7th December 2017
What the Victorians Did For Us
Watching Year 3’s wonderful assembly on the Victorian era got me thinking this week. We are currently living through the fourth Industrial Revolution, that of artificial intelligence and the speed with which modern technology is moving forwards is quite frightening! Of course, it is easier for our children, because they are growing up with it, they do not know any different and therefore they do not have quite the same sense of foreboding as some of their parents and grandparents do when it comes to ICT. Now is the time to be a school pupil, because the sheer variety of educational opportunities are staggering and our children can only benefit from this.
When Queen Victoria succeeded the throne in 1837, Britain was still a rural nation with 80% of the population still living in the countryside. By the middle of the nineteenth century over 50% of the population lived in towns and cities. It was the age of steam and steel, steam needed coal and the number of coalfields doubled in just thirty years. This speed of change must have been as overwhelming to many people then as the development of modern technology is to many people today. As is always the case, those who benefited most were those who embraced the changes, grasping them with both hands and saw the opportunities available. One such person was George Hodgson, who made his fortune in the haematite (iron ore) mines of Cumberland and commissioned the Architect Robert W Edis to build Smallwood Manor. The fact that his fortune was made, at least to an extent, through the use of child labour is fairly ironic given what Smallwood Manor ultimately became!
The French have an expression, “plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose”. Roughly translated this means “The more things change, the more they stay the same”. We often go round in circles, but concentric circles, coming back having added a little more to the journey. Our school had its birth in the Victorian era, as far as the building is concerned, but it has embraced the changes of the second Elizabethan era with alacrity. We certainly have a great deal to thank the Victorians for and I really am grateful to Year 3, Ms Hart and Mr Middleton for reminding us of this in such an entertaining way!
Pupils of the Week - a big Well Done to the following pupils:-
Week 11 - no assembly due to exams, hence only a couple of POW's!
Year 4 - Charlie B & Charlotte R
Pupils of the Week
Year 3 - Imogen A
Year 4 - Tilly M & James S
Year 5 - William H, William V & Henry H
Year 6 - Eloise W, Grace L & Charles W
It's Christmas!! Over the next few weeks the Squirrels are partaking in lots of Christmas activities such as decorating the room, a Nativity Play, a trip to the Adventure Farm and making lots of Christmas Craft!
Pre-School & Reception Nativity
Pre School and Reception's Christmas Nativity this year is called The Toy Shop. The toys are all asleep on the shelves. The clock strikes midnight and the toys wake up one by one. They dance and sing to Jesus.
Pre-Prep Years 1 and 2 performed ‘The Michaelmas Mouse’ with much gusto this week. Children from our Year 1 and Year 2 played the other parts including the traditional Mary and Joseph stable scene, Wise Men and Sheep, with some cheeky mice and cats thrown in!
This was a traditional nativity told from the perspective of Michaelmas Mouse. It tells of his journey which coincides with that of Mary and Joseph. Michaelmas hitches a ride along with the humans upstairs, Mary and Joseph, to visit his city cousins who happen to live in Bethlehem. It’s a story of mice, cheese, parties and a rather fierce cat that goes by the name of Morz!
Michaelmas meets some rather interesting characters during his stay in Bethlehem including a bazaar full of market traders, some rather talkative sheep and some sleepy old shepherds. It doesn’t take Michaelmas and his cousins long to set off on their adventure following the heavenly words spoken by the angel. Michaelmas stumbles across the stargazing wise men and their journey continues on through the desert. Eventually coming together to join in what can only be described as ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told!’
Pre-Prep 2 Alton Castle Visit
Pre-Prep 2 had the privilege of visiting Alton Castle on Monday morning. The children travelled by mini bus and met with Dom our guide for the experience. Firstly the children had the opportunity to identify parts of the castle using their knowledge from our castles topic work. The children were then given a tour of the original castle footprint and were able to explore the earlier 12th century grounds and ruins. The children were also given access to part of the old castle that are not seen by the public which included the original 12th century castle Keep and Bastille. After the tour of the grounds the children explored the 19th century Alton Castle designed and built by Pugin for the 16th Earl of Shrewsbury as a gift for the Earls wife. Unfortunately the Earl did not live long enough to see his castle completed. The children explored the private rooms and the family chapel. They also investigate the hidden rooms deep in the bedrock of the castle which date back to the 12th century. After this the children were taken to the Castle Church and were shown the tomb of the 16th Earl, which was indeed a great honour.
Thank you for your help in supporting our Christmas Fair and other events this term. We are always in need of volunteers and helpers so please don't hesitate to contact us.
The PTFA have set up a Facebook page which will have all the PTFA events and updates on it. https://www.facebook.com/DenstonePrepPTFA/
National Children's Choir of Great Britain success!
A massive congratulations must go the following children who have been accepted into the NCCGB. Oscar M, Henry H and Max A. They go on to join Isla who was successful last year.
The National Children’s Choir of Great Britain was founded in 1998 by Lissa Gray. Her vision was that talented young singers from throughout the United Kingdom would have the opportunity to work together, and enjoy making music under the guidance of inspired teachers. There are currently 250 members from all over the UK, but only 57 members of the Yellow Choir which is for ages 9 – 11.
Entry into the choir requires that the children have to attend two residential singing courses throughout the UK.
Auditions can take place all over the country and only a few places are awarded nationally each year which makes this an even more impressive achievement.
Main Prep News
Year 3’s Victorian Assembly
We were taken back in time to the Victorian times in this week’s assembly. Dr When (Tom) and his trusted assistant K8 (Finley) took us on a time travelling adventure to meet famous people from the Victorian era. Queen Victoria (Imogen) and Prince Albert (Harry) explained how the tradition of having a Christmas tree was first introduced into British homes; whilst Thomas Smith (Tommy) showed us how he invented the Christmas cracker. Florence Nightingale (Evie) explained how she tended the wounded soldiers (Theo) in the Crimean war and Dr Barnardo (Oscar) showed us the poor orphaned boys of London. Even Charles Dickens (Reuben) made an appearance on his travels to post a Christmas card! Our narrators (Rosie, Jacob, Sammy & Heidi) helped to explain how changes occurred in the Victorian era and Joe swapped from the role of Jim Jarvis to a chimney sweep and then finally to Thomas Smith’s son! Special mentions must go to Rosie, who came in despite being poorly, and to Evie who was ready and raring to step into her shoes just in case. We learnt a lot and a fabulous time was had by all! Thank you to all who came to watch!
Year 4 had a fab morning on Monday when they took a walk up to St John’s Church in Marchington Woodlands. Mrs Emmerson-Friend had arranged for some of the church wardens and the vicar to be available for the children to talk to, along with some wonderful ladies who provided the children with drinks and biscuits (and accompanying staff with a lovely hot cup of tea!) The children were given a history scavenger hunt and wondered around the churchyard and inside the church looking for clues that linked the history of Smallwood Manor to this wonderful church. The children found George Arthur Hodgson’s gravestone and links to Thomas Webb who lived on the Estate of Smallwood Manor and generously built the church in memory of his wife (for the community of Marchington Woodlands). The children learned that in the past, when Smallwood was a boys only school (and a boarding school) the children would have to walk to this church many times during the week up until Smallwood’s own chapel was built.
“I liked the biscuits and juice, they were yummy! The ladies were very nice.” Seb
“I learned that Thomas Webb built Marchington Woodlands Church in memory of his wife.” Leo
“The vicar told me the robes had different meanings and that the green one is for every service, but the red and white ones have to be a special event for him to wear it.” Harry
Thank you to Reverend John Jukes, Graham Salt and the rest of the team for their time and kindness, they provided us all with some wonderful and interesting facts about their church.
Y6 visited Denstone College for a D&T workshop. They used an array of software and tools to come up with their own individual designs. Many thanks to the D&T staff at Denstone for giving us the opportunity.
Please don't forget to show your children this newsletter, so that they can see the photos and news too.
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