IMG 3033

End of Term Lent Newsletter

Dear Parents,

At the start of the year, Kate Oakley and I met with parents from all year groups to discuss both the new curriculum in the Junior Prep and the plans to build a senior curriculum that grows naturally from that – developing an engaging and challenging curriculum and an environment that continually nurtures and celebrates a range of behaviours and skills within the broader life of the OPS.

It was therefore fantastic to present the new cross-curricular, thematic curriculum just as we entered the last Exeat. We are all delighted by the way our curriculum is unfolding from Reception through to the end of Year 8, providing excitement, stimulation and challenge in equal measure.

In the end of term reports, you will read about three areas that we identified as high priorities at the start of the year – academic skills, personal development and character. The reports are a way of providing a fuller picture of each child’s overall development. It is interesting and noteworthy that these three areas of a child’s profile are increasingly important in admissions conversations; many senior schools are setting up admissions processes where this fuller picture of a child can emerge. We are providing children with the best possible means to shine when they are considered for these schools.

I would like to shine the spotlight on the brilliant achievements of our 20 Year 8 pupils who have secured scholarships and exhibitions to their future schools:

Joe Barratt – Millfield – Rugby Scholarship
Freddie Bennett – Rugby School – Art Scholarship
Lily Bowlby – Bradfield College – Sports Scholarship
Amelia Cole – The Oratory – Sport Exhibition
Rosie Davis – The Oratory – Sport Exhibition
Georgia Fiorentino – The Oratory – Sports Scholarship
Iris Gray – Headington – Moller Academic Scholarship
Orla Huxtable – St Edward’s – Sports Award
Henry Kietz – The Oratory – Academic Scholarship
Romilly McMahon – The Oratory – Art Scholarship
Zubyn Mehta – Radley – Music Scholarship and Abingdon – Music Exhibition
Maeve Moorcroft – The Oratory – Art Exhibition
Darcy Pollard – Pangbourne College – Drama Scholarship
Jessica Reed – The Oratory – Music Scholarship
Mallory Ross – St Edward’s – Art Scholarship
Jonty Savage, The Oratory School – Fitzherbert-Brockholes All Round Scholarship
Finley South – The Oratory – Art Exhibition
Isabella Teodorani-Fabbri – The Oratory – Art Exhibition and Drama Scholarship
Archie White – Radley – Academic Exhibition
India Winchcomb – Oratory School – Drama Scholarship

It has been another very busy, enriching and rewarding term for us all.

We wish you a very happy and peaceful Easter break.

Best Wishes,

Rob


Scholarships and Exhibitions

We wanted to say huge congratulations once again to all of our Year 8s who have been awarded Scholarships and Exhibitions, pictured below and as follows:

Top to bottom row (left to right) – group photo:
  • Lily, Iris, Isabella, Romilly
  • Rosie, India, Maeve, Jess, Orla, Darcy
  • Mallory, Amelia and Georgia
Individual photos:
  • Archie White
  • Freddie Bennett
  • Zubyn Mehta
  • Finley South
For those not present on the day these photos were taken, namely Henry Kietz, Jonty Savage and Joe Barratt, their achievements will be highlighted again in the weekly Bulletin at the beginning of term.

Beautiful Bonnet Parade

The sun shone and the daffodils were in full spring glory as our littlest OPS children proudly paraded their beautiful bonnet creations for Lower Junior Prep and then joined in with Year 2 to continue their Easter festivities which included traditional egg rolling, an Easter egg hunt and a special visit from the Easter bunny.


Wonderful Mummies

Our Kindergarten youngsters celebrated their mummies with a special Mother’s Day Tea Party in the Barn. The children each shared why they love their mothers so much.


Fairy Tales and Farming

Through our ‘Fairy Tales’ and ‘Farming,’ topics this term, children in Reception have had so many opportunities to learn about the meaning of collaboration. They have shared their ideas during discussion times as well as when working in small groups, during creative activities. They are also starting to realise the importance of building resilience, through ‘having a go,’ persevering and not giving up

Great interest was shown when finding out about different types of ‘Farming,’ in this country and in other countries around the world, and learning about where our food comes from and how to keep fit by eating a healthy diet. The children have also learnt about a variety of animals, their needs and habitats.They had great fun planting some beans and seeds and watching them grow, learning about the parts of a plant as it grows as well as the need for growth.

The highlight of the term was joining in our Easter Eggstravaganza. We watched the children from ‘Little Oaks’ as they paraded around the tennis courts in their Easter bonnets. Mrs Reed kindly provided us with music and we all sang a hymn and some Easter songs. It was then time to roll our eggs down a hill! Well done Rosetta and Lily for winning the best decorated egg! A treat from the Easter Bunny was an amazing end to our busy Lent term!


Bucklebury baby lambs

Our Reception classes could not wait to climb up onto the enormous coach to travel to Bucklebury Farm! On arrival, we all set off on a deer hunt. Everyone was very excited as they chose their place to sit on the trailer. The tractor ride was incredibly bumpy, as we moved around the farmland searching for different types of Deer and treating them to an early morning snack! We were very lucky to learn so much about these beautiful animals.

The children toured the Farm, held and stroked guinea pigs, rabbits, Easter bunnies and a very shiny tortoise! Following a picnic lunch, a fabulous treat was in store for the afternoon, the bottle feeding of three gorgeous baby lambs! To end our day, the children had a great time playing in the adventure playground. It was a a very different journey back to school with some very sleepy children. What an amazing Phenomenal Finish to end our Lent term.


Modern Twist to Farming

Thanks to Mr & Mrs King, Reception children visited two farms in Wallingford to learn about different farm vehicles. We met Farmer Tony with his straw hat who showed us his collection of vintage tractors, potato harvester, seed planter and combine harvester which he has lovingly restored. We learnt about arable farming and what products we can buy in the shops from crops like wheat, barley and oats.

Farmer Johnny (a former OPS pupil) showed his modern farm vehicles so we could see how much they have changed in size and how they use modern technology to make a farmer’s job easier and to meet the demands of our growing population. 

At school, the children have continued to learn about how different crops are grown and harvested, the variety of jobs a farmer needs to do every day and the food we can eat from farm animals too.

 


All About Dinosaurs

We explored our topic on all about dinosaurs! Learning began in the classrooms but then extended to the corridors, the Library, the the astro-turf, our very own woods, a guest speaker – Mrs Bone and the National History Museum.

 


Windsor Castle

Year 2 had such a very busy term.  We began by developing our understanding of life in a castle, through the topic of Castles and Dragons.  We visited Windsor Castle and thoroughly enjoyed learning how to defend our castles from attack!  Our focus text of ‘George and the Dragon’ helped us to create imaginative writing based around the setting and we enjoyed exploring the themes, developing our creative and historical skills throughout.


Teeth Inspectors

Some science highlights for Year 4 over the term have included taking a closer look at teeth, creating density columns following along with our very own OPS Science Podcast and setting up and using Bunsen burners to observe changes of state.


Breeding Bookworms

From creating their own Rainforest in a Box to celebrating International Day and enjoying some precious time reading to Reception children in the Library, every day is so varied. The term culminated with our Phenomenal Finish – a rewarding Stay and Share, at which parents were invited to see their child’s work and this was rounded off with a rendition of Refuge which they had learnt in Junior Choir.


Bonjour les parents!  

The Lent term has been busy in the MFL department. Year 3 have perfected their counting to 20, shapes, fruits and colours while the Year 4s have gained much confidence with shop names, telling the time and participating with such enthusiasm in mini restaurant role play activities, complete with their own self-designed menus. We greatly enjoyed our French themed International Day in Year 3 and the opportunity to learn about Matisse, and the term was rounded off in style with an assembly to the rest of the junior prep in which the children showcased their excellent singing skills! They certainly look the part!

Year 5 have been extending their oral and written production to describe their pets using descriptive adjectives.  Some lucky animals made guest appearances online with their isolating owners! We particularly enjoyed World Book Day with a focus on Les Fables de la Fontaine.

Year 6 have worked on their target language oral presentation skills using the magic microphone. Their confidence and public speaking skills have been outstanding. They have modelled their accents on their favourite French band Kids United. 

Year 7 began the term with a cheese tasting session followed by general discussion surrounding French and English cultural eating habits.  The second half term has focused more on language construction ranging from prepositions and partitives to expressions in the past and near future tenses. These year groups have videoed themselves talking about their favourite activities from past holidays to dream holidays using the Flip Grid app. Their performances certainly are authentic! 


Science

Everyday Einsteins 

STEM Ambassadors have recorded their first two podcasts, titled ‘Everyday Einsteins’ with interviews with a Chemical Engineer and an Aeronautical Engineer. In these podcasts our Ambassadors also go through instructions to complete some simple practical experiments everyone can have a go at at home. These included a density column and a skittles rainbow using chromatography.

Women and Girls in Science Day

Science celebrated the day by releasing a competition for pupils to get involved with telling us about a woman who had inspired them. There were so many fantastic entries with winners in each year group. There was also a treasure hunt around the school for pupils to find information about 10 women in STEM.

Year 7 and The Great Debate

Year 7 went to the Oxford Museum of Natural History as part of their module on Genetics and Evolution. In the museum they had a self guided tour of the evolution of life on Earth, from insects to fish, dinosaurs to birds. They also visited the Huxley Room, the scene where in 1860, Thomas Henry Huxley and Samuel Wilberforce clashed in a fierce debate between religion and science.

Chemistry Spectacular

Fifteen budding Year 6 scientists visited Wellington College to watch the Chemistry Spectacular show. They were taken on an exciting and engaging journey through some well known elements of the Periodic Table including the flammability of hydrogen gas, the oxidising properties of phosphorus and how to help elephants clean their teeth with potassium iodide.

The OPS Science Challenge Morning

Five local primary schools were welcomed into the Labs to compete for the OPS Science trophy! There were three challenges in Biology, Chemistry and Physics involving pupils dissecting flowers, running chemical tests on unknown white powders and making a hologram. Trinity School was declared the winner of the morning after competing at an exceptionally high standard and our STEM helpers shone throughout the event.

The Astrodome

Year 5 and 8 had a treat when the Astrodome visited during their Space Physics modules. Pupils got to see rocks from outer space, watch the stars move over their heads and learnt how to recognise constellations in the night sky.

British Science Week

This year’s British Science Week made a fantastic buzz around the school with the theme of ‘Growth’. The week started with a Focus Morning where pupils completed projects in growing spaghetti towers, geodesic domes, spider webs and bacterial cultures! There was also the ‘body building’ challenge, growing bean mazes and chromatography flowers. The Focus Morning finished with the Science House Quiz which was incredibly intense! Well done to Branksome House on your victory and for winning the House Science trophy.

Throughout the week pupils were invited to take part in additional STEM breaktime activities, from making bubble snakes to cress heads, milk tie dye paper to rock candy. 

The Gadget Shop made an appearance for the first time as it raised funds for the Ukraine Crisis. The shop raised £180.90 and all proceeds have made their way to UNICEF to help children fleeing the war.

Pre-prep students were invited to have a go at making their own slime in the ‘Slime Lab’ which was very messy, but fantastic fun! Kindy also got involved by making the best bubble snakes and were treated to a supersized elephant toothpaste demonstration! 

We awarded over 60 certificates for STEM related activities including 45 for the STEM Award! Well done to all who have received their patch and certificate! 

 


Art

This term the children continue to be busy producing all sorts of creations. They have been exploring a number of skills but we have focused mainly on pottery both in class and during the Saturday Enrichment Programme.

Year 5 has been exploring colour and looking at the work of Kandinsky. They created their own concentric circles, looking at how each colour affects the way another colour looks next to it. Then more recently, they have made a clay candle holder in which they will glaze using a variety of bright colours.

We started off the term having a great Pop Art Treasure Hunt for the Lower Junior Prep so Year 6 could showcase their fantastic Oldenburgh sculptures from last term. The younger children loved spotting them around the school.

Year 6 have had a busy term looking at William Morris and Georgia O’Keeffe. They have explored how both artists use nature in their art which at the time was desired by those living in urban environments to feel closer to nature. They particularly enjoyed making their flower tiles and diligently added layers to make 3D forms.

Earlier in the term, Year 7 sketched one point perspective drawings, using their imagination for the theme, Dreams. Many of them have entered their paintings into the Oxford Young Artist competition. They have recently been looking at the human figure, testing the theory of Da Vinci’s Virtuvian Man and studying Giacometti’s elongated figures.

Year 8 have designed and crafted their clay lamp holders this term. They did well with the challenging task of building their cubes which they have decorated independently, creating their own patterns. They have also started to look at optical illusion and how RGB patterns against flashing light can create movement. This is something we will continue with next term.

It was a pleasure to congratulate the Art scholars this term on their achievements. They worked so hard in the lead up to the beginning of the term and have inspired the Year 7’s who are busy working on their personal projects during scholars club.

Reminder: Please don’t forget about the Easter break Photography Competition. The deadline is 22nd April. The theme is growing into Spring. They can take a photo of flowers blooming, creatures in the wild, whatever captures their imagination. We look forward to receiving their entries which can be emailed to myself and Mrs Bone at c.bone@oratoryprep.co.uk and e.addleton@oratoryprep.co.uk


Mood Boards

Year 6 have been focussing on costume design in Drama this half of term, and have created their own mood boards for The Breadwinner, their text in English. They explored colours, textures and the culture in Afghanistan to then to draw their very own costume for specific characters from the book.

We then started to get creative and use old pieces of fabric, carpet, tissue, anything we could find that would contribute to them creating their amazing costume designs.

 


Music

We are always so busy up in the Music Department and this term has been no exception.

Individual lessons have continued apace with children from Years 1 to 8 benefiting from the expertise and passion of our visiting music staff. We have relished the opportunities afforded by a relaxation in Covid rules to again welcome large audiences to our music department events.

Just before half term we had a wonderful Vocal concert in the theatre featuring performances from Intermediate choir, Senior Choir, Choristers and the large and newly re-formed Staff choir. A colourful programme included some sacred and secular items and several medleys including ‘Lion King’ and ‘The Muppets’.

A successful candidates concert preceded our latest ABRSM exam session. We always feel that it is important to showcase the achievements of our older pupils to inspire those in younger years and to this end our two 13+ Music Scholarship recipients Zubyn Mehta and Jessica Reed recently played to Year 2 in an informal concert. Zubyn was adding to the success he had already achieved this term after securing his place in the National Youth guitar ensemble back in February.

Playing together not only gives our children teamwork and valuable musical experience but is also great fun. We have been really pleased to welcome lots of new players to our Orchestra this year and after taking part in the fantastic Christmas concert last term they are continuing their rehearsals and can’t wait to share their hard work in several live performances planned for next term. Our wonderful Jazz band, under the expert guidance of Linda Anderson and ably assisted by our drum teacher John Donnelly, played at the Hopkins Jazz dinner last week. They played a foot-tapping programme including ‘Sing, sing, sing’, ‘I’ll be there’, Mood Indigo’ and ‘Smoke on the water’. Year 3 and 4 have shared a song with their parents in their recent respective ‘See my work’ afternoons and Intermediate choir are getting very excited about their trip next term to take part in ‘Young Voices’ at the O2.

The whole school was so happy to welcome back the much missed and eagerly anticipated Inter-house music competition on Thursday 11th March. Soloists from each year group competed in hotly contested rounds and the houses raised the roof with their house songs, all taken from the year 2000 and included hits such as ‘Yellow’ by Coldplay, ‘Blue’ by Eiffel 65 and ‘It’s my life’ by Bon Jovi. Caversham treated us to a medley that included a memorable ‘Shalala Lala’ by Vebgaboys which ultimately snatched first place for the house song and provided us with a real ‘ear worm of a tune’ for days afterwards. Overall triumph went to Branksome house. It’s certainly good to be back in earnest and we can’t wait for the host of performances planned for next term!


LAMDA

The LAMDA department has had a wonderful and exceptionally busy term, with pupils embracing everything from Acting to Public Speaking, Verse and Prose to Musical Theatre, Devising Drama to Shakespeare. It’s an eclectic mix and one which the children benefit from hugely as they explore the different syllabi, learn new skills, develop new interests and most importantly, grow into confident communicators.

Our lessons are totally bespoke and we aim to draw the very best from each child. Earlier this term we received our exam results from the Michaelmas Term, 22 children achieved 22 glowing Distinctions, with scores in the high 80’s and 90’s, this is no mean feat and is testament to their dedication and hard work. Last week we enjoyed our Lent Term exams and look forward to receiving the results in due course.

We were thrilled that four of our pupils achieved Drama Scholarships to their senior schools this term, so a special mention to Darcy, India, Alfie and Isabella, we are hugely proud of you all.  It is always gratifying to learn of OPS pupils who continue LAMDA into their senior education; we now have quite an alumni who have gained UCAS points from taking their LAMDA Medal Grades (6, 7 and 8) and are going on to study Performing Arts and Media at University.

Our LAMDA Juniors took to the stage earlier this week to present the Junior Showcase. It was wonderful to see the children from Years 2-5, some of whom were incredibly nervous, throw themselves into performing with great enthusiasm. The warmth and buzz of a live audience energised the children and the smiles at the end were boundless, it was a special moment!

We are looking ahead to an equally busy Summer Term when we will hold two further exam sessions and the Seniors will take to the stage in their Showcase. Some of our Year 8’s started their LAMDA journey in Year 3 and will be leaving the OPS with Grade 5, this a considerable achievement for children so young and is not to be underestimated, we look forward to celebrating their achievements in June.


Forest School

What a wonderfully busy but calm Lent term we have had in the OPS Woodland. The children have approached every adventure with creativity and enthusiasm and have embraced collaborative challenges, eco projects and recycling madness!

The children have been excited about watching the change in the seasons. Experiencing the smell of rain and feeling the warmth of the sun. With this change they are becoming confident in identifying all the new life that is springing up around them.


Boarding

It has been a lovely term for the Boarding House.  The children, right from the start, adjusted brilliantly to Matron running things with the support of the duty staff team, not forgetting our Gap students Miss Calpin and Miss Morley.

We have welcomed Mr Baker to the duty staff team, and said goodbye to Miss Morley who has taken advantage of Covid travel restrictions being lifted and has set off on her travels before starting at St Hugh’s College, Oxford to study Biology in September. We wish her all the very best.

This term we have had fun evening activities organised by the duty staff including dodgeball and basketball in the sports hall. Manhunt/Hide and seek around the empty classrooms, Cecilia winning that one, keeping her hiding place a secret for future games! Bingo with Mrs Williams was very popular, great fun with sweet prizes to be won – winners with a full house were Angel Tomas and Elikia with excellent bingo calling by Jaime. Even Matron had a go and introduced a game of human battleships which included being sunk by Gap students armed with water pistols. definitely taking this one outside in the summer term and upgrading the water pistols for water guns!

We all had fun getting dressed up for world book day giving Matron a challenge to find costumes or parts of costumes for the variety of characters from the children’s favourite books. Most of the costumes lasted all day. Ending with Rodrigo being spotted wearing his ‘Where’s Wally’ hat to bed. Can you spot our Boarding house Prefect Tiger in disguise in our group photo.

We have celebrated quite a few birthdays this term: Cecelia, Eason, Angel Tomas, Beltran, Abi and just before the Easter holidays Jacobo, lots of cake consumed by everyone.

This last half term, Mr Shepperd has joined us as a Gap student, who has taken some time out of his career plans to leave behind the hot weather of his home country, South Africa, to join us. His first week was quite an initiation with very wet, cold and windy weather but he is still with us and looking froward to enjoying the British summer months ahead and being part of OPS Cricket.

We have had several trips out at the weekends with the usual Trampoline park, bowling and two trips to the cinema to see ‘Sing 2’ and then this half term ‘Uncharted’. We also added in this term the chance to test our nerve and skills at a local climbing wall experience. Well done to Jacobo, Cecilia, Javier, Elikia, Jaime and Henry reaching great heights and supporting each other. We also tried our hand at Laser Kombat which was hot and tiring but everyone was keen to find out who had the highest score at the end with Beltran topping the chart!

Flexi boarding has been very popular again this term giving day pupils the chance to experience what boarding is all about. We have welcomed our regular flexi boarders who stay 2-3 nights every week, as well as children for taster nights and children staying to help parents out who have work commitments.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our flexi boarding families that have hosted our international boarders during Exeat weekends.

We are always looking for host families and offer free nights in the boarding house for your own children as a thank you.

We have several new boarders joining us throughout the summer term who would love the opportunity to spend Exeat with one of our OPS families so please contact me over the Easter holidays if you feel as a family this is something you can offer.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the resident staff for their help in looking after the boarders/flexi boarders and supporting me to ensure that they are all happy and have a great boarding experience.

To the children THANK YOU so much – my time as Housemistress has been challenging, fun and sometimes very tiring but I have loved it all. I’m not going anywhere just back to being Matron as we welcome our new Boarding Housemistress, Mikayla Van den Berg. I am really looking forward to working alongside Mrs Van Den Berg in a very happy, busy, vibrant and thriving community.

Lorraine Coombes

Matron/Housemistress


Girls’ Sporting Highlights

It’s been a fun filled term with all Year 3 to 8 girls having the opportunity to represent their schools teams in both Netball and Football matches, tournaments and IAPS Competitions.

The girls started off brilliantly and portrayed their ever improving Netball ability, both individually and within their squads. Many girls gain further training at clubs within their local areas and this has certainly improved their overall ability and is allowing them to shine on the court.

Some of our outstanding performances have seen the U11A & 1st team squads perform brilliantly at their respective IAPS Tournaments. The U11 travelled to Rugby School for the day and won 2, drew 1 and lost 2 matches during the tournament. They reached the quarter finals which is an outstanding achievement and one that has never been reached by an U11 OPS Netball team at IAPS level before.

The 1st team squad travelled to Guildford for their IAPS Netball tournament and impressed against some tough opposition. They won 3 and lost 3 matches which qualified them for the plate competition. With a fantastic day of Netball, the girls finished a creditable 4th place in the plate tournament.

What has impressed me during the Netball term is the level of improvement made by a huge number of girls. All this after a long time away during two different lockdown periods is credit to the girls and the staff. A special mention has to go to the 1st team who has remained undefeated in the Netball term and won the Thorngrove festival without losing a game all afternoon – well done girls!

Football has been our main focus after half term. The girls embrace the competitiveness of football and like the physicality it brings.

As girls’ football is becoming  increasingly popular in other schools’ games programmes, we’ve had a healthy fixture programme playing Crosfields, St Neots, Thorngrove, The Oratory and Elstree School alongside a Lambrook tournament that sadly got rained off.

 I’d like to take the opportunity to say my goodbyes to parents, staff and pupils of OPS. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at OPS and I hope that the girls continue to flourish and they keep enjoying their sport. I wish all the girls and staff a very enjoyable Easter Break.

Jo Day


Cross Country & Boys’ Sporting Highlights

OPS Cross Country Success!

2022 brought a very welcomed return of Cross Country at the OPS. It was great to see so many runners participating for the school ranging from Year 1 to Year 8 at some excellent events hosted at the OPS, St Andrews, Maiden Erleigh, Chiltern Edge and The Oratory School. We finished the season in style by winning the Oxfordshire Primary School County Championships from Y1-6 with some exceptional individual and team performances. We were pleased to award the team their Full Colours, Junior Colours and the MECE team trophy in our final assembly. Amelie won her Year 7 group race as did Jacob for Year 6, pictured individually, sitting on the school wall, further below.

OPS Football 2022

The OPS Football season has come to a close and the school has gone strength to strength on the games fields with both the boys and girls participating in the ‘Beautiful Game’.

Our seniors enjoyed a very positive season finishing off with some very positive results against Moulsford in the final week of the term. The introduction of the Veo recorder has certainly helped the senior boys in the development and we look forward to using this more in the Hockey and Rugby terms as the boys have been able to review their own performance and peer assess their teammates in phases of the game. We can be very proud of all our teams and Mr Fairburn, Mr Salisbury, Mr Scholl and Mr Winterbottom have given glowing praise of the effort and enthusiasm of their teams. The OPS 1st XI have not finished their season as they still have the County Cup Quarter Finals to compete in but they did the school proud losing to Eaton House The Manor in the ESFA National Cup in the QF stages.

Our Colts have enjoyed the hybrid season of Football and Rugby 7s and Mr Lavine and Mr Strong have seen many strong performances against St John’s Beaumont, Caldicott and Claires Court. The Under 10s comeback wins against SJB proved to be a highlight and finished runners up in the Claires Court tournament losing to a strong Berkhampstead side. The U9s and U8s had their first competitive season of football since joining the prep and they didn’t disappoint. Some excellent fixtures against Abingdon, Pinewood and Whitchurch in the final tournament of the season at Great Oaks finished off a great season with the Under 8A losing in the final to Chandlings.

We look forward to next season, it starts in the Michaelmas Term for the Colts and U13s with the county and National Cups and I expect more of the same from our pupils. I would like to thank the grounds staff for their pitch preparation throughout the season, the catering team for ensuring the players and parents were fed, Mrs Reynolds for her tireless work with transport and also my staff for their guidance, support, coaching and encouragement all season.

Lee Chaffey

Rugby

On the penultimate week of term Mr Fairburn took all of the Year 8 boys down to London for a school trip to celebrate the end of the rugby season.

The first stop was Twickenham Stadium, the national stadium for English rugby. The boys had a stadium tour which including sitting in the royal box, visiting the home changing room and exploring pitch side. They met the international referees who have been reffing the 6 Nations games this year.

A quick visit to the History of Rugby Museum followed which mostly involved the boys trying out the scrum machine before they headed over the road to Twickenham Stoop Stadium. The boys were then given a coaching session by the Harlequins Academy coaches and a look around Twickenham Stoop stadium. The day finished with dinner, bowling and a visit to the arcades in Bracknell. Although, this trip had a rugby focus it was a very enjoyably day out for all of the boys and a lovely way to top off a superb rugby season for the Year 8s. Buoyed on by this visit, the very next day the A team went on to win Woodcote House 7s tournament, bringing home a piece of silverware!

Guy Fairburn


Swimming

Swimming Round Up

We have finally had a ‘normal’ term of swimming at the OPS with all lessons, swim squad sessions, after school activities and galas back up and running regularly. It has been our busiest term since my time here at the OPS and it has been amazing to see all the children progressing so much!

Swimming Snapshot

Kindergarten: We have been working on our water confidence and taking our feet off the bottom of the pool. I am super impressed that almost all of them are putting their whole face in the water to blow bubbles. We have some very brave dare devils in this year group too who are successfully jumping into the deep end of the big pool and getting back to safety. Well done!

Reception: They have been working on independent swimming on their front and their backs. Most of the Reception children can do this very well with a board or a noodle to help them and we have some fish in this year group that can already do this independently. We have also started introducing some front crawl and backstroke arms too. Reception are all being very brave and jumping into the big pool regularly and working hard on getting back to safety independently. Great job Reception! I am very proud of you all!

Year 1: We have been working on front crawl and backstroke and trying to move our bodies in lots of different ways too. We have started coming to the big pool more often to have a go at using our strokes or our floating techniques to keep us safe in the water. Year 1s love to do their jumps in the deep end of the big pool and most can get back to safety independently. Year 1, you are super stars!!

Year 2: They have made some amazing progress this year and most of our lessons are now in the big pool only. We are only using the small pool for a warm up and then we move on. We have been working on front crawl, backstroke and a little bit of breaststroke and butterfly (dolphin) kick so far. Every single Year 2 pupil can jump into deep water and return to safety independently. What a great effort so far and I can’t wait to see how good you all get by the end of the year!

Year 3: We have been working on all four strokes and swimming lengths of the pool more regularly. They have also done a few water safety lessons which has been great fun. They are all working so hard to improve and there are lots of little competitors in this year group who love to race which is exciting. Keep it up Year 3!!

Year 4-7: All of these year groups are working on swimming lengths of all four strokes and maintaining good stroke technique. We have also done lots of water safety skills and touched on some water polo and tumble turns. I hope you are all proud of everything you have achieved so far!

Year 8: The Year 8s have been trying out a slightly different program to previous years. They have been alternating activities every three weeks on average. We are trying to swim up Mount Everest by the end of the year, so a distance swim, then we have a water safety week and then we do something fun in week three. The last distance swim we did saw some amazing results with most students swimming 500m or more in under 30 minutes! I get so proud of them when they get on with the task at hand. Let’s make each week as positive and exciting as the others for our last term together!

Swim Squad News:

A huge WELL DONE to all those swimmers who swam at the recent IAPS competition and ESSA competition. All our swimmers did an amazing job and gave it their all.

We have had the results back from ESSA and we have made it through to the finals on Saturday 7th May (more details to follow). Well done to Caitlin, Xanthe, Marla, Rafe and Yusuf for getting us through. We should find out about the IAPS results towards the end of April so stay tuned. We are up against 4400 swimmers who competed across all the qualifiers and I am super proud of every single one of our swimmers whether they made it through to the finals in June or not. I would like to give a special shout out to Alex and Caitlin for winning their individual heats. I will do my best to put up all the times our team got at IAPS early next term. The results we have received so far don’t give us a position unfortunately and we can only see our school’s times. From what I saw on the day, most of our swimmers, teams included, came between 2nd-6th in most of the races which is awesome. We were up against some of the best swimming schools in the country already and it was a great experience to swim at a facility like Millfield.  We were lucky enough to witness some of their senior students training in a section of the pool and I hope lots of our swimmers are now aspiring to swim like them one day. Everyone needs to keep remembering to stretch and glide!

A massive thank you to all the parents who wake up early to bring their children to swim squad. We could not do this without you and we really appreciate all the support you give to our swimming program. Thank you to those who helped with time keeping at galas or lifeguarding duties too. You are all a part of this team too!

We had some outside success at the pools this term too. Caitlin received a bronze medal as part of a Freestyle Relay team in a county swimming competition. Henry managed to achieve a silver medal in his 100m IM event and a bronze in 50m Backstroke.You are both Super Stars! Both are picture below.


Charity Donations

Many thanks to everyone who has started to bring us their ‘Uniform for Africa’ (please refer to the previous Bulletin for a list of what to donate). 
 
The Second Hand Uniform Team has had a very successful Michaelmas Term, in our new premises. In total we sold £5,320 worth of uniform, which is broken down as follows:
£2,729 back to school
£676.00 back to parents
£958.00 to OPPA
£958.00 to Charities (£552 to Ukraine and £405 to Cancer charity).
 
Thank you for all of your support.
Second Hand Uniform Team

Admissions

Join us at one of our Open Events or our Registrar can arrange a personalised showround of our school.
FIND OUT MORE