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24th March 2012

Posted: 26th March 2012 | Category: Headmasters's Blog

Dear Parents, children and friends,

As we race to the end of a busy term, I felt that I had to bring you all up to speed with developments at Skippers and some news from our parent company, Bellevue Education.

It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the appointment of Mrs Molly Mills as our Head of Kindergarten. She takes up her post in April. She is charming, experienced, ebullient and comes with an excellent pedigree! I shall get her to introduce herself properly at the beginning of the Summer Term by inviting her to write a Guest Blog for our next newsletter!

Over Easter, Gary and Martin are bringing a team of builders to refurbish more areas of the school.

As Kindergarten is moving into the Early Years Block, Year 1 and Marianna Bakewell will be moving into Emer’s old classroom. A pneumatic Smartboard has been ordered for Year 1 and the classroom will have new storage space, basin and insulation.

Year 2 and Emer Murphy are taking over the old Studio which will have its own cloakroom area, new storage and interactive board. The beautiful wooden floor will be retained and sanded to bring it back to its former glory! The keyboards will be relocated to the Music Room.

The lobby outside the Dining Room will have its floor sanded and the whole area will be redecorated and the walls clad in keeping with the theme of the entrance hallway. Many of the other corridors will be refurbished over the holidays.

Rooms 1 and 2 will be knocked through and redecorated to provide more accommodation for Performing Arts. An upright piano has been purchased for Room 3 to be available for peripatetic lessons and as a practice venue for children at break times.

We have now installed an internet connection to Top Block and Years 3, 4 and 5 will come back to school after Easter to interactive whiteboards and projectors in their classrooms. This means that each class in the school has its own quality ICT facility which I am sure the teachers and pupils will enjoy! We are also installing an ebeam in to the Science Room which will add to the experience of all our students.

So much change in such a short time – fingers crossed we achieve this all in time for the first day of Summer Term!

A few items from Bellevue Education:

On Tuesday and Wednesday of last week all the heads in the Bellevue Education Group met up at Hampton Court at Head Office. We spent the time getting to know each other better and also to link up with the rest of the Bellevue support team.

Our group now consists of seven UK schools: Skippers; Norfolk House; Brabyns; Edenhurst; Wandsworth Prep; Weston Green; and Gateway. Each school is individual and full of character but it is fantastic to be able to use each other as sounding boards and to share resources and good practice. Each head will be visiting the other schools over the next two terms. We will also have termly Heads’ Management Meetings at Hampton Court as well as Governance Meetings at one selected school which is designed to ensure we are all up to the mark!

I should also mention that we have branched out into the international market and the group has recently acquired the Gstaad International School in Switzerland which might mean cheaper skiing holidays!

As a group, we are organising a number of events to bring us all closer together:

1. Teachers are being invited to spend the day at another school to experience the teaching and learning taking place. Our very own David Pollard is booked in for the day at Norfolk House to see their Maths Department in action, exchange views and probably (knowing him) pinch ideas! His visit is on 1st May.

2. There will be a programme of central training for teachers and management at the Hampton Court Office

3. A Bellevue Conference for teachers – a synchronised Inset day – for all staff in all schools to come together for training and exchange of ideas and best practice

4. A Bellevue Art and Music festival for our schools. Chris Sanderson, our Education Director, is looking into this proposal

5. And, finally, on June 11th, Skippers is acting as host to Year 6 pupils from Brabyns, Edenhurst and Gateway schools as we stage the first ever Bellevue Olympics! The children will be camping overnight, building fires to toast marshmallows, eat a hog roast and, of course, compete in many different athletic events. They will also swim, play wide games and generally have fun! It will be a feat of organisation but we all very excited about this venture!

Back to a snippet of news:

• Congratulations to William Arnold on being awarded an All Rounder Scholarship to Hurstpierpoint College!

• Our VIP Day in the Juniors was a fantastic event

• I thought Y3 and 4’s production of Treasure Island was stunning. I was only sorry that I could only see the show once!

• I am looking forward to our first Performing Arts Evening on Tuesday. With so many performers involved, it will be fun squeezing you all in!

• Summer Uniform please for the rest of the academic year

• The Swimming Pool has donned its Skippers’ colours and is ready for action so make sure you bring your swimming gear from Day One of the Summer Term

Fiona and I wish you all a Happy Easter!

Fondest regards,

Yours ever,

Tim Lewis

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