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On 21st February the Bs (years 3-5) were lucky enough to visit Dippy on his only visit to the south of England. We were able to explore the Jurassic gallery and compare the fearsome Megalosaurus and the Plesiosaur, we were very impressed by the size of their teeth and vowed never to swim in the sea again in case we met an 18 metre plesiosaur! We also got a chance to get up close to the famous Dippy and were amazed by the size of this amazing creature. A wonderful experience.
A1 had a wonderful day at Leweston on Tuesday, when they attended a theatre workshop followed by a performance of a hilarious play called ‘Mes Chers Voisins’. The Onatti Theatre Company produces plays for schoolchildren and tours the country each year with a cast of 2 French actors playing several different characters. There is plenty of opportunity for hilarity and a certain amount of audience participation, too. Ellie was picked to ‘operate’ a ‘video camera’! There were several other prep schools there, plus the Leweston pupils themselves.
Our girls had a terrific time and were a credit to us all and to themselves. They were put into groups and, having studied a short scene from the play, they had to invent their own scene, either immediately before or immediately after the one they had read. It was particularly delightful to hear the praise given for their excellent pronunciation during the little plays they produced and performed before the main performance. Well done to all! And thanks to Leweston for organising another super French activities day.
The Knighton House year 5 pupils had a fantastic trip to the field studies centre, Nettlecombe Court, in Somerset. The trip is one that covers many subjects in the curriculum, and beyond, as well as providing the pupils an exciting night away and lots of fun.
Nettlecombe Court itself is a field studies centre which prides itself on being environmentally aware; the girls learnt lots about environmental awareness – from our local responsibility to the wider global effect of global warming.
The investigation of the best materials for a hedgehog’s nest linked directly to their work in the science lab, they were able to understand first-hand the thermal properties of materials that a hedgehog might use for hibernation. At first they struggled to understand that the investigation with hot water, leaves, mud, sticks and grass in the woodland was anything to do with their investigations in the science lab, but gradually they learnt that language such as ‘fair test’ and ‘control’ is not limited to the lab.
The fantastic history of Nettlecombe Court (it is first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, when it was stated to be held by William the Conqueror) links directly with the pupils’ study this term of Medieval history when they return back to school.
As well as all of this outdoor learning they built dens, sang songs around a campfire, played games on the ‘croquet lawn’ and finished the trip with a scavenger hunt around the extensive grounds. Given the cold February weather the lashings of hot chocolate went down a storm. A super first night away from home for many.
On Thursday the Chartwell’s Catering Team delivered three workshops to increase the pupil’s awareness and knowledge of a healthy nutritious diet. The As enjoyed a Sports Nutrition Workshop; the Bs focussed on a sugar workshop and the Orchard learned more about healthy eating.
Our thanks to Chartwell’s for their work to raise awareness of such important around what we eat.
Personal safety has been a hot topic over the last couple of weeks. The girls in B1 have had their NSPCC Pants talk. A serious message given in a child appropriate and humorous way. B3 and B2 will have their talk after half term. You can find out more at
Throughout the school the girls have also been concentrating on e safety with Internet safety Day falling on 6th February. Talks were held on Tuesday and Wednesday to enlighten parents on some of the strategies you can use to be informed about the cyber world your children inhabit. Here is a link to the presentation Safer Internet presentation for parents February 2018 .
If you have any questions about this area of the curriculum then please do get in touch and we will be happy to answer your questions.
On Monday Mrs Hughes took the Knighton House gymnastics team to Hanford for our annual tumbling competition. All our girls looked particularly smart and professional in their red leotards and shorts and of course the obligatory red ribbons. All 5 teams set a very high standard with their compulsory routines, full extension and minimal travel in their jumps. Well done to Emily D & Jan for getting the highest scores in the compulsory round. In the ‘elected’ routine round Knighton’s highest scorers were Abigail C-W (best score), Jessica and Catherine. Overall Knighton House u12/13B team had the highest combined score in the whole competition, congratulations to Charlie, Abigail, Bethen, Maddie, Jan and Ellie.
During our visit to the Spanish Tapas Restaurant in Bournemouth our girls had a lovely time practicing their Spanish as they asked the waiter for food and peppered him with questions.
Not only were we treated to delicious “Pollo al ajillo” one of their favorite tapas and glass of non-alcoholic sangria !Salud ! We were told about the history of tapas by restaurant owner Jose.
We were made most welcome and it was wonderful to see our girls talking in Spanish and growing in confidence with the language.
On Sunday the boarders rose to the challenge of shopping on a shoestring during a weekend boarding activity. With just £3 each, the boarders headed off to Lidl with Mr and Mrs Gainher, Miss D and Mrs Spencer to see what they could purchase for the local Blandford Foodbank. Armed with baskets and trolleys, some reliance on a bit of mental maths and a few tricky choices to make, the boarders soon learnt that shopping on a budget was more challenging than they anticipated. The girls impressed with their focus on mainly essential items, with a few treats and how they had really thought carefully about what to buy.
A team of Rosie H, Delphi and Rosie R-M were drawn against Forres Sandle Manor School (FSM) in the annual debating competition at Milton Abbey along with eight other local prep schools. Knighton’s task was to oppose the motion that ‘This House believes that factory farming is necessary’, an emotive subject which gave the girls licence to focus on the animal cruelty aspect of the debate. After a workshop on debating and time to research their topic, the girls put on a confident and skilful performance against FSM who were narrowly declared winners by the judging panel, an impressive performance and good enough to give them the runners-up position overall. Well done to the girls for taking on a tough challenge.
On Wednesday we were delighted to welcome Anthony from the Pavilion Dance South West in Bournemouth for two Street and Break Dance workshops to our Year 6, 7 and 8 girls. Anthony returns after half term for more dance workshops with the younger girls as we continue to introduce a wider range of dance opportunities at Knighton. Girls can sign up for Tap, Jazz and Ballet classes in addition to the one-off specialist workshops. Next term it’s a Parkour session for the boarders with more planned later in the year.
It has been a busy few weeks in the science department. B1 and Alpha have continued to explore the wonders of space. B1 have made scale models to compare the sizes of the Earth and the Sun and the distances between them. A2 have dissected hearts and were amazed by what they found, as well as being inspired at Bryanston’s prep school day. A1 have been investigating forces on springs and being curious about the science of baking.
6 girls and ponies travelled to Moreton Equestrian Centre on Sunday the 28th January for the county showjumping competition. It was a huge competition with 100 people taking part over the day. All the girls rode brilliantly over some challenging courses. The results were:
Team 2nd place- Daisy, Tara, Charlie and Edie
Team 4th place- Edie, Madeline and Charlie
Fast, clear and leading for quite a while- Madeline
On Thursday night Alpha boarders went to Bryanston to see the Junior Production of ‘Cider with Rosie’. It was a beautiful show and a very touching production which even moved one of our girls to tears. Of course, the delicious ice cream in the interval was a bonus!
In Church on Saturday our prefects gave a talk on the challenges of leadership and what it means to them to be leading the way at Knighton. They took their inspiration from luminaries like Confucius and Margaret Thatcher as well as from personal experience when they put themselves forward for selection to be a prefect. Thank you girls for such an inspiring and interesting talk. As Confucius says: “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones”.
Congratulations to Maddie and Hippo who rose to the challenge and raised an amazing £5,700 to go to the Bob Champion Cancer Trust.
They were deserving winners of the Shetland Grand National at The London International Horse Show Olympia and came second at the Liverpool International Horse Show. We look forward to seeing Maddie and Hippo race at Badminton Horse Trials in May 2018!
In December, I went to the hairdressers and had eight inches of hair cut off. The reason I cut my hair was because Mrs. Dales-Bull (my clarinet teacher) had cancer and she told me that she may lose all of her hair, that really upset me and made me think if I could do anything to help. I was going to trim my hair anyway, so I just decided to get more hair cut off as the charity The Little Princess Trust needs at least seven inches to make a wig. I am so pleased that my hair went to good use.
Ellie W – A1
The lucky boys and girls from Cherries class had 5 extra helpers in their French class today! Les Cérises have just started making their own version of La Chenille qui fait des trous [The Very Hungry Caterpillar] and the girls from Alpha gave up some of their games time to help them. Look out for more lessons and perhaps a performance in Music Assembly in a few weeks’ time!
On Saturday 13th January 4 girls from Mr Dominey’s chess PEP were invited to take part in the inaugural junior chess tournament run by Wimborne Chess Club.
The girls and I were treated to a master class in different strategies – playing with just 8 pawns and the King or a King and Queen versus the opponent’s King and pawns. This helped with both the opening moves and how to get to the end game. Points were scored throughout as we swapped opponents, playing 6 mini games. I can confirm there was a lot of concentration and cerebral activity throughout. Finally, we played a full game.
All of the children were awarded prizes, kindly donated by the club and Jan, the overall winner, was also given a book token, courtesy of the Library. Well done, Jan and to all the competitors.
Our thanks to Mr Dominey, Wimborne Chess Club and Wimborne Library. We look forward to the next challenge on 3rd March.
Once again I am pleased to report that all children achieved fantastic results. As you may know, duo and solo LAMDA examinations at Grade 4 and 5 are the same ability level as a GCSE (A*-C) under the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF). Year 8’s have therefore done particularly well and their results will assist any scholarship examinations they may sit.
Passes are awarded for 50%+, Merits for 65%+ and Distinctions for 80%+.
Harriet M 80% Distinction
Hawa-I 80% Distinction
Emily D 78% Merit
Daisy E 75% Merit
Florence H 77% Merit
Ana J-H 73% Merit
Carlota K 70% Merit
Duo Grade 2
Charlize W 91% Distinction
Jemima D 83% Distinction
Charlotte R 83% Distinction
Anna Laetitia R 81% Distinction
Group Grade 2
Bethan T 76% Merit
Lucy D 76% Merit
Cristina Z 76% Merit
Duo Grade 4
Scarlet A-H 76% Merit
Delphi D 75% Merit
Andrew Huntriss is a professional bassoonist in Brazil. He has worked full time there for six years playing in the Orquestra Filarmônica de Minas Gerais, which is a symphony orchestra serving an area the size of France. There are three symphony orchestras in Brazil and only 25% of the players are allowed to be from overseas, so Andrew is seriously good! At the age of 8 he learnt piano, singing and theory but he took up the bassoon aged 12, noticing that all school ensembles want bass line players such as bassoon, trombone, cello (we need more cellists here at Knighton if your daughter is thinking of starting an instrument). He took Music GCSE and A level (qualifications that are highly regarded in the ‘ivy league’ universities) and gained a university degree in philosophy and music. He now earns his living playing his bassoon, which means six hours orchestral rehearsal a day and three concerts a week, and he has to learn his music in his own time, but he loves it. Thanks to the fact that his mother, Mrs Huntriss, is our cello teacher we had a wonderful insight into this delightful instrument.
Continuing our programme of Learning Disposition days which focus on how we learn, not what we learn, the girls returned from their Christmas break to a day dedicated to being curious. ‘Tinkering’ was a new skill we hoped to encourage (tinkering with materials, thoughts or concepts motivates us to be curious and therefore creative), but above all it was a day of asking as many questions as possible.
So much research has been done on the benefits of being a person who asks questions (try searching ‘The Importance of Curiosity’), but we took Leonardo da Vinci as our guide, da Vinci being a man of lists, long lists of questions, many, many questions; none of the lists I have ever written come anywhere near to expressing the range of this man’s thinking and his rampant curiosity: a typical, and quite average ‘To-Do’ list looks like this:
- Find a book that treats of Milan and its churches, which is to be had at the stationers on the way to Cordusio
- Discover the measurement of Corte Vecchio (the courtyard in the duke’s palace).
- Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.
- Get Messer Fazio (a professor of medicine and law in Pavia) to show you about proportion.
- Ask Benedetto Potinari (A Florentine Merchant) by what means they go on ice in Flanders
- Draw Milan
- Find a master of hydraulics and get him to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner
- Ask about the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese
Knighton House pupils were in no way intimidated by this Master of Enquiry and in many ways, without the congestion of most adult minds, accepted no boundaries to the questions they wanted to pose, from ‘Is everyone’s brain as unique as your fingerprints?’ to ‘How has Art affected humans?’. In the afternoon, the girls came together in their Houses and were asked to design an invention – using Leonardo’s designs for helicopters as a prompt. Girls were asked to label their designs, considering how their invention could be used and to present these to their peers.
From their thinking, tinkering and questioning emerged: the Super Sketch pen (includes solar panels and is a pen for life, growing with your developing brain), The GLP (phone in a glove, with hologram button and other high-tech features, but with a second glove for the design aesthetic to be just right) and the Nightime Pen (with peltier module). Robots to support work in the classroom were particularly well-designed. At the end, staff were asked which design they thought might best represent the future and it was the security glasses, with built-in camera to shoot footage, replay play it and even switch between several rooms at once, which provoked much discussion; in our highly surveillance-conscious society – they seemed a clever marrying of form and function.
Our hope is that Knighton House girls will be ever more questioning, and along with their knowledge of collaboration, communication, resilience and positive mistake making (previous Learning Disposition days), theirs will be an assertive attitude in the classroom with skills which will carry them into the work place (but that’s a long way into the future).
In Visual Literacy just before Christmas B2 looked at the Sainsbury’s advert from 2016 ‘The Greatest Gift’. This inspired them to think about which things were most important to them at Christmas and the difference between getting lots of presents and the opportunity to spend time with their families. The class then started to think about different groups of people who might not spend this time with their families and what this might be like. As a result, they each then chose a local branch of the emergency services to write letters to, asking about what they did at Christmas, how it felt to work during Christmas instead of being with their families. They have been very excited to receive replies this week, which they have shared with the class.
The thinking behind deciding to send your child to private school is a deeply complex and emotional one on many levels with financial considerations somewhere near the top of the list. Having been fortunate enough to put three daughters through private school, I don’t regret it for one moment, however there are times when ‘I do the maths’ and think about the sacrifices we’ve made in order for our girls to have the education we wanted for them. It hasn’t ever been easy but somehow we’ve made it work.
I am acutely conscious therefore of the many sacrifices of parents to make private school accessible for their child/ren. For many it’s the most expensive investment they are likely to make after buying a house, and it’s possibly the most emotionally charged one given we want to do everything we can to give our children the best possible education. Sadly the cost of private education has never been so expensive. And it is likely to get more expensive.
In almost every independent school in Britain the annual fee rise – usually ahead of inflation – has been, like death and taxes, one of the eternal verities. The effect of this automatic fee escalator over decades, has been to take the very best education beyond the reach for too many of the families it was originally designed to benefit. Over the past six years, the average annual fee for day pupils has increased by 21%, while wage inflation has increased by 6%.
It is our responsibility to do our best to ensure Knighton remains a strong forward-looking school, while staying true to the school’s core purpose and its charitable mission. We have recently undertaken an analysis of fees of schools locally and nationally.
Taking all these things into account, we have decided to rebase our fees according to the schedule below, effective from September 2018.
· Day fees are reduced by between 15% and 20% – roughly to their 2010 levels.
· Day fee increases are staged much more gradually between year groups.
· UK Boarding fees are reduced in Y3 and Y4, but remain the same further up the school, where we believe they are already competitive.
· Year 1 & Year 2 pre-prep fees have been reduced and the step-up into prep has been smoothed out.
Importantly – in somewhat uncertain economic times – we are committing to hold to this fee scale for two full academic years up to and including the Summer Term 2020. We hope this clarity will help parents plan effectively.
The aim of this fee review is to ensure the very best experience for Knighton House children while improving the accessibility of a Knighton House education, especially to local children.
As the new Head at Knighton, I am extremely grateful to the board of governors at Knighton who have had the vision and confidence to undertake this review. The news about rebasing school fees and fixing them for two years, presents us with an exciting opportunity to take Knighton House forward in 2018/19 as part of the school’s strategic development.
Prep School (Years 3 – 8)
Day Pupil (Years 3 & 4) £3,750 per term
Day Pupil (Years 5) £4,500 per term
Day Pupil (Year 6) £4,750 per term
Day Pupil (Years 7 & 8) £4,950 per term
Boarding £7,600 per term
1 night £380
2 nights £760
3 nights £1,140
Fees for 2018-19 and 2019-2020
The Orchard Pre-Prep
Years 1 and 2 £2,700 per term
Reception* £2,700 per term
Nursery* £2,325 per term (maximum cost for full time attendance)
The Orchard gymkhana took place on Tuesday where the horse riders took part in Christmas themed Gymkhana games. They raced to dress a snowman in a hat, scarf and carrot nose, leapt to victory in Santa’s sack race and helped by all the other Cherries and Damsins ran in the Rudolph Relay Race.
The riders then warmed up inside with a cup of hot chocolate and had their rosettes awarded by Mrs Dominey in front of their family.
Well done to Jess and Freya for being awarded their 100 Merit Certificate, and to Tara, Iris, Nancy and Izzy for their 50 Merit Certificate awarded at this morning’s assembly. Good work girls!
Well done to the girls who were awarded their Primary Maths Challenge Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates. Maths is alive and very well in Year 5 and Year 6!
“Right now there are 65.3 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes, more than half are children. Many have mothers, fathers, daughters and sons with whom they have lost contact”. The Big Give website.
A Christmas fundraising appeal for the Red Cross by Knighton House School has raised £1143, which will be match funded by The Big Give to make a total donation of £2286. The response has been overwhelming as parents, families, staff and the children themselves gave so generously, all contributing to the fundraising efforts.
As we approach Christmas our thoughts turn to our families and seeing people who we have not seen for a long time. The timing of the Red Cross campaign to repatriate separated refugee families alongside the ‘The Big Give’ was too good an opportunity to miss. It was a chance for us to make a real difference to families who have experienced incredible and unimaginable hardships, people who are resilient in seeking a new life but now need a little help.
Pupils at Knighton House School have been touched by the plight of many families who have been separated by difficult circumstance. The year 7s attended a superb workshop last year on the work of the Red Cross where the girls considered some of the practicalities of supporting displaced peoples. In October our year 5s and 6s saw for themselves the plight of refugees as they travelled back from France seeing the refugee camps and vehicle searches.
To raise money the girls were sponsored for demonstrating the key skills that they have been practising on our learning disposition days during lessons. Skills such as ‘collaborative learning’; ‘demonstrating resilience’ – bouncing back when things don’t go to plan; ‘getting it wrong’ – having a go and taking a risk and ‘Communication’ – talking to everyone, waiting your turn to speak, listening carefully and so on. Points were awarded in all lessons and these were tallied at the end of the day for the girls to collect their sponsor money.
With our donation and knowing that £300 can reunite a child with their parent and £1,200 can reunite an entire family we are thrilled that as a school we have been able to help to help several families.
The Alpha Riding Committee organised and held two wonderful events to help raise money for the RDA.
The cake sale was a success with girls loving the variety of cakes from pink and glittery cupcakes to wonderful chocolate brownies and biscuits. Well done to the committee for their baking skills!
The table top tack sale had a large number of stalls to browse selling everything from rugs to calendars, homemade horse treats to unicorn onesies. The riding committee helped to set up all the tables and clear away and still found time to buy a few things!
The fundraising total from the two events was over £110 a brilliant achievement girls, well done!
A big thankyou to all those that spent their money to help such a worthwhile charity.
Staying on at University – A Career in Academia
A Doctor of Philosophy (a PhD) is the highest academic degree awarded by universities in most countries, with the term “philosophy” not referring to the field or academic discipline of Philosophy, but to the broader sense of the original Greek meaning ‘love of wisdom’. With ‘love of wisdom’ ever present in all our thinking and doing at Knighton House, we invited a current PhD student to talk to our Year 7 and Year 8 pupils.
Not quite on the cusp of choosing their PhD thesis, Thea, who is studying for a Psychology PhD, nevertheless asked our girls what area of research they might like to pursue. From the deeply scientific, ‘how was the world created’, to a recurrent Knighton House question, ‘why do animals display certain behaviours’, the feeling in the room was that we all wanted to get started right now.
Thea talked about her own route into academia, which was by no means as linear as the girls supposed, and shared stories and pictures of her fellow PhD students, all of whom are pursuing widely diverse academic hypotheses. Thea also gave us an insight into the many skills which this type of in-depth study develops (resilience, problem-solving, critical thinking, self-discipline) and how well these skills transfer to the workplace, yet at the same time pointing out how much these are just great life-skills.
When it came to asking questions, the girls had all sorts of things they wanted to find out about, but from a grown-up perspective, one of the most interesting questions and the response which it elicited, was put by our Head Girl.
‘Do you have to be really clever to do a PhD?’.
Thea responded by saying that she had never thought of herself as ‘super clever’ but she likes to work hard, she really enjoys thinking and finding out about things and she had always been able to ‘bounce back’ when things didn’t go as she had anticipated:
‘It’s as much about work ethic as it is about brain power’; Thea’s response was the quotation of the entire session.
This was an incredibly informative talk by a thoroughly intelligent and engaging speaker, complementing the talk before half-term on ‘professional resilience’ given by creative strategist Harry Walker. For this very young audience, we want simply to hint at possibilities for their futures, but both talks had the added effect of restating the message that whilst the Media may suggest girls’ worth lies in their looks and their ‘likes’, it is your mindset and your work ethic which will have a far greater impact on your professional and personal achievements.
Charitable giving is part of the blueprint for a Knighton House girl and having raised money before half-term for a very little charity (Cavy Corner who do good works for unwanted guinea pigs, rescuing them and even using them for wonderful outreach in schools and care homes), we turned our attention to a much bigger charity day, one that we have been planning for some time. Alongside their vital crisis work, the Red Cross have been championing a practical approach to a particularly difficult consequence of refugeedom, actively working on behalf of families who become divided by the circumstance of their asylum. With the knowledge that our charity day would be match funded if we collected in the money by a certain date, we asked girls to get agitating for sponsors. Sponsorship was intrinsically linked to practising the many skills of our Learning Disposition days. Form Captains were in possession of a tick sheet for everyone in their class and these were taken to every lesson. Here, staff, busily teaching, were also watching out for those all-important learning disposition skills: ‘evidence of good collaborative learning’ – a tick on the sheet; ‘taking a risk with your learning’ – another tick on the sheet; ‘bouncing back’ – more ticking.
At the end of the day we added up the ticks and these totals will constitute the amount of sponsorship our girls will raise. While we hope to be instrumental in bringing at least one divided family together, we also wanted this day to remind our pupils how much refugees want (as we all do) stable family lives, in solid homes, contributing fully to their community narrative.
‘Refugee family reunion is a safe and legal way for refugee families to be reunited. It has the potential to prevent dangerous journeys across seas into Europe and onwards to the UK, instead offering visas that allow people to travel to the UK safely and legally.’
Further information about the work of the British Red Cross can be found at: http://www.redcross.org.uk
Our assembly on Monday 13th November marked World Kindness Day. The girls were asked to think about the importance of being kind to one another, one of the most treasured of human qualities. Mr Gainher read them one of Aesop’s Fables, The Lion and the Mouse, where the lion’s kindness to the mouse saved his life. Members of staff and some of the Alpha girls read out different quotations to further reinforce messages about kindness and the effect it has on us individually and as a school community.
On Saturday the Knighton community gathered in St. Nicholas Church to remember those who have died in conflicts around the world. Brigadier Roddis spoke about the importance of remembering the armed services and those who have given their lives for their country since the First World War and how the girls should try to make Remembrance Day personal to them by asking members of their extended family about their experiences of conflicts. Whilst it is easier for the older generations to find a personal connection, we need to ensure that the legacy continues for the younger generations as they grow up to find ways to mark Remembrance Day in the future. We are extremely grateful to Brigadier Roddis for taking the time to be with us on Remembrance Day.
The entire school was involved in a wonderful concert on Saturday which featured brilliant performances by soloists, instrumental ensembles and choirs.
The two choirs delighted us with solos and sign-language, as well as the beautiful singing for which Knighton is renowned. Twenty three of our instrumentalists impressed us with their skill on instruments ranging from trumpet and drum kit, through clarinet, violin and cello, to recorder, saxophone and piano. The eight stage hands enabled the concert to flow smoothly and to time; and the whole audience gamely joined in with in a dining room roof- raising five part round.
An hour of great tunes in a wide range of musical styles was enjoyed by a capacity audience, along with a delicious selection of beautiful cakes.
“Thank you for a fantastic cafe concert. I so enjoyed the thoughtful , varied and at times moving programme, the enthusiasm and professionalism of the performers, the wonderful decorations and hospitality extended to the audience, all of which made it such a delightful occasion. Well done to everybody! “
“The concert on Saturday was an absolute triumph: congratulations! All of your hard work paid off, everyone loved it and the girls were just marvellous. My daughter (in the audience) has not stopped singing “I love the flowers I love the autumn leaves I love the mountains I love the dungarees…” she loved it!! I Can’t wait for the next one.”
“As I sat in Saturday’s wonderful music concert, I thought about being a teacher: it’s a truly humbling profession when you get to watch and listen to young people perform with skill and confidence. The girls were amazing and thoroughly deserved our plaudits.”
“Huge thanks for the wonderful concert on Saturday. Brilliantly organised and lots of brilliant performances. Well done!”
(Many more photos are on our Parent Portal.)
It is part of Knighton House tradition for the Years 6 and 7 pupils to spend a week in France, something the girls really look forward to. For some it is their first significant time away from home, for others a first trip to France but for all it is a wonderful experience. The aim of the trip is to practise and improve our French, of course, but we also undertake a range of activities which cross subject boundaries and which enable pupils to experience new cuisine, culture and comfort-zone expansion!
This year, we travelled from Portsmouth to Caen with Brittany Ferries, so were able to feel as if we were already in France from the minute we boarded the boat. We stayed in the small seaside town of Hermanville, very close to Ouistreham, which is a useful setting-out point for the many and varied activities undertaken. These included making organic bread, following instructions in French from a charming Dutchman; experiencing the wonderful ambience of the town of Honfleur, where we were also lucky enough to cross the breath-taking (or ‘époustouflant’) Pont de Normandie in both directions; visiting the market in Bayeux, where the girls took on the ‘One Euro Challenge’, and then both the glorious Cathedral and the Tapisserie de Bayeux. Another ‘époustouflant’ experience!
A highlight of the trip for girls who love horses was the Haras du Pin, the National Stud of France, where we were given a most interesting and informative guided tour. Later the same day, we visited a goat farm where we not only learnt about breeding and caring for goats, but also found out about the cheese-making process and got to taste some delicious goat’s cheese at the end of the day. The next, and final, day, we visited an apple farm where they produce apple juice, cider and Calvados. Even the visit to the supermarket before returning to Dorset was fun – who knew how many different types of food, clothing, stationery and sweeties one would find in a country so close to home?!
Upon our return to school, the girls set to work on completing the journals they had been writing during the trip, ready for display on the ‘French Trip 2017’ board outside the classroom. Miss Watson made a fab video of the trip, with a soundtrack by Brigitte Bardot. This is available to view, along with a photograph album, on the parents’ portal.
Staff and children were unrecognisable as everyone dressed up for the Hallowe’en party. Glamorous witches competed with scary vampires, plump pumpkins and the odd ghost during the creepy costume parade. A sumptuous supper was sandwiched between games from both staff and our creative Alpha girls. These included wrapping a mummy, chasing rats, a pumpkin treasure trail, a spooky photo booth and find the sweets in a gooey mess!
A wonderful time was had by all.
Knighton House raises money for all sort of charities and we try hard to spread our money across national, local, children’s and animal charities (and some for the grown-ups too). Recently, we have supported the World Wetlands charity, Save the Children, The Red Cross, Medical Assistance Dogs and this term Cavy Corner Guinea Pig Sanctuary. The brief for our charity day was to wear anything ‘guinea pig related’ which the girls interpreted in lots of creative ways: homemade guinea pig badges, a guinea pig tiara, guinea pig t-shirts and guinea pig masks.
In the words of their own website, ‘Cavy Corner rescues abused, abandoned, neglected and unwanted guinea pigs in addition to taking in piggies with special needs either because of poor health or behaviour. We nurse them back to good health and find the perfect family for them or provide them with a loving forever home here. The guineas in our care are very much loved and cherished. We also make Pets as Therapy visits to residential homes and Educational Visits into Schools and visit Brownie and Cub and Beaver Scout Groups.’
The idea of using guinea pigs for outreach really chimes with our ethos of compassion and service – both to people and animals – and we are pleased to say we raised £150 for this worthwhile cause.
Overwhelmed by the warmth and genuine love for Knighton House, Rob, Ali and Melanie returned from the Reception in Madrid in high spirits.
The majority of the 60 or so guests were Old Knightonians and their families, the oldest of whom, Ines Hernandez is now 19 and at University in Madrid! The reminiscing was enhanced by a screen play of photos spanning the last 8 years, which caused much mirth and excitement amongst the girls.
The event was a golden opportunity to meet with our Spanish Agent friends in person as well as representatives one of the Madrid Schools. It was also a great occasion to meet ‘friends of friends’ who are looking at Knighton House for their daughters in the years ahead.
In his welcoming speech, Rob introduced our Summer School. This was met with great enthusiasm and we look forward to welcoming our Spanish friends, past, present and future on board for a two week course in July.
Thank you to all for such a warm welcome to Madrid and for bringing so much to the Knighton House family.
Chapel Choir wowed an audience of approximately 350 people in the stunning surroundings of Sherborne Abbey as part of the Dorset Schools Charity Concert in October. We were the only Juniors invited to perform in a concert of seven schools and were proud to be part of an immense fund-raising effort for two charities: Royal British Legion (which looks after our service men and women) and Casting For Recovery (which helps women recovering from breast cancer). The evening raised about £14,000 and for many in the audience our Knighton choir was the highlight of the evening.
Jeremy Moger, who organises this event commented “A letter will follow but I am unable to wait any longer to say how utterly thrilled I was to have your fabulous choir at my concert and to be allowed to sing with them, especially with my family there to see, was just the cherry and the icing on the top. There were numerous accolades from members of the audience in praise of Knighton choir. From my perspective they are all “little angels” and just sang so beautifully. I cannot thank you enough and from the bottom of my heart please say so to all of them when you next all get together.”
This week a selection of girls from Knighton House were chosen to attend a gifted and talented workshop at Canford School. On arrival the eight girls were set to task creating a dry point acrylic printing plate. They selected their starting point from a variety of photocopies of animals and these were used as a base for their individual composition. Working with a dry point needle to scratch the image and a variety of sandpapers they inscribed their printing plate exploring the texture and form of the animal.
These were then inked up using traditional printing techniques and a printing press. The outcomes were fantastic, extremely professional and of a very high standard due to the level of concentration they had applied to the task. The girls worked with enthusiasm and energy throughout the whole workshop and should be proud of their achievements.
A huge thank you goes to Canford art department, especially to the three sixth form students who faultlessly led the activity. The original prints will be returned to school in due course and I look forward to displaying them in a prominent place for all to admire.
On Monday 16th October 13 girls from years 5-8 went to Bryanston School to participate in their Performance Sport Programme. The session was led by Alex Fermor-Dunman (Director of Sport) and James Morris (Head of Hockey) using their fantastic new facilities.
The girls started by taking part in a number of different stretches to prepare them for the activities. They then explored different running techniques to discover the best way to achieve their maximum speed. The first test was to discover their speed over 10m and 20m and to compare that to Usain Bolt’s times! We were not too far off…….
The next test was performed on a bike and tested their power. Then they went into the sports hall and took part in a T-Test which measured the speed at which they can change direction.
The last activity was a game of touchball which gave them lots of ideas about the effective use of space in invasion games. The session was completed with a well deserved, delicious lunch in Bryanstons canteen. The girls all worked incredibly hard and we look forward to returning next year to gather some more results and knowledge about our fitness.
B1 went to the Godolphin Literary Festival this morning. Author of ‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ Kiran Millwood Hargrave explained the process of writing her first book and showed photos of people and places that inspired her. Many Knighton girls brought their own copies of the book to the talk or purchased copies at Godolphin and Kiran kindly wrote a personal message in each book. An interesting and inspirational morning.
Alpha had chance to put their classroom learning into practice today with a trip to Durdle Door. A fabulous field trip where they tested their coastal erosion hypotheses. Will pebbles be smaller or larger on the exposed Durdle Door beach? Sharper or smoother on the sheltered Man ‘o war cove beach? Which will have the steeper profile and why?
The girls will use the data to complete their projects for their senior schools. Thanks to Louise from Leeson House for leading the session and answering everyone questions.
B1 travelled to Kingston Maurward on Saturday for their High Ropes Adventure. They had a fantastic time playing games, climbing and supporting each other. Lots of girls overcame their fears and achieved something they might not have thought possible from the ground.
The hugging of the tree trunk was to try to stop it wobbling for the person at the top!!
It was a great, team building experience which left them all wanting to go back again!
B1s church assembly was on the theme of resilience. They acted out real-life examples of famous people who have succeeded only because they were resilient – JK Rowling, Thomas Edison and the Beatles. B1 know that success is not straightforward, but they always have a go!
On Tuesday six of our more advanced orchestral players joined an orchestra of 85 players (of about grade 4-8 standard) from nine prep schools to make music together for the day.
They had three hours to learn a new piece in sectional groups: the Strings learnt Prelude to the Holberg Suite by Grieg, the flutes, oboes and clarinets learnt Windmills of your Mind by Legrand and the Saxophones learnt a traditional air. They also had an hour to put together the full orchestra pieces: The Sweetheart Tree by Mancini and the traditional tune Down by The Salley Gardens. The day culminated with a fifteen minute concert to an appreciative audience of parents.
It was a wonderful opportunity for our girls to play in a large ensemble at a high level but with local children of a similar age. Being in the middle of a huge sound like that is a thrilling experience, akin to being on a vast boat going at full speed, and is what professional orchestral musicians experience in their working life.
Learning disposition days are a termly feature at Knighton House School; collaboration, communication, mistake making and resilience have all been chewed over and looked at from many perspectives, enough we hope for the girls to have learned valuable skills and to be developing great ones for their future places in the world of relationships and careers. In our fast changing environment where the quantity of your Likes and your online persona is becoming almost all that matters, particularly for girls, we believe resilience to be the most valuable of all learning dispositions for children to develop.
On the day, we divided the girls by tutor group. The thinking behind this was to encourage the tutor group to bond closely, strong friendships being a key component of the conditions required to develop your resilience skills. Girls played a game designed to winkle out new information from people they see every day: ‘If you knew me well you would know…’ was the statement they were asked to complete. ‘If you knew me well you would know that my pets have funny names’, (Badger and Scully), ‘If you knew me well you would know that I love music’ (we didn’t), ‘If you knew me well you would know that I don’t have a television’ (cue stupefaction in the tutor group when they heard this from their teacher), but this simple game strengthened group dynamics and the knowledge that in a crisis, it isn’t just your B.F. on whom you can rely..
The Red Cross website has fantastic education resources on resilience and much thanks to them for the hard-thinking hour we spent deciding what to do in various hypothetical scenarios: Accidental Half-Marathon, Blown Over and Overcoming Overwhelm, helped girls evaluate their normal reactions to difficulty and then using a list of ‘resilient behaviours’, to challenge their default settings. ‘I always cry’, ‘I panic’ and ‘I become frozen’, were common themes in discussion but new possibilities presented themselves: ‘Calling on past experience, your own or other people’s, of similar situations and using that as a guide or help.’, ‘Being creative with resources’ and ‘Not necessarily doing the first thing that comes into your head’ made ‘bouncing back’ seem absolutely do-able.
Resilience is a skill which we develop over time and life tests how well we are doing, regularly; in assembly, girls were asked to visualise an elastic band and to go forward from the ‘day’ thinking of themselves as made of the same properties; stretching to their fullest extent when tried, but always having the capacity to snap back. http://www.redcross.org.uk/en/What-we-do/Teaching-resources/Quick-activities/Build-resilience
Our ten A2s joined with over 200 prep school singers in the beautiful building of Milton Abbey to sing together yesterday. They learnt four songs (jazz, pop, spiritual and African) in up to five parts under the guidance of professional tenor/ beat box artist/ music technician/ singing teacher Oli Vincent. We all thoroughly enjoyed making a big joyful noise in the exquisite 13th century Abbey.
B3 have been looking at the effects of different liquids on tooth enamel and have been observing five eggs during the last week – pretending that the shell is the tooth enamel.
We opened them today – they were pretty stinky – and discovered the damage caused by each liquid.
The blackcurrant juice and vinegar did the most damage and we will now all be choosing water or milk from now on!
What a fabulous three course meal the Orchard children prepared and then enjoyed eating in the autumnal sun. There was home made soup, pizza and crumble (using our own Orchard fruit and hand picked blackberries) as well as home pressed apple juice – delicious!
Knighton House School girls took part in the National School Equestrian Association’s qualifier held by Leweston school yesterday. In the 50cm the Knighton teams came 1st and 2nd also getting individual 1st. In the 60cm Knighton teams came 1st, 2nd and 3rd again getting individual 1st and a best rider and finally in the 70cm Knighton came 2nd. Knighton also had another individual placing with a first in the 80cm. Well done to all the girls who took part.
The sun shone as over 20 girls took part in Knighton House School’s annual One Day Event on Saturday. The girls tackled the daunting dressage test, rode brilliantly round a challenging show jumping course and leapt and raced around the school’s cross country course. Well done to all those that took part but especially to Christina, Madeline and Daisy who won their classes and a thank you to the new riding committee for helping the younger girls with their ponies.
In our weekly Celebration Assembly on Friday eleven girls were awarded their LAMDA certificates with all the Grade 1s and 2s achieving Distinctions. Congratulations to the girls and a big thank you to their teacher, Mrs de la Poer, for preparing them so well.
On Wednesday 13th September Alpha and A1 girls took part in a lacrosse taster session at Knighton run by Sherborne Girls School. This is part of a series of training sessions to prepare the girls for playing lacrosse at their senior school.
Luckily the sun shone all the way through as the girls learned how to pick up the ball, cradle and throw to each other. It was made even more exciting by the challenge of building a bonfire and putting the ball on the top!!! The girls thoroughly enjoyed themselves and have asked for more sessions if possible. Particular mention should go to Portia and Katie who caught the coach’s eye and were praised for their attitude and hard work.
Many thanks to Sherborne Girls school for coming along and giving the girls such a great time.
We have a wonderful opportunity to move Knighton forwards following a glowing piece in the Good Schools’ Guide and being judged excellent by the recent ISI Inspection Report. Knighton is undoubtedly in a good place. However, we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and be complacent.
The question I have asked myself since arriving at Knighton in the summer is whether the girls are intellectually and emotionally prepared for the world in which they will be a part of in the future and expect to be contributors to; a world which will have undoubtedly changed substantially in ten years’ time by the time many of them reach adulthood. Are we really forward thinking enough? Are we brave enough to steer the school away from its traditional course whilst retaining so much of what is special about Knighton? I feel the timing is perfect to look at how we are teaching and what we are teaching with a view to designing an academic curriculum and co-curricular programme to make sure Knighton is a leader in its field. We are a prep school which educates girls and we should be proud of this.
Additionally, Knighton has an opportunity to move with the times with the senior school admissions landscape changing as an increasing number of them now pre-assess children in Year 6, sometimes early in Year 7. Senior schools in London and the south-east of England have been adopting this practice for years now. It’s reaching the ‘shires’ as well so we need to adapt our approach to make sure our girls are suitably prepared for what’s ahead of them.
In today’s world the pressure on young people to get a job which suits their skills remains as challenging as it has always been, if not tougher in 2017. In the younger generation’s modern world fixated by celebrity culture, the unrealism of some TV docu-drama programmes (so far from reality it isn’t true), and a desire to instantaneously communicate every minutiae of their lives to each other, many employers rightly lament the lack of skills being learned, particularly “soft skills”. Education it could be argued has evolved very little: Exams are still taken at different points in a child’s schooling; they continue to be taken on paper despite the availability of technology; schools focus on results (those who protest otherwise are kidding us all); and children still learn in classroom spaces which haven’t changed very much at all over the years.
Knighton feels ready for what lies ahead. The Good Schools Guide’s commented: “Is there magic in the air (at Knighton)? Yes”.
Robin Gainher, Headmaster – September 2017
Knighton House School was thrilled to welcome pupils and staff back to start this new academic year this week. As well as many new pupils we also have our new Headmaster, Robin Gainher and his wife Ali, starting their time at Knighton. Robin and Ali are a formidable team with significant experience; most recently Robin was Head at Beeston Hall in Norfolk and as parents of three girls there is not much they don’t know about building confidence in girls.
Robin Gainher says “As the new Head at Knighton I’ve been given a wonderful opportunity to take the school forward into the next phase of its history. Building on the recent ISI report of ‘Excellent’ in all areas I believe Knighton can become a leader for educating girls. I can’t wait to work alongside the fantastic team of teachers here to start building an innovative exciting academic curriculum fit for the 21st Century and a co-curricular programme to excite and inspire the girls. This means road testing our current provision and asking two key questions: Is it fit for purpose? Does it match our ambitions for the girls? If not, then we have to be brave enough to make changes. Exciting times lie ahead for Knighton”.
Knighton House School, near Blandford in Dorset, is a prep school for girls aged 7-13 and a pre-prep for boys and girls aged 3-7. Come and meet our new Headmaster Robin Gainher and see the school by booking an appointment through email@example.com. Alternatively come along to one of our Working Open Mornings, Wednesday 4th October and Wednesday 22nd November and see the school at work.