Highfield Priory
Nov 28, 2014

Headmaster's Weekly News


28 November 2014

Dear Parents

Today we say a very sad farewell to two longstanding members of the Highfield community. Mrs Bennett has been at Highfield for 16 years, teaching predominantly in the Infant Department. She has also been our PSHEE co-ordinator. She is an outstanding teacher and a valued member of our school and she will be missed by staff and children alike. Our best wishes go with Mrs Bennett and her family as they embark on their new adventure in Saudi Arabia.

Mrs Evans retires today after 17 years of service to Highfield, and as Nursery Manager guided the transition to a full 51 week-a-year Nursery, caring for babies as young as 6 months. The numbers have increased considerably under her management and our Early Years achieved an outstanding report during our last inspection. For many parents and children at Highfield, Mrs Evans has been their first experience of the school and the welcome and care they received from her is often referred to by former pupils and parents. All our best wishes and thanks go with Mrs Evans and we hope that she keeps in touch.

Out and About

Year 4 were hard at work on Wednesday so I decided I would take a look. They were discussing their next creative writing piece and which words they could use instead of ‘said’ when they include speech in their work. Aditya suggested that they used a Thesaurus to help them to find different words to use. The Thesauri were handed out and straight away all the children searched for the correct page. Thomas said it was on page 354 and I watched Malaika scanning the words very carefully until she found ‘said’. Miss Macklam asked the children why they needed to use a different word for ‘said’. Katie responded by saying that it was to make the writing more interesting to the reader; Abigail added that it tells you something about the speaker: the person may shout loudly when they speak. In her next piece of writing, Isabel said that she would like to use ‘suggested’; Fatimah was going to try to use ‘mention’. Katie and Noah then linked two of the words together saying, “‘Why don’t we go to the park?’ suggested Katie, ‘No,’ replied Noah.”

The class then went on to look for alternative words for ‘ask’. Miss Macklam explained to the class that she wanted them to use a range of words and to try really hard, with the help of a Thesaurus, to come up with alternative words for ‘ask’ and ‘said’ in their next creative piece of writing which was to take place the following day.

Thank you Year 4, I enjoyed listening to your answers and I look forward to reading some of your creative writing next week.

Year 3’s Special Visitors

We had two special visitors on Monday to Year 3. They recounted their experiences in the lead up to, and during, World War 2 to our children.

The two ladies were sisters, Gisela Feldman and Sonja Sternberg aged 91 and 88 and they were German Jews, living in Berlin up until 1938.  Their father was Polish and because he didn’t have the correct paperwork, he was arrested during the night, before the outbreak of war, and taken away.  Throughout the war, they always clung onto the hope that they would be reunited, but they never saw him again. They later learnt he had been sent to Auschwitz.  They recall screaming for him on the night he was taken. They have vivid memories of Kristallnacht and they were aware from 1933 onwards that things were changing.  They were no longer allowed to play with non-Jewish children and they felt different. As the storm clouds gathered, their mother began to enquire about where they could go and in May 1938 they boarded a big cruise liner, along with about 3,000 people bound for Cuba, who had agreed to take them as refugees.  When they reached Cuba they were denied entry.  They tried to disembark in Miami, but again were denied entry.  They then set sail back to Europe, fearing that they would have to disembark in Norway or similar, but at the last minute, in July 1939, they heard that London had agreed to take them.

Whilst in London, they were supported by the Refugee Council and the girls, who were teenagers by this time, were sent to various evacuee placements around the country.  The eldest had to take a cleaning job, the youngest was placed in a public house where she was taught to play poker!  They didn’t get on and she was transferred somewhere else.  They took care to speak English, not German, from the moment they arrived in Britain.

The ladies were asked about forgiveness and they said that in the Jewish religion you can only be held responsible for your own actions, so they bear no resentment to the descendants of the perpetrators of the crimes against their family.  They lost 31 close family members during the holocaust. Years later, they met up with an old school friend who had survived Auschwitz by playing the piano.

Their message was this:  ‘Appreciate your family and spend as much time with them as you possibly can.  Make the most of life because you are lucky to be alive’.  It’s never too late to study; one of the ladies, having had to leave school at 14, went back and studied for a degree at the age of 48.

This recount of the ladies’ very moving story was written by Mrs Hill and below is a combination of just two of the letters that were written by the children in Year 3, thanking them for their visit.

Thank you for coming into school and talking to us about all your experiences and what life was like during World War Two. It must have been very hard for you. I did not know people got arrested and sent to Poland. I was really sad when you told us about your father being sent away, you must have been horrified and really sad.

I think it must have been a bit exciting visiting different countries but very hard. I learnt a lot of things because it was very interesting, including what it was like to be evacuated. I wish I could know about every day of both your lives. It was amazing to meet people from World War Two. Thank you so much for coming.

Extracts from James’ and Ellie’s  letters.

I would like to thank both ladies for taking the time to visit Highfield and for giving the children a first-hand perspective of what life was like during this period. I would also like to thank Mr and Mrs Dable for organising this memorable event.

Primary Maths Challenge

Several children from Year 6 took part last week in the Primary Maths Challenge. The questions seemed particularly hard this year, one of which was:

In 1588 an Italian Mathematician called Pietro Cataldi discovered that 2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2x2-1 (in short, 219 to the power of 19 -1) is a prime number.

When this number is divided by 5, what is the remainder?

(courtesy of the PMC)

They did really well with Isaac gaining a Gold, Tom D, Harry and Sam achieving a Silver and Freddie, Ali, Kieran and Jake getting a Bronze. Isaac’s name has been sent forward and we wait to hear if he is invited to take part in the next round. Well done to these children and the other children who took part. It really was a CHALLENGE!

Mrs Hewins

Scholastic Book Fair

Thank you to all those people who have already supported the Book Fair. The final day is Tuesday, so you still have some time to support this event.

Preston Cup Football

The boys scored an excellent team goal in the first half and went into half-time 1-1. In the second half, St. Anthony’s eventually took the score to 3-1. Although the boys played well against a very good side, they made a few crucial mistakes and lacked that competitive edge that they had shown against Lady Barn. I am sure the team will work hard on these areas in preparation for the next ISA cup game.

Christmas Decorations

A big thank you to all the PTA who have helped to transform the school this morning in just a short period of time. The Christmas season has officially started at Highfield and we can now look forward to all the festivities and events on the lead up to Christmas.

Help request from the PTA for The Nativity

The PTA are looking for support from any parents of Junior children for the Infant Nativity performances, to help with refreshments after the event. The Infant parents will return the favour at Junior events later in the year. Please speak to any member of the PTA or pop into the office, if you are available to help.

Christmas Fayre Donations and Help

If you are willing and able to donate any prizes for the raffle or a small chocolate donation for the tombola, please hand them in to the school office. All donations are greatly appreciated.

If anyone is available to help at the Christmas Fayre next Friday (5th Dec, 3pm-5pm) please speak to the PTA or the office. Thank you everyone for your continued support.

Merit Awards

RB: Nadia       RF: Hasan      1D: Alex         2M: Sasha       2W: Natasha

3H: Alexandra  3M: Faatimah  4D: Olivia D  4M: Abigail       5H: Dev       6H: Ian

Monitors of the Week: Isaac and Kieran

Thought for the Week

Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance. Samuel Johnson

Yours sincerely

J M Duke