Reflections Of A Busy Year

Reflections Of A Busy Year
Highfield & Brookham Newsletter

Nursery Pride As Amazing Year Comes To An End

Well, what a year it has been. We are delighted to say that Covid hasn't phased us in Nursery one bit and we were lucky enough to have been unaffected the second lockdown. Whilst the rest of the school moved to online learning, we were able to continue to welcome the Bear Cubs into our fantastic learning environment, where we provided them with the utmost care and endless engaging experiences, such as Forest School, swimming lessons and music, as well as the exciting day-to-day and open-ended learning opportunities that we have to offer. And the children have responded amazingly well, growing and gaining confidence both individually and as a group. The result is that it has been a truly amazing year from start to finish. We have welcomed many new Bear Cubs and enjoyed watching the existing cubs develop and flourish ahead of their step up next year, and I have absolutely no doubt that they will embrace this wholeheartedly and continue to thrive.

Lou Blackaby, Nursery Class Teacher

Reception Reflect On An Inspiring And Eventful Year 

It has been an eventful year and we have been privileged in Reception to be able to have time this week to reflect. Not only were we fortunate in having the time to do so but we are also blessed to be situated in the most gorgeous surroundings in which to be able to meaningfully pause for thought. Up in the woods, with the sunshine dancing through the gently-swaying leaves, the sweet sounds of bird song and the clean fresh air, we were provided with the perfect opportunity to group together and look back at what we have achieved since September. Fond memories of their time in Reception were shared by the children, including stories from the school trip to The Lookout Discovery Centre and videos, letters and potions received from Farmer John and Friendly Sue to the plentiful adventures exploring the expansive school grounds. The children then pondered new concepts and skills they have learnt and how they have achieved things they didn’t know even know they were capable of, while the evidence of new friendships made was wonderfully apparent in the shared jokes, laughter and games. The heart-warming discussion then changed direction, with the children instead looking forward and thinking about how they can use what they have learnt in Reception to support the exciting times that lie ahead in Year 1. The Reception children all agreed that they simply can't wait for Year 1 and for the opportunity to tackle even more challenges!

Lucy Deary, Reception Class Teacher

Joyous Minibeast Show A Fitting Finale For Year 1

From Forest School fires to the Great Fire of London, from superheroes to critical workers and from minibeasts to The Ugly Bug Ball, Year 1 have dipped and dived into an array of exciting topics this year. At the heart of all this has been the stretching and development of their key learning muscles. They have grown in so many ways, improved their thinking and imagined possibilities. With their new-found confidence, friendships have blossomed and matured over the year. Solutions to problems are more commonly found collectively and they are learning to think of others before themselves. Whether through collaboration, making links or becoming strategic in their planning when carrying out activities, the children have demonstrated continuous enthusiasm and a real thirst for knowledge. And the former was strikingly evident in the run up to the end of term with their fantastic performance of minibeast songs, which they put on for the teachers. Brookham’s Got Talent here we come!

Henrietta Platt, Year 1 Teacher

From Pompeii To Pizzas As Year 2 Say 'Arrivederci' 

Year 2 have exploded into action and baked their way through an exciting final week of the Summer Term. The children's spirits certainly weren't dampened by the wet weather as they set off into the woods to create their own working models of Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii. With the help of some washing up liquid, food colouring, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar, the children shrieked and squealed as they watched Pompeii (symbolized by an arrangement of stones) become buried in a bubbling pink stream of liquid. The model making, along with making our own tasty pizzas garnished with lovingly home-grown basil, was the perfect way to end the year and our topic focusing on the Romans and Italy. The children certainly had lots of fun with their learning, taking healthy risks beyond the norm. Despite the Spring Term disruptions, this inquisitive, sparky and creative year group have embraced everything that Brookham has to offer with great enthusiasm and focus. They are courageous learners with an infections thirst for facts and knowledge. Look out Year 3, here they come!

Kerri Wilkes, Year 2 Teacher

Party Time As Year 3 Bid Fond Farewell To Brookham

As the final week of term comes to a close, it has been an incredibly special one in Year 3. The children have been busy preparing to end their time at Brookham, with so many achievements to celebrate and highlights to remember. As a final celebration to mark the end of their stay in our lovely pre-prep school, the children have been counting down the days to their Year 3 party. Fuelled by ice cream and a delicious barbecue, the children were all smiles playing cricket, slipping at great speed down the slip 'n' slide track, and bouncing their way through the inflatable obstacle course. With laughter ringing around and huge grins on their faces, the children fondly recalled all of the wonderful, fun and exciting times that they have had together at Brookham. As they move on to their next adventure, the children will take with them not only their signed T-shirts and smart new hoodies, but also memories of happy, joyful times spent together.

Ellie Graham, Year 3 Teacher

Island Adventure As Intrepid Year 4 Hit The Heights

Young adventurers from Year 4 rounded off the Summer Term in thrilling style with a trip to the Isle of Wight. The occasion was a visit to the Kingswood outdoor education centre in Bembridge - and, boy, was it an education! The intrepid boys and girls overcame any nerves and fears they may have been harbouring by throwing themselves into an action-packed four-day programme of challenges fit for daredevils. The Leap of Faith involved jumping from the top of a ten-metre pole (complete with safety harness, you'll be glad to hear!), the blindfolded Nightline in the woods tested sensory deprivation, while Jacob's Ladder, the 3D Swing, the Climbing Wall and the Zipwire tested the children's nerve from quite a height. Body boarding on the water at Whitecliff Bay was a particular favourite while it was a case of steady as you go on the balance beam. But it wasn't all a test of nerve as team games and problem-solving sharpened the children's confidence, resilience and life skills. What a fabulous way to end the school year, and this lovely cohort proved without a shadow of a doubt that they are more than ready for the step up to Year 5 in September.

Martine Melling, Year 4 Teacher

Year 5 Have A Blast With Balmy Day At The Beach

After a successful Prize Giving ceremony, Year 5 were excitement personified as they headed down to the south coast to Littlehampton in West Sussex for their last day of the Summer Term for a thoroughly enjoyable beach trip. There was a real holiday feel to the day as the children arrived in their shorts and T-shirts, while the obligatory sunglasses, sun cream and packed lunches were loaded onto the bus. Having nervously kept a very close eye on the weather all week, we finally got lucky as summer arrived at last. So a heady mix of sun, sea and sand was the perfect recipe for copious amounts of excited chatter, laughter, shrieking and squealing as the children lapped up the chance to play cricket, fling frisbees, play football, collect rocks, or have a little paddle in the sea. As always, this group of children were an absolute delight. They really are fantastic company and all of the staff who joined the trip had a thoroughly enjoyable day too. What a wonderful way to end the term.

Vivienne Liddell, Head of Year 5

Resourceful Year 6 Fired Up For A Night Under Canvas

After a frustrating, weather-related delay, it was a case of second time lucky as Year 6 finally got stuck into their Bushcraft campout. Having been shown how to pitch their tents, the happy campers headed off when the school bell sounded on Tuesday, eager for a night under canvas and a day of discovery in the woods. And the theory session paid off handsomely as all the tents were erected in just 45 minutes thanks to teamwork and constant encouragement. A hearty dinner in the woods was topped off perfectly with hot chocolate before a lively game of Manhunt followed on the golf course, with everyone having a great time and really getting involved. Then it was time for bed, with the tents quickly filled with the excited laughter and chatter of fun-loving children revelling in their Highfield adventure, something which was wonderful to hear. Most of the children woke at sunrise and were chatting away in their tents, clearly excited about the fun day ahead, and a pain au chocolat by the fire served to improve the children's mood even further. Then it was down to business and the first lesson of the day was learning how to make fires on which to cook their lunch. Fire is an essential part of survival and life out in the wild and the attentive children learned a great deal about the origins of fire, different ways of making fire, different fire lays, and ways in which fire can be used. After the talk, the Bushcraft bunch were tasked with collecting piles of wood to make their very own fires, with a little help and advice from the group leaders. And seemingly no time later, the fires were lit, the food was prepared and the children ate a tasty lunch of sausages, vegetables and bananas, all cooked to perfection. There was a distinct and well-deserved sense of satisfaction for the children who had made their own fires and prepared their own food, skills that will stay with them for life. After lunch, it was a case of what goes up must come down and the children neatly packed away their canvas shelters before a healthy and happy play session in the fresh air and an uplifting nature walk. It was great to see the children really enjoying themselves in the amazing woods that we have at Highfield and Brookham and for them to learn amazing skills along the way.

Elliott Hall, Assistant House Parent

Year 7 Peer Listeners Ready To Lend An Ear

An eager team of 'peer listeners' have been chosen from Year 7 - and they're all ready to take up their exciting new roles in September. The Peer Listening scheme is a fantastic programme that helps equip children with the skills they need to help and support other children. They will be on hand with a 'listening ear' to anyone who needs it and offer perhaps a gentler option to a pupil who may not with to speak to a teacher. Since being selected, the ten caring pupils have undergone special training during their Thursday afternoon Keys sessions, with topics covered including tips on how to be an active listener, knowing when they may need to ask an adult for guidance, and learning how to handle sensitive situations that they may come to light. The new team have participated brilliantly and given their all, and they are all excited for the challenge ahead.

Zoe Thesiger-Pratt, Head of PSHE

Dream Becomes Reality As Year 8 Stars Go Out In Style

As I write this entry for the newsletter, I have just read in the news that the West End Revival of Hairspray will have to be put on pause for ten days, as a new case of Covid has been logged in their production team. So, yet again, we count ourselves incredibly lucky that we have been able to put on this fabulous production this week to a live audience - albeit with Covid restrictions in place - and that our amazingly-talented Year 8 pupils got to perform their final-year production, something that they so richly deserve. Over the past two weeks, they have acted, sung and danced their way through the 100-page script. The commitment, energy and focus has been astounding for a cast of 59 13-year-olds, and they have approached this musical with the respect and revelry it deserves. Hairspray, set in Baltimore in the United States in 1962, is a musical that tackles issues of segregation and integration. Tracy Turnblad, a girl with big hair and big dreams, has only one passion in life – to dance on the Corny Collins Show. And the journey she goes on to realise her dreams shows that no matter who you are (black or white, big or small) you should follow your dream and believe. This musical was created in the 1980s about a moment of history that is a far cry from the world we live in today. We can’t judge the past on our current level of enlightenment and we can’t ban the past or hide from it; but rather we should embrace it, talk (and sing and dance) about it, educate about it and, most importantly, learn from it. We wish every single one of our brilliant Year 8 cohort every success as they tread the boards in their future schools.

You can view more photos here.

Sarah Baird, Head of Drama

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