Open Day

This is the perfect example of the family atmosphere and spirit that is St. John’s. The school was open to all families to come in and talk over their years work and look, with their children, through their books. Filming from a “ Drone” you would have seen all the areas of the playground, gardens and footpaths filled by families with some in the classrooms.

Talking to the parents,as I was, it just gives me so much pleasure to know that they really do appreciate exactly what St. John’s stands for, and how important that is in this fast changing world – and also the immense respect they have for Sally and her entire staff for making that possible.

Talking with the children and seeing their smiles, their self confidence and their friendship with each other they also feel the same.

School Summer Production

The summer plays have been amazing spectacles with two performances on both Monday and Tuesday.  Every pupil has taken part; Years 1, 2 and Reception in “The Animals of Knole Wood” and Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 in “A Twist in the Tale”  with Years 5 and 6 writing their own parts and creating their own props. The overriding strength that comes across from these performances is the teamwork from everybody which is such an important part of the St. John’s DNA.

Sophie Allen’s KS1 play had all the hallmarks of excellence, with the perfect togetherness of all the children as they performed the words and actions of the songs.  A great deal of thought had gone into the KS2 play, not only in the writing, but also the costumes and the cast has certainly learnt the art of comedic acting.  Lizzie Hughes and her music team played a large part in the success of the play and Siaron Moore’s dance routines with Class 3 and Emma-Jane Rushby’s dance group were “simply the best”.

The Ship Theatre was full to overflowing for all four performances with a total of over 700 in the audience who all went away marvelling at what the children had just produced on stage and how fortunate these children are to have the St. John’s staff and their parents to support them in reaching such high standards!

This really does show the St. John’s spirit at its very best.

The volunteers at the school number 46, covering a wide range of activities and general help: reading; writing; Maths; school plays; costume making; sport; music and school visits, not forgetting all the fund-raising events the PTA organise.  What gives the volunteers so much pleasure is the joy of working within the school’s relaxed but concentrated work ethos. This results in the pupils being able to talk freely with everybody and so friendship and trust is fostered which enables the volunteers to make their own contribution to the well being of all at St. John’s.

The whole school attended the Assembly, the 43 strong Key Stage 2 choir sang a superb rendition of “Count on Me” and Sally thanked the volunteers and brought home to everyone the importance of their role in so many different spheres.  Each year group then stood up, one after another to applaud, and pupils presented every volunteer with the gift of a notebook and a beautifully hand written “thank you” card on behalf of all the school.  This was followed by a lovely tea.

46 volunteers is a truly amazing number to have in a school and there were smiles all round from everybody in the hall.

Sports day

What a perfect summers day for our school sports day.

Sheralyn Silvester along with the rest of the staff staged a well organised sports day that all pupils took part in. Our school Athletics field was looking it’s best thanks to Dave’s efforts.

It was a day that says so much about the school’s team work, parenting at its very best, the sporting atmosphere where it is so obvious every child is trying her/his best but the sincere encouragement everyone was giving to each other made this a living Olympic experience.

A memorable St John’s day and one not to be forgotten.

Year 4 Cricket

A great day at Sevenoaks Prep who hosted a six-school cricket festival for years 3 and 4.  It is a real pleasure and inspiration for me to be with eight children who are so willing to learn, to enjoy all they are doing and to just go on improving throughout each match.

It was great to hear that cricket coaches who were helping them in the nets were taken aback by their keenness, determination and general attitude.

The St. John’s cricketers were: Harry, Harrison, Dante, Bailey, Lexie, Tia, Mia and Iona.

Well done all!

Cricket

Last week there were two afternoons of Key Stage 2 cricket tournaments.  With Yr 6 being away in Seville it gave some of the younger pupils a chance to have a go.

On Wednesday we took part in the Kwik Cricket tournament against five other primary schools.  In front of tremendous family support the squad immediately realised that they had a lot to learn, the best way being to learn from their mistakes. They took on board that they had to concentrate on all they were told and show real determination to improve with each match – and this they did!  There were smiles, hugs and laughter at the end to celebrate a really enjoyable afternoon with the children realising what great fun there was to be had from the game of cricket.

We were all proud of the team: Sonny, Luke, Sam, Erin, Adele, Sebastian, Benjamin, Finley, Oliver, Caitlyn, Edie, and Hannah-Rose.

Friday’s competition followed normal cricket rules and was held at Sevenoaks School.  Again with no Yr 6, St John’s had a young side and the challenge for the team was to learn.  In the first match against Amherst we showed we had the ability, but bowled too many wides, made a few fielding mistakes and did not hit the bad balls often enough, so we lost.  The second match saw a real improvement in bowling and fielding but not in the batting and this resulted in a win for Sevenoaks County Primary by 10 runs. We managed to bring it all together in the last match but sadly had a disastrous one and a half overs when Ide Hill scored nearly all their runs. As hard as we tried we were unable to reach their total.

It was a learning process for everyone and it was so gratifying to see how enthusiastic all the children were to learn; so well done to the following for a great afternoon in the sun: Jamie, Finlay, Griff, Benjamin, Isaac, Georgia, Laura and Rebecca.

Seville – Day Three

Evening all!

Yet another day of sun, souvenirs and Seville for our 23 members of Class 6. Brand new adventures and sites to see, but the same old traditions of beautiful behaviour that was constantly commented on and praised upon by several tourists and passers-by.

Another early wake up call saw me venture once more into the bedrooms of our brave travelers, and once more every boy had to be woken with some even stronger coercion than the previous morning. But to my shock, the girls too needed waking! We really have exercised them well on this trip – if you ever have troubles getting them to sleep, just book a 4 night stay in Seville with 22 of their friends…it works an absolute treat!

We prepped and packed our bags for a day trip out to the famous Spanish riding schools, before heading down to another well stocked breakfast. This time we were able to select from a range of yoghurts and fruit, as well as the usual pastries and vast amounts of toast. Juice and water consumed a plenty too and we were off to clean our teeth, ready for the adventure ahead.

Meeting our coach on the nearest road, we were extremely excited to hop on to head to our destination. All the amazing excursions, opportunities and entertainment we provide these children and it’s a coach that gets them most animated! Quite a long trip was required to reach our destination, but every child travelled brilliantly with no complaints and only the occasional “Mr.Still, when will we get there?”….. Not long. Not long is always the answer.

Not long after, we arrived at the Spanish riding school and departed the excitement inducing coach. It was so exhilarating on that coach that it in fact caused one child to leave their lunch behind in all the amusement! But luckily Mrs Quirk had the driver’s number and Seniora Hayes had the language to ask for him to return the lunch like a special delivery, as Mrs.Quirk aptly commented, “Seniora Hayes saves the day again!”

With all lunches counted for (children too!) we explored the grounds of the school, watching warm up routines of the performing horses, examining the cross-bred features of a mule and exploring the museum to discover the history of the riding school and the disciplined skills of dancing horses. With a stop in a shady spot for lunch, we were ready for the live show of aforementioned dancing horses.

Due to the strict rules of the arena, we were unable to take any photographs or films whatsoever so the children will not be able to show you what happened, but hopefully will remember enough to tell you. I am certain that they will all tell you their highlight was seeing these magnificent beasts walking and hopping on their rear legs and unbelievably they were able to jump and kick themselves into the air also. The skill, patience and discipline of both horse and rider was clear for all to see! With the show over and the coach returning, we headed back to our adoptive Seville home – with enough time for a quick snooze for lots of travelers, including a teacher or two.

Arriving back at the hostel, the children were given a small amount of free time to begin organising their possessions ready for our return trip tomorrow. Full warning disclosure: the children have been asked to pack their own bags for the return. Items of clothing will not return to you in the same beautifully packed format as they left you.

With bags “packed”, we ventured out once more to the streets of Seville. Intitially, on a secondary ice cream hunt. With Seniora Hayes organising our packed lunches for our return journey tomorrow, the children were required to order their ice creams completely independently. With no trepidation or apprehension, all children stepped forward to ask for their flavour of ice cream, decide whether they would like a pot or cone and thank the shop owner. Every single child managed this successfully and even though Seniora Hayes had returned by the second order, she was able to have a 5 minute break! We are certainly fluent in the language of ice cream.

With ice creams devoured, we had an hour or so to scale Seville for souvenirs. Plenty more Spanish vocabulary used, many questions asked and ultimately several euros spent and items purchased. We discussed that every year there is a “popular trend buy” this year’s is fans. We have seen a wide range of beautifully crafted fans purchased, and much joy is being displayed through the skilled dramatic unfurling of fans. Mrs. Silvester guided us through the streets and shops to our dinner reservation at a near by hostel.

Tonight was the night for paella – if you’ve seen the picture on the Facebook PTA page you’ll see how much paella we all had – not just me! Although I’m not sure why I’m protesting, I could have very happily sat and ate the whole paella myself, it was truly delicious. Once more, every child attempted the dish and every child definitely ate a fair share. It was very pleasing to hear children asking for more paella and particularly more sea food, who knew we had such a group of foreign-food lovers?! In fact, it was so appealing that Mrs.Baillache nearly wavered her allergy intolerance to shellfish…she obviously didn’t but I definitely saw her eyeing a few up!

Food eaten and drinks slurped, we returned to our own hostel for some final night games. We commenced with our Spanish cluedo from Seniora Hayes, I didn’t quite catch the whole outcome but I believe Mrs.Silvester was caught red handed in the cathedral with her weapon of choice: a banana. After several rounds and several victories, we moved on to a couple of games of “One Night” which sees a member of our group transform into a werewolf in an elaborate game of wink murder effectively. With the excitement of this game over, we were treated to a box of popcorn to share between friends as Mrs Quirk revealed her telepathic powers. I think you’ve all heard the rumour of teachers having eyes in the back of their heads, but St. John’s teachers are gifted with the power to communicate with their minds. As a special treat for their continued impeccable behaviour, Mrs.Quirk revealed the secrets of our powers and now your children may too communicate through the power of the mind – you’ve been warned!

With that incredible new power buzzing through their minds, the children happily made their way to bed to conclude Day Three of Seville. We can’t quite believe that our amazing trip is almost over, but we do still have a WHOLE day left together tomorrow and we intend to make the most of it.

Day Three done. On to Day Four: The Return of the Sixes.

Word count is higher once more than yesterday – I might just have to blog about my weekend to avoid withdrawal symptoms!

Buenos noches!

Some more pictures from Mr Still

These were taken yesterday..

Seville- Day Two

Well, here we are! Day Two has seen us up early for breakfast, learn about the famous Seville bull ring, speak Spanish to the locals for our food in the market, ride horse and carriage or row a boat, enjoy the Spanish delicacy of tapas and then play games before heading for a well deserved rest for tomorrow! Let’s get started…

My alarm came all too soon this morning after the extensive efforts of travelling the day before, and I can assure you I was the least favourite teacher on tour as I took on the role of wake up call for the majority of the group. Another new accomplishment from this wonderful group, every single boy was fast asleep and had to be severely coerced to wake up and get ready for breakfast. Whereas, every single girl was awake and preparing for the day ahead. One point to the girls I think!

Our first experience of breakfast was a huge success, with everybody finding something to enjoy. A range of choices on the continental breakfast and another chance to practise our Spanish with the choice of drink to accompany our European appetites.

Following breakfast, we set off for the Plaza de Torros, or bull ring, where the journey there included lots of conversations of our varying opinions on the subject. Before entering our tour, we all discussed and debated our thoughts but agreed to enter with an open mind. Our tour guide, Isabelle, was an encyclopaedia of bull-fighting knowledge and answered all of our questions, provided us with many interesting facts and guided us around the spectacular museum. Paintings, formal costumes, weapons, models and even the odd bull head or two, engaged and enthralled every single member of our tour. The final treat of standing on the actual arena floor ,where a genuine show will take place tomorrow evening, (we’re not attending – don’t worry) was just far too tempting and the majority of our group turned into the torro or the picadors, banderilleros and Toreros (the various members of the bull-fighting team). Although we may not be leaving as future members of the bull-fighting school, I am certain that everybody enjoyed the tour, learned a lot of information and potentially altered their views on the controversial subject. I must sound like a broken record, but the group were again praised for their listening skills and thoughtful, intelligent questions.

The excitement of the bull ring was too much and we had to refuel our systems. Therefore, we headed to the market to buy our own lunches in the fresh food market. Although this may not have the adrenaline appeal of the bull ring, it is certainly the highlight of previous trips and often the most talked about moment of the day. This year was no different. Armed with euros and the mission of buying enough food for us all, we set forth into the Spanish market to impress the natives. And that is certainly what we did! Another very proud moment for Seniora Hayes, as every single group knew how to ask for their food, the amount they would like, question the cost, understand the pricing and pay with the correct amount. A truly phenomenal triumph of Seniora Hayes’ amazing teaching and evidence of the children’s dedicated learning over the years. So many market traders and fellow customers praised and encouraged the children and it truly was a pleasure to behold.

After the roaring success of buying the food, we then had the pleasure of eating it too! I had hoped to have taken a picture of the incredible buffet on offer, but sadly it was ravaged rather quickly! Breads, cheeses, meats, accompanied by cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelons, oranges, cherries, strawberries and apples – the most healthy, delicious and well-earned lunches was heavily consumed! Leaving just enough time for a quick shop stop to buy souvenirs (and the occasional gift for loved ones) before heading for our next adventure of the day!

For their incredible Spanish speaking success, the children were offered a horse and carriage ride or a rowing boat experience. Choices made, monies paid, we were off. Now, sadly, I can’t tell you too much of the carriage ride as I had the “privilege” to row with two groups for a continuous hour. If anybody ever suggests that this is a holiday for teachers, I have the blistered hands, aching back and soaked shorts to prove that it certainly isn’t! But obviously, my groups were by far the most successful – what’s the saying “A ship is only as good as its captain”? A truer statement would be harder to find. But I can say with upmost certainty that fun and laughter were had by all – carriage riders and canal rowers alike. Lots of smiles in the sunshine and memories in the making.

One final stop for the evening, saw us return to our hostel for an incredible tapas dinner. Spanish omelette, patatas bravas, pollo al curry con cuscús and albondigas were all on the menu and served up for the children to try. Every child did attempt something new – of that I’m certain. However, not every child tried everything – but a really good attempt from all. The leftovers of favoured choices and the piles of bread was more than sufficient for those slightly “less adventurous” eaters. Once again, the children were constantly praised for their attitude and behaviour from the Spanish team.

Just enough time to fit in a game or two, including some very interesting answers of a quiz about ourselves, and then it was time for bed. Once again, there were a large number of people ready for their beauty sleep, in fact it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say the entire troop were ready for bed.

And with that, Day Two was over and we rise nice and early again tomorrow for Day Three, as we venture out of Seville for a day trip.

Word count is 1000 words – I’ll try not to waffle on again tomorrow.

Adios!