Reflecting on a wonderful Spring Term

Elmhurst School for Boys

29th March 2018 | Headmaster's Blog

As another Spring Term draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of the wonderful events that have happened during this busy term.

We started the term with an INSET day for staff on the 4Cs (Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity), which are the cognitive skills that we are developing throughout the learning experience and also which I am looking to become embedded in the teaching and learning culture of Elmhurst School. The 4Cs are now visible in our planning, our displays and on our Golden Certificates. The boys have also embraced the concept of the 4Cs and are beginning to demonstrate a clear understanding of how and why these skills are being developed in their learning.

Our Year 6 boys had the pressure of the independent school entrance exams and were nurtured through this process. I am delighted with the performance of the Elmhurst boys and am proud to inform you that some of our boys achieved top 50 places in their exam results, including one boy achieving overall first place in the Whitgift entrance exams. The performance in Mathematics was outstanding and the positive feedback from schools about our boys centred around their critical thinking skills and their ability to solve problems. I believe this reflects the impact of the Inspire Maths programme introduced by Mrs Neagu at the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year, which is also reflective of our vision to ‘Prepare Boys for the 21st Century’. We hosted the local Maths Challenge on the 8th March, where 18 schools visited us with 40 teams of two pupils in each team participating. One of our teams won and the others came 6th, 8th and 10th and I was very proud of the way our boys conducted themselves and performed on this day. Bellevue Education hosted a Maths-focused collaborative learning day, to which I took four boys who were effectively challenged whilst collaborating in teams with other pupils from schools around the Bellevue group. The Maths Week also supported the production and publication of Elmhurst’s first ever Maths Book full of word problems written by Elmhurst boys, with a few very challenging ones from Mrs Neagu!

This year I have challenged the staff at Elmhurst to make every attempt to inspire the boys in a number of ways. Providing pupils with opportunities is a way to achieve this. In Sport, Mr Venier has worked hard with his links to the community, to provide opportunities to participate in a variety of sports. After a taster session, he introduced Sunday afternoon squash at Beckenham Cricket Club, who also have a link to Langley Park Girls School where the Upper School boys have enjoyed Hockey training sessions on Friday evenings on the AstroTurf. The season culminated in the House Hockey Tournament, where almost 50 boys from Years 4, 5 & 6 participated in what was an excellent event. James Smith visited Elmhurst for an exhibition evening of Table Tennis. He is a Whitgift Sixth Former, currently ranked No.2 at U17 and U18 in England and who has represented England many times. He inspired the boys to ‘have a go’ at Table Tennis and the investment in a number of Flex Nets has meant that many boys have enjoyed playing at the same time on the tables in the Hall. Elmhurst collaborated with Old Palace and Croydon High to enter mixed teams into the Croydon Schools Hockey, Netball, Gymnastics and Basketball competitions and we are planning to continue to work with Croydon High and Old Palace in future collaborative events.

Some of the other notable events this term have included the ‘Gruffalo's Child’ and ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ events for the Little Elms and friends. I particularly enjoyed ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ as it took place in the woods at Forest School and had the boys involved in a variety of activities relating to the story. Some of the other boys have enjoyed their six week block of Forest School sessions this term and I am looking forward to the five year birthday celebration of Forest School in April. I believe that using Forest School as an outdoor classroom provides the boys with an incredibly positive experience which effectively enhances their learning. I am also very much looking forward to Year 6 performing Shakespeare’s Macbeth at the end of next term.

It just remains for me to wish you all a very happy Easter break.

-  AJ Padfield

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