29th March 2019
Message from the Custos
Sadly it's time to say goodbye and a huge thank you to our 2 staff leavers this term:- Kath McMahon our Catering Manager for the last 40 years and Helen Bennett, PE, Geography and History teacher (and Xmas jumper wearer!) in Main Prep. They will be sorely missed by all and we send them all our love, luck and best wishes for the future.
We welcome Heather Day and Elaine Wheat who will be replacing them.
Don't forget it's summer uniform after the holidays for everyone.
The SLT and the whole school community would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter!
With best wishes,
Message from Miss Bennett
Well, what can I say? Sadly, it’s the end of an era and time for me to ‘blow the whistle’ on my time at Denstone Prep. I’m so, so sad to be leaving you all after having experienced such highs and gained so many treasured memories with you all. Though it’s time for me to move on, rest assured that I shall never forget you all for the impact you have had on my life. It has been such an immense honour, privilege and pleasure of mine to have met you all and taught the amazingly talented children that you are raising and that my brilliant colleagues are guiding. I have so many happy memories in all areas. With the plethora of personalities and characters the children have, the list I could write on the happy memories is endless. In sport I could write the equivalent of "War & Peace' on the achievements of both girls and boys. I’ve delighted at being able to watch the children thrive in all areas whether it be academia, sports, music, theatre, art, poetry or creative environments. It really has been a wonderful time. It’s always good to go out on a high, and the invincible season performed by the Under 11A netballers really is an unbelievable high!
This past year has been so tough personally. As you may know, I lost the person that meant the absolute world to me, as well as suffering many other personal bereavements, my heart has literally broken and I don’t know if it’ll ever recover from that. Between teaching, being a solicitor, lifeguarding and training during the week and spending weekends travelling up and down the country umpiring, I haven’t had the time I need to deal with everything. In that same period, I got to experience the ecstasy of a World Cup in Barcelona and knew from that moment that I wanted to be more involved with hockey further, but working at the school wouldn’t allow me to do what I need to do or achieve the ambitions that I dream of. So whilst I don’t exactly have a plan for the future, visiting Mum's family in Scotland next week, going to Rotterdam and Krefeld to officiate this summer, walking the Inca trail in Mum's memory and spending time with my beloved family is all I have planned - not exactly taking it easy though!
So there’s the future. I would like to have said that it was an easy decision to make but it absolutely wasn’t! It was one of the hardest and most painful. Knowing that I would be leaving behind so many friends in the colleagues I worked with, parents who have been so supportive and helpful and, most sadly, the children who I genuinely adore for all their traits, behaviours and words has been similarly heart-breaking. I want you to know that you have the most amazing children, who have the most amazing teachers. And I will miss each and every single one of you, the children and the friends I have made.
Please take care of each other and you never know one day I may see you all again.....on a volunteer basis though! Thank you all for everything you have given me. I just hope in some small way, that I have had an impact on your children, however small, given the immeasurable impact they have had on me.
Take care all. I will miss you and shall treasure the memories and time I had with you. I wish each and every one of you success and happiness for the future.
Should anybody wish to do so, Helen is raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support who despite their name are end of life palliative care nurses who offered her so much help in her minutes, hours and days of need whilst living with her Mum for their last week together.
Message from Mrs McMahon
Well they say ‘time flies when you are having fun’, so I must have been enjoying myself far too much, as the last 40 years have just flown by! It seems like only yesterday that I arrived in September 1978 thinking “this will do for now” and here we are in 2019, having shared some very special times and lots of highs and lows in Smallwood’s history! I’ve worked under 8 headmasters, seen the school change from an all-boys boarding school, to accepting girls, then the introduction of pre-prep, followed by nursery, then finally as a day school!
Along the way I have built up some amazing memories! Like the evening I was doing Xmas dinner and the power and water supply was cut off! (yes, they had paid the bill!) Severn Trent brought us a tanker of water but it meant no dishwasher and a gas cooker but no electric, which consequently meant no potato peeler, meat slicer or lights! But with a sense of camaraderie, everyone rallied around, the headmaster carved the turkeys by hand, the senior boys peeled the spuds, we ate by candlelight and at the end of the meal, all and sundry were given a tea towel to help with the dishes! I think we had more fun doing that meal, then we ever had before or since, although what health and safety would have had to say is anyone’s guess!
They would also have had a fit if they could have seen the children going down to the Lodge with sledges to bring the milk and provisions up to the school when the heavy snow prevented deliveries making it up the drive!
Yes, I take with me, a wealth of wonderful memories but, as I am now feeding the children of “my” children and in danger of feeding the grandchildren of my children, it’s time to handover the rolling pin! Instead, I will be dedicating more time to my love of wildlife, photography, walking and gardening and of course, spending precious moments with my friends and family! As I will now be renting the lodge, you may still see me around, so it’s not really goodbye as I’ll look forward to giving you a wave as you journey up and down that fabulous drive! Just promise me, you will make the most of every single day because before you know it, 40 years will have gone by!
What an Egg-citing time in the Squirrels class!
The children have been busy making Mother's Day and Easter cards using hand and finger prints in paint. They have been learning all about Nursery Rhymes, colours and numbers.
Smallwood Pre-school uniform news
The new navy polo shirt is now available to buy online at John Lewis.
Smallwood Explorers is running holiday club from 1st to 18th April 2019.
To book please click here to go to the online Booking Form.
Pre-School & Pre-Prep News
Mother’s Day Assembly
The Pre-School and Pre-Prep performed a lovely Mother’s Day assembly on Tuesday. All of the children sang beautifully, said their poems clearly and reminded their Mums how special they are!
Well done everyone. Wishing all Mums and special ladies in our lives a wonderful day on Sunday.
On Saturday 11 May I hope to complete The London Moonwalk 2019. As many of you will be aware, fundraising and sponsorship for this event goes to fund breast cancer. With 1 in 8 women in the UK experiencing some kind of breast cancer in their lifetime, this is a charity I felt compelled to support for many personal reasons, whilst giving me a bit of a (much needed) fitness kick at the same time. So I will walk (crawl) 26.2 miles through the night to complete the challenge. Many thanks to those who have already supported me but to anyone else who has not, please do sponsor me if you can.
Thank you, Melanie Gear.
Pre-School Easter Fun Day!
We had glorious weather once again for our Smallwood Pre-School Fun Day! The Easter bonnet parade was a success with May and Jack winning prizes for their fantastic hats! There was even a visit from the Easter Bunny who has been extremely busy so far this week! Thank you to everyone for coming.
Main Prep News
Year 3 - Cars
Year 3 have had fun developing their engineering skills this half term. The task was to design, build and test an elastic band propelled car, which is precisely what they have managed to do! From the beginnings of the design stage, through to the final stages of designing a fair test to see whose car travels the furthest, the children have taken charge their project. The highlight, for me, was seeing how thrilled the children were when they figured out how to propel their cars without the children actually pushing, pulling or catapulting them! Congratulations goes to Toby whose car went the furthest, and to Harry who was the first one to figure out how to propel the car.
Denstone College Maths Challenge
On Wednesday 27 March, we took 2 teams from Year 4 & 5 to participate and compete in a Maths Challenge hosted by the College. After a very enjoyable lunch, we embarked on an afternoon of problem solving, puzzles and testing numeracy skills. Teams from other primary and prep schools were also invited to join the fun and share the Haribo! Games such as Tower of Hanoi, Mancala, 3D Noughts and Crosses and Bowls and Spoons were tackled with enthusiasm and excitement. Then the teams were left with the Denstone staff to compete, without support, in their problem solving tasks. Our teams both performed really well and were Runners Up in the event having had a really good afternoon developing their mathematical thinking and socialising away from their usual cohort. Our prizes of Amazon vouchers will be spent on mathematical resources for these year groups. M. Gear
PTFA Easter Egg Hunt - more photos are on our Facebook page
All of the boys available played their final football match of the season against Grace Dieu. We played two different teams for each half. Stand out performers were Harry and George in goals and their saves kept the scores respectable. Unfortunately, we lost both halves despite some intrepid midfield performances from Seb, Louis, Zach and Freddie. Finley also played really well up front. All of the boys who played should be proud of the effort they produced. Well done Year 6.
House Music Competition
Main Prep have had a magnificent musical afternoon at our House Music Competition this afternoon. The afternoon was divided up into several classes, where pupils perform on behalf of their houses. The performers were as follows:-
Piano - Billy, Su-Shan, Lottie, Evie, Richard, Amelia, Finley and George
Winner:- Finley A won the piano category for a good clear flow, accurate playing, and a very convincing performance.
Strings - Isabella, Rosie, Su-Shan
Winner: Su-Shan won the string category on her violin - she had well controlled phrasing, a good overall performance with great dynamic shading
Woodwind - Zach, Will B, Isla, Tilly, Harry, Katie, Will V, Ellen, Henry and Lydia
Winner: Henry H won the woodwind class on his clarinet - there was a whisker between him and Lydia. He pipped her to the post with a good tone, noteable dynamic changes and controlled, stylistic playing.
Singing - Billy, Imogen, Isla S, Isla Sp, Nathan, Holly, Tilly, Eve, Charlie, Caiomhe, Finley
Winner: Singing was won by Holly C - Mr McDade was looking for good communication, performance, projection & singing from memory.
Brass - Jacob, Lydia, Zach
Winner: Zach on his trumpet - great articulation, tone and quality.
House Unison - all 3 houses sang 'Any Dream Will Do' from Joseph - Cedars won. Mr McDade was once again looking for sound, diction, communication and smiling.
The overall winner of the competition was Finley A.
Thanks go to Mr McDade for taking the time to give individual feedback, praise and encouragement to all performers.
Year 5 Science
Year 5 have been learning all about changing sounds in their Science lessons this term. They have all worked really hard on their projects and presented their work in class brilliantly. It was lovely to see such a variety of tasks that were completed, which included making instruments, experiments and in depth research. Well done year 5!
Year 5 History
Having enjoyed their History topic this term 5Mc decided to share their knowledge on WW2 with the school in their class assembly. They all worked really hard to learn their parts and put on a brilliant performance which demonstrated what life would have been like for children in England during WW2.
Year 6 enjoyed their English lesson in the Outdoor Classroom. We enacted two scenes from Macbeth, both involved the witches and the pupils certainly got into character!
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