Lizzie Yarnolds Bus Parade – with pictures

St John’s School certainly made the right impression on behalf of Sevenoaks Town this morning in honor of Lizzie’s 2 gold Olympic Skeleton Medals.

The Vine,one of the oldest cricket grounds in the UK, was the first port of call in her Open  Top Bus Parade around the area from Sevenoaks to West Kingsdown via Swanley.

There, lining the the whole length of the ground were all 250 children,staff and a few parents all waving their flags and Lizzie Yarnold badges as she slowly passed at 9.40am on the hottest day of the year.

What a great way to start a school day, a relaxing sunny 15 min walk from the school to the Vine and back and making sure Lizzie’s day had the best possible start!

Friday House Colours

Our Friday uniform for this and next term will be PE kits with the school house colours t shirt for everyone.

Children will bring their PE kits home by Thursday in order to be ready for Friday House Day.

They should, of course, return their PE kits to school on Monday mornings to be prepared for their PE lessons.

Memorable Last Day

The Easter service is always a great event – even for 246 children and staff walking down to the Church in the rain.

The service always has it”s “moments” and the first of these was at the start when Class 3 did a well rehearsed mini costumed playlett of the Last Journey of Jesus to the Cross, with the story being told as the actors walked up the isle to the stage. That was followed by the choir singing a 2 part “All Things Bright & Beautiful” and here again that extra mile was evident, not only in the singing, but in the left to right rhythm action movement which was performed to  perfection with every child together the entire time.

Year 6 sang “Oh Happy Day ” so well, and again in 2 parts. One always wonders what Fr Robin is going to come up with in his sermons, but he put his message across  very successfully by getting the congregation very worried – and the children very excited, about  his threat to soak Fr Matthew (dressed in full Skiing rain gear with an umbrella) with a full bottle of Pepsi Cola he was shaking, I will leave it up to your child to tell you the outcome!

Prayers were said by Class 4 followed by  Key Stage 1 singing “Oh Happy Day ”  again with perfect rhythm movement.

Sally was spot on when, after thanking everyone, she asked Year 6 to sing “Oh Happy Day” again and by the end of the service the sun was shining, and the walk back to school a pleasure.

The Church was, as usual, fit to bursting with all of our children and their very supportive families – a Joy to see!

Have a great holiday, and get ready for another busy and enjoyable Summer Term.

What an evening where once again St Johns showed itself to the town as precisely what a school can and is achieving. Tonight a 28 strong Dance Team put on a truly top class performance showing great skills of timing, precise movement, always totally together and with an impressive self-confidence of just individually knowing what to do and when. For all that to happen you need natural inspirational teaching and children who are totally committed to the cause, prepared to work until they drop and with a high level of concentration both in training and the final performance. It WAs obvious that they are enjoying every moment and it is then that you have something very special. We had all that tonight and the audience and especially all those connected to St John’s left at the end just so proud of the school and their children.


A St John’s mind set challenge. . .

How can we involve everybody in the school in raising some money, taking some real challenging exercise & talking to each other all at the same time?

With Knole Park on the doorstep it did not take long to come up with the challenge to walk to Knole House and back & see how many steps it took. So off we set at 9.30 ( 246 pupils, 40 staff, parents & governors & 2 dogs ) down Bayham Rd, across Seal Hollow Rd, up half of Blackhall Lane then right to the footpath that leads up to the top entrance to Knole Park (this was a real challenge through a watery muddy path. Rumour had it that 1 pupil only fell over but I am sure I saw a few very muddy staff at the halfway stage!) Then down the valley across the golf course and finally up to Knole House.

There we had some biscuits and a drink and a rest for 15 minutes, being watched by some walkers not really understanding what was going on (the children soon told them)  So now rested we were all up for going back the way we came. With plenty of talking and having great fun and not concentrating or caring where they were walking (why do all children want to jump up & down in water & then when you tell them to stop they jump into the next puddle?) we all set off to arrive back at school at 12.00pm very muddy but now with the joys of spring which had started at 11.00am Winter being the order of the day at  the start at 9.30am!

A great team effort and what a superb team & school spirit all through the two and a half hour adventure.  11500 steps achieved by each person (23000 by each dog). So the school achieved 3,890,000 thousand steps, approximately 1,460 miles and some money for Sport Relief.

A great morning’s education.


One of my responsibilities as Governor is for Spanish at St John’s. As a some-time linguist, it has been a real pleasure for me to see the fantastic opportunities St John’s pupils have to learn a foreign language. Learning a foreign language exposes children to other cultures and ideas, and also helps them to develop early language skills and even to understand English better – as grammatical concepts are reinforced or contrasted in learning a second language.

The primary modern foreign language taught at St John’s is Spanish, led by Mrs Hayes. Spanish is spoken by over 400 million people across the world, and is considered one of the easier languages for a native English speaker to learn. Spain is also a popular holiday destination for families, giving the opportunity for children to practise in ‘real life’.

Pupils across the whole school, from Reception to Year 6, have weekly Spanish lessons with Mrs Hayes. Lessons are fun and interactive, while covering a curriculum of basic vocabulary and grammar. For Year 6, this culminates in a residential trip to Spain, where pupils have the opportunity to practise their language skills and experience a different culture. This year the group will be travelling to Seville, and when I joined one of their lessons at the end of February they were already thinking about what they might need to pack and what they would like to visit.

But it’s not just the weekly lessons where pupils are learning Spanish. Pupils from Year 2 upwards can participate in very popular lunchtime or after school Spanish clubs – on my visit I was treated to a performance of “Los Tres Cerditos” (The Three Little Pigs) entirely in Spanish by the Yr 4-6 club. Parts of assembly are conducted in Spanish on Mondays and there is even a weekly Spanish tuck shop (where items are bought and sold in Spanish). It is great to see Spanish embedded in school life this way, as part of St John’s commitment not just to this subject but to providing its pupils with a really rounded and varied curriculum.

A Varied Fun Day

Today started with me taking Key Stage 2 Assembly talking about my

Vietnam/Cambodia Cycle. I decided to be fairly specific so just

explaining,with the help of a few photos,how the children lived in their

villages and their way of life asa regards home and school life,food and

transport. This I will continue at the end of term when there is more time.


Then on to a hugely enjoyable afternoon. You cannot beat the Mothers Day

Service. Church full,congregation over 120 with every chid taking part

in thanking their Mums for just being “the best Mums”.  Form 1 told us

about  the History of the Day and their experiences with their mums.

Rec,1,and 2 sang a Supermum song.Forms 3 and 4 each recited a poem.

Class 5 sang Dona Nobis Pacem. The Choir sang their song and then with

the school sang Father we Adore You in a very impressive 3 part

special.Form 6 then thanked the mums through special prayers and the

service was finished with the school song. Just such a fabulous family



Then onto the Forms 3/4 Hockey competition at Knole Academy.

Georgia,Katy,Ted,Mia,Dylan and Joaquim were the 6 team squad in this 4 a

side competition. With a 3.30 start it was cold (luckily children never

feel the cold !!) and the team entertained us in the usual St Johns way

of giving 100% in effort and sportsmanship. We were well beaten 4-0 by a

fine Amhurst first team but all the other matches were close end to end

games with us winning 2-0 v Lady Boswells 2, 1-0 v St Lawrence, 3-0 v

Sev CP 3 and losing 0-1 to Lady Boswells 2 We missed going through  to

the semi-finals by the odd point but a great afternoon and the children

would have learnt a great deal from the matches.

Cyclo Park

A truly marvellous St John’s family day at the Gravesend Cyclo Park. The challenge was could the School cycle the 500 Km that Edward achieved in Vietnam/Cambodia a week ago in 2 hours The day had been so well organized by the Copp family and Ollie Ireland and so on a perfect winter’s day ,cold but blue skies and sun all day,over 60 parents and children turned up with a variety of bikes,dressed for the weather and with that St John’s spirit of total determination to the cause. The challenge was achieved in 90 mins and with 30 mins to play with and everyone still on the track perhaps Edward should have cycled another 100Km!!!

Thank to everyone for such a memorable day


The challenge has been a great success and although it has been tough at times that’s what challenges are all about.

It has been an enormous privilege to have been able to take part in this event and an even bigger privilege to have done it for the pupils, staff, governors and parents that make up St. John’s school community. Thank you to all the pupils for their encouragement through their cycling and to everyone for the sponsorship for our new school bus.

Today we made it to Angkor Wat which is enormous and has a 35Km circumference. Pictures are of me and the group there at the finish. I have also included pictures of our 4 hour  journey across the Tonya Sap lake, the largest inland lake in SE Asia. There we are on top of the boat, or on the side, travelling at 44Km an hour—you don’t get that sense of freedom and common sense in GB !! Now happy to have a rest from Chinese, Vietnam, Cambodian Food and a decent cup of coffee would be great.

So lots to tell you next Monday but meanwhile continue to have a restful half term. I will be off to the town (Siem Reap ) this evening to have a celebration meal and then tomorrow will go round the shops in the morning before we fly home in the afternoon. No more cycling just Tuk Tuk’s at 3 Dollers a journey.