Dear Parents, Colleagues, Governors and Pupils of the school,
Good morning to you all. As I write this on a crisp, sunny January day, I peer out of the window onto the Head’s lawn, deriving inspiration from the image of a skittish rabbit, bounding across the grass as the friendly azure of the sky promises something from the day to atone for the week’s previous sullen rainy ones.
And then something much larger hoves into view. Something out of place.
A group of seven cows – young ones by the looks of them – has just come galloping onto the school grounds from the neighbouring farmer’s field. They are seemingly determined that this patch of grass is superior and infinitely more succulent than the grass of their own field. And so, with a heavy sigh, I get out of my chair and walk out of the door, thinking how inappropriately dressed I am for cow-herding; but also thankful that no pupils or parents will bear witness to this spectacle.
As I reach the area where the cows are, one of the site-team members, Mikey Torr, convenes on the same location. Without even a word to each other, we form a kind of makeshift pincer-movement, inducing a directional pathway which the cows instinctively follow. Luckily, the lead cow has sufficient sense to look before crossing the road and is closely followed by his bovine comrades blithely trotting back from whence they came, without a care in the world for the huge potholes they have just placed in the lawn. Job done. Not – I am sure you would agree – part of the daily routine for most Heads of school! The unfortunate upshot of this though, as many of you will already know, is that we have had to close the gate to this entrance, meaning that access – whilst still granted – is a little more cumbersome.
As I outlined last week, there were a huge array of things going on this week which your sons and daughters have been participating in, in terms of off-site education. Let’s take a look.
Last Sunday, our Years 10 and 11 pupils took a trip to Stratford to watch Dickens’
“A Christmas Carol”. Two of the pupils wrote a brief resume of their adventure:
“On Sunday, 14 January we visited The Royal Shakespeare Theatre. The production was excellent, and we thoroughly enjoyed it despite having a mildly obstructed view from our seats in the upper circle. This interpretation of the play was especially interesting as the script incorporated Charles Dickens as a character which added a lot of context to parts of the story, such as his focus on Tiny Tim’s struggles as Dicken’s himself had a difficult childhood.
The production also helped me (Frankie) have a greater understanding of some significant parts of the book which I had not noticed before such as some finer details of Fezziwig’s Christmas party that highlight the contrast of Fezziwig as an employer compared to Scrooge even more.
I (Isla) thought that the interpretation of Dickens’ story was amazing and gave you a better understanding of the book. I loved the humour added and thought it was an excellent production.”
By Frankie Turton and Isla McLellan.
On Monday, our Year 11s went to Sapori 74 to have demonstrated to them how chefs used and preserved high-level ingredients for some of their haute cuisine dishes. They also sampled some of these culinary delights, gaining some first-hand experience of how to prepare dishes in advance of them being made, allowing stock to be efficiently processed without losing any of its taste and nutritional value. Mrs Rothwell-Wood and the Year 11 pupils were very impressed with the kind of on-the-job learning this kind of experience yielded, with the pupils being much better prepared for their controlled assessment back at school.
At the same time as the above, Prep School pupils were attending the Young Voices concert in Sheffield. Mrs Wake writes:
‘The Young Voices singers from the Prep department were greeted in Sheffield by heavy hail and snow, but that was soon forgotten once we entered the arena and took in its breath-taking size once again. For some of the children this was their first Young Voices experience and they couldn’t wait to get started. The afternoon was spent rehearsing the songs with the other five thousand or so children and we were all excited to watch the Urban Strides dance group, as well as the professional band, singers and guest stars. Although a long rehearsal, it soon whizzed by and the children tucked into their tea to give them a boost before the concert. From six o’clock the arena began to fill with friends and family and we spent many minutes peering away trying to locate our Read School parents. Finally, we spotted them, then followed lots of mad waving. Once the concert started, the atmosphere was even better, helped by the lighting and special effects. The compere came to the point where she reads out some of the school banners she can see to the audience. We waited with baited breath. Would she spot ours? Yes, she did! A highlight of the night for us,for sure. It was a truly memorable evening with all of the Young Voices songs we have spent weeks and weeks rehearsing, plus special performances from Natalie Williams, the Magnets and Urban Strides. We can’t wait for next year!’
The prep visit to the National Space Centre took place on Wednesday 17 January, with a long journey down to Leicester, followed by an even longer journey to the moon and back by Apollo space rocket. The children learned a huge amount about the science of space and the human ingenuity used to get up there.
The museum is particularly impressive, given the number of huge sculptures and models of space vehicles, but also because of the number of interactive exhibits the children got to experience. A great day for science endeavours.
Our Trip to the National Space Centre – written by Alex Love, Year 6
“On Wednesday 17 January Years 5 & 6 went to the National Space Centre in Leicester. It was a two hour bus journey but it only seemed like one hour. When we got there everyone was excited as soon as we saw the building because it had two rockets inside the transparent tower! As we walked in we started looking around the area which was called ‘Exploring the Universe!’ It had loads of interesting facts about black holes and the Big Bang Theory and all sorts of other facts. In zone two it had amazing stuff including a satellite robot which you could control and a room with lots of vast rocks. It was all about moon rocks and planets.
As time went we gradually moved on to the next zone, which was all about the weather. There was a weather studio which filmed you making a weather report and showed it on the screen outside the studio, which we all thought was cool so we had a go. It was really fun but a bit crowded so we did it again with the right amount of people.
After lunch we moved on to the ‘Tranquillity Base’ which had lots of fun activities, including a simulator which cost £1 and most people went on it, while the others played games like a moon rock claw grabber, a laser shooter and other fun things. After that we were split into two groups and one group went to the top of the rocket tower, while the other group went to the gift shop, then we switched around.
Finally we all went to the workshop called ‘Life in Space’ to do cool experiments and we learnt a lot about Time Peake and the space satellites and rockets. We were all happy that we went there and took in a lot of amazing facts about Tim Peake, like for example it takes thirty minutes to put on an astronaut’s outfit. My favourite bit was the workshop when Chris (the instructor) pumped air into a pipe and then a paper rocket shot off the end and hit a cardboard target and went through it. If you were here, what would your favourite bit be?”
Finally, this week we went to The Deep, in Hull, but this time it was the turn of the Pre-Preps.
Just yesterday they were wowed by an array of denizens of the deep, from 2-metre-long sharks to ten-tentacled squid and octopus. Young Daniel Hartley was so in awe of the swordfish he viewed in the transparent tunnel that he nearly fell over backwards! The viewing galleries now take you on a tour in a lift which ascends through the aquarium which really impressed the visitors.
Another jam-packed week for the school finishes today, except of course, it doesn’t.
Tomorrow we have netball fixtures against Pocklington away. Good luck to all involved.
Unfortunately the football fixtures against Leeds Grammar have been cancelled by the opposition.
It just remains for me to wish you a restful weekend.