On Monday 18thNovember, Spruce and Juniper went on a trip to Blenheim Palace. The Palace was wonderful and the gardens were amazing. Once we got there, we had a little walk around the formal gardens. We saw the Diana Temple, which is where Winston Churchill proposed to his wife, Clementine. After that, we saw the Churchill timeline that told us about where Churchill was born and where he went to school. We also learnt that Winston Churchill went to Sandhurst Academy, where he trained to be a soldier. He became an MP in 1900 and worked his way up to becoming Prime Minister, in 1940.
After our walk, we got to the café, which had a lovely view of the gardens and this is where we had our lunch. From there we were escorted by a lady who was in charge of the workshop. She took us to a room to leave our bags and then explained to us what we were going to do, that afternoon. First, she said that we were going to tour the Palace. We saw all the rooms where Winston Churchill did his painting and wrote his books. We even saw the actual room where Churchill was born, in 1874. We looked at the writing and drawing rooms, in which the family would have enjoyed time together, after dinner.
Once we had toured the Palace, the lady took us back to the room and we did some – really fun – public speaking exercises. We did really tricky tongue-twisters (which I do not know how people were meant to say because they were so hard) and read one of Churchill’s speeches, ‘We shall fight on the beaches’, published on 4thJune 1940.
We had a really entertaining time at Blenheim Palace and if I could, I would go again!
By Carolina Diniz Fernandez Lomana, Juniper
The two groups had an eventful trip into London Euston after signal failure delays, but all had seats and we travelled across to the Tate Britain gallery quite easily. The children started by looking at a series of Henry Moore figure related sculptures and drawings, with some very good rendering of shape and texture in their sketchbooks.
After a brief gallery explore they then went to the William Blake exhibition where they carried out a series of detailed drawn studies of selected paintings as well as a careful look at the very large range of William Blake engravings. Several members of the public commented positively both on their work focus and the quality of the drawings in progress!
The children thought Monet’s early work was attractive but when they saw the London mist pictures showing sunsets over the houses Parliament, the glowing Venetian reflection scenes and the textured and atmospheric Rouen cathedral studies they were quite awestruck and spent some time just taking in the quality of the work. Some excellent sketching was done and the carefully modelled colour effects were marvelled at! After lunch we went to the London Guildhall Art gallery near the Bank of England, to see a special travelling exhibition of the top Victorian ‘Arts & Crafts’ movement ceramicist William De Morgan entitled ‘Sublime Symmetry’. This set of work including tiles, plates and jug and vase forms, all intricately decorated with distinctive Gothic revival patterns often incorporating fantastical mythical beasts in stylised vegetation pattern backgrounds. Extensive sketching and notes were taken before we returned successfully within the allocated time.
Our Senior Choir felt very excited to be going to Stowe even though unusually they hadn’t had much time to learn the music before going. Instead they, together with the other two choirs that took part, were able to work on the notes during the rehearsals and by the end of the day could confidently sing ‘America’ by Bernstein, ‘Rhythm of Life’ by Coleman as part of a workshop/concert and a three classical choral works that were sung in a simple service of Compline in the Stowe Chapel.
The girls had a wonderful day and were complimented often on the beautiful sound they made as they were asked to sing various parts on their own.
Once again we were looked after so well by the wonderful music department who always seem thrilled to see us and treat us to lots of lunch, tea and snacks! Oh and a stunning concert given by three Stowics; a singer song writer in year 9, a tenor soloist in year 12 and a girl in year 13 who sang a song from a musical. They were outstanding!
I felt very proud of our pupils who seemed to easily cope with the intense rehearsal and who remained so well behaved and full of life throughout this glorious spring day of music making.
Within Geography this term we are looking at writing an extended project that includes an element of fieldwork. This project will be used by the students, should their secondary school require a project from themselves, for common entrance and it is also good practice for their G.C.S.E projects, that they will be completing in a few years time at secondary school.
During the trip they collected: Environmental quality surveys; Service quality maps; Service provision of the areas; sketch maps and land use in the different areas.
The group started by travelling into the central shopping district of Milton Keynes. During this time the group focused on collecting all of the information and noticed that it was a very busy site. At this site there was a high volume of traffic, however service provision was great with a range of retail and other consumer goods available for purchase by customers. The students found that this site was extensively developed in terms of urban planning. This site provided the students with a unique contrast to the other two sites looked at later in the day.
We then headed to Stony Stratford where we looked at the first of our contrasting areas. The students observed that Stony Stratford was a very traditional town with old fashioned and modern services combined in one area, where as Milton Keynes central was predominately modern services. Stony Stratford enabled the students to collect data that will be great to use when writing up a comparison of areas around Milton Keynes.
The final stop for the trip was in Old Stratford. The students observed that there were very little services provided on the outskirts of major urban developments and noted that it was mainly residential housing. This was in complete contrast to central Milton Keynes where the land use was based around consumer products, offices and a few areas of residential housing.
The students will all be writing up this fieldwork until half term to complete their projects. They all did really well collecting the information on the field day and have a vast range of information that they can write up.
On the 16th January 2018, with a sun “ au rendez-vous”, Spruce and Juniper went to the Courtauld Gallery in Central London and discovered an amazing collection of French Post- Impressionists Paintings.
On arrival, we were greeted by Annabelle, our very knowledgeable and very pleasant guide.
She led us to admire and study several paintings from Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Gaugin.
The children were very engaged in all the discussions related to the possible meanings and the various new painting techniques. Annabelle also explained to us how depth of field could be created by the contrast of various colours; we debated whether the Lady in the Folie –Bergère Painting had the same or a different reflection in the mirror and its possible significance; we looked at the ‘Joueurs de Cartes’ and learnt about this very popular card game of the time, called ‘la Bataille’.
The children discovered various aspects of Parisian and French modern and social History of that time. They participated in mini-workshops on colour mixing, sketches and cartoons with speech bubbles in French and did translation exercises.
‘Are they all originals’? asked one of the pupils. ‘Of course’, said Annabelle. This collection was only a minute part of what the Gallery had to offer and we saw an auto-portrait of Van Gogh on our way out.
There were follow-up activities at school in the form of a mini-booklet with pairing-up exercises, quiz, questions and answers, colouring a palette, playing the ‘bataille’ card game, and for some, drawing the Portrait of a bird, following the instructions given by the very famous French Jacques Prévert.
This trip enabled the pupils to recognise the links between the different subjects of the curriculum and apply the language in a meaningful context, as well as providing an opportunity to see the ‘real’ paintings.
The Palace was very grand, we split into two groups, with Middle Prep in one and Senior Prep in another. My group (Middle Prep), learned about public speaking and about Sir Winston Churchill.
In public speaking we learned:
- Facial expressions
- How to captivate your audience
- Look at all the people not just one person because the other people will get bored
- Do not bore the audience!
The tour of the palace:
- We saw the room where Churchill was born on 30th November 1874.
- He died on 24th January 1965 in Kensington, London.
- We saw the room where they would have Christmas dinner and other dinners
- We saw the green drawing room which was very green and beautiful. There are a lot of gigantic paintings in the room.
- We went into the Long library where there was a statue of Queen Anne.
Then we had lunch in the Indian room. The walls were painted with pictures of Indians dressed in old fashioned clothes.
We also visited the Secret Garden which was amazing, there were lots of plants and there was a gazebo where it was very dark. There were a lot of small ponds and streams and a lot of ways round to get to the gazebo. There was a bridge and a pond going into a stream under the bridge.
By Jaina Kavia
(Sycamore Class - Age 9)
This week our U12/U13 girls hockey team had a fixture against Maidwell Hall School. The game was played in fantastic spirit from both sides and although the girls did struggle to keep possession of the ball, our defence was determined and battled well to keep the ball out of our circle. A special mention goes to Jana Alsallal who was superb in goal and made some incredible saves against some super shots from Maidwell. Unfortunately the Maidwell team was just too strong for us on this occasion and despite the girls best efforts they conceded 3 goals in the first half and 4 in the second with the end result a loss of 7-0. Well done to all the girls for their hard work!
The Grove: 0
Maidwell Hall: 7
Player of the Match: Jana Alsallal