End of Term Newsletter Summer Term 2022: Department News

View our department news from the Summer Term 2022.


Art

We have had a very busy time in the Art and DT department this year. The children have enjoyed exploring the array of techniques on offer to them. The kiln has been working tirelessly all year as we have loaded it with all sorts, from birdhouse feeders, candle holders, Egyptian jewellery and lamp holders.

We have explored so many different topics from African tribal art to Brazilian Pop Arts to Picasso’s movement in cubism. Pupils have also delved into Ancient Greek art and the wonderful weird world of Salvador Dali. What is lovely to see is how the children have interpreted each project in their own way, making it individual to them.

This year, it has also been lovely to be able to join forces across the year groups. Year 6 enjoyed sharing their Pop Art creations with the younger children by creating a hunt around the school for their sculptures. The two art clubs have also given pupils the opportunity to work with different year groups. These sessions are a great way for the children to explore particular techniques that interest them.

Year 6 had a fantastic trip to Roche Court earlier this term and were fascinated by the sculpture park, creating many discussions about what they perceived as art. We look forward to visiting again next year.

The Art room has also been a busy hub at the weekend during the Saturday Enrichment Programme. Those that particularly enjoy pottery made some monster pinch pots and also experimented with leaf pressing into clay. More recently, the children have been learning about relief printing and experimenting with lino and foam printing.

It has been a great year all round and I would also like to congratulate all the Art Scholars for their hard work they have put in and wish them all the best. Mrs Addleton


Boarding

The summer term has been an exciting and eventful one in the boarding house. With the addition of our new Head of Boarding, Mikayla van den Berg, our GAP staff Ms Write and Ms Lainz, and a huge number of international students from all over the world, this has meant that the size of our boarding family has more than doubled this term. The flexi-boarders also added to our numbers and we have had over 34 boarders most Wednesday to Friday evenings and a fully booked girls’ wing. It has been wonderful watching our family grow.

Weekends were filled with Saturday cricket matches and fun in the sun. We also went to a Bounce Park, paddle boarding, and spent a day shopping and exploring Reading. The highlight however was definitely the trip we took to Bournemouth beach where the boarders spent the day on the pier, swimming in the sea and playing beach volleyball. We ended with a visit to the Oceanarium where the boarders were all excited to see the penguins and a 80 year old sea turtle.

We ended the term with a summer barbeque party and prize giving. The food was wonderful and we all danced the Macarena together, even our wonderful House Mother, Ms Coombes got involved. There were a number of fun awards given out, including The “Gentleman Award”, “Earlybird Award” and even the “Award For The Most Balls Ever Confiscated by Ms Coombes”. A special mention goes to Ceci, who was voted as the “Boarders’ Boarder” and Jaime who was voted “Best Boarder”.

It is with a very heavy heart that we have to say farewell to some of our boarding family this term. We say goodbye to our Year 8 flexi-boarders, many of whom have been boarding with us for many years. We wish you all the best at your new schools. Mz Lainz, who is a third generation legacy of boarding at the Oratory Prep and boarded here herself some years ago, joined us as a GAP for the Summer Term and we are very sad to see her go. We also have a number of international students who have been with us this year who will not be returning. We say a special goodbye to Beltran, Jaime, Jacobo, Javier, Ceci, Angel Tomas and Rodrigo, who have been with the boarding house the longest. You will all be very missed. Finally, we say goodbye to Tiger, our Boarding House Prefect, who has been with us since Year 5. We wish him all the best at his new senior boarding school and hope he comes back to visit.

We have some exciting updates planned over the summer and look forward to welcoming new boarders who will be joining us next year. Thank you so much to all of the staff who ensure that the boarding house is a safe, loving, and exciting community to be a part of. We wish everyone a wonderful summer and a safe return. Mrs Van Den Berg


Drama

This term, our drama department have organised some wonderful productions including a visit to the West End.

Year 5 Bombs and Blackberries – A sweet performance!

Year 5 performed their summer play, ‘Bombs and Blackberries’, to an audience made up of their parents and guardians. A wonderful evening was had by all and the pupils felt especially proud of themselves afterwards.

Over the term, the children have been working hard getting into costume, perfecting their character and projecting their voice. They have also enjoyed learning some classic songs such as ‘Run, Rabbit Run!’ and ‘White Cliffs of Dover’, which they have been singing beautifully around school.

They have been rehearsing during break times, three times a week, since the start of May. Their determination and drive has never faltered and it has been wonderful to work with a range of such talented, hardworking and enthusiastic pupils. It has been a pleasure to put this show together so thank you Year 5!

A huge thank you is also owed to the crew behind the scenes. The stage crew worked tirelessly as a team to ensure each scene was put together perfectly and in good time. Our light and sound tech, George Hall, has been dedicated and his technical expertise is greatly appreciated. Finally, a word of thanks to Mrs Longland for her unwavering support and helping to bring this vision to life.

If you managed to catch the show, I do hope you enjoyed it! Miss Fairhead 

Year 5 Trip to Mary Poppins

In June, Year 5 visited the West End to watch a performance of Mary Poppins. Mrs Longland, Miss Fairhead and Mrs Reed were impressed with the pupils outstanding behaviour on the trip, commenting that they were “practically perfect in every way!”

Year 8 Production of ‘Macbeth’

Towards the end of term, parents of children in Year 8 were invited to watch this term’s production of Macbeth. The production was a piece of promenade theatre, with scenes taking place in various locations around the school.

This unique production of Macbeth really showcased the incredible acting abilities of our Year 8 pupils and was definitely a highlight of the school calendar.


Forest School

This has been the first year every child at the OPS has had the opportunity to enjoy Forest School and what a year it has been!

  • A focus on team games in the Senior department has seen fantastic teamwork and collaboration across the years.
  • Outdoor Art Week enabled Forest School to combine with the Art department and gave every child in the school the opportunity to paint their own Kandinsky concentric circle on a wood cookie and then create a beautiful piece of transient art outside the school gates.
  • The children have been able to extend their wild cooking skills, create incredible natural art, learn how to forage, become masters of knot making and so much more.
We look forward welcoming everybody back in September for more woodland adventures. Mrs Johnston and Mrs Jones

LAMDA

LAMDA has enjoyed a very successful year, watching the pupils grow in confidence and take on new challenges has been infinitely rewarding!

My team and I continue to be motivated by the children’s unrelenting enthusiasm and energy for LAMDA, this has led to some wonderful exam results. Thus far this academic year, pupils have achieved 65 Distinctions and 1 Merit, a further 52 pupils from Years 2 to 8 took exams at the end of June and we wait anxiously for those results!

The end of the Summer Term also presents an opportunity to reflect and consider the impact that LAMDA has had on pupils’ development. I am minded of our 3 Drama Scholars whom I hope will continue their studies with confidence as they approach their Medal Grades at senior school and of Harry Saunders, an OPS LAMDA Alumni who started with us in Year 3 and has recently achieved a Distinction at Gold Medal gaining him 30 UCAS points (equivalent to ½ an A Level) and who is considering Drama School next year!

Towards the end of term, our Senior pupils in Years 6 to 8 performed their work to parents in our annual Showcase. We enjoyed some outstanding performances which included mature and demanding pieces by Shakespeare and even Noel Coward. The evening was topped off by the Year 7 and 8 Musical Theatre Group who performed an energetic number from High School Musical. It was wonderful to see pupils respond to the energy of a live audience, there wasn’t a hint of nerves to be seen and I was proud of every single one of them!

Congratulations to all the pupils who have enjoyed LAMDA success this year. If you would like to consider LAMDA lessons for your child please contact lessons@lovelamda.uk Mrs Farlow


Music

What a contrast this term has been from those of late – certainly memorable in its excitement and variety.

Summer Term events in the Music department began with a wonderful Vespers and Benediction at The Oratory School, led by Stephen Burrows and attended by our choristers. The children were able to really test out the psalm singing skills they had worked on during the year and the experience of singing with a mixed choir, including a great many loud basses and tenors, was certainly invaluable and we raised the roof of the OS chapel!

By now the choristers were really on a roll and two days later they treated a full OPS chapel congregation to a sung mass, including some delightful ordinaries, Goodall’s classic ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’ and some rousing hymns.

Our termly ABRSM session ran very smoothly with a hundred per cent pass rate and some very good performances. A distinction at Grade 6 guitar for Zubyn, one of our Year 8 pupils, was certainly quite exceptional.

A huge highlight in our calendar was Young Voices at the O2. OPS pupils performed alongside thousands of other school children at a memorable and exciting concert. We sang Lion King, Beatles, Pop and Muppets medleys, a chorus from the Carmina Burana to name but a few. Beat box groups, street dance troupes and professional singers and instrumentalists added to the experience. This was a truly unforgettable event, especially after such live events were cancelled due to Covid.

Year 1 and 2 were welcomed up to the department by our peri staff in May for their music taster morning; hopefully inspiring budding instrumentalists and singers and making them aware of just what exciting opportunities await.

A new addition to the calendar, our African workshop was a great success. Our Year 5 children were treated to a day of collaboration and fun with children from nearby Woodcote Primary School. They learnt lots of new songs, enjoyed various activities including drama, forest school craft, t-shirt printing, team-building and drumming – all culminating in a lovely concert performance to show their parents. Despite torrential rain and a last minute change of venue, the children were unfazed and performed confidently with a great deal of style and fun. What a great success the venture was!

Year 6 had the fantastic opportunity of learning a new skill and drumming with our talented drum teacher Mr Donnelly in a one day workshop in the department. What a thrilling sight to see the children enthusiastically playing along to a dance/techno inspired backing track using a variety of junkyard instruments including old plastic drums, dustbins and dustbin lids and homemade shakers! Who knew that recycling could be so rousing!

Clearly the highlight of any normal musical year must always be the Summer Concert in the marquee. It was both emotional and exhilarating to see all the performers from Year 3 to Year 8 singing and playing together, enjoying their music and showcasing all the hard work they have put in this year. To achieve such quality after a difficult two years is testament to their hard work but also the dedication of my wonderful team in Music. Special thanks must as always go to Linda Anderson for her unwavering support and the high standards she expects and achieves from the children and we extend a special goodbye to our wonderful guitar teacher, Joe Newman, and wish him and his family every happiness in their move to the north. We say goodbye to our Year 8 leavers but the future of the OPS Music department looks bright as we look forward to another busy and successful programme of events next year! Mrs Reed


Reception

What a wonderful year this has been. The children have been an absolute delight and it is always a joy to see the big smiles on their faces. They participated happily throughout all of our topics and they have worked hard during literacy and mathematical activities. Every child should be very proud of their achievements.

Our topic for the first half of the Summer Term was all about ‘People who help us!’ The children enjoyed talking about people who help them at home and at school, as well as the local community. A highlight of this topic was a visit from some doctors. Both classes found out what it is like to work in a hospital with a team of health professionals and they could not wait to try out some medical equipment on their peers! Another exciting event for the children was a visit from a Superintendent Police Officer. They could not believe someone from the police force was actually visiting our school! They listened and asked so many questions and it was a great opportunity to think about the different ways in which we can keep safe. Both classes explored the handcuffs and they eagerly put on the police hats and helmets!

During the second half of the term we moved onto ‘Minibeasts.’ The children have learnt about how to care for living things and to understand their importance in the natural world. We have learnt about various life cycles which have promoted good questioning and this topic has led to some amazing writing opportunities.

During the last few weeks of the term, both classes have been consolidating everything they have learnt throughout the year. They all moved up confidently on ‘Moving Up Day’ and everyone is looking forward to being in their new classes in September.

Sports Day was a most enjoyable time for us all and some competitive streaks were shown on the day! Reception demonstrated excellent behaviour when joining Years 1 and 2 for their final Assembly.

It was wonderful to watch both the classes performing in a ‘Dance Show.’ Reception Red entertained the entire audience when dancing to the ‘Ugly Bug Ball!’ and Reception Blue did a wonderful job, dancing to the song ‘Nine to 5!’

The phenomenal finish at the end of our Summer Term was a visit to The River and Rowing Museum. We all had a wonderful day out at ‘The Ugly Bug Ball!’ There was a hands-on activity workshop where everyone had a go at drawing and making some Minibeasts out of clay. The children dressed up and acted out various life cycles of these amazing creatures. We sang some songs and then explored the amazing galleries. Great interest was shown during a Minibeast safari hunt. Exploring the fantastic ‘Wind and the Willows’ area was a magical experience for everyone!

This has been a year that we will not forget and we would like to thank you all for being so supportive. We wish the children every success and happiness in Year 1. Have a wonderful Summer holiday. Miss Molyneux and Mrs Ackerman


Science

What a busy term we have had in Science! We have been innovative, creative, engaging and enriching and our pupils, from Kindy to Year 8, have taken full advantage of everything we have had to offer.

This term, Science has been in Kindy lessons every week supplementing learning as part of the weekly themes. Kindy have painted wax drawings, made smoking dragons, their own dinosaur footprints and skeleton hands! What a lot of fun (and a lot of learning) we have done!

Science teaching in the lab has also been offered as part of our ‘Inspiration Labs’ initiative to excite and engage children in Science from an early age. Reception to Year 2 pupils have been invited over to the labs to take part in many challenges and laboratory science including; making chromatography flowers, mini microscopes, looking at pond water down a microscope, balloon-powered travel and revealing who stole the cookies from the cookie jar! We are so excited to know that such fantastic and enthusiastic scientists will be joining us in the labs for every Science lesson when they move into Year 3 in September!

Some highlights from our lessons this term (there are so many we could mention!) must include the following.

  • Year 5 have been studying forces and then human anatomy. Pupils made and tested out paper boat designs that could reduce water resistance and make a boat to hold the most marbles in water (a record 184 by Jaime Perez), therefore looking at the properties of upthrust. The unit culminated with pupils building their own Rube-Goldberg machine which saw some creative genius and innovative thinking to do a very simple task in the most complicated way possible!
  • On to the human body and we explored the skeleton by drawing a life-sized representation on the Science desks. Pupils researched where each bone went and what it looked like before adding it to the diagram.
  • Year 6 have studied light and seeing and fossils. Pupils made pin hole cameras and then worked to improve the design. Could they invert the image to make it look the correct way up? How does this compare to how the eye works? What colours make the light we use to see all around us? Pupils looked at the primary and secondary colours of light using LEDs and filters.
  • Year 6 then became experts with the use of the Periodic Table by playing some very heated games of Periodic Table battleships!
  • Year 7 have studied molecules and waves. Pupils made waffles to explain why equations in Science never use an equals sign. This lesson must have stuck as very few made this mistake in their end of year examinations!
  • Pupils built their own musical instruments to explore how sound waves work and how they can be manipulated. Role play ensued when Year 7 became audiologists and researched some common ear issues and how these can be diagnosed and treated.

In May, the STEM Ambassadors took on the Lego Robotics and Coding Challenges at Legoland. Their computer coding skills were challenged as they programmed and built their own mini guardbot to stop trespassers from wandering into newly built parts of the site. They then had to use Lego bricks to write a short binary code message. A fun day which ensured our pupils used their creativity, communication and collaboration skills to their fullest.

The 8th of June was World Ocean’s Day. Our STEM Ambassadors came up with the concept of ‘It’s not a fashion, keep plastic out of the ocean’ and presented a whole collection of outfits based on some images of the damage plastic can cause to ocean life. Well done to Fin, Jamie, Ronnie and Leo on creating the outfits and to Jonty for his excellent hosting. We invited everyone to write a message on a bottle cap to help with the World Ocean’s Day installation – thank you to everyone who has handed in a bottle cap!

The CREST Awards have run throughout the year with Years 5 to 8 taking part at all levels. The CREST Awards Scheme is the British Science Association’s flagship programme for young people, providing science enrichment activities to inspire and engage 5-to-19-year-olds. The Superstar Awards (for completing eight 1- hour STEM projects) are awarded to Abigail Eyre, Marla Babiker, Jaime Perez, Serena Eady and Aleixa De Souza. The Discovery Award (for completing one 8-hour STEM project) are awarded to Theodore Woolley, Chloe Visser, Ozzie Visser and Philip Jones. They worked together to make an excellent installation of a celebration of all things STEM in Lab 2.

The Bronze Award (for completing one 10-hour STEM project) is awarded to Riley Ackerman for his project on homemade vs shop bought shampoo, George Hall for his perfect controller project, Elikia Case for his ergonomic controller project, Samantha Wesson for her ‘which soils help plants to grow best’ project, Kiara Kemahli for her Kiara’s keep out cold cup project, Rory Browett for his sour sweets project and Henry Kietz and Thomas Holborn for their fizzy drinks projects.

Finally, the Silver Award (for completing one 30-hour STEM project) is awarded to Iris Gray for her medical app project and Archie White for his perfect pizza box project. Well done to all!

The end of the summer term has always been a chance to challenge and showcase the exceptional skills and knowledge Year 8 have gained over their time at the OPS. This year, we introduced the first OPS STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) Fair which went down a storm! Year 8 had worked tirelessly for almost 3 weeks on a project of their own choice. They wrote a hypothesis, devised their own practical experiments and produced a project board of their findings. Science Teachers from their future schools came to judge as well as pupils from Year 3 to 7. What a fantastic show of STEAM talent! We are all so very proud of you Year 8!

Congratulations go to Rory Browett, Joe Barratt, Beltran (Pupil Prize Award) with their project of Cheap vs Expensive. Jess Reed, Isla Preston, Rosie Braich (STEAM Teacher Award) with their project of Electrical Fruits. Mallory Ross, Tara Bignell, Amelia Cole (Runners-Up) with their project of Bold Bones – the adaptation of the horse and finally to our overall winner, Iris Gray with Meditrak: An app which helps you track your health. Miss Bone


Sport

The girls and boys thoroughly enjoyed their cricket season for Summer 2022 and the OPS had plenty to be proud of. Across all the 27 sides at the school, we played an incredible 213 fixtures this term with every pupil representing the school. We had a win percentage of 63.5% with our Under 8 Girls going unbeaten all term and our 1st XI and U9A girls losing just one. We gave out a total of seventeen half-century bats and one century bat. We also had three hat trick balls given out to Samuel James, Henry Manwaring and Pippa Bignell. We also had Albie Tomlinson scoop the player of the tournament award at Teddies.

We finished the season with our school house matches which proved to be close yet again. With Elston winning the Junior and Intermediate sections and Caversham winning the boys, it came down to the final Wednesday of the term for the Seniors. Rosehill won the Senior girls convincingly and Caversham just won the boys meaning the House Cricket Cup returned to Caversham for the 2021/22 season.

As we look forward to winter nets, we must thank all of those who have made the season possible. The pupils for their commitment throughout the season; the coaches for their guidance and support; Mrs Reynolds for her tireless work as Transport Secretary; Mr Packer and his kitchen team for providing food to our players, opposition, staff and parents every week; and the Grounds team for their hard work on the wickets and outfields. It certainly isn’t an easy job maintaining 11 cricket pitches on the OPS site!

Award winners for the 2022 season:

Boys

Most Improved PlayerPlayer of the Season
Under 8AAlexander RolfeGabriel Surplice
Under 8BElliott Gosling-EvansGrigorii Puzanov
Under 9ATom StewartHenry Manwaring
Under 9BThomas EdgerRory Forbes
Under 10AElliot VaughanAlbert Tomlinson
Under 10BGeorge StoneLouis Warner
Colts ACharlie KempRishi Sivaloganathan
Colts BMarcos Aviles Ozzie Visser
1st XIHenry KietzJoe Barratt
2nd XIBarnaby BadcockJonty Savage
3rd XIBeltran Guerrero DomecqFinn Mackenzie
4th XIAngel Tomas OlivoGeorge Hall

Girls

Most Improved PlayerPlayer of the Season
Under 8AKathryn JonesIda Tomlinson
Under 8BPoppy HowarthGreta Woolley
Under 9ASophia GhicaAmy Longden
Under 9BAmelie RyanAbigail Brooks
Under 10ALois HambletonGeorgina Good
Under 10BElla DaviesFlorence Moorcroft
U11ALucy ManwaringCharlotte Gosling-Evans
1st XIErin RobertsonMallory Ross
2nd XIEmily CaineTara Bignell
3rd XIMillie BishAmy Prodhan
4th XIAnnabel SimpkinsIsaure Fekete

Triathlon 2022

The OPS were proud to bring back the school triathlon for Years 3 to 8. The format was broken into two races per year group with every child taking part in at least one event. We had a large number of pupils in the individual event which proved to be competitive at every age group with boys and girls competing together. The team event was also exciting with each house having to tag the next athlete at each station with some pupils opting to do two of the three events.

We had some excellent performances in each race with Rosehill claiming three wins in the team event at U9, U11 and U13. Elston had a strong pool of athletes in the individual events at U9 with James, I Craven and G Craven all getting on the podium. C Edwards won the U10 section with G Good rivalling her brother with a second place finish to his first at Under 8s. A Gray, A Bayfield and J Barratt all cycled and ran well to scoop their 1st place finishes with Rosehill claiming the trophy with a fantastic 40 points across all 6 year groups.

Sports Day 2022

Our final sporting event of the term was broken up into three this year with Sports Day for EYFS, Junior Prep and Senior Prep. All three days proved to be excellent events with a grand total of 15 new records set across the track and field. We had a further 5 records set in the new hurdles distances and shot weight. For the first time ever, we have records for Year 1 and Year 2 with times and distances set in the Long Jump, Vortex, 50m, Hurdles and 200m with Hughie Moorcroft, Barney Churchill, Autumn Tier setting 9 between them. Theo Longland set a great record of 23.78m in the Vortex and Alfred Wakeman threw 18.09m in the Year 1 section. Bragging rights belong to Albie Tomlinson in the Tomlinson household as he broke his father’s record set in 1989 by throwing 2.13m further! Lily Bowlby threw 42.61m in the rounders ball and Ceci Lainz threw 44.23m throwing 5.79m further than Niamh McAdden in 2018. Skyla Horton-Moran jumped 1.35m in the high jump to set a school record and Finn Mackenzie threw 1.95m further in the Shot Putt, smashing the school record. The final two records broken on Sports Day were Gracie Coates in the 75m Sprint (adding to her Hurdles record set earlier) and the Old Boys relay which saw Luke Rebholz, George Clark, Noah Coates and Callum Forsyth run 48.07s in the 4x100m. They came close but were 0.42s slower than the 2017 teachers team in Mr Strang, Mr Jones, Mr Hamilton and Mr Chaffey!

The results of the house sports day across the Junior and Senior Prep were read out in final assembly:

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We also handed out two prizes for the best performances at Sports Day with Isabelle Craven winning the Junior award for competing in 7 events and winning them all! She broke two school records in the process, throwing 22.82m in the vortex and ran 13.83s in the hurdles.

The Senior award was won by Amelie Bayfield, she broke two school records adding to her 4 current records set in 2021 and 2018. Her first record breaking effort was in the shot putt where she threw a huge 7.32m. Her final record was set in the 75m where she ran 10.26s. Not only did she set records she also won the 800m, 100m, relay and gained a podium finish in the hurdles and the long jump.

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