it is always difficult to let them go. It has been wonderful to watch the children achieving their goals and to see them blossoming with all their unique and special skills and talents. When filing their books away it is always a reminder of just how far each of them has come since they first stepped through the school doors last September.
Of course, we could not have foreseen how global events would impact upon school life over the last two terms but it has meant so much to be able to say farewell to our classes face-to-face rather than on a screen. As sad as I am to be losing them I take great pride and comfort in the knowledge that they are all absolutely ready for the next stage of their education and lives. Sun Bears and Polar Bears are a confident and happy year group of children and I have no doubt they will all go on to achieve many great things. In the meantime I will continue to check in on them throughout their time at Brookham. It has been a very happy and successful year for every child in Reception.
Mrs Jessie Millsom, Reception Class Teacher
The end of an academic year is always one of reflection, excitement, hope and sadness as our days as a class come to an end, saying goodbye to children who we have come to know well and become fond of. This year in particular will hold many memories for us all, the resilience and positive attitudes of the Year 1 children shining through the challenging times with smiles, laughter and some craziness. Never have I been prouder of a group of individuals; who moved seamlessly from the classroom environment to online learning, supporting their peers with encouraging words and an ever growing list of favourite jokes to share. If this is how they approach any future hurdles in their lives then I know that success can and will ensue. So now, with the summer holidays upon us, I can only hope that this wonderful group of children, who it has been a privilege to teach and learn from will take time to rest, relax and most importantly continue to grow into individuals that I am, and many others, are so proud of.
Mrs Georgie Hunter, Head of Year 1
What an incredible year we have had in Year 2 this year! Incredible, in both senses of the word because we have done some amazing things, and been to some amazing places, but we have also been faced with some unique challenges. I am enormously proud of Year 2 and all that they have achieved; more than anything because they have grown together as a team. It seems an age ago since we held our rainforest café and visited the space planetarium during our first two terms’ topics. The final term will surely be remembered as one of the strangest, as we worked from home on our final topic, Together We Grow, along with the whole school. All in all, this has meant that Year 2 are perhaps more ready than ever for being at the top of our school. This is a year group that has shown itself to be responsible, resilient and ready for anything! The Year 2 staff will miss our Year 2s very much, whilst knowing that they have sprinted over the finishing line and are well prepared for the next race.
Mrs Stephanie Turner, Year 3 Class Teacher
Every year, at the end of the Summer Term, we Year 3 teachers say goodbye to our children and wish them well as they leave Brookham for Highfield and the wide world beyond. Each time it comes to say goodbye, feelings of sorrow mix with a little anxiety - are they ready? How will they adjust to the increased expectations of independence at 'big school'? But not this year. This year, the nostalgia is not in any way tinged with anxiety.
One of the positive outcomes of home schooling during lockdown is that we know they are ready; they have had a baptism of fire and have emerged triumphant! It is said that one's true colours emerge in times of extreme duress and uncertainty. This has most certainly been epitomised by a cohort of wonderful children who have shown their families, their teachers and, most importantly, themselves that they are adaptable, independent and courageous. They are ready to take flight and soar.
These last two weeks of term have been joyous. Every child has returned beaming, delighted to see their friends and determined to make the most of every moment. There have been three classes, instead of two; Sports Day was run in their bubbles; the Year 3 Leavers' Party, also in their bubbles, was fantastic fun and the Leavers' Assembly was online. Have they allowed these changes to lessen their pride in their achievements or detract from the significance of their end-of-Brookham milestone? Not a bit of it!
Highfield, you have a wonderful cohort of children on their way to you. They depart Brookham with all our best wishes and our deepest respect. They will be greatly missed by the entire Year 3 team but they are ready.
Mr Charlie Millsom, Head of Year 3 and Miss Sophie Delacombe, Year 3 Class Teacher
We were all very excited to welcome the Year 4 children back for the final two weeks of the year. Although returning to quite a different set up, it has been truly rewarding to see their excitement over seeing their friends again. Whilst brushing up on some academic work, the children have also had an opportunity to learn about Le Tour de France. They have designed their own helmets and using the art technique of ‘vanishing points’ have produced some excellent paintings of their own route for the race.
Break times have been a lovely opportunity for the children to be outside and have fun together. Particular highlights have been mixed games of football and cricket along with Quidditch and delightful imaginary games. The weather has been kind enabling us to play a variety of sports including the popular game of Tornado Cricket and Rounders. We have also been on walks through the woods and had camp building sessions where the children have produced an amazing variety of shelters. Mrs Peerless, Miss Feery and myself have also enjoyed a delicious creative three course meal produced entirely from items found in the woods!
It has been an absolutely fabulous way for us to finish what has undoubtedly been a strange and challenging time for our Year 4 children.
Mrs Martine Melling, Head of Year 4
10 weeks ago, it seemed like the finish line was a long way away. The Year 5s logged onto Teams for the first time and started to learn online, to upload and download. There was a period of readjustment before lessons were a success but, it just remained so bizarre to us all. There were no bustling form rooms for us to enter in the morning, no cricket to play, not even any Prep to complete. The children have been remarkable and, although everyone coped in a different way, success was to be found. However, the heart of soul of Highfield has been restored this week, and, rather than asking pupils to ensure their ‘mute’ button was on, we have been able to encourage laughter, shouting, cheering, singing and fun. The approach to the finish line could not have been a sweeter one. Days in the woods, Quidditch, Art, Problem Solving and Teamwork have reigned supreme and have seen us end the term on more of a high that we could ever have imagined. This year group will remain very special to us, and it has been a great pleasure to get to know this group of wonderful children.
Miss Vivienne Liddell, Head of Year 5
Each one of you has had challenges to overcome and this last term has been tough for everyone, however, I could not be more proud of the way in which you have all risen to these challenges. As a year group, Year 6 led the way in returning back to school and you set a wonderful example that allowed us to feel confident that others could follow. Those of you who sadly could not be with us, more than did your part and the way in which you rose to the online challenge week and kept positive and upbeat has been a real source of inspiration to me.
Earlier in the year, the vast majority of you took senior school Pre-Assessments and interviews or 11+ examinations and you should feel immensely proud to have successfully completed these, working hard and giving your all but always with good humour and a sense of perspective. I hope these have given you the resilience and confidence to know that although things may sometimes seem hard, you have the ability to achieve anything you set your mind to. Whilst Year 7 may present new and exciting challenges, you are all more than ready for the next chapter.
Please always remember that you are amazing, you are special, you are important and you are unique. This year has been filled with lots of fun and laughter and Mr Dunn, Miss Gordon, Miss Pidebois and I have loved being your Form Tutors. You have all made a wonderful contribution to making this year special and I urge you to continue to give your very best in Year 7. I leave you with the words of one of the most famous American Presidents in history, John F Kennedy:
One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.
Mrs Jane Hamilton, Head of Year 6
As the end of this quite remarkable academic year comes to an end, it has been delightful to be able to sign it off with so many members of Year 7 back in the Highfield Grounds. The buzz around our allotted areas has been clearly evident, with groups participating in all manner of games and activities. It has been lovely to see groups together and united in their fun, while always taking the time to wave and shout across to friends in other 'bubbles'. Members of our community not able to join us have certainly been missed and this past week has been a great time for reflection.
It has been an outstanding year for Year 7. They have thrived at both Highfield and 'Virtual Highfield', in all manner of areas, and the Year 7 Tutor Team could not be more proud of them. This has been an exceptional year both in circumstance and pupil growth; a group with a desire to improve and develop in and out of the classroom. As they move into Year 8, and finally reach the 'Top of the School', I hope they remember how resilient they have been throughout all the challenges they have faced and the hurdles they have overcome. This resilience will continue to be important but the togetherness of this year group excites me and they have a great opportunity ahead of them as they lead Highfield when we return in September.
To finish, the greatest joy of this week, and the year in it's entirety, has been seeing the smiles on faces of this group. I hope that they remember the importance of a smile and endeavour to wear one as much as possible over the Summer and beyond.
Mr James Figgis, Acting Head of Year 7
You have been the most fantastic and wonderful Year Group! Thank you for who you are and all that you have done and achieved in your time at Highfield. All of you will have great memories and things that you will really miss. But you have also learned a great deal and you can go to your Senior School full of confidence, with the knowledge of all your experiences here. You have a really exciting future to look forward to. We are very proud of you and we will miss you! Do keep in touch.
Mr Simon Mason, Head of Year 8