Lower School

An amazing, if strange year

Well, we’ve made it! What an amazing, if a little strange, year we have had in Lower School. In September we welcomed the children into our classes, settled them in, said goodbye to them at Christmas and welcomed them back again in March! The children embodied the true Copthill spirit as they never once complained and slotted in and out of school with ease, cheeriness and positivity. We have welcomed educational groups into school this term and how lovely it was to see buses turn into the car park taking children on school trips outside these school walls. The Reception children had a fantastic time at Sacrewell Farm and Mrs Dimbleby and Mrs Holder commented on how well behaved they were with lots of squeals of laughter coming from the soft play area - whether that was from Miss Gowers and Mrs Robinson nobody knows! We always remark how grown up Reception classes are at the end of the academic year and this year is no exception. As their topic, Minibeasts, is coming to an end, it was great that they could use The Cautious Caterpillar story to help the children start to think about changes in their lives in preparation for Year 1 and how Cody the Caterpillar felt during her change into a butterfly. As I have seen the children racing around at playtime I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble with the transition! It has been so wonderful to watch the teachers use so many book resources as a teaching aid for the children; The Very Busy Spider, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Bad Tempered Ladybird are only a few of the titles that have brought the children’s learning to life alongside the great teaching. Seeing them in school with spider hats, ladybird homes and learning about healthy eating further emphasises the extent the children become independent explorers. Everyone was treated to a science dome, giving every year group the opportunity to enter the pod and the Reception classes were able to look up at the night sky and see all the stars even though it was only 3 o’clock in the afternoon! Year 1 children have gone from strength-to-strength and they have certainly coped with the routine, totally embracing the Copthill ethos and nothing seems to faze them! Way back in September we welcomed 2 new staff members in Year 1 and Miss Hamer and Mrs Fletcher have certainly made a positive impact in the department. Both of them embraced Seesaw and could be spotted dressing up as various characters to energise the online learning! There is no doubt that the Year 1 children will easily adjust to Year 2 as their keenness bubbles over and the photos from when the Reptile man visited shows that they’re not frightened of anything! There is no doubt they are creative and very busy children, as they have created masterpieces using their own paint made out of chalk, mud, flowers and berries; mapped routes in chalk all over the playground so they could direct their friends with their eyes closed as part of their direction work in maths and made finger puppets using the story After the Storm as a stimulus. It is highly likely that, as they move on up through the school, the children will accept any challenge lying ahead of them in their usual friendly and enthusiastic way. One of the lucky year groups who ventured out was the Year 2s when they visited Hamerton Zoo as part of their Where the Wild Things Are topic. The teachers were thrilled to be able to give the children the opportunity to meet the animals up close rather than on a screen and by all accounts they had a fabulous time. Year 2 children embrace and thrive in their outdoor learning environment and, over the last term, they have been lucky enough to burn willow on the fire to make charcoal which they then used to draw; cut some elder and took the pith out of the middle to make elder beads for necklaces and snakes and they also looked at using natural materials to create art and sculptures inspired by Andy Goldsworthy - but it didn’t stop there! We had our own Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstalls making cleaver juice using sticky weed from the forest and using a spoogle to make popcorn over the fire which they had as their snack; I was reliably informed that it was “super yummy” - I’ll take their word for it! There is such a huge leap from Year 2 to 3 and as the year comes to an end the children seem to have grown up so much. We have had a fantastic term in Year 3 with our own informal music concert, dressing up play times, dinosaurs in the space pod and learning how to finger knit! When we asked the children what their favourite memory of the year was, it was the sleepover we had in the classrooms - lots of fun and not much sleep but it showed how much more confident the children are now compared to how they were in September. The children are showing that they are developing into Copthill Learners as they truly embrace everything, from the after-school activities to the outdoor curriculum and they have learnt not only how to work on their own but also in a large group taking the time to listen to each other and understand that maybe not everyone shares the same views. Mrs Donaldson and I have no doubt that the children will continue to succeed and flourish as they move into Upper School and we will miss them greatly but they are definitely ready for the next challenge. As we end this rather peculiar year, all the staff in Lower School would like to thank all our parents for being so adaptable and supportive as we have moved through the year. The children have been amazing as they have had their routines changed from term to term but, with their usual distinctive cheeriness, they have coped admirably. Have an amazing summer and we look forward to welcoming you all back in September for a new, exciting year ahead.

Mrs Teesdale

Lower School Leader Pastoral

Silver Linings and Dancing in the Rain!

A few months ago I announced to my hard-working class that it was time to go outside and “Blow away the cobwebs!”. This saying initiated a heated discussion about what this term actually meant. Were we going to find cobwebs and blow on them? Would there be spiders? Are spiders scary? Eventually, after a great deal of explanation, the children understood that we would be recharging our batteries to prepare for the next lesson by running around outside! Even so, there was still a little confusion as we returned to class as to why there had been no cobwebs! The “Cobweb Moment” became part of our daily routine and it was during one of these moments that we all stood in amazement as a ray of sun illuminated one of the most magnificent and unusual clouds I have ever seen. The children were intrigued by the shapes and colours of the cloud itself and the way in which the sunshine highlighted the edges. Of course, I couldn’t help myself by announcing that “Every cloud has a silver lining!”. You can only imagine the level of enquiry and discussion that followed. These experiences are at the very heart of being a Copthill Learner. I wish I could bottle the enthusiasm, level of interest, enquiry and fascination from events that as adults we take for granted. It is not just the children who are constantly evaluating and reflecting on their experiences. The adults are also continually researching, investigating and improving all areas of the Copthill curriculum. Even as adults, there are always new ideas and initiatives and we can learn at any age. It is with this in mind, and the incredible Copthill grounds, that we have been reviewing the way in which we deliver our numeracy and literacy curriculum. Our Read, Write, Inc. scheme is used as a successful phonics programme. However, we have now incorporated a more creative approach to our communication, language and writing lessons. As mentioned earlier, what an exciting way to learn and understand the English language by discussing cobwebs and silver linings! How intriguing to learn about digraphs by writing outside with mud paint and chunky chalk! White Rose Maths is a programme used by most primary schools in England. We have embraced the changes to our maths curriculum and made them unique to Copthill, tailoring them to the needs of our individual children. It is important that our Copthill mathematicians have the skills and secure underlying mathematical knowledge to be confident and successful in this subject area. From Reception onwards, the philosophy is not about how high your child can count or the largest number they can read, it is about what they can do with those numbers and understanding the underlying mathematical concepts. It has been a unique year with so many “silver linings” and a great deal to celebrate and be proud of. Our children have so much to teach us about optimism and making the most of every opportunity. A friend bought me a heart plaque with the inscription, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain!”. Of course, in true Copthill fashion that’s exactly what we did in form RD: put on our wellies and raincoats and danced in the rain! Who wouldn’t want to be a Copthill Learner?

Mrs Dimbleby

Academic Head of Lower School



Sacrewell Farm Adventures!

We had an amazing time at Sacrewell farm last week with RD and RH. The children loved looking at all the animals and learning how the water mill worked.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt!

We have had another fantastic week with a great adventure full of bears! The story of the week has been, “We’re going on a bear hunt” by Michael Rosen. We have had such fun bear hunting in the outdoor areas and acting out the story together.



On your marks, get set GO!

Wowee we have some speedy runners in Year 1! We had a great morning stretching our legs on the sports field and enjoyed having an audience to cheer us on!


Natural painting in the forest…

Year 1 had great fun painting with natural materials in the forest this week. The children made their own paint out of chalk, mud, flowers and berries to create their masterpiece.



The end is far too close…

I can’t believe I am writing the last blog of the year, and what a strange year it’s been! We have had some amazing times home learning and some amazing times in school. We have been so lucky at Copthill to have the facilities to allow the children have had some kind of normality.


Swooping Swallows!

In Forest School we were learning about swallow migration. We made our own swallows with clay and foraged materials. They then migrated and looked at what obstacles the swallows have on their way.



Only days to gooooo…. :(

What a fabulous day we had on Tuesday showing off our sporting prowess. It was such a great event and we loved welcoming our parents back into school. Congratulations to Casewick on the day but an overall congratulations to Lindsey who won the whole school event.


A bit of bzzz and baaa

What a fabulous treat we had watching a real life sheep shearer in action. Where was he during lockdown?! A few of us could have used his services! It was wonderful to see how fast he could shear the sheep and I’m not sure whether the sheep would have wanted to get rid of their wooly coats during this rather chilly weather!