Christmas Best Wishes from Mr Jeffery

As we experience these days of advent, my hope is that you are given moments to be still (never easy at this busy time), and receive momentous gifts of sacred respite.

May you find opportunities to discover the concealed pools of inner-silence where you mindfully take the weight off your feet and reflect upon what has passed and what is present.

If this extraordinary year were to be made flesh, how might you characterise it?

Take a moment to consider this…

For me, 2020 has been a demanding teacher.  A sage on a mission to remind me of what matters and what is real.

A fresh recognition of the power and beauty of community has certainly increased renaissance-energy within my own spirit.

During the initial lock-down, the loss of school-community posed difficulties for me personally.  Community matters to me.  It is commendably noble.

Although we were communicating via the webcam and online-messaging , that experience of togetherness was so palpably absent. 

Being together once more has resumed the joy and the sense of school-life.  It has uplifted us all.

I wonder if the long-term future of schooling will be “online”- perhaps coordinated and delivered by automatons?

I can see it on the horizon, but I am not sure quite how far away it is. It’s not a view that holds my gaze.  It makes me agitated actually.

For me, it is within the nurturing and encouragement of a community where children thrive.  It is in those human encounters where we learn about ourselves and others.

When I read through this newsletter, I unapologetically celebrate the beauty and evidence of community – THIS community.

In celebration, I don my dancing shoes and respond to the unsurpassed melodies and rhythm of achievement, exploration, discovery and education!

Who said that 2020 should be forgotten?

Look at the joy and dynamism so wonderfully apparent in these pages!

Our young people have seized the moment and confidently travelled in step with their teachers and with you, their parents and grandparents.

Together, we have encouraged each one of them to enjoy the journey and to achieve great things – even when the world was offering tumult and trial.

I wholeheartedly encourage you to take a moment now to look through this glorious newsletter.

Have you got your dancing shoes nearby? 

I have no doubt that you will want to join me in celebrating these amazing young people and most certainly applaud your own children.

I believe very strongly that a celebration dance is required – anything else might be considered disappointing.

Thank you for these young people.

They are the strength of this community and provide the very reason for its existence.

Here’s to them!

Wishing you all a very special Christmas.

Steve Jeffery

Advent Calendar

Many of you have been following our Advent Calendar here on our website ( https://www.sionschool.org.uk/news-events/advent-calendar/).

Don’t forget to check in every day to find the new message.  Still to come,  we have a letter to Father Christmas, some festive music, a message from Father Christmas himself – and a beautiful rendition of Away in a Manger on Christmas Day itself!

If you haven’t yet visited the Advent Calendar, here are a few of the ‘windows’ you have missed:

Year 1 also wrote a special letter to Father Christmas which they will be reading in the Advent Calendar!

Dear Father Christmas,
We hope you are not too busy and have enjoyed a quiet lockdown this year. We are so delighted to hear that you have been given permission from Boris Johnson to visit us!
We would love to help others this year so please could you give out some snuggly rabbits to children who might be sad.
Send sunshine plants to make people bright and cheerful and some turkeys for people who need to eat.
Can we have an elf to make people laugh and lots of rainbow sweets to remind people that we care.
Please buy some tangerines for our friends at St Mary’s. 
The teachers would love some chocolates to make chocolate pancakes and Mrs Pearson would love something sparkly.
Please also give Mr Jeffery a (socially distanced) hug.
……Also if it’s not too much trouble please could we have a toy tortoise to play with in the mornings.
Thank you
Love Year 1
PS. We’d all love some snow to make snowmen!

 


Christmas cards for Dementia Friendly Worthing

We were asked, via social media, if we would like to send some Christmas cards to the Dementia Friendly Worthing group for distribution in their Activity Packs.   The Junior School jumped at the chance!


Junior School Councillors

Congratulations to Kyle, Daisy, Poppy and Roman who have been selected as Junior School Councillors. Their roles will include leading the Junior School Eco Committee and Junior School Curriculum Committee, as well as driving Community projects, such as our Intergenerational Project with the neighbouring St Mary’s Care Home.

They will also be the first children to take an active role on the Worthing Dementia Friends Steering Group; supporting the local Coordinator and setting a direction for Worthing to become more Dementia Friendly with a variety of initiatives such as the Christmas activity packs we took part in.


‘Thorns in the Straw’ – Sion Singers


SFA Christmas Fair

To enable this year’s SFA Christmas Fair to go ahead, some very creative thinking was needed.  Between them, the SFA and the Little SFA came up with the perfect solution of a ‘bubble’ Christmas Fair.  All the normal fun and games of the fair but kept in the class ‘bubbles’!  Even Father Christmas managed to pay the children a visit!  The total raised for the  SFA from the Fair now stands at £581 which is fantastic!  The winner of ‘Junior Head for the Day’ is Mia J in Year 5  – to be redeemed in the new year – watch this space!

 

 

 

The children organised their own stalls.  Here are Year 5s.

 

Thank you to the SFA and the Little SFA team who helped make it such a fantastic afternoon for the children. There has been some lovely feedback from parents:

‘I’m just looking through the videos and photos now and just wanted to drop you a line to say absolutely how fantastic today has been for our son.  He was so excited and happy when I picked him up and feels so excited to have met the real Santa and won so many lovely things at the fair including the large Lindt chocolate teddy and a new teddy called Snazzy!  What a fabulous day in these difficult times.’

‘I actually feel a bit emotional that you all managed to pull this off and give the children such a fun day today! Our daughter had a brilliant day and certainly came home feeling Christmassy.’

‘We received two very very happy, two very very tired and two very very loved boys home today after school.’

‘Fantastic. Thanks to all the SFA and Little SFA for creating such a magical time and giving the children a beautiful  dose of normality. Xx’


Year 1 French Fruit

Year 1 have been learning all about fruit in French.  They made, and enjoyed, ‘un serpent de fruit’!


Sixth Form Show

One of the highlights of the Christmas term for the Senior School is the Sixth Form Show which is usually performed to the school on the last day of term.  This year, the show had to be online and was played to the tutor groups.  This was the trailer which was sent out a week before the performance:


Junior School House Point Totals

Highdown 1451 1ST

Kithurst 1379 2ND

Chanctonbury 1372 3RD

Cissbury 1267 4TH


Year 6 Creative Prep

This is a wonderful example of Year 6’s creative Prep – an Anderson Shelter in World War II, complete with electrics so that it lights up. Fantastic job, David!


Year 6 Snowmen

Year 6 created snowmen from socks which certainly tested their sewing skills -each snowman has their own personality! Mrs Bassett has set the children the challenge of learning how to sew on a button over Christmas.


Year 2 Christmas Baking

Year 2 spent a lovely afternoon making Christmas biscuits.


English Competition Winners

Year 10 were given a choice of tasks to complete to explore the island in ‘Lord of the Flies’.  It resulted in some creative masterpieces. Both Isabel and Ethan were awarded prizes for an incredible cake island and a Monopoly game. Well done to all of Year 10 for their inspiring offerings.

Year 8 were asked to portray the novel ‘Private Peaceful’ in a jar.  Congratulations to the winners, Isabella and Tilly.


Junior School Library

The Junior School Year 6 Library Monitors have been busy sorting, labelling, stamping, cataloguing, and restocking the library with lots of new books.

After the appropriate quarantine time, they have worked their way through a pile of up-cycled books from local charity shops and online shops! The monitors also want to say a big thank you to those children and their families who have donated some of their own unneeded books. We might need a bigger library!


Winner of ERIC Competition

Congratulations to our Year 3 pupil who has won the ERIC competition. ‘ERIC’ (Everyone Reads in Class) is a Junior School initiative to encourage reading for enjoyment. Her design will appear on posters, bookmarks and material to support and encourage reading throughout the Junior School – it will become part of the fabric and history of the Junior School.


‘Paradise’ – Year 11 GCSE Devised Drama Assessment

As part of their Drama GCSE, Year 11 have recently completed their practical assessment. They wrote the script themselves –  a reflection of their thoughts during lockdown. They all performed from their hearts and as one of the teachers who saw the show commented,

“Seeing the lockdown from a teenager perspective and the clever mixture of “humorous” and poignant scenes made me laugh and feel emotional at the same time.”

 


From the Senior School Art Studio

Year 8 Jon Burgerman Characters

Year 9 Hundertwasser tile designs, tiles and Hundertwasser style portraits

Year 10 Soap Sculptures

Year 12 Built environment 


Year 4 Roman Catapults

Year 4 spent this half term making catapults as part of their Roman topic, some of the children using a saw for the first time.  There were a few design changes along the way and the children finished with a competition firing rubbers in the hall!


Year 5 Elf Selfies


Year 11 Religious Studies

Year 11 are at the point in their RS GCSE where they are learning about Christianity Practices and they covered the well-known festival of Christmas!  They made Christingles and learnt how the Christian message is Light coming into the World. John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, John 1:5 “The light shines in the darkness”.

 


Nursery’s Christmas activities

The Nursery children have been having a lovely time making Christingles and Christmas Cards.

 

If anyone missed Day 2 of the Advent Calendar, here they are singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!


Year 2 Habitats Topic

As part of their Habitats topic, the children made clay tiles of the animals.


Sharing the Love at Christmas – Our Reverse Advent Collections

In both the Junior and Senior Schools we have asked for donations for two worthy charities – The Community House and The Salvation Army. Thank you for all your support – your donations will really make a difference.


Year 7 Local History Study – Our Pop-Up Museum

Year 7 spent much of this term working with Worthing Museum towards researching and curating their own pop-up museum exhibit on the history of Worthing.

Following a visit from museum curator Anna, students worked in groups with artefacts – both genuine and replica – loaned to us by the museum. Each group focused on a particular historical period and were given 3 or 4 artefacts to build a narrative about the history of the local area dating back to the Bronze Age and coming up to the period of World War Two.

Students thoroughly enjoyed working in this socially distanced yet hands on manner and made some great discoveries about what people ate, how they worked, what they wore and how they were impacted by conflict.

Our special thanks go to Vicki Wells at Worthing Museum who worked tirelessly to provide an amazing selection of artefacts. We hope that we can continue this project next year with a visit to the museum.

Zoë Yacoub and Doug Fish

 


Reception Four Seasons Topic

Reception have been learning about the four seasons.  A perfect excuse to dress up!

 


Year 13 Biology Genetics

Year 13 Biology students carried out gel electrophoresis of Lambda phage DNA using 3 different Restriction endonucleases to make a gene map. Part of their genetic engineering module in the AQA syllabus. Students spent the day carrying out this cutting edge process, learning new skills and realising just how micro scale this process really is!


Year 7 Christmas Baking

Year 7 have been doing some Christmas baking.  Isabella, who is a keen baker, made these beautiful biscuits and cupcakes. So not only did she demonstrate great baking and decorating skills, but also organisation and planning.


Year 6 French Penpals

Year 6 have started writing to their penpals at our sister Sion school in Grenoble (France). The primary school is called Saint Pierre de Rondeau and our Year 6 pupils have sent already sent their letters and Christmas cards. The children were very excited that they have now received their replies from France!

 


Year 7 Geography Contour Models

Year 7 were given an extended homework to make a contour model using cardboard, paper mache, or any other material to complement their map skills topic.

 


Reception and the Dinosaurs

Reception have been learning all about the dinosaurs this term.  They have made these fabulous dioramas.  The children were very excited to receive the message below…


Eco Club interview

Here is Flora talking to Mr Jeffery about the Eco Club. New members are always welcome.


Singalong

The Junior School had a wonderful Christmas singalong, in their bubbles.


Reception French Fruit

Reception learned the names of some fruit and they made “Le serpent de fruit” (fruit snake). They also enjoyed counting the pieces in French and saying the colours. And the best part was to eat it!


Year 3 Flute Concert

Year 3 were treated to an impromptu concert performed by the flute group accompanied by their teacher, Mr Smith.  We are so very lucky with the peripatetic music (and Speech and Drama) teachers that visit us each week.  If any pupils wish to take up an instrument, contact Mrs Pearson (Juniors) or Mr Jeffery (Seniors) to find out more.


Christmas Baubles

Year 7 designed some baubles using the theme of friendship. Special commendation to Max L and Alberto for their baubles.


Year 9 Volcano Models

Year 9 have been studying tectonics and had the option to make a volcano model for an extended homework –  some of the students even designed cakes to show the features of a volcano.

  


Presentation of the Spirit of Sion and Doherty Cups

Mr Jeffery was delighted to award the Spirit of Sion Cup and the Doherty Cups to some very worthy recipients. Congratulations to Amber and Oliver, Harry and Betty!
These are actually Junior School awards but due to lockdown, we were unable to formally award these prestigious recognitions. These awards recognise young people when they steadfastly demonstrate the values and behaviours associated with our motto and ethos. They are also a response to the commitment and notable service to the school as a whole. We are all very proud of these young people.

Year 7 Temple

Year 7 were asked to design a temple. Here is one by Mariem and Sofia who used the app Roblox to design theirs.


Children in Need

Thank you to all the supportive families who helped us raise £294.50 in the Senior School and £150 in the Junior School for this year’s Children in Need.


Year 5 and 6 Charity ‘Couch to 5K’ Run

The Year 5 and 6 children have been in training this term, using the Couch to 5K approach, with an aim of raising money for MIND. The children were aware of the mental health impact that the pandemic has had on so many people and decided that they wanted to raise some money for this charity to help ensure that more mental health services are available for those who need them.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sionschool

It was lovely to see so many passers-by cheer them on!  As it was such a cold day, it was hot chocolates all round when they got back to school!  Well done everyone – the sum raised currently stands at £680!

  


Year 7 Drama

Year 7 had great fun re-enacting Harry Potter.  Even the Sorting Hat got involved….


Remembrance Day

Our normal Remembrance Day assemblies were a little different this year.  In the Senior School, Mr Fish delivered a remote assembly to all the students, reminding them on the significance of the event. In the Junior School, pupils had been given pebbles to decorate with a poppy and these were laid in tribute.


Year 7 Novels in a Jar

Year 7 students have read a book called King of Shadows – a tale about a young boy’s journey to overcome his devastating past in exchange for a hopeful future. Nat is magically transported from 1999 back to 1559 and an Elizabethan London and The Globe Theatre, where he becomes apprenticed to William Shakespeare, who helps Nat learn to face his emotions and properly grieve his parents. Nat and Shakespeare play Puck and Oberon together in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their relationship has a lasting impact on Nat; when he wakes up 400 years in the future his wounds are healed. They were asked to represent the novel, its characters, ideas or themes in a jar.


UK Parliament Week in the Junior School 

Every year, the Junior School takes part in the UK Parliament Week, an annual festival that engages people from across the UK with Parliament, exploring what it means and empowers them to get involved.

Children from Nursery to  Year 6 took part in activities linked to Parliament and democracy.

UKPW: Year 6 meet Sir Peter Bottomley

Some of Year 6 seized the opportunity to have a virtual meeting with Sir Peter Bottomley MP. The children raised some salient questions with topics ranging from local eco issues, to questions concerning the current pandemic and US elections, and the workings of Parliament itself. The children were hugely interested to hear about Sir Peter’s life at Westminster and were overwhelmed by the surprise visit by Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone – who was then able to answer any questions about the House of Lords.

    

During Parliament Week, Year 6 explored the history of how Parliament was established and how it works. The children also learned about how the Suffragette movement came about and were very excited to learn more about Emily Wilding Davison who tried to tie a ‘Votes for Women’ banner to the King’s horse at the Epsom Derby and died when she was trampled under the horses. Emily was once a teacher in Worthing and taught on Heene Parade, at Seabury School for girls from 1896 until 1898. She gave up teaching to further the cause. To link with their studies about World War II, Year 6 also learned how after the way the coalition government was disbanded and the election took place. They also learned about how the new legislation bought about our National Health Service, the Benefits system, and also to give a Children’s Act to protect those orphaned children left alone after WWII.

Year 6RS took part in a class debate around the need for a second lockdown. Half of the students argued that a second lockdown would take its toll on the mental wellbeing of many vulnerable people, whilst the other half considered it a ‘necessary act to prevent further loss of life.’

Students were able to listen and consider each other’s opinion, not talking over each other like we had seen in the Presidential debates!

UKPW: Year 4 Debate

Year 4 had a debate about Parliament and which area they feel is the most important.  The children had a good discussion and many of them changed their minds during the debate. Maybe it’s not surprising that most of the year group ended up deciding that Health Care was the most important issue of the day

UKPW: Year 3 pictures

Year 3 learned all about the Houses of Parliament – here are their pictures of the building alongside Big Ben

UKPW: Letter for Change

The children were also asked to ‘write a letter for change’ – a deliberately open-ended brief to enable the children to think about a topic or subject that matters to them.  There were some fantastic letters – congratulations to our winners Fia (Year 6), David (Year 6), Italia (Year 4) and Iris (Year 4).  Fia’s letter to Sir Peter Bottomley received a hand-written response detailing his action.


Year 3 Beach School

Year 3 were lucky to have a wonderful sunny afternoon for one of their Beach School sessions.

They finished off their ‘Rocks and Stones’ topic enjoying trying to classify some of the pebbles on the beach from what they had learned.

The hot chocolate and marshmallows were a wonderful way to warm up!


Year 4 Potions

Year 4 became alchemists, designing and making potions – this is also known as measuring capacity!  They used ‘Frog’s Breath’ and ‘Snake Venom’ amongst other ingredients to make some very interesting concoctions!

 


Senior School Christmas Jumper Day

Everyone got into the spirit of Christmas Jumper Day to raise money for Save the Children.  There were some very festive jumpers to be seen around the Senior School from both students and staff alike!

 

The Heads of School also toured Father Christmas around the classrooms.


Year 4 Mosaic Tiles

Year 4 designed and made mosaic tiles in the style of ancient Rome as part of their studies about Ancient Rome.


Singing Exams

Congratulations to Hannah and Giselle in Year 9 who have had the results for their singing exams which they entered earlier in the year. Everything had to be recorded and sent in virtually – a very different exam to usual!  They both did really well. Hannah was about 1 mark off a Distinction for Grade 3  and Giselle got a distinction for Grade 4 in their classical music exams.


Speech and Drama Exams

Congratulations to these pupils who have been awarded their Speech and Drama certificates by Mrs Ware.


SFA Needs You


Year 7 Book Buzz

Year 7 were delighted to be given their books as part of the Books Trust Book Buzz initiative. Thank you to the SPA for supporting this again this year!


Congratulations to Iris

Iris in Year 4 entered the Sutton Music Festival, which was held virtually this year, with three songs and was delighted to find out that she placed first in one category and second in the other two. All three scores were distinctions and the two that she gained second places for were in the 12 years and under category so she held her own very well indeed!


Message from the SFA

We are very pleased to report that the brilliant team efforts of the Little SFA, SFA and staff made this year’s Junior School “Bubble Christmas Fair” a great success!  A huge thanks to all those who supported and to the children for their enthusiasm and joy.  We are thrilled to have been able to share some Christmas magic and raise funds safely.

This term we have been pleased to make a contribution towards the Year 6 trip to Osborne House in summer term 2021 and funded the purchase of new board games for wet play.

We are determined to keep the fun coming in the New Year, with plans for a scavenger hunt, children-only film night and an outdoor games event well underway. Look out for announcements about these fun events coming soon!

In the meantime, don’t forget to make use of our second-hand uniform “shop” run by Miss Thompson.  Please do keep your donations of clean uniform coming in to help us stock the shop, and we can continue to make this a great success!

This year we are looking for new SFA members – our meetings are now held by video call, and with less “whole school” events planned, there’s never been a better time to get involved without the usual time commitment. We’d love to welcome new members with fresh ideas and skills, so do let Mrs Pearson or Miss Thompson know if you would be interested in joining us, or alternatively contact us directly:

Kate Lambie and Nikki Gokool

 


Message from the SPA

This year has certainly been one we will remember in the SPA and for some positive reasons. The political decisions of lockdowns and data usage aside, we came together as a new team & embraced technology and teamwork to put in place new changes that will be sustainable for the next few years and beyond.  Some of these were successful, some were a learning experience and a challenge, but all have helped move us forward.

Our team have almost completely changed since the handover and we are continuing to look for new members.  We have taken an approach of trying to ensure we have a solid core of volunteers and then other parents to back them up so that no one does too much by themselves.  Whilst this is the plan, we still need more parents to give occasional support.

We now have a central email address (sion-spa@outlook.com) which makes it easier for you to contact us and use an application called Slack and Zoom to help us make decisions quickly.  This also means that going forwards meetings are babysitter friendly and will be a hybrid of in person and online.

Our school uniform sale was conducted entirely online, and items of clothing are now available to purchase throughout the year. This stocktaking and auditing were a good excuse too see each other and work together.  We are now at a stage where we can start taking clothing items more regularly to top up stocks as your children grow so please contact us if you have any you would like to sell or donate.  We appreciate your patience with that change and how well reception particularly have helped.

In terms of purchases, we have funded less things this year as the demand has been lower but have plans for automating the process so that it will be easier for teachers to make requests.

We unfortunately had to postpone our Christmas party and meet the parents evening so to make up for that we are planning a proper summer fair and a parent meet and greet session in the spring.  Please start thinking about what you would like to see at that so we can plan something everyone can enjoy

If you would like to join us or even have a skill that you think might be useful in promoting or growing our group, then we would love to hear from you.  A skill we particularly need is writing as we want to increase our social media presence and update you all with information about items we have funded in past years and make ourselves constantly relevant to the future of the school and help publicly support it going forwards.

Our next meeting is the second Wednesday or the new term and will be either 7:30 if we must be online or at 6 if we can meet in person.

Thank you for your patience and support this year.

The SPA

 

Thank you for reading!

We hope you have enjoyed this round-up of some of the activities from this half term.  Wishing you all a restful holiday.