The whole school community turned out on a dry winter’s evening for what is fast becoming an annual Christmas tradition at Horsley; the reenactment of the nativity story. With Mary (Sienna) saddled on the pony, led by Joseph (Charlie), the crowd followed from one stop to another, accompanied by the accordion, and the narrators retelling the story. The Angel Gabriel appeared to the couple (in the school playground) before moving on to the inn (The Hog PH) to look for a room for the night. Joseph’s knocks were greeted by the landlord who turned them away to search for a stable. In the fields (outside the village shop), the shepherds and angels appeared. The procession moved on to the final stop (St. Martin’s Church) and the three kings presented their gifts to Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. Carols and other musical performances accompanied the acting, and the evening was rounded off with a traditional carol service including Christmas poems, a wonderful Joy to the World dance, children’s own prayers and some delightful singing. FHS provided mulled wine and mince pies for the congregation. Another special event at Horsley.
The school's recent Ofsted report can be found at http://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/ and by entering URN 115685. We are pleased with the result. Ofsted praises the behaviour of pupils, the well-planned curriculum, the outdoor learning opportunities and relationships between staff and pupils. They go on to rate the Headteacher's drive for improvement, the Governors' shared vision for the school, the quality of teaching and learning, and pupils' progress. Areas for development include the use of questioning to check understanding in the Early Years, and to further increase progress in maths. It was pleasing to see that Ofsted thought that 'the school's Christian ethos makes a strong contribution to pupils' social, moral, spiritual and cultural development.'
The playground has had a massive spruce up over the weekend, thanks to a huge number of volunteers who gave up 3 hours of their time on Sunday afternoon. We now have newly painted sheds, a sturdy welly rack, tidied planters and veg patch, a smart playground wall, a clean outdoor classroom, and more. Fantastic! There is still more to do, so we will set another date in the near future. Watch this space.
It's always sad to say goodbye to the Y6 children leaving and this year was no exception. We wish them lots of luck for secondary school and hope that their time at Horsley has left many happy memories and prepared them well for what lies ahead.
We also said farewell to two highly valued members of staff who have worked at Horsley for over a decade. Miss Sandilands and Mrs Stuart have supported so many children through school and they will be much missed. We wish them all the best for their exciting plans that lie ahead. We held a special Big Breakfast for them and children sang, played their instruments and presented their presents.
The breakfast was also an opportunity to thank Joanne Davey and Gill Costello who have given up so much of their time to volunteer in school this year. We are most grateful!
A wet and windy sports day showed the children in their true colours this afternoon; well in red, blue and yellow to be precise. Taking part in fast sprints, long distance, slow bicycle, traditional sack, egg and spoon, bat and ball, football dribble, late to school and skipping races, the teams fought long and hard with every child competing and trying their best. Apart from two gazebos that blew away, sports day passed without mishap, there were plenty of windswept and damp parents cheering their children on from the sidelines! The three teams were very close but in the end the Blues pulled ahead winning by 45 points. The cup was awarded to the proud team captains, with their team leading the traditional champions' circuit, closely followed by the reds and yellows.
The playground was packed out with parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, all eager to see one of the highlights of the school year, the junior summer play. The audience was enjoying a beautiful summer's evening but they were magically transported to a mysterious island with tempestuous seas and giant waves (Y3 dance). The famous Shakespeare play was expertly narrated by Ariel (Lily) throughout, with Prospero (Nat), Miranda (Isobel) and Caliban (Archie) taking lead roles. The confident singing by both the soloists and chorus really held the play together. There were also some lovely comedy moments involving a washing line, bottles of drink and a Benny Hill style of dance! The Hobgoblins were superbly portrayed by the Y5s who brought these strange creatures alive. FHS provided refreshments and we were all treated to some fantastic entertainment. Well done children, you were all fabulous!
Sponsor forms completed, running shoes on and water bottles at the ready saw the start of Horsley's Race for Life. Raising money for Cancer Research, the older children were led on a cross country course through the woods by olympic athlete, Dan Robinson whilst the younger pupils ran around a large coned course on the village field. Many demonstrated tremendous stamina and perseverance and just kept going despite the warm weather. All were awarded a well-deserved medal for taking part within a terrific atmosphere of achievement and a lot of fun. Well done sporty children!
Y3, 4, 5 and 6 had a fabulous morning on Tuesday as they took part in Pulse Games - based on the Rugby World Cup - delivered by a large group of volunteers from Psalms. The children were split into six teams, each representing a different country. Each team perfected a chant to perform to the group, took part in an opening ceremony and competed against one another in a range of fun sports activities loosely based on rugby. Points were accumulated with a large number reserved for sportsmanlike behaviour and team effort. The games were centred around the Christian value of honour. The final results were as follows: Tonga 220, Scotland 245, England 285, New Zealand 305, Japan 310 and the winning team was ......Argentina with 314 points. Each member of the winning team received a medal and all paraded their flags in the closing ceremony. Finally, one child from each team was selected for exceptional sportsmanlike behaviour and received a special certificate. We would like to say a big thank you to all the volunteers who made this great event so memorable.
It's always a pleasure taking our children away as they get so much out of spending their first days away from Mum and Dad and on holiday with so many friends. Owls took part in kayaking, mountain biking, abseiling, a stream walk and a visit to the beach in Somerset. The best bit was getting soaked and utterly covered in mud! Otters stayed more local and visited Nympsfield, Coaley Peak and Uley Long Barrow, with the Y4s managing to complete a 5 mile walk and a night away in Slimbridge. Thanks to the teachers for giving up their time to organise and manage these residential trips. The children loved every moment.
Despite the weather on Thursday, Otters have had a fabulous one and a half day Stone Age to Celt extravaganza. On Thursday, they researched the Stone Age and Iron Age diet, designed menus and prepared vegetables for an amazing stone age meal. Some of the children also researched how to build Stone Age Shelters. On Friday, Otters put everything they had learned into practice at Redwood. Like Bronze Age people (when farming really took off), they made their own bread and wrapped it around the sticks they had whittled. The children cooked the dampers over an open fire and sat around the fire to eat them, with their luscious home made stew bubbling away on the flames. Finally, they made 4 fabulous shelters, with wooden frames, but lacking the mud, feathers and stitched together animal skins. What a great day!