As happens so often in an English summer, planned outdoor events end up following the ‘if wet…’ arrangements. And so it was for our Musical Soirée yesterday evening. Of course, the Gosfield School community does not let a bit of rain—or even torrential rain!—dampen our spirits. It was lovely to see so many families picnicking , Glyndebourne style, in the Sports Hall, complete with rugs, hampers and garden chairs. It was in this convivial atmosphere that we were entertained by our talented young musicians. The varied programme included everything from a 15th century choral piece to jazz piano, modern pop songs and a super rendition of the Pink Panther theme on flute and trumpet. From the Samba band that nearly raised the roof to the haunting harmonies of the Lord’s Prayer from Fanshawe’s African Sanctus, the Hall filled with music that entertained and delighted the audience. Congratulations to everyone who took part, including our GCSE Music candidates who composed or performed all of the transition music, and many thanks to Miss Cross, Mr Daniels, Mr Clapp and all the peris who helped the pupils achieve such a high standard.
The sun is shining on our Year 11 and Year 13 leavers who are celebrating the end of their time at Gosfield with a barbeque in the walled garden. There is the traditional shirt signing, as well as a bouncy castle (their special request) and plenty of reminiscing. Some of them have been here since Reception and are now wondering what life will be like beyond Gosfield. We have enjoyed two wonderful assembly presentations in which they showed highlights from their time here—which consisted mainly of time spent with friends, whether on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, attending special events such as the Senior Dinner or simply hanging out in the grounds or their tutor rooms. I hope that the friendships they have formed here last into the future, and that all they have learned here—not only in their studies but also in the way they support one another, work in teams, display leadership skills—stands them in good stead. We are delighted so many of our Year 11 pupils have chosen to return in September to join our Sixth Form. As we bid farewell to the rest and to the Upper Sixth, we thank them for all they have given to the school, wish them success and happiness, hope they will remember their time at Gosfield fondly and invite them to come back and visit us soon.
Last week, the examination board OCR announced that it will not be offering the new GCSEs and A Levels in Modern Languages, due to be taught from September. As things stand, there are several examination boards and schools choose the specifications that they believe are most stimulating and appropriate for their candidates. Clearly, OCR’s decision means there will be less choice in this important area of the curriculum. It is a sad fact that OCR’s opting out of these qualifications is probably based on a decline in the uptake of languages by pupils across the country.
Here at Gosfield, we believe firmly in the advantages of learning other languages: we start introducing Spanish in our Nursery and teach the language throughout the school, giving older pupils the opportunity to learn French, too. Even in a small school, offering at least two languages is important: the study of languages not only develops an understanding of grammar, lexicon and syntax, it also exposes pupils to the richness and variety of other cultures: their customs, literature and approach to life. Surely education is all about encouraging our young people to be outward looking and to develop an interest in and empathy for others who may be very different from themselves.
We are delighted that our Year 10 pupils have recently had success in the modern languages Have Your Say finals, with our teams being placed 2nd and 3rd in the region in their respective competitions. Year 7 and 8 pupils also had the chance to practise their linguistic skills and experience the local culture on a residential trip to Spain last week, which they thoroughly enjoyed. Modern Languages are thriving here, and we hope to be able to expand our offering of them, so let’s hope that the examination boards continue to support and promote them now and in the future.
This morning, the marquee for our Grand Opening of Meadow Court is being set up. We are so looking forward to welcoming parents and guests to the event on Friday, which will celebrate the marvellous new building our Prep and Nursery pupils are already enjoying. The Nursery is now in full swing, and we are delighted that our educational provision can now be offered to children from the age of 2 right through until they turn 18.
Our through school ethos has been much in evidence this week. In assembly, members of our Pupil Parliament (formerly School Council) spoke about the charities the pupils have selected to support next year. Pupils of all ages serve on this body, representing the views and interests of their peers, and helping make a positive difference to the school community. Hearing their presentations made me very proud: they have chosen charities that not only do excellent work in the UK and internationally, but ones that mean a lot to them personally, as they have support their friends and family in difficult times.
Within the school, pupils across the ages support one another admirably. We have a new club this term: Tots and Teens, which sees some of our Senior pupils spending time in Meadow Court with our youngest children, helping them with art and crafts, playing games and having fun. It is great to see how much all the pupils get out of this time spent together. Have a look at our Facebook page to see Teens and Tots in action.
We start the term as an expanded school as our Nursery opened earlier this month. We are delighted to be able to offer all the benefits of a Gosfield education year round to children as young as two years old. The boys and girls attending the Nursery are already enjoying our brand new classrooms and outdoor play area and also exploring the grounds during their forest school sessions. Our existing pupils are benefitting from the new arrangements for ‘wrap-around’ care, arriving early for breakfast club or staying late for afternoon tea and supervised activities. We are also finalising plans for an exciting summer activities programme. We hope that these initiatives help our busy parents as well as being great fun for the children.
Now that the Nursery is up and running, we will be holding a grand opening for Meadow Court, our new Prep and Nursery building, on 29th April. We look forward to welcoming parents and guests who will join our pupils in the celebrations.
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