Vinelines 26 april 2024

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to get up each day with the ambition and determination to make ‘today’ your favourite day?

“What day is it?” asked Pooh.

“It's today,” squeaked Piglet.

“My favourite day,” said Pooh.

With the most wonderful of terms ahead of us, the theme of the fortnight has been to set ourself a handful of personal goals so that each child can focus in on what it means to be ambitious for the opportunities ahead.

Here's to a whole summer of favourite Vinehall days, in which a love of learning propels our children towards their goals.


Pre-Prep: New Opportunities

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

A new term brings fresh opportunities and a buzz of anticipation, and there has been a real sense of anticipation in Pre-Prep this week. Children can find trying something new daunting, but this was certainly not the case as Kindergarten left the Pre-Prep for their first swimming lesson on Tuesday morning - they were brimming over with excitement! They had a very successful first lesson, supported by the wonderful Kindergarten team.

Nursery have had their first taste of woodwork this week, with Amanda Greenhalgh introducing them to their beautiful new woodwork bench, which is sitting proudly in the Nursery Garden. Amanda has also made a fantastic “Upcycle Box” which is outside Pre-Prep, and in which we would like families to deposit materials such as offcuts of soft wood for the children to use in their creative endeavours.

Year 2 had their first harp lesson today and worked together brilliantly - just like our Pre-Prep pal of the week, Billy Bee. On their return to Pre-Prep, I chatted with Iris, who joined Vinehall last week. I asked her to give me a number, on a scale of 1-10, of how much she was enjoying Vinehall so far. “One hundred!” she answered. At that point I knew that it had been a great week, in which all our children have tried something new, acquired new knowledge and skills, and built the confidence and resilience in themselves which are the fundamental hallmarks of children who are educated at Vinehall.

Nursery - The Importance Of Nursery Rhymes

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

Nursery rhymes are a powerful tool in promoting early childhood development and this term the Little Vines children are going to have such fun being involved in all things that Nursery Rhymes have to offer!

The rhyme of the week this week is 'Hickory Dickory Dock'. The children baked little mice biscuits, created a giant clock and learned all about time and the routines of our day.

The highlight of the week was our dress-up day, where all the children looked amazing in their costumes. We were so proud as they showcased their favourite rhyme/song in front of the whole class - well done Little Vines!


Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher

This week in Kindergarten we have started our new topic, ‘On the Move’; and our book of the week was ‘Who sank the boat?’ We’ve enjoyed carrying out experiments about floating and sinking and making our own boats. In our outside area we have created a travel agents. The children have enjoyed exploring world maps and deciding which countries they would like to visit. This week we also had our first swimming lesson, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.


Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

The children have had a fantastic start to our term. We have been exploring boats and starting the preparation for our class assembly. We read ‘Who sank the boat’ and explored which animals might sink the boat and compared the animals using the scales. The children then made their own boats which we took to the big pond to test off the jetty.

In RE this week, we spoke about the creation story. The children loved learning about the Garden of Eden so they decided to make their own versions for Adam and Eve. We also had out first gardening session with Nursery this week in the vegetable garden; the children were great role models for their Nursery buddy and I am sure this will be a highlight of our week for this term. We are looking forward to see the radishes, lettuce, carrots and tomatoes grow!

Year 1

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

The Year 1 children had an exciting introduction to their new topic of ‘United’ this week and ventured into the theatre to be greeted by St John Ponsomby-Smythe, who immediately insisted that the children form a ‘queue’, as this is a necessary part of ‘Being British!’ The children then performed on the stage, learning specific traditions that are celebrated in Britain. Year 1 found it most amusing to pretend to be something on a Full English Breakfast plate. Well done to all the children for listening so well and working collaboratively together like Billy Bee!

Year 2

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Year 2 were visited by a time-travelling Florence Nightingale this week, as part of their new topic 'Brilliant Bodies'. The children listened to her talking about her life and all the things she did to make a difference, as well as asking her lots of thoughtful questions. They showed great curiosity, just like Cassie Cat. They then had to pretend they were Florence Nightingale and wrote a list of important jobs that needed doing at Scutari hospital on very old paper!

Year 3 - Who, What, When?

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 used their inferential skills in Humanities when they explored some artefacts borrowed from the Bexhill Museum. They had to consider the following questions:

Who might have used this?

What might it have been used for?

How long ago do you think it was used?

After much discussion, they decided the skills they had used are valuable. Mrs E and Mrs W spotted a few budding archaeologists, palaeontologists and historians in the making!

Year 3 - What do plants need to become strong and healthy?

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

In Science Year 3 set up an investigation which they will work on throughout the term. With a partner or small group they had to plant three bean seedlings, labelling the pots "None, Some, Plenty". Each group will focus on a different factor (water, warmth, soil, air, light and space to grow). Lots of measuring and watering to ensue. Mrs E is looking forward to the classroom growing ever greener!

Year 3 – Science: Roots, Shoots and so much more!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Louise Waters, our lovely horticulturist, helped us with our Science lesson this week by sourcing a fantastic variety of plant specimens for the children to observe. 3E worked so well drawing what they saw to produce some wonderful observational drawings.

Year 4 – Science

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

The children explored games that used electricity to start off out next topic. They quickly worked out what the topic was about and were very knowledgeable about renewable energy.

Year 4 Fractions

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 4 have started their unit on Fractions. They enjoyed using the manipulatives to aid their understanding.

Year 5 – Humanities

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 5 discussed their wants this week. I was actually quite impressed with how thoughtful they were, but they also made me laugh. Next they thought about what they needed for a healthy mind.

Year 6 – Latin: Bede’s Classics Day: 19th April 2024

Kate Wood - Subject Lead, Latin

On Friday, the Year 6 Latin class attended the annual Bede’s School Classics Day. Along with Latin classes from other local prep schools, they took part in some fun challenges and activities based around the Ancient World.

There was a mini-Olympics contest, a drama and a quiz about ancient mythical characters (the Medusa, Cyclops and Minotaur were brought to life, 21st century-style by Bede’s sixth-formers!) and they were also introduced to some Ancient Greek.

Bede’s, as always, were excellent hosts and laid on plenty of snacks and a delicious buffet for lunch.

The trip was a huge success, and the staff at Bede’s commented on how well-behaved our children were and how enthusiastically they had taken part in the day. Well done to the Year 6 Classicists!

Year 6 Art and Movement

Tracey Konyu - Head of Art

Last term, a Year 6 group created these beautiful models from aluminium foil. They were asked to think about movement and they certainly delivered. We were very lucky on the day to have a good amount of sun to add crisp shadows to accentuate the effect.

Year 8 Identity

Tracey Konyu - Head of Art

The Year 8 pupils explored the theme of 'Identity' through the creation of their three-dimensional letters. They were tasked with the question 'What makes me who I am? and to illustrate their qualities on their letter. The examples show a diverse range of skills, from the use of moulding to hand sewing into leather.

Arturo, Isobel F, Skye R, Theodora


Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport

With the temperatures matching the middle of the rugby season, six teams braved the elements for what was a tough, but enjoyable afternoon of cricket. Before I mention individual team performances, I must thank Keith and Craig our amazing groundsmen for getting the fields and wickets ready for yesterday's fixtures. It has been one of the wettest winters on record, but they have both work tirelessly over the last few weeks to get us cricket ready. There are not many better places in which to play cricket and that is all down to their hard work.

The 1st team girls travelled to Dulwich for their first game; Jon Newman was extremely pleased with their efforts, losing narrowly by 17 runs. The 1st team boys hosted St Andrew's and, although they showed some fight, lost by 68 runs. The 2nd team girls played on the Sunken Fence and produced the performance of the day. Chasing 253 they reached 291 through a combination of Mr Extra and some good batting. The same cannot be said for the 2nd team boys against St Andrew's, who lost far too many wickets attempting far too many big shots, something they will need to address before next week. The Colts A girls did a great job against Dulwich Cranbrook's U13C team, winning an exciting game in the last over by 2 runs. The Colts B girls also did very well against the U13 Ds, with the opposition winning by only 28 runs.

Next week sees all our teams take on Holmewood House in what will be another exciting afternoon of cricket.

Year 1 enjoying their ball skills session - learning how to throw the ball in cricket.

Each week we feature a different Sporting Spotlight

Forest School

Our Forest School sessions are set up with a range of activities. Each activity is an invitation; children are given the freedom to choose and explore whatever sparks their curiosity. What is wonderful to see is that every year group absolutely loves their Forest School sessions and the sense of freedom which fills the woods. Here are some of our Year 8s having a brilliant time.


Mia G was extremely busy during the Easter holidays and entered the NSEA Show Jumping competition at Duckhurst where she and Aero placed 5th in the 70cm class and 6th in the 80cm class.

Mia also competed in the NSEA Eventers challenge competition at Golden Cross and came 1st in the 70-75cm class, qualifying for the Eventers Challenge Championships at Hickstead in May. What a fantastic result - this was Mia and Aero’s only second arena eventing competition!


blackShed Gallery: Art Exhibition

This is an exciting collaboration between Vinehall and Salehurst CE Primary School, to showcase the work of their talented pupils. Every care has been taken to identify the theme of ‘Dark and Light’, with each interpretation being distinctly original.

The exhibition is open until Saturday 4th May at The blackShed Gallery, Russet Farm, Redlands Lane, Robertsbridge TN32 5NG.

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!

Rupert Swift – Head Boy 1998 / 99

Rupert Swift was Head Boy at Vinehall in 1998/99. Sadly he died five years ago, age 32, from a rare disease, Pulmonary Hypertension. William Barratt also went to Vinehall (leaving 1997) and grew up in Ticehurst with Rupert and his brother, Edward Swift. William is taking part in one of the top 10 endurance tests in the world – the Ultramarathon across the Namib desert over extremely arid and hostile terrain. He will cover 250km within six days while also carrying all his own kit, equipment and food. He is doing this in memory of Rupert. The money he raises will go to research into this, as yet, incurable disease, though very good progress is being made.

To support William, please donate via William’s Just giving Page:

Here is a brief video about Rupert’s legacy and William’s challenge: