Vinelines 26 January 2024

The quality of being respectful

We have focussed on our Vinehall personal value of being respectful this week. It is certainly one of the more challenging qualities to unpick and to explain to the children. However, our Eco Committee members led the way brilliantly in Monday's Prep assembly when summarising how we could better respect our school environment and its many habitats when outdoors and at play.

Respect is a fundamental aspect of healthy relationships, collaboration and living within a thriving school community; we will continue to look at areas within our life here, where being respectful can be celebrated and further improved.

'Being respectful is treating others the way you want to be treated, being considerate and polite, and showing that you value and care about them as individuals.'

As we reach our first exeat of term, I know the children are ready for a good rest and hope they are able to return to school of Monday illness-free and fighting fit. We will certainly do our best to dance off the bugs at the FoV Ceilidh tomorrow … 'Slàinte mhath!'


Friendship in Pre-Prep

This week, Pre-Prep saw the introduction of a beautiful new friendship bench. Kindly donated by the Chamberlain Family, the bench is to be used by those children in need of a friend.

The simple idea is that by sitting on the bench, other children are made visually aware that someone is feeling lonely and in need of a friend and can sit down next to them and befriend them. This can be particularly useful for children who have had a falling out, or new children, who may need support in their first few weeks.

We also introduced a "bus stop" sign to stand behind the bench. In Monday's assembly the children thought of three different places in which they would like to put it over the next three weeks, working out where it will be most useful. During the week we have witnessed many happy moments where one child has extended the hand of friendship to another; we are sure this will be a much-loved part of the Pre-Prep playground for years to come!

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep

Pre-Prep’s Get Set Walk!

Every week on Tuesday and Thursday, the Pre-Prep children have been going outside for a walk or run. The children collect a counter for every lap they complete and earn a foot token if they reach their target.

Each year group has a different target and we celebrate this in our assembly.

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Nursery - RSPB Garden Birdwatch

“What will we see?” was the key question as we introduced the children to this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch. The children made bird feeders using pine cones, lard and seeds. We managed to be very quiet and our reward was two beautiful robins landing in the garden and singing their winter song. On Thursday the Little Vines community came together to walk around our magnificent grounds. Unfortunately it was very foggy but we used our listening ears to hear the wonderful birds singing. Thank you to all our families for joining us. On our return to school we were warmly welcomed with hot chocolate and bird biscuits; thank you so much to Gemma our school cook!

Sarah Wolford - Head of Nursery & Kindergarten

Kindergarten Winter Bird Watching Walk

On Thursday, it was lovely to welcome so many parents and grandparents to join us on our winter bird watching walk. It was a misty morning but we all enjoyed using binoculars to try to spot birds. Once back from our walk, the children were treated to bird-shaped biscuits and hot chocolate. During our weekly gardening lessons we have been learning about birds and have set up bird feeders in the Pre-Prep garden. In our classroom, we have made a bird watching area and we love to look out at the garden to see which birds are coming to visit.

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher

Reception - Trip around Battle

Reception have had a wonderful week thinking about people who help us.

The highlight was the trip to Battle on Tuesday,. We visited different places along the High Street and thought about what each place is for.

We then made our way to Scribble and Daub where the children painted their own cards.

Philip Ardagh read us a story and Lizzy showed us her fabulous workshop where she makes clothes and curtains.

We finished with a visit to the bakery where we bought a bun for snack.

The next day we built a replica of Battle High Street in the classroom and added people and vehicles to act out each place.

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1

Year 1 were very creative this week and sculpted dinosaurs out of clay. They are looking forward to adding extra details to them once they dry next week. The children also thought about the habitats in which their dinosaurs lived and used materials from the art corner to make dinosaur dioramas.

Please come and have a look at them outside Year 1 next week! Well done Year 1 for being so focused on your creations !

Jacklyn Garwood - Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

This week Year 2 have been busy using money in Maths. The children have been finding different ways to make a pound and have also been 'shopping', adding two and three items together to find out how much they spent.

In our Learning Journey we have been working in groups like Billy Bee to find out about about famous sea explorers. We have also been looking at materials, thinking about why different objects have been made from that material and hunting for different materials around the school. Lots of great questions and suggestions were given, showing splendid curiosity, just like Cassie Cat.

Louise Hawtin - Year 2 Teacher

Year 3 - Rock Detectives!

Year 3 are slowly developing into young petrologists in Science. They devised a fair test for the hardness of rocks and another for permeability. Under Karen Walker's beady eye, they tested a variety of rocks with acid (vinegar) to discover if they were made of the shells of dead creatures, using a rock identification key too.

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 – Stereotypes

In Life Skills, 3E have been exploring what we mean by a 'stereotype'. They also worked in small groups to discuss the different roles and responsibilities in their families, realising that everybody can do pretty much anything they choose to do, to help in the home!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher

Forest School - we love it!

Wow! What a wonderful morning in the woods Year 3, Karen Walker and I had at Forest School. Some of the children's favourite activities were: whittling sticks; making batter for the delicious apple fritters cooked on the fire; making dens and 'cooking' in the mud kitchen. Thanks again to Amy and Laura. The children have already asked Mr Powis if they can have a whole day there next time!

Carina Everist - Year 3 Teacher


On Monday the U11s welcomed the touring Papplewick side. In an entertaining game of rugby, the team showed great resolve; although they conceded three early tries, they rallied brilliantly, scoring eight very well-worked tries. Their passing and offloading game is an area that has really improved, enabling the group to make good ground when in possession. The same team continued their winning ways against Marlborough House on Wednesday, ending the season unbeaten.

The U10s finished their rugby season against the same opposition and, although missing a few players, the team put in a great effort.

The senior girls' netball teams took on Holmewood House at home. Laura Percy-White was very pleased with their efforts against some very strong opposition teams, with the 2nds the pick of the bunch, winning 9-5. The U10 & U11s faired well away at HH, with a win, draw and a loss.

The U8/9 boys finished their rugby season with an enjoyable afternoon of matches against Marlborough House at home. It is always pleasing to see the U9s grow in confidence, with a number of fine tackles being made.

Next week is the official start of the boys' hockey season, with the girls starting to play a bit more football ahead of their upcoming season. Please could I ask that your son has their own hockey stick and all the girls have pair of football boots.

Matt McKinnon - Director of Sport & Head of Co-Curricular

Celebrating Pupil Voice: Eco Committee

Many thanks to members of the Eco Committee who were keen to share their thoughts on our Personal Value 'Respectful' in Monday's assembly.

They focused on ways in which we can respect our natural world here at Vinehall.

Ally Linney - Assistant Head (Pastoral)


Congratulations to Rory Heffernan who collected his Master's degree in Early Years Education from the University of Sussex in Brighton this week. "It was a crazy busy year and my focus was all on outdoor learning, setting me up for my forest school leader qualification later in the year".

Coming up ...

There is still time to book into the Nursery and Pre-Prep Holiday Club for February half term holidays. Book online here:

Maths – NSPCC Number Day

As part of our commitment to making maths exciting and high profile at Vinehall, Prep School are taking part in a friendly competition involving schools in the United Kingdom for NSPCC Number Day. The competition runs from 07:30 to 19:30 GMT on Friday 2nd February. It's all done online via

Children can play in any game mode with every correct answer to a multiplication or division question, earning themselves, their class and the school a point towards the competition.

In the spirit of the competition, please don't play on their behalf but by all means, encourage and support them to the extent that it doesn't cause high stress levels or impact on family plans.

In addition, we are encouraging all children (including Pre-Prep) to come into school on Friday 2nd February wearing an item of clothing with a number on it and to make a donation to the NSPCC and the school’s selected charities. This can be a favourite sports top or cap, or even a onesie. Or why not get more creative and design a unique t-shirt, hat or even become a human-sized calculator or dice!

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

Joff and the Senior Leadership Team are delighted to invite parents and their friends to our second Talking Heads Forum at Vinehall School on Thursday 7 March. To reserve a place click on the link below: