Vinelines 8 December 2023

December is here, and it has been full- steam ahead on the Vinehall Christmas celebrations front.

The Pre-Prep have certainly kicked proceedings off, with their exceptional Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 play, and the Santa’s Workshop for toddlers on Tuesday. Our thanks to Father Christmas - the magic reflected in the toddlers’ eyes is a reminder to all of us of the wonder of childhood. We also look forward to the Nursery and Kindergarten Nativity next Tuesday.

One must not forget our choirs at this time of term, who have been busily rehearsing for the School Carol Service tomorrow. Every child will be involved, as is Vinehall tradition, and I am sure that your homes are already humming to ‘Joy to the World’ by now!

My great thanks to all of you within our community who are going above and beyond to create the spirit of joy for the children this year. Special mentions to Charlotte and her FoV team for the Secrets Room, and to Chef Gemma and her catering team for a quite substantial series of delicious events.

Joff Powis


A Fireside Nativity!

One of the many attractions of Vinehall is its stunning grounds, which give an abundance of opportunities for playing and learning. The introduction of Forest School this term has been a huge success, and Pre-Prep transported some of this magic into their Nativity performance this week, as the traditional Nativity was given a twist and performed around a camp fire.

All of the children were simply amazing - performing song after song with gusto and panache and learning reams of dialogue. Special mention must go to the group of happy campers, who were brilliantly played by Henry P, Adeline, Max, Rose, Shahaan, Aayat, Tashfeen, Florence and Elizabeth-Rose; and to Elfie, Persie, Henry SC and Toto, who played the four children; the audience were awed by the sheer volume of words they memorised and performed with such energy!

Nicky Whittaker - Head of Pre-Prep


It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

We are certainly in the spirit of Christmas here at Little Vines. The children have been busy practising for our Nativity and learning about the ‘Very First Christmas.’ We learnt about sequencing the story in order; the children were brilliant at recalling what happened and what happened next.

We also read the story of ‘The Jolly Postman,’ and the children ‘wrote’ some amazing letters and cards to their family and friends.

We cannot wait to perform our story of 'Shine Star Shine' next week.

Sarah Wolford – Head of Nursery and Kindergarten

Kindergarten Santa Lucia

The Kindergarten class has been full of the joy of Christmas as we have explored how Christmas is celebrated in Sweden.

The children learnt how to say ‘Happy Christmas’ in Swedish and discovered what a Swedish Father Christmas looks like.

A highlight was finding out about the festival of Santa Lucia. The children listened to the special Santa Lucia song and paraded around the classroom with their white robes, headdresses and electric candles.

Catherine Garlick - Kindergarten Teacher


Reception have had a fantastic penultimate week in the lead up to Christmas. We started to get into the festive spirit this week by decorating our tree and exploring Christmas around the world.

The children have been keen to make their own Christmas cards and we have planned our letters to Santa in readiness for our trip next week.

In maths this week, we set up a bowling alley in the classroom and the children kept their own scores. Not only was this great fun but also a perfect way to practise number formation and simple addition.

The highlight of the week was performing our Christmas play. The children have worked incredibly hard and should be very proud!

Louisa Bennett - Deputy Head of Pre-Prep

Year 1

The children learnt about the movement of the earth and seasons this week and experimented in our ‘rocket dark room’ with torches and a shadow box to form shadows. It was lovely to hear the laughter of the children as they worked out how to get their shadow puppets to dance in the dark rocket.

We looked at the famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh, and practised painting with a light, feathery motion to create our own ‘Starry Night.’

Jacklyn Garwood – Year 1 Teacher

Year 2

Year 2 have been looking at deforestation and the impact it has on the environment. The children had to sort arguments into reasons for and against deforestation; then they were split into two groups to debate whether it should continue or be stopped. Everyone was very good at listening, taking turns and giving their viewpoint clearly. At the end of the debate I asked the children what they thought and they unanimously agreed that it should be stopped.

We have also looked at simple food chains in our Learning Journey. The children were given a label and had to make their food chain, thinking about who was a producer or consumer and who was a predator or prey. Thankfully no one got eaten!

Louise Hawtin – Year 2 Teacher

Year 3

What is a biome? Ask Year 3!

In their Humanities lesson this week, Year 3 had the challenging task of matching eighteen photos to the descriptions of our planet's six biomes. They worked collaboratively (like Billy Bee) to sort them out, reading the characteristics of each biome first. Thanks to Louise Waters, our School Horticulturalist, who came to lend a helping hand. Then they watched a clip from the wonderful Sir David Attenborough's 'Our Planet'.

Carina Everist – Year 3 Teacher

Year 3 - Let's Investigate!

Year 3 investigated how much the length of a shadow changed when the light source moved closer or further away from the object.

Their opaque object was a Sylvanian figure and their light source was a torch.

They worked like Billy Bee in their group of three to measure very carefully, before filling in a table of their results.

Much discussion followed and some serious scrutiny of their measurements!

Carina Everist – Year 3 Teacher

Year 4: Science Investigators

We observed ice and found temperatures of different things around our classroom. We thought about what happens when we heat and cool different materials.

Louise Barrett - Head of Juniors

Year 7 Art: Agamographs

The Year 7 artists were inspired by the work of Yaacov Agam to create Agamographs. The artist is well-known for his kinetic pieces, which demonstrate movement with multiple images.

Good job year 7!

Tracey Konyu - Head of Art

House News: Ashton

Ashton House held a super festive fundraising event this week.

Each House raced to make the longest Christmas paper chain, buying strips to raise money for our chosen charity, Age UK.

The teamwork was impressive, and some very generous (and competitive) donations were made.

The chains are beautiful, and too long to be measured in the sports hall!

We raised £235 in one lunchtime, which is a wonderful donation for this very worthwhile cause, chosen by the children.

Well done all!

Annabel Newcomb - EAL Teacher and Year 7 Form Tutor


We had a very busy weekend last week. Saturday morning was filled with the usual activities and then we all dressed up warmly and boarded a train at Robertsbridge to go ice-skating in Tunbridge Wells.

It was a wonderful afternoon, with most of the boarders managing to stay upright. It was perfect weather for skating, dry and very cold. There was some fancy footwork from the more confident boarders and ‘baby seals’ to help the less confident.

Afterwards we had a hot chocolate and made our way back to the station. We had a bit of a wait for our train and were nearly frozen by the time we got back to school. We had dinner and hot showers and settled in for the night.

On Sunday we had an early start and, after a hearty breakfast, went to Bluewater for Christmas shopping. This is always a popular outing, and this year was no exception. We got back to school exhausted and all shopped out.

We are looking forward to the next week and the run up to Christmas. We have trees to decorate, cookies to bake and secret Santa gifts to wrap.

Katherine Kirkwood – Head of Boarding