Variety Is The Spice Of Life

Variety Is The Spice Of Life
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Nursery And Reception Children Are Such Good Sports

In Early Years, the children in Nursery and Reception have spent their PE lessons developing their fundamental movement skills, listening skills and sportsmanship. And on the much-anticipated and ever-popular Sports Day, the children finally got the opportunity to demonstrate these finely-honed skills in front of their equally excited mums and dads. There was certainly no lack of sportsmanship as the children cheered and clapped on their peers and stopped to help each other if someone fell down. There was balancing, crawling, hurdling, leaping and some extraordinarily fast running, from even the tiniest of our Bear Cubs. The final event of a busy morning saw Reception take to the track for the relay race. Relay racing is a tricky concept for anyone to grasp, no matter their age, but the Reception youngsters took it all in their stride, demonstrating seamless baton changeovers and lightning-fast running. Well done to all of the children for your wonderful efforts in Sports Day and for demonstrating such fine sportsmanship and team work.

Jess Oecken, Head of Brookham Sport

Ash Crowned Champions As Sports Day Returns In Style

For some of our children, Sports Day almost appeared to have become a thing of the past. A whole summer of missed sport last year meant that some children could hardly even remember the last time they had a Sports Day. But they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and so it seems as the excitement levels in Year 1, Year 2 and Year 3 have been building in recent weeks, culminating in a sporting extravaganza on Thursday - and even the weather played ball! During the last few weeks, the children have worked diligently to perfect the straightening of their leading leg in the hurdles, their ‘clean palm, dirty fingers and dirty neck’ technique in shot putt, and for those with such inclination, their pacing in the long-distance events. The welcome warm sunshine shone over the track, the long jump and the throwing events as the children worked their way around the field. A dark cloud lingered over the hugely anticipated 400m and 800m finals, but the excitement and enthusiasm of the children pushed any thoughts of rain firmly to the backs of everyone's minds. As the children set up for the grand finale – the house relays (worth double points) – the first drops of rain did indeed fall, although they went virtually unnoticed in the excitement of the unfolding events. As the excitement rose, so did the intensity of the rain and by the end of the relays we were well and truly soaked. But the rain failed to dampen spirits and the children listened intently to hear who would be crowned the winning house a well-deserved honour that went to Ash. Olivia, Xander and Freddie won the girls and boys' overall points awards while Betty and Rupert won the sportsmanship awards for their contribution and wonderful attitude to sport throughout the year.

Jess Oecken, Head of Brookham Sport

Busy Bees In Year 4 Learn About Pollination

Year 4 have been appropriately busy taking part in BBC Radio 2's Big Bee Competition. The children not only learnt how insects pollinate flowers by transferring pollen from the anther of one plant to the stigma of another, but also why bees are such important pollinators and why they need our help. The children discovered which flowers are best at providing nectar for the bees and were amazed to learn that a bee only ever has 40 minutes of energy left at any given time - so if you ever see a bee stuck inside and banging against a window, please let it out. We also learnt how to administer bee first aid by making a sugar solution for any exhausted bees, and then had the opportunity to make 'Bee B&Bs' to provide homes for solitary hibernating bees. As part of our work, the children observed bees in their natural habitats and undertook experiments to discover which flowers attracted the most bee visits. We all expected lavender to win, but careful study and graphs drawn using tally charts showed that actually Red Allium was better, which very much surprised us. What this exercise also demonstrated was that the value of careful observation and scientific technique is much greater than relying simply on what you have been told. Finally, back in the classroom, the children designed, drew and coloured in their bee-friendly gardens ready to be sent off in the post to Radio 2. 

Andy Baker, Head of Science

Year 5 Thespians Take To The Comedic Stage

Year 5 have been exploring 'Comedy' this term, through the work of author Roald Dahl. 5SB have focused on different scenes from The Twits, 5JR have worked on Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and The BFG, 5FT have explored The Witches, and 5VL have focussed on Danny, The  Champion of the World. They have been learning such skills as how to read a script, how to interpret stage directions, and how to take ownership of their own scene by taking on additional roles such as director, stage manager, designer or technician. They have spent the term working in their groups and deciding how best to stage their performances and this week, during their Keys session, was the time for 'curtain up'. The enterprising children enjoyed an afternoon of impromptu performances, where everyone supported each other on stage and in the audience, safe in the knowledge that with Drama there is no right or wrong, it's all about an actor's interpretation and how best to bring a scene to life; and my word, the life was literally springing out of the Sports Hall on Thursday afternoon!

Sarah Baird, Head of Drama

Year 6 Ponder The Power Of Protest Songs

Although Bob Dylan was sceptical about the ability of his music to promote political change, there is an undeniable strength in popular song to communicate and unite. Year 6 have been listening to the 'protest' songs of the 60s: John Lennon's 'Imagine', Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind' and Sam Cooke's 'A Change is Gonna Come'. Three powerful songs that express hope and frustration in equal measure; hope for a world that celebrates diversity and is united in common values yet frustration at the lack of change. They then used the notion software to create their own scores for 'Blowin' in the Wind' and will put their own song-writing skills into their very own protest songs.

Mary Hall, Year 6 Music Teacher

Year 7 Delve Deeper To Discover Origins Of Heroic NHS

All Year 7 students could remember ‘Clapping for Our Carers’ every Thursday evening at 8pm on the dot and some even recalled clanging pots and pans together in their honour. It was an event that became synonymous with the first lockdown and lavished rightful praise on those doctors, nurses, carers and support workers keeping us safe. Arguably, more than ever before, the National Health Service has become a focal point of society and those working within it have taken centre stage. But when asked what the pupils knew about the history or origins of the NHS, responses varied. Most could explain what the acronym stood for and generally what the NHS did. But what of its history, its formation, its raison d'etre? This week, pupils in Year 7 have been filling in some of those blanks in their knowledge and learnt a bit more about the organisation that has given us so much. Most pupils were aghast at just how unique the organisation is worldwide. Why is it that Britain has a nationally-funded service whilst other countries do not? Others enjoyed learning about Aneurin Bevan, often seen as the father and founder of the NHS, and his pioneering views. Some pupils followed this up with some independent research, preparing short presentations on healthcare workers from the past who have helped inspire those that followed. My hope now is that all of the current Year 7 children have a greater appreciation of the organisation that has stolen the headlines over the past 18 months or so, and are perhaps even a little inspired by those who fought to see the NHS established back in July 1948.

James Ridge, Head of History

Year 8 Activity Week Fun Banishes Welsh Woes

Just as we thought Covid restrictions were coming to an end, Year 8 were dealt one more blow as their eagerly-awaited trip to Pembrokeshire in Wales was cancelled. Despite the obvious disappointment, there was no time to feel sorry for ourselves. It was all hands on deck to organise an alternative week of activities for the leavers and the opportunity to try something a little different. On Monday, the whole year group headed into Surrey for a day of laser tag near Caterham, and such was the protection offered by the trees that we barely noticed the constant rain. Competition was fierce but 8JL ruled the day, losing just one round! On Tuesday, we headed to the beach at Littlehampton in West Sussex, which gave the children the perfect chance to have some fun and let off steam after an intense period of studying, exams and play rehearsals. There was a mix of events over the next two days, with half the group heading to Portsmouth for a day to try their hand at sailing, paddleboarding and kayaking, while the other half stayed closer to home and got to grips with a thought-provoking self-defence workshop with Sensei Matthew Powell and a trip to test their nerve among the treetops at Go Ape, with the outdoor escape rooms testing commonsense, problem-solving ability, English grammar and mathematical skills. I am sure it must have been a bitter disappointment for the Year 8 pupils to lose out on all three of the residential breaks that they would usually take during their last year, but I hope they really did enjoy the rearranged activity week as much as they seemed to and gained many fond memories to take away with them as they move on to pastures new. That said, one final night of fun awaits tonight in the shape of a festival camp out, complete with crazy inflatables, a dazzling colour run and a silent disco. It's a fabulous way to end a great week!

Jo Longshaw, Head of Year 8

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