End of Term Newsletter Michaelmas Term 2022: Department News

View our department news from the Michaelmas Term 2022.


Embracing The Cross-Curriculum Themes

The art room has been busy as always this term with scholars preparing their portfolios, set painting, printing during the Saturday Enrichment Programme (SEP) and the launch of the new Senior Cross-Curriculum Themes.

Year 8 enjoyed looking at the distorted reality of the revolutionary movement, Cubism. Year 7 looked at the power of advertising and created their own animal logos on design software while Year 5 have immersed themselves in African tribal art and the fascinating art of Aboudia. Year 6 this term did a great job when producing their Pop Art lino prints, inspired by Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup, many of them were surprised at what they accomplished by the end of the process.

We had Year 5 in the art room for their end of term theme day and it was a great success. Having ‘Walked on the Wild Side’ all term, they made giant buffalo masks to finish it off. The different groups worked harmoniously together to create a variety of masks. These will be displayed and shown for all to see during our production of ‘The Lion King’ next term.

Year 3 and 4 have also enjoyed exploring their topics. Year 3 worked particularly hard on their clay Egyptian jewellery while Year 4 finished looking at Picasso faces with a workshop, which enabled them to complete their designs all together.

All the year groups have thrived in the art room. They have embraced the themes and skills we have looked at and are always asking about ways to better their learning, it is always refreshing when they ask for more or request to learn a particular skill. These are the moments that inspire new ideas.

To showcase some of the artwork created this term, pupils exhibited at The Whitchurch Society Art & Craft Exhibition, held in November at the Whitchurch Village Hall. Parents will also be able to view more of their child’s artwork via their Potato Print profile.


We have had an excellent start to the year in the boarding house. With a focus on a new year and a fresh start, the boarding staff, Mr and Mrs van den Berg, and some of the maintenance team worked very hard to upgrade our house over the summer, which meant that we returned to a beautiful, fresh new house in September.

We also had some new faces join us from all over the world, which has meant that we have grown our family here at OPS exponentially. We were also very excited to have our own Mr Scholl join us as a Resident House Tutor and full time boarding staff member.

We had a jam-packed term full of fun, educational, and unusual activities. During the week, we have played Rugby Golf, BenchBall and obviously had epic sessions of Manhunt both inside the school and outside in the school grounds. We have also expanded our repertoire to include our very own Boarding Bake Off, Christmas decorating, art work and Bingo. We had particular fun designing our own t-shirts for BBC Children in Need and wearing funny socks and joining in with supporting the school.

But the best part of the Michaelmas Term is obviously the lead up to Christmas! We had a Christmas decorating competition, where the boys and girls competed to see who could make their sides look more festive – the boys actually won, but it created such a festive cheer that everyone was ready for Father Christmas to visit. We also decorated our own baubles and figures for the tree.

We took part in some very exciting external trips, from exploring Oxford and going ice skating, to bouncing it out at The Red Kangaroo and battling it out at Lazer Tag. I think the boarders’ choice would definitely be playing crazy golf and finding the best ways to navigate a tricky obstacle course. But the stand out highlight for the term would have to be our spectacular visit to Windsor Great Park for their Illumination Trail. There is nothing better than spending time as a family and taking in the beautiful lights. The hot chocolate at the end didn’t do any harm either!

It is with a very heavy heart that we say goodbye to some of our staff who are leaving us at Christmas. Miss Wright, who has been with us since April, and Miss Scollo, who has only been with us for this term but has made such an impact in her short time here. We will miss both of you and wish you the very best in your futures back home in Australia. We are also saying goodbye to Mr Sheppard as a GAP, but luckily he will be returning as a residential staff member and tutor with us next term. We are overjoyed that he gets to stay with us.

As ever, we couldn’t have had such a wonderful term without the support of our residential staff who give so freely of their time. We also need to say a big thank you to Ms Coombes, our wonderful Housemother, who has such a big heart and looks after us all. We look forward to an exciting New Year and return for the Lent Term. Mrs Van Den Berg

Eco Council

Our Eco Council is up and running and meeting twice a month to discuss eco-friendly and environmental issues within the school community.

Our Eco Council has 10 Eco Warriors from Junior Prep. They are:  Jasper (Head of Council) Lucy and Cathy (Deputy) Grace, Arthur, Rupert, Eliott, Indie, Tilly and Stanley.

This term has been busy. We have spoken about the importance of turning off the lights when we leave the classroom and not only having signs for this but also having light monitors to ensure it is done. In November, we completed the second annual school community litter pick which was a great success and, to offset our carbon footprint, we have received a number of saplings from the Woodland Trust which we have started to plant around the school in partnership with a number of planting projects being undertaken by the Gardening club.

Next term, we plan to continue approaching environmental issues as a whole school community and look forward to welcoming Rachael O’Sullivan, who is an OPS parent and the Environmental Adviser to the Royal Opera House, to share ideas and gain advice. Our goal this year is to gain the Green Eco Schools Flag status and expert advice like this is really exciting for our team.

Forest School

Autumn is perhaps one of the most magical seasons in the Woods with its beautiful colours, crisp bright mornings, and abundance of nuts, berries and leaves to forage.

Every year group has enjoyed having a little bit of timeout from their busy timetables to create natural art, build on their bushcraft skills, enjoy fun team activities and just chill!

Below are just a few memories to share.

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas. Mrs Johnston and Mrs Jones

Spotlight on LAMDA!

The Michaelmas Term has been action-packed and full of fun! The children have thrown themselves into their studies with considerable energy and we are seeing some really lovely, confident performers developing.

Our Year 2 group in particular has worked incredibly quickly and will be preparing for an exam next term, a term earlier than we’d anticipated. This bodes extremely well for them! The Musical Theatre Groups across both Juniors and Seniors are thriving; Musical Theatre is a wonderful way of experiencing new performance techniques whilst just letting go and having fun!

Click here to view a performance from our Year 7 & 8 LAMDA Musical Theatre Group

The whole school has been treated to some lovely LAMDA performances in assemblies in preparation for exams, there’s nothing like a live audience to get the adrenaline flowing! Our Drama Scholars have been busy preparing for their auditions to their next school, their LAMDA exams and, of course, their Common Entrance exams. We admire their tenacity and willingness to go the extra mile – whatever the outcome, the scholarship process is one of personal growth which is not to be underestimated.

Our recent exams in Solo and Duo Acting, Shakespeare and Public Speaking went very smoothly, the LAMDA Examiner was impressed by the children’s preparedness. The children’s faces as they leave after their exam is possibly the most rewarding part of our job, their smiles and feeling of accomplishment in that moment is a privilege and joy to witness. Now we wait for the results!

With new teachers on board this term, the breath of LAMDA syllabi has expanded to include Verse and Prose and Reading for Performance, this is a great opportunity for those children who don’t wish to act, but do wish to gain confident vocal and physical presence when giving a presentation. I have been privy to some thought-provoking and interesting presentations this term, and look forward to those pupils having the opportunity to gain reward for their endeavours next term.

As we look ahead to the Lent Term, we are excited to perform the first of our LAMDA Showcases this year. Pupils in Years 2 to 5 will perform their work to their parents and indeed anybody else who would like to join us. We will have more exams next term too so it’s going to be another busy one!

And finally, our Alumni! It’s always great to hear from our past pupils who are completing their Medal Grades and in doing so gaining UCAS points for their university applications. It’s important to remember that whilst LAMDA gives individuals life skills, it also is of academic merit!

I am delighted to say that limited spaces are available should you wish to consider LAMDA for your child, for more information please do get in touch:lessons@loveLAMDA.uk

In the meantime, Merry Christmas! Mrs Farlow


The Music department has had a busy and successful term. Our new Choristers embarked on their first performance in October – singing Vespers and Benediction at The Oratory School. They gained valuable experience and certainly showed off their newly acquired skills in psalm singing. Radley Orchestra Day followed for some of our more experienced orchestra members. Our children played really well, joined over a hundred other children and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

It has been many years since our musicians played for the school’s act of Remembrance so it was wonderful this year to have two young brass players play the Last Post and Reveille in assembly. At the end of November, our ABRSM candidates took part in an informal concert in preparation for their exams in early December. The concert was a great success as were the exams – our children achieved a 100% pass rate including three distinctions.

The Christmas season began in full force on 1st December with a wonderful concert at Our Lady and St John, Goring, by the Jazz Band and Choristers. Alongside some fantastic solo performances, Jazz Band played confidently in their first concert of the year. The programme was varied and festive, ending with a fun rendition of the 12 days of Christmas from the Choristers, complete with actions and a rousing audience singalong! A busy few last weeks of term ensued, pulling in the Music department for a wide variety of Christmas productions across all year groups. This included a memorable and fun Christmas concert featuring Orchestra, Jazz Band, Clarinet, Sax, String and Brass groups and even staff choir; a beautiful Advent Sung Mass in our lovely chapel; and three carol services.


We’ve had another busy term in the Science department.

Inspiration Labs

  • In the first Inspiration Lab of the term, Reception were learning about their senses. Children were investigating ultraviolet light and making tasty glow in the dark jelly.
  • To complement their topic of ‘Home Sweet Home’ and the introduction of their key text, ‘Iggy Peck Architect’, Year 1 visited the Science lab where Mrs Bone had set up an Inspiration Lab challenge! The children had to build a bridge for the herbivores to cross and escape the carnivores! Everyone worked brilliantly in teams and made some interesting and stable structures!


In October, we were delighted to welcome ZooLab into school to give a talk to Year 8 about adaptations and a talk about habitats to Year 5. Pupils met Milo, Trevor, Matilda, Stevie, Prince and Ginny who were incredibly well-behaved!

STEAM Gadget Shop

In November, and as part of our Biology conservation unit, our Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics (STEAM) Ambassadors set and ran a gadget shop selling lots of STEAM goodies.

All the items sold out, raising £206.14, with all funds going towards adopting an Orangutan (pupil choice) in the wild and supporting the work of The WWF (World Wide Fund For Nature).

In other news:

  • Year 4 are lab licensed and ready to get investigating safely
  • On the practical side of this year’s Bronze CREST Awards, as part of our Saturday Enrichment Programme, pupils have been creating a variety of projects including Sports drinks, toothpaste, coke and mentos eruptions and bath bombs, to name but a few.
  • Towards the end of term, pupils were growing crystals in the lab from super saturated solutions. On the last day of term, a little winter sparkle was added to make them extra special!


Hockey Report

It has proven to be another fantastic season of hockey for The OPS with all our pupils participating in at least 9 fixtures throughout the 12 week term.

We finished the season with our annual Hockey Dinner where we celebrated the achievements of all our pupils with the annual ‘Senior Team of the Year’ awards given out before we heard from our very special guest speaker, Claire Fahey. Her words will have inspired everyone in attendance as to breaking down barriers in sport and what it takes to be a professional sportswoman. We also celebrated the pupils’ termly achievements in final assembly with our annual ‘Most Improved Player’, ‘Player of the Season’ and ‘Colours’ certificates.

Our ‘Golden Pads Award’ went to Serena in Year 6 with her performances in goal for the Under 11A and Ida won the ‘Golden Stick’ with her 22 goals this term. The season’s achievements must be measured on participation and we have had every child playing in all fixtures where possible, there has been improvements in every player during the season and many have found new positions and achieved their personal goals. Some individual successes would be our 1st VII finishing 3rd at IAPS and Mr Hwang’s Under 11A finishing 2nd at IAPS. Our Under 9 sides finished the season with the strongest stats winning 70.8% of their games, scoring a massive 109 goals in the process!

Many thanks to the grounds staff for ensuring the pitches and goals were ready for each fixture; many thanks to the kitchen staff for their catering; Lisa Reynolds for her transport arrangements; and the parents for their continued support. I would also like to thank all the Junior Prep and Senior Prep staff for making the season possible with their excellent care and coaching of all the teams. Have a restful Christmas break. Mr Chaffey

Rugby Report

The Oratory Prep School’s 2022 Rugby season has involved over one hundred rugby games being played, by twelve teams, across the school. Every boy has had the opportunity to represent the school on multiple occasions and several of the Senior girls have also played in matches. Nearly all of the matches played were either wins or very competitive losses and many of The OPS teams had very successful campaigns indeed.

This was particularly the case lower down the school but a special mention must go to the U8A team who enjoyed an unbeaten season, very well done boys. The Senior teams battled through a very tough fixture card but showed a huge amount of progress as the season went on. One Senior team in particular that deserves an individual  mention is the 2nd XIII who finished their season with a 75% win ration and runners-up in The Oratory School’s U13s Shield Competition, what a fantastic achievement.

Several players had individual performances and seasons to remember. Second XIII captain George H for example, who scored six tries during his team’s victory vs Abingdon Prep, and Henry M who scored nearly one hundred points for the U10A team this season. However, one individual’s performance really stood out from the rest; Alex G (1st XIII Captain), who scored twenty two tries this season at a strike rate of nearly two and a half tries per game, that is some finishing! Congratulations must also go to all of the boys who won ‘Player of the Season’ awards, ‘Most Improved Player’ awards and Full and Half Rugby Colours, very well done.

To mark the end of the season, we hosted another very successful Rugby Dinner. Thank you to everyone who made this dinner such a special occasion. Well done to everyone who took to the field this season to represent The Oratory Prep School and thank you to everyone who has supported the boys. Finally, as a coaching team, we’d like to wish the Year 8 players the very best of luck with their next rugby season at their Senior schools, and to the rest of the boys lower down the school, we look forward to coaching you again next season. Well played everyone! Mr Fairburn.

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