Lower School

Robber dogs, bird feeders and stepping in Neil Armstrong’s boots

I am currently sitting in an empty classroom surrounded by silent corridors in a very strange time. I don’t think at the beginning of the term, way back in January, any of us could have imagined where we are now.

But I am not going to dwell on this peculiar time. Instead, I’m going to reflect on a time when everything was more simple: children squealing and running in the corridors; full lost property boxes; a sense of normality!

January seems a long time ago: I wonder how many of you made resolutions and how many of you have kept those as we hurtle towards Easter! If the Reception children made a promise to truly settle into ‘big school’ life, then they have definitely kept their resolution.

It is great to see them fully integrated into the school and developing a true sense of becoming independent explorers, never more evident than through their explorations outside. The mild weather we have had recently meant that daffodils were sprouting a little earlier than usual and our wonderful Reception children were busy outside putting stakes around these precious buds so that they wouldn’t be trampled on.

Thanks to Mr Campbell and his Forest School team, the children have had so many adventures outside, including building dens to protect the polar bears and using their binoculars to search out some of the birds that live around us.

The Year 1 children have been able to extend their knowledge of our feathered friends and, in their Forest School sessions, they not only made bird feeders to help the birds find much needed food but also a bird box and they created some super clay birds in their Art lessons. Our feathery friends will definitely be looked after by the next generation.

Mrs Over and Mrs Boughton concentrated on ‘Fairies and Frogs’ and it was wonderful to see the children totally engaged in this topic, creating fantastic wooden spoon puppets, fairy mirrors, giant footsteps and performing their productions in their temporary puppet theatre. This sense of creativity was further nurtured when the children visited the Oundle Festival of Literature where the author Tracey Corderoy presented her characters Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam - two hapless robber dogs who decide on a career change after one bungled burglary too many. The feedback was that it was an amazing morning and the teachers agreed!

Year 2 children threw themselves into their Famous People topic. It was great to see adults and children pass their classrooms while looking at their portraits and trying to guess who they were - staff did admit that they were showing their age as they hadn’t heard of some of them! Louis Braille is a significant famous person and, in Forest School, the children produced the Braille alphabet using nails, Blu Tack and discs of wood, all created by them - fabulous creative thinkers.

The visit to the National Space Centre was a huge success and linked in perfectly with another famous person, Neil Armstrong. The children stood in the spaceboots of Neil Armstrong and wrote diary entries explaining how they felt and what they experienced in space.

In Year 3, we have been blown away by the Independent Explorer activities which have been set every half term. We have had Powerpoints, slideshows, games and posters delivered in a confident and knowledgeable way.

The Celts topic has unfortunately been cut a little short and, as I write this, we were supposed to be out and about being ‘cut-throat’ Celts for the day. Luckily over the last few Forest School sessions, the children did get a taste of Celtic life by using natural dyes - berries and leaves - on materials and making some delicious porridge over the campfire. The children designed Celtic shields so I would like to think that there are battles going on in the gardens between the Celts and Romans!

Towards the end of term we welcomed Judy Brulo into school on World Book Day. Judy used to visit Copthill a few years ago as a music teacher but nowadays she dedicates her time to writing and, on March 5th, she shared her books through reading, music and drama throughout the school. Lower School was introduced to her character Brack - a dinosaur - who appeals to both boys and girls and we were delighted with the way the children engaged in the activities in a sensible, polite but fun way.

So there we have it, the end of another term at Copthill. The next few weeks are going to be very different from what we’re used to and we are all missing the children. The buzz we get from them when we are presenting the lessons, the interaction and general excitement they exude is very precious and we hope they are behaving for you at home!

We are busy getting ready for the next term and we thank you all for your continued support. It’s not an easy time for you all; take care and stay safe.

Mrs Teesdale

Lower School Leader Pastoral

Awe and wonder as a tree grows in a classroom…

As teachers we strive to create those ‘Awe and Wonder’ moments and there was nothing more rewarding than seeing the looks of astonishment on both adults’ and children’s faces when a large tree grew overnight in the book corner of Reception D’s classroom.

The fascination and bewilderment was very apparent as discussions about how it had materialised there were overheard. The theories of magic seeds growing overnight or fairies casting spells were overwhelming.

As I watched one of my little boys lying on his back gazing up into the branches of the tree, cuddling a little hand puppet squirrel that he was sharing a story with, it took me back to a time at Woolsthorpe Manor, the house of Sir Isaac Newton, where I took my own children to learn about this famous scientist.

His theories of relativity and gravity were inspired simply by an apple that fell from his tree. I remember learning about Charles Darwin and his ‘Thinking Walks’ and always marvelled at what our children could actually achieve if they were allowed the time to walk, think, observe nature and their surrounding environment.

Over the last term I have spent time monitoring aspects of teaching and learning in other Lower School classrooms. What has become very apparent is the astounding number of ‘Awe and Wonder’ moments created every day by our teaching and support staff.

Children who actually believed that Little Red Riding Hood had left her basket in the school grounds during a literacy lesson. Others giggling about their muddy faces from digging in the World War 1 trenches in the school grounds.

This is the very essence of teaching and, through the coming weeks, there will be a unique opportunity for our children to stop their busy lifestyles, look at the ‘Awe and Wonder’ around them and reflect upon the natural beauty and basic theories of our world.

We can learn a great deal from exploring the environment we live in and as parents and teachers we can work together to help nurture the little Isaac Newtons of the future!

Mrs Dimbleby

Academic Head of Lower School




The Reception classes were really excited to be able to use the binoculars and go bird watching with Mr Campbell in our Forest School sessions.



The children are having an amazing time participating in lots of activities based on the story of a caveman and a dimosaur egg left over from the Jurassic Period. We also talked about how fossils are formed and made some of our own in plasticine! They have been writing fantastic stories, with help from our story map, and making their own imaginary dinosaurs. The children know so much about dinosaurs already, it is incredible!




Pancake tossing on Shrove Tuesday!



We were super fit this week working out for 30 minutes cycling with the Triathlon Trust.




In maths this week we have been doing measuring and looking at different units of measurement. This includes distance, mass and volume. In English we have taken on the role of being Neil Armstrong, we have been writing diary entry's using our senses to help us describe what it was like landing on the moon. We also had our trip to the Space Centre which was amazing. We learnt lots of amazing things and the children loved the planetarium. This allowed us to get some more knowledge on our topic of Space.



This week we have been getting back into the swing of things by using our amazing shape recognising skills. We have looked at 3D shapes and learning how to count the faces, vertices and sides. We have already had an amazing project about a tourist attraction in the local area and we hope to see many more.




Our Science topic this term is based outside as we are looking at the Habitats of animals. What better way to study this than venturing out into our fantastic grounds on the search for different habitats. Mr Teesdale kindly shared with us this week the camera footage he has of badgers and foxes sharing the limelight one winter's night!



What a heart-pumping start to the week! Well done Year 3 for cycling over 200 km a fantastic effort which contributed to a whole school achievement!