Vinelines 15 March 2024

We have had incredible feedback from those of you who have caught sight of our new prospectus. For those who missed it last week, here is the link again.

View the Prospectus

Please do forward the link to all who would be interested or all who would want to join in the celebration of our fabulous Vinehall.

This has been a truly exciting project, striving to capture the intrinsic nature of the Vinehall educational experience. Our successful school ethos is very much one to celebrate, and we hope that this prospectus will further help our community to sing loudly from the rooftops about who we are.


Nursery - We’re Going On A Bear Hunt

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

What a wonderful day the Little Vines children have had as they explored the beautiful school grounds.

We read the amazing ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt ‘ story together and then off we marched to find the bear!

Though swishy, swishy grass, sploshing and splashing through the river (so many puddles!) and of course plenty of mud to squelch in!

Then at last, we found the bear! The children were so happy to discover that she was the kindest bear ever and we decided collectively that WE WOULD GO ON A BEAR HUNT AGAIN!

Kindergarten: Science Week

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher

Kindergarten have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in science week and we have enjoyed a variety of experiments . We have been curious just like Cassie Cat and thought about what might happen and why. The children have all become great scientists; they’ve observed, predicted, identified, asked and answered questions and explored the world around them.


Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

We had such an exciting start to the week when we went to Bedgebury and took part in the Gruffalo Birthday trail. Although the weather was not on our side, we had a fabulous time finding the characters and exploring the woodland. The next morning the children explored a range of activities that linked to our trip. They made Gruffalo crumble for snack, had to find the animals surrounded by green snakes and made owl ice cream!

Year 1

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

Year 1 experienced what it was like to have heightened senses like animals in the wild!

The children sat blindfolded and used their senses to complete their given challenges. They enjoyed crawling across the room trying to reach the ringing bell, building a tower out of unfix cubes and, most challenging of all, fastening a coat! Well done children for accepting your animal challenges and being brave like Maisie monkey!

Year 2

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

We have been busy weighing and comparing the mass of objects in Year 2 this week. The children had to select items to weigh and found out their mass using cubes. They were set challenges to weigh out 50g and 100g worth of cubes using different types of scales. Unsurprisingly the children loved this practical work and were all eager to have lots of goes.

In English we are writing non-chronological reports about honey bees, so first we looked at how the information is organised in paragraphs under sub-headings. The children worked together like Billy Bee to read the facts and decide which sub-heading to use for each fact. We were also lucky to have part of a hive to look at and we were all amazed by how intricate and delicate it was.

Year 3: Poles Apart

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Science in the Juniors is fantastic! This week Year 3 discovered how magnets behave towards one another in a wide variety of different situations. They had great fun while learning about attraction and repulsion. In small groups, or with a partner, they explored a range of activities. They experimented with bar magnets, magnetic marbles, a compass magnet and water (!), magnet wands and ring magnets. Cassie Cat would be proud of their curiosity! So is Mrs E.

Year 3 - Magical Maths in a 'thinking' classroom

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

This week 3E have shown that they are beginning to think more independently in Maths. They have challenged themselves, worked well collaboratively and have started to articulate and justify their reasoning more clearly.

To help them, they have used Numicon, counters, Dienes and vertical whiteboards; Mrs E and Mrs Walker are very proud of them!

Year 4 – Science

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 4 have been looking at the insect photos of Levon Biss. We have been talking about the classification of living things and how enlarging insects gives the scientist a clearer picture. The children have drawn their own enlarge invertebrates using triangles to help them.

Year 5 – Woodside Farm

Mary Alderson - Head's PA and Director of Drama

Emily Platt - Head of English

Year 5 have been studying 'Charlotte's Web' in English and were very lucky to visit the beautiful Woodside Farm in Iden Green on Friday 8th March, especially to meet Ethel the famous and much-loved pig who is quite the celebrity in Kent. Mr and Mrs Bird were the most wonderful hosts, answering all the children's carefully prepared questions, introducing them to their three friendly sheepdogs and walking them up the path to meet and feed the huge Gloucestershire Old Spot sow. They watched mesmerised as Poppy, the older and more experienced Collie, rounded up the sheep and learned all sorts of interesting facts about a busy farming life. They witnessed Mr Bird tending to a lame ewe and loved watching the flock devour their special food in preparation for the lambing season in two weeks. Mr and Mrs Bird enjoy welcoming school groups regularly and impressed on the children the need for careful hygiene, safety procedures and respect for the countryside code. We were very lucky with the weather and it was a most educational and enjoyable trip.

Arthur P tells us: "it is important for children to visit farms because young children should be allowed to experience farms with animals so that they can explore and learn about farming and spend time outside with animals. Children can learn the responsibilities of being a farmer and how to harvest crops. It could also inspire some people to be farmers."

Arthur continues: "Farms can be good to visit for subjects like geography, science, arts, STEM, history and more. For some lessons (like STEM and science) it could be looking more at the machinery and terminology of farming. For lessons like geography, you would look at the landscape and things like that. You can also study the history of farming and why it was invented and what it was like in the past."

Alexandra C writes:

On Friday the 18th March, we went to Farmer Bird's farm, Woodside Farm. Rosa and I were busy chatting in the bus and so of course we didn't even notice that we had arrived – the journey only felt like five seconds. We then met the sheepdogs, and I was obsessed with them. I couldn't stop stroking them!

We all had to stand in a line, almost like a fence to make sure that the sheep didn't go the wrong way. We watched the sheepdog guide the sheep up the hill and into the field. It was quite a sight.

A while later, the dog returned and we went to meet Ethel (the reason we came). She was a very big pig and it was so fun when we all got to give her a piece of apple. Ethel's ears covered her eyes (which was the cutest part about her in my opinion).

Rosa A described the farm as smelling: "really fresh and of watery grass and flowers coming out. It was very sun-shiny and the perfect day to go to the farm."

Alice C writes: "We asked Farmer Bird and Jo Bird lots of questions about the farm, including: "How much does Ethel (the pig) weigh?" We found out that she weighs about 280 to 300kg, which is about three or four times as much as one of the sheep). We also asked how old the farm was. The farm has been there for about 300 or 400 years; there are records dating back to the 1700s showing that there was a farm there."

Harry D says: "I enjoyed meeting Farmer Bird's sheepdogs: Clyde, Bella and Poppy – they were all very cute. We blocked a lane to make the sheep go down the right one and then we followed them down the lane until we came to the field. Then we guided them in.

While we were walking down, we saw Ethel and fed her apple and pignuts, and she loved them. When we got to the end of the lane, we saw Poppy round up the sheep into the yard. Farmer Bird gave one of the sheep antibiotics and he had to catch it around the neck with a crook. I also got to fill up one of the troughs with sheep nuts."

Harry M wrote: "Ethel was the biggest pig I had ever seen, and we got to feed her apples that Mrs Platt had brought. When we got back, Farmer Bird grabbed a crook and used it to grab a sheep that had a cut under its foot. He had to put loads of antibiotics on it and then he put a red line on it to show that he had treated her."

Year 6 – Drama

Mary Alderson - Head's PA and Director of Drama

Year 6 were delighted to welcome Claremont's Year 13 Performing Arts BTEC students to the Chaplin Theatre on Tuesday for a shared drama workshop. Staff from the senior school led the children and young adults in a series of drama exercises, including tableaux and improvisation. I was so proud of our children's creativity as they threw themselves into all the activities with gusto, being a vibrating washing machine one minute, gym equipment, carriages and a happy playground the next. Poor Margot C was the victim of a freeze-frame showing the effects of bullying and everyone devised dialogue for angry parents and recalcitrant children. The two groups mixed so well; Vinehall children were enthusiastic and imaginative and I was thrilled that they were able to answer most of the questions, remembering all that we have covered in our drama lessons at school. They impressed the Claremont staff enormously.

Most of the tasks were very relevant to the Claremont students' studies and the stimuli they had been given to create their pieces. Year 6 then watched one group's original theatre piece ahead of their final practical assessment. It was a powerful and entertaining piece about the effects of social media and technology on mental health and the importance of sharing concerns and feelings.

Science - British Science Week 2024

Becky Prior - Head of Science

Isla M in 8PW showing some speedy reaction times

Children in the Prep School have enjoyed a variety of challenges in their science lessons, as part of British Science Week. With this year’s theme of ‘Time’, the children have been competing in house teams to make homemade pendulums and sand clocks as well as calculating their reaction times with the ruler drop experiment.

Year 7 watching a Ted talk on the question 'Does time exist?' Year 5 calculating their reaction times with the ruler drop experiment - Excellent collaboration in Year 5 Ashton

Spirits were high as the children enjoyed an atmosphere of friendly competition between houses. Year 7 Rushtons took the lead by winning the pendulum challenge and in Year 5 and 6 the Paxton teams won points for the leaderboard. Year 5 Saxtons won the reaction times challenge, with their excellent collaborative skills.

7N being inquisitive to find out their reaction times. Year 7 - Pendulum Challenge. Year 7 Paxton collaborating on their pendulum challenge entry. Year 7 Rushton collaborate to create a graph of results

After watching part of a thought-provoking BBC science programme in the theatre called “What is time?”, presented by Brian Cox, the Year 8s put their minds to writing a report to ponder this deep question.

Year 7 watching a Ted talk on the question Does time exist?

The Year 7 children are creating infographic posters to present their ideas about the concept of ‘Time’. The Science Department will choose a winning report and poster to receive a Headmaster’s commendation in the end of term assembly, so get those entries in to Miss Prior on Monday!

In form time on Thursday, the children tested their reaction times electronically using the sheep dash game online. 4B had a great discussion with Louise Barrett about averages and how one slow reaction can affect the average result.

Arya in 4B playing the sheep dash game to work out her reaction times and 4B discussing average reaction times with Mrs Barrett

The winning house teams in each challenge will be awarded with certificates next week and the winning house overall will be rewarded with some treats to enjoy in their house meeting next Wednesday morning.

Year 7 - Reaction Times Experiment


Sue Glossop - Director of Music

Some of our musicians attended the Eastbourne College Orchestral Day this week.

I am so very proud of their determination and the positive manner in which they represented Vinehall School.


Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport

The Colts AB & Cs enjoyed another fantastic afternoon of hockey against Dulwich Cranbrook. The As continued their successful run with a good 5-1 win; the Bs drew 0-0 and the Cs, playing twice, enjoyed their afternoon.

Colts A

The Senior boys travelled to Dulwich for what turned out to be a very evenly-contested afternoon of hockey, the 1sts drawing 1-1 and the 2nds 2-2. The 3rds and 4ths may not have got the results they were after, but Zac Atwood was pleased with their efforts.

The rain over the last month has meant that out pitches have become unplayable and, with Saint Ronan's also experiencing the same problems, the senior football matches had to be called off. The U10 girls did not have that problem, travelling to Beechwood. Playing on their MUGA, they played some wonderful football, winning 6-3.

On Monday the Cross Country team travel to Dulwich and then on Wednesday the football and hockey seasons come to an end with fixtures home and away against Skipper's Hill.

Each week we will be featuring a different 'Sporting Spotlight'

Rushton Beach Clean

Laura White - Girls' Sport & PE Teacher

On Friday 8th March, Rushton went to Bexhill Beach to take part in a beach clean. Louise Barrett led the activity. Rushton covered around 100m. On first appearance the beach looked clean but, after thorough inspection, they found 3kg of rubbish ranging from plastic to fishing net and also a saw! They were then rewarded with an ice cream, ensuring that all rubbish was put in the bin. Well done Rushton for making the beach a cleaner and safer place.


Katherine Kirkwood – Head of Boarding

Hopefully we will start to see better weather in the coming weeks, but at the moment we are still house-bound for the most part. This has given us an opportunity to do some spring cleaning in the boarding house with Elephants dorm and the Common Room being given a bit of attention.

The rain stopped briefly on Saturday, and we had a little time outside. On Sunday we had booked Temper Temper in Tunbridge Wells, where we made chocolate truffles, Florentines, an Easter egg and a chocolate basket. We now have enough chocolate to get us through to Christmas. This activity is always a favourite of the boarders; we tasted different chocolates and were shown the cocoa bean and pods and tasted nibs.

When we returned the boys went to the sports hall and the girls went out to the grounds to pick daffodils and a few camellias to make floral arrangements for the boarding house. They were all very creative and the common room has felt like spring all week. Well done girls.

Storytime on Tuesday evening

Coming Soon ...

Book tickets at this link: Book here

Book places at our Easter Holiday Club for 2-7 year olds here

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!