FROM THE HEAD
A reflection on the first half of term
As so often is the case with Kennedy House half term breaks, it seems only yesterday that I was welcoming pupils back for the start of term. This is a good thing. It is a sign of a busy school and that our pupils have a range of opportunities that allows them to make the most of their time at school but it is also important that we take time to reflect on all that we have achieved, to come up for air and enjoy our successes, before we begin again once more.
After a very long, hot and dusty spell, the return to school after Easter saw an abundance of rain which left our grounds and playing fields looking lush and green, a reminder of how fortunate we are to have such wonderful surroundings. We also welcomed several new children in our Early Years classes as our school roll continues to grow.
In the classroom, we continue to add breadth, balance and rigour to our academic curriculum. We are coming to the end of our first year of using the Cambridge International syllabus. Our first tranche of Year 6’s and 7’s took the Cambridge Checkpoint Exam this term and Years 3-5 have been very well prepared for the Cambridge Progression Tests after half term. Furthermore we have thoroughly embedded the ISEB Common Entrance 13+ syllabus across all subjects at the top of the school as we move towards the introduction of Year 8 in September.
Alongside this school-wide curriculum review, we have been revisiting our approaches to marking, assessment, and self-evaluation – a reformed approach will begin in earnest in September. We have also conducted a full review of the timetable and structure of the school day and we look forward to sharing some significant and progressive changes with the PTG after half term.
Throughout the term, our children have exceled on the sports fields. Our U11 rugby team was crowned Northern Tanzania Athletic Association Champions and our U9 team finished in second place, denied victory in the dying seconds of the final. Congratulations to Kennedy House players Sebastian Mbise and Ben Mayes who were awarded Player of the Tournaments for their age groups. Our three netball teams had a successful season, finishing third in their respective N.T.A.A. competitions, and we also had three swimmers (Jack Schipper, Acacia Schipper and Anna Bachmann) who travelled to Mwanza for an inter-school gala and all recorded personal best times and made us extremely proud.
We have also had an increasing number of pupils attending weekly hockey coaching at The Polo Club under the watchful eye of Mr Adams and Mr Mayes and the half term finished yesterday with an N.T.A.A. cross-country competition held at Kennedy House. Our runners were in outstanding form: We placed second as a school, with wins for Ben Mayes in U9 boys, Caleb Swart in U11 boys and Sebastian Mbise for U13 boys (who ran 3.5km in just over 13 minutes!) Erin Mayes came in 2nd place for the U11 girls and Jack Schipper in 3rd place for the U11 boys. After half-term we look forward to our inter-house rugby and netball matches, which always add a different competitive edge!
On stage, we had a record thirty-four children rehearsing hard for their LAMDA exams this term and Year 4 produced a fascinating class assembly based on ancient Chinese shadow puppet theatre. Over 20% of our pupils now have one-to-one music lessons and, for the first time, we had pupils who took ABRSM music exams. Well done to Harry Taylor (Piano grade 1 – distinction), Xiao Lee Bruins (Piano grade 1 - pass) , Gustav and Karl Emil Oestervang (Guitar prep test - pass) and Emma Heath (Piano prep test - pass) for their achievements.
Out and about, Year 2 pupils visited Munguishi Farm to see first-hand how food is produced from seed to plate and Year 1 visited the Leopard Plant Nursery and K9 Dog Training Unit as an extension of their science work on animals and plants. We also continue to value our links with the local community and our Car Boot Sale raised valuable funds to support further projects at Relini Primary School.
For me, the most notable observation throughout this busy and fruitful half-term has been the ability of pupils and staff to take everything in their stride with good humour and a ‘can-do’ attitude. Cross-country training in heavy rains? No problem! Netball coaching and then a session in the pool? Why not? LAMDA practice at break time and an exam on Saturday? Naturally. And all with a smile.