Welcome to Our Newsletter

Dear Families,

I would like to start by sharing my heartfelt gratitude to you all for your dedication, commitment, kindness and encouragement during this continued period of “remote learning”.

I have been deeply moved by how we have managed to maintain and sustain this lovely community even though the majority of us have not ventured into our school buildings for some time.

Live assemblies, morning tutor-times, daily “check-ins”, Live Lessons, independent study and explorations, message-boards, birthday cards, “shout-outs”, Wednesday Wisdom, Junior Bake-Off, Gingerbread Staff – these are just a small selection of the various activities that have helped us all to stay connected.

This latest newsletter captures the continued joy of learning as well as the energy of this school family.

Young people have proactively shared their achievements with their teachers, who in turn have proudly shared their own felicitations for the sheer hard-work, dedication and commitment that has been evident each and every day from your remarkable children.

When I wake up each morning, I am grateful that my day is to be spent working for this community.

When each working day concludes, I offer gratitude for the joy I experience from seeing these magnificent young people thriving both academically and ethically – this really is a blessing.

Parents and Grandparents – you must all be so proud – and rightfully so.

In a world that is so often portrayed as malevolent and forbidding, we find a glorious paradox within the words and actions of your children and grandchildren.

This newsletter offers us the good news.

This newsletter reminds us of the truth:

When children are loved, they display love.

When children are inspired, they inspire others.

When children can be themselves, they find their rightful place within a community.

When children are heard, we learn from them.

When children learn, their positive impact on the world begins.

When children understand that there is no upper limit to their potential, we all stand amazed.

As I read this newsletter, I smiled a knowing smile and was sorely amazed – as I know you will be too.

Steve Jeffery

Acting Head


Learning Online – an Update

Although we hope that very soon we will all be back in school together, we thought you might like to read an update on our online learning. Whilst we have adopted slightly different approaches in the Junior and Senior School, the over-riding ambition has been to educate all the children within our care to a high standard, inspiring each and every one of them and allowing many aspects of the Sion Community to thrive. The different remote learning mediums (Tapestry and Teams for EYFS, Seesaw and increasing use of Teams from Years 1-6, and the different Senior School approaches)  reflect the ages of the children-  each stage receiving a pedagogical approach which is the best for them. Not a one size fits all.

Here are updates to how the online learning has progressed at Sion. Mrs Pearson writes about the Junior School and Miss Davis about the Senior School.

Online Learning In The Junior School An Update

Online Success In The Senior School

Founders Day

It was a very different Founders’ Day this year. Normally, we would celebrate by the whole school coming together and thinking about what our Founders, Alphonse and Theodore Ratisbonne, believed as Sion’s core values, which stand as our ethos today.  Instead, this year, our assembly (like so many others) was online and Mr Jeffery set the school a challenge to creatively represent what our ethos means today.

We had some truly wonderful replies, showing that the Sion Ethos is alive and reverberating in the corridors of Sion!  This video captures some of this creativity.

Amber also created this video which really does sum up our ethos and what it means to be a Sionian.

Year 3 – working on Seesaw

Mrs Summers has produced this lovely video which shows some wonderful work and interaction with her Year 3 class:  This really demonstrates how the online platform, Seesaw, is working for the Junior School.

Year 11 IGCSE Maths

Congratulations to Millie, Ollie, Will, Vinnie, Lilly and Fin for their excellent IGCSE Maths results.

These Year 11 students sat the paper in school during the November series of exams. Well done to you all!  As Miss Davis says, you have shown true resilience and determination.


Reading Aloud to St Mary’s Care Home

In normal times, the Junior School pupils would be making regular visits to our neighbours, St Mary’s Care Home. Sadly, the residents have not been able to see the children for so long, but, as part of World Read Aloud Day, they asked if some of our Junior School pupils would like to send them videos of them reading to them. The children happily obliged! All the videos were forwarded to St Mary’s but here is a selection. We have shared others on our social media pages.

We received a message from Tarran, the Activities Manager, along with the video below:

“The residents here at St Mary’s were absolutely thrilled to receive so many lovely videos from our friends from Our Lady of Sion Junior school. We loved the poems and the stories and were touched that the children took the time to send us their clips. We are very excited to see all of you again very soon. We have sent over a quick video to say thank you from all of us.”

Sion commemorates the Holocaust

On 26th and 27th January 2021 Sion students commemorated Holocaust Memorial Day. On Tuesday 26th all Year 9 students and our Year 13 historians watched a live webcast with Eve Kugler, who had managed to escape Nazi Germany and occupied France with her sister to find safety in the USA. Eve, who has received the British Empire Medal for her services to Holocaust Education, was in conversation with Natasha Kaplinksi. She talked about her memories of Kristallnacht, when her father was first arrested by the Nazi authorities, as well as her own a daring escape with the help of the French resistance. Usually, our Year 9 students would gather in the Chapel to watch the annual webcast together but this year the Holocaust Education Trust arranged it so that all students could log on at home.

Wednesday 27th January was Holocaust Memorial Day and Mrs Yacoub’s virtual assembly focused on this year’s theme of ‘Be the light in the darkness’ and encouraged our students to think about how each one of us can shine light in a dark situation. Some of our students and staff lit candles and placed them in their windows as a way of showing our commitment to learning the lessons of Holocaust Memorial Day and bringing our light to the darkness.

Mrs Yacoub


Coastal Challenge Update

Well done to everyone who has added the distance they have run, walked, or cycled since the Coastal Challenge was launched.  After a week, we have reached Newcastle!  We still have a way to go so please do keep adding your distance travelled.

Whole School after week one: 1434.6 km

Best year group: Year 9

Special mentions go to:

Year 11 – Finlay
Year 10 – Oliver and  Amber
Year 9 – Archie and Selina
Year 8 – Jessica
Year 7 – Amber and Max
Year 5 – Jack
Year 4 – Iris
Staff: Mr Salmon who cycled an impressive 151km

You can add your distances here.

Year 7 Drama

Whilst studying set design in  Drama,  Year 7 were asked to come up with ideas for a potential musical adaptation of Ratatouille. These are a few of the wonderful examples Mrs Freeman received.


Wednesday Wisdom – robot challenge

Year 11 Artwork

This stunning artwork is from Sajeev’s GCSE portfolio.

Student’s artwork donated to Guildcare

Over the Christmas holidays, Harvey  (Year 11) painted this beautiful picture and donated it to Haviland House, a Guildcare Care Home.  It was gratefully received by the home and the residents!

Year 12 Built Environment 

Some work in progress from Charlotte and Thomas.


Year 6 PHSE

Year 6 were asked to write letters to thank someone in the community.  This pupil decided to thank one of their teachers:

I am writing to say thank you for all the hard work you and the other teachers have done over lockdown.

You have been very patient and fun. You are always there for me and the other pupils.

To rely on and help with what we don’t know. You are also a very good listener and you always give great uplifting comments which always brightens up my day. 

I also love your ideas and you give great advice. You always make the days in lockdown a lot more fun and interesting. I love our daily catch-up every morning and you are always thorough with the seesaw learning platform meaning you always go through everything in our lessons.

Thank you for being a great teacher and companion.


Dementia Friendly Worthing

As we mentioned in our last Newsletter, a group of Junior School pupils has been asked to join the Dementia Friendly Worthing Steering Group. The children attended their first meeting recently (which we are delighted to say was also mentioned in their newsletter). Well done, Kyle, Daisy, Poppy, and Roman for representing the school so beautifully.

Year 4 Papier-mâché Globes

Year 4 have created these fantastic globes using papier-mâché.

Year 8 Pewter Casting Project

Students researched the Art Deco design style to produce design ideas for the pewter casting process. Here are some of their designs.


Sion Go Wild

On the last day of this half term, the Juniors had a screen-free day and were encouraged to have a day of exploration and excitement, embracing the Wild Curriculum. We hope to share some photos with you after half term but this is what they were encouraged to try:


The children of key workers who were in the Junior School on the day spent their time with arts and crafts and a House Pancake Race.  The video shows photos from their day.

The House Pancake Race results were:

1st Cissbury
2nd Kithurst
3rd Highdown
4th Chanctonbury


The youngest children in the school have been learning about the Chinese New Year. They learned about the animal names of the Chinese years using a number line and had a go at some Chinese writing (using a stencil). They also had lots of sensory-play fun when the water tray was full of noodles!


Hopefully, by the time this is sent out we won’t be spoiling any surprises – the children also had a lovely time making Valentine’s Day cards and biscuits to take home to their parents.

The children loved having a snowy playground to play in!

Reception have been very busy

Miss Swanson has created this video to show some of the activities that Reception has been doing this half term.

Year 5 Seesaw work

Here is some work from Year 5, with a bit of a Rainforest theme.


Year 8 Art

Looking at branding, students did some tonal studies of familiar brands in preparation for an Andy Warhol Pop Art Piece.


Year 1 are loving the Julia Donaldson books

Year 1 have started learning about Julia Donaldson. They have produced some fabulous work to begin their English topic by researching facts about Julia Donaldson and learning about some of the inspiration for her book ‘Superworm’, by researching interesting facts about worms


Junior School Bake Off

Mrs Pearson set a Junior Bake Off challenge to the Juniors. As you can see from this video, she had a very tough decision to make, but eventually decided that Jack’s Calm cake was the winner.  Well done, Jack.  He describes the thinking behind his cake in the second video. This cake was particularly relevant as it was baked during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

Juggling tricks

Miss Haworth set a challenge to those students who are in school (keyworker parents) to perfect their juggling!

Year 5 French

As part of a French extension piece of work, Ava sent this to Mrs Trevino. The children had to listen in French to the names of the rooms and then write them down. Mrs Trevino was very impressed!

Fun in the Snow

The keyworker children who have been in school this half term had great fun playing in the snowy playground, finding just enough snow to make tiny snowmen- and then warming up with some lovely hot chocolate!

Year 4 had a ‘Brain Break’ and,  for some of them, that meant spending time in the snow:

GCSE Music

Mr Jeffery very much enjoyed listening to the GCSE performances that the students performed, most of them were via webcam and one live from our music room! We are so proud of our exam-students who continue to show great progress and commitment to offering their very best!

Year 6 Poetry

This is an audio file of Roman reading his poem.

PE during lockdown

Mr Danes, Miss Haworth and Mrs Perry have all been uploading videos of activities for both Senior and Junior School PE lessons.

Here are some pictures which were uploaded to Seesaw of the Junior School taking part in Mrs Perry’s lessons.

Year 4 Poetry

Here are some poems from Iris and Lily-Rose.



Art – Year 9 Starry Night

Using the works of Vincent Van Gogh, students have been developing the skills in using ‘mark marking’ to develop textural views from their windows. They practiced in pencil then developed the ideas in colour after copying Van Gogh ‘Starry Nights’ to learn how he combined mark making and colour.


Year 8 French ‘Francophones’ Cities project

Year 8 French classes have been doing a project about ‘francophones’ cities around the world, writing in French about the attractions and what they are going to do when they go (using the future tense)….hopefully soon after the lockdown! They have produced a challenging quiz in French and created beautiful caligrammes. The  cities range from the European cities of  Bordeaux, Luxembourg, Nice, Lyon, Paris, Strasbourg, Montreux, to the further away cities of Québec, Montréal and Douala.
Our students have also found out fascinating facts:
  • Did you know the Eiffel tower is not actually the most visited place in Paris? The most visited place in Paris was actually the Cathédrale Notre-Dame (before it sadly burnt down).
  • A series of interconnected tunnels underneath Montreal run for over 32km. They connect shopping malls, over 2000 stores, 7 metro stations, universities, banks, offices, museums, restaurants and so on.
  • The earliest tourists arrived in Nice around 400 000 years ago!


Year 6 History of Art

Year 6 have been learning about the History of Art in Ghana. This is Daisy’s presentation on its symbolism in Ghana.

Link to: Ghana Art History

 Maths Leaderboards

As part of the online learning for Maths, students in Years 7,8 and 9 have been using Dr Frost. These are the leaderboards! Well done to all these students for their accumulative totals!

Year 8 PHSE

This half term Year 8 spent some of their PSHE lesson time talking about why it’s important for us to discuss mental health, considering what can impact our mental health and developing strategies to help us improve our own mental health during lockdown and afterwards. Here are some of the ideas they came up with.


Year 2 French

Year 2 have been reading the Hungry Caterpillar in French, learning their numbers and their fruit. Here is Maya reading from the book.

Year 3 Ancient Egyptians Topic

Harvey did an excellent Creative Prep making the pyramids of Giza, Mayumi described the mummification process brilliantly, Phoebe has made a beautiful sarcophagus and Albie made this fantastic video reporting on the Curse of the tomb of Tutankhamen.



Year 10 and 11 Space for Dialogue

Ms Ghinn has been teaching Year 10 and Year 11 about Mental Health in the past 3 weeks and will continue for one lesson after half term. This has taken place in the Space for Dialogue lessons and has covered the areas of ‘Reframing Negative Thinking’, ‘Recognising Mental Ill-health’ and, after the half-term break will be addressing the area of ‘Promoting emotional wellbeing’.  The students learnt about how negative thinking patterns can impact on their responses to disappointments and thought about strategies to build resilience by reframing negative thinking.  Some of the negative thinking patterns were ‘fortune-telling’ (assuming you know how things will turn out), ‘overgeneralising’ (making big judgements based on small, one-offs) and many more.   With the lesson on recognising mental ill-health they watched three short videos on: depression, anxiety and stress.  They wrote down signs that might mean someone has that mental health issue; what strategies and treatments could be used and finally ways that others could help.  We then discussed different groups of people who would be suitable to talk to and the benefits and challenges of talking with them.  These groups included: friends; family; teachers or other staff in school, online support and medical professionals.

Next half-term they are going to learn strategies to promote mental health and emotional wellbeing.  They’ll be able to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy coping strategies and recognise the importance of using healthy ways to manage emotions.  There are many different strategies that I will be showing them and they will have to evaluate the effectiveness (for them) of each of them.  The strategies include:

1.Spending time in nature

2.Arts and crafts

3.Sport and dance


5.Yoga, tai chi & Qigong
6. Volunteering

If you would like more details of any of these lessons please don’t hesitate to contact Mrs Ghinn ghinnr@sionschool.org.uk.  The PSHE association always gives links to helpful online resources which your children are aware of.  For these lessons they have included:

ChildLine:   www.childline.org.uk  Phone: 0800 1111

Young Minds:   www.youngminds.org.uk

Samaritans:   www.samaritans.org Phone: 116 123

In a crisis, text ‘Shout’ to 85258

Mrs Ghinn

Nursery Numicon

The children are learning their numbers using numicon – with the help of some paint and ice too!

Student News

Riley in Year 8

Some of you may have seen Riley in the ‘King Gary Christmas Special’ on BBC and now he is just about to start filming series 2 of ‘King Gary’ !  Riley has been auditioning for other shows and getting down to the last few (fingers crossed for you, Riley)  and also worked with the Director Steve McQueen on ‘Small Axe’ which was out just before Christmas. Well done Riley, it is lovely to see you on the television!


Virtual Netball Fitness

Matilda and Emilia ( Year 8 ) have both been participating in the online netball league fitness competition for NRG netball team. This week Emilia was ‘virtual’ player of the match! Here is Matilda taking part in a session.

An impromptu neighbourhood concert

With the windows open to the street, Jessica’s piano concert was enjoyed by her neighbours.

Blue Peter badges for Bea in Year 3

Bea has received two Blue Peter badges!  A Silver one for a detailed model of Santa’s house (complete with reindeer and a workshop) and another one for her ‘Nature’ poem.  Well done, Bea!


Flora writes for Horsham Youth Eco Forum

Flora joined the Horsham Youth Eco Forum last year after she (and other members of the Eco Club) met Carrie from Sussex Green Living when she visited the Junior School. Every two months or so, the group publishes an online magazine called ‘Planet B?’, and Flora has written pieces for two editions.

Here are links to the two publications: https://www.flipsnack.com/noplanetb/planet-b-vxc8rvoseo.html and https://www.flipsnack.com/noplanetb/planet-b-zt52j3mzhm.html.


We really hope you have enjoyed reading this latest issue of our Newsletter. It is crammed full of stories, yet reflects only a fraction of the teaching, exploration and learning that takes place, even when we are all working online – sadly not everything is very easy to photograph or replicate here!