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A Feast of Languages

Pupils from Years 1, 2 and 6 came together this week to enjoy a continental breakfast and practice their language skills. The older pupils paired up with the younger ones, and helped them to learn ‘breakfast’ type vocabulary in French and Spanish before they all tucked in to croissants, fromage and jamon! The Year 6 pupils showed great patience with the younger pupils who rewarded them with huge enthusiasm and an impressive command of the new vocab.

Festive Foodbank Donations

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to our collection for Sustain.  As ever, we were delighted with the response.  Our Year 8 pupils travelled to Tonbridge Baptist Church yesterday to put the Christmas hampers together, assisted by a group of our parents.  Neil Durling, the Minister of TBC talked to the pupils expressing his gratitude for the gifts and explained how these contributions would make a significant difference to some of our local families who are unable to afford the little luxuries that so many of us take for granted.

‘It’s a Baby!’

Congratulations to the Pre-Prep who put on a wonderful nativity. They sang with huge gusto and clearly relished the opportunity to perform to a live audience. It was an absolute joy for everyone to watch!

Mayor’s Christmas Toy Appeal

Once again we’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the Tunbridge Wells Mayor’s Toy appeal. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed; the gifts will make a real difference to local families this Christmas.

The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr Chris Woodward, and Karen Collins, the organiser of the appeal, joined us this morning for a special assembly to receive the gifts and they expressed their gratitude at the generosity shown. The pile of presents in front of the tree grew and grew as each year group came forward in turn to present their gifts. We were also treated to a performance from the Choristers, and the Pre-Prep children gave us a delightful sneak preview of their nativity.

The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr Chris Woodward, and Karen Collins with some of the Year 7 pupils
The Mayor of Tunbridge Wells, Cllr Chris Woodward, and Karen Collins with some of the Year 7 pupils

A Musical Feast

This term saw two fantastic music concerts featuring our soloists from Years 3 to 5, and Years 6 to 8.  The concerts encompassed a range of talent, from children who were just starting out and performing for the very first time to seasoned performers. Congratulations to all the children who took part and a thank you to our peripatetic music staff for preparing them so well.

COP 26

While leaders across the world have been busy negotiating at COP 26, the children have been writing their own pledges for what they can to do help the planet, and displaying these around the school. Special assemblies have included one led by the members of the Green Team, and in this morning’s assembly, children shared their pledges with the school.

Fantastic Fundraising

We’ve just had a lovely letter from the Community Fundraising team at Evelina Children’s Hospital thanking us for our donation of £11,982, the grand total from our fundraising efforts:

“It is the wonderful supporters like you, that fund new equipment, fantastic staff training and innovative research programmes within our Cardiology team, above and beyond what the NHS can provide. You make such an unbelievable difference to every aspect of our work, from the delivery of our services to staff wellbeing. We can’t thank you enough.”

A big thank you to our pupils for their continued enthusiasm for Evelina over the past two years, particularly given the circumstances; fundraising during a lockdown brings its own challenges! Thank you also to everyone who supported the children in their endeavours. We’re all very proud to have made this contribution.

Wellbeing Week

We had an inspiring and thought-provoking Wellbeing Week with activities designed to educate and encourage good habits that boost wellbeing and feelings of positivity. 

The week started with the energetic Fantastic FRED Experience. Sessions ran throughout the day for all year groups and gave children tips on managing their mental health, delivered in a fun, engaging and memorable way, based around four main themes of Food, Rest, Exercise and Devices.

The Fantastic Fred Experience is part of the Good Mental Health Matters campaign, launched by NHS Kent in 2019, to help raise awareness of mental health among young people in Kent, and equip children at a very early age to improve their lifelong emotional resilience.

Those four themes were then explored in greater detail, starting with Tuesday when Hilden Grange met Judy Clark, the founder of Babywinkz, who joined us to talk about good sleep habits. She talked to the younger children about the importance of sleep and good routines before bed and shared some of the science behind sleep to the older pupils and encouraged them to establish ‘digital free’ time at least two hours before bed. She met some of our parent body and delivered two bespoke sessions. Two of Year 5 boys adopted some of her suggestions and were thrilled by their good night’s sleep!

On Wednesday, to talk to the children about the use of our devices was Mr Darren Cank. The children participated in some exciting quiz games, exploring some quite surprising statistics! For example, did you know that 5-15 year olds spend 97% of their time on their device on some sort of game?

Children from Reception, Years 1 and Year 2 were honoured to be invited to the Old Fire Station for a reading of Amanda Prowse’s new book ‘The Smile that went a Mile’. The book’s theme is about the power of kindness. The illustrator, Paul Ward Smith, showed the children his artwork that accompanied the story and the they all created their own pictures based on the themes of the book.  It was really exciting to meet both the author and the artist, and the children were bursting with questions to ask.

 Alongside the organised activities, it was wonderful to see the children take inspiration from the theme of wellbeing to create their own initiatives. Isla in Year 4 had the lovely idea of a beach-themed window display for the 4N form room. The vast majority of the class participated in designing and assembling this display, which is now in position in the windows.  The children showed fantastic responsibility, teamwork and positivity as they designed and decorated waves, boats, bathers, sandy beaches, light houses and seagulls. We are all hoping it will instil mindfulness and a memory of the warmer summer months!

To tie the Wellbeing Week together, we were very lucky to host two extremely inspiring speakers. Kate Shilland, a sports and performance nutritionist who worked with Emma Raducanu ahead of her US Open victory, gave an entertaining talk packed with nutrition advice based on the principle of ‘eat well, feel good, perform better’.  The children eagerly took the messages on board and Kate was impressed with their responses.

 “It was great to meet you all – what a brilliant bunch of kids you have there. I loved their enthusiasm. I particularly liked the idea of porridge and spinach for breakfast! So important to introduce the subject of nutrition at such a young age. Every school should do wellbeing week. Well done to you all and thank you for making me part of it.”

 The headliner for the Wellbeing Week was Naomi Riches, a Paralympic Champion, who won a Gold Medal at the London 2012 Paralympics as a member of the Mixed Coxed Four. She shared her life story with the children, from the challenges she faced at school to seizing the opportunity to join Great Britain’s Adaptive Rowing Team. The children were enthused by her talk and excitedly cheered her on as they watched the film of the 2012 race. It was a real thrill, and hugely inspiring, to meet a real life Paralympic Champion and to see the gold medal close up, especially after learning just how much effort and determination had gone into winning it.

 Afterwards Naomi said, “What a wonderful day. I’m buzzing. I was very impressed by all the questions from the students, they really made me think.”  Thank you so much to all the children who embraced the Wellbeing Week with such interest and receptivity. They sat, listened, questioned with maturity and did not fail to impress all out visitors with their excellent manners and attitudes.