Vinelines 22 March 2024

An Introduction from the Head

In celebration of all that the children have achieved this term, the final assembly saw an abundance of children receiving a rich variety of awards, certificates, badges, cups, prizes and congratulations. The Summer Term now awaits for any children who feel as though they haven’t found reward as yet and I urge them to speak with their Form Tutors in order to explore new opportunities for participation and recognition.

Many congratulations especially go to Arlo K, Kingsley N, Sonia S, Joshua G and Arturo C on their promotions to the role of Prefect.

Please submit photographs of Easter gardens made by your children to:

I wish you all a wonderful Easter break.


Easter Celebrations in Pre-Prep

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

What a truly wonderful last week Pre-Prep have enjoyed. The children have loved performing in the open watch sessions for dance and judo, and the gym display on Wednesday afternoon was sensational! The children showed such focus, poise, skill and determination in performing their moves and routines and it was a joy to witness such a high level of discipline in Years 1 and 2. Friday was a truly “eggceptional” morning as the Pre-Prep children took part in our new egg rolling competition and the winners of our Easter Egg competition were announced in Celebration assembly.

Thank you to all the children and families who took part in the competition. The calibre of the entries was outstanding, and the level of imagination and creativity was inspirational. It took three Pre-Prep judges a long time to come to a consensus as to which entries should be the winners!

Huge congratulations to Toto G who was the winner of Year 2 with his “In the Fright Garden,” which was a winning combination of classic 'Mr Men' (if you look closely, you can see Mr Tickle's arms protruding out!) and 'Star Wars'; C3PO and R2D2 look great as Easter eggs! Jesse J was runner-up, with his superb space scene, while Rose D and Max P scooped highly commended prizes. Louis C triumphed in Year 1, with his imaginative Viking longboat featuring eggs as the rowing crew; and Elizabeth-Rose G won second place with her superb animal zoo. The giraffe was my favourite! Maggie S won in Reception with her colourful octopi and Romilly C came second, with her carefully decorated egg. Annabel G won the Kindergarten prize with her amazing pink castle with its egg-lined drawbridge; and Winnie C won second place, with her imaginative peas in a pod entry. Finally, the Nursery competition was won by Bea S, with a cleverly crafted chicken, while Anja M gained second place with her beautiful Easter nest creation.

Nursery: Spring is in the Air

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

At last Spring has arrived and the Little Vines children have been celebrating by joining in Easter activities and exploring our beautiful grounds searching for signs of Spring!

The children used Willow sticks to explore how the leaves and roots grow and learnt that they needed light and water. We spotted daffodils and buds and used our listening ears to hear the wonderful bird songs.

The children created the most beautiful Easter bonnets and enjoyed eating hot cross buns as well as baking chocolate Easter nests. What a fun-filled week!

Wishing you all a very Happy Easter from The Little Vines Team.

Kindergarten – Easter Celebrations

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher

It has been an exciting week in Kindergarten as we have explored Easter traditions and celebrations. We have been busy making Easter decorations, Easter cakes and have enjoyed using watercolours to paint daffodils. A highlight of the week was dressing up and acting out the Christian story of Easter. It was a joy to see the awe and wonder on the faces of the children as they took on various roles and told the Easter story.


Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Reception have had a fabulous final week of the term. We have been celebrating Easter by making cards, Easter egg patterns and breakfast eggs. We can see the signs of Spring all around Vinehall and the children tried observational drawings of different types of daffodils. They used pastels to create detailed drawings to explore the parts of the flower. We spoke about the story of Easter and how palm leaves were used to line the path as Jesus road through Jerusalem and how they have become religious symbols; the children then made their own leaf crosses to take home.

Year 1

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

It was a wonderful end to our topic on 'Amazing Animals' when Year 1 visited Port Lympne Safari Park this week!

When we arrived, the children were lucky to enjoy the sunshine and run around in the play park after the long ride on the minibus.

There were many squeals of excitement as the children boarded the safari jeep which took us on a bumpy journey visiting all the animals around the zoo. Some of our favourites were the giraffes and the camels who would not move out of the road enough for us to pass!

After the safari, we discovered The Dinosaur Forest which was a great review of our previous topic on 'Dinosaur Discovery.' It was thrilling for the children to stand next to the dinosaur models and see for themselves just how large these creatures were compared to them. Finally, we crept around the tiger and lion enclosures getting a close look at these mighty creatures before making our journey back to school. Amazing effort Year 1 and Cassie Cat stickers all around for being so curious about the animals on our adventure!

Year 2

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

We have had fun measuring volume and capacity in Year 2 this week. The children have worked out the scales, read how much is in different jugs, bottles and buckets and have been reflective like Terry Tortoise to solve word problems involving volume.

The children also showed great bravery like Maisie Monkey this week to perform in the Pre-Prep Gym Display. Well done to all the children involved; it can be quite daunting performing in front of a big audience but they all did a fantastic job.

Year 3 - Shadufs, Cartouches and Pyramids

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 enjoyed some Egyptian themed tasks this week. Thanks to Mr Dorman, who supplied us with the wood, they constructed their own shaduf before testing it in the 'River Nile' (aka the pond!) Mr Kellick lent a helping hand too. Having chosen hieroglyphs, they carefully drew them on papyrus in a cartouche. They made a square-based pyramid and decorated a death mask too!

Year 3 - Open my mind

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Do all children have their basic needs provided for?

In Life Skills this week, linked to our Global Citizen theme, Year 3 have been thinking about children's rights. Each child read out a statement which then had to be sorted into a 'want' or a 'need'. Some were found to be more straightforward than others and much discussion and thinking ensued.

Year 4 – Maths

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

We used the peg boards with elastic bands to find the Perimeter of shapes. We had a good play before we started!


Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport

Lent Term 2024 will be remembered as the wet term, so to have the last fixtures played in beautiful sunshine was a welcome surprise. The senior girls travelled to Skipper's Hill for an enjoyable afternoon and played some wonderful football. I do love reading the match reports and hearing of the wonderful strikes from outside the box (worldies) as they are known. Their confidence, skill levels and general game understanding has come a long way this term and I do hope and encourage the Year 8s to keep playing the sport if given the opportunity next year.

The Colts girls hosted Claremont and Skipper's Hill in a triangular at home. Using the pitches for the first time in ages, the teams did a great job and, although not all the results went our way, Mr Newman, Miss Harrison and Mr Higginson were extremely pleased with the general standard of play throughout the afternoon.

1st Boys Hockey

The 1st & 2nd hockey sides hosted Skipper's Hill for what was their last matches of the term. With plenty of goals scored, it was particularly pleasing to see the way both teams went about their game, with the 1st team moving the ball at a good tempo and keeping possession for far longer. Two good wins to end an enjoyable hockey season.

The Colts travelled to Skipper's for an important afternoon. Winning matches is obviously what every team wants to do when they walk onto a field, but it is not the only thing. As coaches we try to instil respect, resilience, teamwork and humility and we see these qualities as equal in importance to winning. For the Colts A, a win would mean they went unbeaten throughout the hockey season (excluding tournaments) and for a group of boys, unbeaten since the start of their Rugby season. Playing slightly shorter matches to accommodate all three teams, the As got the win they wanted. A fantastic way to end what has been a fabulous term, from a talented group. The Bs and Cs worked hard in their two matches, with both sides equally-matched against their opposition. It is always pleasing to see progress and I look forward to seeing them in action again next year.

Cross Country

On Monday the cross country team took part in the inaugural Goodman and Hutchings Mixed Relay at Dulwich Cranbrook.

Running as a team of six, the race started with the U9 girls, who then passed their batten onto the U9 boys, then to the U11 girls, then boys and eventually finishing with the U13 girls and boys.

Running against a strong field, both teams can be extremely proud of their efforts, with the Vinehall A team finishing in 7th place and the B team in 11th.

Special mention must go to Charlie C who recorded the fastest U11 time, running the 1.2km course in an impressive 4 minutes 53 seconds.

Pre-Prep Gym Display

Nikki Towner - Teacher of Gymnastics

On Wednesday Year 1 and Year 2 put on an outstanding gymnastics display to their parents. They gave a great performance on the various activities, demonstrating a wide range of floor and vaulting skills. The tumbling was very exciting, showing confidence in their ability.

Very well done to the children I am so proud of you all!

Each week we feature a different Sporting Spotlight

Drama: A Hint Of Snow White

Mary Alderson - Head's PA and Director of Drama

On the evening of 19th March 2024 the Chaplin Theatre was transformed into the fairy story world of a wicked queen and her beastly cronies, a charming princess and her beau, a forest of creatures and magical plants and a host of ridiculous pantomime characters in the Year 3&4 production of ‘A Hint of Snow White’ by Mark, Helen & Naomi Johnson, script by Sue Langwade.

Coralie F was our wonderful Snow White, with Rupert F as HRH ‘Princey’ her devoted hero. Gabriella G was a suitably horrible Malodorous, with Hugo H as her stupid evil sidekick Lickspittle. Albert P was a fabulous ‘Dame’, Jean, sporting an extravagant dress with great aplomb. Heidi R played the important role of Fairy G with great charm, and her student FIT (Fairy in Training) was a endearing Arya E. Jack B and Casper K led the Dream Team, Buzz O’G was a marvellous Rub with Ben O was Scat. Oliver G was Whizzo and Logan LS was a Mirror with great authority. With a huge cast list, it meant that every Year 3 and 4 child could have their own character to play and they worked brilliantly as an ensemble on the hilarious script and catchy songs.

Sue Glossop has worked hard to teach the children some difficult songs and many of the Year 4 cast opted for solos. This is tremendously brave for such young children and showed off their talents very effectively. We were delighted to have Colin Hughes, our excellent peripatetic piano teacher, accompany the action, with IT Superhero, Dave Clarke, on drums.

The colourful backdrop, huge array of ridiculous props and the beautiful costumes were coordinated by the ever-brilliant and creative Kate Hunt, supported by a dedicated group of Year 3&4 parents. As always my appreciation of, and gratitude to, Kate is boundless and heartfelt.

It was wonderful to see the children’s confidence and skill blossom as rehearsals progressed. An experience such as this is proof enough of the many valuable opportunities provided through working as a group, overcoming difficulties, trying to support one’s peers and learning that it is a huge amount of work to produce something worthy of public performance. There can be no doubt that our children rose to the challenge and each one of them shone like a little magical fairy.

The English Language Centre

Annabel Newcomb - EAL Teacher and Year 7 Form Tutor

After a few months of preparation, the Year 8 EAL pupils sat their B1 Cambridge exam in Brighton on Saturday.

Neurodiversity Celebration Week, 18-24 March 2024

Phoebe Cameron - Head of Learning Support

Following the success of Neurodiversity Celebration Week 2023, at Vinehall we celebrated it again this week, taking part in the 2024 event. Thousands of schools across the world were joining in. Joff led us in an assembly on Monday morning with a short video, reminding us of what neurodiversity is. Neurodiversity is based on the idea that everyone has a differently-wired brain and their own unique way of thinking and experiencing the world. Differences in the way our brains are wired mean we may find some things challenging and some things relatively easy. We each have our own strengths and challenges. We were reminded that it is important to be aware of and respect our differences. It is thought that 15-20% of the population is neurodiverse.

Through a simple form time activity on Tuesday, we talked about the labels that some of these differences have been given. These include autism, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and Tourette’s Syndrome. We were reminded that, whilst these conditions can bring plenty of challenges, such as difficulties with concentration, reading, spelling and how we communicate with each other, they can also bring very positive attributes, such as creativity, thinking outside-the-box and determination.

Through new posters put up around the school, we were reminded of well-known neurodivergent people who have made amazing contributions to the world. These included Victoria Beckham who has dyslexia, Daniel Radcliffe who has dyspraxia, Simone Biles who has ADHD, and Chris Packham and Elon Musk who have autism. Many of these people have talked about their struggles at school, which is not always the easiest environment for neurodivergence, and how life beyond education has opened wonderful opportunities for them, enabling them to pursue their varied interests and talents. Indeed, they attributed their success to their unique way of thinking and perceiving the world. It made us realise at Vinehall just how important it is to be kind and tolerant of others at school, to recognise hard work, resilience and determination, and to enable ALL pupils to showcase their unique strengths and talents.

We were reminded that we can make someone else’s day by being understanding and kind.


Katherine Kirkwood – Head of Boarding

We have made it to the last weekend of term and, while the Year 8 boarders went to Brighton for their English exam, the rest of us made good use of the lovely weather and went to Bexhill.

We spent an hour or so in the park before wandering down to the seafront for an ice cream. Then, as the tide was out, we went poking around in the rock pools.

Miraculously nobody got wet, but we did find a dead dogfish on the beach (although we initially thought it was a baby shark). Some of the boys rescued little fish from the pools and let them go in the sea. We even found a few urchins in the pools, and we came home with an impressive shell collection. We had a lovely lunch and a little more time outside before the weather turned on Sunday.

Sunday was all about packing and getting ready to leave. Suitcases came from the attic and the Boarding House was a hive of activity. Just before dinner we decided to open the pool and have a swim and then it was back to getting ready for the last week of term.

I hope everybody has a wonderful Easter holiday and comes back excited for the Summer term.

Hand Stitch Club

Annabel Newcomb - EAL Teacher and Year 7 Form Tutor

This term my stitchers made pencil cases from recycled jeans and jazzed up the front with some colourful edging.

and finally ...

On Wednesday we captured some moments across the school to celebrate the United Nations International Day of Happiness ...

Coming soon ...

On Saturday 25th May, we are offering Year 4 and above the opportunity to join animator and graphic novelist, Norm Konyu, for a day of comic book creating!

Norm is a BAFTA and EMMY award winning animator with two comic titles published internationally with Titan Comics and a third being released later this year. On this day, he will teach attendees how to tell a story visually and help them plan and construct their own book. At the end of the day, children will take home their creations, together with enough materials to finish them off. Children need only bring a simple story idea but if they don't have one, they can create one using story prompts on the day.

Ticket price: £45 per child - book online at this link:

The day is limited to 16 places - so book quickly to reserve a place!