Vinelines 10 November 2023

Welcome back to the second half of term and I hope you all had a wonderful two weeks with your children.

With the Year 8s returning to their practice exams we spoke about resilience as we gathered together on Monday morning and of course many of the younger children joked that they had also shown great resilience in dragging themselves back to school!

We gathered again as a school for our Remembrance service. The Year 8s led the service with poise, respect and great courage and I would like to thank Emily Platt, Debbie Gearey and Mary Alderson for supporting and moulding them in their preparation for a service that holds such emotional importance to all.

A prayer this Remembrance Day:

Lord, where pain still overwhelms, bring healing.

Where hearts are still breaking, bring comfort.

Where peoples are still oppressed, bring liberation.

Where war still devastates, bring peace.

But most of all,

wherever a single voice cries out in the darkness, bring us to one another.


From solemnity to joy, I look forward to seeing as many of you out this evening for the fireworks display. Thank you FoV and all those supporting such events from behind the scenes. The children are incredibly fortunate.

Joff Powis

Remembrance Service

The Year 8 pupils led a moving Remembrance Service today, in memory of those who laid down their lives for us. We were pleased to welcome Year 2 to this very important and special service. Our Head Girl, Isobel F, introduced the Service, and then we heard the Year 8s perform an excellent, original poem by Skye R (8PW) with great feeling and solemnity (reproduced below). This was followed by a thought-provoking poem called 'The Pity of War' by Siegfried Sassoon. The Year 8s carried themselves with great dignity and set a superb example to the rest of the school. Many thanks go to Colonel (Retd) Roger Walker for leading the Exhortation, to Joff Powis for playing The Last Post and the Reveille, and to every single one of the Year 8 pupils for an impressive Remembrance Service.

“Remembrance” by Skye Rankin

Brother, Father, Uncle, Son,

They have taken every single one,

Sadness, death, grief and pain,

Mothers, sisters, aunts, remain.

Fear, horror, mud, tears,

How can we forgive over the years?

500,000 men, row after row,

We’re told to forgive but how can we know?

The pain, the sorrow, the suffering, the loss,

Remember each one under the moss.

Remember and thank them for all they have done,

They lost their lives, for you, me, everyone.

The poppy’s a symbol, red blood that was shed,

The green stalk of hope and forgiveness, they said.

The flower that flourished, amid the bomb blast

Hope for a peaceful future; but remember our past.

Emily Platt - Head of English

Pre-Prep - Return from half term

What a wonderful first week back! Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes adorned the Pre-Prep display table on Monday morning, representative of the creativity of all those who entered. Elfie F won first prize with her original pumpkin witch with its wonderfully carved facial features. Elizabeth-Rose G won second place with her imaginative Cinderella pumpkin which she had adorned with hand cut vines. Third prize went to Jesse J, who used his pumpkin to create a characterful bird. Thank you to Friends of Vinehall for judging and for providing the super prizes.

The Year 2 children behaved impeccably when they joined the Prep school for their first memorial service today. They sat and listened, joining in with the hymns and reflecting on the poignant words shared by the older children.

Belated congratulations must go to the Year 2 committee members, who were overjoyed to take ownership of their badges this week. Henry P and Elfie will represent Year 2 on the Academic Committee, Rose D and Aayat K will be the voice for the School Council and Adeline F, Henry SC and Max P will be the Eco-Committee representatives. We look forward to hearing more from them as the year progresses.

Parents and children from Pre-Prep enjoyed a late autumnal walk through our beautiful school grounds earlier today

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep


Welcome back to our new and existing Little Vines children.

To begin this new term we are celebrating festivals and Remembrance day. Through teaching and providing opportunities to learn about seasonal events a child’s self-confidence and self-esteem is developed, as well as nurturing children’s awareness of, and respect for, other people's beliefs.

The children had a very messy time exploring and mixing colours too!

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

Kindergarten - Bonfire Night Celebrations

This week we have begun our ‘Night Detectives’ topic by celebrating bonfire night. The children have been practising their cutting skills by making rockets and stampers for our firework pictures. They have enjoyed listening to bonfire night poems and rhymes and using this as inspiration for their artwork and making firework dances. Many of the children are very much looking forward to coming together as a school community for our annual firework night.

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher


Reception have returned full of energy and ready to learn. This week we have spent time exploring some of the different events that happen at this time of year. We started with Bonfire night and sharing the story of Guy Fawkes. We then used chalk to create our own firework displays around our names. After listening to the story of Rama and Sita, the children made Diwali lanterns to represent the festival of lights. To commemorate Remembrance Day the children made poppies using foam; they were keen to add a purple petal to symbolise the animals that we lost in the war alongside the red petals.

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1 - Meet Neil Armstrong

On Tuesday Year 1 had a surprise trip to the theatre where they were greeted by Neil Armstrong! Neil shared many interesting facts about his life and his expedition to the moon. The children enjoyed re-enacting the space landing on the stage and miming different things that they might discover if they made the trip to space. There are certainly many budding astronauts in Year 1! What an amazing start to out new topic of Galaxy Quest! Thank you Neil for the amazing adventure!

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

Our new topic this term is Amazing Amazon. The children began the topic by using maps and atlases to find South America and label the countries there. We then used the atlases to find the geographical features of Brazil, looking at the key to help us. The children then added these features on to their maps, working in pairs, just like Billy Bee.

We have also used the iPads in our mental maths session, practising our number bonds to 10, 20 and 100. What speedy mathematicians we are in Year 2!

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Year 3 - Connect us!

In Life Skills, Year 3 are 'celebrating differences', thinking about our families. We began our lesson this week by 'passing the squeeze'. This took many times before the squeeze went all round the circle uneventfully! Jacob told us we needed to work more as a team and, when we tried harder to focus, it was then successful.

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 - Let there be Light!

Year 3 were excited in Science this week as they began to investigate darkness, light and sight. Resources included cardboard boxes, torches, CDs, straws, bubbles and water!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 4 - Science

Year 4 started their new topic 'States of Matter'. They thoroughly enjoyed mixing different materials whilst deciding what made them a liquid or a solid. The lesson finished with shaving foam. Not everything can be classified so simply!

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 4 - Bexhill Museum

Year 4 went to Bexhill on Tuesday to learn about the Romans. We had a lovely time handling artefacts and looking at the displays, trying to work out the uses for some of the Roman artefacts. The children were then able to dress up and do some Roman marching, which of course they loved. We then visited the playground and did a quick litter pick before returning to school. It is amazing how much rubbish you find on what looks like a clean beach!

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors


Year 6 had fun this week creating fruit batteries to light up LEDs

Year 7 have been making observations of scientific phenomena in their Particles topic

Becky Prior - Head of Science


Miserable! That is the only way to describe what it has been like on the sports pitches at times this week. With the boys' fixtures cancelled, the girls braved the elements and took on Skippers Hill on Wednesday. The 1st Team lost their game, but Mrs PW felt it was one of their strongest performances of the season. The 2nd & 3rd teams both picked up good wins in the driving rain. The U11 and U10 girls can also be pleased with their efforts, with the U10s scoring three unanswered goals in their win away from home.

The U8/9 boys finished off their football season with an entertaining game against a strong Battle Abbey team. It has been pleasing to see the progress made across the group. The U8/9 girls, although still in the middle of their netball season, ventured to Dulwich for a hockey training session. An enjoyable afternoon of small-sided games was had by all.

Please could I ask that all the pupils have top and bottom navy blue skins in their sports bag. With the temperatures dropping, they help massively in keeping the pupils a bit warmer on the sports pitches. Could I also please remind the parents of boys that they will all need a pair of the blue Gilbert rugby shorts. The light-weight material shorts are fine for PE, football and hockey, but not for rugby. A second pair of pants is also always a good thing to pack.

Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport

Art - Poppy Production

The Prep school pupils have been involved in the creation of clay poppies ahead of the Remembrance Day Commemorations. From Year 3 to Year 8, the pupils have worked well together to produce a sea of bright red flowers, whilst thinking about the symbolism behind their work. The construction of each poppy took a great deal of patience to complete.

Peer teaching was at the forefront, as many pupils had remembered what to do and wanted to pass on their tips and tricks.

The Year 2 pupils thought about the importance of the poppy and created their poppy collages in response to this important event. A big thank you to all for, not only making some amazing flowers, but for their collaboration when cleaning up such as messy art room.

Tracey Konyu - Head of Art

Forest School

Despite the rainy weather, Year 3 thoroughly enjoyed their first taste of Forest School with Amy and Sophie this week. Making dens with tarpaulins and bungees, using bow saws and making 's'mores' on the fire were just a few of the activities on offer and the children loved every minute.

Mrs E and Mrs Walker were pleased to see a lot of collaboration and resilience, alongside some very creative thinking. Mrs E can't wait for the next time we go down to the woods!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Pumpkin Carving Competition

The school was full of some fantastic pumpkins this week which the children had carved over the half term holidays.

Congratulations to the winners of the Pre-Prep competition: Elizabeth-Rose and Elfie and to ...

... Harry D and Louis D, who came top of the Prep School entries.

Other News

Success at NSEA grass roots competition at Duckhurst

Mia G and Rosie A have been busy during half term and entered the NSEA grass roots competition at Duckhurst on Tuesday 24th October.

Rosie and her horse Spirit came 4th in the 50cm and 1st in the 60cm class and Mia and her horse Aero placed 2nd in the 60cm and 1st in the 70cm. Fantastic results across the day for Vinehall.

Both qualified to compete at any of the regional NSEA Championships and the NSEA Grass Roots Festival at Hickstead in August 2024.

Are there any other riders in the school who may want to join the team? If so please contact the school office and we will pass on your details.

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.

Zebedees is a nursery catering company which provides a hot lunch delivery service for our children during our Holiday Clubs. They will be holding a Tasting Session and Q & A for parents in the Pre-Prep on Wednesday 15th November 2023 from 3.15pm to 4.10pm.

If you would like to reserve a place at the Zebedees Tasting Session, please click the link below and submit the booking form no later than Sunday 12th November.