Welcome to this Easter Newsletter
As I write this, the sunshine pours through my office window.
This glorious Spring morning is both energising and comforting.
I love this time of the year. It is always so full of promise and the burst of colour from spring flowers and blossom always brings me joy.
This Spring Newsletter does exactly that too!
When I read through it, I was astonished.
Did our teachers and young people really achieve so much in such a short time?
I love the Sion spring harvest of music, art, themed days, comedy, time capsules, academic achievement and the obvious enjoyment found in learning and discovery.
This is Sion!
Providing opportunity after opportunity to learn about ourselves and the world around us.
To be excited each day about our discoveries, explorations, achievements and ideas.
The spring energy is palpable in these pages.
May our young people always know that kind of energy in their own lives, forever recognising the joy that they bring as they simply express who they are.
May this Eastertime renew your body and soul with resurrection power and spring energy.
May the hope of new life be seen on your faces and through all you do.
Thank you for being part of this school family.
I am very glad that you are here.
The Senior School Spring Concert
Here is the link to our first virtual Spring Concert. You may want to come back to this when you have a moment with a cup of tea, or a glass of wine, in hand to really enjoy the performances.
Inter-house Easter Basket Competition
All year groups were given baskets to decorate with an Easter theme for this Inter-house competition. You can see a video of the beautiful finished baskets here:
Year 5 decorating their baskets.
Year 2 decorating their baskets.
The Easter Bunny left a message for the children announcing the winners:
Reception winners: Kithurst (yellow)
Year 1: Chanctonbury (green)
Year 2: Cissbury (red)
Year 3: Cissbury (red)
Year 4: Kithurst (yellow)
Year 5: Kithurst (yellow)
Year 6KB: Kithurst (yellow)
Year 6RS: Highdown (blue)
Over House Winners: Kithurst
The Final House points for the term:
1st 6648 Highdown
2nd 5411 Cissbury
3rd 5021 Chanctonbury
4th 4495 Kithurst
Year 8 Easter Challenge
This term Year 8 were set an Easter Challenge in RS – to design and make a symbolic Easter celebration, which should include some Easter symbols, and to write a short paragraph explaining the symbolism in their creation. Most students decided to make cakes which they were unfortunately unable to bring in and share out due to Covid restrictions – but we certainly enjoyed looking at the photos they took – even if they made our mouths water a lot!
The winner was Isabella with her excellent (EGGcellent?) Holy week cake – the detail was very impressive as was her explanation of the significance of the symbolism she had used.
In a very close second place was Tilly whose incredibly original cake was based on Jesus’ tomb.
Special mention should also go to Fin, Emilia, Betsy, Gabi, Jessie, Hugo and Jess who all created original Easter Celebrations that really rose to the challenge
Well done Year 8 – hopefully the next cakey challenge will be able to be eaten as wel!!
Wishing you all and your families a Happy Easter – Mrs Yacoub (RS)
Reception and the Minibeasts
We have been very busy in Reception class these last three weeks learning about Minibeasts. The children created their own minibeasts out of pebbles, decorated them and made houses for them. They also made bug hotels using plastic bottles and went to the woods to collect lots of grass, leaves, twigs and sticks for them to make their bug hotels. We have left them hanging and hope to attract lots of Minibeasts to outside area.
We have enjoyed some other activities like our minibeast hunt and making lettuce soup for our snails. The children wrote riddles to go with their wonderful artwork and we all had fun trying to guess what minibeast they had been thinking of.
The children also wrote about what they think they will be like when they are older which was wonderful!
Year 3 Egyptian Day
Year 3 have been studying the Ancient Egyptians and had a wonderful day to help further their learning of the topic, including an Egyptian feast and continuing their study of the mummification process.
Year 5 Habitats study
Year 5 are studying plant life cycles and habitats. They had a fantastic Beach School session to look for plants that have adapted to life in seawater and on the beach. The children then looked them up in their spotters guides and sketched them.
A French game by Janini and Madhavan
Janini (Year 6) and Madhavan (Year 1) have invented this lovely game to help learn some French vocabulary.
Year 10 Creative Writing
Year 10 read the poem ‘Storm on the Island’ by Seamus Heaney and were then asked to use the poem as a basis for a creative piece. They had a 200 word limit and were encouraged to use some of Heaney’s language in their writing. Ms Pescott was very impressed!
The sea spat; hissing with warning as it crawled back.
Swiftly the sea leaped forward, bombarding the rocks with its unwanted presence. Over and over, again and again. My eyes glued to the mother frantically wading into the depths in search of her son. Wailing, shrieking and blaring: he gasped out for air. Something so desperately needed ripped away by the unforgiving earth.
The sea turned savage as the forthcoming wave pummelled down aggressively against the shore.
The now darkened sky spitting as it unleashed its built up anger upon the innocent earth. The cold icy droplets began to coat my skin, engulfing me in their blanket of dispassion.
My mind began to taunt me. I needed to go, yet like a deer struck by headlights I stayed. Transfixed and utterly consumed by the darkness that overpowered the light. Always a competition; the darkness always the winner.
Suddenly a blast of light struck from above. The overwhelming sensation of death grasped firmly in its hands. Nothing but a strike of destruction. Adrenaline erupted within; gripping and silencing my fear.
I ran. Trying to outrun the darkness embedded in the earth.
Exasperation, animosity, atrocious irascibility fills the air. Alike oxygen everyone absorbs it, and everyone consumes it. Once tamed cats turned savage. Vermillion floods the sky. Air pummels into compelled, lifeless corpses running (or shall I say ruining) this world.
Souls vanished into the thin air like dust due to the obsession with what bombards the air.
Cobalt oceans arise aloft the pestilent, lethal, virulent fire upon earth. Unable to breathe. Life by life is ripped down until all that is visible is a ghost obtaining the silhouette of someone so recognisable, yet so unfamiliar. “We are prepared” they said, but you believe things you fear the most.
Controlled. Malicious, nefarious, heinous devil dominates, coercion and deludes shadows. Strafing invisibly… pumping vermillion no longer shifts. Oceans upon oceans deluged with burgundy.
Wafts of scorched flesh input hypothesis within the mind until acumen is faded. Gone. The air growled. Each particle of oxygen agonizes like a million bullets except torment endures as the hope of savoured hearts and minds still reside… unlike every ghost haunting this earth. Cemented. Restrained by an antagonist, unable to peruse a life. Freedom evanesces.
Strange, it’s a huge nothing that we fear. Calamity, deterioration, subversion is the true fear. Realisation we bombarded with empty air.
As vast rocks loom over gaping cavern, the sea surges up like an imposing mountain, spewing a spray of foam before quickly sucking back into its dark depths. While there are moments of pristine serenity, it immediately metamorphosises into nothing but a thrashing creature. Harsh hushes from Heaven itself are unfurled unto the world, painting a canvas of indigo strokes illuminated by dim white flecks that display a gentle temperament. We are reminded of our underlying insignificance. As the rains fall, waters rise up through roots of verdant plants and elegant trees, helping provide mankind with the very air he breathes. Now though, they will have to search further each day for clean water that is untouched by wicked potions or poisoning chemicals. With the plastic virus we regularly inject, our water has turned sour, bitter. Even years ago, men in huge vessels swept in like pirates, armed to the teeth, and plundered her bountiful treasures. At first, she trusted benignly, assuming they would come in peace – respect and appreciate your needs, live harmoniously – but you failed to account for their faults. Her life blood has been cruelly acidified so much that she is seething with agony, boiling over in immense fury. Haemorrhages have ripped gashes into the body of the ocean, its flow momentarily stemmed by flimsy dressings yet never fully examined. A whale harpooned has become her fading heart, continually swimming slower in her bloodstream. Greed. We are reminded of our everlasting flaw.
A tawny hematite rock stands, firm and as old as the tides that wail around it. Roaring and thrashing, clashing and clawing at the rock, tendrils of water dribbling down the sides like watery veins. Crying out and begging to drag it down with her in a melancholy chorus, the wind whipping and harmonising, encouraging. And the spiritless clouds blanket them all, watching over with lazy, pearly eyes.
The air smells hazardous: spattered with grieving ocean spittle and grit. Buzzing with heart-wrenching energy.
In the feathery pine bushes, resting gingerly on the side of the cliffs, a small family of sparrows nestles, feathers puffed up and beady eyes skittish, the windy fingers less effective through their shield of foliage, but enough to ruffle them irritatedly, despite their saccharine protests.
If someone were to open their ears they’d be welcomed to the stormy song of the sea, with the drum roll of thunder to accompany the quavering waves and howling wind, the bushes, and trees dance and sway in excitement, or perhaps fear, as the miserable melody calls out and invites tantalizingly, unaware that to join in the thrashing fray is to risk your mortality.
The auburn cliffs stand as the last line of defence, frowning stoically, stubbornly refusing to move, but the shaking sea chips off little bits and pieces, unbeknownst to the rocky walls that hold up the island.
Year 1 Explorer Day
Year 2 French
Mrs Trevino is extremely impressed with Year 2’s spoken French. They have been reading ‘La Chenille qui fait des trous’ (The Hungary Caterpillar) and she has received some wonderful work on Seesaw of them reading from the book. This is Maya reading.
On World Book Day, she was particularly impressed with Anna who was so determined to read a story in FRENCH! She said “Her pronunciation is not ‘perfect’, of course, but I admire her determination and the whole idea of reading, even if it is in another language.” Well done, Anna.
ISA Sport Athlete of the Term
Congratulations to Archie who has been awarded the ISA Athlete of the Term for Spring 2021. The ISA Sport commented in a letter to Mr Danes, “We would like to send our congratulations to Archie for the fantastic achievements and hard work which has been so inspirational to see. We had close to 50 extremely strong nominations, so Archie should be really proud of himself.” Here is the ISA write up about his achievements:
Archie takes every opportunity to compete and represent the school in a variety of sports. His attitude and focus is outstanding in lessons and extra-curricular sport. Archie shows the strongest aspects of sportsmanship in everything he does and is a perfect role-model for the other students, and is polite, considerate and very popular with his peers. Archie’s main strength is in the endurance running field, both cross-country and track and field. He has represented the school at district, county and national level in cross-country. Despite the challenges faced during this pandemic, Archie has continued to train hard and runs regularly, preparing to compete when the opportunity returns. He entered the most entries for the Schools ‘Coastal Challenge’ and helped Our Lady of Sion complete the distance two weeks early. Well done, Archie!
Archie will receive his trophy in due course. He was also afforded the opportunity to take part in a Q and A session on Zoom with Paralympic footballer Jack Rutter.
Thank you to everyone in the Sion community voted for him.
Year 4 Titanic Day
Year 4 spend a day aboard the RMS Titanic. They learned more about that fateful day – then conducted a court case to establish who was at fault. The children then did a quiz whilst taking afternoon tea (and cakes)! Finally they all found out the fate of the passengers they played…
Year 6 Ghanaian Folklore
Whilst studying Ghanaian oral folklore tales about Anansi, the trickster spider, children discovered some stories orally passed through generations within tribes were also recorded. After exploring themes and purpose, audience they created their own in a similar style. Books in poorer areas of Ghana are often folded pamphlets and recorded by hand so we replicated. This work was Gabi’s in lockdown and brought into school. Year 6 are coming to the end of their Ghana topic and are currently exploring Fair Trade in the cocoa bean industry. This is to demonstrate to children how fair payment to farmers prevents child slavery – slave labour – on cocoa farms in Ghana. They compare this to non-fair trade farmers on the Ivory Coast who use child slave labour – which brings the children full circle since we began by looking into the slave trade in pre-colonial and colonial Ghana.
A Short Story by Lexie in Year 10
Into the Light
Empty eyes; not lit up with fiery passion or tortuous pain. Simply numb, yet able to dart into my soul with incessant manipulation and the maniacal prowess of some otherworldly predator. I found refuge in those eyes, entranced by the torment and shameful vulnerability that I recognised within myself. Regretfully, it was like staring in my own reflection.
I remember being young, certain that the world around me must have some comprehensible meaning. I would search for it in the dusty pages of books, seeking to feed my curious mind and fill that agonizing void with some purpose. Though, I could only find a flurry of ideas and philosophies that attempted to decipher the world around me in the same way as myself, reflecting my own disorganised mind and ultimately failing to provide what I was searching for. Experiencing life without direction seemed in itself laborious and impossible, how can one float through existence with no desire to know why they are there or at least where they are going? Perhaps some people found the unknown comforting; believing that nothing is certain except uncertainty itself. Whoever they were, I pitied them.
The first time I met him remains a vivid memory. Caught in a moment of vulnerability and isolation, I was entranced by the seductive offers of community and support – things that were wholly foreign to me at the time. Those eyes were hypnotic, beckoning to me with offers of enticing comfort and the answers to all my questions. I was enchanted by his charismatic openness and the omniscient aura that seemed to follow him wherever he went. I felt safe around him, all of my worries would dissolve as no matter what challenge I faced, he had the solution. Enveloped in knowledge and wonder, I began to feel as though I had finally found my essence, and I realised that a life deprived of this would simply bring torment and fear. I was lucky to have found them, and a family like this – they assured me – was worth any measure of sacrifice.
Not only did I feel emotionally obligated to devote my entire being to this community for the sake of my own philosophical endeavours and fulfillment, but my epistemic responsibility as an individual to do so. I accepted their ideas as the entire truth, and it would be selfish of me to keep these beliefs to myself. I knew in my heart that the truth was our only chance of liberation, and spreading our principles of morality was the only escape from damnation. In a sense, I was stripped of individuality but ultimately it meant nothing to me; it was blissfully easier to think in an identical sense to the people around me than to form my own ideas. I was convinced that this ordered way of thinking and unconditional adherence to my leader would bring universal enlightenment, not only for myself but for the rest of humanity.
Life became simpler, questioning became irrational and reality itself became arbitrary.
Well done to Margo and Penelope in Reception, Elliot in Year 2 and Olivia in Year 6 who are the winners of Mrs Pearson’s Robot Challenge. Oliva’s robot is a Kindess Robot, Penelope and Margo’s is Mr Noddy and Elliot’s is called Rumpamatic 5000 which is apparently still in the testing phase!
Here is a little video to round up some of the children’s recent activities and their Easter preparations.
Mrs Ventura-Paul has also sent a message: “Both Mrs Meighan and I have been overwhelmed with all the kind words, cards and gifts that we have received. Thank you all so much – we have both enjoyed our time in the Sion Family. We will take with us so many happy memories and wish you all a fond farewell.”
Mr Jeffery always enjoys his lessons with his GCSE Music group and the energy they bring to each lesson. Here is a wonderful 1980s moment from Oscar.
Year 6 – Learning about the role of the Magistrate
In a normal year, Year 6 would welcome a magistrate who would explain their role. This was obviously not possible this year, however Mrs Bassett explains more:
“Sadly, with COVID rules in place for our school community and giving consideration to the age of most Magistrates, it is not possible for Year 6 to welcome them into school this year. Rather than have the children miss out on this important life lesson, I built my own unit of work and presentation to replicate what I had seen the Magistrates deliver – making it a little more interactive and child friendly.
First we examined the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears to see what illegal activity took place within the story. I linked this to the fact that Goldilocks as a child was ignorant of the laws she was breaking, but since the age of responsibility in law is 10 years of age it was important Year 6 know the laws that apply to them between 0-18 years so that they are aware of them and do not break them.
We discussed what they would do if they found a lost purse with £50 in. Answers were interesting as you can imagine! I taught them the correct procedure and pointed out that honesty pays because if a purse is not claimed after 3 months it is given legally to the person that found it and “Finders keepers, losers weepers” is not recognised in law and that considering the impact on the person who lost it would help them make the right choice. (Was she an old lady and that her last £50 to feed herself with).
We also looked at how Parliament works to propose new laws or make amendments to existing laws, they know bills are read twice in the House of Commons and debated and pass through the House of Commons and House of Lords before committees review them and they are voted on. They learnt about Royal Assent and know that a representative has to say “La Reine le veult” in Norman French – it means “The Queen wills it”. It will only become a statutory law once it has passed Royal Assent.
Children discovered laws were once written onto calf skin but are now printed onto vellum and stored in the Parliamentary Archives and the National Archives. Most importantly the children explored ages and laws and decided at which age the laws applied. After discussion and sharing of ideas we gave them the correct laws and ages.
They then were shown how a Magistrates Court is set up and discovered the differences between a Magistrates Court and Crown Court and the types of cases heard in each before learning all about the Magistrates training, qualifications and their role as well as the court process and who else is in the Court. Today we conducted a Mock Trial based on an actual case. The children had to listen to all the evidence and our Magistrates found our Defendant guilty. There were some fabulous discussions which took place with children giving their opinion and justifying their reasons for finding the accused guilty. Class 6KB all agreed on the guilt of the accused, although 6RS Magistrates stunned their whole court by finding their accused NOT guilty. Disbelief ensued with children discussing the evidence all over again pointing out that all the evidence pointed to GUILT.
I was very impressed with the close attention to detail and the comparisons made between several witness statements and accounts of events. It was interesting that the children believed one particular witness (elderly Edna) may have been in on the crime and was actually not only the person who found the radio in her garden but was probably covering her own guilt as ‘stolen goods handler’ so why was she not on trial too!
The children in both classes loved this and are begging Mr Staggs and I to conduct another trial. MMMMM… who might we put on trial and what crime would be accuse them of?”
Reception celebrating Mothers’ Day
Reception made beautiful cards and planted pansies – we hope they were enjoyed by all their Mummies!
Worthing Dementia Action Alliance Steering Group
Our four Year 6 School Councillors took their place on the Worthing Dementia Action Alliance Steering Group as the youngest-ever members.
Fresh from their trial of the Dementia Friendly training, the confident young Sionians shared their experiences of the sessions, ahead of being rolled out across Sussex.
‘Sion- always immaculately turned out’ Bob Smytherman
Lynsey from Dementia Friends added, ‘The children were brilliant – absolutely fantastic. We were blown away by their answers. They listened really well and were so engaged’.
We look forward to taking part in the virtual Dementia Friendly Easter Concert on 31st March at 1.30pm
Year 12 Psychology – Egg Baby Project
The Year 12 Psychology students are currently studying Attachment. In order to help them understand and process the different aspects of attachment they adopted a baby for a week. They were responsible to make sure it was always cared for, fed and clothed and from this care should come attachment! They were to bring it to school with them or arrange childcare with a responsible provider.
Somehow, I’m not sure they made long-lasting attachments with their baby because they were all very happy to hand them back to me at the end of the week and I put them in the bin!
Here are some of the write-ups . (Just in case you’re growing increasingly concerned – the babies were eggs!)
Junior School Comedy Club
Thank you for all the donations for Red Nose Day.
Year 12 Virtual Work Experience
Normally our Sixth Form students would undertake work experience during Year 12. This year it is a little different and, with a number of our Sixth Form looking at careers in medicine and engineering, our Year 12 students have been delighted to take part in some virtual work experience sessions, with Brighton & Sussex Medical School and with Springpod (NHS and Engineering). The five Year 12 students applying for a medical related course have completed a group interview and written applications, along with individual interviews for their placements. This will be part of a new adult learner pathway within the Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust (Worthing Hospital) and will allow for more intensive volunteering in the clinical areas during Easter and Summer Holidays, whilst the opportunity to volunteer each week for a shorter period of time is also built into the programme. The programme is linked to achieving the National Volunteer Certificate.
Year 8 Music
Year 8 have been exploring synesthesia and how some people hear music as shape and colour. The artist Kandinsky explored this through his friendship with composer Arnold Schoenberg and his work is often responding to music. In the same vein, Year 8 responded to Schoenberg.
Year 3 Box Poems
Year 3 have worked really hard to write poems about what they would like to put into an imaginary box! They really let their imaginations go wild.
Luca’s Dad sent us this video of Luca playing the piano before he set off for school – what a lovely way to start the day!
Year 3 have decided to bury a time capsule in the grounds of the Junior School (under the large tree at the font of the building). They hope that this time capsule will then be dug up in about 50 years to help the future children of Sion understand what life was like during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The children all discussed what they wanted to put into the time capsule, items include face mask, Lego, photos of the class, Seesaw logo, coins, picture of a game boy and picture of Boris Johnson.
The children have written to Mr Jeffery to ask for his help in making sure future head teachers of Sion, know about the time capsule.
Senior School After School Sports Clubs
It was lovely to have the return of after-school sports clubs. The students had lots of fun playing basketball, football and netball!
Year 2 Pizza Making
Year 2 have been learning about Materials this term and made pizzas to find out what happened to materials during the cooking process.
Year 12 and 13 Artists
There is always a feeling of calm in the Art Studio when are Year 12 and 13 artists are at work! These students (and the GCSE students) are working hard on their portfolios and final pieces at the moment. We can’t wait to show you some of the finished work once it has been assessed.
Thank you to everyone who took part in the Coastal Challenge. We were delighted to have completed the distance two weeks before the target date. The school travelled a total of 11075km in 4 weeks. All year groups participated alongside their parents, staff and governors. An amazing effort and all complete just before the school returned at the beginning of March.
It is lovely to hear that, for some families, the challenge has continued. During March, the Simmond’s family have recorded 203kms, smashing their individual target of 500k.
Year 6 French Penpals
Year 6 have started writing to their counterparts at our sister school, Notre Dame de Sion in Grenoble and the children have made Easter cards to send to their penpals. The French pupils have also sent some cards but unfortunately they have not arrived before the Easter holidays started. The teacher has sent Mrs Trevino the attached pictures to show the children what had been posted – something for our pupils to look forward to on their return.
Gethin’s Green Blue Peter Badge
Well done to Gethin in Year 3 who has been presented with a green Eco Blue Peter badge for everything he does to support the environment.
Rolls Royce Garden Design Competition
Having seen the link to the Rolls Royce Garden Design competition on our social media, Iris entered her design, ‘Tiggy Town’, aimed at helping the hedgehog population which is in critical decline.
In addition to the beautiful little hedgehog houses, Iris has included planting to attract pollinators and leaf and log piles to encourage insects and invertebrates. As this was a garden for Rolls Royce, she researched some of the cars and included links to her design: a ‘Phantom’ hydrangea, a Rosa ‘Dawn’ rose and snowdrops (Phantom Drophead).
It is amazing to see the detail in this design – good luck, Iris!
The competition is still open for entries until 12th April. Details are here: https://rolls-roycewildlifegarden.com/
Themed Evenings during lockdown
Mrs Ball wanted to share with you some of the themed evenings that they have been doing as a family during lockdown – these include Mexican, American, Chinese and Swiss evenings. Some lovely ideas if anyone needs inspiration!
Mrs Kirk raising money for Breast Cancer Now!
Here is a link to her Facebook Donation Page