A co-educational independent through school
Nursery – Prep – Senior – Sixth Form

4th November 2015

As a member of the Independent Schools Association, Gosfield enjoys the opportunity to work with other schools, both in our area and nationally. Our teachers benefit from networking with staff in similar schools and from the training courses ISA runs, many of which are held not far from us at the new ISA House in Great Chesterford. Another advantage of our membership is that our pupils can take part in a wide range of events and competitions.

Over half term, Mrs Gwynne, Head of Art, and I had the pleasure of attending the ISA Regional Art competition, hosted by the Cambridge Centre for Sixth Form Studies. Schools from across East Anglia had submitted pieces by pupils of all ages, from Reception to Sixth Form, and in media ranging from paint and pencil to film and textiles. The exhibition was marvellous: there was so much talent, creativity and skill on show. We were delighted that of the six pieces we submitted, four won awards. Jake Graham's striking charcoal portrait of a homeless man was Highly Commended. Jasper Gladman's still life drawing gained a 2nd prize. Rob McAllister's painting of a bluebell wood and the Prep School's 3D sunflowers won first prize in their categories and will go on to the national competition, which is taking place in Daventry next week at the ISA Autumn Study Conference. I am so looking forward to seeing their work exhibited alongside the very best art from pupils throughout the country.

In assembly on Monday, Mrs Gwynne reminded pupils of all the fantastic art produced here at Gosfield, everything from the House Doodles to the highly skilled pieces of our A Level and GCSE candidates, including Ella McAllister and Sophie LeBecq, who were also entered in the regional competition. We are very proud of all our young artists and display their work around the school.

13th October 2015

Half term approaches, and we are all looking forward to a refreshing break after a very busy few weeks. Pupils and staff alike have been applying themselves in all sorts of ways since the start of term, not least on Saturday, when we welcomed over 65 families to our autumn Open Morning. Visitors I spoke to were very impressed by the activities taking place-everything from Forest School and soccer skills to samba band, our marvellous grounds and buildings, and, of course, our young people, whose courtesy and enthusiasm make them such excellent ambassadors for Gosfield. We were very grateful to parents for acting as ambassadors, too, and speaking at length to our visiting families about their experience of and relationship with the school.

Before we get to the half term break, we still have the Careers Fair and Sixth Form Information Evening to look forward to on Wednesday, and the GIFA marathon on Friday, organized by Head Boy Jake. It says a lot about our pupils that they are happy to stay for 24 hours to play football together and raise money for charity and it also shows how dedicated the staff are who have volunteered to supervise them-especially those on the 2am-6am shift!

5th October 2015

Enrichment Day on Friday involved pupils in all sorts of challenges, from the ever-popular climbing tower to enterprise competitions to music workshops. As usual, everyone took part with enthusiasm and thoroughly enjoyed the day, even if they found themselves out of their comfort zone: for some, that meant being bounced about in inflatables; for others, it was performing modern dance routines in front of their peers. Taking risks in a safe, supportive environment helps to build confidence and resilience, which is as much a part of a Gosfield education as making academic progress. That's why we organise these events on a regular basis.

The richness of the educational experience here is something we hope to share with our visitors on Open Morning this coming Saturday. For the first time, we are inviting them not only to look around the school and speak to pupils and staff but to take part in activities including Forest School, sports and performing arts sessions, to get a real flavour of all that Gosfield has to offer young people. Do come along and join in!

1st October 2015

I have been away part of this week at the annual conference of the Independent Association of Prep Schools in Newport, Wales, meeting Heads of other schools and representatives from the Department for Education and attending a range of thought-provoking sessions on everything from story-telling in the Early Years classroom to updates on inspection.

After such events, there is always plenty to think about and bring back to our school, with a view to enhancing the education we offer to our Gosfield pupils. A recurrent theme in education at the moment is adaptability-or 'agility' as it is often referred to in business: the ability to recognise when things need to be changed and act on that knowledge. This applies to school leaders and managers, but also to teachers in the classroom and, of course, the pupils themselves. It is important that we help our young people to have the skills and confidence to react positively to new situations and ideas, drawing on what they have learnt.

We were reminded by one of the speakers that literacy in the 21st century is not only being able to read and write, but being able to 'learn, unlearn and re-learn'-not getting stuck in particular thought patterns or processes but reacting to shifting situations with alacrity and enthusiasm. As we face yet more changes to the curriculum, the examination system and the inspection regime, I think I and my colleagues can learn a lot from our pupils, who every day are facing new challenges, using their initiative and taking delight in fresh opportunities to learn and grow.

22nd SEPTEMBER 2015

As a school, we are always keen to support good causes, recognising how important it is to help those who are less fortunate than we are. The Science Department assembly last week focused on genetic disorders that have a huge impact on the day to day lives of so many children. The young people coping with these disorders and their carers are an inspiration to all of us, remaining positive and living full, rich lives to the best of their ability. Friday was Jeans for Genes day, when we had the chance to raise money to help such families.

This week, we turn our attention to two other causes. On an annual basis, representatives from LEPRA come and give an assembly reminding us about their continuing fight against leprosy. This will be followed up with a LEPRA fundraising activity session later this term-which might help us burn off some of the calories from our event this Friday: the Macmillan Coffee Morning bake sale. What a great and tasty way to raise money for cancer research!

We are looking forward to the PTA 'Hollywood Glamour' Grand Ball this Saturday, when parents, staff and friends will put on their most elegant evening wear and gather for a wonderful evening of dining and dancing and, most importantly, fundraising, both for the School and for Essex Air Ambulance, a vital service in our area which has made such a difference to the lives of those in our community.

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