Ayres

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord: plans to prosper you and not harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Teacher, Mr Gane with Teaching Assistant, Miss Williams.

Class Updates

Friday 13th May - SATs Week

Just a few lines this week to say; how brilliantly your children handled their SATs tests this week. It was a joy to see how calmly they coped with the daily demands and even a surprise visit by a DfE inspector to check that we were doing everything by the book – Mr Schumm wasn’t expecting that! With the scripts duly despatched, we won’t get to hear the results until July, but I have no doubt whatsoever that all of their hard work, since September and indeed throughout all of their time here at St Stephen’s, will be paid off handsomely. Thanks must go to all who have taught them over the years.

In addition to the six SATs tests, your children also managed to squeeze in: a few Maths lessons as well as a quiz; Science learning about Darwin and evolution; rewriting the Ten Commandments in their own voice in RE; understanding why we love ‘renewables’ in Geography; reading to their Buddies from reception; singing in Music and playing cricket in PE. So today, we had a day at the park to celebrate all of their very, very hard work!

Enjoy your first homework free weekend and I look forward to seeing you at 5.30am on Monday morning!!!

Mr Gane

Friday 6 May

No prizes for guessing where our focus has been this (short) week…

The children have been busy, busy, busy doing lots of GPS practice and Maths too, looking at ‘Properties of Shape’ – angles in polygons and nets of 3D shapes.

They learned about the coal, oil and gas fields of Europe in Geography, while Science saw them investigating how living things adapt to thrive in the environments where they live.

I have begun reading the 1,000+ pages of the children’s written WWII Project presentations, which will take me a while, but which I will do in order to do justice to all of their hard work. In the meantime, results of the school pupils’ votes are:

1 Kyle (Y6Z)

2 Isla (Y6Z)

3= Caterina & Oliver (Y6Z)

5 Tegan

Then, after spending lots of time viewing and chatting to the children last Friday, Mr Schumm chose Phil and his ‘Headteachers’ choice commenting, “He spoke so well about the Colossus computer and had an in-depth knowledge of its inventor, Alan Turing.”

How fabulous to see more than 200 grandparents, great aunts & uncles, godparents and friends here today to celebrate life here at St Stephen’s. We hope they enjoyed their afternoon with us and I congratulate all of your children who worked so hard helping to make it run so smoothly. I thought the House Captain’s questions to our special guest granny, Olivier award winning actress, Penelope Wilton, were brilliant – a few budding Graham Norton’s!!

And so to next week, SATs week. The children are totally prepared for the six tests that they will face from Monday to Thursday which are:

Monday: Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling (45 mins) and then the Spelling Test (20 words)

Tuesday: Reading Comprehension (1 hour)

Wednesday: Maths Paper 1 (Arithmetic) and Paper 2 (Reasoning 1)

Thursday: Maths Paper 3 (Reasoning 2)

All children are expected to attend each day arriving early for a communal breakfast at 8.15am. Testing starts from 9am with a complex schedule, which the children are aware of and have practised, so please do be on time.

Friday, it’s all over and we’re off to the park! Please ensure that children have a packed lunch for the day and are suitably attired for the sun or the rain… Also on that day, we have asked for the fully-packed, ready-to-go rucksacks for Spain to be brought in.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 29th April

They won… Betis in the cup final match (5-4 on penalties) and the children also, who won the hearts of the people in Seville. Didn’t they do well!

However, it’s been very much ‘noses to the grindstone’ here this week with a full five days at last to squeeze in everything demanded of the National Curriculum. In English the focus has been on GPS with lots of work on verb tenses, while in Maths the children finished off the unit on Statistics learning about the Mean, Median and Mode and began more work on angles in Geometry.

New term, new learning, so in Science the children have begun work on ‘Evolution & Inheritance’; in Geography they are looking at ‘Natural Resources’; in RE it’s ‘Rules & Responsibilities and their Implications’ and in RHE they began the ‘Being My Best’ topic by exploring the ‘five ways to wellbeing’. They have been very busy indeed, and that’s before I mention Spanish and Philosophy (Which came first , the chicken or the egg?), with Arthur, Harry C, Kit, Louis S, Phil, Oscar, Benjy, Isabelle, Harry H, Jemima, Milad, Alex and Seb also out representing the school in cricket friendly matches against Wetherby Prep on Monday afternoon. For the record, we won.

Yesterday, the children took up their recorders in Music once again as Miss Rachel put them through their paces. They also played the xylophone, although not at the same time (a part from Rory, who did). Next up was Alastair, who had them practising their bowling technique in Cricket. Art, also on Thursday, saw the children taking forward their preliminary sketches evoking Picasso’s Guernica from last week. Using just black and white paints, they created their own painting in monotones to emphasise the impact of the ‘Great War’ (WWI), with some truly stunning results.

All of the children from Reception upwards made a beeline for Y6 this afternoon to view the amazing models made by your children on display at the WWII Project Exhibition. Their three month projects focused on an aspect of WWII of their choosing culminating in some stunning sculptures and models to accompany their written work presentations. On view a few there were street scenes with Anderson shelters and Barrage Balloons, a Turing’s Colossus computer made from biscuits, various aeroplanes, landing craft and tanks, RAF Northolt (not to scale), a working Enigma machine, a medicine cabinet, evacuee suitcases and even a wardrobe of fashions of the period as well as propaganda repurposed à la St Stephen’s and Micky Mouse gasmask! It was wonderful to see so many of you parents too after school, just like old times again.

Enjoy the long weekend and see you all on Tuesday.

Mr Gane

 

POSTERS NEEDED

Miss Marchant writes: ‘Walk to School Week’ is coming up (16th – 20th May) so it would be great to get some posters put up around the school encouraging the initiative. The children’s challenge is to create a bright and colourful poster that promotes walking, cycling or scooting to school. The deadline for these posters is Friday 6th May, so please give them to your class teacher by then. I look forward to seeing your designs!

Friday 22nd April

Remember the Easter holidays… seems like more than just three days ago, because as usual, we’ve packed in a so much!

In addition to the Maths learning on ratio and statistics, in English the focus has been on GPS. The children enjoyed an excellent ‘Murder Mystery’ which tested their knowledge of apostrophes, word types, tenses, commas and homophones – what fun they had. They also learned about muscle types in Science; how they work as well as specific exercises that can develop them.

In Art the children learned about the significance of Picasso’s Guernica and the impact it made on not only the art world; they then used their prior learning from WWI in Y5 to compose a similarly impactful piece of abstract art, which they will paint in detail next week. They then moved on to Computing, and began to familiarise themselves with ‘SketchUp’ a powerful design software tool, which they thoroughly enjoyed. It is open software, so free to use at home.

No Spanish this week, but in preparation for the final of El Copa del Rey tomorrow, the children recorded the Betis Hymn, in support of Real Betis who are playing Valencia. If you haven’t already heard, the tweet has gone viral with 100k views so far, which has been great fun and led to some wonderful complements on their language ability and their joie de vivre! They recorded a follow up tweet to go tomorrow afternoon before the match at 9pm, so watch out for that. Before that though, do take a look at some of the links below – the first to their appearance on TVE1 – equivalent to BBC London news, no less!

That’s all for now, have a super weekend – ¡Viva el Betis!

Mr Gane

Links to tweet inspired articles:

https://www.rtve.es/play/videos/noticias-andalucia/21-04-2022/6501484/ skip to 15.25

https://cadenaser.com/2022/04/21/asi-anima-una-clase-de-primaria-al-betis-desde-londres/

https://sevilla.abc.es/alfinaldelapalmera/noticias-betis/sevi-final-copa-betis-valencia-ninos-colegio-londres-mandan-animos-para-final-cantando-himno-betis-202204211145_noticia.html

https://as.com/futbol/2022/04/21/videos/1650552601_934433.html?m1=cG9ydGFkYV92aWRlb3Nwb3J0YWRh

Friday 25th March

It was great to catch up with so many of you this week online again for Parents’ Evening to share with you just some of the wonderful achievements of your children. If we missed each other, do drop me an email and we can arrange something for after the Easter Break. With their final SATs practice dominating the week, there’s a little less to report than normal, so I will keep this brief.

The children may have mentioned the manner in which we organised these mock SATs which worked well for all concerned and will be how we run things come May. Results in so far have been outstanding – a wonderful testament to your children’s diligence since September, but it’s not over yet. Things will be back to normal next week – noses to the grindstones – and after the Easter holidays, but the end is in sight.

Joanna was back leading a superb philosophical discussion on ‘choice’; earthquakes and tectonic plates made waves in Geography; Spanish this morning followed by Science where the children learned to take their pulse so that they could then investigate what happens to the heart when they exercise. They took measured their ‘resting’ heart rate before embarking on a series of drills and then took it again immediately after stopping. Finally they tried to time how long it took for their increased heart rate to return to its natural ‘resting’ state – recovery time.

Huge congratulations to the netballers, who are ‘Champions of London’ after winning through a dozen games at the London Youth Games yesterday – see Twitter for photos. Meanwhile the Y6 Debating team was in competition too in the evening, reaching the final, where against all considered opinion, they were declared runners-up. They certainly make the most of the great opportunities on offer; well done.

It’s Mothering Sunday, a day honouring mothers and mother churches, on Sunday and the House Captains are cooking up a rare treat here to celebrate Mothers’ Day. Not booked your table yet, there might be a few more covers available – check out ParentMail for more info. Monies raised by this super new initiative will go to the DEC for Ukraine. So do try to join us here on Sunday.

Have great weekend,

Mr Gane

 

TWITTER @StStephensLBHF

Do you follow the school Twitter account? If not, then why not give it a go; you’ll see lots of events that children from across the school have taken part in as well as photos, films and links celebrating these and forthcoming FOSS events too. Used to showcase the school’s achievements it’s also a way for you to ‘like’, share and comment too. We never mention children’s name and all is GDPR compliant – it’s a great way to keep in touch.

Follow us on Twitter

Friday 18th March 2022

Now, if a St Patrick’s Day Auction Night sounds like a recipe for fun, you would not be wrong. With Mr Schumm on the gavel and a barrel of Guinness in the corner, it is understood that much fun was had by all, allegedly.

Which journalistic vocabulary brings me nicely on to the writing that your children have been scribing away at this week. They first planned their own newspaper reports based on the zoo breakout from the movie Madagascar, ensuring that they tailored their writing to include formal journalistic phrases as well as structuring their report in an enticing manner to both inform and entertain, so drawing the reader deeper into the story. Not a lot to ask!! After much use of their green editing pens, they finally redrafted their stories, before ‘filing’ them online to fill the front page of the St Stephen’s Times. There are undoubtedly a good few budding journos in Y6 Ayres.

In our Maths unit, ‘Perimeter, Area & Volume’, the children were mostly focusing on the area of triangles as well as a bit on the volume of cuboids. My class finished the week with the end of unit assessment and some bonus learning on the volume of cylinders, stolen from the KS3 curriculum. Top work.

Joanna, who is training with The Philosophy Foundation, held the first of her five weekly sessions on Tuesday afternoon. She told them the story of ‘The ship of Theseus’, also known as Theseus’ paradox, which is a thought experiment that raises the question of whether an object that has had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. The children thoroughly enjoyed pondering this paradox with their thoughts and ideas bouncing backwards and forwards during a lively discussion.

‘Philosophers are adults who persist in asking childish questions’

Isaiah Berlin

Science saw study of the circulatory system, with the children learning all about the lungs that transfer oxygen from the air we breathe in, into our circulating blood. Then it was straight on to the heart and how it pumps this oxygenated blood around our bodies to where it is needed before rerouting the deoxygenated blood back to pick up some more. They drew the heart, annotating it with all the various valves and chambers required in such a complex organ.

Boxercise with Alastair continues and this week there were also Basketball try-outs, which I am delighted to report, every single child in the class went for. With just three places up for grabs, experience shone through and it looks like Harry C, Paul and Louis S will be joining the squad.

Congratulations need also to go to Phil and Arthur whose interviews impressed Mr Faith and are now officially, Digital Leaders. Their duties will include assisting others throughout the school who might need help and to promote the use of and good practice in Computing. Well done boys.

After Assembly, we begin each day with a look at what happened ‘On This Day’ in history. The children use their powers of deduction to work out what an image on the board might be referencing; they are looking for the who, what, where and when. Today is Holi, a popular ancient Hindu festival, also known as the Festival of Love, the Festival of Colours, or the Festival of Spring. The festival celebrates the eternal and divine love of Radha Krishna, which Prathana explained beautifully to the class and told of just how much fun both her and Dhanvi had last night at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Hindu temple in Neasden, last night.

To finish off the week, we were delighted to welcome Jo Benjamin, a West End Production General Manager, who came in to speak with the whole of Y6. Vastly experienced in this very exciting industry, she spoke at length about the opportunities available for, not only the ‘luvvies’, but also behind the scenes. Currently she is working on ‘Anything Goes’ which after a run at the Barbican, is now off to Bristol. As the day to day financial brains behind it all, she left the children with a new understanding of the intricacies involved in staging a performance. I wonder who Mr Schumm will be employing for this role come the end of year performance?

Which reminds me, it was hugely interesting, earlier in the week, to see how the children went about expressing the ‘value of money’ which we covered in RHE this week. They looked at how and why things are priced as we went on to talk about ‘saving’, interest on money invested and even Junior ISAs! You have been warned.

Next week is Parents’ Evening. Thank you to those that have signed up already, there are still some slots left if you haven’t booked in yet. It will run the same way as it did last November so please log in (see Parent Mail) to the booking system just before your appointment time and I can start the meeting. These run for 10 minutes and will cut off after that time. I look forward to catching up with all of you and if you have any questions, please do email me.

Finally, our final half-termly mock SATs week begins on Monday. The children have been working really hard and we are hoping to see their best results yet, please do email me again if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 11th March

Another busy busy week has just flown by, topped off with the fabulous Arts Café this afternoon, showcasing a huge variety of works that the children from across the whole school created for Arts’ Week. Miss Williams and I certainly hope that you enjoyed seeing what your children got up in Y6 Ayres – you should be very proud.

The children are loving the new English topic that we started on Monday: Journalistic Writing. Their enthusiasm might be influenced, however, by the medium through which they are learning all about it – playing seven minute clips of the DreamWorks Animation, Madagascar grabs their undivided attention every time! This week they have focused on vocabulary, exploring the use of journalistic phrases (allegedly) and specific vocabulary pertinent to the story.

In Maths, following a short assessment on our last topic, Converting Units, the children recapped on their previous learning of Perimeter, Area & Volume, before taking that learning further to understand that rectilinear shapes with the same area, might have a different perimeter and vice versa. They also learned how to calculate the areas of compound rectilinear shapes – see Mathletics for more!

During Lent the RE focus is on Hope for Easter – forgiveness. This week the children studied five Bible passages:

  • Luke 19: 1-10
  • Matthew 28: 18-20
  • Luke 5: 24
  • Matthew 9: 1-8
  • Luke 23: 34

They then described and linked the Christian belief of forgiveness with the Easter story explaining how this has an impact upon Christians. It gave them an opportunity to consider right and wrong and to reflect on what it feels like to be forgiven. For their learning this week in Geography, the children started at 36° N, 138° E ; in Japan. They learned that the equator is attributed as 0° Latitude and that each hemisphere is virtually divided by degrees reaching 90° N at the North Pole and 90° S at the South Pole. They then moved on to Longitude, which we had actually already covered one morning during the ‘On This Day’ challenge. With this new learning embedded, the children then completed a task to first identify countries from their global co-ordinates, and then pinpoint the co-ordinates of given countries. Finally, Phil and Aurelia were selected by Miss Woodward as part of a ‘focus group’ to help the Royal Observatory in Greenwich develop their offering for primary school pupils – they didn’t hold back in the brainstorming session on Thursday afternoon. See Twitter for more.

Continuing the theme of ‘Rights & Responsibilities’ in RHE, the children discussed media and how pictures and profiles that people post or create, can portray themselves in certain specific ways. They looked at a ‘FakeBook’ profile which showed what looked like a very popular girl, who had lots of friends, went out to parties a lot and had a very fun/active life. However, delving a bit deeper, they read an extract from her diary, which showed a different picture – she noted she had only a few very close friends and never really went to parties. This highlighted to the children that social media stories quite often highlight the ‘ups’ of life rather than the ‘downs’ or mundane. After this discussion, the children created their own ‘FakeBook’ profiles to show a certain side, and then a second showing their ‘real’ profiles.

In Art this afternoon, after looking at examples of London Street Art, the children began designing their own ‘tags’ – a stylized personal signature, also known as a moniker. They sketched out their names, blocked out the letters and set about extending each ascender and descender in a flamboyant manner. Then they added contrasting colours top and bottom, blending the join and then outlining the whole thing in black to accentuate the criss-crossing of the letter extensions. After all that creativity, it was time for a bit of creative accounting as the children continued their practise of Microsoft Excel, which I can honestly say, they got quite excited about!

To round off the day, it was great to see so many of you able to make it along to the Arts Café this afternoon.  Inspired by the work of Fahrelnissa Zeid, the Main Hall was bedecked with bright abstract works, geometric patterns and Arabic script – what a fantastic way to celebrate the children’s work last week. Y6 Ayres was the best J

Have a super weekend and enjoy the rugby!

Mr Gane

 

 

BREAKING NEWS:

Both ‘A’ football teams saw Mayor’s Cup action this afternoon playing first against Kenmont School and then St Mary’s. The girls, including Aurelia, Ava and Jemima from Y6 Ayres won both matches 3-0, while the, with Kit, both Louis and Harry C won their first match 2-1, but lost (to a fluke goal, I am assured) 2-0 to St Mary’s. Paul was recovering from surgery… I say no more!

Friday 4th March

Arts’ Weeks this year was inspired by the Turkish artist Fahrelnissa Zeid, best known for her large-scale abstract paintings with kaleidoscopic patterns. The children emerged themselves in the exploration of her work through drawing, painting, printing, drama and music.

On Monday morning, after a brief look at the biography of this Iranian princess, the children began their work on a piece of abstract ‘scribble’ art that they continued on and off over the week. In the afternoon, they enjoyed the now traditional Arts’ Week theatre production, singing along to the Jungle Book. Next up, on Tuesday, was a self-portrait using collage over a monotone photo to fashion clothing mirroring the haute couture of the 1950s… well almost. This was signed off as the children scribed their names in Arabic script – thanks to Google Translate.

The whole school assembled in the church on Ash Wednesday for a wonderful service organised by Mr Perry and with Rev Cheryl talking to the children for the first time in Rev Denis’ absence. There were prayers from our Prayer Group (Prathana), readings from Oscar and Nyla, wonderful music (Caterina on cello; Kit on violin) and hymns, we left the service thinking about what Rev Cheryl had reminded us all of – the two words, ‘thanks’ and ‘sorry’.

In the afternoon, the children learned that Islamic art is defined by the opposition to the depiction of human and animal forms, which forced Muslims to find different designs as a means for self-expression. As a result, many Islamic decorations feature stylized motifs and either interlacing patterns (such as geometric designs or arabesques) or calligraphy — or a combination. To that end, the children revived and developed their recent learning about printing. They used a styrofoam square and a blunt pencil to ‘carve’ their own symmetrical design to create a block. Next they loaded the carved surface with coloured ink using a roller and then pressed the block down carefully, exerting even pressure to ensure full contact and a good print. They repeated this three times to build up a mosaic patterned tapestry.

How wonderful to be back on parade again for World Book Day with an audience of parents & carers – we missed you! The creativity & sheer inventiveness of the book character costumes surpassed all expectations once again. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back! The judges choose Kit (Golden Compass) and Cat (crayon) as ‘winners’ with a special mention to Elena (Cruella de Vil); I’d like to congratulate everyone: Amber and all from the Midnight Gang; Napoleon & Squealer from Animal Farm; Tin Tin; Nigel Nit-boy; the Gangsta Grannies; Tom from his Midnight Garden; Denis the Menace and all of the others. You did such a great job.

After an Arts Week Special Stars Assembly (congratulations to Arthur & Nyla) the children finished off their poetry article, had their Spelling Test and took out their calligraphy pens (highlighters) trying their hands (literally) and this artistic form of writing. There was a hugely popular break in this session for a brilliant Arts’ Week drama session, with Mark from RAW Academy. The children always love working with Mark, who always manages to squeeze every last drop of ability from even the most hesitant performer without them even knowing.

In the afternoon, with the B Team footballers on Mayor’s Cup duty, the rest of the class had a go at painting jars in their final activity for Arts Week. Using examples of Islamic patterned glass as well as their learning so far this week on geometric and repetitive patterns, the children created a circular design that would ‘work’ on the plain glass of a jar. They first painted the outlines onto the glass jar using acrylic paint, quickly realising that darker colours work best: black, navy, dark green. They tried a bit more calligraphy, while the acrylic dried, before they ‘filled’ the different sections they had outlined with bright vibrant colours, having first practised their designs on paper. The results are spectacular. Make sure you come along to the Arts’ Café in the main school hall next Friday – look out for the parent mail invitation.

Being Y6, even though it was Arts’ Week, English and Maths lessons continued to the delight of many…. some… maybe a couple. In Maths the children learned about the conversion of units; ‘metric’ initially so cm to m to km and g to kg to tonnes. Then it was on to ‘Imperial’ units. My groups learned that 5 miles is roughly equivalent to 8 kilometres; that an inch is roughly 2.54cm and that there are 16 ounces (oz) to a pound (lb) etc. etc. It was tricky in the olden days, using base 12 & 20 for money (L S D), 16 & 14 for weight –  I told them that ditching these for the base 10 metric system was just one of the benefits of having joined the EU all those years ago!

They children completed their poetry learning in English by choosing one of the two poems that they have analysed as their ‘favourite’, and they wrote a literary heavy review of the poem for a monthly poetry magazine, no less, as I mentioned above. This has been a challenging unit of work for them which they have enjoyed and worked very hard on – really well done.

Finally, I should mention the children’s maturity in their discreet and considered conversations about secondary schools. With the stress of not knowing which high school they will allocated over, I would ask anyone who would like to talk about what their child has been offered to drop me an email to arrange a chat, if needs be.

Best wishes for a great weekend.

Mr Gane

 

PS This half term in PE Alastair has started teaching the children boxcercise. They will learn disciplined boxing techniques that are used to get fit and keep fit, through a variety of different games and choreographed boxing to music.

Friday 25th February

We kicked off the second half of the year with DT Day on Monday, which saw the children making automata, no less. The design brief was to create a mechanical display for the window of a shop to draw customers in, so the children had free reign to let their creative juices flow. With their plans in mind, they used hand saws to cut jelutong and dowel to carefully measured lengths, a drill to bore a couple of holes for an axel and hot glue gun to create a frame. ‘Cams’ and ‘followers’ were created to turn the rotary motion of the cam shaft into linear motion. The children learn lots about the design process as well as technical vocabulary and fabrication skills too.

We’re now already halfway through a two week Poetry unit in English inspired by poets who have left their ‘mother’ country to live in the UK. The first, A. L. Hendriks was born in 1922 (died 1992) in Kingston, Jamaica, to a Jamaican father and a French mother. Hendriks was educated at Jamaica College and briefly at Ottershaw College in Surrey. After joining the family business for a few years he entered broadcasting in 1950. He became Director of Caribbean Broadcasting in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago Television. The children analysed his poem ‘The Fringe of the Sea’ looking first at the evocative vocabulary used and then at the structure of the stanzas noting how the sea itself was ever present. Next up, today we started to look at language and imagery of Grace Nichols’ poem, Island Man – more on this next week.

Just two Maths lessons this week as the children began extending their knowledge and understanding of ‘Converting Units of Measure’. It’s been pretty straight forward so far, but the impending ‘Imperial Measures’ will soon test the most able base tenners!

It’s Geography in humanities this half term and the focus of our learning is the land of the rising sun: Japan. Locating Nihon and its environs in the world was the children’s starting point before they use longitude and latitude to describe the position of Japan, and other countries on a map next week and then: learning about how earthquakes occur and the impact they have on a location; identifying the physical geography of Japan; exploring the human geography of Japan and finally comparing the life of a Japanese school child with a UK school child. Delivering learning for a global Britain!

We began a new topic (Healthy Bodies) in Science this week by looking at Royal Naval Surgeon, James Lind’s famous clinical trial of 1747 – the world’s first! It was a well-known fact that very many more sailors died from on-board illnesses than were ever killed in battle and it was Lind who decided to find out why. His controlled investigation had all the hallmarks of those that the children do in the classroom to make their experiments a ‘fair test’, so he was very quickly able to establish that the problem on-board was lack of vitamin C in the sailors’ diets. It was just unfortunate that the authorities didn’t act on his findings for 40 years! The children were fascinated by how backward we were in those days and absolutely horrified by the scurvy savaged photos, that a few pieces of fresh fruit could help avoid – watch the fruit bowl!

Finally, it’s Arts’ Week next week and we have lots of fun activities planned. Over the weekend please could you collect magazines, kitchen roll tubes (just the middle bit), any brightly coloured paper and empty pasta sauce jars that have had the label scrubbed off and bring them in with you to help the cause – many thanks in anticipation.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the rugby!

Mr Gane

 

A MESSAGE FROM MISS BELL

Last week we had a whole school assembly, thinking about what life was like for one small boy called Luke, who was negotiating starting school whilst living with a rare disease and how the empathy and kindness of friends eventually made the experience one that he would treasure for the rest of his life.

On Monday the 28th February, we would love it if people would light up or decorate themselves or their home (inside and/or outside) to help raise awareness for Rare Disease Day. This day hopes to draw attention to wide variety of rare diseases, all of which need more publicity if they are to be able to afford much needed research, as well as build people’s knowledge and understanding of what it is like to live with or care for someone with a rare disease.

More information about Light Up For Rare Disease Day as well as ideas can be found here and a video with info and ideas here.  Don’t forget to send photos of your decorations, your artwork, you dressed up or lit up in one or more of the RDD colours (pink, purple, lime green or bright blue) to me at c.bell@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk and to share them on social media (with parental permission) using the #LightUpForRare tag.

I will make a special post next week with all the fabulous photos I receive!

Miss Bell

Friday 11th February

I hope you are sitting down… as, not only is it half term, but quite unbelievably your children are now half way through Year 6!!!! They have worked as hard as ever, this Spring Term being so short means that the learning can be quite intense, so they have done well. Sadly, until SATs are done, there is homework over half term in addition to the WWII Project, but I promise – it will end.

In Maths, we completed our Algebra topic learning about the forming and solving of expressions, formulae and equations. Bullet points and relative clauses were the grammar foci in English this week, which the children incorporated immediately in to the non-chronological reports on their selected sport. I am going to be learning lots about polo, curling and fencing et al as I mark them over half term.

Propaganda was the focus in History this week, which saw the class looking at some quite brilliant graphic design and snappy slogans that were used to encourage the wartime populous to conform. It was impossible to ignore the overtly misogynistic messages, which needless to say, your children picked up on immediately. They were then tasked with creating a propaganda poster of their own, resulting in some highly persuasive designs.

Casting shade, not to be confused with the ‘urban dictionary’ definition, was the order of the day in Science this week as the children investigated shadows. They devised an investigation to measure how the length of a shadow varied depending on its distance from a light source; lots of torches, glue sticks and scrabbling on the floor under tables. Keeping it a ‘fair test’ was key, so they ensured that there was only one ‘variable’ and gathered some impressively consistent results. I do like science.

There were lots of ‘End of Unit’ assessments this week too, but Mrs Pereira has very kindly pushed back the Spring 1 Spanish spelling test which will now take place in the first week back to school after the break. She says, “Make sure that you practise the words before your next Spanish lesson. Remember; words will be called out in English and you need to write it down in Spanish, INCLUDING any accents!” You have been warned!

Art today saw the children doing some lino printing but without the lino and the sharp knives! They used a styrofoam square and a blunt pencil to ‘carve’ their own Zentangle design to create a block. Next they loaded the carved surface with coloured ink using a roller and then pressed the block down carefully, exerting even pressure to ensure full contact and a good print. They repeated this a number of times to build up a mosaic of prints – most impressive. Huge thanks again to Miss Williams for preparing and organising the whole thing – and on her birthday too!

The children had fun in Computing today identifying some very dubious information / ‘facts’ take from an ‘Explorers’. First pinpointing just what they thought they needed to verify, they then put to use their new learning on how to search using speech marks “ “ around specific strings of words. This is called ‘Boolean logic’, developed by the English mathematician and computer pioneer George Boole and consists of operators AND, OR and NOT. It is used a lot in computer programming and by Internet search engines to deliver much more pertinent results.

As mentioned at the top, there is homework over half term, which I have explained fully to the children and can all be found on Google Classroom. On top of that the children should be starting their WWII Project by planning what it is they will be doing and putting together a schedule that they can work to, so it is not all a huge rush at the end. Your on-going support and encouragement on this big piece of work would be as hugely appreciated as ever.

Finally, the SATs Booster Programme will begin when we come back on Tuesday and Wednesdays from 4-5pm. If your child is involved you will already know about this.

So, have a good week, and see you all again on Monday 21st February.

Mr Gane

 

PS Re. Residential Journey to Spain – Mrs Pereira has asked for any outstanding copies of passports and EHIC cards to be emailed to her at l.pereira@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk

Friday 4th February

Not much to report this week, other than some very, very hard work by your children on the practice SATs papers; they are getting better and better!

There were lessons as normal on Monday and Tuesday so we were able to squeeze in: more research and planning work in English for the children’s non-chronological reports; Maths learning on Algebra; investigations on which surfaces are ‘better’ at reflecting or absorbing light; preparation for a presentation on a part of the Liturgy in groups for RE as well as a look at (medical, non-medical, legal & illegal) drugs in RHE! Sadly the children missed Spanish this week but did have fun at Music, Gym and PE.

As we approach the half-way point in the academic year (yes, we really are), it is wonderful to see your children’s development in all aspects of life and work in Y6. Thank you once again for all of you help and support and have a great weekend – without any written homework.

Mr Gane

ART COMPETITION

Something creative for a rainy weekend? Entries are now open to the ​Fourth Plinth Schools Awards 2022 | London City Hall 

The deadline is March 12th. There is lots of information and inspiration on the website.

Friday 28th January

We are ramping up in Maths this term with the children learning all about Percentages, so look away now if answering questions such as “What’s 43% of 700kg?” or “If a 15% discount saves £9, how much was it to start with?” is not your thing. They have worked hard this week to finish our work on this ‘everyday’ topic which for many brings an understanding of why they have to study maths. They did well once again in the end of unit assessment, so are sitting pretty for the SATs practice next week.

A timely, one-off, Burns’ Night focus kicked off English this week on Monday as the children completed a comprehension that introduced them to ‘neeps and tatties’, haggis and ‘Auld Lang Syne’ all integral to the Scots’ annual celebration of the bard.  It will, however, be the more mundane ‘Non-chronological Reports’ topic that the children will be learning about for the next few weeks. Sue Gray got a mention as they explored who might write these types of reports, how, why and for whom. By the end of the week, the children had begun researching details for their own non-chronological report on their chosen/allocated sport.

More about light in Science this week specifically that the light they see travels in a straight line. The children discussed how light can be reflected using mirrors and, after a bit of theory on the law for reflection (the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection) they had lots of fun in a darkened classroom shining torches on to mirrors, testing their predictions.

In the History lesson on Tuesday the children learned about the government’s Evacuee Programme during WWII. Watching interviews of Evacuees (primary source) recounting their experiences, the children learned about the way the evacuees had to live their lives out of their suitcases. Many children were taken to train stations by their teachers, going to live with complete strangers in the countryside. They children discussed how they would feel if they had to be suddenly taken away from their families. The second part of the lesson had an Art/DT focus which saw the children crafting their own gas masks, which they had noticed that every evacuee in the photos was carrying along with their suitcases or knapsacks.

RE on Wednesday afternoon saw the whole of Y6 gather in our church as we continue our learning about the Liturgy of the Church of England. Ruben Hunter a Non-Conformist Church Minister came and spoke about how the liturgy is interpreted in their services. Using questions prepared in our last RE lesson, the children then bombarded him with a barrage of very well considered questions; recording their responses. It was a super opportunity to get answers to those tricky questions that you have always wanted to ask. Thanks too to Denis, who even though unavailable, was able to host us.

Habit and addition were explored in Relationship & Health Education this week, with the children exploring examples of each and whether they might be positive or negative. They read a great story about an experiment by Bruce Alexander using rats, a cage, a rat ‘park’, a water bowl and a second water bowl laced with the drug heroin. He found that the rats tended to prefer the heroin water much more than they did the plain water when confined, alone in the stark cage, whereas when given purpose and the interesting activities in the Rat Park while some of the rats occasionally tried the heroin water most preferred the plain water. The children discussed how some people might become addicted to drugs through loneliness, boredom or depressed. This lead on to a talk about the basic emotional human needs that we have discussed in previous lessons. People need to feel like they are part of a group and that they have friends and attention. This can help our mental health and make us hopefully feel more positive. To finish the lesson, they looked at all the emotional needs for humans and spoke about how they can make us feel.

Today, after a quiet morning with; Arthur, Aurelia, Benjy, Elena, Etain, Harry C, Harry H, Isabelle, Jemima, Nyla, Olivia, Oscar, Paul and Selihom all out representing the school at the Sportshall Athletics competition organised by the girls at Sacred Heart High School, as well as those off with illness, it was a much reduced combined Y6 class that did Spanish this week with Mrs Pereira. Back to full-ish strength by the afternoon, the children were delighted to have a surprise Drama session with Mark, which they always love, before completing their Zentangles from last week and then investigating the validity of content in Computing.

Finally, to next week the children will be sitting practice SATs papers to build on their experiences so far and further familiarise them with what they’ll see in May. This time around the classes will be divided in to smaller groups, so that their particular needs can be catered for in order to give them the best possible working conditions. The assessments will be condensed into three days; from Wednesday to Friday, so I would ask that all children arrive on time and rested. I should also say that letters have gone out inviting some children to attend the Booster Classes programme and a few replied slips are trickling in – please keep them coming. The children know if and why they have been selected for these free, twice-weekly sessions, as explained in our recent zoom meeting.

So that’s it for another week, have a great weekend, just one to go until the 6 Nations…

Mr Gane

BREAKING NEWS: Our two teams at the Sportshall Athletics were; pipped in to second place by just two points, and a very creditable sixth, out of a wide field of other local primaries. Hugely well done.

Friday 21st January

Week three already, which means we’re rattling through the work faster than Adele can cancel a tour!

Using their plans, the children completed writing their story prequels to the ‘Titanium’ music video that has been their inspiration, before taking a red pen (green actually) to their narratives to edit and up-level them. From what I have read and marked so far, they are very creative writers indeed.

The children also came to the end of the first unit this term in Maths, with and end of block assessment on their learning of Decimals. There were top, top marks, which meant it was straight on to Percentages, our next topic – there’s no rest for the wicked!

Mr McInroy, in his role of History Lead, popped in to see what we were doing on our WWII topic this week and found the children mocking up and trying out a Morrison Shelter for size and, slightly more challengingly, doing the same for an Anderson Shelter. Squeezed in to these very confined spaces might have been a giggle in the classroom, but the children (I think) were able to recognise that being outside on a cold January night, with Nazi bombers dropping high explosives on them, the experience would have been a whole lot different.

In Science meanwhile, we took a closer look at the eye – a cross-section in fact. The children learned that light waves travel in to the eye through the pupil with the iris regulating just how much enters – using magnifying glasses they stared in to one another’s eyes as we brightened and then dimmed the lights to watch for any change.

There is a big crossover in RHE & Computing this half term, which means that the children are doing lots of learning about social media and the internet, in particular on how to be critical of what they see on there, what they believe and take on board, as well as what they might share. They saw an interesting film from the NSPCC too, which they may have mentioned. Finally, at this point, I would like to draw your attention to the Social Media / SaferInternet information and link below.

Today after maths and the spelling test, the afternoon began with some Zentangle art… yes, it was new to me too – a combination of meditation and art. The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns, called tangles. The children created tangles with combinations of dots, lines, simple curves, S-curves and orbs – ‘Elemental Strokes’.

And to follow that, remembering the issues that they had covered in previous lessons on body image and pressure on buying products/ following a lifestyle, the children  explored ‘avatars’ that people choose to use when online. We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of using an avatar, looking at a fake avatars, asking the question, how would you feel using of being fooled by an avatar that doesn’t represent what the person looks like? We talked about the reasons why someone might hide behind an avatar (not always suspicious reasons – they might be shy, or body conscious, or need to hide true identity). Finally, they created their own avatars using the website http://photos-share.com/ – the brief was to produce one that they would be happy to use to represent themselves to teachers and friends at their new high schools in September. They were asked to think about the impression that their avatar would give to people who don’t know them. At the end of the lesson we looked at their work and tried to guess who was who – it was very, very loud!

Continuing the art theme, did you see the Parentmail about The Royal Academy Young Artists’ Summer Show – entries are now open, which is a wonderful opportunity for children to have their art hung in one of the world’s most famous art galleries!! Of the 30,000+ submissions last year, a child from this class was one of the talented 400 artists selected for display. There is no theme so you can submit a painting, sculpture, photograph, video, drawing, or a combination of anything that inspires them. You have to be in it, to win it, to steal a strapline. For more details take a look at the children’s Google Classroom, where I have set an optional assignments. The deadline is 30 March 2022 at 5pm. Happy creating!

So that’s it for another busy week at St Stephen’s, I do hope you have a peaceful weekend.

Kind regards,

Mr Gane

 

Social Media / SaferInternet

As the children in Y6 turn 11 and right after Christmas, it might not be unusual for them to be the proud new owners of shiny, very inviting smartphones, personally, though admittedly it was a few years ago now, I managed to hold off opening this particular Pandora’s Box for my three children until the September of their respect Y7s – each to their own.

However, it appears that many of your children are already taking their first tentative steps into this mine strewn world, so with the help of SaferInternet I thought I would share a few snippets of information, beginning with the age limits set for users by various social media platforms. It wasn’t until I checked the SaferInternet website that I realised that WhatsApp announced a change to their terms and conditions for users based in Europe last April and that users of its App now need to be over 16…

Nearly all other social media services require users to be at least 13 years of age to access and use their services. This includes Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Toc and Skype. Whilst there is no age restriction for watching videos on YouTube, users need to be 13 or older to have their own YouTube account (enabling them to subscribe to other channels, like videos, post comments, share their own content and flag inappropriate content).

Set Ground Rules Early

Forgive me if I’m being too preachy, but I really do think it is worth saying that as a parent, I cannot recommend strongly enough the benefit of setting the strict ground rules for use of web devices now, before it’s too late.

At the age of 10/11, you can, and should, rightly be in full control of your children’s access to the internet. Not allowing, phones/iPads etc. in bedrooms is the ideal, but children of this age should certainly not be taking them to bed to be woken by incoming WhatsApp messages at 3am! Believe me, setting an early precedent for devices to be left outside the bedroom at bedtime, will reap huge dividends during teenage years. Also at this age, you should control your child’s password, checking on what they are doing and who they are interacting with.

Finally, I have spoken briefly to my class on this subject and suggest that, if you haven’t already, you sit down and talk with your child about their phone usage, before you lose the upper-hand. Do have a good look at the SaferInternet website first, there is loads of great information and advice.

Friday 14th January 2022

A full week – five days – meant a complete, full run of lessons, although somehow we also squeezed in a session with Harold the giraffe from CORAM Education too! That was a zoom lesson entitled ‘What’s the risk?’ where the educator, Sarah, had the chlidren on their feet assessing the risk in various situations from crossing the road… looking at our phones… with headphones in; to sending photos of ourselves to different groups of people. They discussed and began to appreciate how their emotional needs can influence decision making/choices and how they can potentially impact their view of risk in making decisions.  Sarah introduced them to skills to help them recognise and reflect upon their emotional state – suggesting that the development of this emotional awareness in relation to decision making/choices could help their mental wellbeing.

‘Titanium’ has proved a big hit in English helping the children to enthusiastically explore the use of: figurative writing through ‘show, not tell’; metaphors and similies; character analysis as well as higher level vocabulary and punctuation. They ended the week excitedly planning a prequel that will stop where the music video begins.

Both Maths groups are working on Decimals to three places, looking at all four maths operations – see Mathletics for more of the same, and not a lot more to say tbh! Science was a tad more enlightening with the children identifying sources of light and how shadows are formed in their new topic: ‘Seeing the Light’. The first lesson in our focus in RE this half term is on the Liturgy of the Church of England explored the children’s knowledge of the various objects used at a typical Sunday service, before they then examined a couple of ‘Order of Services’ and finally discussed as a class the key elements of Sunday Mass. This is an interesting topic which will see the whole year group ending up in church later in the month interrogating Denis and friends…

In Art today the children began their learning on the Impressionists by exploring colour mixing, before then replicating a small strip taken from the 1899 painting ‘The Japanese Bridge’ by Monet. Earlier in Computing, having dissected a very dubious online advert for miracle pills to build muscles, pulling apart all of its ficticious claims, the children created their own dodgy adverts on Google Classroom to see just how easily it can be done. They expertly critiqued the whys and hows, concluding that the KEY message is ‘We cannot believe everything we see online!’

Thanks to all who made it along to our Zoom meeting about SATs on Wednesday, I hope you found it informative – see ParentMail for slides of the presentation. As discussed, if your child will benefit from attending after school SATs Booster Classes, you will be hearing from me shortly – Maths on Tuesdays and English on Wednesdays (4-5pm).

That’s it from me, have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

PS There is a one-off Cricket session on Tuesday morning with Jonathan, so just for next week, the children should wear PE kits again on Tuesday.

Friday 7th January - Happy New Year!

Before a quick run-down on the first ‘week’ of 2022, Miss Williams and I would like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to you all, for the wonderfully generous Christmas gifts – we hope you had a peaceful Christmas (if you can remember that far back) and we would like to wish you all the very best for everything the New Year brings.

There’s no messing in Y6 we began lots of new topics in our first couple of days back including: Descriptive/ figurative writing based on “Titanium”, a song by French DJ and music producer David Guetta in English; in Maths, ‘decimals’ proved somewhat drier; History’s focus, which we began this afternoon, is on WWII, with much, much more to come on this…; Fake News, or more precisely learning about verifying and validating internet research is our starting point for Computing this half term, which we didn’t quite get to today, so will be picking up on next week. Then there was Music once again with Miss Rachel who’s back and also PE as normal with Alastair. Not bad for just two days!

In preparation for Monday’s Zoom lesson by SCARF Education on choices, entitled ‘What’s the Risk?’ the children enjoyed a meditative session this morning which finished with them ranking statements about their own emotional needs. These are in their homework folders for safe keeping and should be brought back to school on Monday.

There’s a Zoom meeting for you too next week, which is a briefing all about the dreaded SATs. It will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday and is aimed to give you an insight into what the children will be doing, when, and how we will be ramping up the preparation after half term with Booster Classes after school. Look out for the Zoom link from Mr Schumm.

That’s it from me this week, have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 17th December - It's Christmas! (in a week)

It’s always a funny old week at school, the last before Christmas and this year is certainly no exception.

In class the children have been doing lots of ‘finishing off’, which has included their learning about the advertising of Christmas in RE as well as work creating a very complex PowerPoint based quiz to consolidate their learning on the ancient Greeks in History. Then there was the inevitable comprehension in English based on the John Lewis advert to give it a new twist and a few friendly Maths tests followed by Mr Gane’s End of Term Maths Quiz, so with all the regulars running right up to the wire too, the children enjoyed Computing, Gym and PE as well this week.

DT Day 2 on Monday was special – here is Elena’s report on it:

For DT day this year, we made a hearty, winter’s soup to be given to the charity Streetlytes. Streetlytes is a charity which provides homeless people, people who suffer from food poverty and even lonely people a chance to socialise and be given some warm food and a chance to get to know the community. In preparation for making the soup, we met with Gary – a local volunteer for Streetlytes – he showed us how anyone can be affected by poverty and as an example he told us of his own story. He was born into a very wealthy family, went to a private school then graduated from Cambridge University. Suddenly, he was forced to live on the streets where he stayed for three and a half years before managing to be steady financially.

This story impacted us greatly because it showed us that truly anyone can be afflicted by poverty. This visit made us even more excited to start creating our soup as we knew that it would go to a great cause and we were all really eager to help in any way that we could. Whilst making our soup, we learnt different cooking techniques and we all helped in the kitchen. After having created the soup, we all had the opportunity to taste a small amount. Whilst tasting it, we were asked to critique it and think of things that we could have done better. It was a great experience and we were so glad to be helping out in any way that we could.

Top work everyone, especially by Miss Williams and Cookie, and of course, your children.

Miss Rachel was back on Wednesday for music rehearsals for the Christmas Service in the church this morning as well as the al fresco ‘Carols by Candlelight’ yesterday. It was wonderful to see so many of you in attendance and I’m sure you’ll agree that that your children once again did you and themselves proud.

On Wednesday evening, the House Captains hosted their annual Family Christmas Quiz Night, on a virtual Zoom with more than one hundred families joining in the fun and games. There was a great variety of entertaining activities for all the family to take part in, from the Fastest Finger and Picture rounds to an around the house Scavenger Hunt, Bingo and of course the Auction too.

The idea was to raise funds for the House Captains’ chosen charities, which this year are Great Ormond Street Hospital and Afghan Welcome. So with the Entry Ticket sales and the money raised from the Auction, the twelve House Captains raised nearly £2,000 with the help of some very kind and generous prize donations including: Billie Eilish and BGT tickets; Marvel rucksacks; a England Women’s rugby shirt, signed by the team and a signed rugby ball too, as well as a autographed copy of David Walliam’s latest book.

Harry C & Caterina

I hope many of you were able to join us on our dodgy zoom link this morning for the Christmas Service in church. Y6 took centre stage on the altar as the whole school gathered to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus in to the world. Hymns were sung, Readings read and Homilies embraced, before it was off to the Main Hall for Mr Faith’s end of year House Quiz, where much fun was had and Rory answered all the questions. Having forfeited PE yesterday afternoon the children were absolutely delighted to finish the year on a high, on the AstroTurf with Alastair!

So as 2021 draws to a close, God bless and very best wishes for a restful Christmas and a peaceful 2022.

Mr Gane

 

THE DAUNT BOOKS CHILDREN’S SHORT STORY COMPETITION.

Mrs Pereira writes: Last year, many of the children at St Stephen’s entered the Daunt Books Children’s Short Story Competition. Indeed we even had some winners from our school over the past few years. What an honour to have four published authors in our own school. This year, I would like to encourage any other keen writers from St Stephens to enter, as it is a wonderful opportunity to write a story for pleasure and potentially see it in print!

The competition is open to all children aged four to fifteen. The story must be all your child’s own work and must be between 300 and 1500 words.

How do I submit? You should email your story as an attachment to l.pereira@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk  by Friday 21st January. Please put your child’s name, age and class as the email title and on the story attached.

e.g. Mr Gane – Y6 Ayres (Age 34)

Please make sure that the stories are typed, double-spaced and single sided. We will then forward all St Stephen’s entries to Daunt bookshop by the closing date. A copy of the children’s stories will be kept in a special folder in the Library for all to read.

Results will be announced in April 2022 and winning stories will be published in during summer term. A copy of all entries will be kept in the school Library as a keepsake for the children to read.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your children’s stories!

Lia Pereira

Friday 10th December

There’s no let-up in Y6, and following an inspiring trip out on Monday, it was back to earth with a bang as the children sat practice SATs papers for the rest of the week followed by DT Day part 1 on Friday.

The visit to Eton College was organised to coincide and inspire the children’s learning this term on ancient Greece, while also re-igniting some ‘long term learning’ on the Egyptians too. They had a close up look at the antiquities on display and in the museums, things that our children will only have studied and seen online or in books. These included: pottery, sculpture, coins, mummies and metal objects as well as various artefacts from daily life. There was a brilliant workshop in the Jafar Hall & Museum of Antiquities culminating in the children performing ancient Greek plays in the traditional manner.

With so much happening at this time of year, the regular four day SATs schedule was condensed in to just three slightly more intense days. There was a break in the middle, when on Wednesday afternoon the children took time out to enjoy the Y1 & Y2 Nativity dress rehearsal, much too their relief.

Then, in Miss Williams very capable hands, and after a rescheduled Spanish lesson (and vocab test), on Friday the children worked hard on DT Day – part 1, making very eco-friendly Rocky Road for sale at the Christmas Fair on Saturday. Be sure to buy some. DT Day proper, will take place on Monday, when the children will make soup from seasonal ingredients, which will then be donated to St Stephen’s church as part of its regular offering for the homeless people of Shepherds Bush.

Enjoy your weekend, especially the Christmas Fair tomorrow – see you there.

Mr Gane

COMPETITION

Mrs Pereira writes: Last year, many of the children at St Stephen’s entered the Daunt Books Children’s Short Story Competition. Indeed we even had some winners from our school over the past few years. What an honour to have four published authors in our own school. This year, I would like to encourage any other keen writers from St Stephens to enter, as it is a wonderful opportunity to write a story for pleasure and potentially see it in print!

The competition is open to all children aged four to fifteen. The story must be all your child’s own work and must be between 300 and 1500 words.

How do I submit? You should email your story as an attachment to l.pereira@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk by Friday 21st January. Please put your child’s name, age and class as the email title and on the story attached.

Eg: Sally-  Y4 Rosen (Age 9)

Please make sure that the stories are typed, double-spaced and single sided. We will then forward all St Stephen’s entries to Daunt bookshop by the closing date. A copy of the children’s stories will be kept in a special folder in the Library for all to read.

Results will be announced in April 2022 and winning stories will be published in during summer term. A copy of all entries will be kept in the school Library as a keepsake for the children to read.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your children’s stories!

Lia Pereira

Friday 3rd December 2021

Two weeks to go…

Our focused work on Fractions in Maths is coming to an end as this week the children continued learning varying mutations of multiplying, dividing using Bar Models, fractions of an amount and dividing fractions by other fractions using our KFC method (keep, flip, change – so 1/5 divided by ½ is the same as 1/5 x 2). That’s enough on Maths…

English proved far more entertaining. The children finished off their Benjamin Zephaniah inspired poems based on his ‘No Problem’ poem, which the children had analysed previously, which confronts his experiences of racism and how he is now able to not let it affect him in his day to day life. As a result, the children planned and wrote their own poems based on issues that are important to them. Once they were written and edited with the expert help of Mrs Lowrey, the class performed them with some powerful messages hitting home on major issues including bullying, climate change, inequalities and racism – each recited the ‘dab’ poem really passionately.

A dark Wednesday afternoon was the ideal time for the children to complete their Science topic investigating simple electrical circuits. Let loose with a vast assortment of wires, batteries, switches, lightbulbs and motors, the children created all sorts of circuits in series and in parallel aimed at embedding their learning prior to a brief assessment. They hardly noticed it was a test! The previous day Mr Schumm was back in the afternoon to teach them all about the Battle of Marathon in History. The children learned about General Miltiades, who led the Athenians against a vastly greater Persian army, and how he sought to ally with the Spartans against a common enemy. They wrote to the Spartans, as the general, using their very best persuasive writing skills, to illicit their former enemy’s assistance.

We had our own mini Tag Rugby Festival on Thursday, courtesy of Clare and Alastair, who had organised it perfectly. Pupils from both classes made eight mixed teams that played in two mini leagues. It was end to end stuff with some high scoring matches, once the children had warmed up and cottoned on to the idiosyncrasies and inconsistencies of the two refs – Alastair and me.

After the spelling test this morning, Art this afternoon began with revisiting the Gormley work from last week before the children made large paper snowflakes – what a difference decorations make to the classroom. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Not, however, before there’s another SATs practice, which will start on Tuesday and should be completed by Thursday. Then it will be Christmas!

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

 

IMPORTANT

Just as a reminder, the trip to Eton College will go ahead as planned on Monday, so as per the previous ParentMail and WhatsApp message this morning, please ensure that children arrive in good time, as the coach will depart at 9am sharp. A packed lunch and full water bottle is required as well as appropriate clothing i.e. a coat at minimum – we should be back in good time, so collection at the end of the day will be as normal.

Friday 26th November

What a week! Early starts every day for the ISEB candidates arriving sleepy-eyed at 7.45am; a trip to the panto to see Aladdin at the Lyric – “Oh yes we did!” – and a visit from historian and non-fiction author Christopher Lloyd (no not that one) too.

On the work front, in English the children finished their Kraken poems making a final edit before many recited theirs to the class to great acclaim. The on Thursday they were introduced to Birmingham born performance poet, Benjamin Zephaniah and his ‘dub poetry’. They listened to his life-story on Desert Island Discs learning that this dyslexic, ex-convict and advisor to Nelson Mandela, now holds sixteen honorary doctorates and has a wing named after him in Ealing Hospital in recognition of his work. A definite late starter! The children listened to him perform his iconic work, ‘No Problem’ before analysing his non-standard English style and powerful themes.

In Maths this week both groups have continued to work their way through ‘fractions’ focusing on mixed numbers and improper fractions as well as multiplying. I find if you think of multiplying as ‘lots of’, then finding half (a lot of) a quarter gives some logic to the equation ½ x ¼ =  The children learnt that the calculation is actually very straight forward and they all did very well when asked to simply ‘Times the Tops’ and then ‘Times the Bottoms’. So in our example it is 1 x 1 = 1, and 2 x 4 = 8 giving us the product ⅛. Whilst the children have seen much of this in Y5, our work in Y6 aims to instil a greater depth of learning, challenging the children with word problems that are aimed at making them use the understanding they have in order to solve more complex problems – getting them ready for the practice SATs Week beginning 6th December, brought forward due to Christmas preparations the week after… Watch this space.

Surprisingly, not all of the children completed their RE homework (part of) which was to watch adverts on TV or any other device. To much joy, therefore, we were able to watch some in class, which then enabled the children to ‘analyse’ the ads to find their messages. Of course there was lots of generic ‘goodness’, ‘kindness’ and anticipation of gifts, with the whole ‘Black Friday’ thing, a big message to buy, but not a lot, or indeed anything at all, about the main man himself: Jesus. We used this to talk about the difference between a secular or consumer Christmas and a religious one, which we will continue working on over the next three weeks.

The children ended this week’s Science investigation by building one massive electrical circuit using just one battery and one bulb, but with both connected using lots and lots of wires. They observed the brightness of the bulb in this circuit, comparing it with their first circuit using only one set of wires, concluding that the ‘resistance’ of the longer wires, sapped the energy from the circuit, causing a dulling in the bulb – all good stuff! Meanwhile in Humanities, Mr Schumm did his best ‘Fiona Bruce’, introducing the children to the antique pottery of Ancient Greece – he’s so versatile. The decorative friezes of everyday events have been a huge source of information for historians. Your lucky children will soon see these artefacts for real when we go on our very own ‘Antiques Roadshow’ to Eton College next month. Nos visitabimus, discemus, fruemur!

Wrap up warm this weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 19th November 2021

Dear Parents & Carers,

Following an initial grammar brush up on identifying the past, present and future progressive (continuous) tenses at the start of each lesson, we continued each day this week in English with a focus on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s poem ‘The Kraken’. After analysing the Victorian language, the children recited the poem before then planning and writing a detailed description of the legendary creature. Inspired by his grot and polypi, they conjured up with their very own sea beastie planned and wrote a poem – we packed it in, with book reviews too.

Meanwhile in Maths it was adding and subtracting; fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, fractions, Improper Fractions, fractions, fractions, Mixed Numbers with Word Problems involving fractions. And there’s more for Homework; set on Mathletics!

The religious theme for the whole year in Y6 is ‘Hope’, so in preparation for the start of Advent, the children this week learned about the symbolism of the Christmas Wreath and particularly the candles, which are lit in church on it each Sunday of Advent and finally on Christmas Day itself. Next week they will be examining TV adverts, so they were overjoyed when I told them that part of their homework was to watch telly….. they should also revisit our bible verse that they have already learned by heart – Jeremiah 29:11

 

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord:

plans to prosper you and not harm you;

plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

The children are enjoying the ‘Relationship & Health Education’ lessons and following the ‘Me & My Relationships’ topic last term, our theme at the moment is ‘Valuing Difference’ which involves lots of very interesting discussion as well as role playing of challenging scenarios. Mrs Pereira had a few pieces of Spanish homework missing this week, which was a shame, but is all part of the children’s learning for high school, as they come to terms with homework set by different teachers with different due dates. In the Spanish meanwhile, it was the very tricky task of ensuring that adjectives and nouns ending were in agreement! Oh how lucky we are with English grammar, it’s so straight forward – by comparison.

That’s it for this week, other than a reminder that we’re off to the panto on Tuesday, so please remember that children should be in school uniform (not PE kit) and have a packed lunch. There’s also an author coming in to speak with the children on Wednesday when there’ll also be a book sale too.

Enjoy your weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 12th November

Can I really start off the blog with ‘what a busy week it’s been’ again….? Every week is a busy week here! It was great to catch up with so many of you for Parents’ Evening on Wednesday and Thursday, and to share with you all of the super work and efforts of your children.

So to matters in hand, or more literally, in the classroom. All of the children continued developing their understanding of fractions in Maths this week, as they first recapped on simplifying fractions, placing them on a numberline and then comparing different fractions using the lowest common denominator (LCD). In English persuasive writing has been the order of the day with the children preparing to bombard Mr Schumm with their exquisitely crafted letters packed full of well-reasoned ideas on how to improve the school. I bet he can’t wait to receive those! Finally, the Book Reviews continued apace this week with some expert analysis by Milad, Alex, Cherrie & Ava followed by incisive questioning from their peers.

Part of our RE lesson this week included the story of Sadako Sasaki – a 12 year old from Hiroshima – and her origami paper cranes. Her dying wish for peace inspired your children to learn how to make her famous cranes, following the ancient Japanese legend which says that your greatest wish will come true if you fold 1,000 origami cranes. Some of those that the children made went home; some are in their RE books and others have been placed on the RE display board. On Remembrance Day itself, the children took part in a special assembly led by Mr Perry with Nyla reading a poem written for the occasion in last week’s RE lesson.

On a suitably dart Thursday afternoon the children continued their investigation into simple circuits. Itching to get their hands on the assorted wires, batteries and lightbulbs, the children first learned how the power in batteries in measured in volts and that by adding more batteries to a circuit, the voltage is increased. They also learned that components such as bulbs are designed to work on certain voltages and will ‘blow’ if supplied with too much power! Armed with this new knowledge, the children carried out a number of investigations recording the circuits they made each time by drawing circuit diagrams in their books.

Finishing the week with PE on a Friday (apologies for not advising you of the one-off chance); Art exploring Picasso’s Cubism work ‘Dora Maar’ (1937) making preparatory sketches and MIT’s Scratch coding in Computing, the children have packed a lot in!

Have a restful weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 5th November

Half term already seems a distant memory particularly after such a packed week. In English we began with an intense grammar lesson on Monday revisiting our old friends, verb tenses: the Simple and Progressive (Continuous) in the Past, Present and Future. I’m pleased to say that most children now have an excellent understanding of when and how to use them, as well as how to spot them.

It’s been a week of finishing previous topics – in Maths we began by recapping the children’s learning on the four operations and finished with two end of unit assessments – as well as starting new topics, which means in English the children began by finding features and techniques used in Persuasive Writing. The darker nights of the autumn term make the Science unit on Electricity more interesting – this week the children trawled their memories from Y4 to recall circuits so that we can soon get some hands-on circuit making with batteries, light bulbs and buzzers – bring on the night. They have also been thoroughly enjoying Reading & Listening in English, which is sparked each day by a child’s oral Book Review. It has been really interesting to see each of them stand up and deliver their verdict on a favourite book and then answer some fairly incisive questions on the matter. A discussion often ensues about similar books and authors with the children recommending books to each other.

Remembrance, is our theme in RE for this week and next, and saw the children learning about what it is, why we do it and how it is done. They listened to the poem by John McCrae…

 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders’ fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe;
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high,
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders’ Fields.

…before then writing one of their own.

In Humanities the children are continuing their learning on ancient Greece, this week focusing on its famous philosophers with our very own philosopher-in-chief, Mr Schumm, who will continue to deliver this topic until the end of term. In RHE the new theme is very fitting for the moment, ‘Valuing Difference’. In our first session the children explored how the world might look and feel if everyone were to be the same – boring! They voted with their feet as they moved around the class to join groups of like-minded peers as we discussed issues of bullying in regard to people who are not like ‘us’.

It will be great to catch up with you all online for Parents’ Evening on Wednesday and Thursday next week. It looks like I have a full schedule already, but if you have not already done so, please do make a booking now using the link.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot! If you are celebrating Bonfire Night, then have fun and be safe. But finally, I was delighted to hear the strains of ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ booming out from Y6 in Hymn Practice with Miss Ailsa on Tuesday, which reminded me that England kick off the Autumn Internationals tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend, whatever you may be doing.

Mr Gane

Friday 22nd October - Half Term!

We’ve made it to Half Term, hurrah!

For our celebration of Black Voices Week, in English the children continued their work on Fairy Tales inspired by the work of Indian author, Jamila Gavin, planning then writing and editing their own endings to her Golden Carp fairy story. For their sins – and to enhance the quality of their writing – they were required to include at least one example of the Passive Voice in their work, which they had perfected in the Grammar lesson on Monday.  Maths continued all week, with both groups learning more on the four operations – we will quickly complete this after half term followed by two very short assessment tests.

On Monday afternoon, we were delighted to welcome Cristiano Ceccato to the class who spoke about his friend and work colleague, Zaha Hadid our focus for BVW. We learned that Zaha grew up in a well to do family in Baghdad and was a curious and confident child, who designed her own modernist bedroom at the age of just nine. She later studied Maths at University in Beirut, being described as the most outstanding pupil the teacher had ever met. With her spectacular vision and belief in the power of architecture, she founded her own firm and designed some of the most outstanding buildings in the world—including the London 2012 Olympic Aquatic Centre.

In RE the children completed their PowerPoint Presentations about the different faith communities that they have been researching: St Stephen’s & St Thomas CE Church; Central Gurdwara (Khalsa Jatha); Shepherds Bush Mosque; Uxbridge Road Tabernacle Reformed Baptist Church; Trinity West Church and the Holy Ghost & St Stephen’s RC Church. In their small groups they then gave their presentations to their classmates who took notes on how the community worships, whether their place of worship has changed over the years, as well as what they say and do about helping those less fortunate within their community and outside. Interestingly, the children noticed that all of these communities were involved in assisting the less fortunate to varying degrees.

Coordinating our whole school DT Days is a HUGE job, so hats off to Miss Hall whose ‘Puppets’ concept was a big hit and also to Miss Williams who led our class sessions here on Wednesday. Before getting their hands on their materials, the children planned what their puppet would look like, how it would work and the materials that they would need to create a character from a Greek myth. They had some time to rethink and revise their plan, before setting to work on Wednesday. The end result delivered some amazingly creative characters from Oscar’s Cyclops, to various Medusas, a Pegasus and a plethora of other gods, some more distinct and recognisable than others… On Thursday morning, the children then critiqued their work and formally evaluated their DT learning.

Following Y5 Blackman’s Assembly, the children met their new classmate Vito on Thursday morning, who gave a short introductory talk. After a spot of English, a tad of Maths and Buddy Reading, it was off to Play Football in Hammersmith Park for a Y6 ‘friendly’ against St Peters. The highlight, however, was a brief visit by Vito who will be joining the class after half term, he popped in with his parents and said, “Hi!”

Today saw all of the children decked out in red as they once again played their part in the Red Card to Racism campaign. After another eye-opening assembly from Mr Schumm that included his father’s encounter with Ella Fitzgerald (of course), we played out some contentious scenarios in class, discussing the issues in a very mature manner. In the afternoon, with some Mayor’s Cup footballers out, the rest of the children gathered in the playground to take part in the annual ‘Great Y6 Conker Contest’, which would not have taken placed had it not been for Tegan’s efforts in collecting a humungous bag of conkers. The children quickly got in to the swing of it and had a cracking time!

Finally, we’ve had a few visits from Y7s who left St Stephen’s in the summer and have started their secondary education at a variety of different schools. It’s always wonderful to welcome back these children again and chat to them about the realities of high school, which I always try to do in front of my current class; it gives them a chance to hear what it’s like from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. The children are intrigued to hear what things are like from people they know and will fire lots of questions at them, which the visitors are delighted to answer. One of the shocks is often the sheer amount of homework that is expected to be completed by the Y7s – all subjects, every day – from one local school! Anyway, as part of our preparation in helping the children with a smooth transition to Y7 is to slightly ramp up the homework, so from now until the SATs in May, there will be homework set during the holidays; half terms, Christmas and Easter, which I have told the children – delighted, they were not.. However, the bit that they will remember though is that after the SATs there will be no more written homework!

Enjoy the break, see you in November!

Mr Gane

Friday 15th October

Well, things are building to a crescendo as ever as we approach half term, with another super busy week at St Stephen’s.

In the classroom, the children learned to identify the subject and object of sentences in Grammar which will be very helpful for their work next week… On the more creative front and to coincide with our Black Voices Week celebration that starts on Monday, the children read the fairy tale – The Golden Carp – from the book ‘Blackberry Blue’ by Jamila Gavin. The story inspired them to delve into the recesses of their minds to come up with, what turned out to be, some very weird and whacky dreams, which they committed to paper. There was also a super start to the oral Book Reviews, well done to Elena, Rory, Kit, Hannah and Oscar

Back down to earth with a bump; the children in my Maths group this week have been familiarising themselves with factors and common factors, after concluding their current learning on division in all its guises. At this point I should mention that following our first assessments last week, Miss Marchant and I are pleased at the current levels of Maths understanding, although there is no room for complacency. There will be some movement between our two Maths groups when we come back after half term, in an effort to ensure that every child is receiving the most suitable tuition for their needs; I will contact the parents concerned next week. We will also be starting some in-school Maths interventions. Finally on this point, just so that you are aware, in the New Year, after school SATs Booster Classes for both Maths and English will start for the majority of pupils – more about that later.

There was a real treat on Tuesday afternoon as we welcomed Abigail’s mum, Jo as well as Sasha and Rachel, producer and head writers respectively of the latest CBBC sensation, Enid Blyton’s ‘Malory Towers’ series. They gave us a crash course in script writing for TV, while also opening the children’s eyes to the vast amount of work that goes into making every episode. Mr Schumm was in his element.

In Science the children learned about Carl Linnaeus, famous for his work in Taxonomy: the science of identifying, naming and classifying organisms. They learned a song to remember the family tree like classification structure: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species or there’s also the popular mnemonic “King Philip came over for good soup.”  It made a dry topic a little more palatable.

The children travelled back to classical times, learning about the two famous city-states of Athens and Sparta in Humanities this week, as they compared and contrasted their different governments, economies and societies. Working in small groups, they ‘produced’ their own TV news discussion reports so the class heard ‘first hand’ about the lives of the citizens in each place.

Computing combined with RE this week, with the children using the old laptops to research various different places of worship in small groups. Their brief is to develop a presentation (mostly PowerPoint) that gets across not only information on the fabric of the sites, but that also gives an insight in to each community, specifically what and how they support their own community as well as those outside. I hope they will finish this work on Monday when they will make their presentations to the rest of the class.

We continued with our theme, ‘Me and my Relationships’ (the grammar still grates) in RHE this week exploring ways in which to be ‘assertive’ – not aggressive or rude, but assertive. The children were impressive in their knowledge of the techniques they might use to bat back suggestions and counter pressure from ‘friends’ to take part in dangerous or unhealthy activities. In pairs, they set to making information posters that we will put up around the classroom.

Our regular Friday morning Stars’ Assembly was replaced today with an all singing, all dancing (literally) celebration of Hispanic Day, which culminated in a very energetic, whole school rendition of that old favourite, La Bamba. Guatemala was to be Y6’s focus, kicked off by Phil’s mum who came in to class today to read our class book ‘El Tapiz de abuela’ by Oscar S. Castañeda in Spanish. A Guatemalan story about intergenerational trust, love, and independence, this book introduced your children to the culture of Guatemala through the story of a little girl selling her grandmother’s beautiful weaving at the public market. Illustrated throughout with paintings of authentic Guatemalan scenery, giving life to the country’s radiant landscape and bustling city streets. There followed a quiz which the children loved. Muchas gracias.

A hard act to follow, next up was a dance workshop with ‘ilusion flamenca’. The trio with us taught the children how to ‘toca las palmas’ before then teaching them the rudiments of the popular flamenco dance the Sevillanas. There will be more of this when we go to Spain next year.

Then this afternoon, Miss Williams lead the class in the making of traditional Guatemalan Muñecas Quitapenas (Worry Dolls). Traditionally, they come in a pouch which usually contain up to six dolls that were given to children who had trouble sleeping due to worries or nightmares. The idea is that the child can share a worry with each doll and let the doll do the worrying so the child can sleep. Worth a try?

….and finally, next Friday, the 15th October, we’ll be getting behind ‘Red Card to Racism’ day once more. All children across the school are encouraged to come in wearing something red to show their support for the anti-racist movement. There will be a collection again too hopefully with buckets at the entrances but in case you miss them you are invited to donate via text. Please text ‘RED’ to 70470 to give £1, ‘RED5’ to give £5, ‘RED10’ to give £10 or ‘RED20’ to give £20 if you are able to.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Mr Gane

 

BREAKING NEWS

A successful afternoon on the trail of the Mayor’s Cup with wins against Wormholt for both the Boys A Team 2-1 (should have been 3) and the Girls A Team too 2-0.

 

NOTES FOR NEXT WEEK

DT Day is on Wednesday – the children have DT homework this weekend which is to plan what they will make; they might also like to gather any specific materials that they can bring in to use on Wednesday.

DESIGN COMPETITION – go down in history, or at least go down on to the road. Check out the competition to design a funky pelican crossing that will be right outside our school.

Conker Contest – we’re a few conkers short of being able to hold the contest newt week. I realise that it’s a bit late in the season now, but do keep your eyes open for any to swell the coffers.

Friday 8th October

Well, there can be no doubt as to the highlight of the week, it just has to be your children’s magnificent Class Assembly – Greeks’ Got Talent. What talent they have to produce the perfect performance to be proud of as a final assembly – not only the first since March 2020, but also with mass illness hitting their rehearsal schedule last week too. What stars they all are!

There’s never any rest here at St Stephen’s though, so in addition to all of the intensive practising this week, the children also managed to experience their first run of practice SATs. There are six papers which they sit over the week: Grammar; Reading Comprehension; Spelling; Maths Paper 1 – Arithmetic; Maths Paper 2 – Reasoning 1 and finally Maths Paper 3 – Reasoning 2. I have been gentle with them – they have sat the tests in the classroom as a class and as I have told the children, the whole idea of these assessments are for them to begin to get an idea of what they will be confronted with come May 2022 and for me to identify which parts of the curriculum I need to focus on moving forward. I will speak with you about these results and how the children have progressed since then, at Parents Evening in November.

Another big highlight of the week was the return of Buddy Reading. Y6, having been denied this particular rite of passage for the last two years, were once again paired up with children from Reception. Y6 Ayres have partnered with Miss Billington’s Ahlberg class each child having a Y6 reading buddy until the end of the term when all will be allocated new buddies. Each Thursday the children will get together in the main playground at break time for a run around, before splitting in to two groups with half of the class bringing theirs buddies to Y6 and the other taking theirs to Reception. The excitement was palpable and the joy on all of the children’s faces was a delight to see as your children so kindly, carefully and thoughtfully read to the younger ones.

It’s never all work (classwork) though the children had a super time at Gymnastics, in Music and of course with Alastair for PE, while also preparing for Hispanic Day, next Friday in Spanish by staring to learn the Mexican song La Bamba. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9LP71ypf2qg. Phil’s mum is going to come in and read the Y6 book ‘El Tapiz de Abuela’ with a quiz too and there’ll be a focus on all things Guatemalan with some craft work too in the afternoon. The children are asked to dress in the blue and white colours of the flag or as a Hispanic dancer…

The following Friday sees the return of the Great St Stephen’s Conker Contest, so as part of their homework this week and until the 22nd October, the children are asked to collect conkers and bring them in to be strung!

Short and sweet this week. Thanks so much for all of your help and assistance once again – learning lines, costumes etc, and because of that they are all my ‘Stars of the Week’ this week.

Have a great weekend.

Mr Gane

 

Times Tables

There is a huge focus on Times Tables now especially with the new statutory Y4 test, which your children missed out on. The practice SATs have highlighted that a good few children need to put in a bit more work. There are lots of sing-a-long songs for younger children but perhaps as Y6s, they might be motivated by something more interesting:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QU_E0u-tP4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7rYbk9PNuM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XT3vxohtBg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_BJjR9rdwA

Friday 1st October

It was back to reality with a bump on Monday as the intrepid pupils of Y6 Ayres (well most of them) returned to class fully rested after a hard week’s fun and games at PGL.

In a fully focused week of learning, the children completed their work on autobiographies in English preparing, then writing their own, before finally editing and up-levelling them too. They used their recent learning on co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions, as well as this week’s grammar focus on adverbs and adverbials, to make their writing more interesting to read and… ‘cohesive’ – that’s for OFSTED.

In Maths, the children have been picking up where they left off, with division recapping on ‘short’ division aka the Bus Stop method as well as how to use factors of the divisor, to breakdown more complicated calculations in to easier chunks. See the Mathletics homework for more. Next up… the much anticipated Long Division. I would also like to add that the children’s Times Table recall is improving from the first rusty week back at the start of the month, which is great news. They should continue to focus on the Tables that are slowing them down when it comes to their two minute Times Table Challenge. Have you seen their papers?

Sadly our special visitor for RE on Monday – Mrs Connor – was unable to come in to school, so instead sent us a long, very detailed letter. The famous Y5 TA, who actually attended St Stephen’s as a child herself, has lived in Shepherds Bush for 66 years and seen many changes to the area over her life time. In her letter she told in general about how the small independent shops used to be as much as a meeting place for the community as a place to buy things and explained that this part of London has always seen lots of different communities coming and going. She focused on places of worship close to our school some that have changed and ‘downsized’ like St Luke’s CE church on the Uxbridge Road and others that have sprung up and grown such as the Mosque and Muslim Cultural Centre just a few doors down. Also, as a past pupil of St Stephen’s herself, she told us that the whole school used to go in to the church for a service every single Friday – how things have changed!

It was the classification of plants this week in Science, with the children’s prime learning on the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants – that’s one to ask them about! In Humanities, meanwhile, the focus was on the different forms of government that were employed by the ancient Greeks ; the children explored the pros and cons of Monarchies, Oligarchies and Democracy, before deciding for themselves which they thought was the best.

The Quad Kids athletes (Arthur, Hannah, Isabelle, Jemima, Oscar, Phil, Rory & Seb) were en route to the Linford Christie Stadium early on Thursday morning, turning in a superb performance. We’re still waiting to hear how well we did in the competition, so watch this space. The big one is in the summer! Like these children, if you were unable to attend the Harvest Festival in church on Thursday morning you missed a treat – it was the first time since Christmas 2019 that we were able to celebrate as a whole school. Led by Mr Perry and the Children’s Prayer Group, we sang some favourite old hymns and thanked God for all of the blessing he bestows on us. Take a look on Twitter.

The now compulsory Relationships & Health Education curriculum, which we started here at St Stephen’s last year, is really developing in to an important part of the children’s learning. In our fist topic, ‘Me and My Relationships’ (we’ll not mention the bad grammar imposed on us) the children continued examining ‘friendships’, this week discussing how friendships can have ups and downs which are a completely normal thing that can happen. They spoke about the problems that can arise and how they could solve them to make sure our friendships are positive, happy and balanced. They worked through six scenarios that are very common of typical friendship problems and decided how we would deal with them to improve the situation. In small groups, the children ended the lesson by acting out each scenario as a radio call-in helpline – much fun was had.

In Art this afternoon, the children took inspiration from ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (1998) the work of Turner Prize winning artist, Chris Ofili, to create their own watercolour self-portraits – much harder said than done! After a quick wipe down, it was eagerly to the Chromebooks for a session on designing their own CyberHero after a very healthy discussion on how to stay safe online – ‘Trusted Adult’ came up a lot, so something’s going in!

Finally, please do make time to come along to the first class assembly of the year on Thursday; our Y6 Greeks’ Got Talent extravaganza. The children had been practising long and hard, on and off for some time now, so we were pretty hopeful that it would be alright on the night, however, with so many away this week, please be prepared for a last minute postponement depending on attendance numbers early next week. Continuing in expectation of a performance, we have talked about costumes in class and while some children will stay in uniform, I have asked the gods, birds, soldiers and others to bring in their costumes for Monday – thanks again for your on-going support.

So that’s it, many congratulations to our deserved ‘Stars of the Week’, Caterina and Cherrie and have a great weekend. See you on Monday.

Mr Gane

 

Dates for the Diary:

  • Hispanic Day Friday 15th Oct – Y6 will focus on Guatemala, so the children will need blue and white clothes to match the flag. Also if you have any connections that might be of interest, then please do let me know.
  • DT Day Wednesday 20th Oct – We’ll be making puppets on strings with a Greek theme, so please start saving useful odds and ends from the recycling that might be good for this arts and crafts activity.

 

BREAKING NEWS:

  • This afternoon’s Mayor’s Cup matches against Ark Swift resulted in a draw and a loss… Arthur, Harry C & Louis S went down to a 2-1 defeat for the Boys’ team while Caterina & Jemima were part of the Girls’ team that held the opposition to a 1-1 draw.

Friday 17th September

It’s been election results week here for Y6 and following their superb presentations last Friday the children of the school voted as follows:

  • Aylward – Elena, Alex, Joe & Agnes
  • Crummell – Harry C, Milad, Caterina & Kit
  • Liddell – Columba, Rory, Isabelle & Nyla
  • Wesley – Jemima, Louis S, Ernie & Aurelia

The standard of presentations was very high indeed this year and I must praise again every single person who put themselves forward for what can be a very daunting challenge; win or lose, you all did yourselves proud!

Sports Captains were also selected this week based, not only on their love and individual ability in sport, but also on their ability to encourage and motivate other team members, as well as their organisational skills and ability to help Clare and Alastair prepare for events. So give a cheer to: Arthur, Ava, Louis DC, Olivia, Paul and Phil.  Well done for shining in PE over the years and enjoy the new sporting calendar as it picks up again from the last few years.

More elections, this time to the School Council – a very influential organ – that works hard behind the scenes under Miss Mahon’s guidance. Each class elects Council Members, who from Y6 Ayres this year are: Tegan & Harry H. Congratulations and thanks in advance for all of your hard work.

Finally, Oscar and Prathana volunteered to represent the class on Mr Perry’s Pray Group which meets each fortnight to help facilitate prayer and contemplation throughout the school as well as to pray for us all.

…and we also had time for some teaching and learning!

After a brief assessment on Place Value, in Maths we began work on the four mathematical operations completing our review of methods of multiplication before moving on to ‘short’– More on Mathletics homework. ‘Life in Trinidad’, the autobiography of Floella Benjamin whose birthday it is next week (72), was examined further with the children who investigated unfamiliar words and phrases and identified relative clauses, before writing a brief summary of her early childhood. Later in the week they planned their own autobiography.

The children continued their Science learning on the somewhat dry ‘Classification of Organisms’ topic while in Humanities learning all about the various different Greek gods took the form of Class Assembly practice – cross curricular learning. Focussing on ‘No Woman, No Cry’ (1998) the work of Turner Prize winning artist, Chris Ofili, in Art this week the children developed their profile sketching skills while in Spanish the children recapped their learning around colours – see vocab homework set by Mrs Pereira – which is due on Monday.

Finally, and I’m sure I have no need to remind you, we’re off to PGL on Monday. The children should come in to school as normal from 8.45am for a 9am start as normal, leaving their suitcases in the Main Hall. Apologies again for our omission with regards to the sleeping bag which IS REQUIRED. The coach is scheduled to leave here at 10am if you would like to come back to school to wave them off, and we should be back for a normal pick-up on Friday. I will be in touch with the Class Reps throughout the week who will keep you updated with photos and any timings that may change.

Have a lovely weekend.

Mr Gane

Friday 10th September

Dear Parents & Carers,

And so to the end of week two, all of the children are assimilating well in to the pace and expectations of Y6.

We have already come to the end of the first, very brief Maths unit on Place Value, an essential understanding of which is key to all going forward – and explains why we no longer use Roman numerals… After an End of Unit assessment on Monday, next up is a review of the four Maths operations to get everyone fully back up to speed.

The children have been reading extracts of Floella Benjamin’s ‘Life in Trinidad’ autobiography as a basis for their learning in English this week, as they have learned more about the features of biographies and autobiographies and begun writing paragraphs of each type. We will continue the theme next week.

Having started RE by focusing on our Y6 word of HOPE, the theme now until half term is ‘Understanding Faith in our Community’. This week, in a cross-curricula activity, the children used their geographical map reading skills to identify locations of places of worship in the locality, before then tracing their routes to school annotating any faith centres along the way. There a special visitor joining us for the next lesson…

Perhaps the highlight of the week was the much anticipated House Captain presentations which took place this afternoon with a bumper crop of candidates. Your children really did themselves proud, delivering thoughtful and inspired talks that included some zany fundraising ideas for many personally heart-warming and deserving charities. The votes are being counted and election results will be announced on Monday. Really well done to everyone who took part.

Finally, the first ‘Stars of the Week’ this year are Ava and Harry C; really well done you guys and keep up your superb start to Y6.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Mr Gane

Friday 3rd September

Dear Parents & Carers,

Can you believe that that little child who went fresh faced into Reception only six years ago is now in Year 6 – how time flies!

So with summer now officially over and tans (for what you could grab) fading, a very excited bunch turned in on Thursday, ready and raring for the joys and rigours that face them in Y6. We’ve hit the ground running and written recounts of our holiday highlights, ‘letters to our future selves’ and our ‘Reach for the Stars’ goals for the year – we’re saving Maths for next week!

I for one have thoroughly enjoyed being back with a full class in Y6 and getting to know lots of new faces. It’s great to be back in the saddle after the hols and I’m looking forward to the challenging new work ahead – they all tell me they are too. The Homework Diaries seem to be a hit (so far) and I would be most grateful for your support in asking to see them each evening and initialling or signing to confirm that work, especially some reading (recommended reading list), has been carried out. Written homework will be set on Mondays and Fridays. Knowing how to manage this will set them in great stead for Y7, less than a year away now – gulp.

The children have had a busy couple of days with lots to think about. We have focused on developing a ‘Growth Mindset’ – ways in which to have a positive approach to even the most dreaded of subjects while also not sitting on ones laurels. There are loads of motivational quotes around the classroom, one of which I have already had thrown back in my face!

Finally, we will be having our House Captain elections next Friday 10th September.  Each House will elect three Year 6 Captains, who will help lead their houses in certain events and activities throughout the year. Candidates will make a presentation to their fellow House members from across the year groups in the main school hall, who then vote for their preferred captains. As the election is just a week away, for anyone wanting to throw their hat in to the ring, they need to start planning now… Whilst a PowerPoint presentation is not necessary, it might help as a prop and prompt for the nervous candidate; these should be email to me on d.gane@ststephensce.lbhf.sch.uk ideally by end of the day on Thursday. Below is a job description and a few ideas that might help.

House Captain’s Job Description

 

  • Each House will fundraise for a specific charity. In the presentation you should put forward your recommendations for your chosen charity and ideas for fundraising.
  • Lead regular House meetings
  • Help to organise your House for certain school events i.e. Sports Day
  • Representing the school at particular school events i.e. Grandparent’s Day
  • Acting as a role model for your House/ School
  • To meet regularly with the Headteacher
  • To present House Captain Awards at the end of the year.
  • Any speech or talk they give should be no more than five minutes.

 

Thanks for your support and I look forward to the year ahead with you and your lovely children.

Kind regards

Mr Gane

 

PS Coming in dressed in PE Kit is a Lockdown measure that we have embraced, so I have asked the children to make sure that this happens on Mondays and Thursdays.

Thursday 2nd September

Welcome to Year 6.

There will be a full blog entry on here on Friday, but in the meantime do please take a look at our Timetable Y6 Ayres and the Y6 Curriculum Map 2021 – 22 for the year.

Please note that the children will need to come in to school wearing their PE Kits on Mondays for Gym and Thursdays for PE, which they will wear all day. They will NOT need their uniforms on those days.

Homework

NO HOMEWORK

Have a relaxing weekend before the SATs tests next week, but if you fancy, you might practise the Betis Hymn before our trip to Spain.

ALL ABOUT ME

Wow, these are going really well, so if you haven’t made your presentation yet, remember to plan it well, using the 5Ws and How to help you think about what you are going to say. You might want to mention something about your family, your heritage or where you live, but knowing your audience, many of them will probably know these things so don’t spend too long on this.

Make your presentation interesting by speaking about things that people don’t know about you – your hobbies and/or skills, outstanding experiences, your ambitions and/or plans for the future.

Once you know what you want to say, create a PowerPoint presentation, which will help you in two ways. Firstly it will be a prompt for you and secondly it will add a bit of colour to your talk.

TOP TIP: Absolutely do NOT write out all of what you want to say on the PowerPoint slides and read it off the board. You MUST NOT do this. The slides should contain a heading and short bullet points only; pictures also help to get you ideas across. Don’t make it too flashy; simple slide changes are best, otherwise your audience will be focused on the PowerPoint animation features rather than the interesting content that you have prepared.

Use Google Classroom to ‘Turn In’ your work using the Slides programme on here OR ask a parent/carer to email your PowerPoint to me. This should be completed a week in advance of your presentation slot.

Friday 13-May Rory

Monday 23-May Oscar
Tuesday 24-May Ava
Wednesday 25-May Olivia
Thursday 26-May Harry H
Friday 27-May Jemima

School Information

Y6 Curriculum Map 2021 – 22