As a school, we have chosen to focus on the good things that have happened this term, and to make the very best of what has come our way.
Teachers are, by the very nature of the job, planners. We organise in advance what we are doing each day and each week. The uncertainty and frequent changes characteristic of life during a pandemic means we have had to become unnaturally reactive rather than proactive. Staff and pupils have been determined to approach every challenge with positivity and persistence, to echo the 1964 quote of Dr Martin Luther King Jr ‘to keep on keepin’ on’.
The autumn term got underway with school COVID-secure measures cautiously loosened in line with Government guidance. Our new Reception class enthusiastically started their learning journey in the Pre-Prep and the older new joiners quickly settled in. The welcome sight of the books back on the shelves of the Foundation Library delighted everyone. The mild autumn stretched on longer than we could have dared to hope for and enabled the children to spend as much time as possible out in the fresh air for work and play. It was a joy to see our Pre-Prep pupils making the most of the autumn leaves and the Nursery & Pre-School children carefully preparing a nutritious pumpkin soup they enjoyed for their afternoon snack.
We began to return to sports tournaments, training at Lancing College and external fixtures, taking particular pride in fielding co-educational football teams where possible. Event highlights included the European Day of Languages with 11 workshops led by pupils and staff with a veritable smorgasbord of linguistic and creative activities. Further afield, Year 2 marvelled at the splendour of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion and Year 8 donned black tie for a premiere screening of the latest James Bond film. They prepared for the occasion by studying iconic Bond opening scenes to consider how atmosphere is portrayed using text, images and music. They put their knowledge to the test with their impressive film reviews.
Our LPWA hosted the customary Beefit parties for our youngest children and a blissfully silent disco for the older pupils! Against the worrying signs that COVID-19 was not quite behind us just yet, the Fireworks party was a wonderful evening for our school community to gather safely together outdoors.
We continued to think about the world outside, with our Harvest collection donated to the local homeless charity, Turning Tides. The children wore red to support Show Racism the Red Card, the largest UK anti-racism educational charity. The children were mindful and respectful of Remembrance Day, with the younger children making poppies for an outdoor display which formed the backdrop for observing the silence on 11 November. We celebrated diversity and individuality with Odd Socks Day during Anti-Bullying Week and the older children took part in a Black History Month competition with multi-media entries exploring the lives and achievements of trailblazers such as Benjamin Zephaniah, poet, Marcus Rashford, footballer, and the so-called ‘Hidden Figures’ of NASA – Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan and Katherine Johnson – all brilliant mathematicians who played a vital role the US Space programme.
In November, local COVID-19 cases crept upwards again, and we found ourselves back to year groups in bubbles and following changes to Government education guidance. Undaunted, rehearsals for our Christmas celebrations continued apace with the children performing in the Drama Studio with its frontage wide open, with the adult audience gathered to watch safely out of doors.
All term, the children have thrown themselves into school life. It has been heartening to so see so many examples of our three school rules, Love Learning, Be Kind and Go out in the World and Do Good.