Vinelines 8 March 2024

Embracing the Heart of Learning: The Power of School Libraries

Amidst the daily bustle of activity, the hum of eager minds and the purposeful shuffle of young feet, lie sanctuaries of knowledge and inspiration – our school libraries. Beyond their quiet exterior, they stand as beacons of learning, havens where children embark on journeys of exploration, discovery and growth. In an age dominated by screens and distractions, libraries offer a refuge from the constant clamour of technology, fostering an environment conducive to deep focus and reflection.

More than just repositories of books, they are gateways to new worlds, offering a rich tapestry of resources to fuel the fires of curiosity. From the crisp pages of classic literature to the boundless realms of digital databases, our children soon realise that our libraries open doors to endless possibilities; they invite them to delve deeper into subjects about which they are passionate and explore new horizons beyond a classroom's walls. Our senior library certainly serves as a learning hub within our community, where collaborative projects and study groups share dialogue and exchange enriching educational experiences.

As we navigate the ever-changing landscape of education, we must not overlook the invaluable role of a school library. At Vinehall they are the beating heart of learning. In their embrace, our pupils find not only the tools to succeed academically but also the inspiration to soar far beyond the school environment.


Pre-Prep: World Book Day

Pre-Prep have enjoyed a fabulous week of themed activities based around World Book Day.

Local author Ed Boxall launched the week when he visited Vinehall on Tuesday morning to deliver a lively assembly and a series of workshops. Ed is multi-talented, both writing and illustrating his books, and then delivering the content via a series of toe-tapping songs, accompanied on his guitar. All the children were captivated from the start and loved looking at Ed’s big book of his original paintings and listening to him talk about the process of drafting and writing.

A real favourite was the call and response song from “We the Wild Ones”, in which Ed really engaged the children’s imaginations in the glorious freedom of adventures in the wild. The first workshop for Reception and Year 1 was based on Ed’s book “Carried with the Carnival”, while the second workshop for Year 2 to Year 4 was a writing-based one, in which the children were inspired to write poetry through a range of eclectic objects.

World Book Day itself started with shared reading between the children in Prep and Pre-Prep, which was a joy to witness as the children paired up and the younger ones chose stories for the older children to share with them. The highlight of the day was being able to open and share the story sacks which the children had made; we are truly grateful for all the support the children have had with this - thank you! These will be used for years to come by all of the children in Pre-Prep to support the development of their story-telling skills in a wonderfully creative and engaging way.

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

Nursery - World Book Day

Each year we look forward to this day where we can continue to encourage the love of reading. Reading is such an essential skill, which can support and develop children’s vocabulary, comprehension and critical thinking abilities.

Our Little Vines children, with the support of their parents, have created the most wonderful story sacks which we enjoyed sharing - thank you so much for going to so much effort!

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

Kindergarten World Book Day

This week we all very much enjoyed dressing up and celebrating World Book Day. First we shared our story sacks and enjoyed listening to the Year 7s read to us. Then we had a character fashion show and dance off! Even lunch was story-themed with Toy Story planet pizza, Mr Potato Head chips and James and the Giant Peach Sponge pudding! What a wonderful day!

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher


The children have had the most wonderful week reading ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ by Julia Donaldson. It is a class favourite, so made the perfect inspiration for our story planning this week. Reception were so immersed in crown and tie making on Tuesday, they were even late for lunch! We also enjoyed reading 'Stick Man'; we went outside to find the perfect stick to create our own stick person and used these to retell the story.

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1 - Experiencing Holy Week

This term, Year 1 have started their new RE topic - ‘Why does Easter matter to Christians?’ To introduce our learning about the events of Holy Week, we used our senses to explore different objects associated with the different events. We created palm leaves to re-enact Jesus’ triumphant arrival in Jerusalem - focusing on the sound the crowd made. We tasted bread and ‘wine’ (Ribena) for the last supper and tasted olives for the garden of Gethsemane, whilst listening to whispering. We smelt the vinegar Jesus drank on the cross and walked on wet grass, like Jesus’ friends did early in the morning on Easter Sunday.

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

Year 2 have been busy measuring this week; they had to decide whether to measure in centimetres or metres, before measuring objects precisely. They also compared the length of different objects, then had to work as a team like Billy Bee to measure the length of the classroom and the hall. This was great fun and the children were asking what else they could measure next!

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Year 3 - Magnetic Attraction

Following on from last week's investigations, Year 3 explored magnetic and non-magnetic materials in their Science lesson this week. They were surprised that not all coins that they tested were magnetic! Now to consider why this might be ...

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 - What a lot we discovered about magnetic materials!

Each child in Year 3 wrote a conclusion to their investigations. Luckily, Mr Kellick was on hand to help, with the aid of vinegar, to test one of their theories: 'Dirty coins are not magnetic'. Year 3 found out that cleaning the coins made no difference and discovered that it was to do with the metal (or alloys) from which the coins were made. Some children were pleased that their theory about the year of manufacture was also relevant and learnt that the Royal Mint have changed the metals since 1992.

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 Science

Year 4 have been learning how to classify. They played Happy Families with pictures of plants and then created branching keys.

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 4 – English

In English the children copied their drafts of their recounts ready for display. I wonder who will earn their pen licence?

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 5 Team Maths Challenge

Last Friday, 1st March, four of our Year 5 mathematicians took part in the UKMT Primary Maths Team Challenge at Mayfield School.

The team of Alice C, Alexandra C, Sam L and Betsy S worked really hard in a range of different and very difficult mathematical challenges throughout the day, demonstrating excellent Vinehall learning habits of resilience and collaboration.

Kevin Higginson - Head of Mathematics & Head of Assessment and Learning

Year 6: Printmaking

6T have been working on the theme of Art and Movement through drawing, painting and printmaking. They have also experimented with ways to create kinetic sculptures. Some of the outcomes have been planned and some were not; it has been a term of finding out what works and what does not.

Tracey Konyu - Head of Art

Year 7 – Forest School

Year 7 had a wonderful time in Forest School this morning. They built waterproof dens and camps. We were offered delicious looking mud stew and fir cone chicken nuggets. They had the opportunity to make paracord keyrings and to swing in the hammock.

Annabel Newcomb - EAL Teacher and Year 7 Form Tutor

Science: World Book Day - Book Reviews in Science

The children enjoyed reading books about Science and created book reviews for their chosen science story.

Becky Prior - Head of Science


A selection of Mr Hollamby's brass players enjoying Monday's sunshine by the flagpole.

Back in rehearsal they have fun with a 'Galop':

Sue Glossop - Director of Music


A minibus full of lucky Year 5&6s had the great privilege of watching Benenden School's Centenary production of 'Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat' on Thursday. The performance at the school's lovely theatre was a practice run for the move to the Coliseum in London and what a spectacular show it proved to be - wonderful set and unbelievably gorgeous costumes, beautiful singing, very accomplished and vibrant dance routines and a level of polish I can only dream about! I was also pleased to see two past Vinehall pupils shining on set, one in the fabulous role of Benjamin. The children behaved beautifully and I hope they had a most memorable evening. Thank you to Debbie Gearey for joining us.

Mary Alderson - Director of Drama


Swimming Gala at Claremont Senior School

The children swam brilliantly on Tuesday evening at Claremont, despite being down on numbers due to illness.

The gala was very closely-fought and Vinehall enjoyed a well-deserved win, with a final score of 111 to Vinehall and 105 to Claremont. Particular mention must go to Jack L, who won his front crawl race with an excellent swim; and Frankie F, who also swam brilliantly, winning her front crawl race against the Year 8s.

Katie Walker - Swimming Teacher


The Vinehall U11 girls' team competed at the ISGA Gymnastics Challenge Cup at the weekend, which was held at Haberdashers’ Boys’ School, Borehamwood.

Rosie A, Lucie B, Margot C, Lily F and Rosa A all competed with great confidence and gave sound performances on the vault and floor.

On set vault Lucie came top of the team, with a score of 9.1. Top-scoring gymnast on voluntary vault was Margot, with 9.1. Rosie and Margot shared top position on set floor, scoring 8.5. With a score of 9.1, Rosie came top on voluntary floor. Lily and Rosa also achieved very encouraging results.

The team came 6th overall for their combined scores, with Rosie achieving 9th place overall in the individual competition out of 40 gymnasts.

Very well done to you all!

Nikki Towner - Teacher of Gymnastics

Hockey: 1st Team

Boys' U11 IAPS Tournament

The boys have had an excellent season so far and, after placing well at the Sutton Valence tournament, it was a real opportunity for them to compete in this tournament. The team played first against Holmewood House. After playing them last week and having had a convincing win, they once again took a hold of the match and after many attempts Masa M found a way through to score and win the game 1-0. The next match was against Royal Russell. They went 0-1 down, but this fired them up and, with some fantastic play, Charlie C scored a hat-trick to win 3-1. The next two games were very frustrating. The team were so dominant against St Andrew's, the opposition could not get out of their own half. The boys had around 90% possession and many attempts at goal but could not get one to count and therefore finished in a 0-0 draw. A similar story against Windlesham House; all the possession but no goal. Unfortunately the one break-through they had ended up in a short corner in which the opposition scored and they lost that match 0-1. Ardingly was a well-matched game, with both teams having chances; however, it finished in a 0-0 draw. The final group match was against top of the pool, Hall Grove; again this was a good match. Although Hall Grove scored, the boys kept challenging, which resulted in scoring an equaliser from a short corner; unfortunately it was disallowed, resulting in a 0-1 loss.

That was the group stages complete, two wins, two draws and two 0-1 losses. This meant they ended up in the plate competition. The Semi-Final was against Great Walstead. Another match where they dominated possession but found themselves at 0-0 at half time. Charlie C was on a one-on-one with their goal keeper who wiped him out and a penalty stroke was awarded. Not many were keen to step up, but Jamie M scored. Momentum shifted and Charlie C soon scored to win 2-0 and go to the final.

The final was against Cumnor House. This was a physical game and a good compeititve match. Masa M scored in the first half, but Cumnor came back in the second half to equalise. Now it was down to penalty strokes and Charlie C, Harry M and Harvey P were selected. The opposition chose to go first. Charlie F had had a relatively quiet day and now he was needed; first penalty and he made a great save. Charlie C scored his penalty. Charlie F then made another great save. Harry M scored his penalty to win the plate final.

It may have finished with the excellent goal keeping from our hero, Charlie F, and from Charlie C and Harry M scoring their penalties, but it was a whole team effort for the boys to get to that point. It was a rollercoaster of emotions, with some highs and some frustrations; however, there were times that every single boy played some of their best hockey to date. It was a treat to coach you.

Mrs Percy White - PE and Sports Teacher

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


School Council

Our second meeting of the term was very much to top and tail some great ideas raised back in January. The pupil voice has been listened to carefully, actions have taken place and even more is being planned.

Led maturely by Isobel and Ricky, the atmosphere and outcomes were creative and realistic. Coming soon: a variety of play equipment for breaktimes, an extra bin to cope with the fruit peels and perhaps more trips in the summer term.

Joff Powis – Head

Eco Committee

This week we talked about our food survey and gave everybody a day to ask people their opinions about the food. The Eco Committee's food survey will take place next week during lunch. Then, a few other things were planned for the next meeting.

Isla M (8PW)

Academic Committee

Pupils from Years 2-8 met to share their many ideas for developing our school curriculum and classroom.

Ideas ranged from subject workshops, trip ideas, new clocks (digital and analogue) and lesson timing bells, to learning new languages like Italian and Mandarin!

James Thain - Deputy Head

World Book Day

We have had a fantastic World Book week here at Vinehall, with the author Ed Boxall visiting Pre-Prep on Tuesday, a whole school photo on Thursday, drama workshops for Years 5 (Animals in Poetry) and Year 6 (Harry Potter) from Mary Alderson and children from the Prep School visiting Pre-Prep to read to the children and to hear all about their story sacks!

The pictures capture the fun we have had:

Emily Platt - Head of English

Talent Show

Rushton’s Talent Show this week was hugely successful, raising over £200, supporting Rushton’s charity, The Army Benevolent Fund.

The winner in the Juniors category was Teddie W (Year 3) singing 'Edelweiss' and the winners in the Seniors category were Sofia D and Alejandra CC, with the overall winners judged to be Isobel F and Skye R with their magnificent Dinosaur dance.

Kingsley was a fabulous compere, praising all the performers for their diverse and entertaining acts. Guillaume B-L started off the show with a stirring performance of 'A Million Dreams.' Everyone was brilliant but, in particular, Betsy S’s amazing hip-hop dance, Louis D and James H’s roly-poly race and Alessandra K and Issy DD’s gymnastics skills shone through. Last but not least, Ethan E, Alex D, Arlo K and Harrison W startled the audience with their hilarious and highly entertaining performance of 'Cotton Eye Joe'.

All deserved to win and we were extremely impressed by their confidence and bravery. Our thanks to Judges, Mrs Alderson, Ms Harrison and Mr McKinnon

Joshua G, Kingsley N and Skye R (Rushton House)

Talking Heads

This week, our community had the privilege of hosting the thought-provoking event ‘Talking Heads,’ featuring esteemed guests Jesse Elzinga from Sevenoaks School, Jude Lowson from King’s Canterbury and Peter Goodyer from Bede’s Senior School. The event delved into the pressing educational issues of our time and explored strategies for equipping students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the future.

Over the course of the evening, our guests engaged in discussion focusing on the challenges confronting education today and the need to prepare children for the complexities of tomorrow's world. Jesse, Jude and Peter shared insights gleaned from their diverse experiences and expertise, offering valuable perspectives on how schools can help in the development of future-ready learners.

One key theme that emerged from the conversation was the importance of adapting educational approaches to meet the evolving needs of society. In an era marked by rapid technological advancements and shifting global dynamics, schools must prioritise equipping students with critical thinking, problem-solving and adaptability skills. By embracing innovation and cultivating a culture of lifelong learning, educators can empower students to navigate an increasingly complex and interconnected world.

Underscored was the significance of investing in holistic educational experiences that nurture pupils' intellectual, emotional and social development. Recognising the link between academic achievement and well-being, schools must prioritise the creation of supportive environments where every child can thrive and reach their full potential.

In reflection it becomes evident that the future of education hinges on our ability to anticipate challenges, embrace change and empower students to become active contributors to society. By fostering collaboration, innovation and a commitment to lifelong learning, we can pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future for generations to come.

Dan MacDonnell - Director of Marketing and Admissions

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!