Vinelines 15 December 2023

The joy of giving will be a magical ingredient for our children this Christmas. As they eagerly await the arrival of Father Christmas, an infectious excitement will fill the air. The act of giving is enchanting and goes far beyond the thrill of unwrapping presents. It instills in them a sense of empathy, kindness and the joy of making someone else happy.

Thank you to the FoV for the incredible Secret's Room experience - a wonderful Vinehall tradition. Whilst carefully selecting the perfect present for a family member, we witnessed the sparkle in the eyes that comes from a sense of generosity, thoughtfulness and compassion.

Wishing you all a very happy Christmas.



On Wednesday our Children's Chapel was full of Christingle joy and wonder.

The Magic of Pre-Prep

The children in Pre-Prep had a truly magical last week. They had a wonderful Christmas party (in which they met the man himself!); attended a beautiful Christingle Service, led by Joff Powis in the atmospheric chapel; and bought goodies galore from the Secrets Room. Nursery and Kindergarten were all superstars as they gave an amazing performance of "Shine, Star, Shine," and Year 2 enjoyed the excitement of watching 'Peter Pan' in the Theatre.

As if this wasn't enough, the children were treated to a live performance of ballet by Luke Wragg, brother of Asa in Kindergarten, who is training to be a ballet dancer at the Royal College in London. The children were mesmerised as Luke performed a stunning excerpt from Don Quixote in the Sports Hall. The children were then able to ask Luke lots of questions about his discipline, before counting how many times he could "spin and spot!" What an amazing end to the week!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, with time for fun and festivities, as well as time for rest and relaxation, before we look forward to welcoming the children back in 2024!

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

Nursery - Little Vines Nativity

The most wonderful awe and wonder filled our Pre-Prep hall on Tuesday. Christmas has officially begun, as the Little Vines children performed their nativity story ‘Shine Star Shine.’ The children rose to the challenge of performing in front of a huge audience where they sang, danced and narrated the beautiful story of the star who eventually found her shine as baby Jesus was born.

We are all so proud of each and every child and wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year from all of The Little Vines Team.

Sarah Wolford – Head of Nursery & Kindergarten


Reception have had a fantastic final week of term.

The highlight of our week was delivering our letters to Santa at the special post box in Blackbrooks. The children then received cards back from Santa thanking them for their letters.

On Wednesday morning, Joff Powis led a Christingle service in the chapel for Reception, which the children really enjoyed.

We finished Wednesday with our Christmas party full of games, dancing and party food. The Christmas party was completed with a special visit from Santa who delivered the children a gift.

Louisa Bennett – Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1

Year 1 enjoyed a fabulous end to term with some festive activities this week. Even with the excitement of Christmas looming, the children worked together like Billy Bee and spread the Christmas love to each other. We are so proud of how well the children adjusted to Year 1 this term and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and look forward to seeing you in 2024!

Jacklyn Garwood – Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

We have had a wonderfully festive week making Christmas cards and calendars, attending a lovely Christingle service in the chapel, having our Christmas party and even meeting Father Christmas, who gave the children each a present. As well as all this, we have squeezed in some maths, looking at 2D and 3D shapes and their properties. The children used nets to make 3D shapes and went on a shape hunt around the classroom to find shapes matching the description given. Great detective work!

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Christmas Watch Dance Sessions

Pre-Prep was buzzing with excitement on Monday as children from Nursery, Kindergarten and Pre-Prep showcased a variety of dances.

Nursery and Kindergarten
Years 1 and 2
Funky Dance

Prep School

Year 3: Christmas Torn Landscapes

Year 3 pupils learned about layering and silhouettes with their Christmas inspired landscapes. They were instructed not to use scissors and to create controlled pieces just using their digits.

Tracey Konyu – Head of Art

Year 3 - Imperative verbs hit Year 3 and our EALs!

Our EAL pupils from Year 8 came to teach 3E about imperative verbs this week. After introducing themselves and a rousing rendition of 'Feliz Navidad' led by the Spanish, the older ones used 'bossy verbs' to instruct the Year 3s how to make a 'stained glass window'. The results were great! Thanks to Annabel Newcomb for organising this lovely Christmas activity. We are still singing the 'Bossy, bossy, bossy' song in 3E!

Carina Everist – Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 - Following instructions is not always easy!

After learning about imperative verbs, 3E were given instructions on how to make a special Christmas card. Parents will see the final result soon!

Carina Everist – Year 3 Teacher

Year 5 - Celebrating Hanukkah and Passover with Year 5

Last week, in their RS lesson, Year 5 were lucky enough to have a visit from Ronen Z from Year 6. He came to tell us about Hanukkah which took place recently. Then, as they have been learning about Judaism, and Moses, we all had a special taster Seder meal. First, we all watched some Jewish children explain the significance of each of the foods. Passover is an important festival when Jewish people remember the Exodus from Egypt to Israel. Mrs E was touched when some of the children drew a comparison to the sad situation in the present day.

Thanks, as always, to Chef Gemma and her team, for providing us with the food.

Carina Everist – Year 3 Teacher

Year 5 - Victorian Crackers

The Year 5s made crackers as part of their Humanities topic. The Victorians invented crackers!

Louise Barrett – Head of Juniors

Hookes Law with Year 5

Year 5 have investigated how many masses can be added to springs before they reach their elastic limit. We are learning to measure and record data accurately.

Becky Prior – Head of Science

Years 5 & 6 - Drama

Having triumphed in the 'Just So Stories', Years 5&6 have spent the last few weekly drama lessons learning more about how to use masks effectively on stage, using these fantastic Trestle Theatre masks. The ability to focus on body posture and gesture, rather than facial expression, is an important skill. It was also very entertaining and great fun.

Mary Alderson - Head's PA and Director of Drama

Year 6 - Classics

On Tuesday, the Year 6 Latin class marked their last lesson of the term with a feast to celebrate the Roman mid-winter festival of Saturnalia! Olives, hummus, flatbreads (oatcakes) and grapes were washed down with copious quantities of red wine (blackcurrant squash). The Romans themselves would have eaten in a reclining position which the children tried out, before deciding they were more used to swallowing their food while sat upright! The festival of Saturnalia, they learnt, is thought to have been the origin of some Christmas traditions such as carol singing and cracker jokes.

Happy Christmas from the Year 6 Latin class – and ‘Io, Saturnalia’!

Kate Wood - Latin & History Teacher

Year 6 – Christmas candle experiments

6T made predictions as to which beaker would keep the candle burning the longest and tested their theories using Bunsen burners to light their candles.

Becky Prior – Head of Science

Year 7 - Colourful Chemistry!

Year 7 made chromatograms in a separation technique called chromatography. The pupils were surprised to see so many different coloured pigments separate from the original black pens on their chromatograms. We have been learning to use keywords such as solvent, solute, solution and soluble in context.

Becky Prior – Head of Science

Year 8

Year 8 completed a neutralisation reaction to make copper sulphate crystals.

Year 8 were given the challenge to follow a multi-staged method in pairs, heating copper oxide and sulphuric acid, to make blue copper sulfate crystals.

Becky Prior – Head of Science

House News - Saxton

End of term activity for Saxton House was Christmas Bingo, with pupils pairing up to support each other in the game. House Captain Arlo Kent was outstanding as the caller, while House Captain, Henry Cooke, was excellent in his support for some of the Year 3, ensuring they could understand the words.

Kevin Higginson - Head of Mathematics

Anti-Bullying Initiatives in 5P

It has been a week of collaboration in the Life Skills room as the Year 5 pupils designed their own anti-bullying snakes and ladders game. They considered how to make the bullying situation better (which propelled them up the ladders) and what could make a bullying situation worse (spiralling them down a snake).

Year 5 knows that bullying is:

1) Repeated. It happens again and again.

2) Deliberate. It is intentional unkindness. It is not an accident.

3) It is unfair (where there may be an imbalance of power). It might be someone older, bigger, stronger (mentally or physically) or it may be a group against one.

Their games were well-considered and they highlighted Vinehall's stance on zero-tolerance against bullying.

Ally Linney – Assistant Head (Pastoral)


What a wonderful busy week in boarding. On Saturday we attended the Christmas Carol concert in Salehurst. The carols were beautifully sung, and it was a lovely moving occasion.

On Sunday we really got into the festive spirit when we transformed the entrance hall for our Christmas dinner. The girls gathered greenery and made place names and decorated the table ready for a traditional lunch.

After which we made gingerbread houses, watched Christmas movies and did some painting. We had party food for dinner and then got ready for a very busy week ahead.

The highlight for the Year 8s is most definitely the Dinner & Dance and the girls and boys spent ages getting dressed and ready for the party. It was a wonderful night.

Some of our boarders will be leaving us this term and I hope they have enjoyed their time at Vinehall. Good luck to you all and we hope to see you back at Vinehall in the future.

We have reached the time of year when we say goodbye to our gap students. Ariel Ruben, Marcus Peter, Alex Weston and Lucy Mannion will all be leaving us, to return to Australia ready to take up university or to travel. I could not be more grateful for all their support this year. They will be missed by staff and boarders. Good Luck to you all.

Katherine Kirkwood – Head of Boarding

Other news this week ...

The last week of term has been full of wonderful celebrations and activities ... here are a few highlights!

Carol Service

On Sunday we gathered together for one of the highlights of our school year - the School Carol Service held at St Mary's Church, Salehurst. Weeks of practice culminated in an afternoon of beautiful singing and readings - and lots of very proud parents and teachers!

House Winners' Treat

Saxton were the overall House Winners this term and their reward was a fantastic chocolate-filled extravaganza in the hall hosted by Joff and Liz. A well-deserved treat for all of Saxton House to recognise their achievements this term!

FoV Secrets Room

Selecting that special gift in the enchanting Secrets Room created by FoV.

Year 8 Christmas Dinner Dance

The annual Year 8 Dinner and Dance was a wonderfully glamorous and glittering event. The pupils looked gorgeous in their beautiful dresses and dashing suits; Chef Gemma and her amazing team transformed the Drawing Room into a sumptuous Dining Hall and served the guests a delicious dinner; Joff Powis introduced the 'young ladies and gentlemen' to some good old-fashioned etiquette; and then, the moment they had all been waiting for, as DJs Lucy and Ariel bossed the beats for some wild and very bouncy dancing. A brilliant night for this tremendous cohort to remember for ever.

The amazing table centrepieces were made by Years 1 & 2 in the Gardening Club with Lou Waters

Christmas lunch

Christmas lunch served by the staff