Flight delay

Parents, don’t worry too much about us. We can cope easily with colouring, UNO, great company and out EUR 4.50 food compensation..

Who needs electronic devices? Not St. John’s children on a 3 hour delay!

Brilliant children and brilliant staff.



Seville Day 3

25 children showed excellent participation and proficiency at flamenco dancing yesterday. Ice creams helped to refresh everyone before the show that followed our lesson.
This year the show was rated even better than last year,  by St. John’s staff. All our lovely pupils were suitably impressed by the extreme skill of the professional dancers and only 3 succumbed to the overwhelming need to rest their eyes for a few minutes!

After a swift change of clothes and a rousing game on our veranda,  we made the gorgeous walk to our restaurant, winding through narrow cobbled orange tree-lined streets In the warm evening sunshine.
Seafood or vegetarian paella met with mixed responses. All ‘had a go’ and the heartiest eater managing 3 helpings (after a starter, 2 bread rolls and fizzy drink!)
Violet and Amelia L volunteered to act as our guides to take us back to our hostel and their mistake fortunately led us to the cathedral square where we stumbled upon a magical moment. A woodwind quartet were just setting up and we were entertained to Pachelbel’s  canon – just beautiful. Lexie was then recruited by our two guides and we sailed home!
Face, hands and teeth and a 10 minute read was offered but some couldn’t even stay the course for that. The previous short night suffered by Bailey with such energy suddenly proved too much and he tried bed fully clothed!

Day 3
A full and glorious night! Everyone needed waking at 7.20am.
Fully rehearsed in the breakfast routine we had eaten and prepared for the day by 8.50am so settled for a good session of great games. Who would ever have guessed Carrie could waggle her little toe at right angles and that Dylan wants to be wise when he grows up!

Then at 10.30am we were off to La Plaza de Toros for a fascinating tour and some chilling facts and figures.

We’re sitting and regrouping now, drinking tea, pleasing ourselves and bracing ourselves for the climb up the cathedral tower.

Sally Quirk

Churros Day 2 Seville

Seville: Day 2

Either yesterday ended very late or today started very early. At 2:15am I was woken by noise that I put down as youth returning from a night out in Seville. Alas, it was St John’s boys up, dressed and playing Uno. Their defence…the cathedral bell struck 6. No it didn’t, that was the quarter to 2 chime! In their enthusiasm to draw the curtains, one had come away in their hands.

Firm words saw them hop into bed and sleep until the wake up call at 7:20am.

After a huge and delicious breakfast with ad lib pastries we planned out shopping and  made our way across the Triana bridge to the market. Every child used their Spanish brilliantly.  The market stall holders were so accommodating

They encouraged and praised our efforts.  Every teacher was impressed with the children in their group. Seniors Hayes should feel suitably pleased with the teaching she’s led at St. John’s.

Our walk back to the hostel was broken with the long awaited trip to the Churreria. Photos show how well this measured up to expectations. And another first for St John’s  …NOBODY spilt any chocolate!


So, now I sit on our veranda supervising souvenir shopping after a truly delicious buffet lunch of all our great purchases. The souvenir shop owner loves us, it’s official! Impeccably well behaved children have been in and out over the last hour making considered choices and parting with hundreds of euros.


But now, now we’re off to a flamenco lesson and professional show! Update to follow.



Sally Quirk


Seville:Day 1

Everyone assembled in the school hall with impeccable timing by 6am, a best ever for this trip.
After handing in medication and wash bags the 25 children donned their tour hoodies – what a glorious sight and what high spirits then filled the hall! Farewells were completed quickly and we all piled on the coach to Gatwick.
On arriving Carrie realised she’d mislaid her purse. A call to Mrs Shrubb and her further call to the coach company and the money was located. Carrie is to be subbed for spending while here but now has to work hard to avoid the “Most Forgetful Award” Never fear Carrie, there are many other contenders in the running!
Our flight was smooth and easy. St. John’s children were praised over the tannoy for their splendid behaviour. Macushla and Tia were selected to assist with the in flight charity collection – all very flattering.
The temperature was 22° on our arrival. The sky a piercing, bright blue and the sun gorgeously hot which forced all hoodies to be discarded. After the short walk to the hostel we arranged our rooms and familiarised ourselves with our home for the next few days.
Then, some of us feeling pretty weary, we were off to enjoy our first real feel of this beautiful city. Your children really showed their appreciation of scenery and culture as we walked smartly to the ice cream shop for what we hoped was the first of many visits.
Finding the cathedral unusually closed today we headed to Plaza España then on to the park to cool our feet in the beautifully tiled shallow pool. “Can we walk about in the water” they asked. Why not thought the teachers. 10 minutes later 24 decidedly wet and thoroughly delighted pupils wound our way back to our hostel home. (Alexis could tell it would end that way and opted to stand and watch the mayhem)
A record number of showers took place, hair was washed and PJs worn with hoodies for a blow-out, delicious take away pizza supper on our veranda.
This really is a perfect base, we feel so lucky to have discovered it and to be treated as old friends by the management. The floodlit view of the cathedral has delighted one room of girls who believe it should be rated a 4star hotel!
With a busy day tomorrow we felt it sense to turn in and read or simply turn out our bedside lights and sleep. I’m currently sitting in the boys’ room on the unused bottom bunk. It’s been a struggle to sort those duvet covers – for all that is except well-trained Harry who has even coached his friends in the art. Don’t expect proficiency yet though, some of us remain baffled! I suppose the temptation to chat will eventually die down before I fall asleep.
Market day tomorrow and flamenco dancing. Who will be our flamenco king and queen we wonder?


Sally Quirk

Nativity and Christmas Fair

It’s Friday evening. It’s been a busy but lovely week!

I’d like to say how much I enjoyed the Nativity this week. Unusually this year I was not at the dress rehearsal and had only seen and heard snippets before the performances. I loved it! As I said on Thursday, the work involved from the staff team and the children is enormous. How fortunate we are to be able to perform at The Ship Theatre. Most striking this year was the enthusiasm and enjoyment with which your children acted, sang and danced. I’ve passed the positive feedback from so many parents, grandparents and visitors to the staff involved for which they are very appreciative.


An enormous amount of work went into making our Christmas fair a splendid day enjoyed by so many visitors who came with purses at the ready! We owe great thanks to Naomi Ball, her committee, the PTA members, class reps and staff who all worked tirelessly to put on such entertainment and Christmas cheer for everyone.

Another splendid grotto was the perfect place for over a hundred children to meet and chat to Father Christmas about their favourite books and wishes for Christmas.

The stalls were inspirational with so many games to play and presents to buy. The food was outstanding; the delicious smell of waffles mingled with mulled wine and filled rolls was very tempting.

Then the raffle and JBay were a great success with many happy winners thanks to the generosity of local businesses and donations.

So as well as a lovely day, I am told the profit will be close to £3000. Phenomenal, thank you everyone!


Amazing Writing!

Children often come to share really special work with me, work that they’ve completed in class. Yesterday a Year 3 brought this piece. It had been written completely unaided and is simply stunning writing for Joseph who was 8 just one week ago!

A Description of a Setting   Monday 4th November

It was a grey stormy evening, waves collided with the stones and pebbles. I quietly crossed my legs and sat on the uncomfortable shore, simultaneously I watched the steaming ships go by and skimmed flat stones against the flat surface of the churning ocean. When I got bored I collected stones and examined them in case there were any crystals. It was beautiful, I could just see the sun peek shyly through the dull clouds. Whenever I had troubles I went to this beach. All the calming sounds soothed me. The first thing I ever did when I went here was look into the nothingness of the great blue gentle sea.


 What great news we have to share about our lovely school!

Thank you to everyone for their part in creating such a special place to work and learn – this really is the result of a team effort. Special thanks to Penny Boshoff who alerted us to the kite mark and who guided the evaluation process so efficiently. How we miss Penny at St John’s!

National SMSC Quality Mark Verification Report

Dear Mrs Quirk,

I am delighted to inform you that as a result of the recent verification visit, St John’s CE Primary has been awarded silver level of the National SMSC Quality Mark, and this has been confirmed by the Quality Assurance Panel.

I would like to offer particular thanks to Amelia, Eloise and Joaquim for escorting me around their school and describing the displays so well.  I would also like to give a big thank you to the 10 pupils I met with to talk about the different ways the school contributes to their SMSC development and the many ways in which they are supported. All pupils spoke with such maturity, confidence and honesty. When asked to describe their school in one word, they were very thoughtful and insightful, and responded with the following words: Happy, excited, fun, fantastic, brilliant, musical, gives great opportunities, good lessons like Design and Technology and friendly. The children showed a great understanding of democracy and described how so many activities are chosen through a democratic process. They were keen to tell me about different social action projects and initiatives that they have been part of through the school – especially the Drastic Plastic bird creation. They listened thoughtfully to each other and often expanded on each other’s ideas or supported the younger children if they struggled to answer a question. They were buzzing, happy and ready to converse with me, which is a real credit to the school. It was also lovely to see how aware the children were of the power of their voice and the different projects that had been carried out in the school by the School Council. 

I would also like to thank the parents who took the time to meet with me. It was lovely to see how happy they are with the school. They were also asked to describe St John’s in one word and responded saying: Family, happy and embracing. They agreed how the children, ‘Can’t wait to go to school!’. One parent went on to describe how St John’s, ‘Supports their children in embracing different people, situations and events, by ensuring things are discussed and viewed with an open mindset.’ Another parent commented on the ‘lovely family vibe’ and that, ‘The school is a warm and welcoming place with happy people.’ All parents agreed that they feel listened to and have a variety of opportunities to voice their thoughts and ideas. This was also visible in the most recent parent newsletter and in the introduction of the online forum ‘Lean Coffee Table’. 

I congratulate St John’s CE Primary on the silver standard of SMSC development that is afforded their pupils. Young Citizens will be discussing with the school which aspects of your provision can be shared with other schools.

Strengths of the school’s SMSC development:

Through your self-evaluation and our discussions it is evident that there are numerous SMSC related strengths at St John’s; the following are a few key examples

  • The family vibe that is felt in the school. This is something that no paper trail or policy can create, but just something that oozes naturally from the school. It was lovely to hear how many past pupils continue to return to the school to catch up with and/or support their former teachers.
  • The importance given to pupil voice and the value which is demonstrated and felt by the pupils.  
  • How much you welcome and value parental involvement.
  • The effort made to take every opportunity to inspire your pupils with opportunities to play their part in society from child driven competitions to school events – both inside and outside curriculum time.
  • SMSC is regarded highly within the school. Not only is this demonstrated through the application of the Quality Mark, but also through the dedication of the staff to ensure that SMSC is embedded into everything you aim to do.
  • Areas for development:
  • Consider making links with other schools nationally and/or globally to strengthen students’ cultural awareness and development.
  • Consider adapting the current teaching of Fundamental British values to encourage the teaching and learning of more ‘Universal values for citizens living in Britain’.
  • NASWUT and Equaltiteach Responding holistically to the requirement to promote Fundamental British Values
  • Consider using some of the fantastic board space to share and celebrate the rich cultural diversity already in your school and reflect the diversity of society.
  • Make use of the already strong Spanish foundation to bring the language to life for your pupils before they set off for Seville.
  • Consider ways to ensure that the wonderful experiences that St John’s provides its children and their families are celebrated shared more widely.Please note that his award is recognised for 3 years and that re-verification should be sought by October 2022. However, we would welcome an application for the gold award within 18months.
  • Verifier: Victoria Quijada                                         Chair of QA Panel Yvonne Richards

Seville Day three round-up

We are all safe and well but have had a distressing afternoon today. Both Adele and Megan have had their day bags stolen from under our noses in the park. The girls have shown a truly amazing approach to managing this upsetting incident.
After a fruitless search for the bags or discarded contents we proceeded to Plaza Espana, all feeling somewhat grim and disillusioned with our fellow man.
Spirits lifted when we set eyes on the phenomenal building and it’s fountain and as every member of our party rallied round to cheer each other.

In the morning we had learnt and discussed so much concerning Spanish bull fighting. Our trip to the bullring and our guide’s knowledge had proved really though provoking. At various points we’ve revisited and re-evaluated our thinking on this traditional custom.

We ambled back from the plaza through the now familiar streets. We counted cats, pushed the now empty wheelchair and noted the temperature has reached 28 degrees. Naturally this prompted us to realise we needed another ice cream, inmediatamente! Ordering now with confidence we found they tasted even more delicious.

During free time many of our party showered and dressed for our special evening out while others simply sat and stared ahead -talking was even too strenuous!

At 6.45pm we wound our way through the narrow ancient streets to Hosteria del Laurel for our long awaited tapas meal. Adventurous food tasting at tables for 4 was accompanied by card games and general high spirits. Awards and speeches were given – what a wonderful time we’ve had! Notably we all know each other so much better and we like that feeling.

We were guided back to our hostel expertly by Isaac and Elizabeth. We settled to yet more games culminating in the Game of Snaps where the secrets of my mind reading were finally divulged. This was something of a relief and thrill for Sam in particular.

It’s 11pm and 5 expert teachers delirious with fatigue are still sitting in the corridor on the second floor. There been no noise from rooms for 30 minutes but it’s just too hard to move.

Sally Quirk