Autumn Term Newsletter 2017

Dear Parents,

I trust that you have enjoyed a productive and relaxing summer holiday with your family and that your child feels as enthused as we do to meet the exciting challenges of the new academic year to come.

You will no doubt be aware how successful last year was for Prestfelde: some outstanding academic highlights and some equally wonderful sporting results, which gained the school greater local and national recognition.

Even into the holiday, our U11 cricket team carried on competing and were crowned champions at the English Schools Cricket Association Finals at Oakham School. So ably led and coached by Mr Newey, our squad of players at this level is prodigiously talented and ambitious. As I write, England have just lost to West Indies, but the future here looks bright indeed.

More important even than the acquisition of silverware is the knowledge that Prestfelde’s community builds good relationships and creates lifelong friendships. It is said by many an Old Prestfeldian that he or she highly values the great friendships made here. There were so many radiant faces at our memorable Speech Day, a time when we celebrate the great achievements of our Year 8’s and wishing them good luck as they progress to the next stage of their education.

 

THE TERM AHEAD

As this Autumn Term gets underway with renewed anticipation and expectation, we welcome our new pupils, new families – and, of course, new members of staff who will complement the Prestfelde team.

We look forward to putting our plans into action, and I want to thank our support staff – an exceptional group of people – who have been busy over the summer holidays, improving and maintaining our school facilities.

 

WHAT’S NEW

Lambart Hall (Dining Room) – A new lighting system and replaced ceiling has provided a more inviting, multi-functional space.

Prestfelde Cookery School – In our brand new ‘Prestfelde Cookery School’ pupils will enjoy learning new skills, hosting and sharing their culinary delights. It is significant that this project was inspired by our pupils themselves: it was requested through their questionnaires and discussed in Pupil Council. Our thanks go to Lisa Eyre, one of our marvelous matrons, for her part in setting up this fabulous new facility. There will be more to follow in our programme. On offer will be demonstrations, workshops, courses and clubs for pupils and parents!

Swimming Pool Refurbishment – We believe that, being a survival skill, swimming is essential for every child. The renovation of the pool is a project that we have been hoping to carry out for a very long time. Our domestic plant is being transformed into a more effective system for the numbers of children who would like to use the facility. With a new building around the pool, a seating area and a wider surround, the pool becomes a more efficient and inviting place. It will be out of action for this term but will doubtless be in more demand than ever in the new year.

Resurfaced Tennis Courts – Because health and safety comes first at Prestfelde, it was time to renew the hard court surface, which had become slippery. We now have a beautiful new green surface with fresh lines and superior ‘grip’.

 

COMING THIS TERM

Pupils’ Personal Space/Lockers

Having their own space and responsibility for organisation makes pupils more effective learners and helps them to contribute fully to school life. In Little Prestfelde, having a personal peg, individually named, shows each pupil that he or she belongs and is valued in the group. Higher up the school we are installing personal lockers in the boys’ and girls’ changing rooms, and Middle School cloakroom. This way, we can support and respect all pupils’ personal space. Losing or mislaying equipment and clothing not only wastes time; it causes unnecessary additional stresses, when what we want to see is the development of greater confidence and independence.

 

Chapels

I would be delighted if parents could join us for any of the celebration chapels during the course of the term. From week commencing 11th September. Please check the school calendar to see which days these will be taking place.

Thursday 0830 – 0855 Middle School Celebration Assembly

Followed by refreshments for parents in the dining room.

(Certificates and presentations of pupils’ work)

Friday 0840 – 0920 Little Prestfelde Celebration Assembly

Followed by refreshments for parents in the dining room.

Friday 0950 – 1020 Senior School Celebration Assembly

 

Meet the TutorsEvenings

We will be running ‘Meet the Tutors’ evenings over the next few weeks. Having listened to and acted on feedback, we trust that everything offered is valuable and just what you need as parents to support your child/ children this year. All parents will have the chance to be in contact with their child’s tutor, as well as enjoy a short presentation about the year ahead.

It would be appreciated if all parents could attend the relevant evening. This is an invaluable opportunity for us to explain issues and answer your questions face-to-face.

Thursday 7th September – Meet the Form Tutors for Little Prestfelde Parents

1600   Welcome refreshments in Little Prestfelde

1620    Presentations in classrooms

1700   Questions and answers for parents

1715    End

 

Thursday 7th September – Meet the Form Tutors for Middle School Parents

1730    Welcome Refreshments in Beckbury Garden

1745    Presentations in classrooms

1815    Questions and answers for parents

1830    End

 

Monday 11th September – Meet the Form Tutors for Senior School Parents

1800    Short welcome in the Blackburn Chapel and Theatre

1830    Y6 Presentation in Music School

Y7 Presentation in Art Room

Y8 Presentation in BCAT

1900    Drinks and canapés in the Lambert Hall

1930    End

Items that will be covered: your child’s curriculum, clubs, prep, academic intervention programmes, the co-curricular programme, school projects, routine and trips

 

STAFF NEWS

The summer has been a busy one as we are recruiting for a new Bursar. Mr Simon Worthy, our current Bursar, has gained a promotion and is moving to a sister Woodard School – King’s School, Taunton, where he will be Director of Finance and Operations from January 2018. Our congratulations go to Simon, who will be working across four schools: in Taunton itself and overseas. Over his 7 years, Simon has achieved a great deal with us here, not least his organisation of the Senior School refurbishment and the supervision of the building of the new Blackburn Chapel and Theatre. As an appropriately watery ‘swan song’, he will be overseeing the refurbishment of the swimming pool.

Being a ‘Prestfelde parent’ as well as a member of the Senior Leadership Team, Simon has been an integral member of the school, and will be greatly missed.  We wish him and his family a successful move to Taunton and thank him for his great work.

The job of Bursar is obviously an important one. Happily, there has been a great deal of interest in the vacant post. The long list for candidates was drawn up over the holidays and the short list is now complete. We hope to have appointed a new Bursar by the middle of September so that there can be a detailed handover.

From this term, Jenna Johnson will be joining the Games Department. Tina Owen continues in that Department, coaching and developing sports links for the enjoyment and participation of all pupils. Charlotte Cook joins the Maths department which, this year, will be led by Tony Anstey.

Reverend Alex Aldous will be joining us as part time Chaplain. A very experienced Chaplain and RE teacher who will be well known to many of you already through his work at Shrewsbury School and in the local Diocese.

I look forward to introducing our new staff members at the Meet the Tutors evenings.

Emma Thelwell will be Head of Little Prestfelde and Academic Deputy Head for the school. Mike Haswell continues as Pastoral Deputy Head, Head of Senior School and Head of Boarding. He is also the designated safeguarding lead for the school.

 

EXCITING TIMES FOR TECHNOLOGY!

This summer has seen the refurbishment of the second IT suite in school. Further investment in school laptops and iPads is designed to ensure that we are providing the tools that children need to fully develop their skills. More ‘hands on’ opportunities will further pupils’ learning within the computer science curriculum and help them to demonstrate their understanding of subjects using IT as a communication medium.

During the first two days of term, there is an emphasis on safety and team building for all children. E-safety information and training will be carried out by Mr Sowden, Head of IT, and the IT team as a whole. We call this the ICT Bootcamp where e-safety aspects are discussed, revised and taught alongside the Acceptable Use Policy which children must agree to. Senior School pupils will be reminded of the boundaries for using social media. Because 13 years of age is the threshold, it is recommended that these methods of communication are not suitable for Prestfelde pupils. There are ‘parent controls’ on the school’s internet. The Firefly platform ensures safe communication across the school. It also enables greater independence in children’s learning but most importantly, it enables us to keep careful checks on the pupils’ use of the system.

Devices from home may be brought into school for use in lessons. Teachers plan for the integration of IT in their subjects, and in the Senior School all prep will be set on Firefly. We have invested in more school equipment, but it can be helpful to have the familiar set up of one’s own device. If your child has a device to use in school – ipad, tablet, laptop then ideally he/she should bring it when attending the IT bootcamp during the first two days of term. At this time Mr Sowden will arrange to connect it to the school’s wifi.

 

TERM DATES 2017 – 2018

February half term – 19th-23rd February. Wrekin College, Concord College, Shrewsbury High and the maintained schools are all taking this week. Shrewsbury School and Moreton Hall are the only schools taking the earlier week.

We will always follow what is best for our pupils and try to keep every family together for holidays. Unfortunately, there is no way of pleasing all this year.  Currently I have to consider the wider field.

I have made the October half term a shorter one so as not to break the flow of learning after such a long summer holiday. Our young pupils need the continuity as much as possible.

 

FRIENDS OF PRESTFELDE

Our FOPS committee, led by parent, Darren Williams is a huge asset to the school in supporting new parents, the community, fundraising and providing a parent voice that enables us to develop and strengthen communication across the school. In starting a new school year they manage the FOPS shop. This enables us to recycle uniform, and to keep costs to a minimum. Our thanks to Nashwa Harraz for leading the shop team and contribution to the school.

Septemberfest – FOPS Family fun – Friday 22nd September 1530-1800

All pupils, parents and friends are invited to our first FOPS school community event of the year. This provides an opportunity for new members to get to know current families. The evening will include many exciting children’s activities: from face painting, to guess the weight, to welly-wanging, to book stalls. There is more to follow soon, but meanwhile, do put the date in your diaries.

Christmas Service – Wednesday 13th December

Our Christmas Service will take place in the Chapel at Shrewsbury School 1400 – 1500 (approx.) for children in Middle and Senior School. Term for these pupils will finish at the end of the service.

Children in Little Prestfelde will finish school at 1300, to assist those parents who have children in different parts of the school. To accommodate those parents with older children at the Carol Service, the Den will be in operation until 1600.

 

QUICK REMINDERS

Please ensure that your child has ‘non-marking’ indoor shoes for use in the gymnasium.

Should the sunny weather continue into the Autumn term, summer uniform is acceptable for September.

For those in the School Fee Refund Scheme, please note: parents who feel a refund is due are required to submit a claim.

A reminder that the vehicular entrance gates by the Blackburn Chapel and Theatre will be open by 7.30 daily and shut at 8.30. Any visits outside this time should be via the School Reception (N.B. lunch time nursery pick-up parents can use the buzzer by the vehicle entrance gates). The gates will be open for pick up from 1530-1730 (1400-1730 on Wednesdays). For Fire Safety and Safeguarding reasons, on no account should parents enter the school out of these times without first booking in with the School Office.

 

AND FINALLY…..

I would like to welcome all our new pupils to Prestfelde and express the hope that you all feel part of the ‘family’ very quickly. To everyone else, may I wish you all a most enjoyable and successful Autumn Term.

 

Yours sincerely,

Fiona Orchard