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The School is a nurturing environment where children, staff, parents and governors know each other and share a common understanding of the School’s purpose – to ‘aim high’ and through shared understanding of Gospel values, ensure that the potential of every child is fully achieved. Our children are happy, sociable, well-behaved and value our diversity, which enriches everything we do. We are moving rapidly from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ and relishing the challenge!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Summer Term Curriculum

Information on the Summer Term curriculum for each class is now available under the 'Curriculum' tab above.

Graeme McGlasson-West
Head Teacher

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

'Classical Spectacular' ends our spectacularly cultural week!

Years 5 and 6 went to the Royal Albert Hall last Friday for the 'Classical Spectacular'.  They travelled by public transport and, on arrival, had lunch outside the Royal Albert Hall in warm sunshine, something of a contrast to the grey skies that accompanied the eclipse earlier!

The concert opened with a dramatic rendition of Prokofiev's 'Dance of the Knights'.  The pace then lightened with 'The Entrance of the Gladiators', by John Sousa.  It was great to see the children clapping along to the march.  The conductor, John Rigby, then introduced the world-reknowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who were accompanied by the Band of The Royal Logistic Corps.
 
A rousing rendition of Dvorak's 'Slavonic Dance' followed.  Then the aria from Verdi's opera, 'La Traviata'.  Brindisi ('The Drinking Song') was a joy, sung by tenor James Edwards and soprano Sarah Redgwick.
 
We stayed in the world of opera with  a piece from 'The Tales of Hoffmann', by Offenbach - 'Bacarolle', an orchestral piece - which was followed by a piece from Wagner's 'Lohengrin' with full orchestra. 
 
Elena Glurdjidze, prima ballerina with the English National Ballet, performed 'The Dying Swan' from Tchaikovsky's 'Swan Lake', leading to a glorious finale with can can dancers, thunderous cannons, fireworks and lasers accompanying 'Land of Hope and Glory', 'Jerusalem', 'Rule Britannia' and the '1812 Overture' - a rousing end to a truly 'spectacular' show.

Many thanks to the class teachers, teaching assistants and parents who volunteered for making this event possible - and to Sally Saunders, Deputy Head, for arranging it all.
 
Nilgun Bekir

Shakespeare Week draws to a close

At St Mary Magdalen's we have been involved in National Shakespeare Week.  This has been very exciting, not least because it has enabled the children to focus on the words and language of the finest playwright of the English language.
 
The children's enthusiasm and focus throughout the week has been truly fantastic and their class presentations on Thursday were  very well received by parents and children.
 
Yr.5 explained some interesting facts about William Shakespeare, his life and works.  The children learnt that some of his poems were called sonnets that these were written as love poems.
 
Yr.1's production was Macbeth which had been produced in the classroom and showed the children's own  interpretation of the play.   It had been filmed and edited by Mr Pinks with the added authenticity of  bagpipes as the backing track.  The children were delighted to see their names in the credits after the production. Furthermore they had chosen their own costumes, made the scenery and changed some of the language into words that the children could understand.  Shakespeare would have been proud of these budding actors!

Yr.2 showed some very dramatic acting from the scene where Hamlet becomes insane and sees his father's ghost.  Their production was well-managed with the children wearing costume and theatrical make up.  Future Shakespearian actors in the making perhaps!
 
Yr. 3 delighted us with Midsummer's Night Dream, one of Shakespeare's comedies. In this play the Human World (ruled by law) and the  Fairy World (ruled by magic) collide, producing lots of entertainment and humour.  The children read and analysed extracts from the play.
 
Some impressive acting followed with Yr.4's interpretation of murder, treachery and magic from Macbeth.  Narrators provided an explanation of the plot for the benefit of the audience.
 
Chloe from Yr.5 closed the class presentations  by explaining the main characters and plot from The Merchant of Venice, then Yr.6 ended the series of performances  with their  audio sound script from a scene in the forest from A Midsummer's Night Dream.  They used their own voices to produce the noises and sounds familiar to this setting.
 
All-in-all a rewarding week for all concerned and one which, we hope, will stimulate the children's interest in quality literature and the arts more generally, and which will enrich their lives now and in the future.

Matthew Rimell
Literacy Subject Leader

Monday, 23 March 2015

Head and Governors report back to Parents

This afternoon's well-attended meeting with the School Governing Body, the Head Teacher, Deputy Head and School staff gave parents the opportunity to hear how the School is progressing and what more is planned to safeguard the 'outstanding' rating awarded recently by the London Borough of Lewisham - and to ensure this rating is confirmed at the School's next Ofsted inspection.
 
Danny McGrath (Chair), Cynthia Lamptey (Vice-Chair), Anthony Akanya, Pat McCarthy, Graeme West (Head), Sally Saunders and Nilgun Bekir represented the Governors and the meeting was attended by around 10 teachers/TAs and some 30 parents.  It was noted that all of the Foundation Governors (who were in a majority on the Governing Body) had one or more children or grandchildren at the School and that the Governing Body's job was not to run the School but rather to oversee the running of the School, to ask 'the right questions' so as to keep the School's development and progress 'on-track'.

Mr. West gave a presentation on what the School has already achieved, and what it is now doing to improve every child's educational outcomes and life chances.  A copy of the presentation will be posted here shortly.  Danny McGrath then spoke, explaining more about the Governing Body's role in the School's continued progress.

Parents asked about the make-up of the Governing Body (detailed in the Newsletter mentioned below); about how trips by, and visits to, the School can best enhance the curriculum and children's development (and how good practice from elsewhere is incorporated into what the School does); about PE and sporting opportunities (all children get at least 2hrs per week) and about opportunities for parental involvement.  More on these latter issues will be posted here shortly.

After just over an hour the meeting concluded, with both Mr West and Danny McGrath inviting parents to get more involved and to continue to ask questions and challenge constructively so that, together, we can ensure School delivers the best possible education for all the School's children, now and in the future.

A copy of the Governors' Newsletter, circulated at the meeting, is available by clicking here.
 
Robert Sheppard

Friday, 20 March 2015

Cloud cover thwarts Eclipse sighting


Many thanks to all of you who brought in a colander or made a pinhole camera ready to view the solar eclipse.  Unfortunately cloud cover prevented us from witnessing this spectacle.  However we did record (and feel) a significant temperature drop!

The next partial eclipse in the UK is in 2026, however the next full eclipse won't be until 2090 so, children, keep healthy and you will be in for a treat.

Here's a photo of what it would have looked like had we been able to see it!  This is how it looked in Yorkshire where, it seems, the skies were somewhat clearer!

Martin Bowes
Science Leader