Inspire!

Recently we hosted a very exceptional Leadership in Schools Conference which coincided with World Leadership Day and the launch of INSPIRE.  This initiative is working in partnership with Steve Chalke MBE, Oasis Multi-Academy Trust and the BBC.  INSPIRE is linked to the WWI centenary year celebrations and events throughout 2018. Martin Reader, BSA Chair Elect, summed up the day. We plan for our children to create a large mosaic with the Art Department in 2018 as a symbol of peace which can be installed in the school as a lasting memory.  You are bound to hear a lot more about this initiative on national radio and television in the coming months.

It was a privilege to listen to such inspirational speakers and I know from all the compliments that have been received that the delegates went away with their minds truly uplifted.

We knew that weekend was going to be very full on given the performances of Chicago, Bonfire Night and Inter House hockey and rugby matches.  Chicago was a triumph and without exaggeration the quality of the choreography and singling was West End standard.

Despite the weather’s best attempt to dampen our spirits on the Saturday night we managed to complete the programme of events.  Never have we had a better firework display and for those of whom this was their first Bonfire Night it seems they were blown away by the evening’s entertainment.

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Back to the Leadership Conference.  I took away the strong message that we are absolutely right to be leading the Preparatory School world in promoting an ethos where character education is at the core of our values. Caring and crafting  is at the heart of each member of staff’s   attitude of mind when dealing with children.

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Guest blog from Rachel Foster, Head of Pastoral Care

Last week was anti-bullying week. This is one of the most important weeks in the School PHSE timetable. Anti-Bullying Week shines a spotlight on bullying and encourages all children, teachers and parents to take action against bullying throughout the year. As part of it we ran several workshops and sessions with the children not only in their PHSE lessons but across the curriculum.

We have been looking at all sorts of bullying situations including cyber bullying. Tutor groups were reminded about the art of resilience and how to deal with bullying, drama lessons have focused on bullying themes.

In English, our Year 6 children have been studying ‘Wonder’, by RJ Palacio. The book tells a story through the eyes of various children. It tells the story of Auggie Pullman, who has a facial disfigurement – Treacher Collins Syndrome. It follows the hurdles he faces when going to school for the first time, after having been home schooled.

The theme of the book centres around the precept – ‘When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.’ The children have really engaged with the characters and themes. We have discussed the theme of bullying as part of our studies.

We have used a number of tools and online sources and thought they would be useful to share.

More detail and can be found on the following links:

Stop, Speak, Support: cyberbullying campaign

The Royal Foundation’s taskforce on the prevention of cyberbullying has launched the Stop, Speak, Support campaign. The NSPCC along with other organisations and young people have developed guidance for teachers designed to support them to deliver Stop, Speak, Support to 11-16 year olds in their schools. The campaign helps young people spot cyberbullying and highlights three steps that bystanders can take if they witness bullying and ways to provide support to the person being bullied.

Source: The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry  Date: 16 November 2017

Further information: The Anti-Bullying Alliance

Dominance Behaviour:

Author/Speaker Brooks Gibbs explains bullying in the most simplistic terms: Dominance behaviour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7oKjW1OIjuw

Kindness:

https://youtu.be/GJeWFoKZ63U

I hope this gives you and insight on what we have been doing and you find this useful.  If you would like any more information on anti-bullying week or how Windlesham deals with bullying/the bullying mentality then please contact me on rafoster@windlesham.com

Rachel Foster

Head of Safeguarding &Pastoral Care

The True Spirit of Windlesham

I am delighted to say the second half of term is well underway.  Any fears that our extended half term might mean a loss of impetus have been unfounded.  The children have been straight back into the swing of school life and if anything they are more energised than ever (that is really saying something!).

We have a very busy and important few weeks ahead of us.  Our One’s (Year 8’s) have their mock CE and Scholarship exams around the corner. I don’t doubt them being well prepared but this is the stage of term when the academic rigor within the school sharpens up. As well as sport, academic success is all about peaking at the right moment and there is art in timing this correctly. I am firmly of the view that we do this extremely well at Windlesham.

Talking of peaking I had good reason to praise all the children unreservedly after yet another impressive Inter House Cross Country.  I was very disappointed not to be here to take part myself (the first time I have not run the race in 11 years). I was representing the school at a Memorial Service in London for an Alumni who only left us six years ago. Such a very sad occasion was made totally uplifting by a packed full congregation of well over 550 people.  It was a deeply moving service and the tributes were totally justified.  If ever there was a case of honouring a young person for the sort of a person he had become, given the merits of an all-round education, rather than recognising his academic prowess, this was it.  I shall remember how poignant the readings and the music were forever.

I returned from London feeling very humbled and was further uplifted by all the accounts from the cross country.  I think the message from a set of parents spectating says it all.

“What a joy it was to see the support and community spirit amongst all those at Windlesham today, both running and spectating the XC.  The warmth and kindness between those who had run and others who were nearing the finish-line was contagious.  Never before have Chris and I witnessed such spontaneous and genuine care and encouragement between so many school children, to ensure everyone managed ‘one way or another’ to reach the finish! I delight to have been present to see it all unfold, thank you.”

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I retired to bed emotionally drained but very grateful I had played a role in shaping someone’s young life and very proud that the Spirit of Windlesham is more in evidence every year!

 

A Year of Anniversaries!

Last week’s Inter House Singing Competition lived up to expectations.  I cannot recall a competition when every child was so engaged and showed so much enthusiasm for being on the stage.

It is especially gratifying to see all the new children swept away by the occasion.  It is Windlesham’s way of getting each child to overcome any fears or anxiety about performing – there will be no looking back from now on!

We now concentrate our attention on the Art Show which is to be staged at the end of next week in the lead up to half term.  The exhibition will include art work from various alumni who had a real flair for art whilst here and have gone on to great things both at Senior school and beyond.  It is also the case that each and every child will have at least one piece of their artwork on display.

Art Exhib Invite

Yesterday we celebrated the 20th Birthday of the Pre-Prep.  We enjoyed a lovely chapel service with current and past Pre-Prep pupils attending.  Emphasis was made on us being one whole school and I believe everyone will agree this is something we have achieved and can be proud of as we move forward.

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It really is a year of anniversaries for Windlesham and just when you think that our celebrations will be over we are now planning in earnest the formal opening of our new magnificent Sports Complex.  Thursday March 22nd is the date – watch this space!

Progress

Another busy week has flown by and today the children receive their first Progress Reports of the new academic year. Whilst there will be lots of nervous young people, I think it safe to say that they will all be quite pleased. I have stressed to the teaching staff the need to ensure that these first grades are not inflated in any way. Be being somewhat ungenerous at the start of the year, the children then stand a good chance of improving their grades from now on. Tutors are able to set their Tutees realistic targets and it is pretty much guaranteed that each child will make progress as the term and year unfolds. After all, this is what a good academic education is all about.

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This Sunday, we are welcoming back to Windlesham past and present Governors. Apart from enjoying a good lunch, I am hoping that they will find the school in very good heart and, for those returning for the first time in many years, I like to think that they will be suitably impressed by the many renovations and general improvements that have been made. This has never been a school that sits still but it has to be said that, when I look back on the ten years of my tenure to date, I am quite staggered by how much actually has been achieved. All this is on top of our magnificent new Sports complex – I know that our guests on Sunday will be ‘blown away’ by it.

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