Girls and boys in Years 7 and 8 took part in a series of exciting activities recently that were introduced to replace the planned residentials which, unfortunately, were cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.
Recognising that this must have been disappointing for the pupils, Head of Enrichment Mr. Clarke set about organising a thrilling replacement timetable which saw them bouncing around at Red Kangaroo Trampoline Park, Liquid Leisure Water Park, Go Ape, Thorpe Park, The Natural History Museum and finally concluding with a water sports activity day and the annual BBQ and funfair. The pupils were an absolute credit to themselves and the school, and, despite the visible level of fatigue towards the end, embraced every activity with great energy and humour and ending the academic year on a high.
Four Year 8 Prefects took on the challenge of hosting a virtual Year 7 assembly recently, confidently talking about, and sharing details of Chinese New Year with their audience.
Oliver, Calista, Sam and Ameya presented facts, discussed pictures and explained Chinese New Year to the Year 7 pupils who listened attentively via Teams. They took it in turn to showcase the story behind the year of the ox, why each of the years are named after each animal, the different celebrations that occur, and the food that is enjoyed over New Year and what each of these represent.
Each of the pupils demonstrated their knowledge, maturity and collaborative working skills in preparing for, and leading the whole year group assembly, something which is no mean feat!
The Crosfields Wellbeing Ambassador Programme launched recently, as eight Senior pupils were chosen to promote and support wellbeing throughout the school.
Scarlett, Oliver, Paula, Elijah, Zara, Yash, Jeevan and Austin, who are all in Year 8, were thrilled to have been selected for these brand-new roles. Their responsibilities include acting as positive role models for other pupils and being available for pupils to talk to about their wellbeing, as well as helping to review the school’s wellbeing policies and procedures.
By way of an introduction to their roles, the ambassadors took on the challenging task of judging the wellbeing-themed 'House Art Competition' with teacher of Art, Miss Beare. Other work they've taken on included recording themselves reading stories containing positive messages for younger pupils. The ambassadors will also receive some training to help develop their interpersonal and communication skills. Deputy Head Pastoral, Mr. Mallins, was pleased with the initiative so far and hopes to be able to appoint more Wellbeing Ambassadors over the coming months.
Senior pupils who take part in the Crosfields Oaks Interact Club planted purple crocus bulbs outside the Sports Centre to promote awareness for the Rotary Club's Purple4Polio campaign.
After a brief explanation of how to plant out bulbs by Crosfields Head Groundsman, Mr. Tennant, the pupils enjoyed digging holes and scattering the bulbs in a small patch in front of the swimming pool.
The Rotary Club's pledge for a polio-free world was made in 1985; since then, there are now only two countries left in the world with polio, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The colour purple is significant to the campaign as, when a child receives their life saving polio drops, their little finger is painted with a purple dye so it is clear they have received their vaccine. A plaque will be added to the site over the next few weeks and we look forward to seeing the crocus' bloom in spring.
Parents of children in the Junior School enjoyed a talk from a children's psychologist recently.
Dr. Liz Dawes of Every Mind Child Psychology visited Crosfields to discuss the effects of lockdown on children under the age of 11, with the ultimate aim of helping parents spot any early signs of anxiety and depression. With cases of mental disorders on the rise following the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Dawes outlined the symptoms to look out for, and ways in which parents can support their child if they are feeling worried or depressed. Dr. Dawes also shared information from the Co-Space study (https://cospaceoxford.org/) and provided some useful reading material for parents to read through at home.
It was an incredibly useful session and Crosfields wishes to express its gratitude to Dr. Dawes for spending time at our school. Crosfields parents can access the presentation notes here.
Senior pupils in Year 9 took part in the Berkshire School Girls Hockey competition recently, playing excellent hockey and working well as a team.
Taking on some tough competition, the girls' team grew from strength to strength throughout their qualifying matches and showed great tenacity and determination. Head of Hockey, Miss Westacott commented that, "The girls never gave up and fought hard in every match. Jessica made some exceptional saves to keep the score lines down, and Eva scored a great goal to give the girls a win in one of their matches. They should all be very proud of their efforts."
The afternoon concluded with Team Crosfields finishing fifth overall, with all girls demonstrating their exceptional hockey playing prowess.
Crosfields U13 boys romped to a 6-0 victory over visitors Truro to book their place in the ISFA Cup 3rd round recently.
A rather quiet game sprung to life when two quickfire goals from Daniel put Crosfields in the driving seat. Two more from Oskar put the game beyond doubt before half time. Some excellent football saw Crosfields control the game and finish off with two second half goals. Well played to the boys involved, excellent performances throughout.
Meanwhile U11 boys also enjoyed some ISFA tournament action at Elstree School. Having been placed in a tough group Crosfields played some exceptional football to score some goals you might see on Sky Sports, impressing teachers and spectators alike to finish top of their group. After a break though Crosfields fell at the first knockout round in a narrow defeat but the boys were quite rightly immensely proud of the way they represented the school both on and off the pitch.
The first concert of the academic year was held in the Crosfields theatre recently, much to the delight of visiting parents and teaching staff.
Talented players of Grade 2 and upwards from both the Junior School and Senior School took it in turns to perform their solos on the stage in the first of two concerts planned for this term. A wide range of instruments were played that included the guitar, saxophone, violin and piano. Director of Music, Mr. Adams, commented that, "It was lovely to see so many pupils from different year groups, both Junior and Senior coming together to share an hour of their music making. Head of Junior Music, Mrs. Westley-Smith and myself have been delighted with the response for both of our forthcoming concerts and we look forward to many more."
Year 7 pupils made a start to Senior School science recently, taking a look at how the body of an organism is organised.
The pluck, as it's known, provides a very visual reference of how the organs in the body are linked to form organ systems, and how these in turn join to keep an organism alive. Pupils were given a unique opportunity to feel the heart, lungs, oesophagus, liver and much more, leading them to question why the organs felt so different, and how they are linked to structure and function. This ultimately gave them an understanding of the different tissues in the body and the cells they are made from.
Commenting on how smooth the organs felt, and how hard the heart is when compared with the lungs, the pupils found the lesson an invaluable practical experience that gave them an understanding of the building blocks of life. For some, this may start an interest in a career in veterinary science or medicine.
This September, as part of the school's extension to sixteen plans, Crosfields welcomed a host of new teaching staff to its already strong and dynamic staff. Read on to learn more.
New to the school from September 2021, Simon joined Crosfields from Waingels College where he held the position of Head of Year 11. Simon brings with him an abundance of experience in teaching Senior School students to GCSE, having also taught at The Piggott School and Windsor Boys School for some 19 years combined. Simon has specialised in PSHE and sport during his teaching career and has led the way on GCSE PE. He will no doubt be a valuable asset to Crosfields as it moves forward.
Sarah joined Crosfields in September 2021 as Head of Art and Head of Quercus house. Previously, Sarah spent nine years working as Head of Art and Head of Year 11 at Sherfield School, and most recently spent four years at St Edmund’s School while it transitioned from a prep school to a successful senior school. Here she was employed as Head of Art but was promoted to Assistant Head in 2019. Sarah has a broad range of experience teaching juniors through to GCSE, A-Level and IB and has a proven track record of strong GCSE results. In her spare time, Sarah is a practising artist specialising in oil painting and enjoys life drawing.
Jessica came to Crosfields from The Grange School in Aylesbury where she taught Drama to GCSE and A-Level students. No stranger to the stage, Jessica is trained in physical and musical theatre and has starred in many shows and musicals including Starlight Express, Wicked and Les Misérables to name but a few! As a teacher of Drama and Performing Arts, Jessica has built her career teaching at Windsor Girls School as well as The Grange, and has also taught drama at a school in Brooklyn, New York.
Ianthe joins Crosfields from Shiplake College, where she spent two years teaching in the Learning Development department and supporting the college’s outdoor education and DofE provision. Prior to this she spent a decade at Elthorne Park High School in London, where she held various posts including RS Teacher, Head of Year and DofE Manager. Ianthe’s real interest lies in understanding the different ways in which young people learn and she has recently completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Specific Learning Difficulties, which she will put to good use supporting our Senior School pupils. She is also very passionate about the benefits of outdoor education for young people and is looking forward to leading our first cohort of Year 9 students through their Bronze DofE Award.
Pupils in Years 5 enjoyed a three-day residential trip to adventure holiday camp PGL in Osmington Bay near Weymouth recently, while pupils in Year 6 went to outdoor campsite Bushcraft at Badminton Woods in Gloucestershire.
Resilience and bravery were put to the test as Year 5 enjoyed the use of a very high giant swing and zip wire, while teamwork skills were required to paddle a large boat together out in the bay. Evening activities included games, singing and beach walking. Meanwhile, over at Bushcraft girls and boys in Year 6 were getting hands on with practical outdoor activities of a different nature. Putting their survival skills into action, they lit fires using sticks and twigs, and then cooked their lunch, as well as making spears and bracelets, skinning fish, making pizza and playing games around the campfire and tents. All children returned home tired but delighted with their achievements.
The first inter-squad championships took place in the Crosfields pool recently, headed by Senior pupils in Years 7 & 8.
Not only was it great fun to be back to enjoying competing but unbelievably three new records were created in the back and breaststroke by Lottie and freestyle by Charlotte. Year 6 then took their turn a week later, followed by Years 3 and 4. It was wonderful to see the squads back enjoying competing setting some great times. Also on the scoreboard was Sofia who broke not one but three school records in the freestyle, backstroke and butterfly, and it was the first time that the Year 3’s had taken part in a gala. A really positive start to the competition calendar and exciting for the future of swimming at Crosfields. Congratulations to all the medal winners and swimmers who have kept up their amazing enthusiasm during the year.
A number of pupils in Years 3 and 4 took part in the popular uTalk Language Games competition this academic year, joining hundreds of other children across the UK.
They had to independently learn three foreign languages; French was unlocked for the first stage, Japanese for the second and Manx for the third and final stage. What's more, teacher of languages Mme Boutant was delighted to learn recently that five Crosfields children had qualified to take part in the Final stage of the national competition. Just 30 children from around the country had been selected for this, so it’s incredible that five of those were Crosfields pupils. The Final stage took place online, live at school and the children did amazingly well, placing between 26th and 10th place. Congratulations to all of the pupils for their amazing achievement and efforts!
In keeping with their learning about animals, girls and boys in the Nursery have enjoyed not one but two terrific opportunities to get up close with farm animals recently.
First, the children were extremely excited to go on a trip to Rushall Farm in Reading. For some, this was their first experience of travelling on a coach for the first time! They enjoyed exploring the farm, looking at the animals, seeing a live bee hive and going on a tractor ride. It was lovely for the children to be able to go on their first school trip and they all had a wonderful time.
Following that, the children in Nursery had an exciting visit from some farm animals courtesy of mobile farm, Farms2Ewe. The children were able to hold, stroke and feed lots of different animals such as cows, goats, horses, ducks and more! They even helped to groom the horse. The children learnt lots about how to care for animals and really enjoyed the experience.
Children in Reception went on their first ever school trip to Woolley Firs Environmental Education Centre recently.
The focus of the day was ‘Marvellous Minibeasts’ and the children spent the day out and about in the fields and woodland finding, identifying and learning about a variety of creatures. It was lovely to see the children’s enthusiasm for all aspects of the day and, amongst all the fun, the children’s knowledge and understanding of the natural world was both enhanced and extended
In a nod to former Headmaster Mr. Ian Michael who worked at the school in the late 1950s, pupils in Year 8 continue to compete for the Ian Michael Award to this day, which has traditionally been prepared for Speech Day on the last day of term.
Pupils must prepare a presentation of one of their hobbies and interests to display to their teachers and peers. This year the presentations were made in the theatre to a live audience of the entire Senior School and staff during the last week of term. Girls and boys produced a PowerPoint presentation, focusing on the images and videos they wished to share. They pounced on the opportunity to research their ideas over the 10 activities sessions of the summer term and presented their thoughts and findings to their classes using a variety of media.
Twelve finalists were chosen from this process based on the skills they showed with research, presentation and speaking. The variety of topics being discussed was incredible with the final presentations including horse riding, roller blading, Ways the World Might End and Palaeontology. Congratulations went to all for making the most of this project, but special mention went to this year’s winner, Aine for speaking so well about Irish History (pictured above).
As an end of year treat for the Pre-Prep, pupils and staff alike were excited to welcome back Franca’s ice-cream van to the school playground recently.
The iconic chimes could be heard across the school as the van pulled into the playground; an unusual sound in a school setting but one that was very welcome on a warm day! Serving a choice of lollies or ice-cream, the children were thrilled and really loved it...and so did the grown ups!
Five pupils from Year 7 took a brief interlude from their lessons recently to join Headmaster Mr. Watson and Chair of Governors Mr. Dering for an exclusive visit to the very top of the new Senior School building.
The pupils enjoyed a tour of the classrooms, cafe and performance space and the library before accessing the roof to take a look at the views of the rest of the school. The 'topping out' ceremony marks the completion of the structure of the building as Matthew Bennett from Beard Construction explained. Mr. Watson proudly talked through the journey of the Senior School building and how it would make an incredible difference to Crosfields future. Some pupils in Year 8 also took a look around the building recently so keep an eye on our Instagram page for more videos and footage from the project: @crosfieldstosixteen.
Crosfields Chair of Governors Mr. Chris Dering paid a visit to the science labs recently where Year 5 were enjoying a different kind of science lesson.
In an end-of-term learning round up, the pupils were working on an online escape room using the new Chromebooks that Mr. Dering and his wife Julie kindly donated to the school earlier this year. The pupils talked to the Chair of Governors about how they have enjoyed the use of the Chromebooks since returning to school following the lockdown, and how the technology has been integrated into their lessons. Teacher of Science, Mrs. Reid also talked through the marked difference that the very kind gesture has made to not only how they teach science to the Year 5 and 6 pupils, but to the pupils' computer literacy as well.
Year 2 had an exciting science lesson meeting Galaxy the giant African millipede, Sven the rabbit and Echo the gecko, to name a few of the special guests that were brought into school by friend of Crosfieds, Luke Quirk of Quirks Animal Roadshow.
Amphibians, invertebrates and mammals to name but a few of the different types of creatures were shown to the girls and boys, who were captivated by Luke's presentation of each animal. He talked to the children about their bodies, their different habitats and really brought to life their science topic this term. The children had great fun learning about where the different animals live, stroking and holding some of them… even watching Splat the white tree frog hopping around the carpet. It was a great morning full of surprises with many stories shared at home.
For the first time in two years, it was a real pleasure to see pupils across the school enjoy their respective sports days recently.
The first group to return to the athletics field were children in the Pre-Prep who took part in individual games and track events. The following week pupils in Years 3 to 5 did the same but also enjoyed a throw, a jump and a relay race. It was fantastic to see the competition at full throttle in Year 7 and 8 a week later, with it not taking long for pupils to regain the competitive, fair and supportive approach that has been the theme of sports days at Crosfields for so long with everyone doing their best for themselves and for their houses. The only piece of the puzzle missing was Year 6 who were given a virtual sports day to do at home with ten athletics-based tasks to complete. Pupils then entered their results on Teams to see how their classmates had got on.
Girls and boys in Year 3 had fun making and building a large mosaic for the Junior School recently.
Having based the design around the four team houses, the piece also represented activities that the Junior children love doing. It was an exciting opportunity for them to take part in a big project that they watched come to life throughout the school day, and a great way to show how they could work as a team to create something together. The pupils relished in making the significant piece of art which will be hung on the wall in the Junior School for future pupils to admire. The teachers also got involved by laying mosaic pieces, too!
A colourful array of children in costumes arrived in school recently to participate in a special Medieval Day for pupils in Year 1.
They began the day meeting ‘Lord Phillip’ around the fire pit in Acorns Hall which had been converted into a castle for the day. The knights and princesses then took part in a morning of hands-on and practical activities in their castle which included candle making, weaving, leather work, soap making and creating pots and faces out of clay. Children also had the opportunity to take part in lessons in archery, jousting and warfare. This wonderful, interactive day ended with a banquet with the children taking on roles at the banquet. Lord Philip organised the children into juggling jesters, singers, dancers, and servants who entertained and served food to the lords and ladies on the top table. It was an exciting and memorable day for the pupils that gave them a flavour of life in medieval times.
The first of Crosfields inter-squad swimming championships took place in the pool recently, headed up by Senior pupils in Years 7 and 8.
Not only was it great fun to be back to enjoying competing again but unbelievably three new records were created! Time away from competitive swimming certainly didn't hold back Year 8 pupil Lottie who excelled in back and breaststroke, breaking previous records. The school freestyle record was also smashed by another Year 8 pupil, Charlotte. It was a record-beating afternoon of competitions with a real buzz of excitement as all pupils relished the opportunity to swim and compete against each other once again. They now look forward to more galas and competitions against other schools.
Girls and boys in Year 8 enjoyed a super afternoon on the open water recently as their rowing moved up to the next level.
The small group of Senior pupils who take part in the Crosfields Rowing Club ventured over to Reading Rowing Club with Mr McCue who leads the co-curricular programme. After a tour of the boathouse and a briefing on the parts of the boat, the girls and boys were soon moving their boat along the Thames in the sunshine! It made for an exciting change to their usual training sessions which until now had been indoors in the Crosfields rowing studio. However, following successful capsize drills training in the school pool, the committed group of students were able to really put their skills to the test as they worked together to move the boat down the river.
Pupils in Year 3 were lucky enough to be able to participate in a virtual history workshop hosted by the Drama Hut recently.
Based on their topic of the Romans, the children were confronted by none other than Queen Boudicca, the legendary Iceni warrior-queen. Boudicca taught the children lots about the Romans, what they had brought to Britain during their invasion, how the invasion had affected the lives of the Romans involved and the Britons that had been invaded! The children, armed with their Roman shields or ‘scutum’ to give them their Latin name, learnt about and performed Roman military formations, and Mr. Keepax, Crosfields very own ‘Roman General’, even marched the children out of school using the Latin words that we had learnt during the day.
All in all a great day was had by everyone, and so much of this was down to the enthusiasm and knowledge of Lillie (Boudicca) from the Drama Hut. This enthusiasm was mirrored by the children and it really was a fantastic end to a challenging term.
On Sunday 2nd September, 1666, in the early hours of the morning in Pudding Lane, Thomas Farriner realised his bakery was on fire.
Within a short amount of time the whole bakery was on fire, spreading to the other houses in the lane and so began the Great Fire of London. Year 2 have been learning about how and why the fire began, why it continued for four days destroying so much of London. They built their own replica ‘cereal-box-Tudor house’, and, on an appropriately windy day, their houses were lined up as two streets and the children watched a demonstration of how the fire spread so quickly. They watched in awe with squeals of delight at the flames which moved rapidly through the cereal box streets! Thank goodness for our modern day fire brigade.
Names of pupils in Years 7 and 8 were immortalised into the Senior School construction project recently as the children enjoyed signing their names onto bricks.
The school's chosen contractor in the partnership, Beard Construction set out tables of bricks and pens so that the pupils could make their everlasting mark. The bricks will then be used within the construction as the bricklaying continues at pace over the next few weeks. For more updates on the progress of the project, follow us on Instagram: @CrosfieldstoSixteen.
Children in Year 4 were fortunate to experience a virtual tour of the Watts Gallery Artists Village recently, looking closely at the work of artists George and Mary Watts.
After the tour, the children had an exciting ‘live’ workshop with an artist. Carefully following the on screen guidance from the artist, they created tiles in the style of William De Morgan with a focus on mythical beasts and botanical designs. The children loved getting creative and using a variety of media that included colouring pencils, wax crayons, felt-tip pens and watercolour paints, they had great fun designing their own mythical beasts for their tiles.
Year 6 have been reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland recently, and in keeping with the theme of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, classes held an exciting Mad English Punctuation Party!
In their party, pupils assumed the personality of a punctuation mark. Bringing their learning on punctuation and grammar to life, girls and boys took on different roles. Exclamation marks were very loud, question marks asked uncomfortable questions, brackets pulled others away from conversations, and ellipses trailed off mid-sentence…
The children also had to demonstrate how their punctuation mark might stand, walk around, and mingle at a party; how they would greet a friend or introduce themselves to another punctuation mark. One item of fancy dress could be worn to the party to represent the character of their punctuation mark. The pupils then completed further writing tasks, developing the personality of each punctuation mark with their favourite food, movie, pastimes, and career options. It was a fun way to to reinforce their knowledge of how to use punctuation effectively in their writing in a very unusual way!
The Reception children have had some very special visitors in school recently. Having waited patiently for the chicks to hatch from their eggs, the girls and boys watched with fascination as they emerged from their shells. The children then sat calmly to observe the chicks more closely and were able to gently hold them if they wanted to. This has been an incredible experience for the children and enabled them to learn about life cycles and growth in a very special way.
"I liked holding the chicks. One slept in my hand. It was the girl. She was soft and her feet tickled me!" remarked Harry from Reception S. Cute!
During lockdown, pupils in Years 4 to 8 were invited to contribute to a musical medley of piano performances.
Director of Music, Mr. Adams was delighted when pupils replied to his invitation to participate with their recordings that they'd been working on at home. Looking to celebrate the piano as it is a popular choice of instrument played at Crosfields, he received over twenty entries, featuring a wide range of performances of music by Brahms to Bach. "Playing music is so important for our wellbeing and gives us the opportunity to lose ourselves in our own world," Mr. Adams commented, thanking the pupils and their families for helping to produce the concert.
Simply click on the image below to view a short selection of performances from some of our talented Crosfields musicians.
A return to live teaching in the science labs coincided with British Science Week to make for a brilliant week of engaging and practical lessons for Senior School pupils in Years 7 and 8 recently.
Pupils in Year 8 studying cellular respiration were able to take a close look at a heart in a practical session that consolidated their understanding of how the lungs work to carry out gaseous exchange, and how the heart functions to pump blood, containing oxygen and glucose, to every living cell. Those that wanted to were able to hold and study the heart before teacher of science, Mr. Murray-Smith, cut it open to show the pupils its four chambers and valves. "It was really good to have a visual understanding of what we've been learning about," remarked one pupil.
Meanwhile pupils in Year 7 enjoyed a fiery demonstration of the chemistry of combustion. The 'hands-on' methane bubbles experiment consolidated their lockdown learning of the periodic table and how the elements that make up our existence have different physical and chemical properties.
Pupils in Years 7 and 8 were left 'spellbound' by a captivating talk from magician and mentalist, Katherine Mills recently.
Speaking to the children virtually through Teams, Katherine opened the talk with an interactive group card trick - which was no mean feat with almost 100 online guests! Katherine spoke to the children about how her interest in magic developed from the age of 14, and how magicians and mentalists like David Blain and Dynamo inspired her to chase a career in this unusual field. Katherine also gave examples of the charity work she has done, the television shows she has appeared on, and the famous people she has performed magic for, including Boris Johnson after he was first elected, to Richard Branson, who she performed the trick 'card through window' for whilst on one of his aeroplanes!
Afterwards, the Senior children enjoyed a virtual 'social' where they agreed that a career in magic could be quite an exciting option!
Since the start of the spring term in January, incredible progress has been made on the construction of the new Crosfields Senior School building.
Despite the challenges of Brexit and Covid, the deliveries of the cross laminated timber (CLT) arrived from Austria on schedule, with the final piece being placed recently. This means that the impressive main structure is now complete and the crane that was used to put each piece of CLT in position has left the site. Brickwork has also commenced and the roof is set to be completed soon.
Brand-new and exciting time-lapse footage on the build can be viewed by clicking on the image, below. It shows the back half of the building being constructed with the CLT, as well as the windows being fitted and the beginnings of work on large glass panels. Classrooms have been installed above the café space, with three more downstairs. Each classroom will provide a light, airy space for teaching with underfloor heating, mechanical ventilation, wi-fi and a teaching wall with screen and storage for resources.
Children in Year 1 had the most amazing day in the woods recently, enjoying the use of three different Forest School outdoor learning sites within the woodland around the Crosfields grounds.
Down at Robin Wood, which is Crosfields main outdoor classroom, the girls and boys had a super time popping corn over an open fire, threading leaf mobiles and making dens in and around the woodland, all under the supervision of the Year 1 teaching team and Forest School practitioners.
Meanwhile, over in Squirrel Wood, the children created stick men and leaf crowns, proudly wearing their colourful creations during the day. They also made potions in cauldrons, decorated conkers and created mud faces on the trees. It was a wonderful opportunity for the children to take risks in a controlled environment, as well as learn independently in natural surroundings.
Two pupils in Year 8 were pleased recently when they heard that they had triumphed in a competition that they had entered, which gave them the opportunity to name suites in a newly opened care home.
Parsons Grange Care Home in Shinfield, which opened in August, invited Senior pupils at Crosfields and other local schools to help them select names for the different areas of their home. The winning entry chosen by the care home was Hardy, which Lottie, pictured left, entered after 19th century author Thomas Hardy featured fictional places in his books that were believed to be based on Shinfield and Reading.
Girls and boys in Year 2 entered their classrooms to a surprise recently…a STEM Day!
They were delighted to have a day of ‘no work’, instead they puzzled, built, problem solved, experimented and questioned…but no work! Their day incorporated fairground themed activities which saw them transfer the skills they acquired from constructing towers in Forest School to their engineering project in the afternoon. Add to this a carousel of maths problems and science investigations and the pupils enjoyed a very different day of learning. Their beaming faces and shrieks of laughter showed that a great day was had by all…but no work though!
An interesting and exciting opportunity to view both the interior and exterior of Crosfields' brand new Senior School building has been shared by one of the school's partners in the construction project.
Architectural firm DMA, who have been working closely with the school, created the virtual walk-through to enable pupils and parents to take a peek inside the new state-of-the-art Senior School building. It offers a 'sneak preview' of what's in store for the Senior School children at Crosfields as their new facility is due for completion in autumn 2021. The audience can take a tour of classrooms, the performance area and cafe as doors are opened and spaces revealed.
Crosfields will welcome its first cohort of Year 9 pupils in September 2021 as it extends its age range to 16. Parents interested in Years 7 and 9 for September 2021 are advised to contact the Registrar at or telephone 0118 987 9902.
Pupils in Year 7 enjoyed an interactive science lesson recently which took a close look at the internal organs of a pig, including its lungs and heart.
Following a presentation of the different organs and how they work, the children were then able to touch and feel the lungs and heart, should they want to, discussing the differences between the two. The demonstration finished with the lungs being inflated. The session left the pupils with a lot to talk about, with one pupil commenting that it was "an amazing experience, seeing the anatomy of an animal first hand".
During the summer months, work on the brand new Senior School building got underway at Crosfields School.
No sooner had the children left for the summer holidays, than the groundworks had begun, preparing the car park and foundations for the super new facility that will be ready for use in autumn 2021. The new building is part of the school's project to extend its pupil age to 16, offering a complete education journey from Nursery through to GCSE. The first cohort of children to take their GCSEs at Crosfields will be in Year 9 in September 2021, where they will enjoy a brand new Senior School building that offers bright classrooms, a performance space and refectory serving exciting menu options for Senior children.
This academic year, parents were welcomed with a new and improved car parking and traffic flow system. An effective 'kiss and drop' has been implemented for the older children with a new entrance opened from the Shinfield Road, and a brand new car park by our Sports Centre. As Crosfields holds charitable status, the school is committed to reinvesting funds back into its facilities, and recent projects have included the artificial turf pitch, cricket pavillion, sports centre and swimming pool.
This academic year, some new faces will be seen around Crosfields as the school moves into the next phase of its exciting plan to extend its age range to sixteen.
A series of high-profile teaching appointments were made during the summer term, with many teachers keen to join Crosfields at this pivotal time in the school's history. The school received an overwhelming set of applications from teachers currently in both independent and state schools across Berkshire and beyond, for the newly created and vacant positions that were available.
One such successful appointment was Mr. Richard Ebbage who joins the school's Senior Leadership Team as new Deputy Head Academic. Moving to Crosfields from a similar position at Shiplake College in Henley, Richard brings considerable expertise in teaching and mentoring children and adolescents. Prior to Shiplake he was Head of Department and Assistant Housemaster at a boarding house. Richard has also taught Maths and Psychology at GCSE and A-level, and is very much looking forward to working with pupils at Crosfields.
Crosfields is also delighted to welcome Mrs. Emma West to the school. Emma joins Crosfields as Head of Maths from The Abbey School in Reading where she was their Second in Maths and Head of Year 7. An extremely experienced teaching professional, Emma has taught maths at GCSE and Maths and Further Maths at A-level.
Other new appointments include Alex Murray-Smith from Bohunt School as a Science teacher, Daniel Furkins from Prospect School and Ian Anderson from Brackenhale School join the English department, and Amy Saunders from Tring School joins the Maths department.
Mr Richard Ebbage
Mrs Emma West
Pupils at Crosfields have had a lot of fun in their Art lessons this term, both in the Art Department, at home and around school!
Following the success of the Art Exhibition in school last year, head of Art Miss Beare was determined to give children in Years 5 to 8 an opportunity to showcase their artwork through virtual methods. "It is when the children's work is collected that you realise just how much time and effort goes into each and every piece" Miss Beare commented. She went on to say, "I knew there had to be a way to share it all with family and friends, and an online video platform seemed appropriate. Well done to everyone for an amazing year's work. You have all been a pleasure to work with and it has been wonderful watching you grow and develop as young artists."
The exhibitions by year group can be viewed by clicking the links below:
Pupils in the Middle and Senior Schools had a fantastic opportunity in their online art lessons to learn how to create stopmotion and hand-drawn animations recently.
Basing their ideas on the topic of ‘What makes you happy?’, the topic went hand in hand with Crosfields #3GoodThings social media campaign; a theory that gratitude is important for how good we feel psychologically and socially. Over the lockdown form tutors have been encouraging children to share three positive things about their day to boost mental wellbeing and children in Years 5 to 8 were then asked to explore these through the exciting medium of animation.
Pupils enjoyed watching their collective animations and they can be viewed below.
Year 5 and 6
Year 7 and 8
This week saw the successful, phased return of children in Years 7 and 8 into school.
It was a wonderful moment for Crosfields leaders and teaching staff who felt as though their jigsaw puzzle was complete. The Senior pupils follow on from those in all other, lower year groups who have also successfully returned to school over the last two weeks. Staff have worked tirelessly to map out pathways, areas and signage around the school to ensure that the children are kept separate and within their pods. Additional toilet facilities have been brought onto the site and the school's catering provider, Thomas Franks, has been providing lunches in recycled paper bags to each pod.
It is thanks to these tremendous efforts and the spacious learning areas and outdoor spaces that pupils at Crosfields can benefit from, that the leadership team have been able to manage all year groups being in school at any one time.
Pupils at Crosfields recently enjoyed a day of wearing odd socks as part of their Friday Theme Days.
It was a brightly coloured event that united children and teachers alike with a whole host of odd socks on show from all areas of the school. The children who are currently learning at home especially enjoyed showing their friends and teachers their funny sock combinations. The Crosfields Friday Theme Days are another way for those children who are not currently in school to remain connected to the school community. A selection of odd socks can be seen in the photo, below.
Pupils and staff at Crosfields School took on a huge challenge recently of travelling the distance from London to Cairo by walking, running and cycling, and what a performance they put in!
Organised by the Children's Challenge, 26 schools of varying sizes entered the challenge and had one week to complete the distance of 3,509km. Between them all they covered a staggering 124,837km during the course of the week, but no school got close to the distance covered by Team Crosfields. The event organisers commented that, "No single school contributed more than Crosfields School that travelled an incredible 14,023km. This is greater than the distance from the North Pole to the South Pole, from just one school, in just one week. Crosfields was not the biggest school that took part but virtually no one else got close, at any point, to the distance the school travelled every day."
Director of Sport, Mr. Gareth Edwards passed on his congratulation and commented, "Well done and many thanks to all the children, parents and families for embracing the challenge. The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team."
During Mental Health Awareness Week, pupils and staff at Crosfields were reminded of the importance of taking care of our mental health.
Organised by the Mental Health Foundation, the week gave a particular focus to getting out and about on daily walks and taking exercise. The sense of being close to nature or around natural surroundings was emphasised to children through their form time and through TEAMS.
Crosfields truly is an active community that enjoys exercise, and throughout the week, staff members began to share images of themselves out and about on their runs, walks, bike rides and even freshwater swimming to encourage the children to do the same. Families shared their photos, too, and it was inspiring to see how much the children were enjoying their outdoor exercise.
Pupils and staff were seen on screen recently getting ahead (sorry!) by wearing a super selection of decorated hats, caps, beanies and bonnets.
Children and teachers from all departments of the school embraced the challenge and logged into form time with the finest headgear around, yet again showing support and demonstrating that though they are apart from one another, they are still very much connected. The children laughed and enjoyed showing friends and teachers their colourful, homemade creations in a super display of unity.
During Children's Mental Health Week, teachers at Crosfields spent time with pupils talking about the notion of 3 Good Things.
In a world where it is easy to focus on negativity and take the good things in our lives for granted, the children were encouraged to think about three positive events that had happened during that week; three things that had gone well for them or things that they had enjoyed doing. They then wrote them up and posted all of their good things to a noticeboard in the Dining Hall.
Then, at the beginning of lockdown, Crosfields felt that there was no better time to continue championing 3 Good Things and set about launching a fresh campaign via its social media platforms to encourage pupils and staff to send in examples of things they were grateful for during this difficult period. The response from all areas of the school was huge, and it was astounding to see just how much positivity the Crosfields community had found and wanted to share with others.
From clapping for the NHS, to spending more time outside, baking and discovering new games, the 3 Good Things were sent in in abundance with many photos and videos, too, and over the ensuing weeks and months, Crosfields had shared over 150 good things with its online community!
It was a truly wonderful celebration of togetherness and how communities can stay connected under the most challenging of circumstances.
The children of Crosfields School brought a touch of seaside fun to their remote learning recently as they joined in with the Friday theme of Beach Day.
Once again the pupils and staff logged into their form time wearing a fabulous selection of beach themed attire. Teachers were delighted as children across the school could be seen on their screens wearing an assortment of brightly coloured shirts, Hawaiian garlands, sunglasses, with some accompanied by enormous inflatables!
What's more, it was yet another way in which the children and teachers could remain connected whilst being apart during this period of remote learning.
Friday is 'Theme Day' at Crosfields while pupils are learning remotely, and recently they enjoyed a celebration of the NHS.
Proudly sporting blue and white coloured clothing, the pupils connected with their form tutors and classmates at 8.45am, showing off their outfits and attire to the Crosfields online learning community. Children from all areas of the school played their part, from Nursery through to the Senior School and there were all sorts on display including coloured hair and painted faces. What's more, the teachers, form tutors and support staff joined in, too!
Using their imaginations, the pupils really stepped up to the challenge in a colourful show of support for the brave NHS workers not only in Reading but across the country.
Friday is theme day at Crosfields while schools are in a period of remote learning and the first of these was 'crazy hair'.
Sporting all manor of outrageous styles and colours, the children of Crosfields did not disappoint their form tutors and teachers in the morning as they logged on for their morning registration with an entertaining display of hairdos. There were colourful wigs, backcombed ponytails, sprayed-on colour and one boy had even shaved the letters NHS into the back of his head!
What's more, the teachers joined in the fun too, showing the children that though they may not be in their classrooms at the moment, they can all still laugh together.
The spring term is always an exciting time in the Pre-Prep at Crosfields as it hails the arrival of baby chicks that come to stay with the Reception children for a few weeks.
The eggs were delivered after half term and soon afterwards they had hatched, giving the girls and boys six baby chicks to watch grow in their incubator. Handling them very carefully in small, quiet groups, the children were fortunate to hold the birds and watched on in amazement as they explored their surroundings. “It’s tickling my hand!” said one of the children as they held out their palms for the chick to hold on to. Cute!
Last term, 38 Crosfields pupils from Years 3 to 6 took part in the Junior Language Challenge, a national competition that encourages independent learning and a love of languages from a young age.
For the first round, the children had to learn German and obtain a minimum of 500 points to qualify for the second round. The Languages department was delighted to report that many children qualified for the second round and went on to learn French. Furthermore, Crosfields heard recently that two pupils in Years 4 and 5 respectively made it through to the regional final of the challenge! Sammy and Shaunak were overjoyed when they heard the news, however at the time of writing it hadn’t been confirmed when the final will take place. Well done boys, and to all the children that took part.
In March, Crosfields welcomed U12 and U13 teams from Brockhurst, Eagle House, Leighton Park and Shiplake College to take part in its annual Rugby 7’s Tournament.
Both competitions were played in great spirit (despite the horrendous weather conditions) and there was some outstanding rugby on show. Team Crosfields fought hard, showed skill, guile and determination and should be very proud of how they performed. The U12’s developed as the tournament progressed and gained a lot of experience to help them next year. The U13’s were exceptional, and ended the tournament as deserving winners of their competition. Outstanding performances throughout the side with a special mention to Finn who scored some decisive tries. Well done boys!
The Crosfields 1st Netball Team travelled to Cranleigh School recently to compete in a regional round of the U13 Netball IAPS Competition.
During the morning the Senior girls played matches within their pool. They played some great netball throughout the morning, dominating their games and by lunchtime had progressed into the Plate competition for the afternoon. The girls showed good form by pulling together as a team to play exciting netball, going on to win their quarter final game. This meant that they had progressed to the semi final where the Crosfields team met some strong opponents who pulled ahead in the second half. The girls showed real determination by winning the match; they never let their heads drop and were focused and ready for their 3rd/4th play-off against one of the teams who had previously beaten them 6-4 in the morning.
Crosfields proved they were the stronger team yet again by dominating the match and coming away with an 11-4 win to claim bronze medals! It was a true team performance with each girl playing her part in every game.
Pupils at Crosfields were fortunate to celebrate World Book Day over the course of a whole week at Crosfields, with many exciting and interactive sessions for the children to enjoy.
Senior children in Years 7 and 8 attended a captivating workshop with comedian and writer, Dave Smith. A former stand-up comedian and professional writer, Dave inspired the children to write humorous and entertaining stories, with some children bravely standing up to read their creations aloud to their peers. There was a whole school book swap, where children were invited to bring in books that they've read to swap for those that they haven't. Book swap stations placed around the school began to fill up at the beginning of the week and by the end of the week they were overflowing!
On World Book Day itself, there was an array of fantastic costumes across the whole school as children from Nursery through to Year 8 dressed up as their favourite book characters and authors. In Reception, the children made marmalade sandwiches for their afternoon snack because Paddington Bear would just go hungry otherwise! In Year 1, the teachers arrived in pirate costumes and the children were able to make pirate hats and enjoy other exciting pirate activities in their classrooms. Even the Bursary staff got into the spirit of World Book Day with a number of Peter Pan outfits and our very own Mr. Watson dressed as Captain Hook! Entertainer and story teller, Mr. Dilly, also came in to tell the stories of The Wizard of Oz and Treasure Island to children in Years 2, 3, 5 and 6. The Crosfields theatre was rocking with laughter and cheers from the children as these traditional stories were acted out in a hilarious way.
Finally, Senior pupils in Year 8 took the opportunity to spend some time in the Nursery, reading out loud to the little ones who listened closely to the stories they were being told. Cute!
Having enjoyed a super selection of sandwiches and cookies in a delicious afternoon tea, children in the Senior School gathered in Acorns Hall to listen to guest speaker and archaeologist, Donna DeGroene from Reading University.
As part of their development, Year 8 pupils formally introduce and thank visiting speakers at the Senior Tea and Talk sessions, and on this occasion Marie confidently introduced Ms DeGroene to the group. Ms DeGroene talked to the pupils about her career, outlining the educational requirements of her profession, and some of the more interesting things she has uncovered as an archaeologist. The children listened intently and were keen to examine some of the materials that Ms DeGroene brought with her to show them. "She was clearly very passionate about her choice of career," one pupil commented.
At the end of the talk, the children had the opportunity to ask questions, allowing them to gain further understanding of what's involved in a career in archaeology, then Year 8 pupil Eshaan closed the session, with Lottie presenting Ms DeGroene with a gift.
Senior children who were placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd in a recent 'Winter Writing Competition' were invited to read their stories to their family and friends in a Declamation Evening in Acorns Hall.
Selected children in Years 7 and 8 joined the readers with their winter poetry compositions. Family and friends heard some imaginative stories, including how Father Christmas had a stowaway in his sack and the unwitting child turned into an elf, stories which involved arctic foxes or squirrels trying to survive winter, as well as pixies who lived in a Christmas pudding and needed to find a new home after theirs had burned down! The audience also heard moving World War One themed poetry from Year 8. It was a wonderful evening which celebrated writing, story-telling, imagination and inspiration!
Across the school, teachers and pupils have been discussing the importance of mental health following on from Children's Mental Health Week.
A subject that is never far from the curriculum at Crosfields, Deputy Head (Pastoral), Mr. Mallins held two collects to introduce and explain the concepts of Time to Talk and Inside Out day to the children, highlighting that you can't always see what's going on with a person from the outside. Both children and staff ensured that they took time out from their busy schedules to simply talk, walk or run together. Meanwhile, the classes and playground were awash with colour as blazers, jackets, skirts and trousers were turned inside out, raising awareness of a very important topic.
Children in Year 7 enjoyed a ‘buzzy’ day in the Art Department recently (excuse the pun!) as they took inspiration from the insect world and got to grips with aluminium modelling wire.
The girls and boys created superb sculptures of insects using just wire and metal tape, with the help and supervision from visiting artist and friend of Crosfields, Darcy Turner. Using a variety of visual sources and their imaginations, the girls and boys first developed their ideas by sketching insects. They then started bending, looping and manipulating the wire to realise their intentions and created superb bug sculptures.
"It's not as easy as it looks!" exclaimed one pupil, while another commented that "It was one of the best days, Darcy really helped me to make my drawing come to life."
The art room was buzzing with energy recently as the Year 6 children split into teams and tackled chair making.
Using just newspaper, regular visitor to Crosfields, artist Darcy Turner, brought his amazing newspaper-rolling machines which turned the newspaper into sticks by tightly rolling the sheets together. Sealing the edges with glue, the children enjoyed the challenge of producing plenty of sticks for their team mates to construct their chairs.
At the end of the session, the girls and boys had produced chairs that were sturdy and strong enough to sit on, whilst at the same time, they developed their construction, problem solving and team working skills. All triumphed with innovative and surprisingly very stable chairs!
Boys in Years 7 and 8 were fortunate to have an expert Rugby coaching session with four coaches and players from London Scottish RFC recently.
Across the width of the Crosfields rugby pitches, the coaches could be seen sharing their vast knowledge and demonstrating skills. First team players Elliot Creed and Miles Wakeling, former Scottish Sevens Coach and Club Commercial Manager, Carson Russell, as well as Community Development Officer Ross Peacock focused on aspects of defence in games-based practices in an afternoon which all children really enjoyed and benefited from.
Sport is a big part of life at Crosfields and for many of our pupils, games lessons will be one of several highlights of their week.
This year, we are incredibly lucky to have a large cohort of girls in Years 7 and 8 who enjoy sports, are enthusiastic, keen to learn and progress. The girls had a recent opportunity to play relaxed netball fixtures against Leighton Park School, at Crosfields, on the new artificial turf pitch. The matches were spread across the width of the pitch, giving Head of Girls Games Mrs. Seward and Games teacher Mrs. Bennett plenty of opportunity to observe, umpire and coach all of the girls.
Their gameplay was committed, with each girl showing real tenacity and a determination to win. It was a positive afternoon of sport that showcased the progress each team has made this term, with an added bonus of victory for the 4th and 5th teams.
Girls and boys in Year 8 travelled up to the West End in London recently to watch the musical, School of Rock at the Gillian Lynn Theatre.
Boarding the coach in the afternoon, there was much excitement and anticipation for the Senior trip to the capital city. When they arrived at the Theatre, the children took their seats for the highly acclaimed show which includes a cast of several children, many of which are the same age as the Crosfields Year 8 cohort.
The girls and boys had an absolutely incredible time, with much laughter, lots of clapping, foot-tapping and singing along. It was an inspirational afternoon that the children were pleased to have attended, especially as the show will be closing in the West End in March.
Girls and boys in Year 7 were immersed in the world of politics recently as they took a trip to the Houses of Parliament in London as part of their PSHE topic on democracy.
A busy and insightful day, the girls and boys were taken on a tour of the Parliament buildings, and even got to take a seat on the famous green benches. What’s more, they learned how Parliament has developed over the centuries into its current modern form, how a bill becomes a law and about ‘Parliament Ping Pong’ through an interesting workshop on laws and debating. Wearing the appropriate attire for the occasion, the children adopted the roles of MP’s and took part in a debate on a topic of their choice, even using the language that we hear so often on the television or radio.
It was a thought-provoking day that led one child to comment, “I could not believe the importance of the rooms I stood in. I am proud of my Nation and the United Kingdom.”
It's been a busy time for musical performances at Crosfields recently, and the Autumn Concert certainly warmed up a cold and chilly evening.
Following on from the Barnardos Young Supporters concert and the beautiful solos at the Crosfields Act of Remembrance, the Autumn Concert was the first opportunity for family and friends to hear what the children have been rehearsing during the first few months of term. The Orchestra played majestically, which was followed by the cinematic strings. Soloists were sprinkled throughout the concert, with performances from children playing the cello, three separate pianists and one tenor horn.
The Crosfields Chamber Choir breathed new life into classic songs. The cello group soared, the piano duet magnificent and the youthful Year 5 Band were original and fresh. Musical Theatre gave the audience a fitting finale, full of exuberance and fun.
22 girls and boys from Crosfields were fortunate to have the opportunity of a lifetime recently as they got to sing at the Young Supporters Concert on behalf of children's charity Barnardo's at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Barnardo’s is a fantastic charity that puts young people at the heart of all their good work and it was therefore encouraging to see 1200 children from 32 schools collaborating through singing, dancing and playing to produce such an outstanding and entertaining concert to raise funds for the children's charity.
The pupils spent the first half of the Autumn term learning and rehearsing the different parts for the massed choir performances of 14 songs at the concert. This was quite an achievement and they should feel rightfully proud of their contribution which saw them sing The Bare Necessities amongst other classics.
It is on nights like this that memories are made; performing at such a prestigious venue and being the 'star' leaves us all wanting more.
On Armistice Day, children from all year groups gathered in the Quad to remember those soldiers that fought and died in battle.
Girls and boys from the Nursery through to the Senior School stood together quietly and listened to Headmaster Mr. Watson’s words of remembrance, before Year 6 pupil Madeleine respectfully played the Last Post on her Tenor Horn. Madeleine played from music that had been written out by her Grandfather many years ago who was an esteemed brass band conductor that regularly played the Last Post. In addition, Year 7 pupil Stephanie played I Vow Thee to My Country on her violin which brought the service to a poignant close.
Following an amazing selection of sandwiches, children in the Senior School were treated to a large slice of caramel chocolate brownie before sitting down to listen to guest speaker, television producer, Louisa Pond-Jones recently.
Ms. Pond-Jones, who was introduced to the children by Year 8 pupil Johane, spoke passionately about how she became qualified to start her career in television and her first experiences as a runner, to how she progressed and became a producer on shows such as I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, Big Brother and Shipwrecked, to name but a few. The presentation considered the many fun aspects of the work, such as live broadcasting, planning shows and the tough challenges faced when under pressure, to the more down-to-earth trials of working in television and the perks of meeting celebrities! Eshaan then closed the presentation and thanked Ms. Pond-Jones for visiting Crosfields.
Some of the children commented afterwards about how much they enjoyed the talk. "Louisa didn't talk down to us, and it was a brilliant and informal introduction to working in television" said Priyanka, and Luc said, "I could not believe all the various roles involved in TV producing!"
Regular visitor to Crosfields, Luke Quirk, with his menagerie of animals and creatures were welcomed back to school recently for Year 2 animal roadshow.
Acorns Hall was buzzing with excitement and squeals as Mr. Slimy the African Land Snail, Sid the Hissing Cockroach, Legs the Tarrantula and Jaffa the Corn Snake to name but a few types of creature were presented to girls and boys in Year 2. Luke explained to the children how all animals could be classified into different groups, which helped Year 2 consolidate their learning of their science topic on animals.
When Splat the Treefrog decided to take a long jump off Luke Quirk's hand, the children were delighted! Two creatures of a more familiar variety, Sven the Rabbit and Pearl the Chicken were firm favourites, with ALL the children wanting to stroke them!
Children in Reception took a wonderful trip to the The Look Out Discovery Centre in Bracknell recently.
With its hands on science exhibits, the children freely explored all that the centre had to offer including the indoor stream, the insect enclosure and the colourful light show. In fact, the children were so interested in the light show that the presenter commented on how good their behaviour had been!The excitement of having a packed lunch to eat and a ride on a coach topped the day off nicely.
Added to this, was the excitement of having a packed lunch to eat and a ride on a coach.
Children in Year 1 arrived at Legoland for their planned day trip recently… and it was most certainly worth the wait that they'd had following a period of inclement weather.
The rain stayed away and the children had a wonderful time exploring the park. From the moment the coach turned into the Legoland driveway, the children (and adults) were filled with excitement and gasps of delight echoed around the coach. The girls and boys managed to visit each zone of the park as it was a quiet day, as well as spending a lot of time in Miniland identifying all the global landmarks and different countries. It really was a fun day out that even included a visit to the new spooky Haunted House ride.
It was an exciting day which meant that there were many tired and sleepy children (and some adults!) on the coach back to school. A memorable day was had by all!
Girls and boys in the Nursery were thrilled recently when they had a visit from the Freshwater Theatre Company, who came in for a fun morning of Nursery Rhyme themed activities.
Working together using their senses, the children found clues to missing Nursery Rhymes. They had special binoculars to help look, an extra sensitive nose to help with the smells, feeling gloves for touching and a great big set of ears to help them hear!
At the end of the session, the girls and boys found several clues that lead them to Humpty Dumpty, Incy Wincy Spider, 1,2,3,4,5, and five little ducks.’ Once they had found each clue they sang the nursery rhymes through together and took the clues all back to big bird. It was an imaginative and enjoyable session that really encouraged the children to work together.
The Crosfields School Rowing Club were very lucky to welcome current GB Rower Matthew Tarrant to school recently to coach one of their sessions.
Matthew is a world rowing champion who competed at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, and he is now set to head to Tokyo next year for the 2020 Games.
New to the Senior Co-Curricular timetable this term, the Crosfields Rowing Club enjoys the use of six Concept2 indoor rowing machines and the children, who are all in Year 7 and 8 train once a week. Matthew talked the rowers through the fundamentals of the rowing stroke and gave each one specific development points.
They all listened keenly to Matthew's training regime which on Thursday included a 90-minute weights session, 16k on the river and 12k on the rowing machine! (2000m doesn't sound too bad now, does it?!)
Children in the Senior School took to the Polling Station (a.k.a Mrs. Gillow's classroom) recently to cast their votes and participate in the annual UK Youth Parliament's 'Make Your Mark' campaign.
The children voted in their droves for a range of issues that they would like to see debated in the House of Commons, and after the polling station closed, the results were submitted to the British Youth Council for counting. The national results are not available until November, however, here at Crosfields, protection of the environment and putting an end to knife crime received an overwhelming number of responses. The children then voted on a range of local issues, where taking care of our local environment topped the poll, followed by homelessness and child poverty.
Head of PSHE, Mrs. Gillow commented, "Each year I am both humbled and proud of what our young people speak up about. The local issues that were raised by the pupils were varied, with many really thoughtful statements. I am privileged to see how much young people care about very grown up issues in every lesson. We do need to listen (as well as hear) their voices."
Well done Senior School for Making your Mark!
The Year 6 girls and the Crosfields Hockey Squad were incredibly fortunate recently to have a visit from Team GB Hockey player Shona McCallin who came into school to run their hockey lesson.
McCallin, who currently plays hockey for Great Britain, was part of the Olympic team who won the gold medal in Rio in 2016. She gave the girls an opportunity to train like a professional hockey player by setting up several drills to encourage them to pass and move into space, at the same time reminding them to keep their heads up so they could see!
McCallin ended the session with small-sided games to put what she had taught the girls into practice. It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn from one of the top athletes in the country, and what’s more, Shona had brought in a signed hockey ball plus one of the skirts she wore whilst out in Rio to award to two of the girls for their hard work and enthusiasm during the session.
With much excitement and anticipation, Maths Week began on a Monday morning and a whole schedule of activities kicked off with children in Years 6, 7 and 8 solving a number of mathematical problems and puzzles, courtesy of the Brain Blaster Workshop Company. Designed to build confidence, and working in pairs and small groups, the children set about solving 3D shape puzzles. Taskmaster Angela Gould from Brain Blaster was on hand to help and show them how it was done, too.
Later that day, children in Year 4 took part in the Mathematics Challenge, where 16 local schools visited Crosfields to compete in an afternoon of mathematical tasks in the Sports Hall that included mental arithmetic and games. Organised and run by expert Douglas Buchanan, children around the hall worked in pairs to complete the maths tasks that Mr. Buchanan displayed on the screen. Crosfields pupils in Year 7 were stationed at the desks to check the children's work and help them with their scores. To their sheer delight, one of the Crosfields teams came second! (We didn't fix it, honestly!)
Throughout the week, the children also enjoyed working with the Happy Puzzle Company who brought in a clever array of puzzles that encouraged children in all year groups to work together, solving visual maths problems.
Elsewhere around the school, girls and boys in the Pre-Prep used lego and butterflies to think about symmetry, as well as getting creative by painting repeating patterns. Architecture Workshops also returned to school for their popular bridge building workshops that explored geometry and the properties of shape. The week culminated with children in Year 8 spending time in the Nursery, having fun with numbers. It really was a terrific week that encouraged the children to think about the application of maths in everything that they did, and demonstrated that maths can be found everywhere.
Last week, four children from Year 5 competed against other schools in the Prep Schools Science Challenge, hosted by Bradfield College.
The girls and boys took part in a series of tasks based on each of the sciences, before the day ended with demonstrations that showcased science in action. Lotte particularly enjoyed the Physics challenge, and exclaimed, "Making the loud speaker was great, particularly because ours was the loudest!" Ishaan had fun with the Chemistry, telling us, "I enjoyed the Chemistry task as it had a little bit of risk involved; I was practicing keeping the chemicals in the test tube."
All the children agreed that looking at maggots under a microscope for the Biology task was a little stomach churning, however the exploding gas balloon demonstration impressed them all. A good afternoon of Science was had by all!
Girls and boys in Year 4 walked over to the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology at the University of Reading recently to investigate the collection of Greek artefacts on display.
As part of their topic on the Ancient Greeks, the children examined the Museum's fascinating collection of vases and pots which helped them to understand and visualise how the Greeks may have once lived. From tiny pots for perfumes and oils to larger containers for water, the children even got to hold some of the artefacts which they enjoyed immensely. With their imaginations fired up, they then created storyboards for the pots that they had seen, and enjoyed a 'treasure hunt', following clues and finding the artefacts on their worksheets.
Fifteen children joined our newest club this term, the Crosfields Development Squad, and they've been taking part in training sessions at the Alpine Snowsports Centre in Aldershot. In September, five of the Crosfields children competed in two teams at the English Schools' Ski Association National Championships (ESSKIA) Dry Slope, along with over 200 children aged between 8 and 17 years old. It was a hive of activity upon arrival at 8.30am, but the Crosfields Team remained cool and successfully completed their first dry slope ski race. There were many different emotions expressed on the day, but the feeling of achievement and happiness far surpassed it all.
Another week and another competition; this time, ten Crosfields children competed in three teams (2 boys’ teams and 1 girls’ team) at the BISS National Indoor Open Ski Championships with the Ski Club of Great Britain. This race formed part of the National Schools Indoor Series. Over 450 children in the same age range as before, took part in the event. Team Crosfields arrived at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead to a very busy, energised and exciting atmosphere but again the children remained calm though excited at the prospect of finally skiing on snow after months of training on dry slopes.
All of the Crosfields teams did well, however, the girls team did particularly well and came third overall in the Junior Girls category, which was a terrific effort. Year 6 pupil Leah was placed 5th in the U14 girls category.
Donations of food flooded into school recently for the annual Crosfields Harvest Festival.
Girls and boys in Year 8, ably assisted by children from the Pre-Prep, sorted and packed hundreds of items of donated food into crates for local independent food bank, Readifood who provide food parcels to those in need in the local community.
Thanks to the generosity of parents and families, over 15 crates of food (and a further car boot full!) were prepared by the children. The importance of Readifood's work was explained to the children in a special Collect by a representative from the Wokingham Food Bank, and the children enjoyed being able to contribute to this worthy cause.
Girls and boys in Year 8 had a wet but rewarding day at the Amersham Field Centre recently as part of their study of rivers and their place in the beautiful Chilterns landscape.
Working together in teams, the children put on their wellies and waterproofs and waded out into the river to study the processes of erosion and transportation. "We measured the velocity, river width and depth and pebble size - also known as bedload", said one pupil, while another explained, "We collected a lot of data for our Common Entrance field work study which was really interesting as well as being a lot of fun; we haven't been on a practical geography assignment before, and most of us had never actually waded into a river before, either!"
The rain at the end of the day made little difference to the children as they were already wet from standing in the river, "At one point, the river depth suddenly increased where it meandered round, and the water just filled our wellies!" exclaimed the girls when they returned to school. "And we dropped our clipboards in the water!"
Despite it being a damp day, it ended on a high with much giggling over who had the soggiest socks. Head of Geography, Mr. Clark commented, "It was a great day! The children were well behaved and enthusiastic, and the trip gave them the opportunity to put into context the theory that they have learned over the last few weeks."
Girls and boys in Reception have been enjoying settling into their new environment as the Autumn term has got well and truly underway at Crosfields.
During these important first few weeks, the children have been making new friends and building language and social skills as they took part in a carousel of creative activities recently that included colour mixing, water play, junk modelling and role play.
Giving children space to explore their own interests is a key part of life at Crosfields where the education is broad ranging. During this fun session, the girls and boys made up stories for their role play and junk modelling, feeding babies and making spaceships. Splashing around in the water area, the children investigated mathematical concepts through pouring, emptying and filling water pots. They also discovered how materials join and which colours could be made by mixing paints.
It was a stimulating afternoon that really fired the children’s imaginations and helped them discover more within our Early Years setting.
The Autumn term started with great gusto and children around the school have had a busy yet exciting introduction to September at Crosfields.
Settling in to their classrooms and joining friends old and new, girls and boys have taken to their routines very well indeed. Children in Year 7 have been wearing their new Senior school uniform with pride, mentioning to their teachers that they now feel a lot more 'grown up'. Staff and parents throughout the school have also commented on how smart the children look in their new uniform, and Games this week showcased the new sports kit with its striking combination of black, white and raspberry that looked strong against the green of the pitches.
Girls and boys in Year 7 had an exciting STEM session which focused on engineering and bridge building with a visiting specialist from Architecture Workshops. Figuring out how to create the structure of the Millenium Bridge using geometric shapes, it was a getting-to-know-you session for many children, as well as a great way to encourage team building. Learning is fun at Crosfields!
Children in Years 6, 7 and 8 wowed audiences in the summer term as they staged a production of High School Musical.
Having worked hard on their lines, songs and dance moves, the girls and boys put on a memorable performance of the Disney classic to a packed theatre full of parents, grandparents and friends. The story of Troy and Gabriella showed the children how important it is to truly be themselves, and how working together as a team allows them to achieve great things!
The stage was full of colourful costumes, amazing singing and acting, with dance routines that got the audience bopping along in their seats. The children, who consistently gave it their all, should be incredibly proud of their performances.
Throughout the academic year, Crosfields pupils in Years 6, 7 and 8 were among 300,000 children that took part in the popular maths competition for schools, the Junior Maths Challenge. Run by the UK Mathematics Trust and completed over a number of months, this year Crosfields gained some of the highest results we have seen.
Twelve children achieved gold, two children achieved silver, and seventeen bronze certificates were awarded. Year 8 pupil Alex achieved the greatest score for Crosfields and as a result, he was invited to take part in the prestigious Junior Mathematics Olympiad together with 1,100 of the best mathematicians in the country. Having completed this, Alex was then placed amongst the 250 highest achievers in the country and received a Distinction certificate, which is an amazing achievement
Every year, the rest of the highest scorers are invited to take part in a second and a final round of the Junior Kangaroo Challenge. Seven Crosfields pupils took part in this, and two of those children are now placed in the top 25% best mathematicians and were awarded with Merit Certificates. Congratulations to all our young mathematicians on these outstanding results!
Over the last few weeks children throughout the school have been getting into the team spirit as Crosfields held its annual Sports Days. From the smaller children in Nursery through to the older children in Year 8, friendships were pushed to the side in favour of the children's house colours and teams, and with bright and sunny weather on all three occasions, the school playing fields were awash with colour.
The children took part in a wide variety of athletic activities including the long jump, high jump, shotput, discus and javelin. For the younger girls and boys in Nursery, a series of games were played including egg and spoon races, mini hockey, and jumping races.
Parents, teachers, friends and pupils all cheered each other on, and for children in Years 3 to 8, the afternoons were topped off with a series of exciting relay races that culminated in a presentation by Headmaster, Craig Watson. "All three days had a competitive but collegiate and supportive atmosphere, and it was an absolute joy to watch the elation on the children's faces as they crossed the finish line; a feat that was harder for some more than others."
Crosfields staged its first ever Art Exhibition in the summer term, featuring artwork from every child in the school.
Acorns Hall and the Memorial Garden were filled with exhibits from children in Nursery through to the incredible portfolios by the Art Scholars. Parents and family members filled the hall in their droves to view all the wonderful masterpieces that were being showcased, with many purchasing not only their children's artwork but others as well.
Head of Art, Hannah Beare said "I felt so proud of how art has developed over the last two years and loved seeing the children’s faces as they admired their masterpieces. It was truly the boost art needed to make it a more prominent part of Crosfields life."
This half term, girls and boys in Year 4 completed a Science Crest Award during their Science lessons which culminated in a STEM (Science, Technology, English and Maths) Fair, judged by Head of Science, Mr. Andrew Mant.
The main aim was to enhance the children’s understanding of investigative work in Science. The children spent the day off curriculum, completing the STEM Fair and carrying out an independent investigation of floating objects. They then tested their 'crafts' at the end of the day in the swimming pool, seeing if they had been able to make them float.
The children in Year 4 also completed their Rhyme and Reason presentations recently, which were then put on display in Acorns Hall. A colourful array of topics were presented to adults and children in other year groups by the children in Year 4, who demonstrated their hard work, enthusiasm and knowledge of their chosen subjects.
Crosfields children in Year 7 travelled to Normandy in Northern France for their 5-day residential recently.
Staying in a Château, the Senior girls and boys learnt how to make croissants and bread, how to raise snails and tasted some traditional French recipes. They also were given the opportunity to walk around some sites of the Somme Battlefields including Lochnagar Crater, trenches and cemeteries.
There were many highlights during the week, but one of the most exciting was meeting the children from Collège St. Vincent in Montdidier with whom children at Crosfields have been exchanging letters since the Autumn term. It was terrific for the children from both schools to finally meet and put their language skills into practice, as well as allowing the Crosfields children to explore a French school. They spent their time talking in a lovely “Franglish” and playing games together before enjoying a picnic in the school grounds.
What's more, the weather was kind enough during the trip to allow the children and staff to make a final stop in Boulogne-sur-Mer and have lunch by the beach, before taking the ferry back to England. It was a memorable week that gave girls and boys the opportunity to experience much of what France has to offer, as well as taking a look around a French school.
Crosfields girls and boys in Year 8 enjoyed a thrilling five-day residential to Cornwall recently which saw them undertake a whole host of exciting outdoor pursuits around the beautiful Cornish coastline.
Although they had to do battle with changeable weather most days (hail, rain, wind, sun and cloud…and that was just the first day), the children approached each activity with enthusiasm and determination. For many, the activities pushed the children outside of their comfort zones but all were determined to complete each activity.
After their much-needed evening meal, the children spent the evenings playing beach games, crabbing in Padstow, and building architectural masterpieces from objects found on the beach after toasting marshmallows over a bonfire. The children thoroughly enjoyed spending hours of fun with their friends and made wonderful lasting memories. At the end of the week, the children worked together to write and perform a rap song for the instructors at the Manor House, which was accompanied by beatboxing, cartwheels, questionable dance moves (including the legendary ‘Worm’) and fits of laughter (mainly by the teachers…)
It's been busy in the Crosfields Theatre recently as both Year 4 and Year 5 have put on their annual performances.
Girls and boys of Year 4 performed The Wind in Willows. The audience delighted as the children confidently delivered their lines and sung their songs, and got through their set changes. It was a fun performance that both the children and audience will remember for years to come.
Year 5 then performed The Wizard of Oz to another packed theatre audience, and what a show it was! All the children had clearly worked hard as the performance was bright, energetic and funny and had the audience clapping loudly by the end. Our thanks go to Mrs. Sercombe who wrote and directed the performance. Well done Years 4 and 5!
Twenty Crosfields pupils travelled to the London Aquatics Centre recently to take part in the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS) National Swimming Finals.
After months of preparation and qualifying rounds, 4,600 competitors from 285 Prep Schools around the world came together at the famous London Olympic swimming venue to compete in individual and team races, and the atmosphere was electric. "It was loud but so exciting", one pupil exclaimed. "We felt so proud to be representing our school" said another. However, the tension was broken fairly early on in the morning as the girls, who were swimming first, happened to bump into Olympic medallist and diving superstar, Tom Daly while they were walking around the centre. Tom happily posed for a photo (below) and the girls also got to watch him train.
This was the first year that Crosfields had a girls team qualify for the finals; something that all the girls had been working hard on over the last year. They shaved 3 seconds off their personal best for the medley relay, and in fact, it was a record breaking year for Crosfields as Year 7 pupil Anna won a Gold medal for her 50m backstroke.
The boys put in a strong performance, too, with Year 8 pupil David winning a bronze medal for the U13 backstroke. Alan made it through to the final ten in the U11 butterfly and finished 7th, and in the U12 freestyle Eshaan also made it through to the final ten and he finished 7th, too. All children made improvements to their individual and team times, with David, Alan and Anna breaking school records. Year 8 pupil Louis summed it up by saying "The day was amazing and a great experience. It was a real privilege to be part of it and in such an impressive and inspiring place." Well said, Louis!
The children of the Crosfields Nursery enjoyed a wonderful day out together recently at the the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.
The day started with the excitement of a coach journey, their bags packed with picnic lunches and plenty of drinks! Upon arrival at the museum, the children took part in some activities based around the story of The Wind in The Willows, as well as going through the museum's movable story trail. The highlight of the day though had to be the wonderful boat trip that the Nursery children took down the River Thames. The girls and boys saw all sorts of birds and lots and lots of nests; some children were even lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a nest full of babies!
The children were beautifully behaved and it was a super day for all of us.
During the springtime months, Crosfields girls and boys in Reception have been working hard in the School's polytunnel which contains planters of vegetables and flowers.
Before Easter, they planted potatoes, pumpkins, purple sprouting broccoli, lettuce, tomatoes, Brussel sprouts, chard, dwarf French beans, marigolds, beetroots and courgettes. When they returned after the Easter break, they were thrilled to see the fruits of their labour and enjoyed harvesting the lettuce and tasting it.
They also supplied the kitchen with lettuces which were served on the salad bar for lunch and enjoyed by the whole school! Many thanks to Mrs. Jenkins for her enthusiasm and hard work in getting the polytunnel up and running.
Crosfields girls and boys in Year 3 had a wonderful time at the outdoor learning centre, Norman Court recently.
Their one-night residential trip to this historic estate in Salisbury provided an outdoor experience that included fire lighting and singing songs around the camp fire - and of course, toasting marshmallows! A packed two-day schedule provided the children with an invaluable educational experience of the outdoors that they will remember for years to come.
During their art lessons in the Spring term, girls and boys throughout the school have been busy designing their entries for this year's Crosfields flag competition, and we are delighted to announce that the winner has now been chosen!
The annual flag design competition originated from the School Council and this is the second flag that the School will have made to fly outside The Oaks building. Just like last year, the standard of entries was incredibly high with so many colourful creations to look through. The judging panel then had the unenviable task of selecting a shortlist and the ultimate winner was a design by Tejas, Sophia and Freya from Year 1 which can be seen in the picture below, top right position, along with some of the other finalists from the Nursery, Year 5 and Year 6.
You can watch the flag being raised here:
Year 2 headed off on their one-night residential trip to outdoor activity centre, PGL, in Liddington, Wiltshire recently and what a fabulous time they had!
Upon arrival, the Crosfields group was met by their two group leaders, Scarlett and Sophie, who promptly showed the children to their rooms and the wait was finally over as to who was going to be room mates! The afternoon consisted of two activities, one of which involved abseiling down a 30ft tower. This was followed by a healthy and hearty dinner and time to chat with friends. An evening of singing and dancing round the campfire, before bedtime, made a great end to the first day.
The next day was an early start as many children were awake by 6am! Then it was time to pack, stuff sleeping bags into bags (a feat in itself for an adult, let alone a 6 year old!), strip the beds and move bags to a holding area. Breakfast gave children the chance to refuel their bodies for a morning of activities which included archery and swinging high through the air on a giant swing before having a hot lunch and boarding the coach back to school. The children were amazing and all demonstrated great determination, independence and teamwork. They had a huge amount of fun and made lasting memories.
46 pupils and 6 members of staff departed Crosfields recently for their football and netball tour to Malaga, which turned out to be a tour of a lifetime!
The tour was split into two sections; the boys took part in football training sessions, provided by professional coaches from Malaga FC, and the girls had their very own ex-super league player as their coach for the trip. The children absolutely loved every minute of the sessions, providing them with all the fun, entertainment and technical/tactical advice needed to add both excitement and skills to their respective sports.
As well as the training, there were 6 competitive football and netball fixtures against local opposition, which were evenly matched and thoroughly entertaining for both the spectators and players.
Away from the football and netball, children were able to enjoy the facilities at the resort, including basketball, volleyball and swimming. They also got to experience a day at Tivoli Theme Park, where they enjoyed having their own independence for the day, testing the many rides on offer. The girls had an amazing time on their day trip to Gibraltar, climbing a mountain via cable car and spending some bonus time with the local wild monkeys! The boys travelled into the centre of Malaga and enjoyed a guided tour around the very impressive Malaga FC football stadium, where they had the opportunity to spend their money on gifts for themselves, family and friends.
The tour was an incredible experience for both staff and pupils. Pupil behaviour was exemplary throughout and they were a credit to both their parents and Crosfields.
Crosfields School recently celebrated cultural diversity with its bi-annual International Week, where the Languages and Music departments provided girls and boys throughout the school with an amazing array of experiences.
The week started with an extended Collect (assembly) led by Mme Baldwin and some Year 7 pupils who shared their heritage with the rest of the school, as well as discussing the plethora of languages that they can speak as a year group. You may be surprised to know that more than two thirds of pupils are competent, if not fluent, in another language! Other Collects throughout the week had international themes that included local judo teacher Mr. Small coming in to discuss Japan, its history and schooling, and of course, judo!
Children from across the school participated in wonderful International Music and Dance Showcases for pupils and parents. Orchestra, Strings from all ages, 2 Cellos, Jazz Group, Flute Group, Chamber Choir and other small ensembles took us on a global musical journey that included Italian, Russian, Norwegian and Chinese music to name but a few. There were also stunning performances from dance groups to give us a flavour of the culture of these different countries, too.
Throughout the week, Years 6, 7 and 8 pupils taught their languages to their peers and younger pupils and we could begin to see some wonderfully confident teachers in the making! It was just delightful seeing the engagement and enthusiasm on both sides.
In addition, some parents came in to teach whole year groups, which included Polish, Korean and Gujurati. Another parent displayed a wonderful French juggling show on a unicycle, along with some French language workshops. Some teachers at Crosfields have international backgrounds, too, and shared their heritage and languages with groups of pupils. Mrs. Gupta invited her son (a former Crosfields pupil), her nephew and his friend to demonstrate Bhanghra dancing to Reception and Year 1, and on Thursday, Mrs. Chatterjee, who is the parent of another former Crosfields pupil, demonstrated the Indian classical dance of Bharatanatyam to children in Nursery up to Year 2.
An 'Escape Room' for Years 7 and 8 was set up to transport the children to France and provided 40 minutes of 100% French speaking. Once they entered the tent the pupils were in France but stuck at the border; the only way back to England was working out clues and cracking codes to be able to open the safe to get their passport back!
Children from Years 3, 4, 5 and 8 were fortunate to enjoy an interactive experience of African percussion and drumming, pictured below. Andy Warn from the Crotchet Factory produced four entertaining and informative workshops in his own enthusiastic and engaging style. At the heart of the hour’s music was the importance of learning rhythmic patterns that could then be transferred to the instruments. Each pupil had the opportunity to play a variety of drums, shaker percussion, xylophones and bells. This produced a vibrant and colourful ensemble with authentic sounding music.
The week concluded with a special visitor who spoke in French and acted out the story of Les Mousquetaires (The Musketeers, pictured) to Years 5 and 6, as well as telling the story of the Three Little Pigs in French to Years 3 and 4.
The weather was perfect for the annual Crosfields Cross Country races which took place recently.
All girls and boys, from Nursery to Senior School took part in the running races which, this year, had all-new routes owing to the installation of the new artificial turf pitch behind the Sports Centre at the end of last year. Each course varied in length according to the age of the children and all had a starting point on the rugby pitches next to the White Building. The routes for the older children were a mix of woodland and grass, with some challenging hilly areas for the Seniors!
Although running may not be for everyone, each and every one of the children took the run in their stride and showed great determination and perseverance to get round their respective courses and across the finish line. Crowds of parents and supporters came out to watch and lined the final stretch of the course, cheering the children on as they sprinted to the finish line. There was a happy atmosphere and a strong sense of camaraderie at all of the events.
Thirty Senior School children with a keen interest in the arts went to the Tate Britain recently for a full day of art activities and adventure.
They explored art from the 1500s to art in the present day, and investigated how art themes and movements have changed and developed over time. As well as admiring the more traditional works, they explored abstract and modern styles looking at how artists develop work based on their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. We then explored the extensive and captivating Turner exhibition. They investigated how Turner painted light and perspective to create remote and thrilling landscapes clearly depicting man’s insignificance in the sheer scale and power of nature. The day ended with the children taking part in a fun workshop led by working artists which helped them to form their own opinions and develop their own ideas.
There was lots of positive feedback from the children on the day, too. Marie commented, "I really liked seeing the difference between pictures from the 1500s to the modern day. It’s changed so much!" and Hajrah said, "Seeing the contrast between Turner and Constable was fascinating. I loved Turner because of his ability to paint light and the fairy-tale colours he used." Alexia said, "I loved Turner’s skill at painting light over a landscape. Oh, and the detail in the tree!"
This term the Middle School celebrated results from Bonus Round, the final leg of the Primary Maths Challenge run by the Mathematics Association.
The international competition started back in November, and Crosfields was among 1,600 schools and 67,000 pupils that took part to enjoy maths challenges. Five pupils from Crosfields then received invitations for the Bonus Round. The children worked on this in February, along with 2,300 pupils that were also selected to take part, and these children were not only from the UK, but also from America, China, Singapore, Japan, India, Italy and Russia, among other countries around the globe.
When the competition closed, we were informed that two of the children had got through to the final 1,000 participants and were selected for special awards. Congratulations go to all the children for working hard and taking part in this competition, but special congratulations go to the children that won the bronze and silver awards.
The Crosfields swimming pool was livelier than ever recently as the Middle and Senior schools took part in their interhouse swimming galas.
Over 230 children participated in a set of thrilling competitions that saw them test their swimming abilities to the limit, with demonstrations of different strokes, speed and endurance. There was a real sense of camaraderie as the children cheered on their friends, with spectators raising the noise levels that little bit further! It was simply nailbiting for the parents and family members that had come to watch a demonstration of some fantastic swimming.
Crosfields excellent swimming facility was built in 2012 and has, without doubt, contributed to pupils' swimming success as Crosfields is currently ranked 4th in the country with the Independent Association of Prep Schools.
They'd watched them hatch, sleep, grow and play in their special box for 10 days, but recently the children in Reception had to say a reluctant goodbye to the little chicks that had come to visit their classrooms.
A significant part of the 'exploring the outside world' topic, ten eggs were delivered to the classroom in March for the children to watch hatch when the time came. They then continued to observe them until the chicks were old enough for the children to handle. The children were naturally curious about the chicks coming out of their box and couldn't wait to hold them to see how soft their feathers were.
'It's using my arm as a stick to climb on!" one little girl said excitedly. Cute!
Girls and boys in Year 4 completed their two night residential trip to Ufton Court recently.
Ufton Court, not far from Reading, is an Elizabethan manor house where school children can learn outdoors and fully immerse themselves in the history topics that they may be learning about in school. The Crosfields trip this year saw the children re-enacting the Battle of Reading, dressing up for a full Saxon Feast, learning about Saxon crime and punishment, life on the farm and hunting for their dinner in archery!
The children were engaged in practical, hands-on learning of Saxon History for three days and were able to build up a real understanding of the similarities and differences from life today.
The atmosphere was absolutely electric on poolside at Crosfields swimming facility recently as eight schools took part in an IAPS (Independent Association of Prep Schools) qualifying swimming gala.
The annual competition, which is held amongst independent schools who are registered with the IAPS involves a series of qualifying galas held at schools around the UK, and Crosfields was fortunate to host for our region this year. Girls and boys in Years 5 to 8 who are in the Crosfields Swim Squads, battled it out over a couple of hours with the ultimate aim of getting through to the final which is held at the prestigious London Aquatics Centre on Saturday 8th June.
Last year, Crosfields made history by reaching the final and were placed 4th in the country; an incredible achievement that saw them improve on their 2017 position by one place. Crosfields swimming is going from strength to strength, and no doubt our state-of-the-art swimming facility is a significant factor in this.
Officially opened by Paralympic gold medallist, Ellie Simmonds OBE, in February 2013, the 25m pool has a variable depth floor at one end which means that the children can swim within a depth that is suited to their age and ability. All children from Nursery to Year 8 have timetabled swimming lessons, as well as the opportunity to join the ‘Crosfields Swimming School’.
We won't know the results of the IAPS qualifying swimming gala until after Easter, but the children put in a strong performance and were incredibly determined; we wish all the participants the best of luck.
Following the carol service collection at Wellington College back in December, Crosfields was delighted recently to have received a letter of thanks from The Michael Project in Zimbabwe.
As parents and long-time supporters of Crosfields will know, Crosfields has worked with charitable organisation, the Jacaranda Trust, for nearly two years now. As recipients of our donation, the Trust helps to support many different projects across Africa, distributing money raised to projects which help children at risk. The Michael Project, based in Harare, Zimbabwe, gave our donation of £362 to the Shalom Children's Home. Shalom is presently home to 19 orphaned children; 10 boys and 9 girls aged between 11 months and 16 years. The children live in three family units and enjoy life going to school, playing with friends and working in the garden.
The Home were pleased to inform us that they used the money to improve their security by installing burglar bars, as well as purchasing materials for a chicken run. There was also some remaining funds which will be chanelled towards internet subscriptions once their computer room is set up, and the construction of a laundry room.