12th December 2018
I had an amazing experience at the think tank this Thursday. We arrived and went to ‘Cell’s Cell’s Cell’s!’ which was up in the Planetarium. We sat on slanted seating which looked up to the ceiling where we watched a cool, interesting animation about this girl called Suu-Kyi where she discovered about the millions of cells inside her body. Then we moved round to the science lab to test our own DNA, by using a strange experiment that resulted in us collecting some of our own DNA! We had lunch and returned to the Lab where we extracted DNA from a cucumber. After that we had an hour exploring around the building looking at all the different activities. Overall I had a fantastic day, and an excellent interesting experience, that I would love to do again!
The trip to the Think Tank was an amazing experience. We learnt about the millions of cells in our body, and the DNA that they were made up of. We also had a chance to go into the science garden where we pulled ourselves up on roped chairs, made a water bottle rocket and experiment the wheels of a train! We also tried the many different activities inside the centre. It was a fantastic day out that I will never forget!
Sarah Jane Year 7
Importance of Music
05th December 2018
A recent article by Antonia Berry on the TES website discussed the importance of music. Antonia states
“Learning to play a musical instrument can improve the development of speech and reading skills; it can improve a pupil’s ability to sustain concentration for lengthy periods of time, and have a profound impact on working memory.”
Great minds throughout the ages have attributed some of their greatest work stem from music. Albert Einstein believed his theory of relativity occurred to him by the intuition he learnt from studying the violin from a early age.
Sadly even with convincing research and positive impact music is under threat in many schools. This is not the case here at HKS. We understand that music is an
“expression of emotion, and when performing as part of a choir or a member of a jazz band or orchestra, we are compelled to connect with others in a profoundly emotional way.” (Antonia Berry)
To see a typical day in Music here at HKS please visit our Facebook page.
Why music is at the heart of life at Heathfield Knoll School and Day Nursery.
04th December 2018
Current pressures in education mean that music is being squeezed out of the curriculum in far too many schools. As someone who had the opportunity to learn musical instruments at school and was able to take advantage of so many wonderful opportunities provided by the county, the benefits to me were enormous - namely allowing me to follow a career in music.
There are proven benefits of learning a musical instrument:
Strengthens bonds with others
Strengthens memory and reading skills
Playing makes you happy
Playing music reduces anxiety and depression
Musical training strengthens many of the brain’s functions.
At HKS, we are not allowing music to be squeezed out of our curriculum. In fact, quite the opposite - music is right at the heart of school life. All pupils from Day Nursery right through to year 9 have music lessons every week. A number of pupils then choose to take GCSE music as an option in year 10/11. We have a highly skilled team of peripatetic music staff who teach a variety of instruments at HKS each week - strings, woodwind, brass, guitar, drums, piano and voice. We work together with our music staff to encourage and help the children along their musical journey, offering them numerous opportunities along the way: orchestras, choirs, school productions and much more. We truly value music education and all it brings to our pupils and school community.
Mrs J. Cain, Head of Music
Wellbeing should be timetabled alongside English and Maths, study suggests
23rd November 2018
A recent article published in The Telegraph recommended schools have a Head of Wellbeing. HKS have benefitted from the appointment of a Head of Wellbeing since January 2017. Mrs Stooksbury, has a background of safeguarding and child protection and oversees the wellbeing area of all pupils, staff and indeed parents. Since appointment, Mrs Stooksbury has up-skilled in a plethora of related courses, including domestic violence, bereavement, and bullying. She also attended a course in Youth Mental Health First Aid which has given her the skills to counsel pupils and suggest ways to increase their resilience to everyday challenges. She is also a CEOP ( Child Exploitation and Online Protection) Ambassador and monitors and records all web based activity within the school.
Regular intervention within the classroom takes place with Mrs Stooksbury, for example, talking about mindfulness, wellbeing, online safety and anti-bullying. She is readily available for individual or small group chats, discussions and advice. She has an email email@example.com that we encourage pupils to use to send confidential messages or more general conversation.
At our school we all work together to promote wellbeing. PSHCE and enrichment lessons give pupils opportunities to rehearse life skills needed for the future. Twice a year all staff and pupils complete a wellbeing survey and results are collated and discussions had with pupils or staff who score below the average mark. Hopefully from that conversation any problems can be helped.
As a member of the senior leadership team, Mrs Stooksbury has responsibility for sharing concerns or patterns of behaviour that need addressing or responding to at senior level. She is highly valued and a key member of the school staff.
Teacher's are the third biggest influence on people's lives
20th November 2018
According to a recent report by the Times Education Supplement. Teachers are the third biggest influence on people’s lives –after their parents. 64% of people surveyed say that they are grateful to at least one teacher for inspiring the person they are today.
At HKS our small class sizes and high teacher:pupil ratio all help to create strong and positive relationships. Our staff know the children well and our excellent pastoral team work hard to ensure any problems are quickly resolved. Tools such as the school council, wellbeing surveys and group pupil interviews allow pupil voice to be shared, responded to and celebrated as appropriate.
At our recent Alumni Dinner, stories were retold around the table, memories shared and photographs scoured for a glimpse of their younger self. The past pupils talked warmly about the staff, enthused about the trips and their time spent at school. All of the pupils who came have moved on and are pursuing careers in medicine, education and other professional roles.
As teachers and staff at a school, we occupy privileged positions in shaping the lives of children. We are all incredibly proud to think that we have contributed so positively to the lives of our alumni and we aim to continue to make that positive difference each and every day with our current pupils.