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Parents’ Newslettersummer (1) 2017 

These glorious days of sunshine and warmth have provided a lovely ending to this half term which, once again, has been packed with activity.  

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that children do need protection from the sun.  Please send them to school with a school sun hat.  We are arranging with Alley Catz to stock a blue baseball cap with the school logo on for Years 5 and 6 children only.  They will not have to wear this cap, but they will have to wear the white school hat if they don’t have the baseball cap.  Please also apply sun-cream to your children before they come to school.  Some children do not appear to be bringing in refillable water bottles. Please provide your children with one as they can easily dehydrate in this weather. 

School News 

ParentMail 

We have embraced using the ParentMail system for letters, events, parents’ evenings (to be used the first time in autumn 2017) and letters requiring replies.  Those of you who have already downloaded the App, I hope you are enjoying the reminders being sent to your phone about the events that are happening at school.  If you haven’t registered and downloaded the APP and are finding it tricky, Miss Stephens is happy to help you.  She is in school every day and has become our ParentMail ‘guru’. 

Country Dancing 

From September, we have decided to alter the type of dancing children will be taught at school.  Instead of dance with Miss Emma, all children will now be taught British Country Dancing by Mr Wood.  Separate dance lessons will still be on the timetable for Early Years and Key Stage 1.  Key Stage 2 will have some dance lessons during their PE lessons.  As you may be aware, this type of dancing is very vigorous and will certainly increase their heart rates during dance sessions!  Once they have mastered some of the dances, watch out for a school ceilidh/barn dance where we can all share this very British past-time. We will still have Miss Emma coming in to school to teach LAMDA and do dance workshops with children on special occasions. 

Nursery 

Our Nursery is very special and an integral part of the school.  Therefore, we are no longer going to allow people to book places in our Nursery unless they are planning to stay in the school for the whole of their primary education. Although we recognise that many people will want to make use of our Nursery provision, they may only do so if they wish to be a full part of Westbury House. There is an inevitable consequence to this – our Nursery will be smaller, which will benefit the learning environment for all children. 

School Events 

Earth Day 

On Friday, 21st April all the children and staff wore green and blue to school to celebrate Earth Day. This is an international annual event, celebrated by over 190 countries and millions of people around the world, but it is our first time at Westbury House. We learnt about a variety of environmental topics including recycling and endangered animals. Teachers tried to use less technology and electricity for the day and some lessons were conducted outside. The children thoroughly enjoyed the day and we look forward to celebrating Earth Day again next year.  

Kingston Mayor Names Ship 

Westbury House School welcomed the Worshipful the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, Councillor Geoff Austin and Mrs Sheila Austin to school on Monday 24th April to officially open their exciting new playground and name their pirate ship – the W.H.S. Resilience.  

The children were delighted to see the Mayor in all his official regalia, including the beautiful Kingston chain of office, looking splendid. The Mayoress was also wonderfully attired for the occasion, wearing the New Malden chain of office. 

It was a very exciting day for the school as parents, staff and children gathered for the ceremony in the sunshine.  After the official opening, there was great excitement as the Mayor enjoyed climbing the steps and using the slide to descend. 

Our wonderful new playground has been created for us by ‘Playcubed’, who have done an amazing job in transforming our play space, creating a serene astro-turfed front garden and outside learning hut, a fenced 5-a-side football court, a 5-metre pirate ship with slide and lovely spongy soft- play surfaces everywhere. 

The children went through a democratic process of choosing the name of their new ship, voting for their favourite name.  After counting the votes, WHS Resilience had won by a landslide. We are looking forward to many happy hours of using the different areas for stimulating learning and play.  

Y5 Workshop at Hampton Court Palace 

Year 5 attended a workshop at Hampton Court Palace as part of their studies of Tudor History on Thursday 27th April 2017. They glimpsed the grandeur of some of Henry VIII’s sumptuous palace, passing through the Base Court to the stunning Clock Court with its complex, glittering clock. 

They also toured the enormous, smoke-filled kitchens where meat was roasting appetizingly on a spit being turned by a member of the palace staff. Passing through the Great Hall where thousands of meals were served daily into the spectacular Great Watching Chamber with its brilliant stained-glass windows and golden ceiling, the children arrived at the the Chapel Royal, which is still a working chapel, and saw the replica crown Henry VIII wore to prayers. After lunch, they enjoyed an interesting object handling workshop on Questioning the Past in the Clore Learning Centre. There, the children discussed what they already knew about the Tudor dynasty before being given extracts of text and artefacts to study, which made them question their previously-held convictions mainly about the character of Henry VIII, leaving them uncertain what to make of this most famous of English monarchs! 

Year 5 & 6 Athletics vs Weston Green – Friday 28th April 2017 

All children in years 5 and 6 travelled to the Old Cranleighan’s Club in Thames Ditton to compete in an Athletics fixture against Weston Green School. The events were the Standing Long Jump, Standing Triple Jump, Javelin and Sprint Shuttles. 

It was very close between the two schools. Westbury House performed well in all events and our top three went on to score for the school. Throwing a javelin was a new experience for our children and some of them took to it like a duck to water. It is a very tricky skill to master. 

The afternoon ended with a big mixed relay run over 50 metre stretches. We had a fantastic start, taking the lead and increasing our distance. Unfortunately, a couple of handover errors set us back and we were pipped to the post by Weston Green. 

It was a great afternoon and the children enjoyed the events very much. 

Year 6 Pupils Visit Bait Ul Futuh Mosque 

Year 6 had a fascinating morning looking around the Bait Ul Futuh mosque, in Morden, as part of their religious studies on Islam. We were met by a tour guide who was very knowledgeable about the mosque and its history. She showed us around the mosque, which is the largest in Western Europe, and we visited both large prayer halls: one for men and one for women. 

The children excelled themselves during the question and answer session with some higher order questions, by which the tour guide was very impressed. As it is Arts Week we also took time to appreciate the architecture of the mosque and learnt the purposes of various parts of the building. 

Chess Megafinal 

Very hearty congratulations to Kishen Sivarajah, Rishaan Sivarajah and Leo Sirhan for competing in the Chess Megafinal recently.   They faced top competition, against some of the toughest chess school players in Surrey.  In four rounds Leo and Rishaan got a roaring 3 1/2 out of 4 and were placed in the top three in their age group at the tournament. 

Kishen achieved a fantastic 3 out of 4.  Then, disaster struck!  There was a burst water main in Leatherhead and the tournament had to be stopped.  The organisers informed them that everyone who got 2 1/2 out of 4 had automatically qualified for the Terafinal.   Our Westbury House boys had already achieved over that score so they qualify for the next Terafinal round.  Good luck in the next Terafinal rounds!  

Yr 3 & 4 Cricket vs Hampton Court House - Friday 12th May 2017 

It was great to welcome Hampton Court House back to our fields, this time for a game of cricket. We played pairs cricket, where batters come up to bat in pairs and stay in bat for a certain number of overs even if the fielders take a wicket. If a wicket is taken, the batting team lose 5 runs. At the end of each over, the fielding team rotate through one position so that everyone bowls, wicket keeps and fields in every position. 

Our team played very well, batting first. Hampton Court House managed to take three wickets, two of which came in the very last over. 

After a quick refreshment break, it was our turn to field. Hampton Court House scored 30 runs in total. We took four wickets, three of which came from Arun’s bowling so well done to Arun. Congratulations to James who bowled the only maiden over of the match (a maiden over is when no runs are scored at all). 

Areas to improve include bowling accuracy and batting confidence, but this will come in time as it was only our first match. 

Westbury House won by 16 runs. Well done to all players who put in a superb performance, especially when fielding. 

Buddhist Temple Visit 

The children in Nursery and Reception visited the Buddhapadipa Temple in Wimbledon. A very friendly monk showed us around the complex. He explained the teachings of Buddha and told his story using the beautiful paintings on the walls which illustrated his life. 

The monk demonstrated the different styles of wearing a traditional robe. He taught us how to meditate and explained how this can help us to be calm and at peace with ourselves and one another and to be kind and thoughtful to others. We then went to explore the peaceful gardens. The children thoroughly enjoyed the trip to the Buddhapadipa Temple.  

Year 6 Trip to Sorrento 

Last week, 12 children from Year 6 enjoyed the gloriously sunny weather of Italy on their trip to Sorrento. A cultural tour that supported their learning of Classics and Geography, it was an exciting, if not a little exhausting, visit. Walking around the open crater of Solfatara, causing an echo in the magma chamber and walking through the steam from the fumeroles kicked off our first day. 

On the second day, a hot morning in Pompeii discovering the delights of this well-preserved piece of history was followed by a trip to the beach for a cool-down and a general splash-about in the sea. Taking the lift from the beach, we then experienced a demonstration from an artisanal ice-cream maker and much ice-cream eating. After dinner, we had a magical evening walk to enjoy the lights over Sorrento Bay.  

Thursday was the trip along the gorgeous Amalfi coast with an exploration of Amalfi and Ravello before returning to Sorrento for what is probably the coolest coffee shop in Europe, where you can sit on a swing to eat your ice-cream! An hour and a half of shopping concluded the day before walking back to the hotel for a shower and dinner. Thursday morning, after packing and leaving the hotel, we visited a mozzarella farm where we were able to see mozzarella being made and taste the produce of the farm.  

Sadly, we were unable to climb Mount Vesuvius as a truck was blocking the slopes able to neither move forwards nor backwards. So, we went to visit Herculaneum where a very enthusiastic guide revealed its many secrets. The flight home went smoothly and concluded a very enjoyable 4-day Italian adventure. 

Juniper Hall Trip Year 5 15th – 17th May 2017 

On a slightly drizzly Monday morning, Year 5 children set off from Westbury House to catch the bus to Juniper Hall near Dorking. We arrived, excited and eager to start. Sarah, our Tutor for the activities, introduced herself and we settled in to our first activity: collecting waterproofs and wellies! These proved invaluable during our stay! 

Our purpose was to take part in environmental studies. 

This involved learning how to set traps for small mammals (mice, voles, shrews) so we could study them and see how they have adapted to their surroundings. We also studied the invertebrates which live in the pond. Perhaps the most interesting and exhausting activity was the long walk over Box Hill, learning about the geology of the area. 

Other activities included a treasure hunt where we learned how to use a compass to take and follow bearings. The treasure was cake! We also built shelters in the woodland to protect us from the rain and help us survive. Much fun was had at the camp fire, singing songs and roasting marshmallows. 

The children had a great time, especially on the first night when they hardly slept a wink. No-one complained of home sickness and meal times passed without a hitch. We shared the centre with a few other schools and it was good to see how well Westbury House children behaved. 

Athletics fixture - Friday 19th May 

All girls and boys in Years 3 and 4 competed in a friendly Athletics meeting against The Study. The children all competed in a 50m sprint, 400m run, the standing long jump and the javelin throw. 

There were some very close races on the track and around the 400m course. The jumps and throws were similarly evenly matched in places. However, the scoring was worked out by the schools gaining points for coming first, second or third in each event. The Study gained more first places overall than us and won the competition. 

Well done to all participants and a big thank you to the teachers who helped and to the parents who spectated 

Golden Jubilee Ball 

Saturday 20th May saw the first ever Westbury House ball. What an event! 

The venue was excellent, the food delicious and the company outstanding. If you weren’t able to make the ball this year, you missed a great event with a very special atmosphere, full of glamour. 

Many thanks to the Friends of Westbury who created such a wonderful evening for all those who attended – it was a triumph. We know it was a lot of hard work, but we’re definitely looking forward to the next one! 

Y4 VISIT TO KINGSTON SYNAGOGUE 22.05.17 

Y4 spent an interesting hour at the Kingston Synagogue in the company of three members of its education team. They were shown the Ark in which the sacred Torah scrolls are kept, as well as objects used in the celebration of the Shabat meal every Friday. 

They handled a prayer shawl and kippah as well as a yad stick for pointing when reading the Torah. They were also entertained by stories of the Escape of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and of how God took care of them during their long walk in the wilderness. They even tasted the unleavened bread the Hebrews carried with them when they left Egypt for the final time on the night of The Passover. We would like to thank Mrs Popper and her team for their patience and enthusiasm in helping to enrich the children’s understanding and appreciation of the Jewish religion. 

Year 5 & 6 mixed cricket vs Hampton Court House - Tuesday 23rd May 

Another close game of cricket was played between the two schools. This match had it all: many 4s and 6s were scored by both teams; great fielding skills were displayed by the players with catches and run-outs adding excitement; a close score line at the end proved what a great game it was. 

Congratulations to Westbury House who won the game by a narrow 18 runs. This game could have gone either way but our superior fielding allowed us to take the victory. 

JUNIOR SUMMER CONCERT 

It was a full house for the junior summer concert on Wednesday, 24th May when we were entertained by the Junior choir and the choirs from Years 1, 2 and 3. We were also treated to a number of instrumental performances on violins, piano, guitars, clarinets and a flute. The evening was completed by several skilfully performed poems. It was a delight to witness so much talent from such young children. Well done to everyone involved – a memorable evening. 

Early Years Swimming Gala 

Whilst parents sat poolside in the furnace at the Malden Centre, Nursery and Reception swam enthusiastically in their races. Apart from wanting to join them in the water and cool off ourselves, we were thrilled by their determination as they swam and splashed towards success: a lovely occasion. Many thanks to all the parents who supported this event. 

Year 3, 4 & 5 boys cricket vs Surbiton Prep - Friday 26th May 

All boys in years 3, 4 and 5 played cricket against Surbiton Prep at our playing fields. Not only boys played, but we had guest appearances from Rizveka, Yalana, Zainab and Eesher in order to equalise the numbers between the schools. The afternoon was so hot and stifling, making it very difficult for the players to summon high bursts of energy! 

Two matches were played against their A and B teams. The A team match was super-exciting and the game was so close all the way to the final over. Surbiton managed to complete the game with an 8-run advantage. So, congratulations to them. 

Well done to Surbiton’s B team, for they managed to win their match as well. This time the margin was much greater. Our inexperience showed, particularly when batting. However, it is fantastic that our children can put the skills they are learning into context by playing against ‘unknown’ opposition. It develops their understanding of themselves and creates opportunities for them to socialise outside of their usual group. Zainab did a marvellous job of leading the Three Cheers chant at the end of the match. 

Ice Lollies on a hot day 

Many thanks to Munch Bunch 4 Kids for supplying all of KS1+2 and staff with an ice-lolly on this very hot last day of half term; it was most welcome. 

Future Events 

Please don’t forget the information evenings when you will have the opportunity to meet your child’s class teacher for next year and learn a little of what shape the new year will take for them.  Dates are on the Calendar of events on the website. 

Senior summer concert – Wednesday 7th June 6.00pm 

Pyjama Evening – Friday 9th June – 6.30-8.30pm Y3-6 

Pyjama Evening – Friday 16th June 6.00-8.00pm Nursery – Y2 

Sports Day and Family Fun Day – Friday 23rd June – all day at sports field 

Prize Giving – Friday 7th July – 6.00pm at the Baptist Church in Westbury Road 

Final day of term – Friday 7th July 

I hope you all enjoy a warm and sunny half term break. 

Rosalyn Holiday