Vinelines 17 November 2023

'If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ...' Rudyard Kipling

How steady are our children able to hold their moral compasses?

As we strive to raise awareness in the children, Anti-Bullying Week offers us all a chance to be self-critical as we take time to reflect on how we treat others. With all that is going on around the world, it has struck me more than ever that our desire to protect the precious Vinehall bubble of childhood has never been more important.

On Monday the children descended on school in their odd socks, parading down the drive with anti-bullying chants and noisy instruments, and their enthusiasm for life and their natural and genuine capacity for empathy were a delight to witness.

As my Year 8s have suggested, perhaps the qualities of childish naivety should be revisited by our world leaders? Children often demonstrate a remarkable and innate sense of morality, showcasing a strong moral compass. Even before they fully grasp complex ethical concepts, children tend to exhibit an instinctive understanding of right and wrong. Observing fairness, kindness and cooperation, children absorb these values and incorporate them into their own actions and decisions. Their ability to empathise with others contributes to the development of a moral framework, allowing them to act in ways that align with a basic sense of fairness and justice.

The Vinehall Values of Kindness and Respect allow for the continued growth of their moral reasoning as they navigate the complexities of the world around them. We are teaching them to grip their moral compasses very tightly indeed and to stay true to the direction in which they wish to travel.

Joff Powis

At Pre-Prep assembly the children proudly showed off their odd socks to emphasise that we are all unique and the importance of treating one another with kindness.


We had a fantastic start to a very wet Monday morning as the pupils in the Prep School met in their Houses, homemade noisemakers in hand, as the House Captains discovered a message waiting for them. Their mission was simple: to lead their House and come up with their personalised anti-bullying chant, then parade down the drive, ready to compete in their friendly House challenge.

Who would be the noisiest?

Who would have the most pertinent anti-bullying message?

Anti-bullying Assembly

Vinehall participates in Anti-Bullying Week annually, so, in addition to donning our odd socks (to highlight how we are united as one while celebrating our differences), we threw ourselves into this year's theme 'Make a Noise!'

Saxton was first to arrive, loud and clear with their message "BULLDOZE BULLYING" thanks to Raphy G's quick-thinking.

Then, storming along the drive came red Rushton with their message "Bullying is BAD, don't make others SAD!"

Ashton followed the parade along the drive with their well-considered, "COME ON Ashton, make some noise. We don't bully girls or boys."

The theatre erupted with chants, noisemakers and Mary Alderson's drum as we awaited ... Paxton.

The last to arrive but with the message the judges felt to be the strongest, was Paxton. "Banter is bad, stamp it out. Make a noise, scream and shout!" Many thanks to Mary Alderson, Joff Powis and Matt McKinnon, our esteemed judges who helped Ally Linney award ten points to PAXTON!

This year's theme was centred around 'Banter v Bullying'. The pupils helped Ally Linney and, without hesitation, were able to name the three qualifiers of bullying. They knew the definition:

1) The unkindness is deliberate and intentional.

2) It is repeated.

3) There is an imbalance of power.

We also know that it can happen face-to-face or online.

Ally Linney explained that banter is 'The playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks.' Both Assembly and Form Time discussions explore banter and how it can lead to bullying.

It is not banter if:

- You would be upset if someone said it to you;

- It's hurtful;

- You're not friends;

- Someone's asked you to stop;

- The target isn't laughing;

- It focuses on someone's insecurities.

Many thanks to the pupils for making such a noise (and for a truly uplifting assembly), for our teaching staff who have supported the discussions and for our whole community who ensure our zero-tolerance stance against bullying continues.

Ally Linney - Assistant Head (Pastoral)


Congratulations to Mary-Jane Meekham, who has been appointed as our Holiday Club Manager and will now oversee the holiday weeks of our 50-week provision. This is great news for Vinehall, as Mary-Jane already has a wonderful rapport with the children, and this will ensure a seamless level of care between the term-time weeks and the holiday club weeks.

Zebedees at Vinehall!

The children in After School Club were extremely keen to sample the delicious taster meals which Zebedees brought with them to the parent taster session this week. Charlotte Stirling-Reed is the Nutritional Consultant of Zebedees, and she is a very successful Baby and Toddler social media influencer.

Zebedees will provide hot, nutritious meals for the Holiday Club during the block of wrap- around care during the Christmas holidays. Try Booking is now open, and the team will be running a variety of fun activities to keep the children entertained!

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

Nursery: Healthy bodies

What fun we have had learning about our bodies and what our bodies and bones need for healthy growth . The children have created skeleton pictures using different media and materials, as well as learning songs and developing their understanding of keeping healthy.

Teaching our children about the importance of good health and developing their understanding of how our bodies develop is an integral part of their emotional, mental, social, environmental and spiritual well-being.

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

Kindergarten: Odd Socks Day

On Monday we had a wonderful time celebrating ‘odd socks day’. We read the story, 'Mrs Oddsocks' and discussed how even though Mrs Oddsocks looked different she was very kind and helpful. We explored the similarities and differences between each of us and we thought about how we can be kind and helpful to one another. It was then time to design our own odd socks and what a colourful set of beautifully patterned odd socks we produced.

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher


Reception have had a fabulous week with a special focus on our senses. On Tuesday, the children took part in a drama workshop based on the book ‘Orion and the Dark’ where they acted out the story. We took this book into class and made our own version of the dark and created a soundscape.

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1

Year 1 had an amazing time in the sunshine visiting ‘the most beautiful tree’ at Vinehall. The children learned about the season of Autumn and noted many of the changes taking place at this time of year. Probably the best bit of the adventure was making leaf angels and having a massive leaf throw! Well done Year 1 for playing so nicely together and being like Billy Bee!

Jacklyn Garwood – Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

As part of our topic 'Amazon', Year 2 visited Drusilla's to learn more about the rainforest. We took part in a workshop where we looked at rainforest products, talked about deforestation and got to meet some of the animals. The children were very brave and stroked a Royal Python, a hissing cockroach and a giant millipede. After lunch everyone loved playing in the adventure playground and we finished the day enjoying some of the rides. What a lovely day!

Louise Hawtin – Year 2 Teacher

Year 3 - Around the World

In Humanities this week, 3E practised their mapwork skills by locating different continents and countries. This has also linked with their work in English, as they prepare to compose a poster about themselves, having learnt about how other children live around the world.

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 - The Good Samaritan in 'anti-bullying' week

In RS this week 4B have been thinking about conflict and how they feel many current issues could be helped by being kind to our 'enemies' or those we find it hard to get along with. Albert reminded us not to be bystanders. They acted out the story brilliantly and all received a collaborative disposition.

Carina Everist, Year 3 Teacher



The rugby season officially started this week and what a Wednesday afternoon we had. The U13 & U12 teams travelled to Holmewood House for a exciting afternoon of rugby. With the U13s playing contact and the U12s touch, both sides outscored the opposition, registering two good wins on their first outing of the season. The U11s and the U10s hosted HH and once again impressed the coaches with their performances. The U10s may not have got the result they wanted, but they put up a good fight against a strong team. The U11s showed some real flair, moving the ball through their hands, scoring nine very good tries in their win.


The senior girls made the long journey to Sutton Valence for their afternoon of hockey matches. Playing against the strongest teams they have faced all season, they performed admirably and the coaches were pleased with their resilience throughout the afternoon. The U10 and U11s completed their afternoon with a good set of matches against Sacred Heart.

The rain unfortunately returned on Thursday and the U8/9 Rugby and Netball fixtures had to be cancelled.

However, the rain did not stop the swimming team who travelled to Eastbourne College for the St Andrew's Cup. Derek Guy was extremely pleased with their efforts, with the girls returning to school with the cup.

Forest School

This week Year 4 had a fantastic time in Forest School - making dens, learning to use the saw, creating a woodland shop and mud kitchen and eating s'mores around the camp fire.

House Charity Presentations

Congratulations to our Year 8s who have spent a few weeks researching, selecting and putting together a presentation to suggest a charity for their House to sponsor this academic year.

It takes good organisational skills, confidence and courage to speak in front of the House group and all of our Year 8s did themselves (and Ashton, Paxton, Rushton, and Saxton) PROUD!


Next week, our House Captains will write Vinelines articles and share more about the chosen charities.

Ally Linney - Assistant Head (Pastoral)


On Friday night the boarders enjoyed the amazing fireworks display. Despite the rain and the mud, a good time was had by all.

On Saturday we had some chores to do, so after activities we tidied up rooms, did some prep and spent some time in the sports hall. We had a quiet night in, with the boarders relaxing in the common room and chatting to family and friends.

On Sunday morning we went to Mountfield church for the Remembrance Day service. It is always a sombre but moving event and this year was no different. After lunch we decided to have some fun and, after blowing up about 50 balloons, we played games in the sports hall. This included having races where the boarders had to sit on the balloon to pop it. However, some of the balloons were hardly blown up so were very difficult to pop. We played musical balloons and duck, duck, goose and had some tuck.

It was a quiet but happy weekend in the boarding house.

We look forward to having the Year 3s and 4s in boarding this Friday. It should be a magical evening.

Katherine Kirkwood – Head of Boarding

Vinehall Fireworks Night

Last Friday saw the return of the annual Vinehall fireworks display.

Organised by our wonderful FOV committee, the event is one of the highlights of the year. It was a fantastic whole school community event enjoyed by friends and families of the school.

The wet, boggy ground didn’t deter families from coming together to enjoy the most magnificent display – huge thanks to FOV for all of their hard work and planning.

Looking ahead ...

Years 5 & 6 Play: Just So Stories

Years 5 and 6 are proud to present the 'Just So Stories' by Rudyard Kipling on the evening of Tuesday 28th November. Everyone is invited! Please click on the link below to reserve your tickets.