Handcross Park School

NEWSLETTER WEEK 3 - Friday 6th May 2016

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Dear Parents

It has been Kindness Week at Handcross Park and we have been engaging the children on understanding why this is important. It has been wonderful to see the Kindness Board filling up in the Front Hall and some heart-warming examples of kindness in the Pre-Prep too.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the informal music and drama concert yesterday, but I have it on good authority that it was an excellent event and I am pleased to see more children getting the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. Well done to all our performers.

Some excellent results on the sports field this Wednesday with 4 wins, a loss and a tie in cricket versus Cottesmore with a further victory against Copthorne. The girls had some close matches against St Christopher’s and Lancing Prep with 50% of games being won or drawn.

The Staff versus Parents Golf Cup on Saturday was a close event and we all enjoyed a beautiful morning at Cuckfield Golf Club. The staff ran out winners in the end and the gauntlet has been laid down for a parent comeback in 2017! My thanks to Mr Evans for organising this event and to Rob and Lucy Dickman (former parents of HXP) for their support and for allowing us to use the club.

Our KidsforKids charity event took place today and it was good to see the children all getting involved in their "Walk for Water". I will let them fill you in on the detail but once again our Charity Council shone through - ably led by Miss Mantle. I was also delighted to see some of our Pre-Prep children making such a positive impact when they visited Homestream House in Horsham; the residents so enjoyed their company and the children should feel good that they made a positive difference to their day. Well done.

Parents may recall that I have written in the past about how we can support our children in their use of the internet, enabling them to enjoy all its benefits but also protecting them from the darker side of online communication and inappropriate material. I intend to resend this letter again next week, but I thought parents would appreciate the following questions as a catalyst for further discussion at home.

  • What kind of online protection does your child have when at home? Have you considered changing some of the settings on your computer?
  • Where is your child’s computer located? Can they access the internet in private? Do you really know what they are looking at?
  • If your child has a mobile phone – can he/she access the internet? What protection do you have on this device? Do you know what Firewall / protection / virus control is installed on your network at home? Does this protection apply to all mobile devices, like iphones, laptops etc?
  • Do you check your child’s texting history and know who they are sending texts to and receiving texts from?
  • Do you check your child’s browsing history on their phone? Do you let them delete their browsing history?
  • Do you let your child use InPrivate browsing or do you assume that they don’t know about this way of secretive browsing that does not leave a trail or history behind on the device?
  • Do you regularly check your child’s devices for picture/music/video content?
  • Does your son/daughter have a Facebook or any other social networking account? Do you either check these or have discussions with your child about the importance of their correct use
  • Have you checked the privacy settings? Do you know who their online friends are?
  • Does your son/daughter have a Facebook account and is not yet 13? If you accept that it is appropriate for your child to lie about their age on Facebook, you also accept the risk that any adult in the Facebook or online world can lie about their own age, pretend to be 13 years old and befriend your child? If your child has lied about their age on Facebook, will they lie about their age if they accidentally found a site with an 18+ site entry agreement?
  • Are you aware that your child can also communicate online via their gaming consoles? Do you discuss this with your children?

I do not want to preach to the converted here – I am sure many of you are already aware of the dangers outlined above. However, it is important that we respond to the changes in the digital world to enable our children to enjoy the technological age, both safely and appropriately and I hope that for others, I have provided some food for thought. We as a school are always looking at ways to educate the children on digital matters, but if you too could talk to them about these issues we are more likely to be successful. There is a lot of information online about measures parents can take and I would encourage you to research further. Mr O'Connor is always happy to discuss this with parents and he runs cyber safety evenings for parents each year.

Please remember that we have a brilliant conference for our parents on this topic and if you have not yet put this date in your diary, please do so. It is on Monday 26th September and we really do want to see at least one parent from each family attending; am I allowed to say it is compulsory and that we will be taking an attendance register? You will not regret giving up your evening to be there I promise!

Next week, we have several police dog handlers visiting the school with their working dogs and they will be giving demonstrations to all our children at different times during the day – both in the Pre-Prep and the Prep School. It promises to be an exciting day. Follow us on Twitter for up to date photographs! (@HandcrossPark)

Finally, please remember that we also have team photos next Tuesday and parents will have received a letter about this.

The term is flying by and so much has already happened! I am looking forward to all the various events and opportunities in the weeks ahead.

Have a good weekend.

Be Trewe.

Graeme Owton



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Freddie Wiseman, Luke Gausden, Charles Brookes, Matthew Hogben, Eve Clarke, John Coveney, Nelson ( The Boarding House Dog will be 10)


The summer has arrived……………………………..

Young people’s skin is particularly vulnerable to damage from the sun's UV rays during the Summer Term. Your child’s health and well-being are important to us.

All children are required to wear a school hat.

Before school could you please apply a “Once a Day” sun cream to adequately protect your child for the duration of their school day.

Together I hope we can have a happy and safe summer term.

Kind regards


School Nurse


School Shop Second Hand Uniform Sale

There will be a second hand uniform sale on Friday the 27th May from 8am – 10 am.

If your child has outgrown any of their summer or winter uniform this would be an ideal opportunity to bring it to the school shop for re-sale prior to this date.

New Products

We are delighted to announce that the school shop has some great new products in stock including swimming towels and our new luggage tags for use on all school bags. We hope that luggage tags will make bags easier to identify and reduce loss and mix-ups.

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A note from the Chair

What lovely weather we have had this week. It looks like the sunshine might now be with us. Hopefully the weather will continue over the rest of the term so that we can take full benefit of it for both the Summer Fair on 11 June and the Ball on 18 June. Please save both dates and purchase your Ball tickets if you are able to come. The Summer Fair will see the stalls run by the Year Groups as usual and the return of the Prep v Pre-Prep Mums Rounders Match. We will be looking for teams shortly, so if you fancy having a go and perhaps re-capturing a bit of your childhood, please put your name down when the time comes. Have a great weekend. Julie

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The Horse Riding Club enjoying the nice weather and Gabi taking up the challenge of jumping!

Teaching and Learning. Growth Mindset: Why failure is good.

Firstly, let’s make it clear from the start that failure at the end point is not the desired outcome. However, failure as a tool to aid learning is something, that when it happens in a safe and reflective environment, can accelerate learning. Derek Sivers articulately explains why failure can be beneficial in aiding learning at a TEDx Talk.

Such is the case with Thomas Edison, whose most memorable invention was the light bulb, which purportedly took him 1,000 tries before he developed a successful prototype. “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” a reporter asked. “I didn’t fail 1,000 times,” Edison responded. “The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

This is an important aspect to growth mindset, which we are aiming to train the pupils to adopt and show how it can positively improve their learning. An example of how we are doing this is the introduction of Self Evaluations Against Exam Performance. Instead of concentrating on the percentage they achieved in a test, we are asking that pupils complete a reflection exercise, which identifies how they can make targets to close the gap for future improvement. Within the classroom, when a pupil doesn’t understand something, the simple addition of “yet” to the end of the statement “I don't get it” is sometimes all it takes to change a mindset and build self esteem.

Celebrate mistakes!

This starts in Lower School where the attitude is that when anything goes wrong, it is not the end of the world but instead the first attempt in learning. The fear of making mistakes and associated shame can stop children from giving something a go in the first place. We all make mistakes, so they try to embrace these and use them as learning opportunities, rather than feeling embarrassed about them. If we are not making mistakes then we are not stretching ourselves.

Dr Dweck’s research found that people with a fixed mindset “greatly mis-estimated their performance and their ability (while) people with the growth mind-set were amazingly accurate and were eager to find out how they should improve". As parents your support can be shown by celebrating the understanding of how to improve, rather than just the percentage achieved in comparison to a class average.


Year 3, in the Outdoor Classroom, setting-up an experiment to find out if water travels up the stem of a plant


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Effort: Finlay Coburn

Dining Room Etiquette: Archie Eaton

Courtesy: Jack Groves


Effort: Freddie Oakden

Courtesy: Luca Long

Dining Room Etiquette: Daisy Hanna

How to Become Familiar With Your Child’s Use of Technology in the Classroom

The benefits that technology can have on learning are endless. Still, that won’t make you feel any better about the “what ifs” scenarios that occur when children take a misstep. There are ways to find some comfort, but it involves some effort on your part. Read on here.....


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We are please to announce all of the following children have passed their Lamda exam with outstanding results:

Seamus Robinson

Lorna Breen

Lily Stonehill

Junior Andrea

Kyle Williams

Nigella Broackes

Matthew Unwin







300 House Points - Reece Appadu, Edward Broadley, Bethany Hirons, Elsa Bertelsen, Edward Hartley, Katie King

400 House Points - Ella Pooley, Isla Bertelsen, Yssy Nightingale, Diana Iskandarova, Egor Sokolov

500 House Points - Athena Thomas


200 House Points - Merrick Coveney

300 House Points - Biba Bentley, Freddie Davidson, Joe Smith, Dylan O'Brien

400 House Points - Maya Loder


200 House Points - John Strang, Isaac Millar-Smith, Samuel Pearson

300 House Points - Ella Gregory, James Williams, Juliette Davis, Alexander Els, Seamus Robinson, Rosie Roff, Tobias Burchell

400 House Points - Eve Clarke, Charlotte Skerrett, Amelia Cameron


200 House Points - Stanley Stonehill

300 House Points - Niamh Guirey, Charlie Maynard, Olaiya Adeniji, Victor Chan, Danielle Trevalion-Turnbull

400 House Points - Cecilia Subinas, Gabrielle Brookes

500 House Points - Jemima Alton, Gabriela Navares

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Despite being a short week we have managed to squeeze in some wonderful learning. The highlight being Reception's trip to Homestream Residence. The children introduced themselves beautifully to the residents and asked them interesting and relevant questions. The residents had prepared some activities to teach the children about their own childhoods such as conkers, cats cradle and a biography that one of them had written and illustrated. The children read books, played games and chatted freely with the residents whilst colouring in. Much laughter could be heard and it was delightful to see both parties engaging with each other and enjoying learning about the differences in each other’s lives.

Year 1 have been finding out about lighthouses and why they are so important to ships. They loved learning about Grace Darling and how brave she was, helping her father save lives in a huge storm near the lighthouse she lived in. In science, they investigated the changing states of water, by observing ice melt and watching steam begin to form out of heated water and then condense again. Finally they delighted in designing and creating their own models of lighthouses – great problem solving skills displayed!

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This week some eagle-eyed children in Colouring Club spotted a letter addressed to Year 2 posted high on the wall of the Pre-Prep hall! How could it have got there? Who was it from? Further perusal revealed that it had been delivered by Hermes, messenger to the Greek Gods! He had lost the winged sandals which enable him to fly and was in fear of the wrath of Zeus – hence another problem for us to solve! We had to use our new weighing scales to discover who had the lightest pair of shoes in Year 2 to lend to him until his own turn up – watch out for them in the Lost Property box!


Mr Gayler's Learner of the Week - Rosie Dobbs


Jacob Spiers, Subhan Khan, Charlie Bendall


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Mohammad Ibraheem Kashif, Jocelyne Sturgess, Amelia Blakemore, Edward Bower, Alex Moirinho, Sebastian Bjorn, Danielle Ikhide, Faris Khan, Thomas Pooley, Oliver Trowell, Arthur White, Iris Tsitoura, Conor Robinson, Sebastian Sheldon, Oliver Lindsay, Annabel Winterton, Rory Dawson, Rosie Dobbs, Jimmy Hardman, Sam Trott, Isla Appadu, Ciara Olney, Barnaby Eden


Reception - Barnaby Eden

Year 1 - Alice Wiseman

Year 2 - Victoria Thorne


RS - Zachary Stein

RM - Max Dinning

1W - Simon Wakefield

1D - Jemimah Davies

2L - Isabella Price

2R - Hannah Bushell


RS - Ciara Millard

RM - Jimmy Hardman

1W - Archibald Bates

1D - Jonathan Wakefield

2L - Oliver Lindsay

2R - Constance Whale






LITTLE OWLS..........

In Little Owls this week, we have made the most of the glorious sunshine by going for a walk in the beautiful grounds of the Prep School garden, enjoying ball games and a visit to see the fish and tadpoles in the pond.

We have also had two new arrivals, Salt and Pepper, Miniature Brahma Bantams who will reside in the Little Owl’s garden.

Our Role Play area has been transformed into a Veterinary Surgery where the children have been learning how to look after animals.

WISE OWLS ........

Another busy week in Wise Owls as the children’s learning journey has focused on patterns. They have been learning about repeating patterns, using Unifix bricks, and have been proud to show them to their friends at Carpet Time. We have also been looking at Symmetrical patterns and have been making our own individual wax-resist butterfly paintings.

Our Role Play area has become a ‘Creepy Corner’ and we have been learning about minibeasts and their habitats. Our Wise Owls have been exploring with magnifying glasses and binoculars, collecting different types of minibeast and recording their findings on clipboards.

Newells School Trust Registered in England No. 932584 Registered Charity No. 307038

A member of the Brighton College Family of Schools