This week I had the pleasure of observing a Year 6 Art lesson, ably led by our Head of Art, Mrs Watson. The children were doing figure drawing and were encouraged to observe the line and shape of the figures (poses provided by volunteer classmates) and to capture this on paper. All of the children enjoyed this lesson because it was not about producing a perfect piece, it was about being an artist. This got me thinking about the arts at St Christopher’s; not only painting, drawing, and sculpture, but all of the arts.

In Prep School, it is my strong belief that children should be encouraged to develop an appreciation of the arts. We can do this by exposing them to a wide range of art, artists, and experiences. At St Christopher’s, all year groups have Art and Music lessons in their timetables and children are involved in plays, concerts, and larger events like Harvest Festival, Remembrance, the Carol Service, and end of year celebrations. Plans are already in place for a return to the Barn Theatre in June for our first Upper School Musical in three years. Many of our children have individual music lessons during the school day and I would encourage anyone who is interested in trying an instrument to contact our Director of Music, Miss Huber, to arrange a taster session.

To my delight, on Tuesday I sat in on the recording of our Michaelmas Concert with pupils from Years 5 to 8. I was very impressed by the talent and poise of our senior pupils. At one point, I was glad I had tissues in my pocket because I was so moved by the performance. See the link at the bottom of the page to watch for yourself.

In discussion with the Art department, we are turning the front hall into a revolving art gallery to showcase the work of professional artists and give the children the opportunity to see different styles. We are very lucky to have the support of Cameron Contemporary Gallery in Hove who have loaned us a piece to get this programme started. We currently have a gorgeous painting by Kirsty Wither, a local artist, for us to enjoy.

Now that covid restrictions are lifting, I would like to encourage families to attend plays, concerts and visit galleries. We are so lucky that the Brighton and Hove area is full of high quality, thought provoking art of all kinds and the grand productions of the West End are not far away. Years 3 and 4 are off to see Gangsta Granny on Friday 12th November and, although not as classic as The Nutcracker, I am positive they will be entertained and maybe even inspired to try drama for themselves.

In closing, this has been a very successful half term and St Christopher’s is a very special school. I am looking forward to the year ahead.

A few additional messages:
Thank you to the parent reps who met with me to share positives and ideas for improvement.
Good luck to our U13 Football team who are competing in the IAPS Football on Saturday.
Good luck to the Y7 children who are attending the Orientation day at Brighton College next week.

This week saw Virtual Assemblies covering a wide variety of topics and presented by a range of pupils and staff. Monday saw the launch of Black History Month, with Mrs Ferruzzi setting a research challenge; some fantastic entries have already come in and I hope to share them in a future edition of the Newsletter. The four Houses introduced themselves via video on Tuesday, explaining the important work of each of their four local charities, and Nelson Dragons’ Assembly on Thursday explained in more detail about the work of Hangleton Food Bank. Speaking of local charities, I am delighted to announce that the Harvest Festival Appeal raised a magnificent £1,872 for Off The Fence.

Once again Wednesday saw a very great proportion of Years 3 to 8 out at matches. It’s always great to celebrate victories, but getting so many children out in the fresh air and sunshine is a victory in itself. We were blessed with a gorgeous double rainbow over Glebe Villas.

A new feature this week is a contribution to the Newsletter of a page by one of our senior pupils. I asked Catalina in 8H to film an interview with Mrs Lawrence, Academic Deputy Head, and I hope that this will help you all to get to know her a little better before we can meet again in person. Catalina also acted as roving reporter and photographer on Wednesday afternoon.

Even though we cannot yet meet together again as a whole school, our Assemblies continue to inform, inspire, and motivate our children. I look forward to celebrating Music and Art in dedicated Assemblies next week; from the look of the scenes from the Art Room above, a treat is in store!

As we come to the end of another happy, busy week I am pleased to say that the routines of school are truly bedding in. Children are very settled and I often see even our youngest pupils striding confidently into school in the mornings. Buddies have been instrumental in this process and I would like to say a personal thank you to our Year 7 and Year 8 buddies. Well done on setting an excellent example in and around school and for helping Reception and Year 1 settle in.

This week was also Respect week. All year groups heard an Assembly from Mr Stead on Monday about the importance of showing respect and an assembly from Mr Holt on Thursday about respect, inclusion and diversity. It is very important to me that our children grow up to be kind, inclusive and respectful adults. We may not know the types of new careers the future holds for our children, but we do know they will have to work with other people. Kindness, respect and inclusion are the foundation of those positive working relationships now, and in the future.

Throughout this week we have also had wonderful sporting participation and success. We fielded 24 teams over the week to several different schools. Notable successes this week were: the U13 boys who won the Brambletye Sixes Football tournament at Brambletye, the U10A girls winning their hockey match against Cottesmore by a resounding 12-0, the U13 girls came second overall at the annual Hock-net tournament at Hurst and the U11B girls hockey team came 5th overall out of twelve schools at the Hurst tournament. I am so proud of our teams, win or lose, for their effort, grit and determination to do their best on the field, pitch, and court.

A few additional messages:

Our splendid Parents’ Association are putting together a St Christopher’s Recipe Book and are hoping for lots of contributions from the children.

Our Virtual Harvest Festival takes place next Thursday, and will be shared with you via YouTube. We are supporting Off The Fence, as we have done for many years. This year, they have asked for financial donations rather than the usual dry goods and toiletries. 

We have two upcoming events; our latest Open Morning next Friday and an outdoor event for local nursery children at Glebe Villas on 9th October. 

What do Harvest Festival, a petrol shortage, and languages challenge week have in common? My answer is: community. Throughout this week I have been thinking about our school community and St Christopher’s place in the community.

At St Christopher's our children are part of a warm, vibrant, diverse community. This week, our focus on languages during Languages Challenge Week encouraged children to look beyond our school community. As famous filmmaker Federico Fellini said, ‘A different language is a different vision of life’. This week, as teachers wove languages into their lessons, children were given a glimpse of that different vision of life. At a time when our options for travel have been limited for almost two years, I feel this is especially important and it reminds us that we are part of a wider world.

Within our school community, as news of a petrol shortage reached us, many of us made adjustments to our travel and transport. I know that within our community, families and staff formed ride shares, dusted off bicycles and scooters, and shared information on WhatsApp about the length of queues at different petrol stations. Our school community worked together to help each other, which is exactly the kind of community we all want to be part of. Of course, saving fuel in this way benefitted us as individuals, but I am positive our actions to conserve fuel benefited the wider community as well.

This week we also had our virtual Harvest Festival. This time of year is all about community and sharing a bountiful harvest. In my short address to the children I asked them to think about how they can help others. I have been delighted with their responses! A recording of the Harvest Festival Assembly has been shared with you.

October is Black History Month and teachers will be talking to children in lessons and highlighting the contributions of Black people that were often overlooked throughout history.

This week I have continued to be impressed by the kindness and warmth of St Christopher’s pupils and staff. It is very clear to me that our school community cares about others and the wider world. Many of our families supported the runners in the Brighton Marathon last weekend, and our school was a support hub for the event. This week I am very pleased to announce that we have chosen House Charities to support over the course of this academic year. Howe Dolphins will support Leo House children’s hospice; Anson Lions will support Off the Fence, which offers help to the homeless in Brighton and Hove; Nelson Dragons will support Hangleton Food Bank, which helps people in our immediate community; and Drake Badgers will support Rockinghorse children’s hospital charity. Linked to this, our Word of the Week (WoW) was ‘compassion’ which sparked thoughtful discussion during Form Times. I take great pride in knowing that our school teaches compassion and kindness, and supports local charities every year.

Another theme for this week was books and the joy of reading. You may have seen the Scholastic Book Fair in the front playground this week. The Book Fair will be here next week on Monday as well. Purchasing books helps to support our Library here at St Christopher’s and everyone loves a new book! Speaking of books, on Wednesday Years 1 and 2 joined me for an Assembly on different types of books and how reading makes us feel. Once again, I was very impressed with how well they listened and their contributions whenever I asked a question. I read two books, I Really Want to Eat a Child by Sylviane Donnio and Where My Feet Go by Birgitta Sif. Two equally charming but very different books, I highly recommend them for children of Nursery age up to Year 2.

A few additional messages:
Thank you to those of you who have volunteered to be Year Group Representatives. Keep an eye out for an email from school with dates and times of our first meeting.
A plea for sensible parking during drop off and pick up. The school has received complaints from local residents about double parking and parking in disabled bays. In addition, we all want to keep children safe so please be considerate and careful when parking.
Best wishes for the coming year to those in our community who observed Yom Kippur this week.

Have a lovely weekend.