Before Easter we asked if there was anyone with landscape gardening skills that could give us some advice regarding our top garden. There was, and not only did Mr Burgess have the skills, he also gave us a good deal of his time to turn our rather untidy, high-maintenance top garden into a have of peace where our children can sit under the tree with a book, hold a story session or indulge in some outdoor learning in these hot and sultry days.
We would like to give Mr Burgess our heartfelt thanks as he provided some of the materials as well as his time, and our remaining funds from the Craft Fair covered the rest.
We now have a lovely space which has really improved this part of our school grounds.
The last Thursday before Fathers’ Day is always our Dads’ Afternoon and each year we get more and more Dads (or their representatives) coming to school to spend an afternoon in the classroom with their child, joining in with specially planned activities.
This year was no exception and we had a record number of men out to play from 1pm. Once in the classroom the faces on some of our KS1 Dads were a picture when they realised they were going to do some cooking. Mr Giles led the demonstration of ‘man food’ and everyone got stuck in mixing sausage meat with baked beans, cheese, pickle, mango chutney, peppers, garlic or apple to make bespoke sausage rolls (they had some help in that the pastry was pre-rolled). After that it was the turn of scotch eggs and then , whilst these were all cooking, they turned their hands to rainbow fruit kebabs. Several people were moved to the ‘naughty table’ but were released when Dads joined the children in the daily 10 minutes of our ‘Fitter Future’ programme (remember – you can sign up to do this at home) before retiring to the peace of the front playground for a picnic of everything that had been made.
Meanwhile, in KS2 our Dads were in for a physical afternoon and they had been warned to wear shorts and tee-shirts. Indigenous games that were played centuries ago were the focus, with games from Brazil where 30 tribes competed against each other, and Australia. These games were practice for war, celebration or hunting. Before they could start the Dads and children had to paint each others’ faces according to whether they were planning war or celebration (you can probably guess which was the most popular). Once outside, there was a carousel of activities including Battendi (wellie throwing to practice your spear-throwing techniques), Yiri (tyre-rolling with moving target practice, pea-shooting to hone skills in poison dart shooting (Mr Lavery scored the first bulls-eye) and Keentan which was an elaborate jump catch and throw game for dodging and throwing on the move practice, amongst others. Mr Roskilly organised an Dads v Kids Brazilian football match and there was fierce competition to see who could score the highest with the wellies.
By comparison Early Years was an oasis of calm as the Dads got out the glue pots, brushes and tissue paper to apply decoupage to recycled picture frames and (another occasion for stunned faces) the making of lavender bags.
Many Dads said they had done something that they have never done before and everyone embraced their challenges with gusto (once they had got over the initial shock). We look forward to hosting next year’s Dads’ Afternoon so put the date in your diary now – Thursday 14th June 2018.
Today four LKS2 children travelled to Hormead First School for the second annual Science Competition against six other local schools. With the theme of Harry Potter the children had a series of challenges to complete. The first biology challenge was to determine what the dragons had been feasting on. Tasked with testing the stomach contents of each dragon, the team had to determine which had been eating fat and which had been eating starch by observing changes when the contents were mixed with either ethanol and water or iodine. Having worked that out, they then had to identify different types of medicine by mixing solutions or using magnets to test what was in each of 8 test-tubes.
The chemistry section involved making their own dragon and then mixing sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), acetic acid ((vinegar), fairy liquid and food colouring together and observing the chemical reaction. This reaction generates carbon dioxide gas and a coloured, foaming, unpleasant smelling froth that spewed out of the dragon’s mouth.
Each child was then given the opportunity to make their own slime but this was just for fun and not part of the actual competition.
After lunch, it was the turn of physics and the children had to make their own version of a ‘snitch’ which they had to drop from a great height. The one that landed closest to the bulls-eye on the Quidditch pitch was the winner. They had to adapt their first prototype to try and make improvements so that the snitch landed closer and closer.
Throughout the day the children were assessed on how well they completed the challenges, how scientifically they wrote up their observations and results and also how well they worked as a team with every person having a job to do and everyone joining in the discussions and making their own suggestions.
We came second in the chemistry section and third in the physics challenge and, although we didn’t win a trophy, we were very satisfied with what we achieved. We were a great team and had a fantastic day.
Thank you to Hormead School for hosting this brilliant event.