Newsletter Issue 12

Ferncumbe Friday

Friday 16th March 2018


Sensational Science Week!

Huge thanks to all members of The Ferncumbe Family for their part in contributing to the most amazing week of Science! Mrs Grier, our Science Week coordinator 'extraordinaire', writes the following report, which outlines key events throughout the week.

Science Week began with a whole school assembly about how scientists behave and the endless possibilities there are when considering going into a scientific career. 20 ‘ology’ posters were put up around school, from the study of whales, caves and ants, to thunder, wind and mountains. Mrs Grier also demonstrated how cornflour mixed with water can produce a ‘liquid’ that flows freely when tilted around, but becomes solid when squeezed or hit. Mr Kitney took his shoes and socks off and slammed his foot down on it! Thankfully it went solid and Reception children remained dry!


- For Science Week, staff were asked to plan a class investigation, related to their termly topic. It was to combine both Working Scientifically skills (2 or 3) as well as the scientific content that the pupils would need to learn for that area.

· Pupils were given half a term to complete a home science project. An assembly was given outlining the requirements and an e-mail was sent to parents with advice and links to possible ideas.

· Mrs Webb liaised with Miss Holyman at Aylesford Secondary School to plan a Light afternoon, with practical work in a lab setting.


· A schedule was organized whereby paired classes would swap for a session during the week, so each class could visit their pair and hear about each child’s project. Boards were set out and each class toured the other, listening to the children presenting at their boards.



· Tim Harrison, Bristol ChemLabS School Teacher Fellow and Outreach Director, came to deliver an incredible assembly for an hour, attended by the whole school. Reception sat with their buddies at the back of the hall, in case the bangs were too loud!


- Miss Holyman (Education Consultant, Academic Author and Second in Science at Aylesford School) and Danielle Lloyd (fourth year PhD student within the Haddleton Polymer Group at the University of Warwick) visited us on Thursday and toured the classrooms. All staff managed to continue their investigations, with all boards out on display around the rooms. We were able to walk around, discuss and fully appreciate the effort made by pupils at home with their projects.


· Every pupil was given time during the week to feedback about their project to their class and class teacher. This enabled the staff to assess their presentation skills as well as scientific understanding of the task they had undertaken.

· On Thursday 1st March, all parents were invited into school. They arrived and filled the hall before 9am, and then moved to each classroom, and in between classrooms, to visit siblings. An array of wonderful science lessons was provided by staff and this also gave parents an opportunity to view other project around the room.

· On Wednesday 7th March we held our 'snow postponed' Awards Assembly. Each year group fed back to the school about their class investigation and what they had discovered. Pupils came up with confidence and delivered excellent summaries! Mr Derrick Miller, MBE, joined us that morning. He kindly donated 12 wonderful electrical circuit kits as prizes, on behalf of the Institute for Engineering and Technology. Derrick spoke to the school about his profession, leaving the children both inspired and laughing! Each winner came up to receive their certificate, goody bag and electrical kit and Derrick kindly presented these to them.


what was the impACT OF science weeK?

· We have seen a positive effect on pupil confidence when presenting their projects. Ownership over a longer piece of work and following a procedure from the birth of an idea, right through practical work to a conclusion and further research ideas, is an experience that we can rarely provide during Science lessons, so this was of great benefit to pupils in that respect.

· As part of our growth mindset ethos at Ferncumbe, this provided an opportunity for pupils to carry out an independent task over a period of time that will have required plenty of self-motivation, curiosity, imagination and improvement skills.

· Parental feedback indicated that projects had enabled family members to work together towards a common goal in a way that they rarely experience. From learning to solder, woodcraft, making pumps, motors, firing guns, drilling holes and even blood testing family members – new skills were learnt and developed by many pupils.

· Year 6 enjoyed their visit to Aylesford, which will be the secondary school for many of them. It enabled them to carry out science with far more sophisticated equipment in a real laboratory setting. Miss Holyman was very impressed and quickly had to change her lesson content because their knowledge was so developed as a result of their in-school investigation that week. The experience of understanding secondary science and impressing Miss Holyman was a real confidence boost for them, easing the forthcoming transition a little further.

· The class swap mid-week was useful for both students and staff. Staff were able to see progression of similar projects and how younger pupils approached ideas (like global warming and slime making) and then the more developed understanding of either knowledge or practical skills. For example, older pupils were aware of repeating tests and displaying data using Excel, where younger pupils used photos and entered data into tables created by parents. The benefit to pupils’ confidence was evident when presenting projects to peers. Certain pupils who would not present alone to the class, were brave enough to present to passing students in this setting. One particular pupil who is very shy and had refused to present to the class, approached me glowing with pride after the swap, saying he talked through his project with some Year 3s and had loved it!

· Tim Harrison made the greatest impact during the week. He approached the students at all levels. For example, talking to Reception in terms of 1 breath out of every ten, but referring to percentages with Year 6. He covered air compositions, behaviour of states of matter, how gases differ, density, exothermic reactions, reversible, non-reversible reactions, colour changes, reactions creating a foamy volcano. It added a great ‘wow factor’ to the week and the pupils left buzzing.

· Our guests on the Thursday of Science week added an ‘official’ air to the science project judging and they were eagerly watched as we toured each room. Both judges were enormously impressed with the calibre of projects produced by our pupils, and judging was incredibly difficult.

· At Ferncumbe, we nurture each student to work to the best of their ability, which will vary from pupil to pupil.  Competing to win and learning to accept when they do not, are valuable life lessons that we acknowledge and want to expose our pupils to. We were surprised how hard it was for us this week, choosing four pupils in the class to be shortlisted. Thankfully, the judges then made the final decision! But it has given us the opportunity to have that discussion with the pupils - to talk about disappointment, pride at knowing you have tried your best, being pleased for and supporting and congratulating those that win.

· The award assembly was the perfect culmination of Science Week, where we could come together as a community and celebrate our hard work and new experiences. Several companies were contacted asking to help us with prizes, resulting in the most fantastic pack for each winner, including a full electronics kit! A few pupils from each class were able to hone their presentation skills in front of the school, presenting what their class had done that week. All pupils were able to congratulate the winners, who will now be invited to Warwick University at the end of March, for a Science day. They will present their work and have a tour of the university, as well as seeing a great Science show.


I think it is safe to say that Science Week was deemed an enormous success by everyone!


****2 REMINDERs****

On Tuesday 27th March, I would like to invite you to a presentation about my recent exciting visit to our link school in Bo, Sierra Leone. This will include lots of photographs from the trip and I will be pleased to answer any questions that you might have about what I saw and learnt whilst I was there. I will also talk about fundraising ideas for One World Link. This invitation is open to parents, children and governors.

You will have received a letter this week regarding the talk - please do advise of your attendance so that we have an idea of numbers.

Thank you,

Mr Bladon


After an exciting visit to our link school in Bo, Sierra Leone by Mr Bladon we are now fundraising to maintain this friendship and allow for a return visit by a teacher from U.B.C. Lower to The Ferncumbe!

We would like everyone at our school to dress in clothes with a green, white and blue theme on the last day of term (March 28th) to represent the national flag of Sierra Leone, and bring at least £1 donation to kick-start our fundraising and celebrate our link. Please join in on this fun day!

Thank you!

Ms Houlihan and Lowsonford's Bo Reps

Parent questionnaire

A reminder that the 2018 parent questionnaire may be filled in using the following link...

Thank you!


The Friends of Ferncumbe would like to thank everyone for all of the cakes contributed in support of last week's Farmers' Market. We will update you in due course of the amount raised.


Palm Sunday will be celebrated at the 10am service on Sunday 25th March at Holy Trinity Church, Hatton. All welcome. 

Please also note that there will be a Kaleidoscope Kids session at the 10am service on Easter Sunday, with bible story and crafts. We hope to see you there.

With best wishes for a lovely weekend,

Tracey Webb, Deputy Headteacher

Staff Ferncumbe