Sometimes one good thing has to end for another good thing to begin. As we stand at the end of another school year we mark the end of so many good things and the beginning of so many more. All of the children have made excellent progress over the year and, as each child finishes this school year, they can look back on their progress and look forward to the next set of challenges. Now is exactly the right time to set goals for next year and I encourage everyone to do so. Read your child’s school report with them and discuss their progress and successes and then discuss what they want to achieve next year. Encourage them to set their goals high.
Consider one or two goals that focus on school, one that is focused on co-curricular activities like sport or music or the arts, and one that is a personal goal, something they want to improve about themselves. Alongside ‘neater handwriting’, ‘get 70% in Maths CE’ and ‘make the 1st team’, include goals like, ‘be brave’ or ‘brush off disappointments quickly’ or ‘be more patient’. Then, and this is important, write them down and include some actions that are needed to reach the goal.
Don’t over complicate it! We all know that the best way to have better handwriting is to practise handwriting regularly. Similarly, making the 1st team requires lots of practice and acting on the feedback from sports coaches.Throughout the year, revisit and tweak and change as needed. You will see that, very quickly, actions will become habits and good habits will lead to success.
At St Christopher’s we are in the habit of setting school-wide goals at the end of each school year, looking forward to the next. The goals we set last year have led to some outstanding successes this year. Looking back, we were successful in so many areas: exam results, senior school places, happy children who are stretched and challenged every day, sporting success, charity fundraising totals, top-quality performances in front of live audiences, investment in Glebe, and a new school website that is on track for a September launch. And so many more.
As I write, the final number of Year 7 and 8’s production of Bugsy Malone is still in my head, as I’m sure it is for many of you who saw the show last night. The words “You give a little love and it all comes back to you; we’re going to be
remembered for the things we say and do” are sound advice for our leavers as they prepare to start senior school, those who move up a year, and those who will join us in the Autumn.
So as one good thing ends, the cycle begins again. For our Year 8 pupils, the St Christopher’s class of 2022, they leave us to embark on their new lives; a completely new adventure and a new good thing. I wish them all the best and I look forward to seeing everyone else in September.
Have a wonderful summer break.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head
You may have noticed that the school flag got itself rather tangled up with a telegraph pole this week. The contractors next door have promised to retrieve it, and in return they will fly it from the top of the crane of the building site next door!
This idea was suggested by Natasha in Year 3, keep an eye out over the West Hove skyline next week.
By coincidence, my main news of the week is also flag-related. I am delighted to announce that St Christopher’s has been awarded Eco Schools Green Flag status, in recognition of a large number of initiatives we have put in place this year. What makes this even more fantastic is that many of the ideas came from the children, via forums such as the School Council and the Eco Club.
Some of these are grand schemes that will need us all to work together, such as the plan to be carbon neutral by 2030. Others are simple yet effective ideas such as a class monitor to ensure that lights and electronic devices are switched off when not needed. The children have worked with staff to look at how to incorporate eco issues into lessons. Some are obvious fits, like Geography and Science, but every subject has the potential to get involved.
As a result of this, some of the positions of responsibility given to our Year 8 children will involve them in making our school a greener one. More details of this, and the highly awaited list of Heads of School, House Captains, Prefects, and Sports Captains for next year, will feature in the final Newsletter of the year, along with the academic prizes that, in years past, have been presented on Sports Day.
I hope to see many of you at the Parents’ Association Summer Party tomorrow, and at The Barn Theatre in Southwick next Wednesday and Thursday for Upper School’s production of Bugsy Malone.
Ms E Lyle, Head
What a busy week! What makes it, and this edition of the Newsletter, all the more remarkable is the fact that very few of this week’s major events have taken place in school. Every year group from Reception to Year 7 has been on a trip or residential visit, and Year 8 are packing their bags as we speak to head off early tomorrow on their Leavers’ Weekend. The itinerary this week has included Hove Library, Newhaven Fort, the beach, the Isle of Wight, Oakwood Outdoor Centre, Three Peaks Outdoor Pursuits Centre, the Undercliff Walk, and bushcraft in the Kent countryside. We hope the pictures in today’s edition give you a flavour of what went on; there will be some more detailed reports from the residential trips next week.
The heroes of the week have been 8F, who gallantly faced their Common Entrance Exams whilst everyone else was away having fun. My congratulations to them for the mature and sensible way in which they approach this. They have earned a good rest, and can relax and enjoy the final weeks of term together with 8H, most notably putting on Bugsy Malone at The Barn Theatre in Southwick - tickets are selling fast.
Whilst 8F sat exams, 8H have been extremely busy. They started the week with a cookery lesson taught by our very own Hairy Biker, Mr Holt. The main focus of their week was the Enterprise Challenge, in which the companies that they had formed finally got to sell their products to their peers at Break times. All profits will go to the NSPCC and Little Lifesavers, and I hope to be able to bring you some totals next week.
The final three weeks of term manage to fit even more events. I am delighted to announce that Sports Days return to their pre-Covid format, taking place next Thursday for Pre-Prep and next Saturday for Middle and Upper School. A letter with full information will be sent to all parents at the start of next week. I hope to see a great many of you at these events.
Our focus in these final weeks is not just about enjoying ourselves in the sunshine, as and when it appears. Two important events take place that focus on our involvement with our local community and our city. Our annual Make A Difference Day sees the different year groups taking part in events to support important local projects. Previous years have seen us making sandwiches for Off The Fence, clearing scrubland at Devil’s Dyke, and helping keep Hove seafront free of plastic. Our Sponsored Walk sees the four Houses running to raise money for their four chosen local charities: Rockinghorse, Hangleton Food Bank, Off The Fence, and Leo House at Home.
Next week begins with Move Up Monday - how exciting! The children will spend some time in their new classes, which were announced today, and get to meet some of the new members of staff who will be joining us in September. All in all, it is an exciting time at St Christopher’s, with plenty of adventures still ahead before the long holiday.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head
School felt full again this week, following last week’s Trips Week activities. Years 7 and 8 both visited PGL adventure centres, with a variety of exciting activities often involving heights or water. For many, this was the first time they had abseiled, hurtled down a zip wire, or swum in a lake rather than a pool. All of this involves courage, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Staying away from home, gaining independence, and indeed rolling up a sleeping bag, are important milestones in life, and I am hugely proud of everyone who added to their “I can…” list in Trips Week. Even for those who only ventured out for the day, there were many new experiences. Year 4 rode quad bikes at Three Peaks, and Pre-Prep children came face to face with sea creatures at Wild Beach. At St Christopher’s, learning and developing as a person are not just things that happen in a classroom. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the staff who took such good care of the children on these adventures.
It was lovely to see so many of you at Pre-Prep Sports Day yesterday. Well done again to those who overcame their shyness to run a race, throw a ball, and compete in front of a cheering crowd. Learning to win and lose with equal grace, in all areas of life, is a skill I want all of our children to learn as early as possible.
Finally, well done to 8H, who definitely stepped out of their comfort zones to run their own businesses last week. They learnt many new things about the worlds of finance, commerce, advertising, and customer service. All their hard work resulted in nearly £500 being raised for the NSPCC and Little Lifesavers.
I hope to see as many of you as possible at Glebe Villas tomorrow for Prep Sports Day, hopefully in weather like we had today.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head
As we pick up speed on the road back to normality, it was wonderful to see many Middle and Upper School parents yesterday at St Philip’s, for our first church service in a very long time. My words from the pulpit looked at the legend of St Christopher, and applied the metaphor of starting a new and challenging journey to our Year 8 pupils. It is a message worth sharing with our whole community, so I hope those who were in attendance will forgive me if I repeat myself here.
The legend of the biblical St Christopher is familiar to most of us. A kind and hard-working man is asked by a child to carry him across a river. He agrees without a moment’s thought, and takes the child upon his back as he strides out into the fast flowing waters. With each step, the burden on his back grows greater, and the passage of the water beneath him seems stronger. Soon, it seems as if he carries the weight of the world on his back, and the far bank of the river seems never to get any nearer.
But Christopher does not give up; there is no thought of turning back. Having set his mind to the task ahead, he sees it through. At times, he may have felt that he would fail, and that success was impossible, but his resilience and determination see him through. Each step across the river is difficult, but he sets his mind to make his next one better. His reward, when he reaches the far bank, is to know the true identity of the child he has carried to safety. He did what he did not for great reward, but to keep true to the promise he made to another, and indeed himself. There is a metaphor for life here, and one that our Seniors can certainly adopt as they begin their journeys through Senior school, and beyond into adulthood. Helping others, taking on responsibilities and burdens, and determination to succeed are all part of our journey through life and to becoming the very best of ourselves.
Communal singing filled St Philip’s church, and we heard classical pieces from two of our talented choral soloists. Music of a very different kind rang out in the Hall on Tuesday, when Year 3 presented School of Rock to a very appreciative audience. It says a lot about the breadth of performing arts at St Christopher’s that Psalm 23 and AC/DC featured in the same week. My thanks as ever to the teams of people who make events like these possible, both in front of the curtain and behind the scenes. You can see pictures from these events on pages 5 and 7.
As you may know, we have undergone a mock inspection this week and I am very pleased to report that the feedback overall is excellent. It was no surprise to me and a real testament to the hard work of the staff and pupils of St Christopher’s.
I wish you a restful, and hopefully sunny, Half Term.
Ms Elizabeth Lyle, Head