Parents’ Newsletter summer (2) 2018
I’d like to start by mentioning some of the events that have happened in this momentous year for the school, all of which make me so proud of being a member of the Westbury House family.
We have been delighted by wonderful dramatic performances, including two Nativity plays by Reception, Nursery, Year 1 and Year 2; Alice in Wonderland by Years 3-5; and the Year 6 soiree with their fun portrayal of a theft of a phoenix. We have been positively surrounded by wonderful music: singing in old people’s homes; the Christmas Carol service; two summer concerts; the Year 6 soiree; two trips to hear the London Symphony Orchestra; our choirs competing in and winning a class at the Leith Hill music festival. The school has been constantly decorated by the most stunning art – a piece of which won a National competition.
There were two major milestones for the school: the first happened in January, when the Inspired Learning Group became the proprietors of Westbury House School. This was a very important step for us, not least because it guarantees our future. When the founder, Mrs Morton died, her daughter, Theresa-Mary Morton, became anxious to secure her mother’s legacy. When Theresa-Mary met with Amit Mehta from ILG, she felt she had found the right person to whom she could safely hand the torch. Mrs Morton’s legacy will continue to burn brightly under the ownership of ILG – of that, I have absolutely no doubt.
I know that change can feel uncomfortable sometimes. However, you are all past-masters at it – the number of changes I have wrought in this school are phenomenal, and you have taken every step with me, trusting me to make the right decisions for your children. I applaud you for your courage and commitment. Please continue to trust the school under ILG – it is safe to do so.
This will remain a school where excellence is sought and achieved in every area of learning. Art, under the expert guidance of Mrs Williams, will continue to win national prizes, our choirs, under the inspirational direction of Mr Kargl, will continue to win music competitions and move us with their exquisite singing, our children will continue to excel in chess competitions and Maths competitions. Once again, this year, Mrs Maclagan entered the children into a national Maths challenge aimed, primarily, at Year 8 children. Over 250,000 children took part. Our Year 6 children, so ably taught and extended by Mrs Maclagan, won 4 bronze, 1 silver and 1 gold certificate, with one pupil winning the highest overall score for his age. Over half of our children regularly gain grammar school places each year, and this year is no exception. Add to that the regular awarding of academic scholarships – 5 this year – and you have the picture of achievement at Westbury House.
We have become used to hearing of such successes. However, make no mistake, they come from tremendous commitment by both staff and pupils and we punch considerably above our weight. Our achievements are, without doubt, outstanding, and there isn’t a school in the area that can boast they are our equal.
Our second milestone was our much-cherished inspection result. The Inspection, desperately looked for since the one we endured over 3 year ago, was very welcome. I don’t think a set of inspectors have ever been so welcomed into a school. We were truly delighted to see them and let them know. The snow we endured that week wasn’t quite so welcome to us, but I am sure that the children loved it.
We are hopeful that the Nursery will be completely renovated during the summer holidays so that we are ready for a September start. Due to the need for building control/regulations, the work to renovate the Reception classroom will not happen until the October half term.
ILG are offering current parents the possibility of earning a bonus based on recommendations to the Nursery. If you recommend someone who takes up a full-time Nursery place, 50-weeks a year, you will receive a £500 bonus after they have completed 6 months with us. If the person you recommend takes up a part-time place, 50-weeks a year, you will receive a £250 bonus after they have completed 6 months with us. There is no limit to the number of bonuses you can receive!
Events this half-term
Young Enterprise Week – w/c 4th June
On Monday afternoon, 11th June, the Year 5 and Year 6 children hosted the annual Young Enterprise Fair in the school playground. There were eight teams who had each made a product or were offering a service to the parents and other children in the school. These products and services included monster bookmarks, squidgy toys, face paints and nail varnishing. The fair, which was a culmination of all the work that took place during Enterprise week, was a great success and each team was able to report a profit.
Bikeability – w/c 4th June
Ten pupils from Years 5 and 6 took part in the annual Bikeability training sessions provided by the council. These sessions are free to schools and provide an opportunity for children to learn how to ride safely on the roads. Another key aim is to encourage more people to cycle to school and work rather than travel in cars.
All children spent the first three afternoons training with Mel and Alan, the instructors. This was followed by a day of testing and then the final day of putting their training into practice on a longer journey. They learned about how to set up their bicycles correctly, road positioning, signalling and knowledge about traffic signs. They all passed a test towards the end of the week and were presented with certificates and badges during an assembly.
This course is open to all children in Years 5 and 6, and a progression can be made to level 3 once children are at senior school. The Borough also offer courses throughout the summer. Further information can be found at www.bikeability.org.uk
Y3+4 athletics at Weston Green – 8th June
This event was really for Year 4, but Weston Green School have 20 children in Year 4. We decided to include our Year 3 so that the competitive opportunities could be shared by many more. All children were split into mixed ability teams of five and rotated around different events. They ran a 50m sprint, completed a distance run of 400m, threw a ball and performed a standing long jump. This was followed by a 50m shuttle relay race with each team competing at the same time.
The weather was excellent, and the competitive spirit was evident. The schools have met a few times over the past two years and the children are beginning to get to know each other a little better. This all adds to the enjoyment of sport. It was also fantastic to see so many parents turning up to watch and support the athletes. Westbury House did win a few individual and team events, but it was difficult for our Year 3s to compete equally with Weston Green’s Year 4s. As such, Weston Green came out top overall. Well done to Weston Green and to all of the competitors.
Junior summer concert – Wednesday 1th June
It was another successful year for the Junior pupils at this year’s Junior Summer Concert. Performing to a full house once again, the Junior Choir and choirs from Years 1, 2 and 3 impressed the audience with a wonderful array of music.
We also had the opportunity to hear solos and duets played by pianists, violinists, guitarists and clarinettists, showcasing all the music making at Westbury House School with passion and focus. While the whole concert was beautifully presented, and everyone performed excellently, the Year 3 Choir wowed with their rendition of ‘Pizza Hut’, making everyone cheer and giggle, and the Junior Choir performed their award winning programme of ‘Follow the Heron’ and ‘Tiger Tango’. It was a really wonderful evening of music making. Well done to all involved.
Year 6 Young Leaders – Monday 18th June
Over the course of the summer term, Year 6 have been enrolled in a Young Leaders' Award, through the Archbishop of York Youth Trust. The Young Leaders' Award is a special citizenship programme which empowers young people to make a difference in their local community, whilst developing key leadership skills at the same time. It is separated into different awards, according to the age of the children. The Key Stage 2 Award has an exciting and interactive set of materials where children follow the story of a character called 'Archie Bishop' to learn about key leadership skills, grow in character and have a practical opportunity to volunteer, help or reach out to those in their local community.
Year 6 looked at inspirational leaders as well as local, national and global communities before deciding on their own community action. After researching our local community, the class decided that they would like to perform a random act of kindness as their community action. We decided to make some origami gifts that we could give away to members of the public. The class split into four teams and made origami cats, foxes, birds and bookmarks. The children had to learn how to make their particular origami and then make over 50 of each. On our final day of the award, we walked into New Malden and stood in four spots on the high street and gave away our origami masterpieces. The public responded very positively and were delighted to be given a little piece of art for free.
Within 30 minutes, all the origami pieces had been handed out and we had shown that little bit of kindness to over 200 members of the public. "That has really made my day," was a common response. The children did a wonderful job and hopefully will have learnt many skills and lessons that they will carry with them as they move on to their new schools.
Senior summer concert – Wednesday 20th June
The 2018 Senior Summer Concert was a huge success. The children performed to a full hall, offering a varied programme of choral works, solos and, for the first time ever, the School Orchestra! We were amazed by the range of instruments on offer to learn at Westbury House School, hearing the children performing solos and duets on trumpet, violin, piano, guitar and clarinet. Each choir from Years 3, 4 and 5, as well as Senior Choir performed with confidence and all sang beautifully. It was a real pleasure to see such an array of talent and musical enthusiasm once again.
Y6 trip to Mosque – Thursday 21st June
Year 6 spent a fascinating hour at Kingston mosque as part of their religious education topic of Islam. The trip had kindly been arranged by a Year 5 parent. The children were given an interesting slideshow and presentation about Islam and Muslim culture and were shown pictures of mosques from around the world. We had a tour of the mosque, viewed artefacts and the children were able to ask plenty of questions. Many thanks to the staff at Kingston mosque for facilitating our visit.
Under-5 Jive – Thursday 21st June
On Thursday the 21st of June, Westbury House School was host to another wonderful Under-5Jive session. Miss Emma, of Emma Hammond Theatre Academy, firstly took the Nursery and Reception children for a class of dancing and moving to the music. The children grew into birds using scarves, pranced as unicorns and danced to the range of music under the guidance of Miss Emma. Our pupils thoroughly enjoyed the session and look forward to the next one.
Following on from the Westbury House pupils, we then opened the session to the community. We invited under 5s, along with their accompanying adults, to join us in moving and dancing to the music, again, under the guidance of Miss Emma. The session is a free event which gives children the chance to move freely to music and to open their mind to learning dance moves, exercise and listening to different music.
EYFS and KS1 Forest School – Tuesday 26th June
The children enjoyed the warmer weather on Esher Common. The nursery children made play dough monsters on the tree trunks. They used sticks and leaves to create monster faces. Reception children drew a map of the woods and had a scavenger hunt to find different objects. Year 1 made miniature fairy towns out of stones, sticks and undergrowth. Forest school fitted in with the class Geography topic this term which was rural and urban areas. The children were able to identify some of the features of a rural area. Year 2 did drawings of nature and the scenes around them. They built shelters, had stick-throwing competitions and protected the woodland fairies in their imaginative play.
Y6 Soiree – Wednesday 27th June
On Wednesday 27th June, Year 6 put on an evening of entertainment for their family, friends and members of staff at the Year 6 soirée. The evening started with a number of choral, musical and drama pieces performed by members of Year 6. The children were able to showcase their talents and show how much progress they have made. We then all moved out to the front garden where Year 6 staged a performance of ‘The Phantom and the Phoenix’. This was a comedy about a museum robbery. The Year 6 children kept the audience entertained, did a fantastic job and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The evening concluded with some drinks and canapés kindly provided by the Inspired Learning Group (ILG).
Sports Day and family fun day – Friday 29th June
What a fantastic Sports Day we had. The weather was bright and sunny, the children were raring to go and the support from parents and teachers was amazing. The children had been practising hard during their PE and Games lessons in school and were ready to show off their efforts in the bid to become House Champions 2018.
Each child in Key Stage 2 competed in a sprint, longer run, jump and throw. This was supplemented by the House Tug ‘O War and Relay events. The children from Nursery to Year 2 competed in sprints, relays and novelty races. It was great to see so many children proudly wearing their stickers for their individual and team events. A particular highlight this year was the closely fought parent’s Tug ‘O War event. The ladies and gentlemen really gave everything, and the children absolutely loved cheering them on!
Many thanks to all of the teachers who smeared themselves in sun cream and helped to make the sporting events such a success for the children. I would also like to all of the spectators for turning up, taking time off work and cheering on the children in their races. The turn-out was superb – well done.
The wonderful day was topped off by a superb event organised by the Friends of Westbury House, including a very tasty barbecue.
Valedictory week – w/c 2nd July
During the last full week of term, the Year 6 children had an action-packed week of trips, talks and workshops as part of their Valedictory Week celebrations. Here are some of the wonderful experiences that they had:
Houses of Parliament - we had an excellent tour of the Queen’s robing room, the House of Commons and the House of Lords. We then participated in a workshop about creating and legislating a new law.
London Eye - we had a pod to ourselves and were given a geography workshop to spot and find out information about many London landmark buildings. The views were incredible.
Transport for London - a representative from TFL came into school and spoke to Year 6 about safety on public transport. The children learnt a lot and are now well-prepared for secondary school travel.
Hampton Court Palace - the children were able to walk in the shoes of Shakespeare for the afternoon. They helped one of the ladies of Henry VIII’s Court to write a sonnet. They then performed their sonnet in the Great Hall, in the exact spot where Shakespeare would have performed his sonnets!
Esher Common - Mr Wood drove Year 6 to Esher Common where we went for a walk in the woods. The children divided into two teams and built dens out of the sticks and ferns on the ground. The boys’ den was the best!
Kingston Walk - Mrs Osborne kindly took Year 6 into Kingston for a historical walk around the town, to support their learning this year. The children saw lots of old churches and buildings before visiting the Kingston museum.
Legacy Art Project - All day on Thursday, Year 6 spent the day with Mrs Williams to create their piece of legacy art that will remain at school and be on permanent display. This year the children were creating a picture of Westbury House through printing.
Walton Firs Activity Centre - On the last day of Valedictory Week, Year 6 went to Walton Firs for a day of outdoor activities. We did the obstacle course, buggy building and the nightline (a different obstacle course blindfolded!) The children worked brilliantly together and had a lot of fun.
Early Years visit to Devonshire Care Home – Wednesday 4th July
Nursery and Reception children delighted the residents at Devonshire Dementia care home with their beautiful singing and the ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ story on the Wednesday, 4th July. It was such a lovely opportunity to share the achievements of our pupils with people for whom life has become a little less diverse than it might have been when they were younger. The fact that they were an appreciative audience also contributed to such a positive experience for the children.
Years 1+2 trip to the Barbican – Friday 6th July
On Tuesday 6th July, Years 1 and 2 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.
At the concert we heard music depicting an elephant, tortoise, cuckoo, hens and a swan alongside some more unusual creatures such as fossils and pianists! The two year performed the song 'Looking for Mosquito' by Rachel Leach alongside other schools. The children performed beautifully and really embraced all the different dynamics of the song.
Winning House beach trip – Monday 9th July
Cutty Sark were victorious in this year’s house points’ competition which meant that the whole house, including staff, were treated to a day at West Wittering beach. We were greeted at the beach by one of the life guards, who gave us a beach safety talk. It was then time for paddling, sand-castle building and ice cream eating. The children enjoyed being buried in sand, playing football, paddling in the sea and running about the beach. Everyone had a wonderful day. Thank you to the parents who accompanied the trip and to the staff for the effort in organising and running it. Well done to those members of Cutty Sark! Good luck for next year!
KS1+2 Prize Giving – Wednesday 11th July
Thank you to all of you for attending our final event of the year – Prize Giving. Although sad to be saying goodbye to them, we were so proud of Year 6 as they received their rewards for the year’s hard work. We wish them well as they move to their new schools.
We are excited about the year ahead and working with our new Year 6 in September.
I wish you a very enjoyable, relaxing and rewarding time with your children over the summer holiday.
Term begins again on Wednesday 5th September. See you then!