Parents’ Newsletter spring (2) 2018
Westbury House children have seen a very busy term, with a particularly jam-packed ending. Thank you for all your support and help.
We continue to give the children as many enrichment opportunities as possible to help broaden their understanding of our diverse British culture and to give you, parents and grandparents, opportunities to share their learning journey. We encourage you to join in on every available occasion and see how much fun learning is.
This was the term in which we experienced our first ISI inspection. The team was definitely more rigorous than the Ofsted team we experienced 3 years ago, and we are pleased that we came out of it so well. Thank you for the overwhelming support you gave the school in the questionnaires you completed. The parents’ voice matters when the inspection team are making their judgements.
As you will have seen from the website, we are celebrating an excellent set of transition results for the current Year 6, with over 50% passing 11+ and 5 offers of scholarships. Well done to all of them.
Changes at school
Over the holiday, new signage will be erected for the school, which will give us greater visibility in the area. Apart from that, there will be no physical changes at the school this coming term.
We are pleased that the new school uniform is now in production. We will let you know when it is available to purchase. Please bear in mind that it is not compulsory until September 2019. Therefore, we will have a year of ‘mixed uniforms’. This is inevitable, as we wanted to give parents the longest possible lead time in moving to the new uniform. However, we will not allow children to wear some old and some new uniform – they must be in either old or new, not a mixture of both. As part of the move to a new uniform, the school has had to buy the remaining stock of old uniform at cost price. Therefore, if someone wants to remain in the old uniform and needs a single replacement item, we can provide parents with these at cost price: blazers, girls’ skirts, ties. Please see Mrs McCloskey if you want to purchase any of these.
Having been asked by so many parents over recent years if school can have hot lunches for all year groups from Nursery upwards, we are pleased to announce that we have appointed a new provider from September. Three companies were asked to tender, and we have chosen our preferred supplier – The Pantry. However, given that we are a very small school, it was only viable if everyone has lunches. Therefore, in common with many prep schools in the area, hot lunches become part of Westbury House School life and compulsory for every pupil from September 2018. When children go out on trips, The Pantry will provide a packed lunch for them. Children will still be required to bring a water bottle to school each day and a fruit snack for morning break.
Parents will be able to choose their children’s meals from a choice of 4 options each day. All allergies can be catered for – this is a very large company that provides foods to a range of both educational and business premises. We have inspected their systems and are confident that they provide an excellent service. At a cost of £3 per day, we believe this represents excellent value for money.
We will be inviting parents in to meet the team from The Pantry during the summer term, where they will be able to demonstrate how the system works, how to make choices for food and how to notify them of allergies. It is an on-line system that gives parents individual control for their children’s meals.
We are delighted and sad to announce that Ms Suzanna Lopez has secured a promoted post and will be taking up her new job as Head of Prep at Manor House school from September. We wish her well as she moves to pastures new and rises to the new challenges that await her. She has served the school well, introducing many new ideas and helping us to achieve a good inspection outcome this term. Although we will miss her, we are pleased that the work she has done for us has been recognised in helping her to achieve this promotion. We are currently recruiting to replace her and will let you know when we have made an appointment.
Vet visits Early Years
On 20th February, a vet came to visit the children in the early years with her dog Elsa. She showed the children how she takes care of Elsa's teeth, ears and eyes. The children were delighted when the vet revealed a puppy hiding in the dog basket. The vet allowed the children to use her stethoscope to listen to the puppy's heartbeat. They thoroughly enjoyed stroking both dogs and learning about the work of a vet.
Years 5+6 Girls vs Rowans
Tuesday 20th February 2018, all girls in Years 5 & 6 were split into two teams to play either football or rugby against the Rowan Prep girls. At Rowan Prep, the girls only play these sports in a before-school club and had not had an opportunity to compete until now. We were very much looking forward to hosting their first fixture.
Our rugby team managed to score a try five times during the match. The girls, mainly from our Year 5, struggled to match the speed of the girls from Rowan Prep, and conceded 12. However, it was superb to see the way that the girls started to play better and better in this one game, testing out different tactics and finding a good attacking solution. Defending is the area identified for further development.
Our girls, mainly from Year 6, had great success in this match. We scored two superb goals and managed to keep a clean sheet. With a final score of 2 – 0 to Westbury House, it was a wonderful feeling of victory over a school as strong as Rowan Prep. Well done to the team who worked hard in both attack and defence.
British Cultural Extravaganza for Years 5+6
Thursday 22nd February, Years 5 + 6 visited Westminster Abbey and The Palace Mews. They learned about British Values and our wonderful history. With their guides, they looked around the Abbey, then walked across London to visit the mews. The Queen's carriages were truly beautiful, but the most wonderful thing was meeting some of the Queen's beautiful horses. They are highly trained to pull her carriages on special occasions. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the visit.
27th February, Key stage 1 and EYFS, braved the elements and went on our very first forest school morning. When we arrived, we had our safety talk at base camp and then spent our time exploring, investigating and having a great time learning in the outdoors. Some children learned whittling, some built a den, and some enhanced their balancing skills on the fallen down tree stumps. Despite the cold, the children didn’t want to leave. It is the first of many adventures to come.
London Symphony Orchestra
On Tuesday 27th February, Years 3 and 4 were part of a very special event at the Barbican Hall with the prestigious and world-renowned London Symphony Orchestra (LSO). The children were extremely excited to visit such an iconic venue and to be able to see and hear such a famous orchestra play live. The LSO performed a brand-new one-hour concert featuring music of flight, with repertoire spanning nearly 250 years. The concert explored how composers old and new have been inspired by dreams of air and flight.
The centre-piece of the concert was a special commission by the LSO called 'Farther', a 'musical adventure', in which Years 3 and 4 sang seven songs performing alongside other schools. The children performed beautifully and really embraced all the different moods and feelings of the different songs. Mrs Williams has also been exploring the story and illustrations of 'Farther' in her art lessons and the two Year groups painted their own birds inspired by the music. Some of the artwork was shown on a big screen during the performance which was very exciting.
28th February – World Book Day
World Book Day was a great success at Westbury House. The children all came dressed as a favourite book character and we had some wonderful costumes. Each class held their own costume competitions and House Points were awarded accordingly. It was wonderful to hear so many children discussing their books with each other. In the afternoon, there were some drama and dance workshops based on popular children’s books. These were run by an independent company and were most enjoyable. Thank you to everyone for all their efforts towards World Book Day.
28th and 29th February saw the long-awaited ISI inspection of Westbury House School. The two inspectors were very complimentary about the school and gave us a clean bill of health. Well done to all the pupils and staff for showing-off the school to such good advantage.
Life Boat assembly
29th February saw a volunteer from the Royal National Lifeboat Association come to school to explain to the children about the invaluable work of this organisation, staffed mainly by volunteers. The start was slightly delayed as the representative broke down – in his car – and needed rescuing before he arrived at Westbury House.
Westbury House children enjoyed playing in the snow on Wednesday and Thursday, 28th February and 1st March. What a delightful spring-time treat! However, it beat us on Friday 2nd, and school was closed for the day.
Science Week – w/c 5.3.18
This year's Science Week took on an environmental theme. Teachers planned some exciting investigations and science-themed lessons to deliver to their classes throughout the week. Every child in the school had the opportunity to visit Surrey Wildlife Trust's Nower Wood in Leatherhead, where they took part in many wonderful activities, such as minibeast hunting, habitat studies, orienteering, and GIS investigations to name a few. Our annual Science House Quiz competition had children from each house pitting their brains against each other to answer some tricky science questions. Well done to Cutty Sark and Victory for drawing in the KS2 quiz and to Cutty Sark for winning the KS1 quiz! Finally, thank you to all the children who entered our competition to build a home for a native animal species. The models were fantastic, and a lot of time and effort had been put into all of them. Congratulations to all the winners, who received prizes in the Science Week assembly.
Choral workshop and evensong
Tuesday 6th March, Year 6 children were part of a Choral Workshop at St. John's School, Leatherhead, which culminated in an Evensong in the School's Chapel. The workshop aimed to give children a flavour of the English Choral tradition and an opportunity to experience how St John’s College worship. The children studied some challenging repertoire ranging from the famous chorale ‘Jesu, joy of man’s desiring’ by J.S. Bach to the exciting ‘Magnificat’ by the contemporary composer Sarah MacDonald. We also learned to sing psalms and plainsong, which was a new experience for most of Year 6. Five school choirs were invited to take part in this musical event and together they produced a truly magnificent sound. After the demanding rehearsals we, and all the parents who came to enjoy the Evensong, were treated with High Tea in the Old Chapel.
EYFS visit to Pets at home
The children had a wonderful time at Pets at Home on 14th March. They thoroughly enjoyed holding, touching and stroking the rabbits and guinea pigs. They were surprised to see how fast the degu was at spinning in his wheel and how long the Green Tree Monitor reptile’s tail was.
Elaine Wickson – author visit
Many thanks indeed to Elaine Wickson, who visited our school on 14th March to talk about her debut book ‘Planet Stan’. The children really enjoyed her visit, and it was one of the most engaging author visits we have ever had. Her talk was fun, interesting and captured the children’s imaginations as well as inspiring them to write. She would be very welcome to come back and speak about any future books.
15th March was our termly parent and child movement to music event. The first part was for our own children in EYFS and their parents. Part 2 was, as usual, available to members of the public. Once again, we had a full house as under-5s and their parents/carers jived to music under the expert guidance of Miss Emma.
Year 3 Mixed Football vs Park Hill School. 6v6.
Friday 16th March 2018, Year 3 were split into two mixed teams to play against Park Hill School. The children and teachers from Park Hill jumped on the K5 bus from Kingston to come to play us for the first time at King’s College Fields and we were delighted to host them. They were a very friendly bunch and we all had a great afternoon of competitive sport. Thanks go to Mr Bond, the Park Hill Head Teacher, who refereed the A team match. This was a very close game with many goals being scored by both teams. The final result was a victory to Westbury House with a score of 4 – 3.
The B team match was similarly close. Only one goal was scored, by Westbury House, within the first thirty seconds! The rest of the game was incredibly exciting: end-to-end action with some great support from the parents on the side line. Well done to all players from both schools and we would most definitely like to play more fixtures against Park Hill School in the future.
Leith Hill Festival
17th March, Junior Choir and Senior Choir took part in the Leith Hill Music Festival Youth Choirs' Competition. The Junior Choir is thrilled to announce that they were awarded the first prize - a Distinction - in the Leith Hill Musical Festival Youth Choirs’ Competition 2018! After months of very detailed preparation, they performed with absolute focus, clear enthusiasm and total commitment, singing in front of a large audience in the Dorking Halls. It was the Junior Choir’s first public performance of that size and importance, and their first ever competition, with two other choirs also taking part in the Class. It was a fabulous experience overall- they all said how much they had enjoyed being able to represent Westbury House School so positively and they look forward to returning next year and defending their trophy. Senior Choir also performed beautifully, singing two contrasting songs in two-part harmonies, but unfortunately could not quite defend their title from last year. The standard was very high, and we can be very proud of our performance.
Both choirs worked very hard for this and we are all very proud of their achievements!
Alice in Wonderland
20th-22nd March, pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 treated us to a very special performance of Alice in Wonderland – our school play. Under the guidance and direction of Mr Hamilton-Turner, they created an engaging, beautifully performed drama. The wonderful set helped to create the strange world Alice discovers of a talking white rabbit, croquet played with flamingos and threats of decapitation that delighted the audience each night. Many thanks to the very talented pupils, whose memory for their lines was hugely impressive, for their commitment to the task and their excellent performances.
On 22nd March, the children had the pleasure of meeting Hilary and her guide dog Edie. Hilary spoke about the importance of her guide dog and how it allows her to maintain her independence. Without her guide dog, Hilary would be unable to carry out the daily things we take for granted. Edie is Hilary's 7th guide dog. Cocoa previously visited the school 2 years ago. She retired last year and now lives with other retired guide dogs with a family. Hilary spoke about a guide dog’s training; we were surprised how long it takes and how much they have to learn. This would not be possible without the charity, the Guide Dogs for the Blind association. It was decided the donations from our end of term hair and hat day would be donated to this important charity.
Senior swimming gala
Friday 23rd March saw a tropical moment for all parents and teachers as we moved into summer wear for the annual swimming gala. The children delighted us with their swimming and their sense of competition as they challenged one another for aquatic supremacy. It was a very successful morning with many happy memories being created.
Y6 hockey with Weston Green
One year ago, when they were in Year 5, the children in Year 6 started playing hockey for the first time. The matches on Friday, 23rd March showed how far they have come with their knowledge, understanding and skill levels in this game.
We enjoyed the customary warm and friendly welcome from Weston Green School. Children from both schools were mixed together into six teams and a series of matches were played until all teams had played against each other. The games were very close, and we definitely showed Weston Green how much we had progressed in our hockey. Well done to all players.
House hair and hat day
The spring term ended with a delightful extravaganza of colour as children came to school wearing hats and ‘hair’ in their house colours. Congratulations for all the wonderful creations and lovely colour in the school. It made the last day of term even more fun. The event also raised money for Guide Dogs for the Blind – a wonderful £193. Well done to everyone.
Summer term begins again on Thursday 19th April and hosts four major events in the second half of term: Junior summer concert on 13th June, the Senior summer concert on 20th June, the Year 6 soiree on 27th June and prize giving on 11th July. Please put these dates in your diary as they are always very special evenings.
This coming half term, we are looking forward to watching ducklings hatch, Arts week, French Day, a number of sporting fixtures, Year 5 residential at Juniper Hall, Year 6 residential in France and trips week for Years Nursery – Year 4.
Future Term dates
Term ends Wednesday 11th July at 3.30pm followed by prize giving at 6.00pm at the Baptist Church in Westbury Road.
2018-19 term begins on Wednesday, 5th September 2018