Parents’ Newsletter autumn (1) 2017
At the end to the half term, it’s a good time to reflect on what has already been accomplished so far as well as look forward to what is to come. Having already seen at least three exercise books for every child, I am very proud of what your children are achieving and learning under the expert guidance of our wonderful staff.
This academic year will be one of consolidation where we embed all the exciting news things introduced over the past 18-months. However, that is not to say there will not be any ‘new’ things happening. This term sees our senior choir sing at the Royal Albert Hall for the first time; we have also started our first orchestra – they may be a little while before being ready for their first public performance, but we hope to be able to showcase them before the end of the academic year.
School News and Events
The Nursery children have harvested their crop of carrots. First, they used them for their maths activities. They counted how many there were and sequenced some of them in size order, before sharing them out and taking them home to eat: delicious.
Y3 and Y5 visited the Roman Palace on Wednesday 13th September, where each year group were treated to a workshop which allowed them the opportunity to understand the lifestyle of the time more closely.
Year 5 were presented with rubbish which had been found during the excavations and asked to discover what role they may have played in Roman times. Year 3 were dressed as slaves. They were asked to sweep floors, mill wheat and cook meals. Activities involved mosaic making, puzzles, games, writing and bridge building.
Year 5 received a most fascinating talk about the roman baths during their tour of the museum, even learning about the toilet practices of the time! Thanks to a break in the weather we were afforded the opportunity to discover the gardens which had been planted in the original style using as many species as were available in that era.
The third area we explored was the layout of original mosaic floors, which were not only intricate in design, but also vast in size. The whole visit was put into context by an informative DVD which gave a brief history of both the palace and the its excavation which started only 60 years ago!
Year 4 enjoy annual Crown Court Service
Each year in Kingston, there is a church service that starts the legal year, which has its roots in Medieval times. The Crown Court procession and service seems to be in direct succession to the ceremonies dating back to the opening of the Surrey Assizes. Kingston was one of the customary venues for the Assizes as far back as the Middle Ages and continued as such until the abolition of the court (and the court of Quarter Sessions) in 1971. Historically, there was always a church service for all Assize Courts at the start of the legal year. These services are still common outside London. Around London, however, the church service is now a rarity, apart from Kingston upon Thames, Southwark Crown Court and the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey). Year 4 pupils enjoyed the pageantry of this church service, where the Mayor, judges, recorders and military personnel gathered to mark the start of the legal year.
Jeans for Genes
This year, on Friday 22nd September, we once again celebrated Jeans for Genes day as a whole school. Staff and children were invited to bring in a £1 donation for the privilege of wearing jeans to school for the day. We had learnt a little about some of the children that the Jeans for Genes charity helps during our assembly the week before. There are many children who suffer from genetic disorders and all the money raised goes directly towards helping those children and supporting their families. It is a wonderful cause and we were absolutely delighted to raise an impressive £143.87 for the charity. Thank you for your generosity!
Year 3 & 4 Boys vs The Mall School – (Away)
Friday 22nd September 2017
A fantastic start to the season. The weather was perfect for football and the boys were well prepared and ready for the games. The Year 3’s maintained the upper hand throughout their match and were leading by two goals, scored by Devan and Micaiah. The Mall had a late surge and scored a goal to make the final result 2–1 to Westbury House. The Year 4’s had a much closer fought match. Within the first 30 seconds, James almost scored. It was an end-to-end game with all boys from both teams trying their hardest. Some great tackling and good defence from both teams kept the score at zero until The Mall took the lead in the first half. After a good team talk, the boys came back to equalise with just a few minutes left to go. In the final minute of the game, both teams could have scored again and the very last kick was a shot from Westbury House that hit the post! Final score 1-1.
Well done to all players and thank you to all the parents who came to spectate.
Thursday, 28th September, Mrs Shalev-Greene kindly came into school to visit and help us with our assembly. We had asked her to tell us a little about Judaism and the celebrations that were happening that week. Yom Kippur is a most special day in the Jewish calendar. It means ‘Day of Atonement’ (making things right and good). It's a day to think about the past year, ask God's forgiveness and try to put things right.
Jewish people take bread and use it symbolically to represent the sins they have repented of and tried to atone for. Once they have done this, they throw the bread in the rive to show their sins are washed away.
Thursday 28th September saw the first of our Klassical Kids concerts for this academic year. The first concert was for Early Years and their parents/carers. It was a beautiful time with top-quality classical music being played whilst the audience enjoyed responding to the music. From hugs and cuddles, through gentle swaying to more exuberant clapping, everyone enjoyed this stimulating event.
The second concert was for the community. 20 adults and 20 children gathered to enjoy the musical excellence of three very fine musicians: Jennie-Helen Mostyn (piano), Fiona Chesterman (violin) and Rob Cope (clarinet and flute). The enchanting concert finished with nursery rhymes, giving the adults an opportunity to flex their vocal chords as they enjoyed the interactive experience with their little ones.
Harvest Festival is a time when we reflect on the provisions that we have in our daily lives and that we are thankful for. We heard in our school assembly about those people who are not as fortunate as ourselves and this year we decided to have a food collection to help some of those people. The food that we collected was donated to a local charity: Kingston Foodbank. Very helpfully, the foodbank had let us know what types of food they were particularly short of and those were the ones that we focused on. The children and staff at Westbury House were extremely generous, and we collected a staggering 21 large carrier bags and 4 large cardboard boxes full of tins, packets and jars of food. Thank you to everyone who donated!
Years 5+6 girls’ netball vs LEH
Friday 29th September 2017, our Y5+6 girls travelled to The Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton to play two games of netball. They arrived and began a good warm up before the matches. Year 6 played on one court whilst Year 5 played on another.
It was clear from the start that they were up against some very good players. The opposition passed the ball well and were able to keep possession, making it difficult for our girls to defend against. However, they had some bright moments and spells of good play resulting in well worked attacks. Unfortunately, they were unable to convert the attacks into goals, and the girls from L.E.H. won both games comfortably. Despite the defeat, it was a very enjoyable afternoon and they came away from the fixture with a greater knowledge of the game and some good ideas for how to improve their play in the future. Well done to all the girls and thank you to the parents who supported from the side-lines.
Y2 Walk along New Malden High Street
On Tuesday 3rd October, Year 2 children went on a walk along New Malden High Street as part of their study of the local area. It was a bright, sunny morning and children completed a survey of the shops and other businesses on the High Street. They visited Lloyds Bank where they watched some transactions taking place and chatted to a member of staff in Tudor Williams. She told them the store was opened over 105 years ago! In Pengilly's Shoe Repairs, the friendly assistant told the children the family-run business had started up over 120 years ago, although not originally in New Malden. The children enjoyed the experience and, from the results of their survey, learned about how well the residents of New Malden are catered for by their local businesses. Thank you to the people who gave of their time to accommodate us.
Epsom College Music Festival
Senior Choir were taken to Epsom College to be part of the Epsom College Music Festival. They formed a big choir with the other visiting schools and enjoyed learning various songs in two-part harmonies from across the world, including a South African folk song and a Brazilian Samba. The day started with a fun vocal warm-up and ended with a impressive concert for a large and appreciative audience. It was a very enjoyable day!
Netball Tournament at Epsom College
On Wednesday 4 October, the year 6 netball team travelled to Epsom College to take part in a Prep School tournament. There was a total of 17 schools taking part in this fun event.
Our first match was against a school who regularly play netball matches against top schools. Their Goal Shooter was extremely accurate. Despite our best efforts, we lost this match 8-nil. Our team kept our spirits up, and we continued to play well as a team. In our next two matches, we defended well which meant that fewer goals were scored. The results were 7-nil and 2-nil. During our last two matches, our aim was to continue to defend well. This was successful because no other school scored more than two goals against us. We even increased our attacking opportunities which eventually ended up with us scoring in our fourth match. Again, in our final match, we kept the opponents down to two goals. This was our first high level tournament and we steadily improved our performance throughout. This will serve us well in our future matches. Well done to Hannah who scored our only goal and well done to everyone who participated.
Y2 Curriculum Morning
On Thursday 5th October, Year 2 children were delighted to play host to most of their parents and enjoyed showing them how reading sessions could be conducted at home. Parents were also given an insight into the increased level of difficulty of the English assessments in Year 2, especially when compared to the previous year. Parents worked with the children to complete some of the exercises in sample test materials and found the experience very enlightening. They were also provided with a variety of strategies they could use and suggestions of support materials readily available in any home and on the internet, to help their children with Maths.
Based on comments received, parents appear to have enjoyed the session and found it beneficial in providing ideas of how to support their children’s learning at home.
Year 1 and their parents enjoyed their morning. Parents were invited into the classroom to observe and to take part in an English lesson and a Maths lesson and were also able to observe individual reading taking place outside the classroom with Miss Rogers. Children are required to use their ‘reading fingers’ to track the words and are asked many questions to ensure they understand what they are reading.
For the first time, children were introduced to ‘finding the difference’ using subtraction. A very tricky concept when you are 5/6 years old! We used concrete objects first (sweets) within 5, then number lines within 5, then 20 and finally the children wrote subtraction number facts to find the difference with a friend.
During the English lesson, the children read their spelling words, then made their spellings from Phase 4, Letters and Sounds, out of Playdoh.
A most enjoyable morning.
On 6th October, the children in Year 3 and 4 kindly brought cakes to school that were then sold at the first Bake Sale of the academic year. The money collected was going to a charity called Walking with the Wounded, which is a British charity that helps and supports military servicemen and woman who have been injured in conflict. The cakes were sold to all the children in the school, for 50p each, during first break and then again at the end of the school day. There was a wonderful array of cakes, kindly baked and provided by our Year 3 and 4 children and it is no surprise that every single cake was sold. A staggering £96 was raised which will be greatly appreciated by those that the charity helps. Thank you to everyone who contributed and bought cakes!
Saturday 7th October saw a lovely vibrant, buzz at Westbury House as parents and children enjoyed spending the morning together. I hope that, during a tour, all of you were able to see the renovated children’s lavatories with their beautiful artwork taking centre stage. It is a joy to be able to beautify the school using the children’s work.
As well as looking at work on walls and in classrooms, we were treated to a karate demonstration; the senior and junior choirs sang twice; and Y4 gave us a country dancing demonstration. Following the demonstration, all children and parents were invited to join in and experience the joy that is country dancing. It was a room full of smiles. Thank you to Friends of Westbury for providing refreshments for the morning and to Y5+6 pupils who were our tour guides (when they weren’t doing one of the performances). It was a time to meet new parents, catch up with those we hadn’t seen for a while and give current parents a chance to see their children’s classrooms. Thank you all for coming.
Although Diwali falls during our half term break, the EYFS have been celebrating early. On 9th October Mrs Thurairatnam talked to the children in Early Years about the festival. She told them Diwali means "a row of lights" and it celebrates the victory of good over evil and brightness over darkness. She very kindly brought us all a tealight to take home. We went on to learn about Rama and his wife Sita. Sita had been kidnapped by the demon king Ravana. Rama and monkey god, Hanuman, defeated Ravana and rescued Sita from his evil clutches. When Rama and Sita returned to their kingdom, they placed rows of lights to celebrate. We made clay candle holders and decorated them and put the tealights inside.
Please check our calendar of events on the website to see the many opportunities to attend events at the school. I hope you have a fun and relaxing half term break.