Every week Mrs Sillitto rounds up all the important news and upcoming events at Hemdean House - read the latest letter here.
Come and see our school in action! Our next Open Morning is on Tuesday 16 May. Starting at 10am you will be given a personal tour of the school by one of our current pupils. You can meet the Head Teacher and then share a tea/coffee with current parents. If you are unable to make the Open Morning we would be delighted to show you around the school at a more convenient time. Please call the school office to make an appointment. We look forward to welcoming you to our school.
Glint of Gold - Years 3 and 4 Play Tickets
There will be a PTA meeting on Thursday 2nd March at 7.00pm in the HEU building. The PTA always welcomes new members so everyone is welcome. Please come along and support your school.
Kai, Joel and Narain in Year 6 proudly represented Hemdean House School at the annual debate competition at the Oratory School on Thursday 23rd February. They enjoyed the morning workshops with tips on how to project their voice and present a given topic. They did really well to present their motion in the afternoon: ' Is it best to live in the UK or the United States of America'.
I am pleased to advise you that the Scholastic Book Fair is revisiting this term, and will be available after school, Friday, in the hall.
Please come along and peruse their exciting range of books and help us raise money for extra books for our school.
Miss A Hicks
World Thinking Day – Wednesday 22nd February
Wednesday 22nd February is an important date in the girl guiding movement as it is World Thinking Day, which is a worldwide celebration of girl guides and girl scouts around the world, where girls think about the other 10 million girls around the world who are part of this organisation. The date is the joint birthday of the founders of the boy scout movement and the girl guide movement, so boys also celebrate it as founders’ day. On this special day we would like to invite rainbows, brownies and guides as well as beavers, cubs, sea rangers and scouts to wear their organisation uniform or if they prefer just their promise badges.
As part of their geography work on the topic of Rivers this term, Year 6 worked in teams and used their skills of planning, measuring and designing to construct models of bridges. It was a fun activity and they also had the time to reflect on any alterations they would make if they did the activity again.
As we are at the time of year where sickness appears to be high, I thought this link from the NHS may be helpful in deciding whether your children should be at school or not.
Miss Hicks has organised a trip for the whole school, from Nursery to Year 6, to see the pantomime Snow White at Reading Hexagon. Please see her letter here for details.
The PTA have organised an afternoon of festive fun, with singing from the choir, hand bell ringing, children's stalls and games, mince pies and mulled wine. Do come and enjoy the merriment. Details in the school letter here.
On Friday 9th December, children from Years 3-6 sang carols and played hand bells in Caversham Precinct - read about it in Mrs Sillitto's next newsletter.
On 7th December children wore their Christmas jumpers. The PTA gratefully received donations of items to make up Christmas Hampers they are putting together for prizes for the festive celebration on Monday 12th December.
On Monday 5th December, a trip was arranged for Years 1,2 and 3 to Greys Court, a beautiful National Trust property . The children went to see the house decorated for Christmas, to learn how it is different from today, as part of our History learning. Read all about it in Mrs Sillitto's next newsletter.
Children decorated the Christmas tree in the hall with their baubles in house colours and parents enjoyed seeing the the tree lights switched on during the Friday assembly. It was close call, but Knighton won the bauble competition with 21 baubles returned!
On Tuesday 29th November, parents came to morning assembly to hear our orchestra showcase the spendid work they have done so far this term, and to find out our individual violinists are progressing. Read about it Mrs Sillitto's next newsletter.
The week starting November 14th is Children In Need week. We are joning in the fun so on Friday 18th of November there will be a non-uniform day with a voluntary contribution of £1.00 per child which will go to the Children In Need appeal. The theme for this year’s appeal is ‘spots’ so children can either come just in non uniform or they can join in the fun by wearing something spotty.
Hemdean pupils took party in a Spelling Bee at Queen Anne's School. Well done to the team who were a credit to the school.
The school choir took part in The Music Maestros Festival at Reading Hexagon under the direction of Mrs Parker. They gave a wonderful performance and enjoyed a well-deserved meal at Pizza Express. See some photos in our media gallery.
We are pleased to say that Mrs. Illingworth has passed an assessment from the Forest School. We would all like to say well done to Mrs. Illingworth on her achievement.
Pupils enjoy many opportunities to enjoy outdoor learning in the woodland on school grounds - read all about our forest school here.
There is also a lovely album of photos in our media gallery.
Many congratulations to all our Year 6 pupils who have had excellent results in their Key Stage 2 SATs. In Mathematics 100% achieved the standard expected at the end of Year 6. In English Reading Comprehension, 90% and in Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation 90% of pupils achieved the standard. We are also extremely pleased that some of our pupils achieved either full marks in the tests or had a very high score.
Martine Langridge (Year 6 Class Teacher)
On Friday 1st July the pupils of Hemdean House School took part in the commemoration ceremony of the battle of the Somme at Caversham Court. These poppies were planted from seeds collected in the Somme area.
The morning dawned bright and pouring with rain! but that did not dampen the spirits of Year 4 and Year 6 who headed off to Greys Court for a woodland day. The rain kept on but the children collected materials to create mini dens, and went on a shelter trail to investigate the many different materials and styles used for shelter building as well as to think about who uses them and why shelters are needed. Still no let up in the rain but after lunch the dens were built and a ray of sunshine glistened so that the final activity finding and identifying mini beasts was a little drier and warmer!
The school supported Save the Children Fund with a Den Building Day. The Infants spent the morning building mini dens for their toys, first collecting natural materials and then building what they hoped would be a waterproof home - the "rain" test certainly proved a success with not too many soggy toys. Everyone got a chance to build dens from boxes during the morning and lunch breaks and the enjoyment was obvious. It was a fun day and proved the many benefits of a box including raising money for a great cause.
Year 6 visited St Peter's Church to study the special stained glass window and visit the grave of Mr Francis Knighton (founder of our school). They received a very interesting talk, explaining about the history of Hemdean House School and the link with the community. Many thanks to all involved in the organisation of the event.
The weather stayed dry, the bunting was hung and the chocolate melted! The Nursery, Infants and Juniors all enjoyed a fun afternoon of traditional games and laughter helping to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday with a "street party". Year 4 made a huge cake which went down a storm and the PTA kindly gave the children a commemorative medal. With patriotic singing and a special visitor a great time was had by all ..... but who was that visitor was it really the Queen?
On Thursday 26th May, we had the great opportunity of welcoming to our school Dr Francisco Diego from University College London (UCL). Dr Diego delivered one of his well-known lectures: Think Universe – All is One.
In this lecture we explored the natural landscapes revealed by modern science. We watched pictures of wonderful landscapes showing the basic nature of everything around us, an amazingly complex Universe that develops from a very simple beginning out of a handful of tiny building blocks.
At the end of the lecture, we were given the opportunity to hold an ancient fossil and a meteorite older than the planet and anything on Earth.
The Board of Governors at Hemdean House School, Caversham have announced that following a consultation period the provision will be changing to a Junior School and Nursery. This new model can attract the expertise and investment to make Hemdean House a first choice for parents in the local area. It is with sadness that we have therefore taken the difficult decision to recommend the closure of the Senior School (Years 7 to 11) on 31st August 2016. The Nursery, Infant and Junior School will continue as usual in September 2016.
Hemdean House has been an integral part of the community in the Caversham District of Reading for several generations. This great history is not lost on the Governing Body, who always remain mindful of this long and proud tradition. The Governors primary focus is to grow and build on the exceptional education Hemdean House School has been providing for the last 150 years and achieve the best outcome for the future of the school. This means continuing to provide a nurturing, caring and supportive school environment where pupils are all valued and given close attention.
There is a clear market need for a nursery in Caversham and the local area which the Governors plan to develop; capitalising on the excellence identified by the Independent Schools Inspectorate Inspection Team in the School’s Early Years provision, to offer first class nursery and reception facilities.
The Board of Governors
On the 25th April Years 5 and 6 had a wonderful time in Greenwich. They had a fascinating time in the Royal Observatory and they had lunch in the Royal Maritime Museum. They even had time to walk to see the Cutty Sark and they all agreed it was rather impressive.
We are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to host the Magna Carta Exhibition that we have on loan from the Friends of Caversham Court. The exhibition can be found outside the Head's office for all to enjoy. Mrs M. Langridge.
Congratulations to Dhruv, Marton and Neel from Year 6 who were the winners of the debate held at the Oratory school on 15th March. They defended the motion that computer games are good for children and managed to convince the audience with their argument that this in fact is true. Well done!
On Friday 11th March, the pupils of Year 4, 5 and 6 had the privilege to attend the annual astronomy festival - Your Universe - at University College London. They took part in various workshops explaining about the birth and development of the Universe, the lives of stars, how rainbows are formed and discovered many other exciting science facts. They also had the great opportunity to observe the sun, using a solarscope. The whole day turned into a fantastic science lesson! We hope to have a visit from Dr Francisco Diego (director of the event) at our school in the near future, for more astronomy related learning.
Message from NASA : At 04:26am on Tuesday 2nd March, Commander Scott Kelly of NASA and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed safely back on Earth in Kazakhstan. The seeds then travelled with Scott Kelly to NASA in Houston on a charter flight from Moscow, Russia and returned to the UK on Thursday.
We should have the seeds back in April so we can carry out our Rocket Science experiment!
The children enjoyed listening to stories read by the Waterstone's staff. You might think the favourite would be The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Pointer but it was actually A Book With No Pictures by B J Novak. That really made everybody laugh! Some children took their vouchers and were able to spend them on the books that had been produced especially for the event.
On Wednesday 2nd March, Neel, Puneet, Dhruv and Fyodor in Year 6 attended a Maths workshop at the Oratory School. They really enjoyed working as a team on a variety of mathematical games and puzzles and faced all the challenges with great determination. Congratulations to them!
58 pupils took part in our Spring Concert which took place on the 11th February. The pupils sang and played to a packed and enthusiastic audience. Mrs Parker was very proud of them all. Well done!
On Tuesday 19th January, Year 6 went on a trip to the Gurdwara in Reading to find out more about the religion of Sikhism. The pupils enjoyed a fascinating talk, a tour of the prayer room and a delicious sample of a traditional meal. Many thanks to all people involved in making this a fun learning occasion.
Hemdean House School has been lucky enough to be selected to take part in a National Science Experiment in conjunction with the Royal Horticultural Society and the UK Space Agency.
On the 2nd September 2015, 2kg of rocket seeds were launched into space. The seeds are currently on the International Space Station - along with Tim Peake and will return to Earth in March ready for the experiment to begin after Easter. We will be comparing the growth of the seeds which have been in space with some ordinary ones and inputting our findings in to a national database to help learn about growing food in space.
We are very privileged to have been selected to participate and look forward to this exciting opportunity
You may remember that back in June 2015 Hemdean House was awarded a Woodlands Trust Gold Award. We are keen to keep supporting the Woodlands Trust and would like to encourage you all to recycle your Christmas cards at Marks & Spencer, as they are supporting the charity this year. Fun Fact: If everyone in the country saved 1 card each, the Woodland Trust would be able to plant 64,000 new trees!
In December, Years 3 & 4 visited Ufton Court, as part of the Year 4 studies about the Tudors. They found out what it was like to live in a Tudor home, and the secret places and corridors that were used, in the event of the King's men hunting down Catholics. The children also tried their hand at archery as well as making their own inks from plants and vegetables, mixed with vinegar.
The Junior Choir performed at the Hexagon with 500 children from other schools as part of the Maestros Junior Music Festival in November. As well as singing, Hemdean House Choir performed their own dance; You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile. A visit to Pizza Express in between rehearsals helped to make this a momentous occasion - well done all!
Congratulations to the Upper Junior Football team who took part in the ISA football tournament in Camberly. They played four exciting matches against a host of other schools.
On Friday 23rd October, Year 5 and 6 walked to Tesco to attend a healthy eating workshop entitled: Farm to Fork. They had a tour of the storage areas and learnt how the food gets stored before finding its way to the shelves. They explored the fruit and vegetable section of the shop to find out about produce from all around the world. After that, they had the opportunity to taste and sample healthy snacks and discuss the nutritional value of each. The workshop was very informative and much enjoyed by all pupils.
Hemdean House has won the ISA Art Comptetion Animation prize for the second year in a row. Our Year 6 students produced 'Under Sea Rescue' as part of their specialist art lessons. To view the winning entry click here. Well done to all those who had pieces entered into the competition.
We are holding our Year 6 Visitors Day on Tuesday 20th October 2015. All Year 6 girls are welcome to attend. The girls will experience a range of Year 7 classes and they will also be able to express their creative talents in a 'Chickenwire Art Workshop'. Hemdean House School offers individual attention and outstanding pastoral care in a family orientated environment. To register for the Visitor Day please contact the school on 0118 947 2590 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to welcoming you to our school.
Thank you to everyone who donated cakes to, or attended our Macmillan Coffee morning. We raised an amazing £350 plus we raised a further £56 at our community fundraising stall at the Caversham Festival. Well done everyone!
Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 went on a day trip to Englefield Estate. Apart from admiring the magnificent grounds, it was a fantastic opportunity to take part in various workshops and learning about fishing, farming, sheep shearing, bricklaying and also enjoying a ferret race. It was a very educational and successful outing.
The whole school took part in the Macmillan Cancer 'Dress up and Dance day' on Wednesday. It was a great success. The school raised £261 for this very worthwhile charity. Well done everyone.
Congratulatitons to everyone in the Junior school who has contributed to the school winning this award. You have been planting food and trees, built homes for nature and studied what makes soil so good. Well done. A big thank you also goes to Mrs Illingworth who is the force behind our Outdoor Learning programme. You have all made a big differnce to the wildlife in our grounds.
June Year 6 took part in the celebration organised by the Friends of Caversham Court to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. They hung from the ancient family yew tree the shields they designed, showing values important in society today and were then shown around the exhibition where they learnt about William Marshal, Lord of Caversham Manor. They finally had a go at ringing the church bells at 12 15. It was a very educational and enjoyable event and we would like to express our thanks for the invitation to be part of this important event.
Miss Green took a team of year 5 & 6 pupils to the Kwik Cricket tournament on Friday 12th June. The team performed really well and made it the the semi-finals. Well done everyone. The Performance Cricket lessons at school are really paying off!
Prof. Hayes from Reading University Chemistry department came into school today to present a chromatography workshop. The children used chromatography to split out the elements of different inks and looked at how substances disolve and crystallise in different liquids. Thank you Prof. Hayes for coming in to see us.
Reception have been continuing with their 'People who help us' topic today when the Berkshire Fire Service paid a visit. The firemen brought along their fire engine and equipment and the children were able to sit in the fire engine, use the hose to clean the drive and try on some of the safety clothes the firemen wear when they are called out. Many thanks to the Berkshire Fire Service for visiting us. More pictures in the Media Gallery and you can see the 'People who help us' video of pictures on our Twitter feed.
PC Karen Vaughn came into Reception today as part of their topic on 'People who help Us'. PC Karen gave them a brief talk on the work that she does and then the children were allowed to get up close to a real Police car. A very exciting morning for all. More pictures can be seen in the Media Gallery.
The Infants had an exciting day out today visiting Rushall Farm. Rushall Farm is a working farm and the children got to have a ride on a tractor, meet some of the residents (even give some of the new arrivals a hug!) and have a lot of fun seeing how the farm works during the day.
PC Kelly was in school today to give the children in Years 1 & 2 a lesson in road safety. They learnt about all aspects of road safety including where to cross the road safely and how to cross the road safely. Thank you PC Kelly for coming in.
Year 4 were very excited today to welcome Kevin Rundle to the class. Kevin is a script writer who has worked on popular TV shows including Casualty and Eastenders. He is currently working on Hollyoaks. Kevin talked to the class about the different roles in script writing and soap opera production. The class took part in a mini plot conference and then acted out small scenes from 'Maisie the Alien', an episode they had developed themselves. A great insight into the workings of a television production and script writing.
Congratulations to all our Street Dancers who recently took their IDTA exams. Our dancers took either Level 1 or Level 2 and all achieved above 78%. Miss Natalie said 'They have all worked really hard and the exam results are a reflection of that hard work' Well done everyone and we are looking forward to your performance at the Summer Fair!
Well done to Year 6 who took part in the Reading Primary Schools Music Festival on Tuesday 17th March at the Hexagon, singing with around 400 children. Hemdean House School were a roaring success, performing their own dance choreographed by Mrs Quinton and Mya won a competition for the best poem which she read out and also sang a solo in "Feeling Good". The evening was a great success and fun seemed to be had by all!
Congratulations to Mya in Year 6 who has won the Reading Primary Schools Music Festival Poetry Competition. This is the first year that the Poetry Competition has been run in conjunction with the Music Festival. Mya will get to read her poem at the Festival which is taking place at The Hexagon on Tuesday 17th March.
The whole school has been taking part in Chinese dance workshops today as part of their studies around Chinese New Year. Every class from nursery to Yr11 was involved. Fans, parasols and dragon heads were used in the workshops. The day culminated in a presentation of their work to their parents. Year 4 have also been learning how to write Chinese characters and other junior classes are undertaking art work based on the Chinese New Year. A very busy day but great fun.