The Week Ahead 15 November 2019

From the Master

Dear parents

I read an interesting article on the development and success of phonics recently. Many of you will have children currently using phonics as part of the literacy programme in the Nest and Junior School. A study in 2005, from Scotland, showed that children in a phonics programme were seven months ahead of their expected age for reading and spelling. Few teaching methods, the article argued, were backed by such strong evidence as trials in phonics have shown.

The reason I raise this now is that, whilst for the most affluent native speakers of English, the effect may wear off after time as they would eventually learn to read well anyway, for second language learners, phonics has proved a particularly significant boost. The head of early years at a charity which operates 38 schools in the UK said that “other approaches [to literacy learning] rely on existing child vocabulary and life experiences. Phonics helps to put children on a level playing field.” In other words, children who do not have the same linguistic and cultural opportunities as children in the UK, have the chance to learn to read and write at a similar pace to their peers in the UK through the use of sounds, rather than the traditional obsession with pronouncing entire words. This must be music to the ears of parents with children learning English as a second language.

The next stage for the teaching of phonics is to make sure that the process remains varied and interesting to the learner. Phonics has, at times, been open to the criticism that it loses the magic of ‘real’ words and that reading can lose its power to enchant if broken down as scientifically as it is in a phonics class. I have been lucky enough to have visited a number of classes using our Read, Write, Inc. programme this term, and I have been struck by two things: the pace of the learning is exhilarating and the structure of the programme means that children of all ability groups are stimulated and challenged by the work. The progress we are seeing in classes is very encouraging, and I am sure you will see that reflected in the end of term reports.

As we near the final month of the term, I would encourage all parents to find out more about phonics and how it will help your child to make accelerated progress in English acquisition. Listening to your child read each day, even though you may not be a confident speaker of English, helps that child to become more fluent in their spoken language as well as a faster, more accurate reader. The ‘levelling of the playing field’ that phonics encourages is never more obvious than when it can transfer successfully from the classroom to the home.

Best wishes

Julian Jeffrey



Common Room

0900hrs – 1015hrs, Wednesday

20th November


Every other Wednesday morning from 0900hrs-1015hrs, parents will have the chance to engage with the school in sessions that cover all aspects of your child’s education, from the Early Years to A-Levels and university admissions. For this week’s meeting, Ms Churchill, the Head of Art, Ms Gossedge, the Director of Music and Mr Wood, the Head of Design & Technology, will give details of the Art, Music and Design programmes in the Senior School. It starts at 0900hrs in the Common Room.


KS 3 Parent Briefing: University Applications

Common Room

1730hrs-1830hrs, Thursday

21st November


On Thursday 21st November, there will be a presentation and Q and A session for all parents of children in Years 7, 8 and 9 regarding the university application process. This will take place in the Common Room (room 214) at 1730hrs. All parents are welcome. We are aiming for this to become a regular event with the aim of better informing and supporting parents of our younger pupils.


Monday 18 November 2019

All Day

Senior School assessment week: Years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 (AL Induction) (to 25th) (DP)


All Day

Junior School assessment window (to 29th) (RA)


All Day

Week 13 (A)


8:30AM – 2:30PM

Milepost 1 trip (Year 2) (MF)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW: French class (LL) (MB 125)


11:00AM – 12:00PM

Senior School assembly (JMS) (Theatre)


Tuesday 19 November 2019

8:30AM – 9:30AM

FOW: English class (beginner level) (MB 234)


8:30AM – 2:30PM

Milepost 1 trip (Year 1) (MF)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW: Pilates (LL) (Black Box)


10:15AM – 11:15AM

FOW: Mandarin class (LL) (MB 113)


1:00PM – 2:00PM

FOW: How to use Chinese daily life apps (LL) (MB 113)


Wednesday 20 November 2019

8:30AM – 3:00PM

Milepost 2 trip (AM)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW: Yoga class (LL) (Black Box)


9:00AM – 10:15AM

Parent briefing: The arts in the Senior School curriculum (ES) (Main Building)



ISCOT Junior School Robotics tournament (@ IST) (GM)


3:05PM – 3:45PM

Junior School assembly (RA) (Theatre)


Thursday 21 November 2019

9:00AM – 10:30AM

FOW: TCM class (LL)


10:45AM – 12:00PM

FOW: Yoga class (LL) (Black Box)


2:00PM – 3:00PM

Meet the Master: Years 2-6 (ES) (Main Building)


5:30PM – 6:30 PM

Parent briefing: university applications (for parents of pupils in Years 7-9) (JMS) (Common Room)


Friday 22 November 2019

8:30AM – 11:00AM

FOW: Art class (LL)


8:30AM – 12:30PM

Pre-Nursery Class trip (DZ)


8:45AM – 10:00AM

FOW: Pilates (LL) (Black Box)


9:30AM – 12:30PM

Open Day: Nest (PR) (The Nest)


Saturday 23 November 2019


Saturday Activity Programme (SAP) (EvK)