Vinelines 24 November 2023

There is magic in the Vinehall Boarding House

"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed — or worse, expelled. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to bed." ― Hermione Granger

And in many ways, Vinehall lives out the wonders of Harry Potter's world, where boarding is enchanting and promotes the many personal values we want to see in our children.

- Both Vinehall and Hogwarts foster a strong sense of community among pupils. The different houses, the common rooms and the shared experiences create bonds and friendships that extend beyond the academic realm.

- There is independence and self-discovery, where children undergo significant personal growth during their time in boarding. Children are able to discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and develop a sense of independence.

- Vinehall and Hogwarts are magical schools, with unique and immersive learning environments (although they may just pip us in their extracurricular activities of wizard duelling and Quidditch).

- Finally, it is the strength in the bonds of friendships formed when children experience being away from home. The mutual support they provide for each other is a wonder to behold.

Well done our Year 3s and 4s, many of whom displayed great courage in their first taste of boarding.

Joff Powis

Vinehall was transformed into Hogwarts last Friday evening as Years 3 and 4 stepped into the Wizarding World. Lots of magical activities and potion-making were followed by a sumptuous Harry Potter themed dinner in the hall before retiring to the Boarding House for a sleepover like no other!


Oral Health

This week our Little Vines children have been learning about the importance of looking after their teeth. We have been learning songs to encourage children to brush their teeth and using a sand-timer to understand how long two minutes is, as this is the recommended time for children to brush their teeth.

We had fun creating teeth with play dough and learnt about making healthy choices to encourage our teeth to grow strong.

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten


Since half term we have introduced a focus letter of the week. The children have really enjoyed learning the special rhymes which help us write each letter. They have loved playing letter games and listening for the initial sounds of words.

During our daily woodland playtime we have had great fun making large letters with our bodies and using the iPad to take photos.

Back in the classroom, we have had a wonderful time writing our letters on the interactive whiteboard.

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher

Year 1

Year 1 had an ‘astronomical’ time at the Herstmonceux Observatory last week. As the children experimented with different interactive science exhibits they experienced what it was like to be a real scientist. We tried on and tested different types of materials predicting which material was best for an astronaut suit. Finally, the ceilings opened and we imagined what it would be like to look though a gigantic telescope up into the stars and beyond. Well done Year 1 for being like Cassie Cat and asking so many extraordinary questions!

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

This week in Maths Year 2 have been adding and subtracting two-digit numbers. The children have used dienes to help them, exchanging ten ones with a ten when needed. They have worked like Terry Tortoise to complete bar models with missing numbers and have solved word problems too. What a great job they have done!

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Year 3

Writing and Finger Gym in 3E!

Before Year 3 settled down to plan two paragraphs in an English lesson this week, Evie E reminded me that they should do 'finger gym'! Evie, as Form leader this week, led the class in four finger strengthening activities using play dough. This helps improve the fine motor skills needed for writing.

Mrs E is looking forward to reading their completed reports, composed after finding out about the lives of different children around the world. Having written about themselves 'at home', 'at play' and 'at school', they wrote a final paragraph in response to the question 'Where would you like to live?'

Year 3 explored 'reflection' in Science this week, in a carousel of activities as part of their topic on Light and Shadow. Some great observations were made and Cassie Cat stickers were earned by some for being inquisitive!

Surfing the Surface Gos in Year 3!

3E had fun playing Hedgehog Hurry, a game on 'greater than' and 'less than' in Maths, using the Surface Go tablets. They are much quicker at logging on now!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 4


Year 4 have been investigating gases and finding ways to prove that gas is really there.

Wonderful reading

Year 4 are becoming great readers and working towards the star awards. Some were sharing their passions today through a book. It was lovely to listen and watch them interact with each other and the book.

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors


It has been another busy week on the sporting front, with our hockey, rugby and netball teams in action.

On Wednesday, and with a slight change to the original schedule, the 1st & 2nd hockey sides combined brilliantly for an 11-a-side game against Beechwood. Although a format with which they were not familiar, the girls did a great job adapting to having the extra space, scoring seven goals. The U11 and U10 girls travelled to Somerhill for their last hockey games of the season. Both matches were very evenly-contested, and Louise Barrett was very pleased with their efforts.

The netball season officially starts next week for Years 5 to 8, with matches against St Andrew's Prep. The Year 3 and 4 girls are moving across to hockey and will take on Battle Abbey at home.

With the rugby season in full flow, the U10, U11, U12 and U13 teams took on Dulwich Cranbrook in four exciting games. The U10s played an exciting end-to-end game of rugby, scoring 13 tries in a close 65-50 win. The U11s continued their good start to the season, with a 45-20 victory; and the U12s drew 30-30. In a physical contest, the U13s went down 20-35, but Jon Newman was extremely pleased with their performance against a strong side.

The Year 3 & 4 girls travelled to Sacred Heart for an enjoyable afternoon of netball. It has been pleasing to see the girls' progress over the last 9/10 weeks.

The boys hosted Claremont for their first rugby matches of the term. Playing touch at the request of the opposition, both groups would have learnt a lot from their first matches.

Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport

Maths: Primary Maths Challenge

Our Year 5 and Year 6 pupils recently challenged their own mathematical skills in the Primary Maths Challenge and many were successful in attaining Silver and Bronze Awards.

The Primary Maths Challenge encourages enthusiasm, boosts confidence in mathematics and helps pupils with problem-solving and reasoning skills.

Kevin Higginson - Head of Mathematics

Forest School

This week it was Year 5s turn to discover all the amazing activities available in Forest School.

House Charities 2023

Last week, we wrote to you about the presentations happening in our House meetings. This week, our House Captains provide a summary of this year's chosen charities.

Many thanks to all of our Year 8 pupils for their efforts and for presenting such inspiring charities for Vinehall School to support this year.

Ally Linney - Assistant Head (Pastoral)

Ashton’s Charity: Age UK

Age UK is a charity which supports elderly people and was put forward by Alex D, Pablo TM and Jacobo L. Ashton House have voted for them as our charity this year.

Written by House Captain, Alessandra K

Paxton’s Charity: Sussex Kelp Recovery Project

Last week, Paxton voted for our charity: SKRP (Sussex Kelp Recovery Project). This was put forward by Theodora G. SKRP is aiming to rewild kelp in our Sussex seabed. Kelp is good for the environment and is a key part of our ecosystem. Kelp captures carbon and is a crucial habitat for fish in our ocean.

Written by House Captains, Theodora G and Ethan E

Saxton’s Charity: The British Red Cross

The British Red Cross was chosen by our Saxton Superstar Sonia S. She chose this charity because she found out that it helps her own country, Ukraine, which we know is suffering from the war in Russia and Ukraine. We also feel passionate about what it does on an international scale, as it helps people all over the world. The charity itself is based in Britain, but its support is worldwide. The main country we will be supporting is Ukraine, and we will be raising money for them in each of our charity events.

Written by House Captains, Henry C and Arlo K

Rushton’s Charity: The Army Benevolent Fund (ABF)

The ABF has been serving soldiers, veterans and families in the UK since the end of WW2. The ABF has had a massive impact on soldiers and has aided them in gruesome situations. Josh G is quite thrilled to reveal this charity to the school because his father has been serving the country for a very long time.

Written by House Captains, Joshua G and Skye R

Congratulations to our Geography Quiz Winners!

Our enormous thanks to Saint Ronan's for hosting this year's Geography Quiz for local Prep schools. Vinehall's two teams loved the challenge and said that the variety of rounds were incredibly entertaining - country anagrams, OS map skills, identify the country by its landmarks, silhouettes, etc.

Well done to the winners: Josh G, Arlo K, Isobel F, Isla M, Ethan E and Seb R for bringing back the trophy!

Looking Ahead ...

Years 5 & 6 Play: Just So Stories

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

Carol Service

Our Carol Service will be held on Saturday 9th December at 3pm. Everyone is welcome to join us at St Mary's Church, Salehurst and it is compulsory for all Prep School children.