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HEADMASTER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEK

In a week in which a large number of teachers have been unwell, I am hugely grateful to those who have escaped illness and to the many cover teachers from outside for ensuring that the children's progress has been sustained. I am equally grateful to parents for their understanding.

There has been success aplenty this week in sport. Our First XV and Under XI A team continue their good run of results and our Girls' A team netball players can be very proud of coming 4th out of 14 teams in a highly competitive netball tournament at Hurstpierpoint College. I have also been delighted by the excellent work children have been bringing to show me all week for Headmaster's Commendations.

My highlight of the week was Monday's Assembly. It started with Finn H playing the saxophone beautifully in front of the school and moved on to a super presentation from Year 4 on onomatopoeia and alliteration. Every child in the year took part and used examples to illustrate. There is not one child in Year Four who will not be able to recognise and explain both and this will help them to use these devices in their own writing and appreciate their use in the writing of others.

The end of January is marked by our Parents' Association Quiz tonight and I look forward to seeing a good number of you this evening.

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Miss McInally and Mr Lonsdale are presented with their leaving cards.
We will miss them!
HEADMASTER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEK

My highlights this week have included the following: a very spirited performance by our 1st Rugby XII against Brighton College Lower School with a wonderful try saving tackle by Oscar H securing a win in the dying seconds of a match which was played in the best of spirits; some imaginative posters, essays and art brought to me by children of all ages to be commended; their palpable pride in their work; an enlightening presentation in Assembly by a representative of the Lily Foundation who informed us of the work her charity does to raise awareness of Mitochondrial Disease; and lunch with a thoroughly engaging table of Year 6 boys.

Last night our Parents' Association met to discuss future events for parents. I was not party to their discussions but I know that a Paella Evening is being proposed which sounds as if it will be great fun. Forthcoming Association events include the Quiz, on Friday 30th January – Mr Holt has promised that the questions will not be quite so difficult this year – and the Spring Fair, which will come fast upon us. I am hugely grateful for the work done by those parents who are members of the Association but equally keen for friends of the Association to support that work. You will be receiving a letter from the Parents' Association explaining how you might support the Spring Fair, traditionally one of the major events in the St Christopher's calendar.

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Year 1 working together to make houses for the three little pigs
out of different materials. 



HEADMASTER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEK

Pupils arrived at Celebration Assembly this morning donning bright and vibrant ties and bow ties in support of the wonderful work done by The Martlet's Hospice, one of the Drake House charities. It is very important that the children at St Christopher's look beyond the walls of the school and the support given to local charities by all of the Houses reminds us as a community that selfless giving is important. A wide range of charities are supported by the Houses and, of course, by the Parents' Association.

However, in his address to the children on Thursday morning, the Head Boy reminded the pupils that charity does not begin and end with material giving or financial donations. It is, as Miles J explained with mature clarity, about generosity of spirit and the willingness to give of ourselves to others. The kind word, the nod of approval, the gentle affirmation, those small things which make individuals feel good about themselves make the world of difference to the well- being and sense of worth that children, and adults, feel. As such I have been as pleased this term by the warmth with which the four new pupils have been welcomed to the school and by the genuine trouble our children have gone to make them feel valued as I have by the individual and team triumphs we celebrated this morning. Those achievements included rewards for excellence in academic work, music, sport, art and mathematical brilliance. However, we also celebrated those who had not necessarily come top of the pile but had shown human qualities of perseverance, determination, courage and yes, charity.


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HEADMASTER'S REFLECTIONS ON THE WEEK

On Tuesday I was lucky enough to observe a Year 7 Science class taught by Mr Scott in which he covered the mechanics of forces, pressure and density. Using imaginative resources the children were encouraged to use their observational skills to draw precise conclusions on how atmospheric force works and explain both the physics and chemistry involved. Resources included, amongst many, a clip from 'You only Live Twice' in which Sean Connery (or his stunt man) used suction pads to climb down a sheer vertical wall, a petrol can which imploded when heated and those toys which use suction pads and springs to leap rather delightfully into the air. Two experiments were conducted simultaneously, the children were challenged, encouraged and exhorted to use scientific knowledge and high expectations were set. The response of the children was bright and enthusiastic and the lesson representative of the very best of teaching and learning. It can be very humbling as a Headmaster to watch brilliant teaching and this is just one of many outstanding lessons I have observed since starting at St Christopher's just over a year ago.

I make no excuse for placing the classroom teaching and learning at the heart of all that we do here, but within this Newsletter you will find rich evidence of subject challenges, music awards, sporting endeavours, trips and activities and much more besides, and all of this during what is one of the bleaker times of the year with short days and unfathomably unpredictable weather.

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Year 1 at Weald and Downland Museum.
Year One and Reception Nativity plays have been charming, with the children thoroughly enjoying performance and collaboration on stage and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ sung in four languages by Year 1. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ last week was performed with energy and enthusiasm by Year 4 and Year 5, with almost every child playing a part, again to thoroughly appreciative audiences. The school is awash with Christmas decorations, Christmas lunches, Christmas jumpers and the seasonal spirit which should be at the heart of the end of term.

I could report on much much more but there is news enough for you within and I will leave the final say of the Michaelmas Term to our excellent Head Girl:

This week the whole of year 8 and I went and watched the Reception Nativity play, and exchanged presents with our Reception buddies! It was truly amazing, seeing how every single one of our buddies had gained so much confidence throughout their first year of 'big school'. After this was the present exchange; every single one of our buddies adored their gifts, and I can safely say that we enjoyed it just as much. Now I fully understand the expression 'it’s better to give than to receive'.

As we approach Christmas, everyone (Including the teachers!) are getting more and more festive. Decorations in the classroom are going up, cards are being exchanged, and the atmosphere is yet more and more exciting!

We all have the thought of the Carol Service at All Saints in our minds of course though, and we really look forward to seeing you there!

Connie D (Head Girl)

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     Mr Moore leads Junior Choir in a selection of Christmas Carols.